Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Summer reading - go get it

The summer edition of Get Up & Go is out and about now. There's a rundown on every great cruise for 2011; a stress-free guided tour of Italy; a glide along the Perfume River in Vietnam; a holiday in Vanuatu; the glories of Glasgow's architecture; a museum piece in England and more . . .plus every Australian state is covered - cruise the Kimberley, stay in an historic B&B in Tassie, explore the Great Ocean Road and look for the high five in Queensland. Put you feet up and read away. Happy holidays.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Happy snaps

Here's a few images taken over the year for Get Up & Go. England, Queensland, the Kimberley and some shopping in Dubai . . . 2010 was a good year for travel. We visited Maria Island Tassie; Fiji; the Granite Belt Qld; North East England; Dubai; Broome; the Kimberley and Darwin; took the Indian Pacific across the Nullarbor.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas is coming

Only 12 sleeps til Christmas! Are you winding down or gearing up for the season's festivities. I was walking down a early-morning-cool Sydney street knowing that the day
s temperature would climb to 29deg. and was enjoying the early morning Sydney smells of summer - pine trees lined up on the footpath outside the fruit shops - the scent of apricots and stone fruit; watermelons in big baskets, boxes of cherries and fat bunches of Christmas bush. What a beautiful time of year.
Have included a couple of images from the train trip on the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth - still having happy, lingering memories.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

British Airways Top Ten Tips for 2011

Read on, and let me know if you agree . . .

The US, Caribbean and Indian Ocean all feature heavily in British Airways' top ten tips for 2011, but the pride of place goes to North African destination, Marrakech.
The airline's top ten destinations for the year ahead are as follows:

1. Marrakech, Morocco
Marrakech is a jewel in Morocco, famously known as the 'Red City'. It provides quick access to both the Atlas Mountains and the Sahara desert.
A wonderful winter warmer, Marrakech is home to the annual Almond Blossom Festival which takes place in the second week of February in the Tafraout Valley area marking the start of spring. The festival offers sights of natural beauty whilst a colourful Souk springs up, complete with dancers, musicians and storytellers.

2. San Diego, USA
As the eighth largest city in the USA, San Diego lies only a few miles from the border of Mexico, mixing its rich heritage built around sailing with a Hispanic vibrancy. Each year, thousands of tourists flock to The Annual San Diego Film Festival held at the end of September, celebrating the art and style of film for five days of premieres, partying and mixing with celebrities.

3. New York, USA
The Big Apple is one destination which never fails to make it onto travel 'hot lists'. New York is a must-go destination for hardcore shoppers and it is no surprise that the busiest shopping day of the year falls on Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving), when shops open at 4am offering promotional sales and mark the start of the Christmas shopping season. The best bargain can be found at department store giants such as Macys and Bloomingdales where prices are slashed in half.

4. St Kitts & Nevis, Caribbean
The two-island nation is a wonderful family destination combining beaches with the splendour of mountains, heaps of activities to engage your body and a rich history to engage your mind. The islands have a strong mix of French and English heritage giving them an incredibly unique atmosphere.

5. Puerto Rico, USA
Puerto Rico is home to the famous 'Puerto Rico Baseball League', who play from November to January. Famous US league players visit Puerto Rico and come down to play in their off-season. For an authentic sporting experience, make sure you visit the Roberto Clemente Stadium in Carolina.

6. The Maldives
A classic honeymoon destination set in the Indian Ocean, The Maldives is made up of 26 breathtakingly beautiful islands. Eternally romantic, nowhere else can combine luxury with seductive privacy like these islands can.

7. Tokyo, Japan
Japan is famous for its wonderful hospitality and Tokyo is the definitive destination for food lovers with restaurants representing all the cuisines of the world. Even the most discerning and dedicated eaters, will always find something new with the huge variety of delicacies and dining experiences Tokyo has to offer!

8. Las Vegas, USA
Las Vegas is the ultimate destination for bright lights and glitz. The best time to go is either in the spring or autumn when the weather is beautifully balmy. The city is home to the world famous Las Vegas Strip when you will find the world's most famous casinos and non-stop nightlife.

