The train to Spain costs more than the plane, in the main, but as the peak summer season approaches it's at least worth comparing fares for surface versus air - especially for weekend travel in July and August. Despite the longer travel time, rail can be more fun and less stressful.
For the Costa Brava, travelling on 19 July and back a fortnight later, European Rail (020-7387 0444; www.europeanrail.com) quotes a return fare from London Waterloo of £454 for the most basic second-class trip, and £741 for a first-class version. The trip takes around 12 hours. Ryanair (0871 246 0000; www.ryanair.com) has a fare from Stansted of £79; from Gatwick, British Airways (0845 77 333 77; www.ba.com) charges £170.
The extra flying distance to Alicante on the Costa Blanca is negligible, but by train it adds an extra seven hours. The rail fare is £525 in second class, £836 in first. But some flights from Gatwick to Alicante on BA are already full, and fares for remaining dates are high; for travel out on 28 July and back on 11 August, the lowest fare is £415 return; easyJet (0870 600 0000; www.easyJet.com) has a fare of £240 return, though prices are rising quickly.
Anyone intending to spend more than £150 in a year with P&O Ferries should sign up with the shipping company's new loyalty scheme, known as Voyager. You have to pay an upfront fee of £15, but this gives an immediate discount of 10 per cent on all sailings from Portsmouth, Dover and Hull. If you spend more than £300 in a year - which should not be difficult on one of the longer sailings in summer - the discount rises to 20 per cent. Anyone who spends more than £1,000 in a year gets a quarter off the final bill.
For more information, call 08705 20 20 20 or visit www.poferries.com.
This could be the summer for heading for the Faroes. The Danish North Atlantic archipelago is to become more accessible from Britain - and a new tunnel from the airport to the main islands makes the overall journey much quicker.
The only airline flying from Britain is Atlantic (0870 443 2372; www.atlantic.fo). Non-stop flights from Stansted to the Faroes begin on 30 June, operating on Sunday and Monday until 7 September. Best adult fare is £261 return.
A fine of over £100 could await the unwary traveller to Italy.
The country's State Tourist Board warns: "Visitors to Italy, as all other persons, are required on every occasion they purchase goods or pay for services, to ask for a receipt (scontrino) or fiscal receipt (ricevuta fiscale). You might be asked by an officer of Guardia di Finanza to produced the receipt when you leave the shop. If you don't have it, you may be obliged to pay a fine of up to €155 [£110]."Reuse content