Looking to join the jet set in 2015?
2014 saw record numbers of travellers passing through Gatwick’s gates, and with new long haul routes opening up every year it looks set to be another busy year at London Gatwick.
Get yourself ahead of the crowd and put your holiday plans into place early; at APH we’ve rounded up some of the hottest long haul Gatwick destinations to get you started…
Why Tampa? Get to know the real Florida; visit charming coastal towns and beautiful national parks.
If you’ve done theme parks to death, try flying direct into Tampa and discover that there is way more to Florida than cartoon mice. Perched on the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is a great base for exploring beaches, nature reserves and whiling away an afternoon island hopping.
The city itself is home to a number of attractions, including Busch Gardens, the Florida Aquarium and the recently revitalised Ybor City historic district.
Exploring further afield will take you to wildlife reserves like the J N Ding Darling National Wildlife refuge and endless white sandy beaches like Clearwater, where you’ll also find Winter, the dolphin that found fame following recent heart-warming flick A Dolphins Tale. Head south and you’ll hit the Everglades National Park where you can come face to face with Alligators and casually whizz about on an airboat.
Fly there with British Airways
Why Dominican Republic? Not just for beach bums; this Caribbean gem has a lot to offer travellers.
The Dominican Republic takes up over half of the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea, and offers a blend of beaches, mountains and rum tasting that make for a heady holiday mix!
You can find your perfect piece of paradise as everything from lively resorts to barefoot beaches awaits you. If lying on a beach sounds a little yawn-some then the beauty of Dominican Republic is the wide variety of activities on offer. From wild water sports to mountain trekking, you’ll find something to keep you occupied.
Once you’re all beached out and ready for some action, take a cable car to the top of Mount Isabel Del Torres and enjoy the views and the botanical garden that awaits you at the summit. Follow that up with a boat trip around Los Haitises National Park discovering caves and exotic birds, or head to lively Santa Dominga, founded by Christopher Columbus in 1504 and the oldest city in the new world.
Fly there with British Airways
Los Angeles, USA
Why LA? Food, fashion and the rich and famous; LA should be on any discerning travellers bucket list!
The city of eternal sunshine, the place where movie magic gets made and celebrities call home; LA has long been a huge draw for tourists, who flock to this laid back city in search of the American dream.
Where to start in bustling LA? There are so many attractions that it would take weeks to take them all in, we suggest picking a few must sees and working from there. A few of the main hot spots are the Hollywood walk of fame, Universal Studios, Santa Monica Pier, kooky and quirky Venice Beach and the exclusive boutiques of Rodeo Drive.
And we haven’t even got to the Hollywood sign, Orange County to the south of the city that offers beautiful beaches and laid back suburbs and the opulent Getty Villa at Pacific Palisades. And let’s not forget that despite the faddy diets and celeb lifestyles, LA loves to eat; pick from infinite restaurants, cafés and bars, or make like a true LA-er and brunch it up.
Fly there with Norwegian
Why Bali? Delicious food, heavenly temples and dreamy beaches are a good start…
Bali isn’t just an Indonesian island blessed with beautiful beaches and great weather; Bali is a way of life. Balinese people are among the most spiritual and friendly that you will find, and it’s hard not to find their laid back lifestyle infectious.
There are thought to be over 10,000 temples on the island, the most famous of which is Pura Tanah Lot; perched on a rock formation at the edge of the sea, this stunning temple has been on the pilgrimage trail for years and it’s easy to see why as you sit on the beach and watch the sun set over the spectacular sight.
If you came to Bali to relax, there are many amazing beaches to pick from; if you’re looking for waves and hedonism head to Kuta, this lively town is perfectly positioned within easy reach of some great breaks. For a more laid back and family-friendly atmosphere Sanur with its 5km strip of sand and safe swimming won’t disappoint.
Fly there with Garuda Indonesia
Las Vegas, USA
Why Las Vegas? Go hard or go home; this city literally never sleeps and neither will you!
Rowdy, raucous and ready to go day or night; a trip to Las Vegas in the Nevada desert is not for the faint hearted. This once western cowboy town has been transformed over the years into America’s playground, and if you’re looking for a place to party, Vegas won’t let you down.
Beyond the gambling, there are a million ways to spend your days, from taking in rollercoasters, to jumping off the stratosphere; Vegas’s 855ft tall viewing tower, you won’t have time to be bored in sin city.
Enjoy top chef’s offerings at some seriously good restaurants, shop until you drop or laze by the hotel pool and people watch with a cocktail in hand.
Once you’ve had enough of the chaos, and that time will come; hop on a helicopter for a spectacular trip to the Grand Canyon or take in the Art Deco marvel of engineering that is the Hoover Dam.
Fly there with Virgin Atlantic
Why Phuket? Dine on delicious Thai food, soak up the sun on a pristine beach or island hop to idyllic spots.
Thailand is a dream destination; the locals are friendly, the food is out of this world and the beaches are epic. Phuket has been a tourist hot spot for years, so some of the resorts are a little overdeveloped but you can still find quiet, pristine beaches if you’re willing to look.
Phuket may be an island, but it’s so large it won’t feel like it. Perched on the Andaman Sea it makes a great base to explore the wider region, with its dramatic limestone rock faces and hidden coves of white sand. The best way of seeing the sights is via a boat trip; combine this with a trip to magical Ko Phi Phi or the stunning Railay Beach, accessible only by boat, and you’re winning.
Fly there with Thomson Airways
Why Mauritius? More than just another tropical island, Mauritius has it all, from luxury hotels and spas to magical forests that are waiting to be explored.
The mere mention of Mauritius conjures up images of tropical beaches backed by volcanic mountains; but there is more to this island than beach life. There are historic sights to see, limitless activities to enjoy and stunning scenery to gawk at; not to mention the vast array of cuisine on offer that includes Chinese, Indian, African and French; it’s easy to see why so many travellers describe it as their ultimate holiday destination.
Sights worth checking out include the Black River Gorge National Park, the highlight of which is the Black River Peak viewpoint; well worth the two hour jaunt for the views and monkey sightings. Eureka is a gorgeous French colonial mansion converted into a museum; this creole manor house is set in beautiful gardens and even boasts its own waterfall trail.
Also worth a look are the Seven Coloured Earths found to the south west of the island; these are sand dunes comprised of seven distinct colours of sand and make for a pretty picture!
Fly there with British Airways