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Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Lonely Planet calls on travel industry to do more for solo travellers



1 in 3 Australian travellers say they have felt disadvantaged by choosing to travel alone;

Lonely Planet urges industry to cater better for growing trend


World leading travel authority Lonely Planet has called on the travel industry to do more to cater for solo travellers. This follows new research revealing that the growing number of solo travellers face higher costs than those travelling with family or friends, including an average of nearly 20% on travel insurance and over 50% on accommodation.

Lonely Planet surveyed members of their dedicated global community of travellers, with more than 1 in 3 Australian respondents claiming to have felt disadvantaged when choosing to travel alone, despite 85% of those asked having taken or planning to take a solo trip in the future. Examples given in the survey by solo travellers of poor service from the industry included lack of choice in organised excursions and poor service in restaurants and bars.

Solo travel is no longer just a rite of passage for young travellers, but despite these changing trends and demographics, travellers' reports would suggest that many their needs are not met by travel and hospitality companies.

One in two Australian travellers said that they have had to pay a single person supplement when travelling alone, and 90% of those surveyed said they would look more positively on a company that did not charge this. Restaurants were also particularly criticised by respondents to the survey, with typical comments involving poor service from staff, being seated in the worst places and even being refused bookings.

Despite these challenges, solo travel is on the rise. To help those planning on going it alone, Lonely Planet has compiled the top tips and advice from their experts in The Solo Travel Handbook, published this month, from the practical (meeting people and staying safe) to the inspirational (health, fitness and sustainable travelling). The travel company is also calling on the industry to look more positively on those travelling solo, rather than just as single occupants of rooms and dinner tables.

Lonely Planet Spokesperson Chris Zeiher says: "Travelling solo can be one of the most rewarding ways of experiencing any destination, and most travellers will find themselves alone on the road at some point in their travelling lives.  Sadly, a significant number of travellers cite a lack of choice or increased cost as a barrier to this type of travel.

The profile of the solo traveller has changed substantially over the last few years and is now spread across age groups, diverse backgrounds and, interestingly, evenly balanced across gender. Over the coming years we expect the desire to travel alone to continue its growth, setting the challenge for tourism providers to better serve this popular and lucrative travel trend."

To find out more about The Solo Travel Handbook, and top tips for travelling solo, visit www.lonelyplanet.com/explore-every-day.

Lonely Planet's Solo Travel Handbook

Published January 2018 / 168pp, full colour / H210 x W165mm, paperback / AUD $29.99



Monday, 15 January 2018

Intrepid Travel's new active adventures



As we enter the New Year with good intentions to shed Christmas kilos and improve our fitness levels, adventure travel company Intrepid Travel has revealed new active trips, due to an increase in demand for this style of travel.

Designed to experience a destination through hiking, biking, rafting and kayaking, the latest additions to Intrepid's active adventures combine a love of health and wellness with travel.

In 2017 Intrepid offered 17 active-style itineraries and this year the adventure company now has 24 itineraries, increasing its offerings by 41%.

"Money spent on wasted gym memberships this January can be put to better use by booking an active adventure", said Brett Mitchell, Intrepid Travel Regional Director Asia Pacific. "Our trips give travellers motivation to train towards a specific goal while continuing to stay active on holiday."

"Australians have a real appetite for active trips and these itineraries offer bucket-list activities like white-water rafting on the Amazon River and cycling through villages in Chang Mai," said Mitchell.

Intrepid Travel's new active trips include:

India: Hike, Bike and Raft takes adventure seekers to ride white water rapids down the Ganges, hike & bike through the Himalayan foothills, hike through Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary, cycle through to the temple-studded town of Gopeshwar and practice yoga in the spiritual hub of Rishikesh. The 12-day trip starts from AUD $2,840 per person twin share.

