Seasonal Focus – Favourite Places to Visit in May

What a beautiful day!  The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and we can be in doubt that summer is finally sneaking its way into the northern hemisphere! My favourite time of the year, summer brings all those wonderful things such as strawberries, afternoon bike rides, and most importantly perhaps, summer holidays, and what could be better than heading off somewhere new for a week or two to relax, unwind and indulge!

May is a hugely popular time to head off on that first holiday of the year, and while we have to wait 12 days (and counting) until we head off to the gorgeous Italian island of Sicily, our friends and family members are scattered across the globe enjoying some well deserved fun and frivolity in faraway destinations.

So where is the best place to head off to during May?  Well, the world, as they say, really is your oyster, but if you fancy a trip to one of the many southern European destinations such as Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal, May is one of the best times of year to visit.  The weather is warm, the beaches are less crowded that in the summer months, and your Euros will go a little further when it comes to booking a quality hotel.

If you fancy travelling a little further, you can still catch some great weather during the month of May in the countries below the equator such as Africa, South America and Oceania, which enjoy warm sunny days and cooler evenings as they move into their autumn.   Flight and hotel prices fall significantly during the ‘low season’, so you might just be able to bag yourself a bargain!

South East Asia is still an option during May; if you are lucky you will see blue skies every day, but if you are unlucky you may arrive along with the first monsoon rains of the year – and that can get very wet indeed!  The temperatures remain warm and sticky so the rains are bearable, but if you are looking to spend all day every day on the beach, you might be taking a gamble.

There is nothing quite like cruising the Caribbean during the month of May.  Warm sunshine, cool cocktails, and all the onboard activities and entertainment one could possibly wish for, I couldn’t think of anywhere better to be right now.

Well, that’s my holiday daydreaming over for another day – let us know where you are going this May!

Top 25 Destinations in the World – The Traveller’s Choice by Trip Advisor

I love reading other peoples destination reviews and opinions, so when Trip Advisor released their ‘Traveller’s Choice Top 25 Destinations in the World for 2012′ list earlier this week, I couldn’t wait to see what millions of “real travellers” voted as the best spots to visit this year.

As a patriotic Brit, I am very happy to see that our capital city of London claimed the number one spot, but also that all our favourite holiday destinations below the equator such as Buenos Aires, Cape Town and Sydney made it onto the list, along with our preferred US destinations of New York, Las Vegas and New Orleans.

Europe did well in the ranking with no less than eight entries on the list including the likes of Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Dublin, China picked up two spots with Beijing and Shanghai, and more exotic destinations such as Honolulu and Bora Bora also managed to claim their place on the world’s best list for 2012.

For those who missed it, here is the full list as voted by millions of travellers:

  • 1.            London, England
  • 2.            New York City, New York
  • 3.            Rome, Italy
  • 4.            Paris, France
  • 5.            San Francisco, California
  • 6.            Marrakech, Morocco
  • 7.            Istanbul, Turkey
  • 8.            Barcelona, Spain
  • 9.            Siem Reap, Cambodia
  • 10.          Berlin, Germany
  • 11.          Chicago, Illinois
  • 12.          Florence, Italy
  • 13.          Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • 14.          Sydney, Australia
  • 15.          Beijing, China
  • 16.          Prague, Czech Republic
  • 17.          Las Vegas, Nevada
  • 18.          Bora Bora, French Polynesia
  • 19.          Shanghai, China
  • 20.          Honolulu, Hawaii
  • 21.          Los Angeles, California
  • 22.          New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 23.          Cape Town, South Africa
  • 24.          Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • 25.          Dublin, Ireland

I consider myself well-travelled but have only visited half of these destinations, so it looks like we need to get our skates on if we are going to visit the other half by the end of 2012!

We would love to know how many of these places you have visited. Do you think they all deserve a spot on this list? Let us know!

Travel below the Equator

With over 40 countries under my belt, I am lucky enough to have visited some of the most beautiful places on planet earth, and while I would happily visit every single one of them again, those countries sitting beneath the equator such as Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and New Zealand remain high on my list of places to revisit.

Offering diverse landscapes, multi-cultural societies, breathtaking scenery and some of the friendliest people on earth, the countries sitting beneath the invisible line of the equator each have something unique to offer the traveller, and if you are looking for a holiday of a lifetime, there is perhaps no better place to go than below zero!

As we step into British Summer Time and spring in the Northern Hemisphere the countries of the Southern Hemisphere move into autumn, which not only provides us with access to cheaper flights and reduced hotel prices, but also less crowded activities and the opportunity to interact with the locals at a more personal level.

Wine aficionados will have the opportunity to witness and take part in the annual grape harvest in areas such as Mendoza Argentina, Stellenbosch in Southern Africa, and Marlboro in New Zealand, and there is nothing more rewarding than a glass of your favourite tipple after a hard day at the vineyard!

The months of April and May are, in my opinion, some of the best months to travel below the equator, and if you enjoy moderate temperatures rather than intense heat, and the most amazing sunsets, late spring is the perfect time to head on down below zero for some fun in the sun “southern style”.