9. Mauritius
Mauritius exhibits all the attributes of a tropical paradise. Pristine white beaches fringed with palm trees stretch along the coastline, while the rhythmic lapping of waves breaking on coral reefs provides a comforting soundtrack. In the interior, mountains and dormant volcanoes rise out of lush jungle, broken only by plunging waterfalls, craters and deep gorges.
Black River Gorges, a Unesco national park in the south-west of the island is home to unique flora and fauna such as the pink pigeon and the Mauritian flying fox.

10. St Lucia, Caribbean
Absorb the magnificent scenery of lush green mountains, tropical forests and the dramatic twin Pitons. A photographer's dream, St. Lucia has an unspoilt beauty and a bursting calendar of cultural events including the annual Jazz Festival in May and the St. Lucia carnival in June and July.
St. Lucia is also home to La Soufriere volcano - the world's only drive-in volcano which erupted for the first time some 400,000 years ago and has been burning lava ever since.
* British Airways will begin flights to Haneda (Tokyo) on 19 Feb., Marrakech on 27 March, Puerto Rico on 28 March, and San Diego on 1 June, 2011.
About British Airways
* British Airways has a worldwide route network that covers more than 150 destinations in 75 countries.
* British Airways has been operating in Australia for 75 years.
* British Airways operate from Terminal 3 and Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. The state-of-the-art Terminal 5 is exclusive to the airline's customers and is capable of handling 30 million customers a year.
* Australia flights operate from the multi-million pound refurbished Terminal 3.
* In September 2010, British Airways was recognised as "Best European Airline" for the 10th consecutive year, by readers of Business Traveller at the 19th Business Traveller Asia Pacific Awards.
* At the Business Traveller Awards 2010 held in London, British Airways was also chosen by readers as the "Best Short-Haul Carrier" and "Best Frequent Flyer Programme" for the Executive Club.
* British Airways won the recognition as the "Best Airline in Europe" at the 2010 Passenger Choice Awards, by the APEX in the US.
* British Airways operates a double daily service between Sydney and London Heathrow - one via Singapore and one via Bangkok.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Great train journey

For ten years now the Indian Pacific has choofed across Australia, from Sydney to Perth on a mission of Santa Claus proportions. The loco carries international and domestic media, a pop star or two and Santa. Stars of the past include: Human Nature, Guy Sebastian, Marcia Hynes, David Campbell and Jimmy Barnes. This year, rock legends James Reyne (Australian Crawl) and Mark Seymour (Hunters & Collectors) entertained the media on the train and gave concerts across the country. We stopped in Broken Hill for the first event. Every stop provided a welcoming crowd and the local school choir singing Christmas carols before James and Mark did their thing.
The Indian Pacific is celebrating 40 years of travelling this year - happy anniversary to the great train and many more happy Christmases across the country. Pictures are a few scenes from the trip, the lady with Get Up & Go is Shelley Howells deputy editor of Air New Zealand's inflight magazine; the chap with Mark Seymour, James Reyne and moi is Tony Braxton-Smith, CEO of Great Southern Rail.
Watch this video of the trip - wonderful shots and evocative of the variety and wonder of Australia.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Winners are grinners

Last weekend the Australian Society of Travel Writers had its AGM, travel awards night and conference. And what a weekend it was too. So much to talk about, so much to learn, the seminars at conference were brilliant and the speakers included author Robert Dessaix and Tony and Maureen Wheeler founders of Lonely Planet publications. It as quite a weekend for yours truly to. I was elected as president of the ASTW, to serve a year – quite a responsibility but the society has a brilliant membership so with a little help from my friends . . .
Also I was awarded Travel Editor of the Year - kudos for not on only me but for the magazine. Being editor of a travel magazine is a fabulous job, and it takes a lot of energy to keep up the good work, entice our readers to travel and generally engage with them o they feel some ownership with the magazine.
As editor of Get Up & Go it is my pleasure to accept this award on behalf of my own hard work, and my publisher, staff and the readers - what stars! All of us!
Pictures: Moi and Glyn May, public relations representative for Star Clippers - those divine sailing ships. And that was my prize - not Glyn – but a cruise in the Mediterranean!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hey, hey, it's Hayman

Hayman in the wondrous Whitsundays of Queensland has had so many awards granted that the island could almost sink under them at any time. Just kidding! It's Paradise where you can chill out in splendid resort accommodation and also find yourself in beach villas with private indoor pools, eat from several award-winning restaurants, go for a spa treatment and refuse to ever leave, take advantage of the water activities if you can lift your head off the beach lounge . . .do you get the drift?
Last week the company held a lunch for 'friends' in the media. This is an annual event and so for this editor has stayed on the list - because of good behaviour, no doubt. The lunch is always held at the divine Aria restaurant at Circular Quay Sydney, and maestro Matt Moran teams up with the executive chef of Hayman to present us guests with stunning meals - and this year the benchmark was again lifted.
Pictures with Matthew Moran is Glenn Bacon of Hayman. The food speaks for itself!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Canada is cool now!

