Thursday, 31 July 2014

Now that's funny.......

Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?

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EU demands Ryanair payback

THE European Commission has ordered Ryanair to repay millions of pounds in illegal state aid it received for operating from three French airports.

The Commission said the support from France, which included rebates and marketing deals, would put the airline in an ‘unfair advantage’, following a complaint from Air France.

The Irish carrier has announced it will appeal the ‘erroneous’ decision, as it already has similar terms with other European airports.


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Free Wi-FI 24/7 at Frankfurt

FREE Wi-Fi access at Germany's largest airport – Frankfurt – has been extended from 60 minutes to 24 hours. 

More than 300 Wi-Fi access points (particularly in the departure areas) facilitate internet access in the terminals. 

To use the free Wi-Fi service, people log on via the Deutsche Telekom HotSpot internet portal.

 ‘We are the first major airport in Germany and one of the first in Europe to offer passengers this level of free Wi-Fi service round-the-clock’ said an airport executive. ‘Frankfurt Airport is dedicated to meeting the needs of today's increasingly mobile and networked society.’

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Size matters for Istanbul’s new airport

ISTANBUL has started work on the construction of the world’s largest airport. The airport parking zone will be big enough for 500 planes. 

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Now that's funny..........

Half the people you know are below average.

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Make a splash in Scotland

AN interactive website has been launched to showcase one of the UK's premier watersports destinations that benefits from the warmer waters created by the Gulf Stream.

Watersportscoast.com is a one-stop website with detailed information on 12 watersport activities – including yachting, dinghy sailing, kite surfing, and sea kayaking – around Ayrshire and Arran on Scotland's west coast.

From the coastal areas around mainland Ayrshire to the islands of Arran and Cumbrae, the area provides opportunities to access the waters of the Firth of Clyde and on to the Irish Sea. Located on the Gulf Stream, the waters are surprisingly warm (with some reporting them to be warmer than off the coast of South Africa) and palm trees flourish in some areas as a result.

Watersportscoast.com 
provides information on some 60 key coastal access points, beaches, slipways, marina facilities, and moorings. 

Tide times, weather forecasts, nautical charts, nautical mile plotting, and interactive mapping, are available -  [www.watersportscoast 

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Hit the road …. to Orlando!

DATA from travel search engine KAYAK, reveals that American cities top the list of UK travellers' favourite international destinations to hire a car and hit the open road. 

The prospect of driving on the right-hand side of the road and navigating six lanes of traffic doesn’t faze Brits: Orlando, San Francisco and Los Angeles are among the five most popular international destinations for Brits to hire a car. 

The top five are:

1. Orlando

2. Los Angeles

3. Malaga

4. San Francisco

5. Geneva


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More flights to Canada

AIR TRANSAT has launched its summer 2015 flight schedule with more services to Canada from the UK. 

The airline will offer flights from Gatwick to Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, and Edmonton next summer. Services will also operate from Manchester and Glasgow to Vancouver and Calgary.

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Travel matters.......

‘Italy will always have the best food.’ – Diane von Furstenberg

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Up in the air …

WITH four days of incredible aircraft, jets and aerial displays including the Red Arrows, the Bournemouth Air Festival (August 28-31) promises to thrill and delight.




Amazing display teams from the Royal Air Force, Royal Navy and Royal Marines 
including 

beach assaults, awesome jets, pilots, aircraft, helicopters, fireworks, entertainment, 3-miles of Pier to Pier trading, ground displays, street entertainers, interactive military villages and live music from local, national and military bands…this is all ‘by the sea.




And completely FREE!’

Want to know more then try: 
http://www.bournemouth.co.uk/whats-on/search-results/bournemouth-air-festival


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Tenerife water park best in class

TENERIFE'S Siam Park has been voted Best Water Park in the World by TripAdvisor users.


Siam Park, in southern Tenerife, opened in 2008. It has a 'Tower of Power' vertical-drop slide, 'Wave Palace', and a pool that produces 42 different types of waves.




















Voted 15th in the same international water park category as Siam Park is Lago Martiánez, Puerto de la Cruz's public lido, designed by the famous Lanzarote architect César Manrique. 

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More Brits head west to Texas

TEXAS has seen a rise in the number of UK tourists heading to the state. UK visitor numbers grew by 22 percent in 2013 to 192,000, with four in 10 travelling for leisure purposes.


