BARBADOS CARIBBEAN DESTINATION

BARBADOS HOLIDAY DESTINATION

Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship port with colonial buildings and Nidhe Israel, a synagogue founded in 1654. Around the island are beaches, botanical gardens, the Harrison’s Cave formation, and 17th-century plantation houses like St. Nicholas Abbey. Local traditions include afternoon tea and cricket, the national sport.

WHEN TO GO

Barbados is a year-round resort destination, but December 15 to April 15 is the most popular time, when visitors flock to the island to escape the cold weather up north. The rest of the year is less busy. Spring and fall can be an ideal time for a getaway as the prices for Barbados travel are lower, and the island is less crowded in general.
high season: lateDecember to mid–April
low season: lateJune to mid–October
shoulder season: lateApril to mid–June, lateOctober to mid–December

WEATHER

Barbados has a year-round tropical climate, with temperatures averaging between 75 and 85 degrees. Gentle sea breezes consistently cool the island, providing reprieve from even the hottest days. January through June usually have the most ideal weather, while July to November are the rainier months. However, even rainy days experience a good amount of sunshine.

CROWD INFORMATION

The winter months, as well as the Crop Over festival in July/early August, attract the most visitors. Other popular events include the Barbados Jazz Festival in January, the Holetown Festival in February, Holders Season in March, and Run Barbados in December.

CLOSURE INFORMATION

Some hotels and restaurants close during the summer for renovation, but reopen in time for the winter season.

WHEN TO SAVE

Prices are significantly lower during June, August, and September; while prices peak during the winter months.

WHEN TO BOOK

It is best to book far in advance, especially for travel during the high season when repeat visitors are all booking the same time. In general, booking two months in advance is usually safe.

PROTECT YOUR ITEMS

Don’t arrive without your bags it would ruin your vacation! Buy a SuperSmartTag and travel with peace of mind.

Editorial thanks to: SmarterTravel

BOCA RATON TRAVEL GUIDE

MOUTH OF THE RAT

The name Boca Raton may mean ‘mouth of the rat,’ but there’s nothing ratty about this proud-to-be-posh coastal town. What began as a sleepy residential community was transformed in the mid-1920s by architect Addison Mizner, who relied on his love of Spanish architecture to build the place into a fancy-pants town. His fingerprints remain on numerous structures throughout the area, though his name is most often invoked when talking about the popular anchor of town – the alfresco mall, Mizner Park.

The rest of Boca is a mostly mainstream collection of chain stores and restaurants and, as you near the ocean, some peaceful beaches and parks.

Most people don’t come to Boca on vacation unless they have family here, as there are almost no beachfront hotels.

GETTING AROUND BOCA

The best way to get around Boca Raton is on foot or by using the Downtowner, a free ride service. The oversized golf carts that comprise the Downtowner’s fleet offer complimentary transit to many of the city’s top sites, including Mizner Park, Red Reef Park and the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. For trips to attractions outside the downtown area (such as the Town Center and Wick Theatre), a car will come in handy.

If you don’t drive to Boca, you’ll find the nearest major airports are in Fort Lauderdale and Miami (car rentals are available at both airports). Tri-Rail commuter trains have stations at both Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Miami International Airport (MIA). Palm Beach International Airport (PBI) is another option to fly into, about 25 miles north of Boca Raton.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Boca Raton is in the fall or winter when temperatures are at their most comfortable. Fall (September to November) constitutes the city’s offseason, offering the lowest prices on accommodations – a side effect of Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November. The winter months (January to March) are usually crowded with snowbirds from the northeastern U.S. and Canada, and as such are the most expensive time to visit. Shoulder season runs from mid-April to mid-August. Summers are rainy, hot and humid thanks to the unpredictable hurricane season.

WHAT TO EAT

Boca Raton’s diverse dining scene offers everything from sushi and Asian eateries to traditional fine dining restaurants and American farm-to-table fare. Mizner Park, a central gathering place in Boca, is home to several popular local restaurants.

Try longtime local favorite Max’s Grille – a pioneer in the South Florida food scene – known for simple, California-style cuisine like crab-crusted local snapper and maple-bourbon glazed baby back ribs. Or grab some Sriracha mojito mussels at Kapow Noodle Bar, also in Mizner Park.

Locals and critics alike love the new American cuisine, including lamb, salmon, duck and grouper, served at TwentyTwenty Grille, but bemoan the lack of parking for this intimate eatery. And for traditional chophouse steaks and seafood in a swanky setting, head to Abe & Louie’s, a fine dining favorite.

Don’t be surprised to find popular dining options in unusual locations, such as the Farmer’s Table in the Wyndham Hotel Boca Raton, which offers grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and sustainable seafood, or the casual Bogart’s Bar & Grille in the Cinemark Palace 20 movie theater. It’s a hit with diners thanks to its diverse menu, which offers pizza, sliders, tacos and foot long hot dogs alongside steak and miso-glazed salmon.

 

 

TRAVEL INSURANCE DO YOU NEED IT?

TICKETS, MONEY PASSPORTS, SMART-TAG, INSURANCE!

Travel insurance is an essential part of planning a holiday, but who wants to study insurance small print when you could be poring over maps and goading jealous friends with travel brochures? This guide to getting the right travel insurance will have you back in holiday mode in no time.

Because you’re going overseas
It’s really that simple. If you’re leaving Australia, travel insurance is just as essential as your passport.

MORE REASONS

The Australian government won’t pay your medical bills for you
Much as you’d like to think they’ve got your back, the government can only help so much in an emergency. If you end up injured or sick while overseas, you’ll be footing the hospital bill and the cost of flying home. In some cases, the costs for you or your family could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

HOLIDAYS DON’T ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED

Medical expenses are the number one reason to get insurance, but sometimes things can go wrong like trip cancellations, delays, lost luggage or even the big stuff like natural disasters and terrorism. If you end up out of pocket because of these things, insurance can make up for that.

TRAVEL INSURANCE IS COMPULSORY IN SOME COUNTRIES

Cuba, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, to name a few. Not to mention all 26 European countries in the Schengen Area if you’re applying for a visa to visit. Some cruise ships won’t allow you to board without insurance, either.

33% of travellers just choose the cheapest policy without checking the small print

WILL YOU NEED IT?

Hopefully not. But research by Smartraveller found that one in four Australian travellers experienced an insurable event on their last overseas trip.

REASONS YOU MAY NEED IT

Flight or tour cancelled
Flight delayed more than 12 hours
Missed a connecting flight
Received medical treatment
Lost / damaged / stolen luggage
Lost / damaged / stolen cash or items
Forced to cancel trip before departure

WILL THEY PAY OUT?

In the 2016-17 financial year, Australian travellers lodged almost 300,000 insurance claims. Around 85% of those received payouts. Of the claims that were declined, many were because the traveller had misunderstood the policy they’d bought.

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU PURCHASE

1. Where are you going?
The level of cover and the cost of travel insurance can vary depending on the region you’re travelling to, and some risks may be of greater concern than others. Not all travel insurance policies cover pandemics or epidemics such as SARS or Zika. And not all policies cover you to change your plans due to a riot or civil unrest, for example.

Look up your destination on smartraveller.gov.au and make sure you’re aware of any risks or safety advice.

Get a policy that covers you for every country you’re travelling to. If you’re going to Europe via a one-night stopover in the US, then get cover for the US and Europe.

Usually a worldwide policy will cover this.
The regions insurers may cover:

Asia Pacific: Destinations such as New Zealand, Bali, Fiji and Papua New Guinea.
Asia: Destinations such as India, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.
Europe: Destinations such as the United Kingdom, Ireland and Western Europe.
Worldwide: All of the above as well as regions such as North America, South America, Japan and Africa.
These definitions differ for each insurer. For example, several insurers cover travel to Bali under their Asia Pacific policy but not to the rest of Indonesia, while some will only cover travel to Bali under their Asian region travel policy.

2. How long are you going for?
Just a quick trip?
Simply buy a standalone travel insurance policy for a set number of days. See our single-trip travel insurance reviews.

Travel often?
Consider an annual multi-trip policy or a credit card with travel insurance.

Tip: Annual multi-trip policies and credit card policies can restrict the length of each trip you take – anywhere from 15 to 365 days depending on your policy. Some allow you to pay for extra days.

3. What are you going to do there?
Cruising the ocean roads on a scooter? Carving up the ski slopes? Paragliding from a mountain top? These things aren’t necessarily included in a travel insurance policy.

Check the list of activities that are included in your insurance and those that you’ll have to pay extra for.

And take it easy on the grog – if your alcohol or drug intake is the cause of, or a factor in, an adverse event, it won’t be covered by your policy.

4. Are you taking any valuable items?
Do you need cover for a digital SLR camera or expensive tablet or laptop? Cover for such valuables can vary from a few hundred dollars to $25,000, and higher cover will often mean a higher premium.

Policies also vary when it comes to how they cover valuable items. Items in your check-in luggage often aren’t covered, while cover for baggage stored in your hire car is sketchy. And baggage left unattended is never covered, which can include a bag that is stolen while you’re looking the other way.

5. Do you have any medical conditions?
If you have a medical condition that existed before you bought your policy, it may not be covered.

This can range from something as common as allergies or asthma through to diabetes, heart conditions and knee replacements. Be sure to place a Smart Luggage Tag onto your belongings before you leave home!

If you’re not sure, contact the insurer to ask whether they’ll cover your condition automatically or whether you need to do an assessment.

Editorial thanks to Choice.com.au

PAKLITE AIR CABIN CARRY-ON

RECOGNISED AUSTRALIAN QUALITY BRAND

Paklite was established in 1961 when founder Felix Vogelnest started manufacturing Australia’s first zipper softside luggage in his Sydney garage. The name ‘Paklite’ still symbolises the way Australians travel today.

This iconic Australian brand has continued to be manufactured in China for the past 30 years.
To this day Paklite is still designed locally in our Sydney based office, Our QA team oversee production and maintain our commitment to high standards of quality, technology and ongoing innovation.

Today we look at the:

STYLE AIR CABIN CARRY-ON

Style Air Carryon size trolley case has 4 dual spinner wheels and is made from Bayer Makrylon polycarbonate offering a high impact scratch resistant diamond texture finish.

FIRST IMPRESSION

Was positive this item comes in several different colours although we found the grey most attractive.

The hard shell itself looks well made and sturdy. The carry handle felt very light almost too light but the handle was very good to hold and feels good in your hand.

The bag has excellent wheels and is very good to manoeuvre. We also tried a tough test by throwing the bag onto its wheels and they did not break!

Components all seems to be well made and the overall design of the bag is good. We especially likes the internal compartment and the size of this bag is ideal for business and short trips.

The sturdy lock is TSA approved and will live up to expectations of modern travellers.

OUR ASSESSMENT:
Quality: Good!
Design: Excellent!
Value: Good!
Our Score: Very Good!

Get yourself a Smart Luggage Tag before you travel with this bag as you wouldn’t want to lose it the RRP is $299 AUD

THE BEST 50 TRAVEL TIPS

10 YEARS OF TRAVEL EXPERIENCE

Are you ready for an amazing adventure?
There are so many different forms of travel: backpacking, cruises, long-term travel, etc. No two trips are the same, and each trip will provide you with unique memories and exciting adventures that you can share with your friends and family back home. Whether you are taking a trip to see family and friends for the holidays, or want to explore new countries across the world, traveling can be an enriching and memorable experience.

We have all spent hours looking at pictures of gorgeous beaches, luxury resorts, and cool road trips. Before you book, know that travel isn’t always Instagram-worthy. Flights may be delayed, you might run into scams, and you may dip into your budget more than you had originally planned. A battle with food poisoning or lost luggage can certainly put a damper on your trip. Luckily, travelers before you have gone through similar experiences and know how to avoid snafus while traveling. Do not worry; with proper planning, and the following travel tips from travel experts, you can make the most out of your travels and experience the vacation or trip of a lifetime.

Enjoy the next 50 tips for traveling, including flying, taking a road trip, traveling with children, and traveling overseas.


Gorgeous Croatia

TIPS FOR PLANNING YOUR TRIP AND BOOKING ACCOMMODATION

Get the Best Deals on Hotel Rooms
In order to score a great deal on a hotel room, you may have to be patient, be flexible, and do your research. Travelers have many different strategies and tricks for getting the best hotel room for the lowest price. For example, booking 24-48 hours may get you a lower rate, as you’re booking during the hotel’s cancellation time frame. If you sign up ahead of time on websites that alert you of price drops, you will get an instant notification when the hotel is available at the best price. Checking in at the end of the day, and discreetly asking for a corner room, will also give you the best chance of getting an upgrade for the same price.

Make Friends (Save Money) By Staying in a Hostel
If you are a young solo traveler, staying in a hotel can get lonely. Meet fellow travelers at youth hostels, which offer cheap accommodation in private or dorm rooms. The quality of the rooms or amenities may not match a 5-star resort, but many hostels have communal areas or activities where travelers can mingle and enjoy a drink.

Hostels are (usually) not available for travelers over the age of 50, but solo travelers can meet people through a variety of websites or apps.

Consider Housesitting for Free Accommodation
If you are flexible with travel dates and where you would like to stay, consider house sitting or pet sitting. There are a handful of websites that offer a subscription program in order to search and apply for house sitting jobs. Most of these jobs are in the suburbs, but if you own a car or do not mind taking public transportation, you can get a nice house or apartment with little to no cost.

Check The Dates Of Your Trip For Public Holidays
Different countries have different religions and holidays that may affect your travel plans. In some cases, the rates for accommodation may be higher, or hotels will book up fast. Other holidays may affect the hours of popular tourist sites or local businesses. In some countries, religious holidays may affect the sale of alcohol. On the other hand, visiting a country or city while they celebrate a big holiday can be very enriching and make your trip more special. Plan your trip accordingly, and know what to expect when you arrive during a holiday season.

Read Blogs or Visit Social Media For Inspiration
If you pop your destination into Google, you may find a handful of the same restaurants, sites, and hotels in the first page of results. Dig a little deeper and get recommendations from Bloglovin or other blogging platforms. Bloggers, especially bloggers with smaller followings, are more likely to give accurate and authentic information about what it is like to travel; if they are paid by a tour or company to promote their product, they should disclose that information throughout their blog posts.

You can also use social media to find local gems and hidden spots. Searching through Instagram by specific locations or hashtags will show you pretty sites and great restaurants that you might not find on big travel websites.

Tips for Packing
Know the Weather and Culture of Your Destination Before Packing
In order to properly pack for your destination, do some research about your destination and your itinerary. Check how hot, and also how humid, the weather will be during your trip. If you are traveling during a “rainy season,” you will want to pack more breathable clothes and waterproof shoes. If you are packing for colder weather, you will have to pack layers.

Also consider the culture and dress codes of the area you are visiting. In a country like Thailand or Cambodia, you will need to cover your shoulders and knees in order to visit a temple. Sandals or shorts may also be prohibited if you want to go to a nice restaurant or bar.

Choose Luggage That You Recognize
A square black suitcase can be hard to find at baggage claim, and harder to identify if your luggage gets lost. Bring a unique suitcase or backpack with bright colors or patterns and place a smart luggage tag on them such as supersmarttag.com. Take a picture of your suitcase before you check it, just in case it gets lost. If you do need to pack a more common suitcase, add a bright luggage tag or tie a ribbon around the handle to easily identify the bag.


Rhodes Greece

Pack Solid Cosmetics When You Can
If you want to limit your luggage to a carry-on, you will have to limit the amount of liquids you bring with you, including shampoos and shower gels. Purchase solid cosmetics to get through airport security without throwing anything away. If you need to pack smaller liquids, make sure they will comply with the 3-1-1 rule. These liquids should be kept in a Ziploc bag just in case they spill or burst in transit.

Bring Essentials In Your Carry-On
If you are checking a bag, pack an extra outfit and your essentials in your carry-on luggage in case your checked bag gets lost. Be sure to attached a supersmarttag.com to your carry-on!

No matter whether you are checking or carrying on luggage, don’t forget to pack the following essentials:

Sleep mask and ear plugs
Deodorant
Chargers for your electronics
Outlet converter
Toothbrush and toothpaste
Sunglasses
Sunscreen
Bug repellant
Reusable Water Bottle
Pillow case (to separate dirty and clean clothes)
Fabric softener sheets (to keep luggage smelling fresh)

QUICK TIPS: HOW TO PACK LIGHT
A two-week trip can be packed in a carry-on bag, if you pack light and forego unnecessary outfits. Once you have informed yourself of any special clothing items you will need for your trip, you can create your packing list.

Go by the popular 5-4-3-2-1 rule: 5 Tops, 4 Bottoms, 3 Accessories, 2 Pairs of Shoes, 1 Swimsuit
Never pack for more than two weeks at a time. You can always visit a laundromat if you are traveling for over two weeks.

Pack clothes with neutral colors in order to mix and match outfits easily.
Limit all cosmetics to carry-on size. If you are staying a hotel where shampoo, body soap, etc. will be available, leave these items at home.
Leave room for souvenirs!

Roll, rather than fold, your clothes in order to save space in your suitcase.
Put smaller items inside your shoes. Wrap your shoes in a shower cap to prevent other items from getting dirty.

Additional Preparation
Arrange Everything at Home Before You Go
If you and your family are traveling and leaving the house unoccupied, you will need to make certain arrangements to keep your pets and house safe. Alert your neighbors that you will be leaving, and let them know how long you will be gone. Hold mail or newspaper deliveries, or arrange a neighbor to bring in deliveries while you are away. You have many options when it comes to caring for your pets: you can hire a pet sitter, leave them with a trusted friend or neighbor, or drop them off at a kennel. Leave your car(s) in the garage or park them at the airport.

Learn a Few Local Phrases
If English is your native language, you may not have a lot of trouble navigating big cities or popular tourist destinations. Learning a few phrases, like “thank you” or other greetings, will show that you are making an effort to respect the local culture. Learn how to pronounce the name of the street where you will be staying if you need to hop into a taxi outside of the airport or at the end of the day.

Tips for Flying
Get the Best Deal on Your Flight
You may have heard this classic tip: booking your flight six weeks in advance, on a Tuesday afternoon, will give you the best price. In addition to using this time frame, refresh your browser history before you book. When airlines see that you have looked at a flight multiple times, they might jack up prices.

Get to Your Flight Early for Upgrades and Deals
In order to get through airport security, you should arrive at the airport 2-3 hours before your flight boards. The earlier you get to your gate, the more chances you have of getting an upgrade. Flights may overbook and ask for volunteers who will take a later flight in exchange for a flight voucher. Other flights may allow you to checked your bags for free if the flight is fully booked.

If you are comfortable sitting in the emergency exit row, take advantage of the opportunity; you will have more leg room and be more comfortable on your flight.

Prepare For Airport Security
Even if you arrive a few hours before your flight takes off, you will want to zip through airport security as fast as possible. Wear slip-on shoes or sandals that will come off easily before you go through the metal detector. Place your bag of liquids, as well as your laptop and any other electronics, in your front pocket for easy access – these need to be removed while your carry-on is checked. Leave coins at home; they’ll need to be removed too.

Avoid Jet Lag While Flying
If you are traveling across multiple time zones, you may spend the first few days of your trip with “jet lag.” Jet lag can cause serious fatigue, headaches, or stomach problems. In order to overcome jet lag, you must prepare your body a few days in advance for the time zone change. Travelers heading east should sleep and wake up earlier than normal; travelers heading west should do the opposite. Taking naps during your destination’s nighttime will also help to prepare your body before you hop on a plane. When you fly, bring a sleep mask and earplugs so you can sleep comfortably if you are flying during your destination’s night. (A sleep mask and earplugs are also worth packing if you are just going on a road trip.) Keep yourself hydrated on the flight. Drinking alcohol or caffeine will make your jet lag worse.

If your trip is only a few days long, take naps during the day to prevent jet lag when you go home. If you are traveling long-term, take it easy the first few days of travel to account for possible jet lag symptoms. Spending an extra day or two by the pool relaxing will help you get over jet lag faster, and give you energy for the rest of your trip.

TIP FOR ROAD TRIPS
Take Your Car in For Inspection Before You Go

You’re ready for a big road trip…but is your car? Before you hit the road, take your car to a service station to perform routine maintenance and check to see that the car is running smoothly. Deflated tires, crummy brake pads, or weak batteries will increase the risk of an emergency situation when you’re on the way to your destination. Double check what your auto insurance policy covers, and buy additional travel insurance for your car if necessary.

Pack Safety Gear in Your Trunk or Glove Box
If you are driving long distances, you may run into car troubles. Not all routes have gas stations and help nearby, so having a kit with emergency gear will get you through any tire blowout or stalled car.

Remember to pack the following items:

Flashlight
First aid kit
Blankets
Jumper cables
Seatbelt cutter
Roadside flares
Spare tire
Toolbox
Phone charger

Apps designed to help record and report car accidents
Packing for a road trip is different than packing for a flight. Even if you’re crossing state and international borders, you can bring food and drinks with you while you travel. Even if you have two or three drivers ready to take the wheel, having food on hand will keep everyone in the car happy and awake (when they need to be). The best non-perishable snacks for a quick energy boost include:

Peanut butter
Edamame
Almonds and cashews
Whole grain cereal
Trail mix


Sardenia, Italy

Plan Your Route (And Where You Will Be Sleeping)
We all have GPS devices on our phones or in our cars, but it’s still good to be prepared with an old-fashioned map and knowledge of the routes you are taking. While you are planning your route, plan where you will be sleeping each night. Driver fatigue is involved in 100,000 roadside crashes each year in the United States alone. Hotels are available along most highways for a good night’s sleep, but do not let a tight budget deter you from getting some sleep. Campgrounds, rest stops, and some 24-hour convenience stores will allow you to sleep in your car legally, getting a quick rest before hitting the road again.

If you are planning on sleeping in your car, be sure to pack warm blankets or a sleeping bag to keep you warm in all seasons. Window tints or temporary curtains can protect all passengers while you get some shut-eye.

Staying Safe while Traveling
Purchase Insurance
Whether you are traveling within your own country or internationally, travel insurance will give you peace of mind in case of any emergency. Travel insurance may cover cancelled flights, lost luggage, or medical expenses during your trip. Before you purchase insurance from a third party, talk to your current health insurance provider, and check on the warranties and insurance policies of your electronics. Knowing what is covered without travel insurance will save you money when you are picking a policy.

Avoid International Fees With ATM Withdrawal
Before you travel abroad, visit your bank and discuss your upcoming travel plans. If you do not let your bank know that you are traveling, seemingly random charges in a different country will look like identity theft. The bank may shut down your card without warning.

Some cards will charge an additional fee for using your card abroad. In order to avoid these fees, take out a larger sum of money from the ATM when you arrive in the airport. Having cash on hand will help you stay within your budget; you can physically see how much money you are spending, and ration out money throughout your trip. In many countries, credit cards aren’t accepted at local businesses, so it’s wise to have some cash on hand.

Check Your Credit Card Statement Throughout Your Trip
If you are using cash, don’t neglect your credit card statement. The longer you go without checking your statement, the longer someone can get away with stealing your information or making unauthorized purchases.

Keep Money in Hidden Places
Having a large sum of cash on hand will help you budget, but may not be safe. Thieves target tourists, especially in big cities. Some of the most notorious cities for pickpockets include:

Barcelona, Spain
Rome, Italy
Prague, Czech Republic
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Rio de Janeiro
In order to keep your money safe, separate your money and place them in different pockets or parts of your body. The money can go in your shoes, inside pockets, tucked in your bra, wherever you can fit it! (If you are visiting a warmer country, it may help to have a thin wallet or money holder to keep your money from smelling like sweat.)

Wear a Fanny Pack (Bum Bag)
Another way to keep your valuables on your person is to wear a fanny pack. (These are called “bum bags” in England and Australia because the word “fanny” is rather offensive and silly.) A fanny pack can be worn over or under a loose shirt or jacket. In the past, these bags have been regarded as overtly touristy and dorky, but lately, they’ve become almost trendy.

Educate Yourself About Scams Before You Arrive
You will meet many loving and gracious people while you travel, but be aware that some locals may take advantage of you because you’re a tourist. Know common scams where you are heading. In general, be sure to avoid unmetered taxis and haggle for goods wherever it’s appropriate. If a cab driver tells you that your hotel, tour, or a certain tourist attraction is closed or overbooked, be cautious. Only book train or bus tickets online or inside the station, not through cab drivers.

Talk to Female Staff About Traveling as a Woman
If you are a solo female traveler, some cities and countries can be especially daunting. Unfortunately, most countries still harbour a culture that makes women lesser, and women are more likely to face scams or violence if traveling alone. To stay safe, reach out to local women (including hotel staff, tour guides, or waitresses) and ask about different neighborhoods and ways to stay safe as a woman. Join Facebook groups of women travelers for additional tips and tricks; if you ask for women to go out with and travel with, you may just make a few friends. If you are flying, you will be limited in what self-defense weapons you can bring, but you can always buy a discreet form of brass knuckles or pepper spray abroad to keep you safe in case of an emergency.

TRAVELLING WITH LITTLE ONES

Combine Luggage
Traveling light is even more important when you’re with children. Once one child decides that they don’t want to wear their backpack or carry a suitcase, the domino effect will begin and you will get stuck carrying more than you bargained for. Pack light; fit your children’s day bags in your checked suitcase to consolidate. Checking less baggage will save you money and muscle strain throughout your trip.

Give Them Your Phone Number and Address
If your child gets lost, they should be able to reach you through phone or by telling a stranger or security officer your name. Children who are old enough should be taught this information; children who are younger should have this information on their person. Give your child an index card with your name, phone number, address, and accommodation information so they can be traced back to you if they wander off.

Check for Additional Fees
Traveling with toddlers and infants often means your little ones get free entry to parks or transportation tickets, but not always. Research additional fees that parents may have to pay for a child on your lap or entry into tourist attractions. Your children may also need identification if they are traveling, including a passport or visa.

Bring Extra Activities
Young children may be face-to-face with Mickey Mouse, standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, or dipping their toes in the Pacific Ocean for the first time – and all they want to do is eat a snack or play with their toys. When they get bored during long lines or on a flight, the wait can become unbearable. Pack coloring books, games, or teething toys in your carry-on or day bag to have on hand in an instant.

Take Things Slow, and Be Positive
Traveling with children is never easy, whether they are a newborn or a moody teenager. Plan your itinerary ahead of time and give yourselves extra time at each restaurant or attraction; you never know when your child will have a meltdown or you will have to change plans. Throughout your travels, remember that you will miss these days when your children are grown up. Big families with small children aren’t always treated well by fellow passengers; keep your cool. Positivity is contagious; the more calm and happy you remain around screaming or crying children, the more calm and happy your whole tour group or flight will be.

