Hong Kong

Hong Kong is one of my favourite cities.

Hong Kong from the Peak

Since first visiting in 1997 I have been back six times.

Most people visit it for 2 or 3 days but I don’t think that is long enough.

Here are just a few of the things I love to do in Hong Kong.

Taking the Peak Tram

A spectacular ride up a funicular railway with great views from the top.

Best taken early in the morning as the queues can get very long later in the day.

Horse Racing at Happy Valley

Racing is every Wednesday night during the season at this spectacular location surrounded by skyscrapers.

Last time I went I had went on a tour organised by the tourist information centre including; coach pick up, meal and betting vouchers for a very reasonable price.

The Star Ferry

Star Ferry

One of the worlds greatest bargains is a trip across bustling Hong Kong Harbour on the Star Ferry for just a few cents

A little more expensive but well worth it is evening boat that stops in the middle of the harbour to take in the nightly light show.

Getting Tailor Made Clothes

In Hong Kong tailor made clothes is an affordable luxury.

If you don’t want a suit you can just get a few shirts and pants.

It’s worth checking a few review sites before you go. (I use Apsley Tailors but there are several other with good reputations)

Visit the Big Buddha on Lantau Island

The Big Buddha is in a great location, overlooking the South China Sea.

Make sure you get a ticket which includes a vegetarian meal at the adjacent monastery.

To get there you can take a spectacular cable car ride starting at Tung Chung Railway Station.

Best avoided at weekends.

Take a Bus trip on Hong Kong Island

Jumbo Floating Restaurant

Two of the scenic trips you can go on from the top deck of a Hong Kong bus start at ‘Central.’

One goes to Aberdeen Harbour where you can have an authentic Chinese sea food meal at the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.

For the shoppers Stanley Market is well worth a look.

Disclaimer I haven’t been paid or received any other reward for this post

Flight Booking Sites

All the flight booking websites tell you they find the cheapest flights.

What they really mean is that they find you the cheapest airline that pay them a booking fee.

Often there are cheaper options, but its knowing where to look.

Google Flights

One site I regularly use is Google Flights.

The reason I prefer their site is they do tell you if there are airlines that fly the route, even if they don’t pay a commision.

For example check this screen shot from a flight search from Chicago to Los Angeles.

You will see that there are a couple of flights listed by South West as ‘Price Unavailable’

Southwest is a large American budget airline that doesn’t pay commission to websites.

Unlike many budget airlines their standard fares booked on their own website include checked bags.

Disclaimer I haven’t been paid or received any other reward for this post

How do you find the cheapest flights

Avoid On Your Next Cruise

Your Cruise liner may look graceful sailing in a blue sea . . . . . but that doesn’t mean that everything is great.

The ship is really a floating town, and just like a town there are places that are best avoided.

Garbage Handling Area

The days of disposal of garbage at sea are long over.

Disposal of almost all garbage at sea now prohibited apart from specific exemptions.

That means that waste has to be collected, sorted, and either compacted, or incinerated.

All the smells of garbage, but having to do it in an enclosed area in the depths of the ship.

The Morgue

The average age on many of the cruises I have been on would be well over 60.

It’s no surprise therefore that due to natural causes,such as heart attacks there are deaths onboard.

Ships can be at sea for several days. so there is a need for a refrigerated area to preserve the body.

You won’t accidentally find your way there, as it will be is on the lower, crew-only decks.

The Brig

Behaving badly on a ship and you could find yourself confined to their cabin with a guard outside.

Commit a serious crimes however and you might be staying in the ‘Brig’ (Ship’s jail)

The high security brig will be close to the security office.

In will only be a short term stay as you well be removed from the ship at the next port and turned over to the local police.

Crew Bar

The crew work hard for long hours looking after the passengers.

Its only right then that they get a chance to relax so why not in a crew only bar where they can have break from customer service.

