The Average 40-Something Still Has 7 Countries To Visit On Their Bucket List

The Average 40-Something Still Has 7 Countries To Visit On Their Bucket List

The average 40-something still has seven countries to visit on their travel bucket list, a study has found.

A poll of 2,000 adults aged 40 and above revealed travel is not just the domain of the young, with middle-aged Brits still working their way through a wishlist of destinations.

In fact, those polled have only travelled to a quarter of the countries they dream of visiting with popular backpacking destinations New Zealand, Canada and Australia top of the list.

It also emerged more than six in 10 have already got at least one trip abroad booked for 2019.

But three in 10 reckon they are more ‘adventurous’ with their holiday choices now than they ever used to be, with 38% preferring to go off the beaten track when they travel abroad. And rather than sitting by the pool, a fifth have tried snorkelling on a trip abroad while more than one in 10 have been on a safari.

The study also found nearly half of over 40s go on more holidays now than at any other point of their lives, with six in 10 putting this down to having more money than they did in the past.

And a quarter think it’s easier to get away because their kids are older, while 46% have more time, according to the research carried out via OnePoll.

Another 40% think their lives are simpler now, giving them more freedom to travel the globe.

It also emerged more than one in five adults aged 40 and above have also ‘gone travelling’, taking a month or more off work to visit different countries.

Top 20 countries on the wishlists of over 40s

1. New Zealand
2. Canada
3. Australia
4. Mainland USA
5. Italy
6. The Caribbean
7. Hawaii
8. Japan
9. Maldives
10. Greece
11. Spain
12. Portugal
13. France
14. Austria
15. Thailand
16. Germany
17. India
18. Singapore
19. Holland
20. China

Alternative Winter City Breaks In 2019

Alternative Winter City Breaks In 2019

While Berlin, Budapest and Barcelona are great destinations for weekend city breaks, it can be tough to escape the crowds in these much-explored locales. This winter, why not learn about Soviet-era architecture in Moscow, try craft beers in Armenian microbreweries, explore ancient Georgian monasteries or shop at vibrant Jordanian bazaars? Here are five alternative city breaks, taking travellers away from the well-trodden path.

For a hipster city break, try Yerevan instead of Berlin

Buzzing Yerevan is an up-and-coming city break destination, with an industrial chic aesthetic, café culture, microbreweries and art galleries to rival the hip German capital. Music lovers can dive into the city’s live music scene with a night at the ultra-cool Kami Club, where jazz and rock bands accompany dinner and cocktails. Design buffs can witness fascinating Soviet-era architecture and modern art all around the city. History enthusiasts can learn about Armenia’s past and culture at the State Museum, the twelfth century monastery of Geghard and the Megerian Carpet Museum.

Yerevan © Travel Local

For rich history and thermal baths, try Tbilisi instead of Budapest

On the banks of the Kura River, close to the Silk Road and awash with rejuvenating hot spring baths, the beautiful cobblestoned Georgian capital, Tbilisi, abounds in similarities to Budapest but offers charms and intrigue all of its own. Learn about the city’s fascinating blend of Russian, Persian, Roman and Byzantine influences, while wandering its winding lanes and leafy squares and exploring its deserted monasteries, secret gardens and historic churches. The remnants of Soviet Georgia are all around, with 1930s bus stations and modernist structures as well as fascinating finds (including Lenin busts, vintage typewriters and iconic posters) on display at the Dry Bridge Flea Market. Fuel your explorations with stop-offs for comforting Georgian cuisine, from Khachapuri – bread and melted cheese – to Khinkali – tasty dumplings, all washed down with excellent, and very reasonably priced, Georgian wines.

