Holiday prices tumble amid travel uncertainty

·30-min read
Malta holiday prices have plummeted, new research suggests - Getty 
Malta holiday prices have plummeted, new research suggests - Getty

Summer holiday prices have fallen by as much as half compared to 2019, new research suggests.

Analysis from price comparison website Travelsupermarket.com found that package holidays to green listed Malta are on average 52 per cent cheaper than before the pandemic, with trips to Spain around 20 per cent less costly. Greece and Portugal came in at 11 per cent and 12 per cent cheaper, respectively.

The plummeting prices are likely related to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding summer holidays due to restrictions both at home and abroad. Malta, for example, is only accepting fully vaccinated travellers, narrowing its tourist pool and potentially depressing prices.

In the past few days, there has been a slew of announcements tightening restrictions on UK travellers. Yesterday, Croatia became the latest country to impose obligatory Covid tests for all visitors from the UK, including those who are fully vaccinated, because of the surge in cases of the delta variant. Only children under 12 will be exempt, and the measure takes force on July 26. Meanwhile, the US is advising against travel to the UK.

France's appearance on the new ‘amber plus’ list, which demands that even double-jabbed travellers must quarantine upon their return, may have also shattered the confidence of British holidaymakers .

Scroll down for more updates.

04:59 PM

What we learned today

That’s all for today, here’s a recap of Thursday’s top headlines:

  • Holiday prices tumble amid travel uncertainty

  • Hotel quarantine bills could rise by £500

  • Flights to red list Turkey at 66 per cent of normal levels

  • France's first day with Covid passport restrictions

  • Amber list beyond the beach: 10 life-affirming adventure holidays

  • New restrictions in Spain as Mayor claims figures are 'not true'

  • What to do if you test positive for Covid while on holiday

  • British ski operator rises from the ashes

See you tomorrow for more of the latest travel news.

04:53 PM

Travel websites hit by outages

The websites of several high-profile companies including Airbnb and British Airways appear to have been hit by global outages.

A message on the BA website read: "Service Unavailable - DNS failure. The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later."

And a message on Airbnb's site said: "This site can't be reached."

HSBC, Barclays and Tesco Bank also appear to be among others that have been impacted. It is not known what has caused the issues.

Internet outage monitoring platform DownDetector reported thousands of problems from its users across dozens of hugely popular sites, according to the BBC.

It said the issue was a "partial outage" – and some users reported being able to access some compromised services in different regions.

04:48 PM

Farewell heatwave

The UK has been basking in record-breaking temperatures this week.

Enjoy it while it lasts this evening with a last-minute trip to the beach, because from tomorrow things are set to change...

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Please click here to do so.

04:38 PM

British ski operator rises from the ashes

30 years after its pioneering beginnings, and eight months after it announced its collapse due to the pandemic, British ski chalet operator VIP Ski has relaunched ready for the 2021/22 winter season.

As part of a fresh approach to ski holidays, the company will no longer include charter flights as part of its packages, instead it will launch a manned VIP Ski hospitality desk at Geneva airport, to assist guests who choose to travel to resorts independently or make the most of new discounted partnerships VIP has launched with local taxi firms. It will be launching a complimentary transfer service from the airport, which will run a schedule of three buses, to each of VIP’s resorts, every Sunday – a unique proposition for a British operator.

The company returns ahead of the long-awaited 2021/22 ski season, with 40 luxury chalet and ski hotels in five resorts across the French Alps – it no longer offers trips to Austria.

Andy Sturt, owner of VIP Ski, said:

I think that the relaunch of VIP Ski is a positive news story post-Covid and we are confident this is good news for the ski community.

VIP Ski has always been associated with making sure guests experience the heart of a ski destination. Nothing on that side of things has changed. The chalets are the best there is in the affordable ski world today. We are keen to provide a luxury chalet experience and beyond in style.

04:26 PM

How to get a Covid test for travel

If you’re planning a holiday on foreign shores this summer, it’s inevitable you’ll need to take a test at some point on your journey.

Don’t get caught out, here’s everything you need to know about testing rules, prices and how many tests you'll need to travel abroad.

test
test

04:12 PM

Lockdown in Chinese city after 17 cases found

The Chinese city of Nanjing has entered lockdown after over 17 Covid-19 infections were reported.

