rio

Carnivals vs Holidays

Are you dreaming of Rio?

Today, the world’s biggest carnival kicks off in the magical city of Rio de Janeiro. With around 5 million people expected to take part, the Rio carnival is one of those bucket-list experiences that many of us dream of.  Read more about Rio de Janeiro in our Brazil Holiday Guide.

Running from 28 Feb to 4 March this year, the carnival ends on ‘Fat Tuesday’, better known here as Shrove Tuesday and even ‘ Pancake Day’ and truly embodies the concept of indulgence before the start of Lent. It centres around the Samba Parade, when Brazil’s samba schools compete in the spectacular Sambadrome. There are also countless street parties, free parades and carnival balls to get you into the carnival spirit.

If a trip to the Rio carnival would make your dreams come true, you may need to start saving up for 2015 now. Flights and hotels book up quickly and can easily set you back £2000 per person for 5 days, adding on top tickets to the Sambadrome which start from £120 per day. Of course, there are other carnivals around the world, so if you are feeling inspired, check out our guide to the Top 10 Carnivals across the Globe.

Go further with Teletext Holidays But if your Rio dream has to remain just that for now, here’s how else you could spend that £2000 on holidays in 2014! Even if you are restricted to school holidays, Teletext has some great low cost deals to brighten up your year.

Easter Sun (5-21 April) Try – 7 nights all inclusive in Turkey, from £274pp

May half term (23-31 May) Try – 7 nights city break in Barcelona from £247pp.

Summer escapes for less (22 July – 1 Sept) Try – 7 nights all inclusive in Ibiza from £412pp

October half term bargains (27 – 31 Oct) Try – 7 nights all inclusive in the Algarve from £262pp

Get these four holidays under £1200 – what a year that would be and for around half the cost of going to the Carnival!

kids

The Top Ten Family Friendly Beach Resorts – Teletext Holidays

Nothing conjures up a more perfect image of a family holiday, than relaxing on the beach with a drink, without having to worry about the kids entertaining themselves. With a wide-range of activities to indulge in, from watersports to camping, our list of essential family-friendly beach holidays should keep a smile on your face as well as the rest of the family.

Siesta Key, Florida, United States
One of America’s best beaches, Siesta Key is an eight-mile long barrier island off Sarasota, on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Its powdery white sand is said to remain cool under foot even when the subtropical heat sizzles.
There are lifeguards year-round, plenty of watersports facilities, playground equipment and picnic areas. At the southern end of the key Turtle Beach is quiet and really good for shells.

Rimini, Adriatic Riviera, Italy
Rimini and the surrounding area offer 10 miles of sandy beach that gets crowded in summer. The beaches are clean, well equipped and safe. Theme-type parks include Italy in Miniature, several dolphinariums, a water park and Fiabilandia fantasy park.
Many of the beaches belong to the hotels or are private so you have to pay to use them. If you’d rather do your own thing, there are also public beaches.

Alvor, The Algarve, Portugal
Alvor is a quiet resort, with a backdrop of the Monchique mountains and views over the Bay of Lagos. Its wide, four mile long, sandy beach boasts dramatic rock formations and is dotted with sand dunes.
The old fishing quay offers traditional restaurants that are popular with families. It retains much of its original charm and temperatures are pleasant year-round.

For more about the region, check out our Algarve travel guide.

Alcudia, Majorca, Spain
Alcudia Bay on Majorca’s north-east coast is an ideal choice for those looking for a Mediterranean getaway, having the longest sandy beach on the island – some seven miles. Its white sands shelve gently into the sea, making it popular for watersports.

Alcudia town stands at one end of the beach with its 14th century city walls and remains of a Roman theatre. There’s an attractive harbour area. One drawback is the busy road so families should pick accommodation on the beach side.

Ile de Re, France
The Ile de Re, west of La Rochelle, is popular with French and British families for its shallow bathing waters and good sunshine hours. There are camping grounds here too – good for those on a budget.
The island is dotted with traditional whitewashed houses. Its main town is the quaint fishing village of Saint Martin de Re. The best beaches are at the western tip or flank La Couarde in the south.

Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Calm, clear turquoise Caribbean waters lap the fine white sands of this beach in the Cayman Islands. It’s popular beach for swimming, sunbathing and snorkeling.
There are plenty of local spots kids will love, including, for older children, the glass-bottomed boat ride to Stingray City where youngsters can feed these amazing creatures. Cardinal D’s park has all kinds of wildlife such as parrots and blue iguanas.

Santo Tomas, Menorca, Spain
This small friendly resort is on the quiet side but it’s ideal if all your kids want to do is to potter around on the beach. Santo Tomas is at one end of Minorca’s longest sandy beach, Son Bou.
The nightlife is low-key and teens are likely to get bored but it’s good for younger children, mums and dads and even grandparents who want a relaxing family holiday not too far from the UK.

Stavros Bay, Akroti Peninsula, Crete
This quiet corner of Crete’s Akrotori Peninsula is all about getting away from it all. The focus are the beaches, which are gorgeous and quiet. The north beach is quieter and is good for swimming and snorkelling.
There is a wide bay with very green, very salty water. The immediate area doesn’t have a lot else going on, and you will need a car to get there, but it’s worth the journey. Explore the snow-capped mountains and tiny fishing villages.

Read our Crete travel guide, for more information on the region.

