Caribbean, Countries, Flying

Netflix and chill in Anguilla with Timberlake

Well, if it’s good enough for Justin Timberlake who opined: ‘Forget your face, I swear I will, St. Barths, Anguilla anywhere I chill’. An invite then to Netflix and chill in Anguilla with Timberlake and the jet set.

JT isn’t alone in singing the praises of the British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean.

Just dance: Justin Timberlake

Paris Hilton is a fan of the Anguillans and called it her ‘secret island’.

She only revealed this was her dream getaway after she’d left.

Jay-Z and Beyonce decamped to Anguilla in the early days of their courtship.

Paris style: Paris Hilton

While Paul McCartney and his wife Nancy are visitors.

As are Denzel Washington, Liam Neeson, Leo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock and Michael Jordan.

Yeah: Macca’s going to Anguilla

Although not that we know all at the same time.

For us we are restricted to watching on and living our dreams vicariously through things like Netflix.

Money to throw away: Leo DiCaprio

And such as the World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals Season 2.

Each episode explores one unique, one on a budget and one luxury option from destinations around the world.

On the Waterfront explores the ultra-luxury Long Bay Villas Anguilla.

And thanks to our friends at Anguilla Tourism we are reminded that the prices range from £180 to £24,000+ a night.

Flutter by butterfly

Lie back and think of… Anguilla

The Little Butterfly: And this is a one-bedroom luxury apartment on the mezzanine level of Papillon Villa.

Feel like an emperor or empress butterfly.

Social Butterfly: And you can be one

With a king-sized bedroom and Jacuzzi tub, open-plan living and dining areas, and an outdoor deck with vistas of the Caribbean and the mountains of St Martin. Prices are from £183 per night.

Cove love

Peace and quiet: At the Cove

Fletch’s CoveInspired by modern Mexican architecture, Fletch’s Cove is a two-bedroom oceanfront villa which opens onto a pool terrace with views of the Caribbean and the neighbouring islands.

Prices are from £320-£680 per night for two in one bedroom. And from £497-£760 per night for four guests in two bedrooms.

Long and short of it

Walk this way: The Long Bay Villas

Long Bay Villas AnguillaA celebrity spotters’ dream, only they’re secluded, so you’ll have to shell out the £2,500-£10,600 for your five bedrooms in this 7,000sqft villa complex.

The trio of these villas is title Sand, Sea and Sky… sounds ethereal.

You’ll have an oceanfront terrace with heated infinity pool and hot tub and exquisite living and dining areas.

Five-star bespoke services are provided by the butlers, beach attendants, house keepers and concierges.

Villa thrilla

Light up: The Cerulean

Cerulean VillaRight, that’s two at our end of the price budget but we do love to dream so here’s the exotic Cerulean Villa.

Sold in a private group basis, this is a nine-bedroom and multiple beachfront 20,000sqft villa.

With dining and lounging terraces, expansive pool deck, infinity pool, tennis courts, private gym and dedicated spa room.

Guests can choose one of two options: Cerulean A La Carte or The Cerulean Experience.

The Cerulean Experience offers a staff of 18 including a private chef.

Prices from £73,200-£124,425 per week for Cerulean A La Carte while prices for the Experience are on application.

Green for go

A corner of a British authority: Anguilla flies high

And the good news is that Anguilla is green from October 4 for fully vaccinated visitors.

British Airways (Gatwick and Heathrow) and Virgin Atlantic (Heathrow) fly out to Antigua followed by a short flight to Anguilla.

Or by KLM/Air France via Amsterdam/Paris  to St Maarten followed by a boat or plane transfer.

And our friends at American Airlines  which is launching twice-weekly flights between Miami and Anguilla from December 11.

So Netflix and chill in Anguilla with Timberlake and the jet set.

Countries, Flying, UK

Holidos and Don’ts A United approach

I defer on travel (and life) to my hero Billy Connolly which is why I think he would subscribe to my Holidos and Don’ts A United approach.

The Big Yin avows that anyone who shows any inclination in being a politician should immediately be banned from office.

Our immediate Travel future lies in the vice-like hands of two such people.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

And neither are going down a bundle with our Travel providers.

