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News & Advice

Something To Declare: One Life Live; Russia warning; Irish sea crossings

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid

Show of the week: One Life Live

"Life is too short to waste doing things that make us unhappy": that is the theme of the show that takes place next week (13-15 March) at the Grand Hall of Olympia in West London. A key focus is the Travel & Career Break Zone, which covers opportunities ranging from diving tuition in Belize to contributing to an environmental project in Chile. The event offers a range of free seminars with speakers such as the blind adventurer Mark Pollock, who raced to the South Pole. Exhibitors include 2 Way Development, which offers "ethical volunteering" overseas, such as working with the Masai community in Kenya. Overland travel providers such as Kumuka, Tucan and Topdeck will also exhibit.

One Life opens 1-7pm on Friday, 10am-6pm on Saturday and 10am-5pm on Sunday. For more information and tickets call or call 0844 848 3225 or see onelifelive. co.uk; quote the code INDY for discounted tickets.

Warning of the week: Russia

The world's largest country is getting more dangerous, says the Foreign Office – particularly for "travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent". This week the official travel advice for Russia (see fco.gov.uk/travel, or call the advice line on 0845 850 2829) was updated with a warning of "a substantial increase in the number of attacks on foreign nationals, especially in large urban areas". The Foreign Office says: "Racially motivated attacks increase around 20 April, the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birthday."

Street crime aimed at tourists is particularly prevalent in Russia's most beautiful city, St Petersburg, where "well-organised gangs" operate. "Avoid openly carrying expensive items, or anything that might easily identify you as a tourist," says the Foreign Office.

In bars and cafés, "beware of drinks which have not been poured in your sight, do not leave your drink unattended and do not accept drink given to you by someone you have just met." The official advice says that drink spiking followed by robbery is common, and that "unconscious victims are often left outside, which can be life threatening in the winter months".

Aspects of Russian law that reflect the authoritarian past include a ban on importing GPS equipment without an operating licence, and a stipulation that you carry your passport at all times. "If you are asked for ID and cannot produce your passport, you will be fined."

Finally, "there is a long history of kidnapping in the region and Westerners are particularly vulnerable". The Foreign Office points out the long-standing UK policy not to make substantive concessions to hostage takers. "The British Government considers that paying ransoms and releasing prisoners increases the risk of further hostage taking."

Bargain of the week: Irish sea crossings

For sailings from today until 21 May, Irish Ferries (08705 17 17 17; irishferries.com) is selling one-way crossings from Holyhead to Dublin (pictured) and Pembroke to Rosslare for between £59 and £89, covering a car and two adults. The basic fare applies from Monday to Thursday; you pay an extra £10 for crossings on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, a further £10 for departures between 3 and 19 April, and a final £10 supplement for the fast ferry to Dublin. Additional adults pay £20 each and children aged four-15 pay £10 each. Book at least a week in advance, and no later than next Thursday, 12 March.