Tbilisi © Travel Local

For grand architecture worthy of a Wes Anderson film, try Moscow instead of Vienna

Kick off this snowy getaway with an interactive walking tour around Red Square, stopping off at the imposing building that is Lenin’s Mausoleum, the magnificent neoclassical GUM Department Store, and the stunning red State Historical Museum, which houses a vast collection of Russian artefacts dating back to the Mongol invasion. A cruise along the Moskva River will reveal the old and modern faces of Russia’s capital, from the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral to the iconic Moscow City skyscrapers. Cold weather lovers will delight in an evening performance by Russian figure skaters, an ice-skating lesson in Gorky Park and a visit to a Siberian husky nursery.

Moscow © Travel Local

For delicious cuisine and winter sunshine, try Amman instead of Barcelona

Jordan’s sunlit capital boasts fine winter weather (up to 14 degrees and seven hours of sunshine in February) and excellent cuisine throughout the city’s many great cafés and restaurants, offering a relaxed alternative to over-crowded Barcelona. Learn the skills to recreate traditional Arabic dishes at home and dine on Jordanian dishes such as mansaf (the national dish, with Bedouin roots, containing rice cooked with meat and yogurt), warak enab (stuffed vine leaves) and musakhan (a Levantine-style pizza of sorts). Visit handicraft markets to shop for colourful Jordanian ceramics, straw baskets and herbal remedies; wander around the labyrinthine downtown area; explore the remains of the Islamic Governor’s Palace and Mosque, and much more.

Ammam © Travel Local

For sun-soaked souks, try Muscat instead of Marrakech

The exotic waterside city of Muscat is rich in history, grandeur and friendly Arabian hospitality. With dazzling souks, fantastic food and a stunning mountain backdrop, it rivals Marrakech as a winter sun destination. The city’s many souks boast colourful ceramics, carpets, antiques, spices and fruits – a sight to behold for foodies, photographers and magpies! Meander along characterful streets lined with clean, whitewashed buildings, explore ancient mosques and venture beyond the city for day trips to otherworldly desert oasis Wadi Shab – a rocky ravine full of palms, banana trees and turquoise pools – and Wahiba Sands – the vast sea of red and white sands, traditionally home to the Bedouin tribes.

Muscat © Travel Local

More information

TravelLocal
The ‘buy local’ expert in tailor-made holidays – makes undiscovered gems more accessible to its UK customer base via local know-how. TravelLocal currently showcases local travel companies from 49 countries around the world, across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, the Middle East, and North Africa. Just added: Russia.

Watch our Globe Trekker episodes below for more information and inspiration!

Globe Trekker – Georgia & Armenia

Globe Trekker – Russia

Globe Trekker – Syria, Jordan & Lebanon

Globe Trekker – Arab Gulf States

The world’s first film made by an airline and an airport

The world’s first film made by an airline and an airport

Finnair and Helsinki Airport have been connecting East and West for 35 years via Helsinki. To celebrate this achievement, the two have released a short film, the first one of its kind – made by an airline and an airport. The short film East and West Side Story speaks of meaningful encounters that take place when people travel.

East and West Side Story follows a famous writer in need of personal privacy, while the whole world wants to have her in the limelight. The story plays on three continents, spacing from the US to Korea and ending in Finland. As the film’s title East and West Side Story suggests, the film has two directors:  Young-Wok Paik aka “Wookie” comes from Korea and Johan Storm from Sweden. The two directors both give their point of view on the same story, produced by B-Reel Films (Bergman: a Year in Life). The leading roles are played by Anne Bergstedt (Boardwalk Empire, Black Swan) and Jae Hoon (One Day Maybe).

The short film premiered last week in a special event at Helsinki Airport, where an aircraft hangar was turned into a movie theatre for one night. The guests were hosted by Renny Harlin, the established Hollywood filmmaker and one of the most sought-after directors in China.

Watch the film below!

Rip off rates: How to lose money travelling

Rip off rates: How to lose money travelling

Travellers beware… If you are departing or arriving at airports in the United Kingdom, you are exchanging your currency at rates that are almost 30 per cent below the market rates.

