Something To Declare: Sydney; The East Coast main line; Kuala Lumpur in Comfort

Where to go, how to save, what to avoid


Warning of the week: Sydney

The queues for a one-off "£10 to Australia" promotion began six days before the doors of eight STA Travel offices – including the flagship store at Victoria in London – opened at 8am on Wednesday. One hundred and fifty young British travellers with working-holiday visas qualified for the one-way flights, most of them aiming for Sydney. But the Foreign Office urges caution once they touch down. "Take particular care when walking at night in some of the busy tourist areas of Sydney, such as Kings Cross, downtown George Street, Hyde Park and Centennial Park," says the travel advice issued this week. In addition, "Thefts from safe deposit facilities at cheaper hotels and hostels are common." Outside the cities, "Luggage and other personal items left in unattended vehicles and identifiable hire cars and camper-vans may be targeted, including at theme park car-parks".

Simon Calder

Destination of the week: The East Coast main line

National Express is having a turbulent time, what with strikes on the East Anglian rail network, a departing chief executive and drastically over-bidding for its main franchise, the East Coast main line. Yet business continues as normal on this route while a buyer is sought.

York, Durham, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness are among the desirable destinations available at rock-bottom prices for travel between 1 September and 22 October.

For the purposes of the deal, the line has been divided into four zones, with flat fares for travel within and between them. A one-zone ticket, price £6 each way, allows travel, for example, between Peterborough and Bradford, York and Durham, or between Newcastle and any Scottish station on the East Coast line. Two zones (£9 one-way) covers London to Leeds or Glasgow to Darlington. The best three-zone deal (£12) is London to Newcastle, while four zones (£15) connects the English and Scots capitals.

Book online at tiny.cc/roemi by next Tuesday, 11 August.

Simon Calder

Bargain of the week: Kuala Lumpur in Comfort

AirAsia X (0845 605 3333; airasia.com), which flies daily between Stansted and Kuala Lumpur, is selling Premium Class seats (offering "a comfort comparable to business class") for £700 return until the end of April next year. To qualify for the £700 deal, you must book the seats by tomorrow, and they aren't available every day – in our test bookings it was especially difficult to find return leg tickets for the promotional price. Note also that AirAsia X is a budget airline, with extra charges for items included as free by other airlines in business class. A token baggage fee of £0.85 applies for items up to 15kg, but a larger £9 fee for up to 20kg. Hot meals cost an extra £6 each, though drinks cost no more than a modest £2.

Ian Steadman

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