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UK bank to offer holidaymakers euros at ATMs

Travellers heading out on Spanish holidays can now withdraw their holiday euros from an ATM on the UK high street.

Halifax has become the first high street bank in Britain to offer its customers the chance to withdraw euros and US dollars from a multi-currency cash machine in one of its UK branches.

The first euro cash machine was opened for business at the bank's Old Broad Street branch in the City of London on Wednesday, with more planned before the end of the year for other locations both in London and elsewhere across the country.

Nigel Turkington, head of travel money at Halifax, said: "Our customers have told us that the immediate availability of foreign currency would be a valuable addition to our services and we plan to roll out more of these multi-currency ATMs in the near future.

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Frequent short breaks becoming the holiday norm

People are going on holiday more often during the year, but for shorter amounts of time, according to a new survey.

A report conducted by Euromonitor International found that people were increasingly likely to take a greater number of short trips abroad throughout the year, rather than just one big holiday in the summer or winter.

On-line travel was encouraging the trend, the 'Global E-Travel Habits' report concluded, since bookings through the internet made the process of low-cost booking holidays at short notice far easier than ever before. Many of the short breaks involved the use of low-cost airlines, Euromonitor found.

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Plans for geological park in Murcia

A new geological park aimed at tourists taking holidays in Spain could be set up in the province of Murcia after fossilised animal footprints around 11 million years old were discovered in the area.

The geological park, if it goes ahead, may include the region of Jumilla, where the footprints were found. Nearby areas including Minas de la Celia, La Hoya de la Sima and Cabezon de la Rosa may also be covered by the planned park.

The fossilised footprints were discovered during a geological dig in the Sierra de las Cabras in Jumilla, a wine-producing region of Murcia close to La Manga.

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Spain the place for green holidays

With more holidaymakers looking for environmentally responsible holidays than ever before, visitors heading out on Spanish holidays can take comfort in the fact that a holiday in Spain can be both green and good for the environment.

A study published by the International Ecotourism Society showed that over the course of 2004, eco-tourism was growing three times faster than the global tourism industry as a whole.

"We are seeing the beginning of real consumer demand for more responsible tourism," a spokesperson for website responsibletravel.com, commented.

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Government: family holidays better during school vacations

The UK government advised parents last week that it is better for children if family holidays are taken outside of term time, during the official school holidays.

Although family holidays can be taken all year round, with schools allowed to grant up to ten days authorised holiday within term time, officials advised that it was better for children not to miss school.

Soaking up the Spanish sun with Mum and Dad was better done during the official school holidays, as Kevin Brennan, the children's minister said parents should be aware that "even a couple of days" could mean kids miss out at school. He also called for holiday prices during school holidays to be made cheaper.

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Flights to Spain to become even safer

Spanish authorities are to make security checks on flights to Spain even more secure, helping to ensure passenger safety.

From today, September 19th, all airlines flying into the country will require Advanced Passenger Information (API) from UK passengers on flights to Spain.

The information includes just a few simple details from the back page of a holidaymaker's passport, including the traveller's full name, nationality, date of birth and passport number.

"The data will be collected either at the airport, when you check in, or in advance, usually when you make your booking.

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Travelex: More holiday money bought online

Visitors setting off on their Spanish holidays are more likely to buy their holiday spending money online than queue for it at a bureau de change, suggests worldwide money business Travelex.

Figures from Travelex show that more holidaymakers are buying their money online than ever before, with online transactions going through the roof, rising by over 1000 per cent since 2004.

Better rates of exchange and a general trend towards on-line shopping have prompted the large increase in the number of internet transactions taking place, a spokesperson for the company explained.

"Most people are buying their currency online now," a Travelex spokesperson commented.

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Halifax: Travel insurance has "moved on"

Holidaymakers heading out on flights to Spain will always need travel insurance, but things have "moved on" since the E111, according to high street bank Halifax.

A spokesperson for the bank said that annual policies were becoming increasingly popular, since they only needed to be taken out once to provide cover for any number of holidays throughout the year.

The traditional E111 form, familiar to holidaymakers travelling to EU destinations such as Spain and the NHS card that replaced it in 2005 are no longer the most common forms of travel insurance, said David Bruce, spokesperson for Halifax Travel Insurance.

"I think things have moved on since then," Mr Bruce explained.

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Which?: Compensation for airline delays is limited

Many holidaymakers often over-estimate the amount of compensation they are actually entitled to when flights are delayed, according to consumer watchdog Which?

Where flights are delayed and passengers miss connections, most airlines are not obliged to provide the holidaymaker financial compensation, said Suzy Valentine, a lawyer for Which? legal service.

However, when flights of less than 1,500 kilometres are delayed by more than two hours, airlines are obliged to provide what Ms Valentine described as "minimal assistance".

"Up to 1,500 kilometres..

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Travelex: More holiday money spent on pre-pay cards

Tourists heading off on Spanish holidays are now more likely than ever to take their holiday cash in the form of a pre-pay card, according to worldwide money business Travelex.

More people now use pre-pay card on holiday than are use traditional travellers' cheques, a spokesperson for the company said.

Better security, ease of use and familiarity all help to make the plastic cards a popular way to carry holiday money abroad, he added.

"Travellers' cheques are still in use but people are favouring pre-paid travel cards now.

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