Deals Of The Week: Amsterdam on the cheap; new cut-price destinations; guide to air schedules

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The Independent Travel

A TRAIN AND A BOAT

You can fly to Amsterdam from more than 20 UK airports. But at the times you might want to go to the Dutch capital, especially at weekends, fares are often sky-high. From London, and anywhere on the Anglia Railways, the cut-price alternative is the rail-sea link via Harwich and the Hook of Holland. You can get a one-way fare for £25 if you book at least a week ahead with Stena Line (08705 455 455; www.stenaline.co.uk). The same price applies from any station served by Anglia Railways to anywhere on the Dutch Railways network. But note that the timings of the HSS ferry link are not ideal for rail travellers - the evening service gets you to Amsterdam in the early hours of the morning.

A PLANE

Where will they think of next? Michael O'Leary and his staff at Ryanair (0871 246 0000; www.ryanair.com) have come up with two more destinations from Stansted that you didn't know you wanted to visit. From 30 October, the Irish airline will fly from the Essex airport to Tampere in south-west Finland. Some travellers may use the new service as a cut-price way to reach Helsinki, but bear in mind that the journey from Tampere to the Finnish capital - about 100 miles away - takes a couple of hours and is not cheap.

A week later, on 6 November, Ryanair begins flights from Stansted to Valladolid in north central Spain, about 150 miles north of Madrid. It will not make many inroads on the market to the Spanish capital, because easyJet (0870 600 0000; www.easyJet.com) already has a strong operation into Madrid. But it will open up the region of Castille and Leon, providing a gateway to destinations such as Burgos and Salamanca. The lead-in fare for both destinations is £29.99 each way, but in practice only a minority of passengers will pay this.

A BOOK

Downsizing publications is catching on. OAG, the Bedfordshire company that compiles global airline timetables, has come up with a neat, genuinely pocket-sized guide to European air schedules. To reduce it to a manageable size, the OAG Express omits some details (such as aircraft type) and lists only direct flights, not connections. But with a bit of cross-referencing the 480 pages will get you happily from Aalborg to Zurich (via Copenhagen). The monthly guide costs £6.99 from OAG; call 08701 270 031 or e-mail customers@oag.com. But unless you need the guide rapidly, you should hang on to November, when it will contain comprehensive winter schedules.

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