Open Jaw

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The Independent Travel

Currency in Cuba

I have visited the island several times. My recommendation regarding currency is to take £10 and £20 sterling notes and change them at the airport on arrival, where there is less chance of them being surreptitiously swapped for forged notes. This happened to me at a reputable-looking exchange office on Calle Obispo in Havana. The forged UK note was passed back to me after the teller had fumbled with the notes I had given her to change. Beware – it was all done very quickly, in front of me. I tried to remonstrate but I speak no Spanish and I received only a shrug of the shoulders.

Penny Proudlock

Madeira is better value than you thought

Café do Teatro, in a central street of Funchal, is one of the most expensive bars in Madeira (also one of the best). The same Coral beer that you bought for €1.70 there usually costs €0.70 in a typical Madeiran bar.

Miguel Fernandes Luís


Trains in Japan

It's important to note that the Japan Rail Pass can be bought only outside Japan. Buy the pass coupon from a travel agency or Japanese embassy, and exchange it in a Japanese railway station when you want your allotted time to start.

Alasdair Baverstock


US road trips

I've driven the entire Route 66 numerous times and, besides a stretch of about 50 miles in Texas, the old highway is very well maintained. The Mojave Desert is a wonderful drive and the old route passes much closer to beautiful scenery than the I‑40 does. It's certainly not filled with pot holes. Don't pass up this historic drive – or you could drive from LA to Chicago on the interstate, and see absolutely nothing.

"Blacktop Candy"


Panama retreats

I recently stayed at The Resort at Isla Palenque. I saw monkeys, sea turtles and much more. The staff were all so friendly and the food was amazing.

Michael Assofsky