Holidays – 10 reasons to book direct

Thomas Cook, Superbreak Mini Holidays, Freedom Travel Group and The Holiday Place are just a few of the recent companies falling into administration, leaving holiday makers stranded, disappointed and left fighting to get their money back.

Instead of entrusting an agent or tour operator with their money, holiday goers are increasingly choosing to take back control and make their own holiday arrangements – booking travel, accommodation and car hire themselves. It’s easier than you think, and it can save you money too!

In this article we list the top 10 reasons to book direct – so stop and think, will your holiday company be there this time next year?

1. The collapse of tour operators and agencies

The Civil Aviation Authority list 7 companies registered with ATOL that have failed within the last 12 months. Each company will have a left holiday-goers out of pocket with no where to go for their precious time off. It’s worrying, but no wonder, that ABTA have webpages dedicated to consumer advice on what to do if their travel company goes out of business.

You could be forgiven for thinking long standing institutions such as Thomas Cook are too big to fail. Poor enterprise risk management and failure to adapt and modernise, combined with an increasing number of disruptive business models coming on the scene each year, means it is inevitable that there will be a growing trail of failed operators to come in 2020, each one falling whilst holding on to holiday-goers hard earn savings.

So, reason number one, don’t lose out and take back control of your holiday.

2. Commission led selling

Travel agents will push the holidays that give them the biggest commission. They will do their best to push holidays on you, upselling a dream and cajoling you into booking a holiday that suits them, not you. They will also earn perks for pushing extras that have inflated costs all to meet their precious sales targets.

Reason number two, don’t get upsold.

3. Design your own holiday

A tour operator will put together a packaged holiday and then sell it en masse. You holiday with a crowd and do exactly what everyone else does. By booking your own holiday you have the freedom to choose your destination, how you travel, what you do, see and experience, and even decide who you spend your precious holiday with. Sounds amazing to me!

Reason number three, take back control and design your own holiday, just the way you like it.

4. Save Money

By booking direct you can trim £100’s off the price of your holiday. Tour operators will make a margin on everything and you are paying for their operating costs and shareholder profits, when you could be spending that on upgrading your accommodation, going on an excursion and making more memories!

Reason number four, get more for your money.

5. It’s not all about hotels

The world is a big place and you don’t need to stay in a hotel when you go on holiday. There are a wide variety of property types out there; villas, gites, chateau’s, B&B’s, apartments, private retreats, niche hotels, cottages and guest houses as examples. They can all offer different and unique holiday experiences, opening-up a world of holiday options and opportunities.

Reason number five, you don’t need a hotel, there are many types of accommodations.

6. Flexibility

Package holidays are normally only available for fixed blocks of time such as 7, 10 and 14 days and may only start on certain days of the week. By booking your own holiday you can go at times that work for you and your annual leave. Maybe you’d like a short get away, or just want to eek out your two-week holiday by an extra day. Booking direct makes this all possible.

Reason number six, book a holiday that is however long you want it to be.

7. Travel times

Planes fly at-all-times of the day and from many locations – they don’t just fly at 5am out of Stanstead. Booking direct means you have more choice of locations to fly from and at times that better suit you. Sure, some flights maybe cheaper if you travel early, but the internet is full of cheats and hacks to get the best flight prices for savvy travellers.      

Reason number seven, chose your own flight time and where you fly from.

8. Variety

You don’t have to stick to one place on holiday. Why not explore your holiday destination and book two or more accommodations to get the most out of your holiday experience. You may be able to do this with a tour operator, but it will be at a premium that stops most people from even considering it.

Reason number eight, go on another holiday during your holiday!

9. No need to compromise

Package holidays often come with compromises – time restrictions on mealtimes, the same choice of food everyday and seeing the same people. You don’t need to join the conveyor belt following people around the hotel going from restaurant, to pool, to the bar, to restaurant etc. By booking your own holiday you can do what you want, when you want.

Reason number nine, you don’t have to compromise.

10. You can still get a hotel experience if you wish

If you book your own accommodation, and still want a bit of that hotel experience, many hotels allow you in to use their facilities and entertainment for the day. Yet whilst everyone else will be doing the conga around the hotel, you can go back to your own pool and your own choice of sunbeds at your own villa.

