No Jeans

I own a couple of pairs of denim jeans, which I like. . . . but not when I travel.

The things that make them great for doing things around the house make them a bad choice when you are travelling.

The strong, thick material which is great to protect your skin makes them some of the heavier pants around.

That thick material easily absorbs water but seems to takes forever to dry.

That means if you get them wet while you are out they will feel clammy and damp for hours.

It also means they can’t be easily washed in your room.

I much prefer lightweight travel pants.

N.B Those lightweight pants that look like denim but have plenty of Lycra are fine

Airline Food

Overall Airline Meals seem to have a fairly bad reputation . . . but is it deserved?

The Good

I think its amazing you can be eating a meal 20,000m in the air travelling at 1,000km/hour several hours travel from a kitchen.

I have never got food poisoning from an airline meal, or even heard of anyone else who has been ill.

Emirates Business (from www.wikipedia.com)

If you are willing to fly business class you do get 3 to 4 good choices and the food is usually attractively presented.

Usually every course is presented separately as it would in a restaurant.

I have heard some airlines have a chef to finish off partially prepared meals.

The Bad

It’s not the fault of the airlines that the effect of the reduced pressure and drier air on the plane affects your sense of smell and taste.

To counteract the taste issue I tend to go for the more spicy, or strong tasting choices.

Qantas Economy

To feed the 200+ people in long haul economy it is mass catering aimed at fast distribution of the meals, rather than presentation.

(From my experiences I would say Emirates has some of the better economy meals)

Due to cost and extra weight airlines are going to limit the amount of food carried

That means if they guess wrong some people will not get a choice.

Some airlines do the right thing and if you missed your choice at the first meal and make sure you get a choice at the next meal.

Some airlines (Air Canada) don’t care.

Should You Eat It?

I have heard that avoiding eating on the plane can help reduce jet lag.

Not advice I have followed as I welcome the meal as a break from the monotony of the flight.

A meal accompanied by a glass or two of wine also helps me sleep on the plane.

Special Meals

Some travellers have recommended ordering special meals even if you don’t need them.

Our experience though hasn’t been good .

My wife has a wheat allergy, and some of the Gluten Free meals have been very disappointing.

Travellers Hack

In my opinion the best chance of getting a good meal is to make your menu selection based on the airlines country of origin .

The chefs planning and cooking the meals are more likely to give that type of cuisine more attention.

Packing For A Cold Climate

Lots of people worry about packing when travelling somewhere cold.

Unless you are going hiking, or skiing I don’t find it that different.

How cold are you going to get?

When I am in colder places I spend a fair amount of time indoors in museums and cafes.

When going between indoor venues I am generally in heated public transport, in a car, or walking briskly.

A warm coat and a thicker pair of pants will generally be enough to keep me warm.

What to Take

Here are the differences between what I typically take and when I am going to a city winter holiday:

  • A warm coat rather than a light weight jacket. I wear this to board the plane, so it doesn’t count as luggage.
  • Long sleeved shirts rather than short sleeves.
  • Thicker pants rather than lightweight ones.
  • A lightweight jumper.
  • A scarf you can wear.
  • Gloves, in the pocket of your coat.

For a cold mountain holiday; like the above photo on the Athabasca Glacier, I might add:

  • A couple of vests, or plain T-shirts
  • Pair of Long Johns,
  • Down body warmer.

Stopping In Backpacker Hostels

Over the years I have stayed at plenty of backpacker hostels and we still use them from time to time.

Low Cost

In Australia it can be $20 – $30 for a bunk in a dormitory, and much lower in a developing country.

These days it’s not all dormitory beds and in most hostels you will find double rooms, some even with an en-suite, but expect to pay around 2-3 times as much.

Other Advantages

With most hostels having kitchens you can make considerable savings on a holiday by cooking some meals, and preparing a packed lunch.

I have found it much easier to start conversations in hostels than hotels,which can make solo travel less lonely.

You can also pick up a lot of great knowledge about your location, particularly places that you can eat cheaply.

Some Hacks for Backpackers Hostels

Protect your Feet

I would really recommend having footwear that you can wear in the shower if there are communal bathrooms.

The plantar wart, or verruca, can be contracted by walking barefoot in warm, moist environments, such as shared showers.

Protect your Possessions

In a hotel I generally think your possessions are relatively safe as the staff will be protective of their jobs.

In many hostels its common to give other guests free nights in exchange for housekeeping duties . . . so the person cleaning your room may be less worried about the consequences of being caught stealing.

Make sure you put anything of value:

  • In a locker, with your padlock on the door.
  • Locked in the boot of your vehicle.
  • In your pocket.
  • In the Hostel safe.

Best Travel Coat

What is the best travel Coat?

Well after trying various types of coats over the years I have settled on the 3 in 1 coats such as I am wearing in the photograph.

Generally they come with a fairly lightweight waterproof outer coat.

I’ve found Gortex is about the best material .

This coat kept me dry standing on the ‘Hurricane Deck’ very close to the Bridal Veil Falls at Niagara.

I usually prefer to use an umbrella unless it is really windy so I like a zip away hood.

The inner jackets, which can be zipped into the outer coat is the insulation layer.

As you can see this inner jacket also looks quite good as a casual jacket for cool evenings.

Together the two have kept me comfortable standing on a glacier and on a mountain top in the Canadian Rockies.

Travel Hack

With 6 large external pockets a combined coat like this can help you get a couple of extra Kg on board the plane, as your coat doesn’t count in your carry on allowance.

Where Is the Car?

Have you ever had trouble finding your car at the airport?

One time when I was often travelling for work I went through Melbourne Airport on 9 consecutive days.

I had no idea where my car was by the end.

That is when I started using my camera phone to take a photo of the car park location.

Always make sure that either there is car park zone sign in the background of the picture, or take a photo of the nearest sign!

I have been using this travel hack for around six years and never lost a car since.