Our travel expert answers queries on routes and destinations around the world
We are flying to Istanbul in June and want to visit Mykonos and Santorini in Greece. Are there direct flights between Istanbul and either of these? If so, what would a return ticket cost? Also, what should we expect to pay for a double room or studio at this time and do we need to book? – Janine De Waal
There are no direct scheduled flights between Istanbul and Mykonos or Santorini. However, you can fly via Athens to either island. The most convenient airline is likely to be Aegean (www.aegeanair.com). I did a trial booking and could get a flight leaving Istanbul at 4pm, arriving in Mykonos around three hours later, with a 70-minute stopover in Athens. The return fare was a rather expensive R3151. Flights from Istanbul to Santorini are around the same price and take 10 minutes longer. Room prices vary wildly, depending on demand and, sometimes, on your bartering ability. You can find some bargains, but these are two of the most popular islands in Greece. In Mykonos, you should be prepared to pay à50-à80 per night for a comfortable room in a good area. In Santorini, you can find rooms within the same price range, but you’ll pay much more for a room witha sea view. You don’t have to book in advance in June (unlike in August, when everything is full). However, it is probably worthwhile booking at least one or two nights so you’ll have somewhere to go on arrival, then decide whether you want to change rooms. See www.mykonos-accommodation.com, www.greeka.com, www.visit-santorini.com and www.venere.com.
I would love to travel by train during a visit to India and am considering taking the Rajdhani Express from Mumbai to Delhi. I would appreciate any information on this service and whether it is suitable for solo women travellers. – Danni Beukes
All visitors to India should experience at least one train trip. Once you have made it through the bustling, crowded station, you can relax as you watch the sights of India go by from your air-conditioned compartment. The Rajdhani Express service from Mumbai to New Delhi takes around 16 hours and is fully air-conditioned. You leave Mumbai in the afternoon and arrive in Delhi the next morning, passing through five states. It is quite safe for travellers, whether in first or second class. There is a substantial price difference, with a second-class berth costing 1975 rupees (about R313) and first class 3305 rupees (R523). However, I think it is well worth paying the extra for first class. The price includes bedding and all meals on board. There are two types of compartments – a two-sleeper and a four-sleeper – and you can book a lower or upper berth. Be aware when booking that there are a number of Rajdhani Express services running between New Delhi and other cities in India. The Mumbai to New Delhi is run on train number 12951. See www.indianrail.gov.in for more info.