Something To Declare: Canariesin september; Ramadan; Charlotte, North Carolina

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid

Bargain of the week: Canariesin september

As soon as August ends and school term begins, prices for package holidays fall. Flying from Gatwick to Lanzarote (above) on 3 September, Thomson (0870 165 0079; offers a week, room only, at the Playa Flamingo Aparthotel in Playa Blanca for £348. Thomas Cook (0870 750 5711; is offering a departure to the balmy island of Gran Canaria in the final hours of this month – 8.45pm on 31 August, from Gatwick – for £280. This is for a week, room-only at the two-star Montebello in the resort of Puerto Rico. These per-person prices, based on two sharing, include transfers.

Warning of the week: The effects of Ramadan on travel

This year, Ramadan coincides with September; the Islamic observance is due to begin on 1 September and continues right through the month.

According to the fourth pillar of Islam, Muslims refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in the hours of daylight during Ramadan. As a result, daily life changes radically, and for non-Muslim travellers, life can become much more complicated; many restaurants will close during the day and public transport may be reduced.

Although non-believers are not expected to observe the fast, it is disrespectful to eat or drink in public during the day.

After dark the atmosphere changes dramatically, with a festive feel as everyone goes out to eat.

Destination of the week: Charlotte, North Carolina

Tickets went on sale yesterday for the Charlotte Film Festival, which takes place in North Carolina's biggest city over the long weekend of 25 to 28 September. The festival's mission is "to bring exposure to undiscovered talent and great cinema to Charlotte". You can find out more and book tickets at

The "Queen City", as North Carolina's top conurbation is known, has plenty of permanent attractions outside festival time.

It is the home of the US Whitewater Center (001 704 391 3100;, an adventure complex where you can go rafting for just $39 (£21). For a more erudite afternoon, the Levine Museum of the New South ( depicts the profound changes in the Southern states since the Civil War.

The specialist operator North American Highways (01902 851 138; offers a two-week fly-drive in September, including flights from Gatwick to Charlotte and a mid-size car, for £720.