World Cup of Travel Winner & Discount

 

Thanks for entering our World Cup of Travel competition.  We received thousands of entries and it was a tough call for our judges. But, our lucky winner is John Dong from the USA! 

 

John chose Iran to be the winning destination. Check out his entry below:

 

Few countries can parallel Iran, a country of rich history and culture. Iran's awe-inspiring cities and landscape have been closed off from the West for a long time, and I long to visit the country. The World Cup is a unifying event, and even reclusive Iran cannot be excluded.

 

Even though you may not be the big winner, we want to thank you for entering the competition by giving you 10% off our World Cup trips: Classic Brazil, Best of Spain, Land of the Rising Sun, Rome to Amalfi, Way to San Jose, Iran Adventure, Ghana, Togo & Benin, and Russian Highlights.

 

To redeem this offer, call your local adventure specialist or book online using promo code 11315. But, this offer is only good until August 20, so book soon! Travel by June 30, 2015.

 


Could one of the below teams take out the title?
 

We've quizzed some of our own pundits to provide you with a summary of who we think would win the travel World Cup (and we've also thrown in a few thoughts on the football too...)

GROUP A - OUR PICK: BRAZIL

The Latin American powerhouse host will be in the tourism spotlight in 2014. And with Rio Carnaval only a short way away after the tournament ends, Brazil takes this group with ease. However, Cameroon flies under the radar when you think of travelling to Africa - despite its vivacious melting pot of culture and epic natural landscapes, its surrounding countries can be intimidating to the first-time visitor to the continent due to their problematic political reputation. Croatia and Mexico both make a strong case for the final spot in the group, and although Mexico has established itself as the ultimate foodie destination, Croatia’s Mediterranean coast and old-world towns give it the edge for the second spot.

And what about the football?

•  As the hosts, these guys obviously have the home advantage, and are the people’s and the pundit’s favourite, by a long shot.
•  If Brazil wins, they will secure the cup for record 6th time. If they don’t, there will be lots of tears!
•  Watch out for: Neymar of course. Surely he is a dead cert!


More Brazil information & trips

 

GROUP B - OUR PICK: SPAIN

Spanning three different continents, this group has everything for the discerning traveller. There are not many countries in the world where you can sandboard down dunes one day and hike through the glaciers of Patagonia the next, but Chile is one of them. Taking a look at the European contenders: Amsterdam’s glorious network of waterways and raucous beer halls make the Netherlands stand out immediately. But the hillsides of Northern Spain, tasty tapas and sunbaked landscapes make Spain a strong contender. However, down under in Australia, nature struts her stuff exquisitely; the Great Barrier Reef, the Kimberley and world class beaches – could this nation pull off an upset?

And what about the football?

•  Who can contest against the Spanish experience? Are they still a team of winners?
•  Spain is probably the deepest squad in terms of quality and options.
•  Watch out for: Andres Iniesta. The hero of South Africa 2010

 

More Spain information & trips

 

GROUP C - OUR PICK: JAPAN

The only group to touchdown on four different continents, Group C offers an unmatched range of diversity. Ivory Coast offers some of West Africa’s greatest natural attractions and diverse cultural traditions, but is outmatched in this group by some of the travel scene’s rising superstars; Colombia is at the heart of the Latin American zeitgeist, and with unique offerings like homestays on a Coffee Estancia, it’s easy to see why it has been showing up on more and more travellers’ radars this year. But Japan takes out the group as our pick – currently experiencing a purple patch of tourism as people flock to discover its unique fusion of ancient and futuristic, and explore its relatively unknown natural wonders.

And what about the football?

•  Japan was the first side to book their spot in the finals.
•  They’re expected to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, so their games should be entertaining.
•  Watch out for: Shinji Okazaki. He has scored 8 goals in 14 world cup outings.


More Japan information & trips

 

GROUP D - OUR PICK: ITALY

From two continents on opposite sides of the world, this group is split into the Latin Americans and the Europeans. Uruguay was a slow burner for a long time, but its popularity is now abundantly cascading as more travellers experience the allure. Costa Rica has been a longtime favourite, and is the epicentre of everything travel-related that you would ever want to experience – wildlife, beaches, hiking, food, culture, tropical weather – an easy pick. Difficult to beat if you’re a far-from-tropical island in the North Atlantic, but what England lacks in weather, it makes up for in culture, history, and of course, pubs. But our pick goes to Italy, who can play any card ­– beaches, food, culture, history, sunshine – but it’s their flamboyant passion that trumps all others that sets them apart in this group.

