7 travel tips to you get through the mad rush of the bank holiday weekend


The long awaited jubilee bank holiday weekend is upon us and with it comes the chance to get away for a few days. However, it is important that motorists stay safe when getting away this bank holiday. The experts at National Scrap Car  have put together a few tips to help motorists get through the bank holiday rush safely.

  1. Do the essential checks before setting off

Before setting off on any long journey motorists should always take the time to do the essential checks on their vehicles, particularly if this is their first long trip since winter ended.

The essential checks include:

If you are unsure of your car’s recommended tyre pressure, consult your manual. Similarly, ensure you top up your oil with the recommended for your vehicle to guarantee better engine performance.

  1. Plan your route ahead

It is no secret that fuel costs are extremely high at the moment, which means making sure you have the best route possible planned ahead is essential for fuel consumption and for an easier journey.

But fuel consumption shouldn’t be the only factor considered. Take a look at the different routes to your destination and weigh up the options based on your requirements. For example, if you are someone that requires regular breaks, a route that may be longer but have more service stations along it or opportunities to stop is the best route.

Check your route the day before leaving too to ensure there haven’t been any changes such as road closures that will affect your trip.

  1. Avoid peak travel times

As obvious as it sounds, avoiding peak times is the best way to avoid the bank holiday rush. This may mean sacrificing time in bed and hitting the road early or opting for a late night drive the day before your break.

You can get an idea of when a road is usually busy by using Google Maps. If you type your destination it will let you know how long the route typically takes and will show areas that are usually more congested during your estimated journey time by highlighting them in orange or red.

Amy Josling, car and scrappage expert at National Scrap Car, said: “The bank holiday is notorious for causing congestion issues for motorists, which is why planning ahead is key to getting through your drive there and back safely. Drivers should ensure that their route is planned prior to setting off and, if they can, avoid hitting the road during the peak travels times. On a weekday, such as Friday, these peak times are 6am-10am and 4pm-8pm. If you are travelling on the Saturday however, early morning such as before 8am or after 6pm is best. The less traffic on the roads the safer the journey.”

  1. Stop for regular breaks

Long journeys can be very tiring for motorists, having to be “on” for the whole journey to ensure the safety of those in the car takes its toll. This is why it is important to plan in regular breaks along longer trips.

Stop for food and drink to make sure you are staying hydrated and fed to keep you focused, and if you are planning on leaving later at night to avoid the rush, try and have a nap prior to setting off. Driving tired is very dangerous, particularly if you are planning a short break somewhere rural, as there are likely to be fewer street lights.

  1. Keep the traffic function on your radio

Most vehicles have a traffic function on their entertainment systems that will interrupt bluetooth music and such to give updates. On shorter and every day trips the interruptions can be frustrating but it is important to keep this on for your longer journeys.

Some cars will have map apps that will automatically update to accommodate for any delays or disruptions but having the function on will allow you to be fully informed on your travels.

  1. Have breakdown cover

To avoid being stranded while far away from home, take out breakdown cover.

Breakdown cover is a type of insurance you take out in case your vehicle breaks down. It is extremely useful to have when embarking on longer trips, if you get a flat car battery or a punctured tyre or even more severe faults for example that cause you to get stuck, having breakdown cover will mean that the fault is either fixed at the roadside or you will be recovered with your vehicle and taken somewhere they can fix it or home

You can either purchase breakdown cover as an individual policy, or it can be offered as part of your motor insurance or even bank account. Check what is available and compare, like travel insurance, it is better to have it and not need it than to be without.

  1. Know your limits the night before driving home

Bank holidays are synonymous with barbeques and having one too many drinks, however if you are planning to drive you need to be aware of your limits the night before/ day of driving home.

It’s around three hours after each drink if you drink one large glass of wine (250ml/three units) or a higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5.2%) before the alcohol leaves your system.

The maximum BAC (blood alcohol content) limit in England & Wales is:

  • 35 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or

  • 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or

  • 107 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

The maximum BAC (blood alcohol content) limit in Scotland is:

  • 22 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath; or

  • 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood or

  • 67 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of urine

Being in charge of a vehicle while above the legal limit is a serious offence and can result in 3 months imprisonment, a fine of up to £2,500 and in some cases, a life-long driving ban.





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Live Leeds bank holiday Monday traffic news for M62, M621, M1, and A1 including closures, accidents and roadworks


Welcome to our Leeds traffic news blog with live updates for the M62, M621, M1, and A1 and across the city.

Here you’ll find live updates on traffic accidents and delays on the roads near you, with updates from National Highways, West Yorkshire Police and our traffic partners INRIX. We’re are here for you this bank holiday as many of you might want to head off to enjoy the day off.

Scroll down for the latest traffic news including road works and diversions, road closures and live updates on train services, buses and other public transport in Leeds and across Yorkshire.

For more traffic and travel news from across Leeds, click here

Our reporters will be keeping a close eye on the roads across the morning rush hour, throughout the day, the evening rush hour and into the evening.

Want to let us know about an incident causing problems near you? If you can do so safely, email megan.banner@reachplc.com or tweet @leedslivenews or contact us on Facebook here.

Also, if you are after some days out inspiration this bank holiday Monday you can visit our Best in Leeds homepage. There you will find our guides for great days out around the region.

Read more:





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May Bank Holiday traffic news for M25 Dartford Crossing, A12, A13, A127 and M11 across Essex for Saturday April 30


It’s May Bank Holiday, and extra drivers and people are hitting Essex’s travel networks so enjoy the long weekend. We’ll be bringing you live updates from across the county on today’s (April 30) traffic and travel news.

Whether you are, travelling cross county, or catching a train – we want to make your journey as smooth as possible.

Our live traffic and travel blog will cover the county’s main roads, such as the M25, the A12, and the A13. Any road closures will be listed, along with relevant news on the weather and petrol.

READ MORE: Essex crime: Puppy with ‘no vaccine card’ dies from parvovirus after being sold by Thurrock woman, court hears

We will aim to keep you updated on all of the latest incidents across Essex’s travel network, including on the roads and railways. For more information, scroll down to read our live feed.





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Top tips for surviving the Easter bank holiday weekend traffic rush



4. Take a break

The Highway Code recommends that you take a break from driving for at least 15 minutes every two hours. There are plenty of motorway service stations that offer respite areas and refuelling spots, but you can also search online for less expensive restaurants and petrol stations away from the motorway. 

English Heritage’s website contains a list of scenic stop-off locations close to major transport routes, which you can find here.


5. Keep passengers entertained

If have children on board, make sure you have enough drinks, snacks and games to keep them happy in case you get stuck in a traffic jam. A portable DVD player, tablet or laptop can help keep children occupied watching films and TV programmes, and you can also get miniature versions of board games specially designed for the car.

Children’s website Minitime also has a list of free games you can play with your children in the car, which you can find here, but classics like I Spy, 20 Questions and Hangman are always a safe bet.


6. Prepare your car

The last thing anyone wants is to break down in the middle of a holiday car journey, so take the time before you leave to carry out these basic vehicle checks:

  • Make sure your car’s oil and coolant are topped up to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended levels
  • Check your tyre pressures and pump up the tyres – including the spare – if necessary, and check tyre tread depth
  • Clean your car’s wiper blades and check them for wear; replace them if necessary
  • Turn on your car’s headlights, indicators and brake lights and check that they all work



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Motorists urged to travel today to beat bank holiday queues


The AA has advised motorists to avoid travelling on Good Friday if possible, saying motorists would be better off leaving today or early on Saturday morning.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “All our polling suggests that Good Friday will be the busiest getaway day for Easter trips and staycations. If some drivers can leave on Thursday or early Saturday, they may miss some of the jams.”

The motoring organisation also estimated that, with higher fuel prices, a 500-mile round trip will see drivers paying £20 more at the pumps than they did last Easter.

Some 27.6 million car journeys are expected to take place over the Bank Holiday weekend, the motoring organisation has forecast.





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Budget-busting tips to save your holiday from breaking the bank


Josh Martin is a London-based Kiwi journalist.

OPINION: Despite my arguments to the contrary, my other half, boss and bank manager all agree that holidays are not essential spending. Transport? Yes. Travel? Not so much.

So as inflation rates spike around the globe, it’s fair to assume that non-essential spending will come under scrutiny by households looking to tighten belts.

Sure, the most obvious answer to those looking to control costs is simply “don’t go” and most on the breadline never do, but for those looking to squeeze as much value from a trip away, and keeping the bean counters happy, I’ve rounded up the latest and greatest money-saving tips for your next trip.

If you travel with your mind open, your wallet will stay closed.

123RF

If you travel with your mind open, your wallet will stay closed.

READ MORE:
* Fare-ly flexible: The best airlines to book with in these uncertain times
* A traveller’s guide to getting the best deal

Who’s still got credits?

