AT THE CLINIC
Your questions answered by our panel of travel experts, including a doctor and a lawyer
Sunday 09 February 1997
I am writing to ask if you know of any firms specialising in holidays for people travelling on their own. I am in my thirties and am looking for a special interest or walking holiday, preferably in the UK, organised for groups so that I could have some company.
Jill Crawshaw replies: Several holiday companies offer walking holidays in the UK, suitable for the single traveller.
Solo's (0181-951 2800) specialises in singles holidays, dividing age groups into 30-49s and 50-69s. This year, for pounds 249, it is offering a three-day walking weekend in the Yorkshire Dales in July, staying three nights half-board at a hotel (no single room supplement!), with guided walks of between six and 12 miles each day. A three-night weekend based in and around the Cotswolds costs the same.
HF Holidays (0181 905 9556) offers around 30 rambling breaks for singles, six of them for the under-50s, based in its own country guest houses across the UK. The walks are escorted in groups of seven or more and the holidays are on a full-board basis including picnic lunches and gentle evening entertainment. A break in Yorkshire with two nights' accommodation costs pounds 85; a week's walking on the Isle of Arran, off the west coast of Scotland, is pounds 271.
As indicated by the name, Ramblers Holidays (01707 331133) offers a wide programme of trekking and walking. Roughly two-thirds of their holidaymakers are on their own and the average party size is 20. A Ramblers group leader accompanies each party and, where possible, accommodation is in village or country hotels. Week-long breaks are available from 29 March until 27 December and the group leader will put together a programme suitable for the age and fitness of the group and the weather conditions. Advice is also available for guests wishing to follow their own itinerary.
The company owns its own guest house, Hassness, on the edge of Lake Buttermere in the Lake District, where there is plenty of scope for fell walking - as strenuous or as gentle as you like. Prices for one week full board at Hassness range from pounds 185 to pounds 220 per person, depending on the date, (with picnic lunches). Accommodation is in single, twin or three bedded rooms, with a pounds 26 supplement for singles.
The Youth Hostelling Association (01629 825850) offers guided long-distance walking for its members (adult membership fee, pounds 9.50) along routes such as the Herriott Way in Yorkshire, the South Downs Way and the White Peak Way in Derbyshire. Around four-fifths of participants are single, with a wide age range from late teens to late 60s. Accommodation is in single- sex, small dormitories in youth hostels along the route.
Holidays run from July to mid-September; a five-night Herriott Way walk departing on 19 July, 16 August and 6 September costs pounds 169 including full board and baggage transport between stops.
Countrywide Holidays (0161-446 2226), which has been offering walking holidays for more than 100 years, has four properties in the Lakes, two in the West Country, one at Hope in the Peak District and another on the cliffs overlooking Whitby in north Yorkshire. Walks usually start right outside the front door. The emphasis is on guided rambles - graded according to ability - accompanied by experienced leaders. Countryside also offers themed walking breaks like "Du Maurier's Cornwall", "Crosses and Cliffs on the North Yorkshire Moors", and "Riverside Rambles in Somerset", plus a range of special interest holidays, including wine tasting, photography, painting, bridge, needlecraft and aromatherapy, combined with morning or afternoon walks.
There are no single supplements and some dates are "House Party" weeks when escorted walks during the day are combined with social activities in the evenings. All holidays are full board (with picnic lunches) starting at pounds 99 per person for three nights including two escorted walks. The company also offers full-board accommodation without led walks - for the more independently minded - from pounds 30 a night.
Jill Crawshaw is a travel expert, writer and broadcaster
How risky are anti-malarials?
I have heard that certain anti-malaria tablets can cause serious side-effects, sometimes ruining people's holidays. I am travelling to a malarial area (West Africa) with my nine-year-old son and and would be grateful if you could tell me which tablets cause these problems and give me an idea of how great the risk actually is.
Dr Gill Lea replies: There has been a lot of media publicity about anti- malaria tablets; so much so that student-age people going off to travel the world come into the clinic saying "my mother won't let me take the tablets that have been on the television because of the side effects". However, it's also worth considering the side effects of malaria, which can (if not treated promptly) include death.
Actually, the risk of common side effects is about 25 per cent with ALL anti-malaria tablets and approximately the same number of travellers give up and do not complete the course. Most side effects are not serious (but can be unpleasant) and include indigestion, nausea or light-headedness.
Most of the current adverse publicity is about Lariam (mefloquine) which can cause wild dreams (even though they tend to diminish), depression, anxiety and even panic attacks. However, the highest estimate of spoiled holidays is one person in 140, and it's probably nearer one in 200. Really serious side effects, such as fits or hallucinations, occur in one in 10,000. Most people taking Lariam have an easy one-tablet-a-week regime and get either no side-effects or minor ones.
Obviously, those who suffer real mood change (particularly if it extends past the holiday period) are very upset. They must stop the tablets at once and seek medical advice about whether to change to different tablets and seek help if any possible malaria symptoms occur.
In view of this risk, Lariam is generally recommended for places where it provides greater protection than other brands and where there is a significant malaria risk. West Africa is such an area, although short beach holidays may be less risky. Last year around 1,000 travellers from the UK caught malaria in sub-Saharan Africa and 11 died.
As Lariam is not suitable for everyone (including those with a history of depression or epilepsy, or where there is a possibility of pregnancy) the pros and cons have to be weighed up by your doctor. There are alternatives which do not have the same risk of psychiatric side effects but both you and your son would need to take daily and weekly tablets. These can cause gastric upsets and are likely to provide poorer protection.
The most important conclusion about malaria tablets is to choose the most effective type for the area and that is likely to suit you. Remember that malaria tablets provide some useful protection but none are completely effective. Try to reduce your exposure between dusk and dawn when malarial mosquitos bite and seek immediate medical advice in the event of a fever or flu-like illness occurring within a year (especially the first three months) of your trip.
Dr Gill Lea is chief medical adviser at Trailfinders' immunisation clinic, 194 Kensington High Street, London W8 7RG (0171 938 3999)
Our legal expert can reply to queries regarding any holiday rip- off you may have suffered on condition that you have already complained to the airline or tour operator and received an unsatisfactory response. All correspondence and relevant documentation should be supplied. Unfortunately we can only reply to letters we print.
Write to the Travel Editor, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL (Fax: 0171 293 2043)
27 February 2015 07:30 PM
27 February 2015 07:30 PM
27 February 2015 12:01 AM
The NHS is currently bearing a yearly burden of approximately £1.5bn treating cold-related illnesses every winter
26 February 2015 04:17 PM
Hundreds of thousands of people's policies were hit when the mutual insurer almost collapsed at the turn of the century
27 February 2015 12:01 AM
The Department for Work and Pensions has been slammed after a series of cock-ups left an elderly pensioner £26,000 worse off.
24 February 2015 08:57 AM
A 20-month investigation concluded that a lack of price competition between lenders has led to higher costs for borrowers
23 February 2015 04:02 PM
The Financial Conduct Authority said the industry needs to start thinking about solutions to these challenges
20 February 2015 08:00 PM
In 1999 stock markets quickly tumbled, losing many a fortune in the process
20 February 2015 08:00 PM
13 February 2015 08:00 PM
13 February 2015 08:00 PM
06 February 2015 09:00 PM
Phoenix Life: Chance of a refund for overcharged policyholders has risen
10 tips for taking out a personal loan
Has your Premium Bond won the £1million jackpot?
There are 'dark corners' of the investment and pensions industry, says Pension Minister
Simon Read: You're guilty until proven innocent when HMRC sends in the tax credit detectives
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
iJobs Money & Business
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...
£20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...
Day In a Page
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads