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20 dream holidays for the 21st century' - text

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Preliminary information

Time: 60 minutes??

Level: Upper Intermediate

To give detailed reading practice
To introduce/review 'holiday' vocabulary
To review & give oral practice with comparatives & superlatives
To practise the language of persuasion, the language of discussion....
To give freer speaking practice

That the stds will find the holidays interesting.
That the language in the text will not be too difficult & that it will be interesting vocabulary - choose the text to match the group.

Anticipated Problems and Solutions:
Some of the vocabulary is tricky so dictionaries on hand would be helpful.

Aids: The text below.


Stage 1 - Intro to holidays & vocabulary review/expansion

10-15 mins tch<>stds

1. Introduce holidays & where they might be going/have gone this year.
2. Ask if they could choose, which kind of holiday would they like - elicit different types of holiday - beach, safari, adventure, trekking, cycling, touring, weekend break, sightseeing, cruise, arctic, retreat etc.
3. If you're not going to use all of the holidays described in the text, choose some that you are not going to use & tell the class about them, asking them if they would like that kind of holiday, hopefully a discussion will ensue. Possibly elicit any ideas for other holidays that might be in the article you choose by giving the title.

Stage 2 - Reading

10 mins tch<>stds, std<>std,

1. Handout different holidays from the textto different stds or small groups - the brief is to read for detail as they will be exchanging descriptions later to find the most exciting, interesting, relaxing etc holiday.
2. Stds read - have dictionaries on hand & go round helping when needed, encouraging the stds to guess meaning from context whenever possible. You could design reading & language tasks to go with each piece of the text.

Stage 3 - Information exchange

20 mins tch<>stds, std<>std, stds<>tch

1. Put on the board

Which holiday is;

• the most relaxing

• the most exciting

• the most imaginative

• the most innovative

Or choose superlatives to suit. Other purposes could be:
- to give profiles of different people & stds find the best holiday for each.
- stds find the most appropriate holiday for another member of the class.

2. Put stds into groups, each having read about a different holiday - they have to agree on a holiday for each of the superlatives.
You might review some language that they might need before they begin, to make the task more effective - the language of discussion. Elicit/give & write some exponents on board for reference.
3. Task - while it's going on you take notes on +/- things said for feedback later on.
4. When decisions have been made get a member from each group to visit another group to report their findings & possibly give ideas to the group they are with. The roving stds then report back to their original groups who can make changes to their decisions, if they want.
5. Class feedback - see what has been decided & ask for justifications. Feedack on the language used during the task.

Follow up activities

The chosen holidays could then go on to be used in different ways:
- travel agent & customer roleplays - selling & buying
- travel agent & customer roleplays - customer complaining as the holiday wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

- stds could write another description of a holiday location, that fits with the theme of the overall text used, that they know about.

You could follow up on some of the travel agent links given in the article & collect a range of materials from the respective sites for use in similar activities. Or if you are lucky enough to have enough computer terminals, get the stds to do the research & make a project of it.


20 dream holidays for the 21st century

Forget the QE2, the Orient Express and a flight on Concorde... so-ooo twentieth century. Think instead of the Namibian dune mountains, paddle steamers in Mandalay or a solar eclipse in the Antarctic. Jill Crawshaw suggests 20 ideas for a truly twenty-first century experience

Sunday January 26, 2003
The Observer

1 Pick up a penguin
Think pristine white, think ice mountains and deserts of snow. Explorers who conquered Antarctica simply called it The Ice. You can follow in their tracks, forge through the pack-ice, visit research stations in remote islands and see penguins, seals and even whales on an epic voyage this November. You'll travel aboard a Russian icebreaker, Kapitan Khlebnikov, which in 1997 was the first ship to circumnavigate Antarctica with passengers. There is the chance of a lifetime on 24 November, when a solar eclipse will shroud the brutal beauty of the landscape in an eerie Antarctic twilight. Passengers can watch the spectacle in the company of eclipse-chaser and TV pundit Professor John Parkinson.
The reality
Departing from Port Elizabeth in South Africa on 5 November, the expedition, which ends in Fremantle, Western Australia, on 3 December, costs £15,995 from Wildlife Worldwide (020 8667 9158;

