UK currency rallies: What the rising pound means for our holidays
Chalkmarks: Eurostar, London St Pancras

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 28th October 2022

FROM Bristol and Liverpool to Paris and Venice, 2022 has been the year of the train for us. We started the year with a trip to Paris on the Eurostar. At the time, travel restrictions were still in place and because of that red tape, the French capital was blissfully quiet. Covid passes were needed to get into restaurants. Non merci! The boulangeries were less stressed and so we lived on croissants, pain au chocolats, viennoise and chausson au citron for a long weekend. In the spring, we then punted in Cambridge and visited the Beatles in Liverpool – and just last month we were racing across Europe visiting the old European capitals of Budapest, Vienna and Venice. Along the way we boarded some modern trains and others more vintage. We sipped wine overlooking the Danube and bright orange cocktails on the Grand Canal. Honestly, we need a book to cover everywhere we’ve been. The appeal of trains is easy. You have space to move, you can have your bags next to you. Standing on station platforms in the early hours of the mornings isn’t much fun unless the bakery is open. A train seat doesn’t make the best bed but we often sat next to no one. We’d have a whole row of seats to ourselves and watched the continent roll by.

Travel adrenaline!

What now for Bojo? Hello! It’s been another mad week in Westminster. We have a new PM Rishi Sunak and so perhaps Boris Johnson will head back to the Dominican Republic. The ex-ex-PM was reportedly staying at Casa de Campo Resort and Villas when he jumped on a plane to save the UK from Liz Truss. Sky News pictured him on his way back…in a suit…in economy…for the more than nine-hour flight. Let’s take a look at Casa de Campo. What a high-end resort this is with five stars popular with celebs Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, the Kardashians and US politicians Bill and Hillary Clinton. Here on Twitter the resort boasts it has the “#1 golf course in the Caribbean”. It looks stunning: the perfect place to hide away under a tropical sun, safe from torrential political downpours.

Pound latest: The best part of this week for us travellers was the pound rising. It was one month ago that the pound fell to $1.03 – a record low. We reported about it here in this newsletter. The number was grim. For the first time in our lifetime the pound had come close to equalling the US dollar and some said the exchange rate could reach parity by the end of the year. It followed the Government’s not-so-mini budget that caused chaos across the economy. This week since Rishi Sunak took the reins at No10 and the markets settled…and, for now the pound has risen to $1.16 and €1.15. Phew! That holiday to the US is back on. The BBC had the epic story.

A word on rail strikes:  They swapped the dates. The first walk out planned for Thursday 3rd November has been moved by the RMT to Wednesday 9th to avoid a clash with the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day. The two others planned for Saturday 5th and Monday 7th November are still going ahead. The Tube strike will take place on the 10th.

Cue Christmas queues: Good news for the airline industry this week as Heathrow announced it would lift its 100,000 passenger cap after three months, at the end of October. This had come into force in July when the airport told airlines to stop selling summer flights as it couldn’t deal with the high passenger numbers. The idea was to end the long queues, lost baggage and last minute delays. The cap was supposed to end in September but will finally lift on Monday. In the same breath though, the airport said it would reintroduce the limit if things got crazy over Christmas. Virgin urged airport boss John Holland-Kaye not to flip flop over the festive period as it “would ruin customer plans”. The BBC had the story.

Testing testing: Do you remember all those layers of Covid complications and paperwork we were dealing this time last year? Two jabs, three jabs, pre-departure PCR tests, passenger locator forms, masks on, masks off? We don’t hear too much about that anymore but there are countries where Covid restrictions remain in place. Helpfully the Daily Telegraph put together a list this week of countries that are rule-free and those that aren’t, which include Brazil, the US, Peru, Japan, and the UAE to name a few. 

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!

The French one: Just off the coast of Cannes in the warm seas of the Côte d’Azur is the Mediterranean’s first underwater museum and then there’s the Loire-Atlantique – filled with port towns from Le Croisic in Brittany down to Saint Gilles in the Vendee. It has a rugged coastline, fishing huts that hang off cliffs, miles of cycling trails and wide sandy beaches.

Track star: Repeat after us: trains are now more popular than planes…at least between the capitals of England and Scotland. The Independent reported this week that rail had become the most popular option when travelling between London and Edinburgh thanks to the cheaper Lumo (£37) ticket. Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority and Lennon show that between April and August, 57 per cent of journeys between the two cities were by train compared to 35 per cent before the pandemic. This was no doubt helped by the chaos at airports earlier this year. Craig David would approve.

Always on our mind: Not only is Scotland’s Hogmanay party back after a two-year pandemic hiatus with the Pet Shop Boys headlining, it was announced this week. Happy 2023. The 80s are back. Nostalgia reigns supreme. The Scotsman has all the details. To see them perform their greatest hits live, tickets go on sale today costing £70 plus booking fees. Dance like everyone is watching. 

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

Mountain high!

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