As we start to complain about the weather heating up as we are edging closer to Christmas in Australia - spare a thought for the cold climate folk. I spent a few days in Canada just before Christmas a couple of years ago. And as the city of Vancouver was lighting up the shop windows and streets it was out of town where the brrrr buzz was. We headed to Whistler and stayed at the divine Fairmont Hotel where I had a room that looked out to the mountains and the the ski slopes – this is a winter wonderland exemplified.
I love snow, lots of it piled up against walls, weighing down the branches on large trees, crunching underfoot.
So, for the future if you would like a change of scenery for the festive season why not try Canada and enjoy the traditions of a cheery winter Christmas.
Air Canada flies directly to Vancouver from Sydney.
(Couple of signs around the village of Whistler, the terrace at the cafe on top of the mountain - where are all the customers? And a very nice dog I met along the way - a good dog who didn't complain about the cold and we shared a hot chocolate later in the day.)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rock Garden in the Red Centre

Due to heavy rains throughout the year and the wettest September on record, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in the Northern Territory has bloomed this spring. The unprecedented level of rainfall has resulted in an abundance of wildflowers and a riot of greenery that is not typically associated with the Red Centre and it is a spectacular time to visit.
Guests staying at Ayers Rock Resort in the last month have been rewarded with the amazing sight of waterfalls tumbling off the rocks and lush new growth everywhere. There's not a bit of dry red dust to be seen. Vibrant coloured wildflowers have sprung up around Ayers Rock Resort and in the national park: there's spearbrush, honey grevilleas, bluebells, early nancy lilies, parakeelya and desert peas.
Martha Coomber from Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park commented: “It is a beautiful time to visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta with colourful flowers all around the base walk of Uluru and in Walpa Gorge and fresh new growth everywhere. There are more than 416 species of native plants in the national park, but some of the plants that have bloomed this spring are so rare that staff have received special plant identification training to help identify them all.”
Ayers Rock Resort, gateway to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, is offering a great value Rock Summer package, ideal for those who wish to arrange a trip soon to experience the Red Centre in bloom. Available for bookings to 30 November 2010 and travel until 31 March 2011, you can enjoy two night packages at the Lost Camel or the Outback Pioneer Hotel starting from just $298* per person, twin share, with a special rate of just $49* per person for the third night.

Visit www.ayersrockresort.com.au

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Malaysia Airlines gives 'em stick

Blog contributor and fellow traveller David Ellis says that on a recent flight with Malaysia Airlines from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, a passenger near him complained to the flight attendants that 'he had paid a lot of money to fly Business Class, and did not expect to have to eat with his fingers'.
When it was explained to him what the snack was, he still demanded that it be re-presented to him 'the right way' – with a knife and fork.
The attendants returned with his request, but politely pointed out that 'as a traditional Malay dish, satay is always served on small wooden skewers and eaten with the fingers'.
The passenger remained unimpressed, but Malaysia Airlines obviously aims to please.
The airline serves an amazing 20,000 a day of its famous little satay sticks in Business Class on flights worldwide, using its own recipes for beef and chicken marinated in shallots, turmeric, garlic, galangal and lemongrass, char-grilling and basting them over mangrove wood charcoal in their ground kitchens before treating them to a smothering of spicy crushed peanut sauce – and serving with a side of refreshing cucumber, onion and a cube of rice cake.
And yes, for its loyal followers in Business Class, the airline invariably has enough of its satay appetisers on board for seconds. (No need to guess who put his hand up for those seconds!)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

USA's worst airlines?

According to a US News & World Report, Delta Airlines came last in a customer satisfaction report.
* It was first in delays and customer complaints among major airlines.
* United Airlines came a close second, with surveys reserving particular scorn for its 'meals and rude flight attendants'.
* Third worst was Alaska Airlines, which earned its poor ranking due to a 'high number of mishandled baggage reports'. The airline lost roughly four bags for every 1000 customers last year. But airline was noted for its excellent on-time performance.
* American Airlines landed in fourth place, not so much for its own performance, but that of subsidiary American Eagle, which drove its overall numbers down, the survey said.
* US Airways ranked fifth after improving its scores for overall customer satisfaction compared to 2009.