2 Sexy safari
Sweep over the Rift Valley in Kenya to the strains of Bach and Beethoven in your own funky helicopter, sleep under the African stars in a four-poster, drift aloft à deux in a balloon and breakfast on buck's fizz in the Masai Mara... and that's just for starters. On what it calls 'Africa's sexiest safari', tour operator Aardvark includes three of the most fascinating camps in Kenya: a secluded cottage at Loisaba, the riverside Rekero in the Mara and the exotic Elephant Watch in Samburu, where even the four-posters are hand-painted. You'll be able to watch the world's biggest game show - the wildebeest migration - and with your host Iain Douglas-Hamilton (whose daughter Saba presents wildlife programmes for the BBC) as your guru, you will probably fall passionately in love - with his great interest, the elephant.
The reality
11-night trips cost £8,500 for accommodation, meals and activities but not flights. From Aardvark Safaris (01980 849160).

3 Sixty mile-high club
Book up for blast-off on the first sub-orbital space flight if you really want a holiday that's out of this world. Flights are expected to start his year, soaring 60 miles above Earth's surface and lasting between 30 and 90 minutes. Wannabe Buzz Aldrins - or Buzz Lightyears - will need to bone up on a six-day space training course beforehand. It'll cost you up to £70,000, but there is a cheaper alternative: just rocket to the edge of space in a MiG 25 supersonic fighter and look down on Earth from the front seat of the cockpit. Don't forget to fasten your seatbelt.
The reality
Six-day sub-orbital flights and training are expected to cost around £70,000; three-day supersonic flights from the Russian Zhukorsky airbase cost £9,000. From (0870 442 1350).

4 Light of your life
When the Northern Lights flash pink, green and gold across the sky, the experience is breathtaking and humbling. Folklore abounds with explanations of the celestial phenomenon. For the Vikings the lights were messengers from the gods, for others the reflections of heavenly warriors. The Inuit saw them as torches to light the pathway to paradise. Today's scientists say they are caused when solar storms collide with the earth's magnetic field. Whatever the reason, the result is spellbinding. The best seats in the stalls are in Iceland, Greenland, Lapland, Norway and even northern Scotland. The best time to go is during the darkest, cloudless nights of winter - sightings can never be guaranteed. But if you're lucky enough to catch the Aurora Borealis you will remember it for ever.
The reality
Northern Lights Tours (£30) are offered as extras on four-day Iceland breaks, which cost £300-£500. From Arctic Experience (01737 214214;

5 Go Crusoe
Why not play Desert Island Discs for real on your own private island? The latest contender is Quilalea, a marine sanctuary which opened last October in the Quirimbas Archipelago of Mozambique. Known only to local fishermen, Quilalea slumbered undisturbed for centuries, and even Vasco da Gama missed it on his travels. Now turtles nest on its beaches, whales shelter their young in its channels and only a handful of holidaymakers are allowed to share their paradise. It is a place to play Robinson Crusoe in rustic cottages, go wildlife watching, snorkelling, fishing or cast away in the island's dhows to picnic on other little dots in the archipelago. For experienced divers Quilalea has some of the finest unspoilt sites off Africa.
The reality
Prices start at £276 per person per night, fully inclusive; a stay on Quilalea can be combined with a Tanzanian safari. From Carrier (01625 547010;

6 Island bliss
We know Australia is a big country but this is ridiculous... if you rent out Woodwark Bay in the Whitsundays, off the Queensland coast, you'll get 4,000 acres of your own tropical forest, with quad bikes to explore your patch and kangaroos and exotic birds for company. 'One of the most stunning properties on our books,' says upmarket travel company International Chapters, recently acquired by Abercrombie & Kent. You and your party of up to 22 people will live in six luxury cottages with names such as Dream House and Island House, Siamese Hut and Honeymoon Hut, giving friends and family their own bit of seclusion. Lots of other toys come with the property - picnic pavilions, observation tower, a lake for fishing and waterskiing, and a qualified masseuse is at hand. Take a boat to other Whitsunday islands or a helicopter tour to the Great Barrier Reef if you need a change from the bush.
The reality
Woodwark Bay sleeps up to 14 adults and six children, is fully staffed and costs £18,095 a week to rent from International Chapters (020 7722 0722;