How to Avoid Getting Sick
Stay Up to Date On Immunizations
If you are entering country, you may risk getting sick from the local food, water, or insects. Before you travel, research recommended immunizations for the countries you are visiting. You may have to get the immunizations two weeks before departure in order for them to work.

Avoid Local Tap Water
Buy bottled water whenever you can. If you are at a restaurant, ask for your drinks without ice. Typically, ice that is shaped like a doughnut (round with a hole in the middle) is produced by a safe company and is okay to drink, but continue to exercise caution throughout your trip. If you are staying in a country with particularly bad tap water, remember to use drinking water while you are brushing your teeth or washing your face.

Avoid Food Poisoning By (Carefully) Eating Street Food
If you are traveling to Southeast Asia or anywhere with a big street food culture, you may be nervous about getting sick. For many travelers, eating street food is safer than eating at a sit-down restaurant. When you order a meal or snack from a stall outside, you can watch the food being cooked. Choose a stall that looks like the food was freshly laid out and not sitting around all day. If you have a choice of different stalls, choose one where a lot of locals are lined up; this means that the food is high-quality and is not known for getting people sick.

Be Cautious If You Have Allergies
Travelers with food allergies may run into difficulties at restaurants where the staff do not speak your language. Be patient with wait staff; learn basic phrases that communicate your allergy. Research ingredients of common dishes where you are traveling ahead of time. Pack proper medication in your carry-on or day bag in case of an emergency. If you are traveling alone, pack instructions to give to a witness or stranger who may have to administer medication.

How To Make Travel Meaningful
Talk With Travel Partners Before You Go
If you are traveling with a partner or a friend, avoid conflicts by laying out your goals before you go. Each person may have a different idea on how much they would like to budget out per day, which sites they would like to see, and the ideal pace of each day. Sit down and look at your possible itinerary and talk about how you would like to budget your meals, shopping, and other expenses. Talking these issues out before you travel will give you a better idea of what your trip will be like, avoiding possible conflicts while you are trying to relax and enjoy your vacation.

Rise and Shine
If you have popular tourist attractions on your bucket list, set your alarms. Check the attraction’s hours online and get in line before the attraction even opens. Once the afternoon hits, you may find yourself waiting in long lines with big tourist groups. Seeing the attraction when it’s not crowded will help you make the most of your experience (and have limited photobombers in your photos.)

Educate Yourself About Local Culture
Traveling does not just involve one or two people. When you visit another person’s home or country, you may have a lasting effect on their land, their property, or their perception of travelers from your country. All humans deserve to be treated with respect, and sometimes, respect looks different around the world.

Consult with etiquette guides about local customs. Know when and when not to tip. Appropriate gestures in your country may be extremely offensive to locals. During meal time, different cultures might have unique rules on who sits at the table first (and where they sit), how food is eaten, and how to let hosts know that you have finished and enjoyed your meal.

IF YOU ARE UNSURE OF LOCAL CUSTOMS FOLLOW THESE GENERAL RULES:

Dress modestly
Drink responsibly
Do not feed wild animals
Refrain from taking photos of local people without their permission
Refrain from insulting local customs or traditions, no matter how “weird” they may seem
Refrain from touching people of the opposite sex
If you see signs while abroad, be sure to read them, ask a local what the sign says, or take a picture and translate them if you have an Internet connection.
When you respect the area you are visiting, you create a more positive atmosphere and allow future travelers to enjoy the area as well.

Volunteer While Traveling – With Sustainable, Ethical Organizations
Traveling long-term will certainly eat up your budget, but travelers can cut down on expenses through volunteer work. There are a handful of websites that set up volunteer programs and cultural exchanges between travelers and homestays or businesses. These exchanges generally give travelers free accommodation and free food in exchange for a few hours of work a day or week. There are many travelers currently working at hostels, helping around a family’s home, or farming in exchange for a free stay and free food. These programs can last a week or last for a few months, if you would like to travel long-term.

If you are looking at a volunteer program that requires you to pay big bucks for accommodation and food expenses, be cautious. Conduct thorough research and read reviews of the program. Volunteer work and exchanges can be done without shelling out big bucks. Other volunteer programs do not have a sustainable, positive impact. One example is visiting orphanages; while many tourists believe that a trip to an orphanage is doing a good deed, their visit may actually harm children in the long run.


Monaco

Look Out For Social Enterprise Businesses and Cafes
Travelers can give back to the community without volunteering. Take some time to research ethically run businesses and tours in the areas where you will be visiting. Visiting a coffee shop or restaurant that offers job training and fair wages give back to the community through a delicious meal. While you are shopping for souvenirs, consider visiting markets that showcase local artisans over mass-produced goods. Some spas or beauty salons are social enterprises, giving opportunities to women who have been abused or sent to jail in the past. Supporting these businesses shows the community that you care.

On the other side, do some research into what popular tourist attractions or sites are not ethically run. Tourists may initially enjoy the idea of riding on an elephant or taking selfies with a tiger, but after researching what practices go into these animal attractions, may not enjoy the activities as much. Read reviews from past patrons and look closely into how the animals are treated before you give them your money.

Pass on Advice to Fellow Travelers
If you encounter a restaurant or business that provides excellent service, share this information with fellow travelers! Many websites offer advice and customer reviews on local businesses, and these sites rely on travelers like you to give honest, unbiased feedback about your experience. Leaving reviews will benefit business owners in the local community, and encourage other travelers to do the same.

Travel in the Way That Works for You
There are many different forms of travel, and each person is traveling for a different reason. Before you travel, ask yourself why you are traveling, and what you would like to gain from your trip. Would you like to get a new perspective on the world? Would you like to check items off of your bucket list? Would you like to try new food? Keep these goals in mind during your trip, and know that while other people may have different goals and perspectives, this is your trip. Do what feels best for you when it comes to accommodation, transportation, budget, and your itinerary.

Know That Not Everything Goes As Planned
Even if you have your itinerary and budget planned to the last minute, you may have to improvise on the spot. Flights could be delayed, weather could cancel your cruise, or your accommodation may not be as glamorous and relaxing as you think. No matter what happens, remember to relax and have a good attitude. These surprises may end up making your trip more memorable, in a positive way! Be open to itinerary changes and delays. When you have to find a last-minute restaurant or make up plans on the spot, you may end up with a more enriching experience.

Document the Experience
There are moments from your travels that you will remember for the rest of your life. Bring a small journal or a disposable camera to quickly jot down funny stories or take pictures during your trip. Sure, these photos and notes will look great on your social media, but will also serve as physical memories of an amazing experience. If you take pictures with your smartphone, get in the habit of backing up your photos to a cloud at the end of the day.

This editorial thanks to Your RV Lifestyle

BEST TIME TO TRAVEL TO PARIS

PARIS THE CITY OF LOVE

When planning a trip to Paris, one of your most pressing questions is likely to be “when is the best time to go?” While all four seasons in Paris can be delightful, the best time to visit Paris is during the summer when temperatures are nearly parfait (perfect) and long, sunny days make it easy to see all the sights.

If you’re set to visit Paris for the first time, you may be persuaded that the much-lauded “Paris in the springtime” is the obvious choice but depending on your budget, tolerance for large crowds, and your personal points of interest, another time of year may, in fact, suit you much better.

Every season in Paris has its charms and pitfalls, pros and cons. Read on for more information on the general feel and ambiance of each season, as well as info on what to see and do in Paris around the year.

EVENTS AND FESTIVALS TO SEE

If you’re a sports fan, the French Open kicks off the third week of May.
In early April, the Paris Marathon hits the streets, as thousands run 26.2 miles in the City of Light.

On June 21 each year, the Fête de la Musique turns every corner of the city into an open-air concert space.
Bastille Day, July 14, is one of the country’s most popular holidays and is celebrated with parades, fireworks, and more.

The winter holiday season in Paris offers plenty of light and celebration
n as the city lights up for Christmas and other winter holidays. Galleries Lafayette and other landmarks are adorned with festive holiday decor. In the fall, meanwhile, events like the Montmartre Wine Harvest (Vendanges) and Nuit Blanche, an all-night arts and culture event that sees crowds throng the streets for free exhibits and performances, bring the city to life in memorable ways. Spring marks the beginning of the city’s jazz festival season.

Jazz fans shouldn’t miss the Banlieue Bleues Festival, which typically begins in March and extends through the summer. The St-Germain-des-Prés Jazz Festival usually starts in May. During summer, the city is quieter as Parisians go on holiday, but there are still ample things to do, like free open-air movies in the park and abundant music festivals.

tourist backpacker in Paris, travel in Europe, France

PARIS WEATHER CONDITIONS

Paris typically has cold and slightly damp winters, with high temperatures hovering around 40 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of approximately 35 degrees. Snow isn’t frequent but can happen. March and April are also chilly, but temperatures can break into the 50s. It isn’t until May that a thaw takes place, with temperatures slowly but surely climbing into the 60s. (Of course, rain in May is typical, so keep an umbrella close at hand!) Summers can be warm and muggy, but are typically pleasantly warm, with temperatures rarely exceeding 80 degrees.

PARIS PEAK SEASON

Spring and summer are undoubtedly the most popular seasons in Paris. During spring, Parisians are out enjoying their city in full force, while in summer, many are away on holiday leaving the city crowded with tourists. Flights and accommodations will be most expensive during these two seasons.

SPRING IN PARIS

For gorgeous seasonal blooms, picnics, and romantic Easter getaways, Paris in spring just can’t be beat. Remember, though, that this is an incredibly popular time in the capital for tourism, so booking early is essential if you want to snag a good deal.

SUMMER IN PARIS

If you don’t mind sharing the city with hundreds and thousands of other tourists and love the idea of long, lazy days and nights at a time when the city’s at its most relaxed, summer is a great time to explore the French capital. Many French people go on vacation, so while summer is a relaxed time to visit, some tourists might find it to be a bit too sleepy as some boutiques, restaurants, and bars go on their annual “vacance” and close for several weeks at a time.

AUTUMN

Poetic and romantic souls will love the contemplative mood during this time—and if you’re an art or book lover, exhibition season is in full swing in the autumn. Fall can be quite chilly and the days are short, but the leaves turning and crispness in the air makes those strolls along the Seine that much more beautiful.

Don’t miss the Vendanges de Montmartre, a quirky event held at Paris’s last remaining vineyard.
During the first weekend of October, the city hosts Nuit Blanche (White Night), when galleries and other art spaces stay open late for visitors.

WINTER IN PARIS

Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, New Year’s celebrations of both the western and Chinese traditions: despite its gloomy reputation, winter is a lively and colorful time in the capital, and a great time to book a family trip. Many of the city’s most glamorous department stores have impressive light and window displays, giving the whole city a festive feeling.

The Champs-Elysées turns on its stunning Christmas light display each year toward the end of November.
Wine lovers won’t want to miss the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants (Independent Wine Producers Fair), which is held over the last weekend of November each winter.

PROTECT YOUR LUGGAGE

Paris airport is notorious for losing luggage so be sure to have your Smart Luggage Tags attached to your bags when arriving or leaving Paris.

Editorial thanks to Travel Savy

RIMOWA CABIN ESSENTIAL CARRY-ON

GERMAN QUALITY THE RIMOWA CABIN ESSENTIAL

We all know that Germans make good things. If it’s German, you somehow trust it to be of good quality.

The Rimowa luggage brand is no exception.

This superior German luggage brand has been in business now for over 120 years and continues to deliver World class quality and innovation.

Today we look at the Rimowa Cabin Essential series.

It’s the World’s first ever polycarbonate suitcase, designed and engineered in Germany to provide the best in high-tech functionality. Strong, durable and lightweight, the RIMOWA Essential is the ultimate example of luggage innovation.


FIRST IMPRESSION

One glance at this carry-on and you know it’s not your average bag.
The robust design speaks volumes. Upon touching and opening up the bag you sense the vast amount of engineering that has gone into it.

Quality comes at a price. The Rimowa Cabin is no exception to this fact retailing from around $700.00. Yes it’s clearly not the cheapest carry-on-bag out there but…. “it could well be the best!”

While it’s price tag certainly won’t appeal to the vast majority of travellers it will appeal to those that love to travel in style and are willing to pay for the best.

Let’s just compare it to a Mercedes Benz. Get the picture?

While there are many good luggage brands available Rimowa is truly special.
The timeless design will never date and a bag of this quality could last a very long time.

OUR ASSESSMENT:
Quality: Excellent!
Design: Excellent!
Value: Good!
Our Score: Excellent!

Oh, needless to say that you really would not want to lose a bag like this right?
So buy a Smart Luggage Tag if you do end up buying one!

MUST HAVE TRAVEL GADGETS

MUST HAVE TRAVEL ACCESSORIES – TOP PICKS

SMART MOBILE WIFI COMPANION

With Skyroam Solis, you don’t have to worry about foreign SIM cards or roaming charges when traveling the world.

One of the best mobile Wi-Fi hotspots on the market, this ingenious connectivity gadget offers unlimited 4G LTE service in over 130 countries around the globe. Each device can support up to 5 connections and also works as a portable charger for your phone or tablet while on the move, thanks to its integrated 6000 mAh power bank. A day pass is $9 and gives you unlimited internet access for 24 hours. Get yours here

MOSHI IONBANK 10K PORTABLE SUPER FAST BATTERY

People need power, but actually recharging on-the-go is a constant pain. Even if you have a good portable battery pack to give your phone or tablet some extra juice, travelling with cables is not pleasant. Cue the ionbank, a large battery capable of recharging a phone about four or five times over, and a tablet at least once. However, what makes this aluminium and leather battery stand out are built-in Apple Lightning and USB cables, which are pop-out from underneath a magnetic flap.

Typically you’d pop-out one cable to charge your phone (it’s 2.4 amps, so works super-fast), and one to recharge the battery (from any USB socket), but it can also work as a standard Apple Lightning cable; plug it in to a laptop and phone your phone and the ionbank 10K will be recharged. It’s also got a USB slot for recharging two devices simultaneously, though that does require using your own cable.
Get yours here

SMART LUGGAGE TAGS – PROTECT YOUR ITEMS

SuperSmartTag was developed to provide International traveller’s with a simple, safe and in-expensive lost luggage solution with the goal to replace traditional luggage tags, protect privacy and provide faster recovery.

SuperSmartTags look great, they protect your privacy and your identity is anonymous while they allow airport staff to easily contact you in case you have lost an item via our unique smart-code.

The SuperSmartTag baggage protection system also statistically speeds up the process of recovering your items and in most cases, they are returned within 4-12 hours.

The unique itinerary feature makes it possible for air carriers to send your lost items directly to your hotel.

SuperSmartTag is now the best selling smart luggage tag in the World with over 1,250,000 sold across the globe.
Get yours here

INFINITY TRAVEL PILLOW

Feel at home anywhere with the Infinity Pillow. Twist, wrap and bundle its versatile Möbius shape to fit the needs of the space you’re in, whether it’s the window, aisle or middle seat, on the road, or at home with the whole couch to lounge on. Neck support, lumbar pillow, window pillow, desk pillow, eye mask, noise canceling pillow – you’ve got them all in this unique design by Amsterdam based BCXSY.
Get yours here

BOSE QUIET COMFORT POCKET HEAD PHONES

Shut out the world and lose yourself in your music—or let the world in. It’s your choice with the first in-ear noise cancelling headphones from Bose®. The QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones let you enjoy better sound every day, everywhere you go. Turn on noise cancelling to reduce surrounding distractions and focus on your music. Or, at the touch of a button, activate Aware mode to hear what’s happening around you. Proprietary StayHear®+ tips provide a soft, secure fit. The inline microphone and remote let you switch easily to calls and control certain functions. Choose either the QC®20 Apple device model or the QC®20 Samsung and Android™ model to use with your respective device.

These headphones are designed for iPhone, iPad and iPod models. A version is also available for Samsung and Android™ devices.
Get yours here

CAMELEON SPORTS HYDRATION BACKPACKS

Designed for comfort and only weights 14oz, it is featherlight and will feel like nothing. This pack is built with water resistant 420D ripstop polyester, holds like a rockstar!

Leak proof water bladder with over engineered design and military grade materials. Offering 2-liter water capacity and both FDA & BPA approved.

This perfect hydration pack features smart adjustable shoulder and waist straps that will fit chest size from 26 to 52 inches. Designed and crafted to keep the backpack from bouncing around while you are on the move.

We offers lifetime 100% satisfaction guarantee. Love them or we buy them back from you, no questions asked! Reach out to our amazing customer service team at anytime and we will get back to you promptly.
Get yours here

GR-O CARRY-ON

With the SIX, we present a new and improved configuration. A pushed bag that ends the struggle and effort of rolling, to the point where it’s almost autonomous. All travel-related pain – in the wrists, arms, shoulders, neck, elbow, back – is eliminated, making travel truly effortless.

Two sets of tough, durable spinner wheels in front provide increased maneuverability to roll smoothly and effortlessly over any terrain.
Get yours here

BESTEK TRAVEL ADAPTER

One thing you can not afford to travel overseas without is this trusty travel adapter.

While there are many different kinds available this one is absolutely perfect. It’s lightweight, has converters that’ll work everywhere, and USB ports which are a must. This nifty one from Bestek works perfectly and it even comes with its own travel pouch.
Get yours here

 

 

HOW TO TRAVEL LIGHT

IDEAS ON HOW YOU CAN TRAVEL LIGHT

Packing light can seem like a huge challenge if you’re the kind of person who’s regularly paying excess baggage rates. Yet many of the how to travel lite tips will have packing two weeks’ luggage into a palm-sized rucksack.

BENEFITS OF PACKING LIGHT

  • No excess baggage fees
  • No checked baggage fees if you can achieve the Holy Grail ‘carry-on only’
  • No overly large ‘guilt’ tips to porters breaking a back to get your luggage to your room
  • No more airport trolley fees
  • Faster to pack at home and at your destination
  • Makes multi-destinations trips less of a hassle
  • You can go somewhere en-route to your destination
  • Less chance of losing items
  • Less chance of injuring your wrist by carrying too much stuff around
  • More time to window shop at the airport

TRY PACKING A SMALLER SUITCASE OR BAG

Don’t use your big suitcase. Try with a smaller suitcase instead.
You will fill whatever bag you have so starting smaller may help in the long run.

Packing tip:
Check and compare suitcase weights when you’re shopping for new luggage. Amazon is good for this as most products have to include the weight. Make sure you get the product weight not the weight with the shipping packaging.

BUY A LUGGAGE SCALE

Don’t guess the weight of your bag  buy a travel scale for accuracy.
How do you know if you’ve packed light if you don’t know the weight of your luggage? Also, weighing your bag at the airport is a little too late if you’ve packed too much.

TRY A PACKING LIST

Don’t pack by going through your things try using a packing list instead.
Ever pulled out your big suitcase, thrown in your ‘must take’ items then realised you still have space? Be strong. Pack the essentials!

PACK LESS SHOES

Don’t pack shoes for every occasion but rather take a maximum of 3 dual-purpose pairs.
Yes, it’s nice to have the brown sandals for your white dress and the black heels for those cute shorts and the…list goes on. But you have to curb yourself because shoes take up a lot of bag space.

AVOID HEAVY  CLOTHING

Try not to pack thick and heavy clothes and rather opt for lightweight and technical winter clothing
A few smart swaps can save you a lot of space and weight. Compare the folded size and weight of a thin cotton skirt to thick linen trousers. Or a couple of layers instead of a chunky jumpers. For winter wear, my best tip for packing light is to buy some technical clothing. I like The North Face but cheaper brands like Uniqlo have thin thermal options. Failing that, a pair of leggings or even tights under your clothes can add warmth without adding weight.

Packing tip:
Jeans are not your packing friend. Limit yourself to one pair if possible.

PACK FEWER LAUNDRY ITEMS

Avoid taking laundry items if you can and just try good old soap or find a local laundry service.

I’ve never struggled to get laundry done cheaply overseas. Usually, you can drop a bag off in the morning and pick it up all clean and folded by the afternoon. Worst case, a bit of soap and your hotel sink can clean most items.

Packing tip:
If you really do want detergent instead of soap, you can usually pick up a single wash pack while you’re away or use these detergent ‘leaves’ (don’t touch them with wet hands). I own but have never used a travel washing line.

DON’T TAKE ELECTRONIC TOOTHBRUSH OR SHAVER

Don’t pack your bulky electric toothbrush and charger and buy a travel electric toothbrush instead.

You can still maintaining good dental hygiene while you’re away by swapping your big electric toothbrush for a travel sonic one. It runs on batteries and comes with a sealed cover.

SHARE THINGS

Share your toiletries or buy them when you get there.
Do you and your bestie both need a full bottle of shower gel for a one week trip? Split the shareable items between you and half your packing weight.

Otherwise, buy your bulkier produces when you’re there like sun lotion, deodorant, mosquito repellent, shower gel. Even the most remote locations have shops and usually carry many of the brands you are familiar with. Don’t pack full-size shampoo and conditioner (even if you have checked baggage)
Most shampoo and conditioners only recommend using a small coin-sized blog.
I have long hair and a 100ml shampoo can last me 2 weeks.

Packing tip: Not convinced? Visit a pharmacy to check the stock on your next trip and it will give you confidence for your trip after that.

FORGET THE HAIR DRYER

All hotels have hair dryers these days so leave it at home.
I accept that some hair requires more heat than others so if that’s you, go forth and pack your hair dryer. But is it really necessary? Most hotels have some means of drying your hair. And, if you absolutely must pack a drying device, invest in a travel hairdryer. Likewise with straighteners and curling irons – there are travel sizes available.

Wouldn’t it be a nightmare if you lost your bag? It sure would! So be wise and attached a Smart Luggage Tag to your luggage. Get yours right here in our online store.

Editorial thanks to Indiana Jo – with amendments

 

AMERICAN TOURISTER HARDSIDE

AMERICAN TOURISTER MODERN DREAM

American Tourister has a heritage spanning over 85 years since its inception in 1933. Its commitment to selling durable and affordable luggage has seen American Tourister become the global leader in the mid-price luggage market, second in size only to Samsonite globally. Its focus and continued investment on high impact brand marketing and R&D will continue to drive its growth from strength to strength.

At the core of American Tourister’s DNA is a youthful, colourful and internationally recognised brand that resonates with a diverse community of travellers that look for best value quality.

To continue its growth, American Tourister has invested in high profile celebrities with the world’s leading followers. With stores, distribution and offices in over 120 countries in North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America, our 10-year global warranty ensures that no matter where our travellers are, we will truly have them covered at a time when they need it most.

Today we look at the American Tourister hard-side modern dream 55CM spinner.

FIRST IMPRESSION

It was love at first sight! Obvious was a well designed suitcase that simply looked modern and very much in line with what we expect these days. A very comfortable handle, strong shell, great sturdy looking wheels & TSA locking system.

We also liked the ridges on the outer shell which also make the overall feel stronger.
Available in various colours this is one suitcase that is bound to out last many years of travel no wonder they provide a 10 year International warranty.

Once open the luxurious internal features impressed. Very logical compartments, the zippers were smooth as silk.

OUR ASSESSMENT:

Quality: Excellent!
Design: Excellent!
Value: Very Good!
Our Score: Excellent!

Now you really wouldn’t want to lose this beauty would you? So be sure to attach one of our Smart Luggage Tags before you leave home!

TRAVEL ANTI-THEFT WAISTE BAGS

EVEREST – TRAVEL BAGS TO SECURE AROUND YOUR WAIST

When choosing a waist bag for travel or city use most people will give some thought to security.
It makes sense to buy a bag that makes a bag snatcher’s or pickpocket’s life as hard as possible.
Today we look at the Everest waist pack medium size.

Designed to keep your passport, cash and other travel essentials attached to you while on the go.

These bags are mostly aimed at women, but work just as well for men.


FIRST IMPRESSION

Our first impression was a good one. This product has a nice clean style and has been designed well.
The bag comes with 3 zip-up compartments idea for passports, boarding cards and cash and other travel essentials.

The adjustable belt was easy to use and the bag felt quite comfortable when attached.
According to the Everest website this particular bag is available in both black and navy.

The main material is polyester which is robust and ideal for the harsh conditions of travel.
We were actually amazed to see how much stuff we could fit into this waist bag which really appealed.

FREE UP YOUR HANDS

Anyone who travels often will tell you that you always have a lot to carry. For example, magazines, bottled water, jumpers, jackets etc so a waist bag will give you some freedom and your overall travel experience will be a better one. Worth the investment!

You can get yours at Everest for less than $15.00.
We think this is a great buy and will make your travelling experience safer and more convenient.

While it is fair to say, it would be highly unlikely to lose a waist bag it’s still possible if you take it off for example in a restaurant or even on the plane. So attaching a SmartTag certainly won’t hurt.

OUR ASSESSMENT:

Quality: Very Good!
Design: Excellent!
Value: Excellent!
Our Score: Excellent!

 

HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST LUGGAGE

THE RIGHT BAG FOR THE RIGHT OCCASION

There are a variety of bags and luggage available in the market. If one is in a hurry, the temptation is to pick one that is “okay” or good enough”.

Unfortunately, a good enough bag is often not the right bag. Having the wrong bag can mean that the owner will end up overstuffing it if it is too small, or carrying a piece that is too bulky to lug around if the bag is too big.

Obviously the right kind of bag is dependent on the length of one’s trip as well as the items that the person ends up taking. This is why it may be helpful to have a variety of luggage pieces and sizes to choose from.

However, if you’re just starting to buy luggage, the most practical thing to do is consider the kind of trip that you take most often.

If you are a frequent traveller and stay for an average of 3 to 5 days then it will be a good decision to go for a 23” to 24” medium checked luggage. If you frequently go away on weekends, an 18-20” international carry on will be more suited to your needs.

LOOK FOR EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE & REPUTATION

Buy your luggage from a company that offers excellent customer service.
Most people who buy luggage may not even consider how important customer service is. Granted, when one buys cheap luggage from a chain store like Walmart of Target then he may not get a lot in terms of customer service.

But customer service is still very important. Always take note of how long the company has been in business and check if their customer service is up to snuff.

Ideally, it would be nice to have a contact number where an actual human answers the phone line when you call about any inquiries. At best it is good to have a contact email to direct queries to.

You also want to look at how long the company has been in business. It is preferable that a company that has been in business for a considerable amount of time so they do not disappear on you.

DOES IT COME WITH A GUARANTEE?

It is important that a piece of luggage comes with a guarantee that the product will be in good working condition for a certain amount of time.

There are people who can be rough on their luggage but a company that has a guarantee on their products can stand behind them and assure the buyer that they can withstand wear and tear.

