Category: Tips & Advice

Tipping, When, How and Whom?

When is the right time to tip and how much and who should benefit? I’ve had several experiences with tipping. Not a lot but they were in different situations. Tipping just doesn’t only happen after been given great service. It can also be an incentive to get better service, perhaps even again and again. In the right places tipping can make a difference…

Routes: Adelaide-Singapore / Singapore-Adelaide

My first post in the Routes series and I’ll start it off with the international route I fly the most ADL-SIN/SIN-ADL, in other words, Adelaide International Airport (ADL) to Changi Airport Singapore (SIN) and back. Airlines At present only one airline offers this route in and out of Adelaide, Singapore Airlines. Singapore Airlines is part of the Star Alliance. In Australia Singapore Airlines codeshares with Virgin Australia. The Singapore Airlines flights are designated SQ278 (ADL-SIN) and SQ279 (SIN-ADL) and fly daily, all-year round. A second service runs only in December and January designated SQ276 (ADL-SIN) and SQ277 (SIN-ADL) and fly four times a week (Tue, Thu, Sat, and Sun). Schedule SQ278 Northern Summer: ADL 09:10 – SIN 15:10 Southern Summer: ADL 10:35 – SIN...

Empty Seats? Yes please. Then Disappointment

On one flight from Singapore to Milan (Italy) several years ago, I asked at check-in whether the flight was full and was told no, there were seats available. Reason why I asked is when I booked my forward section seat in Economy I had a whole row to myself but then when I checked a day or so before departure someone took the window seat. I had the aisle seat and was hoping to score all three to myself. So I decided to change seats at check-in. By doing this I was wasting the money I spent for the forward section seat. No big deal as an empty row anywhere, even in the tail section, trumps a single forward section seat. The check-in agent...

Hotel Etiquette

When staying at someone else’s house, perhaps a relative’s or friend’s place, do you respect the house rules? Do you behave accordingly? As a guest you will follow a few rules. Some are written, others are just commonsense but they are all rules a person with some decency would respect. These are the same kind of rules you would expect at home, so why can’t staying in hotels be the same for a few? We’ve already seen how bad etiquette can impact air travel so I thought let’s explore what is good and bad etiquette while staying at a hotel or other accommodation. Logically we’ll start and finish at the hotel door, checking-in and checking-out. Lobby and Front Desk First contact; where it is...

Online Travel Agencies Booking Hotels, Yes or No?

Should you book your hotel accommodation with an Online Travel Agency or through a Travel Agent or direct? A question many ask when planning their travels. Here I’ll explain my experiences and what I think is the best way of going about booking accommodation. Save money, get a good deal and be loyal. In my early days of travelling I booked everything through my travel agent (TA); flights, accommodation, cruises, insurance, etc. I was happy to give them the commission for all their hard work. I had faith in their experience and they saved me a lot of time searching and organising. This went on for a few years then I decided to start booking travel myself to see if I could save money....

Published and Updated Dates

If you are wondering why some posts have two dates: published and updated. The published date is the date the article, review or commentary was either first written or published on TravelCommentator. Some content may have been published elsewhere before being posted here and the first publish date still applies. Same with content not previously posted, the original date applies and any date after that is an update. The updated date is the date the content was last edited. This could mean a spelling error, punctuation or grammar being corrected or some information in the post has changed or an extra comment has been added to the text. Adding images not previously posted also changes the date. If a new category and/or tag is...

Air Travel Etiquette: Some Basic Rules

To me etiquette, in the context of air travel, starts way before getting on board the plane. It starts as soon as you enter the airport terminal. Good etiquette alleviates frustration, anger and conflict. Issues that have become more common with air travel. What is etiquette? Etiquette is basically a code of conduct, an unwritten set of rules that govern behaviour and social interactions. Principles such as: respect, kindness and consideration, or the proper and polite way to behave are the mainstay of etiquette, but also decorum, manners and attitude play their part. Applying etiquette to air travel I suppose like in any situation where one has to interact with others in a comunal setting certain rules need to apply. So before stepping into...

Snippets: SIMs and Carry-Ons

Buying SIMs overseas and the language barrier In two letters replying to an article that was originally published in late March 2022, the writer of the article said, “In countries where you’re on shaky ground with the language, beware. Having been through this process in Italy and India, a word of advice – don’t.” The two letter writers had differing opinions, but both had solutions to the article writer. One replied with a novel suggestion. Do your homework, check online and write down the brand and type of SIM you need, find a shop and show the sales assistant what you want. Saying, “No need to talk, just smile.” Why not? Good idea. In any circumstance doing your homework or research before travelling solves many...

