Young Travelers in Majorca

The island of Majorca, also known as Mallorca, is part of the Balearic Islands and flies the Spanish flag. Located in the Mediterranean Sea, the island is a wonderful spot to visit year-round and is a haven for wind surfers, bicyclists, and most importantly, those looking to have a good time.

Gorgeous views around MajorcaGorgeous views around Majorca

Majorca is becoming increasingly popular with the younger crowd, especially during the summer months. It is during this time of the year temperatures climb to an average high between 27°C and 30°C (81°-86°F) and rain is virtually nonexistent – perfect for days spent sunbathing by the pool. Additionally, water temperatures during the same time period are between 21°-26°C (70°-79°F) allowing vacationers to surf, scuba and snorkel with ease.

Of course, many people want to hit the beach and that is entirely possible on this island. Majorca is home to numerous great spots to catch some rays or enjoy the watersports offered throughout the region. Playa del Arena is one of the more popular beaches. It is ideal for swimming, but part of the water is also reserved for those who want to surf. Beachgoers can also enjoy the nearby yacht club and numerous nearby restaurants. Visitors may also rent umbrellas and water sport equipment. With days in the summer months getting 12 to 13 hours of sunshine each day, there is plenty of time to hit the beach.

Kite Surfer In MajorcaKite Surfer In Majorca

Another great spot to get some rays and enjoy scuba diving is Cala Pi Beach. Thanks to its crystal clear waters, divers will get to enjoy the diversity of animal life below the surface. This region is also great for golfers and sailors. This particular area is also one of the most picturesque on the island if a bit of appreciation of the region’s natural beauty is also on your agenda.

There are also plenty of other activities for the more adventurous to participate in. Companies such as Experience Mallorca offer numerous tours for those who are not of the faint of heart. Visitors can choose from such action packed adventures such as caving, canoeing, climbing, adventure trekking, cliff diving and more. No experience is required and these trips will make a vacation to remember.

For those who are traveling on a budget, there is no shortage of great hotels to book a room without breaking the bank. BQ Apolo Hotel was completely renovated in 2013 and is located in a prime location just 150 meters away from Can Pastilla Beach. The hotel has a total of 144 rooms that include a terrace or balcony, air conditioning and heating, bathroom, telephone and Wi-Fi.

TRH Jardin del Mar is a three-star hotel that offers guests plenty of amenities for a good price. The hotel features a swimming pool, restaurant, bar café, breakfast buffet, gym and more. This hotel gives guests a five-star experience without the five-star price.

Of course, younger travelers often want to have a good time once the sun goes down and the good news is that there is a plethora of nighttime activities on the island! One of the best place to be for nightlife is in the capital city of Palma and one of the best spots in the city and island is Pascha. This world famous nightspot is built into the side of a cliff allowing guests fantastic views while dancing the night away.

Tito’s is another happening nightclub that draws an international crowd. Complete with panoramic views of the sea, Tito’s features dancers, DJs, live music and even circus acts. Those looking for an all-night party can’t go wrong with either of these choices. Of course, Magaluf is perhaps one of the most obvious spots for the 18-35 crowd to get cheap drinks and dance the night away along the strip! BCM is the biggest club located on the island and stays open until the early hours of the morning, pumping music, dancers, drinks and occasionally foam parties!

Before visitors head out for a night on the town, it is important to get a good meal to eat. Luckily, the region has plenty of great, budget friendly spots to fill up anyone’s stomach. The Room Palma serves three course lunches for a small price that also includes a drink. Located just around the corner is Bunker. Open only for dinner, diners can enjoy high-class fare for only a few Euros. The open concept also allows guests to watch the cooks in the kitchen preparing the meals.

Americans looking for a little touch of home will enjoy Diner Palma. Complete with red vinyl booths and vintage signs, this restaurant offers some of the best hamburgers on the island. A favorite of local and tourists, this is one spot to fill up before or after a great night out.

And while the region is typically very safe, it always pays to be aware while on holiday. Visitors should be certain to keep cash in more than one location in case of emergency and to keep the address of their hotel on them at all times. Finally, during the hot daytime weather always wear sun-lotion, take breaks in the shade and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

With a little common sense though, anyone can have a wonderful vacation on Majorca. There are tons of activities on land and on the water to satisfy even the most adventurous spirit. Thanks to plenty of budget friendly hotels and restaurants, as well as lively bars and nightclubs, a vacation to the area can be the trip of a lifetime without needing to break the bank!

