Credit: Royal Caribbean
rom booking flights to securing hotel rooms, the online travel industry has made the logistics side of travel easier than ever. But the fun part of taking a trip is experiencing and exploring new places, cultures and people—that's the part travelers remember and talk about. Yet finding exciting things to do in a given location is often much more difficult than finding a cheap flight. There are many sources of information, and not all of them are reliable, which means that hours of research can still come up short.
With Touring Bird, a web-based travel app from Google’s Area 120 (a workshop for experimental projects), you can explore, compare and book over 75,000 tours and activities from top providers. Touring Bird is expanding from the initial 20 destinations launched in September 2018 to 200 total destinations, available on desktop and mobile. Our coverage now spans the world, from Anchorage to Zanzibar.
Andean mountains, Amazonian forest, Idyllic islands and coastline, postcard-pretty colonial centres, Kichwa villages… Ecuador may be one of the smallest countries in South America but don’t be fooled by its size for there is plenty to see, do and experience in Luz de América (the light of America).
Planning a visit to this Andean country? Let Best in Travel be your guide…
Just About Travel tells you what’s hot (and what’s not) in the travel world
Carry on cruising
To mark 60 years of the Carry On film franchise, a Carry On-themed cruise will set sail from Bristol this autumn. The 15 night Med voyage departs on 22 September with double cabins starting at £1,239 per person. Expect to see stars such as Bernard Cribbins, Liz Fraser and Angela Douglas on board. For the full low-down, visit www.cruiseandmartitime.com
Showing your respect to Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo has approved a new statue of himself at the airport on his native Madeira after the original statue, delivered by local artist Emanuel Santos, was ridiculed around the world when it unveiled in March 2017 to make the renaming of the airport as Aeroporto Cristiano Ronaldo. The identity of the Spanish artist behind the new work is unknown but Ronaldo’s older brother, Hugo, confirmed that the Portuguese football ace had given his blessing.
Saluting sausage dogs
The world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to sausage dogs has opened in Passau, Bavaria. As well as browsing its 4,500 exhibits – think dachshund-themed puppets, stamps, salt shakers and beer mugs – you’ll read about the dachshund’s history. Picasso, Napoleon, Einstein and Warhol were all huge fans of the breed. For more information, visit dackelmuseum.de
Payouts for connecting flights
Passengers can now claim compensation for connecting flights outside the EU that are delayed or cancelled. A ruling by the European Court of Justice states that if you check in at an EU airport and an onward flight from a non-EU country that is part of the same booking is delayed for more than three hours or cancelled, you can claim up to £530. To make a claim, which can be backdated six years, visit the respective airline website.
Help is at hand
UK airports are making progress when it comes to helping passengers with hidden disabilities, according to a new report.
These can include autism, dementia, hearing loss and many other conditions that are not obvious. “We are pleased to see how well airports have responded in improving the assistance they offer,” says Matt Buffey of the Civil Aviation Authority.
Introducing tourist taxes
New Zealand has proposed introducing a ‘tourist tax’ of NZ$35 (£18) for visitors entering the country. Expected to come into force in late 2019, the tax’s purpose is to ensure tourists “contribute to the infastructure they use and help protect the natural environment they enjoy,” according to a statement from the New Zealand government.
The money, accumulated by the new tax – upto NZ$80 million (£42 million) a year – will be spent on tourist amenities and conservation projects.
Music in Melbourne
It’s official – Melbourne is the live music capital of the world. With a total of 465 live music venues, Melbourne has become the live music capital of the world, according to new Census data. The city is home to more live music venues per capita than any other major global city including London, New York, Tokyo or Los Angeles. The music industry generates in excess of $1.42 billion in the city, with 62,000 annual performances attracting more than 12 million patrons in Melbourne. Melbourne is also the music festival capital, with an estimated 350 festivals that feature live music.
If there’s something the UK can pride itself on, it’s the vast array of famous monuments and historical landmarks. From one end of the country to the other, there is a dazzling range of history that draws tourists in from all over the world. Despite that, it seems we’re not actually as clued up on our landmarks as we’d like to think and perhaps rather than jetting off abroad this summer, we should take some downtime to appreciate the wonders of our little island.
WestLand London, dealers in antique fireplaces, decided to conduct a survey of 2,000 people in the UK to find out exactly how much they know about our famous monuments and landmarks. And, er, it’s shamefully rather little. Overall, Brits scored just 44.5 per cent on the test to identify historical monuments and landmarks – bearing in mind these included The Angel of the North, Westminster Abbey, Stonehenge, Blackpool Tower, and The Royal Liver Building.
Holidaying with Peter Kay, Emma Watson and Julie Walters
Peter Kay, Emma Watson and Julie Walters are the unlikely group of celebrities that UK adults most want to share a holiday villa with. Travel agent, Florida4Less, asked 2,000 people which British stars they’d most like to take a Florida holiday with and why.
Funnyman Kay came top of the list largely because of his sense of fun, which a quarter (25 per cent) of the people who voted for him cited as the main reason.
Actress and activist Emma Watson came second on the list, with one in three (29 per cent) saying her good looks made her the ideal companion. Perhaps unsurprisingly, three times as many men voted for her as women did, making her men’s top choice.
Julie Walters came in as the nation’s third choice, with her voters split between the fact that she’d be entertaining to talk to (12 per cent) and her sense of fun (10 per cent) as the main reasons. She was also women’s favourite celeb choice.
Exploring Cinque Terre
A cemetery in a village on the Cinque Terre coast of Italy is overrun with tourists – so much so that locals have been recruited to patrol around and keep order. Fabrizia Pecunia, the mayor of Manarola, wants to enforce a ruling that noboidy can use the site for picnics, selfies “or other disrespectful activities.”