The city’s 9.3 million people will not be allowed to leave without producing a negative test within 48 hours before departure after a cluster of cases was detected among cleaners at the local airport. All residents will now be tested.

Under the lockdown, people living in higher-risk communities in the city are required to stay at home, while one neighbourhood is being closed off completely.

03:57 PM

Venice avoids designation as Unesco heritage site in danger

Venice has maintained its Unesco heritage status, despite concerns it was set to be demoted to the list of sites ‘in danger’ or losing the accolade.

Unesco’s World Heritage Committee, which is meeting in China instead has asked Italy to submit by December 2022 an update on efforts to protect Venice from excessive tourism, population decline and other issues that will be considered at a meeting in 2023, reports the Associated Press.

Measures already in place include a pledge to reroute cruise ships from August 1.

It was less good news for Liverpool however, which has been stripped of its status. Hugh Morris asks, does anybody care though?

venice
venice

03:45 PM

Las Vegas workers ordered to wear masks indoors

las vegas casino - David Becker/Getty
las vegas casino - David Becker/Getty

Local officials in Las Vegas have ordered all workers, including in casinos, to wear marks indoors in an effort to curb rising cases of the Delta variant of coronavirus.

The rule, which will be in place until August 17 at least, only applies to staff, currently tourists are not required to wear a mask indoors.

The news comes a matter of weeks after Sin City began to spring back to life after 15 months of closures and lockdowns, and just two months after Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak followed CDC guidance and said fully vaccinated people no longer had to wear masks indoors.

03:31 PM

Changing of the Guard returns to Windsor Castle

The 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards were given the honour of staging the first Changing of the Guard ceremony to be performed at Windsor Castle since the pandemic began.

The event at the Queen’s Berkshire home has been on hold since March 2020, to avoid members of the public gathering.

Instead, during the pandemic, an “Administrative Guard Mount” was in operation where soldiers took up their sentry duty positions but ceremonies were not carried out as they changed over.

Today, hundreds of tourists were in the grounds of Windsor Castle to watch the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards in their familiar scarlet tunics and iconic bearskins.

changing of the guard - Getty
changing of the guard - Getty
changing of the guard - Getty
changing of the guard - Getty
changing of the guard
changing of the guard

03:16 PM

Northern Ireland set to end some Covid restrictions from Monday

In Northern Ireland the cap limiting the number of households allowed to participate in 15-person outdoor gatherings will be removed from Monday, and close contact services will be allowed to accept walk-in customers.

The final decisions on a series of other planned relaxations of measures will be taken next week.

03:03 PM

Flights to red list Turkey at 66 per cent of normal levels

As mentioned in an earlier post (9:52am), data analytics company Cirium has released flight figures, showing what percentage of flights are operating from the UK, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Cirium compared scheduled flight numbers on the first weekend of the school summer holidays in both 2019 and 2021 and found while amber list Spain was only operating at 66 per cent of its normal flight numbers, this number was the same for red-listed Turkey.

The results are surprising given that all arrivals from Turkey must stay in a quarantine hotel for 10 days at a cost of at least £1,750 per person.

02:49 PM

Comment: Here in Australia, this childish reliance on lockdowns will eventually end in tears

The wheels on the bus go round and round for a zero-Covid strategy that has no exit, writes Robert Fenwick-Elliott.

South Australia, the state in which I reside, has gone into lockdown following five positive Covid-19 tests. The reports do not suggest that anybody is ill, let alone that that anyone has died. On the contrary, it would seem that the individuals in question would not even know that they are “cases” but for the results of their tests.

Chief Public Health Officer Nicola Spurrier has explained the rationale: "The virus doesn't have legs: it moves around when people move around, so if people stay put we will be able to get on top of it."

This is analysis more suitable for a preschool classroom than a serious public health response. Save for a few exceptions, people here now have to stay at home. Most shops are shut. Schools are shut. Construction sites are shut. Even Professor Spurrier’s husband has been required to stay home; she has told him that he can use the time to tidy up his sock drawer. The hospitals (where a good deal of the virus spreading has been going on) remain open, albeit that elective surgery has been banned, so that the legless virus will be able to continue to hop around in that environment.

Read the full article here.

02:28 PM

Nighttime curfew implemented in Marbella

A curfew from 2am to 7am is set to be introduced in the popular tourist resort of Marbella in Spain in an attempt to curb rising infections.

