Yesterday morning at 08.30 BA flight 001 and Virgin Airlines VS3 took off from Heathrow destined for New York. They were the first flights taking travellers to the US for over 18 months. Fantastic news for family and friends who have been separated for so long. Also for the thousands of holidaymakers who fly from the UK to the US each year in search of sun, snow, adventure, culture and much more. Our March bulletin covered some of our favourite US destinations. Click here to read it. But travel to the US, as elsewhere, is not without its testing requirements and they are not quite as straightforward as some other destinations, principally because if you take a lateral flow test for entry to the US it must be overseen by a medical professional. So if you travel to the US please make sure you book the right sort of test and verify with the provider that it is suitable for US entry. You can read more about US entry requirements not he FCDO website here.
Last week I attended the World Travel Market in London where travel industry professionals from all over the world gathered to look at latest developments in travel technology, emerging destinations and new travel trends. I was particularly struck by the prominence of the Saudi tourism authority and plan to cover this destination in a future bulletin. Saudi Arabia’s travel industry has for decades focussed on religious tourism. But as demand for oil declines, it is taking steps to harness all it has to offer (think five UNESCO-listed sites, thousands of square miles of desert and mountains and 1750km of coastline with coral reefs and deserted islands) and open up tourism to the world.
I also attended a talk from the Minister of Tourism from Jordan which has used the downturn in visitors in the past 18 months (an almost 80% reduction) to revamp its tourism and in particular to focus on responsible travel. I had fantastic family holiday to Jordan a few years ago now and can’t wait to get back there. So this week’s bulletin looks at all the different types of holiday you can have in Jordan.
|Just a five hour flight away and with a climate that encourages holidays for most for the year (avoid the heat of July and August) Jordan is a destination with a huge variety of sights and experiences. Active travellers will want to walk in Wadi Rum and the Dana Bio Reserve. Or maybe cycle along the desert roads and through acres of olive groves. History buffs can marvel at extraordinary Roman ruins, the rose red city of Petra and numerous crusader castles. There are religious sites too, including Mount Nebo where Moses showed his followers the promised land and the place where John the Baptist baptised Jesus. Striking landscapes in Wadi Rum and the Dead Sea provide fantastic photography opportunities and everywhere you travel you will encounter the bedouin way of life – plus lots of camels. Hotels on the whole are upmarket brands but there are one or two lovely boutique hotels if you know where to look. And plenty of opportunities to camp under the stars too. Click here to read more about Jordan.
First time Jordan
There is so much to see and do in Jordan and different travellers will want to focus on different experiences. But a classic first trip to Jordan might be an eight day guided private trip covering the Roman sights in Amman and Jerash, the Nabatean city of Petra, the incredible desert landscape of Wadi Rum and of course the Dead Sea. These are the highlights, but you will stop off at plenty of other sights en route and stay in lovely hotels. You’re sure to want to come back! From £1950 pp. You may want to add some extra time at the end, sunning yourself in Aqaba on the Red Sea to make a ten day trip.
The five hour flight time from London to Amman means that Jordan, and its most famous site, the rose red city of Petra, make for an adventurous long weekend. Arrive on an evening flight to spend a night in the capital Amman before being driven to Petra and spending two days exploring this magical site. Time your trip right and you can visit it at night with the entrance lit by hundreds of candles. You’ll have time to take a Jordanian cookery class before travelling to spend a day swimming in, but mostly floating on, the Dead Sea. After a night at the Dead Sea, a short drive will take you to Amman for your journey back to the UK. From £1370 pp
We think Jordan is a great place to take teenagers on holiday to have experience they wouldn’t get on a holiday to the Med and give them a taste for travel. Of course they will come back with a tan, but also some amazing memories and fantastic Insta posts. Experiences include snorkelling or scuba diving in the Red Sea, riding a camel Lawrence of Arabia style through the desert, dune running in Wadi Rum, floating weightlessly on the Dead Sea and camping out under the stars. When we did it with our girls we drove ourselves around. Slowing down to let camels cross the road was all part of the fun. A classic self drive around Jordan covering these sights comes in at around £2845 pp for a ten day tour.
Hike part of the Jordan trail from Dana to Petra
In recent years, Jordanian hiking enthusiasts have mapped a hiking trail from northern Jordan to the Red Sea. All in all it is 650 km long but is designed so that it can be done in sections. Walking from the Dana Bio Reserve to Petra, camping en route, is a magnificent way to see the real country, its people and its landscape. Add on a couple of days in Petra, a trip into the stunning desert of Wadi Rum and a night on the Dead Sea and you have a perfect active Jordan holiday. From £4170 as private tour