The Howard Travel Blog


Rats, lanterns and the world’s largest annual human migration? The most important celebration in the Chinese calendar returns on January 25th. The Chinese New Year will last around 15 days, with around 20% of the world taking part in the annual parades and traditions.


As it is an official public holiday, Chinese residents can get seven days off work from January 24th, with schools and businesses in China closing for the first few days of the new year. This gives everyone time to spend with their families, enjoying delicious food, especially noodle soup, which is said to bring good luck for the year ahead.

Before the festivities can begin, people give their homes a thorough clean in order to get ready for the celebrations to begin. Once New Year’s Day comes, it is traditional not to pick up a broom as the good luck can be ‘swept away’. Washing your hair is also forbidden on New Year’s Day as it is seen as the good luck being ‘washed away’.  

As clocks strike 12am, over 1 billion fireworks will light up the sky, the largest amount anywhere at any time of year. Many believe that setting off fireworks and firecrackers scare away evil spirits of the past year and celebrate the coming of the new year.

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Like at Christmas time in other countries, people exchange gifts during the New Year period, with the most common gift being red envelopes containing money, with the colour of the envelope believed to bring good luck. The money is supposed to help transfer fortune from the elders to children or can be given between bosses and employees, co workers and friends.

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The first animal on the Zodiac Cycle, the rat may not be one of the most adorable animals, but its characteristics are seen to be intelligent, charming and quick-witted. The rat also symbolises wisdom and the ability to adapt quickly to new environments. The Zodiac Cycle is based on a 12-year cycle, with each year relating to an animal and is calculated according to the Chinese Lunar Calendar. 

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In 2019, 2.99 billion trips were made during the Chinese New Year period, making it the largest human migration on the planet. Many people in China return home for family reunions during the Lunar New Year, with the number of travellers increasing from 100 million in 1979 to 3 billion. China’s railway network handled over 400 million passengers, with 73 million people travelling by air, with road trips being the most popular method with 2.4 billion travelling by car.

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Known as the ‘largest’ Chinese New Year celebration outside Asia, the streets of London are lined with colourful parades, performances and dragons. Over 300,000 people take part in the celebrations, as the parade travels through Chinatown and ends in Trafalgar Square, where spectators can witness the official opening ceremony. There is also a pyrotechnic display at Trafalgar Square for the grand finale and an explosion of Chinese New Year fireworks in London.

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12 Destinations to Watch in 2020

Written by 
  • 30 December 2019

ABTA have recently released their 12 best destinations to watch throughout 2020. The list has been compiled by ABTA experts which feature a range of different landscapes, cultures and attractions. We have put together some of the top things to do in each location, so if you’re unsure about where to travel to, this list could be the inspiration you need.

Howard Travel Year in Review 2019

Written by 
  • 13 December 2019

As another busy year in travel draws to a close, we have taken a moment to look back and review 2019 at Howard Travel - and what a year it was! 2019 saw new faces, ‘excellent’ customer service, awards, fam trips across the globe and a whole lot of summer holidays!

Black Friday Offers

Written by 
  • 29 November 2019

We have collated the best offers this Black Friday from a host of different operators. Hurry though, Deals will be departing soon! Call our holiday experts today to find out more about any of the below offers - 01225 777 227 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


⚫Mauritius - Stay for 7 & pay for 5!

⚫ From £1,090pp
Save £452 per couple

- 7 nights staying at Mauricia Beachcomber Resort & Spa

- Emirates flights from Gatwick £1,090pp, Heathrow £1,115pp

- Half Board Choice of free land & water sports

- Airport transfers in Mauritius

- Departs 18 May 2020

- £150 Deposit

- Book by 6th December

*Subject to availability, price based on 2 sharing.


⚫ 7 nights 3* Orlando

⚫ From £459pp

  • Return flights from Gatwick
  • Valid for travel 07 May – 04 June 20
  • 7 nights at 3* Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista a Rosen Hotel B&B

*Based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing


⚫ 9 Day Classic Peru

⚫ From £1,829

  • Return flights from Gatwick
  • 20 March 2020
  • 8 nights’ accommodation
  • 8 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
  • English speaking guide
  • Selected sightseeing & transfers


Lima | Cuzco | Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu | Puno | Lake Titicaca



  • • See Spanish colonial architecture in Lima
  • • Discover Aymara and Quechuan Indian cultures of Puno
  • • Enjoy a guided tour of the iconic Inca city of Machu Picchu
  • • Explore beautiful Cuzco or relax and take in mountain views
  • • Take a boat tour on the world’s highest navigable lake, Lake

Titicaca and stay with a local family


⚫ 7 nights 4* Phuket

⚫ From £799pp

⚫ Save up to £505pp

  • Return flights from Heathrow
  • 7th May 2020
  • 4* OZO Kata Phuket B&B
  • Return Transfers