Reason number ten, get the best of both worlds.

Don’t wait – take back control of your holiday and honour your preferences today

We’ve been booking our own trips for many years and the sense of excitement is as special as the holiday itself. Putting it all together is exciting with the prospect of designing a holiday exactly how you want and all the new opportunities that come with doing it yourself. You may be worried about protection, but its not all about ABTA and ATOL, there are ways to secure your trip and book with confidence. Travel insurance, paypal buyer protection and paying with credits cards (through section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act) can give protection to your travels.

Some people will always book through an agent and will have same type of holiday experience year in year out. Those who book direct broaden their horizons and open up a world of new experiences.

At Secluded Escapes we list a wide range holiday accommodations such as villas, apartments and niche hotels. You can find your perfect holiday rental accommodation with us and make your own holidays (www.secludedescapes.com).

Lanzarote, Island of Eternal Spring

Within easy reach of Europe, Lanzarote is the perfect short-haul get away for all-year-round sunshine and is the perfect place to top up your all-over-tan.

Lanzarote is the northernmost Canary Island with stunning and unique volcanic landscapes and beautiful beaches. Owing to its beautiful weather and climate, Lanzarote is often called the Island of Eternal Spring

Temperatures range between highs of 29 degrees Celsius in August and 21 degrees Celsius in January. Average daily sunshine hours range between 10 hours in the summer months to 7 hours in the winter months.

What to see and do:

  • Timanfaya National Park: This is Lanzarote’s most popular tourist attraction and is a beautiful area where you can explore the islands volcanic history.
  • Jameos del Agua: This is a must see when visiting Lanzarote, exploring the beautiful caves and white pool.
  • Cueva de los Verdes: Visit the beautiful underground wonders of Lanzarote – wait for the special surprise at the end of the tour.
  • Mirador Del Rio: Located on the northernmost part of the island and located high up on an escarpment, this is an architectural wonder and offers amazing panoramic views and a beautiful view of La Graciosa

The best beaches:

There are some beautiful hidden gems in Lanzarote, so here we share the best beaches off the beaten track for those who like the quiet away from the crowds and enjoy getting that all-over-tan:

  • Playa de Papagayo: located in the south of the island near to Playa Blanca, this is a natural parc with a number of different beaches. Whist naturism is generally accepted on all beaches, Playa del Congrio, Playa Las Mujeres and Playa del Pozo are most commonly suited for naturists.
  • Playa Guasimeta: if you can’t wait to get the the beach, then Playa Guasimeta is just next to the airport in Arrecife.
  • Charco del Palo: this is a naturist village on the eastern coast, it doesn’t have beaches per se rather rocky pools.
  • Famara Beach: this is an amazing wild beach popular for surfers – the area away from the parking areas are used by naturists.
  • Orzola: In the north of the island visit Mojon Blanco, Caleton Blanco and Charco de la Laja.

Where to stay:

Villa Sandra: Villa Sandra is a unique villa that offers her guests a special experience. Decorated with the most modern exclusive furniture and features. Villa Sandra will sleep 6 adults, but we suggest to use it with 5 persons for the 5-star feeling. Book Now.

Villa Perla Armour: Villa Perla Amour is a unique villa that offers her guests a special experience. Decorated with the most modern exclusive furniture and features. Villa Perla Amour will sleep 8 adults in great comfort. Book Now.

There are many private and secluded accommodation options with the best selection listed on Secluded Escapes (www.secludedescapes.com).

Vera Playa – Naturist Village

Vera Playa is a naturist village on the Costa Almeria in Andalusia Spain. It is the perfect all-year-round get away boasting over 320 days of sunshine per year with the lowest levels of rainfall in Europe.

In 2013 the Guinness World Record for the largest ever skinny dip was achieved at Vera Playa, with 729 naturists entering the sea.

