Travel: Frank opinions

THIS week's top tip: for unlimited free holidays, become a travel correspondent - but not for the Independent. Since taking over from Frank Barrett a week ago, I have been bombarded with offers of free trips everywhere from Hastings to Havana. All of them have been rejected. Travel journalism is a murky business, but the Independent maintains a strict 'no freebies' policy. The opinions you read in these pages are uncoloured by the rose tint of first-class air travel and effusive hospitality.

That the 'Independent Traveller' has become synonymous with straight talk is largely thanks to Frank Barrett, who has navigated it through the seas of temptation and misinformation with consummate skill.

But he was greatly helped in his mission by you, the readers, particularly those who have suffered the slings and arrows of travel misfortunes.

If you encounter unexplained 'operational difficulties', or happen upon the ultimate deterrent against mosquitoes or time-share touts, don't be put off by the new (and gorgeous) face at the top of this column. Please keep writing, and sharing your experiences with other 'Independent Travellers'.

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