Travelling With Medications

For many years we didn’t have to bother about travelling with medicines, but as we have got older we both need to take pills daily.

Usually its not a problem travelling domestically, travelling internationally it can be a little more complicated.

Law Enforcement

Laws on drugs vary considerably between countries, particularly if you are taking a narcotic drug.

Although it’s unlikely you’ll be stopped and questioned about your medications, it is a possibility.

You never know if a search dog may pick you out.

Proof that you have been prescribed the medication will make the situation easier.

Evidence

The easiest way of providing evidence that you are entitled to the medicine is the original box, or bottle, with the pharmacists label.

If you are taking very strong drugs it may be useful to also get a letter from your doctor.

Losing Medicines

Minimise the risk of losing medicines by always having them in your carry on and taking a couple of weeks extra in case there is a delay in returning home.

Make sure you have a record of the details (such as a photo of the pharmacy tag) so you can get replacements if your carry-on is stolen.

Medical Emergencies

If you have a medical emergency, having the details of your medicines will help a doctor determine the best treatment for you. 

Niagara Falls

Niagara is certainly one of those iconic tourist destinations that doesn’t disappoint.

American Falls

We were very pleased to have allowed a full day for our trip to Niagara, and that we had booked both day and evening tours.

There is lots to see and the tours manage to fit in all the key elements, including many great viewing areas, without feeling too rushed.

The Falls

Horseshoe Falls

I am sure I’m not the only one who didn’t realise there were three waterfalls.

As well as the Horseshoe and American Falls there is the smaller but still impressive Wedding Veil Falls.

A must is a trip on one of the Maid of the Mist boats.

At Night

The falls look different again at night as they are illuminated by coloured floodlights.

There is also an impressive firework display during the main tourist season.

Niagara Travel Hack

Bridal Veil Falls

If you have got a good rain jacket wear that rather than those cheap ponchos that get handed out.

You can spot me in the Bridal Veil photo because I am the one wearing the red raincoat rather than an anonymous poncho.

I also noticed that the poncho wasn’t much use when you got on the Hurricane Deck as the polythene rips easily.

Meanwhile I stayed completely dry.

What Are Your Points Worth

As I know a fair bit about One World Awards, through QANTAS Frequent Flyer points I will concentrate on those.

Based on my experience from other airlines including Star alliance and Sky Team however I have found most loyalty schemes are very similar.

The points value depends on what you want to buy.

Worst Value

Buying gifts or gift vouchers is the worst value.

I would get an email every week with offers from the Qantas gift shop to buy luggage, cameras, electrical goods,etc; using my points.

When I check the points against local discount store prices it looks like its around one cent (AU$0.01) for every 2 points.

About the only time I would look at buying something from an airline ‘shop’ would be if the points were set to expire, and I was unable to book a flight,

Better Value

Buying an economy flight with ‘Classic Awards’ is much better value.

Although you will still have to pay Taxes and ‘Carrier Charges’ each point is worth between 1.5 – 2 cents (AU$0.015 – 0.02)

N.B. The points value if using ‘Points plus Pay’ is generally around half the classic award rates (not much better that gifts) although there is better availability of flights.

Best Value

The best value on a strictly points for cash basis is either, buying Business Class tickets, or asking for an upgrade after buying an economy fare.

The cash equivalent of a point when spent like this can be 5-6 cents (AU$0.05 -0.06)

The problem is that very few Business Class seats are released for Frequent Flyers which makes them fairly hard to get.

When I had higher (Gold Status) it was easier to get upgraded tickets.

Conclusion

Understanding the value of points means you can better compare collecting points compared with other discounts you may be offered.

Driving From The Airport

People worry about the risk of a plane crashing but probably the riskiest part of their travels is driving from the Airport.

Generally the only time I drive from an airport is in places I know well. and when I don’t have to drive more than an hour.

Overseas

Just got off a long haul flight? . . . . . . Before you rush of to the car rental kiosk think about whether any, or even all of the following will apply to you.

  • Don’t know the roads.
  • Not sure where you are going.
  • Don’t know the road rules.
  • Might be driving on the opposite side of the road.
  • Tired.

Sounds like a recipe for disaster for me.

You might be better checking in a hotel and hiring a car the next morning.

Home Country

Well you may be familiar with the driving but the problem of tiredness isn’t to be underestimated.

Particularly if you live 3 or 4 hours from the airport.

With two of us driving we make sure that we swap drivers more often than we otherwise would.

By myself I stop at least every hour and ‘Power Nap’ at the first sign of drowsiness.

Probably the most dangerous part of the drive is when you are on the most familiar roads.

I have heard a few people say “I was almost home and started to relax, the next thing I remember was waking up as the car ran off the road!”

The Tranz Alpine

Last year we spent a couple of weeks on the South Island of New Zealand.

As a train enthusiast one part of the holiday which was a must was a trip on the Tranz Alpine train.

Kiwi Rail runs a daily return trip across the top of the island from Christchurch on the East Coast, to Greymouth on the West Coast; taking five hours each way.

The train is very comfortable with huge windows, a buffet area, and an open air viewing carriage.

The scenery really lived up to the publicity as one of the worlds great railway journeys; as you can see from the photographs.

Although many people do the return journey in a day we decided to break the trip with an overnight stay in Greymouth as an 11 hour day seemed a bit too long.

Greymouth itself was a little disappointing as it is a port town, well past its heyday.

If you like a beer the Monteith’s Brewhouse in the town is well worth a visit to sample the beers and have a tasty meal.

Travel Hack

My recommendation would be to use the train for one way travel only, and drive back to Christchurch over the mountains, or do some touring on the West Coast.

Bad Travel Hacks

Lets be honest this isn’t the only website that gives travel advice, there are a lot of ‘Travel Hacks’ around.

Not all of them are useful, so here are a couple I have seen, but I won’t be using:

Booking Separate Plane Tickets For A Single Journey

Yes it might be cheaper but it takes a lot longer if you have to collect your bags and then check in again.

If your first flight is late the next plane won’t wait and then you have to re-book and pay extra.

I would rather book through one airline. . . . . faster connection and if you miss the connection you will be automatically booked on the next flight, and put up in a hotel

Check All Your Bags (So there is less to carry)

Besides wasting time waiting at baggage, things aren’t going to go well if your bags get lost.

I’ve heard of people spending a week on a cruise with only the clothes they were wearing when they got off the plane.

The airlines will pay up to $200 compensation but that’s not going to go far buying clothes at the cruise ship shops.

I don’t have any problem with people checking in a bag as I occasionally do it myself . . . . but I always have a carry-on with enough clothes and other basics for 3-4 days.

What bad travel advice have you seen?