Looking ahead to summer in Europe
Looking for a good deal? You might wish to make this the summer to try a spot of Greek island-hopping. Persistent concerns about cost, plus last month's riots in Athens look to have put off summer holidaymakers, with bookings from the UK reported to be down by almost a quarter. The good news is Greece is safe and open for business - disturbances were local, are over and Greece was always full of peaceful spots - and that the next few weeks should see some tasty offers emerge. Thoughts on currency fluctuations can be found below. Where's it going to be then? Kefalonia? Ios? Delphi?
Another destination that's taken a bit of a hit over the past few weeks is the land of a bit too much fire, Iceland. Eyjafjallajohwotever has stopped erupting, your currency will be worth around 30% more against the Krona than it was two years ago and, frankly, as a destination it is simply too amazing to not go to, straight away. Here's a tip: the further out of Reykjavik you get, the wilder things become.
I have spent some of today working out where you can go to to get a better deal this year than last if you're a British traveller. you can do this with your own currency by going to Oanda's Currency Converter and messing around with dates. The headlines? Things are better in the Eurozone but not much, the US and other dollar-based destinations offer 10% more for your pound than last year, and Egypt and Turkey are both not as good value as they were. The days of avoiding the Eurozone on financial grounds should be over.
As noted above, Turkey might just be a victim of its own success, but not this summer. Istanbul is enjoying a summer in the spotlight as European Capital of Culture, and resorts along the coast are enjoying bumper bookings. British repeat visitors may notice a rise in costs but few will probably care: Turkey remains good value and fashionable. Expect it to be busy wherever you go.
With new regulations making large-scale ash cloud groundings unlikely even in the event of Katla, Eyjafallajokull's pre-menstrual big sister blowing her top. So the only cloud on the horizon for flyers in Europe this summer is the seemingly endless British Airways strike. This dispute is long-running, bitter and personal and even the most optimistic of observers can't see it ending anytime soon. If you're booked with BA, keep your fingers crossed. And as much as it pains a proud Briton to say it, the only way to be sure of avoiding getting caught up in the strike action this summer is to book with someone else. If a resolution is reached, however, you can expect some great deals from British Airways to woo back disaffected passengers.
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