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Severe weather hits UK
Feb 13th, 2014 by elisa

Severe weather battered large areas of the UK yesterday, causing widespread travel disruption. 

The storms were so bad that Virgin asked rail customers to ‘abandon travel’. All trains out of London Euston were cancelled, while many other rail services faced delays.

Flights struggled in 45mph winds with gusts of up to 80mph. One Flybe aircraft landed at Manchester Airport with its wing almost touching the runway. All flights were cancelled at Shannon Airport, and an empty aircraft parked at the gate was lifted into the air by gusts of wind, causing substantial damage when it fell back to the ground.

Ferry services are still affected, with the Stena Line service between Rosslare and Fishguard, P & O service between Dublin and Liverpool, and the Wightlink service between Portsmouth and Ryde all cancelled today. All P&O’s Dover to Calais services are delayed by 45 minutes.

Forecasters are predicting another Atlantic low tomorrow, which could bring with it more 80mph gales and possible travel disruption. It’s advisable to check with airlines regarding the status of your flights before leaving for the airport.

2013 round up
Dec 30th, 2013 by elisa

It’s nearing the end of 2013, so it’s time for our annual round up of travel news and features covered in this blog over the year.

January is normally the time when you start to examine your finances after the Christmas splurge, and this year was no different for the travel news. A Sunday Times report that found customers were seriously losing out on foreign currency exchange rates when purchasing their travel money at airports.  We also looked at the financial benefits of flying to an airport further from your destination and driving the rest of the way. Meanwhile, Spain was voted the best value destination for 2013, and Eve told us why she thought Spain was a great winter destination.

However, it was all about Greece in February! With its award-winning beaches and Thomas Cook trend survey that revealed a huge increase in bookings during the month. The month ended with a warning to check your travel insurance small print, as many travellers were reported to have fallen foul of clauses in their insurance, which meant they wouldn’t get a pay out on claims.

In March, a woman successfully smuggled a dog onto a plane; we looked at the biosphere reserve that is Menorca; and BA started selling tickets for flights on its ‘red carpet route’ to Los Angeles in its new super jumbo A380. Easyjet installed new, lighter, seats on its aircraft in an attempt to save on fuel and CO2 emissions. Bitter weather threatened to blight travellers’ Easter holidays, but this didn’t stop Peter Rabbit visiting children at Heathrow.

The bizarre law in Florida that all British Citizens must carry an International Driving Permit in the state was repealed in April. Samoa Air launched its controversial pay by weight flights and we looked at the facts about turbulence.

Easyjet began testing its volcanic ash cloud detection technology in May. We found that trillions of air miles are going to waste; and there was the slightly disturbing report of a flight being diverted because the pilot got locked out of the cockpit. There was good news for Harry Potter fans going on holiday in Florida, as the Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley “environment”.

A US ban on using a laptop during take off on flights was lifted in June.

Tenerife enjoyed at 14% rise in arrivals from the UK in July. It was also discovered that many English families were flying from Scottish airports to save up to £500 on their holiday travel costs. It may have been one of the hottest summers we’ve had in years, but this didn’t stop large numbers of Brits leaving for even sunnier holiday destinations in the last weekend of July. We gave advice on how to avoid common pick pocketing scams as the Foreign Office issued a warning about pick pockets in Switzerland.

As August enjoyed more of the heatwave, Ryanair had a drop in flight bookings; it also took legal action against an unfavourable Dispatches programme “Ryanair: Secrets from the Cockpit”.

Etihad Airways launched its “flying nanny” service to look after passengers’ children in September. Helly Kitty planes took to the skies with Taiwan’s EVA Air, and a computer glitch in US Airways system sold $0 flights on its website. Spain enjoyed record visitor numbers over the summer, proving the predictions earlier in the year.

In October, Manchester was announced to be the UK’s first Airport City; and Ryanair announced that it would work on a better customer service.

It was all about the measure of happiness for travel in November, and BA introduced interactive billboards to remind people of the magic of flying.

The Northern Lights in Norway topped Brits’ “must see” list in December. Britain also endured wide-spread bad weather with winds of up to 140mph battering parts of the country, and flooding hitting others.

That’s the round up for 2013, make sure to follow this blog for more travel news and articles in 2014, and book your holiday villas at a wide range of destinations on Villaseek.

140mph winds cause major flight delays
Dec 6th, 2013 by elisa

Some of the worst weather of the year so far is hitting the UK and parts of Europe, causing wide-spread travel disruption. 

