Make your holiday count


By Harriet Cooper

Photography by Getty

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May 2017

Did you know you can cut the cost of your British Airways flights using Avios? Whether you’re saving £10 on a flight to Paris or £180 on your trip to Miami, put the money towards an exciting travel experience instead. Here are some great ideas for how to spend what you save.

Dubai

The lowdown… Imagine a glittering metropolis with year-round sunshine, intoxicating souks, the largest shopping mall on earth, idyllic beaches, thrilling water parks, and top-notch restaurants, and you have Dubai. Little wonder this high-octane destination is on every savvy traveller’s go-to list.

Buy your flight using 11,500 Avios and save £80

Spend it on… Leave Dubai’s skyscrapers behind and embark on a once-in-a-lifetime evening desert safari with dune bashing, camel rides, sand-boarding and henna art. Afterwards, feast under the stars with a barbecue dinner and belly dancing. You might even have some change left over to try one of the additional extras, like sand-skiing or quad biking.

Put your savings towards an evening desert safari experience and explore Dubai beyond the skyscrapers

Barbados

The lowdown… Beach time is mandatory on this tropical paradise. While the west coast is home to palm-fringed swathes of soft sand and gently lapping clear waters, making it perfect water sport material, the east coast is wild, wind-blown and a magnet for surfers. Thanks to a rich heritage and verdant landscapes, there’s plenty to do inland too.

Buy your flight using 33,000 Avios and save £180

Spend it on… Treat the family to a ‘swimming with the turtles’ tour. A glass bottom boat will take you to the photogenic west coast, where you’ll drop anchor and don snorkel gear to swim amongst the beautiful Hawksbill and Leatherback turtles, as well as explore a local shipwreck.

  •  Explore the exciting cityscape and the mesmerizing desert in Dubai © Getty

    Did you know?...

    The Dubai Metro is the longest fully-automated (driverless) metro system in the world.

    Discover Dubai
  • Witness the power and beauty of nature at the Samarian Gorge, Crete © Getty

    Kid's play

    Samaria is home to the kri-kri, a breed of endangered wild goat. They’re quite shy, so keep you eyes peeled as you trek the gorge.

    Visit Crete
  • While away the hours at Miami’s glorious South Beach © Getty

    Pieces of eight

    Miami Beach is a top spot for treasure hunters, pirates and buccaneers such as Blackbeard sailed these waters, and legend has it that some of their gold can still be found here.

    Explore Miami

Crete

The lowdown… Greece’s largest island has a diverse mix of landscapes. Its beaches range from wild and isolated, to calm inlets with barely a ripple, making it the perfect spot for navel-gazing. For those of a non-beach disposition, there’s hiking in the White Mountains (the Samarian Gorge is a must-do), Minoan towns and palaces for history lovers and a rich, gastronomic culture for the foodies.

Buy your flight using 14,000 Avios and save £90

Spend it on… Take the family islet-hopping. If you’re in the northwest of Crete book the ferry from Kissamos to Gramvousa with its Venetian castle and tropical lagoon of Balos - a magical swimming spot. Koufonisi, off the southeastern tip of the island, has pristine beaches and extensive Roman ruins. Cruises depart from Makry Gialos on the ‘pirate ship’ Evdokia.

Faro

The lowdown… The Algarve’s oft-underrated capital enjoys a fantastic Mediterranean climate and is a popular destination for sun-seekers, who flock here for the beaches and islets that surround the Ria Formosa Nature Park. The city itself has a historic walled old town - complete with pretty pedestrianised streets and a Gothic cathedral, as well as manicured gardens and an attractive marina.

Buy your flight using 8,500 Avios and save £60

Spend it on… Put your saving towards hiring a car with British Airways and Avis and explore the nearby pretty villages, market towns and fishing ports – try Estoi with its famous pink palace and roman remains, and visit Tavira with its hilltop castle ruins and discover why it’s known as the “Venice of the Algarve”. With Avis car hire you’re guaranteed great rates and flexibility, 24-hour customer support and you can earn more Avios, making this a road trip to remember.

New York

The lowdown... This is a city with boundless energy - it is flashy, fast-paced and fun. From its dizzying array of museums and galleries including the likes of MoMA and the Guggenheim, atmospheric neighbourhoods and iconic, instantly-recognisable sights, to the 20,000+ restaurants and exhilarating nightlife, there’s never a dull moment in the city that never sleeps.

