As the season changes now is the time to think about jetting off for some autumn and winter sun and fun. The following destinations all offer great value for money and hot days are almost guaranteed year round;
Egypt is a destination with a capital “D”. Thanks to an abundance of flights and fabulous weather 365 days of the year, an Egyptian experience is both affordable and alluring. By using Cairo as your point of entry you can do just that. Begin your adventure by exploring the Pyramids of Giza and gazing upon the fabled Sphinx. Cairo is the largest city in Africa and Arabia and boasts great shopping and dining. Explore the Egyptian Museum, visit the Citadel and Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha and wonder at the Abdeen Palace. Barter hard at the Khan El Khalily souk, wander the serene gardens at Al-Azhar Park and marvel at the Al-Azhar Mosque. From there, a float down the Nile is a great way to soak up Egypt and see a lot of historically fascinating sights. Float your way down the Nile to Luxor and embark on a horse riding adventure through the Valley of the Kings.
Thailand’s superb beaches and lush landscapes are just two reasons that travellers flock here. Throw in legendary nightlife, superb shopping, fantastic weather and cheap flights and accommodation and you’ve got a winner on your hands! If you are looking for lively nightlife, Thailand has several famous (and in some cases infamous) beaches. Patong Beach on the island of Phuket is one of livelier places to be. For a slice of 24/7 action stay in the heart of Bangkok with an abundance of daytime sightseeing and night-time entertainment. Bangkok’s old city is bursting with architectural gems such as the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Pho; said to be the best 3 temples in Bangkok and conveniently close together. Don’t miss the teak residence Jim Thompson’s House, golden teakwood Vimanmek Mansion and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre in Siam Square. For a romantic getaway head to one of the hundreds of Thai islands in the Gulf of Siam and in the Andaman Sea such as Ko Samui, Ko Tao, Ko Chang and Ko Samet.
Las Vegas is probably the first destination that comes to mind when you think of an easy to reach last minute getaway. Vegas is exciting, there is no off season and it’s just been voted the cheapest city in the world! Vegas has also seen a surge of interest from global travellers thanks to Prince Harry. The casinos are alive with shows every night including the Bellagio Fountain Show and the nightly Volcano eruption at The Mirage. When all the partying gets too much, take respite with a day out in the Nevada district; visit the Southern Nevada Zoological and Botanical Park, the Flamingo Garden and the The Adventuredome at Circus Circus. Want a little respite in between casinos and indulgent dinners? Hit up Mix Lounge located in The Hotel at Mandalay Bay. The Hotel is purposely tucked away from the lights and noise of the casino. Located on the 64th floor is a small lounge with gorgeous views of the strip and a great cocktail menu. The next morning why not set out for some local colour and dine at the restaurant that reality television created. Guy Fieri and his Food Network crew rolled into town to do a segment on John Mull’s Meats, a local place that sell’s smoked meats and BBQ to go. Guy decided the shoot would be better if it were a restaurant and the Road Kill Grill was born!
But remember the old saying; what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!
New York caters for all budgets effortlessly and the fall and early-winter is a great time to visit, after the intense summer heat ad before the fierce snow sets in in late winter. Prepare yourself for 24/7 365 entertainment in New York. There are Broadway shows, off Broadway shows and shopping! Oh, the shopping! The best part of New York is the regional food. Where do you find that in New York? At 2nd Avenue Deli. From Brisket to Babka, just go there. Yes, there are hipper dining spots but this is where you should eat. Several locations in Manhattan, just ask anyone who looks like a native New Yorker how to get to one of their locations. The list of must-see landmarks are almost endless; Statue of Liberty, Wall Street, Ellis Island, World Trade Center Memorial Site, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Chrysler Building… the list goes on. Buy an all-inclusive pass such as the New York City Pass or the Explorer Pass which allow access to certain attractions for one set price. Don’t’ miss the Rockefeller Center, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Guggenheim Museum.
Dubai is over the top opulence in the desert with guaranteed sun all year round. Dubai likes attention, let’s give her some! Anything is possible in Dubai. Want your own island? Build it. Want to snow ski when it’s over 100F (37.7C) outside? No problem, head over the Mall of Emirates and strap on some skis. After you are done skiing, check out the stunning architecture of the mall itself and all of its shopping and dining opportunities. For Sheikh worthy dining try La Petite Maison located in the Dubai International Financial Center. Platters of regional delicacies and expertly executed Cuisine Nicoise will astound you. For history and culture buffs visit the Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Mosque and the Al Ahmadiya School in Old Dubai. In the modern metropolis gawp at the world’s tallest building; Burj Khalifa, catch a show at the world biggest fountain The Dubai Fountain and spend a day shopping, eating and maybe even cruising on a yacht at the Dubai Marina.
Mexico is another great last minute getaway destination for the budget-savvy travellers. Long a favourite with Americans from all over the United States, it is packed with resorts all vying for your travel dollars. This all equals awesome deals on accommodation, flights and tours! Especially so with last minute deals. Pick your flavour of adventure and be sure to grab your passport. Puerto Vallarta, located on the Mexican Rivera has a lot to offer. Pristine beaches beckon you to nap the day away but if you are feeling adventurous the mountainous backdrop also offers mountain biking, zip lining and hiking tours. Do not miss out on the whale watching at Baja California and Guerrero Negro. Tours are very popular and fill up quickly so act fast! Thrill seekers are well catered for in Mexico with White Water Rafting at Veracruz, cave diving in the Yucatan peninsula and surfing opportunities at Baja California, Vallarta and Oaxaca.
Cuba is tragic and romantic all at the same time. An architectural time capsule brimming with Latin American liveliness. Its proximity to the United States and its rocky political past have shaped the island country but not changed the culture of the people. Purveyors of fine rum and even finer cigars will be in their element here. Verdant landscapes and beautiful beaches have been the backdrop for Cuba’s dramatic past. Take a walking tour through Old Havana and stop for drinks at the Hotel Ambos Mundos where, in room 511, Hemingway wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls. When in Havana you must walk the Malécon area, catch a show at the Tropicana club and gawp at the lovingly restored 60s American automobiles.
By Julie Bowman