Five things first-time visitors should know about Thailand

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.

Continue reading Five things first-time visitors should know about Thailand

Make sure you have the right medicine when you travel

(epipen.com)

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.

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How I became a budget airline’s dream passenger

Recently, I became an airline’s dream customer — the person who booked and paid for a flight but didn’t turn up at the airport.

Everyone can, but I didn’t.

In all likelihood, the airline was able to sell my seat again and make a small but tidy extra profit.

Continue reading How I became a budget airline’s dream passenger

Five things you really can’t leave home without

“Once again, you forgot to mention the Imodium.” That was the Twitter comment about one of my posts that made me realise it’s time to go back to basics.

So, forgive me if you’ve read this before, but here are the five indispensable things to take on your travels.

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Five things that can get you arrested when you travel

Even though I love to travel, I’m the first to admit that it’s not without its pitfalls.

Recently, I’ve been reminded about some cases where travellers or expatriatess — usually Westerners — have got themselves into big trouble because they didn’t know what they were doing was illegal.

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Five reasons not to believe all that travel advice

This might seem like a strange thing to read on a travel blog, but you shouldn’t believe everything you read, or hear, about travel.

Some things last forever, others change.

It’s a big, bad world out there, and not everybody is being entirely honest in their posts, newspaper and magazine articles, podcasts, vodcasts, tweets, instas, Facebook Live broadcasts and so on.

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How to score a cheap flight by tricking the science of seat prices

It’s a mystery to most of us why airfare prices fluctuate so wildly. In this video, CNN’s Richard Quest (yes, I know, some people do find him irritating) explains why that is, and describes a newish way that you can score an upgrade.



Sadly, the video does not explain why return flights are cheaper than two one-way tickets — I believe it’s because airlines want to lock you in getting there and Continue reading How to score a cheap flight by tricking the science of seat prices

Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.

(cathaypacific.com)

I checked my Qantas frequent flyer points* with the view to making a direct flight from Brisbane. But I discovered that for about the same number of points I could go first to somewhere I’d never been before — and I’m always up for that.

Continue reading Up, up and away … this time I’m off to Taipei

Do you really want to get away from it all?

In this age of constant connectivity, we’ve all had to adapt in all aspects of our lives.

Because our bosses, our families and our friends expect us to be instant,y contactable, that means the dream of sailing away to a deserted island and truly switching off may never again be achievable.

Continue reading Do you really want to get away from it all?

Be alert to travel dangers

The terrible events in London have once again brought terrorism to the forefront.

(bbc.co.uk/news)

Those who commit these acts choose their targets carefully: they want to disrupt the daily lives of residents and to persuade would-be visitors to stay away. Their aims are to inflict immediate damage and to create long-term economic harm.

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Captain’s correct call

Along with other passengers on my recent cruise on the Pacific Aria to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, I missed out on two out of three scheduled port calls due to bad weather.

The Pacific Aria

I could complain, I could ask for compensation — which wouldn’t be forthcoming, since this eventuality is covered in the fine print — but, while I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to see Noumea and Mare, I believe it was the right call.

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The price isn’t right


As a solo traveller who likes cruising, I’m always desperate to find a fair deal in a market that’s clearly geared towards groups of two or more.

I understand why there has traditionally been a bias towards catering for couples and families, but times are changing and more people — young, old and in the middle — are travelling on their own. With this in mind, I sometimes get riled when a see “deal” that is patently biased against solo travellers.

Continue reading The price isn’t right

Scoot sets sights on Oz-Europe route

Although it often seems prohibitively expensive, air travel has actually become far more affordable in recent years. A flight from Sydney to London, for example, costs roughly the same as it did 30 years ago, despite inflation.

Scoot economy (flyscoot.com)

And flying to Europe is about to get even cheaper for Australians, with Singapore-based airline Scoot offering flights from the east coast to Athens for less than $1000.

But cheaper isn’t always better …

Continue reading Scoot sets sights on Oz-Europe route

Extras. Read all about them

We’ve all been asked if we “want fries with that” or otherwise been enticed to buy something more than we originally planned.

Are special touches worth paying extra for?

It’s no different in the travel business, but sometimes what’s part of the package and what’s extra isn’t quite as easy to understand as an upsized Big Mac meal deal.

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An expensive business

The first time I flew business class, it was from Brisbane to Perth. Somebody else — a publicist promoting a play she wanted me to see so I could interview the star* — was paying, so I’m not sure what it cost.

I was, however, shocked to see the difference between the economy and business class fares currently being offered by Qantas for the same flight.

Continue reading An expensive business

Suite dreams at sea

My motto for all travel is to do what you can comfortably afford to do. As I’ve written, if you want to fly business- or first-class, and you have the money to do it, don’t let anybody persuade you otherwise.

First-class cabin on the Titanic (origin unknown)

The difference between business and economy class on a plane — especially on long-haul flights — is painfully obvious. That is, the ever-more-cramped economy-class seats will induce pain; the lie-flat options up front will not. Continue reading Suite dreams at sea