The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel

Destination of the week: India

Air travel to Delhi and Mumbai (Bombay) gets easier from the end of the month - and fares are already falling. Until now the Indian government has severely constrained capacity between the UK and India. Delhi has now relaxed some of the restrictions on direct links, with extra services to start from 27 March. The Civil Aviation Authority in London has also opened up the route to Virgin Atlantic and BMI.

The newcomers face intense competition from so-called "sixth-freedom" carriers, which operate via their home territory. An Independent survey of deals available early in April reveals fares well below the prices that have prevailed for years.

Some of these bargains are on carriers from the former Soviet Union. Kazakh airline Air Astana has a return fare of £410 from Heathrow to Delhi via Almaty. But if you are flexible about where you start and end your journey, there are plenty more bargains around.

The cheapest deal is on Etihad Airways from Gatwick to Mumbai, which is being sold through discount agents for £346 return. KLM has flights to Mumbai from Heathrow via Amsterdam for £379, or marginally more from the UK regional airports.

Travellers who want to combine India and Sri Lanka can find fares on SriLankan via Colombo to Mumbai for £480 and to Calcutta for £535.

For travellers from Birmingham, the market to India is very competitive. Air Slovakia flies four times a week from Birmingham to Amritsar, via Bratislava, for a fare of around £480 return. To Delhi, Turkmenistan Airways has flights via Ashgabat for £452.

Warning of the week: why you might not want to drive in Japan

"Complicated and expensive", is the verdict of the US State Department about motoring in Japan. "Those who cannot read the language will have trouble understanding road signs. City traffic is often very congested; a 20-mile trip in the Tokyo area may take two hours. There is virtually no legal roadside parking," says the advice. And things get worse if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident, because all parties are deemed liable.

Bargain of the week: over from Dover

Last summer, average prices for sea crossings from Dover to France fell sharply. This year, the slump in fares is set to continue. Next Thursday, Hoverspeed's Dover-Calais Seacat services resume after the winter break. The company has cut its lowest unrestricted fare to £49 return for a car plus five passengers when booked online at www.hoverspeed.com (you will pay more by booking by phone on 08705 240 241).

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