The experts

Joanne Dooey, President of the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association.

And Jo White, who runs the UK and Irish Media Press Office for the Irish Travel Fair, IPW.

Over to the experts then on where we lie.

The old Shapps club

Jo Dooey takes aim at Shapps and the Scottish Government in equal measure.

She says: ‘It would be churlish not to say that any moves towards the reopening of travel regulations are welcome.

“However, Scottish travel agents and travellers still need to know that Scotland will swiftly follow suit.

‘We continue to raise the question of travel certification and how Scotland will deliver a scheme to allow the public to provide proof of vaccination status in order to fly to other countries.

“Currently English travellers can use the NHS app to prove their certification status.

“And this integrates with the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EUDCC) which gives digital proof of a traveller’s vaccination, testing and recovered from COVID-19 status.

‘The Scottish Government needs, as a matter of urgency, to tell us what stage, if any, the development of a Scottish app is at.

“Currently, Scots who wish to travel, have to apply for a paper certificate.

“And we need to be operating at the same level as the other countries which have developed and are already using this technology.

One price for one…

‘While Scotlnd faces more expensive testing that in other UK nations, we persist in lobbying for the cost of testing to be at least equitable across the UK.

‘However, we look at it, 2021 has followed 2020 as a second catastrophic year for our industry.

“And the news last week that TUI has withdrawn from its Scottish base [a favourite tour provider],

“And also is cancelling a raft of holidays to some of the most popular holiday destinations up to 31 July only supports this view.

‘Travel agents have been forced to remain open for 16 months now to help their clients rebook – sometimes for the sixth or seventh time – yet are still receiving no income.

‘There is little, if any, customer confidence in travel at the moment.

“And the whole sector needs the Scottish Government to get behind a restart to international travel and boost the Scottish economy.

‘If the Prime Minister’s strategy is, from 19 July, to remove legal curbs on people’s behaviour.

“And to end restrictions and allowing people to make their own decisions, then surely people should be allowed to travel internationally with more choice.

“We remain in consultation with the Scottish Government to outline the way forward for Scottish travel.

“And the role testing and vaccination certification will play in this.”

Meanwhile in America

The 47th President of America: In Washington DC

And for those of us for whom our annual conference with our American Travel partners is key.

To driving business this is also a major concern.

As is the slow progress of opening up the US borders which is key to our travel providers.

And those for whom America is their favoured destination.

While talk that they are being selective too about those who have had the AstraZeneca jab.

And with continued confusion about quarantine.

Well, over to you Joe Biden. No hidin’… 

Prove us all wrong and Billy Connolly who might say, they’re all a load of old jobbies…

What I WILL say is.. follow my Holidos and Don’ts A United approach.



America, Countries, Flying, UK

Holidos and Don’ts the VeriFLY App

Now we’re dusting ourselves, and our documents down, the return of our Travel Help series brings Holidos and Don’ts the VeriFLY App.

Talk of the VeriFLY app has been circulating for the last few months.

And it was on the lips of British Airways Commercial Manager Ireland Tara Magee.

Screen time

Just a couple of taps

On travel professional Fionn Davenport’s excellent American webinar on ITTN where Visit USA also filled us in. And more of that through the week.

And when Tara talks you listen, as we found out on our BA and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority trip to Neon City.

It had been a watershed moment in my Travel life, being invited to turn left on the plane.

That’s the business

Seated and suited

We’d been wined and dined on our way out from Heathrow and enjoyed the same on our way to the States.

But when it came to getting ready for our return flight to London a couple of us were still in our Vegas casuals.

Guilty here of trying to squeeze the last pips from the Strip, the Whip-Its and Harrah’s.

But Tara rightly reminded us, in no certain terms, that our attire was not that of businessmen.

Covid test, check

Take the stress away

BA has expanded the use of the VeriFLY document storage app UK- US and to all UK inbound international flights since February.

And American Airlines are on board too for all international travel into the US.

And it takes much of the stress and organisation of flying out of your experience.

Here’s a thing too, it allows you to upload a negative Covid-19 test result for it to be checked before you arrive at the airport.

Put your name on it

And remember your seat number

It’s straightforward to set up an account and download a picture.

You will be asked to scan the QR code of your negative test.

