Where the experts holiday

Where the experts holiday: Heidi Fuller-love, travel writer and broadcaster

British freelance travel, food and lifestyle writer/broadcaster, Heidi Fuller-love, lets us in on her top travel experiences

What do you like to do on holiday?
I generally like to go somewhere as remote as possible. Because I travel so much (a lot of which is luxury travel, lucky me) I want to be in simple accommodation by the sea or up in the mountains and away from ‘the madding crowds’

Where did you last go?
On holiday? I was in Kep, a delightful coastal village in Cambodia.

Do you know where you’re going later this year?
One of my favourite things to do is to just take off for several months and wander. I’m thinking of Laos for later this year.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
There are many favourites but I think a favourite trip was island hopping in the Maldives– staying in local guesthouses, meeting local people. But I also loved my small cruise around The Galapagos  and a wonderful wild two weeks in the Azores.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?

I’ve barely nibbled at China, so that’s on my books. I generally say I want to go everywhere that I haven’t yet been!

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
In Crete I would say go to a  local bar and drink raki (an unsweetened, often aniseed-flavoured, alcoholic drink) until dawn!

How do you plan your holiday? 
I work a lot with PRs, but I rarely use guidebooks. I tend to subscribe to sites like Atlas Obscura to get lots off offbeat ideas. I also belong to lots of digital nomad forums.

How often do you go away?
I travel for six months of the year.

Who do you travel with?
Mostly alone.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Booming! But with much more of an eco tourism aspect.

Heidi Fuller-love is  an experienced British travel, food, and lifestyle writer/broadcaster currently based between Spain and Greece. She speaks French, Greek and Spanish, and travels for five months of the year.  Heidi pens food, and travel features for publications ranging from World of Cruising, Rough Guides, High50, Britain magazine and Food+Travel,  to Selling Travel,  ABTA and The Guardian and others. She is also a judge in this year’s Wave Awards.
In addition, Heidi produces audio  for various outlets, including Deutsche Welle  Afropop, RFI and  BBC RadioFour's From Our Own Correspondent.
To view her work, visit HeidiFuller-love.com

View the post at: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/08/28/where-the-experts-holiday-heidi-fuller-love-travel-writer-and-broadcaster/

Where the experts holiday: Eleanor Keymer, Bespoke honeymoon and travel planner

Bespoke honeymoon and travel planner, Eleanor Keymer, has visited over 100 countries and lived in both the Costa Rican jungle and the urban London jungle. As a result, friends and friends-of-friends have long been seeking Eleanor’s advice about favourite destinations, leading her to set up her own travel planning service.
Here Eleanor shares her travel highlights to date, with Just About Travel readers

 

What do you like to do on holiday?
I like to go wildlife watching – nothing beats seeing nature at it’s finest. I also like to get off the beaten track and discover lessen-known parts of the globe. It could be discovering a hidden spot, having an authentic experience or heading to a new region – basically it means finding places that won’t turn up in any guidebook.

Where did you last go?
I recently returned from Swaziland which is where my fiance grew up. The kingdom of Swaziland is a tiny, serene little green jewel in the middle of a problematic region. Instead of a making a brief stop off on your way to Kruger National Park, KwaZulu-Natal or Mozambique, I’d recommend staying at least a week to do the country justice.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I do. First up, I am off a road trip around Spain with my Father and baby daughter, Tara. Then in June, my fiance and I are headed to Sorrento (Italy) to tie the knot. We’re also off to Aldenery – the northernmost of the inhabited Channel Islands – for a friend’s wedding before travelling to Nambia, Botswana and Zambia followed by Barbados and the Dominican Republic at the end of the year. It’s going to be a busy remainder of the year – and I can’t wait!

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
This a tough question but I’d have to say Brazil. The South American giant’s ecosystems are legendary: Brazil boasts the greatest collection of plant and animal species found anywhere on earth. Stir into the mix wild nightlife, beautiful beaches, thundering waterfalls and charming colonial towns and you couldn’t hope for anymore.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Like many people, I dream of setting foot in remote, majestic Antarctica  – it’s one of those bucket list destinations. Antarctica is home to some of the world’s most extraordinary species and is a place of surreal beauty – I have to go.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
I’d tell them to check out Chiddingstone Village – it’s one of the most beautiful and oldest villages in Kent. Visiting Chiddingstone is akin to stepping back in time – the tudor village is complete with half-timbered frames, gables and stone hung red-tiled roofs. If you think the village looks familiar, it may be because Chiddingstone has been used as a site for several films including ‘A Room with a View’. There’s a fantastic pub – The Castle Inn – that’s full of historic charm and serves a wide range of delicious locally-sourced, home cooked dishes.

