Travel Tips

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The one place you must visit when you’re in a foreign city

<p>It’s easy to fall into life’s mundane routine. You wake up. You eat breakfast. You go to work. You come home. And you fall asleep.</p> <p>Day in and day out, without you even realising it, life begins to slip by you as you fail to experience the beauty that you’re surrounded with. To give ourselves a break, most of us decide to take a trip. Whether that’s travelling overseas, or taking a domestic flight to another city, a good holiday is the perfect way to unwind and get yourself out of a rut.</p> <p>But even then, many people choose to simply explore the “tourist” spots of a foreign city, which is fine, but there’s one particular thing you should do every single time you visit a new place.</p> <p>Head to the local market.</p> <p>It may sound bizarre, but a local market is the best way to receive a truly authentic experience. With cabbages flying past your head, and hundreds of people crammed in one tiny quarter, it may not seem like the most desirable activity.</p> <p>But not only will you be discovering a hidden gem of the city you’re in, you can often purchase items for a much cheaper cost than if you were to go to a big shopping centre.</p> <p>The best way to visit a market is to go early and to go hungry. No one serves food like a local market, and this way you will be able to try out the cuisine of the place you’re visiting. Give yourself some time to take it all in. No photos, no rush to get to one place from the other. Just a simple moment of relaxation as you absorb your surroundings.</p> <p>So, whether you’re heading to Singapore’s Tekka wet market or Florence’s Mercato Centrale, you can rest assured that you will be in the company of artisans who respect food and the story behind it.</p> <p>Do you have any must-see destinations on your list? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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The bizarre items you cannot take with you on a plane

<p>There are plenty of items that you can take with you overseas, provided they’re in your checked luggage and not your carry-on.</p> <p>Bottles of alcohol, aerosol cans, corkscrews with blades and sporting equipment are just a few of the things you can transport overseas in your checked luggage. But before you do, keep in mind that each country has their own rules and regulations.</p> <p>For example, the United States doesn’t allow sharp knitting needles.</p> <p>So, what is permitted in carry-on? And what is a complete no-go?</p> <p><strong>Items allowed in your carry-on</strong></p> <p>There are a few items that you can travel with in your carry-on that are restricted in your checked luggage.</p> <p>For example, lithium batteries that are usually found in smartphones, cameras and laptops are considered a fire hazard. So, you would want to keep them in your carry-on bags rather than your suitcase.</p> <p>Other items that you can pack in your carry-on but not your check-in luggage are electric skateboards, cordless curling irons, e-cigarettes and snow globes as long as the liquid inside is less than 100ml.</p> <p><strong>Items that are completely banned</strong></p> <p>When travelling, don’t even think about taking any of these items with you, because chances are, you’ll be stopped before you get the chance to board.</p> <p>CO2 cartridges are definitely not allowed, so if you ride a bike, you’ll need to carry a pump for your tyres instead.</p> <p>Other items that are banned are chlorine, bleach and fertilisers due to the ammonium nitrate that are present in some brands.</p> <p>The most bizarre item of all is probably a coconut, which is also classified as a fire hazard, so don’t try and smuggle it in either your carry-on or your check-in luggage.</p> <p>Did you know what you were allowed to carry and what you weren’t? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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6 essentials to pack when heading off on a road trip

<p>We all generally have a good idea on what to take when travelling overseas, but what if you’re exploring your own backyard? Road trips are a great way to see more of the country you live in but be sure to bring these items with you for a smoother trip!</p> <p><strong>1. Bags</strong></p> <p>Duffle bags are a dream come true when driving across the country. Not only are they less bulky than standard luggage, but you can squish them into any nook and cranny, making them a great option for when you’re planning overnight stays.</p> <p>The lightweight option is a great necessity to take with you, as you can pack an extra pair of clothes, a toothbrush and any other essentials you may need while you’re away from home.</p> <p><strong>2. Clothing</strong></p> <p>This is one of those situations where comfort should always be given priority over style. Sitting in a car for hours isn’t the most pleasant of situations, so wearing clothes that are loose and breathable will keep you feeling fresher for longer.</p> <p>Dark colours are a good idea as they help hide wrinkles, meaning when you stop over along the way, you won’t feel out of place and daggy.</p> <p><strong>3. Snacks</strong></p> <p>Is it really a road trip if you don’t have snacks on hand? Pre-packing your food for the journey is going to prove to be a lot cheaper than purchasing them from a service station. A few good things to take with you are frozen fruit and veggies, and mixed nuts to give you that extra burst of protein.</p> <p>Mixing your snacks in a Ziplock bag is a genius and efficient way of making your own trail mix and be sure to keep the boot of your car stocked up with back-up options.</p> <p><strong>4. Games</strong></p> <p>While your phone always proves to be a nice distraction, it isn’t a device that can get everyone involved. Games such as Mad Lib and other non-electronic activities is a fun way to liven things up after a long day on the road.</p> <p><strong>5. Music</strong></p> <p>Music is crucial if you want to set the mood and is a nice way to clear your head as you journey to your destination. Make sure the tunes are upbeat, so everyone can remain alert, but then also have a playlist with mellow music, for the moments you need a breather.</p> <p><strong>6. Navigation</strong></p> <p>This is the most important item you need to keep, as without a good navigation system, you may end up somewhere with no way to get out. While every smartphone has the option of Google Maps, it’s a good idea to purchase a separate GPS device as phone apps require network coverage, which you may not always have, and always use up your data.</p> <p>Be sure to test it out before you head off, just to see if everything is working properly.</p> <p>Do you have any more road trip essentials to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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The three letters you do not want on your boarding pass