Yesterday airports in Scotland were severely hit by delays and cancellations, and many roads were closed as it’s been claimed the country was practically ‘closed down’ due to winds up to 140mph. Although the winds are dying down in Scotland and the northern half of the country today, there are still expected to be some delays and cancellations to flights. Manchester airport is advising passengers to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

British Airways and Lufthansa are warning of flight disruption, while a “significant number” of KLM and KLM Cityhopper flights have been cancelled across Europe.

EasyJet said strong winds will continue to affect northern and north eastern Europe today.

“The weather situation in Copenhagen and Hamburg is still difficult following yesterday’s disruption and flights may still experience weather associated delays,” it said.

Here is a video of a huge A380 aircraft coming in to land at Manchester Airport yesterday, clearly rocking in the difficult conditions. Watch from around 20 seconds in..

Today flood alerts are in place across England and Wales as the weather heads further south. Thousands are being evacuated from their homes in Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk, and around 120,000 have been left without power.

 

Beautiful holiday villa on the Croatian island of Hvar
Nov 7th, 2013 by elisa

Hvar Island

Hvar Island

With vast fields of lavender, olive trees and vineyards, surrounded by stunning beaches and crystal blue waters, the Croatian island of Hvar has to be one of the most beautiful places to visit in the world.

Now is a particularly good time to book as the school holidays are over and many low cost airlines are offering great winter deals on flights.

With special offers when booking as a family or group, or for those staying longer than a week, this recently renovated island house might be just the accommodation for you!

It has stunning views of the Adriatic sea, town and hills. There are five double plus one single bedroom and the property has recently been renovated to an excellent standard. With all the amenities one would expect with such a substantial holiday villa, guests also benefit from two large patios, a garden, sunbeds, outdoor tables and chairs. Laundry will be done each week and you can expect to be greeted by an English/Croatian couple who will give advice on what to do and where to go on Hvar island and other nearby islands and mainland in Croatia.

One of the immaculate double bedrooms

One of the immaculate double bedrooms

Balcony view

Balcony view

The property sits five minutes away from the beach, and cafes, restaurants, piazza, market and boat hire is only a 10 minute walk away. It’s great for a relaxing holiday, but also ideal for those in search of more activity as within half a mile of the house there is sailing, water skiing, sea kayaking, paragliding, windsurfing, diving and tennis.

You can find this Hvar island house in the Croatia section of VillaSeek. For more information on the property and what to do there, go directly to the listing for the villa, where you can contact the owners directly.

Beautiful beaches

Beautiful beaches

 

Summer sun flight sale
Oct 10th, 2013 by elisa

Summer Sun picture by Flickr user Ian A Kirk

Summer Sun picture by Flickr user Ian A Kirk

The summer schedule for 2014 has been announced by Easyjet as flights to 100 destinations now go on sale.

It has more than 11.5 million seats, almost 300,000 more than last summer.

With so many seats going on sale, now might be a good time to book your summer holiday and villa while you can get some good bargains and not have to think about it until it’s time to jet off!

With flights to Spain, Italy, France, Greece and many more, we have a holiday villa to suit your needs.

Record summer for Spain
Sep 23rd, 2013 by elisa

Costa Brava picture by Flickr user felipe_gabaldon

Costa Brava picture by Flickr user felipe_gabaldon

Spain was visited by 8.3 million foreign tourists in August, the highest monthly number of foreign visitors since current records began in 1995. 

Most favoured by the British, French and Germans, Spain was the third most-visited country in the world, tied with China and just behind the United States and France.

The number of visitors was 7.1% higher than August last year, according to the country’s tourism ministry. The surge in numbers is likely due to holidaymakers avoiding previously popular budget holiday destinations – Egypt and Turkey – which were hit by civil unrest this year.

Within Spain, the most popular areas for visitors were the northeastern region of Catalonia with Barcelona as the main attraction, the Balearic Islands benefitted from 2.1 million foreign visitors and the southern region of Andalusia didn’t do too badly with 1.1 million visitors also.

The ministry’s data also showed that the increase did not only occur in August either, but overall from January to August 2013, 42.3 million foreign tourists visited the country, 4.5% more than the same period last year and another record high.

It’s not difficult to see why Spain is one of the most visited countries in the world, it has wonderful coastlines, countryside, culture and not to mention the gorgeous weather. Read our guides on villa rentals in Spain for inspiration on where to visit and go to our main site to find holiday villas in Spain.

