Secret France: How to escape the tourist trail
The reasons for France's popularity are obvious, but how do you avoid the crowds and discover some of the country's lesser-known experiences?
City break deals for under £99pp
September is a cracking time to explore a new city – which one are you keen to tick off the list?
Secret Italy: How to escape the tourist trail
These Italian secrets – from hidden beaches to home cooking – will make you fall under Italy’s spell and discover lesser-known sides to this marvellous country.
Secret France: How to escape the tourist trail...1
City break deals for under £99pp...2
Secret Italy: How to escape the tourist trail...3
Going on holiday? A good book deserves a spot in your suitcase as much as your camera or passport. You might be used to whiling away the hours with the latest best-seller, but for this year’s trip, we want you to pick a book that tells you a bit more about the place you’re visiting. With that in mind, we spoke to book lovers around the world to recommend two titles that have the power to enhance an explorer’s experience of their city. From gripping novels that capture the spirit of the cities in which they’re set to wonderfully told tales from the history vaults, these books will bring your holiday to life. What to read in New York City The best-seller Sweeping the nation by storm a few years ago, ‘The Goldfinch’ (2013) by Donna Tartt is still one of our favourites to recommend. After an accident in an art gallery leaves him orphaned, 13-year-old Theo is taken in by a family friend on Park Avenue. From the wealthy Upper East Side to the seedy art underground, Tartt creates a rich world of city life as the backdrop for a gripping mystery. The philosophical journey If you’ve spent any time in New York, you quickly realise how essential walking is. Whether you’re getting from A to B, or you just want to explore, walking around is the ideal way to experience the city. In ‘Open City’ (2011) by Teju Cole, the narrator wanders the streets while meditating on life in North America and New York, especially in contrast to some of his international travels. Recommended by Colleen Callery from The Strand Bookstore, an independent shop that promises “18 miles of books” at its location on 828 Broadway. What to read in Hong Kong The memoir Martin Booth died in February 2004, shortly after finishing ‘Gweilo’ (2004), the book that would be his epitaph. It’s a beautifully told memoir of a childhood in Hong Kong that glows with infectious curiosity and humour. At seven-years-old, the writer found himself with the whole of Hong Kong at his feet when his father was posted there in the early 1950s. Unrestricted by parental control and blessed with bright, blond hair that signified good luck to the Chinese, he explored hidden corners normally closed to a Gweilo –...Read More
Millions of Brits hire a car abroad every year, and while most trips are relatively hassle-free, sometimes things do go wrong. In those unfortunate circumstances it can be a lot less stressful if you know the best course of action, so if you’re caught in the middle of a car hire catastrophe, don’t panic! Here’s what to do next. Check your policy in advance Sifting through the ins and outs of your car hire policy might not be the dream start to a holiday. But before you employ the classic “I’m sure it will be fine!” technique, consider the headaches you could avoid by giving it a few minutes’ scrutiny. When you arrive to pick up a car, look out for what your rental policy covers you for in the event of an accident. As part of your rental agreement, most reputable companies will include collision damage waiver (CDW), while third-party liability insurance is mandatory across Europe. These two will cover basic damage to your car or another driver’s, but check the small print – things such as windscreens, roofs, wheels etc. are very often not covered. It also pays to ask what the process is in the event of an accident – who you should call and what steps to take. What to do if you’ve had an accident Car accidents are stressful and unpleasant wherever you are in the world – the main thing to remember is to stay calm. Once you and your family are safe, you can start dealing with the vehicle. Much like you would at home with your own car, collect evidence of the incident by taking photos and getting a witness account of what happened. If a third party is involved, you must also make sure you get their details. The language barrier may be a problem, so at the very least get their name and phone number so they can be contacted at a later date. With most suppliers, you will be required to notify them of the accident within 24 hours. Remember though, if you have been in an accident, even if it’s only a minor one, you may still be a little shaken. Take a moment to collect your thoughts before calling the car hire company. Some companies will also require a police letter for damage over a certain amount – more information about what is required should be outlined in...Read More