Something To Declare: Ecuador; sporting Victoria; Gatwick and the South

Warning of the week: Ecuador

Ecuador's capital, Quito, as well as Guayaquil and Manta, are experiencing a surge in crime. "Backpackers are seen as an easy target," according to the Foreign Office. "We recommend that you wear your rucksack on the front of your body. Keep a close watch on your bags and belongings when in restaurants or cafes as thieves are constantly on the lookout to make a 'grab and run'."

Bank robberies with a twist are on the rise: gang members inside a bank keep watch for people withdrawing cash, and pass on a description to their accomplices outside, who then rob the victim.

The crime wave has led the Ecuadorian government to impose a state of emergency. "This will enable Ecuadorian military forces to be used in conjunction with police units, with an increase in vehicle checkpoints," says the Foreign Office. "Foreigners are advised to carry their identity documents at all times."

Destination of the week: Sporting Victoria

Australia's smallest mainland state gets busy with sporting events between now and the end of the year. Next weekend the Australian Motorcycling Grand Prix takes place on Phillip Island, a normally tranquil isle 135km south-east of Melbourne, where the world's smallest penguins come ashore at sunset to roost on the beaches; bikes.grandprix.com.au.

The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday in November. It is "the race that stops a nation", when Australia downs tools for a flutter on the horses, this year on 3 November; melbournecup. com.

Flights to Melbourne this month are available for around £915 on Emirates from Gatwick via Dubai.

Bargain of the week: Gatwick and the South

Southern Railway has just started a new franchise on its services from London to Gatwick and England's South Coast, and is selling tickets very cheaply on southernrailway.com – starting at £3 regardless of distance – so long as you book in advance.

Air travellers can save a small fortune to Gatwick airport, for which the normal, walk-up one-way fare is £11.90. The £3 fare will also take you twice as far on the main line from London to Brighton, with a journey time of only 51 minutes, or much further: to Hastings, Chichester and even Southampton, a journey that takes twice as long as the South West Trains link from Waterloo (for which the standard one-way fare is £31.70). Southern's route is more aesthetically pleasing – taking in the South Downs and the Arun Valley of Sussex, and a swathe of rural Hampshire.

Availability of £3 tickets is greatest at weekends, and predictably lowest on weekdays at rush-hour. But even at the higher level of £7.50, savings are still possible to all destinations.

Southern also offers a "Daysave" ticket, which costs £10 for unlimited off-peak travel on the network; four people can travel for £20.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
peopleMathematician John Nash inspired the film Beautiful Mind
News
Richard Blair is concerned the trenches are falling into disrepair
newsGeorge Orwell's son wants to save war site that inspired book
Life and Style
Audrey Hepburn with Hubert De Givenchy, whose well-cut black tuxedo is a 'timeless look'
fashionIt may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
Arts and Entertainment
The pair in their heyday in 1967
music
Life and Style
fashionFrom bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
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

    Guru Careers: Events Coordinator / Junior Events Planner

    £24K + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Events Coordinator ...

    Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: Chief Executive Officer

    Salary 42,000: Royal Yachting Association Cymru Wales: The CEO is responsible ...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

    £35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

    Ashdown Group: Technical IT Manager - North London - Growing business

    £40000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A growing business that has been ope...

    Day In a Page

    Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

    Abuse - and the hell that follows

    James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
    Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

    It's oh so quiet!

    The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
    'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

    'Timeless fashion'

    It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
    If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

    Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

    Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
    New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

    Evolution of swimwear

    From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine