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Travel special 2014: Hit the pause button on the rail'n'sail route

I start by making some calculations to soothe myself. Using the Rail & Sail combo route from London via Holyhead to Dublin takes nine or so hours; to fly between the two cities takes 50 minutes – but a few hours have to be added on for the to-ing, fro-ing and faffing at airports. A one-way rail/sail ticket costs about 30 quid all in – a flight is double that, unless you're very organised or lucky. Even if you're very disorganised, the rail/sail option can be bought just before you travel at no extra cost.