Pay less, stay longer! Top tips for booking a holiday in July
Chalkmarks: Flight to Ibiza, Spain

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 30th June 2023

Hi gang, this week we’re answering some of the travel questions we most frequently get asked, so here goes: Where was your first trip? To Trinidad when I was a baby. What’s the most daring thing you’ve done? We were in Bali in November 2017 when the volcano, Mount Agung, erupted – and everyone left. Extra flights were put on and people fled. My friend and I stayed – it felt like a big decision at the time. The island was completely deserted, it was bliss – and thankfully Agung didn’t erupt again. We survived. Where is under-rated? Bulgaria. Where was the first time you travelled abroad alone? Peru. Have you taken part in holiday challenges? Yes in Mexico City, we took part in a taco eating competition. We ate about ten (it doesn’t sound like many but when they are full of me and veg… you try it!) but others ate 20 or more. We felt sooo sick the next day, but others were ill for weeks. We haven’t been able to even look at another taco since. What is the most adventurous thing you’ve done? Surfing in the Arctic Ocean. Where is over-rated? America. You grow up seeing it in Hollywood films and it’s nothing like that. It doesn’t live up to the hype. Do you bring back souvenirs? Not fridge magnets or key rings, but we love clothes shopping and have a wardrobe filled with items from around the world. When people say: “Ooh, where did you get that?” We say: “Oh, this old thing, it’s from Budapest, or it’s from Seoul”. 
Here’s a tour of this weeks travel headlines!

Land here!

Money money money: We think the BBC has been following Chalkmarks, because last week, and the one before that, we reported how the cost of holidays is soaring. Then on Thursday shock figures reveal prices have jumped 20 per cent. BBC News reported how one week, on an all-inclusive package, in Mallorca is up 21 per cent on last year, Tenerife up 22 per cent, Crete 25 per cent, Morocco 27 per cent, and Bulgaria 13 per cent. The figures from TravelSupermarket showed on average prices were up 12 per cent. In even badder news, prices aren’t expected to fall this summer for cheaper last-minute deals – and are expected to stay high for 2024.

Save save save: Taking longer holidays saves us money! Really? Yes! Research by consumer magazine Which? showed that by booking even one day longer can save hundreds of pounds. It’s short holidays that cost more, up to double. They found that an all-inclusive trip with Tui to Fuerteventura in August costs £2,960 for 11 nights, but £4,148 for ten – a saving of £1,188. It was the same with other easyJet, Love Holidays, and On the Beach. It’s all to do with demand, and certain days being cheaper than others. Which? also found that a holiday in Crete cost just £1 more to stay an extra night. Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of Which? said: ‘If you’re booking a holiday, it’s worth checking if you can save money by making some small changes to your travel dates and duration of your stay.” The Daily Mail had the (ice-cream) scoop on Monday.

The flight goes on: For reasons unknown, the government this week postponed its plans to hand passengers better compensation when flights are cancelled. They promised all last summer when airports were in chaos that travellers on domestic flights could claim a refund if their flight arrived an hour later – similar to the system used by trains. At the moment a flight needs to be more than three-hours delayed before a claim of £220 can be made. The Department for Transport says it needs more time. Maybe they need to take holiday to think about it… then get stuck on the way back. The Manchester Evening News has the story.

Don’t forget: Rail strikes are ahead – starting on Monday running everyday through to Saturday. This is train drivers from Aslef union refusing to work overtime, so it’s not quite a strike but it means passengers won’t know if trains are running or not. It’ll be impossible to know until you’ve booked your ticket and you’re on the platform. We are not chuffed! Sky News has more.

All at sea: Stockholm is a capital city of 14 islands built around Lake Mälaren. For a whistle-stop run down, the city is divided into neighbourhoods, and Gamla stan is its 13th century medieval heart made up of three islands: Stadsholmen, Riddarholmen and Helgeandsholmen. Here you’ll find the Royal Palace, Parliament Building, The Prime Minister’s home, Sager House, and City Hall where they feast after the Nobel Prizes have been handed out. You’ll also come across the Rune stone carving, the narrowest street, Mårten Trotzigs gränd, and the tiny statue Järnpojke or Iron Boy. Finish on Plaza Stortorget filled with its mustard-coloured buildings that are the backdrop to many holiday snaps. It’s filled with cafes and people sitting out on the pavement. Even though this is northern Europe, the Swedish capital can get super hot in July. With the sun beating down, it’s Scandi eye-candy. Oooh, hot dogs!

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!

Something to look forward to: A trip to Glasgow. The Scottish city has been named one of the top under-rated hidden gems for a UK staycation. Voted for by 2,000 people in a poll for car makers, Dacia, Blackpool came top, and Carlisle second. Their holiday spokesman said: “A total of 54% said they were bored of seeing the same places. Our study found that Blackpool and Glasgow were among the most underrated staycation destinations this year.” Here’s more in the Scottish Sun.

One more thing: If you’re thinking of heading to Brighton to lie on the pebbles this summer, turnaround and go to Glasgow instead, it’ll be much cheaper. From Monday 17 July, parking charges in the city are going up from £1.40 an hour to an eye-watering £5.60 an hour. One resident said: “It’s f***ing relentless.” The Brighton Argus has the outrage.

This time last year: Air fairs? Consumer group accuses airlines of ripping off customers over travel flight refunds There was plenty to moan about … It was wall-to-wall holiday chaos … Airports queues were a post-Covid blip we were told … Which? claimed “most of the airlines” had terms and conditions which “our barristers believe are likely to be in breach of consumer rights law … Customers who used chargeback to get a refund found themselves on blacklists … British Airways pulled 650 flights in July – affecting routes to Amsterdam, Athens, Barcelona … But, Barrhead Travel said bookings were back to 2019 highs … ForwardKeys said air travel was set to reach 65 per cent of pre-pandemic levels … Africa and the Middle East were forecast to recover first, followed by North and South America then Europe and last the Asia Pacific … The top three resilient beach destinations for Europe were Antalya, Turkey, Tirana, Albania and Greek island Mykonos … The top three headlining cities were Naples, Italy, Istanbul, Turkey, and Athens, Greece … Baz Luhrmann’s film Elvis caused a spike in bookings to America’s Deep South … Huh-ah-hah! … Brighton in East Sussex and Santa Monica in California became “friendship cities” … The Tower of London’s Superbloom finally arrived!

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