20 key trends for holiday heaven at the Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show
Let your January blues melt away as the Belfast Telegraph Holiday World Show 2014 jets into town today. Claire Graham takes a look at the 20 top trends for Northern Ireland holidaymakers this year
1 The top destinations for the over 55s are Spain, France and Turkey. With Sangria, sand and Mediterranean culture, Spain is the number one spot for the over 55s closely followed by France, with the Alps just waiting to be explored and romantic weekends in Paris a short plane journey away. Coming third is Turkey, steeped in history and incredible shopping malls.
2 Weddings on white sand are on the rise but where do we go to? The Caribbean, America and Thailand are among the top destinations. Intimate vows made to the sound of waves on white sand are becoming more popular by the year for our newlyweds as they jet off to idyllic escapes for their big day.
3 We're packing up the caravan... caravan and motorhome breaks are luxurious, retro and charming – and they are the fastest growing family option for holidays. The caravan comeback was long overdue and it is becoming a firm favourite as people of all ages hit the open road in style, and with high spec amenities at their fingertips.
4 The ideal short break is just a short drive away. A weekend escape closer to home remains one of the most popular choices for holiday-makers. With busy work schedules and school terms to consider, the stunning north coast, the Mountains of Mourne, the Sperrins and the Fermanagh Lakes can trump the exotic shorelines.
5 Cheapie cruises... it's full steam ahead as family cruises on a budget are taking the seas and tourism market by storm with eager adventurers finding the once-thought of luxury industry more affordable. Price drops have made a cruise a more bank balance-friendly option.
6 It's pricey in the Canaries... With North African trips suffering in the face of uncertainty, the Canary Islands market has spotted an oportunity and has tailored prices for those wanting the all-year heat.
7 Egypt is getting its reputation back this year. When trouble spilled out on to the streets of Cairo during the Arab Spring of 2011, holidaymakers took their passports elsewhere. But the drop-down prices of Sharm el Sheikh and the pyramids of Luxor are becoming one of the bargain cultural trips of 2014.
8 American dream... we're still in love with visiting our friends on the other side of the pond. Florida stays up at the top of the holiday wish-list for many in Northern Ireland. But Mickey Mouse is just one corner of the American dream and already January sales have seen a sky-rocket in flight sales to the US.
9 An emerging destination for 2014 is Sri Lanka. Not only has travel become easier with the country's shake-up in visas, but there are spectacular sights throughout the summer season including the Gathering Of Elephants each year from July-September, when huge herds are observed.
10 River cruising is an easier option for those without sea legs. The growing tourist attraction across Europe is one of the fastest-growing choices for water vacations with 18 new routes setting sail this year. Sailing down the Danube or the Rhine is set to be one of the best-selling scenic routes of 2014, taking visitors through stunning rural surroundings.
11 It's back to the travel agent... the 21st century tech-savvy traveller likes to book flights and hotels, transfers and insurance independently, using search engines to surf the net to mix and match a tailored holiday. But there's a reason we have travel agents – they know best. They offer the best rates because they buy in bulk and get a better deal.
12 Glamping... not just for the young, glamping stormed into our brochures a few years ago as the glamorous way to embrace the great outdoors. Pink tents and diamond-encrusted Wellington boots were flying off the shelves for the younger market. The market for travellers looking for the outdoors but with a touch comfort is continuing to grow.
13 Bus tours expect full throttle sales. First-class travel can now be found on a bus with global hot spots beginning at a bus stop. Coach trip standards are rising to compete with an international market. Improvements to buses has seen extra leg room and an upwards trend in bookings.
14 Valentine's in Verona... the home of Romeo and Juliet is becoming a favourite for Northern Ireland lovers, beating off traditional romantic getaways such as Paris. The cobbled Italian streets set the scene for engagements, anniversaries and proposals.
15 The Seychelles, famed for its beauty and honeymoons, is losing its touch this year with the Northern Irish market – because it's too pricey. The 115 islands nestled in the Indian Ocean still remain as stunning as ever – but savvy romantics are taking to Mexico and the Caribbean, where it's just as exotic but kinder on our wallets.
16 Hello Canada... there will be nearly three times as many flights a week departing from Dublin headed for Canada – and it looks as though prices will drop and we'll be buckling in. With strong historical links and a huge diaspora, it's a massive country to begin exploring.
17 Belfast International Airport has four new destinations on offer. With Bordeaux, Corfu, Jersey and an additional route to Malaga added to Belfast International, we'll be enjoying more direct flights and spending less time at stopovers and waiting on connections.
18 We're holidaying three times a year... it used to be a fortnight off work, kids off school and 18kg of flip flops. In 2014 we are expected to take three trips, one 10-day break and two long weekends. The chance to escape either home or abroad is one of our favourite pastimes – with local hotels anticipating benefits from smaller two-night breaks.
19 Where we'll be stopping off again... it's not au revoir, but rather a plus tard – see you later – to France. It's the country we are most likely to visit more than once for a holiday. For families, groups of pals and couples alike, the French Alps, south coast and architectural wonders cascade through the land to bring more than one adventure.
20 The Belfast Telegraph Holiday World 2014 is the place to be for all the latest news and deals. It runs in the King's Hall Pavilions, Belfast, from 1pm to 9pm today and from 11am to 5.30pm tomorrow and Sunday. Admission is £5 for adults, £4 for senior citizens, £3 for students, and £10 for a special family ticket (two adults plus accompanied children). Visit www.holidayworldshow.com for full details and www.belfast telegraph.co.uk/ competitions