Best place in Europe for shopping
Aug 7th, 2013 by elisa

Shopping - picture by Flickr user andrewarchy

Shopping – picture by Flickr user andrewarchy

YouGov’s latest EuroTrack survey has found that 32% of respondents said that the UK is the best place in Europe for shopping, followed by Italy (20%) and France (20%).

Top of the list for holidaymakers is France, Italy and Spain. Best weather: Spain (56%), Greece (44%) and Italy (32%).

Number one for food is Italy, followed by France and then Spain; but Spain comes out on top again for ‘good fun, socialising and parties’ with 48% of the votes.

Italy (36%) is the best place in Europe for sightseeing, with France (33%) a close runner-up and the UK (25%) in third place.

 

Heatwave hits Ryanair’s bookings
Jul 31st, 2013 by elisa

The heatwave might have been great for domestic tourism, but summer bookings for Ryanair were hit because of the more temperate climate across Northern Europe.

Profits fell 21% to 78 million euros in the three months to 30th June, reports the low cost airline.

The timing of the Easter holidays and the impact of the French ATC strikes caused average fares to fall 4%, but revenue per passengers rose 1% due to strong ancillary growth.

It said the close-in summer bookings were slightly less in recent weeks due to the ‘heatwave in in Northern Europe’, but full year guidance remains unchanged.

It said: “While we expect full year traffic to grow 3% to 81.5m, we still have no visibility over next winter’s yields, and on the basis that the recent yield weakness in close-in summer bookings does not continue, we see no reason to change our full year profit after tax guidance which remains at between €570m to €600m.”

Ryanair’s CEO, Michael O’Leary, said: “As previously guided higher fuel costs and the timing of Easter led to Q1 profits falling €21m to €78m. Ancillary revenues grew by 25% to €357m (27% of total revenues) driven by the successful development of reserved seating, priority boarding, and higher admin credit card fees. “

Summer holidays, busy airports
Jul 25th, 2013 by elisa

Spain is still the top holiday destination. Picture by Flickr user Olli365

It may be one of the hottest summer’s we’ve had for years, but that isn’t stopping the two million holidaymakers set to head overseas this weekend.

As the first weekend of the summer holidays for the majority in England, airports are bracing themselves for one of their busiest weekends of the year. The southeast in particular is going to be very busy with 480,000 passengers departing from Heathrow, 276,000 from Gatwick, 125,000 from Stansted and 70,000 jetting off from Luton.

Further up north 160,000 are due to depart from Manchester, 66,000 from Birmingham, 70,000 from Newcastle, 50,000 from Bristol and 30,000 from Leeds Bradford International. Sottish airports don’t fair too badly either with 50,000 leaving from Glasgow alone.

ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “This weekend sees the start of the main summer holiday getaway and it’s one of the busiest of the year.

“Millions of holidaymakers will be heading off overseas with the Mediterranean countries attracting the lion’s share of visitors.

According to ABTA, Spain remains the top holiday destination with the Balearic and Canary Islands selling especially well. Mexico and Cuba are among the top-selling long-haul holidays, although Florida remains the number one choice for families.

Domestic tourism isn’t doing too badly either, thanks to last week’s heatwave boosting bookings with many ABTA members reporting a surge in business to destinations including the Channel Islands, the Lake District, Blackpool, Bournemouth and Brighton.

“The recent amazing weather at home has also given a great boost to domestic tourism and many ABTA members are reporting a surge in last minute bookings for holidays throughout the UK” said Tanzer.

Eurostar is also reporting an increase in passenger numbers on last year, with 70,000 heading off to Paris and the South of France this weekend.

 

Bitter weather here to stay
Mar 25th, 2013 by elisa

There is unlikely to be any let up of the recent adverse weather conditions most of the country has been experiencing. Weather reports are predicting that snow and ice could stay until next week, potentially disrupting people’s Easter travel plans.

The Met Office has issued a current alert level 3 amber warning, just one level below that of a national emergency. There is 100% probability of severe cold weather and icy conditions in parts of England until Friday, and 90% probability over the rest of the Easter weekend.

Many airports experienced disruption over the weekend, with cancellations and closed runways because of the ice and snow. Passengers planning to go away this week are advised to keep an eye on the airport and airline websites for updates.

Chris Hogan, a forecaster for MeteoGroup, warned that the freezing weather will feel even colder due to the bitter winds, with no sign of warmer weather just yet. He added: “London will mark the border of rain and snow, with everywhere north looking at a covering of snow and around 6cm in the Midlands, Wales, north England and southern Scotland.

So far this month, the average March temperature in central England is at 3.8C, compared to a relatively balmy 8.3C last year.

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