Something To Declare: the Med, from Gatwick; bisect Australia by train; dress down in the Bahamas
The column that gives the global picture
Saturday 18 October 2003
Bargain of the week: the Med, from Gatwick
Bargain of the week: the Med, from Gatwick
Gatwick has long had an inferiority complex about its big brother, Heathrow - especially since 2001, when British Airways (0870 850 9 850; www.ba.com) started moving services out of the Sussex airport and around the M25 to BA's main base. Part of the vacuum has been filled by easyJet (0870 600 0000, www.easyJet.com) which, in two years, has grown from nothing to become the second-largest scheduled airline at the Sussex airport. But BA and its affiliate, GB Airways, are striking back this weekend with a seat sale on flights to southern Europe.
The travel period covers the four leanest months for airlines - November to March. Note that the week before Christmas, Valentine's weekend and the February half-term are not included. The sale ends at midnight on Tuesday 11 November.
The most tempting deal is on GB Airways' new route to Paphos in Cyprus, whose maiden flight is tomorrow. Over this weekend, the usual lowest fare of £179 is reduced to £139 - remarkable value for a flight of more than four hours on a quality airline.
In France, Toulouse and Toulon look good value at £69 return, the low price spurred by the low-cost competition to these destinations.
Madrid and Barcelona are available for £75, and Naples and Rome for £89. These fares are about one-third what you would have paid before easyJet and Ryanair started up eight years ago.
As with all such seat sales, the lowest fares are available only for online bookings on off-peak departures - don't hold your breath for bargains on Fridays or Sundays.
Destination of the week: bisect Australia by train
The track work on the new line through the Northern Territory between Alice Springs and Darwin has finished, under budget and ahead of schedule. On 8 February next year, the first passenger trains should run between Adelaide and Darwin. The journey time on the "Ghan" train is just short of 48 hours, with stops for four hours in both Alice Springs and Katherine. International Rail (0870 751 5000, www.international-rail.com) can sell you a basic one-way ticket for £197. Don't miss the train: it runs only once a week each way.
Warning of the week: dress down in the Bahamas
The US State Department has just strengthened its warning about rising crime in this group of islands: "While most criminal incidents take place in a part of Nassau not usually frequented by tourists (the 'over-the-hill' area south of downtown), crime and violence has moved into more upscale tourist and residential areas."
The Americans also recommend that you should "Avoid wearing expensive jewellery, particularly Rolex watches, which criminals have specifically targeted."
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