Increasingly we are finding that people want to give Experiences rather than specific items as presents. Certainly we have personally found as we age and our house fills up with clutter we would much rather have a shared experience with a loved one, than be given yet more “stuff” to find a home for.
Many of our clients are booking holidays to celebrate a special occasion or milestone such as big birthdays with a zero on the end, significant anniversaries, as well as many proposals and honeymoons. The joy of this is that the giver often benefits from the experience as well! In this case the anticipation of the special occasion break adds to the experience with shared excited plotting and planning.
In other cases the gifter is arranging this trip in secret and we send the travel packs out to a different address so the game is not given away ! Then the surprise weekend break is given as a present on the big day, as people often do not actually travel on their special day so they can be at home with a wider group of family and friends.
The extreme surprise planners like to be away for the big moment and to try to get the recipient to the airport without knowing where they are going! This is always a bit trickier as the packing to some of our destinations such as attending a Venice Carnival Ball or going on a Northern Lights Trip in Swedish Lapland need a bit more thought than the usual weekend away!
Sometimes though it can be tricky if you are unsure of their date availability or their break preference and people prefer to give the idea as a present, and if it is well received then book it. The issue with that though is that availability may have gone in the meantime, and due to exchange rates and flight movement, we can only confirm the exact price for an exact date for 48 hrs and the price may have moved in the meantime. Both lead to an awkward situation!
Therefore the final option of gifting a voucher to a certain value is a good option for a special occasion break gift. This option lets the recipient choose themselves where and when they wish to go to. With over 19 countries on offer across our 4 websites, and with breaks ranging from travelling on the luxury Maharajas Express in India, to going to see the spectacular Verona Opera in the Roman amphitheatre, to Whale Watching in Iceland or an exotic Safari to see the Migration there is bound to be something that appeals!
Gift vouchers are also a popular way for friends to buy a present, or as a retirement gift, as everyone can contribute the amount they wish, and it is surprising how quickly this adds up to give someone a unique and memorable special occasion break.
These vouchers are valid for 3 years and can be topped up by the recipient if they wish to go on a more expensive break than you had intended.
So if you are thinking of gifting a Special Occasion Break do give us a ring on 01722 744695 or take a look at our 4 websites; Aurora Nights, Italian Short Breaks, Weekend a La Carte and Safari Addicts for inspiration.
Reykjavik Centrum Hotel in Reykjavik – What a great hotel only opened in 2005 with part of it situated in a building dating back to 1764. Perfectly situated right in Reykjavik centre overlooking Parliament Square but on the right side of the square to distance yourself from noise. Reykjavik is a party town and at weekends can get very noisy!
Restaurants are close by with a very quirky one just across the square, though the hotel has the Uppsalir Bar & Bistro with special lunch and dinner offers, as well as their claim of being one of the best happy hours in town between 5-7pm!!
The Team are friendly and helpful and there are 2 styles of rooms. Modern and the more traditional feel with panelling. Both have a great feel and space, but for me the more traditional ones had the edge. The Museum next door should have been their car park but as they were digging it out Viking remains were found and so it was converted into a museum with the quirky name Reykjavik 871 +/- 2 which of course relates to the date of the exhibits! As a result Car Parking is Metered Parking on the street – though it is free at night (please check locally in case this changes!).
And if you are looking for a quirky local restaurant just across the square is The Icelandic Bar which offers traditional Icelandic ware in an authentic laid back atmosphere with plenty of old style photos. On offer are Puffin, Reindeer and Minke Whale though less controversial fish stews and lamb are also on offer. The Creamy Seafood soup is excellent and filling. Starters are @ 2,000 isk and main courses range from 3 – 4,000 isk.
To see our Iceland breaks
When we walked outside Reykjavik airport and saw the light aircraft before us, the excitement started to build. It is pretty much a rule of thumb that boarding a light aircraft means an awesome adventure is on the cards. The anticipation of venturing to a far off icy land was mounting, as we flew over the ocean towards the world’s largest icecap. One of the best decisions of the trip was to book window seats, as the view was extraordinary. The rocky volcanic landscape was soon replaced by vast ocean, as we flew steadily north-west, across the Arctic Circle, towards the edge of East Greenland. The scene from our tiny airplane window was truly breath-taking. Massive icebergs scattered across the water like a giant jigsaw puzzle, flanked by towering snow topped glaciers meandering to the sea, cutting a path across an untouched white blanket. Tiny freshwater lakes showcasing a broad palette of brilliant blue and green waters, like paint stains on a white canvas. It took an hour to cross the ice sheet from east to west, the snow so white that sunglasses couldn’t bar the blinding glare off the unpolluted, untouched snow. A true polar wilderness.
When the longest road in the area is a 10 minute drive from the airport to the town, you realise how remote you really are. The clear blue skies and warming sun was a welcoming surprise, as being 69 degrees north you think you would be entering a world of fur coats, not sunglasses and t-shirts! Home to a mere 4,000 people, Greenland’s third most populated settlement is a true gem for scenic vistas. Perched on the edge of fjord slopes, wooden houses in red, blue and green look out to the sea, towards the giant icebergs on the horizon. An ancient 18th century church overlooking the fjord provides the perfect postcard photo opportunity, its dark wood exterior starkly contrasting the pure white bergs behind.