On the opposite end of the spectrum was Hawaiian Airlines, which ranked best in customer satisfaction for its near-perfect on-time performance. AirTran was ranked second best, followed by JetBlue.
(Cartoon of the day: Where astronauts hang out after work.)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ultimate road trip

In his continuing search for the more weird, wacky and wondrous in the world of travel, Get Up & Go contributor David Ellis says that if you complain at election time about the condition of some of our country roads, consider the lot of those who have to use the North Yungas Road in Bolivia – known locally as El Camino de la Muerte, or The Road of Death.
Running 60-something kilometres from the administrative capital of La Paz to Coroico in the Amazon rainforest region of the country’s north, the road rises as high as 4650m in some places and drops to around 1200m in the mountains at its final destination.
But it’s the way that it clings to the mountainous cliffsides that have earned it its gruesome nickname, coupled with the fact its just 3.2m wide, has no guard rails, and in most places falls 600m or more into valleys below.
Add to this the torrential rain that can make the surface like glass and its little wonder that before an alternative road was built, the North Yungas Road claimed between 200 and 300 lives a year, including in one horror accident more than 100 passengers in a bus that fell off the side into a ravine below.
And yet despite being only 3.2m wide, heavy trucks that still use the road actually pass each other – bizarrely each travelling on 'the wrong side of the road' to do so, but meaning that the driver of the truck heading downhill is on the outside of the road, and therefore can see just how close his wheels are to the 600m drop below him.
While fewer trucks are now using the road, its still popular with thrill-seeking holidaymakers in 4WDs – and in recent years has been luring increasing numbers of mountain bike enthusiasts who are catered for by local companies that take them and their bikes to the highest point of the road for a 50km-plus, heart-stopping downhill ride that’s dubbed The Dice With Death….


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bali flavours

Back in Sydney after a red eye flight from Bali. Have featured a couple of images from the various food outlets of the Ayana Resort & Spa in Jimbaran. In four days there wasn't enough time to eat at all the restaurants but managed to get around to a few and taste the offerings and put on three kilos. More to follow in future issue of Get Up & Go magazine. Currently reminiscing about the food but seriously missing the private pool, and my butler - why can't I always have a butler?
Nasi goring and Bali fruits at breakfast - yummy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Bali the beautiful

Last day in Bali after a short but very sweet experience staying at the Ayana Resort and Spa perched above Jimbaran Bay, since Sunday night. After intensive eating, swimming, eating, viewing the view, today, a few of us will leave the comfortable confines of the 75hectare compound for a lightning trip to Seminyak and Legian for a shopping expedition.
Spa treatment day here was an amazing Bali Treatment where my body was covered in a paste of turmeric powder, sandalwood and yoghurt, packed down and almost dried and then rubbed off. Next came the almond oil to assist the massage - I felt wonderful but suspected at one stage of being marinated for a curry pot!
An evening at the rock bar - yep, real rocks on the cliff above the beach - offered a soft sunset and after a dinner at a restaurant where you kick your shoes off and wiggle your toes n the sand while eating local seafood.
Here are a couple of images from the resort and enjoy the 'floating breakfast'. I had the brekkie in my own pool and it was enhanced by sharing it with a couple of visitors - it would have felt a bit silly standing on tip toe in the pool cutting up toast and eggs on my own. This is a treat for couples who want that extra bit of romance while on holidays. In fact the entire resort and award winning spa is a treat - beats the real world any day. Visit: http://www.ayanaresort.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

All is fair in Sydney

Pick any Saturday or Sunday from the end of September to mid November in Sydney (or for that matter any city and surrounds in Australia) and you'll find a suburban or city-based food fair or local craft fair.
Close to me in the inner west last Sunday as the Summer Hill Food Fair. This is a small village close to the railway line and populated with all strata of people. The food fair was meticulously organised and down the main street the aromas enticed the visitors: barbecued octopus, pizza, grilled prawns, lamb curry, spicy kebabs, pad Thai, cakes, baklava, gelato and superb coffee.
A South American band was playing sexy salsa for entertainment and the sun shone – and all was well with the world.
An ex- Get Up & Go art director was there too promoting her charming shop 'Sweets work shop', and selling lovely gifts and affordable works of art.
Fetes, bazaars, fairs and craft shows are quintessential elements of colour and familiarity of community and I find if I am visiting other cities, states or countries I like to tag along to the wanderers as goods are inspected, stuff browsed over and friendly banter is to be had. This is another way of having an authentic travel experience.
So, if you are a local, or a visitor planning any city visits, check the local council websites and you can be part of all the fun of a fair.
Visit: www.sweetsworkshop.com.au

