Theme Park Holidays

Mickey & Friends and the Disneyland Band in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Mickey & Friends and the Disneyland Band in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle

Meeting up with Mickey Mouse and friends is just one of things you can do on a trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland Paris

Orlando and Paris are not just separated by the Atlantic Ocean, but are a world apart in what they have to offer holidaymakers, outside of the traditional theme park activities. They are both action packed holiday destinations and we’ve cherry-picked the highlights of each on our list below – so you don’t miss a thing:

Top Five Reasons to choose a Holiday in Orlando

View of Clearwater Beach from Gulf of Mexico

The WeatherOrlando isn’t called the “Sunshine State” for nothing – it basks in balmy, warm days in the autumn and winter months and hot, sunny days for the rest of the year. Average daily temperatures rarely drop below 22ºC on the barometer year-round.

Beach life – Think sunshine holidays and beaches are the best way of cooling down. Orlando gives you access to beaches in abundance – within an hour’s drive there’s Cocoa Beach and Daytona Beach. While a two hour drive takes you to the Gulf coast beach hotspots of Treasure Island and Clearwater.

Shopping – Orlando is a shopper’s paradise. From prestigious shopping centre to enormous discount outlets, you’ll be spoilt for choice. Florida Mall, The Mall at Millenia, Orlando Premium Outlets, Downtown Disney and Park Avenue in Winter Park should be at the top of your shopping list.

Golf Green Island

Golf – The ladies are sorted with the shopping but what about the men? Golf is the obvious pastime to choose. And with no less than 110 golf courses within a 45-mile radius of Orlando, golf fans will be spoilt for choice.  Time to tee off!

Food – You can dine your way round the world in Orlando. From Italian, Mexican and Chinese cuisine to steak houses, gourmet dining, seafood restaurants and all you can eat buffets, there’s plenty of options to tempt your taste-buds. That’s not forgetting the usual American fast food outlets serving up pizza, burgers and hotdogs.

Top Five Reasons to choose a Holiday in Paris

Famous Sights – Where do we start? Paris is home to the famous attractions of the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, Champs Elysee and the River Seine. Whizz around the city on the Metro and avoid the traffic.

ShoppingShopping – Paris is the world capital of fashion and the place to shop til you drop. From designer boutiques to markets, vintage shops and department stores, there’s plenty of opportunity for a spot of retail therapy in Paris. For designer shopping, there’s Rue Saint Honore, Avenue Montaigne and Rue de Sevres. Pick up a bargain at the weekend Paris Flea Market or the La Vallee Village designer outlet.

Romance – Paris isn’t called the ‘City of Love’ for nothing. What better way to impress your loved one than whisking her away on a Paris weekend break. Enjoy romantic strolls along the Seine or take to the water on a bateaux mouche cruise. Or dine under the stars, with the famous Paris landmarks and sights as your backdrop.

Culture – Visit the enigmatic Mona Lisa at the Louvre. The works of the great artists of the 19th century, including Monet, Gaugin and Cezanne, are on display at Musee D’Orsay. Rodin’s ‘The Kiss’ painting and ‘The Thinker’ sculpture, are waiting to be discovered at the Rodin Museum.  Part of the Les Invalides & Musee de L’Arme is dedicated to Napoleon and his body lies there too.

|| OBSERVE || Breakfast @ Lemon || Dublin || Republic of Ireland || Pure Good Morning Pleasure ||Food & Drink – If there’s one thing the French take pride in, it’s their food and drink. Tasty cuisine is served up in traditional bistros, pavement cafes and gourmet restaurants around the city. Start your day with croissant and coffee, pick up a crepe for lunch and then enjoy moules frites (mussels and chips), oysters or frogs legs for dinner. A wide variety of cheese (the smellier the better) and tasty French wines complete the culinary picture.


If you want to see the best that Paris has to offer, contact the team at Hays Travel – either click the link here or give them a call on 0800 408 4130 (0191 457 0052 from your mobile). For Orlando holidays, contact Hays Faraway by clicking the link here or by phone on 0808 115 0737.

