The best deals, the latest hot spots and what's new in travel

Destination of the week: Neanderthal Man-hunt

The Ruhr in western Germany is looking forward to a resurgence of visitors following the revelation this week that Neanderthal Man was considerably more resilient than previously thought. The proto-human earned his name from the pretty Neanderthal Valley, just east of Düsseldorf.

In 1856, remains of a colony of proto-humans was discovered in a cave in the valley. The species, though, was named Neanderthal Man; since then it has become clear that they roamed around Europe and the western parts of Asia between 300,000 and 30,000 years ago. Their story is traced in the Neanderthal Museum (00 49 2104 979797; in the village of Mettmann. It opens 10am-6pm daily except Mondays, admission €6.50 (£4.50).

You can reach the area most easily by rail (about five hours from London, via Brussels) or air (links from several UK airports) to Düsseldorf. From which there are connecting trains and buses. More information: German National Tourist Office: 020-7317 0908;

Bargain of the week: Midland Mainline

The train operator linking London St Pancras with Leicester, Derby, Nottingham and Sheffield is offering extremely low fares to travellers prepared to book well in advance and travel off-peak. Through its website ( it is running a Print@Home experiment with seats for its longer journeys on sale at £6 each way for people equipped with suitable computer facilities at home or work.

Families are being lured out of their cars by even lower prices; a family of two adults and two children holding a Family Railcard can travel between Nottingham and London for a total of £10.20 each way.

Warning of the week: Jamaica

How dangerous is the largest island in the English-speaking Caribbean? The Foreign Office, in its latest update of travel advice, warns of "high levels of crime and violence, including kidnapping" and that "there is a risk in walking alone in isolated areas even in daylight hours. We recommend against walking alone on beaches or at night."

The Rough Guide's The Caribbean paints a more optimistic picture, saying that "you are more likely to be mugged in New York than Montego Bay". But anyone attracted by "some of the finest marijuana in the world" is warned that "the possession, use, export or attempted smuggling of any quantity of ganja is against the law in Jamaica and carries stiff penalties".

Destination of 2007: family Namibia

A two-week holiday in Florida next August could easily cost a family of four £1,600 per person. For slightly less than this, two adults and two children aged between six and 11 could fly from Gatwick to Windhoek, capital of Namibia.

Once there, you can spend a fortnight seeing wildlife at Etosha National Park; exploring beaches and climbing the highest sand dunes in the world in the planet's oldest desert. Accommodation comprises five nights in hotels, five nights in chalets and five nights in "full service camping"; the operator, Exodus, says this means "no need to lift a finger".

The company (08702 405 550; is so confident about the trip that it is already selling departures through to the end of August 2008. If you want to travel earlier than that, the standard price for the school summer holidays next year is £6,368 (£1,854 for each adult, £1,430 for each child) including flights, transport, accommodation and all but one meal.