And what about the football?

•  Italy will be on form. They’ll be confident. Here come the Azzurri.
•  In 2012 they were second to Spain in Euro 2012…
•  Watch out for: Mario Balotelli. Never sure what you’ll get but always a threat.

 

More Italy information & trips

 

GROUP E - OUR PICK: HONDURAS

The long-time underdog of Central American tourism, Honduras is emerging as a backpacker favourite. Boasting a wonderful tropical climate, and being sandwiched between the Caribbean and Pacific coasts, Honduras is also home to the world’s second largest coral reef. Putting up a strong fight in this group is Ecuador; although smaller in comparison to its heavyweight South American neighbours, it still offers a pretty complete package, with the Galapagos archipelago providing a string of goals against the opposition. But, competition from the Swiss and French means that this group is no easy win, and with the world’s most famous alpine range traversing the two, these ancient European destinations are a continually high-scoring pair.

And what about the football?

•  Hopes are high for Honduras. We definitely fancy their chances in Group E.
•  They feel they’re now the top Central American side. We’ll see...
•  Watch out for: Emilio Izaguirre, playing in his second World Cup, and has faced Chile and Spain before.

 


More Honduras information & trips

 

GROUP F - OUR PICK: IRAN

An eclectic group. Argentina is the obvious big hitter, but the alternative options mean that many a traveller could be distracted from the promise of Gaucho-grilled steak to head into the dramatic mountain landscapes of Bosnia & Herzegovina before partying with Sarajevo's young hipster crowd. Nigeria can be tricky to travel through, but provides a slice of raw Africa. But we’re backing Iran as our favourite; ancient Silk Road trade towns, exquisite mosques and gracious people, Iran offers travellers an atmospheric fusion of east and west, and is almost an untouched gem when it comes to tourism.

And what about the football?
•  Iran has made three previous appearances in the World Cup, but has only recorded a single victory (against the USA in France 1998).
•  Clear underdogs, with the latest odds placing them at a 2500-1. Probably the least likely team to win the World Cup, but a great contender for ‘top destination’.
•  Watch out for: Javad Nekounam, the captain of the team with a great deal of experience on the world stage.

 

 

More Iran information & trips

 

GROUP F -OUR PICK: GHANA

There’s a couple of gems in group G: the Germans have got plenty going for them, famous for being one of the world leaders in technology, science and business. And when you strip away the human successes, Germany reveals a landscape that defies the imagination, a rich and historic culture that boasts leading artists, architects and thinkers, and some of Europe’s most diverse and enthralling cities. Then there’s the USA – another western giant – and this is a place that can deliver on whatever you’re after, be it big waterfalls, beautiful beaches or exceptional natural landscapes. But sweeping in like an effortlessly cool stranger at a party, Portugal quickly pulls the rug out from our big superpowers in the group, and romances its visitors with fresh seafood feasts, medieval citadels and ancient winding streets. However, our pick for this group is Ghana: with wildlife to rival East Africa's safari parks, Ghana offers travellers an alternative Africa to the one they expect, all wrapped up in the rhythmic beats of the lively local music scene.

And what about the football?

•  Ghana made it to the quarter finals in 2010, so will be looking to better that.
•  Watch out for: Micheal Essien, having spent nine years at Chelsea FC and now with Milan, he brings some solid big match experience.


 


More Ghana information & trips

 

GROUP G - OUR PICK: RUSSIA

This group offers a wonderful assortment of potential adventures for the astute traveller. Belgium abounds with vibrant culture, incredible food and some of Europe’s best historical cities. Algeria on the other hand is worlds away from Belgium’s cobbled city streets, instead providing visitors the dramatic backdrop of the Sahara.  South Korea is a strong contender in the group, often described as a ‘dream destination’ due to its wonderful balance of ancient and modern, but our pick for this group is Russia; about as super as super-powers come, this country’s history reads like the narrative of an epic work of fiction, but the reality is so much more dramatic. And as the world’s largest country, Russia can deliver every possible combination of landscapes and climates, as well as food, cultures and traditions.

And what about the football?

•  Group H is seen as the easiest group by most pundits, but we’re going for Russia.
•  They will be well organised.  Don't bet against a surprise result or two.
•  Watch out for: Aleksandr Kokorin. Fast, mobile … he’ll be a threat in Brazil.


More Russia information & trips