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Confused.com's Top Ten Holiday Destinations for 2009

 

Recession? Resmession! Despite the financial pinch, the public are still keen to go on holiday. Indeed, trips away are one of the last 'non-essential' expenses that consumers will axe when cutting back on their spending. And rightly so - it's important to get away and unwind once in a while. Possibly even more when times are tough.
But where to go? With the Pound faring poorly against the Euro, trips to the Eurozone are less than ideal from an economic point of view. So holidaymakers are increasingly going to mid and long-haul destinations. With this in mind, here are Confused.com's top ten holiday tips for 2009:


1. Turkey
Turkey was a notable beneficiary of travellers looking a little further afield in 2008, and should do well with British tourists this year too. Why? Well, it's not only because the Pound will have legs there. It's a top spot for culture vultures, due to its rich history and sites of archaeological interest - including Ephesus, Pergamon and Troy.
And on the days when you don't fancy looking at magnificent old historical structures, there are beaches a-plenty, and great spots for diving. Plus it's nice and hot. Lots of boxes ticked there.


2. Iceland
Iceland has been a particularly expensive destination traditionally. However, its economic plunge in the second half of last year now means that the cost of living is entirely reasonable� Which is great news for bargain hunters.
Iceland is the perfect spot for adventure sport enthusiasts, with plenty of opportunities to go kayaking, cycling, and zipping around on glaciers on a snow-mobile. And if you're not thrilled at the prospect of releasing lots of adrenaline, there's plenty of other stuff to do - including watching geysers, fishing, spotting whales, and lazing around in geothermal pools.
Note that although your EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) will only cover you for urgent medical treatment here - but not repatriation, ongoing treatment or anything less than a medical emergency. As such, comprehensive travel insurance shouldn't be overlooked.


3. Lithuania
This year could well be a good one for Lithuanian tourism. Firstly, this is the millennial anniversary of its name. And secondly, the capital Vilnius is the European Capital of Culture for 2009. The country offers national parks, spa towns, a selection of UNESCO heritage sites such as the Old Town in Vilnius - its historical centre, hearty food, and a bronze statue of Frank Zappa. What more could you possibly want?


4. USA
Although the Pound isn't as strong against the Dollar as it has been, the US is still likely to be a popular destination for Brits abroad in 2009. Why? Well, the election of Barack Obama has brought about a lot of good feeling regarding the US. But that's not all. One of the alluring factors of the States is that there's just so much to see and do. It gets a lot of repeat visitors because it's virtually impossible to do everything you'd want to do in just one trip. And as extra incentive, this year marks the 400th anniversary of the discovery of New York - a city which is already a firm Confused.com staff favourite.
If you're heading off to the States, please bear in mind that it is now compulsory to fill in an online ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) form before doing so. For more information, read our article 'Going to the USA? Then Don't Forget ESTA '.


5. South Africa
South Africa is becoming increasingly popular among British holidaymakers. Sterling is faring well against the Rand at the moment, so visitors are likely to get more pow! for their Pound. Which is just as well, because the food is well worth wiring into. Plus rugby fans may well be keen to catch some of The British & Irish Lions tour of South Africa this summer, between the 30th of May and the 4th of July.


A few pointers, though. Medical treatment can be very expensive in South Africa, so going there with anything less than a comprehensive travel insurance policy isn't advised. Also it's well known that there is a lot of crime in South Africa - although this predominantly occurs in the townships, rather than tourist areas. Still, it's an idea to have cover for all eventualities. To find out the latest travel information and advice, go to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's South Africa page.


6. Egypt
Bargain hunters could do a lot worse than heading towards Egypt. There are countless iconic sights for visitors to experience first hand: the pyramids and Sphinx at Giza, the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, the Temple of Ramses III, the Aswan Dam� We could go on.
Beach lovers are spoilt with a selection of Red Sea resorts. And Egypt's not just exclusive to culture vultures� For those who are up for some Club 18-30 shenanigans, Sharm el Sheikh will be beginning just such a programme this year.
Be sure to read up on the customs before you go however, as what may count as acceptable in the UK may not necessarily be so here. In particular, it's important to dress modestly - especially when visiting traditional spots.


7. Mexico
For lovely beaches, great food and atmosphere, a trip to Mexico is difficult to top. There is an excellent range of all-inclusive deals available, and a trip to this gateway to central America is widely considered to be great value. There will be a number of resorts on the beautiful new Riviera opening this year. And there are now more flights available, as Mexicana airlines launched a new service in January linking Gatwick and Mexico City twice a week.

If saline activity is your thing, then Banderas Bay has a wide range of water activities available - including diving, sailing and even deep sea fishing. There are plenty of fascinating landmarks to see, such as Meso-American ruins, pyramids� And then of course there's the wonderful cuisine and the tequila!

Do bear in mind that English is not as widely spoken outside the major cities as one might expect. So - if you're planning on having a bit of a wander - be sure to at least familiarise yourself with some useful Spanish phrases.

8. Thailand
For friendly folk, enormous cheap fresh fish and among the world's best beaches, Thailand simply rocks. From the temples and tuk-tuks of Bankok, to the white beaches of Krabi and the surrounding islands, you're simply never going to forget a trip to Thailand.
There's something here to suit all budgets. Backpackers are very well catered for, as are flashpackers - travellers with a bit more cash to spend. Although the pound isn't faring against the Baht as well as it could, you're still likely to find that everything is great value - from the five-star hotels all the way down to the cheap market shopping.
Unfortunately at the time of writing, there is uncertainty concerning the political situation in Thailand. Before travelling there, it's recommended that you check out advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Thailand page.

9. Australia
The Pound has strengthened against the Australian Dollar, so - despite the initial large expense of a flight to the other side of the planet - British tourists should at least get good value while they're there. But they're assured to get good value in terms of sunshine, and things to see and do. Whether you're intending to explore the outback, find out about Aborigine culture, go surfing or sample the nightlife, Australia is sure not to disappoint.

British tourists need a visa to enter Australia, even for a short holiday� So don't leave home without one.

10. The UK
According to a survey in November last year, one in five Britons claim that going abroad for a holiday in 2009 is a luxury that they are unlikely to be able to afford*. But it's well worth bearing in mind that our very own isles are well worth exploring further. Plus you're unlikely to meet with any language barrier, or lose out due to fluctuations in exchange rate.
There are far too many great places in the UK to hope to list here. But just a handful of places that the team at Confused.com love include Bath, York, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Pembrokeshire, and Monkey World in Dorset. Plus the number of diverse festivals in the UK has really blossomed over the last few years. Our favourites include Latitude in Suffolk, the Edinburgh Festival, Truck in Oxfordshire and Brecon Jazz Festival� But what type of festival you can attend is nowadays limited only by your imagination. Read our guide to festival survival to get you in the mood and for some handy tips.

*Source: survey of 2,108 British adults commissioned by FCO and carried out by YouGov in November 2008.




 

 

 

 

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