Another advantage about having a guarantee is that in the event that the bag gets damaged before the guarantee is up then the owner has somewhere to send that bag to in order for it to get repaired. He does not have to spend extra money looking for a replacement piece.

See to it that you read reviews about the piece of luggage you want to buy
When choosing luggage it is nice to browse online on sites such as Amazon or maybe on the company’s website to check what other people are saying about the product.

However, take reviews with a grain of salt. Read them but understand that most reviews are left by people who are extremely upset over the product or individuals who are simply blown away by it.

WHERE ARE THEY MADE?

Not all products are made locally in the USA. It is also a well-known fact that certain countries make certain products better. A worthy example is German knives like Solingen. People in the cooking industry know that these knives are the best and very few can compare.

It is worth checking what country your luggage comes from. A bag made from China but guided and supervised by the best leather workers from Italy could turn out to be a piece that will last you a lifetime. A piece made in the USA from a family-run company may produce even better quality.

BE MINDFUL OF THE WEIGHT

It is important that a piece of luggage is made sturdily but it is also essential that it is made in a manner that does not make it weigh very much.

It is rare that one travels with empty luggage. It is usually stuffed with clothes and other items.

A traveller has to worry about weight restrictions at the airport. If he has to contend with meeting weight restrictions and having to drastically limit the amount of things that he brings with him because the luggage starts out heavy enough then that could potentially pose a problem.

Opting for a duffel bag instead of the usual suitcase may be a more practical option for a man who wants something that is lightweight and does not really care about the other features traditional luggage may have.

Luggage must not weigh too much. Luggage that is designed to hold a heavier weight must also come with sturdy handles and wheels to assist the person using it.

CONSIDER THE SIZE FACTOR

Restrictions on luggage can vary from country to country.

My advice is to always go with the smallest piece of luggage that you feel comfortable with.

Studies have found that those that fill up their smaller plates still achieve a healthy level of fullness but do not end up easting as much as those who fill up their bigger plates.

Smaller luggage works like smaller plates. If you go with the smallest piece you are comfortable with you will find that in most cases you will be able to fit all of your needs in that bag and end up packing lighter.

TAKE NOTE OF THE MATERIALS

When it comes to luggage there are two types of bags that are in the market- hard cover bags and soft cover bags.

Leather is a material that can be used for soft cover bags. It is an excellent material to use because it is not that heavy but is extremely durable and can withstand years of wear.

The downside to leather is that it can be prone to scratches and stains over time. Leather can also get expensive so other luggage companies offer more affordable solutions in the form of nylon or ballistic nylon.

Ballistic nylon is a tough and sturdy material- best for wear and tear-however the luggage made not look as “handsome” as leather luggage does. Nevertheless, is a rare occasion for ballistic nylon to be torn or worn through which is why it is a wise choice.

A handy tip to remember is that in many cases the price of the luggage may be reflective of the materials that it is made from.

For hard luggage, the choice is usually between metal and hard plastic.

While hard plastic may be the more economical choice, one may have to pay in terms of durability. Cheap plastic can crack, especially in cold weather. Metal is a sturdier option ideal for storing expensive equipment such as gadgets, cameras and computers. It may be advisable to go for the second option should you want better protection for your more expensive items.

LOOK AT THE STITCHING

Examining the stitching is a simple way to determine the quality of luggage. The more stitches there are in an inch the better constructed the bag may be.

Look for a piece of luggage that has double or reinforced stitching. Stitches should look uniform, neat and clean. You do not want sloppy stitches that will easily come apart.

Pay attention to how the rivets are attached and how the tension points look when the luggage is held up. Nothing should be coming loose or sagging in an uneven manner.

EXAMINE THE ZIPPERS

The zippers are another element to pay close attention to.

Upon purchase of your luggage see to it that the zippers sit even and are relatively easy to zip closed and open. Zippers should run smoothly.

The zipper itself must be of excellent quality and free from any gapes or holes.

Besides zippers, your luggage may have other hardware in the form of locks and clamps. Make sure these clamps shut completely and snap open easily.

PAY ATTENTION TO PRICE & VALUE

Price is the final factor to look at when choosing quality luggage although many people may make it their first priority. This is actually the wrong way to go about it as price is not the most important characteristic.

The main thing to remember is that the price of the luggage can be justified by how long you will use it, how often, and its style.

If you get a bag that you end up using for 50 years but you love it every time you use it, then that is a justifiable way to spend a thousand dollars, in my opinion.

If you compare that to a cheap suitcase that rips in half the first time you use it, and you’ll probably have to keep on replacing then this suitcase may be cheaper upon first purchase but it won’t be long until the expenses catch up with you and you could end up buying and paying more.

Price is often reflective of quality and that is very important. Definitely look for a quality piece of luggage if you want to appear smart and put together every time you travel.

PROTECTION

Now that you’ve chosen the right bag for you don’t lose it!
Buy a SuperSmart Luggage Tag and attach it so that it won’t go missing.

Editorial thanks to Real Men in Real Style

 

BACKPACK OR CARRY-ON-LUGGAGE

SHOULD YOU BUY A BACKPACK OR CARRY-ON?

Different things work for different people, some prefer the suitcase on wheels, some prefer the backpack and some prefer to have a boyfriend who carries your bag for you (Wecall these people smart). However, choosing the right bag, backpack or suitcase for you is important and for anyone who is still figuring it out here are some things to consider.

LOOK FOR QUALITY

We are speaking from experience when we say there is nothing worse than your bag breaking halfway through a trip. Sometimes you are unsure where your journey will take you and you, and your bag, need to be prepared. Ensuring that you have a bag which will withstand all sorts of activities and terrain is vital. We know sometimes parting with money can be difficult before your trip but it will be worth it in the long run.

SIZE MATTERS HERE

Think about the size you need before buying a backpack. Are you looking for a backpack that is going to carry all your luggage for 3 months or just for a few weeks. Our advice would be to have a big bag and also a smaller one for day to day use. After all, you don’t want to be taking all your luggage with you on day trips around the area. Before you buy your bag think about what you need for your trip and choose a size reflecting this.

FOCUS ON THE WEIGHT

Replace your heavier items with lighter items. This should be common sense, but we see a lot of backpackers carrying the strangest equipment around with them… do you really need to travel with a hairdryer, hair straighteners, 6 pairs of shoes? Think about the things that you really need during your travels and get rid of the unnecessary items, bearing in mind that most hostels have hairdryers or hair straighteners for rent, or you can normally find someone who has some anyway!

PLAN AROUND THE TIME OF SEASON

Where are you going and what will the weather be like? If you’re heading to Tropical North Queensland then you don’t really need 4 pairs of jeans and 2 woolly jumpers. If you’re coming to visit Queenstown in winter then maybe leave out your bikinis, jandals, summer dresses etc. What we’ve done in the past is send our winter clothes to a destination we’re heading to so we didn’t have to carry them around for the 6 months. As long as you know where you’re going to be then it’s easy to do this.

SHARE YOUR THINGS

If you are travelling with a friend, or with people you met during your travels, you can share your stuff. This also gives you an opportunity to wear something different for a change! Sharing your gear will allow you to carry a less heavy bag but you will still have all the things you need with you!

CHOOSE ITEMS THAT HAVE MULTIPLE USES

Look for clothes or equipment that have a few different uses. This helps by reducing the weight of your backpack but you can still have all the items you need. The classic example of a multiple use item is a sarong. You can use it as a beach towel, as a wrap-around dress / skirt, or even hang it from your bunk to give you a little bit of privacy in your dorm room.

Last but not least, take a bag that suits you. It should be one you love looking at and want to take with you everywhere and feels comfortable.

Having a good backpack / bag / suitcase is important, you’re not called a backpacker for nothing!
It is the one thing you take with you all the time, so make sure it’s right one.

So next time you’re packing for that overseas trip stop and think do I really need a backpack or would a suitcase work better for me?

We believe both are good choices depending on your individual needs. However, be sure to attached a Smart Luggage tag to them because you really don’t want to go losing either!

Editorial thanks to Nomads

PORTER 30 BACKPACK BY OSPREY

QUALITY BACKPACK FOR TRAVEL

You have probably noticed in recent years that more travellers tend to use backpacks these days.

Many travellers find it a lot easier to control their luggage when it’s strapped to their back rather than dealing with a suitcase.

Backpacks also seem quite secure because items are strapped to your body.

However, a backpack should be comfortable to wear and should not pull you down so that size and design are very important.

Today we look at the Porter 30 backpack by Osprey a leading brand.

We loved the feel and look of this backpack and had 5 of our good friends wear, walk around and test the Porter 30 for 1 hour straight to see what they thought.

All of our testers agreed, the Osprey backpack was indeed very comfortable and was easy to wear even for an hour.

Also to note: The convenience of getting to various compartments was easy and zippers worked perfectly and smooth while the backpack we thought has cool styling.

OUR ASSESSMENT:

Quality: Excellent!
Design: Very Good!
Value: Excellent!
Our Score: Excellent!

If you do purchase one of these beautiful backpacks you don’t want to lose it right? So be sure to attach one of our Smart Luggage Tags to it and travel with peace of mind!

INFORMATION FROM OSPREY

With padded sidewalls, convenient organisation and a substantial suspension for backpack-style carry that disappears when checking bags, the Porter Series has set the standard for deluxe duffels. This season brings a relocated and dedicated zippered laptop and tablet pocket—and functional storage options for items both big and small—with multiple access points. When a duffel isn’t enough and backpacking bags are too much, the Porter is the answer.

STRAIGHTJACKET PROTECTION

StraightJacket compression straps with padded sidewalls to help protect your bag’s contents and allow you to fit more gear or compress the bag to a smaller size when it isn’t fully stuffed.

STOWAWAY HARNESS AND HIPBELT

The Porter harness and hip belt deploy at a moment’s notice for backpack style carry and quickly disappear into the back panel for safe keeping when your bags are checked.

ORGANISED AND ACCESSIBLE

Structural sidewalls hold your bag open, making it easy to pack and unload, especially with the massive U-zip opening. Dedicated, easily accessible pockets provide on-the-go access to key items. Traveling is about experience and memories, and you’ll have more time for both when you spend less time packing.

  • Zippered top pocket provides easy access to toiletries and liquids
  • Large panel lockable zip access to main compartment
  • Reinforced cord loops to attach an Osprey Daylite® daypack
  • Front panel vertical zippered pocket for books, travel documents and more
  • StraightJacket compression with padded wings and lower panel secures and protects clothing and gear
  • Front panel organisation pocket for easy access to small travel items
  • Padded top and side handles provide comfortable carry
  • Protected rear panel lockable zip laptop/tablet sleeve for quick access at security or while traveling
  • Stowaway shoulder harness with adjustable sternum strap and whistle buckle
  • D-rings to attach a shoulder strap (sold separately)
  • Stowaway padded hip belt to stabilise larger loads
  • Dual internal zippered side pockets

 

PLATINUM ELITE CARRY-ON BY TRAVELPRO

QUALITY CARRY-ON-LUGGAGE REVIEW

SuperSmartTags are designed to be attached to carry-on-luggage so we have decided to give you our opinion on some leading brands.

Today we look at the Platinum Elite Carry-on by Travelpro.

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

What we loved at first sight was the overall look and feel this superior bag has.
The handy wheels are well made and strong. The carry handle feels great the hold and has no sharp edges. It just looks great!

Here some info from Travelpro:
Maximise your carry-on with sophisticated style. The Platinum® Elite 21” Expandable Carry-On Spinner delivers big on form and function with a tip-resistant expansion that offers up to 2” more packing capacity, deluxe tie-down system, integrated accessory pockets and a removable quart-size wet pocket that is TSA compliant and perfect for toiletries. Plus, the drop-in, fold-out suiter is specifically designed to accommodate hanging clothes and prevent wrinkling.

Built-in USB port lets you power up on the go, while a dedicated power-bank pocket for your back-up battery adheres to FAA regulations. Perfect for short to medium-length trips, this carry-on spinner is crafted in style with premium fabrics, genuine leather and chrome zippers. Top-of-the-line mobility features include the PrecisionGlide™ system with eight MagnaTrac®, self-aligning, 360-degree spinner wheels guided by an adjustable PowerScope extension handle with patented Contour Grip and rubberized touch points for comfortable, easy maneuvering wherever you go. Backed by our Built for a Lifetime Limited Worry Free Warranty.


We loved the various compartments and timeless design of the Travelpro Elite.

Quality: Outstanding!
Design:
Timeless. The design certainly will appeal to business travellers and professionals.
Value: Very competitive.
Our Score: Average – Decent – Good – Very Good – Exceptional!

WE LOVE THE TRAVELPRO ELITE!

So if you are looking to buy a quality carry-on that will travel with you for many years to come  SuperSmartTag highly recommend the Travelpro Elite.

Don’t forget to attach one of our Travel Smart Edition security tags to this masterpiece as you wouldn’t want to lose it. The blue tag will pop and look amazing attached to one of these wonderful carry-on bags.

BEST WAYS TO SURVIVE LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS

HOW TO COPE WITH LONG FLIGHTS

Hearing a recent discussion concerning the world’s longest flights made me remember my first true long-haul flight to Sydney, Australia, for the 2000 Summer Olympics. About six hours into the 15-hour flight, I was feeling strong and confident. I clearly remember thinking, “Six hours down, nine to go. No sweat, I got this.”

Four long, boring hours later, it was a different story; you could have poured me into a bucket. “Five hours to go? I don’t got this.”

However, not all long-haul flights have to be miserable; on one direct flight from Tokyo to New York City, I was nearing the end of a book I was enjoying immensely, and remember distinctly thinking, “No, no, just a little more time!” when the pilot told us over the in-flight PA that we had started our final descent.

Below are 10 long flight tips for preventing boredom, dehydration, deep-vein thrombosis, sleep deprivation, and more—so you can confidently say “I got this” the next time you are imprisoned in a metal tube for an entire waking day of your life.

UPGRADE
When traveling long-haul, you have no better friend on the planet than your frequent flyer miles. On the Tokyo – Newark flight I was disappointed to see come to an end, I enlisted the help of my travel agent to find flights on which I could burn up all of my miles to upgrade my entire trip. It meant catching puddle jumpers to my final destination in Japan (Gifu), but a couple of short extra flights were a small price to pay for 27 hours of first-class legroom, fully reclining chairs, edible meals, entertainment, and breathing space.

Don’t have miles to burn? Consider bidding on an upgrade. Instead of giving empty front-cabin seats to elite frequent flyers, more and more airlines are selling upgrades to travellers on regular economy tickets.

PLUSGRADE

The current market leader in upgrade bidding systems. First, you buy an economy class ticket as you normally do. The airline notifies you, either at the time of purchase or by email or text, that your flight is open for a bid on an upgrade. You log onto your airline’s website and enter the amount you’re willing to pay for an upgrade, along with your credit card details. A few days before the flight, the airline notifies you whether or not it accepted your bid. If it did, it gives you a confirmed reservation and charges your credit card for the price of your bid. If not, you pay nothing more but remain in the cattle car.

Airline agents sometimes offer ad-hoc upgrades at check-in or even at the departure gate. On a trip from Los Angeles to London two years ago, a gate agent was selling upgrades to premium economy for $400. Even if no agent is actively touting upgrades, you can sometimes get a reasonably good deal by asking, “How much would it cost up upgrade?” at the check-in counter or departure gate. On an intercontinental trip you can expect to pay at least several hundred dollars.

ESCAPE

You will want to have a rock-solid plan for frittering away several hours of your flight, and I don’t mean working; staring at spreadsheets and writing proposals may burn up hours, but it does not make them vanish. You want these hours to disappear almost without a trace. Think headphones and Hollywood blockbusters. Getting a lot of work done is fine—rarely do you have 15 consecutive hours without phone calls or texts to disrupt you, so I encourage bringing some work—but work will fail you when you get to the brutal middle hours of this ordeal. Headphones and Hollywood; don’t stray from this.

Fun things to do on a long flight include watching every movie, playing the games on your seatback TV, binging on your favourite shows, or listening to music or podcasts (download them onto your phone in advance).

DON’T CARRY ON TOO MANY ITEMS

While checked baggage fees are inspiring travellers to carry on more and more stuff, on a long-haul flight this could burn you; anything that is under the seat in front of you just means less legroom and a more cramped living space for 15 or 16 hours. Don’t bring so much on that you compete for your own sleeping space.

BRING THE GO TO GEAR

In general, I am not a gear guy. I can’t be bothered to lug around neck pillows, sleep masks, earplugs, noise-cancelling headphones, etc.—except on a long-haul flight. As I noted above, your total carry-on haul should be limited, but you may want to consider some of these in-flight essentials. Your body and brain will thank you for every small comfort you can provide, and the inconvenience of packing and carrying these around is dwarfed by the misery of 15 hours in flight with crying children, pilot announcements, engine noise, and a major crick in your neck. Gear up.

Unless you’re walking off the plane right into a business meeting, a long-haul flight is not the time to prioritise fashion over comfort. You’ll want breathable, loose-fitting clothes that let you move freely, shoes you can easily slip off, and an extra layer (such as a hoodie or pashmina) in case the plane is chilly. For more advice, see 7 Things You Should Always Wear on a Plane.

Another tip: Don’t wear contacts for the duration of a long-haul flight; instead, wear glasses.
(Wearing contacts for 14 hours straight is unsafe, according to my ophthalmologist.)

SECURE YOUR THINGS

A long-haul flight gives unscrupulous travellers plenty of time to size up the location of your wallet, wait until you fall asleep, and make a move on your luggage. Secure your valuables deep inside your bags where it would take a TSA X-ray machine to find them. Consider keeping items like your passport, credit cards, and cash in a money belt under your clothes.

SLEEP AID

If you are planning to use sleep aids (including “natural” methods such as melatonin, over-the-counter sleeping pills such as Unisom, or prescription drugs such as Ambien), try them before you fly with them. A few years ago a friend gave me an Ambien pill for a red-eye flight from Honolulu to New York City, and the drug acted more like a stimulant than a sleep aid. I was awake the entire flight and felt wretched to boot. These drugs can vary greatly in how they affect individuals, so you will want to try them at home before you rely on them on the plane.

Dr. Timothy Hosea, team physician and Chair of the Sports Medicine and Research Committee for the United States national rowing teams, sometimes prescribes sleep aids for his athletes, but notes, “If you feel you need a sleep aid but haven’t used those drugs before, you should probably try taking Tylenol PM or Benadryl. A prescription is fine with your doctor’s approval, but don’t experiment on a long flight; [the plane won’t] stop for you!”

Dr. Hosea also says that, as the team doctor, he does not take any medication while flying with the squad in case someone needs care. “I bring a book, watch the movies, and try to let the flight pass,” he says. His approach is appropriate for other travellers who need to have their wits about them, such as folks flying with children, for example. If someone could potentially need you to be 100 percent during the flight, you should forgo any sleep medication. For more advice, see Sleeping on Planes: 12 Tips for Travelers.

A couple of hard-earned tips: First, don’t deprive yourself of sleep the night before a flight, hoping to sleep the entire way. As attractive and intuitive an idea as this seems, you are in for a world of hurt if you can’t sleep for any reason. You will be on the plane long enough to catch a few winks even if you are somewhat rested, and my advice is to take it when it comes; if your eyes start to droop, get out the eye covers and earplugs, and go with it. If you throw away a solid two-hour nap on a few extra rounds of Angry Birds, you might be angry at yourself later.

Secondly, sticking to your usual pre-bedtime routine can sometimes help you prepare your body for sleep. To learn more, see The One Thing You Need to Do on a Red-Eye Flight.

TRY SEAT GURU

On the flight back from Sydney mentioned above, I called ahead to get my seat reassigned to an exit row—big mistake. Unbeknownst to me, the exit row seat I chose was a window seat at one of the big, thick exit doors, which encroached on my leg area such that I had to sit sideways in the seat for the entire flight. It was also more like an “exit aisle,” located right at a restroom, so there was endless and noisy foot traffic the entire flight. I was lucky that the rest of the row was empty, but it wasn’t much help; the armrests did not go up, so I couldn’t lie across the three seats in the aisle.

Needless to say, mine would have been a “yellow” or even “red” seat on the SeatGuru seating chart if it had existed in 2000. Eventually I went around the aircraft collecting all the unused pillows and blankets I could find, piled them up in each of the three seats, and created a workable (but in truth not very comfortable) platform across all three seats—and got a very few winks of sleep during the flight. I guess it was comical, as friends all took pictures of me during the flight for their amusement. Glad you had a fun flight, guys.

Before you choose, think hard about your usual preference of exit vs. aisle seat; it may be different on a long-haul flight than on a shorter flight. If you usually choose an aisle seat, consider whether you want your long, Ambien-enhanced sleep to be interrupted by others in your row; similarly, if you usually choose a window, you could get trapped in there by a snoring person in a prescription drug-induced stupor. To learn more, see 10 Ways to Get the Best Airplane Seat.

ASK ABOUT SEATS AT THE GATE

Failing the ability to choose great seats before your flight, try again at the gate. If the flight is not full, the gate agent may be able to see an empty row or put you and a traveling partner in a “window and aisle” configuration that reduces the likelihood of having someone sit in the middle seat, thereby getting you a seat and a half, at least.

HYDRATION IS IMPORTANT

If you think hydration is a concern on a cross-country flight, try tripling or quadrupling your time in the air; you might as well spend 15 hours lying on the desert floor. Imagine you are going to walk from Flagstaff to Winona, Arizona. How much water would you bring? Try to drink about that much on a lengthy transpacific or transatlantic flight.

Dr. Hosea recommends drinking “electrolyte solutions, Gatorade being the best known, instead of solely water.” Hosea says that maintaining electrolyte balance is important and that you don’t want to become completely diluted with water, particularly for older folks or people with other medical problems.

DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS

DVT, the formation of blood clots in deep veins, is a known (if occasionally overstated) risk on longer flights. According to the National Institutes of Health, the risk of developing DVT increases when flights go longer than four hours. The NIH’s tips include walking up and down the aisles of the plane; moving, flexing, and stretching your legs to encourage blood flow, especially in your calves; wearing loose and comfortable clothing; drinking plenty of fluids; and avoiding alcohol. Also, if you’re at increased risk for DVT, your doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings while traveling or taking a blood-thinning medicine before you fly.

Dr. Hosea notes that the combination of being immobile along with the effects of dehydration increases the risk of DVT on long flights. He strongly recommends the following during long trips:

Hydrate well the night before the flight, preferably with electrolyte drinks.
Don’t drink alcohol the night before the flight.
Avoid diuretics such as coffee, soft drinks, and even chocolate (all of which contain caffeine).

If you have no issue with ulcers, take a baby aspirin the night before and day of your flight.
Get an aisle seat or exit row so you can get up and walk around whenever possible.
Susan Francia, an Olympic gold medalist in rowing, has taken to wearing compression socks on long flights to competitions, although she has stopped short of wearing a full body suit. (Hosea discounts the need for the body suit as well: “You are really worried only about your ankles and calves.”) Francia has noticed a positive effect from the compression socks, which Hosea notes can be simple “support hose.”
Colds, the flu, bacteria, etc.: As I wrote in Avoiding the Airplane Cold, it isn’t “air quality” that is of concern when you are flying, or recycled air, or anything of the sort—it is your body’s compromised ability to deal with normal bacteria and viruses that puts you in danger of getting sick after a flight.

That is not to say that the general environment on a plane doesn’t add to your risk of getting sick. Recent studies have found that the water coming out of aircraft sink faucets is often rife with bacteria from sitting in murky holding bins; that the seats, pillows, and blankets on planes are more germ-ridden than your laundry basket; that your tray table is probably dirtier than your own bathroom floor; and that the seatback pockets—well, you don’t even want to know, apparently.

Francia recalls a flight on the way to the Rowing World Championships last year where she considered wearing a face mask; the entire U.S. rowing team had contracted the swine flu on a World Cup trip earlier that summer, and she was being cautious. Francia asked a flight attendant what she thought. “Good idea, but it won’t help,” was the verdict. There is just too much stuff all around you to win that war. In the end, your best strategy is to bring along some bacteria-killing wipes, clean up your seat area as best you can and relax; there’s not much more you can do.

Let’s face it: electrolytes, compression socks, movie after movie, and aspirin don’t change the fact that you are stuck inside a metal can for a whole day. Just keep reminding yourself that this too shall pass—although I recommend saving your “I got this” until the wheels touch the ground.

Editorial thanks to SmarterTravel

WHERE TO STAY IN LA BEST HOTELS

QUALITY LOS ANGELES HOTELS

Booking a place to stay in Los Angeles means deciding between icons brimming with history on the east side (Hollywood) and the west (Santa Monica)—not to mention new stars all across town, including classic
Beverly Hills and of-the-minute Downtown.

A good idea is to Split your trip and base yourself in different neighbourhoods—it’ll feel like two getaways in one. Here are our picks for the best hotels in Los Angeles, spanning location, experience, and price range; in other words, when it comes to places to stay in this town, there’s something for everyone. Our top choice overall was The Millenium Biltmore due to it’s convenient location and classic design but the variety of good hotels is vast.

SUNSET TOWER HOTEL

Piercing the blue Californian skies on Sunset Boulevard, this elegant Art Deco tower has long been a landmark of the city, home to Hollywood greats since its arrival in 1931, courtesy of architect Leland A. Bryant. In those days it was Clark Gable and Greta Garbo, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner—and John Wayne, who apparently kept a cow on his balcony to ensure fresh milk for his coffee. Now it’s shiny again after a multi-million-dollar renovation, and 21st-century stars are coming here just for a night or to grab a drink at the see-and-be-seen Tower Bar on the notorious Sunset Strip. Maître d’ Gabé Doppelt discreetly juggles regular guests such as Jennifer Aniston with those who prefer dim lighting or need private corners for tête-à-têtes, while the bottom of the menu firmly reads: “No photographs. No phone calls.” The spicy tuna tartare is nearly everyone’s favourite; the seared scallops with black leek and truffle sauce a close second. The 81 bedrooms are done up in dusty pinks and browns with dazzling bathrooms clad in metallic gold wallpaper designed by fashion illustrator Donald Robertson, and there’s a Joanna Vargas spa for those red-carpet moments. The newly refreshed outdoor terrace overlooking the small but beautiful pool is one of the loveliest spots—in a city with a strong alfresco game—for a breakfast of mashed avocado on sourdough with poached eggs, or simply to relax for an hour or so, taking in the spectacular views of L.A. and basking in that brilliant golden sunshine.


