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ABI: Travel insurance important even for short breaks

Travel insurance is recommended for short breaks, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said today.

Missing baggage, flight delays, cancellations and other potential threats to your luxury break in Spain or family holiday are all covered under most policies, said ABI spokesperson.

Heathrow airport has been in the news recently for the high number of baggage lost this summer, and InsureandGo, the travel insurance company, reports it has seen a huge increase in claims for lost baggage so far in 2007 compared to 2006.

Those looking forward to playing golf or tennis at luxury Spanish resorts such as La Manga should make sure their bags are covered by insurance.

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Gwyneth Paltrow to host Spanish cookery show

Gwyneth Paltrow will be sharing her love of tapas and other Spanish food with the public as she co-hosts a cookery programme on American TV.

The star of Sliding Doors and Shakespeare in Love has fond childhood memories of family holidays spent in Spain, and is a big fan of Iberian cuisine.

"I eat all that (Spanish) stuff. The crazy fish things, the eels, I love it all," she exclaimed.

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AA: take care when hiring a car in Spain

Breaking down on the road can put a strain on a family holiday at the best of times.

But many car rental companies operating in Mediterranean countries, including Spain, do not even provide a breakdown number to call in the event of an emergency, according to an AA survey.

AA public affairs chief Paul Watters said: "Holidaymakers must accept that a hire car, like any other, may experience a problem. But it probably doesn't even cross their minds that rental firms could abandon them without an emergency number, or not provide them with the essential legal equipment.

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Cheaper phone calls for holidaymakers

From 29th August, holidaymakers in European destinations such as Spain will enjoy cheaper rates when they call home on their mobile.

Thanks to new EU regulations, holidaymakers can relax in their luxury Spanish villa or five star resort, safe in the knowledge that they could be paying up to 69 per cent less to make calls from a foreign destination, and up to two thirds less to receive calls while abroad

However, not all customers will be automatically switched to the new, cheaper roaming tariff, according to, the price comparison website.

Subscribers who already have a mobile roaming package will not be switched over to the cheaper tariff until 30th September, unless they demand the new tariff from their mobile operator.

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Duchess of York takes a Spanish holiday

Spain is the destination of choice for those seeking a luxury holiday fit for a royal, as the Duchess of York enjoys a holiday in Malaga.

Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Prince Andrew, has been enjoying a Spanish holiday with her two daughters: 18-year-old Princess Beatrice, and 17-year-old Princess Eugenie.

Like the thousands of other Britons who enjoy family holidays in Spain each year, the Duchess is enjoying the sun and the sand..

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More Brits choose independent Spanish holidays

UK holidaymakers choosing to travel to Spain independently overtook the number taking package deals for the first time, reported the trade magazine TravelWeekly.

New research from Mintel found that in the 2004 to 2006 period, independently booked travel grew by 11 per cent to 59 per cent of all holidays to Spain.

The data was based on a survey of 2,000 holidaymakers to the Mediterranean country.

And of those polled about their last holiday to Spain, 40 per cent said they had booked packages through agents, a significant 14 per cent fall from 2000.

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Love in a foreign country

More and more couples are choosing to get married abroad, according to a spokesman from a specialist wedding travel agency.

Spokesperson Mark Bell for White Sand Weddings said that an increase in luxury hotels, cheaper flights and bad weather have prompted more couples to have their wedding ceremonies abroad.

"Weather is clearly one reason why so many couples choose to tie the knot abroad - and after such conditions over the past few months, we have noticed an increase in enquiries for 2008/9 weddings."

Mr Bell added that marriages abroad have the advantage of being removed from friends and family, making it a more private affair.

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Murcia council commits to environmental protection programme

The city council of Murcia is to look into ways to protect the surrounding countryside, it has been revealed.

To this end, local authorities have joined forces with the organisation Locales + Biodiversidad 2010, an initiative which aims to encourage the sustainable use of rural land and the conservation of the surrounding areas.

The Murcian council has specifically committed itself to ensuring the decline in plant and animal life in the area is arrested by 2010.

As well as admiring the local scenery, visitors to Murcia could relax in a luxury Spanish villa at the resort of La Manga.

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Ryanair plans new Alicante route

Budget airline Ryanair is to increase its presence in Spain by adding Valencia and Alicante to its list of operational bases, it has been revealed.

The Irish carrier already has 20 bases in eight countries across Europe - the most of any other airline.

The move comes as the battle for Spain - the most sought-after country in the low-cost carrier market after the UK and Germany - heats up.

Ryanair also opened in Madrid in November last year, with rival EasyJet following suit in June.

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Norwich Airport "looking to replace Flybe's Alicante service"

Norwich International has expressed its desire to convince an airline carrier to operate flights from the airport to Malaga and Alicante, it has been reported.

According to the Norwich Evening News, the airport is keen to find a replacement service after budget operator Flybe decided its winter service to the two destinations was no longer viable.

As a result, flights will cease from November - and while airport managing director Richard Jenner admits it will be hard to find an immediate substitute, he did reveal negotiations are currently underway to secure the route's long-term future.

So far, two airlines are interested in plugging the gap, Mr Jennings said, with "good progress" apparently being made in preliminary talks.

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