Micro Climates in Majorca

When you think of Majorca, you probably picture sandy beaches, blue waters, or culture in the capital of Palma and perhaps even lively bars and nightlife in some of the bigger resorts like Magaluf. But Majorca is a very diverse island and its changing landscapes and topography create many microclimates perfect for all kinds of different travelers – Sarah Black explains more.

Majorca is the largest of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea. Also known as Mallorca, the island packs a lot of history and modern adventure for the savvy traveler. With a little something for everyone, there is a lot to like about the island.

Beautiful sea and sand of Majorca
Beautiful sea and sand of Majorca

A travel hot spot for a number of years, Majorca has plenty in the way of amenities both for the student traveler and those looking at five-star resorts. The island is not only popular with those who are just want rest and relaxation, but also for those looking for specific adventures such as bicycling or scuba diving.

Thanks to a pleasant climate year-round and fairly low rain chances, Majorca is a destination that can be enjoyed any month of the year. The locals take advantage of this opportunity and hold festivals throughout the year that are also a welcome treat for any tourist. Carnival is always a popular time to visit the region and can be in February or March depending on the date of Easter. The locals celebrate this time before Lent with fancy dresses, bonfires and floats. One of the more popular events takes place in August. Located in the Bay of Palma, a yearly regatta attracts some of the best yachtsmen from around the world.

The location of the island in the Mediterranean Sea can create a “Mediterranean front” of its own weather. As it does so, the northern part of the island is battered by high winds that not only make it good for sailing, but also great for wind surfing. Conditions will be the worse here in the winter months than in the southern part, as stronger fronts prevail and the winds can make conditions dangerous.

Landscape of Tramuntana Mountain Range in Majorca
Landscape of Tramuntana Mountain Range in Majorca

Not only does the geographic location play a role in the weather of Majorca, but the topography does as well. For a small island, there are numerous microclimates that can create their own conditions independent of the overall weather. One reason for the microclimates is the Tramuntana Mountain Range. These mountains act as a barrier for clouds and rain. As a result, the windward side is generally pelted with rain and even snow, but the leeward side is warm and dry. Therefore, the valleys are generally warmer and drier, but can also come under the influence of the nearby sea. For visitors traveling to the region, it is important to consult an extended forecast before leaving home.

Thanks to the mountainous regions of the island, it is has become a favorite training spot for bicyclists from around the world. The challenging topography attracts not only recreational cyclists, but also those who are members of some of the best professional teams. There are numerous companies such as Trek Travel that offer a wide variety of tours to those who want to tour the island on two wheels. With trips as long as 7 days, participants can experience anything from heat to driving rain.

The best time to experience dry conditions is in June, July and August where the average rain days are only one or two per month and rainfall amounts are between 6 and 22mm. Summer months also see 12 to 13 hours of sunshine each day for training as compared to 6 to 7 hours in the winter months.

The island adventure continues beneath the land as well as above it. The rich history of this land has been forming for millennia and continues to this day. Nature has played one of its biggest roles with the formation of the Dragon Caves. Extending almost 1200 meters, these caves are one of the most popular spots on the island and a great place to hear one of the most unique concerts ever.

Back outside, there are also numerous watersports to take advantage of while visiting the island. Companies such as Water Sports Mallorca are here to teach vacationers the finer points of surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing and much more. With water temperatures between 21° and 26°C (70°F-79°F) from June to August, this is the time to hit the water. Water temperatures are much cooler in the winter months and less perfect to enjoy these types of activities. Additionally, afternoon air temperatures will warm from 15° to 17°C (59°-63°F) in the winter to 27°C to 30°C (66°-73°F) by the summer.

The island of Majorca has numerous different climates depending on where you are and the time of the year. However, this makes the island unique and with varied conditions, there is something for everyone to like. An outdoor lover’s dream, Majorca is a great place to visit and enjoy any time of the year.

Fancy nipping off for a pre-festive break?

Then look no further than our round-up of easy-to-reach destinations collated by Jessica Rees

Scotland

Feel the need to escape the hustle and bustle of city life? Head to Scotland for gorgeous landscapes and plenty of fresh air. Now the midges’ season has passed, you can enjoy walking the hilltops and while taking in the dramatic scenery. Boat trips mean you can explore Loch Lomond and many other beautiful islands.

Leaving the popular loch behind, continue your exploration north in the Scottish Highlands. Pass through and stop for a picnic at the picturesque Glen Coe, or, why not hike the UK’s tallest mountain, Ben Nevis, which stands proudly at 1344 metres high. The higher up the mountain, the colder it will get, so pack for all weather conditions.

