Travel: The obsessive traveller - your questions answered

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The Independent Travel
Car crazy

I love classic cars, especially the huge old 1950s Cadillacs and such like. Other than Cuba, where are the best countries to travel to in order to see the roads frozen in time and to travel in some of these beautiful old vehicles?

Ray Ball

Deptford, London

Phil Haines replies:

There are many countries seemingly frozen in time because cars of a particular era dominate their streets. Havana and Damascus are renowned for their ramshackle collection of rusting Detroit street machines. I once spent a day getting around Rangoon, now Yangon, Burma, in the back of a huge, doorless Fifties Chevy. It turned a day of mundane travel chores - obtaining visas and train reservations - into fun and saved enough time for extra sundowners in the colonial Strand Hotel.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North, offers an alternative to vehicular Americana. It is a popular place with the Communist car-spotter seeking rare examples of Chinese and Soviet limousines.

Since western visitors returned to Indo-China, collectors of classic Citroens and BMW motorbikes have almost stripped the streets of their motoring heritage. Whereas, buyers in India of Vespa scooters and Morris Oxfords - known as Hindustans locally - need not hurry as they are still being manufactured: the plant was moved from Britain decades ago.

Phil Haines, the youngest person to have visited every country in the world, runs a travel company, Live Limited (tel: 0181-737 3725; phil.haines@live- travel.com), "specialising in travel to special places".

Health insurance

I am planning to travel across Europe for a couple of months. I will not be doing anything in the way of dangerous sports or activities, bar using local transport, and do not have any special medical requirements. Is the E111 still in existence and would it provide adequate cover? What countries are now included and are there any European countries where I should take particular care when it comes to water, food, hygiene, etc?

Susan Whitlock

Dorset

Dr Larry Goodyer replies:

The E111 form from post offices comes in a very useful booklet called Health Advice for Travellers, which is prepared by the Department of Health. The E111 is valid in all EU countries, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It enables you to claim medical assistance under the national insurance scheme of the country being visited.

However, there are two reasons to take out private medical insurance as well. First, the services available under the insurance schemes in some countries do not cover the range of treatments you might expect under the NHS, so you may find that yourself having to pay for certain types of operation or medication. Second, in some countries you may still be expected to pay for part of the treatment, or even the whole treatment, and claim it back later.

In terms of hygiene the further east or south you travel, in general the greater care should be taken with food and water. In particular, if you are visiting the old eastern bloc countries you may need certain vaccinations. I always advise travellers to carry a basic first-aid kit. It's also worth remembering that insect bites can be troublesome wherever you are so take an effective repellent.

Dr Larry Goodyer is a lecturer in clinical pharmacy at King's College, London. Contact the Nomad Travel health helpline (tel: 0891 633414; calls cost 60p a minute).

Single-parent travel

I am a single parent with a seven-year-old daughter and I would like to take her on holiday somewhere in Europe. Lots of companies run holidays for single people, but are there any that cater for single parents and their children?

Hilary Cadman

via e-mail

Kate Calvert replies:

One organisation that could help is One Parent Family Holidays (http://members.aol.com/opfholiday), a non-profit-making organisation which has been running since 1976. The idea is to help one-parent families have a good Continental holiday in the understanding company of others, without putting any social pressures on them. An unpaid courier usually travels with a party to assist.

Groups are seldom larger than 12 families and prices range from budget up to holidays of a life-time, but the aim is to keep costs down as much as possible. As a non-profit-making organisation they do not send out free brochures but if interested, you should send an SAE to One Parent Family Holidays, Kildonan Courtyard, Barrhill, Girvan, S Ayrshire, Scotland KA26 0PS.

The Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO) lists a number of companies that claim to be single-parent friendly including Classic Collection Holidays (upmarket Madeira and Mallorca holidays) but they are by no means specialists in this area. To request a copy of the free AITO Holiday Directory, which contains information on more than 150 independent companies, call 0181-607 9080.

It's also worth considering that a number of tour operators cater well for children with special clubs to keep them entertained, such as Mark Warner (tel: 0171-761 7000). During the school holidays there will generally be a large number of single or divorced parents among the guests. Thomsons Holidays (tel: 0990 502555) and Sunsail (tel: 01705 222222) also have good children's clubs.

Kate Calvert edits `Family Travel', the subscription-only publication for parents (tel: 0171-272 7441; or visit www.family-travel.co.uk).

Coastal Chile

My wife and I would like to visit the coast of Chile and Cape Horn. Are there any travel companies that specialise in this region?

Nick Lawrence

West Yorkshire

The travel editor replies:

There's a lot of coastline in Chile (about 6,000km) to choose from. The most dramatic and interesting, which is mainly in the south, is riddled with fjords and mountains, large parts of which are national parks. This part of the country is extremely isolated, and the best (often the only) way to see it is on a chartered cruise, but the seas can be very rough. The only ways to see Cape Horn are to hire a private boat or to fly over it in a private plane at about US $200.

The easiest way to explore the region is with an organised tour from the UK. Among the packages offered by Chile Tours (tel: 0171-481 4466) is a five-day cruise from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia in Argentina. The cost is from pounds 487 per person and covers full board and accommodation only. Journey Latin America (tel: 0181-747 8315) also specialises in this part of the world and offers a variety of options including the "Nandu" tour (4-27 February 2000) through Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego, Torres del Paine National Park, Perito Moreno glacier, Santiago and Buenos Aires. Prices are from pounds 1,655 per person, and include return flights, travel within Chile, camping equipment when needed, tour leader and the excursions listed in their brochure.

Union-Castle Travel (tel: 0171-229 1411) offers more expensive all-inclusive itineraries that can be tailored to your needs. Fourteen-day "Volcanoes and Vineyards" tours of southern Chile, with optional extensions to Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia, start at pounds 2,689 per person.

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