Observations of an Unimportant Man

Dubai - From Stopover to Holiday Hotspot

Dubai - From Stopover to Holiday Hotspot Tags: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

It was the emergence of Emirates Airlines as a major carrier around the turn of the Millennium, that bought the first wave of tourists to Dubai. Eager for a little desert-based luxury en-route to Asia, the Pacific and beyond, and looking to snare a bargain at Dubai's myriad mega malls, visitors lapped up the airline's excellent service and made the most of her expanding route network. Word soon spread and both Emirates Airlines' and Dubai's reputations grew.

Orlando Theme Parks - Sometimes Less is More

Orlando Theme Parks - Sometimes Less is More Tags: Orlando, USA

Although visitors looking for an action packed, theme park family holiday in Orlando are spoilt for choice, depending on your time-frame often less is much much more. It's a simple matter of logistics. Let me explain.

Enjoying the Great Outdoors in Cornwall

Enjoying the Great Outdoors in Cornwall Tags: England

It would be hard to find a more diverse and delightful summer family holiday destination than Cornwall, particularly if outdoor activities are high or your agenda.

Munich — The Sophisticated Village

Munich — The Sophisticated Village Tags: Munich, Germany

In many ways, Munich, situated at the southern end of the Romantic Road, remains a sophisticated village of over a million people. Most people associate Germany's third-largest city with beer drinking. And so they should. It's probably got more beer halls than any other city in the country, plus it draws thousands of people to its famous annual celebration, Oktoberfest. But the city has so much more to offer.

Reasons to Visit England This Year

Reasons to Visit England This Year Tags: England

Now that we're well and truly in the midst of another glorious English summer, it's a good time to look ahead to check out some events that are coming up in England over the rest of the year.

Four things to do in Dartmouth During the Summer Holidays

Four things to do in Dartmouth During the Summer Holidays Tags: Dartmouth, England

There a few places more beautiful and full of historic charm than Dartmouth. The splendid Dart estuary provides an incredible backdrop for a holiday and in this beautiful setting there's a wealth of things to do in Dartmouth to keep you and your family entertained during your stay. So fill up your summer holidays with these four ideas to put into your holiday plan.

Magnificent Rome

Magnificent Rome Tags: Rome, Italy

An old saying, 'All roads lead to Rome,' pretty much sums it up. Surely they must, for traffic in this sprawling Italian metropolis is just short of a nightmare. Everyone seems to be rushing to get who knows where. And directing them are policemen looking as if they stepped out of a Roman mural.

Visiting Abu Dhabi on a Budget

Visiting Abu Dhabi on a Budget Tags: United Arab Emirates

Abu Dhabi is fast becoming one of the most popular places to travel, with an extremely glamorous and luxurious reputation, but that doesn't mean you have to break the bank to have a good time in Abu Dhabi. If you have already removed it from your bucket list and written it off entirely, you might want to keep reading and find out what you are missing. Having spent a lot of time in Abu Dhabi, I can tell you that you really can have an amazing time on a budget; you just have to know where to look. Luckily for you, I'm here to make it that little bit easier.

Britain: Home of the most iconic racing in the world

Britain: Home of the most iconic racing in the world Tags: England

Horse racing is one of the longest running sports in Great Britain and also the second largest in terms of spectators. It dates back to Roman times, when many of the traditions and rules originated.

A Day in Helsinki

A Day in Helsinki Tags: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, the Finnish capital is a wonderfully compact and accessible city with and a thousand things to do. It's the ideal size for the day or short-stay visitor.

London's Best and Worst Airports

London's Best and Worst Airports Tags: London, England

Our capital is surrounded by six internationally-recognised airports and a number of smaller airports catering to domestic travellers. London's major airports connect passengers to nations far and wide on a daily basis, but the excessive passenger traffic has left many travellers with stressful experiences.

Where the Offbeat Meet Presidents and Royalty

Where the Offbeat Meet Presidents and Royalty Tags: Key West, FL, USA

Key West is America's southernmost city — where the land meets the sea. Long an artist's and writer's haven, it has always attracted the offbeat. It's rich in old-world charm, steeped in the lore of island people, and endowed with an exciting history of rum runners, pirate ships and Civil War intrigue. It's a hip place that has also played host to presidents and royalty.

€3 European City Guides For Travel Site and Apps

€3 European City Guides For Travel Site and Apps B2B travel content solutions provider, The Travel Gadget has begun selling phase 1 content from its database of mini city guides, for a price of €3 EUR per guide. Each of the proposed 1,000 mini city guides will contain a professionally-written 80-120 word city description, official city tourism website links and city latitude and longitude data, making it easy for developers to drop them directly onto a map.

Offbeat American Treasures

Offbeat American Treasures Tags: Washington D.C., USA

Washington is a capital bountifully supplied with grandiose equestrian statues of long-forgotten Yankee generals who lost Civil War battles to Confederate commanders. It's a city of monuments and museums, well over 100 at last count — more than you could possibly see in one visit.

Penn's Greene Countrie Towne

Penn's Greene Countrie Towne Tags: Philadelphia, USA

After more than 400 years, Philadelphia is still a charmer, with a habit of winking when visitors least expect it. They see it in small ways, like the sudden change from the frown of an old building to the warm smile of a patch of green in a tiny courtyard.

A Sea of Shopping in Istanbul

A Sea of Shopping in Istanbul Tags: Istanbul, Turkey

Centuries seem to fall away as you look out over the city of Istanbul. Slim minarets pierce the air and in the early morning stillness you hear a muezzin wail one of five-daily invocations that summon the faithful to turn toward Mecca.

On the Road to Bunbury

On the Road to Bunbury Tags: Bunbury, Australia

There's a feeling of, freedom in getting behind the wheel of an automobile and taking off for unknown places on a self-drive Australian holiday. There's the challenge of a road never traveled before and the reward of sights never seen before — and the enjoyment of being able to stop when and where you want.

The Treasure of San Francisco

The Treasure of San Francisco Tags: San Francisco, USA

Like a pirate's treasure chest laden with jewels, San Francisco, the City by the Bay, lies waiting to be discovered. Beginning as a Spanish colony in 1776, it wasn't until 1848 when gold was discovered in the American River that the city began to take shape.

Taking the High Road

Taking the High Road Tags: Scottish Highlands, Scotland

The Scottish Highlands, known locally as the Highlands became culturally differentiated as early as the end of the Middle Ages and refers to that part of Scotland northwest of the Highland Boundary Fault, which crosses mainland Scotland in a near-straight line from Helensburgh to Stonehaven.

A Colonial Christmas

A Colonial Christmas Tags: Williamsburg, USA

Two large torches burn brightly into the night atop 10-foot cressets, or poles, in front of the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia on Christmas Eve. You stand shivering in the crisp night air with a group of visitors anxiously waiting for the start of a special candlelight tour of the Governor's Palace in Colonial Williamsburg. Were it not for people in modern dress, the scene could be taking place in 1770, in the Royal Colony of Virginia.

Art Deco Wonderland

Art Deco Wonderland Tags: Miami Beach, USA

Miami's Art Deco District is the only historic district in the United States in which all structures date from the early 20th century. More than 800 buildings in this mile-square area have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Exploring Literary Dublin

Exploring Literary Dublin Tags: Dublin, Ireland

The Irish are avid readers, perhaps that's why they've produced so many famous writers. While James Joyce probably is the first to come to mind, there are plenty of others — Jonathan Swift, John Millington Synge, William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Sean O'Casey, Bram Stoker — to name a few.

