Category Archives: Australia

Eat healthy while you travel

One of the things I find most difficult when exploring is to eat healthy while you travel. A balanced nutritional diet is fairly important to keep your energy levels up and brain active.

A farmers market in Santa Monica

The problem wasn’t always the cost of buying the food, other things like storing fresh food and sourcing it in some places could prevent me from making better food choices. Continue reading Eat healthy while you travel

Travel Tips: Avoid ripoff travel visa and EHIC charges

Less than a week to my extreme Eastern European trip. A few days ago I decided I should renew my EHIC (European Health Insurance Card, formally E111). When I did a Google search I came across a number of companies who offered to apply for your card charging an admin fee. Avoid these companies as this card is FREE from the NHS. Go here to apply for your card before you travel. It takes up to 10 working days to receive your card which lasts up to 5 years. ALWAYS get comprehensive travel insurance in addition as the EHIC card does not cover all medical emergencies.

Another scam as I prefer to refer to them is with the US ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) scheme application and the Australian eVisitor scheme. You will have to pay a fee for the US ESTA application, but much lower than the companies who are pedaling this application service at inflated prices. Your ESTA is valid for 2 years from it’s approval date. Always double check that you are using the official application process when you consider travel visa applications. Ensure you are eligible for these schemes before you apply and travel.

US ESTA official application here

Official Australian FREE eVisitor visa here

Many jurisdictions have now outsourced their visa services, inevitably resulting in an increased cost for travellers in many cases. Make sure you do your research before you purchase any of these services online.

More importantly ensure that your passport is valid beyond the duration of your stay required by the country or countries you are planning to visit. This can often be up to 6 months, possibly more.

Australia: Happy Australia Day and Goodbye!

So it’s Australia Day.  And I am heading for Bangkok via Singapore.  I am up early to pack and make my way to the airport.  Luckily it’s only a short walk across to Central Station to catch the Airport train.

When I reach the airport the guy is a bit arsey about my blindy card and says he normally only accepts the photocard, but let’s me through anyway.

My Airbus A380 Taking me to SingaporeIt’s a pretty miserable day to be leaving Australia.  Heavy rain and overcast.  I board the Airbus A-380 on the lower deck on this trip.  It’s amazing quiet when it takes off and the flight is pretty good.  We arrive on time in Singapore.  I have around an hour to kill at Changi Airport so I grab a free internet password and log on to check my emails and a few final details about to make my trip into Bangkok smooth.

I arrive in Bangkok just after 8pm and have a pretty efficient pass through immigration and baggage collection.  I track down the train and opt for the slower, cheaper one at 45baht instead of the express train at 150baht.  Still a lot cheaper than the taxi I would normally pay around 300 to 400 for.  And I am willing to pay a third of the price if the train takes 30 minutes rather than the 15 the express train takes.

This train is modern and air conditioned, bu overcrowded.  I have a lot of luggage and stand the entire journey.  On arriving at Phaya Thai station I quickly realise that the 10 minute walk to the Lemon Seed Rooms is not going to be fun with all my luggage.  I grab a taxi and pay another 60 baht to get to my guest house.

7 Eleven SnacksIt’s a very nice place.  I am greeted by the owner and his son who help me with my luggage to my room.  I get my things sorted out and decide to go and explore a bit of the local area.  There’s a Skytrain station very close which will make things a lot easier to reach.

I grab a few snacks from the 7 Eleven and head back for a sleep I really need.

Australia: A few nights of Hilton luxury

Sadly today I finally leave my favourite Australian city, Melbourne, to head for Sydney.  The upside of this is that I get to stay at a very nice hotel and have some privacy again.

I’ve enjoyed my stay here.  At the Mansion has been a pleasant surprise.  Very friendly staff, clean, good facilities and most importantly helpful and friendly staff.

I ponder over whether or not I can be bothered to save a bit of travel time to the airport by heading across town, or for the same price get the shuttle from the hostel.  I opt for the shuttle.  All goes smoothly with my check-in after I manage to use all 3 of my Jetstar booking numbers and have the first two rejected.

Hilton Hotel Sydney CBDI arrive at Sydney and immediately play the blind card by getting my symbol cane out and going through the barriers at the CityRail station.  Even though I don’t have far to walk the amount of luggage I have is torture.  I take a few rests on the last leg of the trip.  A 5 minute walk to the Hilton from the Town Hall station.

I check-in and am fortunate enough to get a free upgrade to a deluxe room on the 39th floor.  The room is nice and I settle in.  I call my friend Getta and ask if she is heading to town.  She is so at least I now have some company for dinner.

We search for ages for Thai, but all we can find are Chinese restaurants.  In the end we sLuxury Sleepettle for a takeaway from the closest we can find on George street which is a Malaysian place.  The food isn’t great.  But we have some wine and cider so that helps to wash it down.  I haven’t seen Getta in over a year and a half, but it seems like it’s only been a few days.  We chat about the travels of 18 months previously and what my plans are when I get back to England.  I still want to be back in Australia again soon.