If you prefer to keep your feet firmly on terra firma, a trip to Eilean Donan Castle will not disappoint. A picture-perfect 13th century castle, which sits on a small island, it’s one of the most visited and prominent attractions in Scotland.

SYHA Hostelling Scotland provides cheap and basic accommodation with access to self-catering facilities. Find out more about the latest weather forecast here.

Norway

Norway in autumn makes for a wonderful trip away. Flying to Oslo, explore the charms of the city and the royal palace before enjoying one of the worlds most stunning railway rides from Oslo to Bergen. Taking around 7 hours, you will pass snow-capped mountains, never-ending Nordic forests, and mirrored lakes before pulling in to the charming port town of Bergen.

Bergen fish market is famous in it’s own right, so allow enough time to check it out. Sample local delicacies before catching the Ulriken643 gondola to the highest point of Bergen’s famous “Seven Mountains,’ which offers an impressive view across Bergen.

Feeling adventurous? Kayak down the magnificent Norwegian fjords with Nordic Ventures, or, if you want to take it easy, book a cruise. Cascading waterfalls from mountains thousands of feet high, turquoise waters and stunning fjords all await in Norway.

Fjord Norway offers train and cruise combo tickets from Oslo to Bergen. Visit Norwegian Air for reasonable last minute flights to both Oslo and Bergen and check out the latest weather forecasts here and here.

Dorset

Dorset is a great destination for a quick break away. With beaches that can rival those of Cornwall, and home to the World Heritage Jurassic Coast, there is plenty here to keep the whole family entertained. And if the weather takes a turn for the worse, Corfe Castle and Monkey World are well worth a visit.

Swanage is a family friendly destination, with accessible walks along the South West Coast Path to Old Harry’s Rocks and Durlston Country Park.

Stay in a holiday caravan at Swanage Coastal Park or for a treat, enjoy Purbeck House Hotel.

Majorca

If you want to go beyond the borders of the UK, November is a quieter and more reasonably priced time to visit Majorca, with still reasonable weather conditions.

Majorca has something for everyone. It has the busier and popular family and party resorts on the west side of the island, notably Magaluf, or for something more historic and peaceful, head to Alcudia in the northeast of the island.

For a different day out away from the beaches, Palma offers one of the most impressive cathedrals in Europe, and is a charming historic city bursting with delicious tapas restaurants.

The accessible size of Majorca allows you to explore the whole island in one week by car. Make sure you visit the Serra de Tramunta mountain range for breath taking views and a walk on the wild side of Spain.

Read more holiday reviews about Majorca here. Many of the main holiday companies offer reasonable last minute deals, but by booking your own last minute flights and hotel you can also make great savings.

London

Nowhere in the UK has more packed in to one city for children than London. Start your day visiting The London Dungeon during Halloween before mixing with the stars at Madame Tussauds.

Once you’re finished there, it’s time to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace! Walk from the South Bank across Westminster Bridge and visit the Houses of Parliament before taking a walk through St James Park to Buckingham Palace. At this time of year, London’s Royal Parks are resplendent, especially St James Park.

In the evening, enjoy the buzz of Leicester Square and a West End show. The Lion King and Wicked are spectacular and provide unforgettable experiences.

Premier Inn has great offers all across the city if you want to extend a day trip. Check the latest forecast for London here.

MSC Cruises cancels all remaining summer 2015 calls in Tunisia

In the wake of Wednesday’s (18 March) terror attack at the Bordo National Museum, in Tunis, Tunisia MSC Cruises has decided to suspend all remaining Tunisian calls in the 2015 summer programme in the interests of guest and crew member safety.

Itineraries affected by the change will impact four of MSC Cruises’ ships as follows:

  • MSC Splendida will call at Valletta, in Malta (four sailings over the next four weeks)

Three other ships were due to offer Tunis calls during the summer season (April-Nov 2015).

Tunis has long featured on MSC Cruises itineraries, and the city’s extensive range of cultural offerings have proved very popular with visitors.

MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “Sadly, the murderous actions of the people behind this devastating attack will have far-reaching and profoundly damaging effects on democratic Tunisia and its faltering economy. Tunisia can little afford to be considered a no-go zone at this time, but regrettably that is how tourists will now see it.”

The safety and security of guests and crew members is MSC Cruises’ number one priority at all times, and the events that took place this week preclude the possibility of MSC Cruises calling in Tunisia for the foreseeable future.

MSC Cruises remains in continuous contact with relevant government ministries and international bodies, and does not consider additional itinerary changes to be necessary at this time.

