Frequently Asked Questions

Using our first-hand experience of our destinations and our many years in the travel industry we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help our guests with some of the things we know are important to you. In the sections below we cover some general travel questions as well as specifics relating to some of the unique destinations.

We invest a great deal in sending our staff to our destinations and so if your question is not answered below then please do not hesitate to contact one of our Travel Experts. We all love discussing our holidays and experiences with our guests and so if we don't cover your question below please call us and we'll get the answer for you as quickly as possible.

What if I want to book another activity when I get there?

We always recommend booking activities prior to travel, to ensure availability. If on arrival, you decide you would like to do extra activities in your free time then these will need to be booked and paid for locally. Reception is normally the best place to ask for more information or you can speak to a guide. Unfortunately, we cannot accept any responsibility for activities which fall outside of our holiday package. Please see the Booking Conditions for further details.

What if I want to hire equipment when I get there?

Please check with reception or with one of the guides about the equipment available to hire during your free time. You will need to book this locally and there may be a charge depending on the location.

What do I need to pack and what type of clothing and equipment will be provided?

Please see our detailed packing list for clothing and equipment to take and wear during your trip. This is a wonderfully detailed document which can be found in your online account and also on the holiday webpage.

What happens if I miss my flight?

If you miss your flight at your initial departure point, you must find the information desk for the airline you are travelling with and inform them of this. They will endeavor to put you on the next available flight to your destination; they may charge for this.

Sadly, we have no control over the airlines and the only people who are able to provide the most suitable arrangements for you are the airline staff. Once you have your onward travel confirmed then please contact your local representatives or our UK office on the out of office number as soon as possible to inform us of the changes – these numbers are all listed on your final travel letter. Then we will assist and arrange your new transfers if necessary. Please note that there may be an additional cost for these.

As many of our trips are located in remote regions of the world sometimes the next available flight may not be until the next day, so please allow plenty of time to get to the airport to avoid missing your flight - we would hate for this to ruin the enjoyment of your holiday. You need to confirm with your insurance provider what you would be able to reclaim from them in such circumstances.

If your flight is cancelled, the airline will inform you of the arrangements that have been made for you, so please contact the airline staff at the airport as soon as possible. Once again, once you have your onward travel confirmed please contact your local representatives, our UK office or out of office number as soon as possible to inform us of the changes. Sadly flight cancellations are beyond our control but we will be happy to assist you with your claim to your insurance company. We will of course endeavor to reschedule your itinerary to try and minimise any changes.

Can I check-in online?

In most cases, you will be able to check-in online prior to travel. The details of how to do this will be provided approximately one week before departure when your final travel documents and tickets are loaded into your online account. The information required can be found in your final travel letter.

 

How do I select seats on my flight?

Flight upgrades and seat selection are available on request and subject to availability. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your reference number and your seat preferences for a quote.

What is my luggage allowance?

Your luggage allowance will vary depending on the airline you are travelling with and the confirmed details will be provided around one week before departure when your final travel letter is loaded into your online account. An indication of the typical luggage allowances included are below for reference only.

British Airways 23kg

Ryanair 20kg

EasyJet 15kg

TAP 23kg

Wizz air 20kg

Jet2 22kg

 

Which terminal will I be travelling from?

Depending on the airline you are travelling with, the terminal will vary. You can find this information on any of your receipts in your online account.

Where do I find my transfer information?

Transfer information can be found on your travel voucher. You travel voucher will be available in your online account approximately 7 days prior to travel. You will also be provided with full joining instructions in your final travel letter.

 

Who will meet me at the airport?

The details of the joining instructions for your chosen holiday will be provided in your final travel letter. This will be uploaded to your online account approximately one week before departure.

 

Do I need a visa?

If you hold an EU passport and are travelling within the EU, you will not require a visa.  Other nationalities should check with the embassy of the country they are due to visit. Obtaining any visas that are required is your own responsibility.

Are towels and toiletries provided?

Towels are provided as standard in all accommodation. We recommend taking your own toiletries; some hotels do provide them, but it is not standard in all our hotels and it is much more environmentally friendly to take your own.

 

Are there laundry facilities available at the hotel?

A lot of our accommodation facilities include laundry services on request and by special arrangement; please get in touch with our team to find out if laundry services are available in your accommodation. 

Will there be Wi-Fi at the hotel?

The details for each accommodation can be found in the accommodation section of the relevant holiday webpage. Wi-Fi is widely available in most of our destinations but whether it is available in all areas of the accommodation and whether it is free of charge, can vary.

Are tea and coffee facilities available in the rooms?

Tea and coffee making facilities are not typically provided as standard as they are in the UK. If it is import to you, we do advise taking your own travel kettle and supplies. Please see the accommodation section of the relevant holiday webpage for specific details regarding your accommodation.

Will a hairdryer be provided?

In most of the hotels we feature, travel hairdryers are available. If there is not one in your room then you can ask at reception as sometimes they have ones you may borrow. In our experience, this can be inconvenient and, they are not normally the most powerful hairdryers, so when we travel we normally choose to take our own.

What will the weather be like?

Turkish summers are usually very warm, filled with beautiful sunshine and typical of a Mediterranean climate.

The average temperatures are as follows:
May – June 15°C - 28°C
July – August 22°C - 30°C
September – October 16°C - 29°C

Please note that these are average temperatures. During July and August the temperature can rise to 40°C, so be sure to pack lots of suncream and drink lots of water!

What is the local currency?

The currency in Turkey is the Turkish Lira. £10 equates to approximately ₺50. There are several cashpoints in the centre of Kas available for you to use.

How expensive is Turkey?

Generally, prices in Turkey are more reasonable than in neighbouring European destinations, which makes this a great summer destination for your family. Water, snacks and ice creams are often cheaper than in the UK, as are the inflatable toys for the pool! The further you go from the larger towns, the cheaper items can become. In general, when buying items in Kas, you can expect to spend roughly ₺1 for a large bottle of water, ₺8 for a half litre of beer and a decent local meal will cost around ₺10 per person, plus any drinks. 

What's the food like?

Turkish food has been shaped by hundreds of years of history and culture, creating some of the tastiest dishes around! During your time here, you’ll want to visit as many local restaurants and cafes as possible in order to make the most of the local specialities, which even the kids will enjoy.

Kebabs are one of the best known dishes and lamb is often the meat of choice, with chicken just as tasty. Fresh vegetables and golden-baked pittas, coupled with homemade sauces and tangy lemon juice creates lovely flavours for all of the family to savour. Vegetable dishes are equally fun to taste, with fresh aubergine, onions, garlic and tomatoes used as key ingredients. Fresh seafood is also on all of the menus and you can try some great local specialities, such as fried calamari and whitebait.

While you’re there, we’d certainly recommend trying an authentic doner kebab too, as well as sis kebabs. There are also lamb and vegetable pittas, along with homemade houmous and freshly-baked flatbreads – there really is so much to experience!

Turkey is also a nation famed for its tea, coffee and sweets, so you must make sure to taste some of these during your time away; apple tea is often a favourite of many people. Be sure to try some baklava as well – a bitesize pastry dessert with various flavours and toppings and one that will leave everyone wanting more!

Do we need visas to visit Turkey?

Yes, you will need a visa to enter Turkey. The best way to obtain a visa is online through the official Republic of Turkey e-visa website. Visas can be applied for up to 3 months in advance of your travel date and they cost approximately £20. You must get an e-visa prior to travelling. At present, upon obtaining a visa, British Citizens are allowed to stay in Turkey for a period of 90 days.

