Tuesday, 12 February 2013

What's Hot for 2013? De-Stressing

As Plato told us,  the only rule to a successful vacation is KNOW THYSELF.  Which of these pictures is the one where you want to be?  On a cruise ship soaking up the fun and sun without a care in the world -- where everything is provided?  Or perhaps its a deserted island or a cottage tucked away from civilisation?  Maybe you'd rather be where the action is -- fun nights and shopping days.  One thing is for certain - unless you plan the right holiday you won't enjoy it.

What's trending in vcations at the moment?  Apparently cruises are big - especially for families.  This means that mum gets a proper holiday - ie no shopping or cooking or washing up (yes guys it is not a holiday if the chores have to still be done).   Be sure, of course, that you get the appropriate  cruise -- you don't want the football end-of-year-celebration-cruise unless you're a really fun person. One of my BFFs has to suffer cruises with her in-laws -- their idea of a fun time is to cruise to a strange and exotic place and sit on the cruise ship's "beach"- they never venture into the actual ports of call.  She hates it and so she's protested by refusing to go unless the cruise is to somewhere truly exciting like Alaska or Antarctica.

Remember most of your days you are on the ocean and not in port - so be prepared for limited shopping facilities.  And the quarters are cramped -- I don't care what the brochures say - step it out in your bedroom or loungeroom before you book that room.  I have heard horror stories from families who didn't have the space for their luggage in the same room?  Warning: crossing the Panama Canal is not that exciting -- I did it a few years ago and after a few minutes --well there's 'nothing to see there'.   Here are some last minute deals if you want an idea of what it's going to cost you.  Remember costs include all food (usually) but not drinks or tipping or port activities. Check about airfares getting there and back and on-land accommodation. 

Despite all of my bad mouthing - cruises are great for de-stressing - the greatest decision you have to make is whether to have another mai-tai or not.  And de-stressing is THE travel word for 2013.

This year - according to my research (websites and asking industry folks) - what people want are big advenures but easy vacations.  That's why cruises are so popular.  The other growth is in the escorted tour industry. 

Now when I was a young woman Contiki was THE fun way to see Europe.  I was shocked to learn that not only are they still going but in fact they are more popular than ever.  Of course they are strictly for the limber of frame and young at heart 18-35.  But it appears they no longer do the camping thing but actually have hotels?!   For older people there Trafalgar, Cosmos, Gobal etc - these are great for the new travellers as they take do virtually everything and often include meals.  More to come on guided tours as I'm going to do a whole show on them later -- email me  your questions and I'll have an answer for you.

What cruises and escorted offer is taking the stressout of decisionmaking - it's simply then a matter of WHERE you want to go.

What are the HOT destinations? 

If you want exotic but civiised it should be no surprise that the 2013 popular desintations are Africa, India and New Zealand.

Africa is a big continent and potentially a dangerous one--so it's no surprise that people are heding for South Africa.  South Africa offers many familiar things for the Australian - it's a similar climate, has great beaches aned a very laidback lidfestyle. Dare I admit it but South Africa has some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen.  And despite the warning from everyone, as a female who travelled on her own 8n South Africa - I drove the Garden Route on my own and stayed in one of the best ever bed and breakfasts places in the world, Liberty Lodge.   David Attenborough's Africa is showing on Channel 10 at the moment and should inspire many people to make the trip. 

With the increasing entree of India into the commercial world we know more about it these days than we did in the past.  I haven't been to India in years -- but I can highly recommend Sri Lanka if one visits.  It is still the jewel in the sea.  I will be discussing my trip to Mumbai more later.  

Closer to home - New Zealand is the place to go. Fantasy movies have made it THE southern destination to visit. Not ony is it only a few hours' flight, but also our dollar is very strong.  If you are thinking of driving StandbyRelocations offers great bargains especically  for those who want to take campervans--from as low as AUD1 per day.

Other De-Stressing Activities

In order to accommodate the hassle of travelling - airports are offering yoga areas (San Franciso, Burlington and Dallas Fort Worth)and many airline lounges have showers and massages.  To kep the kiddies happy in Hong Kong Airport there are free Playstations. 

San Francisco International Airport. (Photo: Courtesy San Francisco International)

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