Marbella 
Marbella

Other towns in the southern region of Andalusia are also affected, including Tarifa, Conil de la Frontera, Villanueva de Cordoba and Pozoblanco, reports local media.The Costa del Sol and other parts of the region also face new capacity limits on indoor dining and bars.

The move follows a similar measure enacted in Catalonia last week.

02:13 PM

Comment: I'm so desperate to travel again, I'm turning business meetings and funerals into holidays

Anything that involves a journey is now a potential holiday. This is the summer of pouncing on any available opportunity for exploration, writes Anna Hart.

My friend Amber – a fashion historian working with the British Textile Biennial – stitched her holiday together around a work visit to Gawthorpe Textiles Collection in Lancashire. A couple of weeks ago, she delivered a talk at Charleston, where her partner Rob and I helped whittle her work engagement into a wonderful three-day road trip around swimming spots in Sussex, including Saltdean Lido, Pells Pool and Tide Mills. I’ve also heard friends planning autumn holidays around a property convention in Eastbourne and a pharmaceuticals conference in Glasgow.

My friends Steven and Ted are just back from a camping trip in Norfolk, and when I asked what inspired it, Ted beamed. “We bought a fabulous midcentury sideboard on eBay and decided we could pretty much have a camping trip for the price of a courier,” he said. “It was an adventure, and it was quite nice to have a mission for our trip.”

Read the full story here.

01:55 PM

More than half of European adults fully vaccinated

The EU on Thursday said 200 million Europeans had been fully vaccinated.

Dana Spinant, European Commission spokeswoman, said that based on the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Control, "54.7 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated with either two doses or one dose in the case of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine".

"We have 68.4 per cent of adults in the EU who have already had their first dose," she added.

The news could boost holiday hopes across the continent and in the UK with vaccination seen as the main route to fully restart travel.

01:40 PM

Public support for fully vaccinated British travellers in popular holiday destinations

With Croatia demanding that double-jabbed British travellers must still show a negative PCR test to visit and the US advising against travel to the UK, confidence has been dented that fully vaccinated travellers will be able to holiday abroad with ease.

However, a new YouGov poll suggests that there is widespread support for welcoming British visitors in key holiday destinations.

According to the survey, more than half of people in Spain (55 per cent), France (61 per cent), Italy (74 per cent) and the US (72 per cent) support allowing double-jabbed British holidaymakers in without them having to quarantine.

01:25 PM

The hottest new hotels in the UK for your summer staycation

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After a frustrating start, 2021 has become a bumper year for new hotels. Some selections on this list may have been a long time coming, but proprietors have used the lockdown delays as a chance to iron out any potential kinks and even to fulfil more ambitious plans. Plus, with overseas travel still fraught with stress, it’s tempting to instead book a hassle-free summer stay at a shiny new seaside hotel in Devon or an updated Cotwolds coaching inn.

Here is a round-up of the most exciting openings to earmark for a well-deserved break this year.

01:04 PM

View from Tokyo: How the Japanese really feel about the Covid Olympics

The beleaguered Olympic games have finally begun, but with few overseas visitors, there isn't much to celebrate.

12:51 PM

Comment: For the price of home freedoms, we will sacrifice our ability to travel abroad

Each day it seems another country ups the ante on the restrictions for travellers from the UK because of our rising Covid-19 case rates, writes Greg Dickinson.

With the UK embracing a back-to-normal policy, we are witnessing what has been described as an ‘exit wave’ of Covid cases. It isn’t insignificant. The UK is currently reporting around 50,000 new cases a day, at an average weekly rate that is surpassed only by Fiji, Cyprus and the Seychelles.

Many will be happy with this trade-off – pre-pandemic freedoms for the price of a fresh surge – so long as deaths and hospitalisations remain low, as they currently are. But the reality is that our friends in Europe and farther afield are looking on in bewilderment. They are seeing footage of life looking very relaxed in a country with the fourth-worst Covid-19 case rate on the planet. As a result, they are lining up to reimpose the kind of restrictions which, well, we would impose on them if the situation was flipped around.

