The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Escape - - ESCAPE - LISA MAYOH

I would love to do a walk­ing hol­i­day in France. Is that pos­si­ble? Are there guided walks like in Spain and Por­tu­gal? Is there any­thing you can rec­om­mend for a week?


On Foot Hol­i­days (on­foothol­i­days .co.uk) has an­nounced a new walk­ing route in the pic­turesque Dor­dogne re­gion of south­west France. The self­guided, inn-to-inn walk fol­lows the Dor­dogne River through clas­sic French coun­try­side and me­dieval vil­lages and is de­signed so you feel like a lo­cal too, which is al­ways the best way to see a new place. Be­gin­ning in the me­dieval city of Beaulieu-sur-Dor­dogne, the walk will take you through the Dor­dogne Val­ley and pic­turesque vil­lages, stay­ing in tra­di­tional inns and ho­tels along the river­side. Af­ter four days of walk­ing, the route heads over the lime­stone plateau to the vil­lage of Ro­ca­madour, fin­ish­ing along the Ouysse river, at a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant to cel­e­brate the end of the walk. The seven-night walk­ing hol­i­day is graded medium with up to 5½ hours’ walk­ing each day (short­ened op­tions are usu­ally of­fered too). For $1800 (twin share and de­pend­ing on ex­change rates), you’ll get seven nights’ ac­com­mo­da­tion, break­fasts, four din­ners and all lug­gage trans­fers – mean­ing you can walk with just your back­pack. Shorter six, five and fournight op­tions are also avail­able.


I want to book di­rect flights with Jet­star from Syd­ney to Phuket for late April. I seemed to miss the boat for bet­ter prices on flights a cou­ple of months ago. Do I hold off and wait for prices to come down, or should I book now?


David Smith, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Travel on Capri, a Hel­loworld Travel part­ner, says fares for all air­lines fluc­tu­ate so much and it is hard to say when spe­cial fares will come out. How­ever, gen­er­ally it is safe to say that when travel is planned over peak times such as school hol­i­days, Easter or Christ­mas, fares are at a pre­mium be­cause de­mand is so much higher. As you’re look­ing to travel over Easter, I sug­gest you are best to book flights now. It’s highly likely fares will only keep go­ing up as the flights fill, and that’s no fun for any hol­i­day­goer. It’s also use­ful to sub­scribe to air­line news­let­ters and alerts which will ad­vise you of any spe­cials com­ing up. Your travel agent can also look out for these spe­cials for you.


I would like to take my 37-year-old sis­ter to New York. I won­der about the avail­abil­ity of get­ting care­givers to come and shower and dress her in the US. Best ho­tels for wheel­chair ac­cess rooms? Wheel­chair ac­cess toi­lets are also an­other thing that comes to mind. Any ad­vice is wel­come! My brother went to New York last year with his friend who uses a wheel­chair and, to make life eas­ier, his care­giver from Syd­ney went too. But if you can’t man­age the cost for the ad­di­tional air­fare and room, there are US com­pa­nies who can help while you’re on hol­i­day with your sis­ter. Wheel­chair Es­capes (wheelchairescapes.com) can help with flight ar­range­ments, or­gan­is­ing wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble ve­hi­cles, and they have qual­i­fied wheel­chair travel spe­cial­ists on hand. When it comes to get­ting around, ac­cord­ing to tourist board NYC and Co, ev­ery pub­lic bus is equipped with wheel­chair lifts and seat­ing, and lifts pro­vide ac­cess to about 25 per cent of NYC sub­way sta­tions (web.mta.info/ ac­ces­si­bil­ity/sta­tions.htm). Some apps, such as iri­deNYC (iride.nyc), are also a use­ful re­source. Then there are New York City’s fa­mous yel­low taxis. Ac­cord­ing to the Taxi and Li­mou­sine Com­mis­sion, there are 1800 wheel­chair-ac­ces­si­ble yel­low cabs in use city­wide, and an­other 800 green cabs which serve Up­per Man­hat­tan and the other bor­oughs. All of these cabs can be hailed on the street, but you can also book them in ad­vance. Text a re­quest to 646-400-0789, or book on­line at ridecharge.com. For ac­ces­si­ble bath­rooms, there’s a com­pre­hen­sive list you can check at ny­c­gov­parks.org/fa­cil­i­ties/ bath­rooms. And NYC and Co (ny­cgo.com) also has a great list of ac­ces­si­ble venues, the­atres, gal­leries, tours, sports venues and ho­tels. NYLO Ho­tel on Broad­way (ny­lo­ho­tels.com) has hand­i­ca­pac­ces­si­ble rooms that have roll-in show­ers with de­tach­able shower heads and han­dle­bars on the side; cit­i­zenM on Times Square is also wheel­chair friendly, as is the Four Sea­sons Down­town. Most new ho­tels will have wheel­chair ac­cess – ask to make sure as some older styles with­out a lift may not. Some com­pa­nies will help with in-room care – maven­care.com, care.com or care­giver­shome­care.com come to mind. Your ho­tel concierge should also be a handy re­source for coOn­nInec­s­tiaognr­saamnd con­tacts.


We are head­ing to Tan­za­nia. What visas will we need and how do we go about get­ting them?


Tan­za­nia's visa ap­pli­ca­tion process has moved on­line, mak­ing it eas­ier for Aussies and other in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors to climb Mount Kil­i­man­jaro, re­lax in Zanz­ibar or ex­plore the Serengeti. To get a visa for the United Repub­lic of Tan­za­nia, in­clud­ing Tan­za­nia Main­land and Zanz­ibar, visit es­er­vices.im­mi­gra­tion.go.tz/ visa/ and se­lect “ap­ply for a new ap­pli­ca­tion”. From there, fill out your de­tails and pay $US50 (about $70) for a sin­gle-en­try visa, valid for 90 days. Tan­za­nia Im­mi­gra­tion Ser­vices will re­view on­line ap­pli­ca­tions, process them and no­tify ap­pli­cants whether they’ve been ac­cepted or not via email. You can also use the web­site to track your ap­pli­ca­tion.


Take in pic­turesque vil­lages, stay­ing at tra­di­tional inns and ho­tels, on a walk through the Dor­dogne Val­ley, France; Tan­za­nia’s on­line visa ap­pli­ca­tion process has made it eas­ier for Aussies.

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