Hotel Bel Air Poolside

HOTEL BEL-AIR

People who don’t live in Los Angeles have a fantasy of what life in L.A. must look like. Towering palms. Bougainvillea. Birds of paradise. And a fabulous bungalow tucked right in the thick of it, where every hour is golden hour. The Hotel Bel-Air, in the heart of the residential neighbourhood of the same name, is this fantasy come to life. One of the first sights to spot across the threshold is a swan lake. A lake with actual swans frolicking in it. The 12-acre gardens are part of the magic and made for meandering, with streams, footbridges, guava, pineapple, lemon, and orange trees, as well as coastal redwoods that are most certainly not common in these parts. In 2011, Alexandra Champalimaud did a full revamp of the lobby and spa, and designed the sizeable rooms to be lived in—they are cozy, with fireplaces, high ceilings and towels as thick as blankets. The bar is effortlessly cool, with photographs by Norman Seeff covering the walls, and the famous Wolfgang Puck restaurant, reimagined by David Rockwell a handful of years ago, is completely al fresco.


Shutters on the beach

SHUTTERS ON THE BEACH

Shutters came into the world as the left coast’s idea of an east coast beach house, but with Pacific sunsets and interiors designed by the man who does the White House residence, it quickly became so much more. If you’re traveling for work, this is the perfect place to guarantee that vacation feeling during limited downtime. If you’re traveling for pleasure, lucky you. Note: many rooms don’t have a full ocean view, so be sure when you book to secure the ones that do for the dream beach house experience.

THE BEVERLEY HILLS HOTEL

Even if you don’t realise it, you’ve seen this hotel before. The hotel enjoys a great location while the palm trees, pink walls, and lush gardens of the Beverly Hills Hotel are as much a part of Hollywood iconography as the sign itself. The place is the site of legends: British Royals, Beatles, and Oscar winners have slept on its pillows, Elizabeth Taylor had six of her eight honeymoons there, and a recent renovation completed in 2015 brought all of that history up to date so it could remain the playground it’s always been. Tip: Book your reservation at the Polo Lounge at the same time you book the room.

THE FAIRMONT MIRAMAR HOTEL & BUNGALOWS

The Fairmont Miramar is a classic Santa Monica stay—as much of a garden hideout as a beach basecamp. Frette linens cover the beds, while suites on the top floor have two balconies (although the 31 residential Bungalows are the choice pick). One hidden perk of staying here? Access to the exclusive Miramar beach club—the staff will even drive you from the lobby in open-top Jeep Wranglers while you pretend you’re in a music video. The hotel offers Gold star service.

THE BEVERLEY WILSHIRE HOTEL – FOUR SEASONS

The Beverly Wilshire is as close to a European grand hotel as you’ll find in L.A.—with impeccable service to match. It was good enough for Elvis and the British Royal Family, and exists in triumphant opposition to the informal, minimal lobbies sprouting up across the city. Regular guests love the views of Rodeo Drive and Hollywood Hills and the pool, which was based on Sophia Loren’s Tuscan villa. If you’re looking for classic luxury, look no further than this.


Millenium Biltmore

MILLENNIUM BILTMORE LOS ANGELES

Located in downtown Los Angeles, this luxurious design hotel is just a 4-minute walk from Pershing Square Subway Station. Millennium Biltmore Hotel provides on-site dining, an indoor pool, and rooms with satellite TV.

Dining options include Smeraldi’s Restaurant, serving Italian cuisine. Gallery Bar and Cognac Room features live entertainment on Friday and Saturday nights. Decorated in rich, warm colours, the guest rooms provide a safe and a work desk. Each room has a coffee maker as well. The marble bathrooms include a hairdryer.

Guests at Biltmore Millennium Hotel can swim in the Roman-style indoor pool or relax in the hot tub. They can also work out in the gym. The hotel is within an 8-minute walk from The Museum of Contemporary Art and Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Downtown LA is a great choice for travellers interested in city walks, entertainment and tourist attractions.
Couples in particular like the location – they rated it 8.6 for a two-person trip.


Casa Del Mar

HOTEL CASA DEL MAR

An Italian palace feel on the California beach, Casa del Mar is the other iconic Santa Monica ocean-front property along with Shutters. Rooms feel romantic yet residential, with Italian style linens and private patios facing a peaceful inner courtyard. You’ll have a coffee machine steps from the bed, large marble bathrooms with the most tasteful products, then once you’re dressed for the evening there’s live entertainment every night in the lounge. This place is always worth it: for the views, fairytale four-poster beds, and the warm light that makes the adjustment from beach to room the smoothest possible.


Montage Beverley Hills

MONTAGE BEVERLEY HILLS

You know your stay is going to be good when you’re served Champagne upon arrival. The lobby at this Beverly Hills icon toes the line between Old World and modern, done up in marble floors, soothing earth tones, wingback chairs, and dark wood furnishings. The hotel has 201 guest rooms, including 55 suites in shades of beige and dark wood, making them feel sophisticated and not splashy. Bathrooms are marble with soaking tubs—and the higher the room tier, the nicer the bathroom. Think mosaic tiles, double sinks, showers with sitting benches, and inset televisions over the bathtub. When you’re not luxuriating in your room, make use of the on-site amenities, like the rooftop pool and its private cabanas, the 20,000-square-foot spa.

CHATEAU MARMONT

The Chateau Marmont name is famous – and infamous. Chateau has hosted Hollywood successes and scandals, triumphs and tragedies. Discreet staff will keep your secrets, and earth-quake proof buildings make sure the bungalows will survive any parties you choose to throw. But it’s not all about what happens behind closed doors: the hotel’s strengths are actually in its common areas, where wood-beamed ceilings and candle-lit corners could be filled by any A-lister (except for Lindsey Lohan, banned for life for not paying a $46,000 bill…) Stay at this Sunset Strip icon for all the privacy and unpredictability of the Hollywood life.

THE HOLLYWOOD ROOSEVELT

To get a sense of the place all you need to know is that The Hollywood Roosevelt hosted the first ever Academy Awards. If you want to experience Hollywood up close, this is its Times Square, complete with room views of the Hollywood sign (and soundproof walls so the hustle outside doesn’t encroach). The hotel stays alive until the wee hours—the chicken tenders and shoestring fries are always available to order, before it’s time for a morning refresher in the David Hockney-painted pool—which you might have already seen in plenty of fashion shoots over the years.

MALIBU BEACH INN

Smell the ocean from the lobby at the Malibu Beach Inn. And, because check-in happens at the driveway, you’ll have your keys in your hand before you’ve even stepped into the building. From the lobby continue to your bed and collapse onto super-soft sheets in Scandi-Japanese designed rooms, with the sounds of lapping waves sneaking in from the balcony. And while the third-floor boasts the best views, you won’t complain about any of the others as you dine on your private patio, watching the ocean shoot from pink to orange to black. Come here for laid-back, beachfront luxury.

THE SURFRIDER

For a low-key, personal stay in Los Angeles you can do no better. This light-filled, design-forward spot was a motel in the 1950s before a California architect and his Australian wife transformed it. Feel at ease in the cozy library, or chat it up with the staff who are Malibu natives. The roof deck is only open to hotel guests, the ocean is yards away, and Bellino linens on the beds maintain that perfect balance of luxurious yet unpretentious.


Waldorf Astoria

WALDORF ASTORIA BEVERLEY HILLS

Just one deep breath of the lobby’s fresh scent and you’re in vacation mode. You can find your place in the Waldorf’s lobby among couples in artfully ripped jeans and Common Projects sneakers, hot-shot agents, and meticulously maintained ladies in Chanel, or head to your spacious room (the smallest at the hotel is a whopping 630 square feet.) But don’t get too comfortable down there—the pool has one of the best views in L.A., complete with an impressive lunch menu.

THE ROSE HOTEL

The Rose Hotel’s two owners are also photographers, and the property attracts those of its kind: people who work in the arts, fashion and design. In fact, the property is so in sync with its clientele that it’s hard to tell the difference between guests and staff—the assistant GM, Eric, even teaches surf lessons to all who are interested. Rooms on the upper floor are bigger, with larger decks and amazing views, and couples and honeymooners should ask for the Simpson Suite, which has a private staircase, the best view in the house, and the biggest bed. The Rose is as close to the beach as you can get (half a block away) without staying at an actual oceanfront.

THE MAYFAIR HOTEL

This Beaux Arts–style building has been given a modern refresh courtesy of designer Gulla Jonsdottir, also the vision behind West Hollywood’s La Peer Hotel. She led the Mayfair’s multi-million-dollar, top-to-bottom renovation, which includes a chic and stately lobby with velvet sofas, marble accents, and charcoal-coloured columns. Opened in 1926, the property carries a slice of L.A. history: It played host to the first Academy Awards afterparty. Today the common areas and guest rooms are monochromatic and sexy. Don’t miss out on peeping artist Kelly “Risk” Graval’s multi-million-dollar collection throughout the property, which was produced in collaboration with artists Shepard Fairey, Geoff Melville, Richard Mirando. The world-renowned graffiti artist is a hometown hero of the Los Angeles arts scene—and it’s easy to see why. For arts and culture lovers looking to explore DTLA, the rehabbed Mayfair is a great home base.

THE RITZ-CARLTON LOS ANGELES

Smaller than most Ritz-Carlton properties, this location has a boutique feel—it’s even accessed by a separate, exclusive entrance on the side of the JW Marriott. Special touches make the property feel very L.A.: Saturday yoga classes, a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, a club level with skyline views, a heated rooftop pool and jacuzzi, and a glamorous full-service spa. It’s luxurious through and through and, as a bonus, you can even book your stay on points.

Editorial thanks to Conde Nast Travel

WORLDS TOP 10 INTERNATIONAL AIRPORTS

Here are the top ten International airports voted by passengers across the world.

SINGAPORE CHANGI

Singapore Changi Airport connects customers to over 200 destinations worldwide, with 5000 arrivals and departures a week by 80 international airlines. Changi Airport was voted the Best Airport in Asia, World’s Best Airport Leisure Amenities, and Best Airport: 60-70 million passengers in 2019.

TOKYO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT HANEDA

Boasting both domestic and international terminals, Tokyo International Airport Haneda plays a very important role in furthering Japan’s development as a tourism-oriented nation. Haneda was named the Best Airport: 70+ million passengers, World’s Cleanest Airport, World’s Best Domestic Airport, and World’s Best PRM/Accessible Facilities in 2019.

SEOUL INCHEON AIRPORT

Incheon International Airport is the largest airport in South Korea and one of the busiest airports in the world. It is a former winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards. Incheon International Airport was named the winner of World’s Best Transit Airport in 2019.


Hamad Doha International

HAMAD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT DOHA

Hamad International Airport is the international airport for Doha, capital city of Qatar. The airport has been described as the most architecturally significant terminal complex in the world, as well as being the most luxurious. Hamad was voted the Best Airport in the Middle East, Best Airport: 30-40 million passengers, and Best Airport Staff in the Middle East in 2019.

HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Hong Kong International Airport serves over 100 airlines operating flights to about 180 locations worldwide, including 44 destinations on the Chinese Mainland. It is a former, multiple winner of the Airport of the Year title at the World Airport Awards. Hong Kong was named the World’s Best Airport Dining, and World’s Best Airport Immigration Service in 2019.

CHUBU CENTRAIR NAGOYA

In 2014, 9.8 million passengers travelled through Central Japan International Airport in Nagoya, better known as Centrair. The airport has a large domestic traffic percentage, with a number of regional routes operated to Asian cities. Longer haul routes include Helsinki, Frankfurt, Honolulu and Detroit. Centrair was named the World’s Best Regional Airport, and Best Airport: 10-20 million passengers in 2019.

MUNICH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Munich Airport is the second busiest airport in Germany and the secondary hub for Lufthansa German Airlines. With over 150 retail stores and some 50 places where you can eat and drink, it’s like a city centre, offering travelers and visitors plenty to see and do. Munich was voted the Best Airport in Europe, Best Airport in Central Europe, and Best Airport: 40-50 million passengers in 2019.

HEATHROW AIRPORT LONDON

London Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the UK and busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and having been world’s busiest airport for international passengers, it has recently lost this title to Dubai Airport. In 2019, Heathrow was voted the World’s Best Airport Shopping, and Best Airport in Western Europe. Terminal 5 was named the World’s Best Airport Terminal.


Narita International

NARITA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Tokyo Narita Airport is an international airport serving the Greater Tokyo Area of Japan. Narita serves as the international hub for Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways. As of 2016, Narita was the second-busiest passenger airport in Japan. In 2019, Narita was voted the World’s Best Airport Staff, and Best Airport Staff in Asia.

ZURICH INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT

Zürich Airport is the largest international airport in Switzerland and is the hub airport for Swiss International Air Lines. Zurich Airport was named the World’s Best Airport Security Processing at the 2019 World Airport Awards.

WHAT TO DO IF YOUR FLIGHT IS CANCELLED OR DELAYED

DON’T LET TRAVEL INTERRUPTION TURN YOUR TRIP INTO A NIGHTMARE

Even after spending countless hours carefully plotting every step of your journey, an unexpected delay or cancellation can derail your well-laid-out vacation plans. But a minor roadblock doesn’t have to result in travel disaster. Taking a few extra precautions to dodge delays, knowing your air travel rights and arming yourself with insider tricks can help you stay calm and carry on when anxiety-provoking situations arise. Read on for expert-endorsed tips to maximise comfort (and compensation), and get your plans back on track next time you’re stalled in transit.

KNOW YOUR AIR RIGHTS

If your flight is cancelled, your carrier will provide you with “a seat on the next available flight on that airline or a refund,” explains Christopher Elliott, a consumer advocate and journalist. While airlines are not obligated to compensate passengers for delays and cancellations based on federal regulations, carriers will often rebook passengers for no additional fee, even for non-refundable fares – or offer a full refund. Depending on the carrier, you may also be able to get rebooked to your final destination with another airline. Check your carrier’s customer agreement – also known as a contract of carriage – for specific airline policies.

CHECK IF YOUR CREDIT CARD OFFERS TRIP DELAY PROTECTION

Don’t overlook the built-in travel benefits your credit card issuer may provide, says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. Immediately file a claim with the airline after your flight is delayed or cancelled, he says. Also keep in mind that with trip interruption coverage, if your flight is delayed for an eligible reason, such as a weather-related delay or a mechanical issue, you may be entitled to compensation. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Citi Thank You Premier Card offer a $500 trip delay reimbursement for delays of 12 hours or longer. The catch: You must have used the credit card to book your seat, Hobica adds. Also, make sure to keep your boarding pass and travel documents on hand as proof of your claim for a disrupted flight.

STAY PRO-ACTIVE

Gate agents and airport staff are swamped, so I always call the airline’s customer service to get rebooked on the [next] flight,” says Matthew Kepnes, the author behind the budget travel advice site Nomadic Matt. “It’s quicker and easier than dealing with the long line of customers and a gate agent who is busy trying to shrink that line as fast as possible,” he explains. Another option: Rebook your flight with the airline directly using its affiliated app. Major carriers such as United and Delta make it easy to peruse alternative flight options and modify your reservation in the event of a delay on their apps.

ASK ABOUT MEAL AND HOTEL CREDITS

When you’re faced with a severe delay of four hours or longer, ask about meal or hotel vouchers, Elliott says. “If the airline is authorised to give them to passengers, they will,” he adds. Keep in mind you shouldn’t expect vouchers to be doled out if you’re stalled for reasons outside the airline’s control like weather-related disruptions. However, in the event of a mechanical delay, the airline will typically cover meal, transportation and lodging costs, Elliott says. The individual rules are specified in the carrier’s contract of carriage. For example, JetBlue Airways outlines that passengers are awarded a $50 credit for delays between three and four hours and a $200 voucher for delays lasting five hours or longer.

DOWNLOAD THE RIGHT TOOLS

You never know when a delay will strike. To stay prepared, download a flight-tracking app like Flight Aware and rely on valuable tools like Air Help, which gives passengers the power to check if they’re eligible to receive compensation for a delay or cancellation. If you believe you could be eligible for compensation, you can punch in information about your trip along with your flight number on Air Help’s mobile app or website; then, if eligible, the company will file a claim on your behalf. “To make this process easier, Air Help’s mobile app has a simple Boarding Pass Scanner that allows you take a picture of your pass and automatically uploads all the necessary flight details to file a claim through our service. It allows you to keep multiple passes on file, so [it’s] great for frequent fliers or families traveling together,” says Henrik Zillmer, Air Help’s CEO and founder.

DIFFERENT RULES APPLY IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES

When traveling overseas, there are different European Union regulations in place. Elliott says fliers should familiarise themselves with EU Regulation 261/2004, the rules for long delays and cancellations. In Europe, if you arrive more than three hours later than your original arrival time, you may be entitled to compensation, Zillmer says. The amount you may be entitled to receive in the event of a delay in the EU (anywhere from 50 to 600 euros) is based on a few factors, including your flight distance and delay length. “You have far more bargaining chips on international flights, and trips that include a stop in the EU,” Zillmer adds.

NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR CARRIER

If your flight is cancelled and you think you may be entitled to compensation, “don’t sign anything or accept any offers, including future travel offers, or other freebies and discounts,” until you have vetted all of your options, Zillmer cautions. “If you do, you could be waiving your right to further compensation down the line,” he explains. While U.S. airlines are not required to provide you with freebies, many carriers aim to aid inconvenienced fliers as part of their customer service initiatives and loyalty programs, he explains. “You’d be surprised how often gate agents and other airline representatives are receptive to your complaints,” Zillmer says. While airlines automatically rebook you, you don’t have to agree to their initial offer. “If you don’t like the new flight, you should immediately call the airline to ask for a different flight,” Elliott says.

CONSIDER GETTING TRAVEL INSURANCE

“It’s hard to say whether purchasing travel insurance is beneficial or not because every circumstance is different,” Zillmer says. In some instances, your policy could prevent you from being eligible to claim compensation at a later date, so it’s key to review the fine print of both your carrier and your selected travel insurance company to understand the policy conditions and what’s included – and what isn’t, he says. While you should always read the fine print, investing in travel insurance can be a wise move, especially if you’re continuing onward. For instance, in a case where your delayed flight causes you to miss your cruise, you can file a claim for reimbursement, Kepnes explains.

HOLD ONTO YOUR DOCUMENTS

When you arrive at your final destination, make sure to keep copies of your boarding pass and other travel documents, Zillmer says. “Many airlines will reject a legitimate claim for disrupted flights if you don’t have these documents, so it’s important not to toss these documents until you’ve successfully completed your journey without any hiccups,” he explains. He suggests holding onto receipts in the event the delay winds up costing you. “You may be able to recover expenses caused by flight delays, including missed reservations for [your] hotel or car rentals,” he adds.

Editorial thanks to U.S. News

WHAT IF YOU MISS YOUR FLIGHT?

MISSING A FLIGHT IS NOT UNCOMMON

Anyone who has ever had a tight connection, or been stuck in horrendous traffic on the way to the airport, knows that sweaty-palmed, frantic fear of missing a flight.

Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you just don’t make it.

To find out what exactly happens if you miss your flight, we reached out to experts in the industry, including a veteran flight attendant and airline representatives. After all, knowing this in advance can help a stressful situation seem just a tiny bit less like a travel nightmare.

What should you do if you think you’ll miss your flight?
Travellers who are concerned they’re not going to make their flight should immediately alert the airline.

“If someone knows they will be missing the flight prior to departure,” flight attendant Kelly Kincaid told us “it’s good policy (and manners) for that passenger to notify the airline. Most flights nowadays have standby passengers awaiting that precious open seat.”

Giving the airline notice also improves your chances of being rebooked on the next available flight, space permitting.

And just because you’re late doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel. Checking in online in advance, and traveling light (carry-on only) can improve your chances of catching a flight even when you’re under the wire. After all, gates for certain flights may stay open 10 to 15 minutes before departure. In other words, be prepared to sprint.

What if you still can’t catch your flight?
Depending on the airline, travellers may be charged a rebooking fee to get on another flight. Some airlines may also charge the difference in airfare — meaning a missed flight can be a costly inconvenience.

JetBlue, for one, will try to waive the difference in airfare on confirmed travel (and charge only the applicable change fee) when they’re able to rebook travellers on a later departure.

Southwest, on the other hand, never charges change fees — but travellers may have to shoulder the fare difference.

If you arrive at the airport after your flight has closed or departed, take a minute to assess the flight schedule board. Look for later trips with the same airline, which can help you avoid additional fees (or forfeiting your entire remaining itinerary).

Present these options to a gate or check-in agent, which will help expedite the process.

CAN YOU GET A REFUND?

No. But you can, on rare and serendipitous occasions, avoid penalties for your tardiness.

“There’s something called a ‘flat tire rule,’” Kincaid explained to T+L, noting that not all airlines have this.

“Basically, the rule can be used to only charge the same day confirmed [or] standby fee, instead of a change fee and change of fare fee, if the passenger states they were late due to a flat tire, accident, or something similar.”

In just the same way that airlines avoiding compensating passengers for weather-related cancellations, travellers also have some recourse when they are late for reasons beyond their control. Such as, well, a flat tire.

While this policy is rarely publicised on airline websites, The Points Guy noted that most domestic carriers, including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines, will accommodate travellers who arrive within two hours of their original time departure, without paying a fee or swallowing fare increases.

WHAT HAPPENS TO YOUR LUGGAGE?

In the event that you missed a connection, or got held up in security and your checked luggage has gone ahead without you, immediately find an airline representative.

The airline may be able to track your bags and hold them for you until your arrival. If you have attached a Smart Luggage Tag to your bags you’re going to be OK!

What happens if you miss your flight on purpose?
While it may come as a surprise to incredibly conscientious travellers who typically arrive at the airport three hours prior to their scheduled departure time, some travellers do in fact miss flights on purpose.

Though not common, this can be done as a way to score cheap flights. Deal hunters, for example, may find that it’s cheaper to book a flight with a connection where they want to go, rather than a flight directly to the desired destination.

The traveler will then hop off at the layover city and skip the remaining leg of the itinerary.

When travellers miss flights and do not notify the airline, the rest of the itinerary is almost always canceled. That means that if you are trying to get a flight deal by gaming the system, you might find yourself stranded, or without a return trip home.

Frequent fliers will not receive miles for trips booked and skipped, and certain offenders may even find themselves banned from that airline.

Editorial thanks to Travel & Leisure

SMART WAYS TO PREVENT YOUR LUGGAGE FROM LOSS

TRAVEL SMART AND ARRIVE IN STYLE

According to a 2017 report by SITA, a multinational company that provides IT support to the air transport industry, airlines mishandled (i.e., lost) approximately 21.6 million bags in 2016. And while that figure actually represents a record low for airlines, it doesn’t reflect theft, damage, or all the other things that can sack your bags. So before you and your luggage enter the fray, take some common sense precautions. Here are nine ways to protect your luggage on your next trip.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BAG

Protecting your luggage starts by selecting the right luggage. Hard-shell cases are less adaptable to pressure and can crack or break from rough handling and overstuffed baggage hulls. Soft-sided or nylon bags can handle impacts better.

If you’re worried about distinguishing your suitcase from all the others on the baggage carousel, customise it with a piece of bright ribbon, a scarf, or unique luggage tag.

KEEP IT SIMPLE

When it comes to luggage, don’t worry about keeping up with the Joneses. Obviously high-end luggage is more likely to be noticed by thieves; not only because the bags themselves are valuable, but because expensive bags suggest expensive contents.

WRAP IT UP

Encasing your luggage in plastic cling wrap not only protects it from scrapes and scratches, it’s a slight deterrent for the wide range of folks who’ll be handling your bag on its journey. Keep in mind, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has the right to cut through any wrapping if an agent needs to inspect the contents.

BUY BAG PROTECTORS

A bag protector is the commercial (and reusable!) version of plastic wrap. Made of durable PVC, these clear protectors fit over suitcases of various sizes and are secured in place with Velcro. They’re designed to allow for free wheel movement and feature cut outs for easy access to handles.

TAKE A PHOTO OF YOUR BAGS

Snap a photo of your luggage before the first leg of any journey — especially international trips. Photos can help airport staff identify lost bags and facilitate communication between personnel in different nations.

USE A SMART LUGGAGE TAG

One of the best ideas to prevent your bags from loss is to buy a smart recovery luggage tag.
SuperSmartTags are the best luggage tags when it comes to value for money, design and functionality. The all new Travel Smart Edition tags are deluxe luggage tags they look awesome while they protect.

ZIP UP TOILETRIES

Though zip-top bags are required for the toiletries in your carry-on, they make just as much sense for checked luggage. Zip it up and protect your bags from leaking liquids like shampoo, mouthwash, and perfume.

TRAVEL LIGHT

What’s the best way to protect your luggage from loss or damage? Use less of it. By traveling with a carry-on only, you can keep essentials close at hand, adapt to last-minute flight changes easily, and hop off the baggage carousel once and for all.

ONLINE CHECK-IN

THE GOOD AND BAD ABOUT ONLINE CHECK-IN

In recent years countless travellers have learned the benefits of online check-in, from choosing seat assignments to saving time at the airport.

WHAT IS ONLINE CHECK-IN?

Offered by just about every major airline, online check-in allows you to check in for your flight in advance from the comfort of your home, office, or hotel room. Most airlines permit online check-in up to 24 hours before departure.

You typically need to provide your name and booking confirmation number, though sometimes you can also check in with a frequent flyer or credit card number. (Note: If you booked your flight through a third-party website such as Expedia or CheapOair rather than directly with the airline, make sure you use the airline’s reservation code, not the confirmation number from the booking site, to check-in.)

Each airline’s online check-in process is a little different, but you usually get the opportunity to choose a seat, pay any applicable checked bag fees, and consider a variety of up charges (such as an upgrade to premium economy or a fee to get bonus frequent flyer miles).
You may also have to answer some security questions or supply a passport number for an international flight.

Once you’ve completed the check-in process, you can print your boarding pass, have it emailed to you (so you can show it at the airport on your mobile device), or access it in a mobile app. If you don’t have access to a printer or a smartphone, you can print your boarding pass once you get to the airport as well. This doesn’t save you any time at the airport but does allow you to choose your seat further in advance than you would if you waited till a couple of hours before your flight.

WHY CHECK-IN ONLINE?

The airlines love online check-in because they save money on paper costs and personnel. Meanwhile, one of the main benefits of online check-in for travellers is by passing lines and hassle at the airport. If you’re not checking luggage, you can skip the check-in counter altogether and go straight to the security checkpoint, then to your gate and onto the plane. Your ID and the boarding pass you printed at home (or sent to your phone) will gain you passage right to your seat.

If you have luggage to check, checking in online can still save you a little time; some airlines have a designated desk where you can drop off your bag without having to go through the whole check-in process. You can also use curb-side check-in.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of online check-in, though, is the chance to get your pick of seating assignments as early as possible. Not only do you have a better shot at getting the seat you want, but you also are more likely to end up in an earlier boarding group (this is especially important on an airline like Southwest, which has open seating).