Enter your flight details, permissions to fly, negative Covid tests, and seat number and check-in details (within 24 hours of departure).

As is best here we’re best listening to what BA is saying on where they’re at.

‘We have worked with VeriFLY to further develop its capability and enable online check-in.

“This means that customers who have their documentation checked before travel with VeriFLY.

‘Or through can check in online for their flight and download their boarding pass.

‘Reducing the need to queue at the airport.’

Vegas lady

Not the sartorial elegance

BA has built up a loyalty and trust with its passengers and we turn to them for the direction of Travel.

We’ll listen in when they talk and anticipate a user-friendly return to trans-Atlantic and international travel with the best app help.

And while my sartorial eloquence let me down in Vegas (no surprise there) my manners held up.

And Tara shared with me that I was one of only two from the group to thank her for taking us on the trip.

So, Tara, happy to have you contributing to Holidos and Don’ts the VeriFLY App.


America, Countries, Culture, Flying

Klondike 125 years gold

There’s gold in them thar hills… it’s Klondike gold 125 years.

Or while we wait, golden nectar… Yukon beer to sip while we get brought up to speed with Yukon 125th year celebrations.

Golden nectar: Yukon Gold

Our frontiers have never seemed so out of reach or so seductive as they do in these Covid times.

I started looking when I was a kid

All of which the frontiersmen of old felt.

And which I have been learning about in the excellent bestseller Gold Diggers by Charlotte Gray which was also sent to me.

Tramp around Yukon

We know the Klondike in popular culture from Jack London and Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush.

These days, of course you won’t have to endure the snow storm, rickety shack or having to eat the sole of your shoe.

If it’s good enough for Owen Wilson

Whisper it but Whitehorse is in the south of the province Yukon in Canada which borders Alaska.

Nor the weeks along desolate, dangerous tracks, and in canoes… you can fly from Frankfurt with Condor into Whitehorse.

And because you’re in this neck of the woods (and there are a lot of them) you can even drive up to the Arctic on the Dempster Highway.

Let’s hope they’ve eaten

You will, of course, be a novelty to the locals because there are ten times more moose, bears, wolves, caribou, goats and sheep than people.

Dawson craic

Dawson City is where you want to go to see what life was like in an authentic goldrush town.

Helpfully the good folk from Yukon have furnished us with some expeditions for our enjoyment.

Gold, always believe in your soul

On the Klondike Trail: So you follow the Trail of ‘98 which we’re reliably informed takes two-five days.

And you’ll get to enjoy national historic sites, museums and cultural centres.

Yukon come too: Dawson City

Discover Dawson City – ‘The Paris of the North’: And we’ve been promised that we’ll hear stories of riches made and lost.

While we’ll also get a tour of the goldfields.

Personally I have always fancied staying in one of those old saloons.

And that was only heightened by playing a game of poker with the locals at Knott’s Berry Park in Southern California.

They’re friendly… at a distance

But I hear the campsites out of town is the way to really take in Yukon’s Great Outdoors.

From all those who talked through the history,  Klondike gold 125 years.

Just watch the bears. It wouldn’t do to end up on an animal’s plate just as you’re about to cash in on your fortune.




Countries, Europe, Flying, Ireland, UK

A favourite airline now gone, Stobart Air

Sorry to be such an old misery guts on your rest day but every day will now be a rest day for Stobart a favourite airline now gone.

Stobart Air has been the wings beneath my winding my way from Ireland back to Scotland.

On more occasions than I care to remember.

Liquidation looms

But alas the 50-year-old carrier has been forced into liquidation now.

By Covid and Irish Government inaction.

Up in the air: For passengers now

For every Irish adult Stobart Air will always be Aer Arann.

Aer Arann got off the ground in 1970 to serve Inishmore in the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.

And Galway and the West, where I would spend my childhood summer holidays, is best.

Fly the flag: My friends at Aer Lingus

Aer Lingus, the national airline carrier, saw the possibilities and soon got on board, contracting Aer Arran to operate their short-haul commuter links.

Stobart story

Stobart Group jumped in during the choppy mid Twenty-Teens and rebranded as Stobart Air.

