Something To Declare: Ryanair's bag fee rise; airmiles' final deadline; Ukraine, via Poland; California's West Coast

 

Warning of the week: Ryanair's bag fee rise

Take care when booking a holiday on Ryanair: a family of four could pay charges of more than £1,000, in addition to the cost of their plane tickets.

For bookings made from Wednesday onwards, for travel in June-September 2012, the online charge increases by £5 to £25 per bag per passenger per flight. You can reduce the luggage liability by booking your summer trip by next Tuesday, 14 December; the existing rates will apply until then.

If you fail to book bags in advance, the rate rises to £100 per case – £800 for a family of four on a return trip. The "boarding card reissue penalty" is rising by half to £60 per person per flight. So a careless family will pay £1,280 on top of the fare.

Tip of the week: Airmiles' final deadline

Three weeks ago, more than two million holdings of Airmiles loyalty points were converted to Avios, a new currency – and the rules were changed to oblige passengers to pay "taxes, fees and charges" for their reward flights. But if you book by phone within the next few days, you can still obtain flights according to the old rules. Call 0844 49 333 99 by 8pm next Thursday,15 December.

Bargain of the week: Ukraine, via Poland

The largest country wholly in Europe, Ukraine is suddenly on the map as co-host for the Euro 2012 football championships. Yet it remains largely undiscovered. Only the capital, Kiev (pictured), has direct air links with the UK. The country's most beautiful city, Odessa, is difficult to reach – but a current promotion by LOT Polish Airlines (lot.com) offers deals from £270 return from Heathrow to the "pearl of the Black Sea".

For an advance preview of Donetsk, where England will play most of their Group matches next June, you can pay as little as £218. You can also visit Lviv via Warsaw for £300. But for this beautiful city, a better gateway is Rzeszow in south-east Poland, served from Stansted by Ryanair.

Destination of the week: California’s West Coast

The ideal way to see America's West Coast, according to many travellers, is driving California's Highway 1. But if you prefer to be a Pacific coast passenger and enjoy the views at leisure, the train provides a grand alternative. The service from San Diego via Los Angeles to Santa Barbara has been upgraded, and offers free Wi-Fi. It runs three times a day, taking around five hours – with significant stretches beside the ocean.

You can break the journey at several points along the way, including Oceanside (for Legoland) and Anaheim (for Disneyland). One train a day (noon northbound, 6.45am southbound) serves San Luis Obispo – which is where the best stretch of Highway 1 begins.

The standard one-way fare for the 232-mile journey, with no need to book in advance, is $41 (£27). For comparison, the fare for the same distance between London and Darlington is £105.

For more details, see AmtrakCalifornia.com.

Simon Calder's latest film, on US trains, can be seen above

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

    The secret CIA Starbucks

    The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
    Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

    How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

    The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
    One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

    One million Britons using food banks

    Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

    Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

    The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

    The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
    Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

    A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
    Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

    Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

    They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
    Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

    The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
    The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

    The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

    Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
    How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

    How to run a restaurant

    As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
    Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

    Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

    For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
    Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

    Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

    The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
    10 best tote bags

    Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

    We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
    Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

    Paul Scholes column

    I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

    The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...