Things have ramped up over the past week. Shortly after we put Bulgaria on our green list, the Bulgarian Government promptly decided it did not fancy an onslaught of British arrivals and added us to their red list. Denmark has done the same (except for Welsh arrivals). Perhaps most concerningly for the highest number of Britons; the US Government has issued a severe warning against travel to the UK, in a period where the UK and US were supposed to be negotiating a transatlantic travel corridor. Travel across the pond has never seemed further away.

The list goes on. Croatia, too, has stepped in to tighten its testing regulations on double vaccinated British arrivals, while travel to Italy comes with a mandatory five day quarantine for all Britons. Malta – oddly – will not allow 12 to 18 year-old Britons to enter, unless vaccinated, which is impossible.

Read the full story here.

12:36 PM

Ireland to hold off on easing more restrictions for a few weeks

Ireland will wait a few weeks before deciding whether to ease more Covid-19 restrictions past Monday's reopening of indoor hospitality, deputy prime minister Leo Varadkar said.

Fully vaccinated Britons are now allowed to visit Ireland restriction free, as the nation eases its border controls. Double-jabbed customers will be allowed to eat and drink inside from next week, but further easing is set to be delayed.

“The advice from [the National Public Health Emergency Team], the feeling in government, is let’s hold on to what we’ve gained and let’s take a pause for a few weeks before we ease any further restrictions,” Varadkar told the Newstalk radio station.

Keen to visit the emerald isle? Here’s all the latest travel advice and Covid rules.

12:25 PM

What to do if you test positive for Covid while on holiday

The traffic light system is enabling British holidaymakers to travel once again, but even visitors to green list countries are required to take a test before returning to the UK.

All being well, it will be negative, your airline will allow you to board and Border Force will let you in.

But what if you test positive? Here we detail what to do if you catch coronavirus on holiday, home or abroad.

woman on plane in mask
woman on plane in mask

12:14 PM

Minister assures Indian-made AstraZeneca will be recognised for travel

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has offered assurances to UK travellers who have received Indian-made AstraZeneca/Oxford jabs, adding work is ongoing with the Italian authorities, who are still refusing to recognise the dose as a valid vaccination for entry.

He told MPs in the Commons: "The European regulator recognises all vaccinations of AstraZeneca/Oxford in the United Kingdom and recognises our pass. France has now issued guidance very clearly that they recognise all batches of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine and as well as most of the rest of Europe.

"We're working with the Italian authorities, both our regulator and the EMA, to get that right.

"I also had one of those and it's an excellent vaccine."

12:00 PM

New restrictions in Spain as Mayor claims figures are 'not true'

marbella - Getty
marbella - Getty

As cases in Spain rise a curfew (between 2am and 7am) is set to be imposed in the popular holiday destination of Marbella.

The Junta de Andalucía announced new restrictions will come into force from Sunday in an aim to curb a recent spike in cases. Other parts of the southern Spanish region, including the Costa del Sol, will have new capacity limits on indoor dining and bars imposed on them, as areas are upgraded from risk level one to two.

However, the mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz has criticsed the new measures and claims the latest figures in her town – 1,028 cases per 100,000 inhabitants – are false, due to the fact there are almost ‘triple’ the usual number of residents in the region during the summer – lowering the case rate to "probably around 300 or 400" per 100,000, according to Muñoz.

She has called on the Junta to "modify the criteria that determine the incidence rate of Covid-19 and adjust them to the real population of tourist municipalities to avoid damage,” according to local news outlets.

11:42 AM

Have your say

Britons are this week enjoying greater freedoms on home soil, but is it worth it if the current surge in cases means travel restrictions are tightened?

Have your say and vote in our latest poll below:

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Please click here to do so.

11:29 AM

Spotlight on France: How is the 'amber plus' country faring case-wise?

After a period of low infections, Covid cases in France are on the rise again. Yesterday, the country recorded 21,539 cases, up from 2,664 on July 1. However, this is still less than half the number of cases that the UK reported on Wednesday.

France turned 'amber plus' in part because of the prevalence of the beta variant, though the latest data suggests that Spain and indeed Greece have an even higher incidence of the strain.

11:14 AM

Man with Covid disguises himself as wife to board plane in Indonesia

An Indonesian man with an active Covid-19 infection has been arrested after boarding a domestic flight disguised as his wife to bypass health protocols.

