Advice for Travellers from Veronica at Fare Wise Travel – June 2024 update

Fare Wise Travel Hungerford

Veronica at Fare Wise Travel in Hungerford offers monthly advice for travellers – and strongly recommends that you book with a travel agent rather than online.

For any more advice, please don’t hesitate to pop into Fare Wise Travel on Hungerford High Street or contact them on 01488 686858, hung@farewise.com or follow them on facebook.

June 2024

Julia Simpson CEO World Travel & Tourism Council recently made this statement that we wholeheartedly support:

“Around four billion people fly every year to experience new places, meet loved ones and do business. Affordable travel has opened up even the most remote corners of the globe. From trekking through the ancient Inca empire to sailing along the glaciers of Antarctica, travel is an integral part of the human experience.

“Tourism is also critical to prosperity. Dara from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) shows that the sector contributes over $10 trillion dollars to the global economy each year, creates 330 million jobs, fostering cultural exchange and enhancing our understanding on a scale that could only be imagined in a fairground ride 60 years ago. The iconic “Small World” song with its simple yet profound message of harmony reminds us that despite our differences, we are all part of the human family. 

“I’ve seen this in my own travels. Visiting new places and meeting new people has shown me that tourism is not just about seeing sights and monuments. It is about understanding different ways of life, appreciating cultures, embracing diversity and celebrating unity.

“That is what made the Covid pandemic so disorientating and tragic. Overnight, once vibrant communities became deserted tourist sites, empty airports and shuttered business. Our world, so open, was suddenly closed. “

Travel is becoming much more sustainable and less damaging to the planet and is a vitally important source of income to otherwise impoverished communities. Yes there is much work to be done to avoid life-threatening queues on Everest and potentially irreversible damage to our oceans and beaches.

But we can all travel more mindfully and sustainably and be more traveller than tourist and Fare Wise Travel would be delighted to guide your journey.

And of course, very close to home, we can recommend relaxing trips on The Rose of Hungerford every Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays. Morning trips are 90 minutes and the longer trip in the afternoon is 2 & 1/2 hours.    Passengers can enjoy the tranquility of travelling at a very slow pace and take in the joy of seeing waterside nature at its best and be served with tea, coffee or more from a fully licensed bar.  The boat is crewed exclusively by volunteers and all profits go to charity. You can book tickets with us or online at katrust.org.uk.

May 2024

Air fares to Europe with “low cost” carriers are particularly high this summer, so book early if possible.

We are pleased that there are more and more sustainable holiday options these days. For instance Green Safaris offer several conservation itineraries in Zambia and Milawi and the Green Safaris Conservation Foundation donates money to education, schools and environmental conservation projects in those countries.

If you fancy sun, sand and sea in the Caribbean, we can offer the stunning new Six Senses resort on La Sagesse beach that “offers experiences that reconnect you to what really matters in life, protecting and preserving our beautiful Earth at all times.”

April 2024

If you’ve never been to see the tulips in Amsterdam we recommend it’s well worth a visit, even for a weekend city break.

To celebrate their bicentenary this year, the National Gallery is sending 12 masterpieces (some that have never left the gallery before) to 12 cities across the land from Brighton to Edinburgh – check their website for details. We offer lots of UK breaks that can include this cultural opportunity in your itinerary.

Cruises are ever popular and there are now new cruises around Norway with Havila that are starting to book up.

If you need a new passport we recommend applying on-line as it’s £10.50 cheaper than doing it by post and generally easier. See all details at gov.uk/apply-renew-passport including how long it will take and how to get a fast track service. Do not book travel until you have a valid passport – your new passport will not have the same number as your old one.

An important reminder about passports – check the issue date as well as expiry. You need to be within 10 years of the issue date to visit any of the European Schengen states (which includes France) otherwise you will need a new passport. Some British passports have been issued with expiry dates more than 10 years from the issue date and people are getting caught out.

February 2024

An important reminder about passports – check the issue date as well as expiry. You need to be within 10 years of the issue date to visit any of the European Schengen states (which includes France) otherwise you will need a new passport. Some British passports have been issued with expiry dates more than 10 years from the issue date and people are getting caught out.

Don’t forget that Venice will be charging day-trippers to visit so it will probably pay to stay in the city to avoid the charge rather than make several day trips to see all that you wish.

Since most of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World are no longer visible, how about putting some of these on your bucket list instead?

  1. Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights
  2. Autralia’s lesser known wonders – the Undara Lava Tubes, Winton Dinosaur fossils or the Schwerin Mural ranges
  3. Table Mountain overlooking Cape Town – totally flat on top but home to Dassies (guinea pigs on steroids!) whose nearest relatives are? Elephants of course…
  4. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota USA – a man-made wonder
  5. The medieval city of Great Zimbabwe – a much more ancient man-made wonder.