To gauge the real rate, take the medium rate between the buy and sell rates on the money changer’s airport screens. For example, the sell rate for euros below is advertised at 90 British pence and the buy rate at 1.41. That’s a huge difference. The real rate is half way between the two: approximately 1.15.

With some currencies the difference between buy and sell rates can be staggering. When we checked, Moroccan dirhams were selling for 6.87 to the pound but bought for less than half that: 15.74 dirhams to the pound. The real rate is approximately 12 dirhams to the British pound.

The money changers say the margins are due to the fees they need to pay to airport operators, but changing money at airports has long been a very profitable venture for these operators and a big losing one for the traveller.

Airport money changers can offer less rip off rates in some countries. But it’s always best to change your cash at a bank before you go, if you like arriving in a foreign place with cash in your pocket.

Words by Ian Cross

The Airbnb Bubble: Boom or Bust?

The Airbnb Bubble: Boom or Bust?

Airbnb is undoubtedly one of the most successful stories of a digital industry ‘disrupter’ to quite literally erupt in the last decade. The marketplace has been overwhelmed with the launch of apps such as Netflix in the home entertainment arena; Skype and WhatsApp in telecoms and of course Uber the taxi app. All these applications are about big data, convenience, personalisation and transparency. The buzz words associated with them are ones you are most probably familiar with: smartphones, the cloud, access as opposed to ownership, and scaling up potential. They also have a certain sense of ubiquity, by reformulating a familiar activity, say the trip to your local video store to rent a film, once the technology is adapted, and it’s hard to imagine our lives without the new, improved service.

Context specific service is at the heart of these innovations – as the Airbnb start up story / mythology illustrates so perfectly. In 2007, designers Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia couldn’t afford the rent on their San Francisco apartment and decided to turn their loft into a lodging space, but, as Gebbia explains, “We didn’t want to post on Craigslist because we felt it was too impersonal. Our entrepreneur instinct said ‘build your own site.’ So we did.” And from there sprang a lifestyle focussed accommodation rental site, enabling folks all over the world to rent out a spare room or their whole property to visitors keen to connect with accommodation options other than the traditional hotel type offerings. It wasn’t long before hoteliers were quaking in their boots and the exponential growth of uptake on the Airbnb way of life means there is unlikely to be any respite for the flailing industry.

Fast forward to 2014 and the platform had 10 million guests and 550,000 properties listed worldwide, along with a $10B valuation—making Airbnb worth more than legacy players like Wyndham and Hyatt.

In March of this year, to signal a true coming-of-age, Airbnb won a contract to provide a reported 20,000 rooms for this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Rio de Janeiro, Creative Commons/JorgeBRAZIL

Rio de Janeiro, Creative Commons/JorgeBRAZIL

Already operating in 191 countries and 34,000 cities, financial services analysts predict that by 2020, Airbnb hosts will be taking 500 million bookings a night, rising to one billion by 2025.

In the UK, more than three million people have used the site, while 52,500 people have opened their homes to strangers. A typical host can expect to earn £2,000 in return for renting out a room for 46 nights a year.

Recently, Airbnb executive Jonathan Mildenhall told Adweek that their latest advertising campaign reflects a growing “demand for experiences that are not like the typical tourist experiences that actually more reflect what it’s like to live in local places.”

Ian Wright Iran

Ian Wright hanging out with a family in Iran

With every boom, a bust is often close behind, lurking in the form of competition, tighter regulations or the unexpected affects of success.

The Harvard Business Review calls it Airbnb’s “existential crisis”, visitors get new experiences and bring in money, but as their numbers grow, they “erode the very atmosphere in which they bask and threaten the liveability of the city for residents.”

Only last week, Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of the Association of British Travel Agents, warned that the popularity of companies such as Airbnb was leading to such an influx of visitors that there was a danger that some of Europe’s most attractive historic cities would be ruined. “If they can’t get around the city you are going to lose value from tourism, even if the numbers are going up,” he said. “Overcrowding in key destinations is becoming a pressing issue. Without controls, we know tourism can kill tourism.”

