VAC­UUM SEAL FOR SKI GEAR

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - YOUR VIEW -

We al­ways take our own hel­mets and place them in the cor­ner of the suit­case with the chin strap fac­ing in, then stuff them full with gog­gles, gloves, socks, ther­mals etc. Buy vac­uum-sealed stor­age bags and re­duce your ski jack­ets and pants to a frac­tion of their size and put them in the mid­dle of the case. Ho­tels will usu­ally hap­pily help you with a vac­uum to re­seal them. We are gen­er­ally able to fit a fam­ily of four’s ski­ing gear into one suit­case this way. RE­BECCA SUL­LI­VAN

PHO­TO­GRAPHIC BREAD­CRUMBS

I have a ter­ri­ble sense of di­rec­tion, which can be a prob­lem trav­el­ling solo. I over­come this by tak­ing a photo of the ho­tel and im­me­di­ate sur­rounds plus one of the street from the di­rec­tion I have to travel so I can re­trace my steps – kind of like a trail of pho­to­graphic bread­crumbs. I also take a photo of the exit and en­try signs in the bus and train sta­tions, which is par­tic­u­larly help­ful if your re­turn trans­port en­ters the sta­tion from a dif­fer­ent plat­form. MA­REE KEAT­ING

GET THE MAX FROM MUNI

On a re­cent visit to San Fran­cisco we were given the best ad­vice ever for us­ing the lo­cal trans­port net­work. By down­load­ing the Mu­niMo­bile app we were able to pre-buy day passes di­rect to our phone, ac­ti­vate them and present for in­spec­tion when re­quired. We chose a 1-Day Pass­port for $US12 (about $16.40) giv­ing us un­lim­ited bus, rail and cable car for the day. Given a one-way cable car ride is $US7 and the bus $US2.50, it was good value and we just got on and off where we wanted. There are five other fares avail­able. This app will also help plan for walk, bike and drive ac­tiv­i­ties. CHRISTO­PHER BREEN

EUROPE BY RAIL

We’ve just re­turned from a Euro­pean trip and ex­pe­ri­enced the very ef­fi­cient Ger­man Rail­ways. The rail­ways web­site (bahn.com) is easy to use and the cheap­est op­tion was to buy a point-to-point ticket (Sparpreis), about €20, ($31) where you se­lect a time to travel, the class, seat reser­va­tion, quiet car­riage, win­dow seat, etc. You can also book dis­counted ac­com­mo­da­tion, city bus/ tram day tick­ets, lug­gage as­sis­tance and car hire in one-hour blocks ... help­ful for driv­ing a short dis­tance to see sights. Se­cond class was com­fort­able for short trips; in first class, you can use a won­der­ful lounge at ma­jor rail sta­tions to en­joy food and al­co­hol. On­line tick­ets were im­me­di­ate and tick­ets can be bought for travel to neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. PAUL AND MAR­I­LYN JONAS

THE ‘HUN­GAR­IAN SEA’

Lake Bala­ton is one of the most prized trea­sures in Hun­gary. About 80km long, it is the largest lake in Cen­tral Europe, and only an hour’s drive from Bu­dapest. De­spite its pop­u­lar­ity, it’s largely un­known out­side the coun­try and boasts a scenic cy­cling route around the lake which gives ex­plor­ers the chance to en­counter trea­sures such as fam­ily-run winer­ies, tiny vil­lages of­fer­ing farm-to-plate de­lights, a hill­top fairy-tale fortress, and some of Europe’s loveli­est laven­der fields. RAY SER­AFIN

PIC­TURE: ELIAS MESSAIKE

Un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence watch­ing sun­rise over Sa­gar­matha, com­monly known as Mt Ever­est, sit­ting atop Kala Patthar at 5643m.

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