Where to travel in April: The best holiday destinations from Cyprus sunshine to skiing in France

Where to travel in April: The best holiday destinations from Cyprus sunshine to skiing in France

Clocks going forward, longer days, spring flowers popping up everywhere, plus the prospect of the Easter holidays, make an April break such an appealing idea. And it isn’t too late to bag a deal for departure next month.

Head south for some summer-like warmth, enjoy long, sunny days at a high-altitude ski resort or explore the British countryside.

Domestic bliss can be found in the Peak District on a five-night stay in the Derbyshire Dales; snowsure slopes are a draw at the dizzying heights of Val d’Isère in the French Alps; sunshine and handsome baroque towns abound with an agro-tourism stay in Sicily; and traditional artisans in a thriving medina await on a break to Fès in Morocco.

You could get in the mood for Easter with a trip to a traditional Cypriot village or revel in the slow pace of life on board a 58ft narrowboat through Worcestershire.

Wherever you decide to have a holiday in April, some of these ideas might inspire you.

Visit traditional Cypriot village Kato Lefkara

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)


Get a flavour of Orthodox Easter in the middle of a traditional Cypriot village when you stay at Annis House. This three-bedroom stone house has been sympathetically restored and is in the small village of Kato Lefkara, about halfway between Larnaca and Limassol. The weather should be pleasant enough for barbecues in the courtyard garden, and there’s some excellent hiking within a 15-minute drive. Booked through Sunvil, the holiday costs from £731pp, based on six sharing, for a week’s self-catering, including flights and car hire. Departs 14 April.


Aim high and get a last blast of winter skiing at Val d’Isère over Easter. Base yourself in Chalet Vallon and you’ll be right on the piste in La Praz de la Legettaz. Sno has slashed 44 per cent off a week’s stay – now costing from £719pp instead of £1,289pp. This includes flights, transfers and catered chalet accommodation (daily breakfast, six afternoon teas and five evening meals), for an 8 April departure.

A week’s stay at Val d’Isére is currently reduced to a cool £719

(Getty Images)


Explore some of the Peak District’s loveliest sights on the five-night Derbyshire Dales guided walking holiday offered by Ramblers Walking Holidays. You’ll be based in Matlock Bath at the New Bath Hotel and Spa, and have an intermediate level of walks to try, including the High Peak Trail, Lathkill Dale and the Limestone Trail. Running from 16-21 April, the holiday costs from £660pp and includes breakfast, dinner, guided walks and private transport to and from the trailheads.


Sicily in the springtime is delightful, with blossom smothering the countryside and temperatures that are more pleasant than in the UK. At Cambiocavallo agriturismo in the south-east, you’ll be a short drive from some of Sicily’s handsomest baroque towns, including Modica, Noto and Scicli – and the coast is just a few minutes’ drive away. A seven-night stay with Long Travel costs from £643pp and include flights, car hire and breakfast.


Alternative Marrakech destination Fès has a mosque and a medina with souks

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

If you want a slightly less hectic alternative to Marrakech, spend a few days in another of Morocco’s imperial capitals, Fès. It too has a medina packed with colourful souks including the Chouara Tannery, as well as the sprawling Kairaouine Mosque. Travel with Fleewinter and you’ll get a guided tour of the Medina as well as a day trip to Morocco’s former capital, Meknes, and the Roman settlement at Voubilis. Prices for a four-night break start at £365pp and also include breakfast and private transfers. Flights are extra.


Get used to a wonderfully slow pace of life on board a 58ft narrowboat with Black Prince, whose Worcestershire base takes you into the heart of England. You’ll have many routes to meander along, including the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, the Stourport Basin Canal and the River Severn. Depending on the route, you can make scenic stops in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick or Leamington Spa. A week’s hire on a Duchess 4, which sleeps four in two double-bed cabins, costs from £1,250 from 22 April, down from £1,471. It includes damage waiver, gas, parking at the base, bed linen, towels and tuition. Fuel is extra.

Mary Novakovich is editor at large at 101holidays.co.uk.

