Something To Declare: On the rails in Australia; first class rail fares cut; off-peak Caribbean; Thai laws
Saturday 27 August 2011
Destination of the week: On the rails in Australia
After a shaky start, the Southern Spirit train from Adelaide via Melbourne to Brisbane is launching a regular service, with departures from November onwards. The five-day trip crosses the Great Dividing Range and travels along the east coast. Prices include a number of excursions – but this is not a journey for bargain-hunters. In the most basic class, Gold, the price per person for the first departure from Adelaide, on 5 November, is A$4,400 (£2,900). More details: gsr.com.au, or a specialist rail agent in the UK such as Trains Europe (0871 700 7722; trainseurope.co.uk).
Bargain of the week: Off-peak Caribbean
The lastest British Airways sale has some excellent Caribbean deals. Star performer is Gatwick-San Juan (right) for £469 return, though the flight stops en route in Antigua. Travel dates are 31 October to 31 March next year, but not 9 December to 8 January.
Expect Virgin Atlantic to respond to the £499 deal for flights from Gatwick to Antigua and Barbados, which applies from now until the end of June next year – but not over Christmas/New Year or 26 March-8 April. Given the high cost of living in the Caribbean, and the parlous state of sterling, the best deals are from the BA Holidays side of the operation (based on two travelling together).
A week at Rooms on the Beach in Montego Bay, Jamaica is £599, including breakfast (£86 per day, including flights), for travel between 12 and 30 September; the price increases by £10 in October and by £20 in November. A week room-only in hard-to-reach Tobago costs only £629 (£90 per day), if you can travel between 1 September and 21 October (the start of half-term).
Warning of the week: Thai laws
According to the latest Foreign Office figures (fco.gov.uk), in the average week four British travellers are arrested in Thailand. To avoid being one of them, carry your passport with you at all times; do not make critical or defamatory comments about the king or other members of the royal family; and: "Never become involved with drugs of any kind in Thailand. Possession of even very small quantities can lead to imprisonment. If you are found guilty of being in possession of 20 grams of a Class A drug at a point of exit from Thailand you will most likely be sentenced to death."
Tip of the week: First class rail fares cut
East Coast Trains, the state-run franchise connecting London King's Cross with Yorkshire, north-east England and Scotland, is hoping to lure more "walk-up" travellers into first class: selling what amounts to off-peak Saver tickets in first. Initially it is running a trial, from 4 September to New Year's Day, on trains linking Leeds, Wakefield and Doncaster with London. A £239 return ticket from Leeds or Wakefield (saving £102 on the Anytime fare) is valid on the 8.15am from Leeds and subsequent southbound trains. Northbound, some early-morning departures are excluded, along with trains from 4-5.45pm.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Natural wonders in the UK: From Giant's Causeway to Durdle Door
What's it like on board North Korean airline Air Koryo - the worst in the world?
Exclusive Escapes: Upmarket holiday company goes bust on the eve of bank holiday weekend
The most powerful passports in the world
North Korean airline Air Koryo named worst in the world for fourth time in a row (despite Kim Jong-un's best efforts)
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£26000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Product Development departm...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£30000 - £34000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Estates Team of this group ...