Deals Of The Week: Ireland by rail and boat; airline loyalty schemes; unlimited coach travel

Combining Belfast and Dublin in a single trip is now cheaper thanks to a £21-day return ticket between Belfast and Dublin, valid on any day except Friday and Sunday.

A TRAIN

Combining Belfast and Dublin in a single trip is now cheaper thanks to a £21-day return ticket between Belfast and Dublin, valid on any day except Friday and Sunday. This price is exactly the same as the normal single fare between the two cities. The Enterprise service that links Belfast with Dublin takes around two hours. For more information, contact Northern Ireland Railways (028-9066 6630, www.nirailways.co.uk). If you prefer to drive between the two, read on ...

A BOAT

Book by next Monday, 9 June, and you can get a short break to Ireland for a car and two people for £99 between now and 10 July. Stena Line (08705 773 773, www.stenaline.co.uk) claims that the deal is to "celebrate the arrival of summer"; a cynic might say the ferry company is suffering from the same tricky trading conditions that are afflicting many travel companies. In any event, the deal applies for stays of five days or fewer on the Holyhead-Dun Laoghaire and Fishguard-Rosslare routes. It will also apply to travel on the new ferry, the Stena Adventurer, which is on the way from its maker in Korea and due to sail between Holyhead and Dublin from 1 July.

A PLANE

Airlines have made half-hearted attempts in the past to create loyalty schemes for young passengers, but a new Air France scheme offers remarkably generous rewards for travellers aged between 12 and 24. Two return trips from the UK to Europe are enough to earn a flight from the UK to any destination in mainland France, or from London to Amsterdam or Frankfurt.

The strange name for the scheme is Frequenc'Y (the airline's main scheme is Frequence Plus). You have to join online at www.airfrance.com/uk.

The scheme also has discount deals with almost 20 Frequenc'Y partners, including Hertz, Hostelling International, Disneyland Paris and Lonely Planet, which is offering a free phrase book if you buy one of its travel guides.

A BUS

High season has just begun on the Eurolines Pass, a ticket that allows unlimited coach travel around Europe. However, the ticket still looks excellent value, especially for those who do not qualify for the under-26 InterRail pass.

A 30-day pass costs £259 and allows travel from the UK as far as Bucharest, Warsaw, Copenhagen and Madrid. The usual suspects, such as Amsterdam, Barcelona, Paris and Rome are also covered. If you can squeeze all your travel into 15 days, the price falls to £174; or take your time and spend 60 days on the road for £299. Anyone under 26 or over 60 pays around 20 per cent less. Book on 08705 143219 or through www.nationalexpress.com

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