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News & Advice

Avoiding the Olympic-sized summer crowds

Q&A: travel unravelled

Q. What will it be like travelling "against the flow" at the start and end of the Olympics? Will it be plain sailing as so few people will be leaving the country at the beginning of the games or coming back at the end? Or will potential delays from Olympic visitors spill over to disrupt travellers flying out on 27 July and back on, say, 12 August? I'm really hoping to go away on holiday for the duration... Martin Lunnon

A. Tour operators and airlines say there is little evidence the Olympics are affecting outbound holiday bookings. The forecast from Heathrow is that the airport will experience the three busiest days in its history immediately before and after the Olympics.

But even if that ambitious prediction proves accurate, "against the flow" flights are unlikely to be affected at Britain's busiest airport. While there is some potential for disruption – for example, before the Games if inbound aircraft are delayed on the ground because of overcrowding in the arrivals areas – Heathrow is planning a range of measures. Aircraft movements are capped at 1,370.

Gatwick is expecting athletes from 25 countries to pass through, without disruption. Stansted says any additional traffic will be assigned to off-peak times. Luton is expecting its busiest-ever days.


Q. We have a room with ensuite in our house in Epsom and would like to offer it to a couple visiting London for the Olympics or Diamond Jubilee – but do not how to go about it with advertising etc. Brenda Kelly

A. You could list your spare room on Airbnb.com, a US website that connects travellers with people who have space for guests in their homes. If you charge £50 a night, Airbnb takes £1.50 – and charges £5 to the guest. AirBNB has a rating system (supplied by previous hosts) and guarantees to make good any damage caused.