Mr Vago added: “Tunis is a key destination for MSC Cruises, and we hope to be able to restore it to itineraries in due course. But until we receive the necessary reassurances that the security situation has returned to normal, we have to take our guests to alternative Mediterranean destinations.”

He concluded: “I want to personally thank the Tunisian authorities for the way they have addressed this exceptionally challenging situation, and for enabling us to implement our own response plan effectively.”

For more information visit: www.msccruises.co.uk or call 020 3426 3010

Contact the FCO Travel Advice team here.

© MSC Cruises

Time for a January detox?

No doubt the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Indeed, once you’ve swallowed your last roast potato, forced down your final spoonful of Christmas pudding and knocked back the dregs of your mulled wine, you may start to feel a little uncomfortable about how much you’ve indulged. Don’t worry though – for every problem has a solution and our top five spas – all shrewdly placed in warm and desirable locations – hand-picked by Jack Pitts will quickly wipe away your guilt and have you back to your usual bubbly self

Woman doing yoga © Jean Henrique Wichinoski

Amansala – Riviera Maya

On the east coast of MexicoAmansala provides expert relaxation amid turquoise waters and mock Mayan architecture. Easily accessed by a two-hour drive from Cancun, the centre offers Yoga retreats – fitness tune-ups and much acclaimed six-day detox camps.  If you feel compelled to drag yourself away from the massage table, then Mayan ruins litter the surrounding landscapes and guides can easily be arranged, or, if you’re really serious about detoxing, you can rent a bike and ride between them.

With potential highs of 27C during the day, Riviera Maya is one of your best bets for a winter tan – indeed, make the most of the resort’s 7 hours of daily sunshine in January.

Lanzarote Retreats – Lanzarote

For a quick fix of vitamin D make the short trip to Lanzarote Retreats. Choose from an eco-friendly selection of self-catering yurts in various locations around the site, or upgrade to one of the white washed apartments for real luxury. This place is all about peace and quiet, unspoilt beaches and tranquil nights by the sea, but for those who like to get out and about it’s easy to visit the rest of the island from the retreat. Lanzarote is far enough south that its weather stays pretty good all year round, so expect highs of 20C and 8 hours of sunshine this month.

Bloom Retreats – Majorca

For holistic relaxation that torpedoes the heart of your stress, visit Bloom Retreats in DeiaMajorca. These women-only camps, run by the legendary PR guru and woman’s rights activist Lynne Franks, take place twice a month and focus on learning new things, usually from experts in a particular field. The Spring Detox session from February 15 – 19 will be run by Ursula Peer, a renowned nutritionist. Book early as places in this Mediterranean paradise fill up quickly. Expect 7 hours a day of winter sunshine with temperatures that can rise to 15C at this time of year.

In:spa retreats: Marrakesh

In:spa retreats in Marrakesh have been welcoming the over-indulged and over-wrought for a decade now. They have such faith in their programme that they boast: “After just seven days, we promise you will return home refreshed, energised, and looking and feeling amazing.” Supervised nutrition, an optional timetable of fitness and yoga and regular trips into the dewy, fresh air of the Atlas Mountains leave guests feeling refreshed and content. Best of all, you can enjoy up to 11 hours of sunshine each day and peak temperatures of 18C in January.

Freely Given Retreats – Devon

Inspired by the Buddhists of South East AsiaFreely Given Retreats in Devon aims to open up wellbeing retreats to all by not setting a price and asking people to pay what they can. The suggested donation is around £150 but is not compulsory. The retreats teach “insight meditation”, a type of mindfulness in three locations in and around Dartmoor National Park.

MSC Cruises adds Malta to Western Med sailing to make seven calls in seven days

MSC Cruises has added the stunning city of Valetta, Malta, to one of its top-selling western Mediterranean sailings in summer 2015, to offer seven ports of call on a single seven-night cruise.

 

In one week, MSC travellers will visit seven spectacular Mediterranean destinations, waking daily to an unspoiled view of a new port. Departing from Genoa, Italy the seven-night itinerary aboard MSC Fantasia will be the perfect way to discover cities that have shaped the history of the Mediterranean Basin.

MSC Fantasia’s spring and summer 2015 itinerary includes Genoa, Naples and Messina, in Italy, before crossing towards Valetta, in Malta. From there, the ship will head to La Goulette in Tunisia, then Barcelona and Marseille.

During MSC Cruises’ current turn-of-year promotional campaign, which runs until March 5, 2015, this seven-night itinerary is available from just £599 per person, including return British Airways flights from London (based on May 3, 2015 departure).