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When Does Travel Brand Loyalty Make Sense?

When Does Travel Brand Loyalty Make Sense?

Travel brand loyalty is nothing new. Ever since Texas International Airlines and American Airlines created the first frequent-flyer programs in the late 1970s and early 1980s, travelers have been racking up miles, seeking elite status and pouring their airfare dollars into brands that offer the most perks.

Yet sticking with a single airline, hotel or rental car program comes with built-in limitations. It means narrowing one’s comparison shopping, for one thing, which can effectively increase prices. A person who’s loyal to, say, Delta Air Lines might pay $100 more for a flight on Delta in order to earn miles and status. Is that trade-off worth it?

“It has to be a really good deal for me to fly with another airline,” says Joanne Herd, travel advisor at Girasole Travel, a luxury travel booking service, who has been loyal to American Airlines for years. 

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She recently took a business-class flight with Singapore Airlines because it cost thousands of dollars less than those available on an American Airlines partner.

“I almost regretted it because I barely made the status I wanted,” she says.

Navigating these trade-offs is particularly fraught for semi-frequent travelers, who may not travel enough to earn high-level elite status perks, but still want to earn and use miles. Collecting a few hundred points from a smattering of loyalty programs might be more trouble than it’s worth, yet sticking with one program can limit travel options.

Here’s how to decide whether going monogamous with a travel brand makes sense. 

Big payoffs for big spenders

Travel brands like United Airlines and Marriott maintain their loyalty programs for a simple reason: They want to attract big spenders, particularly business travelers. To this end, loyalty programs will lavish benefits on travelers in proportion to how frequently they travel (and how much they spend). 

This might sound simple, but it affects the value of these programs for ultra-frequent travelers relative to leisure travelers. For example, a traveler with the lowest-level Hilton status will get about $2 back in value for every $100 they spend, according to a NerdWallet analysis, while someone with the highest-level status will get about $49 in value for every $100 they spend. 

This is an enormous gulf, and highlights how the juice might not be worth the squeeze for low-level status. Katy Nastro, a travel expert at flight deals website Going, emphasized the same goes for airline elite status, which disproportionately rewards high rollers.

“It takes a lot of short flights to even reach the lowest rung of the ladder,” Nastro said in an email. “So you may be foregoing cheaper — and quite possibly better flights — for the potential of a reward in the future.”

Because the perks are so valuable for very frequent travelers, it almost always makes sense for them to maintain some travel loyalty, even at the cost of convenience.

Other trade-offs to consider

While limiting one’s loyalty to a single travel brand can offer benefits for frequent travelers, it also has hidden drawbacks. Claire Sturzaker, who writes about travel on her blog Tales of a Backpacker, began traveling full-time seven years ago. Yet despite her bonafide frequent traveler status, she mostly avoids loyalty programs and the elite status rat race.

“I want something different when I travel; that’s why I travel,” she says. “I would rather stay at a small guest house. I know money is going back into the community where I am, rather than a giant global corporation.”

Sturzaker acknowledges that chain brand hotels offer reliability and convenience, but says those aren’t usually her top priorities. And she likes to visit off-the-beaten-path destinations, where no single airline alliance flies. Instead, she tries to fly nonstop with budget airlines whenever possible. 

So, who should bother with travel elite status programs? Those travelers for whom they were designed — frequent business travelers. Semi-frequent travelers who take a few trips per year might see some benefit from loyalty, but these perks are often offset by the increased cost of limiting one’s shopping choices.

And sticking with a single brand might make you miss the most magical aspect of travel — the unexpected. 

“I stayed at a family-run place in a small village in Honduras, run by a husband and wife and three boys,” Sturzaker says. “There was a power outage during my stay, so we all just sat around and chatted. That would never happen at a Hilton.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press.

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Multimodality app could launch in Europe in 2024

Multimodality app could launch in Europe in 2024

The travel industry has talked for some time about end-to-end mobility without delivering. But if a partnership among European travel companies goes according to plan, travelers in Europe could have the option to book all legs of their trip in a single platform as soon as summer 2024, says Jean-François Cases, president of the data-sharing initiative EONA-X.

