How Scotland has become a £1bn staycation success!
Chalkmarks: Prague, Czech Republic

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 18th August 2023

IS IT time you went on holiday? We think so. We love them… if you didn’t know. We go every year. Being away is the best place to be. But we confess it’s getting very expensive. It makes us sad. As we watch everyone else travelling this August posting their glossy pix on Instagram, we’re sitting in Costa del coffee, wearing a jumper. We can smell the rain. It’s coming. But we haven’t missed out. Earlier this year we were in Ibiza, then Amsterdam in the spring, a little after that we took the ferry to Bilbao, then the train to Santander and Benidorm in Spain (all for work purposes!), and most recently we went to Bari, Italy, for our big summer blow out. How’s about all that, so we can’t complain. And we’re not even done. But it can’t all be inflatables, food photos and flip flops. Chips in the park anyone? Pub it is! Let’s see what’s been going on in the papers. Here are this week’s travel headlines. 

Where do you summer?

In the line of fire: After last week’s devastating wildfires in Hawaii, ferocious blazes burned in southwest France as the country faced its fourth heatwave of the year. ITV News reported 3,000 holidaymakers were evacuated as the blaze destroyed houses and a campsite. Many who fled the Mediterranean resort Argelès-sur-Mer were in their swimwear. Tourists have been warned to stay on “maximum alert”. In Tenerife, the island is seeing its worst fires in 40 years – burning land in the national park close to the volcano Mount Teide, and reaching closer to the capital Santa Cruz. The Guardian says 7,500 people have been either evacuated or ordered to stay indoors.

Meanwhile in Scotland: Leading the breaking travel news yesterday was how day trips to Scotland by British tourists soared to a whopping 20.6 million visits in the first three months of the year. This is up 12 per cent on 2022. According to the Great Britain Day Visits Survey staycationers have spent an eye-watering £1 billion so far. The Herald has more. If you’ve not been, we recommend Edinburgh, scarily good for a city break and Aberdeen for a trilogy of tartan treats: whisky, castles and the great Granite City itself.

Bad altitude: This week an elderly couple printed the wrong boarding passes for their Ryanair flight to France. At the check-in desk at Stansted they were charged “£110 for 2 pieces of paper which took 1 minute. Shame on you [Ryanair],” said her daughter. Her parents Ruth Jaffe, 79, and Peter Jaffe, 80 said they were “horrified”. Ryanair rage spread to 13 million people across TwitterX. Most said it was unfair and stress levels rose as they shared similar experiences, a few had no sympathy. Ryanair’s made their case saying, “We regret these passengers ignored their email reminder”. As the Guardian said, you’ve been warned.

Take a break: We can’t! Nine in ten Britons spend more time worrying about their upcoming travels than enjoying them. An On the Beach poll reveals they fret over the booking, whether they have picked the right destination, missing the flight, the weather, if they’re beach ready and what to pack. Phew! The list goes on…. There’s stress about the language, getting lost and eating the food. Therapist Zari Love advises: “A happy holiday is a choice, so send the negative mind off on a different holiday and get yourself in the zone so you can enjoy yours.” 

Get covered: You’ve heard of travel insurance for when you’re away and now there’s a policy for when you’re at home… on a staycation – to protect you from the rain. Insurer Sensible Weather is offering payouts if a certain amount of rain falls between 8am and 8pm. Travellers staying at Lovat Parks caravan sites in London have already been compensated for the wet weather. Park boss Raoul Fraser told the Telegraph: “I felt if you could be paid for your days were rained off then a lot more people would potentially stay in the UK or they’d enjoy the holidays a lot more”.

Strike a deal: If you’re heading off to the airport or returning from holiday, remember there are rail strikes next Saturday and another the weekend after on Saturday 2nd September. Fourteen companies are affected. Trains will run but check.