How do you plan your holiday?
I turn to the internet as a source of travel information and also take into account recommendations by friends when it comes to planning my trips. However I still rely on travel guidebooks – Lonely Planet, Rough Guides et al – during my travels.

How often do you go away?
Whenever I can!

Who do you travel with?
My family, friends, my baby daughter… but I also travel a lot by myself.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
It will be an interesting time for tourism in the post Brexit market. I think we will see more international tourists owing to the favourable exchange rates and I also think we’ll see more people coming from countries you wouldn’t expect.

Thanks Eleanor!
 

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For more information on Eleanor’s destination and itinerary planning and advice, please visit www.eleanorkeymer.com/

Read the article here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/03/27/where-the-experts-holiday-eleanor-keymer-bespoke-honeymoon-and-travel-planner/

Where the experts holiday: Ruby Lovell, Sri Lankan author, film producer and hip hop artist

As the daughter of a former High Commissioner of the Sri Lankan Embassy, Ruby Lovell was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and spent her childhood between Russia (where her father was posted) and Sri Lanka. Ruby would spend every summer in Colombo with her extended family, and during these holidays, her grandmother would teach her about her heritage through day time excursions around the city and traditional Tamil bed time stories. In 1985, Ruby’s father was reposted to London and her family moved to Putney when she was seven. Ruby has lived in Putney ever since. 

Now with her own young Anglo-Asian children, Ruby takes her her sons on regular trips back to Sri Lanka to explore their cultural heritage where they have visited tea plantations, volunteered at orphanages in the Northern territory for children effects by the civil war, learned to play traditional mridangam drums and visited elephant sanctuaries.

When Ruby struggled to find a picture book representing her Anglo-Asian children, she decided to write her own story celebrating diversity, adventure and interest in other cultures. Ruby Rides an Elephant is a vibrant and colourful exploration of Sri Lanka, inspired by the bedtime stories Ruby grew up listening to in Colombo, as well as the visits back to her homeland taken with her own children, helping them discover and explore their cultural heritage and experience some of the amazing adventures Ruby had as a child.
 

What do you like to do on holiday?
Anytime I visit another country, I really like to make sure I’ve steeped myself in as much of their culture as possible. I’m not really one to sit on a sun lounger by the pool for a week. I love to take in the local architecture and famous cultural sights, and also love to go out of my way to taste the best local food and wine. I also try to scout out the best hole in the wall places that you’d find the locals in and avoid the tourist traps. It involves a certain amount of research, chats with random people to get recommendations, and maybe even some people watching to see where locals regularly stop into. I feel these places are where you get a real feel of the country and its people.

Where did you last go?
I last went to Barbados in the Caribbean in June 2017. We stayed on the West Coast as the waves allow for swimming and they have great local restaurants and shops. Barbados is split into regions known as Parishes, and we stayed in the Parish of St James near a town called Paynes Bay in a rental property right on the beach. The colour of the sea is spectacular here – pure turquoise – and the scenery is breath taking. There are lots of local restaurants like Mullins Bay where you can go on a Saturday or Sunday and eat, swim and be entertained by a local live band. It was fabulous. Barbados is known for its fresh fish and seafood, so trying a local flying fish dish is a must, washed down with the famous Rum Punch produced on the island and a real favourite with the locals.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I’m very excited to be heading off to New York for the summer. This will be a city break and I have some live music performances lined up (as I’m also a hip hop/RnB artist). Whenever I go to New York I always check out what’s happening in Madison Square Garden as it’s a fantastic venue for shows. When I was there last Christmas, I watched the theatre adaptation of Elf which was superb. Not to miss sights are the views from the Observatory Deck at the One World Trade Centre. It is fantastic and you see the whole of the Big Apple from 1,300 feet high on the 102nd floor. The views from the Empire State Building are also spectacular and be sure to check out the Comedy Store in Greenwich Village for well know comedians who just pop up on the night to perform. I will be travelling with my children and will rent an apartment in the Soho district which is cool, hip and bustling with great restaurants and shops.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
I would say my country of origin, Sri Lanka. I was born there and grew up between Colombo and Russia until I was seven years old (my father worked as a cultural attaché at the time).
In 1983, I moved to London, but would spend every summer back in Sri Lanka with my family. It is such an amazing island with so much to offer: breath-taking cultural heritage sights, spectacular beaches for relaxing on or for surfing, tropical jungles for hiking and exploring. The food delicious, mouth-watering and spices, smells and aromas are always enticing. There is also the world renowned tea industry (grown and produced in the hills of the island). The whole culture and landscape is bursting with colour, from the fabrics to the jewellery, the fruits to the animals. Not to mention the vibrant atmosphere of local markets which are a must see attraction of this magical island.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
Japan is on the top of my bucket list. The best way to find out where to travel is by word of mouth, in my opinion. And I’ve heard from so many sources that it is a spectacular country. Kyoto is a stunning cultural hub full of history and heritage, while Tokyo is the ultimate big city experience that I’m sure will be totally unforgettable. I’ve always dreamed of visiting the oldest temples in Tokyo with spectacular pagodas, and travelling at the speed of light almost on the famous Japanese bullet trains is a must do. Heading south to Kyoto I’d like to visit the shrines, palaces of the feudal era and the famous rock gardens – all of which are sure to be a real cultural eye opener.

