Something To Declare: Las Vegas; Malaria in Gambia; £9 rooms

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid


Destination of the week: Las Vegas

Any route that is being closed down is likely to generate bargains in its last couple of weeks. That is certainly the case with BMI's Manchester-Las Vegas service, to be axed on 14 January. Booking online you can pick up flights for early January for under £460 return, even buying shortly before departure.

Accommodation is also extremely cheap in early January; at hotels.com, a double room at the Stratosphere Tower has been selling for as little as £17 this week, while doubles at the Las Vegas Hilton have been on offer for a frankly astonishing £27. These rates, you will not be amazed to learn, do not include breakfast.

Culture is on offer, too, at the Nevada State Museum, accessible from downtown Las Vegas on bus 207; call 001 702 486 5205 or visit nevadaculture.org.

Warning of the week: Malaria in Gambia

In the past two months 15 cases of malaria have been brought back to Britain by travellers from Gambia; in total last year there were 21. Most victims have failed to take malaria pills; the recommended prophylaxis is Malarone, Doxycycline or Mefloquine.

At any time, the Gambia is a high-risk area for malaria, and to make matters worse the major transmission season coincides with the most popular holiday period in winter.

Travellers should practice strict bite-avoidance measures, particularly between dusk and dawn, such as wearing clothing that covers exposed skin, applying insect repellent and using mosquito nets. And travellers who fall ill after a visit to a malarious area should seek prompt medical attention; malaria can take up to a year to reveal symptoms.

Bargain of the week: £9 rooms

Travelodge is aggressively trying to fill the rooms at more than 300 of its UK properties over the next few months, with a £9 promotion that goes on sale on 30 December.

The price, which covers up to two adults and two children, is available at many properties, though not usually the most desirable locations. A second price tier, £19, applies when the first tranche has been sold. You must book online. Besides a credit-card charge, which you can avoid by using a debit card, there are no additional fees.

With Travelodge's prices so low as to undercut youth hostels, the YHA is hitting back with tactical offers. At Alston in the North Pennines, a three-nights-for-the-price-of-two offer applies from 3 January to 12 February, excluding Fridays and Saturdays. The cost per person per night is £8. Contact YHA Alston on 0845 371 9301 or email alston@yha.org.uk.

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