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Travel stories, inspiration, news and musing

We are the dreamers, the seekers, the travellers, the adventurers, the optimists. It's nice to meet you! There are lots of us with the same DNA - we look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Filtering by Tag: travel tips

How to stay safe in an emergency situation

Aimee Pearce

When travelling internationally one thing is certain and that is that nothing is certain. You can have packed precisely, researched in detail and planned to perfection BUT there is always the potential that everything can be turned upside down. At best I'm talking about delayed flights and lost luggage, at worst, you could be looking at a natural disaster or even an act of terror. I don't say this to be at all alarmist and I certainly don't say it to scare you out of travel - as you know we are the biggest advocates of travel - but I say it to be realistic and to help you be prepared for whatever your adventures might throw at you.

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On the road....5 awesome modes of transport

Aimee Pearce

Catching public transport just doesn't have the same appeal at home. There's nothing exotic about jumping on a bus in Brisbane city or slogging it through the burbs on your daily train commute. Where I live on the Sunshine Coast we barely even have public transport! And yet, when you're in a foreign country, the way you get from point A to point B, all become part of the glorious, romantic adventure. Whether it's riding on the back of a motorbike in Indonesia, (without the inhibitions of a helmet) or dodging heart-palpitation-inducing traffic in an Indian rickshaw - the way we travel becomes part of the beautiful fabric of our journey tales. But there are risks and rewards with every option!

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How to get holiday feels on a home-time budget

Elissa Webster

Is it just me or does your next holiday seem a loooonnnngggg way in the distance! Now I have heard of a species of humans who ACCRUE annual leave and are even FORCED to take holidays because they have TOO MANY?!?!?! But this is a very strange and foreign concept to me. I've always been either in the negative when it comes to annual leave or I can be found on extend unpaid leave. My motto has always been: life is too short to accrue leave!

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How to sleep like a baby on a plane

Elissa Webster

I absolutely detest sleeping on planes. But even when I was one of those childless travellers who glared at travelling parents in the boarding queue hoping they wouldn't be sitting near me, I still hated sleeping on planes.  But sometimes, attempting to sleep on a plane is unavoidable, especially if you live in Australia.  And then, what does one do?

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5 elements of a grand travel year!

Elissa Webster

I have become a master of planning out my leisure time. Why would I want to put structure around something as liberating as a holiday? Because a) it helps me squeeze every last drop of holiday time out of my year, b) it gives me plenty of time to look forward to the next adventure as soon as I've returned from the last one, and c) it means I can hunt down the best deals and nut out the best things to see and do - which in turns enables point a). Here are the five elements that I think comprise an awesome year of travel, complete with recommended dosages! Enjoy!

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How to save money on travel in 2016

Aimee Pearce

Ok, so the bad news is the Aussie dollar is not great. In a lot of ways, 2016 is not looking like a great time to travel. In fact, a lot of people are suggesting now is a good time to stay local: travel domestically, instead of losing out on bad exchange rates and overspending on international jaunts.

While adding some Aussie trips to the schedule for 2016 definitely sounds like a good idea, I'm a little sad at the prospect of doom and gloom for international travel. So you can imagine my excitement to stumble upon this awesome list of ways to save money on travel in 2016.

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Travel tips: Things you never thought to do with straws and buttons

Elissa Webster

I don't know about you, but I absolutely love this sort of thing - to my mind, it's among the best contributions the Internet makes to modern life. Of course, when it actually comes time to pack, I never remember any of the useful tips or am organised enough for implementing them. But I love the concept of packing hacks!

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Plunging Aussie Dollar (travel) survival strategies

Elissa Webster

 

 

Having just returned from Europe and experiencing the travel impact of those jaw-dropping exchange rates firsthand, this article from Michael Gebicki at Traveller is one it would have been helpful to read earlier ;)

How to beat the falling Australian dollar travel tips: 10 ways to get the most value back on the dollar

WAP YOUR HOUSE

You can put yourself into a villa in Tuscany, an apartment in London or a condo in Aspen at minimal cost if you're prepared to exchange your home for another's, and the internet makes it happen. House Swap is Australia's largest house exchange holiday club with properties around the globe, and the sign-up fee is low.

See www.houseswapholidays.com.au

Have I mentioned I live at the beach? House swap enquiries welcome!

Have I mentioned I live at the beach? House swap enquiries welcome!

CRUISE CONTROL

Cruise ships with empty berths close to sailing time offer big discounts to travellers prepared to join them at short notice. You can often put yourself on board for as little as $100 per person per day on some of the finest names in the cruising world. Check Cruise Express, Cruiseco or check the last-minute deals available from cruise lines own websites. 

See www.cruiseexpress.com.au; www.cruising.com.au   

BOOK AIR TRAVEL NOW, PAY LATER

With a non-refundable deposit of $300, you can take advantage of STA Travel's Airfare Deposit Program. You get to lock in the price of your air ticket with the freedom to pay the balance just seven days before flight time. Qantas has a similar deal, Book Now, Pay Later. Pay a $25 holding deposit and your seat is secured, but the deal does not apply to all seats on all flights, and the final price may change if taxes, fees and Qantas' charges rise. 

See www.statravel.com.au

EAT LOCAL 

Look for where the locals are eating, and stay away from tourist hot spots at meal times. If the restaurant has a sign outside that says "English menu", find somewhere else. If you have your main meal in the middle of the day rather than in the evening you'll save. Most restaurants charge more for dinner than for lunch, even when they serve the same dish. Make do with a light dinner.

