Volcanic Ash Proof Holidays Take Off

17May10

Talk to anyone planning a holiday at the moment and chances are their number one concern is volcanic ash. We are not used to volcanic eruptions interfering with our travel plans but it seems as if it is going to become an ongoing problem. The flight restrictions which kept many of the airports in the UK closed over the weekend have now ended but they may return again soon. Those who can have made alternative plans whilst other have to rely on travel insurance and crossing their fingers.

Eyjafjallajökull first became a problem for those of us outside of Iceland around April the 14th when the fine ash it had ejected started making its way to UK airspace. We now have to accept that as long as the volcano continues to erupt we are at the mercy of the weather. Whenever the wind arrives from the North West their are risks of flights being grounded due to safety concerns. Some have argued that it is safe to fly through the less dense areas of ash but the risk is just too big to take. If UK airspace is not closed there is always the risk of strike action for BA passengers.

Holiday makers are now taking into consideration possible no fly zones when planning trips for this summer. The Channel Tunnel has seen a rise in bookings over the last month as people chose to travel under the channel rather than try to fly over it. Ferry ports have also witnessed a big increase in travelers as you would expect.

It is very easy to travel to France without flying (it is a popular destination with the aerophobic) but what about other countries in mainland Europe? If you are willing to drive on the wrong side of the road then a combination of the ferry to mainland Europe and car hire to Spain, Cyprus or Switzerland etc are suitable alternatives. For example if you wish to travel to Malaga in Spain you could take the following route:

  • Train from home to Plymouth or Portsmouth
  • Ferry to Santander (Brittany Ferries travel to Santander 4 times a week and you can mix and match your outward/ return journey)
  • Car hire to Malaga (About 600 miles from Santander or two trips of 300 miles with a stop off in Madrid)

Driving all the way across Spain is perhaps a daunting task but you will see more of Spain in one day than you might otherwise in a whole fortnight. Stopping of in Madrid on the way would help to break up your journey. If you do decide to book a flight make sure you have good travel insurance cover and a plan B!

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