Want to get away this winter, but don’t have a lot to spend? Bored by your typical low-cost package holiday to Spain or Portugal? How about something a bit more exotic that will pique your curiosity about the world but will also give you the warmth you so desperately need on those cloudy winter days?

Red Sea cruise deals from the likes of Thomson this year are recommended as a budget-conscious but interesting way to beat the winter blues. To those in the know, these holidays are tough to beat for the money – just check out any online message board or travel review site.

For those who haven’t previously ventured outside their comfort zone, flying to Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt in order to get on a cruise ship might seem a bit too far off the beaten path. But it’s not only safe, it’s luxurious. In fact, it might be a holiday that you find yourself returning to time and time again, as so many others have done.

But what is there to see? First of all, Sharm El Sheikh is a world-renowned diving spot, with huge areas of coral reef now well-protected by the government. It also has sandy beaches and promenades lined with palm trees. If you like history, note that it’s located at the tip of the Sinai Peninsula, at the edge of one of the most ancient regions in the world, not far from Mount Sinai and the ancient Saint Catherine’s Monastery.

Most Red Sea cruises will also stop in Aqaba, Jordan’s ancient (and only) coastal city – an area that has been inhabited since 4000 BC and has seen the ancient Greeks and Romans come and go. It has incredible architectural and cultural remnants from those eras. The city is also famous throughout the region for its breaches, warm water and diverse marine life.

Most cruises also stop in Port Sokhna, a gateway to Cairo and the Pyramids of Giza. Day trips are typically offered, including return transport and tours of such cultural touchstones as the Cairo Museum, the Pyramids of Giza, the Mohammad Ali Mosque and other gems from this fascinating and ancient civilization, and the focus of so much reportage these past few years. For some, chaotic Cairo is the highlight of the Red Sea excursion, and a must-see stop for those interested in ancient and modern history.

Check now for cruise deals on Red Sea excursions and book something a little different this winter.

Lifecruiser Love Cruise Deals


Though you’re never far from a pristine, quintessentially Caribbean beach, the main attraction of going on Dominican holidays is the ability to enjoy its varied geography. Inland deserts contrast fertile valleys, while the coastline is alternately postcard-perfect and dramatically rugged; this is one West Indian nation which must be experienced away from the crowded resorts.

Sharing an island with the nation of Haiti, the Dominican Republic has a fascinating past, displayed in the fine colonial architecture and museums of the capital, Santo Domingo. Although there’s enough interest here for days of exploration, the majority of your time is best reserved for the country’s natural wonders, landing on a few beaches along the way.

More than 100 species of birds have made the Eastern National Park their home and visitors flock here just as eagerly. There are cave paintings and coral reefs, as well as some deserted beaches to explore. At the eastern tip of the island, Playa del Macao is the number one sunbathing spot but don’t let this put you off; the nearby fishing village and warm welcome from locals makes this beach understandably popular.

To the north in Puerto Plata lies Mount Isabel de Torres, the photo opportunity of a lifetime complete with cable car transport to the top and a Christ statue to rival Rio’s. In fact, with 80% of the country covered by mountains and the highest peak in the Caribbean – Pico Duarte – the Dominican Republic offers not only plenty of adventure, but spectacular views over the rest of its subtropical and verdant landscape.

The country owns many protected habitats like Lago Enriquillo, home to flamingos and the rare rhinoceros iguana. Marine mammals like the humpback whale are not the only attraction of the crystal waters which surround the island; kaleidoscopic underwater scenery and sealife await at key diving spots like Punta Cana and tiny Catalina Island.

Astonishing diversity is the norm on this unique island nation. From former pirate coves to dense mangrove forests, idyllic sands to towering mountain-tops, the Dominican Republic is a consistent favourite among the Caribbean islands and is one of those rare places which lives up to its own hype.

Lifecruiser Love Caribbean Islands


Although Madrid is full of wonderful adventures, the Spanish rail system offers excellent opportunities for day trips through the beautiful countryside to other fascinating destinations. You can start your day at an affordable hotel like the Petit Palace Tres Cruces (or any other great Madrid hotel listed at Hostelbookers.com, the budget travel specialists), have a marvelous adventure and be back in your cozy hotel room by nightfall!

Spain: Madrid trainPhoto By: khowaga


Climb aboard the Refre railway to experience the laid-back atmosphere of this coastal Spanish town while enjoying beautiful scenery along the way. The journey takes two and a half hours and winds through the some spectacular landscapes. Once in Malaga, you can tour historic sites like the Alcazaba, a Moorish castle built in the 11th century, or learn more about Picasso by touring his birthplace at the Picasso Museum.

Spain: Picasso MuseumPhoto By: Tab59


Catch some rays on the beaches of Sitges, refered to as the Saint-Tropez of Spain, on a three hour ride aboard the FGC (Generalitat de Catalunya) railways. This artsy town has year-round attractions but really gets hopping during Carnival that begins on Fat Tuesday or the Sitges Film Festival in the summer. Known for its tolerant attitude, it is a popular destination for gay and lesbian travelers and has an abundance of fine dining establishments.


Depart from the Madrid Atocha station on Rail Europe for a one hour and 44 minute ride to this charming sun-drenched area that was one of the largest cities of the ancient world. Explore Old Town where you can still see the Roman walls standing and visit the Fernandina churches like Santa Marina which houses work by local artist Antonio del Castillo y Saavedra.

Spain: CordobaPhoto By: Cruccone


Travel through the Catalan countryside from Madrid to the birthplace of Salvador Dali aboard the sleek double-deck French TGV high-speed trail that passes through Madrid. Relax in their state-of-the-art cars that whisk you to sites like the Dali Theatre and Museum where you’ll find the largest collection of his work in the world.


Be in Paris in just two hours aboard the daily high-speed TGV Eurostar that whisks you to the City of Lights in record time. If you’d like an overnight adventure, the Elipsos train hotel departs Barcelona each evening for a 12 -hour trip with a la carte dinners and 4-bed sleeper cars. Embark refreshed and spend the day exploring the Louvre and dining on Paris delicacies before taking the high-speed train back to Madrid.

France, Paris: Le LouvrePhoto By:  ComunicaTI


In just an hour and a half, the high-speed AVE can deliver you to Zaragosa (also known as Saragossa) so you can spend the day exploring this charming city. Try out the tapas bars or their famous regional dish, Bacalao al Ajoarriero (cod-fish with garlic and eggs) in between visits to the romantic castles and monasteries scattered throughout this picturesque city.

You’ll find the rail services also offer package deals that include hotel accommodations, public transportation or rental car deals, dining coupons and comprehensive passes to museums and attractions.

Lifecruiser Love Spain Train Travel