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 crystal kingdom: For your next road trip visit the southeast corner of Germany for a drive along the ancient Glass Road. This iconic 155-mile touring route winds through the towns and villages in the depths of the Bavarian Forest taking in an emporium of glassmaking factories. For hundreds of years this has been a kingdom of fine crystal-glass blowing and today many still use the traditional method. Drop in and shop at the world’s finest manufactures including Theresienthal, Eisch and Schott. Taking three-to-four days, stop to see the Glass Forest, the biggest glass pyramid in the world and the Glassmaker’s Village in Frauenau. If you haven’t discovered it, you can explore it here

Mountain pressure: Officials at Snowdonia say walkers are trampling “extremely challenging” footpaths off the official route to find new scenery to take a beauty-spot selfie, which encourages others to follow in their footsteps. Angela Jones, from Eryri National Park, said the trend to post photos of the waterfalls or pools on Instagram and TikiTok was causing erosion and putting a strain on rescue services, which had already been called out seven times on just one day this summer. Hoping to raise awareness, she told BBC News: “Social media certainly encourages people to go to different areas… or to try certain things that maybe they wouldn’t have just thought about themselves. And there’s erosion all along the pathway and along the waterfalls there, because they are actually off the official path. I’ve spoken to people myself who have driven all the way from London just to have a photograph taken in the Watkin’s pools.” 

Where do they get off: A double-decker bus that drives tourists around Newcastle showing off the city’s music and film landmarks has been fined for… using a bus lane. Tyne Idols, which plays the famous Fog on the Tyne song by Lindisfarne, was sent a £70 penalty charge for entering the High-Level Bridge via the bus lane – which they have done for the past 10 years, they say. The council says the bus lane is only for public transport. Paul Irwin from the tour firm, who is appealing the fine, said: “We’ve all had a good laugh about this, and it’s made our bus even more of a star than she already is.” He added: “We can confirm that our vehicle is definitely a bus!” The Northern Echo has the scandal.

On the up: The Tilted Barrel in Tipton, West Midlands, is tipped to be the new wonkiest pub in Britain after the Crooked House burned down. The 1930s public house stands on a slant from being built on a mine leaving it with wonky doorframes and tilted floors. Landlady Haych Mann, 38, said she hoped the publicity would help boost it as an attraction. She said: “First time walking in I thought this is brilliant, I just fell in love with the place to be fair. It was rundown, I was like, people are still drinking in here? Amazing.” Just be careful when playing pool or darts! MailOnline shows us around.

Here’s the celebs: The Evening Standard has kept us up-to-date on where the stars are beaching this summer. Singer Dua Lipa went to the Greek island Sifnos to swim and do “headstands on paddle boards”, she said. Barbie actress Margot Robbie took 14 friends on a £50,000 weekend to Soho Farmhouse in Oxfordshire for still pigeon shooting, cycling and Prosecco pong. Harry Styles took himself off to Reggio Emilia, northern Italy, and then to Lake Bolsena, further south, in Viterbo. David and Victoria Beckham cuddled up for a snap in Muskoka, Canada. And putting the down into Downing Street, our PM Rishi Sunak not only attended a Taylor Swift concert in Los Angeles but took part in a 7am cycling class set to the singer’s music. Downing Street confirmed, kinda: “I’m not going to guide you away from it.” PA Media filed on the major political story.

This time last year: Three strikes and we are out of here: Rail chaos and Ryanair becomes our holiday hero Bad news landed on the front page of the Daily Mail as Heathrow Airport announced it would extend its passenger cap until 29th October affecting more than 1 million travellers … Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary said they would put on an extra 500 flights to help … London woke up to a walkout across TFL … This was followed by a rail strike affecting 14 train companies … RMT union boss Mick Lynch said workers were determined to protect ‘pensions, secure a decent pay rise, job security and good working conditions’ … Network rail chief Andrew Haines told Good Morning Britain they can’t afford higher pay rises … Former prime minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie went on holiday to Slovenia then Athens … American Airlines announced it was buying up to 20 supersonic jets to fly from London to New York in 3hrs30 hours (currently it takes 6hr30mins) due to take off in 2029 … Tanzania will provide internet access along the slopes of Kilimanjaro so climbers can post pictures to Instagram.

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Come on England!

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