Category Archives: Destination Guide

Best September City Breaks for Couples

The kids are back at school, and the sun is still shining – the perfect combo for couples looking to take a late summer city break. Here are the top 5 places you’ll want to be and why this September…

Paris

image by cocoparisienne CC0

Would a list like this be complete without it? Not only is the city said to be the epitome of romance, it is a short flight, or even train journey from the UK – which means more time gazing into each other’s eyes on holiday. Plus it is packed with boutique bars, restaurants and cafes – just perfect for indulgent couple time.

Reykjavik

image by sapphoris CC0

Sensational scenery, vibrant nightlife, and the city centre has just about everything within walking distance. Three great reasons for couples to take a short break in Reykjavik! Also, temperatures just about to cling on to double figures right until the end of the month, fresh but pleasant.

Amsterdam

image by kirkandmimi CC0

Like Paris, this city is quick to get to, but the atmosphere is certainly more heady! The titillating city centre will bring some added excitement to a romantic weekend, but don’t forget that Amsterdam is blessed by a myriad of beautiful canals and winding cobbled streets, ideal backdrops for a romantic getaway.

Venice

image by Felix_Broennimann CC0

This Italian city is literally awash with romance. Whether you catch an opera in the opulent La Fenice opera house, take a gondola ride at sunset (please refrain from warbling the words from the Cornetto ad), or just wander the piazzas soaking up the amazing architecture – it’ll be a city break of a lifetime for two.

Marrakech

image by negahuk CC0

Adventure, luxury, a taste of the exotic… and it takes less than 4 hours to get there from the UK – no wonder this Moroccan city has made our list! It’s also a super-toasty temperature in September, around 35 °C. The dose of late summer sunshine is guaranteed to keep your romantic intentions topped up as well as your tan!

Fly Me To The Moon

While space tourism is coming on in great leaps, the reality of jetting off to the moon is not going to be a reality for a fair few years. You can however, take a hot air balloon flight over Cappadocia, Turkey, where the lunar landscape ticks “other worldly” boxes, like nowhere else on our planet!

Image by SashSegal CC0

What’s so special about Cappadocia?

Quite simply, it is a geological oddity that will blow your mind. Undulating landscapes punctuated by sharp volcanic peaks, and the locals were true troglodytes, living in homes carved from the soft volcanic rock. It is a unique place to visit that should be on every globetrotting bucket list.

Image by ddouk CC0

Make sure you get a birds eye view

Booking a flight in a hot air balloon is a must when you visit. While most of the attractions in Cappadocia are underground, the view from above is unmissable. Think pseudo-psychedelic volcanic landscapes, fairy chimneys, and sensuous folding valleys. Balloon rides usually set off around sunrise, which means you get to see the whole spectacular landscape bathed in the most beautiful light.

Image by Hans CC0

Stay in a (posh) cave

Would you believe there is such a thing as a 5 Star Cave? The cave hotels in the area are restored troglodyte dwellings that have been given a luxurious contemporary re-vamp, often with reclaimed stone, iron and wood. You can expect wi-fi, spa baths, and TVs. Wondering why Cappadocia’s residents choose to live in caves? The volcanic rock in the area is soft, so easy to excavate, and is an excellent insulation material, keeping the rooms at a perfectly pleasant 17 – 20 degrees all year round.

Image by LaCamila CC0

Go To Göreme Open-Air Museum

The finest examples of rock-cut churches and colorful fresh-as-the-day-they-were-done frescos from the 10th, 11th and 12th Centuries draw everyone who visits Cappadocia to Göreme Open-Air Museum. It is a wonderful chance to experience the stunning landscape and the unique architecture of the chapel clusters up close.

Image by Hans CC0

 

Don’t forget your travel insurance!

Recreational hot air balloon rides are covered automatically on our travel insurance policies, so you’ll be covered for that as well as lost or stolen luggage, passports, or holiday money, cancelled flights, medical assistance, repatriation…. Just give us a call on 01892 833338 or get a quote online.

 

Please note: Policies, terms, and conditions may change. All information published in this blog pertaining to travel insurance from worldwideinsure.com is only deemed valid at the time of publication.

