Bargain of the week: The world, via Abu Dhabi
The latest airline to come up with a deep-discount seat sale is Etihad (0800 731 9384; etihadairways.com), which is offering encouragingly low fares for travel between next month and March 2010 from Heathrow and Manchester to a range of destinations. The best deals are for Asia and Africa: Bangkok for £390 return and Johannesburg (pictured) for £420. If you are aiming for Australia, a fare of £610 kicks in to both Sydney and Melbourne for travel between November and next March.
You must book by 20 August. As always, the offer excludes dates with heavy demand, notably either side of Christmas and New Year.
Warning of the week: Travel during Ramadan
For the first time in several decades, the Islamic month of fasting overlaps with the peak August holiday season. Ramadan is expected to start next Friday, 21 August. During the ensuing month, many Muslims refrain from eating, drinking and smoking during daylight hours.
Much of the Islamic world will experience high temperatures. Combined with long hours of daylight, this may make daily life slow and stressful in many countries.
In tourist areas of Turkey, Morocco and Tunisia, life for travellers may not be significantly affected, but further east, the impact will be very evident during the day, in everything from finding transport to opportunities to consume food and drink.
For travellers to Dubai (pictured), Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs says: "A small number of large establishments, such as five-star hotels, will cater for non-Muslims."
Nevertheless, the late Jeremy Atiyah, travel editor of The Independent on Sunday, once spent Ramadan in Riyadh, "the none-too-festive capital of Saudi Arabia". He later wrote: "My memories of that time are almost exclusively of merry-making and jollification."
Destination of the week: Tomatorama
The small town of Buñol, west of Valencia, hosts one of the more anarchic annual festivals of the region's calendar. Each year, on the last Wednesday in August, tens of thousands of people from around the world swarm through the streets of this provincial town, engaged in the largest of food fights with the hundreds of thousands of overripe tomatoes shipped in for the occasion. Any bystanders are considered fair game, and wearing clothes that you'd like to wear again afterwards is inadvisable – it's usual to finish the fight dyed a pulpy red from head to foot.
Accommodation in Buñol is, understandably for a town of its size, quite limited, but there are several bus companies that run special services to La Tomatina from Valencia for those wishing to take part. It happens this year on 26 August.
Ian SteadmanReuse content