£279 -- 7-Night Full-Board Nile Cruise inc Flights, 40% Off
At this price, frankly, who wouldn’t book this deal? Travelzoo was on the radio this week, and at the mention of the goodies included in this Nile cruise package, even hardened DJs were pledging to sign up to our Top 20 newsletter. It’s a puzzle to think of anything you would have to pay for on this trip: flights are thrown in, as are transfers to get you to your ship -- the MS Serenade -- and you’re fed and watered while on board. What’s missing? An Agatha Christie Death on the Nile-style mystery, perhaps, complete with mustachioed Hercule Poirot-type grilling suspect passengers in the onboard Jacuzzi? “Meester retired geography teacher, where were you between 11.30pm and midnight on ze night of ze 14th?” Just book the cruise, people. I’ll leave the onboard entertainment to you.
£79 -- Central Liverpool Stay w/Upgrade & Wine, Reg £155
Liverpool has always had a particularly gritty sort of allure for me among UK cities. With the Beatles, most famously, hailing from there and, before them, the innovative doo-wop enthusiasts of the Mersey Beat -- among all other sorts of artists -- the city has long been a creative forge as much as a powerhouse of the industrial revolution. Another box ticked among reasons to visit this venerable city? Well, if the deal we’ve found is anything to go by, decent hotel accommodation is considerably cheaper here than in the swanky cities of the south. A mere £79 at the Atlantic Tower -- a Thistle hotel -- gets you not only a comfortable bed for the night but also a room upgrade, a full English in the morning and a bottle of wine. Sip a few glasses of the latter and then go out and explore the dockside: there are more listed buildings here than in any other British city bar London, and the whole powerfully evocative area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
£690 -- Sri Lanka All-Inclusive Beach Holiday
Being beautiful is no defence against tragedy. For my money, Sri Lanka is one of the most gorgeous beach-and-jungle destinations on the planet, but it’s only now emerging from two and a half decades of brutal civil war, along with the devastation of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami. Perhaps those two misfortunes partly explain why such tempting travel deals are to be found in such a paradisiacal place. (And, by the way, no need to feel guilty about exploiting other people’s misery by going there: the country needs considerate tourists!) With the deal we’ve found, for just shy of £700, you get return flights, a week overlooking the Indian Ocean, all meals and drinks, and (two nice extras) a 20kg baggage allowance and free transfers. One appealing feature of the resort in question is the on-site Ayurvedic treatment centre. Ayurveda is a medical system native to India, just over the water, used by 80% of the population. Try a head massage at least, combine it with a lot of lolling on the beach, and you’ll come back one relaxed Travelzoo subscriber.
Simon Busch is the publisher of the UK Top 20