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TNT's resident travel expert, Laura Lindsay from Lonely Planet, answers readers' travel questions. Want a question answered by Laura? Email traveltips@tntmagazine.com. If your question is answered, you'll win a Lonely Planet guide.

 

Question

I‘m travelling to Sharm el Sheikh for Christmas/ New Year on my own and I’d like to do some day trips. I’ve been told it’s best to wait and book when I get there, but I’m nervous that at that time of everything will get booked up. Can you recommend
a few legit companies to book with prior to arrival if you think that’s best? I’d like to visit Cairo and Petra at least, but a lot
of the tours seem the same.
Ngaire, via email

Answer

Due to the distance, you would be hard pushed to see Petra in a day trip. You need a day to explore Jordan’s stunning ancient city and the journey to get there is long and not straightforward. Day trips do exist but they are incredibly long days (typically from 2.30am to 1.30am). For an example, see Sharm Excursions (sharmexcursions.com).

Cairo is a similar situation; it is possible in a day trip but you should expect an incredibly long day. Thomson’s Cairo one-day trip begins at 4am and returns at 9pm. In order to fit the whole trip into a day, the excursion is by plane so you will also need to stump up around £165. They also offer an overland version at £79 (1am-11pm).

You might prefer to take on one of the shorter day trips from Sharm el Sheikh, such as a camel ride to a Bedouin camp. For a list of recommended operators check out Lonely Planet’s Egypt guide. These are sights of a lifetime so it is probably worth booking to avoid any disappointment.

 

Question

I'm planning on going skiing with a group of friends in January. It will be my first time, but some of my mates are more experienced, so I want to go somewhere that will cater for a mixture of abilities. Can you recommend an affordable resort in Europe?
Josie, via email

Answer

Start off by checking out budget flight carriers and coaches to resorts (such as snowcoach.co.uk), as booking accommodation and transport separately can save money.

January is one of the peak months, which means better snow forecasts but higher costs. To save money, opt for a resort with budget accommodation. Hostelling International (hihostels.com) is a great place to start.

Another money-saving tip is to pre-book your ski hire. Companies including Skimium (skimium.co.uk) can save you between 20 and 50 per cent.

As for resorts, you can’t go far wrong with Cervinia or Zermatt on the Italian-Swiss border. Your friends will find some challenging runs, whilst you should be content with the beginner and intermediate slopes.

You’ll find Cervinia the cheaper of the two resorts, but Zermatt is home to a reasonably priced hostel (matterhornhostel.com). Another good resort is Les Deux Alpes, which has an incredibly well-located youth hostel, a variety of slopes and great nightlife.

Alternatively, look into a package deal so that you are aware of all of the costs up front. Try Action Outdoors (action-outdoors.co.uk).

Readers' tips

TNT readers share their travel tips. Got some good advice? Send your tips to traveltips@tntmagazine.com. If your tip is published, you'll win vouchers for two to one of No. 1 Traveller's swanky airport lounges at Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted.

Make it Madeira

Madeira is my top tip for either an “active” or a “relax and recharge” holiday. Hotels, spas, walks, treks, swimming with dolphins, diving, canyoning, mountain biking, kayaking, deep sea fishing, UNESCO-protected areas – it has it all! And the local drink “poncha” will keep anyone fuelled at the nightclubs until 8am.
Andrew, via email

Boat from Battambang

I can highly recommend taking the speedboat trip from Battambang to Siem Reap in Cambodia. The floating villages and communities you see along the way are absolutely amazing. I even saw a floating pig pen! When you arrive at the dock near Siem Reap, stop off for a beer in a hammock bar.
Jason, via text


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Day trips from Sharm el Sheikh: Travel advice
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