Increase in holidays bookings to beat January blues

Almost nine million Brits have already booked their main holiday for 2012.

A further 8.9 million have started looking at deals but haven’t booked yet.

Research by Direct Line travel insurance shows that the January sales aren’t just for clothing and home furnishings, with many people in the UK taking advantage of discounts on flights, hotels and package holidays to organise their main holiday early in the year.

Nearly 20 per cent of those who have made plans for their main holiday have already booked either short- or long-haul travel arrangements, while another one in five are still weighing up the deals on offer.

Regionally, people in some areas seem to be either more keen to get away or less keen to spend money on a holiday. Only one in five (20 per cent) Londoners said that they weren’t planning to take a main holiday this year, while nearly half of people in Wales (46 per cent) said they were planning to forgo a main holiday.

 

European Festivals are the way to go for Summer 2012

Along with Glastonbury and Oxygen, The Big Chill Festival today announced that it will not be running this summer and has now been added to the list of festivals which have been cancelled, to make way for the London Olympic Games.

If your a die-hard festival goer and are at a loss with what to do with yourself this summer, or perhaps you are just keen to escape the Olympic hype, then a festival on the continent could prove to be the ideal solution.

Europe has many fabulous options to offer, which incorporate guaranteed glorious sunshine with the most fresh and exciting beats. Swap your wellies for your bikini, your anorak for your sunnies and enjoy some of your favourite bands whilst catching some rays.

If your a bass fan, Outlook Festival in Croatia ticks all the boxes. Hosted in previously war torn but stunningly beautiful Croatia, Outlook is Europe’s Biggest Bass Music & Soundsystem Culture Festival, which happens every summer in the North of the country.

The weather is amazing ,it’s close to the shore- perfect for those late night dips, but more importantly the music is always fantastic, favouring underground acts over mainstream ticket-selling ones. Last years acts such as Benga,Trojan Sound System and The Bug went down a storm and the 2012 line-up which is due to be released on Sunday, surely will not disappoint.

If an indie vibe is more your thing, Benicassim Festival definitely is the one for you. Held in Spain, it’s a four day festival taking place on the East coast of Spain, between Valencia and Barcelona. The sunny festival has seen the likes of indie giants Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire and The Strokes perform, as well as some home-grown Spanish talent. So far the Stone Roses, Florence and the Machine and The Vaccines have been confirmed to play at the 2012 festival, but many more acts are still to be announced.

A less publicised but truly incredible festival is Open’er in Poland. This is the biggest Polish outdoor music festival which just keeps growing in size. A range of successful and eclectic acts have played at Open’er including Pulp, The Strokes, Foals, The Wombats, MIA, Coldplay, Simian Mobile Disco. This year French electro duo Justice are set to headline, along with The XX and zany Icelandic Bjork. The biggest seller for this fest is the price, with a four-day camping ticket priced just £90.

So this year, why not enjoy your summer retreat and your festival experience at the same time. A festival in guaranteed sun, is sure to be your best trip yet!

More information including prices for tickets and accommodation can be found at these websites;

www.outlookfestival.com

www.benicassimfestival.co.uk

www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/opener/2012

Article by Lauren Probert

Winter sun and summer sun all wrapped up in one travel insurance policy

With summer in the UK coming to an end and the economic gloom persisting, many great offers on winter sunshine breaks are coming on the market, to beat the seasonal blues and tightened budgets.

The travel industry seems to want to stretch the horizons of people seeking a winter break, with the availability and popularity of more remote, unspoilt getaways being heavily promoted. Alongside the traditional Spanish sun seeking destinations, there are great offers for Africa, the Indian Ocean, Asia and the Caribbean.

Travel insurance specialist, World First Travel Insurance is also encouraging holiday makers to re-think how they book their travel insurance too. Rather than taking insurance for a single trip, they are encouraging people to consider buying an annual multi-trip policy as it is often much more cost effective. Turning a single trip policy into an annual policy may cost less than £30, so it is always worth asking your insurer to quote for both. If you decide to take advantage of the many exotic holiday offers the cost of insurance certainly won’t hold you back. Worldwide annual policies with World First Travel Insurance start from £50

Martin Rothwell, Managing Partner at World First Travel Insurance says, “In the current economic climate getting value for money is essential for consumers.  With travel insurance, very often the best way to save money is to think ahead and anticipate when and where and with whom you might travel so you can buy an annual policy.”

Standard annual policies can cover travel abroad for up to 31 or 62 days at a time and the number of trips you can take is unlimited.

There is still plenty of flexibility if you a buy an annual travel policy and your plans change. You can add different regions to you policy mid-term, if, for example you start with a Worldwide policy excluding the USA, Canada and Caribbean but then decide to travel to the States, this can be added at any point.  You can increase your cover according to what you plan to do, such as adding scuba-diving and watersports to a policy.  Or similarly, if the value of what you might take with you increases, for example you want to take your laptop so you can stay in touch with friends and family back home while you are on your remote island getaway, you can increase your cover.

An annual policy provides peace of mind and one less thing to do whenever you decide to take a break, knowing that you have your insurance sorted when you book trips in advance or decide upon a quick getaway during the year.

Enjoy a late sunny city break in Spain

As warm summer gives way to cooler autumn days, it’s only natural to start feeling as if the time for travel is over and there is nothing left in the year but a never-ending sequence of dull, grey, colourless days of chilly winds and rain and snow. Or maybe I simply have a penchant for the dramatic… The best of summer may indeed be behind us, but no one seems to have told that to Southern Europe, where it’s still warm and pleasant even thought it’s almost October.

September is a busy month in sunny Spain. There are no bad times to visit Barcelona – a city alive with culture, history and gorgeous architecture that is at times bizarre, at times lovely, but always mesmerizing – but if you happen to be in Catalonia this week, it’s the perfect time to drop by the City of Counts, just in time for La Mercè Festival. Going back to the late 19th century, La Mercè is a festival held every year on September 24th, but with several days of festivities leading up to it.

Wine aficionados will be glad to know the Festival includes a Catalan Wine Fair, where you will be able to taste some of the wines of the region. There is also a marathon race, a pyromusical event and a special correfoc. The correfoc is a very Catalan tradition, in which a group of people dress up as devils and dance to the rhythm of drums, while setting off fireworks among the crowds. During the day you can admire the castellers dressed in red-and-blue, trying to build the tallest human tower possible. The streets of the Old Quarter will also be filled with street performers, including people dancing the Sardana, a traditional Catalan dance.

Driving a car hire in Barcelona during the festivity days, specially in the centre of the city, is ill-advised, as many of the streets will be closed, there will be crowds and parades, and the traffic will be hectic. However, the metro will be open all night, so you won’t be left stranded! Even though it’s still warm in Barcelona this time of year, the nights can be chilly, so be sure to take a sweater. If you plan to watch the correfoc, protective clothing is important, including a hat and glasses, so as to protect your skin and eyes from the flying sparklers that are sprayed at the crowds.

If you’re staying a bit further south and travelling to Catalonia is not a practical option, driving your car hire to Murcia for the Feria de Murcia is another fun option. This festival goes back to the 18th century and lasts most of September. The festival is actually a collection of smaller festivals and events, which include competitions, bullfights, folklore, the Moors and Christians Festival and several others!

Autumn may be starting, but Spain still has much to offer, so pack up your bags and enjoy the new season!

Lanzarote Tourist Arrivals Soar By 20%

Whilst some overseas destinations are struggling with falling tourist numbers others ‘such as Lanzarote in the Canary Islands’ are performing well ahead of expectations. With foreign arrivals soaring by just over 20% during the first half of this year, according to the latest statistics just released by AENA, the Spanish airport authority.

 

Lanzarote has long been a popular holiday hot spot for British tourists; the island welcomed nearly 800 visitors from the UK last year. And despite the recession, diminished disposable incomes and the relative weakness of sterling against the euro the number of British tourist arrivals has increased in the first half of 2011 by an impressive 13%.

