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The Independent Travel
Trouble spots

Theft threats around the world

Belgium: After three successful and one failed raid in which explosives were used to blow cash machines from their concrete mountings, operator Banksys said cashpoints in dangerous locations would be starved of cash. In one spectacular heist 5 million Belgian francs ($156,000) were stolen this week from a Banque Bruxelles Lambert cashpoint near Brussels. (Reuter)

Iran: There have recently been a number of cases of tourists being asked for identification by bogus policemen, who have then made off with the visitor's wallet and currency. Keep passports separate from other valuables. (Foreign Office Travel Advice Unit)

Tanzania: Incidents of mugging and theft are common, especially on public transport and beaches. Food should not be accepted from strangers as it may be drugged. Armed car thefts occur fairly frequently. If approached by policemen asking for money for alleged offences, insist on identification before going to a police station to make any payments. (Foreign Office Travel Advice Unit)

England: As with any country, the major towns of England have their dangerous spots, but these tend to be inner-city housing estates where no tourist has any reason to be. The chief risk on England's streets is pickpocketing, and there are some virtuoso villains at work in London, especially on the big shopping streets and the Underground. (The Rough Guide to England)

Nigeria: Violent street crime and armed robberies are prevalent in Lagos and occur elsewhere in Nigeria. Harassment by policemen and soldiers is common throughout the country. Travel outside cities after dark is unsafe; even in daylight armed hold-ups occur. Visitors should arrange to be met at the airport and taken to their destination. (Foreign Office Travel Advice Unit)

Bargain of the week

Such is the competition on flights between London and Zurich - with British Airways, British Midland and Swissair - that few people need pay more than pounds 99 plus tax on the route. Inter-Europe Travel (0171-630 5188) has this fare, plus pounds 18 tax, on British Midland until Easter; Lupus Travel (0171-306 3000) does better with a pounds 99 fare on BA with only pounds 17.10 added for tax. The "stay away Saturday night" restriction that applies to most cheap fares does not apply to all of these.

True or false

Minimum check-in time for British Airways World Traveller (economy) passengers is 2 hours - BA Worldwide Timetable

False, so long as you have taken the precaution of joining the British Airways Executive Club (free; call 0345 222111). The Club's latest magazine says "Executive Club members who hold a confirmed booking will have their reservations held for up to 45 minutes for long-haul flights and 30 minutes for short-haul destinations prior to departure time, as long as the reservation was made at least 24 hours in advance."

Visitors' book

Olive's Guest House, Atkinson, Dominica, West Indies (001 809 445 7521); pounds 7.50 per person per night, plus meals

Every day is the most wonderful day I've ever had ... and then tomorrow starts and is more wonderful still - Kate Sturgess, Oxfordshire

Olive is the best cook on the island, and the best herbalist - Sissy Hiesmayr, Vienna

The Garden of Eden, the food, the view and the knowledge of the island was greatly appreciated. PS: if ever in Canada, my home is your home - Erroll Hind, Calgary

Parfait: bel emplacements, bon repas, bonne discussion - Noel Levet, Grenoble, France