To enter Turkey, you must make sure that your passport meets all of the following requirements:

It must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry into Turkey.

It must be valid for at least 3 months from the date you leave Turkey

It must be valid for at least 60 days beyond the expiry date of your visa or e-visa 

What kind of plug do we need to take?

You need a plug which is marked as suitable for Southern Europe, or specifically Turkey, also known as type F.  It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets have here. The mains system is 230V/50Hz.

What is the time difference?

Turkey is 2 hours ahead of the UK.

How do we get to Turkey?

Flights are included in this holiday and are scheduled to meet the group transfer to the hotel.  

Do we need to tip?

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides and drivers at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday.

Tipping is an important part of Turkish culture and as a very general guideline, you should use the following when you have received exceptional service:

In restaurants and cafes, a tip of 10-12% is commonplace when you receive good service. In some cases, a service charge may already be included, so a small tip left for the server is appreciated.

If using taxis for local trips, a tip of ₺2-3 is the norm and this is also the case per large bag, if using a bellhop at a hotel.

If you are particularly impressed with an activity guide who has led one or more activity to an extremely high standard and you would like to tip to express your gratitude then around ₺5-10 per family per day would be suitable for smaller families and ₺10-15 for larger families. If you are impressed with your driver over the course of your holiday, tips of a similar value are also greatly appreciated.

What will the weather be like?

Croatia can be hot during the summer months and activities are tailored to cater for this and ensure they are as enjoyable as possible.  You do however need to follow your guide’s instructions, ensure that you drink plenty of water, apply high factor sun cream and wear a sun hat. Long sleeved breathable tops can also keep you a little cooler.

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       12°C - 26°C

July – August:                    17°C - 28°C

September – October:  10°C - 25°C

Please note that these are average temperatures. During July and August the temperature can rise to 40°C.

What is the local currency?

The currency in Croatia is the Croatian Kuna.  Larger shops and some restaurants do accept Euros for payment however the exchange rate is not as good and you will receive better value for money paying in Kuna.

Cash points are available in the main towns but as the accommodation we feature is quite remote, ATM’s may not be readily available. All of the hotels do accept payments by all major credit and debit cards (we would always recommend you avoid relying on American Express however as acceptance of this type of card is less reliable). 

How expensive is Croatia?

The good news is the items you are most likely to spend money on – water (although we recommend using a refillable water bottle), ice cream, coffee, alcohol etc are cheaper than in the UK.  To provide a very general idea you can expect to pay around 50p for a large bottle of water (around 1.5 litres), approximately 75p - £1 per scoop of delicious ice cream and a 500ml local lager will be from around £1.50-£2.  You can expect to pay around £15 per person for a decent two-course evening meal (not including drinks). 

What's the food like?

The food in Croatia is a real fusion of flavours.  An eclectic mix made up of Mediterranean, French, Hungarian, Austrian and Turkish cuisines.  Perhaps the strongest influence many will recognise is some of the Italian items on the menu with lots of pizza and pasta dishes.  Croatians also make full use of the wonderful coastline and there are always some great fish and seafood dishes on offer, which are (in our experience) always fresh and very tasty.

If you are looking out for some local delicacies to try during your holiday we would suggest ordering the crni rižot (a black risotto made from either Squid or Cuttlefish with the ink used in the cooking process). Pag Cheese is also a must try whilst in Croatia – this hard cheese made from sheep’s milk is only produced on the tiny island of Pag near Zadar.  Finally we would recommend trying some Fritule to round off a delicious meal.  These are small balls of dough made with flour, raisins, a touch of locally produced schnapps, some lemon zest and then deep fried.  It’s very difficult to describe the flavour but equally very difficult to stop eating once you have started!

Please let us know at the time of booking if any of your party have any dietary requirements. 

Do we need visas to visit Croatia?

British passport holders do not need a visa to visit Croatia as it is an EU member state. So no visa is required for tourist and business trips of up to 90 days in any 6 month period.

Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

You need a plug which is marked as suitable for Southern Europe or specifically Croatia. It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets here have.

What is the time difference?

Croatia is 1 hour ahead of the UK

How do we get to Croatia?

Flights are included in this holiday and each family will be met upon arrival for their transfer to the hotel.  If you prefer to make your own way to the country then please discuss land only arrangements with our travel experts. We can also arrange flights around any extensions that you would like to add on. If you are extending your stay then private transfer costs may be applicable.  Please ask one of our Travel Experts for more information. 

Do we need to tip?

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday.

As a very general suggestion in Croatia you should use the following as a guide when you have received exceptional service.

Most bills in restaurants include a service charge.  If this is the case and then you may wish to just round the bill up to the nearest 50 Kuna (which is around £5).

If you have been exceptionally impressed with your guide during the week then a tip of between 150 – 260 Kuna (around £15 - £25) per person is a general idea of an appropriate amount to tip but this is by no means expected.  As they like to put it ‘tips are, of course, a welcome part of the job but by no means their reason for getting out of bed in a morning’. 

What will the weather be like?

The coastal location and water based nature of many of the activities included in this programme ensure that you will be able to stay cool in the hot sunshine that this region is famous for.

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       14°C - 24°C

July – August:                    17°C - 26°C

September – October:  15°C - 25°C

Please note that these are average temperatures. During July and August the temperature can rise into the 30’s and even on occasion up to 40°C.

What is the local currency?

The currency in Portugal is the Euro. There are several cash points in Vila Nova del Milfontes. The hotel and all larger shops and restaurants accept all major debit and credit cards (we would always recommend you avoid relying on American Express however as acceptance of this type of card is less reliable). 

How expensive is Portugal?

Depending on where you shop in Portugal the prices are likely to be similar to those in the UK if not slightly lower. If you use the free day to visit Lisbon or Faro, the prices will be higher than in Milfontes. You can expect to pay around €1 for a large bottle of water, around €2 for a bottle of imported beer and around €1.25 for a cappuccino.  We recommend trying the local wine and beer as it will not only be cheaper than the imported brands but also helps to support the local economy while enjoying a taste of local culture.

Clothing and other items are likely to be a similar cost to back in the UK.  Local exports from the region including cork (they have cork everything from place mats to baseball caps), olive oil and wine are cheaper than you would buy at home so keep an eye out for some bargain souvenirs.  

What's the food like?

Good food really matters in this region of Portugal and whether it is the delicious fresh seafood that is your preferred dish or some of the fantastic meat dishes there are plenty of great restaurants to choose from. They use the wonderful recipes and traditional cooking methods to prepare the produce from the local area.

If you are looking to sample some of the delicious naco na pedra (pork served on a hot stone) that is very popular in this region then we would recommend you head to Portal da Vila restaurant, which has been serving the locals delicious meals for over 26 years!

For anyone with a sweet tooth we would really recommend visiting the small café of Mabi, which is something of an institution in the small town having been open over 25 years.  It is famous for its wonderful pastries, ice cream flavours and delicious home-made croissants. It also stays open late each evening and families regularly make a stop here after their evening meal before heading back to the hotel for the night. 

Do we need visas to visit Portugal?

UK residents can stay in Portugal as a tourist for up to 3 months without a visa.

Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

You need a plug which is marked as suitable for Southern Europe or specifically Portugal.  It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets here have. 

What is the time difference?

Portugal is in the same time zone as the UK. 

How do we get to Portugal?

Flights are included in this holiday and each family will be met upon arrival for their transfer to the hotel.  If you are extending your stay then private transfers may be applicable.  Please ask one of our Travel Experts for more information. 

Do we need to tip?

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday.