Top 5 Private Jet Holiday Hotspots In Europe

Luxury travel has never been in such high demand, especially private flights to European hotspots that can be reached in just a couple of hours from the UK. After all, who would want to spend more time waiting to board a flight than the flight actually takes? If splashing your cash on a super-luxury getaway is your idea of fun – these are the most popular places to head this summer!

PrivateFly Citation XLS courtesy of Cessna’

1. Mykonos – Flight time approx. 4 hours

There has been an increase in interest of more than 50% in private flights to Mykonos – but even if you have the money, it doesn’t mean that you can just get in a jet and land there. This destination has become so popular that the island’s airport is forced to turn away private jets at peak times, and holidaymakers are having to make the last leg of their journey by helicopter from Athens!

Mykonos CC0 Courtesy of PrivateFly

2. Ibiza – Flight time approx. 2.5 hours

This summer-centric destination has been a party hot-spot since the sixties, and its popularity appears to grow year on year. It has gone from being host to secret beach parties, discotheques, nightclubs, and after-parties, to hosting big names in pop music every summer. Maybe that accounts for the 38% rise in interest in private flights since last year?

3. Palma de Mallorca – Flight time approx. 2.5 hours

Palma is a cosmopolitan city blessed with beautiful beaches. Who wouldn’t want to be whisked away to spend a few sun-drenched days here? Spectacular shopping, amazing restaurants, vibrant bars, and of course lazy days by the sea. No wonder it has had nearly 30% more interest from the luxury travel sector this year!

4. Santorini – Flight time approx. 3 hours 50 mins

Interest in private flights to this volcanic Greek island paradise has risen by 28%, but it is proving as tricky to get to by private flight as Mykonos during peak times. The advice? Book your private flight well in advance. Now until September is the best time to go for nightlife, swimming and sunbathing – if sightseeing without the heat is your priority, book a trip during October or November.

5. Naples – Flight time approx. 2.5 hours

The rise in popularity of flights to Naples (up 27% on last year) could be down to its authentic feel. It is less fashionable than Milan, less touristy than Rome, but it is where real Italians choose to live. As well as serving up what is arguably the best pizza in Italy, Naples is also perfectly positioned to reach some stunning island destinations such as Capri and Ischia – maybe this is what’s drawing the private jet-setting crew!

Is a private flight possible on your holiday budget?

PrivateFly Citation XLS courtesy of Cessna

As a guide, current charter prices for an 8-seater Citation XLS, from London Luton to Mykonos (one-way) with PrivateFly is £22,600.

 

A Gastronomic Guide To Travelling The World

Being on holiday is the number one excuse to eat as much as you like as often as you like – but what about heading somewhere based on the sort of foods you like to eat? We share some insights into what food is consumed where to guide your next gastronomic getaway!

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Meat

If meat is a must on your holiday head to the United States of America, where the average meat consumption is 120kg of meat per person per year. This may be the only place in the world you can order a 72oz steak, famously known as the Big Texan.

Seafood

In Japan, seafood isn’t just something to eat – it’s a part of the culture, and its presentation is an art form. It is also a place where chefs can fulfil their 007 wishes and get themselves a “license to kill” to be able to serve up Fugu, a dish made from pufferfish, which contains lethally poisonous parts!

Vegetables

India is hailed as the best place to go if you are vegetarian, but if you are looking for dishes prepared from a variety of freshly grown veg, then the stats say to go to the Netherlands, ranked Number 1 in the world for healthy eating.

Vegan

If you denounce all forms of animal product in your dinners, head to Taiwan. Their vegetarian cuisine is vegan by default because the Taiwanese are known for not eating much dairy, and eggs are usually an optional extra.

Cheese

Going by consumption, France would be your best bet as (unsurprisingly) the French consume more cheese than any other population in the world. This accolade is followed (surprisingly) by Iceland then Finland. If you’re a connoisseur – then you wouldn’t want to give Spain a miss, in particular La Mancha. Here you can indulge in the country’s most famous cheese Manchego, produced exclusively from the milk of Manchega sheep in the La Mancha region.

Eggs

Forget about how you might like your eggs in the morning, how do you like them for dinner? If the answer is cooked sunny-side-up in a skillet of tomato sauce, spiced up with chile pepper, turmeric, and cumin… head to Tunisia for the classic North African egg dish Shakshuka. How about hardboiled, whole, in an onion and tomato sauce, spiced with red chilli, coriander, and turmeric? This is an authentic Punjabi Egg Masala, which can be found in India.

