Latest travel news and reviews on UK and world holidays

Luxury hotels are often looked upon as the expensive choice, used only by the very rich or by celebrities. This is not true. The hotel industry has changed over recent years and now more than ever, travellers can enjoy high levels of quality service and luxury in the world's most wonderful boutique hotels!

Less than five years ago, the majority of hotels were very much run in a traditional way and tied to their strict ratings. Now, things are changing. Hotel owners understand how competitive the industry is and as a result they have invested time and money in improving their hotels to bring them up to boutique standards. This is great news for the consumer who are benefitting from much higher levels of service within the hospitality industry, and yet the prices really have not climbed up that much.

And this is why they are the number one choice. Consumers are getting much better value for their money. Hotels know that the internet has made it much easier for travellers to check reviews and find out what a hotel is really like. As a result they take much greater care with all aspects of their service. The cuisine, bedrooms, staff, d├ęcor and the facilities are all improving and the customers are the ones who are benefiting the most. Boutique hotels are decorated and designed with the latest styles and themes. The bedrooms are made luxurious and welcoming using the finest soft furnishings and linens. Usually the rooms have fresh fruit, drinks and additional features like Wi-Fi access, TV, music systems, and more.

IN the 21st Century, travellers are much more demanding and they are expecting much higher levels of service and care when they pay for it. People don't want the same as what they have at home, they want even more, they want even higher levels of luxury!

That is whey boutique hotels are so popular and why is easier than ever to find the perfect luxury stay for your own travel plans. Use a good booking service. They will be able to offer their customers the latest deals and offers which will give you even more value for many. And in many cases there are amazing offers to be found if you are quick.

By using a reputable service that you can trust, you'll have access to the best hotels and the very best prices. And of course, this is the very best in hotel accommodation so it may cost a little bit more but in terms of the luxury you will receive for what you spend, it will be the best value holiday you have ever enjoyed.

Go online now and make plans so you and your loved ones van enjoy the luxury holiday you all deserve. Or plan a special romantic break with your partner so the two of you can have some special time together in luxury surroundings. Whatever the reason, a luxury hotel is the perfect way to make any trip extra special. removes the guess-work and delivers exactly what discerning travellers are looking for in the luxury boutique hotel and design hotel experience. Launched in early 2006, and boasting a network of over 1300 boutique and designer hotels in 30 countries, this niche hotel booking site delivers targeted and stylized accommodation to fit every traveller's taste and budget. To find the perfect holiday accommodation in luxury boutique hotels in London, go to

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Get the best vacation ideas, travel deals, and budget travel tips

If you have decided that a vacation just is not in your budget this year, think again! There are an incredible amount of great cheap last minute travel deals available these days, and there is sure to be one that will fit your budget. Here are five tips to help you take advantage of these types of travel deals and take that much needed vacation.

1. Keep Your Suitcase Packed

The first thing you have to do is toss any ideas you have ever had about long-term vacation planning out the window. In order to really take advantage of last minute travel package deals, you have to be ready to travel on pretty short notice.

These deals are called cheap last minute travel deals for a reason. They are available because hotels, airlines and cruise ships would rather make a little money than no money, so they offer huge discounts to anyone willing to fill their vacancies on short notice. The shorter the notice, the larger the discount, which means last minute weekend travel deals offer some of the biggest savings.

2. Be Flexible About Where You Go & Where You Stay

You really need to keep an open mind and learn to be adventurous if you want to really take advantage of last minute travel deals. You cannot set your heart on a particular destination because vacancies are what determine these deals. There is very little chance of you finding great bargains on popular destinations during season, because there won't be any empty rooms or seats that need to be filled with discounted bookings. So keep your options open and be prepared to travel to an exciting destination you might not have considered before.

3. Use The Internet To Find Cheap Last Minute Travel Deals

The internet is a great place to start when you are searching for a travel deal. There are tons of great online travel sites, packed with destination information and all kinds of travel bargains. The internet is often the place to find the best last minute weekend travel deals, so make sure to check them out the next time you want to get away for the weekend.

