something to declare

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The Independent Travel
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Are you proud of your travel photographs? Would you like to see them on display to the public? If the answer to these two questions is yes then you should enter the Wanderlust photo travel competition, sponsored by The Independent and Canon. The winner will receive pounds 1,000-worth of camera equipment and the best 25 entries will be displayed at Destinations '97, to be held in London's Olympia from 6 to 9 February next year.

All entries must be accompanied by an official entry form - which you can get by sending a stamped addressed envelope to Wanderlust (Photo Competition), PO Box 1832, Windsor, Berkshire SL4 6YP.

Bargain of the week

The fares war on scheduled services to Spain that has been rumbling all year enters the final straight with a pounds 104 offer from Iberia (0171- 830 0011).

The Spanish airline is selling return tickets at this (tax inclusive) fare from Heathrow to Barcelona or Palma de Mallorca, or from Gatwick to Madrid. You must book at least three days in advance and stay away on a Saturday night.

True or false

Richard Branson wishes you a happy birthday?

True, providing you are flying on a Virgin Atlantic flight on the day (don't forget about the passport check, when any subterfuge will be uncovered) and a friend has tipped off the airline. He or she will have to call the Special Assistance Department on 01293 747691, between two days and two months in advance. The options include an on-board anniversary announcement, a cake, champagne or chocolates - though only the first of these is free.

Visitors' book

Rotterdam youth hostel

Sitting down, chilling out, playing pool and eating Munchies. It's a hard life, but I'll struggle on - Catherine O'Doherty, Limerick.

I didn't know what to expect of Rotterdam, but I certainly wasn't disappointed. My favourite bar is Rotown [at Nieuwe Binnenweg 19]: great atmosphere, nice people - David Gunning, London.

Make sure you visit the Dizzy jazz cafe! - Anon [but quite possibly the proprietor of the cafe].

Travel: I have seen the moon shine on the other side of the world. I am different now - Mason, USA.

Trouble spots

Caribbean caution

Haiti: Driving in Haiti is a hazardous free-for-all, but some find it exhilarating. The streets are narrow, with many sharp bends. Vehicles swerve unexpectedly to avoid potholes. Cars often don't stop in an accident, so, to avoid paying the high insurance excess, keep a pen and paper handy to take down a number if necessary - Caribbean Islands Handbook 1997 (Footprint, pounds 14.99).

Jamaica: the US State Department says: "crime is a serious problem in Kingston" and urges visitors to exercise caution if travelling to the Jamaican capital. Since January, there have been more than 750 murders on the island.

Barbados (above): there are fewer hucksters on the main beaches these days, but you will probably be offered the traditional array of services, including hair-braiding, tropical shirts and African carvings. They can be very persistent (and quite persuasive) when they get going - from The Southeastern Caribbean by James Henderson (Cadogan, pounds 9.99).

The Windward Islands: if you hear a hurricane is on the way, find the strongest concrete bunker you can find and shelter in it with everyone else. If it all goes quiet at the height of the storm, then you are in the eye: batten down the hatches because it will start again in a few minutes - Discover Dominica (free tourist guide)

Dominica: avoid walking deserted streets at night. Walk with a companion. Avoid drug pushers - Ibid.

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