Other Western Med options in the same season include sister ship MSC Preziosa sailings from Genoa to Civitavecchia and Palermo, in Italy, followed by La Goulette, before heading to the Balearic island of Majorca, then Valencia, in Spain. The ship then calls at Marseille, France, before heading home to Genoa.

In addition, MSC Armonia will visit Italy, Spain and France throughout the summer, calling at Genoa, Salerno and Olbia, in Italy, Majorca and Ibiza, in Spain, and Marseilles, France.

For more information see www.msccruises.co.uk or call 020 3426 3010.

© MSC Cruises

October half term holidays

Make the most of the half term break this month and sneak in a bit of sunshine before things really take a turn for the worse weather-wise in the UK, and we’re unceremoniously hauled into the season of woolly socks and winter coats. There’s some fantastic holiday destinations in Europe and further afield, read on for our top picks…

In the Med…

Portugal’s Algarve is still lovely and warm in late October – great for all you beach bums and golf lovers. Albufeira is the most popular destination for holidaymakers in the Algarve, and it’s not had to see why. Lagos is famous for its award winning beaches, especially Meia Praia, which stretches for 4km and is ideal for avid sunbathers and watersports lovers alike. Take your pick from some of the many stunning golf courses that line the coast – Pine Cliffs Golf Course is built in a pine forest and affords wonderful views of the Algarve’s golden beaches. Kids are catered for too, with some brilliant waterparks and zoos ensuring there’s plenty of fun for all the family. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Algarve click here.

Crete, one of Greece’s southernmost – and largest – islands, is also a safe bet at this time of year for reliably pleasant temperatures and sunshine. Explore the island’s spectacular 1,000 kilometre-long coastline dotted with exquisite coves, bays and peninsulas, many of which offer numerous sandy beaches to while away a sunny day. There’s also a myriad of pretty fishing villages such as the picturesque Paxos, ancient treasures and a variety of delicious Cretan culinary delights to enjoy. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Crete click here.

The Canary Islands are always going to get a well-deserved mention when listing top family holiday destinations that won’t break the bank and will deliver on great year-round weather, places to stay, activities and much more. With average daily temperatures sitting comfortably around the mid-20s well into late October, the popular resorts Los Cristianos, Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje in Tenerife – with their multitude of long, sandy beaches and inviting waters – are bound to help beat the onset of the winter blues and turn back the clock, albeit temporarily, to the heady days of summer. Lanzarote, also in the Canary Islands, certainly doesn’t let the side down in the temperature and sunshine stakes, offers a unique, striking landscape, with the western side of the island typically being hotter and drier than the eastern side. October is one of the best months for big game fishing, which is a popular pastime on the island, plus make the most of the warm sea temperatures and get into the big blue; take your pick from scuba diving, snorkelling, or by simply enjoying a daily dip. Click here for an up-to-date weather forecasts in Tenerife and Lanzarote.

Majorca in Spain enjoys a Mediterranean climate all-year round and daily temperatures average around 25°C to 21°C throughout the month, with things cooling down towards the end of October. This pleasant weather allows for enjoying the island’s many beautiful walking and cycling trails – the island boasts wonderful wildlife and a dazzling variety of flora. Nature lovers should definitely not miss a visit to the S’Albufera Wetlands. The Coves de Campanet in Alcudia are another must-see – these amazing caves are famous for the fossilised remains, as well as numerous pathways, chambers and pools. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Majorca click here.

Elsewhere in Europe…

Perhaps you and your family want to squeeze in a bit of action before the season of slumping on the sofa having stuffed yourself silly kicks in? If so, why not consider a cycling holiday – popular destinations include Ghent, Belgium, the Loire Valley in France and the Catalan coast of Spain (including a few nights in Barcelona perhaps). Other enjoyable and scenic routes include east to west across the Algarve, Portugal and the lakes of Bavaria, Germany.

For a truly memorable and unique holiday experience, there’s nowhere quite like Iceland, plus it’s only a short flight away. Soak up the breath-taking scenery by exploring the island’s stunning natural parks, the South coast, Golden Circle and the Blue Lagoon. You could even take in this beautiful country on horseback. Then, soothe your sore bones in Iceland’s famous geothermal pools before sampling traditional tasty fare such as “harðfiskur”, a type of dried fish. Best of all, in late October you have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights. The temperatures may not rival that of the Med but you’ll still enjoy plenty of sunshine at this time of year.

