WHAT TO PACK FOR JAPAN
Have just returned from a Japan holiday and would have saved time if I had taken a lanyard to carry my rail pass. You need the pass all the time and taking it in and out of my bag nearly broke my zip! Also they don’t often have paper towel in the bathrooms, so ensure you have a hand towel or facewasher in your bag so you don’t have wet hands.
NAVIGATORS IN CAR HIRE
Thank you for the article on car hire overseas. Here are a few more tips we’ve learned over the years:
1. Hire a car from the airport. In Europe especially, this saves trying to navigate out of busy cities and greatly reduces stress when driving on the opposite side of the road.
2. If possible, pick up and drop off at the same location. This has saved us hundreds of dollars both in car hire fees and return airfares.
3. Buy a road atlas. It’s old-school but my husband and I bought a spiralbound road atlas book of Europe years ago and it’s been the best investment. Not only can we plan days/routes/ timing/sights, we highlight the roads we’ve taken (and still laugh heartily at the spiral course we took trying to exit Paris on our first road trip in Europe). KATE DELANEY
LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE
My top five travelling tips learned from my mistakes:
1. On New York’s subway, hold onto your friend otherwise you may not get on the train together and it could take a whole day to find them (neither of us had SIM cards).
2. Buy SIM cards when travelling. 3. Book a hotel more than a day ahead, as you may end up in the dodgy side of Washington DC at a hotel where reception has a bulletproof window.
4. Don’t go to any temple in Vietnam that you stumble across because some might be a tad creepy.
5. Stand your ground and act tough if the little old lady paddling the boat in Cambodia tries to scam money off you in the middle of the ocean.
Research forums such as ozbargain.com for what your destination offers in terms of mobile data. Too often you get off a plane and are overwhelmed with options and too tired and stressed to shop around for the best deal and coverage. We found that Fiji was offering every visitor a 24hour data SIM on arrival from Vodafone at the time we were travelling. This was handy. Make sure to turn Snapchat and other social media apps on “Travel Mode”. If you have iOS, turn off “Background app refresh” and turn fetch email to “push” to reduce data usage drastically.
AJ CARTER AND MONICA FISHER, TOURDECARTER.COM
UPGRADE FOR LESS
If you are booked in economy or even business class and you are checking in, ask if it is possible to be upgraded to premium economy, business or even first class and ask how much it will cost. Normally they will say it will cost a fraction of the price, so just be polite and kind as it can’t hurt asking.
PIC OF THE WEEK It's not posed – I took this photo of my wife and daughter at Mystery Island, Vanuatu, without them knowing.
The incredible Titanic Belfast, with nine galleries that tell the tragic tale, is the world’s largest Titanic-themed attraction.