The Associated Press reports that the man who was wearing a niqab and carrying a fake ID, vaccination card and a negative PCR test, was rumbled after an attendant on the flight from Jakarta to Ternate noticed him changing clothes in the toilet.

“He bought the plane ticket with his wife’s name and brought the identity card, the PCR test result and the vaccination card with his wife’s name. All documents are under his wife’s name,” Ternate police chief, Aditya Laksimada, said.

He was arrested when the plane landed and police subsequently took him for a coronavirus test, which came back positive.

11:02 AM

Amber list beyond the beach: 10 life-affirming adventure holidays

With the relaxation of travel rules for amber list destinations, it’s time to seize the (holi)day and embrace the unknown again. The following destinations don’t require fully jabbed Britons to quarantine on arrival – and nor, of course, will you have to isolate on your return.

And while the Foreign Office still advises against visiting some amber places (rendering travel insurance tricky), all of the following are currently exempt from its Covid cautions. Throw in direct flights (in most cases) and flexible booking policies, and you’ve got every box ticked. Now, where will your wanderlust take you?

Morocco - Getty
Morocco - Getty

Morocco

From hectic medinas to the soul-stirring solitude of the Sahara, Morocco’s contradictions are manifold – and magnificent. On Encounters Travel’s 9-day Moroccan Melodies tour, you’ll travel from Casablanca to Marrakech, exploring the architectural riches of Rabat, haggling for treasures in Fez medina, and getting thoroughly lost in Ouarzazate’s sprawling Taourirt Kasbah. By contrast, the wild splendour of the Sahara Desert shows there’s still joy to be found in isolation, while the Berber villages of the Atlas Mountains reveal Morocco’s endless generosity of spirit.

Departs: August 14, September 11, October 19, November 6, December 4. From £1,179pp, excl flights.

Read on here.

10:47 AM

18 of England's best hotels with fabulous outdoor pools

When green-list dreams are torn apart and a plume of lovely, warm, sunny weather hits England, you know you need to make the most of every sun-drenched moment.

So, whether that's an exclusive and slinky rooftop pool, a beautiful clifftop natural pond, a few civilised lengths on country house estate, or a splash about in family-friendly spots, here's our pick of the best hotels with pools in England, from Cornwall to the Cotswolds and Hampshire to Hertfordshire.

Cliveden House, Berkshire
Cliveden House, Berkshire

10:36 AM

In Pictures: France's first day with Covid passport restrictions

A decree in France came into force yesterday which makes Covid passes obligatory for all leisure and cultural venues welcoming more than 50 people, including theatres, sports halls and even Disneyland Paris.

The pass, which can be downloaded to France’s tracing app, displays proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from Covid.

Here are some pictures from its first day in use:

An employee checks a visitors health pass at the entrance of the Puy du Fou theme park in Les Epesses, western France
An employee checks a visitors health pass at the entrance of the Puy du Fou theme park in Les Epesses, western France

Above: an employee checks a visitors health pass at the entrance of the Puy du Fou theme park in Les Epesses, western France.

Employees of the Eiffel Tower check clients's health passes before they visit the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, - Getty
Employees of the Eiffel Tower check clients's health passes before they visit the Eiffel Tower, in Paris, - Getty

Employees of the Eiffel Tower check visitor's health passes before they visit they are granted access to the country's most popular attraction.

A woman holds a placard reading 'Yes to vaccination freedom, no to the health pass' - Getty
A woman holds a placard reading 'Yes to vaccination freedom, no to the health pass' - Getty

A protester in Toulouse holds a placard reading: 'Yes to vaccination freedom, no to the health pass.'

10:20 AM

Has the 'pingdemic' ruined your holiday?

A record 618,903 self-isolation alerts were sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app in England and Wales in the week to July 14, according to NHS figures released this morning.

It's likely that the alerts have scuppered holiday plans both in the UK and for those heading abroad. Has your holiday been jeopardised by an alert from the app? Let us know in the comments below.

10:10 AM

Which countries are on the green, amber and red lists?

It's hard to keep up with the ever-shifting restrictions on travel, so here's a reminder of where different countries sit in the traffic light system. The next update to the lists is due on August 2.

09:51 AM

Package holidays rising in popularity due to pandemic uncertainty, research suggests

New research from Abta suggests that package holidays are rising in popularity due to holidaymakers seeking security amid uncertain pandemic conditions.

