Destination of the week: The Med with Easyjet
In an already difficult summer for traditional holiday firms, easyJet has launched package holidays. www.easyJetholidays.com. These "opaque packages" (protected by a travel trust scheme) combine hotel rooms with easyJet flights, which means that destinations are limited: if you select your starting point as Aberdeen, and click on "Find your perfect holiday ", the only location offered is London. But Spanish prices are keenly pitched even for close-in bookings: a test purchase made from Edinburgh to Alicante, travelling next weekend for a week, found a price of £372 including two-star accommodation, based on two sharing. The company says that "perennially unpopular features" such as compulsory one-week stays, or accommodation allocated upon arrival" are absent from easyJetHolidays. Also absent are resort transfers.
Mainstream package holiday prices are rising from the start of July, especially in Scotland – where the earlier start of the school holidays means higher demand. For example, a Thomson package to Bulgaria (pictured, above), departing next weekend for a week of half-board, costs £400 from Gatwick but £572 from Glasgow. And travellers from southern Scotland aiming for Majorca on 7 July can save £210 per person on a one-week high-quality First Choice holiday, staying at the Lagotel Playa de Muro, if they fly from Manchester rather than take the option of a Glasgow departure, currently priced at £802.
Warning of the week: India
Britain is not the only nation that has been suffering from flooding this week. On Wednesday, the Foreign Office issued an alert about storms in India: "Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have been badly affected by flooding due to heavy rainfall. Tamil Nadu and Orissa have been put on alert. You should monitor local media and follow locally issued advice." Simon Calder
Bargain of the week: UK in style, if you book today
Hotel Du Vin ( www.hotelduvin.com) is unveiling two new hotels this summer, and has a summer promotion at each with double rooms starting at £120 without breakfast – but only if you book today, 30 June. The two properties are Hotel du Vin Cheltenham (01242 633738), opening next Monday, 2 July and Hotel du Vin Cambridge (01223 352 646), due to open on 20 August. And at Hotel du Vin Birmingham (0121 200 0600) during July and August, you get a double room with breakfast, a personal shopper and two glasses of Champagne at Selfridges for £99.
As business travel slows for the summer, more bargains appear. From tomorrow, Malmaison (0845 365 4247; www.malmaison.com) – part of the same organisation as Hotel du Vin – is offering double rooms at its property in Clerkenwell, London for £125, without breakfast. In Newcastle, dinner, bed and breakfast for two costs £155. Emily DarlingReuse content