Surveying the holiday trends! Rounding up the UK’s top ten travel desires
Chalkmarks: Bilbao, Spain, May 2023

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 16th February 2024

HAVE you noticed that when you tell someone where you’re going on holiday, they have something to say about it. “Oh! Why you going there?”. Or worse: “I went there, it was awful”. Alarms go off in your head. Your stomach sinks. You feel like you’ve done something terribly wrong. It’d been a while since we’d had such a reaction but this was the response to Madeira. Madeira is a small Portuguese island in the Atlantic – not too far from Spain’s Canary Islands. Apparently it’s for old folk. That was it! C’mon! Don’t go… just for that? (Anyone been to Ibiza recently?) Many times we all don’t travel somewhere because we’ve been put off by someone else’s opinion. Another case in point was Benidorm. Before that it was Lima, Peru, and also cruising. This week a poll by National Rail found that 42 per cent of us rely on these recommendations before booking a trip. But what if they’re wrong? All opinions we heard about Madeira, Lima and cruising were 100 per cent wrong. Benidorm was kinda right but it wasn’t a disappointment, and Alicante was amazing. No one mentioned that. And so, this is a dos and donts about travel. Do always go where you want. And if you dare, don’t listen to other people – although sometimes that can be the hardest journey of all. For some great ideas, keep scrolling for this week’s travel headlines.

Treasure island!

Romance in the air: Real scientific research came out on Wednesday revealing that couples who do things together, stay together. Those who take a holiday and just relax on the beach aren’t so happy. The study from Arizona State University found adventure holidays or trying a new sport are the best way to spice up your relationship. Prof John Coffey told the Daily Mail: ‘An experience-rich holiday with your partner may improve your love life even after the trip is over.’

Also in: Move over sunbeds, holidaymakers want to cook, climb and cycle nowadays. Ghost hunting also makes the top 20. According to First Choice, 70 per cent of us want to pick up a new skill when away. The survey of 2,000 adults reveals one in five admit “eating, drinking, and socialising” are their main hobbies. Then, it showed Gen Z are most likely to head off on hobby holidays, followed by millennials. Also on the hobby list is photography, crafting, art, yoga, hiking, stargazing and astronomy, pottery and ceramics, motorsports, extreme adrenaline sports, foraging, roller skating, surfing, paddle boarding, trainspotting, graffiti, and mosaics/tile making. Express.co.uk had the story.

On the bucket list: The Scilly Isles is the place Britons want to get to once in their lives. We also want to see Edinburgh (great for ghost hunters btw) and the Lakes. National Rail put out its top 10 British bucket-list destinations this week, revealing we love beautiful landscapes with some history and culture thrown in. Also in the rankings are the Tower of London, the Scottish Highlands, Bath, Stonehenge, Exmouth in Devon, York, and Snowdonia in Wales. And they found 42 per cent of people like using the trains, which leaves 58 per cent who don’t! The Mirror has more.

Sashay and slay: Girls’ weekends are trending – with more than a third of women set to join one in 2024. Of 1,000 women polled, 38 per cent want to get away on an all-girls trip this year says Norwegian Cruise Line. The UK, Spain, Italy, and Greece and Portugal are the top five favoured European destinations, while for long-haul it’s the United States and the Maldives. But what do they want to do? Shop, spa, sip drinks and go to the theatre, say the Sun. So much for hobbies!

In the airport: Passenger numbers at Heathrow are still below pre-pandemic levels at 6 million – it was 6.1 back in 2020. What does it mean? The piece in the Independent doesn’t say!

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!

Bored by ordinary travel: If you’re looking for adventure go to Peru. We’ve travelled up and down Peru in pursuit of adventure, culture and food. We haven’t been back since the pandemic but we miss ceviche and Pisco sours. It’s here we learned to salsa in Arequipa, and how to speak Spanish in Lima, and where to watch the condors fly high in the Andean villages. It was the beginning of my love affair with the country. You’re about as far away as you can get from the UK. But where to start. How about here, the sandcastles that have stood on the beaches for more than a millennia! 

Cloud 9: Jet2 package holidays are flying off the shelves, the operator announced on Thursday. It said its winter bookings were up 17 per cent, having put on more flights. Also its summer holidays are up 17 per cent on last year. Boss Steve Happy, err typo there sorry, Heapy, said travellers are booking trips to the Mediterranean, Canary Islands and European cities. Sky has it.

Attention: A boost for holidaymakers as car hire prices have fallen at popular hotspots. Consumer champs Which? found the cost had dropped most in Funchal, Madeira, with the price down to £266 from £412. It’s also fallen in Mallorca, Corfu, Faro, Lazarote, Pisa…

Raise the roof: Notre Dame’s iconic spire reappeared on Paris’ skyline this week. Complete with a golden, copper rooster weatherwane, the 96 metre (315ft) spire was unveiled as the scaffolding began being removed – five years after the blaze in April 2019. Back then, on Monday 15th, the island of Saint-Louis was closed as flames ravaged the 1,000-year-old Gothic cathedral. It’s thought the fire was started accidentally from an electrical fault or a cigarette. It will take a while longer before the Cathedral reopens which is set for December this year. AP has the story.

This time last year: Beach please: Why travel to holiday hotspots out of season! Chalkmarks was on the party island Ibiza … Turned out the temperature was 15C – 20C and the sun was blazing down in February … Here’s our Pix from the trip … Back in the UK, Storm Otto brought chaos to northern England and Scotland with wind speeds of up to 80mph … Trains from London to Yorkshire and Edinburgh were delayed, and flights cancelled or diverted to other airports … Celebrating like it was 2020, Heathrow Airport announced it was “back to its best” with 5.4 million passengers … Bus lover Emily Turner inspired thousands when she travelled 400 miles from London to Edinburgh using only £2 local buses … Tate Britain announced it was reshuffling its art collection once again – this time to feature female artists … Archeologists uncovered new structures at the ancient city of Chichén Itzá, Mexico, built more than 1,000 years ago … 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 … Here’s how to see Mayan history in a whole new light.

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