A note about food safety abroad

The risk of food poisoning varies between destinations, but generally speaking, as long as food is piping hot and thoroughly cooked, it should be safe to eat. Particular foods to be aware of include:

  • Cheese and ice-cream as they can be made from unpasteurised milk.
  • Seafood can pose a problem even if well cooked.
  • Salads are difficult to clean so often remain contaminated by soil or flies.
  • Fruit and vegetable skins can also be contaminated by soil and flies – make sure they are peeled.

Don’t let food poisoning ruin your holiday… make sure your travel insurance will get you and your family the medical help you need fast.

Monaco Grand Prix Destination Guide

Where to go, what to do, what to expect, and how to do it in style!

Image by DigitArtClips CC0

If you fancy a taste of the high life, and want to soak up the glitz and glamour of Formula 1 on the sunny shores of the Med, then you’d better get yourself to Monaco for some serious F1 action. Here you’ll find yourself in the centre of some of the most exclusive experiences in the world…

The travel…

Unless you are arriving on your own super-yacht, you’ll need to get there in style. Believe it or not, travelling to Monaco by private jet is surprisingly affordable if there are a few of you, especially if you manage to book an empty-leg flight. Try the Stratajet app – a real-time private jet charter booking platform, it can shave an impressive 75% off charter prices, which will help buy a few glasses of bubbly once you get there!

The transfers…

A helicopter transfer will get you from Nice Airport to Monaco in a very impressive 7 minutes, and offer you stunning views on the coast (and course) en-route. Prices start at around £175. Alternatively you could save yourself £30 and arrive by limo. There are various shuttle options available too, ideal if you need to get from an out-of-town hotel to the race.

The accommodation…

Hotels and apartments in nearby Nice are the more affordable option, but you will miss out on the glitz and glam. Prices for places in Monaco however are pretty steep, even if you plan to “slum it” in an air bnb. ApartHotels are a nice compromise, offering the convenience of your own apartment, with the perks of a 5 star hotel. Five-day rentals over the race weekend start at about £2,500.

The experiences…

When in Monaco… well it would be rude not to indulge like a Hollywood star! Monte Carlo Casino is a must, but there are also a wealth of extra activities available over the race weekend including: Yacht tours of the coast, super-car hire, yacht and helicopter tours, and even a heli-gastro experience – yes, for a mere £3,000 you can take a helicopter ride to a gourmet lunch prepared by the best chefs in France.

The parties…

You haven’t been to Monte Carlo until you have been on a super-yacht, and you haven’t experienced Monte Carlo until you’ve partied on one. Thankfully for just £250 you can get yourself a ticket for a yacht party in the harbor, where anyone who is anybody celebrates throughout the night.

Oh, and the races…

From 25th to 28th May 2017, Monaco will become even more decadent, drenched in the kind of glamour only lots of money can buy. The Monaco Grand Prix is the most prestigious race of the year, noted for its challenging course (featuring the world’s most famous hairpin) and for its stunning views. While general admission tickets are available, bagging yourself a hospitality or VIP package really will give you THE holiday of a lifetime, with admission into The Paddock Club where you can mingle with the F1 Elite, and the Amber Lounge, host to the trendiest after-party in Monaco.

Don’t forget your travel insurance! We can tailor your travel insurance to suit whatever you want to do on your holiday, including jet-setting in private planes and helicopters, or taking to the waters in a yacht for some scuba diving or sailing.

Top 5 Destinations for Early Easter Sun

If you are in search of sun for over the early Easter break, we have some great news… There are loads of places you can reach in just a few short hours, take a look at this lovely selection of destinations, with the nearest first…

Sicily

Sicily by hirisflower CC0

Spring is the perfect time to explore Sicily’s coastline. Grab your hiking boots, pack a picnic of gorgeous Mediterranean cuisine and take in the splendid sights!