How often do you go away?
I’m fortunate enough to get away about three times a year. I usually find a long summer away is the best way to ‘recharge the batteries’, which I think harks back to my childhood summers spent in Sri Lanka. As a mother with children, I must adhere to school holidays, but we make it work somehow. Christmas holidays are almost always spent in the mountains, skiing.  A favourite of ours is the French Alps and we usually head to Val D’Isere. There’s always great snow, amazing restaurants and if you like après ski bars, you’ll find some really good ones here complete with live bands flown in from all the world! At Easter, we usually head for sunshine to either Sri Lanka or Dubai.

Who do you travel with?
I travel pretty exclusively with my children and family. But I sometimes take short breaks with my friends. They’re quite the party animals so we always love a city break that offers great nightlife like Berlin or Amsterdam.

Where do you see tourism in your country in 10 years?
I see it growing very rapidly. Tourism in Sri Lanka is one of the biggest contributors to our economy. Strangely the island’s tourism was not so badly affected during the Civil War in the 80s and 90s, largely due to the fact that most of the unrest was in the north of the island and not in Colombo or other tourist areas. I can only foresee it growing and growing: it’s a great time to invest in Sri Lanka too. It has the best mix of big city, beaches, tropical climate and culture. What more could you ask for? Paradise!

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Ruby Lovell is a children’s book author whose debut picture book Ruby Rides an Elephant is published today (8 March;£4.99, Lychee Books). This beautiful book explores the vibrant colours, sounds, flavours of Sri Lanka and introduces children  aged 3+ to South Asian cultures.

View the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2018/03/07/where-the-experts-holiday-ruby-lovell-sri-lankan-author-film-producer-and-hip-hop-artist/

Where the experts holiday: Elliott Grant, founder of travel and location app Hoof

Here Elliott Grant, creator of Hoof – a new trip curation app that allows users to log their travels and connect with like-minded travellers -shares his travel highs and lows with Just About Travel readers…

What do you like to do on holiday?
I love exploring. I like to really understand a place and get to know it. I quite often go back to the same place a few times to build on that understanding. I find once you’ve been somewhere once and got comfortable with the location, you can then really start to dig into the culture and the environment. I prefer to be on foot, ski or motorbike if possible as that gives you the flexibility that moving around by car or plane doesn’t give you.

Where did you last go?
My last trip was exploring Northern India. I visited Delhi, Agra, Ranthambore, Jaipur and then finally the beautiful city of Udaipur; travelling by air, car, train and motorbike. It was my first proper trip to India and I absolutely loved every minute, I can’t wait to go back.

Do you know where you’re going next year?
I’m heading back to Nepal next year with some friends. It’ll be my fifth time there and I can’t wait to explore some more of what is probably my favourite country on earth. We’ll be taking motorbikes from Kathmandu, the bustling capital city, across to the beautiful lakeside city of Pokhara. We’ll then be ditching the bikes for a week while we hike up to Annapurna Base Camp, then back to Pokhara and on the bikes again over to the east of the country for white water rafting and canyoning – it’s going to incredible.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
Nepal is my favourite country – I love the people, I love the mountains and it’s an assault on the senses from the moment you land to the moment you leave. It gets better every time I go. A very close second is Kenya – my family are all from there, so I’ve visited a lot throughout my life. Because of that, there are a lot of very special places there, plus I’m a massive animal lover so I love going out to see and support the wildlife in its proper environment.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
There’s LOTS on this list but I’d have to say New Zealand is probably at the top. It seems like the perfect destination – great cities, mountains, lakes, beaches, ski resorts, sporting history, amazing culture… ticks all my boxes.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
The UK has an amazing wealth of hidden secrets that are often missed by tourists due to their remote locations and difficulty in reaching them. I’d recommend places such as Snowdonia, the Scottish Highlands, the Gower Peninsula and The Isles of Scilly – they’re all beautiful gems that are accessible with a little bit of extra planning and are 100 per cent worth the effort.

