Something To Declare: fuel buyer beware; active Lebanon

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The Independent Travel

Warning of the week: fuel buyer beware

Car rental companies often offer a "fuel purchase option": you pay in advance for the fuel in the tank, and bring it back empty. But it could turn out to be an expensive choice, as Matt Prince found when he picked up a rental car at Nimes airport.

"Hertz offered me a 'don't fill up the tank deal'. Now, in the US these are often worthwhile, and since there isn't a petrol station near Nimes airport I said yes. The price was €61.20 [£44] to fill up the tank of a small car, which would have cost me no more than €40. To say the least I think this very bad value."

The rental company asserts "Hertz fuel is very competitively priced". But Mr Prince says: "I should have done my usual and filled up at the motorway services, then cruised slowly to the airport. Won't be caught again."

Bargain of the week: active Lebanon

A long, exotic weekend combining mountain-biking with hiking or snowshoeing in one of the Middle East's most fascinating countries: that is the holiday on offer from Explore (0870 333 4001;, which has expanded its short-breaks brochure with a new tour to Lebanon. The trip also includes time in Beirut and the ancient settlement of Tripoli.

On 25 October, and on seven further Wednesdays before the end of 2007, you can pay under £600 for five days away. This is an excellent price, given the usual lowest fare on direct flights of around £360 return and prevailing high prices in Lebanon. The cost includes flights, two nights in hotels, one night in an auberge and one night in a convent.