Australia's Once Ugly Duckling

Australia's Once Ugly Duckling Tags: Brisbane, Australia

Brisbane was once known as the ugly duckling of Australia's capital cities, but today as the capital of Queensland, it has grown up as one of the island continent's most attractive cities — one you may want to include on your next Australian itinerary

Museum Hopping in Hamburg

Museum Hopping in Hamburg Tags: Hamburg, Germany

In many ways, Hamburg is far off the trodden European tourist path. Perhaps it's northernly location sets it apart from its more visited cousins. But with one of the most important harbors in Europe, the city takes great pride in its mercantile past — a past that has increased the city's wealth over the centuries, making it one of the richest in Europe. The combination of city pride and riches has enabled Hamburg to offer some of the most intriguing museums of any city its size.

Exploring the Algarve

Exploring the Algarve Tags: Algarve, Portugal

With a 120-mile coastline, Portugal's Algarve features a variety of golden sand beaches beneath towering red cliffs. Wide and long beaches line a calm Atlantic surf, while grottos and rock formations surround an assortment of smaller ones, accessible only by boat. All this is only a 40-minute flight or a three-hour drive or deluxe bus ride from Lisbon.

The Big Easy for Families

The Big Easy for Families Tags: New Orleans, USA

Sophisticated New Orleans, long known for its nightlife and cuisine has always been easy for adults, but now it's easy for families, too. Noted for the ribald clubs and propensity of bars that populate the French Quarter, the Big Easy, as it's more commonly known, was scarcely a place for children, and wholesome things to do were at a minimum. But not anymore.

Texas' Best Kept Secret

Texas' Best Kept Secret Tags: San Antonio, USA

San Antonio, Texas, may not be number one on your list of top vacation destinations, but its numerous and varied attractions make it Texas' best kept secret.

Up, Up and Away

Up, Up and Away Tags: Orlando, USA

Located within an easy drive of Orlando, the NASA Kennedy Space Center offers a fascinating and educational place to spend the day with your family.

Family Friendly Barcelona

Family Friendly Barcelona Tags: Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is a great place to take your kids. There's no shortage of things to do with children, and many of them are free.

Disney's Orlando on the Cheap

Disney's Orlando on the Cheap Tags: Orlando, USA

The prices for tickets to Disney World just went up — again. Yep, that's right. Now for your family to enjoy a vacation there, you may have to take out a loan. But it's possible to experience the Disney theme parks on a budget, if you know how to plan it right.

Gambling and Gamboling in Nassau

Gambling and Gamboling in Nassau Tags: Nassau, Bahamas

"Different strokes for different folks." So goes the lyric made famous by Sly and the Family Stone back in the 1960s. Today, it applies to Nassau and Paradise Island, a duo of Bahamian resorts with enough diversions to satisfy even the most jaded beach aficionado. Slick and commercial, they cater to the quick getaway and weekend crowd who who are always on the lookout for the latest last minute deals.

The Natural Side of Orlando

The Natural Side of Orlando Tags: Orlando, USA

For most people, Orlando is synonymous with theme parks, those man-made attractions created in some cases to resemble wild places from around the world. But, believe it or not, Orlando has a natural side, a side where you can commune with nature Florida style. — and all without taking out a second mortgage on your house.

Hollywood in the Desert

Hollywood in the Desert Tags: Tucson, USA

"Lights! Camera! Action!" The gunslinger, dressed in black and brandishing a shiny Colt 45, swaggers out into the middle of the plaza. The town's sheriff, sporting a large silver star and his own six-gun, slowly enters from the opposite side. They pause. Then Bang! Bang! And the desperado slumps to the ground. The smell of gunsmoke fills the air. "Cut! Print!," yells the director.

Stunning Attractions in Malta

Stunning Attractions in Malta Tags: Malta

Home to nine world heritage sites, Malta might be a tiny country, but it's certainly a gorgeous one. Its incredibly diverse history goes back beyond 5,000 BC, when it was settled by Stone Age hunters and farmers who arrived from nearby Sicily.

Looking into Korea's Past

Looking into Korea's Past Tags: South Korea

Just an hour away from Seoul in Yongin, Gyeonggi Province is another side of Korea, an ancient one, set in a place called the Korean Folk Village.

