Holidaymakers can no longer carry over any unused months when renewing their passports, under a new rule introduced on 10th September 2018.
What has changed?
Passports are usually valid for 10 years. Before the changes, you could renew your passport up to nine months in advance of its expiry. This would allow you to carry forward any remaining months to your new passport.
For example, if your passport expired in May 2019, you would have been able to renew it in September 2018 and receive your new one valid until May 2029 (10 years plus the 9 months).
Under the new rules this no longer applies, and any existing months will be lost if you renew early. That same passport, if renewed now, would be valid until September 2028.
Many countries require you to have up to six months’ validity left on your passport when visiting. The Foreign Office has full information on entry requirements for specific countries, which can be seen on their website https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
British passports are usually valid for 10 years, but if you’re travelling to a country which requires you to enter with excess validity remaining on your passport, you may have no choice but to renew early.
It’s the news we’ve been waiting for – the Coastal Pacific train on New Zealand’s South Island is set to recommence operations from the beginning of December! This scenic rail route operates between Picton and Christchurch, and connects perfectly with the ferry between the north and south islands of New Zealand.
If arriving by ferry from Wellington, Picton is the first place visitors will come to – with a stunning journey through the Queen Charlotte Sound on the approach. Here, explore the wine regions of Blenheim and Marlborough, and take time to discover Abel Tasman National Park with its crescent shaped beaches and lush greenery. Kayaking, sailing, cycling and walking are just a few of the activities awaiting visitors to the region.
From Picton, board the Coastal Pacific train – the rail route wends its way down the east coast of the island, and stops in Kaikoura along the way. At this point, it’s possible to stop for a night or two – Kaikoura is best known for its whale watching and the albatross found here. The earthquakes of 2016 have meant an enforced regeneration of parts of the town, and it is ready to welcome visitors once again.
Picture courtesy of KiwiRail
The rail route continues to Christchurch. This is another place that has seen earthquake enforced regeneration and the locals here have taken advantage of the chance to make improvements along the way. Alongside traditional attractions such as the botanic gardens, the tram and punting along the river, visitors can head to the unique Cardboard Cathedral and the Quake City Museum – both icons of the recent history of the city.
From Christchurch, it’s possible to connect to another of New Zealand’s iconic rail journeys – the Tranz Alpine. This rail route cuts a path through the Southern Alps from east to west, briefly stopping in alpine Arthur’s Pass before continuing to Greymouth on the coast.
These trains provide a chance to experience New Zealand’s scenery from a different perspective, and can dovetail perfectly with sections of self-drive during a New Zealand holiday. For more information, please contact us.
Join a tour in to the heart of the Elqui Valley, Chile for an amazing location to see the Total Solar Eclipse which will occur on 02 July 2019 at 16:40. The tour is a 4 day glamping experience that allows you time to explore the region with its hot springs, fascinating valleys and picturesque villages.
On the day of the eclipse you journey up to the observation point in good time to have lunch and then prepare for the eclipse.
Add this unique experience to a tour of this country that has a diversity of experiences awaiting exploration – Atacama Desert, remote and exciting Patagonia, the beautiful Lakes region, Wine region and the Capital, Santiago, which is well worth exploring.
For more information on this once in a lifetime trip please contact us
From July to November whales migrate from the North and South Poles to mate and to have their calves, especially the humpback whales. The warm waters of the Chriqui Gulf are ideal for the calves who are born with hardly any body fat and would find the extreme cold waters of the Poles impossible for survival. They are also relatively predator free.
Along the Pacific coast of Panama, Colba Island and the south of Veraguas Province are considered the ideal places to catch your whale watching boats. The beautiful warm sea will entice you to stay to explore the corals and beaches as well as seeing these giants of nature.
Another excellent reason to visit this small but exciting Central America destination – indigenous tribes, rain forests full of wildlife, two Panama Canals and the city of Panama that has been built 3 times.
King Mswati, while celebrating the 50th. Anniversary of the country’s independence at the beginning of July, announced that the country will now be known as the Kingdom of Eswatini. This means “place of the Swati people in the Swazi language”.
Eswatini remains a year round destination for stunning scenery, fascinating cultural experiences, safaris and adventure activities.
Most people know about the plains of the Serengeti and the Ngorongoro Crater and the wildlife spectacle to found there. But there is so much more to explore in Tanzania and much of it is untouched and incredibly diverse.
