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Travel

Don’t start booking any summer holidays yet, government warns

BREAKING

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Transport Secretary warns the public that it is ‘too soon’ to start booking holidays ‘domestically or internationally’.

Grant Shapps told the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme that it’s ‘too soon’ to book holidays, reminding people that it is currently illegal.

He said: “First of all, I should say, people shouldn’t be booking holidays right now – not domestically or internationally. 

“The Prime Minister will say more about the route to unlocking this country, starting when he speaks about it on February 22nd.

“But we don’t know yet whether that will include information on things like holidays, simply because we don’t know where we’ll be up to in terms of the decline in cases, deaths, the vaccination.

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“And not just the vaccination programme here, but the vaccination programme internationally, because people will be going outside of our borders. So it’s too soon.”

On the ‘chance’ someone listening was considering booking a holiday, he said ‘bearing in mind you cannot legally do that at the moment’, before adding: “Please do not go ahead and book holidays for something that at this stage is illegal at home or abroad.”

He went onto explain that the ‘best advice is do nothing at this stage’ as it is too early to give information about summer. 

It comes after Matt Hancock unveiled tough new rules for travel including the possibility of 10-year jail time.

The health secretary said:  “Anyone who lies on the passenger locator form and tries to conceal that they’ve been in a country on the red list in the 10 days before arrival here will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years.”

He made ‘no apologies’ for the strict new rules which include two tests for travellers quarantining, one on day two and day eight of their 10-day isolation period.

There are growing concerns regarding the coronavirus strains here in the UK, with mass testing rolled out in South Manchester to help contain a particular variant. 

Travel

Up to 24 countries could be added to the green list this week, according to travel expert

Good news for those wanting a last minute get-away this year…

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Unsplash / @chan.lee

As many as twenty-four countries could be removed from the red list and put onto the green list, a travel expert has predicted this week.

Paul Charles, a former radio and TV presenter turned travel PR specialist, shared his prediction today as to which countries will be removed from the red list and replaced onto the green list.

As it stands, the government’s traffic light system organises countries into three categories – green, amber, and red – to determine what safety measures are needed in order to travel to those places. For example, countries on the red list are deemed as too unsafe and impose full travel bans. 

@james737 / Unsplash

Those on the amber list, however, require travellers to take a Covid test before travelling, and prove that it tested negative. On their return, people also have to take Covid tests on days two and eight – and quarantine for ten days.

Countries on the green list, alternatively, are deemed as safe enough for travellers to not need to take any Covid tests or self-isolate upon both their arrival and their departure. 

And this week, a massive number of red list countries are predicted to be upgraded to the green list travel status, according to Charles. He tweeted: “There have been no new Covid Variants of Concern since 11th May.

“Our analysis shows 24 countries should come off the UK red list immediately including Argentina, Egypt, Kenya, Namibia, Oman, Pakistan, South Africa, Uruguay, Zambia.”

Other countries expected to make the move are Paraguay, Rwanda, Colombia, Malawi, Chile, and Indonesia. 

Charles also said that Turkey should be taken off the red list, explaining: “It has some of the best Covid safety policies in place, especially in hotels and other tourist areas and has worked hard to reduce its infection rates.”

The government’s traffic light system is set be scrapped all together next month and will be replaced with a system based off vaccinations. For more information, visit the Gov.uk website.

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Travel

You can stay in a tropical boutique narrowboat with its own pink gin bar in Manchester

A Manc staycation never looked so good

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Last month, we thought we’d seen it all with the arrival of Manchester’s first ever luxury barge – but had we ever envisioned a green oasis narrowboat with its own gin bar?

The short answer is no, no we did not. 

But low and behold, the tropical and gin-fuelled narrowboat none of us knew we needed exists, and it’s ready for you and your mates to hire here in Manchester’s city centre.

Airbnb

Parked up in the picturesque waterways of Castlefield and just a stone’s throw away from Deansgate, the ‘Boutique Narrowboat’ is described on its Airbnb listing as an ‘adorable pet-friendly floating hideaway.’

The boat features quirky interior – we’re talking animal print walls, unique artwork and an abundance of greenery, kind of quirky – and a lovely outdoor seating area perfect for enjoying the city while remaining sequestered from the outside world.

But the best part of the boat is located inside – there, guests can find a pink honesty bar complete with a vast selection of gin, wines, beers and soft drinks. There’s even games and fancy dress to make for the most fun staycation of your lives.

Airbnb

As well as a fully functional bar and outdoor patio area, there is one bedroom with a small double bed, one bathroom with a fully functioning toilet and shower, a fireplace and a kitchen with amenities like a fridge. Breakfast items, wifi and parking also come included. 

The boat’s Airbnb page is inundated with glowing reviews, with one happy guest writing: “It’s the best place I have stayed in a long time. All the little touches make the place feel really cosy and special. The honesty bar is the best addition – sitting there with the back open was perfect!”

Another former boat dweller commented: “Absolutely gorgeous boat in a perfect location in the heart of the city. The boat was beyond our expectations and Sara the host was on hand with any queries we had throughout our stay. The outdoor section and bar area were really such lovely additions to the stay. Couldn’t rate or recommend it higher!”

Airbnb

The boat is priced at £91 per night (excluding cleaning and service fees), and sleeps strictly two guests.

As you’d expect, demand is incredibly high for a stay in Manchester’s coolest boat, so the next available dates are at the end of August and the end of the September.

To book your own staycation and for more information, visit the Airbnb listing here

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Travel

You can now stay in the original Spice Girls ‘SpiceBus’ on Airbnb

This bus will truly spice up your life…

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@spicegirls / Instagram & Airbnb

Calling all Spice Girls fans: You can now spend a night (or two) in the actual bus from the 1997 Spice World film.

The SpiceBus, which one graced Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), Emma Bunton (Baby Spice), Mel B (Scary Spice), Melanie Chisholm (Sporty Spice) and Victoria Beckham (Posh Spice), is now listed on Airbnb for Spice Girls fans far and wide to hire. 

The bus has since had an incredible makeover since its glory days in the ‘90s and now resides in the Isle of White, right on the doorstep of a stunning marina.

Airbnb

Though the owner of the bus did stress that, as a Spice Girls fan herself, she has kept it as authentic to the original design as possible. On the bus’ listing, she wrote: “The outside of the bus looks exactly as it did in the Spice World movie, with its iconic Union Jack-painted exterior. 

“I’m a huge fan of the band and have tried to include as many little touches as possible inspired by the girls and their music, to make the inside just as iconic as the outside!”

Guests will have full run of the double-decker bus, which can sleep up to three guests across two bedrooms and one living room. For those wanting to snack and keep their tipples cold, a mini fridge is included.

Airbnb

Towards the back of the bus, visitors will also find a spacious seating area with a table and three Union Jack cinema-style chairs for relaxing in front of the TV or listening to music (Spice Girls preferred) on the old school CD player.

Shops, restaurants and bars are within walking distance, and there are bathroom and kitchen facilities on site.

The bus has proven to be a huge hit with guests so far, with one happy Airbnb user writing: “The best Airbnb i have ever stayed in. The attention to detail, the facilities, the location and easy check in was all amazing. If you are a spice girls fan PLEASE book this!”

Airbnb

Another wrote: “This is the perfect place to stay with your bestie if you are spice or 90s obsessed. So many lovely little nostalgic touches. Was such a joy, would absolutely recommend.”

This will definitely be a trip to remember – for more details and to make your own reservation, visit the Airbnb listing here.

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