Something to declare: Travel overland to ski; cash and cigars in Cuba; Dominican Republic; Gatwick to Hong Kong

 

Bargain of the week: Travel overland to ski

You could halve the cost of transport to the Alps by driving, rather than flying, according to calculations by Patrick Thorne, founder of the Snowhunter website.

He took an example of a family of four heading from Scotland to the Portes du Soleil area (on the Franco-Swiss border, south of Lake Geneva), flying from Edinburgh to Geneva on easyJet's noon flight on 18 February and returning on the same plane a week later. Assuming they pay by credit card, take their own skis and a 20kg suitcase each, air fares would total £1,287.

They would also need to arrange travel to (and possibly parking at) Edinburgh airport.

Transfers from Geneva airport to Portes du Soleil could cost even more: the website morznet.com, for the leading resort of Morzine warns: "Your flight may cost you only £50 but your transfer to resort could set you back €300-€400." The total is likely to be about £1,700, says Mr Thorne.

"Driving from Edinburgh to Portes du Soleil is 1,079 miles each way and should take 18 hours. Assuming a return crossing on Eurotunnel for £106, an overnight stop in each direction (£100 each way), £324 for fuel and £110 in motorway tolls, the total driving cost is likely to be approximately £740".

Before you settle on driving, bear in mind other direct costs, including en-route meals and tyre-chain rental, plus two other factors: wear and tear on the car, and the much higher risks of driving compared with flying.

Warning of the week: Cash and cigars in Cuba

"Havana is a relatively safe city," says the new sixth edition of Lonely Planet's Cuba, "but scams do exist, particularly in the more touristy areas."

If someone approaches you in the street offering "convertible" pesos at favourable rates, ignore them: "The money that you will be given is moneda nacional or Cuban pesos," worth a tiny fraction of the promised value.

If you want to take home some cigars, stick to the official Casas del Habano: "Cigars sold on the streets are almost always substandard – akin to substituting an expensive French wine with cheap white vinegar."

Destination of the week: Dominican Republic

La Romana, in the pretty south-eastern corner of the "Dom Rep", will become more accessible from Wednesday this week, when JetBlue starts a non-stop link from New York JFK airport. Typical prices during the winter are about $570 (£380) return, with flights from London and Manchester to JFK costing about the same again. BA flies from Gatwick to Punta Cana on the north coast, with fares from as low as £533 return this winter.

Tip of the week: Gatwick to Hong Kong

After attracting flights to Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Gatwick airport's latest Asian coup is Hong Kong. From 8 March next year, Hong Kong Airlines will offer a daily non-stop link aimed at premium passengers. The Airbus A330 will be fitted with only 82 cradle seats (resembling the old-style business class) in "Club Classic" and 34 lie-flat beds in "Club Premier". Flights are overnight in each direction.

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm today
News
people
News
Elton John and David Furnish exchange marriage vows
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
newsAstonishing moment a kangaroo takes down a drone
Arts and Entertainment
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit director Peter Jackson with his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
film
Life and Style
tech
News
people
News
Billie Whitelaw was best known for her close collaboration with playwright Samuel Beckett, here performing in a Beckett Trilogy at The Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
people'Omen' star was best known for stage work with Samuel Beckett
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'