Tips and advice

How NOT to buy a souvenir: 8 tips on avoiding that piece of useless junk.

souvenir stand
It was the first day of our travels in Mexico. It was hot, we were jet-lagged and we were awed by the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula - one of the new seven wonders of the world. There was a long line of eager souvenir sellers, all with wide grins, and near-identical trinkets. I was on a quest for something to remember our trip by. David was on a quest to do anything to make me happy. I had recently been ill, very ill, and he was being even more caring and generous than usual. All this amounted to a  perfect recipe to get taken advantage of, mercilessly, - and the Mexican souvenir sellers were happy to oblige.

Watch out for topes! And other life saving tips for driving in Mexico.

Driving in Mexico is stressful - I just want to get that out of the way to start with. The traffic is awful, the other drivers operate in a different universe of road rules (who am I kidding - what road rules), the road signs are someone's idea of a bad joke (when they exist at all), the frequent potholes are yawning caverns with 'journey to the centre of the earth' like proportions and don't get me started on the speed bumps.

35J and 35K on a Qantas A380: The Best Economy Seats in the Sky!

Source: Qantas
What if I told you it is possible to book an airline seat with unlimited leg room, in a row of two seats (no middle seat), in a cabin of just 30 seats with its own toilet and great service, all for the cost of an economy fare plus an exit row surcharge. Would you believe me? Stuck in the 7th level of Dante's Hell downstairs on a long haul flight passengers can only dream of such luxury but for a lucky few life in the stratosphere between continents can be almost bearable. I am talking about one of the best kept secrets in the sky - seats 35J and 35K in the upstairs cabin on a Qantas A380.

Don't drink the yellow coke and 9 other life-saving tips for surviving Angkor Wat.

Preah Khan
There are more than a thousand temples in the jungles around Siem Reap in Cambodia. Angkor Wat is the one everyone has heard of but there are many others. If you want to cut to the chase and find out which temples to include on your itinerary, read Angkor Wat and the 7 must see temples of Angkor - just don't drink the yellow coke! If you would like a bit of friendly advice before you go temple hunting then read on for my life-saving (literally in one case) tips on how to survive the temples of Angkor.

Angkor Wat and the 7 must see temples of Angkor.

Angkor Wat

The Angkor Archaeological Park, just outside Siem Reap in Cambodia, has the largest concentration of temples in the world. According to Google there are more than a thousand scattered across some 200 square kilometres. Even the most intrepid traveller can hope to visit only a fraction. Are you up for a thousand temples - no! I didn't think so - but don't panic! Luckily for you, David and I have done all the hard work and over a three day marathon of religious monument hopping visited most of them - well it felt like it!  Actually we saw thirteen but they were absolutely the best thirteen. Out of that thirteen I have picked seven which you simply must visit.

How to pay a parking fine in Germany: The frustrating tale of a 15 euro ticket.

I admit it - we did the wrong thing! I am the third most law-abiding person on the planet. Only the Dalai Lama and the Pope are ahead of me in the queue. If a sign says don't do something I absolutely do not do it. I don't swim outside the flags (you have to live in Australia to understand that particular piece of lunacy), I don't litter, I don't speed and I don't park where I am not supposed to. Nor does David, while I am around at least. Except on a recent trip to Germany we did and with all the hassle and grief it caused us we are never, ever doing it again.

The 7 most annoying things in hotel rooms and how to fix them!

I have had a tough week - I admit it. It has left me tired, grumpy and irritable. For a long time I have had a list swirling around in my brain of all the advice I would like to give to all the hotel managers of all the hotels we have, or will in the future, ever stay in. Over three decades of travel, David and I have stayed in hundreds, perhaps more than a thousand, hotels, B&Bs and self-catering cottages. They have ranged from 1-star, budget accommodation to 5-star luxury retreats. Some could only be described as rat-infested, flea pits. Others were so lovely I had to be pried out the door when it came time to leave.

Is QANTAS Premium Economy Worth the Extra Cost?

QANTAS Premium Economy
During the many, many years David and I wandered the globe with our two sons, we would sit in the back of aeroplanes fantasising about the years ahead when, no longer needing to buy four airline tickets for every trip, we might be able to afford to travel in comfort in the pointy end of the aeroplane. Naively, we imagined the cost of four tickets in economy class would be about equal to two in business class - premium economy had not yet been invented.

13 tips to make flying easier - or how to survive a long haul flight without going nuts!

Aeroplane wing
David and I live in Australia and David loves to travel.  Australia is that big island at the bottom of the globe which is literally thousands of miles from everywhere. As a result we spend a lot of time on aeroplanes. Even on domestic trips we can easily spend five hours on a plane - and don't get me started about how long it takes to get to Europe, America or Asia. If time sitting in a tin can in the sky can make you an expert, then we are world experts on flying.

Seven things you need to know before you visit Alaska.

Glacier Bay, Alaska

Last year David and I drove to south-east Alaska. Yes, I know - there are very few roads and you can't actually drive there. We drove anyway. Most visitors see this part of the world from the deck of a cruise ship and if this is what you are planning, don't worry, we called in at the same towns and ports as the cruise ships so my advice applies equally to you.

The Six Essential Rules of Holiday Cycling.

Holiday cyclingAs travellers who cycle or cyclists who travel, I am really not sure which, I have drawn up the following guide to help anyone contemplating a cycling holiday. First, I need to explain that David and I are in our autumn years. We are not especially athletic or fit. We cycle for pleasure and because cycling is a great way to appreciate any travel destination. The fact that we often return from travel fitter and trimmer than when we depart is an added benefit. We don't cycle on busy roads, nor do we cycle long distances, or up and down hills if we can possibly avoid it, and we always have a car with us as well as our bikes. If cycling is the new golf, we are definitely at the amateur end of the spectrum.

Alaskan Cruises - Do Australians pay more than Americans?

Tips and Tricks for getting the best hotel room at the best price:- 

Dynamic pricing is a fancy term for pricing according to demand. Lets face it, peak season will always cost more than low season - fair enough. The problem is that some businesses have, with the aid of cookies, taken dynamic pricing to new levels. Have you ever checked the price of an airline ticket or hotel room on-line a couple of times and then found it is more expensive when you go to book? If so, you have probably been the victim of dynamic pricing. Read more .....

Booking an airline ticket yourself: how to avoid some common mistakes: -

After almost four decades of independent travelling we have probably learnt a thing or two about how to avoid holiday disasters. This post is about tring to pass on some of this knowledge and smooth the way for other travellers.  Read more ......

A Guide to NSW Ski Resorts: -

A guide to NSW ski resorts: -It is snowing in Thredbo - the first falls of the season! And with Sydney hit yesterday by a blast of arctic weather I thought I might update and re-post my 'Skiing in NSW' guide. I hope someone out there will find it useful.

 Read more ......

Summer in the NSW Snowy Mountains: where to go, where to stay and what to do:-

At nearly 700,000 hectares Kosciuszko is the largest national park in New South Wales. The southern part of the park, where most of the summer accommodation and activities are to be found, is approximately half way between Sydney and Melbourne and only two and a half hours drive from Canberra. Read more ......

Tips for Australian travellers to the US: -        

Read them here ....

Visiting Australia: travel advice from someone who lives here 

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