Bank holiday boom for staycations… with a side order of jams!
Chalkmarks: Guggenheim, Bilbao, Basque Country, Spain

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 3rd May 2024

IF WE have AI to do everything now why is it still so difficult to book a holiday? We’ve got a list of all the places we want to go but research takes forever. We go down hour-long rabbit holes checking the price of flights, hotels and a package option. Then we start all over again with another city. When we finally find something affordable there’s the anxiety when we finally press pay. That feeling never goes away. Did I get the best price? Is the hotel decent? How far away is it? It’s all part of the adventure. But we have never looked back and regretted a trip… except maybe Canada where it turned out to be -11C in March! But the best feeling of all is knowing we’re just weeks away from travelling to Oslo where the sun will be shining – we checked this time. While we get excited about cruising the fjords, here’s this week’s travel headlines.

We like to move it!

Buckle up: Anyone banking on a sunny bank holiday getaway, forget it. Expect wind and rain – and plenty of traffic on the roads, warns the RAC. They predict “mayhem” with 16 million drivers on the road, on the first May bankie which has become a typical staycation fave, they say. Good news though, at least you’ll stay dry! It’s in the Sun.

The view from Southampton: Cunard’s stunning Queen Anne sailed into Southampton on Tuesday evening ahead of its maiden voyage to Lisbon today. Thousands lined the dockside as the £500 million luxury liner, which took five years to build was welcomed with a water salute. Chalkmarks’s favourite cruise expert Kathy Taylor was on board – click here for the full Cruise Lowdown.

Turning the tide: Cruising is shaping up to be the holiday must-have of 2024. More than 35 million people will set sail this year – a record. Get the Guinness out! Plus we can expect 14 brand new ships. Already we’ve seen the largest ever – the $2 billion Icon of the Seas by Royal Caribbean – which can carry almost 8,000 people. This week it’s Cunard’s Queen Anne, which can carry 3,000 passengers. We asked Kathy: “What’s created this cruise boom?”. She said: “They’re good value for money – you have all your meals, some will include drinks. Plus, no-fly cruises are popular (this is where your trip starts and ends at the same port). They’re also good for getting a taste of a destination which you can go back to another time.” Here’s the full interview with Chalkmarks.

New airport for Dubai: Dubai International Airport is moving 28 miles away to an empty desert Al Maktoum in a £28 billion move over 10 years. It’ll have five runaways and 400 gates and create one of the largest international terminals in the world. Ambitions are high. Billionaire ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed said: “Dubai will be the world’s airport, its port, its urban hub and its new global centre.” Travel Weekly has the story.

Cheap sleep: Premier Inn has been wrapped on the knuckles for advertising rooms in Edinburgh “from only £35 per night”. A wannabe guest said they couldn’t find any at that price so they complained. Premier Inn insisted there were 377 rooms available at £35. The Advertising Standards Authority said it wasn’t enough and that “a significant proportion” of rooms needed to be available at £35. Premier Inn said rooms had sold so quickly they hadn’t updated the pricing. Sky News has the details.

In the meantime: Mona Lisa could be on the move. Ahead of the Olympics in Paris this July, the Louvre is considering moving the world’s most famous portrait into a room of her own in anticipation of huge crowds. Bosses say they can do better than offering visitors a two-hour queue for an eight second viewing of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting. The Guardian has the story.

Have you seen our pictures: Kapow! Another picture sold – so happy. We’re on a roll. This time it was the City pages of the Daily Mail on Thursday that showcased our work! If you look very closely our name is very teeny tiny but we are credited. We’d like to thank everyone…! Check out more of our pix and buy too – they’re here for sale on Alamy. ¥€$! #smallwins!

Don’t stop me now: We’ve having such a good time, We’re on a golf buggy. We’re having a ball. Welcome to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I’m driving around this absolute gem of a Caribbean island at 12mph. By rights it’s a hideous idea that we’re cruising along the Rueda Medina Malecon past wide sandy beaches on this golf cart. But everyone’s doing it. It’s not a super car but it’s a super idea. These pocket rockets will get you up to North Beach in no time. And as North Beach ranks among the 10 best beaches in the world, we want to get up there for sunset. There are hundreds of these buggies on this tiny Mexican island and they’re super easy to find – the minute you step off the ferry from Cancún. Is it safe? Not when we’re around. Where to go if you don’t know!

Best Museums 2024: What do the Craven Museum, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Manchester Museum, National Portrait Gallery and the Young V&A all have in common? They have been shortlisted for museum of the year. We’ll hear who wins the £120,000 prize money on 10th July. The BBC has the full list.

Black Forest gateau: Getting a coffee in a forest to sit and enjoy the nature sounds perfect but it’s kicked off a big row. The introduction of food trucks in the New Forest that will sell hot drinks and a slice of cake has been approved by Forestry England – but it has met with fears it will turn into a theme park. There are also concerns visitors might start feeding the ponies and cattle that roam freely – and if the animals hurt someone the owner can be sued for thousands. Commoners Defence Association chair, Andrew Parry-Norton, said: “We are obviously very, very concerned about the interaction between the stock and the visitors. We don’t want it turn into a theme park. People should enjoy it, but in its natural state.” MailOnline has more.

Go loco: More trains than ever will be under one roof at the same time at the Locomotion museum at New Hall in Shildon, County Durham. There are now 99 trains from steam locomotives, hand-powered track inspection machines, freight wagons, snow ploughs and an armoured vehicle on tracks on display. Sarah Price, head of the museum, said it’ll give “visitors the chance to find out more about the railways and the North East’s railway heritage”. The exhibition at the North East’s biggest visitor attractions opens on Friday 24th May. The BBC has more.

This time last year: London arise! Millions descend on capital for King Charles’ extraordinary Coronation There was a bonus bank holiday weekend as King Charles was crowned at Westminster Abbey … The royal celebration meant hotels in the capital cashed in … Cheaper lodgings and inns were booked up, and finer establishments were charging more … Elsewhere, rail workers voted to continue their walkouts … Also queues were expected at Heathrow with security staff on strike … But the passport people who walked out on strike in April were back at their desks … There was also a pandemic anniversary … On 11th May, the US dropped all coronavirus restrictions and allowed anyone who has not had a coronavirus jab into the country!

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