How to make the most of your trip


By Chris Leadbeater for High Life magazine

Fish River Canyon, Namibia © Getty Images

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September 2016

Why visit one holiday hot spot when you can squeeze two into your holiday? It’s never been easier to fly into one great destination and out of another, meaning it’s time for a road trip. Chris Leadbeater picks six epic adventures.

Abu Dhabi to Muscat

Best for…

Beyond-the-beach explorers

The journey - 276 miles

Dubai attracts plenty of holidaymakers, but there’s much to be said for an odyssey that begins in its fellow emirate Abu Dhabi. The UAE capital is home to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – a visual feast of white marble. More visceral thrills await on Yas Island, where Ferrari World celebrates the iconic car brand in a theme park, including the world’s fastest roller coaster.

More visceral thrills await on Yas Island, where Ferrari World celebrates the iconic car brand in a theme park, including the world’s fastest roller coaster

Next, take yourself into the desert. Add a car to your booking with British Airways’ exclusive hire partner, Avis, and head east to Al Ain. ‘The garden city’ sits in the shadow of Jebel Hafeet, a mighty peak that rears to 4068ft yet is tamed by a road that curls seven miles to the summit. Back in Abu Dhabi, catch a British Airways flight to Oman (the service runs five times a week). Explore the capital, Muscat – where the National Museum of Oman charts the story of the nation in 7,000 exhibits – before following the lovely coast northwest to explore towns such as Sohar and Saham.

When to go

December, when temperatures in the UAE and Oman dip to a pleasant 25°C.

Find our cheapest flights to Abu Dhabi >

  • The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi © Getty Images

    Peaceful prayer

    Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque can accommodate 40,000 people at any one time.

    Book flights

Las Vegas to San Francisco

Best for…

Desert road trippers

The journey - 569 miles

The American West offers a spectacular array of sights in a relatively short distance. Las Vegas is a fine launchpad for any adventure: you can stay in some of the planet’s most elaborate hotels – Caesars Palace, The Venetian, The Bellagio – but also gaze at the city’s past via the abandoned signs of The Neon Museum.

Add a car to your booking, exclusively with Avis, and go west into the hot grip of Death Valley National Park. In this fierce expanse of desert, Badwater Basin, 282ft below sea level, is the lowest point in North America. Then forge north to Yosemite National Park, the wide slice of wilderness in the Sierra Nevada, where roaring water cascades at Vernal Fall.

After such hard terrain, San Francisco, 190 miles west, is an oasis of urban joys. Cars dash over the Golden Gate Bridge, trams clank down steep gradients and eye-popping murals in the Mission District provide a bright backdrop for nights out.

Explore things to do in San Francsico >

When to go

October, when the Sierra Nevada is tinged with autumn colours, but winter is yet to descend.

Find our cheapest flights to Las Vegas >

Where to stay

Live the luxe life in Vegas and check into a glamorous Sky Suite at The Aria.

  • Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong

    Eastern promise

    We’ve been connecting London and Hong Kong for over 80 years.

    Discover Hong Kong
  • Abu Dhabi to Muscat

    Magical Middle East

    Oman boasts over 500 forts and castles, showing its rich heritage as one of the oldest inhabited countries in the world.

    Explore Muscat
  • St Lucia to Grenada

    Did you know…?

    Grenada was home to the world’s first underwater sculpture park.

    Visit Grenada

Prague to Berlin

Best for…

Inquisitive Europhiles

The journey - 218 miles

Europe is such a jigsaw that you can cover two capitals in one trip. Prague, in the Czech Republic, is a medieval maze where the 14th-century Gothic joy, the Church of Our Lady Before Týn, lights up the Old Town Square. On the far side of the River Vltava, Museum Kampa has a striking display of modern art collected in secret during the Cold War.

Pick up a hire car with Avis in Prague and head north over the German border to Dresden. Badly damaged by air strikes in 1945, the city is a phoenix whose rebirth is symbolised by the Frauenkirche – a vast 18th-century Baroque church that was reconstructed between 1994 and 2005. Continue north to pretty Lübbenau, where you’ll find Spreewald Biosphere Reserve, a protected zone of meadows, woods and canals. Then drive the final stretch to Berlin, where the Brandenburg Gate is a Neoclassical emblem of Germany, and Kreuzberg is a treasure trove of bars and eateries.

