Something To Declare: Stansted Express; sharks in Mexico; Birmingham; 48 Hours

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
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The Independent Travel

Bargain of the week: Stansted Express for families

Mile for mile, the rail link between London Liverpool Street and Europe's leading no-frills airport, Stansted, is one of the most expensive in Britain – at £24 return even if you book in advance online at, it can cost more than some flights from the Essex airport. But book online by the end of July, for travel before the end of September, and each adult can take a child aged five-15 free of charge. Enter the promotion code FREEKID if it does not appear automatically.

You must nominate the date of outward travel (the inbound ticket can be used on any date within a month).

Many families, of course, already possess the useful Family & Friends Railcard (, which costs £24 for a year and gives one-third off adult fares and 60 per cent off children's. Yet for travel at peak times, the new online deal is more useful: the discount applies on any train, with no restriction on travel before 9.30am.

Warning of the week: Sharks and more in Mexico

While there is no reason for a Jaws-style panic, the Foreign Office has this week issued a warning about "recent shark attacks along the Pacific coast" of Mexico. "The three attacks, all involving surfers, took place close to Pantla and Troncones beaches near Zihuatanejo and approximately 150 miles from the Pacific resort of Acapulco. Two of the attacks were fatal, one involving a foreign tourist." The FCO adds: "Caution should be taken in these coastal areas, particularly when surfing."

Back on dry land, the traveller should not relax too much – especially in the north of Mexico: "Drug-related violence is a continuing problem in Sinaloa, Chihuahua, the US border states and Pacific states. You are advised to be extra-vigilant if travelling to these areas."

Destination of the week: Birmingham opens up

The latest stage in the expansion of services from the Birmingham airport takes place this week. On Tuesday, flights to Billund in Denmark, Torp in Norway, Poitiers in south-west France and Dinard in Brittany begin; on Wednesday, the links to Trieste in Italy and Rzeszow in south-east Poland commence; and on Friday, Bologna gets connected with Birmingham. All these new links are operated by Ryanair (0871 246 000;

Download of the week: 48 Hours

When planning your next weekend break, bear in mind that The Independent offers free-to-download broadcast-quality films to accompany the award-winning 48 Hours series, including Fez in Morocco, Leon and Zaragoza in Spain, and Singapore.