Long haul - where to go and when
The prospect of going abroad, to a far away land, to exotic climates and crystal blue seas, is enough to whet anyone’s appetite - but where to choose, when to go and what travel requirements become questions that can keep circling around your head. Fear not, we have the information you need to know.
First things first, what is classed as a long haul flight? Well, any flight that is seven hours or more is long haul. If a flight is over four hours in Europe then that too is classed as long haul.
Best time to travel
Whether short or long haul, the best time to travel is during off peak times and not during school holidays, as ticket fares and hotels prices can rocket through the roof at these peak times.
Don’t settle on the first flight and hotel price you come across. There are many websites where you can compare ticket and hotel prices, and the different options available to you. Some flights may take longer than others and also include getting a connecting flight or a stop over. Prices can vary greatly from airline to airline, so really hunt around to find the best option for you. The time of day and the day you travel is also important. Weekday flights, around the middle of the day, tend to be cheaper than that of the weekend with an early flight time.
Do take into consideration the weather when you plan on visiting your destination. Are they battered by hurricanes or tropical storms during rainy seasons? or do they have copious amounts of snow during the winter?
Hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons are all the same weather phenomenon, but are named differently depending on the area it hits.The Atlantic and Northeast Pacific refer to them as hurricanes, the same weather in the Northwest Pacific is called a typhoon, and in the South Pacific and Indian Ocean they are known as cyclones.
Hurricanes season starts in June and runs until the end of November. This includes tornadoes, high winds, flooding and extreme heavy rain. Predominantly, these happen more from August to October across North America. Typhoon season normally starts in April, ending in December, including China, Japan and the east side of Asia. Cyclone season runs from November to April, affecting India, Indonesia, Australia and exotic islands such as Mauritius, Seychelles and Maldives.
These weather patterns can severely affect your holiday and travel arrangements, so do be prepared if you travel during these times that your plans may alter. You may not experience any adverse weather conditions during your stay, but it’s good to be prepared should any affect your holiday.
If you’re wanting a summer holiday then don’t forget seasons in the southern hemisphere are the opposite to that of the northern hemisphere, so don’t think you’re going away for a summer holiday in July when travelling to Australia - as this will be their winter.
Festivals and public holidays
Does the country you’re travelling to have big festivals or a public holiday happening when you want to go? This can result in shops and businesses being closed, so it’s worth doing a little bit of research. As touched on before about travelling during peak times, the citizens of the country you are travelling to are going to want to celebrate the festivals or public holidays and therefore generally go on holiday around these times, resulting in places being busier than normal.
For long haul holidays, these popular destinations include: Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, North America, Thailand, Mauritius, Caribbean, Indonesia and the Bahamas. With the promise of white sandy beaches, clear, blue seas, warm weather and the chance to experience different cultures, food and explore new areas, what’s not to love? Be aware that if you choose a very popular destination that it can get busy, and prices may be higher than average, so research is key to getting a good deal.
Having the chance to explore new far away lands is great, but remember you may need to get vaccinated to protect yourself from diseases that the country can have - such as Malaria and Rabies. You may need a number of vaccinations, and certain medication to take with you should you fall ill. Speak with your travel agent and find out where your nearest vaccination travel clinic is, who will be able to advise you on what vaccinations you will need for your holiday.
If travelling outside of Europe you will need to obtain a visa. A tourist visa is an endorsement on your passport, proving you are allowed to enter, leave or stay for a specific amount of time in a country. Your tour operator will be able to give you more information with regards to where you have to go to apply for a vis