Making the Most of a Stateside Holiday

Making the Most of a Stateside Holiday Tags: USA

As the third largest continent in the world, stretching from the Arctic Circle in the North to the Rio Grande and Mexico in the South, Northern America has a lot to offer as a holiday destination.

Strolling Around Hampstead

Strolling Around Hampstead Tags: London, England

Did you know that within the boundaries of London, just 20 minutes from downtown London hotels, lies one of England's most picturesque villages, Hampstead, a perfectly preserved Georgian enclave atop a hill, with an elegant old world promenade, cobblestone lanes, pretty cottages, and unsurpassed views?

Cancun Diversions

Cancun Diversions Tags: Cancun, Mexico

Cancún sparkles like a gem stone with more shining facets than can be experienced in a lifetime of holidays. Few tropical destinations feature as many vacation diversions. Action centers around Paseo Kukulcán, a 14-mile landscaped boulevard that winds its way down the middle of the Zona Hotelera or Hotel Zone. At the northern end stands La Ciudad de Cancún, a city of over a half million simply known as Centro. At the other, the beginning of Highway 307 and the beaches of the Riviera Maya.

Kyoto - City of the Shoguns

Kyoto - City of the Shoguns Tags: Kyoto, Japan

Ancient Japan lives in Kyoto. This is Japan's most traditional city and its spiritual heart. For more than ten centuries, it was the home of the Shoguns and the center of Japanese civilization. About 200 Shinto shrines and over 1,500 Buddhist temples bear testimony to Kyoto's position as Japan's capital and cultural center for over 1,100 years, from 794 to 1868.

Mexico City's Museums Delve Deep Into It's Past

Mexico City's Museums Delve Deep Into It's Past Tags: Mexico City, Mexico

A great city doesn't just happen; it evolves over time. The greater the city the deeper and more fascinating is its history. Mexico City is no exception. But to truly understand it, you have to go deep inside — inside its museums, that is. Some of the best hotels in Mexico City stand nearby.<

Antigua - An Island With Something for Everyone

Antigua - An Island With Something for Everyone Tags: Antigua

Some say all Caribbean islands offer much the same things. While this is partly true, Antigua has, by actual count, 365 beaches, one for every day of the year. But that's not all. It also offers some of the finest sporting facilities in the Caribbean and a fine selection of cozy hotels and inns.

Istanbul After Dark

Istanbul After Dark Tags: Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul is one of the most popular destinations in all of Eastern Europe for nighttime activities. The city itself is comprised of an eclectic mix of both the ancient and the modern, with timeless architecture punctuated by twentieth century modernity. During the daylight hours, the sights and smells of this exotic city serve to dazzle the eye and tempt the palate and by evening these surroundings are transformed into a glittery display of music, cocktails and dancing certain to surprise even the most seasoned party-goer. Let us have a closer look at some of the hottest spots and coolest clubs that Istanbul has to offer.

Winter in Quebec

Winter in Quebec Tags: Quebec, Canada

You're sitting with a friend in a small café sipping delicious French roasted coffee as you share a flaky croissant. The window is frosted and the wind outside blows in crisp gusts. Inside, you're cozy and warm and feeling oh so romantic.

If it's Tuesday, it Must be Barcelona

If it's Tuesday, it Must be Barcelona The Grand Tour has changed a lot since its inception in the late 17th century. Originally taking months or years, focusing on Paris and Rome, today it can be done in a matter of weeks, and for those in a hurry and on a budget, days.

Where Can You Sail on a Budget?

Where Can You Sail on a Budget? Cruise holidays might evoke images of luxury and decadence but it doesn't mean they have to be out of your price range. Thanks to the array of budget friendly packages and last minute cruises there is an excellent range of affordable cruise destinations to choose from.

Cruising the Spine of China

Cruising the Spine of China Tags: China

China is big, almost too big to see and absorb in one trip. Unfortunately, most people don't have the time or money to travel throughout China on many trips. Cruising the Yangtze River will give you a look at the China of yesterday and today and is one of the best ways to get a good overview of the country.