While on a recent sales mission in London, Anita Perry, the First Lady of Texas said:  “The new British Airways route from Heathrow to Austin – and Formula 1 coming to the state – has really driven the increase.”

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Monday, 28 July 2014

Travel facts.........

PRAGUE CASTLE is listed by Guinness World Records as the largest castle in the world covering an area of 18 acres!

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Where to go for euro-fling

A POLL of 53,400 European men and women commissioned by on-line travel planning platform GoEuro reveals the nationalities of dream romantic partners if citizens of France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and the UK had the option to seek 'lurve' beyond their own borders.

In the survey, respondents were presented with six major European countries and asked to select their preference in terms of a partner for a date.

Perhaps surprisingly, French women rated Brits as the nationality that they would most like to date, with 32 percent of French women aspiring to date British blokes. As the preferred date for French men, British women polled second only to Spanish women.

Results from The Netherlands also presented good news for Brits seeking a date. After the French, the Dutch are the Europeans with the greatest interest in dating Brits.

The British fondness for Mediterranean vacations could be influencing our tastes when it comes to dating foreigners, as Spanish and Italian dates were the first choices of British men and women. The French are the third most desirable nationality for Brits to date. The fourth highest rated European nationality Brits want to date is their old rivals … the Germans.

The study’s most popular demographic overall was Spanish women, with the men of five nations – the UK, Germany, Portugal, France and Italy – naming them as their first choice for a date with a woman of another European nationality.

www.goeuro.co.uk


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Let’s hear it for the Star-Spangled Banner!

MARYLAND'S Star-Spangled Spectacular will mark the 200th anniversary of the USA's national anthem in September. 

The week-long free festival (September 10-16) will take place in Baltimore, and will feature re-enactments, air shows, musical performances, tours of US navy ships in the city’s harbour, and Chesapeake Bay food and drink. 

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Strong £ bonus for UK holidaymakers

RESEARCH by the UK online travel agent On the Beach has revealed that holidays to several popular destinations are cheaper this year compared to last.

Tipped to become a major holiday destination for sun-starved Brits, summer holidays in Croatia – outside the Eurozone – are on average 50 percent cheaper this summer compared to last.

Research also shows holidays on several popular Greek islands are less costly, with both Corfu and Samos eight percent cheaper than last year. Other islands offering better deals include Crete and Kefalonia, both down three percent on the previous year. With the British pound recently hitting a 22-month high against the euro, holidaymakers will get more bang for their buck …or pound.

Alistair Daly, chief marketing officer at On the Beach comments: ‘Our research shows that there are many good bargain holidays out there, with some of the most popular

destinations showing significant savings compared to last year. With the pound performing well against the euro, holidays in certain destinations this year will certainly prove cheaper than they were last year.’


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Sunday, 27 July 2014

Now that's funny..............

If your car could travel at the speed of light would your headlights work?

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Get real in Barcelona

DERBY HOTELS COLLECTION has expanded its portfolio of holiday apartments in Barcelona.

The apartments are designed to give visitors independence and a feeling of the local lifestyle within walking distance of most of the city’s major attractions and shopping districts.

The company’s 12 Milà apartments - www.derbyhotels.com - are in a refurbished building located in Gràcia district, known for its bohemian, cultural, and traditional atmosphere. There is a choice of deluxe, executive, and standard apartments, each one equipped with sitting-dining rooms, kitchens, bathrooms and balconies.



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Car hire insurance warning for UK drivers

UK HOLIDAYMAKERS risk potentially high costs by not taking out enough car hire insurance when abroad

According to the latest Post Office Travel Money report on car hire, more than half of consumers do not take out Excess Waiter Insurance, which reduces the excess payable for accidents or theft to zero. 

In addition more than 75 percent were not covered for tyre, undercarriage, or window damage.

Those who damage their car and do not have the right insurance could face charges of £418 minimum in Turkey while they could pay double that in Spain, and more £1,000 in Ireland and Switzerland.

The report said that in comparison, the extra insurance for a week would cost 10 to 12 percent of the excess payable. 

Have a look at our partner insurers for a great deal: http://govillasandcottages.co.uk/blueinsurance

In a survey of 16 European countries, Cyprus came out cheapest for car hire at £295, with Malta at £317 and Turkey at £325, compared to £614 for a seven-day hire in Norway.