There are millions of dollars tied up in airline, hotel and tour agency credits … and you can bet they want you to forget about when they expire. Incorporate as many as you can into your next trip abroad.

Holistic spend

This is a biggie. It’s not just your destination choice, time period, or airfare deal that will play a big part in your overall spend, but also where, and how, you choose to stay. Accommodation will, in many cases, outstrip the cost of your flights for a long holiday, but we don’t tend to stress about value on this as much as we do airfares (which we have far fewer options).

Shoulder season

Yes, yes, you’ve heard it before, but peak season means peak prices, and you don’t have to move dates far to get the shoulder season benefits. In Europe, July and August are peak, but weather is still hospitable in May and September, and come in winter for a completely different, Advent experience altogether.

Expectations can be expensive

If you travel with your mind open, your wallet will stay closed. Expectations being high, you’ll book in peak season, stay in the fancy part of town, only eat this thing from this exact place. Spontaneity has its perks: If you Google Flight search ‘Everywhere’ as your destination, and plug in dates that suit, you’ll be surprised the deals that pop up.

Cash and card strategy

Thou shalt not get foreign exchange at an airport kiosk, for starters. Prepaid foreign exchange cards can act like a holiday savings account beforehand and are secure while you travel, but if you’re withdrawing cash with a normal bank card the various fees add up, so pool together and then divvy it up.

Split baggage

Your checked bags (and even sometimes your carry-on) is sadly no longer bunched in with your flight price on many airlines nowadays, but that doesn’t mean that every person in your family or group should pay for 23kgs of luggage. Team up, split the baggage bill.

Alerts on flights

I’ll avoid the (incorrect) advice about booking on a Tuesday or flying midweek to secure the beast airfare. In truth there are too many factors. Instead, airfare comparison sites like Skyscanner, Kayak and Google Flights let you set up an alert for a route and price point, and will email you when deals drop below it on your preferred dates.

Location, location, location

It’s not worth saving $10 a night staying 2km away from where the action is if your party has to take taxis, trains or buses several times a day to eat and sightsee, so weigh up if extra space or amenities (e.g a kitchen) is worth the hassle and the commuting cost. When it comes to choosing the actual destination, match the designated ‘chilled out’ days in your itinerary with places where it’s cheap to park up, rather than showstoppers like Santorini, New York, Hong Kong etc.

No such thing as a free lunch

Paying for three meals a day can really eat into your daily budget. This is where being smart with your accommodation can pay off, having dinner in, trying to recreate a local favourite or embracing street food at night can connect you to a location, and opt for your one meal out to be lunch – same high quality grub at a pocket-friendly price. If you’re a real foodie, act like a pensioner and eat early through apps like FirstTable to get big discounts on your bill.

Everything tends to be expensive in airports.

123RF

Everything tends to be expensive in airports.

Carpool

If public transport options don’t work for your schedule, try crowd-sourced carpooling websites like BlaBlaCar where your fee for a seat in a ride covers just the fuel.

Airport awareness

It’s not just foreign exchange rates that are terribly priced in an airport, nearly everything in these hubs has a huge mark-up. I challenge you to find me good value anything at an airport. Get in, get out with as few transactions as possible.

Tour traps

Tours can be a great way to meet people, learn more about a specific topic or area and cram a few disparate activities into one or more days … they can also be a glorified mini-bus journey with very little value add.

Read reviews and assess what you’re getting aside from transport. In many cases (Champagne from Paris, etc come to mind), it can be far cheaper to use local trains and buses to recreate the itinerary at a fraction of the cost.



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Lebanese judge issues travel ban for central bank governor


BEIRUT (AP) — A Lebanese judge Tuesday issued a travel ban for the country’s central bank governor, state-run National News Agency and a lawyer said. The move comes after a corruption lawsuit accused him of embezzlement and dereliction of duty during the country’s financial meltdown, .

The decision was the first judicial action taken by authorities in Lebanon against Riad Salameh, who is being investigated in several countries abroad for potential money laundering.

It was not immediately clear if the ban will be implemented. Salameh, 71, has been in the post for nearly three decades and enjoys backing from most politicians, including the country’s prime minister, despite the country’s devastating economic crisis and banking sector collapse.

The travel ban was issued by Ghada Aoun, an investigating judge for the Mount Lebanon district, based on an investigation into a case filed by lawyers of an anti-corruption group known as the People Want to Reform the Regime.

Aoun’s decision came as the value of the Lebanese pound tumbled to new lows on Tuesday, reaching 33,500 to the U.S. dollar. The pound has lost more than 90% of its value since the meltdown began, including nearly 10% of its value since the beginning of the year.