Hotel Arctic grandly overlooks the town and bay, with sea views from the rooms which are impressive enough to keep anyone from wanting to sleep. Looking out the window, a dozen Siberian huskies lounge on the rocks, the only thing between you and the vast expanse that is the bay. One lifts its head towards the sky and howls, breaking the silence. These magnificent dogs command respect and awe. The icebergs drift serenely and silently with the evening tide. I close my eyes and breathe in the cool, crisp Arctic air, feel the cold wind gently brush past my face, the warm summer sun radiating on me. The occasional howl from a husky and the gentle lapping of the water is most soothing. You truly feel like you are in a distant wilderness that must be appreciated. Global Warming is changing the landscape at an unprecedented rate, yet as I look out to the sea, time seems to slow and worldly problems seem almost insignificant. This is a place to visit to get perspective, clear your head, and think about what is important in life. Whilst looking out at one of the world’s greatest views of course!
And all this beauty and emotion is before we even started any of the activities that we had planned!!; Whale Watching boat cruises in amongst the Icebergs, The Calving Glacier of Equip, Kayaking amongst the Icebergs, Broadwalk Hike to the Unesco protected Sermmiut Icebergs, Midnight sun Iceberg Cruise!! To see the Greenland under the Midnight Sun break we went on
With Brexit now confirmed we wanted to update you. Travel to the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein has changed.
You may need to renew your British passport earlier than you anticipated if you’re travelling after Brexit. The new rules will apply to passports issued by the UK, Gibraltar, Guernsey, the Isle of Man and Jersey.
On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to both:
If you renewed your current passport before the previous one expired, extra months may have been added to its expiry date. Any extra months on your passport over 10 years may not count towards the 3 months needed.
Please see a link below with further details and also a link for you to check your specific passport
For most the pull of the Unesco protected Sermermiut Icebergs, the calving Equi Glacier, and watching whales under the midnight sun are the main pulls for going to Greenland in the summer, and the Husky Sledding, Snowmobiling and Northern Lights are the reasons given in the winter.
However there are some other activities that we would recommend you also do whilst in Ilulissat in Greenland to add richness to your Greenland holiday.
The Kaffemik short visit to a local family is much loved by our guests – Luc explains why:
Visiting a Greenlandic family home and being part of the traditional “Kaffemik” gives the unique opportunity to experience this local tradition in a close and cozy environment, whilst enjoy a hot drink and delicious cake.
“Kaffemik” is an expression for the openness and solidarity of the people in Greenland – it combines the celebration of important festivities with the need of companionship. A Greenlandic “Kaffemik” is the perfect place to enjoy a good cup of coffee and meet a local family in a homely setting.
You will leave the “Kaffemik” with a filled stomach and many impressive stories about the daily life in Greenland.
It is a great opportunity to ask about the local customs and to understand current Greenland culture and ways of life. This 1 hr excursion has proved popular as an insight into the “Greenland Way”.
Click here to see our range of Midnight Sun breaks in Greenland and our Icebergs and Northern Lights adventure in the winter in Greenland
There are three main types of travel. The first are the beach holidays. Flights, car hire and a hotel/villa and you’re all set. These are great for when you just want to get away and have a relaxing break. They are perfect for those that don’t want to plan and just decide as they go what they do with tomorrow. This is the sort of trip for someone who wants to keep full control of their schedule. They are simple, easy trips. Pick a beautiful location and half an hour on Expedia, and it’s all done.
The second category is the full set tour package. Whether it is a case of you travelling alone, wanting to meet new people, or whether you are just unsure how to put together everything you want to do, these are the breaks for those wanting someone else to plan out the A’s to B’s. It could be a case of too much to organise or just not knowing how. City breaks are easy to organise, but how about a trip to the arctic on a northern lights holiday? How do you organise a husky sled tour? Or maybe you are travelling around. Organising a trip to Golden Triangle India trip say, would be quite daunting for most people. This is where the tour package excels; it gives you effortless travel without the worry. Trying to arrange this sort of trip would feel like a comparison search for new car insurance at the end of the day, and that rather defeats the point of a wonderful holiday!
But there is a downside to the second category. What if you don’t get on with everyone in the group and you spend part of your coach or cruise trying to avoid set people? Also, it means many early starts, which feels contradictory taking into account that for a few days/week etc. you want to escape the alarm clock! Lastly, whilst you’re happy to get up early for a tour you are looking forward to, there are always parts of the ground programme you have no interest in, and that’s when getting out of bed early, packing the case and checking out of your hotel to be driven to the next place, just feels like too much hard work.
Onto category three. At Weekend a la Carte most of our clients have done many of the previous types of trips, and they know what they want. This includes hassle-free travel and to be looked after, but not to be part of a group and have no say on their itinerary. Everything we do is bespoke travel, reaching from an African Big 5 Safari, Venice Carnival package, Northern Lights trips, to city breaks. We know you want control of your holiday, but we also know you want someone else to work on the finer details. Most of our travellers are celebrating special birthdays and wedding anniversaries. These are our forte. We know how to make your trip special. You won’t be waiting for others to get on the bus, we won’t take you places you have no interest in, your hotel won’t be away from all the local sights.
The travel dates, hotels and duration are for you to decide. We are very flexible! We have many clients who want us to arrange ground only and then leave them to their devices, and if you want a second tiger safari on your Golden Triangle India holiday or a second night at the Verona opera, we can do this. We have been doing it for thirteen years, and are constantly looking at ways to improve our breaks, extensions being one of the main ways. We really do have something for everyone. Why not take a look?
Weekend a la Carte – a chocolate box of trips including Slovenia, Russia, Prague, Jordan, Morocco and Vienna.
Aurora Nights – Northern Lights inspired trips to Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
Italian Short Breaks – Verona Opera, Venice Orient Express Train, Venice Carnival and the Siena Palio.
Big 5 Safaris – South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Namibia.
Now the only hard part is for you to decide where your next adventure takes you!