If you would like to see and hear Africa at its unspoilt best then consider heading to places like the Gombe Stream National Park and walk in the footsteps the British primatologist, Jane Goodall, in search of the descendants of her favourite chimps – Frodo, Merlin and David Greybeard.
On the banks of Lake Tanganyika, the deepest lake in Africa, is Mahale National Park, another place to see primates such as chimps and Colobus monkeys in their natural habitat. End up on your own private beach to cool down and then around the camp fire with more stars above you than you could imagine.
Katavi National Park, Tanzania’s third largest Park, is ideal for the traveller looking for a truly remote experience away from regular tourist routes. In this park, you will find animals curious and unfamiliar to human contact. Herd sizes of buffalo and other plains animals are massive, often in the thousands and this in turn brings in good numbers of predators. With hardly anyone else around and a great lodge to retire to, you will feel like a true explorer.
Namibia is a destination that has so much to offer tourists, particularly if you like your wildlife, geology, spectacular scenery, sea life and adventure. With 4 different deserts, each with its own ecosystem that would keep most desert lovers happy.
But here are some new ideas for when you are there and a new camp on the Zambezi River in the Caprivi Strip.
Firstly, the Zambezi Mubala Camp and Lodge are located under tall, shady trees on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River, about 40 km east of Katima Mulilo. Eight safari tents, equipped with four beds each, ensuite bathrooms, self-catering kitchens and verandas invite you to linger along the river. Traditional campers are also welcome to pitch their tents on one of the ten campsites with private sanitary facilities.
Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis
Guests to Zambezi Mubala Lodge are transferred by boat from Zambezi Mubala Camp to the lodge. As they are only allowed to do transfers on the Zambezi River during daytime, guests are kindly require to arrive at least one hour prior to sunset.
The next adventure gives you a bird’s eye view of the Namib Desert. As from 1 May 2018, the Namib Desert Lodge offers Powered Paragliding to its guests. The Gondwana Collection partnered with Wild Air Safaris to provide guests with an adventure of a lifetime. The 20-minute flights can be booked and paid directly at the Namib Desert Lodge and are subject to availability. Safety is our priority and flights are only offered on the motorized paragliding flights in perfect weather conditions.
Walking part of the Fish River Canyon (the World’s Second Largest Canyon). On 20 April the 12 participants of this season’s first Klipspringer Trail made their way through the Fish River Canyon in the wilderness area north of the main viewing point. Luggage and equipment are conveyed between the overnight camps, so participants only need to pack water and snacks for the day’s hike. Each overnight camp offers cooking and bathroom facilities. The self-guided Canyon Klipspringer Trail (4 nights/3 days) covers altogether 30km, hikers are equipped with a detailed map.
For fuller details or to learn more about Namibia, please contact us.
With the longest day just about to arrive and the true summer weather with us, you may think that it is too late to book a holiday for this year, but you could well be wrong! Many regions still have the capacity to take good numbers of travellers and still feel un-crowded.
Parts of Canada and the USA fit this bill well and do have the option of medium and long haul flights on offer. Atlantic Canada is just 6-7 hours flying time away and offers a huge variety of experiences, scenery and excellent food and wine. Eastern USA also has much to offer and is only a little longer on the plane. September is a particularly good time for these regions, as the fall colours begin to show.
If you are willing to be more adventurous in your destinations and avoid the really popular locations, then you have time to book your holiday for this summer or autumn.
It starts with a call – Contact us / 01323 446550 and you could be on your way.
Gaya Island, Malohom Bay, is set within the Tunku Abdul Marine Park, a group of 5 islands located off Kota Kinabalu. Fringed with coral reefs, they pride themselves on the marine wildlife and coral reef restoration.
The endangered Sea Turtle is one of the marine wildlife animals that Gaya Island are keen to help and to date they have helped and released four turtles back into the sea – Bobby, Ninja, Carman and Nick Jr all of which have undergone rehabilitation and research.
Guests recently staying on the island were lucky enough to be joined by a gentle green turtle on their Coral Garden snorkelling excursion with the resorts Marine Biologist – This sounds like an amazing experience.
If this is something that you would like to add to your bucket list, why not get in touch to enquire about how you can put together your own holiday and look forward to making amazing memories on an amazing island getaway. Please contact us for more details .
Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels, Gaya Island Resort
Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels, Gaya Island Resort
Picture courtesy of YTL Hotels, Gaya Island Resort
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