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Steady growth for Eurostar

EUROSTAR has reported continued growth in both passenger volumes and sales revenues in the first half of 2014, with passenger numbers up two per cent in the first six months of the year. The service carried five million passengers during the period, up from 4.9 million in 2013.

Sales revenues grew by 0.5 percent to £456 million.

Nicolas Petrovic, chief executive, Eurostar, said: ‘While a number of factors in the second quarter of the year lead to a dampening in demand, we are now beginning to see a more benign trading environment with encouraging signs of economic stability in France as well as the UK.’


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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Now that's funny..........

If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?

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Beware the holiday scammers!

HOTEL staff, taxi drivers, and apparently friendly locals are among those capable of tricking unsuspecting tourists, according to travel company Justtheflight.co.uk. 

Their survey of holiday scams named Paris, Rome, and Barcelona as high risk cities for British tourists.

Common street scammers include those pretending to offer a free product or service, such as a rose for your partner, a music CD, or even an offer to take a photograph for you, but aggressively demand payment afterwards. 

In worse cases, these 'voluntary' photographers will run off with your camera. 

And then there are the taxi drivers who offer drugs to a group of tourists on their way to a party; once the drugs are accepted, fake police appear demanding that a large sum of money be paid to avoid arrest.

Beware of shop staff in Barcelona who appear to be on their phone while helping you; they might be taking a photograph of your credit card details to be cloned later.

Some hotels in Europe were found to be working with taxi drivers in order to convince tourists that the hotel they have booked is closed for refurbishment. The driver then takes passengers to a different, overpriced hotel.


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Fun days in Dunster

THERE are some who say summer isn't summer without a traditional country fair, and the Dunster Country Fair (July 30) has all the traditional ingredients. 

Held on the lawns of Dunster Castle, it has 
  • dog shows, 
  • equestrian events, 
  • clay pigeon shooting, an 
  • archery display, and a 
  • funfair.
It’s followed by the Dunster Show on August 15, an opportunity to see the best of Somerset farming and livestock.

See; www.dunstercountryfair.co.uk or www.thedunstershow.co.uk


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Brits, Irish flock to Croatia

THE number of UK holidaymakers in Croatia increased by 10 percent between January-June 2014 compared to the same period last year. 

This year has also seen a 17 per cent rise in Irish visitors to Croatia against the same period in 2013. In total, 140,519 Brits holidayed in Croatia, while 14,184 Irish citizens visited the destination between January-June 2014.



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Friday, 25 July 2014

Travel matters........

I once wanted to become an atheist, but I gave up; they have no holidays.
Henny Youngman

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Richard III on show

THE King Richard lll Visitor Centre in Leicester – open as from tomorrow, July 26 – gives visitors insights into the life and death of one of England’s most debated kings.

Located on the site of the car park where his remains were unearthed in 2012, the centre tells the story of the king in three parts: Dynasty – Richard’s life in medieval England; Death – the Battle of Bosworth and his ultimate demise; and Discovery – the science and analysis that lead to his eventual rediscovery and identification.

Exhibits include a detailed facial reconstruction of the king, a replica of his skeleton and a glass-encased area showing the spot where his remains were discovered.

Tickets can be bought at www.KRIII.com with prices starting at £4.75 for children (three to 15 years), £7.95 for adults, and £21.50 for a family (two adults and two children).


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Thomas Cook expands flights to the sun

THERE is to be an additional aircraft based at Birmingham Airport next summer, with Thomas Cook taking this up to offer more seats and holidays to customers in the Midlands.

The airline will be able to offer 47,000 more flight seats and holidays to customers in the Midlands. The offering includes three new destinations for Birmingham Airport to Mytilene (Lesbos, Greece), Kalamata (Greece) and Djerba (Tunisia). 

The airline will also offer daily flights to Dalaman (Turkey), plus increased frequencies to Zante, Mahon, Bodrum, Antalya, and Fuerteventura.

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How to cash in on the Commonwealth Games

HOTEL prices in Glasgow have risen to an average of £344 a night during the Commonwealth Games (July 23-August 4). This is a 158 percent increase in comparison to the previous week, when one night costs an average of £133. In July last year, one night in Glasgow cost an average of £78.


Go Holiday editor David Kernek comments: This is hardly a surprise. A much more economic alternative would be a self-catering cottage in the countryside outside Glasgow, or a holiday apartment in the city.


