Latest Simon Calder video diary

Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Can I avoid immigration queues in the US?

Q. I have flight to New York JFK from Bristol via Dublin in July. You said on Saturday that JFK is among the worst in America for long immigration queues. Can I avoid them, and can you point to a web link to show what we do at Dublin?

Patrick Mason, Taunton

Simon Calder's Helpdesk: How much do I need to worry about the scary advice on Quito in Ecuador?

Q. We've booked to go to Quito in Ecuador, but the advice from the FCO is scary to say the least. Can you advise?

Mike Pennick, Hindhead, Surrey

In the bag: cabin luggage gets more complicated

Battle of the bulge on before-breakfast Berlin-bound jet

Simon Calder: The man who pays his way

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What currency do I take to Macedonia?

Q. What currency do I take to Macedonia? The denar is not easily exchangeable, and the country is not yet in the EU. Please advise if taking euros or sterling would be the best option

Crispin Yeates

Simon Calder's Helpdesk: Should I buy a separate ticket for a side trip from Australia to New Zealand?

Q I am attending a conference in Melbourne in September, and have been able to secure an extra five days off at the end of it. I want to take a side trip to New Zealand. Should I book a separate ticket or get the flights to and from as part of my main ticket?

John Slater, Stafford

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can you advise about my Heathrow change-over to a connecting flight?

Q. I have just purchased a return flight on Virgin Atlantic to Los Angeles from Manchester, changing at Heathrow. (The extra cost was just £50 in total by the way, which I thought was superb.) I have just over 90 minutes between flights. I have never used a connecting flight before, so have looked up the process online, only to find a wealth of conflicting information. Can you advise?

Andy O'Dwyer, Ilkley, West Yorkshire

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What's the best Indonesia travel guide?

Q. What, in your opinion is the best travel guide for Indonesia?

Suzanne Calder

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What time of day is best for departures to JFK?

Q. I'm going to New York JFK in October. All the fares seem to be about the same, at about £450 return. So what time of day is it best to depart?

Peter Reynolds, Ealing

Ealing comedy: FGW passengers await rescue

Simon Calder: No happy ending to 'The Great Escape' from Paddington

The Man Who Pays His Way

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can you advise me on minimum-validity passport rules to the US?

Q. I am going to the USA in Oct 2013 and Feb 2014 and my full UK passport expires in Mar 2014, does the passport have to be valid under the six months clear rule or do I need to renew in September?

Peter Kendal

Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Can they force us to pay for allocated seats so we can check in online?

Q. Is it legal for Monarch Airlines to force us to pay for allocated seats so we can check in online?

David Keenan, Spain

Travel
Old charmer: the Dolaucothi Arms is 200 years old
hotels
Travel
Top table: the now closed el Bulli in Spain
people
Travel
comment
Travel
news

Singapore's Food Festival, Arctic Reindeer Migration, and a literary London hotel

Travel
Future of travel: An artist's impression of Birmingham New Street station
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Travel
Famiglia territory: Il Salviatino in Florence invites guests to dine as an authentic Italian family would
comment
Travel
Eyes wide open: Google Glass is now on sale in the UK
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Travel
Regal relic: Victoria, was named in honour of the queen
europe

Linking Malta with its sleepy sister could spoil the outpost's charm

Travel
Hard shell: eggs at the Fabergé Museum
europe

Emily Laurence Baker enjoys a dazzling collection of Russian heritage

Travel
Sign language: Shenfield station’s puzzling board
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The man who pays his way

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£472 - Expedia.co.uk
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Beach break in Biarritz:

Travel
Grand designs: Maria Santa Teresa is a pop-up project
hotels

Forget the football and focus on the views

Travel
Library Bar at the Rittenhouse Hotel
hotels

Feel the brotherly love in Philly

Travel
High point: Montreux Jazz Festival
europe

The fun doesn’t stop in Europe's greatest mountain range when the snow melts

Travel
Go with the flow: The pool at River Farmhouse
hotels

This eclectic house stands beside one of Africa's mightiest waterways, with hippos at the end of the garden

Travel
Wheel deal: Chris Froome on last year's race
americas
Travel
Broadening the mind: Match your spiritual needs with a place on the globe
comment
Travel
Wild thing: safaris top the bill for Strauss
people

'I find safaris incredibly relaxing. It's hard to be thinking about home there'

Travel
Paradise found: Fort Lauderdale beach sells itself
americas

The launch of a new low-cost route from Gatwick will open up a part of Florida which few Britons ever see. Simon Calder previews what's on offer

Travel
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    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice