Tip of the week: Camp Morocco
Trading down because of the pathetic pound? Morocco is among the few places that is cheaper to reach this year than last, due to changes in the Air Passenger Duty system. And if your budget can no longer stretch to a riad, you could always take a tent. Camping Morocco 2010 (Vicarious Books, £11.50) offers more than 100 "inspected campsites".
Destination of the week: Amsterdam
Next Friday, the people of the Dutch capital paint the town bright orange when they celebrate Queen's Day to mark the birth of their monarch. Queen Beatrix was in fact born on 31 January, but wisely the outdoor celebration takes place at a warmer and lighter time of the year.
The entire city turns into a gigantic flea market or garage sale, as householders are permitted to sell on the streets without a licence. Extraordinary amounts of beer are drunk, and marijuana smoked, but the atmosphere remains convivial.
Many of the traditional attractions are closed, and accommodation – always a problem in Amsterdam – is in extremely short supply, likely to be exacerbated this year if travellers on KLM are still stranded after the aviation shutdown. It is probably better to base yourself in a different city and travel in by train.
Bargain of the week: The Birmingham bypass
Wrexham & Shropshire is one of the new breed of "open access" train operators offering outstanding value for travellers. The line from London Marylebone now serves Leamington Spa, as well as Cosford (location for the great RAF Museum) and Shrewsbury – gateway for the mid-Wales line to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli.
Fares are spectacularly low, with none of the usual peak-hour restrictions. Booking as late as the day before, you can get a one-way ticket from London to Cosford for £10, so long as you print out your own ticket. At the other end of the scale, the maximum you can pay is £199 for an unrestricted first class return between London and Wrexham – which includes a two-course meal; the company claims that the fare is less than a Standard Class return from Euston using Virgin Trains.
The train uses refurbished rolling stock from other train operators, but journey times are still swift: London to Banbury in just over an hour, and to Shrewsbury in just over three hours.
If you opt for the cheap seats, you can spend some of the savings on a Great British Breakfast, of bacon, eggs, black pudding, hashbrowns, tomatoes, mushroom and toast, for £9.95 including a tea or coffee.
Warning of the week: Honduras
Carry "mugger money": that's the advice from the Foreign Office in its newly updated travel advice for Honduras. "It is useful to carry small amounts of money to hand out in the event of a robbery."
To reduce the risk that you could be a victim, the Foreign Office advises against walking around the capital, Tegucigalpa, the commercial hub San Pedro Sula, and other towns and cities: "Victims of robbing have been killed and injured resisting attack".
When you arrive by air, you should keep valuable items such as cameras, MP3 players and mobile phones out of sight; some new arrivals have been targeted for robbery when they leave the airports in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa. "Never accept lifts from strangers or attempt to hitch-hike anywhere in Honduras," says the Foreign Office. And even by car or bus, "there have been reports of violent attacks".Reuse content