Top 10 Holiday Essentials

british_passportPersonally, I think packing for a holiday is a stressful and surreal time. It’s a mad dash to try and cram everything possible in your room into your little suitcase, without actually thinking of what you essentially need. You end up with half your clothes hanging out the zipper and having to get your Dad to sit on top of your suitcase, whilst you feverishly attempt to close it. During this crazy whirlwind, you always forget to pack the handy and relevant items you actually need to take. To make your packing life a little easier; I’ve produced a list of crucial items to pack:

  1. Passport: Travelling abroad requires a passport and forgetting this little document is everyone’s worst nightmare. Make sure you check and double check you have it, passports are extremely important. And, if you’re entering a country that requires a visa, make sure you take this along with you too!
  2. Plane Tickets: Attempting to board a place without your flight tickets is a hilarious, yet ludicrous, concept. It won’t happen, so make sure they’re safely in your hand-luggage or pocket before you leave home.
  1. Travel Insurance: OK, so you can’t exactly pack travel insurance, yet it’s always sensible to have this in case anything- ‘touchwood’- goes wrong, or you could be forking out a lot of extra money.
  2. Foreign Exchange Currency: Converting your spending money into the correct foreign currency before you leave the UK is a great idea. It saves you the hassle of worrying about leaving it to the last minute and means you can begin to splurge and spend as soon as you land!
  3. Mobile Phone: Having your phone with you is definitely an essential holiday item. Not only can you save your favourite holiday moments, by taking endless amounts of selfies and photographs; but it’ll be handy in an emergency, as well as contacting friends and family. (This is especially useful if you get lost in a nightclub, or amongst a group of tourists).
  4. Clothing: Do your research before you fly to your holiday destination and check the clothing you want to pack is suitable for the temperature. Also, don’t forget to pack a couple of thicker garments for the night, when the temperature cools down. You don’t want to turn up in a snow suit to a destination reaching 42 degrees!
  5. Sun Tan lotion: This bottle of miracle worker will be the difference to you looking like a tomato, or being a beautiful golden brown. Ladies, a little tip is to use a spray-lotion under your makeup, it protects your skin from potential damage.
  1. Swimming Gear: There is nothing worse than forgetting your swim wear. No-one wants to be left out whilst everyone is in the cool rippling waters or having the shameful embarrassment of swimming in your underwear. (There’s always a balding, middle aged man in the waters in boxers shorts – not a pretty sight!)
  2. Sunglasses: Sunglasses can be inexpensive and trendy, as well as preventing blindness from the scorching sun rays. (Although, the tan line around your eyes mimics a pandas). A pair of sunglasses can be the perfect finishing touch to a summery outfit and no holiday is complete without these on your face!
  3. Flip-Flops/Sandals: Not only are these items light and easily fit inside your suitcase, but they can be decorative and protect your feet from the burning sand and little rocks on the sea-bed. Flip-flops are generally inexpensive and the thick foamy layers make them almost indestructible – perfect for crabbing!

So there you have it; the record of vital necessities to bring with you on holiday. It’ll make your life so much easier and will hopefully make packing more stress-free.

Top 10 Common Holiday Souvenirs

Holiday SouvenirsA fantastic holiday is something we all love to remember – bringing back a souvenir that we have found on our travels is one of the best ways to remind us of the fun, laughter and good times we had. A souvenir can be small and simple, any shape and any size and, even though these things may get lost or broken, the memories they have attached with them stay with us forever.

Some souvenirs are crazy and will mean absolutely nothing to someone else, but will be completely treasured by another. We have put together a list of top ten souvenirs that we have at some point, or know someone who has, bought back off holiday, or received at least once…