⚫ Sri Lanka from £799

⚫ Save up to £470pp

  • 7 nights at 4* Club Hotel Dolphin, Waikkal, all inclusive
  • Return flights from Heathrow
  • 4th May 2020
  • Return private transfers


Florence - 3 nights from £391pp ‼️

- Departing 27th March 2020
✈️Fly from Bristol Airport
- Staying at the 3* Hotel Rosso 23
- Includes breakfast

*Subject to availability, price based on 2 sharing.
☀️5* Tenerife ☀️
‼️7 nights from £979pp
?Departing 14th April 2020
✈️Fly from London Gatwick
?Staying at 5* Vincci Seleccion la Plantacion Del Sur
?️Bed & Breakfast in a Twin/double room

*Subject to availability, price based on 2 sharing.
☀️10 Nights Australia Multi-centre
⚫ from £1,399pp
✔️SAVE UP TO £360pp
‼️Includes one FREE night in Sydney, FREE breakfast in Brisbane & one FREE night in Surfers Paradise
⚫ Departing 9th August 2020
✈️Fly from London Heathrow
⚫ 3 nights 4* Rendezvous Hotel Sydney Central
⚫ 3 nights 4* Novotel Brisbane with Breakfast
⚫ 4 nights Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise

*Subject to availability, price based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing
⚫ Malaysia Summer School Holiday
‼️10 nights from £749pp
✔️SAVE UP TO £110pp
⚫ Departing 20th August 2020
✈️Fly from London Heathrow
⚫ Staying at 4.5* DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Penang

*Subject to availability, price based on 2 adults and 2 children sharing.
☀️4* Barbados
⚫ From £1,499pp
⚫ Departing 1st June 2020
✔️SAVE UP TO £580pp
✈️Fly from London Gatwick
⚫ Staying at 4* Treasure Beach by Elegant Hotels
⚫ Return flights
⚫ 7 nights in a Garden View One Bedroom Suite
⚫ Bed & breakfast
⚫ Return Transfers

*Subject to availability, price based on 2 sharing.
☀️5* Mauritius☀️
⚫ 7 nights all inclusive
⚫ From £1529pp
✔️SAVE UP TO £2333PP
⚫ Book by 6th December 2019
⚫ Junior Suite
✈️Fly from London Heathrow
*Subject to availability, price based on 2 sharing.
⚫ Azores, Madeira & Portuguese Highlights Cruise
Discover lovely Madeira, the ‘floating garden of the Atlantic’, plus the historic and colourful cities of La Coruña and Lisbon, bringing contrasts to this wonderful cruise.
⚫ Ship - Marco Polo
❌WAS - £2129pp
✔️NOW FROM £885 – 70% OFF!
⚫ Departing Tuesday 24TH March 2020
⚫ 7 night cruise
⚫ Departing Bristol Avonmouth

*Prices shown are per person based on two adults sharing a twin cabin and include all cruise offer discounts and savings
⚫ Easter River Seine Experience Cruise

Cruise the beautiful River Seine with its panoramic vistas across the Normandy countryside.
⚫ Marco Polo
❌WAS £1069
✔️NOW £471 – 65% OFF!
⚫ Departing Tuesday 7th April 2020
⚫ 7 night cruise
⚫ Departing Bristol Avonmouth

*Prices shown are per person based on two adults sharing a twin cabin and include all cruise offer discounts and savings
⚫ Iceland & Northern Isles Cruise
Home to one of the world’s most dynamic landscapes, Iceland is the legendary ‘Land of Fire and Ice’! Vast ice caps, active volcanoes, spouting geysers, bubbling mud pools and geothermal hot springs are all part of the exciting nature you may experience on this extraordinary island.

❌WAS £1079pp
✔️NOW £917pp – 60% OFF
⚫ Departing Sunday 9th August 2020
⚫ 12 Night cruise
⚫ Departing London Tilbury

*Prices shown are per person based on two adults sharing a twin cabin and include all cruise offer discounts and savings

Kimara's Italian Adventure

Written by 
  • 27 November 2019

Howard travel expert Kimara has returned from her trip exploring some of the finest sights Italy has to offer. During her 4-night stay, she came across some of the world’s most famous sights such as Pompeii, Mount Vesuvius and the Colosseum. From a tour of the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, to trying a metre-long pizza, have a read about Kimara’s action packed time in Italy through her daily travel diary.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Travellers

Written by 
  • 25 November 2019

Christmas is already just around the corner, which also means that the stressful Christmas shopping period is nearly here. If you're stuck for gift ideas and you know someone who just loves to travel, this is the perfect list for inspiration. From cheap to pricey and essential to fun, this list covers all areas of what you need to inspire someone to explore somewhere new!

Hannah's Uzbekistan Trip

Written by 
  • 13 November 2019

Earlier in the year, our Travel expert Hannah went to explore some of the fascinating landscapes Uzbekistan has to offer. Read her travel diary to see what she got up to on her trip, from the glittering Turquoise Domes of Registan Square to the amazing roof top views of Bukhara.  

