Something to Declare: Sleepovers; Brighton and Hove; Spain car rental; A Tale of Two Trains
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 07 June 2008
Bargain of the week: sleep your way across the border
Whenever the price of aviation fuel or the stress of air travel increases, the First ScotRail overnight service running between London Euston and Scotland looks even more enticing.
The Caledonian Sleeper is enjoying strong demand at the moment, which makes the lowest fares scarce, but some "bargain berths" are still available if you are prepared to plan in advance.
For cut-price, one-way berths on the overnight train, the rules are the same as those for cheap flights: book ahead online (in this case at www.bargainberths.co.uk), and be as flexible as you possibly can with the dates on which you wish to travel.
On the First ScotRail route between London and Aberdeen, for example, there are only a few dates available over the next couple of months that still have tickets at £29 each way; for the lowest £19 overnight fare on the service that runs between Glasgow and London, you will need to be able to travel on a Monday or Tuesday in August.
Destination of the week: Brighton and Hove a la Mod
Britain's most exotic city could soon be revisiting its days as scooter capital of the South Coast, resounding to the revs of Vespas and Piaggios. A new scooter-rental company, Vroom by the Sea (01273 772 222; www.vroombythesea.com), opened this week in Hove. It offers the chance to enjoy the intriguing facets of Brighton and Hove in the style of the cult film Quadrophenia. The most basic scooter is a 50cc Piaggio Zip, which costs £20 for half a day (£5 less from Monday to Wednesday) including basic insurance; the Vespa is about 50 per cent more expensive. Anyone with a full UK driving licence since before February 2001 can rent a 50cc scooter without L-plates.
Warning of the week: car-rental at Spanish airports
"They are like bank robbers," explained a helpful customer-service representative for a leading car-rental company in Bilbao. He was referring to the "airport service charge" of up to €34.50 (£27) levied by the Spanish national airport group. This charge was for picking up a small hatchback at Valladolid, but similar fees apply at other arrival points. To save cash, take a taxi or bus to a rental firm's city-centre location and pick up the vehicle there instead.
Download of the week: a tale of two train travellers
Why drive, when you can let the narrow-gauge railway lines of northern Spain take the strain? In the latest film from The Independent Traveller, Ben Ross and Simon Calder take the long and winding railroad through "green Spain" – but in very different styles.
Watch or download the results at www.independent.co.uk/spain
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