  1. Tattoos: Tattoos are the reminder that we went a little wild abroad, let ourselves go and had an enormous amount of fun. Maybe alcohol played a small part in actually getting the confidence to get a tattoo, or maybe it was the rebellious teenager inside of us, who knows? It’s still a fantastic way to remember your holiday – or mainly, that tattoo will not let you forget it! (Although, individuals may regret the tattoo depending on what it is….. a stranger’s name might be questionable…).
  2. An ‘I HEART’ Mug: Buying a mug with the destinations name and I HEART above it, is a common holiday souvenir. It’s the classic, yet cheap way of remembering you’ve visited a certain place, often with friends and family. The best part is this little souvenir is used by the family for their morning cups of tea.
  3. A T-Shirt: A wacky t-shirt with bright colours and swirly patterns, or even a destination flag or name of a bar visited, is an essential must-have souvenir. Not only can you actually wear your keepsake, but each time you wear it you will be reminded of the experiences you had in it…. (You don’t have to share them all!).
  4. Key-ring: At some point in our lives, we have all received the ‘dreaded key-ring’ off friends and family when they return from a holiday. A key-ring is often a last minute gift, that at no point do we want hanging off our keys, but we hang them on regardless. Those purchasing the key-ring, will find it handy as well as memorable.
  5. Photographs: Photographs are the easiest way of treasuring a holiday and reminiscing anytime of the day. Photographs can be shared with friends and social networking sites; moments you may have forgotten will be triggered by the sight of a photo (Unfortunately this is the same for moments you want to forget; like ‘mug shots’ or embarrassing moments).
  6. Fridge Magnets: Another pointless symbolic souvenir that we all feel we need to buy abroad, just to show off when we get home. It’s mainly bought to prove we’ve visited a destination, or because we’ve blown our budget abroad. However, fridge magnets provide little flashbacks of a holiday and your first magnet may well be the start of a collection!
  7. Postcards: These little pieces of card can make a person smile, especially if you’re sending one long distance. It shows you’re thinking of someone whilst on holiday, although they often have a zoo animal or an attraction plastered along the front of the card.
  8. A Stick of Rock: Rock is a colourful sweet that’s wrapped in plastic and, depending on the amount of time your relative has left it in their bag, it can be teeth-breaking hard or extra soft. Rock is an inexpensive gift, which is left on your windowsill or in your drawers for long periods of time. (But we appreciate the last minute thought).
  9. Seashells: These sweet pretty little sentiments are often given to us by our children, nieces and nephews. They are often charming to look at, although the remembrance of a coastal holiday is something we will daydream about whilst at work.
  10. Ornaments: Finally, we have ornaments. Often covered in a destination flag or maps, these decorative pieces often gather dust on our shelves; but are still a reminder of our holiday and something we couldn’t resist buying.

So there you have them, the souvenirs we constantly buy ourselves or other people and convince each other they’re worth every penny. However, remember it’s not about the actual item, it’s about the sentimental value and caring thought behind every souvenir.

10 Desserts to try on Holiday

BaklavaOn the average holiday abroad, people actually prefer to eat desserts they are familiar with, without attempting to try something new. However, experiencing another country’s food is all part of being on holiday. Being enthusiastic about new foods is one of the pleasures of travelling abroad. The problem is, what should you try? This blog suggests a range of alternative desserts for you to try which originate from different places, in no particular order:

  1. ‘Baklava’- a traditional Egyptian dessert, most commonly served with a mint flavoured tea. Baklava is a pastry-based dessert with a divine sweet taste, due to having honey or syrup embedded in its layers, perfect for afternoon tea!
  2. ‘Churros’ – this popular Spanish pastry has people queuing for a bite of this fried heaven! Try dipping it in a bowl of melted chocolate, or smother it in cinnamon – ideal for a sugary snack whilst taking a stroll along a pier.
  3. ‘Quindim’ - Enjoy a bite of Brazil with this truly unique dessert. With its distinctive green colouring, it will send waves of coconut over your taste buds, just right for munching on through the World Cup!
  4. ‘Gelato’ – Italy is famous for its soothing frozen desserts and Gelato is a spectacular example of this. Rich in flavour, this will cool you down on the beach whilst you bask in the sun.
  5. ‘Apple Strudel’ – a signature German dish, this is perfect dessert for lounging beside the pool, usually topped with cream and oozing with caramelized apples.
  6. ‘Chocolate Soufflé’ - the French are known for their rich tastes and fine delicacies, but who could pass up a gooey chocolate dessert, that’s light on the stomach. Devour it with a cold drink to appreciate the unique texture.
  7.  ‘Bibingkas’ –  get a little exotically festive with these Philippine rice cakes. Boasting a spongy texture, these little beauties are commonly enjoyed during Christmas – but go down a treat at any time!
  8. ‘Asure’ - otherwise known as ‘Noah’s Pudding’, this is a wonderful Turkish pudding, consisting of nuts, fruits and grains. This simple yet mouth-watering dessert was first created as a reflection of love and peace.
  9. ‘Mango Pudding’ – this beautiful silky dessert was introduced by the Chinese, complimenting the raw flavour of mangos; a true favourite on a hot summer’s day.
  10. ‘Paprenjak’ – lose yourself in the marvellously original Croatian biscuit with honey and pepper, intended for more adventurous tastes.

I’m sure there are many more exquisite desserts, we’ve only named a handful! So now you have the knowledge of these delights, will you be brave enough to try them? We are simply dying to know, get in touch and tweet us with some of your own exploratory desserts also!

2014 Agent Achievement Awards

Agent Achievement AwardsThe best travel agents in the UK were honoured at the 19th Agent Achievement Awards which recently took place at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London.

The Agent Achievement Awards are recognised as the leading awards for agents, whether on the high street, at home, in call centres or online.