7 Feast of the east
In the nineteenth century a grand tour of Europe used to take months. Now, thanks to new circular flights, twenty-first century travellers can do the Oriental version in two weeks or less, notching up six Unesco world heritage sites en route in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia. These include walled Sukhotai, the first Thai capital, and Luang Prabang, the ancient city in Laos that is still in a time-warp. There are three sites in Vietnam: the haunting ruins of My Son, the enchanting riverside town of Hoi An and the old cultural capital, Hue, where 20-metre thick walls surround the Forbidden Purple City, home to the former emperor and his harem of concubines and eunuchs. A fitting finale is provided by the sublime Angkor temple complex in Cambodia, which has been described as the most inspired monument ever conceived by the human mind.
The reality
14-night tours combine all the sites and cost £2,500 (including international flights) from Audley Travel (01869 276222;

8 Five-star canvas
No more grappling with guy ropes and soggy sleeping bags. Today's high- flying campers enjoy teak-floored tents, gold-tap bathtubs and champagne-stocked mini-bars. Vanyavilas, the new luxury jungle camp near Ranthambore tiger reserve in northern India, has tents covering 80 square metres and come with air conditioning, marble bathrooms and sundecks. When Bill Clinton was there he spotted two tigers. In Tunisia you can sleep ensuite under five-star canvas at the Oasis of Ksar Ghilane in the Sahara. Camel rides and jeep trips all come as part of the package. Even Australia is going soft - publicity for the 15 new deluxe tents at Longitude 131° at Uluru boasts beautiful linen, hairdryers and CD players.
The reality
12-day luxury tours of Rajasthan with four nights at Vanyavilas cost £2,226 from Greaves Tours (020 7487 9111;; Sahara Adventure tours, which include Ksar Ghilane, start at £995 from Wigmore Holidays (020 7836 4999;; 11-night luxury Australian tours with a stay at Longitude 131° cost £2,600 with Austravel (0870 166 2070;).

9 Thrills with frills
Raft the rapids, ride the range, trek through the desert... and then sink into a bubbling whirlpool bath and a soft mattress. Hairy pursuits without the hair shirt is the philosophy of new company Pura Aventura on its holidays for adrenaline-junkies in Europe and South America. 'They're for the well-heeled who fancy a challenge but want their creature comforts afterwards,' says the company's managing director, Thomas Power. First-class hotels and lodges are promised on the rugged 'Patagonian Adventure', on which you raft in the shadow of an active volcano, climb on a glacier and tackle the Andean forest on horseback. And it is 'strictly no tents' on the 'Snowdrifts and Sand Dunes' holiday, which combines skiing in Valle Nevado with riding, walking and biking on the salt flats of Chile's Atacama desert.
The reality
The Patagonian Adventure costs £3,000 all-in for 17 days, and Snow Drifts and Sand Dunes £3,400 for 24 days. From Pura Aventura (01273 676712;

10 Cool for kids
For today's cool kids, Orlando may be old hat, Tuscany a yawn and Morocco so last year - but Last Fling holidays to South Africa should spark excitement in the family holiday department. Aimed at hyperactive 10-to 12-year-olds and even trendy teenagers, itineraries pack in wildlife galore, including whale-watching at Witsand, cheetah-stroking at Cango, betting on ostrich races at Oudtshoorn and eagle-spotting in Tsitsikamma. Hi-tech treats include quad-biking through pine forests, touring the Stellenbosch vineyards by Harley-Davidson, helicopter flips over the Cape of Good Hope and bungy-jumping (optional) at Gouritz. Beat that, Benidorm.
The reality
Last Fling 14-night family packages to South Africa fly into Cape Town and out of Johannesburg and cost £2,100 per person from African Odyssey (01242 224482;