Sri Lanka: Hike, Bike and Raft lets travellers ride through tea plantations, canoe down rivers, and hike to ancient fortresses on this fitness-focused adventure from Negombo to Colombo. This trip gives travellers the chance to get active and experience Sri Lanka's pristine coastline, ancient ruins, rugged peaks and wildlife-filled national parks. The 13-day trip is priced from AUD $2,340 per person twin-share.

Japan: Hike, Bike and Kayak takes travellers along the famous Nakasendo trail that linked Tokyo and Kyoto in ancient times, cycling along the beautiful Kamon river in Kyoto, to kayak the beautiful bay at Ise Shima and take the Kumano pilgrim trail- one of only 2 UNESCO listed pilgrimage trails in the world. The 12-day trip starts from AUD $5,195 per person twin-share.

Nepal: Hike, Bike and Raft lets adventurers explore the northern Kathmandu Valley on two wheels while continuing to help the quake-stricken country rebuild. While most tours tend to focus solely on the hiking trails, this eclectic round-trip from Kathmandu combines classic trekking with mountain biking and river rafting, with a yoga class to stretch out and finish up. The 12-day trip starts from AUD $1,675 per person twin-share.

Peru: Bike, climb and hike lets travellers climb, bike and hike through Peru and discover ancient civilisations on the Inca Trail. Explorers can skirt along zip lines, haul themselves up cliff faces using via ferrata climbers and pedal past farming communities in this breathtaking adventure along the Inca Trail.

The 10-day trip starts from AUD $3,245 per person twin-share.

Ecuador: Raft, Bike and Hike lets travellers hike from the glistening crater lake of Quilotoa to the tiny Andean village of Chugchilan, go mountain biking down the world's highest active volcano in Cotopaxi National Park and hit the rapids on a main tributary of the Amazon River, the Jatunyacu (Big Water) River. The trip also includes a guided walking tour of Amazonian jungle, and lets travellers discover the World Heritage-listed charms of Quito. The 10-day trip starts from AUD $1,895 per person twin-share.

Myanmar and Thailand: Hike, Bike and Raft lets travellers hike to the dramatic mountain-top location of Pan Pet, kayak to explore floating gardens & stilt settlements, and bike through the Golden Triangle and on to Chiang Mai. The 12 day trip starts from AUD $2,995 per person.

For more information or to book visit: https://www.intrepidtravel.com.au

Monday, 8 January 2018

Cruise the Mediterranean in Spring and save up to $900 per cabin




#cruise

Enjoy an affordable holiday with an MSC Cruise this northern hemisphere spring.  Picture colourful flowers everywhere, climbing walls, filling fields and sprouting on balconies, it seems there are blooms everywhere you look in this stunning region.  And, there is nowhere else where you can cruise to so many different countries and sample its many flavours, cultures and re-trace the footsteps of history.

Spring is a great time to explore must-see locations.  MSC Cruises itineraries include the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Florence Duomo, Rome Colesseum & Sistene Chapel, UNESCO World Heritage site at Bari (Italy), Archaeological site of Pompeii, Marrakech city tour in Morocco, stunning coastal views of Montenegro and the picturesque Greek village of Santorini.  Guests can experience the cultural and ecological diversity that every place has to offer.

Save up to $900 per balcony cabin when you book a 9 night West Mediterranean cruise on MSC Orchestra, departing Barcelona March 8, 2018. Highlights include the Learning Tower of Pisa and the Florence Duomo, the Rome Colesseum and Sistene Chapel.  

Save up to $800 per balcony cabin when you book a 7 night East Mediterranean cruise on MSC Lirica, departing Venice 6 April, 2018. Enjoy a full day in Mykonos, Byzantine churches and Greek temples of Corfu and the 16th century 'old town' of Dubrovnik.

Save up to $800 per balcony cabin when you book a 7 night East Mediterranean cruise on MSC Musica, departing Venice 25 March, 2018. Experience Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games, Medieval architecture of Kotor, Montenegro and the picturesque Greek village of Santorini, Greece.

Call MSC Cruises on 1300 028 502 or visit www.msccruises.com.au or your local agent to book TODAY!

