Beach please: Why travel to holiday hotspots out of season!
Chalkmarks: Sunset over the Old Town, Ibiza, Balearic Islands, Spain

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 17th February 2023

Heard the news? Chalkmarks is on the party island Ibiza. Can we get a woohoo! Earlier this year we had the idea to visit this famously expensive, sun-soaked Spanish holiday hotspot. We’ve only ever heard good things: the beaches, the clubs, the yoga studios – we thought, it’s about damn time (channelling our inner Lizzo there)! The big downside is the soaring prices during the summer months. It’s for rich people. So, we’ve come out of season. Question is: how cool is Ibiza in February? It’s warming up. The temperature today is 15C and the sun is blazing down. But as you can see from the photo above, it’s very quiet. We’re here to find out what goes on when the clubs are closed. We think we’ll be doing a lot of yoga! Of course, we still bring you this week’s travel headlines.

Head in the clouds!

Breaking news: This time last year it was Storm Eunice that caused travel disruption across the UK, and today, right on cue, its Storm Otto that has brought chaos to northern England and Scotland. With wind speeds of up to 80mph, trains from London to Yorkshire and Edinburgh have been delayed, and flights cancelled or diverted to other airports. With fallen trees and lorries overturned lorries on the A1(M), the BBC has the updates. 

Britain’s flying: Celebrating like it was 2020, Heathrow Airport announced it was “back to its best”. Boss John Holland-Kaye said they’d had 5.4 million passengers travel through the airport this year, figures not seen since before the pandemic. He also hinted the massive airport queues we saw in 2022 and reported here – particularly bad in August – were no more, with 97% of passengers waiting less that 10 minutes to get their bags scanned. He said: “Heathrow is back to its best, with passenger satisfaction scores meeting or exceeding 2019 levels.”

Epic road trip: Bus lover Emily Turner inspired thousands last weekend when she travelled 400 miles from London to Edinburgh using only £2 local buses. Giving followers a tweet-by-tweet account, she shared pictures of buses, landmarks and landscapes, over the three-day trip. Leaving London on Friday – birthday bus socks on – she boarded the N253 to Tottenham Court Road (although, she later said the London buses didn’t count). Sixteen buses later, she arrived in Scotland’s capital on Sunday. In total she says she spent £30. For those wanting to follow her bus route, the government-funded £2 scheme comes to an end on 31st March.

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!

The majesty of Britain: The Great West Way is one of England’s newest tourism projects designed to shift visitors out of the capital and into the rest of the country. It’s a 500-mile picturesque route from London to Bristol taking in three World Heritage Sites, royal palaces, and rolling English countryside. We wrote about it when it launched in March 2021.  

Famous highlight: Stonehenge of course…the Stone Circle Access Experience, which allows you to visit this great heritage site up close at sunrise. 

Two-day road trip: The Day One tour starts at Salisbury Museum and finishes with a visit to Salisbury Cathedral. Day two begins at Stonehenge for sunrise followed by Wiltshire Museum, a walk to West Kennet Long Barrow, which is one of the longest and most impressive Neolithic chambered tombs in Britain and a final stop a visit to Avebury to see the world’s largest stone circles. 

Portrait of the week: Tate Britain announced it was reshuffling its art collection once again – this time to feature female artists. In a complete rehang of work spanning the last 500 years they will showcase classic artworks alongside 21st century pieces. Expect to see work from Joan Carlile, Emily Sargent, Tracey Emin and Rachel Jones. The new collection opens on Tuesday 23rd May. The Evening Standard had the story.

New wonder: Archeologists have uncovered new structures at the ancient city of Chichén Itzá, Mexico, built more than 1,000 years ago. It’s thought they’ve found a housing complex where the Mayan leader would have lived. Built between the 5th and 6th centuries, the civilisation spread across present-day Guatemala, Belize, parts of Honduras and El Salvador. Nobody knows why the Maya declined although there are theories that describe a decade long drought. Chichén Itzá, close to the popular resort of Tulum on the Caribbean coastline, in Quintana Roo, is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Reuters had the full story. Here’s how to see Mayan history in a whole new light.

This time last year: Staycation to Spaincation: Britons flocked back to their favourite resorts. Instead of staycations over the two previous years, Britons were heading to the continent for their holidays. And in true British style, Spain was the number one choice. Research firm ForwardKeys showed that Cyprus was popular for holidays over Easter, followed by Nigeria, Mexico, Greece and Spain. Popular long-haul destinations included Mexico (again), Maldives or Barbados. Much of Britain had been shut down as Storm Eunice halted flights, trains and ferries. Vietnam said it would reopen to tourists three months earlier than planned. And on Valentine’s day, India announced a warm welcome back for double-vaccinated travellers after an Omicron lockdown.

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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