HOW TO GET A BETTER SEAT WHEN CHECKING-IN?

Here is the best way to get the best seat when using online check-in. First, open two browser windows—one with your airline’s website, the other with SeatGuru. On your airline’s website, call up your reservation and take a look at the seating chart. In the other window, pull up your flight and corresponding seating chart on SeatGuru. There you’ll see certain seats marked as green (advantageous for reasons such as extra legroom), yellow (potentially troublesome), or red (problematic due to proximity to the lavatory, lack of recline, or the like). Use SeatGuru’s recommendations to find the best available seat on your flight.

WHY CAN’T I CHECK-IN ONLINE?

Online check-in may be convenient for both travellers and airlines, but it isn’t available for every traveller on every itinerary. Following are a few of the reasons you might be forced to check in at the airport instead of online:

TRAVELLING IN LARGE GROUPS

Your first flight is operated not by the airline with which you’re trying to check in, but by a codeshare partner.

You need some sort of special service (such as a wheelchair or assistance for a child traveling alone.

You’ve been selected for secondary screening by the TSA.
The airline doesn’t have your passport on file for an international flight.
Note that even if online check-in is available, mobile boarding passes may not be accepted in all airports. If yours isn’t one of them, you’ll have to print your boarding pass the old-fashioned way.

DON’T MISS YOUR FLIGHT

Checking in online may save you time at the airport, but it doesn’t give you license to come skidding up to the security checkpoint 10 minutes before your flight is scheduled to take off. Even if you checked in the night before, you still need to be at your gate and ready to board by the airline’s deadline (which could be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour before the scheduled flight time). The airlines also have deadlines for how far in advance your checked bags must be dropped off. Don’t miss them.

To allow time for checking luggage, getting through security, and walking what could be a long distance to your gate, it’s best to arrive at the airport at least two hours in advance—even if you’ve already checked in online. (Allow more time if you’re traveling internationally and/or over a busy holiday period.

Editorial thanks to SmarterTravel

10 BEST AIR-FAIR WEBSITES

BEST WEBSITES TO BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS

We all book our flights online these days so it would be good to know which sites offer the best value right?

There are seemingly endless options when it comes to choosing the best flight.

In addition to the option of booking directly with your airline, there are dozens of flight booking websites, also known as online travel agencies (OTAs), to choose from. The uncomfortable truth is that no one flight search engine can guarantee the best price 100 percent of the time, but using a mix of the right resources can help ensure you’re not overpaying.

TRAVELOCITY

It should be noted that Expedia owns Travelocity, so this flight booking site basically gives you Expedia price results with a different colour scheme and organisational preferences. Travelocity’s homepage is streamlined, but doesn’t offer a flexible-dates search. On the results page, bag fees are revealed by clicking a drop-down for each fare, which makes it a little difficult to compare fees (you will likely have to scroll a bit). Travelocity rates each flight itinerary with a score on a scale of 10, which assess the duration, type of aircraft, and “quality of amenities” available onboard from ‘Very Good’ to ‘Satisfactory’ to ‘Fair.’ Travelocity does not charge a booking fee for round-trip flights on the same airline.

Best Feature: The out-of-10 flight rating assigns each itinerary a clear score, so you’re a lot less likely to mistakenly book a long layover or miss out on a better itinerary with Travelocity.

EXPEDIA

As previously mentioned, Expedia is nearly identical to Travelocity. Same interface, same flights, same prices, but in a different colour scheme. As with Travelocity (and to be fair, a number of other OTAs), Expedia will try to up-sell you on adding a hotel to your itinerary. This can save you money, but be sure to compare prices before you book. Expedia does not charge a booking fee on round-trip flights on the same airline. When you select your fare from the list of options, there’s an interstitial step that displays what is and isn’t covered in the fare, including seat selection, cancellations, changes, and baggage rules.

Best Feature: Like its subsidiary Travelocity, Expedia basically double-checks that you understand what sort of fare you’re choosing before you click “select” again. It’s a helpful bit of transparency in today’s cluttered airfare landscape.

CHEAPOAIR

Much like Travelocity and Expedia, flight search sites CheapOair and One Travel are versions of the same product, owned by Fareportal Inc. CheapOair charges the same booking fee as One Travel: up to $35 per ticket. The price results are identical, although the layout of the results differs somewhat, as CheapOair opts for a chart rather than a calendar.

Best Feature: Similarly to Bookit.com, CheapOair prioritises nonstop prices over itineraries with stops, organised in an easy-to-read charts that’s organised by airline.

TRIP ADVISORS FLIGHTS

(SmarterTravel’s parent company) is known for its hotel reviews, and now travellers can apply their ratings to airlines, plus search for airfare on TripAdvisor Flights. On testing this flight booking site it’s clear that TripAdvisor doesn’t always serve up the cheapest fares, but sometimes it did. It always, however, gives you the option to surface Expedia, Travelocity, and other flight booking sites’ results, so you can compare right away with one click. TripAdvisor Flights also has some helpful search options up-front, like a check box for prioritising nonstop flights.

Best Feature: TripAdvisor’s flight search tool is unique from others in that it offers review-based FlyScores of airlines alongside their fares, so you’re less likely to book with an obscure, low-rated airline without realising.

BOOKIT.COM

Results are listed in a handy chart (rather than as the typical scrolling list) showing the lowest prices grouped for nonstop, one-stop, and two-stop flights for a few primary carriers including the ‘best price,’ clearly marked. Otherwise, its results page is similar to most, with lots of drop-down menus and checkboxes for narrowing your results if you have specific needs. However, it charges a booking fee. Annoyingly, it was difficult to find information on exactly how much this flight booking site charges—terms and conditions are vague on the topic.

Best Feature: The table-style results chart on Bookit.com makes it easy to compare prices in one place rather than scrolling and mentally comparing itineraries.

ONE TRAVEL

One Travel borrows its interface from Google Flights’ calendar search feature. When you enter your departure and destination airports, the dates field brings up a calendar with prices pre-populated. This is a helpful feature for immediately honing in on the travel dates with the best prices if and when your dates are flexible.

One major drawback: One Travel charges a steep service fee of up to $35 per ticket. One Travel also offers different (and in my opinion, sometimes worse) itineraries than most at the top of its results page. Highlighted itineraries, upon closer inspection, included an extra stop. It’s important to make sure you’re comparing the same exact flights by looking at the flight number, or at least by keeping track the different options.

Best Feature: The calendar organisation that’s hard to find on other flight booking sites is the most ideal format if you’re flexible on travel dates.

TRAVELZOO

Travelzoo is quite different from the other sites listed here. Instead of booking specific itineraries, you can search broad timelines (this week, next month, this summer, etc.) for deals in your desired destination by either month or season. This makes Travelzoo a good fit for people with a budget and time frame, but no firm idea of when or even where they want to go. The downside is that if you do have specific plans in mind—for example, you need a flight to Omaha in March—Travelzoo is not likely to be helpful.

Best Feature: Travelzoo’s flexibility requirement can afford some great deals you won’t find elsewhere, like cheap business class flights and multi-city itineraries that will make a dream trip a lot more affordable than you’d think.

GOOGLE FLIGHTS

A powerful, simple metasearch site that comes free of ads and distractions. After you enter your departure and arrival airports, the calendar pre-populates with prices so you can target dates with lower fares (One Travel uses this tool). Once you have your results, you can track fares on your selected dates and receive updates by email.

Best Feature: The “search by map” function, which allows you to enter dates or a flexible period and see fares displayed all at once on a map. This can be helpful if you want to go to Europe in April, for example, but don’t have a particular destination in mind.

KAYAK

Often imitated and frequently duplicated, KAYAK was a game-changer when it launched back in the mid-2000s. And it’s still one of the most powerful metasearch tools available. You can also set up fares alerts to track prices over time. The interface is noisier than Google Flights thanks to a preponderance of ads, but still easy to use.

Best Feature: Its Hacker Fares claim to piece together separate one-way tickets, potentially saving you money compared to similar itineraries, and its wide range of filters, sorting options, and predictive technologies put a lot of tools at travellers’ disposal.

MOMONDO

One quirk of Momondo is a lack of transparency around the results. The top result in my test search was listed as from a “Major Airline,” which I was only able to identify by matching it to results from other searches. One plus: Momondo surfaces results from Southwest … but without prices. The results showed flight times and details from the carrier, but the fare was listed as “Unknown Price.” Only by clicking through to Southwest could I see the fare. Still, it’s nice to have a reminder that Southwest is an unlisted option. Another plus: Momondo searches for fares from a ton of smaller OTAs, which could lead to a deal that other metasearch tools miss.

Best Feature: The mention of Southwest is unique to Momondo. It gets kudos for flagging a reminder to check a competitor for something it doesn’t offer.

Editorial thanks to SmarterTravel

NEW AIRPORT IN ZAGREB

TOURISM IN CROATIA IS BOOMING!

Arriving in Zagreb has become a lot more comfortable in recent times with the opening of the much-anticipated new airport terminal in Pleso, which was named after the late President Franjo Tudjman. Additionally, the futuristic design is certainly a big improvement on the old airport terminal. Here is what you also need to know about reaching and using the airport of Zagreb, which last year handled over 3 million passengers.
Be sure to check your luggage in early especially during peak season as the airport gets very busy.

HOW TO ARRIVE VIA CITY CENTRE

If you are looking for a cheap way to get to Zagreb city centre from the airport, look no further than the bus shuttle service called Pleso Prijevoz (Pleso – the name of the village near where the airport is located – transfer). The ride takes about 40 minutes to the main Zagreb bus station, which is generally pretty central and just a short walk from the train station and centre, and tickets cost 40 kuna one way. The timetable allegedly follows through with the flight schedule, and you can learn more about the shuttle timetable on the official website. Tickets can be bought through the driver.

If you are really looking to save money, however, you can get into town even cheaper – simply walk about half a kilometre to the main road and wait at the nearby bus stop, and a city bus will eventually appear and take you into town. I did this a couple of years ago when there was no shuttle, for example. Total cost 12 kuna and additionally I felt a little better for the exercise too.

In addition to that option, it might be even cheaper (10 kuna) with the new 290 bus service between Velika Gorica and Zagreb Kvaternik Square, which started last year. The journey to the centre takes about 1 hour 15 mins, with some 16 stops altogether. It starts VERY early in the morning.

DRIVING TO THE AIRPORT

The new airport terminal is situated about 17km south of the city centre, close to the town of Velika Gorica, and it is not far from the motorway south of the city which links all corners of Croatia. Driving time with no traffic is less than 30 minutes, but you are advised to plan for some delays to be safe.

TAXIS & UBER

Above all, be VERY careful with taxis from the airport in Zagreb. Only licensed taxi drivers from nearby Velika Gorica are allowed to park at the airport, a privilege they seem to enjoy taking advantage of as a result, with MUCH higher prices from the airport that to it from the centre. How much more then? It really depends, however, and I heard one story which perhaps sums it up best. A businessman ordered an Uber from a hotel in central Zagreb to the airport. Upon being charged 90 kuna for the ride, he handed over a 1000 kuna note.

VIVID SYDNEY – DREAM TRAVEL DESTINATION

VIVID SYDNEY 2019

If there’s one place in the world where inspiration shines bright, it’s Vivid Sydney. Returning each year Vivid Sydney is Australia’s most loved and awarded festival brings together light artists, music makers and brilliant minds to share their creativity with you. See the city transformed. Discover new art forms. Ride sound waves. Spark new ideas and ignite conversations. Let your imagination take flight.

VIVID LIGHT

Vivid Light illuminates Sydney’s skyline with Lights On! from 6pm each evening. As the Lighting of the Sails unfurls across the architectural wonder of the Sydney Opera House, weave your way along the Light Walk around the harbour front and the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, and venture to Sydney Harbour, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Luna Park Sydney, The Rocks, Chatswood and Taronga Zoo to brighten up your winter nights. With so much to see across nine precincts, it is worth planning multiple visits with plenty of pit stops to make the most of Vivid Sydney’s vast outdoor gallery of light art. Check out the light installations and projections here.

VIVID IDEAS

Vivid Ideas brings you 23 days and nights of future-facing talks, hands-on workshops and industry shaping forums. Game Changers Spike Lee and Esther Perel challenge assumptions on race and relationships. The Mark Colvin Conversation: Net Worth, asks what price we’ll pay for our constant digital distraction. In the series New Horizons, tune in to experts on sextech, co-living, dying for company, digital farewells and the dark web. Citizens of the World workshops unlock essential skills for a better informed and engaged life. Seek out bright sparks. Find new collaborators. Come up with new ways of thinking and maybe even try a new way of being. Check out the full ideas program here.

BAG SWITCH – TAKEN BY MISTAKE

BAGS LOST BY MISTAKE

Common Stories we see:

Maria Gypz, From London wrote on TripAdvisor
Somebody took my luggage at the airport HELP!

Hi guys!
When I flew back to London with Ryanair 2 weeks ago, I took a luggage that wasn’t mine.

As soon as I realised (almost back in London) I went back to the airport to give it back and ask for mine. I returned this luggage, but no news from mine. The staff said there were no luggage left on the carousel and that the other person probably took mine by mistake too.
I filled a claim and they told me that the person might bring it back soon.

It has now been two weeks and I have no news from my luggage. What can I do? Has somebody already had a similar experience?

Is the airline still responsible for the luggage when they are on the carousel?
If this person really took my luggage, it is a mistake, but if you don’t bring it back, it is theft, isn’t it? Can we have the airline to look at the CCTV? Maybe if I go to the police?

Maria is one of thousands of travellers that experience this every week.

It happens all the time and not only to checked in suitcases but also with carry-on-luggage, and even backpacks.

People are focused on their flights, transfers and simply make mistakes very easily.

Even more common are items that get left behind at airport terminals and security checkpoints. Once it’s happened to you you’ll start kicking yourself for not taking a plan of action to avoid it from happening.

With today’s technology preventing lost luggage is quite easy and does not need to be an expensive investment either. While various companies offer GPS tracking for the prevention of lost bags they are in most cases quite expensive and also include expensive annual fees. Unfortunately, such electronic devices are often limited to certain areas and do not always work.

Statistics show that our very own Smart Code works perfectly in recovering lost bags in 98% of the time and typically within 4-12 hours.

There are two common types of travellers that lose their luggage. Holiday makers and business travellers.

While losing your items heading to a holiday resort is a nightmare losing important documents and materials for business travellers can be a disaster.

Just imagine travelling from LA to New York on a business trip and you arrive without your laptop or marketing materials. What do you do? The trip is ruined!

People generally decide to prevent something from bad happening to them after they get burnt.
This is usually due to high investment but with something as simple as a luggage tag which costs no more than $20.00 this is easily avoidable.

So if you’re planning a trip, and no matter if it’s business or pleasure get your items protected with a SuperSmartTag.

Should your bags go missing you’ll be so glad you did!

SuperSmartTag takes off on Amazon

SuperSmartTag has rapidly increased it’s global sales over the past months after joining Amazon’s FBA program and various other online shopping websites such as bonanza.com, etsy.com to name a few.

The online shopping trend continues to grow as more people around the World find buying online more convenient than buying in stores. Traditional stores only have limited choice or a set range of brands compared to the vast variety of products and brands offered online.

SuperSmartTag’s sales are definitely increasing further via the online shopping mall experience.

SuperSmartTag will soon introduce a new line of product specifically designed to target sales on sites such as Amazon.com.

The new tags have more of a corporate look and feel. Available soon.

Etihad Upgrades Melbourne Route

From today, the flagship Etihad superjumbo will operate one of the airline’s double daily flights between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi. It will replace one of the three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft currently deployed on the route.

Etihad Airways Senior Vice President of Marketing, Shane O’Hare, said: “Today marks another major milestone for Etihad Airways in Australia.

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“With Melbourne joining our A380 network, Australia is the only country in our global network with daily A380 services to two cities – Melbourne and Sydney.

“Deploying our latest technology aircraft and class-leading product and service to Australia recognises its importance to our business and the strong demand from Australian travellers for premium travel experiences.

“From the product and service innovations in every cabin to our inspired approach to hospitality, the Etihad Airways A380 offers touches of luxury to every guest and sets the benchmark for inflight comfort, entertainment, connectivity and service.

The A380 will increase the total number of two-way seats on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi route by 26 per cent to more than 11,500 seats per week.

Mr O’Hare said this would ease the capacity constraints on the Melbourne-Abu Dhabi, particularly for business and premium leisure travel.

“The A380, with 70 seats in business class, enables us to better meet the demand we have for our premium cabins and will boost our market share of this important segment.”

“Our partnership with Etihad continues to go from strength to strength since the airline’s arrival to Melbourne Airport in 2009. Last year we were thrilled by the introduction of a second daily service between Melbourne and Abu Dhabi and a new Premium Lounge opened at Melbourne Airport last month. Now, capacity has been increased again with the upgauge to an A380, replacing one of the airline’s daily 777 services.”

Air France sleep suit for 1st class

Air France s introducing its brand new sleep suit offered to passengers in La Première. Presented in a new felt pouch, the unisex sleep suit in high quality cotton is embroidered with the Air France seahorse motif.

The carrier claims the sleep suit is an “elegant” souvenir that can be worn at home.

Passengers are also given a comfort kit, containing slippers, socks, a shoehorn and a shoe bag.

Air-France

On board the Boeing 777, the new La Première cabin offers passengers a real designer suite, promising total privacy. Air France has dressed each suite with thick curtains, held back with leather tiebacks. A unique and daring concept, they enable the passenger to decide whether to be totally isolated or just partially. In an instant, the La Première seat turns into a fully-flat bed over two metres long.

During the flight, each guest has their own personal 24-inch HD touch screen, one of the largest ever offered on board. When the passenger is ready to go to sleep, the crew members install a mattress on the seat, for impeccable comfort. They are then given a fluffy pillow and a Sofitel My Bed duvet.

With the curtains closed, the partition raised and the lighting subdued, the suite provides optimum comfort for a perfects night’s sleep.

Brussels Belgium Must See & Do

1. Atomium
The Atomium is a building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (59 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It is a museum.

Tubes of 3 m (9.8 ft) diameter connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose stairs, escalators and a lift (in the central, vertical tube) to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere includes a restaurant which has a panoramic view of Brussels. CNN named it Europe’s most bizarre building.

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2. Grand Place – Grote Markt
The main attraction and is a World Heritage site According to Unesco is the famed Grand Place/Grote Markt area in the Center of Brussels of which is the main public square of which where the opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city’s Town Hall, and the Breadhouse (French: Maison du Roi, building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels is located.

The Grand Place was started in the 12th century of which three indoor markets were built, namely a meat market, a bread market and a cloth market and then due to the prosperity of the town, several guildhalls and much commerce was built in the area and nowadays there are many shops, bars, restaurants and souvenir shops within the square and the vicinity of it where you can shop, eat, have coffee and hang around and savor the sights.

3. Manneken Pis
Only a short 5 minute walk south from the Grand Place along Rue De Charles Bus and then to Rue De Effuve’ will take you to the most famous statue in Brussels which is the cheeky Mannekin Pis.

This small 61 centimeter bronze statue, made by local artist Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619 is a regular small boy which is taking a pee to the fountain basin below of which the statue is now a replica as the original is now housed in in the King Place (the Breadhouse just across the Town Hall in Grand Place where the more than 700 different clothes that the mannekin pis statue is dressed differently everyday is also housed).

4. Cathédrale of St. Michael and St. Gudula
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula are the Main Roman Catholic Churches of Belgium and are the seat of the Archbishop of Brussels and where many of the Royal and State Ceremonies as done. the Church was renovated a few times since it was made in 1047 AD of which the Latest Design is Neo Gothic of which is closely resembles the Notre Dame of Paris. The Cathedral originally was a chapel dedicated to St Michael and in the 11 th century AD it was rep!aced by a Romanesque church which became a “collegiale church” in 1047 AD. The relics of St Gudula were transferred there. From then onwards, it became known as “the collegiale church of St Michae! and St Gudula”.

5. Mini Europe
The Mini-Europe exhibition attempts to boil down the essence of Europe into a 24,000 meter square park filled with 350 scaled down buildings. It’s detailed, accurate and big: with a 25:1 scale Big Ben is four meters tall, and the Eiffel tower as high as a three story building. There’s a lot of little details, quite a bit of dynamic scenery, vehicles that move around the park, and even some interactivity.

6. Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
The Galleries Saint Hubert, built in 1846, feature luxury shops and cafés, a famous tavern, a cinema and a theater. They provide a link between the surroundings of the Town Hall Square and the National Opera. Smaller side galleries are the universe of antiquarians and librarians…. Nice place to visit specially if its a sunny day.

7. Palais Royal de Bruxelles
In my previous visit, we didn’t approach the royal palace – I didn’t inform the king of my visit to Brussels, and I always knew that it is impolite to appear without announcement.
In the recent visit we had a closer look, but again without an invitation, we didn’t enter. Only back home In read in the official site that it may be visited and:

“The Palace is where His Majesty the King exercises his prerogatives as Head of State, grants audiences and deals with affairs of state. Apart from the offices of the King and the Queen, the Royal Palace houses the services of the Grand Marshal of the Court, the King’s Head of Cabinet, the Head of the King’s Military Household and the Intendant of the King’s Civil List.

8. Musical Instrument Museum
Aside from having numerous historical examples of harpsichords and other older keyboard instruments, the Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels also includes a workshop to show how harpsichords are made today.

This museum in Brussels is the newest and largest Musical Instrument Museum that I know of, but there are also some very interesting ones in other European cities such as Paris, Berlin, Stuttgart and Nürnberg.

9. Guild Houses
The Guildhalls around the Grand Place started in the 14th century when Brussels was becoming prosperous and which many artisans and craftsmen build the guildhalls around the square of which most are still standing today of which many of them still sell artisanal arts and crafts and food stuffs and the guildhalls are the following: Maison des Boulangers (bread) , La Brouette (wheelbarrow) , Le Sac (The Bag), Le Cornet (The Horn), La Louve (The She-Wolf), L’Étoile (The Star) and a lot more.

10. Palais de Justice Bruxelles
The Palace of Justice or Supreme Court of Belgium is located in the upper area of ​​the city, Saint Gilles, on the way to the Avenue Louise, in an area formerly known as Gallows Hill. This location gives a panoramic view of the city. The building was designed by architect Joseph Poelaert, who died 4 years before its completion in 1883. The style is described as eclectic, inspired mainly Assyrian-Babylonian

Getting There:

Brussels Airport is an international airport 6 NM northeast of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. In 2015, more than 23 million passengers arrived or departed at Brussels Airport, making it the 21st busiest airport in Europe.

Luxembourg Travel Guide

BEAUTIFUL MUST SEE EUROPEAN DESTINATION

As the wealthiest nation in Europe and one of the founding fathers of the EU, it’s safe to say little Luxembourg is punching well above its weight.

But as well as the highest per capita income on the continent, this diminutive country also has more than its fair share of natural beauty with rolling hills, verdant valleys and meandering rivers painting picture of rural idyll.

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Proud of its role as a founding member of the EU, Luxembourg plays a prominent position in European affairs and is home to a number of European Union institutions.

Most of the action takes place in the capital, Luxembourg City, which has something of a split personality: while it’s all antiquated charm in the Old Town, with its elegant squares, imposing churches, independent shops and cobblestone streets, the Kirchberg district has a modern, flashier feel thanks to its ubiquitous offices, shopping malls and entertainment complexes.

The most popular destination outside the capital is medieval Vianden in the northeast, with its cobbled streets and hilltop castle, which is the envy of many European cities. Vianden also hosts a range of festivals and events throughout the year, many of which celebrate its historical past.

Echternach, founded in the 7th century, is the oldest city in the country, with a picturesque centre dominated by an abbey. It is also a convenient base for exploring ‘Little Switzerland’, a tiny region of rocky outcrops, cliffs, cascades, and forests, crisscrossed by walking trails that are a haven for hikers and mountain-bikers.

On the southeastern border with Germany, the Moselle Valley enjoys a unique microclimate that has given rise to one of Europe’s smallest wine-growing districts, producing award-winning whites and sparkling wines. Meanwhile, northern Luxembourg is dominated by the Ardennes, an area of high plateau where wooded valleys, shimmering rivers and lofty peaks make for stunning trekking.

All in all, not bad for a country the size of Dorset.

Getting There:

Luxembourg Findel Airport (IATA: LUX, ICAO: ELLX) is the main airport in Luxembourg.
It is Luxembourg’s only international airport and is the only airport in the country with a paved runway.

It is located 3.25 NM (6.02 km; 3.74 mi) away from Luxembourg City.

In 2013 it handled 2,197,497 passengers. By cargo tonnage, Findel ranked as Europe’s 5th busiest and the world’s 28th busiest in 2010.

Luxair, Luxembourg’s international airline, and cargo airline Cargolux have their head offices on the airport property.

Onboard Singapore Airlines A350

The Airbus A350 has only reached delivery stage for about 14 months, but since the first aircraft went to Qatar Airways just before Christmas 2014, new deliveries to new customers start to get a bit of a routine at Airbus.

When aircraft number 16, MSN 026, A350-941 registered 9V-SMA, was handed over to Singapore Airlines (SIA) on Wednesday, the buzz was considerably less than before. Even more so in comparison to the last milestone delivery for SIA in Toulouse, the first-ever Airbus A380 in the fall of 2007.

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With the first A350 for the Asian quality carrier, it was almost a low-key event for Airbus and SIA standards.DSC_0179Adding to that was that Airbus’ top brass was in China at the time, breaking ground for a new A330 completion center in Tianjn.

Didier Evrard , EVP Programmes at Airbus and former Head of the A350 Programme, was the master of ceremonies on the manufacturer’s side back in Toulouse. “Having SIA as a customer is the strongest possible endorsement of the A350”, remarked Evrard during the handover ceremony.

For SIA, the A350 is a truly new dimension. “In the last five years, we had very little expansion on long haul, we didn’t have the right aircraft with the right efficiency to expand in a commercially viable manner”, said SIA-CEO Goh Choon Phong in talking to AirwaysNews.

“The A350 is a game changer for us because it is this particular aircraft offering us the right size, efficiency and cabin to add more capacity on long haul.” In fact, the A350 will open up a new route for SIA, from Singapore to Düsseldorf, Germany, in July this year. “That would have been difficult to serve for us without the A350”, adds Goh.

The A350s 253 seats (42 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy and 187 in Economy) are just about the perfect size to establish new routes off the trunk routes or add more frequencies with extra flights to existing destinations.

