The hidden side to Tenerife! Where to avoid Britons on the Canary Islands
Chalkmarks: Vlore Old Town, Albania, September 2023

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 5th April 2024

OUR travels lead us to all sorts of discoveries, and a bad experience can really put us off a place. It can happen quite quickly. Last week we were having a rant at Canada’s hotel deposits, and this week we’re giving it another go, this time about tipping. Like us, you might have noticed that the pound is worth slightly more than the Canadian or US dollar and decide to book a trip. But there’s a nasty sting in the tail. North American servers are drunk on the idea we owe them a tip for bringing over food and drink. A quick Google and there are plenty of waiting staff who have complained over bad tips. It’s anarchy out there. No one knows how much to give and tbh no one wants to pay. But, they expect up to 20 per cent nowadays. And just to be clear, you don’t get 20 per cent more. You don’t get more chips, more bread, more drinks or anything for free. You get what you paid for. Don’t get us wrong, we don’t mind paying a tip but if this is your first experience of the country, it’s pretty stressful. We’d known this about America but not Canada – we never knew the two countries were so alike. You can, of course, refuse to pay the tip but get ready for a verbal kerfuffle about how it pays their wages. There is plenty of advice online about what to do, and many suggests to just pay it – but should we? So, here are our two cents: be prepared, and take double the amount you plan to spend or don’t go. If you do the latter, you’ll be happier and save money.

Alexa book me an Uber to the airport!

Stop right here: The brand new, super-duper airport security scanners, which can see deep into our suitcases have been delayed. They were expected to be rolled out across the UK by summer 2024 but now it’ll be 2025… maybe!  It would have meant passengers could keep all their liquids in their carry-on bags and end the 100ml rule. Travellers would also have been able to keep their laptops and other electrical devices inside their bags. It would have helped cut queuing times. Who likes change anyway – amiright? Sky News has it.

Hell is Brits abroad: It was March last year when Amsterdam told holiday-hungry Britons to “Stay away”. They were tired of the boozing and partying. This year it’s Tenerife telling sun-seeking Britons to “Fuera” – get out! Over Easter, holidaymakers arrived to graffiti that read “tourists go home”. Locals are tired of their cheap, beer-drinking antics. On Tuesday it was trending on X, and tbh the row’s been going on all week. Some have said they would boycott the Canary Island, others have said they’ll be booking a holiday asap, and a very few have said it’s time to reflect how some Britons behave abroad. Good Morning Britain had a debate on the issue. Not so long ago Chalkmarks was told that Britons had thrown off their drunken “cheap and cheerful” image. Here’s what tourist boards had to say.

We’ve done it: We’ve come back to Tenerife but we have grown up. We’re not in one of those 18-to-30s-resorts where young Britons enjoy the sun, sea, fry-ups and Irish pubs. We have been there, and done that. In fact I thought the whole place was one big Spanish party island but all that noise is tucked away in a very small corner in the south. In the north, in the capital Santa Cruz, this is the place to be hot but lazy.  It’s a whole different island, far away from the busy beaches, bars and sunburned punters. If we’d felt nostalgic for a foam party, dancing till sunrise and downing shots, we could have nipped into nearby Puerto de la Cruz for a dizzying all-nighter. Instead we did this!

By royal invitation: King Charles has opened up Balmoral Castle to tourists for the first time in its 170-year history. From 1st July to 4th August the royal home in Aberdeenshire will be open for an interior tour with afternoon tea. Tickets are limited to just 40 a day – and despite costing £100-£150 they are almost sold out. PA Media has all the details.

Scottish power: The Balmoral estate, built on a bend beside the River Dee and surrounded by pine trees, was the Queen’s holiday home and where she died on Thursday 8th September 2022. Built from white granite, the castle in Aberdeenshire was also a favourite of her great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Known for its rugged picture postcard Scottish landscape, it is where the late-Queen spent every summer since 1952. Her granddaughter, Princess Eugenie, once said: “I think Granny is the most happy there, I think she really, really loves the Highlands… walks, picnics, dogs, a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs.”

Behind the curtain: It was usually in August, the late-Queen would move up to Balmoral Castle for summer. She would then move on to Sandringham, Norfolk, to spend Christmas. Former press secretary at Buckingham Palace, Dickie Arbiter, gave some tips on what visitors should look out for on X. ‘For the keen observer keep a look out for fishing rods, wellies, door stops and lots of tartan in what must be the ultimate Balmoral experience,’ he wrote.

Yoohoo: Down here! At the opposite end of the county in London, Buckingham Palace was not to be out done. On Wednesday, the royal London residence announced it would open the balcony room to tour groups for the first time. This is where the royals wait before stepping out to wave at the crowds in the Mall. PA Media broke the news.

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!

At risk: The great English countryside could soon be off limits to walkers due to funding issues. The 10 national parks have warned they are running out of money to maintain footpaths, signposts and visitor centres, even wildlife habitats, after their budgets were frozen. From the South Downs up to the Lakes and over to the Peak District, cut backs have already been made. Nick Hall, from charity Campaign for National Parks told The Times “the funding squeeze is getting even more ­urgent”.

Blown away: There’s a cloud handing over tourism bosses, it’s called the BBC weather app. It displays one weather symbol for the whole day based on gloomiest outcome – even though it might be bright and sunny with a teeny tiny, outside chance of rain… very late in the evening. Gill Haigh, of Cumbria Tourism, said it puts visitors off who might have wanted to get out to Windermere for the day. She told the Times: “Businesses can be frustrated when the headline symbol looks like it’s going to rain while they’re waiting in good weather to welcome customers, and people aren’t coming because the weather symbol has indicated a more pessimistic picture than the reality”. Ah, spoke too soon – it is raining.

This time last year: Join the queue for the Easter getaway! It was the great Easter getaway which made the front pages with The Sun warning of “Bad Friday” and the Daily Mirror saying “Standstill but good news… the weather will be nice-ish” … There was chaos at Dover in Kent to cross the Channel with 19-hour delays … Brexit was blamed … French border controls were blamed … The small size of the port was blamed … The wet weather was blamed … Easter was blamed … Holidaymakers were blamed … And most of all, coaches were blamed … Children on school trips were stuck for hours … There were no plans to expand the port or to allow more lanes or kiosks … So, get used to being at the back of the queue … Elsewhere, the passport people walked out on strike … But it was less stressful over at London City Airport which became the second in the UK – after Teeside – to install super scanners that mean passengers can keep their 100ml liquids in their hand luggage.

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