Something To Declare: How to survive an avalanche; Plymouth to Cork, via France; half-term Africa; America's most dangerous cities

Tip of the week: Surviving an avalanche

If the Traveller's Guide to the 2011/12 ski season (see related links) inspires you, then you might want to watch Simon Calder's latest travel film above. It features an interview with a top ski instructor in the French resort of Les Deux Alpes. Robin Morville explains how to avoid an avalanche, and what to do if you are caught in one.

Bargain of the week: Plymouth to Cork, via France

Each Friday between now and the end of October, Brittany Ferries (0871 244 0744; is offering a "luxury mini-cruise", departing from Plymouth to the Irish Republic's second city. The Port-Aven arrives at Ringaskiddy in Cork Harbour at 10am on Saturday. Passengers get a free bus connection into Cork itself, for a few hours in what is a conveniently compact city. The ferry home leaves at 4pm, arriving at Plymouth at 1.30pm on Sunday.

The price per person based on two sharing is £109, or only £89 if three or four passengers share. But there are a couple of twists. The cruise is effectively bolting together two pairs of ferry sectors. You will call at the pretty Breton port of Roscoff (above) in each direction. And, unlike conventional cruises, food is extra.

Destination of the week: Half-term Africa

South Africa may be distant, but jet lag is not a problem. October wildlife-watching is world class and many destinations are malaria-free. Turquoise Holidays (01494 678400; is offering four nights at the luxury Ecca Lodge on the Kwandwe private game reserve in the Eastern Cape, plus three nights on the Garden route for £3,980 per adult and £1,050 per child. The price includes overnight flights from Heathrow departing Friday 21 October, and transfers. Departing the same day, Tropical Sky (0844 332 9349; has a week for £2,249 per adult and £1,299 per child. The price includes four nights' B&B at the Southern Sun Waterfront in Cape Town and three nights' full board at the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, plus car rental.

Warning of the week: America's most dangerous cities

Forbes magazine has just published its 2011 top 10 of the US cities with the highest rates of violent crime, covering homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Detroit, where the average murder rate is running at almost one a day, heads the danger list. Three other Midwest "rustbelt cities" – Springfield (3), Flint (4) and Rockford (10) – feature in the table. An average tourist is unlikely to visit these locations. The same applies to cities placed 6 to 8: Lubbock in Texas, Stockton in California and Florida's state capital, Tallahassee.

But in second place is Memphis, home to the Blues and Elvis Presley's grave. Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, is anchored down in fifth place. And Las Vegas, one of the biggest tourist draws on the planet, makes ninth place.

"Exercise caution when travelling in unfamiliar areas," advises the Foreign Office (

"Research your destination before travelling and seek local advice about areas with high levels of criminal activity."