LOCK IN VALUE

I'm not normally a big fan of travel money cards but when the Aussie dollar is tumbling with no bottom in sight they offer a way to lock in your dollars against foreign currencies at today's rate. Available from post offices, banks and other financial institutions, these cash passports offer the convenience of ATM withdrawals and the ability to pay for goods and services overseas just as you would with any other debit card. 

LOOK FOR VALUE

Although the Aussie dollar has tumbled against the major world currencies, there are a few places where it has held its value. Our dollar is now worth slightly more Turkish lira than it was a year ago. Against the New Zealand dollar our own dollar is almost exactly where it was a year ago, but the standout bargain is Russia. Sanctions imposed by Europe and America have taken a big bite out of the Russian currency and the Aussie dollar now buys almost 30 per cent more roubles than it did this time last year.

BOOK AN APARTMENT

Not only are they generally cheaper than a hotel room of similar quality, apartments in big cities give you the opportunity to save on meals and sundry charges such as laundry. Travel with a family or small group and the savings are magnified. Websites such as Airbnb make it easy to find suitable accommodation but check the reviews from past guests and make sure your home-away-from-home is in a good location with easy access to transport. 

See www.airbnb.com.au

LAST MINUTE BARGAINS

Hotels with empty rooms  often have late-breaking deals with big discounts. Check for special prices on Lastminute, while both Priceline and SkyAuction allow you to haggle with a hotel by naming your price – and the closer to check-in time, the sharper the price.

Seewww.lastminute.com.au; www.priceline.com; www.skyauction.com

LINGER LONGER

Whether you're staying in a hotel or an apartment, you'll frequently get a better price per night for a longer stay, particularly in off-peak season. When they're quiet, many hotels and resorts offer a free extra night if you book in for as few as three nights, and an apartment rented via Airbnb often comes at a discount if you take it for a whole week.

STAY HOME 

The Aussie dollar still buys you a dollar's worth of food, accommodation, air, road and rail travel right here in Australia, and fuel prices are low right now. This could be the time to set the wheels spinning and explore a special part of the place we call home, just as many thousands of travellers from overseas are doing right now. You don't need a passport or visa, there's no long-haul flight, no worries about where to access your cash and you can use data services with your regular telco without fear.

3 things you didn't know about Hawaii

Elissa Webster

Here's the thing - everyone thinks they already know everything there is to know about Hawaii because they've seen a few episodes of Hawaii Five O (and yes, no one is arguing that the 60s version was better, so let's not even go there). But having been to Hawaii - and expecting not much more than a pleasant few days in the sun as a stopover en route to the other 49 States of America - I can tell you that there is more to these islands than first meets the eye.

And I'm super excited that my Wanderlust People partner in crime, Aimee, is heading there THIS WEEKEND!

Sure, there is the glitzy strip of Waikiki that is everything you imagine it will be - shoulder to shoulder tourists sunburning themselves on resort towels in the sand and posers strutting the street in heels and not much else. But go even a few streets back, or to the other side of O'ahu for a start, and you'll see a much less plastic side of the last state to join the US of A. Rolling hills of pineapple plantations,  picture perfect waterfalls and - not so unexpectedly - breathtaking, untamed surf breaks. And that's just O'ahu - Hawaii's other islands offer even more opportunities to break free from the pack and explore a pretty unique part of the world.

So in the interest of whetting your appetite, here are the top 3 things I didn't know about Hawaii before I went...

1. There's more to Hawaii than beaches

hawaii-beach

The beaches are amazing (with the possible exception of Waikiki - I don't need such close proximity to my fellow man in a beach experience). And an important point to not is that they are all publicly accessible, even if they nudge up to a fancy resort or a gated community of some sort. But they are actually not the coolest natural occurring drawcard of the islands. There are plummeting cliffs, pristine forests, acres of marine parks (including the 360,000 km2 of reefs, atolls and deep sea of the protected Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, which is an area larger than all of the national parks in the US combined), and there's something about impressive waves too... But the coolest natural attraction in Hawaii in my book is the volcanoes. Which brings me to number 2.

2. Hawaii is getting bigger all the time

hawaii-volcano

That's right - while most sea-kissing places are worrying about losing land to climate change and rising oceans, Hawaii is actually adding to its land mass every day. And it's all thanks to Kīlauea, part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island, which has been erupting continuously since 1983 and is possibly the world's most  active volcano. As the lava flows into the sea it solidifies and extends the coastline out bit by bit. Locals have been built shacks on the new rocky outcrops in a kind of modern day land rush. Combined with the spectacle of molten hot lava spewing into the sea, it makes for pretty interesting exploring!  And exploring makes me hungry. And that leads me to point 3.

3.  The food is actually pretty good

shrimp-van

I was expecting lots of greasy burgers and sugar dipped doughnuts. But in actual fact, there is plenty of great food to be had in Hawaii. There are farmers' markets a plenty on these islands, with no shortage of tropical fruit and fresh veggies. Coffee plantations are proud of their brews and local vodka made with sugar cane and deep-ocean mineral water is there for the taking. Roadside trucks offer fruity smoothies, a mean shave ice, and some decent plate lunches. And then there are Hawaii's specialties - furikake chicken, malasada (Hawaiian-Portuguese doughnuts) and manju (sweet buns filled with coconut, sweet potato, and other good stuff). I'm back on a sun-soaked holiday just thinking about it!

So happy travels Aimee - and stay tuned for her hot tips and pics direct from Hawaii for 10 sun-filled days from Friday!