Even smaller communities are experiencing problems of scale when it comes to Airbnb. Joshua Tree is a tiny town of 7,000 people on the edge of the Joshua Tree National Park in California. It has over 200 available Airbnb rentals. Resident Christine Pfranger observes that “locals are having difficulty finding homes to rent, and are being pushed out of their homes to make way for more vacation rentals.” Another resident adds, “Airbnb and vacation rentals are changing our community…House prices are going up because people now buy houses to rent out as vacation rentals, making it close to impossible for people working in the area to buy a house.”

These Victorian rowhouses are in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California

These Victorian rowhouses are in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco, California

There are indications that cities are resisting. For instance, the mayors of 10 major markets around the globe are implementing task forces to formulate a united response to the problems adoption of the Airbnb app brings about. Meanwhile, in their hometown of San Francisco, in February 2015, a new rule required Airbnb hosts to register with the city. However, over a year later only about a fifth have done so resulting in the city holding Airbnb accountable for its hosts by imposing a fine on the company of $1,000 per day for each unregistered listing that the city can discover. Of course Airbnb are fighting back by suing the city and they may well win. But this raises the question of what Airbnb’s responsibilities are, if any, to the places their brand appeal of “living like a local” is taken up with most vigour?

It’s an interesting bind Airbnb are now faced with. Hardly the victims of success, far from it, demand for Airbnb signals only growth. Rather, it is the very complex position of facing the beast of accelerated tourism they have unleashed and are now yoked inextricably to.

Calling Globe Trekker Kids

Calling Globe Trekker Kids

You are never too young to hit the road.

Check out this lively little dispatch from Istanbul courtesy of  9 year old Olivia Fanders, filmed and sent to us by her mum, Kelly, on their global tour for Shrek the Musical.

Watch this space for further episodes and check out Kelly’s blog at

http://shrektrekafamilyontour.com  

Travel ‘Appy Part 2: Connect

Travel 'Appy Part 2: Connect

Finding your bearings with the local currency, lingo and lay of the land is always a good idea and these are the apps you need…

CONNECT

Trip Advisor
TripAdvisor has flocked toward rising popularity with its honest user-based reviewers,
all critical of hotels, restaurants, tourist hotspots, and more. The user-based reflections show the
current number of reviews that like or dislike any location destination you’re heading towards. Users
are known to be brutally honest, keeping to their high standards. This gives you a sneak peek into
the best of what your destination has to offer, giving you a better chance for a more enjoyable
vacation.
Available on iPhone (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

GoogleGoggles
When you’re getting lost in a new city but then come across a famous landmark
you’re unfamiliar with, what do you do? Google has an answer for you, yet again. GoogleGoggles is
an image recognition app that allows you to take pictures of famous landmarks and unknown
products, and will then redirect you to more information about your photograph. You will quickly
become the fascinating world traveller who can offer up historical information in seconds.

Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)
Convertor Plus

To the avid traveller, converting money is not enough when it comes to visiting a
different country. All different units of measure have to be taken into consideration, which
Convertor Plus accomplishes. Convertor Plus has the most extensive list of currencies and units in
categories such as loan, tip, fuel consumption, temperature, and hundreds of others. This app also
includes a built-in calculator, making splitting the bill easy for once.
Available on iPhone (free) 

iTranslate
The iTranslate app makes translating clear, cut, and concise. iTranslate has continually
kept up with the millennial age as it continually revamps itself with a simplistic style on how to
communicate with other nations. With its ability to convert over 90+ languages, iTranslate can
translate over voice recognition, copied text, phonetic spelling, and much more. It will even speak
back to you with the correct pronunciation.
Available on iPhone (free), Android (free), and Windows Phone (free)

Wi-Fi Finder
Wi-Fi has become a necessity to access since data roaming charges keep rising. Wi-Fi
Finder allows you to look for a Wi-Fi hotspot using your GPS function on your phone. The app will tell
you where the exact location of the Wi-Fi hotspot and how to get there. In over 650,000 locations
and 144 countries, Wi-Fi Finder can help you save your data for real emergencies.
Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)

Beware the Baggage Squeeze!

