Something To Declare: Rutland, Bali, Australia
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 25 April 2009
Destination of the week Rutland reconnected
Oakham, the county town of Rutland, is about to get re-connected with London. The new link, on East Midlands Trains to St Pancras, begins on Monday, 27 April, with a journey time of just 100 minutes. It will also provide useful connections with Eurostar to Paris and Brussels.
The drawback for people heading from London to Rutland is that initially there is only one train each way, each day, and it happens to be at peak times with peak fares: £114 return. But you could alternatively travel outside the rush hours from London King's Cross via Peterborough for £46 for a "Super Off Peak Return".
Throughout May a county-wide promtion is offering a 25 per cent discount on two-night stays at one of five participating properties, including the Tithe Barn in Cottesmore and Belton Old Rectory. You also get a free Anglian Water Activity Pass offering savings on activities at Rutland Water.
Bargain of the week Bali, £499
Eight nights in Indonesia's most appealing island, Bali, for under £500: that is the deal for travel in May with Travelbag (0871 703 4240; travelbag.co.uk). The price includes flights from Heathrow via Kuala Lumpur with Malaysia Airlines, and accommodation at the three-star Inna Putri Hotel in the resort of Nusa Dua.
To get this price, you must book by tomorrow, 26 April, for departures on any day in May. After that deadline, the price will rise to £549 for bookings made up to 18 May. "At the moment there is a lot of availability" said a spokeswoman for Travelbag.
To explore more of Indonesia, Trailfinders (0845 050 5892; trailfinders.com) has a fare of £378 return from Gatwick to the capital, Jakarta, on Qatar Airways via Doha, or £429 from Manchester on Emirates via Dubai.
The Foreign Office warns "There remains a high threat from terrorism in Indonesia. We believe that terrorists continue to plan attacks, which could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers."
Warning of the week Australia
If you are one of the 700,000 British travellers expected to visit Australia this year, there's only a tiny chance – about one in 600 – that you will need consular assistance. That is according to the Foreign Office figures in the travel advice released this week.
This time of year is an excellent time to visit northern Australia: the climate is good, the airfares low, and the release next week of the DVD release of Baz Lurhmann's epic film Australia will spur more interest. But an outbreak of dengue fever in and around Cairns and Townsville in northern Queensland has already resulted in more than 900 confirmed cases and one death.
"Scientists are concerned that the dengue mosquito could re-establish itself in the more populous areas of south-east Queensland," says the Foreign Office.
Take care when exploring national parks: "The majority of these are in remote areas and it can take hours to reach help. This has resulted in a number of recent deaths... Take plenty of water and a means of rigging up a shelter from the sun."
The theft of luggage from unattended vehicles is a growing problem, especially from camper vans and vehicles that are identifiable as hire cars.
One final warning applies only to people taking advantage of the current cheap fares connecting Britain to Australia via Japan's second city, Osaka: "You must pay airport tax of 2,650 Yen (£18) to board the Osaka-London flight."
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