  • 7 hours of sun a day
  • Average daytime temp 16°C
  • Chance of rain
  • Flight time from London to Sicily is 2 hours 53 minutes

Malta

Blue Lagoon by Munea Viajes CC BY-SA 2.0

The clear blue water of the Blue Lagoon is best enjoyed well before the high season starts, ahead of the rush and intense heat of the summer sun.

  • 8 hours of sun a day
  • Average daytime temp 20°C
  • Chance of light rain
  • Flight time from London to Malta is 3 hours 5 minutes

Morocco

Morocco by kantsmith CC0

Head south to avoid the heavy rains typical at this time of the year in the north, and make sure you enjoy a traditional mint tea – it is the taste of Morocco!

  • 8 hours of sun a day
  • Average daytime temp 27°C
  • Chance of showers
  • Flight time from London to Morocco is 3 hours 14 minutes

Crete

Crete by jarekgrafik CC0

Moderate springtime temperatures make this the perfect time for hiking and enjoying the native flora, or booking a place on an outdoor adventure.

  • 8 hours of sun a day
  • Average daytime temp 20°C
  • Chance of light rain
  • Flight time from London to Crete is 3 hours 52 minutes

Cyprus

Cyprus by dimitrisvetsikas CC0

The beaches here are arguably at their best at this time of year as you are almost guaranteed uninterrupted views of the sandy shores and shimmering sea.

  • 9 hours of sun a day
  • Average daytime temp 21°C
  • Chance of showers
  • Flight time from London to Cyprus is 4 hours 25 minutes

The Biggest Firework Festivals of 2017

If you are looking for a break that packs a big bang for your bucks, then maybe you should plan your next adventure around a firework festival! Here are some of the most impressive firework themed events that are happening around the world in 2017 for you to enjoy.

April 15th Rouketopolemos – Greek islands of Chios

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This event translates as “Rocket War”, and it takes certain types of travellers to throw themselves into the chaos that ensues. Rouketopolemos takes place in Vrontados. It is here a pyrotechnic battle is staged between two churches – in rival parishes – firing as many as 60,000 rockets between them actually at each other. Rouketopolemos is their way of marking Easter. We bet not many chocolate eggs survive the ordeal!

July 14th Bastille Day – France

Bastille Day Fireworks Image by Yann Caradec CC BY-SA 2.0

Each year the Bastille Day fireworks display lights up the Parisian skyline, and each year it brings something new in a themed event. War and Peace, Paris Welcomes The World, and Paris Is A Party are examples. Watching untold amounts of money literally go up in smoke from the Eiffel Tower is a popular event, and you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with around a million people! Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille in 1789, the start of the French revolution.

August 09th Singapore National Day

Singapore National Day Celebrations Image by Tony Gladvin George CC BY 2.0

The fireworks on Singapore National Day is a patriotic display of pyrotechnic wonders that gets bigger every year. To mark Singapore as an international hub, teams from around the world are invited to showcase their culture in the most magnificent way possible – with fireworks and pyromusicals – lighting up Marina Bay. The colorful event celebrates the country’s colourful rise to independence from Malaysia in 1965.

September 22nd – 25th Correfoc, Spain

Correfoc Fire Run Image by Somewhere In The World Today CC BY 2.0

This fiery pastime translates as “firerun” and is actually quite self-explanatory – especially when you read the tourist health and safety advice. Wear old clothes, cover your arms and legs, protect your neck with a bandana and wear headgear to protect yourself from burns. It is also advised that spectators wear earplugs to protect their ears, and that hands should be free to shield eyes at any time a “diable” gets too close. So what’s all the fuss about? During the Correfoc, “devils” are let loose, running through the crowds with fireworks attached to pitchforks. Not for the feint hearted. There are kids Correfoc events that may be less scary for the safety conscious traveller. Correfocs happen at lots of festivals throughout the year in Spain, we’ve picked a balmy autumnal event in Barcelona for your enjoyment!

October 31st Diwali, India

Diwali Fireworks Image by Kinshuk Kashyap CC BY 2.0

The Hindus celebrate the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over despair with the most massive firework display. Diwali hasn’t always had fireworks at the heart of its celebrations – traditionally candles were lit in a more modest celebration of light – and may not have for much longer. It seems that the enthusiasm for fireworks displays during this time is seriously affecting the air quality. Last year’s celebrations caused smog in Delhi for days affecting many people’s health. Weather conditions were thought to be a contributing factor.