 

The UK passenger numbers in April alone rose by nearly 50% versus the same month last year. Whilst other key markets such as Germany, have also exceeded expectations. Thanks in part to their faster than anticipated recovery from the economic downturn.

 

These figures can in part be attributed to the fact that Lanzarote’s tourist industry has been a major beneficiary of the recent unrest in the Middle East.

 

As events in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia forced holidaymakers to seek out alternatives to popular resorts such as Sharm El Sheikh and Sousse during the first half of this year.

 

As a result of this upsurge in arrivals Lanzarote’s accommodation sector has enjoyed a marked increase in bookings during the first half of 2011.

 

This trend that has not only benefited hoteliers but also thousands of overseas owners of apartments and villas in Lanzarote. Many of which have been purchased by British buyers over the last decade to rent out tourists.

 

The other main Canary Islands have also recorded significant growth during the first six months of this year.

 

With foreign tourist arrivals climbing by 24.6% on Tenerife, 19.8% on Gran Canaria and a whopping 38.5% on Fuerteventura. Figures that contrast very favourably with the 8.1% upswing recorded across Spain as a whole over the same period.

Cyprus Holidays Attract UK Tourists in Droves

Holidays to Cyprus this April proved to be very popular with British tourists; On the Beach says Brits are drawn here by the nightlife, beaches and historical attractions.

Statistics from the Cypriot Government show that holidays to Cyprus have become even more popular with British tourists. Their figures documented a significant rise in holiday visits to the island this April.

On the Beach, (http://www.onthebeach.co.uk/) a leading UK online travel agency, says that this owes to the nation’s great beaches as well as its famous nightlife and historical sites.

Holidays to Cyprus have proven popular with tourists from all over the world, as almost 200,000 people visited in April – this represents a significant increase over the same month in 2009 which saw just over 180,000 holidaymakers arrive. Arrivals in April 2010 dipped to below 140,000 though this is largely attributable to the ash cloud which severely disrupted European travel during that period.

According to the report the majority of visitors in 2011 came from the UK, Germany and Russia.

Alistair Daly, Marketing Director of On the Beach, says: “During the winter and spring holiday seasons we saw a large number of Brits book holidays to Cyprus.

This destination is always quite popular, yet it has certainly seen a surge in 2011, which we expect to continue throughout the summer. Indeed, our customers continue to place Cyprus at the top of their wish lists.”

According to Daly the destination’s appeal owes to several factors. He states: “Trips to Cyprus have a lot in common with holidays to Ibiza and other developed tourist spots: indeed, it has great nightlife alongside truly lovely beaches.

What perhaps sets this island nation apart is its amazing collection of ancient Roman and Stone Age ruins which are an excellent way to spice up your time at the beach.”

Latest summer holiday savings

DiscountVouchers.co.uk has this week announces new holiday deals designed to help travellers and tourists from the UK save money on spring and summer trips this year. The online retail deals specialist is this week home to new deals redeemable at First Choice and Thomas Cook to help people save in the Balearics and elsewhere.

Among the top name holiday providers on show on the website this week is popular company First Choice. Travellers and tourists are able to start saving by logging on to the DiscountVouchers.co.uk website right now and enjoy using new first choice discount deals such as one to upgrade all First Choice holidays to all-inclusive for just 1p.

More First Choice deals can be found on the DiscountVouchers.co.uk website right now to help families enjoy saving money on their summer holidays. DiscountVouchers.co.uk is this week offering people the chance to save on family holidays through deals like hundreds of kids places free in the Balearics this July and August plus also £50 off all summer holidays booked over the web.

Other deals can be had to help people save, with new deals on Thomas Cook flights and holidays available. Consumers can log on to DiscountVouchers.co.uk right now and use the new deals to get as much as £600 off selected Mediterranean holidays and also 30% off when booking a flight and hotel deal combined.

Simon Terry, spokesperson for DiscountVouchers.co.uk, commented, “At this time of the year we are only too happy to help people get the best value for money possible on their summer holiday needs. Savings at leading providers like Thomas Cook and First Choice are just the ticket right now.”