Something To Declare: Canada in brief; Caribbean Christmas; Off the rails in Africa; Travellers' Tales Festival

Bargain of the week: Canada in brief

"Toronto Shopping Heaven" is the name of a remarkably good value three-night package offered by Canadian Affair (020-7616 9933; canadianaffair.com ) from Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow to Canada's biggest city – with a price tag of just £299. The offer is for departures from May 3-6, June 4-7, September 17-20, October 4-7 from Gatwick, including flights on Thomas Cook Airlines and accommodation downtown at the Days Hotel (but not transfers or breakfast). Shopping is not compulsory.

If you want to visit Toronto before then, Air India has some good deals available through airindia.com for its daily scheduled flights from Heathrow.

While the standard economy fare of £355 is not particularly special, the Executive class fare of £1,297 is significantly cheaper than the opposition; and if you are content to travel west on the daytime flight and return overnight in business, you pay £803 return.

Destination of the week: Caribbean Christmas

After Britain's Arctic week, an alluring option for a warm escape for next Christmas and New Year. If you are able to fly out from Britain on Saturday 18 December and can arrive back early on 4 January next year, then Voyages of Discovery has a fascinating cruise on offer. The company (0845 018 1800; voyagesofdiscovery.co.uk ) is calling at only two islands, at either end of the Caribbean: Cuba and Barbados.

Between leaving Havana and arriving in Bridgetown, the Discovery calls at a sequence of mainland Latin American destinations: Progreso in Mexico (giving access to Mayan cities), Belize City, Puerto Cortés in Honduras, Puerto Limon on Costa Rica's Caribbean coast, Cartagena in Colombia and the Venezuelan city of Maracaibo.

The price per person for the most basic cabin is £2,199, including flights, transfers and all tips.

Warning of the week: Off the rails in Africa

"Trains 1 and 2 are life-expired, filth has accumulated for years, bedroom doors often don't lock and lack hinges," reports a contributor in Senegal, West Africa, in the first Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable of the new decade.

The warning continues: "Lights don't work and toilets have no water". On a short trip, these may not be big concerns, but the services in question link the capital, Dakar, with Bamako in Mali and are scheduled to take 21 hours to cover the 750 miles.

In practice, "Never mind what the timetable says, the train will take anywhere from 44 to over 80 hours to make the trip." You might imagine this would play havoc with subsequent departures, but the Overseas Timetable points out that the service runs only "every 8 or 9 days". There is also a tip about sleeping accommodation: "Vendors sell cheap mattresses at Dakar station that may be a good idea to buy, as the mattresses and linen available [on board] haven't been cleaned in years."

Across in the former Belgian colony of Democratic Congo, another correspondent reports a discussion with officials from SNCC, the Congo Railway enterprise: "They said the trains are very dangerous due to the number of derailments; one in four trains derails."

Tip of the week: Travellers' Tales Festival

The weekend of 20-21 Feb sees the travel world converge on London's Royal Geographical Society: writers such as Jan Morris and Fergal Keane will appear. Weekend tickets cost £121; see www.bit.ly/TravTales .

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
film
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
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

    Investigo: Finance Manager - Global Leisure Business

    £55000 - £65000 per annum: Investigo: My client, a global leader in their fiel...

    Investigo: Senior Finance Analyst - Global Leisure Business

    £45000 - £52000 per annum + bonus+bens : Investigo: My client, a global leader...

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?