For reasons that will become clearer in future posts, I have to be in Bangkok by the last week of this month.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Tipping is a way of life in some parts of the world, and something to be avoided in other places. Travellers soon learn whether they need to tip or not.
But it’s on the high seas where things get confusing. Cruise holidays bring together passengers from all parts of the world, and there is often no consensus about how much, or even whether, they should tip.
I wouldn’t normally write about a press release announcing that a cruise line, or other travel company, had won some kind of award or distinction.
However, this is different. Holland America Line has announced that its ms Eurodam has registered a particular achievement for the 11th consecutive time. And that should interest everyone who has ever cruised, or has ever contemplated a cruise holiday.
In the current climate of austerity, many people are thinking twice about paying for business-class airfares.
As I’ve argued before, if you can afford to fly business and you want to, nothing should stop you from treating yourself. However, if it’s going to break the bank, you don’t have to totally slum it in the ever-tighter economy or “basic economy” seats.
The demise of the bricks-and-mortar travel agency has been predicted ever since airline and hotel bookings first became available online.
But these shopfronts have been quite resilient, and there are still many to be found in shopping malls and high streets.
However, the numbers are slowly declining, with reports that the venerable Thomas Cook is to close 39 stores in the United Kingdom. That will still, however, leave 719 open for business under that brand alone. Continue reading Death of the travel agent?