The summer sees scorching temperatures of 28 to 30 degrees with 12 hours of sunshine per day and rarely any rainfall. During the autumn months September (av. 28 degrees) to November (av. 19 degrees) it is a great place to get away as the colder temperatures set in throughout northern Europe. Winter temperatures reach a minimum average of 14 degrees, and although wetter during this time, rainfall is comparably low throughout December, January and February until the spring season (March to May) that sees the return of long hours of sunshine, perfect for an early Easter get away to start working on your tan.

Vera Playa has long stretches of beautiful naturist beach and a perfectly relaxed atmosphere. Within this naturist village, you will find the usual amenities you would find on other resorts, including supermarkets, restaurants and bars.

Vera Playa is originally a tourist settlement extended from the town Vera which is a commercial centre approximately 6.2 miles inland from the coast. The north of Vera Playa established itself as a naturist area in 1990 and has a number of apartment complexes (urbanisations) and even a naturist hotel.

The nearest airports to Vera Playa are Almeria Airport (approximately an hour), Murcia Airport (1.5 hours away) and Alicante (2 hours away).   

Things to see and do:

  • Plaza de Toros de Vera: this is one of the oldest bullrings in the province of Almeria and one of the 10 oldest in Andalusia
  • Plaza Mayor de Vera: in the town of Vera, the Plaza Mayor is surrounded by the Parish Church of Nuestra Señora de la Encarnación and the Town Hall. It is the nerve centre of the town and one of its main squares.
  • Parque Acuatico Aquavera: the Aquavera water park is just an hour’s drive from Almería and just half an hour from tourist areas like Mojácar. It has fun attractions such as black holes, kamikaze, multitracks, maze of slides, adventure river, wave pool, lake pool and children’s pool . It can also be enjoyed in the mini golf, playground and recreation room.
  • Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de la Encarnacion : the church of Our Lady of the Incarnation is located in the town of Vera . It is a fortress church built in the 16th century.
  • Cerro del Espiritu Santo: the hill of the Holy Spirit sits on a hill affected by erosion, west of the town of Vera.

Where to Stay:

Casa Vera: Beautiful ground floor apartment on the Bahia de Vera urbanisation, newly refurbished at the start of 2019.
Sleeps 4 in two separate bedrooms one king size bed and two single beds. Air conditioning in all living rooms. About 250 metres from the naturist beach and beach bars. Bahia de Vera has 3 pools 2 outdoor and one indoor heated pool. The urbanisation has well manicured gardens with a large sunbathing area around the outdoor pool. The urbanisation is located close to a major brand supermarket and numerous bars and restaurants.public transport bus service is adjacent to the supermarket. Book Casa Vera

El Ricon del Sol: Fabulous one bedroom penthouse apartment in secure naturist complex, Bahia de Vera, 5 minutes from the naturist beach with stunning views from its large private terrace. The complex itself has both outdoor and indoor heated pools with Jacuzzi. The apartment has a fully equipped kitchen and is minutes from great naturist friendly bars and restaurants. Book El Ricon del Sol

M&A Apartments: First class apartment with all your usual home from home facilities with a five star Trip Advisor rating. M&A is a very private and secure facility and is only a very short walk away from full naturist beaches. Book M&A Apartments

La Menara: This fantastic, well equipped and large 2 bedroom naturist apartment is in the naturist resort of Vera Playa. Book La Menara

There are many accommodation options within Vera Playa including beautiful apartments with the best selection listed on Secluded Escapes (www.secludedescapes.com).

Naturism in Fuerteventura

With stunning Caribbean-esque beaches, turquoise waters and beautiful landscapes, Fuerteventura offers the perfect holiday destination. As a naturist friendly island it is a must for the travelling naturist.

Meaning ‘strong fortune’, Fuerteventura is the second largest of the Canary Islands. It boasts some of the most beautiful beaches of the islands with many naturist beaches, most of which are not far off the beaten track and easy to access.

The top three naturist beaches in Fuerteventura

Lagoons of El Cotillo

There are lots of sheltered lagoons with many areas for naturism. These lagoons provide quiet tranquil turquoise waters suitable for paddling with many shallow areas. These beaches are easy to access from the main road. Head through El Cotillo and aim for the lighthouse. As you head toward the lighthouse, you will find lots of parking areas off to the left and right. You don’t have far to walk from any of the car parks before you find the beaches. When you retire from the beach and fancy a bite to eat, the Azzurro Restaurant is an absolute must! We thoroughly recommend the Seafood Linguine in a Parmesan nest (with a beer of course)!