November 05th Guy Fawkes, UK

Lewes Fireworks Image by Stuart Chalmers CC BY-ND 2.0

You’ll all be familiar with this celebration, but have you ever witnessed the shenanigans that happen in the little (and usually very peaceful) town of Lewes in East Sussex at this time of year? Lewes Bonfire Celebrations is one of the most spectacular of its kind in the world, where a procession of burning (often political) effigies make their way down the high street and fireworks are let off, well, wherever it seems! Tickets MUST be bought in advance, and don’t go thinking you can just drive in and park – most of the town is closed to traffic in the lead up to the celebrations.

December 24th La Noche Buena, Peru

Fireowrks Image by photogrammer7 CC0

The last date in the calendar takes us across the world to Peru, where locals welcome in Christmas with a big bang. The 24th is a day for feasting and drinking, and then Peruvians take to the streets and light fireworks before partying the night away. It’s summer in this part of the world, which makes celebrating xmas alfresco an unusual and beautiful experience, especially accompanied by festive fireworks!

If you fancy dancing with fire devils, spectating a rocket war, or just taking in the dazzling lights of Diwali, you’d better get yourself some travel insurance. We have a range of competitively priced policies that are low on excitement, but big on cover.

Ireland Destination Guide – St Patrick’s Day Special

If heading to the Emerald Isle is on your bucket list, you’d be a fool not to plan your visit around St Patrick’s Day. This is when the very best of festival fun and traditional music can be found everywhere you go, but that’s not all you’ll find in Ireland – here’s what’s not to be missed…

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Booze

The Irish have a reputation for enjoying a tipple, as such it’d be awfully rude not to explore the many taverns and bars in the cities and the towns to get a real feel for the frivolities. It’d be equally rude not to go on a couple of brewery tours. The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin offers 7 floors of storytelling, stunning architecture, and of course a great tasting beverage. The must-go factor has to be down to the roof top bar, where you can enjoy a 360° view of the city. While you are in Dublin, head to Old Jameson’s Distillery – which is reopening in time for 2017 St Patrick’s Day celebrations after some gorgeous renovation work! Tours are still available at The Old Midelton Distillery in Cork.

Image by Maguiss CC0

Festivals and Folk Music

To truly experience the craic, you need to get involved with some Irish celebrations – and guess what – St Patrick’s Day is just the ticket! The celebrations in Dublin will be taking place from 16th to the 19th March in 2017. During this time it’ll be a no-holds-barred party, punctuated by the famed St Patrick’s Day Parade. It is also the time to enjoy traditional Irish ensembles in all the pubs in town!

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Walks and Riding

Whether you head to Killarney National Park, Croagh Patrick, Skellig Michael, or The Dingle Peninsula you can while away a lifetime of pure joy on two legs or four, or on two wheels if you prefer. The landscapes in Ireland are spectacular, and best enjoyed without an engine. There are dedicated horse riding tours that take you along beaches and through mountains, mountain biking is another great way to take in the sights. However, we’d recommend a slow wander in the wilderness to really get close to this beautiful island.

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Geology

There are some crazy things happening in Ireland, and we’re not talking about leprechaun sightings (we’ll get on to that later). The Giants Causeway is a geological delight, and a natural phenomenon not to be missed. There are over 40,000 basalt columns that make up the causeway, the remnants of volcanic activity. The coastal walks here have inspired many artists and poets, and led to a few fanciful tales over the years too.

 

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Folklore and Legends

Aside from seeking out faeries and leprechauns, excessive mention of which may cause irritation to residents, we’d recommend that you head to Blarney Castle to soak up a bit of folklore. It is at Blarney that you’ll find the blarney stone, which bestows the gift of the gab upon anyone who kisses it. If you intend to kiss the Blarney Stone, you better have a head for heights, because you have to hang upside down from the battlements to reach it. Thankfully modern health and safety has an iron railing installed and a kindly assistant to keep hold of you. If that doesn’t sate your hunger for Irish legends, you’d do well to book an Irish Folk Tour, full to the brim of storytelling and atmosphere.

