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Holidays in Spain

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Travel agents give the 'confidence factor'

British holidaymakers are looking to their travel agents for the "confidence factor", it has been suggested.

Casia Zajac, head of communications at Abta – The Travel Association, claimed that more holidaymakers are turning to agents for advice during the recession.

People are keen to ensure that they are protected if their airline goes bust and they get stranded abroad.

"We've seen that more and more people are asking if someone they are dealing with, whether it is a travel agent or a tour operator, is a member of Abta," she commented.

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Using a prepaid currency card is 'more secure'

Those taking holidays in Spain this year have been advised to opt for a prepaid currency card, rather than changing large amounts of cash.

Stephen Heath, chief executive of foreign exchange specialist FairFX, said that ordering currency online can be a much more cost-effective option than buying money at the airport.

In addition, he pointed out that prepaid cards have a secure chip and pin system which holidaymakers can cancel in the event of a theft.

"So it can be used to pay in many different situations and it is also more secure because if you lose the card you haven't lost your cash," he commented.

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Holidaymakers 'hate extra charges'

Brits taking flights to Spain and other destinations say they hate nothing more than being lumbered with hidden airline charges.

A new survey by flight search site Skyscanner found that for 24 per cent of people, hidden charges are the most annoying aspect of air travel.

Rob Innes, marketing manager at the site, said it can be incredibly disappointing to spot a good deal, only to find out that there are extras to pay for.

"A transparent pricing system would win more favour with air travellers and avoid them feeling ripped off when they arrive at the checkout page," he commented.

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Holidays in Spain are 'still a good option'

The pound may have lost strength against the euro but Spain will always be a popular destination, it has been suggested.

According to the Travel Trade Gazette, Spanish hotspots such as the Costa Blanca and Costa de la Luz are proving particularly popular, with holiday firm Superbreak reporting year-on-year increases in bookings.

The availability of cheap flights to Spain is also likely to help the destination through the credit crunch.

Speaking recently, Ignacio Vasallo, director of the Spanish Tourist Office, said there are some excellent deals available on holidays to Spain.

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More Brits using internet to change money

An increasing number of British holidaymakers are choosing to order their currency online, it has been claimed.

According to online currency provider FairFX, those taking holidays in Spain and other overseas destinations are spending longer comparing exchange rates and shopping around for the best deals.

Stephen Heath, chief executive of the company, said that in boom times people were less concerned when buying currency; however, that has all changed with the onset of the recession.

"We are having a record start to the year and it seems that more and more people are using the internet to deal with their travel money needs in advance, before they go away," he added.

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Airlines losing 'more bags'

The amount of luggage being misplaced by airlines has reached a record high.

According to the Air Transport Users' Council (AUC), over a million bags were lost in 2007.

The AUC has also suggested that those losing their bags on flights to Spain and other places are not being sufficiently compensated.

Some budget airlines offer passengers as little as £15, regardless of how long their items are misplaced.

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Shampoo 'banned from the beach'

Those taking holidays in Spain this year must remember to wait until they get back to their hotel before shampooing their hair – or face a hefty charge.

In a bid to ensure that the beaches of Alicante remain as clean and attractive as possible, officials have announced plans to ban holidaymakers from using shampoos and gels when using beach showers.

Restrictions already apply on some beaches where the consumption of alcohol and ball games are concerned, Typically Spanish reports.

Pet owners who do not clean up after their animals also face fines, as well as those who leave beer bottles in the streets.

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Spain 'still offers great value'

Spain still represents fantastic value for money, it has been claimed.

The pound may have taken a hammering against the euro but, according to Ignacio Vasallo, director of the Spanish Tourist Office, there are still some excellent deals to be had.

He told the Travel Trade Gazette that there is a holiday to suit everyone in Spain.

"Spanish Costas cater for all tourists because we have such an extensive range of hotels, resorts and developments: from package breaks and good value holidays, to the luxury, five-star and individual boutique properties," he commented.

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Soak up some culture in Spain

As well as soaking up some sunshine, those taking holidays in Spain will also find plenty of culture to soak up.

Speaking recently to the Travel Trade Gazette, Ignacio Vasallo, director of the Spanish Tourist Office, said that although many people are planning to holiday in the UK this year, they should remember how much there is to be gained from a trip overseas.

"Taking your children to a different country, and showing them a new culture, people, food, way of life and environment, is a fantastic opportunity for them and an unforgettable experience," he commented.

In addition, he pointed out that holidays in the UK do not guarantee sunshine and could end up being a washout.

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Ryanair announces new charges competition

Passengers taking flights to Spain and other destinations have been invited to submit their own revenue-raising ideas in a new competition launched by Ryanair.

Following Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary's comments indicating that customers may have to pay to use the toilet in the future, the airline is asking people to make their own wacky and original suggestions, with a prize of 1,000 euros up for grabs.

Some of the ideas which have already been entered include charging one euro to use the oxygen masks.

Ryanair spokesman Stephen McNamara said the airline planned to continue introducing charges in order to keep its fares low and to give passengers more choice.

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