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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Tales from the bar

Scotland's Pubs & Bars: A Story to Tell features intriguing and surprising tales about the country's pubs, bars and inns.

Download the free from iTunes or Google play, or visit 
www.scotlandspubsandbars.co.uk.


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Greek ferry schedules online

VISIT GREECE now hosts the most comprehensive Greek ferry schedule in English to date at www.visitgreece.gr/en/travelling_in_greece/by_sea

The portal carries information on 85 ferry companies and 13,440 routes.

Search results will provide details of all available options to the major destinations, what kind of vessel is available, how many stops there are, whether booking is recommended, maps of the routes and links to the ferry companies.

Christina Kalogera, the Greek National Tourism Director in the UK & Ireland said: ‘Island hopping in Greece has just got a whole load easier thanks to the new portal. 

Island hopping has always been the most delightful way to see the diversity Greece in one holiday, but thanks to the new portal and the recent refurbishment of the Greek fleet, it has never been easier to plan. We are delighted we can now offer this comprehensive service to English-speaking visitors.’


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More flights on time..

UK AIRPORTS have registered the best ever first quarter on-time performance with 84 percent of scheduled flights landing on-time, according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

For the three months ended March 31, overall on-time performance was six percentage points higher than the same period in 2013, making it the best first quarter since records began in 1992. 

An on-time flight is defined as landing/arriving at its destination either early or up to 15 minutes late.

The five London airports – Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and London City – registered an overall increase of eight percentage points of on-time flights as a proportion of total scheduled flights, rising from 76 percent to 84 percent.


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New Boeings, bigger windows

Boeing has announced its 777X model will have 15 percent larger windows and a 16-inch wider cabin than competitors.

Its widened cabin will allow for economy seats that are up to 18 inches wide, while LED lighting and a higher cabin humidity will alter conditions for passengers.

Six airlines including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Cathay Pacific currently have 300 777Xs on order, with production to start in 2017 and deliveries for 2020.


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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Free festival

THE free Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Festival takes place on September 20 with heritage talks and walks, a craft and food market, street entertainment, and family activities from 12noon until 5pm.



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Have a Wild Weekend at the Wild North Festival

FROM seashore safaris and surfing to dolphin watching and ceilidhs, visitors to the North Highlands of Scotland this autumn have more opportunities than ever before to explore the area’s highlights with the Wild North Festival 2014.

Running from August 29 to September 14, the festival takes place over three weekends, each with a different theme.

The first one is the Wild Weekend, taking place in the Dunnet and Castletown area of Caithness. This is aimed at all ages with events including survival skills in Dunnet Forest, whale watching at Dunnet Head, and the chance for children to spot animals and the opportunity to learn about archaeology.

Maritime Madness is on the cards for the second weekend of the festival (September 5-7). The north coast of mainland Britain is showcased through experiences such as surfing lessons and a surf competition, Viking storytelling, a seashore safari, and tidal pool art.

The festival comes to a climax with the East Coast Adventure weekend (September 12-14), taking place on the East Sutherland coast. It starts with several geocache (treasure hunting) events and ends with activities such as fossil hunting and gold panning.

Other events include RSPB guided walks, an archaeology training day, and a lantern procession.

www.northhighlandsscotland.com/wildnorth


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Virgin expands UK-US flights

VIRGIN ATLANTIC has announced new flights from Glasgow and Belfast to the US next summer.

The Belfast route will be the first Northern Ireland service for the carrier, with services from Belfast International to Orlando to commence in June 2015. It will operate in June and July with an additional 3,600 seats in total.

A similar number of seats will be available on the Glasgow to Las Vegas route, which will launch in September 2015 and run throughout September and October.

Both routes form part of Virgin Atlantic’s joint venture with Delta Air Lines, with Delta offering ticket sales under a codeshare agreement.


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Splash!

ISTRIA has a new waterpark. Just north of Porec, Istralandia Aquapark has views across the Adriatic coast, 20 slides, and three pools suitable for all ages and abilities. It claims to have the largest whirlpool in the Mediterranean.

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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Take a walk in Sussex

A WALKING festival in Sussex and the South Downs National Park launches this September with a micro-brewery inspired tour of the South Downs, and the chance to try Nordic Walking!