When to go

December, when both cities are alive with festive markets.

Find our cheapest flights to Prague >

Where to stay

The Park Inn by Radisson in Alexanderplatz – aka Berlin’s tallest hotel. Prague’s Cloister Inn is set in a monastery in the Old Town.

Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong

Best for…

Fans of spectacular views

The journey - 1,568 miles

Despite Asia’s enormity, you can see two of its significant cities with a single air hop. Start in Kuala Lumpur – British Airways is the only airline to fly there nonstop from London, daily – where the modernity of Malaysia’s capital is embodied by the 1,483ft Petronas Twin Towers. KL’s traditional side is incarnate in the surrounding Golden Triangle, where you can shop in Bukit Bintang and refuel at Jalan Alor’s street-food stalls.

Fly with British Airways’ oneworld partner Malaysia Airlines to explore Hong Kong, where the blend of old and new continues: Victoria Harbour is busy with boats, as it has been for centuries, while the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre swirls with contemporary works by local artists.

When to go

Tropical rain is common in December, but temperatures average a pleasing 27°C.

Find our cheapest flights to Kuala Lumpur >

Where to stay

British Airways offer Book three nights for the price of two at Majestic Kuala Lumpur. The InterContinental Hong Kong is also offering four nights for the price of three for travel between 18 Nov and 29 Dec 2016 (book by 29 Dec 2016).

  • Cape Town to Windhoek

    Love is in the air

    On average, two couples get married on the famous Table Mountain every month.

    Discover Cape Town
  • Prague to Berlin

    Did you know…?

    Berlin has more museums than rainy days, 180 and 106 respectively.

    Explore Berlin
  • Las Vegas to San Francisco

    Name in lights

    The world's largest mechanical neon sign is called ‘Vegas Vic’, a giant cowboy located on Fremont Street.

    Visit Las Vegas

St Lucia to Grenada

Best for…

Caribbean island-hoppers

The journey - 132 miles

The Caribbean offers an opportunity for a luxurious twin-centre break. Fly first to St Lucia, an island of rare beauty whose chief port and capital Castries are a nest of coloured buildings and bobbing boats. The coast offers more delights further south with the beaches of Soufrière – not least Anse Chastanet, where the five-star Anse Chastanet Resort holds court. Above, the volcanic peaks Petit Piton and Gros Piton rise to 2,461ft and 2,619ft respectively. The latter can be climbed with guided hikes.

The flight to Grenada takes around 90 minutes. Another charming capital awaits: St George’s, in the southwest of the island. The nearby Morne Rouge Beach is one of the Caribbean’s loveliest. If you can drag yourself away from it, Grand Etang National Park is home to Seven Sisters Falls and a haven for walkers.

When to go

December, when the Caribbean hurricane season (June-November) is over.

Find our cheapest flights to St Lucia >

Where to stay

Boucan by Hotel Chocolat in St Lucia, for indulgent chocolate spa treatments.

  • The Petronas Towers, Kuala Lumpur © Getty Images

    Live like a local

    Kuala Lumpur is commonly referred to as KL, and its inhabitants as KLites.

    Fly to KL

Cape Town to Windhoek

Best for…

Intrepid aficionados of Africa

The journey - 1,000 miles

Those who assume that Africa is an implausible destination for a road trip reckon without the close relationship between South Africa and Namibia. Cape Town, the most celebrated city in the former, is a brilliant place to begin a fly-drive break, with Table Mountain holding up its head as a 3,358ft backdrop, and the shops of the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront selling a host of bargains and souvenirs.

Add a four-wheel car to your booking with British Airways’ exclusive car hire partner, Avis, and dash east to the Cape winelands. Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are framed by vineyards – and the latter is home to some 200 wineries.

Then swap sophistication for serrated rocks and desert drama – as offered 450 miles north by Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, which straddles the border. Fish River Canyon, on the Namibian side, is Africa’s deepest, falling 1,800ft. Let your camera feast on its craggy flanks – then drive on to Windhoek, the Namibian capital, whose German heritage is encapsulated by the 1910 Christuskirche.

When to go

November, when the Cape Town summer is finding its feet with pleasant temperatures of 22C.

Find our cheapest flights to Cape Town >