As a very general suggestion in Portugal you should use the following as a guide when you have received exceptional service.

In restaurants if you experienced very good service you may wish to just round the bill by between €1 - €5.

If you have been exceptionally impressed with your rep during the week then a tip between €20 - €50 per family is a general idea of an appropriate amount to tip but this is by no means expected and reps are always grateful for any tips they do receive.  As they like to put it 'tips are, of course, a welcome part of the job but by no means their reason for getting out of bed in a morning'.

What will the weather be like?

The Soca valley is set in the Julian Alps in the North West of Slovenia.  This area has a mixed alpine climate and during the summer months cooler mornings are normally followed by warmer afternoons with cooler temperatures than you would find by the coast making it ideal for taking part in activities.

As this is an alpine region you can expect summer temperatures from 18°C to 25°C but we still recommend lots of sun protection as the sun's heat will be very hot!

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       8°C - 24°C

July – August:                    13°C - 26°C

September – October:  5°C - 20°C

What is the local currency?

The currency in Slovenia is the Euro. There are several cash points in Kobarid (which is around a 20 – 25 minute walk away or a short drive). The hotel and all larger shops and restaurants accept all major debit and credit cards (we would always recommend you avoid relying on American Express however as acceptance of this type of card is less reliable). 

How expensive is Slovenia?

Depending on where you shop in Slovenia the prices are likely to be similar to those in the UK, if not slightly lower.

You can expect to pay around €0.75 for a large bottle of water in a supermarket, around €3 for half a litre of local draft beer and you can expect to pay anywhere between €10 - €30 for a bottle of wine depending on the quality. 

The set menu in the hotel for three courses (including a generous meat or sea food main course) starts from €19 per person. 

There are other options in and around Kobarid which will suit a variety of bedgets.  For those really wishing to push the boat out, we recommend a visit (you will need to pre-book) to the nearby Hisa Franko, which is very famous for its incredible menu and a nine course delicious taster menu will cost around €80 per person (other options are available). 

What's the food like?

The Soca Valley has a number of great restaurants. Your local guide will be happy to make some recommendations, however from our visits to the area we would suggest giving the following a try! Gostišči Jazbec is the hotel’s own restaurant and is great for a wide variety of excellent local food and pizzas. Hiša Franko is one of the finest restaurants in Slovenia. Gostilna Breza provides delicious local food and fresh produce. Last but certainly not least, is Camp Lazar that is great for Edi’s pancakes, grill and atmosphere.

There are a few local specialities to keep an eye out for on the menu. Jota is a delicious soup made with potatoes, beans, cabbage and fresh ham. Soca Trout is a very popular dish in the area. For dessert there can only be one choice, kobariški štruklji is a tasty dessert made from dough stuffed with raisins, walnuts and other similar ingredients. Each kobariški štruklji is made slightly differently depending on the person who prepares the dish, as it was traditionally made by housewives. Everyone adds their own little touch to the dish and ‘signs’ it with their fingerprint in the middle before baking.

Do we need visas to visit Slovenia?

British nationals don’t need a visa to travel to Slovenia.

Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

Mains electricity in Slovenia is a 230 Volts 50 Hz system. Slovenia uses the Europlug (CEE 7/16). This is the plug used in most other European countries. It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets have here. 

What is the time difference?

Slovenia is 1 hour ahead of the time in the UK.  

How do we get to Slovenia?

Flights are included in this holiday. Car hire is also includes, so each family will need to pick up their car hire upon arrival at the airport and then make their own way to the hotel to meet the rest of the group and their local guide that evening. 

Do we need to tip?

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday.

As a very general suggestion in Slovenia you should use the following as a guide when you have received exceptional service.

In restaurants if you experienced very good service (and a service charge is not already included) you may wish to just round the bill by between 5% - 10% of the total bill.

If you have been exceptionally impressed with your rep during the week then a tip between €25 - €35 per family is a general idea of an appropriate amount to tip but this is by no means expected and reps are always grateful for any tips they do receive.  As they like to put it 'tips are, of course, a welcome part of the job but by no means their reason for getting out of bed in a morning.' 

What will the weather be like?

The Pallars Sobira region of Spain boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine each year.  It is surrounded by an activity enthusiast’s playground with white water flowing through rivers and mountain trails perfect for hiking or cycling.

As this is a mountainous region you can expect summer temperatures from 18 to 25°C but we still recommend lots of sun protection as the sun's heat will be very hot!

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       8°C - 24°C

July – August:                    15°C - 30°C

September – October:  8°C - 24°C

What is the local currency?

The currency in Spain is the Euro. There are several cash points in Sort. The hotel, larger shops and restaurants accept all major debit and credit cards, however we would recommend you avoid relying on American Express as acceptance of this type of card is less reliable.

How expensive is Spain?

Depending on where you shop in the Catalan Pyrenees the prices are likely to be similar to those in the UK if not slightly lower. You can expect to pay around €0.75 for a large bottle of water in a supermarket, around €3 for half a litre of local draft beer and you can expect to pay anywhere between €10 - €30 for a bottle of wine depending on the quality. 

There is a great range of restaurants in Sort from basic pizzerias right up to a once Michelin starred eatery.  There is plenty of choice to suit all budgets. One of the restaurants in Sort, which is favoured by our staff, is called El Celler Dels Joglars. It does a set 3 course weekly menu made up of fresh local ingredients and traditional recipes for under €20 per person. 

What's the food like?

Sort has a number of restaurants so there will be something to suit everyone in the family from traditional Catalonia cuisine with meals often including fresh vegetables, legumes, pasta, pork sausages, lamb, chicken, fish and game. There are also some more modern and international options such as a pizzeria and Escalarre Rock Café too!

We would recommend those with a sweet tooth to try the Crema Catalana when seen on the menu.  This is a famous yellow cream dessert, like custard, with a solid burnt sugar layer on top, sometimes served with biscuits. It is delicious! 

Do we need visas to visit Spain?

British nationals don’t need a visa to travel to Spain.

Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

Mains electricity in Spain is a Voltage is 220V, 50 H system. Spain uses the type F plug that is also used in Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain (amongst many other European countries). It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets have here. 

What is the time difference?

Spain is one hour ahead of the time in the UK.  

How do we get to Spain?

Flights are included in this holiday and also a group airport transfer so each family will meet at Barcelona airport before setting off to Sort.  

Do we need to tip?

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday.

As a very general suggestion in Spain you should use the following as a guide when you have received exceptional service.

In restaurants if you experienced very good service (and a service charge is not already included) you may wish to just round the bill by between 5% - 10% of the total bill.

If you have been exceptionally impressed with your rep during the week then a tip between €25 - €35 per family is a general idea of an appropriate amount to tip but this is by no means expected and reps are always grateful for any tips they do receive.  As they like to put it 'tips are, of course, a welcome part of the job but by no means their reason for getting out of bed in a morning'. 

What will the weather be like?

Malta’s (and therefore Gozo’s) climate is typical of the Mediterranean Sea that surrounds it. In the summer, the Maltese Islands enjoy plenty of sunshine and the days are hot and dry. Sometimes the sea breezes can help to cool things down on the islands and provide a bit of refreshment!

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       20°C - 29°C

July – August:                    27°C - 32°C

September – October:  22°C - 28°C

What is the local currency?

The currency on the Maltese Islands is the Euro. Cash points are available in the nearby town of Xaghra (on Gozo) and most restaurants and cafes will accept major credit and debit cards.

How expensive is Malta?

In general, you will pay less for items in Malta than you would in the UK. Local produce can be very cheap, with imported items being more expensive.