Easter in the Sun

Easter in the Sun By the time the Easter family holidays roll around, people who live in the northern climes have all but had it with Old Man Winter. Most look for some place to relax in the warm sun to rejuvenate themselves. The Canary Islands, the Greek Islands, and Turkey, on the European side of the Atlantic Ocean, as well as Florida and the Caribbean islands on the North American side, all offer enough sun, sand, and fun to get any body going.

A Little Bit of Paradise

A Little Bit of Paradise Tags: Seychelles

With its paradise-like setting, the island Republic of Seychelles is not surprisingly an idea place for a laid-back vacation. But there's so much more to do than just lay in the sun on a pristine beach or crack open a bottle of bubbly within the confines of a luxury resort on your Seychelles holidays. The Seychelles, an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, some 932 miles (1,500 kilometers) east of mainland Africa, is probably the closest thing to paradise on Earth.

In the Footsteps of the Inca

In the Footsteps of the Inca Tags: Peru

The Incas built a highly advanced network of nearly 40,000 kilometers of trails to connect the distant corners of their vast empire. Cusco stood at its heart, so most trails radiated out from there. An especially beautiful 43-kilometer section of one of these trails, known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, connects the Inca archaeological sites of Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna, and Machu Picchu.

Cruising Through the Landscape of the Soul

Cruising Through the Landscape of the Soul There's something timeless about cruising on the River Rhine. Today, there are hundreds of boats plying dozens of European rivers, but none is quite like the Rhine. Whether you choose to sail aboard a Rhine steamer, making every stop along the way, or in the luxury of what can only be described as a "floating hotel," you'll experience some of Europe's finest scenery on the river cruise.

A Mystical Show in the Land of Fire and Ice

A Mystical Show in the Land of Fire and Ice Tags: Iceland

Iceland is a special place. In this land of roaring rivers, giant tumbling waterfalls, sparkling lakes, velvety green valleys, stark mountains, and deep fjords, fire exists alongside ice. And far above in the heavens a mystical show — the northern lights — debuts each September.

The World's Center of Fun

The World's Center of Fun Tags: Orlando, USA

Location, location, location. So say real estate brokers about buying and selling houses. The same can be said for the theme parks in Orlando, Florida. Beginning with the original Walt Disney World, the number and variety of parks in the area has grown like topsy. Another saying also applies: "Build them, and they shall come."

The Northern Lights - Nature's Lava Lamp

The Northern Lights - Nature's Lava Lamp The Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, are one of nature's great displays — a mysterious, multicolored show in which the night sky is suddenly lit up with a wondrous glow that twists and swirls like a heavenly lava lamp. Elusive and ethereal, it's one of the great, timeless thrills of travel, a beautiful, shifting dance of nocturnal rainbows that many viewers find a humbling and spiritually uplifting experience.

European Ski Destinations for all Abilities

European Ski Destinations for all Abilities Winter is now upon us and for many holidaymakers that means booking a trip to the ski slopes. When it comes to finding the right ski resort for you, there's an endless choice of accommodation, facilities and locations to suit every taste.

Traditional Chinese Culture Lives on in Taiwan

Traditional Chinese Culture Lives on in Taiwan Tags: Taiwan

Visitors often take Chinese culture for granted in Taiwan. Famous for its temples and museums, inhabited by a population of more than 20 million — almost all of whom are ethnic Chinese — the island is hard to picture with any other background.

Glorious Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, Florida

Glorious Holmes Beach, Anna Maria Island, Florida Tags: USA

The town of Holmes Beach is yet another one of my Anna Maria Island favorites, and I never shy away from the opportunity to visit this area of the island. With some of the most luxurious resorts and vacation rentals on the island and an abundance of things to do, see, and explore, Holmes Beach is one of Anna Maria Island's most exciting vacation destinations.

London's Jolly Good Show

London's Jolly Good Show Tags: London, England

For decades, London had the reputation of having good theater and bad food. Today, all that has changed as new attractions, along with some of the noted old ones, come into play. Even the food has been made over, with offerings to please every palette. But London is a big city with lots to see and do. Trying to do everything will surely overwhelm you.

