Something To Declare: Road safety in Egypt; Dublin for a song; Africa baggage bonus; curious Amsterdam
Saturday 01 January 2011
Warning of the week: Road safety in Egypt
A bus crash between Aswan and Abu Simbel on Boxing Day claimed the lives of eight US tourists. Egypt has an appalling road-accident rate: the World Health Organisation estimates that about 12,000 lives are lost in fatal traffic crashes every year – four times as many as in Britain, even though Egyptians are far less mobile.
It says: "Though there are laws on speed, blood-alcohol concentration, seat-belt wearing and helmet wearing, they are poorly enforced." The Foreign Office advises Britons: "There have been a number of serious bus crashes in recent years with large numbers of fatalities. If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is travelling at an unsafe speed, you should firmly instruct the driver to slow down."
Bargain of the week: Dublin for a song
The beauty of the "SailRail" ticket to the Irish capital is that it applies from any British railway station and costs a maximum of £30.50 one way; from London or Newcastle the fare is £27. There are few restrictions on when you can travel, and deals also apply to other Irish destinations. To get to anywhere in Ireland will cost up to £48.50 from any British station, for example from Brighton to Cork. The offer covers rail travel to ports at Holyhead, Fishguard or Stranraer and the ferry to Dublin/Dun Laoghaire, Rosslare or Belfast, respectively. You can book on 08450 755 755, at main rail stations or through sailrail.co.uk.
Tip of the week: Africa baggage bonus
Heading for an expedition in Africa? Libya's Afriqiyah Airways (01293 502 740; www.afriqiyah.aero) offers an impressive 48kg of checked baggage on its flights from Gatwick via Tripoli to Johannesburg, Accra and a dozen other African cities.
The cabin baggage allowance offers an extra 10kg. Fares are competitive: between Gatwick and Accra in Ghana, below, even over new year, you can travel there and back for £462, saving £160 on the typical price aboard British Airways.
On departures from Bangkok, an Asian carrier is expanding its baggage allowances – for the right kind of baggage: "Kindly note that television sets are being considered a part of a passenger's free baggage allowance," says Air India Express.
Destination of the week: Curious Amsterdam
The stylish Canal House ( canalhouse.nl) in Amsterdam was due to open today but is now expected to start trading on 15 January; call 00 31 61 709 69 92 to find out for certain. The property is part of the Curious Hotels group, which owns Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds. The 23 contemporary, glamorous bedrooms are designed to a sombre palette of purples and greys. A double room costs €265 (£225), including breakfast.
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