Simon Calder's deals of the week

DaySave deal, FastCraft , cheap travel to Australia
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The Independent Travel

Barbados? Barcelona? Brighton? Whichever you are aiming for, there's a good chance that the DaySave deal from Thameslink could get you there more cheaply. This is a ticket valid off-peak (any time except before 9.30am, Monday to Friday) on the entire Thameslink network from Bedford through central London to Brighton, with a branch to Wimbledon and Sutton. It costs just £10 per person or £20 for a group of four, and can get you to Luton and Gatwick airports, as well as the south coast. For comparison, a cheap day single ticket from Brighton to Bedford is £21.30 alone. The deal is not available at Thameslink stations, only online at www.thameslink .co.uk or through tourist information bureaux in St Alban's, Luton, Bedford or Brighton.

Across at London Victoria, easyJet has linked up with the Gatwick Express to offer discounts of 10 or 20 per cent on fares to the Sussex airport. You have to book online at the same time as making a flight booking with easyJet (0870 600 0000, www.easyJet.com). The bigger discount applies to bookings made at least eight weeks ahead.

A boat

From today, P&O Portsmouth (0870 24 24 111, www.poportsmouth.com) brings its FastCraft back for the summer, reducing the crossing time to below three hours. For anyone who travels to Portsmouth with South West Trains, the ferry company offersshort-break deals. A "24-hour popover" allows an overnight stay in France for £6 return. For a trip of up to 72 hours, the rate is £15. The deal is also available on conventional ferries to both Cherbourg and Le Havre. Quote "58594 South West Trains" when booking.

A plane

Fares to Australia are very low for travel before the end of June. Japan Airlines has cut its Heathrow-Sydney return fare to £495. It will throw in a free stopover in Brisbane with a continuing flight to Sydney, and, on the return leg, an overnight stay in a hotel in Tokyo before your flight home to Britain the next morning. The deal is bookable through Austravel (0870 166 2020, www.austravel.com). British Airways is selling flights to Melbourne via Singapore for £555 return through ebookers (0870 888 8889, www.ebookers.com).

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