Rather than going to various websites or apps, travelers could use a single app to select flights, buses, trains, car rides and even bicycles from an à la carte menu. Then they’d receive real-time updates and notifications in the app, and all tickets and travel documents would be stored there.

Nearly one year since EONA-X officially formed on April 1, the initiative is on track to launch the multimodal service in time for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris so it can be operational for delegations to use, according to Cases.

EONA-X was founded by Aéroport Marseille Provence, Air France-KLM Group, global travel technology provider Amadeus, Groupe ADP, Renault Group and SNCF Group. Apidae Tourisme, a tourist data platform that includes most local and regional tourism offices in France, is an active member. Besides serving as the initiative’s president, Cases is also vice president and associate general counsel of intangibles, data value and R&D for Amadeus.

The group’s vision is to “facilitate data sharing in a secure and standardized way to enhance seamless travel, multi/intermodality and apply a sustainability approach to smart cities,” according to the website.

Possible uses are endless, Cases says. For example, the collaboration could lead to an airport providing more chargers for electric vehicles.

The partners are also developing solutions for travel disruption. For instance, if a train breaks down, how will passengers easily access other transportation? The app will be unique in that it will manage disruptions in real-time, according to Cases.

“All the participants share the value of the [data] exchange” so not just one company benefits, but sovereignty over their own data is key, Cases says. “Everybody exchanges data only to whom they want, when they want and on the conditions they want.”


If Europe wants to be carbon-neutral by 2050, people will have to change the way they move.

Jean-François Cases – EONA-X

Data presents an opportunity to create added value in the world of mobility, including real-time, simulation, AI support, aggregation and graphical/3D user experience, according to Air France-KLM group transformation senior adviser Jean-Christophe Lalanne.

EONA-X enables companies to share knowledge, enhance collective intelligence and open access to data “in a safe and sovereign way,” he says.

Because of the expertise of data scientists and data analysts, “from a technical standpoint a lot is available and a lot is to come,” Lalanne says. “It’s time to unleash creativity and ideation” to address customers’ pain points in mobility and tourism.

The collaboration resulted from proposed regulations drawn up by the European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm. A group of travel organizations recently pressed the EU to require airlines and train operators to share their data with third parties as part of the new Multimodal Digital Mobility Services regulation, Business Travel News Europe reported. The proposed rule “aims to better integrate public transport and rail services to achieve seamless multimodal passenger transport.”

It is all part of an overarching EU goal to become carbon neutral by 2050.

“If Europe wants to be carbon neutral by 2050, people will have to change the way they move,” Cases says. “Multimodality is not a choice. We need to plan for that. … We are obliged to go that way because it is the authorities’ roadmap.”

Industry players understand that they must adapt for the common good – to fight pollution and mitigate climate change, he says. Multimodal options will include car sharing, electric cars, bicycles and trains.

Amadeus commissioned a 2022 study that found that a multimodal digital services ecosystem could reduce CO2 emissions per passenger-kilometer by 5%. That’s because travelers could compare the carbon emissions footprint of different travel options, while also choosing from an improved selection that allows them to leave their cars at home, according to Amadeus.

The transition won’t be easy, Cases says. Electric cars are more expensive than gas-powered cars, and it takes effort to travel by bicycle instead of a car. Fortunately, he says, younger generations of Europeans prefer to travel sustainably, such as taking a train instead of a plane.

EONA-X will be a data catalog, an organized inventory of shareable data assets, according to the group.

Data spaces like EONA-X serve an important purpose because breaking down silos among companies fuels innovation, Cases says.

“But you know, sharing data is not easy,” he says. “People don’t like to give data. They always think that the other one is going to make more money with your data than you could have done yourself.”

The key is ensuring that the data is shared evenly so everyone benefits. Still, “challenges are many,” Cases says. For example, different modes of transport have developed their own standards and systems that have operated independently for years. Privacy and antitrust laws make data sharing risky for businesses.

