6 Great Options for a Group Trip

Going on a holiday as a group, either with family or friends, is sure to be a lot of fun. This is an excellent opportunity for bonding, to reminisce about the past, and to invest in new memories. If you have no idea where you should be heading, keep on reading and learn from our suggestions.

Rent a Family House in Italy

Whether someone from the family is celebrating a birthday or you just want to go on a vacation together, Italy is always a good idea. This is especially perfect if you love food and wine. Ditch the idea of staying in a hotel. Instead, rent a family house. This will provide you with privacy. They are often self-catering, which can also make it more practical in terms of finances. Time it properly with one of Italy’s many year-round events, like the San Marino MotoGP grand prix or any other.

Ski Chalet Holiday

For those who are looking for a more active holiday, skiing is a good idea. There are many destinations that can be considered, such as Niseko, Courchevel, and Whistler, among others. Both beginners and experienced skiers will surely have fun, especially when traveling as a group. Choose a place where you can enjoy a wide array of other fun activities, more than just skiing. Some are set in charming villages that are filled with unique shops and restaurants.

Stay in a Large Holiday Home in the UK

The UK is one of the destinations on the bucket list of most people. For families or groups of friends, it would be wise to stay in a holiday home that is self-catering. Some are equipped with their own swimming pool. Others have a large courtyard that can also serve as an excellent venue for intimate celebrations. The Cotswolds is known as one of the best places where you can find idyllic family homes that can offer a rustic accommodation. If you are looking for a seaside break then a visit to Devon for a stay in a beautiful family cottage will be just the trick!

Go Backpacking in Thailand

This is a good idea if you want to travel with your group of friends. Thailand is popular among backpackers because of the endless selection of cheap accommodations. The country’s capital, Bangkok, is where most start their holiday. This city is filled with contrast. There is vibrant nightlife, yet there are historic temples. There are traditional markets, yet there are grand malls. For those who prefer to be on the beach, on the other hand, Phuket, Krabi, and Koh Samui are popular choices. If you want to experience hard-core partying, head to Koh Phangan, which is known for their iconic Full Moon parties.

Explore the Beauty of Sri Lanka

If you want to embark in a new experience and discover an exotic destination, gather the group and head to Sri Lanka. From historic tea plantations to wonderful beaches, you will never run out of attractions to explore. It is also historic. There are plenty of places that will allow you to have a glimpse at the rich past of the country. You will also have tons of beaches to visit, including those that are hidden from the massive crowd. Lastly, it is also popular because of its wildlife. Be sure to plan a safari adventure.

Trek Peru’s Inca Trail

A holiday to Peru is bound to be memorable and unique, with so many incredible things to do. Visiting Machu Picchu will make your holiday complete, and if you enjoy hiking, then you’ll definitely want to hike the Inca Trail. It is certainly the most iconic trek in Peru, and will be an amazing experience for you and your group. It involves a few days of intense trekking, but when you arrive at the Machu Picchu ruins it will all be worth it. Feeling intrigued? Check out the top 10 Machu Picchu Secrets here.

10 Interesting Facts You Might Not Know About Zanzibar

Zanzibar is a well-known vacation spot, and is mostly known for its gorgeous beaches and beach resorts. However, there is so much more to experience and discover about this top destination. Read below about all that this unique place has to offer and book your next package holiday to Zanzibar.

1. Zanzibar is actually made up of two islands

Zanzibar is a semi-autonomous archipelago off the coast of Tanzania and is comprised of two main islands and a few smaller ones. The larger island is Unguja, and a smaller one north of Unguja is known as Pemba Island. When one refers to Zanzibar, it is usually in reference to Unguja. The island is about 90 km long and 40 km wide.

2. Origin of the name Zanzibar

The name Zanzibar is derived from the Arabic language, which in turned was derived from a Persian word, and means “the coast of Black people”. Zanzibar’s location made it an ideal entrepot for Arabs, and was a big part of the slave route before slavery was abolished in the 19th century.

3. There is a heavy Arab influence

While Zanzibar was subject to many visitors and influencers such as the Persians, British, and Indians, the Arabs had the deepest impact. The local language, Swahili (known locally as Kiswahili), was born in Zanzibar and is a blend of mostly Arabic and tribal languages such as Bantu. The Arab influence is also heavily reflected in its bazaars as well as the historic sites and architecture of the island, which can clearly be seen in Stone Town. Islam also plays an important role in the culture and tradition of Zanzibar, as the majority of the population is Muslim.

4. Zanzibar is very diverse

Despite a heavy Arab influence, Zanzibar is very diverse and is a melting pot of cultures and traditions, making it a unique and interesting travel destination. This is heavily reflected in its cuisine, as you can find anything from chapati and Biryani, to mishkaki (Middle-Eastern style meat skewers), bokoboko, and Forodhani (Zanzibar pizza). Moreover, the Taarab, which is the local music style of Zanzibar, is a fusion of Swahili poetry, with musical beats from the Middle East, Africa, India, and the West.

5. The carvings on doors represent different things

Stone Town (which was named so because of the use of coral stone as construction material), is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Zanzibar, and is known for its narrow alleys, bazaars, architecture and intricate door carvings. The carvings on the wooden doors are all subtly different, and all have a particular meaning and reason for their details. For instance, some reflect social status and positions, while others reflect ethnicity, and others contain Islamic words or verses from the Quran.

6. Zanzibar is known as Spice Island

Zanzibar is commonly referred to as Spice Island, as many exotic spices can be found there, such as clove, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and black pepper. Take a tour of spice plantations and learn about the history and cultivation of these crops, along with their culinary and medicinal purposes.