With more than 70 walks to try, ranging from short family walks to strenuous day-long hikes, the new Coast & Country Walking Festival which runs from September 27 to October 5 covers Eastbourne, the South Downs and the Sussex Weald over two weekends of diary-packed events.

For more information or to book a place, visit www.SussexWalkingFestival.org.uk


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Going on holiday? Tell your bank!

MORE than three quarters of holidaymakers who have had their credit card declined while abroad had failed to notify their bank that they would be going on holiday overseas, according to new research by TSB. More than half said that they had not realised they needed to tell their bank about their travels plans.

Jatin Patel, product director at TSB says: ‘Tickets, passport, and money. That is the traditional going away checklist, and making sure your cards work abroad should be included in it. 

Card transactions abroad are one of the most common fraud indicators, and therefore your card might be declined if you have not already informed your bank of your intention to travel.

‘This can be expensive, frustrating and time-consuming to sort out, especially if there are different time zones involved, which is why TSB has introduced a quick, easy, and convenient system to take the pain out of paying abroad. A quick call to let us know about travel plans, will enable our customers to use their cards abroad.’


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Creatures of the night

NOCTURNAL ENCOUNTERS, a new exhibition at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington, running from September 27 until November 8, will display a mix of new and earlier prints of the natural world by wood engraver Colin See-Paynton.

Self-taught, Colin began to make wood engravings in 1980 and soon established himself as one of the world’s most revered printmakers. His work is based on meticulous observation of the natural world, inventing complex compositions that link species and their habitats.

This exhibition mixes new work, focusing on a family of hares that made their home in Colin’s garden, and a selection of earlier work. 



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New flights from Norwegian

NORWEGIAN’S route network from London Gatwick continues to expand.

Passengers have four new destinations to choose from this winter: Madeira and La Palma for sun-seekers, and Grenoble and Salzburg for the skiers.

The airline is also increasing the number of weekly departures on its routes from Gatwick to Lanzarote, Rome, and Larnaca.


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Monday, 21 July 2014

A pearl of a festival …

DUBROVNIK’S summer festival runs until August 25. 

The oldest of the Croatian festivals, it features classical music and theatre performances in renaissance venues such as the Minceta Fortress. 

More than 2,000 artists turn the Old City into a stage, with this year's highlights including Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.

Visitors to the Pearl of the Adriatic will be able to combine a ballet performance on the city's streets with day trips to the nearby Elaphiti islands.

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‘High risk’ terrorism threat in Tunisia

Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued an advisory at the start of the holiday season which specifically mentions the possibility of kidnappings in Tunisia, The Daily Telegraph reports.

‘There is a high threat from terrorism, including kidnapping,’ the FCO advisory states. ‘Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.’

Last October there was an explosion on the beach outside the Riadh Palm Hotel in the tourist zone in Sousse. The only person injured was the bomber. On May 25, security forces arrested 16 people with explosives near the southern border with Libya. Tunisia’s Minister of the Interior said the group had plans to attack industrial sites and tourist areas.


“The possibility of further attacks, including in the coastal resorts and desert areas can’t be ruled out,” the FCO said. ‘Tunisia’s Ministry of the Interior has warned of an increase in threats during the month of Ramadan and in the run-up to the elections planned for October 26 and November 23.’


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Holidays on the cards ….

TO mark the launch of its Cash Passport Prepaid Card for young travellers, MasterCard has published the results of its first youth holiday spending report.

Its survey found that:
  • The US tops list of ‘dream’ holiday destinations for young Brits, money and time being no barriers.
  • They most commonly take holidays in Western Europe, with 43% of young people having been there on their last trip abroad. 
  • One in three young Brits overspend on holiday, to the tune of £175
  • The biggest concerns regarding travel money and spending while on holiday were running out of money, spending more than intended, and having their cards or cash stolen. 
  • Men not only took more cash with them than women (£304 versus £292), but they also overspent by more, too. The most common reasons for overspending were eating out, shopping, alcohol, excursions, and presents.
  • The most common form of money to take on holiday is cash, with three quarters (76%) citing this as their usual choice for spending money. A third (33%) take a debit card while almost a quarter (23%) rely on credit cards. Prepaid card comes in fourth.
Jon Milsted, head of product, Marketing and Business Strategy for Access Prepaid Worldwide said: ‘We’ve spent a lot of time understanding what young travellers are looking for when it comes to organizing their travel money and we’ve tailored our existing multi-currency Cash Passport to suit their needs.’