*Conditions apply. Save up to based on balcony cabin, twin share. Prima price compared to brochure price.


Air Tahiti Nui’s New Year Sale



Get 2018 off to a Flying Start

Air Tahiti Nui is offering Australians a fun and achievable New Year’s resolution in 2018 – the trip of a lifetime.

As part of the airline’s annual New Year Sale, Air Tahiti Nui has discounted flights to Tahiti and Bora Bora, bringing the ultimate getaway within reach of more Australians.

On sale until 24 January 2018, return economy airfares from Sydney to Papeete are priced from just $1149* per person.

Meanwhile return economy airfares from Sydney to Bora Bora start from $1675* per person.



Air Tahiti Nui Regional Manager Australia Alan Roman said the New Year Sale was a great way to add one of the world’s most sought-after destinations to the 2018 travel calendar and get the year off to a flying start.

“There’s no better way to start a new year than with something truly exciting to look forward to. Just a hop and a skip across the Pacific, the Islands of Tahiti offer a picture-perfect year-round destination for sun-seeking Australians wanting a relaxing sojourn on the palm-fringed shores of a Tahitian paradise like Bora Bora,” Mr Roman said.

“While not all New Year’s resolutions are easy to keep, we hope our New Year Sale makes it easier for Australians to stick to at least one in 2018 – taking the trip of a lifetime to a destination of their dreams.”


For more information or to book visit www.airtahitinui.com.au

*Subject to availability, terms and conditions apply. Travel is valid from 21 January to 31 October 2018 with some blackout periods during peak times. Prices quoted include government, airport, security and border fees based on a Sydney departure. Flights are also available from Melbourne and Brisbane


One dollar deposit with Intrepid


Keep that New Year’s travel resolution

January is the ideal time to make travel plans for the year ahead and Intrepid Travel is making it easy for travellers to commit to their 2018 travel dreams with a deposit of just $1.

“In spite of the festive season leaving many people broke at the start of the year, January is a popular time to book an Intrepid trip to look forward to. Unlike losing weight, setting unrealistic financial goals, or kicking that Netflix habit, travel is one of the few New Year’s resolutions that is easy to keep,” says Brett Mitchell, Intrepid Travel’s Regional Director for Asia Pacific.

“We want Australians to achieve their travel goals for 2018 and just go, without letting their finances hold them back. This is why we are running our dollar deposits offer again for travellers.”

From dancing the salsa in Cuba, eating Banh mi in Vietnam or relaxing on a sailing trip along the Mediterranean coastline, travellers can book their dream adventure for only $1 from now until 2 February 2018. Travel is for departures until 31 December 2018, exclusions apply.

For more information visit: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/dollar-deposit


Wednesday, 3 January 2018

G Adventures' Sale of the Year



Aspiring 2018 travellers can snap up a New Year bargain without even leaving the house, thanks to leading small-group tour operator G Adventures continuing its popular tradition of offering impressive savings during January.

The tours will be on sale until January 31 and are valid for travel departing before 31 July 2018, giving travellers and agents plenty of time to plan the adventure of a lifetime.

The offer provides the perfect opportunity for travellers wanting to explore more of the world in 2018 to start the year with a bang. Enticing destinations on offer include:

Cuba Libre, 8 days (Havana to Havana) - Walk through the pincushion hills and wander amongst orchids and lush mountain coffee plantations – see another side of the island on this week-long tour through the "Garden Province" of Cuba. $1499, save $200

Highlights of Borneo, 13 days (Kota Kinabalu to Kuching) – The perfect trip for adventure and wildlife lovers alike. Traverse caves, trek through Gunung Mulu National Park, and search for orangutans and bats. Enjoy local fare, picnic in the rainforest, cruise the Melinau River, and spend a free day on the tropical island of Pulau Tiga. $2679, save $200

Hightlights of Morocco, 15 days (Casablanca to Marrakech) - Wander through kasbahs, spice markets, and cities pulsing with energy on this comprehensive trip. Climb onto a camel and explore the edge of the Sahara before admiring the views from the heights of the Atlas Mountains. Experience the energy of imperial cities as you explore souks stuffed with exotic wares. $1679 save $100

G Adventures is encouraging travellers and agents to book early on the trips to secure their preferred itinerary and departure date, as the January Sale often sees many trips sell out.