A large bottle of water will cost around €0.75 and a can of soft drink will cost €1.35. For a half-litre of local beer, you are likely to pay €2.50 and for a three-course meal in a decent restaurant you can expect to pay approximately €25, not including drinks.

What's the food like?

Centred in the Mediterranean, Maltese food has a great combination of flavours and fresh ingredients. Close to Sicily and North Africa, it draws influence from both areas, as well as a long history of different cultures. Fresh fish, olives, cheese, sausage, rabbit and fresh vegetables are just some of the ingredients that you can expect to find in Maltese dishes.

A beachside speciality that you must try is hobz biz-zejt, which is a popular snack made from a thick slice of crusty bread, rubbed with ripe, red tomatoes and covered in onion, anchovies, sheep’s cheese and mint – of course with the obligatory olive oil on the side! Another great snack that will leave everyone wanting more is pastizzi; flaky pastry parcels filled with ricotta or mushy peas. For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to try the kannoli; tubes of crispy, fried pastry filled with ricotta.

Do we need visas to visit Malta?

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Malta and upon entry, you can stay for up to 90 days.

Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this

What kind of plug do we need to take?

The electrical supply for Malta is 240 volts - 50 hertz. The three-pin rectangular plug system (as in Britain) is used. For travellers from outside the U.K. suitable travel plug adapters will be required.

What is the time difference?

Malta is 1 hour ahead of the UK.

How do we get to Malta?

Flights are included in this holiday and are scheduled to meet the group transfer to the hotel.

Do we need to tip?

Tipping is customary in Malta and in general, a tip of 5-10% is acceptable for excellent service. In restaurants, if a service charge has been added, a further tip is not necessary. Bellhops and housekeeping are usually tipped around €2-3.

At your discretion, you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday. A tip of around €20-40 per family would be greatly appreciated by your tour guide, but it is in no way expected. For the guides that take you out for half and full day activities, you may wish to tip them around €5-10, if you have received excellent service.

What will the weather be like?

In Austria, the peak summer months of July and August have the warmest and driest weather in general, but in the Alpine areas, temperatures are often slightly cooler than the lower lying areas. However, the Alpine climate provides the perfect temperatures to take part in the various activities that we include.

Generally, Austrian summers are warm and sunny, filled with alpine flowers and clear streams and rivers. In the peak summer months of July and August, temperatures average around 20-25°C, but highs of 30-35°C can also occur. There is also a chance of rain and cloud in the mountains, which can actually be a refreshing break from the heat!

The average temperatures are as follows
May – June: 10°C - 22°C
July – August: 13°C - 25°C
September – October: 10°C - 21°C

What is the local currency?

The currency in Austria is the Euro. Cash points are readily available within the valley and the village of Oetz.

How expensive is Austria?

Austria is a relatively expensive destination in terms of travel, however once you are in your destination, you can often find great local shops and restaurants where you can get excellent deals on food, drink and gifts.

A bottle of water will cost you around €2 and you can expect to spend roughly €3.50 for a half litre of beer and €4 for a glass of wine in the smaller cafes and inns. A meal in a relatively inexpensive restaurant will cost you approximately €10-15, plus any drinks. There are plenty of amazing gasthofs (guesthouses) and cafes serving great food, so make sure to wander through the town in search of some Austrian delights!

What's the food like?

Austrian food is tasty, hearty and filling to suit the energy that is needed to live, work and play in an Alpine destination. Dishes have a variety of flavours with meat, potatoes, pasta, cheese and pastry often finding themselves within various Austrian recipes.

One of the tastiest local dishes is Wiener Schnitzel, breaded and fried veal escalope, often served with parsley potatoes, or chips and with cranberry sauce and lemon juice. This is a mouth-watering dish that is sure to leave the family wanting more! Austrians are also famed for their love of pastry and all things sweet, so make sure you pop into a Konditorei to tuck into various pancakes, strudels and pastries……and don’t forget to try out the Sacher Torte for those of you that love chocolate!

Do we need visas to visit Austria?

You don’t need a visa to enter Austria. As a British passport holder you can stay as a visitor for up to 3 months. For longer stays, you will need to apply for a residence permit.

Your passport must be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this

What kind of plug do we need to take?

You need a plug, which is marked as suitable for Northern Europe, or specifically Austria, also known as types C and F.  It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets have here, which are two pronged. Mains power is 230V/50 Hz, as in most other European countries.

What is the time difference?

Austria is 1 hour ahead of the UK.

How do we get to Austria?

This is a self-drive holiday and therefore flights are not included, however we can arrange flight and hire car or flight and transfers, if required. The Oetz Valley is approximately 45 minutes west of Innsbruck. 

Do we need to tip?

In taxis, restaurants and other areas, a service charge is usually applied to your bill and most people will then round up the total to add an extra tip. If you use a porter or bellhop, around €1 per bag is a good amount to tip.

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides and drivers at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday.

If you are particularly impressed with an activity guide who has led one or more activity to an extremely high standard and you would like to tip to express your gratitude then around €2-5 per family per day would be greatly appreciated. If you are impressed with your driver over the course of your holiday, tips of a similar value are also gratefully received.

What will the weather be like?

Summers in Montenegro generally consist of dry, hot weather and it can get very warm. Be sure to dress sensibly and wear sun cream to stay protected. Montenegro enjoys a Mediterranean-style climate on the coast and alpine conditions in the mountains and you will get to experience both during your time here.

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       12°C - 28°C         

July – August:                    18°C - 32°C

September – October:  11°C - 27°C

Please note that these are average temperatures. During July and August the temperature can rise into the mid or high 30s.

What is the local currency?

The currency in Montenegro is the Euro. There are cash machines in both of the towns that you will stay in. Most restaurants and cafes will accept major credit and debit cards, as will the hotels.

How expensive is Montenegro?

Generally, items in Montenegro are cheaper than in the UK, although certain things can cost slightly more. To provide a rough idea, you can expect to pay around €0.60 for a 1.5 litre bottle of water, €2 for a soft drink and €1.50 for a half-litre of beer. For a decent two course meal in the evening, you’re likely to pay around €15, not including drinks. 

What's the food like?

Traditional Montenegrin food usually consists of grilled meats, fish, cabbage, beans, potatoes and bread with big, tasty salads as a common side dish. Over time it has become more influenced by Italian and Mediterranean cuisine with pizza and pasta dishes on most menus. There is also a slight Turkish influence and the dish of burek, is a favourite snack in Montenegro, which is a pastry filled with meat, cheese, spinach and mushroom. The sweet tasting baklava is a great dessert to any meal or a nice treat when you’re feeling peckish!

Fish is very popular in the coastal areas and we would highly recommend trying grilled fish, usually marinated in spices and rosemary and accompanied by a garlic marinade, parsley, olive oil and a vegetable salad. As you head into the mountains, the high quality of the pasture means the meat is incredibly tasty, so make sure you try the lamb cooked in milk, which is a real speciality!

Coffee is drunk by the gallon in Montenegro, so stop at a café and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere surrounded by locals.

Do we need visas to visit Montenegro?

British passport holders do not require a visa to enter Montenegro for a stay of up to 90 days.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

You need a plug which is marked as suitable for Southern Europe, or specifically Montenegro.  In Montenegro they use type C and F plugs, which are 220V/50Hz. It needs to have two prongs and be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets here have. 

What is the time difference?

Montenegro is 1 hour ahead of the UK.

How do we get to Montenegro?

