Travel Punta del Este

Q. I'm keen to visit Punta del Este and/or Montevideo in Uruguay, ideally as a package holiday. But I can't find any operators that do it. And even if I could, would booking individual flights and accommodation be a better strategy? It seems amazing that BA still don't fly direct! Russ Williams, London

Britons to carry on cruising in record-size style

New monster of a ship will have 1,812 cabins, 17 decks, 12 restaurants, three pools, a cinema, gym and theatre

Ask the Traveller: volcanic-ash cloud

I just heard someone on the radio say that, if I booked a package holiday, I would be looked after whatever happened with the volcanic-ash cloud from Iceland. From what I heard about last year's event, I'm not sure he's right. Is he?

The Monkees, Royal Albert Hall, London

The second, semi-ironic burst of Monkeemania, caused by the reformation of the "Prefab Four" in 1986, is itself a nostalgic memory now. These days, Davy Jones, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork get back together every few years on some pretext or other – the band's 45th anniversary this time. (Mike Nesmith, the richest, most talented ex-Monkee, appeared in 1996 and then left them to it.) All the contradictions in their strange career play out precisely tonight.

Simon Calder: Feelgood factor is as fleeting as a cloud of confetti

The man who pays his way

Big tour operators to gain amid chaos

The travel chaos caused by the recent political revolutions in North Africa will boost big package holiday operators against their independent rivals the long run, according to an industry expert.

David Usborne: The genie of change is already out of the bottle

Gay visitors to Havana no longer need to lurk at a certain street corner in hopes of a whisper in the ear about the location of that night's clandestine party. For the last few months there has been an officially tolerated gay club in the historic district close to the National Theatre. Who'd have thought?

Market Report: Thomas Cook plunges on 'zero growth' warning

Raised fears over the state of the package-holiday industry prompted Thomas Cook to plummet towards the bottom of the mid-tier index yesterday, at one point reaching its lowest level since 2008.

Simon Calder: Travel peak season, pay peak prices

The man who pays his way

Simon Calder: A high price for low-risk holidays

The man who pays his way

Letter from the editor: Eating out - the new theatre

One or two readers have pointed out, politely of course, that our feature yesterday on Heston Blumenthal’s new restaurant was a little rich for their taste.

Government to widen Atol protection

Six million holidaymakers who book their trips through low-cost websites will be protected if their tour operators go bust.

A new spin on Shakespeare

Propeller, theatre's celebrated all-male ensemble, has a reputation for witty, adventurous takes on the Bard. Alice Jones visits rehearsals for its latest double bill
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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 17 April 2015
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...