Which is when I started to lean on them as my taxi service back and forth to Scotland while living and working in Ireland.

That’ll be Edinburgh Airport obvs

And revisiting my old haunts such as my young party days in Aberdeen, my adopted home Edinburgh and my home city Glasgow.

There are other airlines and they will fill the gap left by Stobart Air mist critically now where flights have been lost.

But the collapse of any airline is to the detriment of passengers.

A sad day

The wider the range of airlines the greater choice on offer and the better value.

Purple reigned: FlyBe

This is all on the back of the collapse of FlyBe.

And they were a favourite too with their flights to cruise town Southampton, Stobart Air’s decline is a sad day for us all.

We’ll be told that it is Covid collateral damage but try telling that to those who have lost their jobs.

And passengers who have been left out of pocket.

And until governments change their attitude to Travel as vital and not trivial…

Then it might be Stobart a favourite airline now gone today but there will be countless others tomorrow.




America, Countries, Flying, UK

Concorde and a supersonic return

David Frost opined that he could leave London and be in New York at the same time. So here’s to memories of Concorde and a supersonic United Airlines return.

Alas, our favourite big-nosed, big bird won’t be coming back after being retired in 2003 because of costs.

But our friends at United Airlines are stepping into the void and plan for a prototype flight either this year or next.

With the Scary One next to Concorde

They are planning to buy 15 Boom planes from a US start-up firm.

It will seat 88 and fly passengers from London to Newark in three and a half hours.

Budget supersonic

I’ll sit at the front

Most importantly Boom’s engineering costs are 75% lower because of technical advances which will make the fares cheaper.

So quite what today’s movers and shakers will think about sharing with the Great Unwashed? Well.

The hoi polloi had to either get lucky in a competition or save, save, save to get on.

And grab a view of the elite at the front of the plane.

My Concorde flight

No, that’s a Lego model at East Fortune

The last time I was on Concorde (and isn’t it beautifully entitled to say that?) I got to move freely through the plane.

Aa well as many of the delights of living back in Scotland, in North Berwick, south of Edinburgh is the proximity of the National Museum of Flight in East Fortune.

Super Fly

The Museum of Flight is one of the few places where the public can still board a Concorde.

And, of course, I got my suitcases out when we were at last let out of lockdown.

See you in New York

And you’ll be in NY by the afternoon

The first thing that strikes you about Conc when you board is that there’s no left so the ‘cheap’ seats are at the back.

And there are two seats on each side of the aisle so less climbing over to get to the loo.

United we stand: In Newark

There’s a compartment to put up your jacket while the overhead locker doesn’t look big enough to hold a purse.

But then that’s what the hold is for, for all that New York shopping.

If you know your history

Just let me hang your jacket up, Sir

For an insight into all the accessories there are glass display cases where you can view the menus (no quail’s eggs?) and cutlery (no plastic here).

You can view the uniforms and watch a video of the history of the most famous plane of all.

And even play a wire, plane and silhouette interactive game too.

Yes, I’d have preferred a simulator having flown into (crashed) JFK at Turkish Airlines HQ in Istanbul.

But all that schmmozing with my pals at United is bound to pay off!

So here’s to memories of Concorde and a supersonic return. United style!




America, Countries, Europe, Flying

Flyday Friday’s beautiful beasts of the sky

And I’m indebted to my pal Travel doyen and ITNN group editor Fionn Davenport for steering me on this one, as I revisit an old favourite, here’s Flyday Friday’s beautiful beasts of the sky.

The Airbus Beluga XL flew into Shannon Airport this week for some high wind testing.

In the belly of the whale

And got us all dreaming of riding the beautiful beasts of the skies again and reflecting on their eye-catching liveries.

So you say whale Fionn, well, I raise you a shark.

Oh, the Shark, babe has such teeth, dear

Embraer: This beauty has some bite, it’s the Embraer E190-E2 and it swallowed me whole in Ireland.

Sharks in Ireland? Well there are plenty in its parliament, the Dáil, but otherwise this is the closest to the Jaws of the sea that you’ll ever see there.

Of all the strange and wonderful mornings I spent in 13 years in Ireland the hours I spent flying from A-B, or Dublin to Waterford, on a shark is an experience I clearly never imagined having.