Flights are included in this holiday and each family will be met upon arrival for their transfer to the hotel.  If you are extending your stay then private transfers may be applicable.  Please ask one of our Travel Experts for more information. 

Do we need to tip?

Tipping is becoming more common throughout Montenegro, although it is by no means expected. In smaller restaurants, most people will round up the bill, whereas in larger restaurants, a tip of 10% is usually added. Bellhops and housekeepers often receive around €2 each.

At your discretion you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday. If you have been exceptionally impressed with your rep during the week then a tip of between €15-25 per person is a general idea of an appropriate amount to tip, but this is by no means expected.

What will the weather be like?

Thanks to Costa Rica’s proximity to the equator, its days are long and filled with sunshine and no real winter period, which makes this a great place to enjoy a family summer holiday filled with activities! 

Costa Rica generally enjoys warm days, with the occasional burst of tropical rainfall. The climate varies from region to region and during your time here, you will get to travel to a variety of different locations. In the Central Valley, they enjoy a warm, spring-like climate all year round whereas the coastal areas can be very hot and dry. 

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       24°C - 32°C

July – August:                    24°C - 31°C

September – October:  23°C - 31°C

What is the local currency?

The currency in Costa Rica is the colón, named after Christopher Columbus. US Dollars are also widely accepted, especially at hotels and restaurants, whereas smaller services and more remote destinations will likely only accept colónes. £10 is worth approximately ₡8300 ($16 USD).

Cash machines are widely available in the larger towns and hotels, but you should have cash available for the more remote destinations and lodges. Credit cards are also widely accepted.

How expensive is Costa Rica?

Costa Rica tends to be a less expensive destination than the nearby Caribbean islands and it is relatively inexpensive to enjoy your time here, although certain items can cost slightly more than in the UK due to taxes and import costs.

A large (1.5litre) bottle of water will cost you around £1.80 and a can of soft drink roughly £1. A half-litre of beer will cost approximately £1.30 and a meal in a mid-range restaurant is likely to cost around £7. A bottle of wine will likely cost you £7-10 in a restaurant, on average. Local products tend to be cheaper and you can pick up cheap local fruit and coffee throughout the country.

What's the food like?

Most Costa Rican meals include black beans or rice, often served with generous portions of vegetables, such as fried plantains and tomato, as well as meat or fish. Sour cream, eggs, onions and peppers are also key ingredients and the locals love their corn tortillas! While here try a Casado, which is one of the most common dishes in Costa Rica, comprised of beans, rice, onions, plantains, cabbage, tomatoes and a choice of chicken, fish, pork or steak with grilled onions.

The plantain is probably the most popular snack in Costa Rica. It looks like a large banana, but can’t be eaten raw. Usually it will be fried or baked, bringing out the sweet flavours and it is a great accompaniment to most meals.

There are many weird and wonderful fruits to try in Costa Rica, such as the guanabana, which is a textured, green, football-sized fruit that makes a lovely juice drink. The pejibaye is another great one to try – a relative of the coconut, its taste resembles chestnut or pumpkin. There are certainly lots of surprises for the family to try!

Do we need visas to visit Costa Rica?

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Costa Rica. Upon entry, most visitors are granted a stay of up to 3 months.  Your passport should have at least one day’s validity from the date you are leaving Costa Rica.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

In Costa Rica, they use Type A and B plugs, similar to those found in the US, which are 120V/60Hz. Your plug will need to have two straight prongs to fit the sockets here.

What is the time difference?

Costa Rica is 7 hours behind the UK. 

How do we get to Costa Rica?

International flights are not included in this holiday, but we can arrange these for you if you would like. Flights would arrive into San Jose and return from Liberia.

Do we need to tip?

Tipping is a big part of Costa Rican culture and although it is not expected, it is greatly appreciated for excellent service. Bellboys and housekeepers usually receive around $2 USD, whereas taxi drivers don’t expect to be tipped at all. Most restaurants include a 10% service charge, however, if you feel that you have received exceptional service, an additional tip of 5%, or rounding up your bill is considered appropriate.

As a gesture of appreciation for their services during your holiday, you are welcome to tip your guide and driver at your discretion. Although this is not expected, it can be a nice way of thanking them for their time and effort. As a guideline, $5-10 USD per person per day would be greatly appreciated for your guide, although this is by no means compulsory. You may also have local guides that will join you for certain parts of the trip and if you receive excellent service from them, a tip of $2 USD per person per day would be appropriate, which is also the amount we would recommend if you would like to tip your driver.

What will the weather be like?

Borneo is lucky enough to experience year-round temperatures that average between 27°C and 32°C with a relative humidity of around 80% for much of the year. With its tropical climate, the weather is generally sunny, but also changeable and rainfall can occur at any time of the year. November to March is regarded as the peak monsoon season, which is why we focus on the summer months.

 The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       24°C - 31°C

July – August:                    24°C - 35°C

September – October:  23°C - 32°C

July and August are often regarded as the best months to visit Borneo, as they are usually relatively dry, although thunderstorms can occur, which are usually short but torrential. These months also see longer sunshine hours and less cloud cover. The days can often reach into the high 30s, providing you with the perfect environment to enjoy the gorgeous beaches!

What is the local currency?

The currency in Borneo is the Malaysian Ringgit (RM). Most outlets take major credit cards and cash points are widely available in hotels and larger towns. 6RM equates to approximately £1.

How expensive is Borneo?

In general, Borneo is a cheap place to enjoy once you have arrived at your destination. Depending on where you eat, you can sample great food and drink at a very affordable price for all of the family.

A small bottle of water will cost around 3-4RM and a can of soft drink roughly the same. A half-litre of beer is around 15RM and a glass of wine 20RM. A dinner in a mid-range restaurant will cost roughly 30RM per person, plus any drinks.

At the larger resorts, at the start and end of your stay, you can expect to pay more (RM40 for a glass of wine), than at the lodges during your itinerary. We would recommend that you buy alcohol at the Duty-Free; Brunei Airport does not sell alcohol, however, there is a small Duty-Free in the baggage reclaim area at Kota Kinabalu Airport.

What's the food like?

Every dish that you’re served is filled with exciting tastes that bring out the area’s history and culture. Rice and noodles are central to most meals, with the rice usually steamed or fried and the noodles made from wheat and egg, rice or mung beans and then boiled or fried.

Fish and chicken are the main ingredients in most of their dishes and these are usually served in a curry-style sauce, or a dry marinade. Generally, fried fish is preferred and it is served whole and stuffed with beautiful spices, or chopped into chunks and served with a spicy sauce. One of the specialities in Borneo is hinava, which is raw fish marinated with lime juice and herbs – perhaps a dish for the adventurous ones in the family! Another gorgeous dish to try is otak-otak, where chunks of fish are wrapped in banana leaf and grilled over charcoal.

Make sure to try the Sarawak Laksa, which is one of the most popular dishes across Borneo. This warming soup is filled with prawns, chicken, egg, noodles, chilli paste and coconut milk – truly delicious! Or maybe you’ll want to try Kolo Mee – strips of BBQ pork and noodles, which is a favourite with the locals! Either way, enjoying the food in Borneo is sure to tickle your taste buds!

Do we need visas to visit Borneo?

British nationals don’t need a visa to visit Malaysia. You will normally be given permission to stay for 3 months on arrival. Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Malaysia. They are very strict on passport rules in Malaysia, so it is important to ensure that all of your travel documents are up to date and in order.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

Electrical sockets in Malaysia use the same three-pronged plugs that we use in Britain, also known as type G. Mains electricity is between 220-240V/50-60Hz.

What is the time difference?