The study, conducted at the beginning of July 2021, shows holidaymakers are 25 per cent more likely to book a holiday with a travel professional now than before the pandemic, with half citing the security of a package holiday (50 per cent) as their main reason, followed by trusting travel companies to look after them (48 per cent), and the travel professional’s up-to-date advice (42 per cent).

09:38 AM

Can I travel to Malta, and what are the latest Covid restrictions?

As mentioned above, there's some evidence that Malta holidays have dropped in price –but what is the situation like on the ground?

Malta
Malta

This visitor-dependant Mediterranean island nation reopened its tourist industry at the beginning of June and on June 24, with Covid 19 cases in single figures, it was green-listed by the UK.

Cases have since risen and Malta has tightened its vaccine requirements for visitors. Following a precipitous hike in new cases – quadrupling in the week to July 14 – it also closed its English language schools where unvaccinated teens were predictably failing to socially distance. Numbers began to level off and it is hoped the spread will slow, allowing the rest of population – locals and visitors alike – to enjoy a summer of the islands’ sun, sea, sights, and gourmet grub.

Malta is also offering incentives to attract tourists back. Book into a hotel for three or more nights and you can bag vouchers worth between €100 at a three-star hotel and €200 at a five-star. Visitors to Gozo get an extra 10% (though some hotels there are already full). Bookings must be made via the weblinks provided here.

Read more about visiting Malta here.

09:28 AM

Asia family holidays set to boom 2022, predicts travel company

Asia-focused travel company Bamboo Travel has reported an "unusually high number of enquiries" for multi-generational holidays for 2022, attributing the increase to the fact that grandparents have missed out on almost two years of celebrations with their grandchildren. It said Easter and Christmas demand were particularly strong.

Bamboo Travel director Robin Ball said:

“With so many birthdays, exam results and Christmas get togethers all having fallen by the wayside as the country battles its way through this pandemic, it is not a huge surprise that grandparents are looking to invest some of their life savings to make up for lost time.

Whilst staycations are better than nothing, they can be hugely over-priced, and the British weather can quickly turn a holiday into something of a nightmare – being cooped up in a cottage, caravan or tent with young children when it is pouring with rain is not much fun!”

09:15 AM

Hotels vs self-catering stays: Which makes for the best holiday?

Here are five reasons a self-catering might be better than a hotel

  1. You can stock up on your favourite tipples to toast your newfound freedom, instead of having to raid the (very expensive) minibar.

  2. How many hotel stays have been ruined because the guest from hell is in the room next door? Opt for self-catering and you’ll enjoy more privacy and space.

  3. Self-catering properties are more likely to come with extras which, in a hotel, would have to be requested (and often paid for) – such as highchairs or exercise equipment.

  4. Generally, you will pay less money for more space when you opt for self-catering. Hotels need to cover much higher costs relating to everything from staff salaries to housekeeping supplies.

  5. Self-catering properties are brilliant for getaways with larger groups of loved ones, especially those who might not feel comfortable staying in a crowded hotel filled with strangers.

Do you agree that self-catering stays beat hotels? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below

09:07 AM

10 ways to upgrade your self-catering stay

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With the UK still looking like the best option for a summer break this year – and many Brits wanting greater freedom and privacy from their trip – the self-catering holiday has never been more popular. Unfortunately, swapping a hotel for a temporary home-from-home comes at a cost: the absence of room service, cleaners and kids’ clubs can be detrimental to the quality of your holiday – unless, that is, you base yourself at one of these splendid options, where a range of amazing add-ons mean all the perks of self-catering without missing out on the wow factor (or spending your week at the kitchen sink).

Here's a sample of the ways to upgrade your self-catering stay:

  1. Go up, up and away on a balloon ride

  2. Book a chef for the evening

  3. Enjoy an outdoor movie night

Find the full list here

08:52 AM

Greece recovering faster than European holiday rivals, flight data suggests

Out of the key European holiday destinations, Greece has the highest proportion of flights operating compared to 2019, according to data analytics company Cirium.

For the first weekend of the school holidays, UK airlines are scheduled to operate 2,102 flights. This is down 47 per cent on the same period in 2019.

Mykonos
Mykonos

According to Cirium, Greece has recovered more successfully than other holiday favourites, with 352 flights scheduled for this weekend in 2021. This is 95 per cent of the flights operated on the comparable weekend in 2019.