Cala Capra, Sardinia
Cala Capra on Sardinia’s east coast is a family friendly resort with two beautiful calm bays and views across to the Costa Smeralda. It’s ideal for a quiet day’s sailing or for simply chilling out.
Cala Capra’s soft white sand and clear waters are surrounded by tall pine trees, offering shade for the midday sun. Just behind the beach there’s a lawn area – great when you’ve had enough of getting sand out of everyone’s eyes, hair, noses and nappies.

Coral Bay, Pathos, Cyprus
Known for its long sandy beaches, Coral Bay is perfect bucket and spade territory, and the waters are calm and shallow for little ones. For bigger ones, there a lots of watersports on offer. It’s a popular spot, so there’ll be plenty of friends to be made.
Pathos, the former capital of the island, is only 13km away and has plenty of historical sites to explore as well as cafes and restaurants.

single_1038

Our guide to the best singles holidays and destinations – Teletext Holidays

Travelling on your own can be a fantastic experience and whether you’re looking to indulge your interests or meet like-minded people, this guide to the best singles holidays is sure to inspire you.  We’ve even thrown in some helpful links to our other guides, to help you find and book your perfect holiday.

Cruises, Worldwide
A cruise is a perfect way to meet people if you want to, or to just do your own thing. Either way, you’re never far from the opportunity of having company if you want it – it’s all around you.
While many cruise lines charge a supplement, a few don’t, so hunt around. Others sometimes waive single supplements if space is available. Some lines are single friendly enough to have single cabins – worth asking about.

For more information, be sure to read our guide to the top ten cruise destinations.

Coach tours, UK and worldwide
An organised coach tour is brilliant for singles. You can sit back, enjoy the view, listen to the guide and talk to your neighbour or not. You’re certain not to be the only person on their own but even if you are, you’ll have plenty of company, and plenty to talk about.
There are a wealth of excellent coach tours in Europe, whether you want to see the tulips in bloom in Holland, explore the ancient sites of Greece, take a grand tour of Italy or discover Scandinavia. Further afield there are some excellent coach tours of Canada and the USA.

If you’re interested in a coach tour, why not check out our top ten coach tours guide?

Short breaks, UK and Europe
Short breaks, especially of the city variety, are great for single people. Not only are they interesting but it can be a taster if you’re thinking about a longer holiday on your own. European cities like Paris, Rome, Florence, Amsterdam, Venice and Madrid again have a wealth of things to see and do.
Take advantage of any guided tours on offer – that way you know you’ll be mixing with people who share your language.

Expeditions and trekking, Worldwide
Many single people feel at home on this sort of holiday, which brings them together with people of like mind. Often aimed at more independent travellers, many of the major adventure holiday companies do offer trips to singles at no extra cost.
In many cases, single independent travellers make up as much as 70% of their clientele. Choose from a myriad of destinations including India, Nepal, the Amazon, Peru, Vietnam, Libya and the Arctic circle.

For the adventurous amongst you, our top ten trekking holidays and destinations guide is essential reading.

Pamper breaks, UK and Europe
If you really want to switch off, there’s nothing better than doing it on your own. You can be completely self-indulgent as you relax and unwind. There’s a wide variety of health and spa breaks to suit every budget.
Abroad, choose from Ayurvedic treatments in Goa, spa treatments in Hungary, mind, body and spirit boosters in Thailand and Thalassotherapy (treatments using sea water, usually combined with seaweed and mud) in Portugal, Crete or the South of France or try massage and reflexology in Spain.

Special interest
Joining fellow artists, twitchers or opera buffs can be a refreshing change and make for a stimulating holiday – where else would you find a bunch of people who want to talk about wading birds or Verdi all day?
Choose from cooking or painting in Italy, wine tasting n in France and bird watching everywhere from Corsica to Peru. Check brochures carefully as some operators offer special deals for singles on certain dates.

Why not have a look at our favourite themed cruises and photography holidays?

Sailing
There are specific singles sailing holidays lasting from as little as a weekend to a week or more. You can also join many ordinary sailing holidays, which welcome a mix of couples, groups and singles.
You’ll get most choice in holidays in the Aegean and Caribbean simple because these are the biggest sailing areas. Smaller companies often have better success at getting a suitable mix of people on board.

Sun, sea and sand
Some companies run beach holidays for the more discerning single holidaymaker, often using smaller, family-run hotels, with the emphasis usually on Med resorts.
Socially, a beach holiday can be fun if you join one of the many organised excursions on offer. These typically include coach or boat trips to local places of interest and theme evenings at local restaurants or in your own hotel including local foods, music and dancing.

See our guides to the top ten Mediterranean holiday destinations and best Caribbean holidays.

Single parents
With over two million lone parent families in the UK, there are various organisations that can help you with information including Gingerbread, HELP (Holiday Endeavour for One Parent Families) and the National Council for One Parent Families.
Some operators are offering reduced, but not free child places for single parent families. Always check the small print in brochures. Make life easy for yourself by travelling to a resort where there are good child facilities as you’ll undoubtedly need a little time for yourself.

Activity
Activity holidays are a natural for singles – you can throw yourself into your favourite sport or strike out and learn something new. Try cycling or tennis in Spain, horse-riding in Cyprus, skiing in Switzerland, walking in Majorca, or carriage driving in France.
Fancy learning to dance? You can combine a visit to Spain with salsa classes. Diving is popular with singles and you’ll soon be teamed up with a diving buddy – check out diving holidays in Egypt, Turkey or the Caribbean.

The best holidays of your life