The beauty of the Embraer is not just on the outside with the interior spanking and with the best feature no middle seats.

Tiger, Tiger burning bright

Purrfect: The Aeroflot subsidiary

Aeroflot Siberian Tiger: The Russians, of course, are consistently in the world’s crosshairs.

So credit where credit’s due with Rossiya Airlines dressing its plane up as a tiger to draw attention to the plight of the Siberian Tiger.

In 2015 research showed there were only 500 left in the wild.

Panda air

Bear necessities: British Airways

British Airways: Now all of us here around Edinburgh where we have two beauts in the Zoo love a panda.

And so do British Airways who celebrated their route to Chengdu, home of the Giant Panda, marked the occasion with this livery.

Of course, Brits have a lot in common with pandas… sitting around all day doing nothing but graze and scratching our asses with sleepy black eyes.

Oh Mickey you’re so fine

Mouse tales

Now every mouse has a tail, obvs.

Mickey is always guaranteed to put a smile on your face and this is clearly what WestJet had in their mind with their ‘Magic Plane’ which features Our Mouse in his role of Sorcerer Mickey.

Or for big fans of Mickey you might say a Flight of Fantasia.

Tintin can

Shivering tailfins

And we are, of course, suckers for our hero, the adventurous young journalist Tintin.

Brussels Airlines are bigging up the famous Belgian boy on the back of the film Red Rackham’s Treasure and theres’ a submarine theme running through it.

We’d only hope Bianca Castefiore didn’t board. Her singing would shatter any window. 

Stars of the skies

The sky side

Star Wars: And, of course, you would expect Star Wars to be all over the skies.

And the never-ending franchise has plenty of images from which to pick, of course.

We’ll go with a favourite. Airline, that is, and United Airlines and its The Rise of Skywalker livery. 

Of Star Wars we know little but were there for its arrival at Disneyland in Anaheim and got to enjoy the galaxy far, far away.

Now everyone’s got a place in our choir, so whichever is your favourite, let’s get back on these beautiful beasts of the skies.







Africa, America, Asia, Canada, Countries, Europe, Flying, UK

The Lego has landed in Scotland

Travel’s resumption is all about building blocks so we’ll reboot at the Museum of Flight with the toy Wonders of the World… the Lego has landed.

The Scottish attraction in East Fortune is 17 miles south of Edinburgh as the crow flies…

Or the click of your fingers if you’re on Concorde, the Museum of Flight’s most famous exhibit.

Flying high

This flight tonight: Concorde

We’ll give The Big Bird its own slot in a coming post as it should be but for today we’ll flag up Brick Wonders of the World.

The Lego masterpieces are the creation of Edinburgh-based artist Warren Elsmore.

The Wonders break down into Ancient, Modern, Historic and Natural.

The Wonders I’ve seen

Shape of things to come: The Pyramids

The Green-Fingered One is doing her best to recreate The Hanging Gardens of Babylon in our demesne in nearby North Berwick.

While she didn’t even entertain an invitation to Sharm-el-sheikh in Egypt. She wants pyramids.

The journey around the perimeter of the hangar is one through time and is a reminder of what we haven’t seen.

The Great Wall of China, the Easter Island excavation as much as those we have enjoyed… Old London Bridge and Petra.

Sweep of history

Tis Grand: The Grand Canyon

Few would disagree that the Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s natural wonders and it is my favourite of the exhibits.

The Grand Canyon, of course, is tough to capture in Lego but they do a great job with glistening blues and whites for the Niagara Falls and recreate the scope of an African savanna.

While the Modern sweeps up Hoover Dam, the Panama Canal, a number of technological, aeronautical and social advances.

Of course the signature piece among the exhibits is Concorde which sits in front of its big brother.

Deal me in

Everything in the Hanging Garden is rosy

Your Brick Wonders display is free with .

Half a million Lego pieces have been fitted together for the display and you really should get down to the National Museum of Flight.

The exhibition which runs until June 27 is free with entry to the museum which you can pre-book for £12.50 (top price).

Now I need to get back and keep an eye on The Green-Fingered One’s Hanging Garden while I try to dig out those ‘talls’ building blocks the Son and Heir loved so much.

