Bargain of the week: Eurostar
Unless you have been living on Planet Tharg for the past 10 days, you will know that the new high-speed rail link from London to the Channel Tunnel has finally opened; Brussels Midi is accessible from St Pancras International in 111 minutes, and Paris Nord is only 2 hours 15 minutes away. What you are unlikely to know – because Eurostar has not publicised it – is that cheap one-way tickets are finally on offer.
For the first time in 13 years of trains between London and Europe, a legal alternative to high priced full-fare single tickets is available. Book online at www.eurostar.com, and you can find fares of £44, £110 cheaper than the previous lowest fare.
So travellers from Newcastle, for example, can opt to go out to Paris by train and fly back on easyJet. For a long weekend departing on Thursday 17 January, this whole itinerary is available for as little as £100: £11.50 from Newcastle to London King's Cross on a GNER web fare; £44 from the adjacent St Pancras International to Paris on Eurostar; and €64 (£45) for an easyJet flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle to Newcastle on the following Sunday, 20 January.
Podcast of the week: Something to Declare
Today The Independent Traveller gains an extra dimension with a new radio programme that brings the world to your ears. Something to Declare is a professionally produced show presented by Ben Ross of The Independent, with additional expertise from the insightful Frances Tuke of Abta. The programme hears advice from a wide range of travel industry professionals – plus a litany of grumbles from Simon Calder.
The pioneering first edition has been recorded at Stanfords, the world's biggest map and travel guide store. Among the topics: what are the bare essentials for the hike of a lifetime along the Inca Trail? Will the maiden OzBus departure from London to Sydney arrive at the Opera House as planned? And why is South Beach, Miami, the world capital of Art Deco?
The programme mixes destination reports with insider advice, and combines travel news with comment about the crucial issues in tourism – not forgetting "Dicky's Digits", playing the travel numbers game with industry godfather, Richard O'Connor.
As a half-hour travel show produced to the highest broadcast standards, Something to Declare is a first for the British newspaper industry. You can listen online or download the programme, free of charge, at www.independent.co.uk/sd.
Warning of the week: cabin baggage
This week the Transport Secretary, Ruth Kelly, said that the much-criticised "one-bag rule" on cabin baggage for airline passengers departing UK airports may soon be relaxed. But questions from travellers who have contacted The Independent Traveller suggest that there are a couple of common misconceptions about the announcement.
First, nothing will change before the New Year period the existing rule will stay in operation throughout Christmas and beyond; the earliest date for any change is 7 January next year.
Second, if and when the Government allows passengers to take more than one bag through security, individual airlines will continue to set their own rules – which may mean passengers are restricted to a single bag.