Cash Passport is available to purchase online at www.travel.cashpassport.com. It can hold up to seven currencies – sterling, euro, South African rand, and US, Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand dollars.


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New routes for Flybe

FLYBE has added three routes to its 2014-15 winter schedule – daily services to Dublin from Inverness and Southend (Essex), and Southampton-Hamburg flights.

It has also confirmed that its routes from Southampton to Alicante, Malaga, and Faro have been extended to operate through October and November, to accommodate half term travel.

Flybe will operate 96 routes for winter 2014-15, with a choice of up to 2,583 flights a week.


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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Travel matters.....................

After all, the best part of a holiday is perhaps not so much to be resting yourself, as to see all the other fellows busy working.

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows

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No clothes, please … we’re Germans – and Austrians!

EXPEDIA.COM has published the results of its 2014 Expedia Flip Flop Report, an annual study of behaviour and preferences among beachgoers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand. 

The study examines the most prevalent joys and anxieties among beachgoers worldwide, including comfort with public nudity, opinions about speedo-style swimwear, and fear of sharks.

For the third year running, Germans were the likeliest to sunbathe fully nude at the beach. However, this year – for the first time – Austrians tied with their German cousins: 28 percent of German and Austrian beachgoers report having spent a day at the beach in the buff. Worldwide, beach nudity is more common among men (18%) than women (6%). And toplessness is a largely European phenomenon, with Austrians (49%), Spaniards (42%) and Germans (39%) the likeliest to take part.

Asian beachgoers are typically more modest; only 2% of Japanese, 3% of South Koreans and 4% of Thai beachgoers have sunbathed nude. Though statistically unlikely to participate, the Japanese expressed a high level of comfort with beach nudity or female toplessness.

At the beach, a stroll along the shoreline is the most popular activity. The list of preferred beach activities includes:

Walking (70%)
Swimming (65%)
Sunbathing (53%)
Reading (53%)
Napping (48%)
People-watching (47%)
Listening to music (45%)
Drinking alcohol (39%)
Getting a massage/spa treatment (30%)
Partying (25%)

74% of worldwide respondents consider speedo-style briefs to be acceptable beach attire. A full 95% of Brazilians approve, followed by Austrians (94%), Germans (91%) and Spaniards (91%). Acceptance was lowest among Norwegians, with only 40% approving. 57% of Americans approve of the attire, as do 60% of the Japanese.

44% of respondents worldwide express anxiety about sharks, with beachgoers from Brazil (84%), Hong Kong (70%) and Malaysia (70%) expressing the most fear.


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Walking in Wicklow

ARE you a walking enthusiast or just looking for a family day out? Join CaminoWays.com for a walking festival in the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland.

The festival takes place on July 27 just outside Roundwood, County Wicklow. Participants can choose between three different walking trails, with one to suit every level of ability.

Ticket holders will be entered into a draw to win two nights for two people in Santiago de Compostela.

Tickets cost €10 for adults, €20 for a family ticket (2 adults and 2 children under 16), and €5 for additional children’s tickets. There are special rates for charities and charity walkers. Ticket includes parking, guided walks, food and entertainment.


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Tourism boom for Belize

THE Caribbean Tourism Organization statistics flag up Belize coming in at second place on the list of fastest-growing tourist destinations in the region in the first quarter of 2014, behind the Turks and Caicos Islands. 

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Travel facts............

75% of the population of New Zealand live in the North Island with the bulk of them in Wellington and Auckland.

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Report spotlights hotel risks

MORE than half (54 percent) of British guests fail to complain about hotel cleanliness problems, according to research by CheckSafetyFirst.com. 

The health and safety expert warns that hotels are allowing standards to slip because British guests, often stereotyped as reluctant grumblers, do not complain to staff when they experience issues. The company is calling on guests and hotels to raise expectations of what is acceptable in order to limit hygiene risks.

According to Which? figures, only a quarter of UK hotels score top marks (5 stars) for cleanliness, proving there is a large number of high profile hotels in the UK that are not doing enough to keep guests safe.

Steve Tate, chairman of CheckSafetyFirst.com, says consumers can get high standards through the power of complaint. ‘The internet is a powerful tool for travellers because people can read reviews or ask questions of hotels before they arrive. That said, often these gripes aren’t picked up by hotel staff. If you have an issue with a hotel, it’s vital to communicate the problem to a member of staff so it can be dealt with quickly.’