4. Search Through Classified Ads

Some of the best deals can be found in the classified sections of newspapers and websites like Craigslist. You can always find ads for seriously cheap plane tickets and travel packages. That is because there are always people that are desperate to get whatever they can on non-refundable tickets or packages that they are unable to use.

5. Contact Travel Agencies

Do not forget about travel agencies when you are looking for last minute travel package deals. They always have the inside scoop on the best travel bargains available because they have access to the latest travel information. Not only can they save you time by finding great deals for you, they can book your vacation for you.

With all of the great cheap last minute travel deals available, everyone can afford to take the vacation. So get busy finding a deal and take a vacation!

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Flight Booking Online, Cheap Flight Tickets

Traveling abroad for vacation, business trip or any other purpose can be a wonderful experience if everything goes according to your plans right from flight reservation to booking hotels.Booking has become so simple. There are so many online booking sites to help you out with all international booking needs. These sites offer you reliable information about international flight booking status and availability. If you go through the sites carefully you will find that reservation is simply a cakewalk.

Online flight booking sites are being favored by passengers as they are reliable and the best part is that you can book your tickets instantly. If you are planning your journey, chalk out properly. Choose online booking sites for reservation. If you need to know about flight reservation availability, then you can contact any of the reliable flight booking websites. Searching for the airline booking rates or for the flight reservation availability through these popular websites hardly takes any time. You can fill in the online form and get the flight availability status along with the international flight booking rates instantly. On these websites, the flights are listed out on the basis of the fare and the cheap fares are shown on the top. So this enables you to know about the cheap reservation availability and you can book your tickets accordingly. You can verify the status of your flight online, if there is any delay or cancellations, you can adjust your trip. These sites are full of information about various discounts or deals available on reservation or international fight booking. You can find best deals for international destinations on these sites from time to time. These booking websites offer authentic information about airfare, flights, schedules, and discounts on tickets. To enjoy the benefits or cheap air tickets, you can schedule your international trip accordingly. When you know the details about your trip, you can plan your international trip in a better way without any hiccups. Your flight reservation or international airlines booking process can be completed by just clicking a mouse button.

To end with it can be said that if you want to travel abroad for a romantic tour, adventurous tour or a business tour, log on to any popular flight booking website to check out the reservation status and availability. Learn about the best offerings on booking. Book your tickets and relish an unforgettable flying experience.

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A marathon of resistance in the Sahara Desert

 Our correspondent, Beccy Allen, explains why she just ran through a refugee camp in the Saharan Desert.

Not many holidays begin in a military airport, but this trip is different. As hundreds of us, from teenagers to 80 year olds, pile off the plane at Tindouf Airport in southwest Algeria, we begin a journey to understand the plight of the Saharawi refugees of Western Sahara, and a race to raise money for much-needed repairs and projects in their refugee camps.

Navigating Tindouf Airport is an exercise in patience, as the Algerian Air Force slowly pour over our passports. But this pales into insignificance compared to the wait endured by the Saharawi people, who have spent 40 years campaigning to return to their homeland in Western Sahara.

So far they have been unsuccessful and remain scattered between three lands: refugee camps here in Tindouf; a slither of land known as the ‘Liberated Territories’, just north of Mauritania; and the resource-rich ‘Occupied Territories’, which are currently under Moroccan military control.

There isn't a country in the world that recognises Morocco’s claim over Western Sahara, where human rights organisations say the Saharawis' freedoms are limited and their Bedouin way of life threatened. Having witnessed life in the ‘Occupied Territories’ on a previous trip, I decided to visit Tindouf and take part in the Sahara Marathon to help raise money and awareness for the Saharawi cause.

"The silence is powerful"

Joining me in this mad race are 500 other participants from 32 countries. They don’t all have political agendas; in fact many come simply for the thrill of it, keen to take part in one of the world's most extreme marathons. They know little about Western Sahara on arrival, but will leave understanding only too well the Saharawi plight.