The first long-haul route for the new aircraft in the SIA fleet will be the service to Amsterdam from May 9th, replacing a Boeing 777-300ER.

Qantas Reports Strong Results

Qantas today reported an underlying profit before tax of $921 million and a statutory profit before tax of $983 million for the six months ended December 31st, 2015.

The underlying result is a record first-half performance and means Qantas’ 2015 calendar-year performance was the best in its 95-year history.

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Every part of the Qantas Group contributed strongly to the result, with record underlying profits for Qantas Domestic, the Jetstar Group and Qantas
Loyalty.

The Group continues to expand margins through both revenue growth and cost discipline.

Revenue increased by five per cent to $8.5 billion, while total unit costs were down by seven per cent compared with the first half of last year.

The $2 billion Qantas Transformation program is reshaping the Group into a more agile and innovative business.

In the half, the Group unlocked $261 million in cost and revenue benefits through transformation initiatives, with $1.36 billion in total benefits now realised since 2014.

Total transformation benefits in the full year are expected to be $450 million.

Volatility in the global economy underlines the importance of transformation as the key to building shareholder value and sustainable returns over the long term.

The group secured a first-half benefit of $448 million through effective fuel hedging, which enabled it to participate in lower global fuel prices.

Chief executive Alan Joyce said the national carrier was ready to make the most of an exciting future.

“This record result reflects a stronger, leaner, more agile Qantas.

“I’m extremely proud of our people, who are working hard to transform the Qantas Group and make flying with Qantas and Jetstar better than ever for our customers.”

Joyce added: “Without a focus on revenue, costs and balance sheet strength, today’s result would not have been possible.

“Both globally and domestically, the aviation industry is intensely competitive.

“That’s why it’s so important that we maintain our cost discipline, invest to grow revenue, and continue innovating with new ventures and technology.”

Top Attractions Tasmania Australia

SALAMANCA MARKET
Set amongst the historic Georgian sandstone buildings of Salamanca Place, this famous market attracts thousands of locals and visitors every Saturday of the year.

Salamanca Market is one of those special places where you actually meet the people who create, make or grow what they sell.

A range of nearly 300 stallholders includes hand-made Tasmanian pieces from woodwork to jewellery, fashion to fanciful glassware and ceramics, not to mention fresh fruit and organic vegetables, all accompanied by buskers and music.

From the market, it’s a short climb up historic Kelly’s Steps to the Georgian cottages and the early maritime village atmosphere of Battery Point.

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MUSEUM OF OLD AND NEW ART – MONA
The Museum of Old and New Art – Mona is Australia’s largest private museum and arguably one of the most controversial private collections of modern art and antiquities in the world. Described by its owner as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland’, the collection ranges from ancient Egyptian mummies to some of the world’s most infamous and thought-provoking contemporary art.

With around 300 art works on display, the collection takes up three floors within a subterranean architectural masterpiece and is guaranteed to impress.

The 3.5 ha site includes the Ether Building Function Centre, Moorilla winery and vineyard, Cellar Door, Wine Bar and Barrel Room, Void Bar, The Source restaurant, a 63-seat cinema, the Mona Library and gallery and eight contemporary accommodation pavilions.

MOUNT WELLINGTON
Kunanyi/Mount Wellington is a wilderness experience just a 20-minute drive from Hobart and is much loved by locals.

The 21-kilometre drive to the summit passes through temperate rainforest to sub-alpine flora and glacial rock formations, ending in panoramic views of Hobart, Bruny Island, South Arm and the Tasman Peninsula.

No other city in Australia has a vista like this one. The interpretation centre at the top protects you from the blustering winds while an open viewing platform on the western side of the car park looks out to the southern World Heritage Area beyond.

PORT ARTHUR HISTORIC SITE
The Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site and one of Australia’s great tourist destinations.

The Site has more than 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes, dating from the prison’s establishment in 1830 until its closure in 1877. During this time around 12,500 convicts served sentences and for many it was a living hell.

Today, the site sits in 40 hectares of landscaped grounds and you’ll need plenty of time to fully experience all that it has to offer.

Site entry is valid for two consecutive days and includes an Introductory Guided Walking Tour, harbour cruise, access to the museum, access to the Convict Study Centre and Interpretation Gallery and the site of the Dockyard.

CATARACT GORGE RESERVE
Cataract Gorge Reserve, known locally as the Gorge, is a unique natural formation within a two-minute drive of central Launceston – a rare natural phenomenon in any city.

In an easy 15 minutes, you can walk from central Launceston along the banks of the Tamar River into the Gorge and from there follow a pathway originally built in the 1890s along the cliff face looking down onto the South Esk River.

The First Basin on the southern side has a cafe and a swimming pool surrounded by bushland knows to locals as Launceston’s beach.

In contrast, the shady northern side, named the Cliff Grounds, is a Victorian garden created with ferns and exotic plants.

CRADLE MOUNTAIN
Cradle Mountain is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area and one of the most accessible, interesting and most visited places in Tasmania.

Located at the northern end of the Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park, Cradle Mountain is surrounded by smooth glacial lakes, ancient rainforest, and unusual alpine vegetation.

It’s easy to gain a full appreciation of the place on one of the many short walks found in the area.

You can stroll from cascading rivers to dense, old-growth rainforest in just 20 minutes on the Enchanted Walk, walk the two-hour circuit of Dove Lake – one of Australia’s great short walks – or spend the day tackling Cradle Mountain summit itself.

FREYCINET NATIONAL PARK
When you first set eyes on Great Oyster Bay set against the backdrop of Freycinet National Park and the three pink-granite peaks of the Hazards mountain range – you know you’re somewhere different. This is a visual experience to remember.

Situated on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast, Freycinet National Park occupies most of the Freycinet Peninsula – a long strip of land that looks out to the Tasman Sea from the eastern side and back towards the Tasmanian coastline from the west.

The park is loaded with natural assets, including the granite peaks of the Hazards that dominate the Peninsula, abundant birdlife and the iconic and much-photographed Wineglass Bay.

There are long and short walks across the park to secluded bays, clean beaches and bird-filled lagoons, and can be enjoyed by walkers of all abilities.

BLOW HOLE AND TASMAN ARCH
The Blow Hole and Tasman Arch are just two of several unusual geological formations found in the Tasman National Park, a place of rugged beauty and natural diversity with some of the most stunning coastal scenery anywhere in Australia.

Formations like the Tasman Arch, the Blow Hole, the Devils Kitchen, the Tessellated Pavement, Remarkable Cave and Waterfall Bay can all be reached by car, but by far the best views of the rugged coastline are from the park’s many bushwalks.

Not surprisingly, the park offers some of the best coastal walks in the country. A stroll of just an hour or two will reveal sheer drops overlooking chasms and surging ocean, off-shore islands, white sandy beaches and a waterfall that tumbles into the sea. While at the southern end of the park are some of the highest and most spectacular sea cliffs in the world.

ROYAL TASMANIAN BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens were established in 1818 and are just a short walk from Hobart’s CBD.

They may be small compared to other states but many say they’re the best.

The Gardens hold historic plant collections and a large number of significant trees, many dating back to the nineteenth century as well as the world’s only Subantarctic Plant House. Here, plants from subantarctic islands in high southern latitudes are displayed in a climatically-controlled environment, where chilly fogs and mists mirror the wet, cold conditions of their island homes.

The Gardens also contain some of Tasmania’s most significant built heritage, including the Superintendent’s cottage (now the Administration Office) and the Arthur Wall. This wall, of a design once common in Britain, is hollow and capable of being heated to encourage the growth of fruit trees planted beside it.

Airborne Wifi Advances

In an annual survey released last month, the flight amenities-ranking website Routehappy found that just 6% of WiFi-equipped flights worldwide offer the reliable, fast service that the site classifies as “best WiFi.”

But technologies being introduced beginning this year should increase that number before 2017 rolls around, and more innovations are in the works for next year.
“We have to wait and see how fast airlines can install it on their aircraft, but the direction is definitely up,” said Jason Rabinowitz, Routehappy’s data research manager.

The most recent provider to roll out an in-flight WiFi upgrade was market leader Gogo, which introduced its new 2Ku satellite-based technology late last year. Until then, the company offered two earlier and slower WiFi technologies: air-to-ground, which offers speeds up to 10 megabits per second (Mbps) but can only be used over land, and Ku, an air-to-satellite system that offers speeds between 3 and 8 Mbps but can be used over water.

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2Ku differs from Ku in the number of antennas it uses: one for Ku and two for 2Ku, which more than doubles Ku bandwidth, according to Gogo.

So far, 2Ku deployment has been slow. Gogo has equipped approximately 2,500 planes with WiFi connectivity: 2,300 with ATG systems and 200 with Ku systems.
Upgrading planes to 2Ku from Ku is a much simpler process than retrofitting them from ATG to 2Ku. Making the latter switch is a costlier installation and puts a plane out of commission longer.

At the moment, Gogo said it has an 800-order backlog for upgrades to 2Ku service, though Aeromexico has already begun employing 2Ku technology, Gogo spokesman Steve Nolan said.

Next in line for Gogo’s 2Ku rollout is Virgin Atlantic, Nolan said, and he added that Delta, which plans to equip more than 250 aircraft with 2Ku antennas, is also slated to begin its rollout by the end of March.

Gogo claims that 2Ku’s performance will be similar to what a person would experience with land-based WiFi, including the ability to stream videos.
Rabinowitz was a bit less bullish, saying that during a test flight he was on last fall it worked “moderately well.”

“It was definitely better than your traditional global-coverage WiFi,” he said.
With Gogo’s 2Ku now already entering service, the next in-flight WiFi innovation to launch is expected to come in April from Panasonic Avionics, which spokesman Brian Bardwell said counts United, American, Emirates and Lufthansa among its airline customers.

Through a service contract on a newly launched satellite, Panasonic plans to offer a five-fold upgrade in bandwidth, to as much 200 Mbps, on any route that flies any city pair that lies between the West Coast of the U.S. and Europe.

The new satellite, called a High-Throughput Satellite, enables Panasonic to deliver its WiFi signal via spot beams targeted at portions of the world that get the most airline traffic.
That efficiency won’t just improve speed, Bardwell said; it will also reduce cost. Panasonic is selling the service to airline clients at prices that are less than half its current rates.
He also said that deployment by the airlines should happen as soon as the service becomes available, since High-Throughput technology will work with the equipment already installed on clients’ planes.

A second High-Throughput Satellite launch will enable Panasonic to extend the service to the Middle East in October, Bardwell said, with service farther into Asia slated for the second half of 2017.

The other primary providers of in-flight WiFi in the U.S. don’t have any major technology upgrades planned for this year, though the satellite company ViaSat, which provides what is currently regarded as the fastest WiFi in the sky, is adding Virgin America to its client base.
Working through the provider Thales, ViaSat already supplies WiFi to JetBlue and the old Continental portions of United’s fleet. The service is delivered on Ka-band satellites, which operate at a higher frequency than Ku satellites.

But while the ViaSat service is fast, customers on JetBlue flights to the Caribbean can tell you that it’s limited by its spacial coverage, which is confined to the continental United States and the nearest edges of Mexico and Canada.

ViaSat will offer a partial fix to that problem this year in the form of a hybrid Ka/Ku satellite that Virgin America, pending federal certification, will put to use on routes between the mainland and Hawaii as soon as this summer.

But ViaSat plans to offer much more comprehensive improvements in mid-2017 with the launch of its next generation ViaSat-2. The satellite will double ViaSat’s WiFi speed, said Don Buchman, the company’ s vice president of commercial mobility, while increasing its geographic coverage sevenfold. Along with the continental U.S., ViaSat-2 will cover Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America as well as the North Atlantic routes to Europe.
In addition, ViaSat has entered into a joint venture with a European satellite provider that will connect its network as far east as Istanbul.

ViaSat-2 is slated to be followed in 2019 by the launch of ViaSat-3, an even faster broadband platform that will make the satellite provider’s Ka-band global.

Global Eagle, the final major provider of airline WiFi in the U.S., counts Southwest as well as several international carriers among its customers. Like Panasonic, Global Eagle plans to roll out a fast Ku-band service via High-Throughput Satellite technology. The satellite will launch early next year, company spokesman Paul Sims said.

In its Annual Global State of In-Flight WiFi report last month, Routehappy wrote that U.S. airlines now offer at least spotty service on 78% of their available seat miles. While coming upgrades should make that spottiness less common, Rabinowitz said only time will tell for sure.

“It all sounds great,” he said. “But we’ll have to wait and see once we get on an aircraft.”

Innsbruck Austria Top Attractions

A CITY WITH CHARM

Skiing is obviously the prime objective of most winter visitors. And with Olympia SkiWorld Innsbruck, a combination of eight ski resorts, who can blame them? But even they will be distracted for a day or two by the other things to do in Innsbruck.

While the shining Golden Roof lures travellers to the Old Town, nearby sites like the Hofburg and Maria-Theresa Strasse keep them there. If you’re traveling with kids, you should enjoy the city vista from the Alpenzoo, the highest zoo in Europe, or the thrilling Bergisel Ski Jump.

The Hofkirche and the Emperor’s Tomb
Innsbruck’s spectacular Court Church, the Hofkirche, was completed in 1563 in the local Late Gothic style. This three-aisled hall-church with its narrow chancel and off-center tower boasts many notable interior features, in particular its 18th-century high altar and side altars, and a choir screen from the 17th century.

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The Golden Roof
The arcaded Herzog-Friedrich-Strasse, lined with handsome old merchants’ houses, enters the Old Town quarter from the south and makes straight for the famous Golden Roof (Goldenes Dachl). This magnificent Late Gothic oriel window, roofed with gilded copper tiles, was built in 1496 to commemorate Maximilian I’s marriage to Bianca Maria Sforza and served as a box from which the court watched civic festivities in the square below (the house behind, the Neuer Hof, was a former ducal palace rebuilt in 1822).

The Hofburg
Innsbruck’s old Court Palace, the Hofburg – a former imperial residence originally built in the 15th and 16th centuries – was remodeled in Baroque and Rococo style in the 18th century upon instructions from Maria Theresa. Best viewed as part of a guided tour (available in English), highlights include its luxurious apartments with their fine painted ceilings.

Old Town Innsbruck
With its narrow house-fronts, handsome doorways, oriel windows, and arcaded-façades, Innsbruck’s Old Town boasts many fine examples of old Tyrolese architecture and southern influences, along with many sumptuous Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo buildings. The semi-circular quarter of the Old Town, enclosed by a ring of streets known as the Graben (Moat), is now a pedestrian precinct and a wonderful place to pass the time of day.

The Cathedral of St. James
In the Domplatz, Innsbruck Cathedral (Innsbruck Dom) – formerly the Parish Church of St. James – was raised to cathedral status in 1964. Notable for its imposing twin-towered west front and the high dome over the choir, it was built in Baroque style in 1724 and fully restored after WWII.

St. Anne’s Column
Lined with handsome 17th and 18th-century houses and numerous shops, bustling Maria-Theresien Strasse affords a magnificent vista of the mountains to the north. In the middle of this wide old street, directly in front of the Town Hall (Rathaus), stands St. Anne’s Column (Annasäule), erected in 1706 to commemorate the withdrawal three years earlier of Bavarian troops on St. Anne’s Day. Surmounted by a statue of the Virgin Mary, St. Anne stands on the base near St. George, the patron saint of Tyrol, and other saints.

The Hofburg District Christian Allinger
In addition to its imperial Court Palace and Church, the area around the Hofburg offers much else worth seeing. Of particular interest is the Silver Chapel, built in 1587 as the burial chapel of Archduke Ferdinand II and named after a silver image of the Virgin and embossed silver reliefs on the altar.

The River Inn Walking Tour
There’s no better way to spend time than exploring the beautiful riverbanks and esplanades of the River Inn. A great place to begin your walk is the Mariahilf District, noted for its Baroque Mariahilfkirche from 1649 with its wonderful 17th-century frescos, and the beautiful Botanic Garden and observatory. Next, head for the district of Hötting, home to the splendid Old Parish Church (Alte Pfarrkirche) with its tower rising above the new parish church from 1911.

Alpenzoo Innsbruck-Tyrol
Just one kilometer north of Innsbruck’s Old Town center is the 15th-century Schloss Weiherburg, home to Alpenzoo Innsbruck-Tyrol. This beautifully situated zoo is well known for its collection of mountain animals from the world’s Alpine regions – including mammals, birds, and reptiles – and is popular with both experts and tourists alike.

Getting There:

Innsbruck Airport also known as Kranebitten Airport, is the largest international airport in Tyrol in western Austria. It is located approximately 2.5 miles from the centre of Innsbruck.

The airport, which was opened in 1925, handles regional flights around the Alps, as well as seasonal international traffic to further European destinations. During the winter, activity increases significantly, due to the high number of skiers travelling to the region.

What You Should Always Do On Planes

If you think finding your seat and fighting for overhead space are all you need to do when you get on a plane, you could be putting your comfort (and your health) at risk.

Here’s what you need to do as soon as you get on the plane.

Sanitize your area
There’s no gentle way to say this: Planes are gross. Microbiologists estimate that airplane tray tables have an average of 2,155 colony-forming units (CFUs, a.k.a. “germs”) per square inch.

That’s compared to the 70 CFUs per square inch that lurk on airport bathroom stall locks. Pack some sanitizing wipes and wipe down your tray table, seatback TV, remote control, armrests and seatbelt latch — basically any hard surface you’re going to touch during your flight.

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Position your vent
Speaking of germs, if you’re trapped in an enclosed space with someone who has a contagious disease, you’ve got a pretty good chance of catching the virus.

If you want to really freak yourself out, read about your chances of catching something from a sick passenger — like TB, which you can catch if you’re within two rows of patient zero; or SARS, which can transmit to flyers as far as seven rows away.

Save yourself by blowing away the germs via the air vent above your head. Set the ventilation to low or medium and position it directly in front of your head, blowing straight down. If you can feel the air flow on your lap, you’ve done it right.

Count the rows until the exit
No one ever plans to be in a plane crash. But if you take a moment to mentally prepare for one, you increase your chances of survival if the worst does happen. Count the number of rows between your seat and the closest emergency exit.

If the plane goes down or makes an emergency landing, you may have to make your way out of a dark, smoke-filled cabin where you can’t see the exit. If you know exactly how many rows stand between you and the exit, you can feel your way out, counting the rows by hand.

You only have about 90 seconds to evacuate a burning airplane for the greatest chance of survival, and you don’t want to waste valuable time trying to find a way out. Make sure you’ve mentally selected a back-up exit as well, in case your closest door is blocked.

Check for a life vest
Although the flight crew checks each seat for a life vest at the beginning of every day, they usually don’t check them between flights.
Unfortunately, some people do actually steal life vests, so do a quick check under your seat for yours, especially if you’ll be flying over water.

Gather your in-flight essentials
After you’ve taken care of your health and safety essentials, it’s time to focus on your in-flight comfort.

If you’re stashing your personal bag in the overhead compartment, make sure to take out everything you’ll need during your flight before putting it above your seat, so that you’re not constantly getting up and down — or stranded without something you need when the seatbelt sign is on.

Put on your headphones
If you don’t want to talk to your seatmates, popping your headphones on as soon as you sit down is the universal “no conversation please” signal. Be sure to put yours on even if you’re not listening to anything just yet. (Take them off for the flight safety demonstration, of course.)

Chew gum
If you have sensitive ears that painfully pop during take-off or landing, chew some gum before you go airborne. This can help with air pressure changes and make you feel better. Plus, you’ll have fresher breath when you land.

Make sure your seatback TV works
Got a long-haul flight and don’t want to be stuck staring into space for hours? Make sure that your seatback TV is working.

If you’ve drawn the broken machine, the flight attendant may be able to move you to another seat so that you can enjoy the in-flight entertainment (instead of sadly trying to watch your neighbor’s screen).

Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Expanding

ROMES NEW AIRPORT TERMINAL

Airport operator Aeroporti di Roma (ADR) that runs Rome’s Fiumicino airport might spend $13.5bn over the next 30 years on upgrading physical infrastructure and improving the airport’s links with the rest of Italy.

The country’s sixth biggest airport, Fiumicino, served close to 44 million passengers last year. As a part of its upgrade plans, the airport plans to increase that number to 100 million by 2044, reports Airports Business Magazine.

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The airport is planning this expansion to be able to compete with its northern European rivals to become one of the continent’s main hubs.

“The integration of the two transport systems, air and rail, will confirm the role of Fiumicino as the country’s hub.”
However, the plan has met with some local opposition as groups are claiming that the expansion would result in concreting over a neolithic burial ground.

Airports Business Magazine quoted CEO of ADR Lorenzo Lo Presti as saying: “The integration of the two transport systems, air and rail, will confirm the role of Fiumicino as the country’s hub, and extend the offering of flights to the areas of Bologna, Florence and Venice, where citizens currently reach their intercontinental destinations through airports such as Frankfurt and Paris.”

The expansion will entail refurbishment of four existing terminals. The complete process has been divided into Fiumicino South Completion Plan and the Fiumicino North Masterplan, which was drawn up by UK architect Pascall + Watson and Aecom subsidiary URS.

With the southern plan, the airport will be able to increase its terminal area and upgrade its apron, taxiways and all subsystems, including loading bridges, baggage reclaim and technical plants.

Beijing Attractions

Beijing, the heart of China, is always the first choice of travellers who are willing to know a time-honored and developed city of China. It has been the political, economic and cultural center of China for over 800 years from the Yuan Dynasty.

The numerous royal buildings with long history endow it with incomparable charm, not only the ‘Nation’s Best’ but also the ‘World’s Best’. On the other hand, as the host city of the 2008 Olympic Games, this oriental ancient city presented her best fashion fascination to the world.

Forbidden City
An imperial palace for over 500 years Forbidden City
The magnificent Forbidden City is the largest and the best-preserved imperial palace complex in the world.

It has 9,999 rooms in flourishing period with just a single room short of the number that ancient Chinese belief represents ‘Divine Perfection’ and surrounded by a moat six meters deep and ten-meter high wall. For five centuries, this palace functioned as the administrative center of the country.

Great Wall
One of the world”s seven wonders Great Wall in Beijing

The Great Wall of China is one of the ‘Eight Wonders of the World’ and is enlisted in the World Heritage Directory. This immense wall was built to keep out invaders as well as to retain the inhabitants.

It spans five provinces from Shanhaiguan Pass in the east to Jiayuguan Pass in the west, looking like a gigantic dragon across deserts, grasslands and mountains. In the downtown area, it is possible to climb Badaling Great Wall.

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Tiananmen Square
The center of Beijing Tiananmen Square
The solemn and respectful Tiananmen Square is the largest central city square in the world, which serves not only the city’s symbol but also the whole of China. This immense courtyard is surrounded by a variety of significant edifices such as the Tiananmen Tower, Great Hall of the People, Mao Zedong Memorial Hall, Monument to the People’s Heroes and National Museum.

Summer Palace
Is the capital city of several Dynasties. Therefore, besides the spectacular imperial palaces, it also possesses the most luxurious royal gardens—the well-preserved Summer Palace with an area of 727 acres, the elegant Beihai Park and the destroyed Old Summer Palace.

The holy Temple of Heaven
Due to religion was always related with the supreme imperial power, it at one time served as the focus of religious life with lots of beautiful temples. The Temple of Heaven, where the Emperors paid homage to the glory of heaven, is the largest group of structures in the country dedicated to rituals. To be opposite, the Altar of Earth was used to worship the God of the Earth. The Great Bell Temple, where the Emperor prayed for rainfall in the Qing Dynasty.

Beijing Hutong
You would like to experience the local life and have a different vacation in Beijing, there is a great deal of Hutongs and Courtyards distributed for your choice.

The Prince Gong’s Mansion should be the most magnificent courtyard, which was the residence of an official and then a prince. Other famous historical sites include the Bell and Drum Towers, the Colored Glaze Factory (Liulichang) Street for people interested in Chinese calligraphy, painting or other artwork, the Lugou Bridge carved with marvelous stone lions.

Beijing National Stadium
Namely the Bird’s NestThanks for the 29th Summer Olympics, the city has been well-known for travelers all over the world.

This hospitable metropolis has been mixed with lots of modern elements, which is also a new part for its mysterious orient civilization. Your Beijing vacation should not miss the representative buildings displaying this international metropolis, such as the National Stadium and the National Aquatics Center for 2008 Olympics.

Jingshan Park
For a peaceful and interesting stroll, please visit the beautiful parks. Located at the back of the Forbidden City, the Jingshan Park is an ideal place for an overview of the city, which was also an imperial garden in ancient time.

The Fragrant Hills Park has the most beautiful red maple leaves in every autumn. The Taoranting Park is a wonderful workmanship of Chinese ancient and modern architectural skills. The Stone Flower Cave is an astonishing karst park.

Getting There:

Beijing Capital International Airport is the main international airport serving Beijing.

It is located 32 km (20 mi) northeast of Beijing’s city center, in an enclave of Chaoyang District and the surroundings of that enclave in suburban Shunyi District.

The airport is owned and operated by the Beijing Capital International Airport Company Limited, a state-controlled company. The airport’s IATA Airport code, PEK, is based on the city’s former romanized name, Peking.[note 1]

Beijing Capital International Airport is the main hub for Air China, the flag carrier of the People’s Republic of China, which flies to around 120 destinations (excluding cargo) from Beijing. Hainan Airlines and China Southern Airlines also use the airport as their hub.

Beijing Capital added Terminal 3 in 2008 in time for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, the second largest airport terminal in the world after Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3, and the sixth largest building in the world by area. Beijing Capital International Airport covers 1,480 hectares (3,700 acres) of land.

Best Rock’n’roll Hotels in Los Angeles

Grafton on Sunset
Screaming LA-esque rock’n’roll vibe, this recently renovated boutique hotel is young and wild at heart, and won’t burn a hole in your pocket. In the heart of WeHo on Sunset Strip, the room walls feature an image of a crowd at a rock concert; funky light fittings throw a spotlight effect across the room and mirrors elongate.

Throw in fire-engine red pillows on a comfy L-shaped lounge, flourishes of gold on coffee tables and lampshades and faux-fur throws for the full-throttle effect. Guests can relax by the chlorine-free saltwater pool before heading to nearby rock icons such as the Whisky-a-Go-Go and the Rainbow Bar & Grill.

Rooms from $289; graftononsunset.com

The Line, DTLA
Yet another stellar innovation from LA chef Roy Choi, The Line gives you little reason to leave the hotel. White, bright rooms are industrial chic with splashes of colour on furnishings from a local Venice artist, and offer expansive floor-to-ceiling views towards the Hollywood Hills.