Monday, October 18, 2010

Europe and Britain touring - the Insight way

Premium tour operator Insight Vacations has released it’s 2011 Premium Europe and Britain program, offering an extensive range of holiday options with a style to suit every type of traveller. These include Discovery Tours, snapshot-style tours of Europe suited for the first time traveller; Regional Tours which focus on highlights in a specific region or area; Easy Pace, featuring longer stays in each city for more in-depth exploration; Country Roads, which veer off the beaten track; Gold,a range of deluxe itineraries and Select Choices, a range of independent-style itineraries without the hassles.

The new program includes 25 exciting new itineraries, including the 16-day Treasures of the Balkans. Designed exclusively for members of Insight’s online Travel Forum, this tour was such a big success that Insight decided to include it in the brochure. Designed with the seasoned traveller in mind, this is one feature-packed adventure, however there is still plenty of time to soak up the sights and culture as you travel through exotic destinations such as Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Hungary.
Insight’s 16-day Treasures of the Balkans is priced from $3625 per person, twin share, land only (single supplement option from $1170). Departures available from 14 May until 01 October, 2011.
(The lovely images are: Montenegro (orthodox church) ; Dubrovnik and Budapest.

For more information, visit www.insightvacations.com.au or see your local travel agent.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Have you read this magazine?

The spring edition of Get Up & Go is out and about. We've tweaked the design, given you bigger and more beautiful images and have stories that will have you booking holidays right now.
Read about how to deal with the tricky bits in India; a Cambodian movie star; a trip on Canada's Rocky Mountaineer; a tale of Porto in Portugal; lion kings of Kenya and much more to titillate on o/s destinations.
At home we cover every state with tall tales and true. Walk with me on Tassie's Maria Island; go four-wheel driving in Kakadu and enjoy South East Queensland's gourmet corner.
WIN a cruise for two with P&O Cruises and subscribe for the next great issue - Christmas is around the corner - how about a subscription for a friend - just go to www.getupandgo.com.au
Get Up & Go now!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

London's Savoy Hotel reopens - divine darling!

Glittering with new crystal chandeliers, gold leaf and polished marble floors, London's Savoy hotel reopened on Sunday after a three-year, multi-million-pound refit to restore its former splendour.
London's first luxury hotel, which hosted luminairies from Marlene Dietrich to Claude Monet, has been renovated from top to bottom in a mammoth project costing 220 million pounds (250 million euros, 350 million dollars).
British actor Stephen Fry was the first guest to check in, arriving in a Rolls Royce to be met by hotel managers in the famed art deco lobby.
"It feels the same but it's really different," sales director Simon Gilkes told AFP, adding: "It wasn't about changing the Savoy but restoring the Savoy. We wanted to keep the heritage and elevate it."
New chandeliers in Murano crystal light up the public rooms, and in the lobby the old tattered carpets have been replaced with gleaming marble.
A new bar has been installed in the old Beaufort Room where George Gershwin played to guests during WWII, selling champagne, cocktails and cabaret in art deco surroundings adorned with gold leaf worth more than 38,000 pounds.
In an example of the painstaking work carried out by more than 100 craftsmen, one woman took almost six months to renovate the hand-lacquered wood and gold paint in the insides of the lifts.
In addition to 38 new rooms built with views of the River Thames, there is a new Royal Suite covering 325sq.m, complete with a ventilated shoe closet and costing a recession-busting 10,000 pounds a night.
The Savoy was built in 1889 to cater for the nearby Savoy Theatre and over the next century was home to Hollywood and acting royalty, including Sarah Bernhardt, Laurence Olivier, Charlie Chaplin and Frank Sinatra.
But it also became the favourite haunt of prime ministers and the royal family, and it was here that Queen Elizabeth II, then a young princess, was first seen in public with her future husband, Philip.
Aside from hosting glittering parties and A-list guests, the Savoy also prides itself for being at the forefront of modern technology -- it was the first hotel in London to use electric lights, elevators and 24-hour service.
But despite all the building work, the hotel retains its lived-in feel and remains quintessentially English, with straight-backed valets ready to cater to your every whim and a classic 'high tea' still served each afternoon.
Situated just a short walk from the theatres of London's West End, the Savoy is to London what the Ritz is to Paris -- and indeed Cesar Ritz, who founded the eponymous hotel chain, was the Savoy's first manager.
These days, it is owned by Canadian group Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, which took over five years ago.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Art & About Sydney 2010

