Vacays to staycays: Your summer holiday read!
Chalkmarks: Hvar, Croatia

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 6th May 2022

Hello and welcome to May. If you haven’t booked a holiday, it’s probably time you did, even if it’s in the UK – especially when the weather next week is forecast to be hotter than Ibiza, according to the Independent. We don’t know about you but no one needs to tell us to travel. We always have a lil’ trip up our sleeve. It’s something to look forward to, just for a few days, to give us that brain dazzle.
Read on for this week’s travel news. It’s good to put this out there. Forget partygate, beergate and who wore what at the Met Gala – that’s exhausting. This is a drama-free, flip-flop only zone.
See you next week.

Baggage drop!

Kicking off: Suitcase, sunglasses and flip-flops, check. Passport, check…but is it in date? Check! Sky News ran a story this week about why those travelling to Europe need to check their passports. It comes as thousands of passengers have been turned away from departure gates because their passports were considered out of date. The MailOnline reported on a woman who was turned away from a Ryanair flight, even though her passport didn’t expire until 2023. This lady’s passport was issued in 2012 and so was considered out of date.

Here’s why: A passport must have been issued in the last 10 years, regardless of the expiry date. Since Brexit, passport rules have changed, and Britons are now ‘third-party nationals’ when travelling through much of Europe. As non-EU travellers, UK passports carry this 10 year deadline. Also passports must have at least three months remaining from the day you plan on returning to the UK. The UK government says this means passports must be no more than 9 years and 9 months old.

Travel whisperer: Simon Calder says the UK government and airlines are wrong – and he’s been tweeting almost daily about this. He says the 10-year deadline and the three month rule are separate issues. He adds that even Brussels is saying UK travellers are allowed in if their passports were issued within 10 years. Even so, with the situation unclear it matters what the airlines are doing because you don’t want to risk being turned away, so check your passport. Thankfully Calder also gives advice on how to claim compensation if you’re wrongly denied boarding.

Hold up: And right on cue comes another passport problem: Renewing passports has been trending on the socials for a while now. This is because people aren’t getting their passports delivered within the 10-week window and so missing their hols. The government says during the pandemic people left their passports to expire, and now the world is opening up again, there’s a large number of applications that have all come in at once – so it’s not surprising it’s caused a backlog. The Sun reported that one million Britons stand to miss out on their booked summer holiday if their passport is stuck in the system. This could cost up to £1.1bn in cancelled trips.

The longest flight: Qantas announced it’ll soon be flying the world’s longest, non-stop flight – that’ll be 19hr19mins – between Sydney to London. The airline has ordered 12 new aircraft capable of the feat so that Australia becomes “just one flight away” from any city.  As soon as they take off in late 2025, we’ll be on one like a shot. We’d want an aisle seat though! Read all about it in Reuters.

On the beach: Sun, sea and wall to wall sunshine, there’s no surprise that beach holidays are the number one choice this year. And according to ETC, which monitors European travel, it’s the mainly the Mediterranean we’re heading to. For Britons the top five destinations this year are Spain, France, Greece, Italy and Portugal. Thirty-four per cent want a sea and beach break, 21 per cent city and 13 per cent coast and sea (which sounds a lot like beach breaks too – tomato tomarto!).

Tracking travel: Another emerging trend is people booking last minute to avoid Covid mayhem, reports MailOnline, as they monitor rule changes around the world. Best advice, just go for it. Seize the moment. If you’re tempted AP reported that Greece and Italy have relaxed some of their Covid restrictions. Greece has dropped its requirement to show proof of vaccination and a negative test. In Italy, from Sunday, visitors will no longer have to fill out the EU passenger locator form.

Ferry late: The MailOnline told us that P&O Ferries has restarted sailings again between Dover and Calais after it sparked outrage when it laid off 800 of its staff without warning back in March. 

Wanderlusters: Much of Asia has now reopened to tourism. Be inspired by this map of greatness from ForwardKeys which shows the different entry rules for each country. They’ve gone OTT with the details. Really useful!

New Zealand reopens: This is big. Really big because New Zealand has been closed to tourism for two years, since the start of the Covid outbreak – and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern even said they wouldn’t reopen their borders until October 2022. That’s all changed. From 1st May the country welcomed back travellers. Visitors will need to be fully vaccinated and show a negative PCR test pre-departure and again on arrival. The BBC covered the story.

Inside the Moulin Rouge: Best known as the home of the can-can, the famous Parisian cabaret is opening up its doors for the first time in its 133 year history. A secret room in the red windmill has been transformed into a boudoir with a special one-off offering on Airbnb. Three one-night stays will go on sale on Tuesday 17th May. Ooh la la!

The beach-o-meter: Say beach and the mind takes you away from the UK. But forget Barbados and Cancun, the UK has some great seaside destinations. Here is the Which? guide to the UK’s best seaside towns. Bamburgh, Northumberland takes the number one spot, good for sunbathing apparently. Joint second was Dartmouth, Devon, and Tynemouth, Tyne and Wear.

Warming up: Birmingham is getting ready to host the 2022 Commonwealth Games which start on Thursday 28th July. The Birmingham Mail reported that with less than 100 days to go they are keen to fill the stadiums. There is still time to get tickets in all sports, here.

We apologise for the delay to your journey: Better late than never, it’s the Elizabeth Line. It’s three-and-a-half-years late but it’s here. London mayor Sadiq Khan broke the news then got in trouble for doing so. Transport Minister Grant Shapps accused him of breaking local election rules with the announcement, saying it was an attempt to win favour. Khan denied it. Here’s the furore by ITV News. But whatever happened, the wait is over. The new £18.9 billion line will shorten travel times across London. Trains will start running from Tuesday 24th May and operate Mondays to Saturdays. Here’s all the Crossrail details. It’s hoped the Queen will cut the ribbon on the big day.

Let’s start going places!

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