SOME thoughts and reflections on my past year of travel:

Best long-haul trip. Well, actually I only did one long-haul trip last year. Since we do not accept free trips at the Independent, it had to be good and cheap. It was both. I went to Florida and swam with the manatees, which was excellent. And then I flew on to the Caribbean for a week in St Lucia, which was even better. If you want the perfect holiday this year, it is worth saving your air miles, 5p pieces, bits of string, etc. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

Best short-haul trip. Another island, Paxos, south of Corfu, gets my vote. I bought a learn-to-sail package from the Greek Island Sailing Club. Both the island and sailing were wonderful. Towards the end of last year Greek Island Sailing Club was taken over by Sunsail; I hope that the club's impressively high standards continue to be upheld.

Best city break. The last time I visited Venice was with my aunty, the day after England won the World Cup (yes, we're talking ancient history here). I can't understand why it took me so long to return. Venice is the perfect place for a weekend - even during the icy cold of November.

Best UK break. More islands: when I visited the Isles of Scilly for the first time, just before Christmas, I was enchanted - and not just by the fantastic helicopter ride from Penzance. I stayed on St Mary's in Hugh Town, which is fine. Were I to return, however, I would choose the island of Tresco, better for a holiday because it has good self- catering places.

Best Channel hop. In just six months the Channel tunnel will be open - yes, we'll believe it when we see it - and France will be stiff with Brits clogging up the hypermarkets. You can bet your boots few will be venturing into Belgium because, as we all know, Belgium is boring. Let everybody keep believing that so we can have the place to ourselves - the country is a gem, from sweet seaside places such as Knokke to big cities such as Liege. My favourite place is Ieper (Ypres), if only for the sounding of the 'Last Post' at 8 o'clock every evening.

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