Countdown to the coronation: Royal fans are sure to find something up their street!
Chalkmarks: The Pantiles, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, England

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 28th April 2023

The best advice we ever got was “go away”. So we did. We do. But not like we used to. We love to travel, but that doesn’t mean our happy place is on a plane. Having a good holiday these days means going green and this year it’s really taking off. The hotspot of the moment is on a train or on a boat. So we’re planning “a journey” not a holiday. We’ll be coasting from Plymouth to Santander on a trip to Spain. Getting there is half the fun, and more is more… as they say. There is no fun on a plane. Chaotic airports, queues and cramped seats? No thanks! Here we come, sailing into sun. Don’t throw us shade! Here’s this week’s travel headlines!

More woo, less arrrgh!

A whistlestop tour of the last four monthsJanuary The pound bought just $1.20… Croatia switches over to the euro and joins Schengen… Covid and the rising price of flights are putting passengers off travelling… yet… Holiday-hungry Britons are booking getaways to Tenerife, Palma and Lanzarote… the price of a passport increases to £82.50… China reopens its borders… Dubai is named winner of Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice Awards… The cost of flights, hotels and packages skyrockets above inflation… The European Union’s high-tech biometric screening system for Britons is delayed until autumn.

February Flybe goes bust again… Storm Otto brings chaos 80mph winds… Tate Britain reshuffles its art collection to feature female artists… Wizz Air is named the worst short-haul airline… The world-famous Flying Scotsman turns 100… British Airways and Virgin announce restarting flights to China… Bourbon whiskey tours boom in Kentucky.

March Post Office Travel Money tells us Egypt is cheap for summer holidays… Tripadvisor unveils Baia do Sancho, in Brazil, as the world’s best beach… rail strikes are scheduled for March… Liverpool announces a two-week festival ahead of Eurovision … Eurovision tickets sell out in 36 minutes… Train prices go up…  Most popular destinations from Heathrow are Dubai, New York and Madrid… the Oscar for the best tourist attraction goes to the Hungarian Parliament Building in Budapest…And the worst? The Hollywood Walk of Fame… Flight prices set to rise by £25… the passport people announce strike… Britons head to Rome… A third of planes are 15 minutes late… Amsterdam bans boozy Britons… Wales will introduce a tourist tax.

April Queue times at At Dover are two hours… at Euston Station four days… and waiting for a Passport 10 weeks. London City Airport gets super-scanners so passengers can keep their 100ml liquids in their hand luggage… Wizz Air has the longest delays… easyJet fights cost £12 more… the Orient Express cancels its UK leg after 41 years… coach trips boom thanks to the power of festivals… the Brecon Beacons National Park is renamed Bannau Brycheiniog.

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!

Striking a blow: RMT strikes announced on Thursday it will be taking trains off the tracks on day of the Eurovision final, Saturday 13th May after rejecting the latest pay deal. Oof! A cynical move by the union? It’s made the front pages of the Daily Express, the Sun and the Daily Mail today. Walkouts will also take place on 31st May and 3rd June.

On the coronation: The country is going all-out for the Big Day next weekend. Brace yourselves. A red, white and blue cup cake is coming your way. Mmm, go on then, one of each pls! Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Already, high streets are getting covered in Union Jack bunting. On Monday, the Beefeaters at the Tower of London showed off their new uniforms that replace ER with CR. On Wednesday, taking the event very seriously, Heathrow offered to rename Terminal 5, King Charles. He turned them down, according to The Times. On Thursday, PA Media reported Legoland Windsor unveiled a mini Buckingham Palace with royals on the balcony, and, one more thing, Madame Tussaud’s revealed a new waxwork of Queen Camilla, here on Reuters.

I’m outta here: If you want somewhere else to go for the May Bank Holiday weekend here’s a plan. Head to Bamburgh in Northumberland named Britain’s number one beach for the second year by Which? magazine. Here, Chalkmarks reported it winning in 2022. It’s good for sunbathing and offers good value for money. Dartmouth, Devon, came in second, also same as last year. Portstewart in County Londonderry took third place.

Tax return: The Daily Mail launched a campaign to get the government to Scrap the Tourist Tax. This is where international tourists are charged VAT on their shopping. Previously they were able to get a refund. They ran two front pages this week. One on Monday said: “Time to scrap the tourist tax and get Britain booming again”, and, on Tuesday, the headline read: “Business blasts Rishi’s ‘own goal’ over tourist tax”. More than 100 retail brands and hotels, including Harrods, believe the tax is driving visitors away from London and into the shopping malls of Paris, Madrid and Milan. Experts suggest removing the VAT will generate £4.1 billion but the government said it would cost £2 billion in lost taxes.

Wish you were here: Baggage handlers breaking wheelchairs and disabled passengers being abandoned on flights awaiting assistance. These are headlines we read more and more. Instead of apologies, the Civil Aviation Authority has opened a consultation to create a system where airlines are ranked on how well they treat disabled passengers, including seating, toilets, boarding and disembarking. Chalkmarks has reported on this issue before. Access consultant Mik Scarlet incentivised travel companies saying disabled travellers are a loyal customer base, adding: “If you do it right we will come back again and again”. CAA head of consumer Anna Bowles said: “Assessing airlines against a standardised framework will ensure that disabled and less mobile passengers will be better informed when they choose which airline to fly with, and will highlight areas where airlines need to do better.”

This time last year: Sailing ahead Celebrity Cruises took centre stage as it launched its biggest and most luxurious cruise ship, Beyond, in the UK. The liner sailed out of Southampton with horns blaring and ceremonial jets blasting water as crowds waved from the dock. Beyond marks the company’s cruising comeback since the pandemic, and signals the start of the cruising season in Europe. This is first-class travel on a boat: Expect Michelin-starred food, West End-style entertainment, plenty of cocktail bars, and of course sea views. Is this the best ship in the world? We went on board for a sneak preview.

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