I was in a bar in Shanghai some time ago, talking to an American guy about blogging. He said something like: “It’s great, as long as it’s not distracting you from what you really want to do.” The more I think about it, the more I realise that there are other creative projects that I want to try, and that the pressure of “feeding the beast” that this blog has become is stopping me from doing that. Writing about life can take away the joy of living it. There’s not a lot of reward for simply being (or trying to be) clever in a line or two. So, after two years of PlaneSailing, I’m going to stop blogging, at least for a while, and cut back on my social-media use while I focus on the next chapter. The existing content will remain here, and I may still add and refer to it on occasions. But for now at least, it’s time to wish you all happy travels.
– Brett Debritz
A statistic in a media release from Destination NSW has given me cause for thought about train travel.
The peak tourism body for the Australian state of New South Wales revealed that 5.3 million international and domestic overnight and day-trip visitors used the train to travel in NSW during the year ending March 2017, up 4 per cent on the previous year.
Just when you thought the era of the “trolley dolly” was over, one airline has cottoned on to the idea that sex sells, and another stands accused of discrimination against a cabin crew member management described as “fat, ugly and old”.
None of which, in my opinion and that of the crew member herself, are relevant to her core duties: to assist passengers throughout the flight and, especially, if there is an emergency.
I have just taken a quick return trip between Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. Within two days of my return, I received emails from both the airline I flew with and the hotel I stayed at asking me to fill in a survey about my experience.
So, in the interests of doing them a favour, and sharing my experience even further via this blog, I did.
In Hollywood, when anybody is pitching a project, they have to brace for the inevitable question from the bean counters: “Yes, but what’s it like?”
And by that they mean that they want to know that the “new” thing is reassuringly similar to a film or television show that was popular and made money. Now, it seems, that attitude is creeping into the way we view our cities — with negative consequences for residents and tourists alike.
How often have you heard: “This is the best country in the world”?
Well it turns out that most of the people who’ve uttered that phrase, and those who concurred, were wrong. The readers of Conde Nast Traveller have decided the best countries in the world, and they may not be what you think.
Thailand is one of the world’s most popular holiday destinations, and it’s one of my favourite places.
Regardless of your interest — be it exploring temples, fine dining, water sports, jungle trekking or bar-hopping — you are more than likely to have a good time. But there are a few things you should know before you set out.
It’s no secret that I’m no fan of lists of the “best” [insert type of thing] in the world. Why? For something to be judged the best, then the judges must have tried all available options. And it’s a big world, so they simply can’t have.
Nevertheless, I’m delighted to say that Scotland has been named the most beautiful country in the world.
Qantas has slowly but surely been unveiling a new strategy for its big-ticket flights from Australia.
On top of its announced aim to offer ultra-long-haul flights from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, the Flying Kangaroo is preparingto redirect its flagship QF Flight 1 to London back via Singapore, rather than Dubai, which has been the single stopover for the past few years.
If you rely on medicine or medical equipment — be it blood-pressure tablets, asthma treatment or EpiPens for allergies — don’t simply assume that it will be available everywhere you travel.
You will certainly find that some prescription-only drugs are available over the counter in other countries, but you may find that something you really need is unavailable, overpriced, often faked or even illegal.
It seems like a case of damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Here’s a news story about a cruise line that’s under fire because it ruined a family’s holiday when it refused to allow two sick children to board.
And yet the same web site — and many others — regularly runs stories (such as this and this) about large numbers of passengers whose holidays are ruined because they got norovirus (“gastro” in Australian headline-writing parlance) on cruise ships.
Qantas says it wants to be able to fly from the east coast of Australia (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) non-stop to London. It’s just waiting for aircraft manufacturers to build a plane that can do it.
Given that a Boeing 777 LR plane can already fly non-stop for 17 hours, a 20-plus-hour flight may not be far away. Airbus’s A350 apparently also has potential.
Have you heard about those people who only travel in an “authentic” manner? They eschew organised tours and established modes of transport, insist on homestays over hotels, and avoid the big attractions in favour of the “undiscovered” backroads and byways?
And at least some of them look down on the rest of us who don’t have the time, energy or money to faff about, and just want to enjoy ourselves and see a bit of the world that’s new to us.
When I travel, I often use an app called TripCase. It usually works like a dream. I just forward my flight and hotel booking confirmation emails to TripCase, and my journey shows up on all my devices. Flight delays and other information is updated in real time.
On my most recent trip, however, something went awry.
When I sent it my booking confirmations for Cathay Pacific flights CX713, Bangkok to Singapore, and CX712, Singapore to Bangkok, TripCase decided that I was going to New England in the United States.
I have actually been to Augusta, Maine — for Thanksgiving, no less — and I had a wonderful time. But I’m not sure how I could go there twice on successive days starting from different Southeast Asian airports.