trouble spots

Reports from areas popular with British travellers

France: the Interior Minister, Jean-Louis Debre, has vowed to lock up more separatists of the Corsican National Liberation Front (FLNC), which planted last Saturday's highly symbolic bomb in Bordeaux, causing damage but no casualties. Citing evidence that the militants were planning to step up violence in mainland France, M Debre deployed armed riot police to guard public buildings in Paris, Lyon, Marseille and Bordeaux - Reuter

Sri Lanka (above right): fighting between the security forces and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) continues in the north and east of the country. Do not visit these areas. The south and centre of the island, including all the main tourist areas and the Cultural Triangle, remain largely unaffected. But there have been incidents in the Yala National Park - Foreign Office Travel Advice Unit, 0171-238 4503.

Russia: drug-related offences are on the increase, and about one third of registered crimes were committed by people under the influence of alcohol, according to the latest crime figures published in Moscow. The overall trend in reported crime is down, however, with 4.5 per cent fewer incidents - Reuter

US: the state of Virginia has outlawed the carrying of pocket knives with a blade of two inches or longer - Marine Guard, The Pentagon.

Colombia: the Lost City [in Colombia's Sierra Nevada] is in a marijuana- growing area that has experienced some guerrilla activity. Check with both the Colombian Embassy and Turcol (00 57 54 21 22 56) that tours are still running before leaving the UK - Papagaio, the free newsletter from Journey Latin America, 0181-747 3108.

visitors' book

East Coast Explorer (Larry Lustig's budget bus service linking New York with Boston and Washington)

Amish tour - very informative. Great cruising music, too - Anon, Australia.

Most enjoyed the moussaka pizza at Mystic Pizza. Test it - Wolfgang, Bavaria.

Nice change from the normal boring bus ride - Doug.

I have decided to become a member of the Amish so that I can wear braces every day - Mark, Australia.

Larry was the first person in the US that I felt I could trust 100 per cent - Peter, Denmark.

A great trip, allowing backpackers without cars to see America in more detail. Cheers, Larry - Sophie.

Bookings: 001 718 694 9667.

bargain of the week

If you are among those who predict that the General Election will be held next 1 May, and you wish to avoid it, you could leave the country on a cheap one-way ticket. For the first three weeks of May, Monarch Airlines (01582 398333) is selling seats from Luton to Malaga or Gibraltar for pounds 72, including tax.

a likely story

"The most comprehensive guide with the most up-to-date information" - South American Handbook 1997, on itself.

You can test this assertion, and meet the editor of the Handbook - and others in the new Footprints series - in London next Monday evening, 14 October. Stanford's bookshop at Campus Travel in Victoria is playing host to the editorial team from 6pm to 8.30pm. Tickets are free, but must be reserved in advance by calling 0171-730 1314.