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The Independent Travel
Make sure a last-minute holiday is right for you, whether you want Sky or skinny-dipping? Ask your travel agent to consult Late Choice, which the tour operator First Choice is introducing from today. The computer system aims to match accommodation preferences to availability. So, for example, you can insist upon a hotel with satellite TV, or a room close to a nudist beach.

Get a courier flight? Contact either or both of the two leading air courier organisations: Bridges Worldwide (01895 465065) and British Airways Travel Shops (0181-564 7009).

Stay cheap in Scotland? Two options: stay in a Highland bunkhouse, such as the Rua Reidh Lighthouse in Ross-shire (01445 771263). Or take the ferry to Shetland, and take advantage of the network of Bods - camping barns. Shetland Islands Tourism (01595 693434) produces a free guide to the five low-budget options, each costing pounds 3 per night.

Drive your way around Sussex? Take a County Tape Tour (01273 8438900) to guide you along the way. The three tapes are available, telling you about the countryside, its history and local stories.

Prepare for a round-the-world trip? Get a copy of Everything You Need to Know Before You Go by Mark Ashton (pounds 2.99), published by Abroadsheet Publications, PO Box 4349, Kings Norton, Birmingham, B30 1SF (0121 459 3440). The poster-size sheet folds up to the size of a map and offers advice on everything from equipment to health .

Make your way to Stoke-on-Trent? Book a day trip to Alton Towers from Euston with InterCity West Coast (0171-387 7070). The pounds 30 price includes return train travel to Stoke-on-Trent and connecting bus transfers to and from the park. It runs every day except Sundays and must be booked before 6pm the day before you want to go.

Take a bicycle to Cuba? Wait until 31 October, when the national airline Cubana switches its weekly Havana flight from Stansted to Gatwick. The good news for the growing number of cyclists visiting Cuba is that trains serving Gatwick welcome bicycles, as opposed to the Stansted SkyTrain, which bans them.

RHIANNON BATTEN

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