Hot tips for autumn breaks as flight passenger numbers pass pre-pandemic levels!
Chalkmarks: Bruges, Belgium, September 2022

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 13th October 2023

We were thinking: What if travel were set up like a gym subscription – you paid every month to go somewhere new. Forget two weeks away each summer, instead you’d get 12 trips a year. Would you pay? We would. We’d take out a rolling monthly subscription in a shot. In 2023, we reckon there’s a market for this. Yes we’re dreaming but wouldn’t it be great? And you could travel with people – when all your friends just want to go to the Costas – and visit cities not really set up for tourism. We would explore the ancient city of Baghdad. Or think Damascus, or Petra. Wow! How would it work? Ahh! We’ll get to that next week. Stayed tuned! For now here’s this week’s travel headlines.

Good to wonder!

Grounded: Holidays, flights and cruise ships have been cancelled or diverted over the risk of becoming a casualty of war in the Israel-Hamas conflict. The Foreign Office has updated its guidance, advising against all essential travel to Israel, which means package holidays are called off, and any travel to the country will no longer be covered by travel insurance. More than 40 airlines have cancelled flights, including BA, easyJet and Wizz Air. Celebrity Cruise’s Apex diverted its ship from docking in Haifa in northern Israel. Travel expert Simon Calder has all the details and advice if you were booked to travel.

Coming soon: Winter! Sorry if that’s a spoiler. But as the days get darker in the UK there are places in the world where the lights stay on and the sun heats up. Where is this? Weatherman John Kettley has taken a look at the global map to point out the high-temperature hot spots this autumn. For October he says it’ll be 39C in Dubai, 36C in Las Vegas and 35C in Morocco. The UK’s favourite destination Spain is still warm at 28C and here in the UK it’s around 17C. Looking ahead to November he forecasts it’ll still be hot in Dubai with 30C, Thailand 29C and Jamaica 29C. In Spain the temperature will drop to a cool 22C (boo) while in the UK it’ll be a chilly 12C (hoo). Look at The Sun, where else?

Return to the beach: In the same report, tour operator On the Beach revealed holidays bookings are up 26 per cent this October and November claiming Britons are desperate to escape the rain.

What’s on the menu: In the old days menus had just the food, the drink and the price. How strange those times seem. Now, we get the calorie count and this week, oh look, it’s a CO2 rating. International hotel chain Hilton announced it will print how much carbon was produced to make each dish. It’ll tell you its rib-eye steak creates 18lbs/ 8.1kg of CO2 and a fish finger sandwich’ produces 1.3lb/ 0.6kg of CO2. As a rule of thumb meat dishes create more CO2 than veggie dishes. It comes a week after Chalkmarks reported carbon passports could become a reality by 2040 to tackle climate change. But will this be a recipe for change? There was a lot of debate on X with tweeters asking if this was a good way to deal with climate change or a sign of the times: a PR gimmick to get headlines? Whatever the answer, one thing was certain, it got clicks. Here it is in MailOnline.

More emissions: The cruise news of the week was that Barcelona had banned ships from docking in the city centre to reduce carbon emissions. While this was partly true it wasn’t the full picture. From Sunday 22nd October all ships will disembark at terminal Moll Adossat pier – half an hour away by bus from the centre – instead of Muelle Barcelona Norte and the World Trade Centre, which are a stroll away from the centre. The authorities of Europe’s busiest cruise port are also limiting ships from 10 to seven a day to reduce pollution. Travel Weekly has the details. Btw did you read our excellent flight v ferry piece? It’s well worth it. Don’t search, it’s here

Fire alarm: Thousands of travellers missed their flights from Luton Airport on Tuesday night after a huge fire broke out in a terminal car park. By Wednesday afternoon fights were taking off again but the brand new Dart shuttle service, which only opened in March, remains closed which means there are is only a bus service from Luton Airport Parkway to the Airport. Urgh! Sky News has more. 

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!

Bored by ordinary travel: If you’re looking for adventure go to Peru. We’ve travelled up and down this South American country in pursuit of adventure, culture and food. We haven’t been back since the pandemic but miss ceviche and Pisco sour. Here we learned to salsa in Arequipa, how to speak Spanish in Lima and where to watch the condors high in the Andean villages. It was the beginning of our love affair with the country. You’re about as far away as you can get from the UK. But where to start. How about here! 

Are we there yet? Yes! It’s 2019 again. Look up to the skies and more planes are whizzing us around the globe. This week the figures backed that up when Heathrow announced its passengers numbers were back up to pre-pandemic levels in September with 7.1 million passing through its terminals. The last time it hit this number was in February 2020. The news came as Heathrow’s boss John Holland-Kaye stands down on Wednesday (18th October) after almost 10 years at the helm. He said: “It has been a privilege to lead the very talented team which, in less than a decade, transformed Heathrow into a hub airport that the whole nation can be proud of.” Thomas Woldbye, former boss at Copenhagen Airport, will take on his role. 

Paree calling? Mais oui. A brand new train company called Evolyn is set to take on Eurostar and start operating services from the UK to France in 2025. A spokesman told Reuters: “It would be the first time, after 30 years of Eurostar’s monopoly, that a competitor has entered the market.” But Chalkmarks is confused. There are only three tunnels – one runs north to St Pancras, another south to Gare du Nord and the third is for emergencies – so… where will it go? No eye-rolling at the back. Answers on a postcard please! 

See you in Hawaii: The historic city of Lahaina and the beaches of Maui reopened to tourism this week two months after the deadliest wildfires in US history. Only a few hotels have started to take bookings – they want to take it slowly. It’s not a sign that everything is all right again but that tourism will help Hawaii rebuild. Residents are anxious and still grieving after the fires killed 115 people with more than a hundred still missing. Governor Josh Green said welcoming back travellers would kick-start the economy. Mayor Richard Bissen added: “I know we are still grieving and it feels too soon. But the reality is there are those in our community who are ready to get back to work.” AP has the story.

Wonderwall: Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher is voicing the destination announcements on the Manchester tram network. The idea came from mayor Andy Burnham to encourage more people to take the tram during the Beyond The Music festival which runs until tomorrow (Saturday). And it’s worked. Everyone is jumping aboard to hear his voice. Mr Burnham said: “I am sure that Liam’s dulcet tones will wake up a few early-morning commuters, brighten up many a journey, and produce a lot of smiles along the way.” Watch here on the BBC.

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

Good to wander!

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