Venturing further afield…

There’s a lot to be said for sun and sand, but if you’re after fascinating history and culture too, then Morocco has both by the bucket load. With a daily temperature lingering around 21 in Marrakesh, the weather is perfect for exploring this beautiful part of the world, furthermore, you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled across the globe but in reality you can fly to Morocco in just three hours. October is a great time to go, as you’ll catch the festival Eid al-Fitr, which signals the end of Ramadan. Expect feasting, music, dancing and general merriment – and don’t forget to haggle in the magical souks and chill out in a hammam. For thrills and spills, head to Oasiria Water Park – great for the kids – and for adventure-seekers, why not incorporate a trekking trip into the Atlas Mountains for a truly special experience. Click here for up-to-date weather forecasts in Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains.

October is an ideal month to go to Sharm el Sheikh on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, with wonderful weather minus the oppressively hot temperatures. Rain is rare and the sea is still lovely and warm, so now is a perfect time to learn to dive. If your children are aged 10 years or more, they can learn to dive and achieve a PADI qualification – surely a fantastic skill for them to capitalise on in their later years. Don’t miss Ras um Sid, a stunning beach resort with a large diving and snorkelling site brimming with colourful coral and marine life. Check travel advice for Sharm el Sheikh from the Foreign Office before booking your holiday. For up-to-date weather forecasts in Sharm el Sheikh click here.

Meal deals make a big difference to families holidaying on a budget in Europe

 

  • Powerful pound helps prices plunge in most top European family resorts
  • Sunny Beach, Bulgaria and Costa del Sol are again cheapest for families
  • Biggest falls of over 26 per cent come where restaurants have cut meal costs says new Family Holiday Report (www.postoffice.co.uk/familyholidays2014)
  • Resort spending rises 16.5 per cent and two-in-five bust the budget by £242

Families travelling to the Eurozone and other European hotspots at the end of the school term will find that the powerful pound will make it cheaper in almost every destination surveyed for the annual Post Office® Travel Money Family Holiday Report. Sterling’s increased buying power¹ has been compounded by local price-cuts in three-quarters of resorts, making it up to 31 per cent cheaper for families compared to a year ago.

Family meals remain cheapest in the Costa del Sol and in Sunny Beach, Bulgaria at less than £33 for three-courses plus a bottle of wine and kids’ drinks. This has again made the two resorts best value of 14 surveyed for the Post Office Family Holiday Report basket of 15 items.

However, Sunny Beach (£65.97) has extended its lead on the Costa del Sol (£79.69) with an 18.1 per cent year-on-year fall in prices², thanks partly to the lower resort costs.

The biggest falls have come where competition between resort restaurants has led to hefty cuts in meal costs³. Even though it remains the most expensive resort to eat out, meal costs have plunged 39 per cent year-on-year in Sorrento. This enabled the Italian resort to surrender its position as the highest-priced destination to Nice. At £142.54 prices in Sorrento are down 26 per cent, compared with 17 per cent in Nice (£147.63).

Meal prices have fallen even further – by over 46 per cent – in the Croatian resort of Porec and this contributed to a 31 per cent drop in its barometer total to £105.25. By contrast, meal prices have mushroomed in Majorca, not only making this one of the priciest places for families to eat but also increasing its barometer basket to almost £130. This represents a rise of almost 26 per cent compared with 12 months ago.

Andrew Brown of Post Office Travel Money said: ‘Paying for meals is likely to have the biggest impact on the family budget. Price variations in popular destinations are much greater than you might expect so those who have still to book would be well-advised to do some homework to find out where feeding the family will cost least. For those on a strict budget Sunny Beach and the Costa del Sol look to be unbeatable value. However, competition between restaurants in Sorrento and Porec means that families visiting these resorts will pay a lot less than a year ago.’

Although visitors will have nearly 20 per cent extra cash in their pockets because of sterling’s surge against the Turkish lira, local prices in Marmaris have risen over seven per cent, wiping out some of the benefit. As a result, the barometer basket for Marmaris has dropped by just over 10 per cent to £92.85 and visitors will pay roughly the same for meals as they did a year ago.

Elsewhere in the Eastern Med, a 24 per cent fall in meal prices will make it much cheaper for visitors to Crete. At £87.15, its barometer total has plunged by around 27 per cent since last year, making Crete almost 15 per cent cheaper than another Greek island, Corfu (£101.98). As a result, Crete has risen to third place in the barometer table above the Algarve (£98.33) and Ayia Napa in Cyprus (£98.55) as well as Corfu and Marmaris.

Another reason for Crete’s rise up the table is that Post Office Travel Money investigated prices for kids’ beach items and the island was the cheapest by far for four ‘must haves’ – a bucket & spade, lilo, mask & snorkel and aqua shoes. At just over £10, this was 21 per cheaper than second-placed Sunny Beach (£13) and under a third the price in Nice (£32).