But an end-to-end mobility service will work now because the government is requiring action, consumers want it and data-sharing like this will enable it, Cases says.

Options could even include electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft, says Peter Altmann, vice president of mobility and travel protection at Amadeus.

The company’s investment in Eccocar, announced in late 2022, “will allow experimentation to enable more seamless travel use cases along the end-to-end journey,” Altmann says.

Amadeus envisions extending the end-to-end experience beyond mobility to apply to the entire traveler journey.

“The idea is for travel sellers to also be able to propose destination services – for example, restaurants, places to visit,” Altmann says. “Through the Amadeus Travel Platform, we will enable a traveler’s planning of the entire journey and their payment in one transaction.”
Since August users in the United Kingdom have been able to search and book train and bus trips in Uber, including travel on Eurostar and for airport transfers, through a partnership with multimodal travel platform Omio. And hotels and flights may be on the way.

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Flight attendants call for ban on babies on laps after recent severe turbulence episodes

Flight attendants call for ban on babies on laps after recent severe turbulence episodes

Flight attendants have renewed calls to ban babies from sitting on adults’ laps during flights after several recent incidents of severe turbulence.

The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA-CWA) union, which represents more than 50,000 flight attendants across 20 airlines, has called on legislators to require all passengers to have their own seats on a flight, regardless of age, for safety reasons.

At present, most airlines currently allow children aged under two years old to fly for free on their parent or guardian’s lap.

However, Sara Nelson, the leader of AFA-CWA, argues that this is not safe and that the issue has been a concern for flight attendants for decades.

“We’ve seen airplanes go through turbulence recently and drop 4,000 feet in a split second,” she told the Washington Post.

“The G-forces are not something even the most loving mother or father can guard against and hold their child. It’s just physically impossible.”

The union raised the issue at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety summit in Northern Virginia last week and has submitted its list of priorities, including “a seat for every soul,” to Congress.

Current guidance on the FAA website echoes this position.

On its “Flying with Children” advisory page, the agency states: “The safest place for your child under the age of two on a US airplane is in approved child restraint system (CRS) or device, not in your lap.

“Your arms aren’t capable of holding your in-lap child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence, which is the number one cause of paediatric injuries on an airplane.”

The call come after a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt from Austin, Texas, had to be diverted to Dulles International Airport in Virginia just outside Washington DC after experiencing major turbulence.

Seven people were injured and taken to hospital, while an infant flew out of its mother’s arms.

One passenger told the paper that the plane went into “free fall” at the beginning of the dinner service and that both people and food “went flying into the air, hitting and even damaging the ceiling of the plane”.

Lufthansa told The Independent in a statement that the flight “encountered brief but severe turbulence about 90 minutes after takeoff. The Lufthansa flight made an unscheduled landing at Washington Dulles Airport as a precautionary measure”.

“After the Airbus A330-300 landed, affected passengers received medical attention,” a spokesperson said. “Lufthansa ground staff at Dulles are currently attending to the well-being of passengers and rebooking them accordingly. The company is currently reviewing the exact situation together with its own staff and with national and international authorities.”

“Lufthansa regrets the inconvenience caused to passengers. The safety and well-being of passengers and crew members is Lufthansa’s top priority at all times,” the airline added.

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An arty weekend in … Southend-on-Sea, Essex

An arty weekend in … Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Make the trip for …
Southend-on-Sea, a traditional British resort, may not be an obvious art destination, but it is an emerging street-art destination. Southend City Jam, its inaugural street art festival, took place last September. More than 100 local and international artists created murals for the city centre and seafront, and many are now permanent fixtures. This year’s event is set for 1-3 September. There is a map of the art at southendcityjam.co.uk, or for a quick fix, the railway bridge over the High Street has three excellent examples. The LuminoCity light festival also launched last year, and returned last month.

