By Martin Wellings, PST Travel, Grove Road, Eastbourne

The first public holiday of the year at Easter followed very usual English lines – many train services cancelled, ferry services to France cancelled and big queues at airports! There was only one thing that was not typical and that was good weather.

I need to start off with a little plug of what we do, as a surprising amount of people don’t know and it is of course something that we take for granted, so to us, someone asking “do you book flights” is rather like going into a grocer and asking if they sell potatoes. Anyway, the simple answer is that we do book just flights, foreign rail tickets, cruises, and package holidays to name just a few items.

It is good to report that that travel is getting back to normal and some of the airport problems are now behind us and more countries are opening up for visitors, notably Australia and New Zealand which have been closed for two years. This has led to an inevitable surge in bookings for all those with family over there, with the result that flights are getting very full and fares are climbing as a result.

This leads me to a couple of tips, the first being that wherever you are planning to travel this year, it pays to book early as the fare will be locked in on the day you book and will therefore be protected from any increases which are even more likely with the rising price of fuel. The other tip is checking your passport validity and I know this sounds obvious, and it looks very clear – look in your passport and read of the expiry date, but it is not as clear as it at first seems. There seems to have been a lot of discussion on this subject, so I had to do some research myself to find out why the obvious was not obvious, and it transpires that it is all about interpretation.

Having checked with the passport office, the answer is 100% clear and what you would expect – the passport expires on the date shown, however other countries can interpret the expiry date as something different. Due to renewal dates, some passports have a validity of just over ten years to coincide with the expiry date of the old one, but here is the problem, a number of countries including the EU stipulate that a passport is only valid upon entering their country with ten years since date of issue, on top of which is a requirement to enter the country with at least six month validity left.

So much for the problems, but after a long time without any holidays, arriving at your destination will be well worth it, and after the considerable disruption to all country’s tourist trade, you are sure to be even more welcome than usual.

Martin Wellings