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From my desk in the office

By now your Christmas decorations will be up and alive. The forecast here for Christmas Day is 38 degrees!! A total fire ban so no open flames. BBQs could be a problem. Up North you will have short days, cold weather and warm beer. But wherever you are please enjoy the day and raise a glass to each other on Hogmanay!!

The office will be closed from 23 December until about 4 January 2017. My laptop will always be open - just a different view from my desk!!

In the meantime enjoy the ideas below and let me tell you where to go!

Lang may yer lum reek and Haste Ye Back!
Walking the West Highland Way
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Free flights!!!

Now that I have your attention. It’s long been a low-cost carrier, but Ryanair says it could become a no-cost carrier, of sorts, in five to ten years. Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said his aim for the airline was to offer zero fares on many of its flights, while the carrier made money from sharing revenue with airports to which it flew.

“I have this vision that in the next five to 10 years that the air fares on Ryanair will be free, in which case the flights will be full, and we will be making our money out of sharing the airport revenues; of all the people who will be running through airports, and getting a share of the shopping and the retail revenues at airports,” O’Leary told the Airport Operators Association conference in London. Let's wait and see! Editor.

What's the busiest air route in the world?

The correct answer will surprise you. The most in-demand flight on Earth is actually the 450km hop from Seoul Gimpo International (stop sniggering) to Jeju International. More than 11 million journeys were made between the two South Korean airports in 2015, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) reports, and with a one-way capacity of 6,561,314 for 2016, according to aviation number crunchers OAG, that figure could yet rise to 13m this year.

Second on IATA's list is Sapporo-Tokyo Haneda, with 7.8m. But the Sydney-Melbourne route's reputation as one of the world's busiest is well deserved, coming in at fourth place. That's a high ranking considering the comparative sizes of the Australian cities to other destinations on the list.

New York-Washington DC and London-Paris, meanwhile, don't even make the top 10. The latter isn't all that surprising - most travellers between London and Paris now take the Eurostar train. Find out here.

Visit Scotland 2017


The Portuguese Coastal Way or Caminho da Costa is a stunning alternative route of the Portuguese Camino de Santiago. Following the Atlantic Coast towards Santiago de Compostela, the Portuguese Coastal Way starts in the colourful UNESCO-listed city of Porto and will take you to charming seaside towns and villages in Northern Portugal before crossing by ferry to A Guarda, in Galicia, and the heart of the Rías Baixas. Discover the wild Atlantic beauty and sandy beaches of Northern Portugal and Galicia, taste delicious seafood and wine, stay in fishing villages and feel refreshed by the maritime feel of our newest Coastal Camino. More here.

Walking the West Highland Way

Non-stop from Perth to London from March 2018!

The flying kangaroo said it will operate its 787-9 Dreamliner on the 17-hour journey as it makes history by providing the first ever non-stop link between Australia and Europe. The new flight will operate through Qantas’ existing domestic terminals in Perth which will be upgraded to accommodate international flights. Tickets go on sale from April 2017; the Dreamliner will carry 236 passengers across Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins. Make a booking!

Australia's best and worst airports!

As more than a million Aussies get set to experience the best and worst of Australian airports this Christmas, new #AirportLife research from reveals the rankings of our transit hubs nationwide.

Reviewing the main departure points across Australia, the survey found Brisbane and Canberra are home to our favourite terminals, each receiving the highest marks (7.4 out of 10 on average) for general cleanliness, the range of bars and restaurants, and the all-important state of the bathrooms. More details.

Ultimate Scotland Playlist!

How to take the perfect selfie!

The new Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GF8 has a ‘Self Shot Mode’ with a 180-degree touch screen monitor so you’ll never miss the perfect shot. Once the LCD monitor is flipped up, ‘Self Shot Mode’ is automatically triggered to capture those shots of yourself and friends that would usually be out of arm’s reach. It also doubles as a great Christmas present!  Have a look!

Rome to ban tourist buses!!

Recently resigned Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hasn’t been the only casualty in Rome recently, with news the Italy capital would be cracking down hard on tourist buses in the city’s historic centre. Sightseeing buses will be the first casualty in a plan that aims to alleviate traffic and smog in the Eternal City. Rome councillor for transport, Linda Meleo, announced that the city centre would become off-limits to tourist coaches. Under the new initiative, buses will be charged higher fees for entering Rome, and will be totally excluded from the city centre.

Walking above Loch Lomond

Spring savings in March and April for 2017 departures

As Christmas quickly approaches why not look forward to a unique and elegant cruise in 2017 on board Hebridean Princess. During March and April, Hebridean has a delightful selection of 4, 5 and 7-night itineraries and all at tantalising prices. As in 2016, Hebridean expect demand for our 2017 itineraries to be high and therefore early booking is highly recommended. Read the details.

Travelling to Canada?

Australian citizens visiting Canada are now require an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA) before flying to Canada, with the easy online application process costing just $7 Canadian. Entry requirements for other methods of travel, such as land and sea, have not changed. The initiative, introduced by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, requires Australian travellers to apply online and provide basic personal information similar to what is currently collected when they arrive in Canada. Apply here.

A novel shop in Cupar, Scotland

Night time ski flights to Queenstown

Virgin Australia will begin operating night services from Queenstown to Brisbane on Friday and Sunday from 23 June 2017, while Air New Zealand will operate night services from Queenstown to Sydney on Saturday and Sunday from 1 July 2017.

Peregrine creates limited edition tours

Peregrine Adventures has launched a range of limited edition tours, catering to travellers who want a niche experience during their tour. The tours will touch on archaeology, literature, wildlife and food. More information.

United bans overhead bags in new economy fare

One of the carrier’s first moves to improve the bottom line is to create a new Basic Economy Fare, offering customers the option of paying the lowest fares to their destinations, while still receiving the same standard economy experience, including food, beverage, Wi-Fi and personal device entertainment – but a few key differences.

One major difference is the ban on overhead baggage, instead Basic Economy customers will only be allowed to bring one carry-on that must fit under their seat. Basic Economy customers will also only be assigned seats on the day of departure, and be assigned to boarding group five. I will advise baggage information when you book with me.

Walking Scotland's West Highland way
Sao Jorge Castle in Lisbon

Sligachan Hotel on Slye

Welcome to Sligachan, one of the most beautiful and unique locations on the Isle of Skye and one of my favourite hotels in Scotland. Sligachan offers something for everyone, from relaxing accommodation at the Sligachan Hotel, to a variety of self-catering options including the Sligachan Bunkhouse, a much loved campsite, delicious

If you're looking for peace and tranquility, unrivalled scenery or perhaps an opportunity to ascend the formidable Cuillins, you've come to the right place. More.

Walking in Iceland

Southern Iceland is one of those places that fill you with awe. Seen through the eyes of the first settlers, the glowering volcanoes, the glaciers which possessively lay claim to huge swathes of higher ground, the black-sand beaches framed by tall basalt cliffs, the icebergs circling on glassy lagoons, and the powerful waterfalls gushing down mossy rock faces, no doubt seemed forbidding and untameable. You, however, can appreciate it for all that it is: a showcase for nature at its wildest and most thrilling. More.

And finally

A Kiwi tourist says she was detained in Kazakhstan after immigration officials refused to believe that New Zealand was a country, and not just a distant, unpopular state of Australia. Ouch! Apparently, her insistence that New Zealand was, in fact, a country was made difficult when it wasn’t on the map of the world the airport officials had in the interrogation room. Read more.

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