Head to Commissary, the greenhouse restaurant nestled alongside the rooftop pool, sample Korean at Pot and breakfast with delicious baked goods in the cafe. Don’t miss ’80s-themed bar Break Room 86 – if you can find its secret entrance.

Rooms from $283; thelinehotel.com

The London, West Hollywood
The epitome of understated glamour and style on Sunset Strip, The London is a firm favourite. Decadently sized, bright rooms include all mod cons, boasting views of DTLA down to Santa Monica, or Hollywood Hills from the balcony.

The hotel has outstanding service, including a driver for travel within two kilometres of the property. It is also home to one of the best rooftop pools in LA, with 360-degree views of the city, coupled with sensational cocktails from the bar alongside.

If you can tear yourself away, it is in walking distance of some of the best shopping, bars and restaurants WeHo has to offer.

Rooms from $847; thelondonwesthollywood.com

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Pictured The Ace Hotel

The Ace Hotel, Downtown LA
Situated in the historic United Artists building, the Ace shouts hip in an area whose vibe is off the charts, making it an ideal base from which to explore the ever-growing repertoire of restaurants and bars.

In typical Ace style, rooms are rustic and range from small for individuals to lofts and suites, some of which include unique embellishments such as an acoustic guitar or a turntable with a curated selection of vinyl from Amoeba Music.

There’s public spaces peppered throughout – grab a lounge by the rooftop pool and view the ornate building surrounds or pep up your day with a Stumptown brew from the Coffee Counter in the lobby.

Rooms from $423 a night; acehotel.com

Chateau Marmont
Where Hollywood’s rich and famous check in, some never checking out.

Like its name suggests, the Chateau is a secluded castle in the Hollywood Hills within spitting distance of the throbbing nightlife of the Strip below. Packed full of rock’n’roll history, anyone can grab a drink at the bar and reminisce about the time Jim Morrison notoriously dangled from a suite balcony. Inside, it’s all classic Hollywood mid-century glamour.

Large suites can contain formal dining rooms, terraces, private entrances with carports and direct access to the pool via private walled gardens – not to mention thick soundproofed walls and a reputation for hedonism.

Rooms from $615; chateaumarmont.com

The Redbury
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d accidentally stumbled into Hollywood’s French bordello. Originally designed for condos, the sizeable, red-walled vintage-bohemian style rooms have been curated by photographer Matthew Rolston and contain unique features such as paisley walls, Persian rugs, couches adorned with lambskin throws and four-poster beds.

All rooms include a full kitchen, record players with a selection of vinyl and – blissfully – a washer/dryer. Private balconies offer views of iconic Hollywood sights such as the sign or the neighbouring Capital Records tower, and there’s a 24-hour hosting service.

Rooms from $417; theredbury.com

Common Travel Mistakes

MOST COMMON MISTAKES WHEN WE TRAVEL

Overpacking
At home, with your complete wardrobe available, there’s no reason not to run through work, workout and working-the-clubs outfits in a single day.

But when your life is crammed into a couple bags, your fashion morality changes.

Those socks you wore on the plane should be good for another go.

The purple tee you slept in ought to be alright for a third wear.

Yesterday’s undies? Well …

According to a recent survey by Travelodge, two-thirds of travellers typically return from a trip with at least six unworn outfits.

Not buying something you like as soon as you see it

You think you’ll see a cheaper, better version somewhere else.

That evocative street painting or those Metallica nesting dolls you didn’t buy? Now not having them will haunt you for the rest of your life.

When you see something you like, just buy it and live without regret.

Not checking your phone plan before traveling abroad

What you call “international roaming” your phone carrier calls “shareholder dividend!”

A week of texts from Singapore or St. Lucia shouldn’t cost more and hurt worse than open heart surgery. But it happens all the time to travellers who fail to check their phone plans before departure.

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Trusting “near city center” descriptions
“Near city center” is like a Bible verse — open to vast interpretation.

When you find the money you saved on your “near city center” hotel is being spent on 30-minute commutes and outrageous taxi fares, you know you’ve committed one of the cardinal sins of travel.

Related note: Except by purely technical definition, if you’re staying near the convention center in Portland, Oregon, you’re decidedly not staying “downtown” (as is popularly advertised) by any local sensibility.

Not tightening shampoo caps … all the way
Perfect way to ruin an arrival — shampoo snot.
Those cute, little trial-size shampoo and conditioner bottles are really handy — until they magically burst open in-flight, spreading a layer of glycerol soap snot all over your bag.

Trying too hard to chisel out a bargain
Congrats, you just saved 50 cents. Now go get your blood pressure checked.
There’s no faster way to become embittered with the locals than going toe-to-toe with a market full of hungry sales people and shopkeepers.

Yes, we understand there’s principle involved, but do you really need to whittle the equivalent of fifty cents off the price of an embroidered handbag that’s going to sit in the back of a closet anyway?

Just buy the damn thing and spare your heart the cortisol burst for when it actually needs it.

Not changing money at the airport

When you travel internationally, the conventional wisdom is that only amateurs change money at the airport, because the exchange rate for foreign currency will be better in town.

It usually is, but often not by that much.

A recent check of the dollar-to-pound exchange rate in London Heathrow was $1.71 to £1 (with no commission for changes more than $300).

Near Oxford Circus the exchange rate was advertised at $1.62 to £1, also with no commission.

Using these rates, converting $300 at the airport would get you £175.43 as opposed to £185.18 on the street.

So, you can hit the city like a cashless bumpkin and spend an hour hunting up an acceptable place to change money or, for less than £10, arrive with some local coin in your pocket.

Convenience factor alone makes it worth changing at least a nominal amount of cash at the “ripoff” place at the airport.

Over-reliance on guidebooks
Making a travel plan using only your guidebook is like making a plan to stand in line at the bank for a week.

Guidebooks are great — we use them all the time — but it’s best to pull just one or two suggestions per day from a guide that thousands of like-minded travelers have read or downloaded.

Not buying the full insurance policy
We’re not a bunch of free spenders — except when the boss whips out the company credit card at the pub — but a lot of the mistakes on this list come down to adding a significant amount of stress to your life in the name of saving a few bucks.

If you actually end up needing the travel insurance you purchased (a move a significant percentage of our staff thinks is silly in the first place), you’re going to want the full coverage.

Just because you’re in a country where the beer is cheap, it doesn’t mean the healthcare is.

That bargain insurance policy might pay for your flight home when you crash your motor scooter on a winding road in some island paradise.

But it won’t cover the $5,000 in stitches and sponge baths you racked up during your three-day international hospital stay.

Not checking visa requirements before departure
Carnival Rio!

It’s a nightmare come true when you get turned away at the ticket counter on departure day because you didn’t realise Brazil requires citizens of your benighted country to secure a visa before travel.

Delta Add Wi-Fi on Trans-Atlantic Flights

Delta Air Lines is now offering high-speed Internet access on all trans-Atlantic flights between the United States and the UK, mainland Europe, Israel and West Africa.

From the UK, the US airline offers up to 11 peak-day flights from Heathrow and one from Manchester meaning more customers can get online at 30,000 feet with Delta.

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“We already offer Wi-Fi across our entire domestic fleet and we’re delighted to extend the service to trans-Atlantic customers, giving them the option to work, keep in touch or surf the Net throughout their flight,” said Nat Pieper, Delta senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“More than 93 per cent of our international fleet offers Internet access and we’ll continue to use technology to make our customers’ travel experience more productive whenever they fly with Delta.”

Delta’s Wi-Fi is provided by Gogo and powered by high-speed, Ku-Band satellite technology and is available on up to 83 daily round-trip flights to and from 27 European cities, in addition to Tel Aviv, Israel; Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; and Dakar, Senegal.

Customers can also enjoy free access to Delta Studio, an in-flight streaming service, which allows them to view movies and TV options direct to their mobile devices that is available in addition to the airline’s existing on-demand entertainment.

Delta began installing Wi-Fi on U.S. domestic mainline aircraft in 2008.

With international satellite-based Wi-Fi now installed on Delta’s wide-body fleet comprising Boeing 767s, 747s, Airbus A330 and transoceanic Boeing 757s, the airline operates the world’s largest Wi-Fi equipped fleet, giving customers more options to stay connected in-flight.

Hong Kong Top 10 Attractions

Hong Kong’s Top 10 attractions are popular for good reason.

The Peak
Out-of-this-world view of skyscrapers, the glittering harbour and the green hills of the distant New Territories.

Hong Kong Disneyland
Magic, adventure and the world’s favourite cast of characters await. Embark on a journey with magical adventures for all ages!

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Ocean Park Hong Kong
Thrill rides, giant pandas and a world-class aquarium keep Ocean Park on Hong Kong’s list of favourites.

Ladies’ Market
About a kilometre of street-market bustle and clothing, accessories and souvenir bargains

Temple Street Night Market
Souvenirs, snacks, opera singers and fortune tellers – ordered chaos in action.

Golden Bauhinia Square (and HKCEC)
The backdrop for the daily flag-raising ceremony, near a world-renowned convention centre

Clock Tower
A landmark from the Age of Steam and a reminder of Hong Kong’s colonial heritage.

Tsim Sha Tsui Promenade
Take a walk on the bright side! Stroll along the waterfront with your eyes locked on one of the world’s most spectacular city skylines.

Lan Kwai Fong
Hong Kong’s best known party hot spot

Wong Tai Sin Temple
A Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian temple honouring a legendary monk.

Getting There:

Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong.
It is located on the island of Chek Lap Kok, which largely comprises land reclaimed for the construction of the airport itself.

The airport is also colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.

The airport has been in commercial operation since 1998, replacing the Kai Tak Airport.

It is an important regional trans-shipment centre, passenger hub and gateway for destinations in Mainland China (with 45 destinations) and the rest of Asia.

The airport is operated by the Airport Authority Hong Kong 24 hours a day and is the primary hub for Cathay Pacific (the flag carrier of Hong Kong), Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines, Hong Kong Express Airways and Air Hong Kong (cargo carrier).

The airport is one of the hubs of Oneworld alliance, and it is also one of the Asian-Pacific cargo hubs for UPS Airlines.

It is a focus city for many airlines, including China Airlines, and China Eastern Airlines. Singapore Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, and Air India use Hong Kong as a stopover point for their flights.

World’s Longest Flights

LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS

Since 23 November 2013, the longest non-stop scheduled airline flight is Qantas Flight 8 (QF8) from Dallas/Fort Worth, USA, to Sydney, Australia, and its return flight (QF7), 13,804 kilometres (7,454 nmi) flown using an Airbus A380-842 since 29 September 2014, and a Boeing 747-400ER before.

Announced
On 28 January 2016, Emirates announced it would launch non-stop flights between Dubai and Auckland on 1 March 2016 with a Boeing 777-200LR.

The 16h EK448 flight will depart Dubai at 10:00am local time, arriving in Auckland 11:00am daylight-time the next day, with the reciprocal 17h15 EK449 flight departing Auckland at 9:30pm daylight-time, arriving in Dubai 5:45am local time the following day.

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The flight will cover a great-circle distance of 14,200 km (7,667 nmi).

It will be longer than Emirates flight from Dubai to Panama City with a 266-seat Boeing 777-200LR announced In August 2015.

EK251 is scheduled in 17:35 westbound, the return EK252 to leave at 22:10 EST (7:10 GST next day) and arrive at 22:55 GST (13:55 EST) the next day in 15:45.

The flights were scheduled to begin on 1 February but were deferred to start on 31 march in order to receive codeshare approvals. The flight distance is 13,821 km (7,463 nmi).

On the same day, United Airlines announced a daily Boeing 787-9 service from San Francisco to Singapore non-stop starting June 1, 2016.

The 16 h 20m UA1 flight and its 15 h 30m return UA2 flight will cover 13,592 km (7,339 nmi).

Envisioned
Miami International Airport is in talks with China Airlines and EVA Air to launch before 2018 a nonstop 13,922 km (7,517 nmi) flight to Taipei, and Qantas is considering a nonstop 14,499 km (7,829 nmi) Perth-London service on Boeing 787-9s, to be delivered from 2017.

Singapore Airlines will be the launch customer of the Airbus A350-900 ULR, the A350 ultra-long-range variant, to be delivered in 2018 and enabling the re-launch of the world’s longest non-stop flights between Singapore to Los Angeles (14,113 km or 7,620 nmi) and New York (15,336 km or 8,281 nmi), among other considerations.

Seating is reduced from 300 seats in Singapore Airlines standard A350 configuration to 170 to allow for more fuel.

At the January 2016 Bahrain International Airshow, Qatar Airways announced it will add ultra-long haul routes between Doha to Santiago de Chile and Auckland using Boeing 777-200LR.

The distance between Doha and Auckland is 14,535 km (7,848 nmi) and to Santiago is 14,430 km (7,790 nmi), both flights would take around 18 and a half hours.

New Zealand Top 10 Attractions

New Zealand is an otherworldly, photogenic and friendly country offering visitors unbeatable changes for adventure and exploration.

The rugged islands are home to dense native forests, mountains, beaches, glaciers, thermal regions and fiords that have been well-preserved by the environmentally-conscious government and culture. New Zealand is a place where traditional Maori culture mixes with modernity in cosmopolitan cities, charming villages and vast expanses of untouched wilderness.

Pristine and heavenly, the island nation has something for everyone, including the following top tourist attractions in New Zealand.

10. Coromandel Peninsula
This north-eastern peninsula is famous for its white and golden sand beaches that frame magnificent coastal scenery, forests perfect for days of exploration and other natural wonders. Start your visit in Thames, a small but picturesque city with a rich history of gold mining.

Don’t miss a stop at Hot Water Beach, where visitors can dig their own hot pool from the springs under the sands.

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9. Abel Tasman National Park
Located on the northern tip of the country’s South Island, this vast national park is a hiker’s dream.

Closed to vehicles, one must enter by boat, foot or small plane, but the trip is well worth it. While traversing the mountainous terrain, blue penguins, wekas, oyster catchers, wood pigeons and other rare birds can all be seen.

8. Sky Towerflickr/Abaconda
The Sky Tower is an observation and telecommunications tower located in New Zealand’s largest city.

At a height of 328 meters (1,076 ft) it is the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and the Sky Tower has become an iconic structure in Auckland’s skyline. The tower offers views of up to 80 km away and fine dining in the Orbit revolving restaurant.

7. Napier Art Deco
Napier, a small city in Hawke’s Bay on the North Island’s east coast, is famous for its eye-catching art deco architecture.

Most of Napier was leveled by an earthquake in 1931. The rebuilding period coincided with the short-lived Art Deco era and as a result Napier’s architecture is strikingly different from any other city in the world.

Thousands of tourist visit Napier every February for the Art Deco Weekend, an event dedicated to the style, vintage cars, picnics and the soapbox derby.

6. Kaikoura
This small coastal town on the South Island is a haven for seafood lovers. You can spot fur seals, dolphins, sperm whales and albatrosses off the shore, then indulge in a feast of fresh crayfish, mussels, blue cod and more.

Land lovers can take a wilderness walk through the untamed and dramatic Kaikoura forest.

5. Franz Josef Glacier
This glacier, located within Westland National Park in the southwest, is one of the world’s most accessible.

Visitors can walk right up to the foot of the massive glacier or take a helicopter ride over the dazzling Ice Age remnant. Together with Fox Glacier it is one of South Westland’s major drawcards for tourists.

4. Rotorua
Rotorua is known as the thermal wonderland of New Zealand. There are numerous geysers and hot springs in and around the city.

Many of these are in parks and reserves. Natural eruptions of steam, hot water and mud occasionally occur in new locations. Nearby Wai-O-Tapu is also a popular tourist attraction with many hot springs noted for their colorful appearance, in addition to the Lady Knox Geyser.

3. Tongariro National Park
The first national park of New Zealand, Tongariro is known for its surprises and extremes. The park’s diverse range of ecosystems includes tranquil lakes, active volcanoes, herb fields, untamed forests and desert-like plateaus.

Start your trek at the Whakapapa Visitor Center, just a three hour hike from the stunning Taranaki Falls.

The short hike will take you through scrubland and forest and across the lava line of volcanic eruptions from hundreds of years ago.

2. Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands is one of the most popular holiday destinations in New Zealand.

The picturesque area contains 144 islands, many secluded bays and some great sandy beaches. This beautiful bay has an abundance of marine life including whales, penguins, dolphins and the big marlin.

Not surprisingly, it is a popular tourist spot for sailing yachts on world cruises and international sport fishermen.

1. Milford Sound
Milford Sound is among the most famous tourist attractions in New Zealand. Lying at the most northern and accessible end of Fiordland National Park, Milford sound offers some of the world’s most staggering coastal scenery with its dramatic peaks and dark blue waters.

The area’s frequent downpours only enhance this South Island beauty, sending numerous waterfalls cascading down the cliffs.

Major Airports:

Auckland Airport is the largest and busiest airport in New Zealand.
It is both a domestic and international hub for Air New Zealand, and as the New Zealand hubs of Virgin Australia and Jetstar Airways.Auckland Airport is one of New Zealand’s most important infrastructure assets, providing thousands of jobs for the region.
It is one of only two airports in New Zealand (the other being Christchurch) capable of handling Boeing 777, Boeing 747 and Airbus A380 aircraft.

Wellington International Airport (formerly known as Rongotai Airport) is an international airport located in the suburb of Rongotai in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. It lies 3 NM or 5.5 km south-east from the city centre. It is a hub for Air New Zealand and its subsidiaries. Wellington International Airport Limited, a joint venture between Infratil and the Wellington City Council, operates the airport.

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions Thailand

THAILAND KNOWN FOR GREAT VALUE HOLIDAYS

Thailand, also known as the Land of Smiles, is a jewel of Southeast Asia. Developed enough to provide most comforts yet still wild enough to offer off-the-beaten path adventure,
Thailand is a country ripe with opportunity for once-in-a-lifetime travel experiences.

Whether you start with the world-class beaches in the south or the mountain villages in the north, Thailand will not disappoint.

Cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai are bustling hives of activity and commerce, but you haven’t really seen the country until you’ve trekked in the mountains or enjoyed some face-time with elephants or the bold monkeys (who will steal your lunch as soon as look at you).

Thailand’s attractions are diverse and each provides a rewarding and memorable experience in its own way.

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Railay Beach
Krabi province is home to some of Thailand’s most famous beach destinations, and Railay is the cream of the crop.

Widely considered one of the best beaches in the country, Railay delivers on promises of white sand beaches, clear blue water, and a feeling that you’ve found a slice of paradise. You have to take a boat to reach the island getaway, with services available from Krabi town and Ao Nang.

The beaches are the main reason to visit Railay, but it’s also a rock-climbing hotspot. Railay’s karst peaks draw adventurers both experienced and novice to try their hand at climbing the towering limestone cliffs.

Among the many other active things to do, you can go elephant trekking, whitewater rafting, kayaking, and snorkeling, or take on some lighter options such as cooking classes and indulging in a massage.

There’s also the tourist-friendly Diamond Cave, with a convenient walkway to accommodate curious visitors looking to do some exploring between stretches of sunbathing.

Koh Phi Phi
The Phi Phi Islands, also in Krabi, are one of Thailand’s most popular resort areas for a reason.

Only Phi Phi Don is inhabited, with day trips available to the surrounding islands. One of the fun spots on Koh Phi Phi is Monkey Beach, where you’ll come face-to-face, literally, with the namesake creatures.

You can hire a guide to take you out on a small wooden boat or rent your own kayak. There’s also a small stand where you can buy snacks and fruit shakes, but hang onto your treats. If you leave them unguarded, the monkeys will brazenly dig in and chow down right in front of you.

Long Beach is another nice spot on the island; it’s not a secluded place, but is great for watching the sunset. If you’re lucky and the tide is out, it’s a beautiful walk back toward the main part of the island.

Tour operators offer packages for snorkeling and diving trips, as well as excursions to the infamous Maya Bay, where the Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Beach was filmed.

Because Koh Phi Phi draws so many tourists, there are plenty of tour companies arranging tickets to other beach destinations, such as Phuket, Koh Chang, and Koh Lanta. Though you would hardly know to see it now, Phi Phi Don was one of the areas hit hard by the 2004 tsunami.

Guesthouses, restaurants, and markets have been rebuilt and crowds still come in droves to the resort island. There is a small, somber memorial park to honor those who died in the tragedy, yet the resort areas appear otherwise revived.

The Grand Palace, Bangkok
Even if your plans for Thailand mainly involve frolicking on a beach, cozying up to elephants, and eating as much Massaman curry and tom ka gai as humanly possible, you’ll probably spend at least a day or two in Bangkok.

There’s plenty to see and do in the capital, but it’s perhaps best to start with the Grand Palace. This is the number one sightseeing attraction in the city, and it’s staggering in historical significance and craftsmanship.

The grounds are a maze of royal halls, temples, and ancient relics, the most important being Wat Phra Kaeo, Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

A relic within this temple is said to be a piece of bone or hair from the enlightened Buddha himself. Allow several hours to do the Grand Palace justice, but if you’re up for more walking afterward, you can easily take in some of the city’s other major landmarks.

The famous Wat Po and Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn (a great place to watch the sunset), are also nearby. And as Bangkok is a main hub for international travel, it’s a great starting point for excursions throughout the country.

Sunday Walking Street, Chiang Mai
Every Thailand visitor looks forward to cheap and delicious food, and it can be found in abundance at Chiang Mai’s Sunday Night Walking Street.

Vendors sell all kinds of treats: pad Thai, chicken satay, samosas, crab cakes, fried bananas, sweet rotees, and fresh fruit shakes – often for less than $2 a piece.

When you’ve satisfied your culinary cravings, you can peruse hundreds of stalls selling an array of unique goods such as all-natural soaps, hand-dyed textiles bearing the unique patterns of local hill tribes, incense and essential oils, musical instruments, paintings, wall hangings, and more.

The market gets crowded every week without fail, no matter what time of year you’re visiting, so brace yourself and try to enjoy being part of the throng.

This is a must-do in Chiang Mai, and is an essential part of the Thailand experience.
If you’re not around for the Sunday market, or just want to get a taste of other market experiences in Chiang Mai, check out the Saturday Night Walking Street or the Night Bazaar on Chang Klan Road, a daily event.

For something less touristy, check out the daytime Warorot Market, near Mae Ping River.

Pai
Thailand’s reputation as a country of beautiful landscapes and friendly people is thanks largely to the world-renowned southern beaches.

Most people don’t realise that the vast north is also home to breathtaking landscapes, though these are of a different nature entirely.

Northern Thailand, particularly the western region near the Burmese border, is marked by mountainous jungle terrain that is both rugged and beautiful.

Pai, in Mae Hong Son province, is a perfect place from which to enjoy the country’s natural beauty as well as the famed Thai hospitality and cooking.

This small town has developed a reputation as a mecca for hippies and backpackers, though you will see locals and families here as well. There is a small nightly walking street market, a variety of local and Western foods, and easy access to nearby temples, waterfalls, and the impressive Pai canyon.

There is an air of cheerfulness and relaxation as you walk through the tiny town center, and it is this vibe that continues to draw crowds season after season.

Khao Yai National Park
Elephants are revered in Thailand, and statues and paintings of them can be seen everywhere you go.

There are many tour groups and elephant camps throughout the country allowing you to spend a day or more with the creatures, trekking through the jungle, bathing them, and even getting to help out with their morning feedings. B

ut perhaps more exciting is the chance to see them in their natural environment, and Khao Yai National Park provides a great opportunity to do just that.

You’ll see elephants roaming near waterfalls, exotic birds of prey, monkeys, and plenty of other tropical creatures that call the park home.

If a one-day stay isn’t enough to take it all in, it’s possible to camp out at the park and get up early enough to watch the sunrise over the lush landscape.

Sukhothai Old City
This is a favourite stop for history buffs and photography enthusiasts, as there are many lovely photo ops in this ancient capital of Thailand.

Ruins of this old city still stand proud despite enduring centuries of battle and exposure to the elements.

Sukhothai’s Old City is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and much has been invested to restore and preserve one of Thailand’s most significant historical sites.

Historic City of Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya presents a glimpse into the glory of ancient Thailand, where visitors can wander the haunting but romantic ruins of the former capital.

After the Sukhothai period, the city was the most important in Thailand, and the old palaces and temples stand as a testament to this.

There are also several foreign settlements, where you can gain a greater understanding of the influence other countries had in Thailand at the time.

Ayutthaya is located only a short bus trip or train ride from Bangkok, making it convenient for a day trip if you’re pressed for time.

If you’re on a more leisurely schedule, plan on spending a few days in the ancient capital and rent a push-bike to tour both the old city and the new.

Doi Suthep
Perhaps the best-known wat in Chiang Mai sits atop Doi Suthep, a mountain overlooking Thailand’s northern rose of a city.

In a crowd of monks, devout Buddhist followers, and fellow travellers, you’ll have a chance to marvel at intricate religious carvings, observe worship rituals, and gaze out over the ever-growing sprawl of Chiang Mai city.

Just be sure to bring a bottle of water and your walking shoes – the staircase to the temple is steep. At the base of the stairs, vendors hawk everything from tasty local treats to goods handmade by villagers from the surrounding mountains.

There’s also a shop selling masks, elephant carvings, and home furnishings so you can do some shopping while recovering from the trek up and down the stairs.

You can combine your trip to Doi Suthep with excursions to Doi Pui, a small Hmong village in the mountains.

It’s far more touristy than other villages, but if you’re on a tight schedule, this will give you a taste of Hmong culture and a chance to learn more about the hill tribe communities in the region, not to mention purchase some beautiful hand-woven textiles.

The Bhubing Palace, open to tourists, is on the way to Doi Pui from Doi Suthep as well.

Floating Markets
A visit to one of the floating markets is a fun way to do some shopping and eating while supporting local vendors and observing local commerce in action.

Some do seem to cater more to the tourist crowds than to be part of the fabric of local Thais’ daily lives, but there are others that make for a nice authentic travel experience.

You’ll need to get up early to visit a floating market, as vendors are out in their long wooden boats first thing in the morning with their goods, fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, and tasty dishes.

There are several floating markets near Bangkok, Amphawa and Damnoen Saduak being among the most popular. You can go it alone or join a guided tour, which can include visits to local houses and shops.

Major Airports:

Phuket International Airport is an airport serving Phuket Province of Thailand.
It is in the north of Phuket Island, 32 kilometres (20 mi) from the centre of Phuket City.
The airport plays a major role in Thailand’s tourism industry, as Phuket Island is a popular resort destination. It is the third busiest airport in Thailand in terms of passengers, after Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport in the Bangkok metropolitan area.

Don Mueang International Airport (or also [old] Bangkok International Airport) is one of two international airports serving Bangkok, Thailand, the other one being Suvarnabhumi Airport ([New] Bangkok International Airport) (BKK).