Borneo is 7 hours ahead of the UK.

How do we get to Borneo?

International flights are not included in our holidays to Borneo, but we can arrange these for you if you would like. The closest airport to your destination is Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Do we need to tip?

As a gesture of appreciation for their services during your holiday, you are welcome to tip your guides, drivers and diving crew at your discretion. Although this is not expected, it can be a nice way of thanking them for their time and effort. Depending on the size of your group and the time spent with your guide, you may wish to tip around 50RM – 200RM.

A 10% service charge is automatically added to bills in restaurants, bars and hotels, so extra tipping on top of this is not expected, but no doubt appreciated if you feel that you want to add something extra. You don’t need to tip taxi drivers, but bellboys would be very grateful if you were to hand them 10RM for their help.

What will the weather be like?

Although Ecuador is not a large country, its climate is varied thanks to the Pacific coast and the changing altitude of the country. The coastal areas tend to be warmer and more humid than the mild mountain regions and lowland rainforests. Ecuador enjoys long daylight hours throughout the year because it is so close to the equator.

The temperatures are warm, but not overwhelming, which means that your family can comfortably enjoy the included activities – just remember to pack the sun cream! The temperatures below are only averages and sometimes temperatures can reach the high 20s and low 30s.

The average temperatures are as follows

May – June:                       19°C - 27°C

July – August:                    18°C - 26°C

September – October:      18°C - 26°C

What is the local currency?

Ecuador uses the United States Dollar (USD) as its currency. It is quite difficult to exchange currencies when in Ecuador, so we would recommend travelling with cash and taking your credit/debit cards along as well.

Cash machines are available in the larger towns and hotels. Credit cards are widely accepted, however using your cards can attract a high surcharge fee, so we strongly recommend paying with cash, wherever possible.

How expensive is Ecuador?

Ecuador is one of the least expensive countries to visit in South America and there are some great bargains to be had. Expect to pay around $1 for a 1.5 litre bottle of water, 50 cents for a can of soft drink and $1 for a half-litre of beer. A meal in a mid-range restaurant will cost approximately $10.

If you want to try some exciting local food, you can usually pick up chicken, cheese or beef empanadas (similar to a Cornish pasty, but with lighter pastry) for as little as $1.

What's the food like?

The food in Ecuador is cheap and tasty, which means that your family can try a range of great dishes during your time here. Seafood dishes are common along the coast, whereas the more mountainous areas focus on meat, rice and potatoes. Plantain is a commonly used vegetable in cooking, either fried or baked and often used as a snack or a side dish, so make sure to give this a try.

Soups are a speciality across the country, with all sorts of flavours going into them to make them as tasty as possible. Empanadas are tasty snacks to try as well, as is choclo – roasted kernels of Andean corn that make a large, crunchy snack. A tasty main course that is also well worth a try is churrasco, which is made up of thinly sliced grilled steak, served with rice, plantains, French fries, avocado, salad, hot sauce and a fried egg on top – your taste buds will go wild!

Do we need visas to visit Ecuador?

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Ecuador. Upon entry, most visitors are granted a stay of up to 90 days.  Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Ecuador.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

In Ecuador, they use Type A and B plugs, similar to those found in the US, which are 120V/60Hz. Your plug will need to have two straight prongs to fit the sockets here.

What is the time difference?

Ecuador is 6 hours behind the UK.

How do we get to Ecuador?

International flights are not included in this holiday, but we can arrange these for you if you would like. International flights fly in and out of Quito.

Do we need to tip?

Tipping is not expected for everything in Ecuador, but if you feel that you and your family have received superb service, then a tip is an excellent way of showing your appreciation. Bellboys are usually tipped $1 per bag and housekeepers receive around $1 per day. For taxi journeys, most people will round up their fare, or offer a tip of around $2.

Restaurants generally include a 10% service charge. If you would like to tip extra, 2-5% of the total bill would suffice. If you want to tip your server, we recommend giving them the cash directly, rather than leaving it on the table.

Tour guides will appreciate a tip, no matter how small, although it is by no means mandatory. So, if you feel that you have received excellent service during your holiday and as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts, a tip of around $10-15 per person per day is hugely appreciated. If you would like to tip your driver, $5-6 per day is an appropriate amount. 

What will the weather be like in Morocco?

Morocco enjoys very warm summers, with eight to eleven hours of daily sunshine during most months.

The average temperatures are:

February: 14°C
March – May: 17°C – 21°C
June – August: 24°C – 29°C
September – October: 21°C – 27°C

Spring is generally rather balmy, reaching the higher 20s during May. Summer can see highs of up to 40°C – drink lots of water and pack sunscreen! Autumn temperatures can still hit just under 30°C.

What is the local currency in Morocco?

Morocco’s currency is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD). £10 is worth around 152 MAD. There are cashpoints throughout Essaouira and Marrakech.

How expensive is it in Morocco?

Accommodation, food, and transportation are cheaper in Morocco than in Europe or North America. An inexpensive meal would be around 30 MAD (around £2), while a three-course meal for two at a decent restaurant would be around 150 MAD (£10). Alcohol is known to be more expensive than back home, with a bottle of imported beer costing around 30 MAD. A bottle of water is around 3 to 4 MAD (20p).

What is the food like in Morocco?

Moroccan cuisine combines influences from Arabian, Berber, and Mediterranean cooking. Dishes feature rich combinations of spices ranging from cinnamon and cumin to saffron and paprika.

Two specialities which you are almost certain to encounter are couscous – soft, steam-cooked grains of semolina – and tagines – gorgeous meat and vegetable stews which take their name from the lidded earthenware dishes in which they are prepared.

Other classics which should definitely be tried include the roasted lamb delicacy ‘mechoui’, and ‘keufté’, or ‘spiced meatballs’. In coastal cities like Essaouira, locally-caught fish is not to be missed. If you’re particularly adventurous when it comes to eating, sample a ‘pastilla’: a traditional pastry stuffed with pigeon meat and finished off with a sugar dusting!

Sweet pastries are available throughout Morocco, but the most common dessert is seasonal fruit, from dates and figs to peaches and melons. Be sure to try a slice of prickly pear if you get the opportunity.

While vegetarianism is not strictly part of Moroccan culture, more and more restaurants are offering meat-free options.

Given that our Morocco holiday features a personal cooking demonstration, the gastronomically curious among you will not only be able to ask the chef for recommendations, but also learn culinary tricks and tips to take back home.

Do we need visas to visit Morocco?

According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, British nationals do not need a visa to enter Morocco for up to three months of tourism.

What kind of plug do we need to take to Morocco?

The standard mains supply is 220V/50Hz, using plugs of the C or E type – two round pins, as found in Europe.

What is the time difference in Morocco?

Morocco is in the same time zone as the United Kingdom.

How do we get to Morocco?

Flights are included in this holiday and are scheduled to meet the group transfer to the hotel.

Do we need to tip in Morocco?

Tipping is normal in Morocco and depends on the situation. In restaurants, a 10% tip is perfectly fine – though take note that restaurants in more touristy areas may already add this to the bill. Rounding up to the nearest 5 dirhams higher for taxi fares is good practice, while 10 dirhams for hotel guides carrying bags is sufficient. For professional guides, 100 dirhams per day of service works well.

What will the weather be like?

The Azores have the following average temperatures:

May - July: 16°C – 20°C

August – September: 20°C – 22°C (with highs of 26°C in August)

Given the subtropical climate, there will be occasional thunderstorms. That said, there is plenty of sunshine – around seven hours each day in July and August!

What is the local currency?

