Bank holiday strikes again and be swift if you want your Taylor tickets!
Chalkmarks: Minnie Mouse, Los Angeles, California

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 25th August 2023

IT’S been a minute so let’s talk travel! Spain and its islands have been Britain’s number one summer holiday choice since time began (someone fact-check pls). And it’s clear from all the news headlines that bookings with the big brand operators are booming – back to 2019 levels for most. But did you know that old-skool package holidays are not the only way to travel to this great country? Instead, you could arrive by train watching the skyscrapers of Madrid appear on the horizon. You could take the ferry and enter from Santander or Bilbao in the north. You could stay in an Airbnb in San Sebastián or a hostel in Barcelona. There are also many things to see and do, other than just lie on a beach under the sun. There’s so much the all-inclusive holiday excludes and we don’t want you to miss out. This is a call to adventure. No more group travel, no comfort zone. That’d be a trip worth splashing out on. Could you do it? Better get booking, then. Here’s what we’ve been reading in this week’s papers!

Pack it in!

And now for the weather: Don’t forget your brolly! It’s the last Bank Holiday until Christmas (122 days) and as well as bad weather we can expect delays on the roads and disruption on the rails. Aren’t you glad you came! If you’re heading out you’re most likely to drive into traffic. The longest jams are expected today and tomorrow. The RAC predicts 14.4 million car trips over the long weekend while data company Inrix warns the most congested roads will include the M1, the M25 and the M4 – especially from 10am, so the advice is to set off early. Train strikes and planned engineering work won’t make things better. Services from Euston will be affected from 8pm on Saturday until Tuesday. And there’ll be no trains from Charing Cross or Waterloo East on Saturday or Sunday. So what to do?

Going away: 26 million bags of luggage have gone missing around the world – the highest it’s been for a decade – and of course staffing cuts at airports during Covid are to blame. If not seeing your bag rolling off the carousel is bad enough you then have to give the airline time to find it before you can make a claim. Once they decide it’s officially lost, you could get around £1,000 in compensation, but the Civil Aviation says this amount is rare. BBC News warns the airline judge’s the value of your items by age, not by how much they’ll cost to replace. According to Sita the baggage management firm this amount of baggage going missing is the worst it’s been since 2012 when 26.3 million got lost in transit. Nicole Hogg at Sita said it was rare  – less than a 1% – a bag was not reunited with its owner.

No refunds allowed: With thousands of flights this summer cancelled because of air traffic control strikes and wildfires in Europe, holidaymakers have struggled to get their airlines to provide meals and overnight accommodation when flights were cancelled last minute. Enter Which? magazine, plus a handful of travel companies and trade organisations, who have written to Rishi Sunak to ask him to give the Civil Aviation Authority more powers to fine the airlines when things go wrong. It’s time to pay up. In a joint letter to the PM they write: “While some of these issues are outside of airlines’ control, they are routinely failing what’s in their control: to uphold their customers’ legal rights to rerouting and refunds, and provide clear and timely passenger information.” 

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

What’s it’s like being in Ibiza when the clubs are closed? Well…it’s going from the hotel, to the beach, to a cafe, to a bar for pintxo and Cava, watching the sun set, and back to the hotel. Not much really accomplished. But we did book a boat trip to Formentera to walk the 6km (almost 4miles) along the coastline and soft white sand, with the sea lapping on both sides of the beach, until the end point where the water meets. During the summer months 3.5million holidaymakers travel to this small Balearic island for the superclubs and sunset cafes Almost a million are Britons. But in February, the beaches are empty, the weather is warm and you can still have a Cava (or two). Pacha will have to wait. This is our view

Lovely bubbly: Pouring out a noisy glass of fizz, the hiss, crackle and bubbles are music to our ears. We are in the capital of Cava in Catalonia, just an hour from Barcelona. Around 90 per cent of all Cava is produced in the northeast of Spain so you shouldn’t miss the chance to stick your head towards Tarragona where around each corner you’ll find steep staircase terraces filled with vines. On the Llopart estate we’re handed sun hats as we are led around the family-owned winery that was one of the first to begin producing the famous bubbles in 1887. With Spain boasting the largest area of vineyards on the planet you could spend weeks chasing a good bottle of wine. At Albet i Noya we whiz up and down the vineyard on Segways before tasting the fabled Penedès – a zingy sparkling wine that comes only from this region. If you want to be more active, you can hike between bodegas (vineyards) getting involved in grape picking. Or go in search of one of the lesser known but most expensive wines in the world Priorat. After the three-day trip, we are ready to move here.

City breaker: Remember when Taylor Swift made inflation rise in Sweden when thousands headed to Stockholm to see her perform in May? No? Okay, well it turns out the economy boomed during the American singer’s Eras tour in 2023. A similar phenomena has begun in the UK where Travelodge reported yesterday its hotels in Edinburgh, Liverpool and Cardiff are already sold out for Swift’s concerts next June. Where do you think Taylor’s staying btw? It’s in the Guardian.

Get ready: Notting Hill Carnival returns this weekend for its usual two-day street party starting on Sunday and ending on Monday. Having begun in 1966 with 50 people celebrating Caribbean culture, the Carnival now attracts crowds in their millions. Expect steel pans, dancing, colourful costumes, jerk chicken, pepper pot and roti. Yay, go Trini! Don’t forget there’s a bus strike too. Time Out has everything you need to know to get there on time.  

This time last year: Bank Holiday aggravation for staycation nation The AA put out an amber traffic alert warning that 15 million journeys were expected between Friday and Monday … There was also plenty of engineering works across the rail network … Another load of British Airways flights were  cancelled … Ryanair shared its thoughts: “Hopeless,” said Michael O’Leary … He then announced his budget airline had opened up 1 million extra seats this winter from Stansted … Sky News brought us the first reports of train passengers having to walk through the Channel Tunnel when the Eurotunnel Le Shuttle service from Calais to Folkestone broke down … Footage showed hundreds of people walking through the dark emergency tunnel to reach a replacement train … It took them more than five hours to get out. Eurotunnel apologised … LBC reported the Italian government was offering £12,700 for people to move to the Med’s second biggest island to live la dolce vita and help rejuvenate its rural towns … London’s West End was offering cheap tickets on more than 50 shows. 

In case you don’t follow us on social media you really should. Here we are, here too and over here. Say hola muchacha! 

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