Unless hulking battle-buses and domestic flights to marginal constituencies are your thing, travel didn’t feature a great deal in General Election campaigning from the three main parties.
Perhaps it seemed frivolous in a time of financial despondency and deepening economic gloom. Not so, according to ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer, who claims that reformation of the Airline Passenger Duty and a commitment to rail and airport infrastructure are “essential to the health of UK PLC. We have a very strong case to make that travel truly matters.” He also says that, “As an important provider of jobs and wealth creator, travel and tourism must be at the heart of the decision-making process and our concerns fully addressed by the new regime.”
So there you are: it’s our duty to travel. Luckily, great deals feature a great deal in this column. And crucially, once the dust – both volcanic and political – finally settles, where’s cheap?
Let’s start with the forthcoming May bank holiday. Ebookers ( www.ebookers.com) has a couple of nice deals on offer. For example, depart on Friday 28 May to Brussels for three nights in Brussels’ three-star Holiday Inn for just £191 per person including flights from Heathrow. Or head for Lisbon instead: three nights in the four-star Turim Alameda costs just £245 per person, including flights from Heathrow.
Meanwhile, i-escape ( www.i-escape.com) has a discount at the Villa Creta in Crete. A seven night half-term break costs from £273 per person (based on five sharing), departing 28 May, flights not included.
If you enjoyed "Jamie Does… Venice" on Channel four this week, then Sunvil Discovery ( www.sunvil.co.uk) is offering three-night short breaks to the city from £462 per person departing in May. The price includes flights from Gatwick, transfers and B&B at the three-star Ca D’Oro. Sunvil Discovery is also offering savings on May departures to the Azores, with dolphin-watching and hiking options aplenty. Prices are from £389 per person including flights from Gatwick or Manchester, transfers and seven nights B&B accommodation at the three-star Hotel Talisman in Ponta Delgada on Sao Miguel.
Alternatively, cruise118.com ( www.cruise118.com) has a seven- night Mediterranean cruise on board the Island Escape from just £599. Departing from Palma de Mallorca (Spain), the ship calls at Trapini (Italy), Corfu (Greece), Naples (Italy), Livorno (Florence), Cannes (France) and Barcelona (Spain) before returning to Palma de Mallorca. Flights from Gatwick are included in the price; departure on 27 May.
Or what about a spot of caravanning? Canvas Holidays ( www.canvasholidays.co.uk) is offering seven nights at Yelloh! Village le Littoral in the Vendee in France from £360 per family (two adults and up to four children) sharing a two-bedroom mobile home, including Dover to Calais ferry crossing. The site is near the sea and has a pool complex with various waterslides.
Setting your sights slightly further afield, Hayes & Jarvis ( www.hayesandjarvis.com) has a one-week holiday at Bandos in the Maldives for £749 per person, a saving of £300. Bandos is on the North Male Atoll, and the packages includes seven nights B&B, Qatar Airways flights from Heathrow and speedboat transfers.