Costa lot: One-week summer holiday prices soar and flights up 71 per cent!
Chalkmarks: Platja de Ses Illetes, Formentera, Balearic Islands, Spain

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 24th February 2023

SUMMER holidays are just around the corner… okay, around the next one, and who knows with this weather…maybe the one after that! But they are coming. How was pancake day on Tuesday? Sorry we couldn’t be there. We were in Ibiza warming up. We weren’t wearing heavy winter coats, a scarf and gloves with an umbrella packed in a bag, just in case. No, it’s been bright sunshine and 20C in the Balearics – a lil’ bit cooler at night. If this is winter, we’ll be back next February! Outside of the high tourist season, Pacha might be closed but this is our view (see above). It’s still a crowd puller!
Even though we were away we’ve been on top of the travel headlines. Let’s go!

Live for the journey!

Please, no! Want to go on holiday this year? Yes! Then book now…yesterday even better! When the consumer experts at Which? reveal the cost of travel have gone up by hundreds of pounds, they’re not messing. The cost of flights, hotels and packages are all up on last year. 

Chief stats: The Which? research revealed that a week in Greece has gone up the most, costing £200 more than last year. It’s now £867. Flights to Greece and Italy have also increased the most – up 71 per cent on 2022. Fares to France have gone up 45 per cent and to Spain by 38 per cent. On long-haul, a flight to the US now costs on average £1,527 – that’s £350 more expensive than last year. 

A new era: The price rises come as no surprise. We’ve heard about the rising price of fuel, there’s inflation and the increased cost of food, plus staff wages have all increased. 

Be prepared: easyJet Holidays told which?: “If you book today, that is the price you will pay. Whereas if you leave it another six months, hotel accommodation and transfer price increases could have hit us.”

Take heart: For a cheaper getaway – but still more expensive than last year – Spain comes out well, with an average package costing £693, Portugal too was a good deal. Here’s all the research.

Speaking of Which? There was more from the consumer champs this week, with Wizz Air named the worst short-haul airline, earning just one-star for its overall service. Voted by UK passengers, Ryanair came second bottom – we reported it was voted worst in 2022. Eurowings and British Airways were third and fourth. Jet2.com came out on top with Turkish Airlines taking second place. Which? travel editor told the Guardian: “If alternative carriers are available for your route, avoid Wizz Air, as its poor record on customer care means you’re likely to be left high and dry in the event your flight is delayed or cancelled.” In response, Wizz Air said: “We do everything possible to ensure that passengers reach their destination on time and with minimal delay.” Read the full Which? survey.

Steam dream: The world-famous Flying Scotsman turns 100 today. Happy Birthday! To celebrate, the Royal Mint released a collectable £2 coin to commemorate the anniversary with the words, Live for the Journey. First built in 1923 the iconic steam engine, known then as A3 4472, was the first locomotive to break the 100mph speed barrier in 1934 from London to Edinburgh. The Scotsman had the news. Later painted green, the Flying Scotsman became like the iconic Jumbo Jet, which also changed the way we travel, cutting a flight across the Atlantic to 6.5hours. Millions of pounds have gone into the Flying Scotsman’s restoration, and this year it will be travelling across the UK. The Yorkshire Post rounded up the loco’s big screen debuts from appearing in an Agatha Christie drama to featuring in Top Gear. 

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!

UK’s favourite dino: Having returned home to The Natural History Museum in London last year, Dippy the dinosaur is on the move again. This time it will be at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry for the next three years. It takes weeks to dismantle, and another 49 hours to rebuild the 26m or 85ft cast of the Diplodocus skeleton but Dippy was finally unveiled this week. The BBC had the story.

Let’s talk France: Another must see is the bustling city of Nantes for its art, gardens and the famous Les Machines de l’île, which reopened this month. And for an adventure, head west into the Loire-Atlantique filled with port towns from Le Croisic in Brittany down to Saint Gilles in the Vendee. For food, there’s everything you’d expect from French cuisine – with cheese, plenty of good wine (top tip: don’t miss the Crémant!!).

Spread out the map: Just off the coast of Cannes in the warm seas of the Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean’s first underwater museum. Just a short ferry ride, near the island of Sainte-Marguerite, best known for the prison which once held the Man in the Iron Mask, are six 10-tonne sculptures. If you can afford it, stay on the Boulevard de la Croisette where the champagne flows like water. Every bubbly mouthful in the Bar L’Amiral made us think “ahh, this is the life”. Yoo-hoo – click over here!

This time last year: We were live from Paris mon amisthere were queues outside the Louvre, the Champs-Élysées was busy and the two-star hotels cost as much as a five-star ones. But where else in the world can you be surrounded by boulangeries on every corner? In Seine! Staying in the EU, the travel testing PCR tests were being scrapped…Covid restrictions were coming to an end but we still had to wear masks indoors, including shops and hotels…Back in the UK, then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps was looking at axing the passenger locator forms…Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye described 2021 as “the worst year in Heathrow’s history” with 19.4 million travellers, the lowest since 1972…Dubai opened its Museum of the Future on 22/02/2022…and the home of Colman’s Mustard, famously made in Norwich, was given listed at Grade II*. 

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

Let them travel!

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