Go Holiday editor comments: One solution to this problem is to avoid hotels, and book a holiday in a self-catering cottage, apartment or villa! Most of them are owned and run by family businesses, not the large international chains that can afford to care little about customer complaints.

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Medieval month for Yorkshire

FROM Pontefract to Knaresborough and Sherrif Hutton to York, Yorkshire is going medieval-mad this summer with the launch of the most packed programme ever for the Yorkshire Medieval Festival (August 2-30).

Organised by the JORVIK Group, which also hosts the annual JORVIK Viking Festival, the festival brings together medieval themed events, activities, talks and tours around the region celebrating the 500-year period from the Norman invasion to the demise of Richard III and the start of the Tudor era.

‘The medieval period was a time of significant change for Yorkshire, with its power and importance waxing and waning with each generation, but we’re fortunate to still have many castles, churches and buildings from the period around today,’ says festival director, Danielle Daglan. ‘The Yorkshire Medieval Festival makes this history even more accessible, whether through talks from expert historians or getting your hands on a replica medieval sword for a session of combat training, we’ve got a whole summer of medieval fun across the Yorkshire region organized from the medieval capital of the North, York.”

Highlights of the festival include:

• Medieval Merriment, a two day festival of medieval fun and activities for all the family at York’s Rowntree Park on August 2 and 3.

• Swords & Sieges at Knaresborough Castle on August 9 – family fun including medieval sword fighting workshops, tours of the castle, crafts and activities from 11.00am to 4.00pm

• Church Explorers – taking place at some of Yorkshire’s most beautiful medieval churches across the region throughout August, these tours offer a unique insight into churches large and small, with specially organised walks and tours.

• Colours of Conflict: The Wars of the Roses in Yorkshire, daily at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall in York. A new exhibition exploring the terrible events of the Wars of the Roses in Yorkshire.

www.yorkshire-medieval-festival.com



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Ticket offer at Madame Tussauds

MADAME TUSSAUDS in London is celebrating the summer with extended opening hours and a late-in-the-day online ticket deal offering 50 percent off walk-up ticket prices. Adult tickets usually costing £30 on the day can be purchased for £15 – and children's for £12.90 – but they must be booked online before visiting.

www.madametussauds.com


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Friday, 18 July 2014

Branson’s treasure island …

RICHARD BRANSON doesn’t mind visitors sharing Necker Island, his private hide-away in the Caribbean. In fact, he welcomes them.

Guests can book a three-, four- or seven-night stay from August 21 with rates per couple starting from a mere US$11,775 for three nights. That’s only £6,900 in English money!

Book your stay in paradise – and take a chunk out of your life savings – by calling 0800 716 919 or +44 (0) 208 600 0430, or logging on at 
www.virginlimitededition.com.


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Wood Fair tickets on sale – save 20% when you buy online

TICKETS for this year's National Forest Wood Fair in Leicestershire are now on sale: buying in advance will give visitors a saving of 20 percent of the admission charge on the day (August 25).

This year sees the tenth anniversary fair. There will be more than 100 demonstrators and exhibitors, and a packed programme of have-a-go activities, demonstrations of woodland crafts and timber machinery.

Held in the Beacon Hill Country Park, visitors will enjoy views over the growing National Forest.

Tickets on the day will cost £9 (adult), £6 (concession), family £25.00 (two adults and up to three concessions). www.nationalforestwoodfair.co.uk


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Been on holiday … and want to write about it?

THE DAILY TELEGRAPH has teamed up with Saga to launch a travel writing competition for the over-50s. The three big prizes are a trip for two to Peru, a Caribbean cruise, and six-day Dalmatian Island cruise.

Articles can be no longer than 500 words, and the closing date is August 15. Go to telegraph.co.uk/awaywithwords for full details.


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Museum opening hours change in Italy

NEW rules have been introduced by Italy’s Culture and Tourism ministry for all state-run museums and archaeological sites: free entry for all on the first Sunday of every month, a charge for all visitors over 25, two scheduled open museum nights a year at €1, and 10pm closing at major museums (including the Colosseum in Rome, Pompeii and the Uffizi galleries in Florence) every Friday.


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