Salameh was once touted as the guardian of Lebanon’s monetary stability and praised for steering the country’s finances through post-war recovery and bouts of unrest. But he has come under intense scrutiny since the small country’s economic meltdown began in late 2019, with many experts now questioning his monetary policies.

Haitham Ezzo, one of the attorneys who filed the lawsuit against Salameh, said the governor violated his official duty to protect the national currency and the banking sector. He said Salameh is also criminally responsible, saying the suit provides new evidence that he abused his position for personal gain.

“We filed a criminal case against him … and we asked for a number of things starting with a ban on his traveling,” Ezzo said. The second request was to reveal the fate of Lebanon’s huge gold reserves that are worth billions of dollars.

Salameh is being investigated in Switzerland, Luxembourg and France for potential money laundering and embezzlement. Local media reported in recent months that Salameh, his brother and an aide have been involved in illegal businesses, including money transfers abroad despite the informal capital controls imposed at home.

Ezzo said they have evidence that Salameh has rented an apartment in Paris’ Champs Elysee for the central bank at an overvalued price, accusing him of embezzling the difference.

Salameh, who has repeatedly denied making such transfers, said in November that he asked for an audit of transactions and investments during his tenure and the results showed no public money has been misused.

Salameh has said that he was wealthy before he became central bank governor in 1993.

Lebanon’s economic crisis — rooted in decades of corruption and mismanagement — has been described by the World Bank as one of the worst the world has witnessed since the 1850s.

“How can I trust a person who said the pound is doing well. How can I trust a person who said the banks are not bankrupt but they really are,” said Ezzo.

Last month, Prime Minister Najib Mikati was asked whether he plans to remove Salameh from the post. Mikati responded: “During wars you don’t change officers.”

___

Associated Press writer Sarah El Deeb contributed reporting.

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U.S. Bank Parent Company to Acquire TravelBank


U.S. Bank’s parent company U.S. Bancorp is acquiring
SME-focused travel and expense platform TravelBank, the company announced on
Tuesday.

TravelBank and U.S. Bank already have been partners for more
than a year with the
integration U.S. Bank’s virtual payment tool Instant Card into TravelBank,

announced in September 2020. With that integration, travel managers using
TravelBank, many of whom do not have traditional corporate card programs, are
able instantly to issue virtual cards for purchases made with TravelBank’s
online booking tool.

With the acquisition of TravelBank, U.S. Bank said it will
be able to speed up the integration of digital payments into the commercial
sector.

“In partnering with TravelBank over the past year,
we’ve seen how effective the solution is in improving efficiencies for
businesses,” U.S. Bank vice chair of payment services Shailesh Kotwal said
in a statement. “This acquisition will allow us to significantly expand
our client base and deliver even more value to our customers.”

U.S. Bank expects to close the acquisition before the end of
the year and did not disclose the financial details of the acquisition. A U.S.
Bank spokesperson said there are no plans to rebrand TravelBank under the U.S.
Bank umbrella, and co-founder and CEO Duke Chung will continue to manage
TravelBank, reporting to U.S. Bank head of corporate payment and treasury
solutions Jeff Jones.

The acquisition is the latest of several by large financial
services firms of technology tools in the travel and expense space. Capital One
last month acquired
the workforce and software platform of corporate travel management startup Lola
,
which had suspended operations a few weeks prior, and the firm last year also
acquired mobile flight disruption management and rebooking tool Freebird.
American Express, meanwhile, acquired
artificial intelligence-powered personal travel assistant Mezi
in 2018 to
power its own travel concierge service for cardholders.



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Travel news latest: Tourism bosses call for extra bank holiday


Holidaymakers may have to use paper Covid certificates to prove they have been vaccinated when the foreign travel ban is lifted from May 17, it emerged on Tuesday.

Downing Street admitted that the NHS app may not be ready for use as a vaccine passport in time and the Government is preparing for “another approach” for holidaymakers travelling abroad in the interim.

At least 20 countries have already indicated that they will accept vaccination certificates as an alternative to PCR tests for holidaymakers to prove their Covid status. Only Greece, however, has so far explicitly said that it will take paper certificates, despite concerns that they are more easily forged.

Rita Marques, Portugal’s tourism minister, has said her country would accept only a digital pass because of the risk of fakes. Spain, due to trial its app at more than 40 airports, has said it is in talks with the UK Government over the need for a “mutually recognisable” app.

Read the full story.





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