Travel: Something to Declare - The Column That Saves You Money

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Indy Lifestyle Online
Bargain of the week

The lowest fare ever on Eurostar

The summer timetable for the Channel Tunnel rail company now includes so many trains that the equivalent of 64 Jumbo jets' worth of capacity are shuttling each way, every day, between London and the Continent: one- third of a million seats every week.

To try to fill some of those empty spaces, Eurostar (0990 186 186) has come up with the cheapest fare from London Waterloo in the company's five- year history. If you book before the end of June and complete travel by 22 July, you can get a return ticket to Brussels, Lille or Paris for just pounds 49. For weekend journeys, there are no further restrictions - you can even use the ticket for a day trip. For travel between Monday and Friday, you must stay away at least one night and travel on an off-peak train - the three earliest services each day, plus those between 10am and 4pm.

Currency of the week

The Turkish lire

A milestone, of sorts, has been passed this week: if you are earning the United Kingdom average wage, you now need work for only 10 minutes to earn the pounds 1.54 needed to become a millionaire in Turkey.

The rampant inflation that has plagued Turkey ever since it became a recognised tourist destination in the 1980s continues apace.

Unlike other countries in similar straits, the financial authorities in Ankara have not chosen to knock a few noughts off the currency to avoid too much fiscal embarrassment. So one pound should buy you 650,000 lire, more than half as many again as a year ago. By next week, expect a few hundred more.

Unless you are feeling unnecessarily generous towards your bureau de change in the UK, do not buy Turkish currency before you go. For travellers to Turkey, the sensible rule is to change funds when you get there, and then only in small amounts.

With annual inflation running at around 75 per cent, the associated depreciation of the currency means the pound you change at the start of a fortnight's holiday will have lost 3 per cent of its value by the end of your trip.

Giveaway of the week

Free travel on the Heathrow Express for shareholders

Shareholders in the airport operator BAA plc should not throw out the Annual Review as junk mail. It contains a voucher for a return trip on the Heathrow Express, worth pounds 20. The catch? You can travel free on Britain's most expensive railway only at weekends.