Bargain of the week
National Express (0990 808080) is becoming so generous with its definition of old people that its Advantage discount coachcard could soon meet the young person's coachcard coming the other way. Anyone 50 years or over can get the card, valid for 12 months, in exchange for pounds 8 and a passport photograph.

For the next few weeks, armed with the card, you can travel anywhere on the National Express network for pounds 9.99 return. You cannot travel on Fridays or Sundays, and must finish the trip by 13 February. The deal is not available on Scottish Citylink or Ulsterbus coaches, but can be used on Airlink services to Gatwick and Heathrow.

True or false

While Europe-bound motorists can benefit from Motorail services, cyclists will have to get on their bikes and pedal.

False: European Bike Express (01642 251440) runs weekly from May to September transporting cyclists and their machines to western France and the Mediterranean. The bus picks up pedallers anywhere from Middlesbrough to Dover. Fares vary according to distance: Nantes is pounds 134 return, while Cavallino (near Venice) is pounds 154. Members of the Cyclists' Touring Club get a pounds 10 discount.

A likely story

"Always join the outside of a curved lift queue - it moves faster" - the new AITO Directory of Real Holidays

Readers setting off for the slopes this weekend may wish to try out this piece of advice from Stanford Skiing, one of the holiday companies whose top tips appear in the Association of Independent Tour Operators' 1997 compendium - available free by calling 0181-607 9080. If you are heading down rather up, then Superstar Holidays reveals that "the unique location of the Dead Sea, at the lowest point on earth, provides natural protection from sunburn." Tangney Tours also offers trips to the Holy Land, but its advice is less incisive: "Always be back at the coach on time during an inclusive coach tour".

Trouble spots

Bus crashes around the world

Egypt: at least 30 people died when a packed public transport bus veered off a bridge in Cairo on Tuesday and toppled on to a bank of the Nile River, sinking into the mud. Buses are usually overcrowded, with people standing in the aisles and hanging out of the open doors - Reuter

Bangladesh: on Thursday, a bus skidded off a highway north of Dhaka and fell into a muddy ditch, killing at least 17 people and injuring 33 -AP

Peru: Last Saturday, a bus careered off a mountain highway and plunged down a ravine, killing nine. Overloaded buses, on poor roads, are common in the Peruvian Andes - Reuter

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