Zion Canyon. USA Pictures
Why Travel to USA?
The US embraces so much to see and do that tourists need to focus and not try to see everything in one holiday. The bucket-list cities of New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas are just an urban starting point, while the great outdoors offers similarly iconic destinations, such as the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Arches NP (our favourite), Yosemite NP, Florida beaches, Yellowstone NP. Then there is a massive variety of outdoor pursuits available from simple spectacular hiking to brilliant skiing to cycling the Sonoma vineyards in California (with wine tasting but no fear of drunk-driving!), swimming with dolphins in Florida or riding a Harley to Sturgis in the summertime, or even experiencing zero gravity in Florida in a NASA training 727.
America is not as gun-happy as movies would have us believe, but if you're nervous stay on the well trodden tourist path and you won't see any weaponry.
The worst thing about the USA is probably airport arrival, the routine lengthy wait at immigration and the incredibly unpleasant customs officials. Do not joke with them, even if they ask - as they did me on my way to Peru - if I was carrying cocaine...to Peru?!
US climate: the country is so huge that the weather depends on both holiday destination and time of year.
Simply the Southern States are generally good October-March, but unbearably hot and sticky
June-September while Northern States such as Washington, New York
and Massachusetts will be very cold in winter but pleasantly warm in the summer. And then there's Alaska and Hawaii...
British/Europeans travelling to the USA: ESTA
You will be required to complete an online/electronic Travel Authorisation (ESTA) form 72-hours before you fly. However, you will not have to specify precisely when you are on the move and the authorisation you receive will last for two years.
This system applies to those using the Visa Waiver Program which allows British passport holders to stay in America for less than 90 days without a visa.
USA Pictures: New
Vegas SW USA American Beaches
USA Tours Best
of the USA USA Map USA Links
West: California California Beaches Arizona San Francisco
Angeles 'Grand Circle' Las Vegas
North West: Seattle Rocky
Plains: Texas Dallas
States: New Orleans Florida Guide Florida Beaches Miami
Atlantic Coast: Washington DC New York City New
Alaska Alaska Pictures Hawaii Guide
Hawaii Beaches Hawaii Pictures
Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. Canada Pictures
Why vacation in Canada?
This huge is a friendly and a fantastic country to indulge in outdoor pursuits, especially winter sports,
wildlife walks and summer hiking, but the country is also home to
some great city cultures English and French speaking, notably Vancouver, Montreal and Quebec City. Canada also does a great line of
festivals from Calgary's Stampede in summer to Montreal's Fete des Neiges in winter.
Best Canada weather: May-September or to ski, December-March
Worst: November-March (wet or cold) unless for winter sports.
Canada Pictures: Vancouver British Columbia Alberta Toronto
Ottawa Quebec Quebec City
Atlantic Provinces Churchill Polar Bears
Canada Guides: British Columbia Alberta Ontario Quebec
Atlantic Canada Northern Canada
Provinces Map Canada
Map Canada Tours
Drakensberg Mountains trail. South Africa Pictures
Why holiday in South Africa?
South Africa is a country in the mould of Australia, with a fine climate,
hardy amiable locals, plenty of outdoor action - particularly
hiking and surfing - and excellent robust cuisine.
Scenery is stunning, wildlife is rampant and prices are
inexpensive. Crime is a concern but is avoidable with common
sense and attention to local advice. This is a great self-drive country with stunning views and low-traffic roads.
Best South Africa weather: Spring (September-November) and Autumn
(February-May), but also good in winter (June-September).
Africa Beaches South
Africa Pictures: Cape
Hiking the Tongariro Crossing Track, South Island. New
Why Travel to New Zealand?
The land of the Kiwi is spectacularly beautiful, offering magnificent walks and mad outdoor
pursuits of the bungee kind, though somewhat lacking in arts and 'culture'. The favourite urban destination for many visitors is Queenstown, a frenetic and inventive activity centre.
Best New Zealand weather: November-April (summer, note
that school holidays are from Dec 20th to the end of January so it's a busy
Worst: the rest, though June-October is good for skiing.
Zealand Walks New
Zealand Pictures: South Island Tongariro Auckland
Queenstown Coromandel Bay of Islands Rotorua
Fraser Island, Lake Mckenzie Beach. Australia Pictures
Why travel to Australia?
Australia is a safe and fascinating destination even if it is home to the greatest collection of dangerous animals in the world.
Australians are friendly and unassuming, dedicated to a great beach life and wide-open spaces. Sydney is one of the world's prettiest cities while Melbourne works hard at catching up. Cairns is a great activity centre in the right season but Perth is a bit too far for a first-time tourist.
Oz surfing and sailing are excellent though snorkeling and scuba less so as the easy-access sections of the Great Barrier Reef are sadly bleached and lacking is colourful marine life. Trips to the outback, Uluru in particular are an essential part of the Australian experience though we can do without the Atherton Tablelands 'adventure'.
Best Australia weather
In the south: November-March (summer). e.g. Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania. Worst: April-Sept (south)
In the north: May-October. e.g. Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Darwin. Worst: Nov - March (north)
Australia Guides: Holiday Destinations Sydney
Melbourne Cairns Australia
Australia Pictures: Sydney Melbourne Great Ocean Road
Adelaide Wildlife Beaches Uluru
Corfe village, Dorset, England Pictures
Why vacation in the UK?
This cluster of little countries with a large history (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) is a treasure trove of historic sights with a new sheen of innovation and modernity, a curious mix of both very old and very new urban cultures, colourful traditional sporting events
and great walks/bike rides if you can tolerate the frequently terrible weather and glum faces.
Best UK weather: May-September.
Information: London British Beaches Walking
Edinburgh England Scotland
UK Maps: England
and Wales Counties Scotland
and Wales Tourist Map
England Pictures: London Oxford Brighton Canterbury
Bath Stonehenge Dorset Cornwall Beaches
Scotland Pictures: Edinburgh Castles Cities Islands
The Wicklow Way walking trail in the Wicklow Mountains National Park. Photo by Joe King
Why holiday in Ireland?
The Republic of Ireland (as opposed to Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom) is famously damp but has a rich culture - much of it embedded in lively and attractive Dublin - many castles, lots of rolling green spaces, dramatic cliffs and provides superb, bracing (a euphemism for wet and windy!) walks as well as a clutch of boisterous festivals.
Best Ireland weather: June-September.
Ireland Guide and Pictures Dublin
Pictures Guide Ireland
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