The airport is considered to be one of the world’s oldest international airports and Asia’s oldest operating airport. It was officially opened as a Royal Thai Air Force base on 27 March 1914, although it had been in use earlier.

Suvarnabhumi Airport also known as (New) Bangkok International Airport, is one of two international airports serving Bangkok, Thailand.

The airport is currently the main hub for Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways and Orient Thai Airlines. It also serves as regional gateway and connecting point for various foreign carriers.

Travellers Rank The Best Economy Seats

Economy class is rarely described as comfortable, and the shrinking size of airplane seats is something travellers have mostly come to accept.

But some airlines are worse than others, so Airfarewatchdog polled U.S. fliers, asking “which domestic airline has the most comfortable economy class seats?” More than 1,700 fliers responded, revealing the least-bad options for budget air travel.

1. JetBlue – 21%
“Apparently, even one or two inches makes all the difference.

JetBlue is famous for giving passengers more legroom than any other domestic airline in all economy class seats, so it’s no surprise that consumers recognize them as having the most comfortable seating,” said Airfarewatchdog founder and president George Hobica. “Even with recent reductions in seat pitch, JetBlue still offers a minimum of 33 inches between seat rows.”

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Seat Pitch
Seat pitch is the distance between the same two points on two seats.

Economy class on airplanes in the U.S. ranges between 29 and 34 inches of seat pitch.

2. Alaska – 17%
The 32-inch seat pitch on Alaska Airlines’ 737 planes probably contributed to its ranking, however the airline plans to add “slim-line seating” to its new planes, said Hobica. That could hurt future rankings.

3. Hawaiian – 14%
Hawaiian Airlines economy seats have seat pitches between 30 and 32 inches, according to SeatGuru.

Considering their flights are often longer than many routes in the 48 contiguous states, comfiness on Hawaiian is important.

4. Frontier – 13%
Seats on Frontier have a 30-31 inch pitch and 18-inch width.

5. Allegiant – 8%
Economy class on Allegiant offers only 30 inches of seat pitch, according to SeatGuru, but its seats still ranked above many other airlines.

6. Southwest – 6%
The non-exit row seats on Southwest have a seat pitch of 32 to 33 inches. If you’re lucky enough to get the window behind the exit row on some planes, however, you can stretch your legs out to your heart’s desire.

7. AirTran – 6%
AirTran’s Boeing 717s have a seat pitch of 30 inches, while the 737’s have 31 inches.

8. Delta – 5%
Many of Delta’s economy class seats have a seat pitch of 31 inches, although the fleet varies widely.

9. United – 3%
Like similar domestic carriers, economy class on United offers a seat pitch of 31 inches.

10. Spirit – 3%
Airfarewatchdog’s Hobica said it was a surprise that Spirit wasn’t last on the list. The low-cost carrier is known for cutting corners, not comfort.

Spirit’s CEO Ben Baldanza has taken comparisons of the airline to a public bus as a compliment.

11. American – 2%
“American and most other airlines have reduced seat pitch to 31 inches in their 737s, placing them near the bottom,” said Hobica.

12. US Airways – 2%
US Airways’ planes have a seat pitch between 31 and 32 inches. Even though that’s more than carriers like Spirit, the seats’ comfiness is ranked as last in the poll, after being adjusted for airline size.

 

Melbourne Australia Travel Guide

Victoria’s capital is full of culture and quirks, with a strong sense of artistry and home to some of the best food, dining and live music in the country.

It’s also home to a number of great attractions both natural and man-made, and with plenty of appealing surrounding destinations within easy reach of a day trip too, there’s something to keep everyone happy when visiting Melbourne.

But with such a wide variety of experiences on offer in the city and its surrounds, what is the first-time visitor to Melbourne best off doing with their time here? And if you’ve got multiple days on your itinerary, what opportunities are there for exploration outside the city’s boundaries?

From art, to attractions, to architecture and more, here, we look at the top 10 things to do in Melbourne & surrounds.

  1. Eureka Skydeck

Location: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, Melbourne

If you’re looking to begin your visit to Melbourne by getting an idea of the city’s layout – including the location of a number of other landmarks listed on this list – there are few better places to do so than the Eureka Skydeck.
Begin your journey with awe inspiring views from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform that boasts not only a central location overlooking the city and beyond, but a great starting point for any trip to Melbourne as it will allow you to get your bearings and determine where you’d like to go while also providing some great scenery to boot. For those that dare to take the views a step further, you’ll be able to experience Skydeck’s “The Edge” – an activity that will see you taken over the edge in a glass box, with views directly down into the cityscape.
Begin your journey with awe inspiring views from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform that boasts not only a central location overlooking the city and beyond, but a great start point for any trip to Melbourne.

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  1. The Shrine of Remembrance

Location: Kings Domain Parkland, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

This wonderful feat of construction serves as both a fitting tribute to our veterans from wars throughout our history, as well an ideal starting point for your adventures in Melbourne for a variety of reasons.

The Shrine of Remembrance’s central location serves as a great “lay of the land” spot from which to get your bearings in the city, it offers visitors great views from the top that provide an overview of Melbourne’s Paris-style layout, and it’s an impressive piece of architecture in its own right.

Situated on a hill that provides a solid vantage point close to other Melbournian highlights such as the Botanical Gardens and Government House, the Shrine of Remembrance is easily accessible via a short walk from the city’s free City Circle Tram service.

Thus it – along with Eureka Skydeck – can serve as viable options as Item No. 1 on everyone’s Melbourne itinerary. As an added bonus, the Shrine’s views come free of charge.

“It offers visitors great views from the top that provide an overview of Melbourne’s Paris-style layout, and it’s an impressive piece of architecture in its own right.“

  1. Go Hot Air Ballooning

Location: Flights available over Melbourne CBD and Yarra Valley

Those with a bit of extra coin to spare and who are wanting some unforgettable views will want to take a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne, as it’s one of the few cities in the world that allow such an experience directly over its skyline. Take in the beauty of the city as the sun rises and enjoy a bird’s eye view of all that you survey amidst the pure calm and serene skies.
Balloon flights typically depart very early in the morning to take advantage of the calm morning air, so you’ll get the added benefit of seeing Melbourne illuminated by the glow of the sunrise which makes for a particularly scenic experience.
“Balloon flights typically depart very early in the morning to take advantage of the calm morning air, so you’ll get the added benefit of seeing Melbourne illuminated by the glow of the sunrise which makes for a particularly scenic experience.“

  1. See St. Paul’s Cathedral / Flinders St Station

Location: Flinders and Swanson Streets, Melbourne CBD

Despite its modern and cosmopolitan reputation, Melbourne is home to numerous examples of impressive older architecture – two of the most impressive of which lie within short walking distance of one another.

Perhaps the most prominent and impressive of these is St. Paul’s Cathedral. A truly stunning building constructed in typical Gothic style, the cathedral sits just across the road from Melbourne’s historic Flinder’s Street Station, and the two combine to make for a small “hub” district that feels a world away from Australia’s second-largest city despite being located right in its heart.

“Despite its modern and cosmopolitan reputation, Melbourne is home to numerous examples of impressive older architecture – two of the most impressive of which lie within short walking distance of one another.“

St. Paul’s Cathedral is just as impressive inside as out; the interior boasts impressive craftsmanship as a lot of passion and work obviously went into its construction; from the wooden pews to the carvings on the walls and stained glass which emanates an array of colours from on high, the interior is both an impressive and tranquil place.

  1. The Dandenong Ranges

Location: Approx. 1 hours’ drive east of Melbourne CBD

Those looking for a dose of nature while getting out of the city for a day or two can look inland and head towards the lush reaches of the greater Melbourne region’s Dandenong Ranges, an area that’s both scenic and provides several unique activities of its own.

The majestic mountain range is famed for its towering Mountain Ash trees and features a blend of wonderful scenery, spots to get fantastic local food, charming little villages and small stores offering various hand-crafted goods. Options for exploring the ranges are numerous; ride on Australia’s most notable narrow gauge railway through the breathtaking Blue Dandenong Ranges, visit the area by coach, join a smaller tour for the full Dandenong Ranges experience, or have the best of both worlds with a combined city and Dandenong Ranges tour.

  1. The Queen Victoria Market

Location: Corner of Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

Those with a need for knick-knacks will be in their element with a visit to Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Markets, a bustling outdoor hub with an item, souvenir or meal to suit pretty much every taste.

This is the Queen of all markets and the vibrant, exciting mix of cultures and ethnicities of Melbourne can be discovered here, with a variety of foods and souvenirs from all corners of the Earth on offer.

The markets also serve as a great place for breakfast or lunch, and you’ll likely be able to grab yourself a meal from some far-reaching country for an entirely reasonable price that makes for a nice change of pace from the typical “dine-in cafe” experience that is most popular in Melbourne.

  1. Experience the Great Ocean Road

Location: Starts approx. 1 hour, 15 minutes’ drive to the south west of Melbourne at Torquay.

Often acclaimed as the most stunning drive in Australia – and one of the best in the world – no trip to Melbourne that lasts a decent amount of time would be complete without setting foot (or wheel?) on The Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most scenic vantage points.

Stretching over an expanse of 243km along the Victorian Coast, the sheer array of vistas and views on offer with a trip along the Great Ocean Road is staggering – enough that it’s been voted as one of Australia’s Top 10 Destinations to Experience 2013 as well as having one of Australia’s Top 10 Sunsets in our national polls by the Aussie public.

  1. Travel to Phillip Island

Location: Just under 2 hours’ drive south of Melbourne

One of the most popular natural destinations that’s reachable within a reasonable distance outside Melbourne, Phillip Island is especially famous for one reason: its penguins.

With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence which is known as the “Penguin Parade”.

There’s plenty of other things to do on Phillip Island, as well: be sure to visit the nearby Koala Conservation Centre which will let you see dozens of these cute Aussie icons up close, and check out the geographical highlights offered by Churchill Island (home to a throwback working farm environment that reflects Victoria’s heritage) and The Nobbies (a stunning stretch of headland featuring a range of scenery-rich wooden boardwalks).

“With a trip to Phillip Island, you’ll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way to shore every night at the home of the world’s largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence which is known as the ‘Penguin Parade’.“

  1. See the Wildlife at a Zoo or Aquarium

Location: Melbourne Aquarium – King Street, riverside in the Melbourne CBD; Melbourne Zoo – 4km to the north of the city CBD; Healesville Sanctuary – approx. 1 hour drive east of the Melbourne CBD; Werribee Open Range Zoo – roughly 30 minutes’ drive to the south-west of the city CBD.

Melbourne benefits more than most capital cities by offering an array of high-level wildlife attractions of various kinds, covering all the best local Aussie animals as well as exotic species from abroad.

The city and its surrounds is rich in both zoos and aquariums, both of which are generally quite reasonably priced and provide a great destination to take the kids or to spend some time if the notoriously unreliable Melbourne weather turns sour.

  1. Explore the city’s Laneways

Location: Various locations, Melbourne CBD & surrounds

Note: Click the following link for a detailed breakdown of some recommended Melbourne Itineraries for stays of 2, 3, 4 and 5 days, or here for our comprehensive guide to Melbourne in One Day.

Melbourne the city itself is, undisputedly, the main attraction, and whether by bike, by bus or by foot, exploring the city is an absolute must. Filled with quirky alley ways, hidden shops, art galleries and indie theatres, it certainly earns its reputation as Australia’s culture capital – Melbourne simply wouldn’t be Melbourne without its laneways, thus simply exploring the city serves as viable entertainment in itself.

Dining is also an obvious focus that Melbournians take pride in, and there are entire dedicated streets and laneways to offering all manner of quality fare – while coffee is its most famous product, the mix of international cultures in Melbourne means that the likes of Greek, Italian, Chinese, and various other cuisines all have standout restaurants offering great dishes here.

Getting There:

Melbourne Airport, also known as Tullamarine Airport, is the primary airport serving the city of Melbourne, and the second busiest airport in Australia.

It was opened in 1970 to replace the nearby Essendon Airport. Melbourne Airport is the sole international airport of the four airports serving the Melbourne metropolitan area.

The airport is 23 km (14 mi) from the city centre. The airport has its own postcode—Melbourne Airport, Victoria (postcode 3045). This is adjacent to the suburb of Tullamarine.

The Melbourne–Sydney air route is the third most-travelled passenger air route in the world and the third busiest in the Asia Pacific region.

The airport features direct flights to 33 domestic destinations of Australia in addition to destinations in the Pacific, London, Asia and North America.

Melbourne Airport is the number one arrival/departure point for the airports of four of Australia’s seven other capital cities.N1 Melbourne serves as a major hub for Qantas and Virgin Australia, while Jetstar Airways and Tiger Airways Australia utilise the airport as home base.

Top 10 Attractions The Bahamas

10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Bahamas

When beach lovers dream about the perfect stretch of powdery sand, lapped by seas in sublime shades of blue, they’re probably dreaming about the Bahamas.

Encompassing 700 islands and more than 2000 small cays sprinkled across the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, this tropical paradise lies only 50 miles from Florida at its closest point.

Once a haven for pirates and Loyalists, the islands are now a playground for the rich and famous, and anyone who enjoys world-class fishing, boating, diving, snorkeling, and sailing.

Nassau, the nation’s capital, on New Providence Island, attracts the most tourists. This bustling cruise port is a glitzy mix of mega resorts, shops, restaurants, and entertainment complexes. Grand Bahama follows in second place. The other islands, affectionately called the Family Islands or Out Islands, cluster into groups, each with its own distinct character and charm.

Slung like pearls across the shallow Bahama Banks, the Abacos and Exumas offer some of the world’s best waters for boating and sailing. These peaceful islands are dotted with sleepy fishing villages and secluded beaches, and many are rimmed by pristine coral reefs. The other islands all offer something for discerning travelers.

From the big game fishing of Bimini, and the pink sand beaches of Harbour Island, to bonefishing, regattas, and uncrowded outer cays, it’s hard to beat the Bahamas. For those visiting around the New Year, don’t miss the throbbing drums and kaleidoscopic costumes of Junkanoo, the nation’s most popular festival.

1. Atlantis
Dominating the skyline on Paradise Island, this splashy, salmon-pink resort evocatively recreates the legend of Atlantis in a luxury hotel, entertainment complex, aquarium, and water park.

Guests at the hotel score free entry into the popular 141-acre Aquaventure, a waterscape packed with high-speed slides, more than 20 pools, and a mile-long Lazy River Ride. In the marine habitat, hammerhead sharks and swordfish swim through sparkling open-air pools. Guests will also find many shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues on site.

The fantasy sea theme continues throughout, capturing the imagination of young and old alike.

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2. Grand Bahama
The northernmost of the Bahamian islands, Grand Bahama is the closest major island to the United States and a popular destination for package tourists and cruise ships. The capital, Freeport, is the second biggest city in the Bahamas, though Port Lucaya has now replaced it as the tourist hub for shopping, dining, and entertainment.

Port Lucaya Marketplace sells jewelry and straw goods as well as other souvenirs, and the marina is a social hotspot for tourists and boaters. Despite the island’s large all-inclusive resorts and hotels, it’s still possible to escape the crowds.

Grand Bahama boasts the world’s largest underwater cave system and nature-lovers can spot many native bird species in the three national parks.

3. Bimini
Known as the “Big Game Fishing Capital of The Bahamas”, Bimini Island is the closest of the islands to the U.S. mainland, lying approximately 45 miles east of Miami, Florida.

The fishhook shaped cluster of islands includes North Bimini, South Bimini, and numerous cays extending south from Pigeon Cay to South Cat Cay. Bimini hosts popular deep-sea fishing tournaments from March to September, and diving and snorkeling opportunities abound.

Besides the popular shark and dolphin dives, highlights include Rainbow Reef, Sapona Wreck, and Victory Reef. Ernest Hemingway spent several summers in Bimini, finding inspiration for the novels “The Old Man and the Sea” and “Islands in the Stream”. Look for related exhibits at the Bimini Museum.

4. Andros Island
Andros, the largest landmass in the Bahamas, boasts the third largest barrier reef in the world, as well as many freshwater blue holes and underwater caves. It’s no surprise then, that this is a popular destination for divers.

The island’s vast wetlands create channels, which are prime boating and fishing areas. Fly fishing is big here, and Andros is often called “the bonefishing capital of the world”. Andros also has the largest protected area in the Bahamas with five national parks.

Nature lovers will appreciate the rich bird life in the mud flats, mangrove swamps, and forests, as well as the island’s eco-resorts. In addition to all these natural attractions, tourists can visit the Androsia Batik Factory, which sells brightly-colored fabrics featuring bold Bahamian motifs.

5. Harbour Island
Pretty Harbour Island, northeast of its big sister, Eleuthera, is the oldest settlement in the Bahamas, as well as the site of the first Bahamian parliament.

English Loyalists settled here in the 1700s. Famous for its pink sand beaches and chic resorts, the island has long been a hideaway for the rich and famous. Golf carts rule the streets here, and visitors will feel as though they’ve stepped back in time as they cruise past the cute, pastel-colored Loyalist cottages lining the streets of Dunmore Town.

Harbour Island is a quiet day trip out of Nassau on the Bahamas Fast Ferries Catamaran.

6. Elbow Cay
Across the sheltered Sea of Abaco from the boating hub of Marsh Harbour, Elbow Cay in the Abacos exudes all the charm of a New England-style fishing village.

Colorful cottages line the main streets of Hope Town, the island’s principal settlement, and the center of town is off-limits to vehicles, lending a relaxed, village feel. Famous for its candy-striped lighthouse, Hope Town is home to a thriving expatriate community who appreciate the island’s pretty palm-lined beaches; proximity to Marsh Harbour, Bahamas’s third largest town; and the excellent boating opportunities.

Wyannie Malone Historical Museum is a must, and nearby Guana Cay and the Tilloo Cay Reserve, an 11-acre bird habitat, are popular day trips. Hope Town also boasts a well-developed marina. A ferry runs regularly to Elbow Cay from Marsh Harbour.

7. Green Turtle Cay
Strolling the streets of Green Turtle Cay in the Abacos feels like stepping back in time to the old Bahamas. East of Great Abaco, this peaceful, three-mile-long island is a much-loved hideaway for serenity seekers.

Golf carts are the main mode of transport in the tiny settlement of New Plymouth, a sleepy fishing village of picket-fenced pastel cottages, sprinkled with a few small shops and museums.

Fishing boats bob in the harbour, and visitors can watch the locals haul in their catch of crawfish and conch. The island’s beautiful uncrowded beaches and crystal clear waters offer excellent swimming, diving, snorkeling, and boating opportunities.

Bonefishing is also a popular pursuit. The island is a ten-minute ferry ride from Treasure Cay on Great Abaco.

8. Exuma Cays Land and Sea National Park
In the remote eastern edge of the Bahamas, the Exuma Cays Land & Sea Park is a “no take zone” and marine protected area, the first of its kind in the Caribbean.

The park boasts some of the most striking seascapes in the Bahamas.

The area is popular with divers and boaters, who come here for the quality anchorages, abundant marine life, and crystal clear waters. On a good day, divers and snorkelers can enjoy 100-foot-plus visibility.

Most people visit this underwater wonderland on private boats or live-aboard dive charters. No fishing or shelling is permitted within the park boundaries.

9. Treasure Cay
Skirting the eastern shore of Great Abaco, Treasure Cay Beach is often voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. This spectacular stretch of powder white sand and aqua water wows visitors who come here to bask on its creamy, crescent-shaped shore.

The beach lies in the upscale resort community of Treasure Cay, which hosts one of the most popular fishing tournaments in the Bahamas.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Treasure Cay – TripAdvisor.com

10. Long Island
Known as one of the most scenic islands in the Bahamas, Long Island lies a little off the beaten path, in the southern half of the archipelago.

Almost 80 miles long and no more than 4 miles wide, Long Island is a land of contrasts, with sandy beaches on the west coast and steep, rocky cliffs along the east.

The island is a haven for fishing, diving, and boating, and boasts many beautiful pink and white sand beaches. Long Island is also home to Dean’s Blue Hole, the deepest in the world.

The Long Island Sailing Regatta takes place at Salt Pond in the summer. Access to the island is mainly by air or ferry service from Nassau.

Getting There:

Lynden Pindling International Airport, formerly known as Nassau International Airport, is the largest airport in the Bahamas and the largest international gateway into the country.

It is a major hub for Bahamasair and is located in western New Providence island near the capital city of Nassau.

 

 

 

Best Time To Travel

WHERE TO GO IN WINTER?
Where to go in winter in Europe, the cold, the rain, the low temperatures and short sunny periods do not encourage travelling.

The better destinations include the ski resorts in the Alps and the Pyrenees (France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria and Spain) or for those who feel the cold more Andalusia still has reasonable sunshine.

In Asia the season is still favourable for visitors! Thailand, Vietnam, southern China (the north however can still be icy at this time), Burma and India are still sunny with reasonable temperatures and less tourists during this time.

In Africa the north is still cool, good for discovering the Sahara but not recommended for those wishing to visit the beaches. Towards the south, in Kenya, Tanzania or South Africa, the high season is starting but with a risk of excessive heat on the east coast.

In America, we would suggest Central America, South America and the Caribbean (for example: Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile). The U.S. deserts are still pleasant at this time before the scorching summer heat arrives.

For skiers, the French and Spanish Pyrenees have plenty of small family ski resorts with good snow and reasonable prices even during the festive season.

Southern Australia will certainly satisfy those with a taste for adventure down under as it’s entering its summer season. The ideal time for surfing, swimming and meeting the koalas, emus and opossums, not forgetting the famous laughing kookaburra.

Between those two destinations we find Senegal; a stopover warmed as much by the weather as the smiles and sunny dispositions of the people.

WHERE TO GO IN SPRING?
Where to go in springIn Europe, the weather is becoming favourable for travelling: The amount of sunshine is increasing steadily throughout the continent; the Mediterranean coast is starting to benefit from warm temperatures and the sea is becoming pleasant for swimming.

For certain countries in the south, such as Spain and Greece, spring is the best time to visit: Neither too hot or too crowded with tourists. Andalusia, Crete, Malta and the south of Italy are good choices right now. Northern countries are becoming appealing although still a little cool. The Scandinavian countries boast endless days and holidays without nights right now!

In Asia, the weather is becoming far less agreeable: Heat waves are starting to be experienced in numerous countries. India, Thailand and Burma are extremely hot right now, enough to cause hundreds of deaths each year. China and Japan are more welcoming even if conditions are still a little trying at times. The monsoon season will settle in towards the end of spring across this area with the exception of only a few areas such as Indonesia or Tamil Nadu in India. It’s a great season for visiting Australia or the southern islands of Indonesia.

In Africa, this season is ideal for the countries of the Maghreb which are experiencing sunny weather with pleasant temperatures, like all the Mediterranean countries. In the extreme south, daylight hours are starting to diminish although the weather is still pleasant.

In America, we would suggest North America or Central America down to northern Brazil, basking in warm sunshine at present at the beginning of a pleasant climatic period. California, Mexico, Cuba, Guatemala and Venezuela are definitely worth considering at this time. The further south you go the more the season tends towards southern winter, often very humid.

If you wish to visit Europe, go to Portugal and enjoy summertime temperatures with a refreshing Atlantic breeze, or visit Scotland which is rarely as beautiful and warm as it is during spring in the month of May.

If you dream of tropical destinations then Reunion should satisfy your desires for summer weather and exoticism.

A little closer to Europe but also somewhat different in character, it is a great time to venture inland near the deserts at Tozeur in Tunisia or visit the Jordan valley just before the scorching heat of summer, it is currently experiencing warm sunshine with noticeably absent rain.

jam-beachss

WHERE TO GO IN SUMMER?
Where to go in SummerIn Europe, it’s the height of the peak season! Millions of holidaymakers from around the world invade the beaches and countryside of Southern Europe. The climate is great for travel for just about the whole of the continent with just a few areas effected by extreme heat (Andalusia, Southern Italy, Greece etc..)

The north of Europe is lovely, summer is the ideal time to visit those countries that are generally considered a little cold and damp such as Ireland, Scotland or Holland.

In Asia, this season is considered the least favourable: The monsoon season is at its height over the majority of this area with the exception of only a few countries (Kerala or Tamil Nadu in India, Bali and the southern islands of Indonesia, the north of Australia etc…). Everywhere else a hot, moist and very humid climate prevails.

In Africa, the Maghreb countries are invaded by tourists, the climate is hot (sometimes extremely hot close to the desert) and dry, the Atlantic coast of Morocco is pleasant thanks to the ocean influence. Further to the south it is the rainy season and it is only along the latitudes of Kenya and Tanzania that the climate becomes favourable to visitors.

In America, the north is generally hot and dry (sometimes extremely hot in the deserts towards the west of the USA). Central America experiences a short rainy season at this time but towards the south the conditions are more favourable.

For all the continents, September is generally the best choice: The end of the monsoons, no more heat waves, less tourists and lower prices. Don’t hesitate to take your holidays in September when there are only advantages.

Corsica is perfect right now for those looking for paradisiacal beaches with turquoise water, although close to mainland Europe it will feel like you are on the other side of the globe!

It is a great time to discover northern Europe, particularly somewhere such as Iceland where the sun does not set during this period.

For those wishing to go down under, Australia is great right now. The sea may be a little cool for swimming but the weather is still very pleasant and you could even go skiing in the south where it is right in the middle of its winter season!

WHERE TO GO IN AUTUMN?
Where to go in AutumnIn Europe, during the beginning of autumn, Mediterranean destinations are still pleasant: The south coast of Turkey, southern Italy and Spain as well as the southern Mediterranean islands (Cyprus, Crete and certain Greek islands).

Towards the end of autumn it will be more difficult to find sunny destinations in Europe.

In Asia, the best season is just starting! From the month of October, Thailand, Vietnam and the south of China or India will be very welcoming with a climate that is once again very pleasant now the monsoon period is easing.

In Africa, the north is also very enjoyable with temperatures easing after the summer heat waves. The inland towns of Morocco, the Tunisian desert and Egypt are seeing a lessening in the number of tourists and a pleasant but not overwhelming heat. More towards the south, Senegal, Madagascar and South Africa are entering a sunny period.

In America, we would recommend Central America, South America and the Caribbean where the rainy season is coming to a close (for example; Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina and Chile). The end of autumn is also a great time to visit Death Valley and the deserts of the United States.

Turkey is a very pleasant destination at this time of the year after the high temperatures of summer, especially if you wish to visit other areas than the coast.

Cyprus with its Mediterranean climate offers you warm temperatures even in October.

If you would prefer visiting some Asian countries then India is entering into its tourist season, Mumbai and Calcutta have excellent climatic conditions right now.