Great Way To Get Your Bearings

One of the easiest way I have found to get an appreciation of the place you are visiting are the ‘Hop On Hop Off’ buses.

In some cities there are even ‘Hop On Hop Off’ boats.

The buses are probably a bit overkill for smaller places, but we have found them a boon for big city holidays.

The commentaries can also give you a lot of hints about what things are worth doing.

Picking a company

There are often several competing companies but the companies with the most buses are the most convenient, otherwise you can too long waiting at stops.

Travel Hack – Spend half an hour having a coffee near one of the main tourist venues and watch the buses arrive. . . . You will soon know which are the most common bus companies.

There is also an advantage using companies with an ‘app’ that gives you an idea how far the bus is.

How We Use Them

Generally we get on the bus on day 1 of our visit and stay on the bus for a complete lap of the circuit.

We will then get off and visit one of the sights and start to plan the next few days.

If most of the sights are close to each other we will use the bus to get to the more remote places only.

The closer sites we will save for days on foot, or use public transport.

When all the sites are well separated it can be worth booking a 2nd Day on the bus (Normally at a considerable discount compared with a one day fare)

Some Downsides

If the traffic is really bad it can be very frustrating. . . . . In Kuala Lumpur there were times when the bus took 20 minutes to move 100m.

Sitting on the top deck can mean:

  • With the breezes you don’t realise that you may be getting burned on sunny days.
  • You quickly get very cold on overcast spring and autumn days.

In the USA the guides will be dropping heavy hints about ‘Tips’ every time you get off the bus.

Another Thing

Ten years ago we booked a day on a ‘Hop On-Hop Off’ bus in New York.

A year later we received a cheque for $30 as a result of a court ruling on cartel behavior by the two main operators.

Folding Coat Hangers

I don’t buy a lot of ‘travel gadgets’ myself, as I feel that most of them add weight without any benefit.

Recently someone else bought me some of these folding coat hangers and I have found them really useful.

As I generally travel with carry on luggage only I tend to wash clothes every 3-4 days.

When it comes to shirts the best way to dry them is on a hanger but there are often two problems:

  • Not enough coat hangers; or
  • They have those hotel hangers that only hang from the special fittings in the wardrobe.

These hangers solve those problems and don’t add much weight to your luggage.

If you can’t find them locally I have seen them on E-bay at less than $10 for a pack of 10.

Look Down

Some of the time when I am visiting a new city I look down as well as up.

It might be something to do with being a retired water and sewerage engineer but I always notice manhole covers.

Many municipal authorities are very proud of their services and like to put a bit of thought into their access covers; so here are some I photographed on a recent trip to Europe.

Cologne (Koln) Germany

Bratislava, Slovakia

Budapest, Hungary

And Looking Up!

This sculpture called ‘Peeping Tom’ can be found in Bratislava. . . .Fresh From the Sewer!

Although these covers are impressive for really great access covers Japan takes a lot of beating.

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

Premium Economy – Is It For You?

Had enough of ‘Cattle Class’ but Business Class is too expensive?

Well perhaps Premium Economy could be for you if travelling long haul .


Although some people says its not close to Business Class in my experience the better Premium Economy seats are often similar to the Business Class of the 1990’s.

Most airlines will have wider and more comfortable seats with more legroom and better recline.

More like a reclining armchair.

Do check on the airline’s website though . . . . I haven’t been that happy with the airlines that only provide an empty seat next to you.

Other Benefits

Depending on the airline you could receive some, or all the following benefits:

  • Priority check-in
  • More baggage allowance
  • Priority boarding
  • Better menu
  • More personalised service.
  • Lounge access


Expect to pay around twice the price of an Economy seat but around half the cost of a Lie Flat Business ticket.

Travellers Hack

The different airline Premium Economy offerings vary considerably so you need to compare the different offerings carefully rather than just going on price.

6 More Signs You Travel too Much

I recently talked about reasons why I think I probably travel too much. . . . so here are another 6 signs that I am willing to own up to.

  • You have digital public travel passes for cities in four different countries.
  • You don’t need to look at your membership card to know your frequent flyer number.
  • A flight attendant says “Flying back already?” because she recognizes you from a previous trip.
  • You have a phone currency app with 6 or more different currencies already loaded.
  • You always use the toiletries from your travel toiletry bag, even when you are at home.
  • You have 5 different carry on sized bags depending on your proposed trip.
  • Back row from left to right: Samsonite Hard Sided Spinner, Skyway Suit Carrier, Qantas Briefcase.
  • Front Row: Hi Sierra Duffel, Kathmandu Backpack.

Do you have any other signs that you travel too much that you are guilty of?