I'm a snowboarder and wish to fly into Salt Lake City, Utah, for three to four weeks to check out ski fields around the area. What cheap accommodation options are there? Also, would I be better hiring my own vehicle or is there public transport?
Lonely Planet's Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater write:
Utah has some of the best skiing in North America. Unfortunately, budget accommodation is not as plentiful as the snow.
In Salt Lake City there are at least three hostels and a smattering of cheap motels. Lonely Planet's Southwest USA guidebook recommends five budget places from US$20-US$100 per night ($25-$124), and you'll find others listed on utah.com.
Alternatively, you could stay at upscale Park City ski village, 56km east of Salt Lake City. While it's packed full of fancy hotels, the Chateau Apres Lodge has basic dormitory rooms at reasonable prices. If you want to stay here, be sure to book well ahead and check visitparkcity.com for a good deal.
Getting to the slopes is relatively cheap. December through April you can reach the resorts for US$7 round-trip via Salt Lake City's public-transit system, UTA. Bus route 951 goes from downtown to Snowbird and Alta, while the 960 service will take you to Solitude and Brighton where truants and bad-ass boarders rule the slopes.
Park City Transit has free trolleybuses running to the three local ski resorts, while Powder for the People runs shuttles from Park City to Salt Lake City's resorts.
If you intend to snowboard mostly at Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton, you might consider getting a Ski Salt Lake Super Pass instead of buying day passes. Ski Utah's winter vacation guides are excellent online resources.
My partner and I have the chance to spend Christmas and New Year with a friend's family in southern Spain this year. While we're there I'd like to visit Morocco, perhaps by ferry.
The most popular crossing is Algeciras to Tangier. Ferries run at least every 90 minutes and the trip takes about an hour. Other options from southern Spain are Algeciras and Almeria to the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, Almeria to Nador, Malaga to Melilla and Tarifa to Tangier.
Morocco exudes Maghrebi mystique, with medina lanes leading to souqs (markets) and riads (mudbrick courtyard mansions); camels disappearing into the Sahara and Berber villages in the High Atlas mountains.
The authors of our Morocco guidebook share many highlights, one of which is to ogle the Unesco-acclaimed halqa (street theatre) in Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakesh's main square during the day, before sampling local fare from the 100 or so stalls that set up around sunset.
Be wowed by the rose-gold sands and violet-blue Saharan skies on a camel trek. Or get lost in the Fez medina, the maze to end all mazes, which many visitors consider one of the most mind-boggling places in all of Africa.
To reach the UK afterwards you can either retrace your steps to Spain and fly from there, or fly direct from Marrakesh, Tangier, Agadir, Casablanca and Fez.