Much, much closer to home, The Rose of Hungerford starts its year on the 10 March with the popular Mothering Sunday trips. All mothers get a drink and flowers, and their offspring a cold drink. The shorter morning trip is one and a half hours and goes through Dunmill lock: the afternoon trip is two and a half hours minutes and goes through two locks. Normally passengers are invited to get off at the second lock to stretch their legs and maybe help with the gates. Book early as these trips fill up quickly.

January 2024

Happy New Year! January is the traditional month for holiday planning and we have lots of new brochures flooding into the office. So get your thinking caps on – where would you like to go? Africa, India, Vietnam or Cambodia, Canada or the USA, Cruising to Antartica or maybe a quick break to a European city?

If you’re not sure, do ask our advice as our team have extensive personal experience of travelling pretty much all over the globe.

The world is definitely your oyster and the early bird certainly catches the worm as we are still finding that flights are getting booked up very quickly.

December 2023

Christmas markets are in full swing all over Europe but how about some of these new destinations for some exciting Christmas gifts? Copenhagen until 31/12; Salzburg until 1/1; Helsinki until 22/12, Zagreb from 2/12 until 7/1; Strasbourg until 24/12; Tallin until 7/1 and the Advent Feast in Budapest until 1/1. We can offer a choice of rail or air travel to all these interesting cities.

If you are concerned about how to travel sustainably this editorial from Juliet Kinsman, Sustainability Editor at Condé Nast Traveller is very interesting.

And don’t forget, a lot closer to home, the Rose of Hungerford is also booking for her popular Santa Trips along the canal so come and see us for all the details and times.

November 2023

If you hurry you might nab the last few free child places, plus £100 off visits to Santa’s Lapland this year – but you need to be quck as most are already sold out. If you aren’t lucky the consolation is that bookings are already being taken for 2024.

A lot closer to home, the Rose of Hungerford is also booking for her popular Santa Trips along the canal so come and see us for all the details and times.

If you use a wheelchair and thought that a bucket-list African safari was impossible for you – think again as we can make your dreams come true!

Holidays to Egypt and Jordan are still very much on the cards – in fact availability is extremely tight especially from now until the end of February – obviously keep a close eye on Foreign Office advice but returning travellers have reported no problems and fabulous experiences.

Finally, if you are planning ahead a number of cruise companies are booking for 2025 and just into 2026!! The early bird catches the worm.

October 2023

With hurricane season in full swing thoughts do not readily turn to the Caribbean but there is always a great deal in December before the Christmas holidays start and it requires much less flying than South Africa or Australia for winter sunshine! There are lots of islands with direct UK connections including St Lucia, Barbados, Antigua etc and they offer really warm hospitality.

January and February are proving exceedingly popular for antipodean adventures so if you haven’t already booked please be prepared for higher airfares than previously. Don’t forget your insurance and your visas!

Lots of holidays now available to book for summer 2024 and even into 2025 with the cruise companies. As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm!

For 18-30s looking for adventure with like-minded travellers and to make new friends from across the world we have some amazing excursions and group tours to recommend – with days filled with culture followed by free time and evenings to explore. From relaxing Greek island hopping to hiking the Canadian Rockies.

New brochures arriving daily so do pop in for some holiday inspiration!

August 2023

We often get asked by our customers for advice about travel insurance and the short answer is follow the ASAB code! As remember you need cover from the time you pay the deposit not from the day before you travel. Consider the following scenario: You have booked a non-refundable ticket to Australia and have paid a 50% deposit. You then decide to go skiing beforehand and only take out insurance just before the ski trip; you break your leg badly and will be in hospital for 12 weeks so unable to travel to Australia. Your insurance will pay for the ski holiday but not the huge deposit on the flights.

The other important thing to check with regards to insurance is that you divulge all medical conditions, you have cover for a cruise if that is your holiday, you are covered if the person you are going to visit becomes ill or dies and that you are covered for the total cost of the holiday or trip as most policies only cover up to £5,000 – £10,000. If this is your bucket list trip the cover will not be enough.

July 2023

The most popular destinations we’ve been booking recently are proving to be Malta and Mauritius. Egypt and Nile cruises have been so popular that it is difficult to get anything for 2023 now but all months in 2024 are still available. And for those who like to plan ahead, new cruises are now bookable into 2026!

Heathrow security staff strikes have been called off but Air Traffic Control has been a problem in France and elsewhere. As ever the advice is to check-in early and ensure that you have comprehensive travel insurance in place from the time you book.

And please remember the passport advice from last month…it still applies.

June 2023

Reminder to everyone travelling to Europe about passport validity. Most UK passports are renewed for 10 years so they run from say 30 September 2013 to 30 September 2023. But if you apply for your renewal early (eg in July) then UK Passport control give you an extension to the keep to the 10th anniversary of your previous expiry date eg 20 July 2023 to 30 September 2033.