How to Survive Jet Lag, My Take

The scourge of the long haul flyer. Yes, the loss of sleep, the heavy head, the tired eyes, the feeling of fatigue and irritability. These are the psycological and physiological effects that will weigh you down for several days. Is jet lag avoidable? Or can it at least be managed so that it doesn’t wreck travel plans? Here’s what I think… I will be honest, in my early days of crossing multiple time zones I too suffered the occasional jet lag. The only way I knew how to counteract the effects was to just go to sleep at my earliest convenience. I basically tried to sleep it off, but of course that caused other issues. I would be out of kilter for a few...

Travel Money: Cash, Cards or Cheques?

The one thing you can’t do without no matter where you are, money. Or in other words the local currency. So what is the best way to go about organising foreign currency? How much should you carry and in what form: cash, credit card, debit card, travel money card or traveller’s cheques? All have their and pros and cons. So your choice may come down to how comfortable you are carrying a lot of cash, some cash or just plastic. Personally I would have a combination of a few of these except the traveller’s cheques even though they are still accepted in some places and are a very safe way of carrying money. Cash Is cash still king? Yes always, and it will be...

Packing Cubes: Don’t Pack Without Them

These luggage accessories have been very popular with travellers and are definitely one of the best bits of travel kit you can buy. Trying to jam-pack luggage with clothes, shoes and other travel bits and pieces in an orderly fashion and trying to save space at the same time is something we all try to do. Particularly in roller cases, whether large or cabin-sized, soft or hard. The solution is simple, separate everything into the self-contained zippable cube-shaped compartments and slip them snuggly into your luggage. Everything organised and space saved. Sounds great? You bet. You not only separate clothes from shoes and other accessories like toilettries, charging cables, jewellry, etc., but you can sort them into categories, like: by what matches, by destination,...

Luggage and Packing

Researching travel can be fun but knowing what to pack, how to pack and what kind of lugagge to use, can test your thinking process, patience and consume plenty of your time. Definitely one of the most frustrating moments in planning travel. But…there is a simple solution. First you need to work out how long you will be away from home, the climate(s) and the weather you will be expecting and in what environment you’ll be doing your travels. This will sort out what kind of clothes and shoes you’ll require and perhaps any accessories and other items. Then you can work out what size and sort of luggage is best and lastly how to pack things. When done right the same principles will...

Travel Planning

The best way to build up travel expectations is to plan things yourself…my opinion. Visiting and experiencing new places is exciting, but before getting there one has to plan. I find the organising and planning of travel inspiring. It gets me dreaming and itching to go. I like to research and plan on my own. So, I’ll scour the internet for all the info I can find on the place(s) I’ll be visiting and how I’ll get there and spend my time. Of course, I could get a travel consultant to do all the work but that would take away the fun of doing things myself and build up that expectation I mentioned in my introduction quote. Planning is not as hard as one...

Items Stolen From Checked Luggage?

Well, when and where can thieves get to your luggage? Most logically when it is unattended and out of sight. I suppose after check-in before ending up in the cargo hold and as they come off the plane before they arrive at the luggage carousel. Basically anywhere while in transit. Where you aren’t around and can’t see them. Should luggage get ripped, broken open or damaged so the contents becomes exposed there’s always the chance someone will see what you have and may be tempted to appropriate your belongings. Obviously grabbing anything of value first. Of course this stuff shouldn’t be in checked-in lugagge in the first place. Checked-in luggage I always advise buying hard-shell framed luggage that have no zips. The ones made...

Stress free family holiday? Go cruising!

There was a time when cruising was synonymous with elderly retired couples – But that’s not the case any more, says Travel Weekly. Cruising is a great way to have a family holiday. The unpacking once and getting down to relaxation is one of the best reasons for going on a cruise. Besides the food, entertainment and all the amenities of a luxury hotel, you get to see different ports and countries while you are at it. If you must fly long-haul to get to your cruise port I would suggest not taking toddlers. I don’t see the value of taking kids at that age. They won’t remember anything. Kindergarten age, 4-5 years up is fine. My choice of cruise line? Disney Cruises. They...

Purchasing Foreign Currency

If you intend to take cash with you on your next trip and want the best rates, don’t go purchase your foreign currency from banks, Travelex or AusPost. They all take a commission. Instead go to the foreign exchange dealers. Where you’ll get a better deal on the rate minus the commission. In Adelaide we have several very competitive exchanges: UAE Exchange (now Unimoni), FX Foreign Xchange, Worldex and First Eastern FX. They can all be very flexible. So check a few rates and go and negotiate. Personally I’ve dealt with three of these but I know First Eastern FX is also highly recommended (contributor Peter Katsambis vouches for this). My first preference to buy and exchange foreign currency is FX Foreign Xchange. Call...