Your travel questions answered

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Question:

“I’d like to know more about a volunteer holiday in Vietnam”

Signe, Wellington

More and more people are wanting to make travel meaningful by giving back to local communities and supporting responsible tourism. An overseas volunteer experience is the perfect option for those wishing to head away but not as a tourist, instead they want to be part of a project that provides real opportunities to embrace the culture and work alongside locals. It is a great feeling to be part of a project that is making a real difference in communities that very much need your help

In Vietnam there are volunteer programmes available through a number of different organisations.  Most volunteer programmes are open to all ages and where you choose to volunteer depends on the projects available and the location that feels right for you. There are certain programmes that are tailored to suit specific age groups and specific skills that volunteers may have.

An option in Vietnam is VOLUNTOURS which combines travel and volunteering.  This is a great option for those wanting to give back to the community and discover an amazing destination. A VOLUNTOUR holiday in Vietnam could consist of staying in Ho Chi Minh city where you will immerse yourself in their vibrant culture working with locals and helping communities in need. You will get to see the mysterious Mekong Delta and the Sand Dunes of Mui Ne and experience a home-cooked meal with a local family.

Catherine Plimmer
Destination Experience Specialist, House of Travel on Hunter Street (Wellington CBD)

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with your local HOT holiday specialist to find out more or call 0800 713 715

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Question:

“I am interested in going to Sri Lanka and want to know more about the best places to stay, eat, and see?”
Jennifer, Auckland  

Sri Lanka is a fantastic destination all year round, I’d recommend visiting the South West Coast region between October – April and the East Coast from May – September. Sri Lanka offers amazing culture, history, nature, wildlife, cuisine and beaches.

Stay at the Geoffrey Bawa properties spread throughout Sri Lanka to get a unique experience which combines the islands architectural heritage with natural landscapes – Heritance Kandalama,  Kandy House, Lighthouse Hotel, The Villa Bentota , Lunuganga just to name a few. The 98 Acres Resort in Nuwara Eliya is another
hidden gem surrounded by a tea estate up in the hillside.

There are so many things to see and do while in Sri Lanka, a few top picks include: Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Anuradhapura Ancient Capital, Sacred Tooth Relic a Buddhist temple in Kandy, tea plucking and blending in Nuwara Eliya, Yala National Park and a river safari in Bentota.

You can’t go past delicious, local Sri Lankan cuisine! Ministry of Crab at the Dutch Hospital shopping precinct in Colombo is well-known for seafood – make sure you try a fish curry. Kottu, isso vadai and hoppers are popular street eats and traditional samosas, fish rolls and vegetable roti will have your taste buds tingling.

 Vanessa Noronha
Travel Consultant, House of Travel New Lynn

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with your local HOT holiday specialist to find out more or call 0800 713 715

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Question:

“We are interested in doing a Canada/Alaska trip but don’t want to do it on a large cruise boat. We want to do day trips out to see whales, wildlife and glaciers or maybe a shorter trip on a smaller cruise boat. We would like to include the rail trip through the mountains. We would be looking at a trip of around 2 weeks and would rather keep the costs down and stay in a bit lower rated accommodation. There will be either two or four people but not couples – friends.”
Brenda, Wellington

If you’re looking for a cruise experience where you can get up close and personal with glaciers and wildlife – look no further than Uncruise. They have some lovely 7-day itineraries around Alaska that can get right up into the Inside Passage where larger ships cannot get to. On Uncruise you’ll be rewarded with the intimate experience of a smaller ship – and you can even kayak off the back of the boat!

The most iconic train journey through the Rockies is on the Rocky Mountaineer but another popular option is to pick up a car in Vancouver and self-drive, this gives you flexibility to stop where you want and take in the sights at your own pace. You can also choose your own accommodation which can be anything from 3-star motels to rustic log cabins.

If you’ve got your heart set on a train journey and getting behind the wheel isn’t your idea of a relaxing holiday, another recommendation is Via Rail from Vancouver, then picking up a car for the last leg – as there are limited options for public transport in the Rockies.

Another great stress-free idea is an organised coach tour which is fantastic for seeing the dramatic wilderness and alpine lakes from a comfortable seat.

Rebecca Keegan
Manager, House of Travel Featherston Street (Wellington)

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with your local HOT holiday specialist to find out more or call 0800 713 715

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Question:

I’ve just retired and am thinking of going overseas in the next couple of years. Because I’ll be travelling alone I’m thinking of an over 50’s-type escorted tour, perhaps around Europe or America but with my own room. Most prices are for twin share – single accommodation is a lot more expensive, but I don’t wish to share sleeping arrangements with someone else. Is there such a thing as a tour for singles with their own accommodation?
Sue, Christchurch

 

Congratulations on your retirement! Now is the time to kick back and enjoy planning your travel adventures. Many touring companies offer deals for single travellers which reduces the surcharge so it pays to ask the question when you are in store and keep your eye out for HOT deals. Below are some amazing tour options to help with your planning.

An Avalon river cruise is a highly recommended guided holiday and a trip from Budapest to Prague is a must-do. A river cruise is ideal for a slow paced holiday where you’ll cruise along and see how the locals live. After spending the night onboard, you’ll dock early in the morning and spend the day visiting the local attractions. A guide is with you all times so you won’t get lost, but there is also lots of free time to stroll around at your own pace. All your meals and most sightseeing activities are included in the total cost which means one less thing for you to think about while on holiday.

Another great option is a Globus Tour. These tours are very well organised and allow you to experience the best of Europe via a deluxe coach – with extra legroom! Italy is a fantastic destination to visit and should be at the top of your list. The Italian way of life is fabulous with lots of wine, pasta and pizza – all set within lovely little villages.

A cruise through Alaska is another option worth considering. There are so many stunning tours from Vancouver up to Fairbanks where you’ll get to see the wildlife of this amazing country.

Sandy Connolly
Senior Travel Consultant, House of Travel Merivale

Feeling inspired? Get in touch with your local HOT holiday specialist to find out more or call 0800 713 715

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Do you have a travel-related query or question that you’d like answered? Simply fill out the form below for free expert travel advice from HOT (answers will be published over the coming weeks on GrownUps):

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