Our top two holiday spots: Home and away!
Chalkmarks: Gallipoli, Puglia, Italy

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 11th August 2023

THIS week we heard that Britons can’t afford an overseas holiday then came the news we’re all taking a staycation this year – but there was more to come from the gods of PR. By Thursday it was all change. We heard we’re all booking last-minute getaways to escape the weather. Yes, it was press release one-upmanship during #AugustIsASlowMonthForNews and the papers can’t get enough… and er, neither can we. Bring on the holiday confusion. Who knows what’s really going on out there? No one! But according to Advantage Travel Partnership, which represents 20 per cent of agents, there’s been a boost in bookings to flee the rain. The BBC had a good ring-around and found most holidays operators agreed: We’re all desperately seeking sunshine, they said! Spain and Greece top the list but there aren’t many bargains to bag. One last look through the papers and we’re off to Barrybados! Read all about it. 

Final call!

Smell the country air: If you’re out the UK on holiday right now, you’re doing it all wrong. According to a poll by WeBuyAnyCar, 72 per cent of us are enjoying a staycation this year. The big question is: what do we love doing in the UK? Exploring the countryside comes out top – especially sitting in a pub with a great beer garden. We also enjoy eating fish and chips by the seaside and visiting castles. As usual no one asked Chalkmarks. We’d have said: “We love our cities – London is a fave, Edinburgh too, and Swansea when the sun shines. Plus we love to shop!” The best part of a staycay is there’s no luggage limit on the train! Good Morning Britain covered the story.

Speaking of holidays: One in six of us are going without a summer holiday as the cost-of-living crisis worsens. As inflation remains high, a poll by the Liberal Democrats showed 17 per cent of us can’t afford to getaway. Spokeswoman, Sarah Olney, said: “It is shameful that the Government is ploughing on with massive tax cuts for the big banks, who are refusing to pass on saving rates whilst hiking mortgage bills.”

On the plane: A new UK to US airline has promised its passengers will “feel like a million dollars” with a glass of champers on board – even if you’re flying in cattle class (maybe). Boss of Global Airlines – set to take off next summer – said travellers were “sick and tired” of their treatment on flights, and said “we will do better”. James Asquith promises the best food and drinks across the Atlantic with Laurent-Perrier served down the aisles, with hopes a glass will be offered to those in economy. He even says fares would be “in line with, if not cheaper” than other airlines. If you don’t believe any of this, here it is on PA Media. Global Airlines will operate between Gatwick and New York JFK.

Then this: Wizz Air boss Jozsef Varadi defended his £100 million bonus on top of his £570,000 salary, saying: “This is a cheap deal.” To those who said it was excessive, he replied: “You want me to be successful without getting paid? That’s kind of an interesting proposition.”   Defending the airline being voted bottom of the rankings for delays and departures plus its poor record for dealing with complaints, he said: “We got totally overwhelmed,” adding new systems had been brought in. When asked how he relaxed, Mr Varadi said: “Ha! I like travelling, believe it or not. I do a lot of skiing during the winter. I play some golf in the summer.” He’s also studying for a master’s degree in war, strategy and history at King’s College London. How does he do it all? The Times had the story.

Postcard from Tui: On Wednesday the German travel giant reported the wildfires in Rhodes, in July, would cost it £21.5 million in compensation claims, cancelled holidays, repatriation flights and lost business. But it turned this around saying it was a win for the traveller as it pays to book a package holiday, which offers protection when things go wrong. Really it’s Tui who are the real winners. They added holiday prices were up more than a quarter on 2019, and 7 per cent higher than last year. And bookings were running to around 95 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. Boss Sebastian Ebel said: “Summer 2023 is going very well and demand for holidays remains high. The Mediterranean remains the most sought-after destination for summer holidays … overall it will be a very good travel summer and a good year for Tui in 2023.” ITV News ran the story.

Strikes again: Ground handlers and passenger assistance staff at Gatwick will walkout from next Friday for four days – then again over the August Bank Holiday weekend. While the Unite union warned of “severe disruption” to 216 flights and 45,000 passengers, the strike action involves 230 staff working for just a handful of airlines: Norse Atlantic, Norwegian, Delta, TAP Air Portugal and Saudia. Sky News broke the story on Wednesday. 

Fire alarm: After wildfires in Greece and Italy last month, blazes have continued to rage around the world. In Hawaii, 55 people died as flames swept through the historic city of Lahaina, making the front page of today’s Guardian. In Europe, Spain is in its third heatwave of the summer with temperatures hitting 44C. Red alert warnings have been issued for much of the south with the mercury expected to soar further. The Foreign Office updated its guidance to holidaymakers, which amounted to “take care out there”. And in Portugal, wildfires have broken out away from the tourists resorts yet are still destroying thousands of acres of woodland.

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!

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. 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 with North Beach ranked 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!

Dark money:  A Guide to Dark Attractions is soon to hit bookshelves highlighting 280 attractions in the UK linked to death and tragic events – including prisons, war memorials, cemeteries and nuclear bunkers. Author Leon McAnally, said: “I want people to know and learn about our dark history – both small and big events – to be more aware of what has happened in the past. These events have shaped how things were dealt with going forward. We’ve a massive history in England and I thought, ‘Why are we as a country not looking at our own dark heritage?'” If you’re keen, Suffolk News has more.

Top tip tactics: Travel TikToker Madeline Jaye has shared her secrets of travelling around the world on less than £150. She said the trick was to take the longest flight route, basically, those that include a layover, which just crosses another country off her bucket list. Having reached 50 countries so far, Madeline revealed she uses Skyscanner and booking.com to make her arrangements. A recent trip to India cost £150 – taking 37 hours.  She had a stopover in Bucharest then flew to Riyadh and on to Mumbai. She said: “When I book flights I will always book the cheapest option, even if it takes me three days to get somewhere. I pick long layovers, which also gives me the chance to visit other countries on the way to my destination.” The Daily Star had the story.

This time last year: The last summer of cheap flights: Travel while you can before holiday prices soar!  Everything was soaring: Energy bills, inflation, the temperature and flight tickets … But holiday bookings were up … Chalkmarks went off to Brussels and then inter railing through Europe … The Daily Telegraph reported UK travellers were forking out double what they paid for an air fare to Athens, Greece, the Algarve, Portugal and Bangkok, Thailand, in 2019 … Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary announced a new definition to the term budget airlines… the €10 Ryanair ticket was over … The average fare would rise to €50 (£42) by 2027 … Holiday giant Tui revealed that the long airport queues that led to flight delays and cancellations had cost it £63 million … Heathrow Airport said the queues at security had eased following its 100,000 passenger cap … Qantas won the prize for going the extra (air) mile when staff from its head office helped to off load bags from flights … Aslef train drivers walked out for 24-hours … Americans were visiting FranceItaly and Germany with the UK coming in fourth place … The famous Coast-to-Coast from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire became an official National Trail.  

In case you don’t follow us on social media you really should. Here we are, here too and over here. Say hola muchacha! 

The race to take a holiday!

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