Flag Beach in Corralejo

This is a beautiful beach with golden sand and turquoise waters. Park down by the second Riu hotel, head down to the beach and turn right. Naturism starts about 300 yards down the beach. There are sunbeds and parasols available to hire in the naturist area and even a café serving hot and cold food, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks and ice creams. You certainly don’t have to rough it on this beach with these amenities. The beautiful Dunas de Corralejo are a short distance away from flag beach in Corralejo Natural Park – they are well worth a visit on your way home.

Sotavento Beach

In the south of the island in the Jandia region close to Costa Calma, Sotavento beach is nothing short of stunning. Wade through the beautiful shallow lagoons to reach long strips of beach with water both in front of and behind. This beach is a little harder to reach and further away from amenities, but as it is such a beautiful beach it is well worth a visit.

Where to stay

A range of perfect, private and secluded villas for your next stay in Fuerteventura.

Villa Turquesa 1

Villa Turquesa 1, four bedroom villa with beautiful outdoor swimming pool

Villa Turquesa 2

Villa Turquesa 2, four bedroom villa with beautiful outdoor swimming pool

Luxury Villa in Lajares

Villa is Lajares, five bedroom villa with hot tub and heated outdoor swimming pool

Villa Alegre

Villa Alegre, three bedroom villa with hot tub and indoor heated swimming pool

At Secluded Escapes we list holiday accommodations such as private villas and properties on naturists resorts. You can find your perfect holiday rental accommodation with us (www.secludedescapes.com).

Why book a private and secluded villa?

[Credit featured image: Lavinia Naturist Resort]

Sit back and imagine the heat of the sun on your skin, the slight breeze of warm air swaying the palm trees, the tranquillity and quiet, with only the gentle noise of trickling water permeating the air as you gently kick your feet backwards-and-forwards in your own private swimming pool. Jump in and take a swim with no one to disturb you. There is no need for a costume if you choose a private and secluded villa that is not overlooked (www.secludedescapes.com). Feel the freedom and relaxation as you swim, then return to your own choice of sun lounger, take a sip of your drink and relax without a care or a worry – no one around to bother you.

Sounds idyllic doesn’t it. Close your eyes and hold this image in your mind – imagine yourself laying there. Heavenly.

Finca Robusto
https://www.secludedescapes.com/en/listings/739373-finca-robusto-naturist-finca-with-heated-pool

Now picture yourself at a hotel, on a sunbed, surrounded by other people. This is the same sunbed you had to put your towel on at sunrise to mark as yours for the day. You’re hot and need to cool off in the swimming pool. You hide your valuables and head to the pool! You step around people and queue at the steps to get in for a quick swim. You dodge people and the splashes. You keep peering back at your sunbed to make sure your phone and money hasn’t been stolen and that your sunbed hasn’t been taken!

You get my point! Having your own private and secluded villa, your own pool and your own space is a special type of holiday and there are villas that offer this special experience for a range of budgets. It really is a no-brainer. So what are the other great reasons to book a Secluded and Private villa?

Casa Cal Domino (Spain)
https://www.secludedescapes.com/en/listings/732791-casa-cal-domino-spain

Your own space

Having your own space on a villa holiday allows you to enjoy your holiday however YOU would like. There is no need to queue and you will have no worries about your security or annoyance from other people. You can choose your hotel, but not the people you have to share it with. You will free yourself from the constant awareness of others and the security of your valuables.

“You can choose your hotel, but not the people you have to share it with”

Villa Galatee (Kefalonia)
https://www.secludedescapes.com/en/listings/726236-villa-galatee-kefalonia

Privacy

Private and Secluded Villas that aren’t overlooked provide perfect privacy. This is appealing to those that like privacy on their holiday without the bother or prying eyes of others, allowing them to get away from it all, switch off and holiday however they want to.

