A TALE OF TWO CITIES

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

In June we are join­ing a tour of Scan­di­navia in Copen­hagen, but ar­riv­ing ear­lier so that we might be able to pick up an es­corted day tour that crosses the Ore­sund Bridge to Swe­den, tours the sights in Malmo and Lund and re­turns us to Copen­hagen. Any sug­ges­tions? DOC

Have a look at Tour Swedish Copen­hagen (swedishcph.dk). One of their tours is the Lund and Malmo City Tour. This be­gins by meet­ing your guide at the Copen­hagen Cen­tral Sta­tion, who will then take you across the Ore­sund Bridge. Once in Swe­den, you will be guided around sev­eral mon­u­ments, the univer­sity and the me­dieval Lund cathe­dral while learn­ing about the Vik­ings.

Lunch will be in Malmo be­fore a tour of this city. You then have the op­tion of re­turn­ing via the bus or tak­ing your­selves back to Copen­hagen at your leisure. This tour is about $230 a per­son.

Malmo is a 30-minute train trip from Copen­hagen (16km), so the other op­tion is to grab a train ticket for $17 a per­son each way and ex­plore the city of Malmo at your own pace.

AT A STRETCH

Has any­one done any re­search com­par­ing the avail­able dis­tances between econ­omy class seats on planes? Front and back, not side­ways. Or are they all ex­actly the same? I imag­ine peo­ple with long legs might be in­ter­ested to know when choos­ing an air­line, or avoid­ing one.

DOC

Sit­ting for 17 hours down the back of the bus with your knees around your ears would def­i­nitely be an un­com­fort­able way to start or fin­ish a trip. So yes, it is im­por­tant to check on a seat’s pitch – the dis­tance between the back of your chair to the back of the one in front, be­cause they do vary a bit between the dif­fer­ent air­lines.

Each air­line will list the pitch for each class on their web­site. The dif­fer­ence between econ­omy and busi­ness or first class on most car­ri­ers is well worth con­sid­er­ing if you are tall. Qan­tas, for ex­am­ple, fea­tures a pitch of 32 inches in their econ­omy class seats on the 787 Dream­liner, used for the Perth to Lon­don, non-stop flight.

Pre­mium Econ­omy seats on this flight have 38 inches (96cm) of pitch, and busi­ness class a whop­ping 46 inches (117cm) with the seat then ex­tend­ing to lie flat at a length of 80 inches (2m).

With some air­lines, the econ­omy seat pitch can drop down to 29 inches (74cm) and al­though three inches (8cm) doesn’t seem like much to worry about, it will af­fect your flight, par­tic­u­larly if you are blessed with long legs. Seat Guru (seat­guru.com) is an on­line tool list­ing most air­lines and their seat pitches and is a quick way to check who of­fers what. If you are trav­el­ling in econ­omy class and would ap­pre­ci­ate a lit­tle ex­tra leg room, pay for or ask at check-in for an exit row or bulk­head seat. Both will al­low you to stretch out.

GAME TO GO

We are trav­el­ling to South Africa in July and stay­ing at Lon­dolozi Game Re­serve in Kruger Na­tional Park. We will be fly­ing into Johannesburg and stay­ing seven nights. Do we need to ap­ply for a visa?

DOC

If you are trav­el­ling on an Aus­tralian pass­port, you may visit South Africa for up to 90 days with­out the need for a visa.

Your pass­port must have at least six months’ va­lid­ity re­main­ing from the time you en­ter South Africa plus two empty pages.

TRAV­EL­LING SOLO

I am a teacher and would like to travel to New Zealand be­fore Christ­mas for about

10 days. Can you rec­om­mend a tour? I will pos­si­bly be trav­el­ling solo. I would pre­fer to see ei­ther is­land well, rather than try to fit in too much.

DOC

When trav­el­ling solo, it can be a nice idea to join a group of like-minded in­di­vid­u­als, all in­ter­ested in the same des­ti­na­tion. It gives you a sense of se­cu­rity, you will make new friends, and you will have other peo­ple around to share the won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ences you en­counter in your trip.

If you can, travel with a com­pany spe­cial­is­ing in solo travel or who waives the sin­gle sup­ple­ment. This sup­ple­ment, if you have to pay it, can of­ten in­crease the tour cost above your bud­get. Solo Con­nec­tions (solo­con­nec­tions.com.au) fea­tures fully es­corted, small group trips from Bris­bane to both is­lands of New Zealand. They are over 10 and 11 days and in­clude sin­gle room use.

Hav­ing your own room and not shar­ing with a stranger gives you your own space and pri­vacy when and if you want.

In­trepid (in­trepid­travel.com) of­fers a va­ri­ety of north­bound or south­bound itin­er­ar­ies through New Zealand. They range from seven to 22 days and cover both is­lands in­depth. The 11-day New Zealand South Is­land Ex­plorer may in­ter­est you as it ex­plores the key des­ti­na­tions of in­ter­est in the south is­land.

It be­gins and ends in Christchurch, is rated Ex­plorer, so in­cludes ac­tiv­i­ties like hik­ing, white-wa­ter raft­ing and a scenic flight, plus the group size is lim­ited to a max­i­mum of 15 par­tic­i­pants.

You will spend a night aboard a boat trav­el­ling the fjords of Doubt­ful Sound, spend sev­eral nights in Queen­stown and take a guided hike across the Franz Josef Glacier.

HOR­ROR HOL­I­DAY

Af­ter many years and many happy trips here and over­seas, we fi­nally had a night­mare hol­i­day with a lo­cal provider. Who reg­u­lates the travel in­dus­try in Aus­tralia?

DOC

The travel agent in­dus­try in Aus­tralia is gov­erned by the Aus­tralian Fed­er­a­tion of Travel Agents (afta.com.au) and its travel ac­cred­i­ta­tion scheme ATAS.

Book­ings should only be done through ac­cred­ited ATAS travel agents as this en­sures a stan­dard of prac­tice and a code of ethics is ad­hered to.

You have re­ferred to a travel provider, so you may mean a tour op­er­a­tor, ho­tel or travel pack­age com­pany rather than travel agent.

In this case, CATO the Coun­cil of Aus­tralian Tour Op­er­a­tors (cato.travel) is the rep­re­sen­ta­tive body for Aus­tralian whole­sale tour op­er­a­tors of­fer­ing travel and tour pack­ages do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally.

You could also con­tact Aus­tralian Con­sumer Law (con­sumer­law.gov.au), Aus­tralian Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ments Com­mis­sion (asic.gov.au) or an om­buds­man (aus­tralia.gov.au).

PIC­TURES: ISTOCK

The 8km Ore­sund Bridge car­ries trains and ve­hi­cles across the Ore­sund Strait between Den­mark and Swe­den; there are small group tours to Queen­stown for solo trav­ellers and Aus­tralians don’t need a visa for South Africa for up to 90 days.

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