Before the race we have a few days to settle into the slow rhythm of life in the camps. I’m lodging with a wonderful local family, who live in a small adobe dwelling and Bedouin tent in Smara, one of the wilayas (districts) within the camps. Each wilaya is named after a city in occupied Western Sahara (Smara, Dakhla, Awserd, Laayoune and Boujdour), a reminder of their continued aim to get back to their homeland.

The silence in the camps is powerful and punctuated only by the sound of children playing. There's an obvious lack of wildlife: no trees through which the wind can rustle, barely a bird in the sky, a few slow moving cars and Land Cruisers. Free-roaming goats and the occasional cat or dog quietly scavenge for food.
 The race

Though silence prevails, the marathon creates a tangible sense of excitement in the camps. The race is, of course, grueling. There’s no escape from the sun, which beats down on me every step of the way, and the sand sucks in my dusty trainers as I labour onwards. The stillness of the arid land stretching out towards the horizon is somewhat overwhelming, but it gives meaning to the slogan adopted by the Sahara Marathon organisers: ‘I run best when I run free’.

Refugees line the path as the marathon (okay, I did a half marathon – I’m not that tough) runs through the camps. The message of the race is a simple one, described poetically by the Saharawi organisers: “You show your solidarity with us through every beat of your heart as you race. This is a marathon of resistance – I hope we all win”.

If my presence in this forgotten land brings just a little bit of hope to the Saharawi people, their encouragement inspires me to push to the finish line, which appears like a mirage in the dusty distance. Finally, exhilaratingly, it’s over. I burst into tears from the relief.

The rest of the week I recuperate in my hosts’ modest dwelling, which is undecorated and contains little furniture. We eat together on the floor, around a low table, sharing from one large plate, tucking into feasts of couscous, lentils, camel or fish stews and simple pasta dishes.

"There is a sense of hope"

Meals are cooked in a no-frills kitchen with just a three-ring hob on the floor. Water from a tank in the courtyard is used sparingly. Light in the evenings comes from the moon and a sky full of stars, and strip lights hooked up to car batteries.

The people here are warm, generous and proud. Children are playful and inquisitive, fascinated by my gadgets and the small items I brought as presents. The women are strong and independent and very much the matriarchs. Young girls giggle with us about clothes and beauty regimes, as we tease them about boys. 

Life is simple, but community is at the heart of it. Friends and neighbours borrow from one another and help wherever they can. Everyone knows everyone and people call in for tea and a chat at all hours. Announcements come over tannoys from the office at the centre of each daira (neighbourhood).

The tea ritual is important to the Saharawi people and many hours are spent preparing sweet black and mint tea over a basket of hot coals, pouring from up high again and again to create a foam on the tea to keep the sand out. We sit cross legged in the tent discussing the situation in the camps, life in Occupied Western Sahara and ways in which the visitors and the residents can work together to make life a little easier.

In the face of adversity there is a sense of hope and a powerful energy among many of the Saharawi people, whose simple desire is to return to their homeland.

When to go
The next Sahara Marathon will take place in February 2017 (dates TBC), but the closing date for entrants will be in December. Can’t wait until then? Well, you could always head to the FiSahara International Film Festival (11-16 October), which also takes place in Tindouf. Officially the world’s most remote film fest, this dusty gala is now in its 12th year and has been attended by the likes of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

Flights and accommodation 
The organisers behind FiSahara and the Sahara Marathon arrange flights from Madrid to Tindouf, as well as accommodation and visas.

Additional information 
It costs €900 to enter the Sahara Marathon, which includes flights from Madrid, accommodation, meals and registration fee. Competitors can take part in 5km (3.1-mile), 10km (6.2-mile), 21km (13-mile) and 42km (26-mile) races. Meanwhile, the FiSahara Film Festival costs €700, which includes flights from Madrid, accommodation and meals.