For more information, or to book call 1300 796 618 or visit: http://gadventures.com.au/travel-deals/sale-of-the-year/.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Book a Bargain Holiday with Mantra Group's Boxing Day Sale



Mantra Group is set to launch its biggest ever Boxing Day sale with massive savings on Mantra, Peppers, BreakFree and Art Series Hotel deals, booked between 26 December 2017 – 3 January 2018.

With rates starting from just $99* per room per night, there will be deals perfect for couples, families or a group of friends available at hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii.

Here is a sneak peek at some of the deals on offer during the sale, featuring a selection of beach getaways, city breaks or country escapes.

To book any of the below or to check out the other fantastic offers available, visit www.mantrahotels.com or call our 24-hour Reservations Centre on 1300 987 603. Don't delay – the deals are on sale for seven days or until sold out!

QUEENSLAND

Port Douglas: Discover the magic of Port Douglas with a stay at the popular Mantra PortSea. Offering spacious accommodation, a swim-up pool bar and a range of leisure families, the resort is perfect for couples and families alike. Stay from $99* per night in a Hotel Room (minimum two night stay – total cost $198*). Valid for travel from 7 January, 2018 until 30 June, 2018.

Sunshine Coast: Mantra Mooloolaba Beach, One Bedroom Apartments start from $149* per night (Sunday to Thursday) (minimum two night stay – total cost $298*). Valid for travel from 29 January, 2018 until 30 June, 2018.

Gold Coast: Enjoy the sun, surf and sand of the Gold Coast by staying at Mantra Legends Hotel in the heart of Surfers Paradise. Stay in a Hotel Deluxe Twin Room from $109* per night (Sunday to Thursday) (minimum two night stay – total cost $218*). This deal includes a two-for-one seafood buffet dinner voucher (valid at the hotel's Fables Restaurant) and a 20% off beverage voucher. Valid for travel from 14 January, 2018 until 25 June, 2018.

Brisbane: The Johnson from $159* per night in a Studio Suite including plated breakfast for two. Valid for travel from 26 December, 2017 until 28 February, 2018.

NEW SOUTH WALES

Kingscliff: Cool off and kick back in the sensational nearby surf and facilities of Mantra on Salt Beach. This is Kingscliff accommodation at its very best. Stay in a Hotel Room from $119* per night (Sunday to Thursday) (minimum two night stay – total cost $238*). This deal includes 2 for 1 buffet breakfast and a 25% off Season restaurant dining voucher, Wi-Fi and parking. Valid for travel from 21 January to 28 June, 2018.

Sydney: The new Mantra Hotel at Sydney Airport offers travellers contemporary and stylish accommodation within a short stroll of their Sydney Airport domestic departure gate. Stay in a Studio King Room from $149* per night (Friday to Sunday) including 1GB of Wi-Fi daily and a 12pm late check-out. Valid for travel until 30 June, 2018.

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

Canberra: At Peppers Gallery Hotel, guests will be delighted to find a building steeped in history located in the New Acton precinct. Make the most of all this cultural city has to offer with rates from $119* per night in a Deluxe Room (Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday). This offer also includes 1GB of Wi-Fi daily and a 12pm late check-out. Valid for travel until 4 February, 2018.

VICTORIA

Melbourne: Enjoy a city escape at Mantra on Jolimont located in the heart of Melbourne's sport and entertainment precinct. Stay in a Deluxe Hotel Room from $149* per night. Valid for travel from 1 January to 30 June, 2018.