Family Vacations: Making the Most of Mediterranean Cruises

Family Vacations: Making the Most of Mediterranean Cruises In order to make the most of your Mediterranean cruise holiday, it is critical to plan carefully. The following tips are helpful for making your vacation successful.

10 Reasons to Visit the Yorkshire Dales

10 Reasons to Visit the Yorkshire Dales Tags: Yorkshire, England

A visit to Yorkshire is a must for anyone wanting to truly experience the English countryside. Steeped in history, overflowing with natural beauty and home to some of the country's best stately homes and museums, it's no wonder the area attracts so many visitors each year.

The Best of British: A Travel Guide

The Best of British: A Travel Guide Tags: England

We're so used to going abroad for our holidays that it's often easy to forget just how much of the British Isles we've left unexplored. With many people still finding money tight, holidaying at home - or "staycationing" as it's become known - is becoming an increasingly attractive option.

A Quick Guide to Munich

A Quick Guide to Munich Tags: Munich, Germany

One of Germany's biggest and most beautiful cities, Munich certainly has a lot to offer travellers - whether they're just taking a weekend city break or staying for a longer holiday. This quick guide only scratches the surface of what there is to do in Munich: you'll discover much more once you get there!

Last-Minute Travel: Always be Prepared

Last-Minute Travel: Always be Prepared While holidays can take months and months of planning, regular travellers may find it just that little bit easier to head off on a last-minute excursion. Good practice and a few unfortunate cases of trial and error mean that most of us know exactly what we will and won't need, and after a while packing the rucksack and booking the tickets becomes less hassle, and more part of the exciting travel routine.

Try an Alternative Winter Festival this Year

Try an Alternative Winter Festival this Year Sometimes, the things we love most about Christmas can become a bit of a bore. Turkey with all the trimmings, presents under the tree and Uncle Joe asleep on the couch in time for the Queen's speech - why not really get away from it all and celebrate with a different kind of winter festival this year?

Visit the Beautiful City of Prague in Winter

Visit the Beautiful City of Prague in Winter Tags: Prague, Czech Republic

There are few places in the world where a visit in winter is preferable, but Prague is definitely one of them. Though it has its charms in the summer, of course, it's a great city to visit wrapped up in a thick winter coat.

Football Mutations

Football Mutations For the purist, the beautiful game is not something to be tinkered with, but for the rest of us, there's a world of football half-breeds out there and some of them are worth a closer look. With the Euro 2012 qualifiers just around the corner, now's a great time to cast an eye over some of the more unique variations, ranging from the violent and bloody to the sublimely beautiful.

To Italy by Frieghter

To Italy by Frieghter Tags: Freighter Travel

At night on the bridge the dull luminescence from the instruments is the only light. We are eight stories up, it's tense and smoky. Officers lurk in the shadows squinting through binoculars, ready to act swiftly on any command from the Captain. The radar is awash in a sea of yellow, testament to the scores of ships plying the sea lanes below. There's a din of broken English from the radio. It's not a place for the faint-hearted.

Helsinki By Design

Helsinki By Design Tags: Helsinki, Finland

Finland has long maintained a high profile in the world of international design. Spend a day wandering the streets of the capital, Helsinki and you'll soon see why. With Helsinki due to play host to the World Design Capital celebrations in 2012, now's a great time to take a look at some of the city's most popular tourist attractions, shopping districts and hotels where design takes centre stage.

Crossing Balochistan with Pedro

Crossing Balochistan with Pedro Tags: Baluchistan, Pakistan

A turbaned Pashtun offers me a joint with a toothless smile and a nod of his head before he squats on his haunches. "Afghanistan", he says, pointing to the joint and then to the right of the sun sinking slowly toward the horizon. Twenty metres to my left, a dozen men on prayer mats bow in unison toward Mecca — a thousand-plus miles to the west over brambles and hillocks of scorched, ochre earth. If nowhere has a middle, it's got to be close.