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31Dec/100

World begins New Year Celebrations – Happy 2011!

Multicoloured starbusts and gigantic sparklers lit the midnight sky over Sydney Harbour in a dazzling fireworks show witnessed by 1.5 million enthusiastic spectators who camped out all day to see in the new year.

Sydney touted its claim to be the New Year's Eve capital of the world with a spectacular display over the iconic Harbour Bridge, its largest since 2000.

As the clock ticked closer to 2011, cities across Asia readied for midnight events ranging from traditional prayers in Japan to a massive pyrotechnic display in the shape of a dragon in Taiwan.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered along Hong Kong's Victoria Harbour to watch fireworks explode from the roofs of 10 of the city's most famous buildings.

At Japan's Zojoji temple in central Tokyo, founded in 1393, monks chanted as thousands packed in to count down until midnight. Revellers released a mass of silver balloons, as the temple's giant bell rang in the background.

Earlier, New Zealanders sang and danced their way into 2011, with firework displays and sold-out concerts entertaining revellers. In the biggest city, Auckland, explosions of red, gold and white burst over the Sky Tower.

In New York City, nearly a million revellers are expected to cram into the streets around Times Square to watch the traditional midnight ball drop.

This year marks the first time Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, officially celebrates the new year with a countdown occasion, complete with a light show and foreign DJs in front of the city's elegant French colonial-style opera house.

In London, thousands will witness a musical and firework display at the 135-metre high London Eye. Meanwhile Spaniards will gather in their main town squares to eat 12 grapes one by one as the bell in the square marks the countdown to 2011.

Happy New Year from Bargain Villas

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31Dec/100

Book early for 2011 as holiday prices set to increase!

A travel study highlighted in The Sun has revealed that many top destinations are set to cost holiday makers extra in 2011. But its not all doom and gloom as other popular destinations are predicted to cost LESS!

Trips to Turkey, Egypt and the United States could cost up to £149 more per person, a travel firm study found.

But the good news for cash-strapped Brits is that traditional Western Med favourites like Spain and Portugal will actually be CHEAPER.

The Algarve looks the best value destination, with a family of four saving an average £96, followed by the Costa Dorada and Majorca.

You can still take advantage of cheap villa rental rates in the USA and Europe by searching Bargain Villas.

Search: Cheap holiday villas

28Dec/100

Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps

Matterhorn is one of the most photographed peaks in the Swiss Alps - has been a magnet to snow lovers and mountaineers since 1865.

Situated on the Italian border, this 4,000 metre mountain is the only peak in Europe to offer guaranteed snow. First timers, be prepared to spend some time horizontal. There are a few ski areas for beginners.

Most of the skiing is best for people at intermediate and advanced levels, who can spend the morning in Switzerland and the afternoon across the border in Cervinia, Italy. The 29 mountains offer plenty of runs.

If you are not the best on ski’s then avoid die-hard runs, like Torah, in one of the resort's two snowboard parks. Down from the slopes, after a scenic aerial tram ride to thaw out you can visit the beautiful village of Zermatt and just sit back, have a hot chocolate and watch the world go by.

A word of warning; don’t expect this to be a ‘bargain’ break. The cost of living is quite expensive but the trade off is that you can expect a ski or snowboarding trip with the wow factor.

Although living costs are quite expensive you can still search for a bargain snow villa with Bargain Villas.

Search Bargain Villas for a cheap accommodation in the Swiss Alps

28Dec/100

Tips for a great winter-sun tan

Time for some beautiful winter sun and all you need is the perfect tan formula. Not the splotchy burns or tan lines of last year, but an even, healthy golden glow all over your body. Tanning salon? Spray on lotions? Those are definitely options, but if you love the feeling of a natural tan at the beach, and the ambiance of lying outside near the surf, read on.

Yes, it’s a fact the sun’s natural rays can be harmful. Skin cancer is rising, and sunburns are a constant threat. Does this mean the end of feeling the sand beneath your toes and listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean? No, of course not! You can tan more safely. There are a few easy steps to take beforehand to prepare yourself:

  1. Smooth yourself – A few days or weeks before you head to the beach, before you shower every morning, buff your skin with a body brush in gentle, circular motions to ensure smooth skin and better circulation. During your shower, exfoliate with a soft body scrub to brush away dead and dry skin. This will give your skin a soft, even surface for your tan.
  2. Moisten – After your shower, take the time to apply a rich body cream to seal in moisture and keep your skin feeling smooth. A daily moisturizer is essential to minimize damage to your skin from UV rays. After tanning, it doesn’t hurt to apply a cream to your skin again. If you’re on vacation, you’ll probably shower before heading out for a night on the town, so this would be the perfect time for a moisturizer.

Once you’re in the sun, limit yourself to a few hours a day, and try to avoid sun tanning during the peak hours of 11 AM and 2 PM. Always use sunscreen, as a full sun on unprotected skin is bad no matter what. A lotion with SPF 6 to 15 will still allow you to tan, based on your skin type. A good tan should take a few days. Tanning too fast is dangerous and could lead to burning and long term damage. The idea is to tan slowly. Because the act of tanning is your body’s defensive response to the sun’s rays, you don’t want to overdo it. Gradually, as you get darker, your skin will raise its natural SPF to about 3 or 4. Certainly not enough to protect you for prolonged periods, but enough for your body to know it’s hot out there. The idea is to look like you’re enjoying your summer. Keep practicing step 1 and 2 every morning before you go out.

The perfect tan means minimizing tan lines. One method is to wear a bikini and periodically adjust your straps. Another idea is a tan through swimsuit, which allows part of the sun’s rays to penetrate the fabric. The straps will still need periodic adjusting due to the knitted seams, but you have the ability to tan your entire body, even while wearing a 1-piece bathing suit, should you so desire.

Practise this daily regime, and you’ll have a great tan by the end of the week. If you treat your skin right, the sun will again be your friend. Have fun at the beach.

Check out some of the winter sun villas at Bargain Villas. You'll find great deals from private owners and major rental companies like Interhome and Hoseasons.

Search Bargain Villas for a Cheap Holiday Villa

27Dec/100

Wizarding World of Harry Potter advert shown during super bowl

Visit Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in 2011 for the holiday of a lifetime. Save money on accommodation and car hire with the following;

Cheap Orlando Villas: search Bargain Villas for a cheap Orlando Villa Rental

Orlando car hire: Search www.usrentacar.co.uk for cheap car hire in Orlando - you can also buy Harry Potter tickets from £82 from usrentacar.co.uk