Cocktail in one hand, a book in the other, lying on a sunbed in 30 degree heat as you listen to the waves lapping against the shore. You could be anywhere in the world but I've found that over the last ten years of travelling, there is nothing quite like heading off to a far-flung destination to top up our tans.
I've recently returned from the Dominican Republic with icelolly.com and got to experience all of the above. I'm a Caribbean convert. After travelling to Mexico last year I decided that heading on a long haul holiday ticks all of our holiday requirements and here are just a few reasons you need to travel long haul...
There really is nothing more beautiful (bar the Amalfi Coast) than the white sand beaches that adorn every corner of a Caribbean Island. Palm lined shores play home to some of the most stunning beaches that you can walk along for miles. In the Dominican Republic, we stayed on Bavaro Beach which was postcard perfect! The Dominican was where they filmed key beach scenes in the Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise and it is so easy to see why.
The standard of hotels are high. When we travelled to Mexico we stayed at the El Dorado Seaside Suites which was voted on the Forbes Travel List as the "Most Romantic Hotel of the Year" and boy was it? The food was incredible and the service was second to none. You can also travel on a budget as well to the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic and Cuba offer some great mid-range options so you can experience long haul for less!
Going long haul to the Caribbean though isn't just about amazing beaches. Places like Havana in Cuba and Chichen Itza in Mexico are home to some of the most fascinating places on this earth (and the latter being one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, no less!) If you aren't someone who enjoys lounging around on the beach for too long, you'll always be able to find an excursion that takes you to somewhere fascinating.
Okay, so a sunrise is pretty wonderful whichever corner of the earth you're on. However, having experienced a couple in the Caribbean, they really do take your breath away in this part of the world. The palm trees slowly sway in the breeze, there were a few souls walking around taking in the views and even a solitary holiday maker practising yoga at 5.30am. Everything was so peaceful and in that moment I felt completely, utterly, one hundred percent relaxed. It was like my inner chi had reached an all-time high. Trust me, the long haul journey is worth it.
The Caribbean is home to some weird and wonderful spirits which in turn create the most delicious cocktails to appetise your palette. The classic Mojito is always a huge winner and the recipe changes depending whereabouts you are holidaying so it's always a surprise with what twist it's given!
By far, and without a doubt, the happiest people I have ever come across on holiday are the Mexicans. Their kind nature never failed to make us smile or make me want to kidnap one to come home and live with us. Their laughter is infectious, their humour is adorable and quite frankly each and every person we came across was like a little ray of sunshine, which just made the experience even more magical.
So there you have six reasons why you need to make your next holiday long-haul, and if I haven't convinced you enough you can head over to my instagram and check out my recent holiday photos from the Dominican Republic or check out my blog Queen Beady where you can read more about my adventures. If they convince you, you can book your long haul holiday with icelolly.com by clicking the button below!