2018 was another great year for Abbotts Travel. We held more of our popular showcase evenings, including an Italian gastronomic and wine tasting afternoon at Chigwell Golf Club and an Alternative Bucket List showcase evening at the Woodford Wells Club.
We once again made the prestigious TTG list of Top UK agencies, appeared regularly in trade publications and local press, continued to develop connections with other local businesses through our involvement with the BNI, and welcomed a new member to the team.
We also worked hard to introduce our clients to our favourite destinations, new hotels and unmissable experiences.
Luckily we are good at multi-tasking, so we have also spent the year learning, researching and trying out all things travel-related, because we know when it comes to your next holiday, we always want to be one step ahead.
With 2019 bringing in the opportunity for new ambitions, dreams and travel wish lists, we have put together our top tips for the coming 365 days to help you plan your next trip of a lifetime.
In this region, adventure is everything. From the buzz of music in the Deep South to the historical melting pot of Harlem and New York City, North America can fulfil any travel dreams.
We love sending clients to Canada, especially families.
With a team of country specialists, clients that come back with wonderful stories to tell and an endless array of experiences on offer, we just can’t get enough of the region.
Canada is full of diversity, from the stunning coastal scenery to the wheat fields in the Prairie Provinces. Beautiful wildlife, buzzing cosmopolitan cities and world-famous cruises - visitors can experience it all.
The sheer size of the country limits what you can sensibly see and do, without constantly moving around, but our expertise will help shape the perfect itinerary.
With a new direct flight into this beautiful city courtesy of British Airways, Brits can now experience some Southern charm over a long weekend.
Renowned as one of the trendiest cities in the United States right now, Charleston’s booming economy, excellent restaurant scene and the charming and colourful historical district make it easy to see why we are falling in love with the place. Let’s also not forget that TripAdvisor listed it on the “places to go before you die”.
A vibrant cultural melting pot, Cuba is rich in colonial influences, which serve as a constant reminder that the country is at the tail-end of a modern day revolution.
Arriving can feel like you’re travelling back in time, but you’ll be immersed in the 1950s as you explore UNESCO world heritage sites filled with paintings of Che Guevara.
Havana’s accommodation options have however moved with the times, whilst never losing sight of its heritage, with some fantastic modern 5* hotels like the Gran Hotel Manzana Kempinski with its stunning rooftop pool and views and impressive new openings from the likes of Iberostar and Melia.
Shelley also recommends Vinales for those wishing to experience the “real” Cuba, including horse riding, trekking and wandering the main street lined with colourful colonial-era wooden houses.
Antigua’s beauty captures the heart of most visitors. From beautifully restored colonial buildings to picturesque scenery and stunning beaches, it reflects the ultra-chic atmosphere of the whole Caribbean.
With hotels like Hodges Bay Resort & Spa opening this year, visitors will be spoilt for choice in the 79-room resort, with state of the art villas and penthouses.
After years of turbulence, Colombia has gone from being sidestepped to one of South America’s most rewarding destinations.
Shedding its bad boy image, the region hits the sweet spot between popular and off the beaten track, and its location means it offers diverse landscapes that take you from white Caribbean sands to emerald-green hilltops.
Shake your hips in a salsa class, sample exotic fruit or marvel at the snowcapped peaks and high-altitude lakes.
From the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the exotic Amazon jungle, Peru's potential for adventure is endless.
Hike the traditional Inca Trail to the 16th century citadel of Machu Picchu, the ancient ‘Lost City of the Incas’, or fly over the mysterious Nazca Lines on the coastal desert.
As one of the region’s most popular destinations, it also happens to be one of our favourites and was featured in one of our recent showcases and in-house training with the fantastic Latin Routes.
It blows away every traveller to find this wilderness left so intact, from glacial fields to the driest desert on earth.
Chile stretches over 4300km and offers visitors the chance to marvel at ancient forest, volcanoes and fjords.
The Patagonian saying is that “those who hurry waste their time”, so go slow in Chile and soak up all the beautiful country has to offer.
Streetside tango and vibrant locals create an unmissable buzz through Argentina that you can’t help but fall in love with.
Plans may be made, but try being just as open to experience, dive straight into busy cafes and boutique restaurants for a flavour of the country.
Let’s not forget about the wildlife, you will see everything from penguins and whales to giant anteaters and more.
A herd of elephants, roaring lions and hungry hippos are what comes to mind when you think of South Africa. Its reputation as one of the continent’s best safari destinations continues to draw in visitors every year.
We like to offer something a little different to our clients, like the authentic tour Julie experienced when she visited this year or a superb Zululand Expedition tour through the Kwazulu Natal region combined with the majestic beaches of Durban.
A bird watcher's paradise, June to October sees Botswana transform unlike any other landscape. Best viewed by air, visitors can see the spectacular beauty of the landscape and its 580 bird species.
There’s nowhere quite like this place and its wonderful ecosystem, so much so that it became the 1000th site on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2014.
Incredible scenery, extraordinary wildlife and a friendly and hospitable culture means there is always a reason to visit.
Namibia, Madagascar and Tanzania, especially in July for the migration, all feature on our recommended African adventures list.
One of the world’s fastest growing tourist destinations, Japan has quickly left behind its former identity as one of the Far East’s best kept secrets.
From September to November 2019, the spotlight will be well and truly on this fantastic country as it becomes the first in Asia to host the Rugby World Cup before the Olympics follow in the summer of 2020.
Whether it’s exploring the bright lights of Tokyo, taking a cherry blossom tour in the spring, wandering through the traditional gardens or taking a dip in a hot spring bath at a traditional inn, Japan has a lot to offer - not just to sports fans.
Featured in our most recent showcase at Chigwell Golf Club, alongside our wonderful friends at Authenticities, Sri Lanka offers a dazzling array of choice.
Pristine beaches, endless activities and an abundance of wildlife makes this an exciting destination to visit year-round.
We are such big fans, we are constantly sending clients and staff to experience more of the blissful tropical climate, which offers UK travellers some much-needed winter sun.
Stretching for more than 2000km, Vietnam has undergone extensive change. From the French colonial rule to the tunnels of the Viet Cong, there is history on every corner, which adds a unique flavour to this majestic country.
Visitors can get lost in the misty green mountains of Sapa and immerse themselves in the energetic buzz of Hanoi, where it may take ten minutes to cross the road but the colonial charm is breathtaking.
It is not hard to imagine why we dedicated a showcase event to this beautiful destination, and why we continue to send clients there every year.
Uzbekistan’s decision to simplify their visa process has created a boom in travellers keen to discover the country’s colourful architecture, Silk Road history and futuristic cities. Think ‘off-the-beaten-track’ adventure, rich Islamic buildings gracing the skyline of old cities and dramatic mountain backdrops.
Ancient Samarkand, the number one attraction, flaunts glittering blue-mosaic covered mosques and madrassas surrounding Registan Square.