Cricket In The Caribbean – A Sunny Spring Break For Sports Fans

Image by rhodes8043 CC0

Image by rhodes8043 CC0

Worried that the grey British weather will leave you feeling as mad as a March hare by the end of the month? Fear not – you still have four weeks to get yourself to the England v West Indies Tour where the sound of wood on willow is extra relaxing thanks to sea, sand and sun!

There are also lots of gorgeous beaches to explore, natural sights to see, and plenty of rum to be drunk too. Here’s our guide to the most relaxing break in the world this spring!

Where and When

The England v West Indies tour 2017 takes place in Antigua on the 3rd and 5th of March at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium and at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on the 9th March.

What to do (other than watch cricket)

Whether you travel independently or plump for a package, you’ll have a few days between matches to explore everything the Caribbean has to offer. Here are some of our favourites…

Swim with turtles – You can book a private trip or go on a group feed and swim excursion to the nearby turtle sanctuary. The 2 hour eco-adventure starts in Bridgetown, Barbados where you’ll be whisked away in a boat, giving you beautiful views of the south coast on the way to Carlisle Bay. Guests get to feed these magnificent beasts, and brush up on their underwater photography. All snorkelling equipment is provided, and you’ll be given some light refreshments on your return journey. Prices start at about £45.

Explore Harrisons Cave – It might seem a shame to head underground when you have sunny skies above, but Harrisons Cave is a treat not to be missed! A glass lift and tram ride ensure it won’t sap too much energy, and you will get to learn a lot about the local history as well as the geology on the journey. You can book a tour for about £100 that includes visits to the other natural wonders in Barbados such as Hunte’s Gardens, The Flower Forest, Barbados Wildlife Reserve, and Bathsheba.

Drink Rum at St Nicholas Abbey – No trip to the Caribbean is complete without a drop of Rum, and St Nicholas Abbey is just the place to go to sample some. The working distillery dates back to the mid 1600s and is a working example of a 19th century sugar plantation, with the original mills crushing the sugar cane. You can join a historical tour around the house and museum then spend your own time exploring the grounds. Various packages are available starting at about £65.

How to get there – Independent Travel vs Tour Packages

Flights to just Barbados with Virgin are in the region of £700 per person return. The flights between Antigua and Barbados are around £400 with Caribbean Airlines.

To enjoy a week in a luxury beachside hotel you can expect to pay £3,000.

English Cricket Tours have a two-centre package with 6 nights in Antigua, all-inclusive at the beachfront Halcyon Cove followed by 6 nights in Barbados from £2700 per person. This includes flights, accommodation, transfers from the airport to the hotels, and inter island flight. Even though tickets to watch the cricket are extra, this seems like quite a bargain! For more information visit englishcrickettours.co.uk or call 0208 932 4565/0203 667 1613.

Travel Insurance!

Don’t forget your travel insurance – if it is your only trip of the year, we can offer excellent deals on our single trip insurance, or if this is part of your annual globetrotting adventures you’ll need our annual multi trip insurance. We also have family policies where kids go free. Call 01892 833338 for more info, free quotes or to arrange last minute cover.

What’s The Cost Of Your 2017 Bucket-List?

Happy New Year! We are looking forward to a great year of adventures ahead – hopefully ticking off at least one bucket-list activity! We’ve all got one, full of daring adventures and unseen destinations – but do you have any idea how much it might actually cost to fulfill – or know what percentage of your wage you’d need to start saving?

Thankfully the geeks with all the gadgets at totallymoney.com have built a clever bucket-list calculator tool to work it out for us. Divided into adventure, sightseeing, aspirational, adrenaline and wildlife – you can personalize your own list and start saving.

Average cost of the top 10 bucket-list activities for UK traveller

  • See the Northern Lights: £572
  • Go on safari: £5,600
  • Walk the Great Wall of China: £1,139
  • Visit the Grand Canyon: £1,181
  • Go on a cruise: £1,338
  • See the Egyptian Pyramids: £1,112
  • Go whale watching: £2,000
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in New York: £1,103
  • Gamble in Las Vegas: £1,109
  • Take an American road trip: £3,365

Check out the full top 20 list, which is unsurprisingly dominated by travel-related activities, below. In fact, Buying Your Dream Home is the only one not related to travel, coming in at number 11.


View Interactive Version (via TotallyMoney.com).