The Lego has landed!


Deals, Flying, Ireland, UK

Heaven for Devon

It is a right royal bunfight between two English counties which the Queen has now ruled on. So sorry Cornwall, it’s heaven for DevonONE decrees it’s jam on cream.

It’s actually timely that the Queen’s pastry chefs have revealed that Her Maj is Devonian in her scone tastes.

All of which is bad news for neighbouring West Country county Cornwall where it’s cream on jam.

Knowing look: Mary Berry’s giving nothing away

And why is this centuries-old row brewing again? Well, because supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is in the eye of the storm for putting out an advert where a Cornwall scone has  the cream on first.

Creme de la creme

What we do know from living down near those parts is that Devon is the cream (we actually like Cornwall too  but for the purposes of this article…)

And Ireland’s national airline carrier knows it too, or is coming around to it now.

Aer Lingus has announced that it is launching a direct flight to historic Exeter from August 30.

With my old friends Aer Lingus

And helpfully flags up for those who don’t know the county the city’s Gothic cathedral and its quayside as well as its national parks Exmoor and Dartmoor.

And for paleontologists its Jurassic Coast in East Devon, with its 185 million years of history.

Beer on us

Devonians recommend Stuart Line Cruises to get around on your fossil hunt.

I’m here for Beer

While we were taken too among the attractions by Beer. And there’s little surprise there.

Mind you, Beer is better known for its chalk cliffs and quarry caves.

I dare say there are lovely craft beers down here but real Cornwallians and Devonians drink cider.

East Devon and the Jurassic Coast

Now don’t get us started on which is the better. Although we do know a wee old woman in Buckingham Palace who swears by one of them!

With Aer Lingus fares starting at from just €36.99 and four weekly flights on offer you’d have to be a dinosaur not to explore this magical corner of England.




Asia, Countries, Culture, Flying, Ireland, UK

Travel to the Promised Land Israel close

And travel to the Promised Land Israel close before the end of the year.

Israel, as we all know, has been the real leading light in vaccine roll-outs.

With half its population now having had their second jags.

And boy have they been celebrating with this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day a real cause for celebration.

It has brought people out on the streets to sing, dance and watch the fireworks display.

Dublin is El Al City

Israel, of course, was the shiny new El Al route from Dublin for 2020, only for it to be interrupted by Covid.

The good news is that Sharon Bershadsky, Director at the Israel Tourism Office in London made real connections on her visit to Dublin last year.

And she is keen to get the Irish out to Israel as soon as we can.

A land of our childhood

From May 23 vaccinated groups of international travellers will be allowed out to Israel initially in a pilot scheme and then through a phased approach.

And don’t we all want to get out there but again our political leaders continue to drag their feet.

I’ve said it before that I’ve got real close to stepping on holy land.

I have seen Israel from Mt Nebo, Moses’s last resting place, and by the Jordan where John the Baptist baptised Jesus with G Adventures.

Israel is over there: Atop Mt Nebo

And I’m determined to step across into Israel. And yes, you can do countries with G Adventures.

This ancient land of Israel, and all its previous incarnations, is the one country we all know from childhood.

Even if we have never been there, through our religious classes.

So it’s a real challenge to present it anew but one which Sharon succeeded in consumately.

Best of both worlds

No place like dome

The appeal of the Promised Land is obvious, it’s not called that for nothing.

And its historical and religious sites will always draw us there.

But Israel is a diverse country of peoples, cultures, geography… and of course culinary.

There is more than milk and honey although both are to be recommended and used in many of their best dishes.

Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is a combined trip which will give the traveller the best of both worlds.

Modern hip beach Mediterannean Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, where three religions meet.

Hotting up

Good to go

Jews, Muslims and Christians all come together too in Haifa on the northern coast in a model of co-existence.

Israel really is a country of contrasts with the traveller able to lie back and think of…

Well, nothing on the Dead Sea, or take a boat out on the Dead Sea and snorkel or tuck into the barbecue and Israeli wine.

In fact the water may just be a blessed relief.

From the heat of an Israeli summer with temperatures hitting the high 40s… great for me, I must admit.

Because of the year that’s in it, it may be the Autumn or Winter when we all get out there which is real good by me.