Something To Declare: León, Spain; Lebanon; Colombia, via Florida; Answers on Australia

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The Independent Travel

Destination of the week : León, Spain

Is this northern Spain's loveliest city? Decide for yourself by watching 48 Hours In ... on Travel Channel at 9pm on Tuesday. León is teamed with another "Lion City", Singapore. Travel Channel is available on Sky 251, or watch online at www.bit.ly/sin48 or www.bit.ly/leon48.

Warning of the week: Lebanon

Tomorrow is Independence Day in Lebanon, but the latest warning from the US State Department urges travellers to avoid the country. Diplomats believe "the potential for a spontaneous upsurge in violence is real" and warn: "Access to the airport is considered vulnerable and could be cut off with little warning."

For those determined to travel to Lebanon, the Foreign Office adds to the concerns: while visas are issued at airports on arrival, you should not travel to Lebanon on a passport that shows evidence of a visit to Israel.

Gay travellers are warned that the Lebanese criminal code contains a provision on "every sexual act against nature", which courts interpret as including homosexuality.

Finally, anyone tempted to drive across Europe, Turkey and Syria to Lebanon should be aware that "vehicles with diesel engines are now banned. Anyone attempting to enter in a diesel car will be required to leave the vehicle at the Syrian border."

Bargain of the week: Colombia, via Florida

Since Colombia fell off the route map from the UK in 2004, reaching South America's most diverse, fascinating country has been tricky and expensive. While fares to the capital, Bogotá are reasonably competitive, at about £500 return from London, other, more alluring destinations have typically been £200 more. But Spirit Airlines has this week expanded its Colombian flights from its base at Fort Lauderdale in Florida (to be put on the map this week when the world's largest cruise ship sets sail).

Spirit, which calls itself America's leading "ultra low-cost airline", now serves four destinations: Armenia, located in the "coffee triangle" and handy for Cali; Bogotá; Cartagena, on the Caribbean coast; and Medellín.

To take advantage of low fares, and the prospect of an "open-jaw" itinerary (eg out to Cartagena, back from Armenia), first you need to get to Fort Lauderdale. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to fly to Miami, take the shuttle bus to the Tri-Rail station, buy a $3.75 (£2.40) ticket and hop on the first train to Fort Lauderdale airport. The flight schedules may mean you have to overnight in Miami, which should not be an onerous prospect.

Tip of the week: Answers on Australia

Australiaflightbargains.com is very different from the average price-comparison website: it offers expertise that untangles the multiplicity of options to Australia, such as describing a possible "no-frills" itinerary:

"Fly to Luxor in Egypt with Thomson Airways. Then fly from Luxor to Sharjah in the UAE with Air Arabia. From Sharjah, use Air Arabia again to get to Chennai in India. From Chennai, fly to Singapore with Tiger Airways. And, finally, fly with either Tiger Airways or Jetstar from Singapore to Perth. Jetstar also flies from Singapore to Darwin."

But it also points out that: "In reality, the savings aren't that big, and it's debatable whether there are any savings at all once you factor in the amount of time spent waiting around at airports for flights to connect."

One destination where a no-frills approach is recommended is Darwin, which is connected from Singapore by Jetstar.

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