Now what?
The free Beecroft Art Gallery has a collection of 2,000 works donated to the town by Walter Beecroft, a local solicitor, in 1952. His tastes were eclectic: 17th-century Dutch masters, an early work by Constable, a Jacob Epstein bronze. The gallery also houses Southend’s fashion collection – including 500 bathing suits – while the Jazz Centre downstairs hosts live music on Saturdays.

An exhibition at the Focal Point gallery
An exhibition at the Focal Point gallery. Photograph: Focal Point Gallery/Visit Essex

The Forum is home to the contemporary Focal Point Gallery, which also curates Big Screen Southend in Elmer Square, showing daily video art. NetPark, in nearby Chalkwell Park, Westcliff-on-Sea, claims to be the world’s first digital art park. It has 15 artworks experienced via smartphone and headphones, including music and spoken-word poetry. Southend’s Central Museum has a permanent display of archaeological finds from the Prittlewell Princely Burial, the earliest dated Anglo-Saxon princely burial in England (about AD580-605).

When to go
There’s always something going on in Southend, and it’s a lovely resort to wander around in spring and summer. Alternatively, the Halloween Parade, which began in 2021, is a fun, free event – and a chance to get creative with costumes.

Southend City Jam artwork
Photograph: Southend City Jam

Souvenir shopping
Upmarket Leigh-on-Sea (less than 10 minutes by train or a one-hour coastal walk) is full of independent shops and galleries. The annual Leigh Art Trail runs from 8-16 July – last year, 69 artists exhibited work at 50 venues.

Get outside
Southend is the proud location of the longest pleasure pier in the world: 1.34 miles. Visitors can stroll to the end and back (or jump on the narrow-gauge train), stopping at the Pier Head for fish and chips.

Drinks and dinner
Twenty One is a cafe, gallery and live music venue on the seafront, with lots of vegan options. The Royal Hotel, built in 1791, is a buzzy spot for a pre-dinner bellini. Follow it with ribeye steak with chimichurri at the Mews, a bar and atmospheric first-floor restaurant.

In Leigh, Food By John Lawson is an experimental no-menu restaurant. The three-course Friday lunch, based on seasonal vegetables and sustainable fish, is great value (£29.95 including a glass of wine).

Afternoon tea at Roslin Beach Hotel.
Afternoon tea at Roslin Beach Hotel. Photograph: Visit Essex

The Roslin Beach Hotel on Thorpe Bay has 62 rooms (doubles from £99 room-only), many with sea views, plus a spa, bar and restaurant.

Getting there
Southend Victoria has trains to London Liverpool Street, and Southend Central is on the line from London Fenchurch Street to Shoeburyness.

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Sydney WorldPride 2023 pushed hotel performance to pre-pandemic levels

Sydney WorldPride 2023 pushed hotel performance to pre-pandemic levels

Sydney WorldPride 2023 drove the market’s hotel average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) above pre-pandemic levels, while occupancy remained slightly below 2019, according to preliminary data from STR.

During the 17-day event, Sydney’s highest occupancy levels were recorded on Saturday, 4 March (95.8%) and Saturday, 25 February (95.4%). Throughout the period, daily occupancy remained above 80% with only three days falling below that mark. 

“WorldPride was held for the first time in the Southern Hemisphere with Sydney hosting a series of events across two weeks to commemorate LGBTQIA+ pride and celebrate contributions made,” said Matthew Burke, STR’s regional director for Pacific, Japan & Central South Asia. “The festival generated enormous interest with hotels reporting consistently high occupancy and room rates.” 

When compared with the matching 17-day period in 2019, Sydney occupancy was 2.3% lower while ADR (+25.7%) and RevPAR (+22.1%) were each up by double figures. In dollar terms, accommodation operators saw a room revenue lift of AUD43 million from 2019.

“Room rate during the period reached its peak on Saturday, 25 February, the day of the Mardi Gras Parade, with the metric coming in at AUD414, while occupancy reached 95.4%. That night was always anticipated to produce a high occupancy level, with STR’s Forward STAR data indicating a spike in occupancy on the books visible as early as November 2022.”

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