In December, our travel expert Hannah visited South Africa on a luxury small group tour, where she experienced some of the wonderful sights and sounds the country has to offer. Throughout her trip, Hannah kept a travel diary, showing the amazing activities she got up to during her 9 day stay.

Rats, lanterns and the world’s largest annual human migration? The most important celebration in the Chinese calendar returns on January 25th. The Chinese New Year will last around 15 days, with around 20% of the world taking part in the annual parades and traditions.

HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?

As it is an official public holiday, Chinese residents can get seven days off work from January 24th, with schools and businesses in China closing for the first few days of the new year. This gives everyone time to spend with their families, enjoying delicious food, especially noodle soup, which is said to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Before the festivities can begin, people give their homes a thorough clean in order to get ready for the celebrations to begin. Once New Year’s Day comes, it is traditional not to pick up a broom as the good luck can be ‘swept away’. Washing your hair is also forbidden on New Year’s Day as it is seen as the good luck being ‘washed away’.  

As clocks strike 12am, over 1 billion fireworks will light up the sky, the largest amount anywhere at any time of year. Many believe that setting off fireworks and firecrackers scare away evil spirits of the past year and celebrate the coming of the new year.

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Like at Christmas time in other countries, people exchange gifts during the New Year period, with the most common gift being red envelopes containing money, with the colour of the envelope believed to bring good luck. The money is supposed to help transfer fortune from the elders to children or can be given between bosses and employees, co workers and friends.

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THE YEAR OF THE RAT

The first animal on the Zodiac Cycle, the rat may not be one of the most adorable animals, but its characteristics are seen to be intelligent, charming and quick-witted. The rat also symbolises wisdom and the ability to adapt quickly to new environments. The Zodiac Cycle is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year relating to an animal and is calculated according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. 

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THE WORLD'S LARGEST MIGRATION

In 2019, 2.99 billion trips were made during the Chinese New Year period, making it the largest human migration on the planet. Many people in China return home for family reunions during the Lunar New Year, with the number of travellers increasing from 100 million in 1979 to 3 billion. China’s railway network handled over 400 million passengers, with 73 million people travelling by air, with road trips being the most popular method with 2.4 billion travelling by car.

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UK CELEBRATIONS:

Known as the ‘largest’ Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia, the streets of London are lined with colourful parades, performances and dragons. Over 300,000 people take part in the celebrations, as the parade travels through Chinatown and ends in Trafalgar Square, where spectators can witness the official opening ceremony. There is also a pyrotechnic display at Trafalgar Square for the grand finale and an explosion of Chinese New Year fireworks in London.

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Howard travel expert Kimara has returned from her trip exploring some of the finest sights Italy has to offer. During her 4-night stay, she came across some of the world’s most famous sights such as Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and the Colosseum. From a tour of the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, to trying a metre-long pizza, have a read about Kimara’s action packed time in Italy through her daily travel diary.

Earlier in the year, our Travel expert Hannah went to explore some of the fascinating landscapes Uzbekistan has to offer. Read her travel diary to see what she got up to on her trip, from the glittering Turquoise Domes of Registan Square to the amazing roof top views of Bukhara.  

Sometimes you need to just sit back and take in what our natural world can produce. From the fascinating animal kingdom to phenomena that illuminates our sky, nature is really something to be admired. Unfortunately, these sights are not around all that often, so in order to see them in all their glory, you’ll need to make your visit just at the right time.

They are peaceful, active and insightful. It's no wonder more and more people are leaning towards a walking holiday each year. But with so many stunning routes and locations to choose from, it can be hard to decide where to go. So, we've done the work for you and put together a list of European walking destinations you must visit!

As the new year begins and resolutions are made, our attention inevitably turns to holiday destinations and the daunting task of deciding where to travel commences. To help you choose we have compiled some of the most sought after and upcoming holiday destinations for 2019. So broaden your horizons, find a hidden gem and tick another destination off the list in 2019.

Safari for beginners


  • 30 November 2016

Our sales advisor Amanda has just returned from an action-packed adventure in Botswana, with African Pride and Belmond Safaris. From leopard tracking to a flight in a helicopter, discover more of Amanda's jaw-dropping experiences and find out what really happens on safari here. 

Must-sees in Myanmar


  • 29 November 2016

Myanmar – formally Burma – a magical gem still shrouded by the mists of time. Or is it? As the country has steadily begun to open its doors to tourists, the secret’s out about this unique and enchanting destination…

In order to give the best possible holiday advice, our team are always out and about experiencing destinations first hand. Jackie from Howard Travel has just returned from a few days of exploring the delights of St Petersburg in Russia. There is so much to see and do in the ‘Venice of the North’, but here is a summary of what Jackie got up to…

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