Post Office Travel Money consumer research has revealed that pester power remains a key factor in causing parents to bust their holiday spend. Three-quarters of holidaymakers said they set a budget for their last trip but over two-in-five overspent by 30 per cent (£242)4.

When asked about specific holiday items, they admitted spending almost 17 per cent more on their last trip than on previous ones. Although meals and drinks were the biggest drains on their budget, some of the highest spending increases were on visits to water parks (up 62 per cent to £51), pedalo rides (up 110 per cent to over £33), ice creams (up 53 per cent to £34) and beach items like sun loungers and umbrella hire (up 54 per cent to £17).

ITEM

Average spend 2014

Average spend 2013

% +/- 2014 vs. 2013

Eating out

£158.84

£144.14

+10.2%

Drinks

£84.11

£83.78

+0.4%

Sightseeing/excursions

£68.23

£78.07

-12.6%

Souvenirs/gifts

£57.44

£44.73

+28.4%

Water/theme park

£50.97

£31.46

+62.0%

Kids’ beach items*

£44.84

£38.18

+17.4%

Entertainment/show

£41.78

£42.95

-2.7%

Ice creams

£33.97

£22.23

+52.8%

Pedalo ride

£33.35

£15.91

+109.6%

Sports activity

£25.09

£17.88

+40.3%

Sunglasses

£20.50

£15.72

+30.4%

Sun lounger/umbrella hire

£16.99

£11.04

+53.9%

TOTAL

£636.11

£546.09

+16.5%

*Kids’ beach items includes bucket & spade, jelly shoes, swimming goggles, snorkelling equipment

In its report, Post Office Travel Money found that the cost of these items could vary quite dramatically between resorts in Europe. The lowest and highest prices for each of the 15 commodities surveyed differed by between 50-87 per cent:

ITEM

Lowest price

Highest price

% Cheaper
Kids’ aqua/jelly shoes

Sunny Beach : £2.15

Majorca: £10.21

79%

Bucket & spade

Crete: £1.63

Nice: £8.17

80%

Inflatable lilo

Ayia Napa: £1.63

Porec: £8.83

82%

Mask & snorkel set

Crete: £2.04

Porec: £11.04

82%

Suncream (200ml SPF15)

Sunny Beach: £3.87

Majorca: £13.57

71%

Insect repellent (50mil)

Crete: £2.04

Sorrento: £7.35

72%

Ice-cream (Mars/Magnum)

Sunny Beach: £0.86

Nice: £3.27

74%

Sun-lounger (half day)

Marmaris: £1.52

Nice: £11.44

87%

Pedalo (1 hour)

Porec: £3.31

Orlando: £18.15

82%

Bottle of beer/lager (café/bar)

Sunny Beach: £0.64

Nice: £3.10

79%

Glass of wine (café/bar)

Sunny Beach: £1.29

Orlando: £4.23

70%

Bottle/can Coca-Cola

The Algarve: £0.82

Nice: £2.66

69%

Small pizza/pasta for 1 child

Sunny Beach: £0.86

Majorca/Algarve: £4.90

82%

Portion of chips/French Fries

Sunny Beach: £0.64

Nice: £3.27

80%

Family meal

Costa del Sol £32.60

Sorrento: £65.36

50%

Water Park – Europe

Marmaris: £38.14

Ayia Napa: £90.16

58%

Andrew Brown said: ‘With the evidence we found of overspending, the best advice is to plan well ahead and set a realistic budget for the resort you will be visiting. Once that budget is set, change money before leaving home and remember that there are improved exchange rates in our branches and online for transactions worth £500 or more – the average amount that holidaymakers spend while abroad.’

 

Currencies for the Post Office Travel Money Family Holiday Report destinations surveyed are among 30 available on demand at 1,600 larger Post Office branches, while over 10,000 offer euro over the counter and 4,000 offer US dollars and Turkish lira. More than 70 currencies can be pre-ordered at over 11,500 Post Office branches or online at postoffice.co.uk/travel for next day branch or home delivery.

Customers can purchase foreign currency in small as well as large amounts at Post Office branches across the UK – although higher rates are offered for bigger value transactions, both in branches and online.

Families can compare resort costs at www.postoffice.co.uk/familyholidays2014.

© Post Office

Heartbroken? Go on holiday!

If you get through life without ever experiencing a relationship breakup, you can probably consider yourself one of the lucky ones. Whether you’re the “dumper” or the “dumpee”, breaking up with someone isn’t nice.