Beware the Baggage Squeeze!

For many years now, travellers in Europe have bemoaned the stingy luggage allowances of budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet. But now, airlines are tightening even hand baggage allowances with British Airways reducing the size of a second item passengers can take into the cabin. Be warned!

In the past, those carrying more than allocated cabin baggage allowances have caused controversy. In one incident earlier this summer, a young Scottish man collapsed with heat exhaustion after and needed to be given oxygen on board an EasyJet flight from Stanstead to Glasgow after wearing 12 layers of clothing to avoid paying a 70 dollar excess baggage fee.

Holy Robot Hotels! The Future Has Arrived!!

Holy Robot Hotels! The Future Has Arrived!!

“We will make the most efficient hotels in the world…in the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots.”

This is the vision of the service industry that Huis Ten Bosch company President Hideo Sawada shared at a news conference earlier this week  to announce the opening of Henn na Hotel within the Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan.

This is the future of robotics and the future is now…

robotreception

The hotel is fully equipped with a startling array of robotic features such as automated receptionists, including an English-speaking dinosaur and a Japanese-speaking female android, facial recognition technology, rather than keys, is used at check-in and guests have to type their information into a touch panel, porter robots are used by tapping room numbers into their digital panel for delivery, giant robot arm usually seen in manufacturing helps guests store items at the hotel’s cloak room and sensors in the bedroom adjust the room according to body heat and also deliver weather forecasts.

It’s not just the functionality of the hotel that looks to the future, room prices are reasonably low compared to other high end hotels in Japan and potential visitors will have to bid for the price they are willing to pay. The highest one wins, although there will be an upper limit of ¥14,000 for a single room. The park’s founder Hideo Sadawa told reporters that having robot staff at the hotel is no gimmick as he said he wants to show how establishments can improve efficiency and lower labour costs.

The name of the hotel reflects how the hotel will “change with cutting-edge technology,” said a company official, “this is a play on words: “Henn” is also part of the Japanese word for change.”

Exciting times ahead, let’s just hope it turns out rosier than the outcome in the 1973 sci-fi classic Westworld.

westworld

 

 

 

 

 

To make booking your experience at other robot themed places in Japan easier and at best value contact:

GoVoyagin

Dare to bare?

Dare to bare?

When travelling there is always a fine balance to be found between respecting local customs and living out acts of self expression. A perfect instance of this is the act of posing in the nude at famous sites around the world – the latest travel trend to hit the headlines. The hottest spots for the act of exposure are Machu Picchu in Peru and at the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro.

But this bare skinned affair has become a controversial one after the stunt caused quite a hoopla in Sabah in the northern half of the island of Borneo, part of Malaysia. Photographs of ten backpackers posing in the buff on Mount Kinabulu, including a 33 year old Canadian known as the ‘notorious nudist’ were posted across social media sites angering and upsetting local authorities who accused the group of indecent exposure and indecency.

The mountain has specific holy significance to the indigenious Kadazan and Dusun tribes of the area and feelings of ill-will towards the group quickly spread around the local community. Subsequently five out of the accused ten have been arrested by Malaysian authorities and if found guilty, could face three months in jail.
The British press have, true to their usual fashion, sensationalized the story further by claiming the authorities are charging the group with angering the mountain and thereby causing an earthquake that took place on the mountain last Friday. However, this claim made by the British press is unsubstantiated. Earthquakes in this part of Borneo are rare and tragically twenty-four people lost their lives when the quake sent massive boulders tumbling down the 13,435 ft high mountain.

Photo taken from mynakedtrip.com