The drinks will be much cheaper than in the passenger bars, which is another reason why the owners don’t want to see you there

My ‘Go To’ Carry On

This High Sierra duffel has been my ‘Go To’ carry on bag for the last couple of years . . . . . . so why do I like it?

Lightweight (but No Wheels)

The whole bag weighs just under 500grams, even though it uses a heavy duty nylon fabric and heavy duty zips.

That weight saving compared with the typical wheeled carry on means I can take an extra 1.5kg of clothes compared to the standard carry on trolley bag.

Carry-on Size, Even for Smaller Aircraft

When you fly on many commuter flights the overhead bins are quite small and people with hard sided bags find they are parted from their bag.

Soft sized duffels can normally be pushed into the restricted space easily.

Single Pocket

I hate lots of pockets as they add complexity, weight, and extra zips that can break.

I just want one pocket for my liquids so they are easy to access at security scanning.

Carrying Options

The bag has two adjustable carrying handles and adjustable shoulder strap.

It means I can carry it conventionally, over the shoulder, or even as a backpack.

I can also adjust the carrying handles to hold my coat to the top of the bag.

Disclaimer

I haven’t been paid or received any benefit from this post. I have seen several bags similar to this for around $30-$50.

You Won’t Get A Free Upgrade

Almost every site that publishes Travellers Hacks has advice about getting free upgrades.

Well in something over 300 flights I have had 5 free upgrades to Business Class and around 7 free upgrades to Premium Economy . . . . . so here some reasons why you, and I, probably won’t get an upgrade on the next flight.

Spare Seats In Economy

The airlines don’t like paying for more expensive meals, wine and amenities so most upgrades are only when economy is overbooked.

A Cheap Ticket

There are an enormous range of ticket prices for the same plane.

Most of us go for a basic ticket non refundable ticket on a certain flight.

Business people although flying economy may have a refundable ticket that can be changed at any time.

Their ticket may cost 2-3 times as much as yours yours, so its no surprise they may be ahead of you in the queue for an upgrade.

Low Frequent Flyer Status

First to be considered for upgrades are high status, frequent flyers.

All but two of my free upgrades were several years ago, when I was a Qantas Gold Status frequent flyer.

You Aren’t Alone

During the time I was high status I was upgraded several times when travelling alone.

Travelling with my wife I was never upgraded.

That’s because it’s easier to upgrade individuals than couples.

You Created A Bad Impression

This one doesn’t apply to me as I always tried to be empathetic.

I do however see a lot of people who behave badly at check in.

What many don’t realise is the staff who check in a flight are also those who then go to the gate.

Upset them at check in, and your chance for a late upgrade at the gate are gone.

Why do you think you missed out on an upgrade?

Why I Have A Premium Credit Card

For the last three years I have been happy to pay hundreds of dollars for a Premium Credit Card.

Travel Insurance

As I travel overseas at least twice a year I used to pay over $300 for an annual travel insurance policy. ( For more than one trip a year an annual policy is less than buying a policy for each trip)

I now pay less than the cost of the annual premium and get the added benefit of a better rate of frequent flyer points for my personal spending.

Check The Policy First!

Not all premium credit card insurance policies are the same.

Some only cover the card holder (including one of the big name cards), others like mine, cover the card holder plus anyone travelling with the card holder.

The amount of cover for various risks does vary from card to card.

Also the amount of holiday spend to activate the cover can vary. (Very important if you are paying for a flight using frequent flyer points)

Standard Cards

Yes, some standard card have travel insurance, but most of the policies don’t offer a high enough level of cover for me.

Bonus Points

I received a ‘signing on’ bonus of 100,000 points which can take you a long way

Other Benefits

Many premium credit cards do offer a range of benefits including ; discounted or free flights, airport lounge passes, concierge services.

For me the travel insurance is the main reason for choosing a premium card but these benefits may be of additional value to you.

Disclaimer
I have not been paid or received any other benefit from this post. I do not recommend a particular credit card provider.