As the Azores are part of Portugal, they use the Euro. There are cashpoints around the island.

How expensive are the Azores?

The Azores have prices similar to those in the UK, being slightly lower. A two-course meal would be approximately 15€ (or 17€ with wine). A bottle of beer would cost you around 1.50€, with 1.20€ for a soft drink.

What's the food like?

Azorean cuisine is the result of Portuguese influences being adapted to island life. Compared to its mainland relative, Azores cooking is spicier and more rustic, with added emphasis on wholesome, meaty flavours.

The Atlantic location means that seafood will find its way to your plate in one way or another. You will definitely encounter lip-smacking bacalhau (‘salted cod’) and dishes with polvo (‘octopus’). On the island of São Miguel, be sure to try Bacalhau à moda das Furnas, or ‘Furnas-style bacalhau’, which puts a local twist on this delicious ingredient.

The town of Furnas is most famous for its take on the classic ‘cozido’, preparing this sumptuous meat and vegetable stew with natural steam from the surrounding earth. A well-known product from another Azorean island is the cheese of São Jorge: hardish in texture, with a piquant aftertaste. Made from cow’s milk, island dairy products are generally rather rich. Think creamy yoghurt and full-flavoured butter!

Another São Miguel location associated with tasty creations is the village of Povoação. ‘Fofas da Povoação’ are like Azorean éclairs: scrumptious cream-filled pastries coated with chocolate. Sweets and desserts are very popular on the islands, from traditional biscuits to delightful tigelada – much like a set custard or crème brûlée. Better still are Azores-grown pineapples – natural, healthy, and utterly irresistible.

Do we need visas to visit the Azores?

British nationals can stay in the Azores for up to three months as tourists.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

The standard mains supply in the Azores is 220V/50Hz. C or F type plugs are used, as found in Europe; these have two
round pins. 

What is the time difference?

The Azores is one hour behind the United Kingdom.

How do we get to the Azores?

Direct return flights are included in our Azores holiday.

Do we need to tip?

Tipping in the Azores makes for a polite and considerate gesture. Leaving a 10% tip at restaurants is normal practice; note that Portuguese restaurants and hotels do not normally add service charges to their bills. Giving one or two euros to those helping with luggage or cleaning rooms is sufficient. With taxi drivers, you could give 10% or round up to the nearest five euros.

What will the weather be like?

Sicily’s Mediterranean location means that it has lovely, warm summers. Average temperatures in May are around 15°C, reaching general highs of close to 22°C in July and August. There will be plenty of sunshine (12 – 14 hours a day), with sea temperatures hitting the mid-20s.

What is the local currency?

Being an autonomous region of Italy, Sicily uses the Euro. Cash machines can be found at Catania Airport and in Giardini Naxos.

How expensive is Sicily?

Sicily is generally less expensive than the UK. As a point of reference, a meal at an inexpensive restaurant might cost you 10€, while a bottle of water might be 1€.

What is the food like?

Sicily’s cuisine draws on Italian, French, Arab, and North African influences, reflecting the island’s history as a cultural melting pot. You’ll be based in the island’s eastern region of Messina, close to the boundary of Catania. Here, the cuisine has been further influenced by Greek styles and tastes.

There are a variety of classic dishes to try. ‘Caponata’ is a salad of slowly cooked aubergine, flavoured with tomato and pine nuts. How about ‘maccu’, a traditional soup of fava beans and fennel? This simple and flavoursome dish was for many centuries the food of peasants and is not always found in restaurants, but is definitely worth a try if the option is there!

You may well have heard of arancini: balls of rice, cheese, and meat in various combinations, fried golden-brown. Particularly adventurous meat-lovers may wish to try ‘pane con la milza’, which is a sandwich filled with lard-cooked pork spleen – a typical street food item. ‘Sfincione’ is another: a thick-based Sicilian pizza with a variety of toppings.

Seafood dishes can be found throughout the island, as can ‘Pasta alla Norma’, a well-known speciality from Sicily’s Catanian side. It consists of short pasta like rigatoni, which is served with sautéed aubergine in a tomato sauce, topped with salted ricotta.

Sicilian pastries will easily satisfy any sweet tooth – try ‘cannoli’, which are crunchy tubes filled with sweetened ricotta. Gelato from Sicily will beat any that you find in a restaurant back home, and there is a rich variety of fresh fruits on offer too – be sure to try the oranges and lemons! On the other hand, you might prefer ‘Frutta di Martorana’, which are ‘fruits’ made out of marzipan, coloured with edible dyes. A trick for the eyes and a treat for the tongue!

Do we need visas to visit Sicily?

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Italy, of which Sicily is an autonomous region.

Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you do not need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

Two-pin plugs are used, as found in continental Europe. Take European-style adapters with you.

What is the time difference?

Sicily is one hour ahead of the UK.

How do we get to Sicily?

Our Sicily holiday includes direct return flights to Catania Airport.

Do we need to tip?

As with Italy and most of Europe, tipping is most appropriate to show that you have received exceptional service.

Tipping in restaurants is not expected – take note that some bills may include a service charge. If not, you may wish to round up by a few euros.

In the hotel, you might like to tip bellhops one or two euros for their service. It is also polite to tip staff who clean your room.

What will the weather be like?

Touching the Equator, the Galápagos Islands experience temperatures in the mid-20s to the low-30s (degrees Celsius). June to December is the dry season, with cooler temperatures and pleasant blue skies with little rain. The warm season is from December to May, with regular rainfall and higher ocean temperatures – perfect for snorkelling and swimming.

What is the local currency?

As part of Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands use the US Dollar (USD / $). Currency exchange may be tricky on the islands, so we recommend keeping cash to hand and carrying credit and debit cards.

How expensive are the Galápagos Islands?

At a first glance, the Galápagos Islands may seem a little costly due to the entrance fees. These have been set up to help maintain the island and to preserve its unparalleled natural beauty. In the towns, a dinner for two might range from $30 to $40. A bottle of beer might be $3, while a large bottle of water would be around $1.

What is the food like?

Seafood is a culinary highlight of the Galápagos Islands, with lobster, shrimp, and even sea cucumber appearing on the menu. A must-try option has to be ‘ceviche’: raw fish marinated in citrus juices with chilli and onion. The acidic marinade pickles the fish, making it safe to eat uncooked. While this delicacy is most famously identified as the national dish of Peru, it is also incredibly popular here and is well worth sampling.

Local cuisine draws on that of mainland Ecuador, and a host of exotic ingredients are regularly imported into the islands. Plantains are often used in cooking – try plantain dumplings, known as ‘bolones de verde’, which are rich and tasty. Another delicious filled speciality are ‘empanadas’, which are effectively Latin American pasties.

A fantastic variety of fruits can be enjoyed on the Galápagos Islands – papayas, naranjillas, passion fruits, and a variety of bananas.

Do we need visas to visit the Galápagos Islands?

If you are a British national, you won’t need a visa to enter the Galápagos Islands. On arrival, you will be allowed to stay for up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the date of entry.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

Type A and Type B plugs are used, like those found in the USA. Mains electricity is at 120V/60Hz. Your plug will have two straight, flat prongs.

What is the time difference?

The Galápagos Islands are 6 hours behind the UK.

How do we get to the Galápagos Islands?

Flights are not included in this holiday, but we can arrange these for you if you wish. Please speak to one of our travel experts.

Do we need to tip?

Tipping is not an expectation, but it makes for a polite and considerate gesture. Staff helping with luggage or cleaning rooms at the hotel might be tipped $1 or $2. If you’re taking a taxi, you can round up your fare.