Sunshine.co.uk wanted to find out if people ever decide to book a holiday shortly after a breakup, either to get some space or go on the hunt for a new love interest. So, they decided to poll 1,699 people from around the UK, aged 18 and over, all of whom had broken up with a partner within the last 12 months.

1 in 5 Britons book a holiday within three months of breakup

When we asked the respondents, ‘Did you book a holiday within three months of your relationship breakup?’ one fifth of those taking part, 21%, said ‘yes’. We then asked them to explain why they had decided to book a holiday following their breakup, to which we were given the following top 5 answers:

To take my mind off the breakup – 31%

To find another potential love interest on holiday – 26%

It just so happened that I was due a holiday/wanted to go away – 17%

Friends convinced me to go away – 13%

Other – 13%

Ibiza is the ‘heartbreak holiday’ destination of choice

Anyone who had booked a holiday within three months of a breakup, either to take their mind off things or to find another potential partner, was asked which destination they had booked, revealing the following top five ‘heartbreak holiday’ destinations:

1. Ibiza – 17% To find out more about Ibiza, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

2. Rhodes – 15% To find out more about Rhodes, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

3. Majorca – 11% To find out more about Majorca, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

4. Cyprus – 9% To find out more about Cyprus, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

5. Spain – 6% To find out more about Spain, and get accurate weather forecasts, click here.

Breakups aren’t easy for anyone and a holiday can be an ideal way to take your mind off any emotional turbulence. It was interesting to see all of the typical party destinations in the top five list of heartbreak holiday locations, with resorts such as San AntonioFaliraki, MagalufAyia Napa and Marbella probably frequented by heartbroken or newly single holidaymakers.

Getting a bunch of friends together for a few days in the sun or even going away with family can be a good way to get some distance from everything and return home to the UK with a clearer head… and maybe a new love!

© Sunshine.co.uk

Boomerang Brits revisit the same holiday spots each year

  • Two thirds (60%) of Brits are ‘boomerang tourists’ who return to the same holiday spot time after time
  • Three in ten (29%) of these have been to the same resort more than three times and one in twenty (5%) have been back more than ten times
  • Two fifths (40%) eat in the same restaurant each time and 15% even sit in the same spot
  • Brits are most likely to return to Tenerife, Paris, Florida, Benidorm and Majorca
  • An increasing number of Brits are ‘boomeranging’ back to the same holiday destination year after year[1].

According to new research from LV= travel insurance, more people are now choosing to revisit the same holiday spot rather than try somewhere new. Almost two thirds (60%) of Brits have been to the same holiday destination more than once during the past five years and one in five (22%) are planning to revisit a resort they have previously holidayed at later this year.

British holidaymakers like to know what they are getting on holiday and once they find somewhere they like, they go back again and again. Of those who have been to the same holiday spot more than once, almost a third (29%) have been more than three times in the last five years and one in twenty (5%) have even been back more than 10 times.

Returning to the tried and tested, does not end with the location as many holidaymakers even do the same things each time. Two fifths of these boomerang holidaymakers (40%) say they eat in the same restaurant that they did on a previous trip, while others stay in the same resort (38%) and one in ten (9%) do the same activities. Almost two fifths (38%) go to the same beach, almost a third (29%) will go to the same bar or pub and 15% even say they sit in exactly the same spot as on a previous trip.

The most common types of holidays that Brits are likely to repeat are a relaxing beach breaks (48%), sightseeing trips (22%) and city breaks (18%). The most popular places to return to are Tenerife, Paris, Florida, Benidorm and Majorca. Good weather is a main reason for selecting the same location (38%), followed by reasonable prices (35%) and the location being family friendly (15%).

The consistency of these factors at certain destinations keeps Brits coming back for more. In total, two in five (40%) enjoy revisiting the same place because they know what to expect, while 20% say they do not feel the need to try somewhere new as they know they like this particular location. One in five (20%) claim they would feel happy returning to the same place every year.

Yet this familiarity can lure holidaymakers into a false sense of security. Around one in three Brits (30%) say that they don’t always get travel insurance if they’re going to a place they’ve been to before, which leaves them unprotected should they have an accident, fall ill, or are a victim of crime.

‘Travelling to somewhere you have been to before can make planning a holiday much simpler. It is easy to let your guard down because you already know the destination but things can sometimes go wrong when you’re on holiday. It’s important to make sure you have the right cover in place to protect you on your break so you can relax and just enjoy your holiday.’ Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director of LV= travel insurance

© LV Travel Insurance

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