7.  The Anglo-Zanzibar war was the shortest in history

The shortest war ever recorded in history lasted about 40 minutes, and occurred between the Sultans of Zanzibar and the United Kingdom, on August 27th, 1896. Upon the Sultan’s sudden death, his cousin Khalid bin Barghash replaced him immediately without British approval, which caused a stir among the British diplomats in the area. Khalid refused to stand down despite warnings from the British, who then opened fire as Khalid escaped through a back exit, abandoning his army and servants to fight alone. The Sultan’s flag was quickly pulled down after that, ending the war.

8. The red colobus monkey is unique to Zanzibar

Zanzibar is home to the endemic red colobus monkey, which can be found in the Jozani Forest Reserve. An endangered species, the red colobus monkey is a popular attraction as it is one of the rarest primates on the continent, and was very close to extinction. Other interesting native species include certain types of butterflies, which the Butterfly Centre, focused on conserving the local forest, teach locals to farm in a sustainable manner.

9. The lead singer of Queen is Zanzibari

Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, the British rock band from the 1970s, was born in Zanzibar and his real name was Farouk (or Farrokh) Bulsara.

10. Zanzibar hosts two major international festivals

Zanzibar annually hosts the Zanzibar International Film Festival (also known as the Festival of the Dhow Countries) in July, one of the largest cultural events in Africa. The event is dedicated to local and international films, art, and music in order to promote social and economic growth. Another major event is the Sauti za Busara music festival in February, which welcomes a rich and diverse variety of African music from the continent.

About the Author:

Mark works at Destiny Holidays and has travelled extensively throughout Africa, having written much about his experiences along the way. He is passionate about changing the misconceptions about the continent and it’s people, bringing awareness to conservation and eco-travel.

Countries Race to Stub Out Smoking for Good

With cigarette smoking the leading cause of preventable deaths around the world, it’s not surprising that governments everywhere are doing everything they can to try and get people to kick the deadly habit. Increasingly, that’s being achieved by promoting vaping as an alternative. People still get the nicotine buzz they crave, but without the dozens of carcinogenic materials found in burning tobacco.

In case anyone is any doubt as to the harm cigarettes cause, here are the facts, courtesy of the World Health Organization. Half of the people smoking today will die, making a grim total of 7 million tobacco-related deaths around the world each year. Equally shocking, second-hand smokers account for close to 1 million of that global death toll from this addictive pastime that’s increasingly being frowned upon (US deaths from tobacco are at least 480,000 per year).

New Zealand is among a growing number of countries that have declared their intention to try and go entirely smoke-free in the coming years. The country’s politicians recognize that not everyone is going to quit cigarettes, so they’ve set a goal that by 2025, less than 5% of the population of almost 4.7 million people will not be smoking. They plans to do this by shielding children from cigarette ads and promotions, reducing tobacco supplies and providing support for those who want to stop smoking.

A Right Royal Effort

Other nations, including the UK, are following suit and seeking ways to get people off tobacco. Doctors at the Royal Society of Medicine — one of Britain’s most prestigious medical institutions and one that dates back to 1805 and includes such legendary luminaries as Charles Darwin, Louis Pasteur and Sigmund Freud as honorary fellows — are to meet later this month in London to discuss the issue.

“The purpose of this meeting is to explore the strategies that will enable the countries of the United Kingdom to become tobacco-free,” the Society said of the event, titled Winning the End-Game Against Tobacco. “It will look at the opportunities that arise from legislation, health education, treatments supporting smoking cessation and the contribution of advocacy.”

Already in the UK, several leading bodies have conducted in-depth research into vaping as a way to get people off cigarettes, and they have given the increasingly popular e-cigarette the thumbs-up.

The equally prestigious Royal College of Physicians has published a report on vaping and concluded that “e-cigarettes are likely to be beneficial to UK public health”, calling on them to be widely promoted. “Smokers can therefore be reassured and encouraged to use them, and the public can be reassured that e-cigarettes are much safer than smoking,” it said.

In the same vein, one of the UK’s top cancer charities, Cancer Research UK, conducted a long-term study into vaping and found that e-cigarettes were “safer than smoking. Cancer Research UK-funded scientists found that people who swapped smoking regular cigarettes for e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy for at least six months had much lower levels of toxic and cancer-causing substances in their body than people who continued to use conventional cigarettes,” the organization said.

Nixing Nicotine

Here in the United States — where people can easily get e-cigarettes from a good vape shop — while there’s no such plan currently in the works, the Food and Drug Administration is moving ahead with a proposal to lower the nicotine content of cigarettes to “non-addictive levels.” This, it is believed, may turn out to be a boost for the vaping industry, as more people turn to e-cigarettes, whose e-liquid refills contain differing levels of nicotine, to get their desired hit.

“The overwhelming amount of death and disease attributable to tobacco is caused by addiction to cigarettes — the only legal consumer product that, when used as intended, will kill half of all long-term users,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said. “Unless we change course, 5.6 million young people alive today will die prematurely later in life from tobacco use. Envisioning a world where cigarettes would no longer create or sustain addiction, and where adults who still need or want nicotine could get it from alternative and less harmful sources, needs to be the cornerstone of our efforts — and we believe it’s vital that we pursue this common ground.”

And even the government’s own advice on vaping is coming under fire. Last year, the Surgeon General said that vaping among young people was becoming a major public concern — but a re-analysis of the data used for the assertion proved that the conclusions may have been wrong.

New research into the Surgeon General’s warning about vaping found it “does not appear to be supported by the best available evidence on the health risks of nicotine use and population survey data on prevalence of frequent e-cigarette use.” It added that “The next US Surgeon General should consider the possibility that future generations of young Americans will be less likely to start smoking tobacco because of, not in spite of, the availability of e-cigarettes.”