Join us on our Exclusive Small Group Tour to Borneo

Led by our very own Sarah Tichacek


After the success of our previous Norad/Howard led tours to Vietnam & India, Join Sarah on our exclusive and fully escorted Norad Travel 'Sights & Sounds of the Borneo Jungle' group tour, packed full of tailor-made wildlife and jungle experiences. From a once in lifetime Orangutan experience in Sandakan, to a traditional lunch cooked by Sukau villagers, this bespoke tour is certainly not one to miss.

Howard Travel is part of the Norad Travel Group

Key Details

£2,875 per person

- Departing 2nd October 2020

- Flights from London Heathrow

- 9 nights, exclusive and bespoke Norad guided tour

- Led by Norad Senior Manager, Sarah Tichecek

- Escorted by experienced local Borneo guide

- Packed full of tailor-made wildlife experiences

- Secure your place for just £350 Deposit


 Borneo Landscape | Sights & Sounds of Borneo | Howard Travel


Explore the amazing sights of Borneo

The exclusive tour will be led by Norad Travel Senior Manager, Sarah Tichacek and escorted by an experienced local Borneo guide. The Sights & Sounds of Borneo tour will depart on Friday 2nd October and return Monday 12th October, allowing you time to explore the very best Borneo has to offer.

Call our holiday expert and Norad tour leader, Sarah today to find out more on 01730 892298 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



Friday 2nd October:

Flight from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur. Overnight on-board flight. 


Day 1 - Saturday 3rd OctoberSandakan

Flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan (13:25 arrival) 

- Private transfer from the airport to the hotel with lunch and dinner served at the hotel.

- Flying squirrel platforms to see these incredible animals 

- Accommodation: My Nature Resort


Borneo Landscape | Borneo Group Tour | Howard Travel


Day 2 - Sunday 4th October: Sandakan

- Labuk Bay Monkey Sanctuary

- Rainforest Discovery Centre 

- Return to resort for dinner

Accommodation: My Nature Resort


Labuk Bay Monkey Sanctuary | Borneo Group Tour | Howard Travel


 Day 3 - Monday 5th October: Sandakan

- Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

- Tropical Lowland Dipterocarp Forest of Borneo

- Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre 

- Cruise up to the Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary

Accommodation: Abai Jungle Lodge, includes lunch and dinner


Sun Bear Conservation Centre | Borneo Group Tour | Howard Travel


Day 4 - Tuesday 6th October: Sukau

- River trip to Pitas Oxbow Lake to observe wildlife

- Breakfast at Abai Jungle Platform

- Lunch with the villagers at Abai Village which has been specially cooked by them

- River cruise to Sukau village

Accommodation: Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge 


Oxbox Lake River Trip


Day 5 - Wednesday 7th October: Sukau

- River trip to experience the longest river of Sabah 

- Explore the Gomantong Bird nest caves on Sakau Lodge

- Transfer back to lodge and lunch at Sukau Villager's house or at Sukau Lodge

- Afternoon river cruise 

Accommodation: Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge


Gomantong bird nest caves | Borneo Group Tour | Howard Travel


Day 6 - Thursday 8th October: Sukau

- Transfer from the hotel to the airport

- After breakfast, a private transfer from the lodge to the airport

- Flight from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu, includes private transfers

Accommodation: Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, 3 nights bed & breakfast


Sukau | Borneo Group Tour | Howard Travel


Day 6,7,8 - Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa

With a private beach, views of the coral islands and just five minutes drive from the centre of Kota Kinabalu and ten minutes drive from the airport, Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru offers luxury and relaxation in a great location.

Facilities include an infinity and lap pool, health club, CHI Spa, sauna, Jacuzzi, nine-hole golf course, tennis, bike hire, watersports and choice of bars and restaurants.


Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa | Borneo Group Tour | Howard Travel


Day 9 - Sunday 11th October

Flights from Kota Kinabalu to Kula Lumpur and then onwards to London Heathrow returning Monday 12th October

*Limited to 17 people with a minimum of 10 bookings required for the tour to go ahead.The above price is guaranteed subject to a minimum of 10 people in economy class. Priced at £2,875 per person based on a twin double room and economy flights, business class upgrades and extensions that can be quoted upon request. 


To find out more about the Sights and Sounds of Borneo Group Tour, speak to Norad Travel Senior Manager and travel expert Sarah Tichacek

T: 01730 892298 | E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mince Pie Day 2019

Written by 
  • 06 November 2019

Mince Pie Day

Church Walk, Trowbridge 

Wednesday 18th December 10am - 4pm

 Join us for some mince pies and merriment!

Come say hello to us in our Travel Lounge at 12-13 Church Walk, Trowbridge and we will help you get in the Christmas spirit with some mince pies and sherry.

Pop in between 10am - 4pm on Wednesday 18th December and chat to one of the team over some festive treats. Whether you want to chat about your recent holiday, plan your next one, or just fancy a mince pie; we look forward to seeing you!