Buy your flight using 7,000 Avios and save £50

Spend it on… Explore every corner of the Big Apple on a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. Jump aboard one of the distinctive double-decker buses whenever you want, and lively tour guides will keep you entertained and informed as you cruise round Uptown, Downtown, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

Miami

The lowdown… The seaport city of Miami, on the southeastern tip of Florida, has a deep-rooted pan-Latin culture, making it a vivid and lively place to visit. The fashionable crowd congregates in South Beach with its Art Deco hotels, high-energy nightclubs and pristine beaches. But it’s definitely worth exploring the rest of the Magic City for its thriving arts scene and food movement.

Buy your flight using 33,000 Avios and save £180

Spend it on… Treat a loved one to the ‘Moon Over Miami Romance Air Tour’. Take off early evening and sip Champagne as the sun sinks behind the Everglades, casting its brilliant red hue on Biscayne Bay. As darkness falls, the lights of Miami, South Beach and Star Island come alive making this an experience you won’t forget in a hurry.

  • Taste your way around the French capital © Getty

    Time for tea

    While Paris has many grand tearooms, the oldest café in the city is Le Procope in the sixth arrondissement – it has been serving locals and visitors since 1686.

    Discover Paris
  • Try your head for heights at the CN Tower, Toronto © Getty

    Watch your step

    The CN Tower’s heart-stopping glass floor (342 metres up in the air) can hold the weight of 35 moose.

    Explore Toronto
  • Take a stroll down Barcelona’s bustling La Rambla  © Getty

    Tempting treats

    The origins of the Catalan capital’s famous La Boqueria market can be traced back to 1217. Stop by to mix with the locals as they stock up on fresh fruit and fish.

    Discover Barcelona

Toronto

The lowdown… Did you know that this Canadian city is now the most multiculturally diverse in the world, with some 230 different nationalities calling it home? The result is a dynamic and eclectic melting pot, with dozens of ethnic neighbourhoods waiting to be explored, a vibrant arts scene and a boom in exciting new restaurants.

Buy your flight using 17,000 Avios and save £110

Spend it on… For the ultimate adrenaline high, do the EdgeWalk at CN Tower - it’s the world’s highest hands-free walk, which takes place on a tiny ledge 1168-feet above the ground. You’re attached to an overhead safety rail, so you can lean back over the city with nothing but air and breathtaking views of Lake Ontario beneath you.

Rome

The lowdown… This sprawling city - with 3000 years of history - offers the perfect mix of old and new. On the one hand, there’s all that classical architecture and antiquities (the Roman Empire was one of the most influential empires the world has ever seen); while on the other, there’s an urban vibe, which stems from its stylish shops, cafe culture and a flourishing contemporary art scene.

Buy your flight using 5,500 Avios and save £40

Spend it on… Soak up the sights and tastes of the Eternal City on a Rome Bike and Food Tour. The 9-mile route will have you pedalling past the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Keep up energy levels along the way with a breakfast of espresso and a pastry, traditional pizza for lunch, followed by gelato.

  • Make the most of your Roman holiday from sunrise to sunset

    When in Rome...

    Stop by the Pantheon, Rome’s best-preserved ancient monument, and admire the ornate fountains of the Piazza Navona

    Rome weekend guide

Paris

The lowdown… Arguably one of the world’s most beautiful cities, Paris is made up of a patchwork of arrondissements, all of which have their own personality and quirks. From historic facades to hipster hangouts, the capital is packed with things to see and do: superlative museums and grandiose palaces, boutiques and restaurants and, in the midst of it all, the majestic River Seine.

Buy your flight with 1,250 Avios and save £10

Spend it on… Patisserie Ladurée has been satisfying the sweet tooth of Parisians since 1862. Famous for its pastel-hued macarons, the cake shop offers seasonal flavours (lily of the valley or Java pepper, anyone?) as well as permanent fixtures like orange blossom, rose petal and liquorice. Although, they're so pretty, you might not won't want to eat them.

Barcelona

The lowdown… This sprawling city - with 3000 years of history - offers the perfect mix of old and new. On the one hand, there’s all that classical architecture and antiquities (the Roman Empire was one of the most influential empires the world has ever seen); while on the other, there’s an urban vibe, which stems from its stylish shops, cafe culture and a flourishing contemporary art scene.

Buy your flight using 5,500 Avios and save £40

Spend it on… Soak up the sights and tastes of the Eternal City on a Rome Bike and Food Tour. The 9-mile route will have you pedalling past the Roman Forum, the Colosseum, Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Keep up energy levels along the way with a breakfast of espresso and a pastry, traditional pizza for lunch, followed by gelato.