11 The new Riviera
Those in the know are forsaking the crowded Côte d'Azur and heading for the Istrian Riviera, Dubrovnik and the necklace of sun-drenched islands off the coast of Croatia. Steven Spielberg, Sharon Stone and Clint Eastwood are admirers of the sparkling Adriatic with its pine forests, olive groves, vineyards and fishing villages, and Princess Caroline of Monaco has bought her own place off the Istrian peninsula. There are still 1,185 uninhabited islands if you want to buy your own, though it'll cost you up to £1 million. But there are plenty of treats for the rest of us here in one of the most affordable dream destinations. Regular ferries hop between islands such as Hvar, famous for its lavender, rosemary and honey, and gutsy Korcula, birthplace (they claim) of Marco Polo. Look out for the spirited Moreska dance performed every week in summer. Star turn on the mainland, Dubrovnik, is nearly back to its best after a civil-war battering and ranks among the Med's most stunning medieval walled cities.
The reality
Many hotel rooms cost less than £30 a night; package holidays start around £200 a week. Information: Croatian National Tourist Board (020 8563 7979).

12 Simply divine
The monks and friars would count their blessings if they could live in these former colonial monasteries, convents and churches today - many have been converted into some of the finest hotels in Latin America. You'll be steeped in Spanish and Inca history if you stay in the 300-year-old five-star Hotel Monasterio in Cuzco, Peru, once the former seminary of San Antonio Abad. You can even marry there - the gilt-encrusted chapel is still consecrated. The Rough Guide to Central America claims that converted former seventeenth-century convent the Hotel Casa Santa Domingo in Antigua is 'probably the most atmospheric hotel in Guatemala'. There is a Spanish art museum and a swimming pool in the grounds, and recent excavations have unearthed some of the greatest art finds in Antigua's history. And there's no more evocative base from which to explore Oaxaca, one of Mexico's most colourful towns, than the luxury Camino Real hotel, once the sixteenth-century Santa Catalina convent.
The reality
Rooms cost £90-£180 a night and can be booked separately as part of a package from Steppes Latin America (01285 885333;

13 Blazing dunes
The ultimate spot for serious dune-bashers is Sossusvlei in Namibia where the sand mountains reach over 1,000 feet. The latest playground for sky-divers, sand-boarders, skiers and quad-bikers, the dunes are part of the oldest and driest desert in the world, the Namib, where tidal waves of sand billow across an empty landscape flooded with sunshine. The dunes are also a photographer's dream with their surrealistic shapes and sizes, sharp crests, ridges and ever-changing colours. If energetic pursuits don't appeal, soar away on a balloon safari and drift with the wind over oceans of sand. Or just find your dune and leave your footprints where no one else has ever trodden.
The reality
10-night, self-drive tours with flights over Sossusvlei and Namibia's Skeleton Coast start at £1,400, and all activities can be arranged. From Sunvil Travel (020 8232 9777;

14 The road to Mandalay
Take a pandaw (a converted paddle steamer) up the Irrawaddy and you will float into a gallery of oriental watercolours. You'll see emerald rice paddies and velvety jungles, shimmering pagodas and bamboo fishing rafts, sleepy farming villages and the fabulous temples (4,000 of them) of Pagan. Long before trains and cars were invented, they called the river 'the road to Mandalay'. Now, as visitors trickle back to Burma, they have a choice of river journeys into the country's unspoilt rural heartland. The boats are attractions in their own right - romantic throwbacks to the old colonial steamers, which carried jade and lacquerware, silk, tamarind and even elephants downstream, returning upstream with European cargoes of soap, cigarettes and whisky. The pandaws have been lavishly converted for passengers, but the landscapes remain timeless.
The reality
Two- to 10-day river journeys cost between £350 and £2,000 and must be combined with land-based tours in Burma from Audley Travel (01869 276222;

