If you’re still trying to decide between that trip to see the exotic wildlife of Tanzania or camping in a Bedouin tent under the stars in Wadi Rum, we suggest speaking to some who’s been there and done that – probably more than once.
The team at Travelbag has been advising people on long-haul travel for 40 years. Set up to make far-flung adventures accessible to everyone, their experts have all travelled around the world and can tell you everything about your chosen destination, from the coolest areas to the most memorable tours. So, if you’re stuck on planning your next getaway, here are their top tips.
Get up close to elephants in Thailand
“I think everyone should visit Bangkok at least once. It’s an energetic melting pot of old and new, with an experience on every corner. If you’re spending time exploring Thailand, I would also recommend elephant bathing in Khao Sok National Park. Getting up close to these huge creatures is just an incredible experience.
“When it comes to booking your dream trip, always try and be as flexible with dates as possible, as a few days either side of your ideal dates can make a huge difference in the total price for your flights.” – Kirstin Hart, Travelbag Knutsford
Witness the Great Migration in Tanzania
“One of the best experiences I’ve had while travelling was witnessing part of the migration in Tanzania. (Every year, millions of zebra, wildebeest and other antelope migrate across the mighty plains of East Africa in search of better grazing. This annual pilgrimage from the short-grassed plains of Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is known as the Great Migration.)
“In terms of trending destinations, I’m finding Vietnam and Cambodia are becoming increasingly popular, as they offer very good value for money, great scenery, lovely people, good food and great beaches.” – Nicola Poole, Travelbag Cheltenham
Discover the marine life of The Maldives
“I have travelled to The Maldives multiple times and there’s no better description than ‘heaven on earth’. The Maldives offers the most beautiful beaches in the world and the amazing marine life will keep you coming back time and time again. If you like to swim, snorkel or dive, you’ll never get bored.
“I always get to the airport as early as possible before my flight – 3 to 4 hours early – to request the exit row seats. Most airlines will only assign these seats at check in and it can make a massive difference when travelling long-haul.” – Sally Burton, Travelbag Chester
Swim in the clear lakes on Fraser Island
“I recommend a tour to Fraser Island in Australia – it’s the largest sand island in the world and nowhere else in Australia can you drive on the beach and have the ocean to your right. They have sand dunes, a beautiful rock pool called Champagne Pools and Lake Boomanjin, a famous ‘tea tree’ lake. I also recommend doing the 15-minute flight that goes over the island – one of the lakes in the centre looks just like a butterfly and you can also see sharks and dolphins in the sea.
“If you can, always ask your travel agent about the best things to do in your chosen destination. They may have found the most gorgeous restaurant off-the-beaten-track, or a really peaceful spot you have to visit.” – Phoebe Smith, Travelbag Brighton
Take a street food tour of Ho Chi Minh City
“The one place I’d recommend everyone travels to is Vietnam. From the hustle and bustle of Hanoi, to the history of Hoi An and Hue and the breathtaking sights of Halong Bay, Vietnam has something for everyone. The cost of living is low and the food is fantastic.
“In Ho Chi Minh City, a street food tour on the back of a Vespa is one of the best tours I’ve done. It’s quite nerve wracking when you first pull out into the traffic, but after a few minutes, it becomes exhilarating and it’s a great way to see the city by night. In Halong Bay, I arrived by seaplane. That literally took my breath away. It’s not cheap but it’s simply incredible. I always recommend it to my clients.
“I’ve worked at Travelbag for 30 years and I’ve been lucky enough to travel extensively in this time. Travel is great for the mind and broadens your horizons, so I recommend getting out there and doing as much as you possibly can. You never know what’s around the corner.” – Samantha Wadsack, Travelbag Alton
Drink tea by a desert campfire in Wadi Rum
“One of the best tours I’ve done was in Jordan – it was a small group tour and it really gave an insight into the history of the country and how they live now, along with a chance to cook the local cuisine and spend time in the Wadi Rum desert drinking tea by the campfire.
“I always advise clients to follow Travelbag on social media – when there’s a good deal to be had, you’ll be the first to see it. And when you do see it, book it; don’t wait around because they don’t hang around for long.” – Carly O’Neill, Travelbag Winchester
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