The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - DOC HOLIDAY - LISA MAYOH

I’ve heard never to travel to Italy in Au­gust be­cause that’s when the Ital­ians hol­i­day and a lot is closed. Is this true? Does this also ap­ply to other coun­tries? We’d like to do a two-week Italy and Spain trip late Au­gust into early Septem­ber.


You are right. Ital­ians and Spaniards go on hol­i­day for most of Au­gust, and the beaches and restau­rants are full of lo­cals. Touristy ar­eas such as Rome or Barcelona, where few places close dur­ing such peak sum­mer times, aren’t greatly af­fected and nor are coastal re­sorts where ev­ery­thing is open for long hours.

But if you’re get­ting away from the hus­tle and bus­tle, you might strug­gle to shop, or even find a bak­ery or cafe open be­tween lunchtime and about 4pm when wise lo­cals have a siesta break. Some neigh­bour­hood restau­rants, busi­nesses and fa­cil­i­ties could be closed while their own­ers go on hol­i­day. This will es­pe­cially be the case around Au­gust 15, which is the Fer­ragosto pub­lic hol­i­day in Italy and also a pub­lic hol­i­day in Spain, so trans­port may be sparse, hol­i­day rentals full and restau­rants bustling with tourists – or closed.

In say­ing that, if you do a tour, op­er­a­tors will know ex­actly where to go and when places are closed. Lo­cal so­cial me­dia groups are also a good place to ask – lo­cals know bet­ter than any­one what’s hap­pen­ing in their own neigh­bour­hoods.

Apart from that, it will be very hot – a draw­card for some and turn-off for oth­ers – but it will be cheaper, cooler and less busy to travel in these ar­eas in early Septem­ber.


Can two peo­ple share a busi­ness or first class seat? For ex­am­ple, if a hus­band and wife trav­el­ling on the same flight booked one econ­omy seat and one busi­ness or first class seat – could each per­son have a turn in the other per­son’s seat?

It could be a silly ques­tion but you never know if you don’t ask!


You’ve raised an in­ter­est­ing ques­tion. Gen­er­ally, for take­off and land­ing, you have to be in your re­quired seat for pro­to­col rea­sons.

Apart from that, Sally from Syl­va­nia Travel, a Hel­loworld Travel part­ner in Syd­ney, says that while it may not be en­cour­aged, there is no real rule against it. It’s a sim­i­lar sce­nario to mov­ing seats if there are spare rows, or swap­ping with your part­ner to help with a child.

But an in­dus­try in­sider says it would re­ally de­pend on the flight’s cabin crew, the flight du­ra­tion and usu­ally, you would only be per­mit­ted to swap once – and dis­creetly. Play­ing mu­si­cal chairs mid­flight risks dis­rupt­ing fel­low pas­sen­gers, so you couldn’t go back and forth, though choos­ing a night flight would draw less at­ten­tion from other trav­ellers.

It’s a cost-ef­fec­tive way to travel busi­ness class, and means you both get to en­joy the ex­pe­ri­ence and have a much-needed sleep and good meal, at least for part of the trip.


What are the best yoga re­treats in Bali, specif­i­cally in the Ubud area?


OneWorld Re­treats (oneworl­­i­jour­neys) in Ubud has a fo­cus on yoga, specif­i­cally Ash­tanga. Dif­fer­ent pro­grams run each week; they in­clude raw food, yoga twice a day and a silent day where you’re en­cour­aged not to speak to any­one, but in­stead write in your jour­nal or paint and draw on the art easels in your room. The re­treat is hid­den in the lush hills of Ubud, but still only 1.5km from the city cen­tre.

If you want some­thing tra­di­tional, Bal­itrees Re­treats (bal­ will have you stay­ing in a lo­cal vil­lage sur­rounded by rice pad­dies and do­ing yoga, med­i­ta­tion and silat, an In­done­sian style of mar­tial arts.

Toya (shan­ti­toy­ of­fers monthly med­i­ta­tion and yoga re­treats in Mengwi, about 8km from Ubud. There’s daily yoga, Ba­li­nese mas­sage and as much herbal tea as you can drink.


My hus­band and I are in our 80s, and in Novem­ber we need to fly to Syd­ney to be­gin our cruise. This is the first time we have flown since my hus­band’s mo­bil­ity has de­clined so he now needs to use a walker. I am con­cerned as to how I will man­age to lift the suit­cases up onto the belt when we check in and lift them off the carousal when we ar­rive. Is there any as­sis­tance from air­lines?


Air­lines and air­ports all have spe­cial per­son­nel to help in these ex­act cases. Qan­tas, for ex­am­ple, can help you check in (in­clud­ing load­ing your heavy lug­gage onto the belt to be weighed), help you get to your de­par­ture gate on their handy peo­ple movers, and meet you at the ar­rival gate to help on the other side. The only prob­lem is, this to be ar­ranged at the time of book­ing – so if you are suit­ably or­gan­ised and have al­ready booked, call your travel agent or air­line to add this ser­vice onto your book­ing, and then rest easy.


ITALY Hol­i­days on Italy’s Amalfi Coast will be cheaper, cooler and less crowded in Septem­ber; yoga re­treats abound in Bali.

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