• SPOTLIGHT ON: mexico

    This month the focus is on Mexico including posts on different ways to enjoy the Yucatan Peninsula – from a blissful beachside yoga retreat with The Travel Yogi which is the perfect place to fulfil your New Year’s resolutions to a luxury villa at The Banyan Tree at Mayakoba – as well as snorkelling with turtles, cooking with Mayans and swimming in cenotes…

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  • London

    When you’re tired of London you’re tired of life, or so the saying goes. Tire yourself out virtually by reading this Londoner’s posts about her beloved hometown…

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  • Vancouver

    Come with me as I explore the city I call my second home…

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  • Italy

    The question I’m asked most often as a travel writer: what’s your favourite country in the world? Answer? Italia!…

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Banyan Tree Mayakoba: The Perfect Place To Stay On The Mayan Riviera

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, Continents, Food, Mexico, Opinion, Perfect Places To Stay, Photo Journeys, Worldwide Vacation

Banyan Tree Mayakoba Blog

Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Mexico’s Riviera Maya isn’t short on publicity for its vacation charms, and the entire Yucatan Peninsula isn’t exactly bereft of 5 Star hotel options. 

So chances are if you’re headed to this area of Mexico you already know exactly what you want, and that’s likely to be a luxurious haven of relaxation encompassing the holy holiday trinity of sun, sea and sand. With a bit of spa thrown in for extra serenity.

The hard part is choosing which of the many possible beachside palaces in which to set up your private kingdom and feel like royalty for a few blissful days and nights.

I chose the Banyan Tree at Mayakoba, and it certainly conquered my heart and ensured I was laying down my arms within minutes of arrival… 

Valentine Hotel Hotlist: 6 Sexy Places To Spend Time With A Special Someone

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Africa, Americas, Asia, British Columbia, California, Canada, Continents, England, Europe, London, Malaysia, Mexico, Opinion, Perfect Places To Stay, South Africa, UK Staycation, United Kingdom, USA, Vancouver Island, Wishlists, Worldwide Vacation

Rose at Banyan Tree Mayakoba

Falling in love with hotels for Valentine’s Day…

A romantic weekend away for Valentine’s Day – sounds like a great idea in principle, right?

But as anyone who has tried to book even a simple night away with their partner already knows, the process of finding the perfect hotel for romance isn’t all hearts and flowers.

You’re searching for seclusion and sophistication in a Valentine hotel, but you also need that unquantifiable quality – sex appeal. And just like dating itself, there’s always the worry that hotels which look good on paper could turn out to be a let down when we meet them in person.

So I thought I’d compile a list of  the 6 sexiest places in the entire world I’ve ever stayed. These are tried and tested hotels that I would not hesitate in recommending for romance, so you can kick the research to the kerb…

GIVEAWAY: Snowshoeing on Mount Seymour Gets Sweeter

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, British Columbia, Canada, Competitions, Continents, Vancouver, Worldwide Vacation

Snowshoeing on Mount Seymour

Chocolate fondue & Snowshoeing on Mount Seymour

On the eve of my first ever snowshoeing experience I enjoy dinner at a pub in downtown Vancouver with my girlfriends – who are a mixture of Canadians and British ex-pats.

Talk turns, as it always does at such gatherings, to the benefits of Vancouver as a city and place to call home – and of Canada compared with Europe.

I take one of my BC-born friends as my date the next evening on the romantic Saturday night chocolate fondue-fuelled snowshoeing tour on Mount Seymour – much to both our boyfriends’ amusement.

But there’s still plenty of time for you and your beau to be together amongst the snow this Valentine’s weekend.

Read on to hear why snowshoeing really is sweet – and to win a pair of tickets…

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Tuscan Wine…But Were Afraid To Cask

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Continents, Europe, Food, Italy, Opinion

Wines in Tuscany

Tuscan wine in Siena

The first week of the New Year is usually just about the worst week of the year too.

But I’m happy to say (and apologies for the uncharacteristic smugness) that so far my 2016 is shaping up to be my best year ever.

Ticking some New Year’s Resolutions off the list in record time feels fantastic, and one item in particular – to spend some time in Italy this year – is already in the booking stages. And it’s only January 7th. That’s got to be a record.

Yes, at the risk of sounding like a bit of a lush, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be spending Valentine’s Day raising a glass and saying Ti Amo in Italia with one of the loves of my life: Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.

So to celebrate, I decided to share everything I have ever learned about Tuscan wine, and a few recommendations should your travels ever take you to enjoy a taste of Tuscany

10 Travel Lessons To Transform Your 2016 Trips

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Alberta, Americas, Art & Culture, British Columbia, Camping, Canada, Continents, Costa Rica, Mexico, Photo Journeys, Wishlists, Worldwide Vacation

Travel Lessons

Lesson 1: If you see this sign, you should probably follow it.

I’ve picked my own top 10 travel highlights from the last year and reverse engineered them to calculate just what made them so memorable and share my ultimate list of travel lessons to keep in mind while you plan your 2016 trips.

As travel addicts we want it all and we want it everywhere – but these 10 travel mantras will help you separate the ‘what if I go there?’ wheat from the ‘no, choose this place’ chaff.

See if you agree with my 10 travel lessons for 2016…

All I want for Christmas is……To Visit 10 European Christmas Markets

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Austria, Belgium, Continents, England, Europe, Food, France, Hungary, News, Opinion, Perfect Places To Stay, Photo Journeys, Poland, Shopping, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Top Ten Travel Tips, Ukraine, Wishlists, Worldwide Vacation

Brussels at Christmas

Brussels at Christmas

At the start of winter I usually struggle with the idea of weekends away to colder European countries – ever clinging onto that last bit of winter sun.

But that all changes come Christmas when I’m a sucker for short breaks to snowy cities and can’t wait to hit the European Christmas markets to stock up on stockings, buy more bobbly hats and glug down some Glühwein.

Here are my recommendations for the best Christmas markets in Europe

5 More Things You Should Know About Iceland

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Continents, Europe, Iceland, Opinion, Top Ten Travel Tips, Worldwide Vacation

5 things you should know about Iceland

Icelandic scenery

I recently wrote a post sharing some of my favourite things about Iceland and called, rather unsurprisingly, 5 things you should know about Iceland.

But of course in compiling this list I ended up thinking of way more than just 5 things that I really believe all travellers, including you should know about Iceland.

So, I decided to share 5 more aspects of Iceland that make the country a unique, amazing and magical destination, whether you have just a weekend to visit, or the luxury of weeks on end to really explore…

The Simple Bear Necessities of Canadian Telly Vs The British Box

Written by Jaillan Yehia. Posted in Americas, Canada, Continents, News, Opinion

polar bear town

Image courtesy of OLN’s Polar Bear Town 

As a Brit in Canada, I’m asked the same question every time I get into a taxi.

It goes like this:

Taxi driver: “What part of Australia are you from?”

Me: (Struggles to remain polite, but being British and not Australian, succeeds) “Haha. I’m actually from London.”

Taxi driver: “Where do you like better, there or here?”

The phraseology of this question remains remarkably consistent – just as every waitress asks precisely ‘how the first few bites are tasting’ – as though all Canadians come with a script, and I’m still learning the lines (though ‘sorry’ was already second nature ‘buddy’ was new lingo for sure).

I never quite knew what to say to the question of which is better, Canada or England, because the answer is far too complex to discuss on an $8 cab ride.

Until I realised that the bare necessities of British and Canadian culture can be summed up by simply turning on the TV…