Most restaurant bills have a 10% service charge included. If you wish to tip, you could add an extra 5% to the bill. We recommend directly tipping waiters, rather than leaving money on the table.

Tour guides will greatly appreciate a tip for their excellent services – we suggest $10 to $15 per person per day. Drivers can be tipped $5 to $6.

What will the weather be like?

South Africa is a subtropical region which accounts for the warm, temperate climate. Late July to early August signifies the end of winter and the start of the beautiful spring season. The areas surrounding Cape Town can experience bright, sunny days with warm temperatures of 18°C, which is ideal for the diverse range of activities offered on this trip. The temperatures can drop during the evening however and for that reason it is recommended to pack warm clothing and a rain coat.

The KwaZulu-Natal province enjoys year-round sunshine with mild winters between May and September. Durban itself can reach highs of 25°C and seldom drops below 19°C. The inland regions which contain game reserves such as Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park and the ISimangaliso Park can become slightly cooler as night approaches and therefore warm clothing is recommended.

What is the local currency?

The local Currency in South Africa is South African Rand (ZAR)

How expensive is South Africa?

South Africa is fairly inexpensive compared to Western Europe and the largest expense is generally the accommodation and the safari activities which are included in this package. A meal in a standard restaurant generally costs around R100 which equates to approximately £5 sterling. A meal for two in a mid-range restaurant can cost from R300 upwards which is approximately £17 sterling.

Beer and wine are also cheaper compared to Western Europe. A high-quality bottle of local South African wine costs around R55 from a local supermarket which is approximately £3.20 sterling. Local produce such as vegetables and fruit are particularly cheap and food shopping at local supermarkets is a fantastic way to save money, particularly for light snacks and lunches.

What's the food like?

As a country with such a diverse mixture of cultures, South African food has a number of traditional dishes which reflect these different cultural influences. Generally South African food is cooked over an open fire or in a three-legged pot which means that meat tends to be stewed or grilled. Meat is usually accompanied by potatoes or rice and a range of vegetables including beetroot, cabbage, carrots and pumpkin.

One of the most popular dishes favoured by most Africans is tripe. It is considered a delicacy, particularly in the Cape and is often served lightly curried with new potatoes and fried onions. Tripe itself is a type of edible lining from the stomachs of various farm animals.

In the rural communities Morogo is considered an important part of the staple diet. Morogo is a type of wild spinach and is generally combined with butter braised onion and tomato or mixed into a maize porridge.

As a reflection of South Africa’s colonial past, Cape Malay curry is a dish inspired by slaves from India, Malaysia and Indonesia who were bought to the country in the 17th Century by Dutch and French settlers. Local produce is combined with aromatic spices such as cinnamon, saffron, turmeric and chilli to create an authentic Asian style curry. Another colonial import is the South African desert Malva pudding which is a sticky based sponge pudding made with apricot jam and served in a hot cream sauce.

For a real taste of South Africa, a braai or shisa nyama provides a fantastic culinary experience. Braais are a variation of a barbecue which originated in the townships of Johannesburg as butchers set up barbecues on their shop fronts and grilled meat to sell on the streets to locals. Today, local communities gather at braais at the weekends to share food comprising of beef, chicken, pork and lamb.

Do we need visas to visit South Africa?

As a full UK passport holder (with a passport valid for six months beyond your entry date) you are not required to have a Visa to enter South Africa. You are granted a Visitors Temporary Permit which is valid for a period of up to three months.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

Mains electricity in South Africa is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ. Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins. Pack either a 15A or multi-country adapter.

What is the time difference?

South Africa is two hours ahead of the UK.

How do we get to South Africa?

Flights are not included on this trip, however direct flights run from London Heathrow to Cape Town on the specified dates, with British Airways.

Do we need to tip?

Tipping is part of the culture in South Africa and therefore it is widely practiced. Restaurants and bars are usually given 10-15% of the final bill. Hotel porters usually expect R10 per piece of luggage carried to your room and housekeepers are usually left R10-20 per visit. Tour guides, game rangers and drivers are tipped between R80-100 depending on the service you have received.

Tipping for Taxi drivers is also common and it is generally the cost of the final bill rounded up to the nearest ten. For example, if a journey comes to R16 then you would just give twenty and leave the change. Longer journeys and journeys out of the city would require a slightly larger tip usually amounting to 10% of the final bill.

What will the weather be like?

Thanks to its position in the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira enjoys hot, largely dry summers from April to September and mild, wet winters from October to March.

The islands are surrounded by the Gulf Stream, which means that the warm ocean currents help to keep the area mild and comfortable, while avoiding extreme seasonal temperatures. The prevailing winds also consist of warm air from North Africa and cooling winds from Portugal, which help to keep the climate comfortable for activities and sightseeing.

The main summer period runs from June to September, with the majority of the days being hot and sunny, although the months either side can also be nice and warm too.

The average temperatures are as follows

April - May:                          16°C - 22°C

June – August:                     20°C - 26°C

September – October:         20°C - 25°C

What is the local currency?

Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal and its local currency is the Euro.

Cash machines are widely available in the larger towns and hotels, but you should have cash available for the more remote villages and areas you will pass through, should you wish to buy anything. Credit cards are also widely accepted.

How expensive is it?

Although a lot of the major products are imported, Madeira is renowned for its local produce and as such, prices are not too expensive.

A basic lunchtime menu in one of the larger towns will cost approximately £8 per person. A large bottle of water (1.5l) is likely to cost you around £1-£1.50 and a bottle of wine will likely cost you £7-10 in a restaurant, on average. Local products tend to be cheaper and you can pick up cheap local fruit throughout the island.

What's the food like?

Sitting in the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is renowned for its fresh sea food, ranging from the local speciality Espada (a black scabbard fish) to mussels, clams and prawns. There really is a dish for everyone!

Meat dishes are also commonplace and one of the most popular dishes is known as espetada, which is made from large chunks of beef, garlic and bay leaf, which are then skewered and grilled.

Madeira is famous for its terraces, fields and gardens, all packed with fruit and vegetables, so you are never far from fresh apples, bananas, oranges and tomatoes – it really is an island brimming with fresh delights!

Do we need visas to visit?

British nationals don’t need a visa to enter Madeira. Upon entry, most visitors are granted a stay of up to 3 months.  Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay; you don’t need any additional period of validity on your passport beyond this.

What kind of plug do we need to take?

You need a plug which is marked as suitable for Southern Europe or specifically Portugal.  It needs to be able to fit into the round holes that all plug sockets here have. 

What is the time difference?

Madeira is in the same time zone as the UK.

How do we get to Madeira?

Flights to the capital, Funchal, are included in this holiday and each family will be met upon arrival for their transfer to the hotel.

Do we need to tip?

At your discretion, you may wish to tip your guides at the end of your stay as a gesture of appreciation for their efforts during your holiday. As a very general suggestion in Madeira you should use the following as a guide when you have received exceptional service. In restaurants if you experienced very good service you may wish to just round the bill by between €1 - €5. If you have been exceptionally impressed with your guide during the week then a tip of between €20 - €50 per family is a general idea of an appropriate amount to tip but this is by no means expected and guides are always grateful for any tips they do receive.  

Get an expert opinion

Family holidays are so important so please get in touch and let our Travel Experts use their firsthand experience to help you make the right decision for your family. We’ve explored our destinations with our own families, we’ve slept in the accommodation, dined in the restaurants, rafted on the rivers, zip wired through the tree tops, played in the snow, marvelled at the Northern Lights… So please contact us if you have any questions.

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