Acquired by the Travel Weekly Group last year, the Agent Achievement Awards now form part of an outstanding events portfolio which includes the Globe Travel Awards, the Travolution Awards and the Travel Weekly Northern Ball.

We are delighted to announce that the Hays Group won three awards at the 2014 Agent Achievement Awards: Agent of the Year 2014 - Yorkshire, North Midlands and North East England; Agent of the Year 2014 - South West England and South Wales; and Agent of the Year 2014 - London and South East England.

John Hays, Managing Director of Hays Travel, said: “I’m so proud of our teams and the service they provide.

“The quality of our service doesn’t go without acknowledgement. Thank you and well done to our great staff.”

Hays Faraway Launches New USA & Canada Brochure

Hays Faraway USA & Canada Brochure

There is excitement around the Hays Travel branches today with the long-awaited launch of the new USA & Canada Brochure from Hays Faraway. This 164-page full colour brochure is packed from cover to cover with amazing holidays to two of the world’s most iconic countries, and their countless cities and famous attractions.

Where else but the USA can you: drive along Route 66, enjoy big city living in New York and Las Vegas, say hello to Mickey Mouse in Orlando and relax on the beaches of Miami and Hawaii. Canada boasts the famous Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls and the Calgary Stampede; alongside the lively metropolises of Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal; and the ski resorts of Banff and Whistler.

As part of the UK’s largest independent travel agent, Hays Faraway excel in putting together affordable luxury escapes to some of the world’s most stunning destinations; staying at a great selection of hand-picked hotels and resorts en-route. Our team of experienced Faraway travel consultants are passionate about long haul travel and delight in creating once-in-a-lifetime holidays for their valued clients. So, whether you want to kick-back on a far-flung beach; experience a tailor-made adventure; take a whistle-stop coach tour around iconic cities; or fly away together on an amazing honeymoon, the team at Hays Faraway are just a phone call away on 0800 412 5292.

Call into your nearest branch of Hays Travel and pick up your Hays Faraway USA & Canada Brochure today and discover a whole host of adventures at the end of your fingertips. In the meantime the brochure is available to view online by following this link.

Faraway FAM Trip to Dubai

The Hay Travel Team in Dubai

Dubai holidays are an experience like no other. Old meets new in glorious style in Dubai, where dazzling skyscrapers tower over traditional gold and spice souks. Dubai is home to amazing duty-free shopping, top-class hotels and resorts, stunning white sandy beaches, the first seven-star hotel, and fun-filled attractions galore. Add in year-round sunshine; the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa; the most iconic man-made island, The Palm; and the largest shopping mall in the world, The Dubai Mall; and it’s little wonder that Dubai attracts over 10 million tourists each year.

Hays Faraway recently escorted a group of travel agents on a whistle-stop 3-night trip to Dubai. Julie from the Hays Travel branch in Hartlepool was one of the jet-setters, and this is what she had to say about the trip…

The Hay Travel Team in Dubai

The Hay Travel Team in Dubai

“What an experience our FAM Trip to Dubai was! From the moment we stepped on board our Emirates flight to Dubai (after being upgraded to Business Class), we were treated like royalty – amazing service, comfortable lie-flat beds, touchscreen entertainment systems, a fine dining experience with real china and menus! It was sheer luxury and really set the tone for the whole trip.

“Dubai certainly exceeded my expectations. Before travelling I imagined it as more of a stop-over for business travellers, or as a luxurious getaway for the more affluent client. The luxurious part was correct, however, upon my return, I would have no hesitations about recommending it to many different types of customer. There really is something for everybody – from cultural areas like the traditional souk markets, to the upscale futuristic downtown area, the divine Jumeirah Beach and Dubai Mall, with its designer shopping. Plus, plenty going on for families too.

“We stayed at two hotels – the Media Rotana and the Rose Rayhaan – which are both good quality downtown hotels. We also visited the Arabian Courtyard which is in the more cultural location of Bur Dubai. I can recommend this hotel as its location and value for money makes this ideal for sampling local life. We had a superb lunch at the Movenpick Jumeirah Beach, and this hotel offers excellent All Inclusive packages. Visits to Atlantis the Palm and Jumeirah Beach hotels were also amazing, but Jumeirah Beach was the hotel that did it for me. Simply out of this world!

“I loved Dubai, was amazed by its diversity, and I am so grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity. Thank you, Hays Faraway!

To experience the wonders of Dubai holidays for yourself, give the Hays Faraway team a call on 0800 412 5292