When planning an international trip to motivate your team, finding the right destination is up there with one of the most important factors as to whether the trip will deliver the desired results. All too often in the research process for destinations, the focus is on long haul or short haul.
Here at Penguins we feel mid-haul destinations (3-8 hours flight from starting destination) are often over looked both for corporate rewards and for personal travel.
We have highlighted our five favourite mid haul destinations that we think would deliver the greatest impact for your next trip:
1) St John's, NewFoundland
With direct flights from both London Heathrow & Gatwick, St John’s can be reached in just 5h 30 mins. This relatively short flight brings you to the most easterly point of North America on the island of New Foundland.
Nestled on the edge of Canada in the Atlantic Ocean, St John’s offers a stark contrast, between city and nature. A vibrant and colourful city set amidst rugged terrain and coniferous trees, facing out of the open mouth of the harbour onto the wild Atlantic Ocean. While you’re there why not climb atop Signal Hill to marvel over the stunning landscape, followed by a tasting at the Quidi Vidi Brewery. Venture out to sea where you can tick a few off your bucket list by sailing round the giant icebergs from Greenland, kayak amongst the world’s largest concentration of hump back whales or go bird spotting to see the Atlantic puffin.
If you have a little more time extend your trip to visit Fogo island, staying at the Inn you can experience true island life whilst still enjoy a luxurious setting.
2) Spitsbergen, Norway
Spitsbergen is the only permanently inhabited island of the Svalbard archipelago. This makes its capital Longyearbyen the northern most inhabited city in the world, where depending on the season you will get to experience polar night or midnight sun. A phenomenon only witnessed in the arctic circle.
With more polar bears than people, the current flight time to reach this remote frozen habitat is just over 6 hours, with one stop in Oslo. It is also possible to stopover in Tromsø with a slightly longer flying time. A direct flight from the UK is hoped to be commencing in 2017. Once you reach Longyearbyen you will immediately understand its appeal. This small mining community has developed into a colourful city nestled deep into Spitsbergen’s icy landscape. The environment is cold and harsh yet refreshing, with a host of wild activities on offer from glacier climbing to arctic sea fishing, dog sledging, to snow mobile safaris, the opportunities are endless. This wild environment is perfectly complemented the moment you step inside the traditional buildings, constructed on stilts. With surprisingly more restaurants and bars than you would expect for a small city, serving a range of delicious local fare. The warmth from the local islanders is on par with that you feel from the roaring open fires, as long as you adhere with local tradition requiring the removal of shoes inside, even in public places including restaurants and hotels. You will be thrown head first into local culture…. And love it.
3) Boston, USA
Just over 7 hours from London will find you in thriving Boston. Home to Harvard University and the Boston Red Sox. The city boasts a mix of colonial history with cutting edge USA, and is one that is full of life.
With so much to do it is often difficult to know where to start, but we would recommend taking in a bird’s eye view of the city at the Skywalk, New England’s tallest observatory, followed by a bite to eat at Top of the Hub restaurant. After this you are truly spoilt for choice. If you want to find yourself at one with nature you could venture out to the Boston Harbour Islands national and state park, with a range of accommodation solutions. You can relax on one of the beaches, take to the sea on a selection of vessels to view the light houses, explore the islands or indulge in some more exhilarating water sports.
If nature is not your thing, then you don’t have to travel far to enjoy a host of activities that are sure to leave a lasting impression. Maybe a tour of the world famous Samuel Adams brewery where you can find out more about the American prohibition, or saunter through the city to visit the original Cheers bar in Beacon Hill, on which the Sitcom was based. As night falls catch some live music in the Regattabar jazz club or sample some of the fine seafood the city has to offer. There is one thing for sure you will never be short of something to do whilst in Boston.
Often over looked in the incentives market, Malta has a lot to offer and only 3 hours flight time from London. With almost year round sun this Mediterranean paradise is steeped with over 7,000 years of history, boasting the oldest known human structures in the world, there is so much to see with regards architecture and history, a short trip would only allow you to scratch the surface.
Malta has for years been the hidden playground to the rich and famous attracting the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad & Angelina, the Beckhams and many more. You can definitely experience the high life in Malta with numerous 5* hotels and some of the finest cuisine to be experienced in the med. Whether you choose to stay in St Julian’s, Valetta or venture further to the other villages or even the islands of Gozo and Comino everything is within short travelling distance.
Being an island, the sea is a focal point for activities in Malta, be it the 25-minute water taxi to the islands, a trip to the Blue Lagoon, whale watching or adrenaline pumping water sports there is something for everyone to enjoy. We would recommend experiencing a gourmet BBQ as you relax on the white sands of a secluded beach or have exclusive hire of the Popeye movie set which has become a popular attraction in Malta but makes an ideal location for a party or celebration. Malta is truly an under rated luxury retreat.
5) Delhi, India
In only 8 hours and 10 minutes you could be thrown deep into the sights, sounds and smells of Delhi. Whilst not for the faint hearted this is definitely a destination that will liven the senses and be remembered for a long time to come.
The bustling streets will draw you in, with nose tingling aromas of the Kari Baoli, Asia’s largest wholesale spice market, and the sounds of qawwali (Islamic devotional singing) mixing with the hum drum of every day Delhi life. When visiting India, the food is one of the first things that comes to mind and you won’t be disappointed in Delhi. Whether you have the courage to sample the delicacies on sale by the many street vendors or you take the safer route of restaurant dining you truly will be spoilt for choice.
We recommend trying Gunpowder, a small and informal restaurant that serves up amazing Keralan dishes, or for a more luxurious feel try Eau de Monsoon at the Meridien where behind waterfall windows you can sample some of India’s finest fusion dishes. With so much history and culture in Delhi you will have to be selective and spend your time wisely, if the three UNESCO world heritage sites (Red Fort Complex, Qutb Minar & Humayun's Tomb) don’t keep you busy you could build in a one-day excursion to the Taj Mahal, this does involve an internal flight but is definitely one for the bucket list. Delhi is truly an unforgettable destination.
Our incentive travel professionals have pulled together this ultimate checklist to help make planning your next incentive trip a little easier - download the checklist here.
By Anthony Kelly
Anthony began his marketing career back in 2008 after studying business management & marketing at the University of Stirling. He joined the events and incentive travel industry in 2015 after spending a number of years in the engineering, oil & gas and transport & logistics industries.More articles by Anthony Kelly