How do you plan your holiday?
I read a lot of travel literature which spurs my interest in somewhere. I will then research extensively online as well as speaking with people who have been, or are from that particular country or region. Once I’ve decided where I want to go, I tend to plan it all myself. Having come from a travel background, I love the planning stages of a trip – makes it all the more satisfying when you’re there.

How often do you go away?
In the last few years I’ve been very lucky with travel, going overseas 15-20 times a year, which suited me just fine! With the launch of HOOF this has scaled back a lot as I’m working to promote the app but I’m hoping to build it back up again as we grow the business overseas.

Who do you travel with?
That very much depends on what the trip is. A lot of my business travel is done alone, while the personal trips are done usually with my partner or if she’s busy, I’ll drag a friend along!

Thanks Elliott!

ABOUT HOOF

 

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HOOF was created in the summer of 2017 by Elliott Grant and Olly McGinn – both ardent globetrotters.  Innovated by travellers for travellers, HOOF enables users to check-in to locations around the world and log travel experiences into easily manageable folders. Users can live share check-ins with friends, create specific groups and maintain total control of who sees check-ins. HOOF is available free on all Apple devices running IOS 8 and above from the Apple Store.

 

View the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2017/12/19/where-the-experts-holiday-10/

Where the experts holiday: Peter Vella, Director UK & Ireland at the Malta Tourism Authority

Peter Vella is the director UK & Ireland at the Malta Tourism Authority and holds a dual nationality with Malta and the UK. Here he shares his favourite destinations and forthcoming trips with Just About Travel readers and reveals why you should visit Malta

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What do you like to do on holiday?
I love to rent old converted farmhouses in Malta and Gozo to chill out, relax, entertain and soak up the sun. I am also slightly partial to the style of Mediterranean food and wine that you find there. The whole family also look forward to being in the warm clear sea around the islands, and days out scuba diving or swimming in Comino’s Blue Lagoon.

Where did you last go?
Shanghai, Japan and Hong Kong. That was quite an experience, especially joining 3400 mainland Chinese people on a six day cruise from Shanghai to Japan. The poolside disco was a real eye opener, with around a couple hundred people dancing Gangnam style. Shanghai and Hong Kong are impressive and culturally very different. Japan was just wonderful.

Do you know where you’re going this year?
I celebrate a milestone birthday next summer. I have rented a huge luxury villa in Malta and have a large number of siblings, cousins and their families flying in from around the world for a reunion. I haven’t seen most of my cousins since I was a teenager when we used to spend all summer together in Malta. It should be once in a lifetime experience for all of us.

Of all the places you’ve been to, which was your favourite and why?
That’s a difficult one. I love the Caribbean, but I think that my fondest memory was hiring a houseboat on the Murray River in Australia and spending a few days with family and friends paddling along, stopping at wineries along the way. It was in a remote area of Australian Outback. We would berth up in the middle of nowhere for the night. It was so dark that the stars were amazingly clear and bright, even after a few glasses of wine.

Which destination do you wish to travel to, but haven’t yet been?
I haven’t made it to South America yet. I dream of touring remote parts of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile and performing the Tango in a village square at sunset. I would also like to explore Patagonia.

In your own country, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?
In Malta, the three cities of Birgu, Cospicua and Senglea are ancient, beautiful harbour towns that are often overlooked by tourists. In the UK, it has to be the Welsh Marches, to include Herefordshire and Shropshire as well as Worcestershire. Outstanding English country side, historic old market towns and wonderful pubs.

How do you plan your holiday?
It depends on how complicated it is. The last one was inspired and arranged by an excellent high street travel agent. Contrary to modern thinking, they are still extremely useful. I could not have arranged the whole itinerary without one.

How often do you go away?

We have a family holiday at least once each year. I still have sons at school and university who go away more often than I do. In May, I usually go to Lourdes in France for a week with a group of around 60 disabled or sick people.

Who do you travel with?
My main family holiday is always with my wife Jill, and two sons Sam and Ben. Next year, it is going to be a different thing altogether.

Where do you see tourism in your country, in 10 years?
Malta is a wonderful Mediterranean country with a vibrant, unique culture and an astonishing history. It’s a tiny place consisting of three inhabited islands, with a combined land mass which is smaller than the Isle of Wight. First time visitors are usually amazed at what they find – and then return year after year. In 10 years’ time more visitors will be coming from Asia – Pacific and the Americas and promising to return again one day.

View the post here: http://www.justabouttravel.net/2017/11/23/where-the-experts-holiday-peter-vella-director-uk-ireland-at-the-malta-tourism-authority/

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