Something to Declare: Calais; Australia's Northern Territory; Budapest metro

Bargain of the Week: Calais, more often, for less

Anyone seeking a cheap Channel crossing for the school summer holidays has left it late: typical return fares of £200-plus apply for a car and its passengers on Eurotunnel (0870 535 3535; eurotunnel.com) between Folkestone and Calais. But an excellent way to get a cheaper deal, if you intend to make several more trips to France in the year ahead, is to buy a "carnet" valid for five return trips for £390. You can travel on departures from 4pm to 6am outbound, or inbound from midnight to 2pm. Other departures attract a surcharge of £20 – or, at weekends between 24 July and 30 August, £30.

Buying a carnet and paying the top surcharge will therefore cost £450. But if the corresponding "normal" fare is, say, £210 return, you effectively get four additional off-peak return trips for £60 each, so you can see more of the Pas de Calais (above).

Destination of the Week: Northern territory

July is an excellent month to visit northern Australia: the climate at the "Top End", north of the Tropic of Capricorn, is comfortable; in the past five years, no rain at all has fallen in July. Further south, the "Red Centre" around Alice Springs is relatively cool, with the temperature rarely exceeding 30C. And there are plenty of events to enliven a trip.

The Imparja Camel Cup takes place in Alice Springs on 11 July, involving camels competing at a special course in Blatherskite Park. If the nine scheduled races are not exciting enough, there is also the chance to watch camel polo; see camelcup.com.au.

Eight days later in the Territory's capital, Darwin, the Beer Can Regatta takes place. On 19 July the crowds gather to cheer on boats built entirely out of beer cans; visit beercanregatta.org.au.

Darwin is most easily reached via Singapore. Air France/KLM (0870 142 4343; airfrance. com/uk) has fares to Singapore of under £400 return from a range of UK airports for selected dates in July.

From Singapore, fares of S$240 return (£100) to Darwin are not too difficult to find on JetStar (jetstar.com). That gives a total fare of just £500 return.

Warning of the Week: Budapest metro

Ticket inspectors on the underground railway in the Hungarian capital are now working with translators to help with targeting tourists.

The city's Metro system is cheap and efficient, but buying tickets can pose problems. At a number of stations on the historic Line 1 (the first underground in continental Europe) the booking offices are located on the platform. But they appear to be permanently closed, and ticket machines are either non-existent or out of order.

The inspectors normally work in pairs, but some now operate with a translator. The modus operandum appears to be as follows: they watch tourists struggling to get a ticket. The hapless or inept foreigner (pictured) eventually gives up, opting instead to go one station down the line to try again.

The inspectors emerge from the shadows to follow the tourist on to the train; as soon as the doors close, they reveal their identity and demand to see a valid ticket. When the visitor is unable to produce one they escort them off the train at the next station and impose an on-the-spot fine of 6,000ft (£20).

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there