Special interest vacations advice

Tips from our friends

Archaeology advice

Andrew Appleyard, from our supplier Exodus, is also a qualified archaeologist: “At the archaeology sites, it is good to have a very good, trained archaeologist with you, especially at some of the large sites, or ‘tells’. When you actually stand there, as a normal punter, you won’t make head nor tail of it whatsoever.”

How to choose a yoga retreat

Julie Slade, from our supplier, Real Boot Camp Spain, offers yoga vacation advice on where to go: “Research thoroughly; after all, you are investing a significant amount of money into a healthy vacation, so check out previous guest testimonials, reviews and YouTube videos of the retreat, if available. Think about what you want and look at the retreat as a whole package – ask lots of questions, for example: how long has the company been in business? Are the staff experienced professionals or enthusiastic amateurs? Are they a legal business with professional premises, or an individual offering a retreat in a private house or villa? Do they have full public liability insurance? …Then you can make a well informed decision.”

Cooking & food tour tips

Marina Caldera from our Italy supplier Agriturismo Podere le Olle highlights local Umbrian temptations in her cooking & food vacation advice: “Everything that surrounds us in Umbria is related to food, and each village has specialties of which they are proud. Our area is famous for extra virgin olive oil and Orvieto wine, plus norcineria – cured pork meats. We also grow all kind of beans that are cooked with spelt and barley to create delicious soups, and we have a very specific pasta, a sort of rough spaghetti called umbrichelli. A traditional recipe is umbrichelli all' aglione, a spicy tomato sauce with lots of our very tasty red garlic! Another speciality is wild boar, either stewed or cooked with tagliatelle. The village of Cita della Pieve is the place for saffron, while Fabro is famous for white truffle.”

Northern lights advice

Laura Greenman, founder of Magnetic North Travel, one of our Scandinavian suppliers: “Our Northern Lights guides in Norway have started to favour places a little further afield from Tromso now as the roads near to this small city have become quite congested at times. Although harder to get to, Alta can be a superb spot to see the Lights. Also, we are seeing a change in Northern Lights visitors – they want to stay longer and discover more of the country, get involved in other adventures such as dog sledding and horse riding. More people are seeking an autumnal Aurora experience too. Traveling at this time gives you a wonderful chance to enjoy the changing Arctic scenery in transition as the ice freezes, the first snows arrive and the wildlife slowly hunkers down for winter”

Researching a photography vacation

Geraldine Westrupp, from of our supplier Wild Photography Vacations: “Check out the people who’ll be working on the trips, have a look at their website thoroughly and see if you like the style of images that the tutors are putting out. Phone the people up and talk to them – ask them questions and really find out what you’re getting into before you pay your money. Make sure it is a proper, committed photography learning vacation because a lot of companies nowadays have jumped on the bandwagon of saying ‘photo tours’ – and they’re just glorified bus trips where you hop out and take photographs. So ask hard questions of what you learn and how it’s structured.”

Tips on where to learn spanish

Ana Rodríguez García, from our leading supplier of Spanish learning vacations, Peak Me Languages, shares her passion for the Picos de Europa, in northern Spain: “I would recommend northern Spain as a great place to take a Spanish course, because you won't find places full of English speakers; because you'll get to practise a lot, as hardly any English is spoken by local people; and because you will discover a totally different side of Spain hidden to the “Costas” traveler. Spring and autumn are great times to visit this region; June and September are the best months. The weather is mild and the days long enough to enjoy your trip to the full, while avoiding any sort of touristy atmosphere even in the most popular spots.”

Special interest vacation advice

Tips from out responsible travelers

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful special interest travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
“This vacation fits a lot into a few days – both archaeological sites and some walking. It's better suited to those wanting intellectual stimulation than those wanting pure relaxation.” – Nicholas Millersmith on an archaeology vacation in Greece

“Approach with an open mind to cultural differences. Be prepared for some potentially long days on your feet, with your camera gear!” – Garron Hilton, on a photography vacation in China

“Stay as long as you can, both on the vacation and in the wilderness cabin – it is amazing. Be interested in what the guides can teach you, if you are willing to ask they know so much about everything it is fascinating. Standing near our cabin in the wilderness in silence so absolute, you could hear the water in the river over 5km away.” - Kathy Agashi on a Northern Lights activity vacation in Sweden

“Go with the flow! In India, you have to be flexible, changes to itineraries are unavoidable, just see it as an opportunity to see something spontaneous. Pack a small torch – few street lights and uneven pavements make returning to hotel after dark an adventure!” – Mary Souster on a food and cookery vacation in India

“The Umbria trip is a great choice for solo travelers, the warmth and hospitality with such a relaxed and informal approach makes for a great combination! Don't miss Orvieto!” - Yvonne Stark on a food and cookery vacation in Italy

“Don't be afraid if you have never done a yoga retreat before or are unsure whether your yoga practice is "good enough" to keep up. We were all abilities, ranging from complete beginners to those who have been practising for 20 years and our yoga instructor was brilliant at making us feel at ease and supported to go at our own pace.” – Domini Stone on a yoga vacation in Portugal
Photo credits: [Archaeology advice: Evelyn Hill] [Food tips: Marco Verch] [Photography: Christopher Michel] [Tip1 : Randy Connolly] [Tip2: franzconde]
Written by Chris Owen
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Photo credits: [Page banner: MAKE IT KENYA PHOTO / STUART PRICE]