That all over tan

If you enjoy the freedom of wearing less or no clothes, or maybe you are thinking of trying naturism, then there is no better place than a private and secluded villa. There are practical benefits too, less clothes, less baggage, cheaper travel!

Villa Perla Armour (Lanzarote)
https://www.secludedescapes.com/en/listings/729321-villa-perla-amour-4-bed-villa-with-private-heated-pool-and-views

At Secluded Escapes we list holiday accommodations such as villas and properties on naturists resorts. You can find your perfect holiday rental accommodation with us (www.secludedescapes.com).

Our journey has just begun

It has only been two-and-a-half months since we launched our online marketplace, Secluded Escapes. In this article we talk about our journey so far, our experiences and where we are heading.

We launched Secluded Escapes in March 2019 to help people like us find their perfect private and secluded holiday accommodation, making it simple and easy for property owners and holiday makers to connect and book with confidence. With the properties we list being private and not-overlooked, or on a naturist resort, we are clearly operating in a special and niche area.

We are ploughing our own path, determined to define an area of the market that sits between traditional villa websites and naturist only websites. We are appealing to people who simply want privacy on their holiday and those who enjoy naturism, a unique position that combined with our traditional naturist values, can create mainstream awareness of naturism by bringing these two markets together.

Since starting our new venture, we have engaged with so many people. It has taken us truly by surprise the amount of support we have received from naturists, some of whom are property owners themselves. Their spirit and belief in promoting naturism is truly warming, genuinely showing us support with our journey. Naturists are such genuinely nice people it reminds us that we are part of a very special community – this continues to drive and motivate us on our journey.

“Naturists are such genuinely nice people it reminds us that we are part of a very special community.”

With the start of our new blog, upcoming features in magazines, growing site traffic and growing social media channels, we’re spreading the word and looking forward to where this journey takes us.

Wherever this takes us, we’re certain we will get to know more and more great people and as we love what we do, we’re going to enjoy every minute of this journey.

At Secluded Escapes we list holiday accommodations such as villas and properties on naturists resorts. If you would like to try your first experience in the privacy of your own secluded villa or would like to try naturism abroad, you can find your perfect holiday rental accommodation with us (www.secludedescapes.com).

Naturism and your first experience

Some people grow up in naturism and others find naturism later in life. Regardless of when you discover it, there is always a first time.

Your first experience of naturism can be a daunting one. Whilst you may be comfortable being naked in your own surroundings, being naked in the presence of others and taking that first step can be a nail-biting experience.

In my previous role as the Youth Officer for British Naturism, I have introduced so many people to naturism helping and supporting them to overcome those initial nerves. Ironically, being the only clothed person in the presence of other naturists can equally be an unsettling feeling, which itself helps with motivation to take that first step.

What goes through a person’s mind at that moment?

It can be a variety of reasons and are individual to each person. For some it can be the unfamiliar sensation of being naked outside, the thought that others may stare at you, or maybe the anxieties from beliefs about body image and appearance may take hold.

Whatever the cause of the initial apprehension, once that step has been taken, in so many cases these feelings of anxiety are replaced by elation and then ease and relaxation. So many people look back and can’t believe the worry they felt in the lead up to their first experience ,wishing they had tried it sooner. Soon after it becomes so normal and a natural way of life. Such experiences are made easier with so many naturists being genuine, understanding, caring and accepting people – these traits run throughout true naturism and is what makes our way of life very special and unique.

What is the best way to start?

Having introduced so many people to naturism and helping them with their first experiences, I’ve learnt what can help. I’ve found the best way is to join a group of naturists at a social event (clothed), such as the pub. Getting to know a group of naturist friends first and by finding how nice naturists typically are, this can help allay some of those jitters and your first naturist experience will be amongst new life-long friends. Remember, everyone is unique, and all bodies are natural, yours is no different and naturists do not stare or judge.

I can promise that once you have taken your first step you will never look back.  

At Secluded Escapes we list holiday accommodations such as villas and properties on naturists resorts. If you would like to try your first experience in the privacy of your own secluded villa or would like to try naturism abroad, you can find your perfect holiday rental accommodation with us (www.secludedescapes.com).