Your guide to getting the most out of your long-haul holiday

Flying long-haul to reach the sun can seem like a crazy idea when there are so many fabulous European destinations on our doorstep, but the rewards are countless if you get it right. Here is our guide to the top five things that make a great long-haul sun holiday.

Explore a new culture

Imagine waking up to the dawn chorus in Bali and breakfasting on dragon fruit and papaya; it’s a slightly different experience to being woken by seagulls and eating a sandy ice cream on a British seaside holiday. If you’re going to get on a plane once a year then why not make it an exotic holiday, where you can learn something new and explore a new culture, new foods and meet new people. While a holiday in the UK or Europe is always going to be relaxing, if you choose somewhere more exotic you could be eating street food in Thailand, exploring ancient temples in Indonesia, spotting giraffes in Senegal or even snorkelling with turtles in the Caribbean or the Indian Ocean.

Find sun when it’s winter in the UK

Long-haul holidays can offer guaranteed warmth but do your research first. Lying on a beach when everyone is shivering back home feels particularly special, as does coming back with a proper tan during the coldest, darkest months of the year. If you fly to the other side of the world during the European winter months, you can be guaranteed warmer climes, but do your research carefully if you are looking for back-to-back sunshine. At certain times of the year, exotic holiday destinations can be in the middle of the rainy season, rather than ‘winter’ as we know it, and that can mean serious downpours. That said, even during rainy season it is likely to be sunny for most of the day, and the scenery is likely to be more lush, colourful and green.

Control the costs

Whether you decide to take an all-inclusive package or build your holiday independently, long-haul doesn’t have to mean expensive. If you choose a destination such as Thailand or Indonesia, it can be significantly cheaper, but unless you’re a seasoned traveller – or you simply need time out, and to have all the decisions taken out of your hands – all-inclusive long-haul holidays offer a great option. With all your food, drink, entertainment, kids’ clubs, sport and travel taken care of in one price, it means you can just get on with enjoying the sun and exploring a new culture. It also means less time searching the internet for the best prices before you go.

Make the flight fun

Flying enables us to access incredible, exotic locations within a day. While being stuck on a plane or at an airport is not the most fun aspect of long-haul travel, it can be a useful time to begin your holiday. Think about making the most of a stop-over – perhaps you can stay an extra night or two if the flight to your long-haul destination isn’t direct, and explore a new city. Use the flight time to catch up on those nagging emails you didn't have time to finish in the office, so you can step off the plane feeling worry-free. Or simply kick back, let the air stewards look after you while you enjoy film after film, a book, a snooze and some down-time. If you book your seats in advance to guarantee your window or aisle, you can minimise the stress of a long-haul flight.

Realise your dreams

If you’re going to take a long-haul holiday, why not do it in style. Warm, white sandy beaches, clear waters and palm trees are the stuff of dreams, but they don’t have to cost the earth. You can hunt for all-inclusive long-haul holiday deals at the last-minute, or book and plan in advance for the special, exotic holiday that you deserve. Mauritius and the Maldives aren’t as out-of-reach as you might think, if you go all-inclusive. Long-haul destinations are often so different to those in Europe that you should make the journey and experience count. Go to that place you’ve always wanted to visit; learn a new sport in an environment with guaranteed sunshine or have a Balinese massage when you’re actually in Bali. The choices are endless.

Find out more about premium long-haul, all-inclusive holidays with Club Med.

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