In contrast, Italy flights are down 65 per cent, while there are 75 per cent less flights to France.

08:36 AM

Is Lanzarote the answer for an affordable break this summer?

For those looking for a last-minute summer break, Lanzarote could the best value package holiday destination this, according to analysis by TravelSupermarket.

The holiday price comparison site has crunched the numbers and found that the the Canary Island, which pre-pandemic languished in 32nd place for package holiday prices from the UK during July and August 2019, is now riding high in first place, beating the usual suspects on the Spanish mainland and Greek Islands.

Emma Couthurst from TravelSupermarket says that the lowest priced holiday destinations are surprising until placed in the context of the last year:

“Being off the west coast of Africa and a longer flight away, the Canaries tend to be a pricier option than their mainland and Balearic cousins. But many Spanish on the mainland, who would normally travel to the Canaries, are choosing to holiday at home. As a result, it is mostly Canarians holidaying in their own backyard and a small smattering of European. With only a small number of visitors to the Islands, holiday prices have plummeted."

08:18 AM

The UK's best secret beaches

It looks set to be another scorching day. And what better place to enjoy both the sun and the company of others than the beach?

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The question is how to do so without bumping into the crowds. The answer is to seek out England's secret beaches. Rather than playing social distancing dodgems on the UK's busiest shores, head to these hidden beauties instead – they’re sandy, and gloriously off-grid...

Find the full list here.

07:53 AM

Spotlight on Spain, as Covid cases continue to rise

Cases are on the up in Spain, with 372.26 infections counted per 100,000 citizens in the past seven days – up nearly 30% on the previous week.

Concerns had been raised that Britain's favourite holiday destination is at risk of following France on to the 'amber plus' list, however the Telegraph understands that the Department of Transport has quelled these fears.

07:38 AM

ICYMI: Foreign Office issues advice on summer holidays

As schools break up for the summer, the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is urging travellers to follow advice before they head overseas this summer.

Jennifer Anderson, Director of Consular, FCDO, said yesterday afternoon:

The success of our vaccine roll out means people who have been fully vaccinated in the UK can now travel to amber list countries, without the need for quarantine on their return, with the exception of those returning from France.

But travel this summer is still different from before. It is essential that travellers plan ahead and familiarise themselves with the rules and requirements of the country they plan to visit to minimise disruption and avoid disappointment.

The first step for anybody thinking of going abroad is to check the FCDO’s Travel Advice and subscribe to updates. We keep it under constant review so it reflects the most up to date information.

07:26 AM

Cases rise in Australia despite weeks-long lockdown

Coronavirus cases in Australia rose again on Thursday, despite a weeks-long lockdown, with authorities warning that infections would rise more and take a toll on the economy as the country battles to contain the delta variant.

New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state, reported 124 new cases, versus 110 a day ago. Most cases were in state capital Sydney which is in its fourth week of a lockdown. Victoria state, entering a second week of stay-at-home orders, logged 26 new cases, up from 22.

07:15 AM

Hotel quarantine bills could rise by £500 to curb trips to red list countries

Travellers face a £500 increase in the costs of hotel quarantine to more than £2,250 under plans being considered by ministers to curb "unnecessary" trips to red list countries.

Ministers are frustrated that the taxpayer is subsidising the costs of putting thousands of travellers up in hotels for 10 days when they "should not be travelling to red list countries".

About 30,000 people have already stayed in the hotels at a cost of up to £1,750 per person after arriving back from red list destinations. The price also includes PCR tests on day two and day eight.

Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, voiced his frustration in the Commons when he insisted the scheme did not make a profit for the Government but was subsidised.

"I also want to point out that people should not be travelling to red list countries. The only people who should be coming back to government quarantine are British or Irish citizens, or people with permanent rights of residence," Mr Shapps said.

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07:06 AM

What happened yesterday?

Here’s a recap of Wednesday’s top headlines:

  • Spain unlikely to go 'amber plus' imminently

  • Heathrow queue chaos: E-gates fail to work for fully vaccinated travellers

  • Mandatory Covid tests for fully vaccinated UK travellers heading to green-list Croatia

  • Grant Shapps 'angry' that he was pressured into adding France to the 'amber plus' list

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