Bargain of the week: Southern England, by train

From Romney Marsh via Brighton to the Solent, the train operator Southern covers a broad swathe of attractive destinations in Kent, Sussex, Surrey and Hampshire - plus central and south London. It also has an excellent unlimited-travel deal for its network: the DaySave ticket. For a flat £10, you can go anywhere you wish on the network in a day. Up to four adults can travel for a total of £20, with accompanying children paying £1 each. For comparison, the cheapest day return from London Victoria to Brighton on Southern is £17.40 (though First Capital Connect has a day ticket costing £13.50 from London Bridge).

From Monday to Friday, you cannot use the DaySave before 10am, and rush-hour departures from London are also off-limits; but at weekends, there are no time restrictions. It provides an excellent way for families to reach Gatwick airport.

The tricky part is getting hold of the ticket. "They are not available at any station or on the train," says the operator. Some tourist offices in the region sell DaySave tickets, but the easiest way to buy is online at; follow the DaySave links.

Photo of the year: last call

The 10th-anniversary Travel Photo of the Year competition, run jointly by the Independent Traveller and Wanderlust magazine, closes on 1 December. The top prizes, courtesy of British Airways, LAN Airlines and Peregrine, are four photographic commissions to Antarctica. There are four amateur categories this year: People, Wildlife, Landscape and Street Life. Each category winner, plus a companion, will be flown to Antarctica during the coming year.

For an entry form, see the current issue of Wanderlust magazine; or download details from (click on "What's New"); or send an SAE to Wanderlust (Photo of the Year), PO Box 1832, Windsor SL4 1YT.

Warning of the week: tax hike in Germany

Travellers to the Federal Republic face steep price rises in the New Year. From 1 January, VAT on accommodation, meals and transport will increase from 16 per cent to 19 per cent. Supermarket goods will also now be subject to VAT, at 7 per cent.