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.
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.
When to go
October, when the Sierra Nevada is tinged with autumn colours, but winter is yet to descend.
Where to stay
Live the luxe life in Vegas and check into a glamorous Sky Suite at The Aria.