IN AUGUST COMPANY
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.
FIRST CLASS, TWO PEOPLE
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 (oneworldretreats.com/balijourneys) 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 (balitrees.com) 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 (shantitoyagyoga.com) 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.