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From the Editor: Somebody call an ambulance

In this issue: Rescued sloth bears in Agra; child-friendly activities in Malaysia

By VARDHAN KONDVIKAR, Editor, Lonely Planet Magazine India

As I write this, my Senior Travel Researcher is having a small heart attack.

She’s been asked to go along on an impromptu trip, so, if I were her insurance agent, I’d be a bit concerned. Her blood pressure has shot up to telephone-number levels, her voice is soaked in high-pitched worry, and she keeps fretting that she hasn’t planned how she’s going to get from the airport to her hotel. Impromptu, in this case, means only a week’s planning. To Goa. With a hotel already booked.

I imagine that most of us would be somewhat less concerned in this situation, but I think we’re jolly lucky to have a Last-Minute Winter Getaways special right at this time, if only for her sake.

We bring you… Australia! Which, yes, doesn’t seem like much of a last-minute destination, but when your hotel is taking you right across the country at about 100km/ h, with no other bookings needed, you’re good. And when that train, the grand Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth, is the trusted steed of Santa Claus himself, you know you’re in good hands.

If you’ve suddenly discovered you have children, you might find it easier to go to Malaysia, which has a great selection of family-friendly destinations. And by family-friendly, we mean places that have great stuff for kids, but also enough for adults that you won’t be trying to convince your brood that their moving to Antarctica would be a good thing.

Lost your passport? In that case, head to North Gujarat, a loop that will take you from beautiful step-wells to wild asses (not that kind, so calm down) to crumbling palaces to the graceful bones of wooden ships on the coast.

And, if none of this excites you, you can come and try to calm my researcher down, because we really need help.