Something to declare: Seattle, via Vancouver; card tricks around the world; Bilbao by ship; Galapagos
Saturday 11 September 2010
Destination of the week: Seattle, via Vancouver
Next Saturday marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Jimi Hendrix. The musician died in the Samarkand Hotel in Notting Hill, west London, on 18 September 1970. But he is most prominently celebrated in his home town, Seattle, with a memorial site for him at Greenwood Memorial Park, a park in the city in his honour, and a statue of him on Broadway north of Pine Street.
The city of Hendrix's birth is at its most appealing in September. However, the only airline with non-stop flights is British Airways. And because of heavy demand, the cheapest fare for flights outbound next Friday, 17 September, returning a week later, is £1,546 (including World Traveller Plus on the outbound leg).
The leading cut-price alternative is on US Airways from Gatwick via Charlotte, North Carolina; a fare of £524 is available through Opodo.co.uk. Or fly non-stop from Gatwick to Vancouver, just north of the Canadian border, for as little as £298 return on those same dates, on a Thomas Cook Airlines jet sold through Canadian Affair (canadianaffair.com).
The onward journey to Seattle takes about three hours by rail or road.
Warning of the week: Card tricks around the world
The proportion of British travellers reporting a lost debit or credit card is higher in Australia and Thailand than in any other country. The Independent Traveller has analysed Foreign Office data and research from the identity and fraud-prevention experts, CPP, and can reveal that one in 2,000 visitors to these countries report a lost or stolen card.
South Africa takes third place with one in 3,000, followed by Spain, where one in 8,000 report a misplaced or snatched card; this is also the country with the most losses in absolute terms, because of the large number of British visitors it attracts. Portugal (one in 9,000) and Italy (one in 10,000) look slightly safer, while the risk in France, Germany, Greece and the US is much lower.
Bargain of the week: Bilbao by ship, quick
Just as the Basque separatist group, Eta, declares a cease-fire, the ferry link between Portsmouth and the capital of Spain's Basque region is about to be axed.
The Pride of Bilbao finishes on the route on 27 September. You can take a mini-cruise before then for just £56 per person. The price includes cabin accommodation, with five hours ashore in this fine city.
Tip of the week: Galapagos
Access to Ecuador's magnificent Pacific archipelago improves from Wednesday 15 September when Lan Ecuador, an offshoot of Lan of Chile, starts flights from the capital, Quito, to the main airport in the Galápagos: Baltra, on Santa Cruz. Fares booked at lan.com are typically around £250 return. The other carriers to the Galápagos are the military airline TAME and the private carrier Aerogal, both of which also fly to San Cristóbal, the most easterly of the islands.
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