While I have travelled a lot, for the past four years I have pitched my metaphorical tent in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.
One of the things that I like about this place is the fact that I feel that both me and my property is safe. There are few other places in the world where I would leave my mobile phone or other belongings on the table at a restaurant or bar when I go to the rest room. But in the UAE, I have complete confidence that they will be there when I return.
Similarly, I don’t fret about going home and finding my flat ransacked, and I don’t fear being mugged on the streets regardless of how late I am out and about.
Everyone who has ever flown has had to endure a safety demonstration, usually a video that is played just before takeoff.
I use the word “endure” advisedly. Even though many airlines are going to great eforts and expense to make these videos entertaining, it is clearly in vain. The fact is that nobody likes them and nobody is paying attention.
I’m an Australian who lives in the Middle East. During a travel stopover in Bangkok, I received a social-media message from a Filipino friend wishing me a happy Thanksgiving.
Now, I’m a great one for celebrations, and I like to see other people happy. Be it Eid, Christmas or Diwali, or any other religious festival, or a national day, I’m happy to acknowledge the occasion with those who hold it dear. But Thanksgiving is a tricky one.
Horse racing season has begun in the United Arab Emirates, home to some of the world’s best racing and training facilities, and the wealthiest owners.
If you’ve been to the races elsewhere in the world, you’ll feel at home at the racetracks in Abu Dhabi and Dubai (Meydan and Jebel Ali), where events are run to international rules. But some expats will notice that two key ingredients are missing (or difficult to find): alcoholic beverages and ontrack betting.
I am a big fan of loyalty schemes, but I’m the first to admit that I’m no expert.
There are entire websites devoted to helping you make the most out of frequent-flyer and hotel memberships, and the credit cards that link to them.
If you really want to maximise your points, and you are prepared to change banks, juggle many cards at once and go slightly crazy doing it, I suggest you check them out. Lucky’s One Mile At A Time blog is a good place to start. You’ll be amazed at how he manages to make the system work for him, often resulting in spectacular upgrades and free trips. But it’s a full-time job. Continue reading It pays to know the rules
While credit and debit cards have made things a lot easier, there’s always a need for travellers to have cash — and getting the right amount can be a nightmare.
For starters, changing money is always fraught. You can be assured that you’re going to lose on the deal. Even those exchange booths that promise “no commission” are paying their way (and then some) somehow, and that’s by charging you an unfavourable rate.