YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED BY OUR PANEL OF EXPERTS

Will I find a Bolognese b&b?

I am planning to go to Bologna for a fortnight, but I have found hotels in Italy very expensive and wondered whether there was anything in Bologna comparable to the French chambre d'hote or a British b&b?

S M Hall

Herts

The Travel Editor writes: Bologna has a proliferation of expensive hotels catering for business people, and budget hotels are few and far between. Due to the city's busy trade-fair calendar, hotels are usually booked up well in advance. Single rooms are also in short supply and solo travellers can expect to pay a hefty supplement for the few that there are. Family- run hotels or pensioni are now generally known as "basic" hotels (between one and three stars). Room tariffs are less in hotels outside the city.

There are various accommodation-only agencies in the UK. The Italian Connection (tel: 07071 303030) has single rooms in the family-run Hotel Arcovegio for pounds 49 per person per night, on a room-only basis. Italberghi (tel: 0181-255 8026) has single rooms from pounds 55 per person per night, in a two-star hotel on a b&b basis. Accommodation Line Ltd (tel: 0171- 409 1343) has single rooms in a basic family-run hotel in Bologna, the Hotel Centrale, for pounds 59 per person per night, on a b&b basis.

Skiing down under on a student budget

We are students and would really like to go skiing in New Zealand this summer. We have heard that this can be done relatively cheaply - but where and how?

Jenny and Tim

Aberdeen

Jill Crawshaw replies: Your best bet is to acquire working-holiday visas which are available for British citizens aged between 18 and 30, and which entitle the holder to spend 12 months in New Zealand and undertake short- term work. Just 4,000 such visas are available every year, costing pounds 45 each - they are allocated on a "first come, first served" basis, so you should apply as soon as possible. For more details contact the New Zealand Immigration Service, New Zealand House, 80 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4TE (tel: 0991 100 100).

As for skiing, there is really only one place to go and that is Queenstown on South Island. New Zealand is sometimes criticised as being "closed", or at least sedate, but the ski and summer-sports resorts could almost be called brash, funky and hustling, extremely scenic and a magnet for young people in both summer and winter.

Experts rate its skiing as moderate - with not as many challenges as you would find in, say, Val d'Isere or the Trois Vallees, but with many extra activities such as bungee jumping, tandem parachuting and parapenting. A lift pass costs around pounds 22 per day - but other costs are reasonable.

Because of its busy tourist industry, you are likely to get jobs in hotels and restaurants, but remember that the entire student population is also on the lookout. There are a number of hostels, backpackers' lodges, hotels, guest-houses and cabins in the motorhome parks for budget accommodation.

Try to get there for the 25th annual Queenstown Winter Festival to be held this year from 10-21July - a series of competitions, races and parties with pretty wild apres-ski. The huge opening-night celebrations, which include fireworks and live music, are followed by a week-long extravaganza with ski demos and races, ice-carving displays and competitions, a dog derby, snowman-building, mountain-biking in the snow, snowboarding and other wild and wacky snow activities.

Away from the slopes, the resort offers jet-boat sprints on the Dart River, street parades, jazz evenings, dragon-boat racing and fashion parades, while at night there is live music, food stalls and dancing in the streets. Most events are free, though river cruises and jazz evenings are ticket- only events.

Jill Crawshaw is a travel expert, writer and broadcaster.

The truth about those friendly bacteria

I have heard about some miracle tablets containing "friendly bacteria" which supposedly reduce one's chances of catching travellers' diarrhoea. How do these pills work, where can I get them and are they really any good?

Sasha Green

Malvern

Dr Larry Goodyer replies: The friendly bacteria you are referring to are called lactobacillus and are found living naturally in the human intestine, mouth and vagina. They are also used by the food industry and are found in yogurt, the uncultured variety being a particularly good source. It is believed that they can inhibit the growth of other harmful bacteria, such as those that can cause some forms of travellers' diarrhoea, and are sometimes referred to as "probiotic" remedies.

The official line, according to the British National Formulary, is that "lactobacillus are valueless". However, a few trials have shown success in treating children with diarrhoeal illness in some situations. The case for adults using them for travellers' diarrhoea appears unconvincing, with most trials giving negative results. For instance, a recent trial where lactobacillus was given to British soldiers stationed in Belize showed no benefit from the treatment.

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 50p per minute).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Bid / Tender Writing Executive

    £24000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in Manchester, Lon...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executives / Marketing Communications Consultants

    Competitive (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a number of Marketi...

    Recruitment Genius: Marketing Executive

    £20000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This well established business ...

    Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester

    £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Management Accountant - Manchester...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own