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Bargains of the week: fly worldwide

The usual January crop of "best-ever offers" has appeared. Most of the promotions look familiar, simply dusted off for the New Year. But four good deals have come to light.

1. For people flying from outside the London area, KLM uk's web specials (bookable only through www.klmuk.com) look good for a range of destinations in the US. The fare to New York and Boston is £213 from 15 UK cities. These include Newcastle, Cardiff and the three leading Scottish airports – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – all via Amsterdam. The good thing about the KLM deal is that it is available until the end of April; normally, these low fares expire at the end of March. Irritatingly, most test bookings made on the desperately slow and unwieldy website failed.

2. From Heathrow to New York and Boston, the world's biggest airline is offering the lowest fares: £175 return on American Airlines, through agents such as Quest Travel (0870 444 5552). To Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando and San Francisco, the flat fare is £211. You need to book by 28 January and travel out by the end of February.

3. Going east, the tempting prospect is a flight to Shanghai and back for £368 on Virgin Atlantic (01293 747 747).

4. Expect sub-£500 fares to be the norm to Australia during the April-June low season. Before then, discount agents are offering a nifty deal on Malaysia Airlines. For a very reasonable return fare as low as £575 to the state capitals on the Australian mainland, the airline will give you three free nights B&B in a Kuala Lumpur hotel (based on two sharing, otherwise a supplement applies). To qualify, depart by the end of March.

Warning of the week: driving danger

"Cars with foreign number plates may be targeted by thieves", warns the Foreign Office in a New Year alert about hazards facing British motorists in France. "Conceal bags and purses when driving, and never leave valuables in a vehicle." In Calais, says the FO, "British-registered cars may be targeted, both while parked and on the move." In the south of France, it is common for bags to be snatched from the front passenger seat, often when the vehicle is stationary at traffic lights, by villains on motorbikes. Even when you relax, don't relax: mugging incidents are becoming common at the more isolated rest areas on some French motorways, particularly on the A10 between Paris and Bordeaux.

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