SEE THE RAIL ENG­LAND

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - ASK THE EXPERT DOC HOLIDAY - KIM CULYER

While my wife and I are in the UK for three weeks in Oc­to­ber, we wish to travel by train. What are the ad­van­tages of the BritRail pass or should we pay as we go?

DOC ®

Pay-as-you-go train tick­ets through­out the UK are a good idea if you are only mak­ing a few trips or can com­mit to dates and times to take ad­van­tage of ad­vance pur­chas­ing. They tend to be ex­pen­sive com­pared to other parts of Europe. A rail pass al­lows for travel in one or more coun­tries over a cer­tain num­ber of days, either a con­tin­u­ous pe­riod of days or a num­ber of days spread over a wider win­dow of time. They are avail­able to non-UK res­i­dents and need to be bought be­fore you travel. This is an ad­van­tage when bud­get­ing.

For a three-week trip, a pass will save you money. Take some time to sit down and map out your itin­er­ary, be­cause there are a few to choose from de­pend­ing on the coun­tries you wish to visit. A straight-up BritRail Pass cov­ers Eng­land, Wales and Scot­land, while a BritRail Eng­land doesn’t in­clude these other coun­tries.

You should also con­sider how long you want to spend in each des­ti­na­tion. If you like to linger and ex­plore at leisure, then a Flex­i­pass would suit. Here you choose the amount of travel days you need and the win­dow in which to use them.

A con­tin­u­ous pass is great if you’re short on time and plan to cover a lot of ground. For ex­am­ple, if you have a 15day pass, you can ride the trains as much as you like over the 15 days. The con­tin­u­ous pass can also give you the free­dom to change your mind on the day and keep trav­el­ling with­out wor­ry­ing you have used an­other travel day, to­gether with the free­dom to take any train with­out won­der­ing if a trip jus­ti­fies the use of a travel day.

If you are in­clud­ing Ire­land in your trip, it is bet­ter to use their bus sys­tem (bu­seire­ann.ie). The buses cover a wider net­work than the trains and they have passes or pay-as-you-go. Both are priced much the same.

If you are se­niors there are dis­counted fares with both, and Rail Plus (railplus.com.au) or any travel agent can help with your pur­chase.

SUIT­CASE COV­ERS

We are trav­el­ling next year to Lon­don via LA and then back from New York. Do you see any prob­lems with us­ing suit­case cov­ers? We al­ways lock our bags but worry about find­ing them with all the other lug­gage on the carousels. There will be at least six bags.

DOC ®

Iden­ti­fy­ing your bags quickly and eas­ily af­ter a long flight is a god­send. I say, do this us­ing any tac­tic you can think of. Coloured rib­bons, stick­ers and cov­ers all help. Cov­ers come in a mul­ti­tude of pat­terns, usu­ally in a stretchy fab­ric de­signed to fit many sized suit­cases. One com­pany, fire­box.com, will print a large im­age of your best selfie on the cover, en­sur­ing only you will want to claim your bag. With six bags, you could fea­ture each fam­ily mem­ber or per­haps your grand­kids. As you’re trav­el­ling through the US and you like to lock your bags, use TSA-ap­proved locks. If your bags are searched, this is sup­posed to mean they will be opened by a master key in­stead of bolt cut­ters. How­ever, I hear mixed re­ports about this and have also heard of cov­ers not be­ing put back on. BAT­TLE­FIELDS TOUR We’re in our 60s, do­ing a Europe tour in Septem­ber, end­ing in Paris. We wish to do a one-day tour of WWI bat­tle­fields and memo­ri­als. Can we be picked up in Paris? We don’t feel com­fort­able ne­go­ti­at­ing the trains.

DOC ®

French Travel Con­nec­tion (french­travel.com.au) has some ideal itin­er­ar­ies. The D -Day Land­ing Beaches Tour is 14 hours long and takes you to the his­toric sites in Nor­mandy. Travel is by coach and you will visit the Caen Me­mo­rial Mu­seum to see film screen­ings, arte­facts and recre­ations. Pointe du Hoc over­look­ing two of the beaches, the Amer­i­can Ceme­tery at Saint Lau­rent and the his­toric town of Ar­ro­manches-les-Bains are also vis­ited. There’s time in­cluded to walk around the beaches and ex­plore other land­ing sites.

This tour is $484 a per­son. There’s also the 12-hour small group tour to the Somme Bat­tle­fields. It in­cludes mini-van pick up from your ho­tel and you will ex­plore the Mu­seum of the Great War, the vil­lages of Villers-Bre­ton­neux, Péronne and La Bois­selle.

SAN­TI­AGO STOR­AGE Can you tell us the open­ing times of the lug­gage stor­age of­fice at the San­ti­ago Air­port? Be­tween a land tour and a cruise we are go­ing to Machu Pic­chu for two days and need to leave two suit­cases in stor­age.

DOC ®

San­ti­ago Air­port pro­vides a fully se­cure lug­gage stor­age fa­cil­ity. You will find it land­side on the first floor, in the lobby. It is open 24 hours a day.

AIR­LINES FOR GUAM

We want to visit Guam and Yap next year. A long while back we went to Guam, Palau and Saipan, fly­ing with Con­ti­nen­tal or United out of Cairns, but un­for­tu­nately those air­lines are no longer avail­able. How do we get there? We have strug­gled to find out with travel agents.

DOC ®

It seems odd your travel agent is un­able to as­sist. Guam, pop­u­lar for scuba div­ing, is ac­ces­si­ble from Aus­tralia with a few air­lines. But de­spite the re­gion’s prox­im­ity to Aus­tralia, the route is not as short and di­rect as you would as­sume. If you’re de­part­ing from Syd­ney, there are usu­ally two stops in Asia so this route gen­er­ally takes about 30 hours – not ideal. Mel­bourne de­par­tures will also usu­ally in­clude two stops and about 21 hours’ travel time, while flights from Bris­bane via Seoul take about 16.

Ser­vic­ing these routes are Ja­pan Air­lines, China Air­lines, Korean Air, Philip­pine Air­lines, Eva Air, United and Delta. Bud­get car­rier Air Seoul also op­er­ates flights to Guam from Syd­ney. Yap is a clus­ter of is­lands about 800km south­west of Guam and is best reached from Guam. To fly to Yap from Aus­tralia is ex­pen­sive.

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK

Rail passes are a good op­tion for see­ing Bri­tain; cov­ers or tags help lug­gage stand out on a carousel; and sev­eral com­pa­nies of­fer tours of French bat­tle­fields.

SPOT LUG­GAGE

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