Since Brexit this has become a probem when travelling to Europe. They will only consider your passport to be valid for 10 years from the start date, so in this case until 20 July 2033. And on top of this you need to have 3 months validity left on your passport after you return. So the last date you could return on this passport would be 20 April 2033.

However you could still travel to America and many other destinations in the world on this passport until 30 September 2033. Check with your travel agent for more details.

This summer there are bargains are to be had and mainland Spain and Turkey are good value but the summer holiday is already very full and much more expensive than last year. So the watchwords are to be open-minded and flexible. Cruising offers lots of options – especially when you consider that all meals are included (not to be sniffed at if you have permanently hungry teenagers!)

Planning ahead for 2024 and believe it or not for 2025 will secure best prices especially for super-popular destinations such as Canada and Egypt.

April 2023

If you need holiday inspiration, we can arrange travel to any of these wonderful destinations featured in Conde Nast Traveller or if you are a fan of the BBC series Death in Paradise you can visit Guadaloupe where it is filmed by changing in Paris.

Tenerife is a good year-round destination as it never gets too hot. Customers of ours have recently returned from a wonderful holiday at The Tigaiga Hotel in Tenerife. They were a bit daunted to make the trip after three years of relative hibernation but we supported them all the way. They were pleased to discover the hotel, garden and pool had been refurbished during lockdown but retained many of their staff who deliver an excellent service. And they were blessed with two weeks of blue skies and sunshine.

UK destinations are also remaining popular. We don’t look on our doorstep very often but closer to home it’s worth visiting Southampton, Bath and Bristol for a city break. If you want to get further afield we recommend summer city breaks in Belfast which is very vibrant and offers the Titanic Museum or Dublin which offers Dart public transport to the beaches either side of the city. Both cities can be reached by plane or ferry.

If you like to travel by train, consider the Scilly Isles especially as you can get there from Hungerford or Newbury changing at Taunton and then staying overnight in Penzance to catch the ferry. There is a wide range of accomodation on the Isles but they get booked up so you’re looking early at late summer/early September at this point.

The Peak District has lovely cottages to rent and lots of culture to enjoy as well as the walking of course.  There is also a lot of interest in Scotland and Northern Island trips via new UK coach company Touromo. If you are planning to visit the Lake District please be aware that some rights of way are closed due to erosion.

March 2023

Your correspondent is just back from two nights in Malta so herewith this month’s recommendation:

Stay at the Phoenicia perfectly positioned at the gate to Valetta and with a glorious spa with indoor pool plus a gorgeous garden ending in an infinity pool overlooking the Grand Harbour. Lots to see and do – great fun on a self-drive talking golf-cart tour of the Three Cities. Take time to explore the Mdina the “Silent City” on top of the hill with panoramic views of the whole of Malta – perhaps staying a night at the Xara Palace – think quirky rooms with terraces and hot tubs and Michelin-starred food! Spend a week relaxing on Gozo – diving and swimming in crystal clear waters. If it is culture and history that float your boat Malta has 365 churches mostly fairly plain outside but a riot of baroque colour and splendour inside; from prehistoric megaliths to the Knights of St John to Malta’s World War 2 exploits as the George Cross island there are a multitude of reasons to visit.

February 2023

Although Flybe have left the skies for a second time they may be bought by a Lufthansa/Air France consortium – probably only to get their Heathrow slots says the cynic in me! However a timely warning to ensure that you buy travel insurance as soon as you book anything and that it should include airline failure insurance. If you were not covered in this instance you will need to claim via your card issuer for your refund.

We have seen a huge demand for holidays so far this year and reduced capacity with tour operators means that prices are fairly high and that there are unlikely to be any bargains for last minute trips! So book early is definitely the theme for summer 2023. Cruise companies and escorted tour companies have already issued prices for 2024 so early bookers benefit from discounts and extra goodies like drinks packages.

Airlines are steadily increasing frequencies and re-instating routes so choice is returning to the market and, who knows, prices might come down a bit.

January 2023

Happy New Year everyone. We are cautiously hopeful that travel will be a lot easier this year so here are some inspiring destinations to tempt you.  A good news that there is now a direct flight to Essaouira in Morocco – saving approx three hour transfer from Marrakech. But for the immediate future, do be aware of changing COVID requirements again as Malayasia have re-instated theirs for all travellers, not just those from China.

Flights, especially to long-haul destinations, continue to be very pricey so take advantage of the BA and Virgin Atlantic sales currently on.

Travel Editions offer a range of cultural, short-breaks and extended escorted tours, which we think appeal to travellers rather than tourists. They offer extremely reasonable prices both in the UK and abroad – thanks to small specialist companies coming up with lots of new destinations and areas to discover so plenty of dreams to be realised. Please book early as there is considerably less capacity for flights and hotels/apartments so there are unlikely to be last-minute bargains.

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