Something to declare: Tintin tours; Royal Caribbean; British Airways; Heathrow Express
Saturday 15 October 2011
Destinations of the week: Tintin tours
If you enjoyed Ben Ross's trip around Tintin's Brussels (see related links) then consider one of the global Tintin itineraries offered by On The Go Tours (020-7371 1113; onthegotours.com).
"Our holidays geared towards the avid adult Tintin fan have a strong cultural and historical bias and some are led by one of our participant Tintin experts," says the company. "We'll stay at comfortable centrally located hotels, desert camps and heritage properties giving a true flavour of each destination – travelling just as Tintin would."
The Hergé connections are explored on a three-day trip around Brussels. More boldly, go to Jordan for eight days, including a visit to Petra (from £1,179); or a 10-day "Land of the Pharoahs" trip in the footsteps of Dr Sarcophagus, from £1,299.
Bargain of the week: Half-term afloat
Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas sails from Palma on 23 October, calling at Barcelona, Ibiza, Malaga and Gibraltar, before returning to Mallorca. She has a swimming pool, climbing wall and "Adventure Ocean Kids' Club". The price for a family of four is a remarkable £1,372, though this does not include flights. Agents can package the cruise with flights; Jacqui Ridler of the Luxury Cruise Company (0800 883 0411; theluxury cruisecompany. com) has some availability at £3,372 including Gatwick flights.
Warning of the week: Flying phish
The practice of "phishing" – sending out fraudulent emails claiming to be from reputable organisations – has now hit British Airways. The airline is telling travellers to beware of "emails with a subject line like "BA e-ticket receipt" or mentioning booking reference ZVBN70 indicating that your credit card has been debited USD391.62".
Other scams include asking you to pay a BTA ("Basic Travel Allowance") Tax, or similar, to enable a friend to travel; an apparent offer of employment with BA that requires you to purchase a visa; and "offers of tickets to sporting or music events claiming to come from a member of British Airways cabin crew".
The airline says "If you have any doubts about the email you have received, do not click on any links or download any files.
"Please forward suspected email scams to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will investigate its authenticity and take appropriate action."
Tip of the week: Not so express to Heathrow
Tomorrow and next weekend, the Heathrow Express between Paddington station in London and Britain's busiest airport will be disrupted because of Network Rail engineering work. Until about 9.30am, the normal four-times-an-hour express service will be replaced by a thrice-hourly stopping train taking 35 minutes.
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