Are You Looking At Me? Laneway Art

We haven't got to the excellent laneway exposition status of Melbourne yet but someone's trying! Contemporary Australian artists have transformed eight laneways in central Sydney into temporary art installations as part of Art & About Sydney 2010.
Nine artists are exploring the potential of forgotten city lanes in a new way, through light projection, sound, text and imagery.
The contemporary artists working on Are You Looking At Me? include Simryn Gill, Jan van der Ploeg, Jon Campbell, Justene Williams, Mikala Dwyer, Simon Yates, Newell Harry, Nike Savvas and Rocket Mattler.
Conceived by international art curator Barbara Flynn, the Are You Looking At Me? Laneway project will both delight and challenge the public whilst enlivening and reactivating under utilised urban spaces.
“Each artist has come up with a new work especially for the project. Their art will so radically transform the space, it will be as if people are seeing the laneway for the first time. Their art will transcend temporality and become an unforgettable part of the living memory of Sydney,” said curator Barbara Flynn.
Last year, an estimated 100,000 people explored the By George Hidden Networks - Laneway Art project.
The Are You Looking At Me? Laneway Art project will remain in place until January 31.

Art & About Sydney runs until 24 October 2010. The full program will be online in early September: www.artandabout.com.au

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ten top tips to travel smart

Travel smart
1. Copy your passport and driver’s licence: take a photocopy and keep them separate from the original or take a photo of them and keep it on your phone. Do the same with your travel insurance documents.
2. Stay covered: Make sure you know exactly what your travel insurance covers (regarding medical and emergency assistance) and that the policy will be recognised around the world. In some countries, if they don’t recognise the insurance underwriter, they may not admit you to a hospital. Make sure your insurer has a 24-hour assistance phone line. Program the help number into your mobile.
3. Shoot your luggage: have a photo of your luggage and any valuable items stored on your phone to show to someone who doesn’t speak English if they get lost.
4. Suitcase saviours: wet wipes and hand sanitiser are invaluable. Gaffer (electrical) tape can be used to repair luggage, hold up mozzie nets or repair shoes. Pack a sarong, to use as a sheet, towel, pillow case, head scarf or shopping bag.
5. Stay in touch: sign up for a free Skype account to call people using the internet, or purchase a local SIM card for your phone, but you’ll have to get a new card and number in every country you visit. Alternatively, buy a SIM card aimed at travellers such as TravelSIM (www.travelsim.net.au) Keep the card and use the same phone number every trip.
6. Cash & carry: pre-paid credit and debit cards offer the most convenient form of travel money. Visa is the most world-widely accepted. Even in techno-savvy Japan you’ll find that you can’t use many ATMs – always look for the Cirrus or PLUS logo.
7. A good book: load audio books or podcast radio shows into your iPod.
8. Adaptors and batteries: For iPods, digital cameras, phones, laptops and camcorders, carry a power adaptor and rechargeable batteries. Don’t lose the charger or cables, they are hard to replace overseas.
9. Good nights: travel with an inflatable neck pillow for long-haul flights, ear plugs and an eye mask.
10. Stay well: essential medical kit items include cold and flu pills, painkillers, throat lozenges, band aids, laxatives, something to stop diarrhoea and vomiting, antiseptic cream, eye drops and antihistamines. Tea tree oil soothes itchy bits and doubles as an antiseptic and anti-fungal. Take enough prescribed medications to last the trip, and a copy of the prescription and a letter from your doctor explaining why you need them. If you suffer from food allergies carry ‘food alert’ translation cards (see www.selectwisely.com). And don’t forget a spare set of specs and your prescription just in case.

Picture is guests of MV Orion on a zodiac cruising the coast of the Kimberley, WA.