15 Ring cycle
If you've seen the Lord of the Rings movies, you will have fallen in love with their breathtaking backdrop. Hobbit fever has made New Zealand one of the hottest destinations of the new century, and there is still one more film to go in the Tolkien trilogy. The reality is even better. New Zealand may be a small country but there is nowhere bigger for natural wonders. If you follow in the footsteps of Elijah Wood and co around the blockbuster's locations, you will encounter a land of lush rainforests, rugged gorges and remote fjords, crystalline glaciers, spouting geysers, caves sparkling with glow-worms and majestic mountains. Get there soon - New Zealand is on a roll.
The reality
12-night Fellowship Tours cost £1,550 for flights, accommodation and car hire from Bridge the World (0870 444 1716; 14-night luxury tours with first-class flights, luxury lodges and your own private jet cost £26,000 with Elegant Resorts (01244 897887;

16 The coolest hotspot
Le Touessrok could soon be the place for super-cool travellers to chill in Mauritius after its swanky multimillion dollar face-lift and add-ons, which include a Givenchy spa and state-of-the-art Matt Roberts gym. It is certainly good news that the once pint-sized standard rooms are now big enough for the complete range of Louis Vuitton luggage. But this revitalised resort will have to work hard at it; the little Indian Ocean island packs in some of the world's most drop-dead gorgeous hotels, and the likes of Le Saint Géran, the Royal Palm and the opulent new Oberoi will give Le Touessrok a close run for your money.
The reality
A week's half-board with flights starts at £2,000. From Carrier Tours (01625 547030;

17 Caribbean elegance
Live in a style to which you'd like to become accustomed by renting a seventeenth-century plantation home in the Caribbean. Their original British owners had every intention of enjoying if not surpassing the lifestyle of the gentry back home. Ancient and modern blend flawlessly at Jamaica's 2,000-acre Good Hope Plantation - host to countless fashion shoots and posh parties. Priceless antiques, Palladian windows, polished four-posters and even the first hot water bath in the Caribbean take you back to the elegance of centuries past. A floodlit tennis court, movie library, music room, 10 metre pool and children's playground, to say nothing of a heliport, will soon bring you back to the twenty-first.
The reality
Sleeping up to 26 and fully staffed, Good Hope Plantation costs from £9,686 to £10,368 a week to rent from The Owners' Syndicate (020 7801 9801;

18 Marine supreme
Christina Ong of Parrot Cay fame in the Caribbean has come up with a hotel with a difference in the Maldives. On Cocoa Island visitors stay in dhonis - thatched wooden boats moored alongside the pier. These aren't the traditional fishermen's versions; Ong's floating nirvanas come with TVs and CD players, Indian-embroidered fabrics, verandahs where you can eat lobster fresh from the sea and air-conditioned bedrooms where you rock yourself to sleep at night. On dry land you can dine with your feet in the sand in the al fresco restaurant, browse in the well-stocked library, snorkel off a dazzling beach, treat yourself to a massage in the Shambala Spa or watch the real dhonis drift on the horizon.
The reality
Dhoni suites cost $480-$670 (£310-£430) a night. Inclusive holidays from Elegant Resorts (01244 897999; and Seasons in Style (0151 342 0505;

19 Pacific odyssey
Flying boats used to zigzag across 5,000 miles of the Pacific on luxury odysseys, landing on island lagoons where passengers were welcomed with song and sweet-smelling garlands. The journey became known as the Coral Route. Air New Zealand jumbos are taking a nostalgic blast at the past with itineraries from London to New Zealand or Australia to sample the magic of Tahiti or Fiji, the Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga. Robert Louis Stevenson, Rupert Brooke, Paul Gauguin and a host of other castaways made their own exotic stopovers there. Some of them never left.
The reality
Four-centre, 25-night itineraries from London with all flights and hotel stays in the Cook Islands, Tahiti, Fiji and Auckland start at £2,850. From Tailor Made Travel (01386 712000;

20 Polar dare
Pack your thermals and play it cool on a long weekend to the North Pole - if you can find it. When your helicopter decants you on to the sea-ice on top of the world, you will be given a satellite compass to find 90° north for yourself. Only then will you get to take that photo to bore the folks back home. You can relax on a couple of days' acclimatisation at Longyearbyen - the 'Chamonix of the north' - on the Arctic island of Spitsbergen before you go, or experience dogsledding, ice-caving and snowmobiling if you want some action.
The reality
Four-day North Pole tours cost £8,200 from the Polar Travel Company (01364 631470;

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