Avis giants unite in £636m deal

The US car hire giant Avis Budget is to buy its European counterpart in a £636m deal that reunites the two businesses after 25 years. The swoop for the London-listed Avis Europe, which operates the Avis and Budget brands in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, already has the support of the Belgium-based motoring group D'Ieteren, which owns 60 per cent of the company.

Market Report: Home Retail in demand as takeover talk returns

The takeover spotlight returned to Home Retail last night, prompting a late surge for the Argos owner after market gossips reheated chatter it could be about to receive a bid.

Balearic beauty: The enduring charm of Mallorca

A glorious villa, an island's worth of majestic views, plentiful sunshine... Just make sure you can handle Mallorca's hairpin bends...

Simon Calder: The mystery of the missing hatchback

The man who pays his way

Travel Challenge: Canada's west coast

Every week we invite three competing companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a family trip to Canada's west coast, departing early August. Prices are for four people. All hotels are room only...

Car-hire giants in U-turn over electric fleet

A pressure group has now accused Paris city hall of organising unfair and publicly subsidised competition

Questions of cash: Internet booking mess is no laughing matter

Q. Hertz has charged me twice for a single period of car hire. I paid in full and six months in advance for 14 days' car hire at Funchal. The flight was delayed badly at Glasgow, and as there was no phone number on my Hertz voucher, I was unable to notify of the delay, or advise that we would collect the car the next day. At the airport I asked the woman at the Hertz desk to notify the relevant staff of the delay and to explain that we would collect the vehicle the following day. She told us this was "fixed". But on my return home it seemed that Hertz had charged me an extra £255.22, which seems to be a duplicate charge for the car hire, plus an extra £2.26 – for what, I don't know. VL, Isle of Arran.

The real junior apprentices: Pupils are encouraged to run their own businesses at Lincoln Castle Academy

But will cuts spell the end of schemes like this?

The Business On... Jack Petchey, Businessman and philanthropist

What's his line of work?

Travel challenge: A Greek villa holiday in August

Each week we invite three competing travel companies to give us their best deal for a specific holiday. Today: a week-long villa holiday with a private pool in Greece. Prices are for a family of four, departing early August...

Charles Nevin: The sweet smell of success

Start the week: The Odor-Eaters National Rotten Sneakers Contest was won this year by a nine-year-old from Utah

Zippy market debut for car hire pioneer

Zipcar, the hire-car service for city dwellers, listed its shares on Nasdaq yesterday, surging 66 per cent within minutes. The 10-year-old company, which bought its UK copycat Streetcar last year, raised $173.4m after pricing its shares above the range.

Before driving off, give the hire contract due care and consideration

Rental companies can pepper their agreements with many hidden charges which could cost the incautious driver dear.

Herault in Langedoc: getting there and around

With its unspoilt sandy coast, its tranquil green interior and its dramatic highlands, Hérault offers an impressive range of landscapes and activities.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 1 May 2015
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before