Melbourne: The Chen from $144* per night in a Studio Suite. Valid for travel from 26 December, 2017 until 30 June, 2018.

TASMANIA

Tamar Valley: Enjoy the seaside views of Tamar Valley at Peppers York Cove and experience one of Tasmania's most sought after tourist destinations. Deluxe Hotel Rooms start from $119* per night. Valid for travel from 22 January to 30 June, 2018.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide: Located in Adelaide's thriving West End, the heart of the city's thriving arts, dining and entertainment precincts, BreakFree Adelaide has Studio Rooms from $99* per night including a bottle of wine on arrival, Wi-Fi and a 12pm late check-out. Valid for travel until 28 January, 2018.

Adelaide: The Watson from $139* per night in a Studio Suite including Wi-Fi, late check-out and parking. Valid for travel from 26 December, 2017 until 28 January, 2018.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Perth: Mantra on Hay provides a comfortable experience and a perfect retreat when exploring the Perth CBD. Stay in a spacious One Bedroom Apartment from $119* per night. Valid for travel until 30 June, 2018.

NORTHERN TERRITORY

Darwin: Mantra Pandanas is just minutes from the Smith Street Mall and offers fantastic views over Darwin Harbour and the city. Stay in a Hotel Room City View from $129* per night. Valid for travel until 30 April, 2018.

NEW ZEALAND

Christchurch: Slow down after a busy day and enjoy all that BreakFree on Cashel has to offer, centrally located within the Christchurch culture hub. Stay in a City Urban Double Room from NZ$76* per night, plus kids eat free**. Valid for travel until 30 June, 2018.

HAWAII

Honolulu: Ala Moana Hotel by Mantra is the perfect location to relax alongside Ala Moana Beach Park and shop-till-you-drop at the neighbouring Ala Moana Shopping Centre, the world's largest open-air shopping mall. Stay in a City Mountain View Room, Kona Tower from US$149* per night (minimum two night stay – total cost US$298*). Valid for travel from 1 January until 30 June, 2018.

*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale from 26 December, 2017 to 3 January, 2018. Block-out dates may apply.

**Conditions apply. Children under 12 eat free with a full paying adult during breakfast, lunch or dinner at BreakFree on Cashel (max one child per adult).

About Mantra Group

Mantra Group is the leading Australian-based hotel and resort operator. Mantra Group's portfolio consists of 136 properties with more than 23,000 rooms in properties under management, across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and Hawaii. Operating four well-known and trusted brands – Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree - Mantra Group operates the second largest network of accommodation properties in Australia (by room number). The Group is positioned to offer both leisure and business style accommodation ranging from full-service city hotels and self-contained apartments to luxury resorts and retreats. The Group successfully listed on the ASX in June 2014 and in its first year as a public company was elevated to the ASX 200: www.mantragroup.com.au; www.mantrahotels.com; www.artserieshotels.com.au; www.peppers.com.au; www.mantra.com.au; www.breakfree.com.au


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Panama Canal & Transatlantic Voyage to the Mediterranean


#cruise

Explore the wonders of Central America, the Caribbean, Portugal and Spain with a Transatlantic crossing aboard Norwegian Star on an amazing 36-night fly-stay-cruise package with Cruise1st.

The package includes return flights from Australia to Los Angeles on 5th April 2018 with three nights pre-cruise accommodation in LA where you can take in the highlights of Hollywood and Anaheim.

In Los Angeles you will board Norwegian Star for your 28-night cruise taking in Cabo San Lucas and famous Acapulco in Mexico before arriving in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua, one of the country's most popular holiday destinations.

Sample the beaches, volcanoes and rain forests of Costa Rica, then transit through the world-famous Panama Canal enroute to George Town in the Cayman Islands before arriving in Miami, Florida. Chill out in chic South Beach before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for Portugal and Spain with highlights including Ponta Delgada, Lisbon, Seville, Granada and Barcelona.

You will disembark in Barcelona where you will stay for three nights. Explore the street theatre of Las Ramblas, the narrow streets and atmosphere of the Gothic Quarter before flying to Australia on 6th May.

The extensively renovated Norwegian Star will keep you entertained from morning to night with award-winning restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, casino, swimming pools, spas and more.

Departing from Australia on 5th April 2018, the package is priced from $4,999* per person twin share from Sydney.

For more information call 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.

*Terms & conditions apply. Subject to availability. Restrictions may apply. Prices are per person, twin share based on an inside stateroom. Prices and specified hotels subject to change at any time.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Cunard Luxury Alaska Cruise Aboard Queen Elizabeth

#cunard #cruise #alaska

Cunard are announcing they will be sailing to Alaska for the first time in 2019. Discover signature Alaskan sights aboard Cunard's luxury liner Queen Elizabeth, plus enjoy a Luxury Rocky Mountain coach tour on this 17-night Fly/Stay/Tour & Cruise package with Cruise1st.

Departing Australia, you will fly to Calgary, Alberta's major city and gateway to the awe-inspiring Canadian Rockies. After a night in Calgary your 5-night tour will take in the picturesque alpine town of Banff and its National Park; Jasper National Park along the Icefield Parkway; Lake Louise; Sun Peaks, the famous Swiss-style alpine village of British Columbia; Whistler; and on to Canada Place in Downtown Vancouver.

Your accommodation will include some of the best hotels in North America including Fairmont Hotels.

In Vancouver you will board Queen Elizabeth for a 10-night cruise of Alaska and the Inside Passage. Port stops and highlights include Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier, Skagway and Sitka, Alaska's capital Juneau, and the 'Salmon Capital of the World' Ketchikan before returning to Vancouver. See tranquil fishing villages; wildlife including brown bears, eagles, mooses and humpback whales; dramatic glaciers, icebergs and spring wildflowers.

Sailing on the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth is an unforgettable experience with an unrivalled sense of glamour and romance. Features include a gaming deck; a spa; shopping arcade; casino, library, film club, restaurants and lounges. All port fees, taxes and entertainment on board Queen Elizabeth are included.

There are two departures ex-Sydney on 16th and 26th May, 2019, priced from $5,999* per person twin share in an inside cabin. International flights, hotel stays and coach tour are included.

For more information call 1300 596 345 or visit www.cruise1st.com.au.


*Terms, exclusions & conditions apply. Subject to availability. Restrictions may apply. Prices are per person, twin share based on an inside stateroom. Prices subject to change at any time.

 

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Cruiseco Silversea offer




An extraordinary level of personal pampering are highlights of Silversea's 9 night Singapore to Hong Kong voyage aboard Silver Shadow, on 25 March next year via Ho Chi Minh City, Chan May (Hue/Da Nang) and Ha Long Bay.

Luxury all-suite cruising aboard the luxurious five star 382-guest Silver Shadow includes complimentary shore excursions*; private transfers between airport, hotel and ship; and even complimentary round-trip transfers from ports into the centres of most cities being visited.

Fly from Australia and transfer to the exquisite Shangri-La Hotel Singapore in a Horizon Club Deluxe Room including Club privileges for a two-night pre-cruise stay with breakfast included; before transferring to the Silver Shadow.

Selling through Cruiseco, this outstanding 13 night holiday including return Economy Class international airfare from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane or Perth; private car transfers and two night post cruise stay at the luxurious Langham Hotel Hong Kong  in an Executive Room with Club privileges and daily breakfast – all from just $8,400 per person, twin share in a Vista Suite.

Deduct $470 per person, twin share ex Perth. US$200* Bonus onboard credit per suite – valid until 31 December 2017 or until sold out - conditions apply

Prices are subject to availability at time of booking. *Offer is valid until 30 November 2017 and may be withdrawn at any time.

For full details of all 2017 Ultimate Cruising Holidays and the name of your nearest Cruiseco cruise specialist travel agent, go to www.cruising.com.au


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