<p>There are a variety of codes used in order for air flight ticket agents to keep on top of what their customers are going through.</p> <p>One of these codes is “GTE”, which stands for “Gate”. It means that even though you might have paid full fare for your flight, you technically don’t have a seat.</p> <p>An Air Canada ticket agent has confirmed this to be true.</p> <p>He told <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/air-canada-agents-reveal-oversell-practices-1.5008217" target="_blank">CBC</a>: “If someone has GTE (for “gate”) on their boarding pass, it means they don’t have a seat.”</p> <p>Naturally, telling someone this at the gate can cause issues, so he just told the new hires to send them to the gate.</p> <p>"I say to the new hired agents, 'You can't put up with confrontation all day long. If someone has 'GTE' [for "gate"] on their boarding pass, it means they don't have a seat. But if you explain that to them, they'll get upset. So just send them to the gate."</p> <p>The unnamed ticket agent was unhappy with the practice, saying “It’s never fun to have to lie to people”.</p> <p>"I had to tell people over and over again that they were gonna get on the plane, when I knew that they might not."</p> <p>Air Canada has denied overselling flights, which is what causes people to not have seats in the first place, with a spokesperson for the airline saying that “overselling accounts for less than 1 per cent of passengers booked”.</p> <p>According to Sean Berenson, general manager product for Flight Centre NZ, carriers in New Zealand do their best to accommodate passengers who have been inconvenienced.</p> <p class="sics-component__html-injector sics-component__story__paragraph">"That might mean upgrading them to another class, putting them on the next flight, or compensating them with accommodation, food vouchers or payments," he said. </p> <p>Has this happened to you whilst boarding? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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The one word that could ruin everything at check in

<p>This word has the potential to ruin your entire trip.</p> <p>Middle.</p> <p>It sounds simple, but if you have forgotten to include your middle name on your flight bookings, this could spell trouble for you and your flights.</p> <p>It becomes even more of an issue if you're travelling overseas.</p> <p>It's easy to forget to add your middle name, especially when the travel website only asks for your first and last name. However, if you are travelling overseas, it's best to have your flight booking match the exact name on your official travel documents, including your passport.</p> <p>Many people have learnt this lesson the hard way. One man who was flying from Rome to Mykonos on a European holiday was informed that he would have to pay an extra £50 (NZD$95) to reissue the ticket, so it was an exact match to the name on his passport.</p> <p><span>The flight itself was only </span><span>£</span><span></span><span>100 pounds (NZD$191), so the traveller</span><span> would either have to pay the fine or find another flight.</span></p> <p>He wasn’t the only one to  be stung by this surprise rule, as it quickly became clear that other passengers weren’t aware of this requirement either. Up to 20 other passengers who were boarding the flight had to pay the fee as well.</p> <p>This experience seems to vary across airlines, as a woman in Canada was also denied boarding onto her flight into Iceland as her middle name was missing from the booking. It wasn’t an exact match to her official travel documents, so she was forced to find a new flight.</p> <p>It definitely doesn’t help that she was told less than four hours before the flight and the airline wouldn’t reissue a ticket. There were another 11 other people who had reportedly missed their flight for the same reason the day before.</p> <p>The woman was forced to buy a new outbound ticket that cost more than the price of the original return ticket.</p> <p>Changing your name on a booking varies from airline to airline. A handy tip is to contact your frequent flyer membership helpline so you don’t have to worry about manually adding your name when you book flights with your preferred airline.</p> <p>Has this ever happened to you? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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The secret hack on your car's dashboard you didn't know about

<p>Most drivers have faced the frustrating situation at least once when they are at the petrol station and have no idea which side the fuel tank is on their car.</p> <p>Fortunately, there is a simple trick that can help you avoid this problem – and it’s hiding in plain sight right in front of you on your car's dashboard.</p> <p>Located near the fuel gauge is usually an icon of a petrol pump. Next to this icon, there will be a bold arrow which indicates the side of the car the fuel tank is on.</p> <p>Most modern cars will have this arrow indicator, which comes in handy for driving new or rental vehicles.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en-gb"> <p dir="ltr">The little arrow next to the pump logo tells you which side of the car the tank filler hatch is on :) <a href="https://t.co/nu4O0jNwYM">pic.twitter.com/nu4O0jNwYM</a></p> — Charlie O'Malley (@charliebadger99) <a href="https://twitter.com/charliebadger99/status/1091629074198548480?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">2 February 2019</a></blockquote> <p>Many drivers were surprised at this late discovery. </p> <p>“I’m slack-jawed I’ve overlooked something so simple,” a Twitter user commented.</p> <p>If the fuel cap is loose, cracked or lost, the fuel vapours may spill out and throw the fuel system pressure off. The check engine light will turn on when this occurs. You can address this by retightening or replacing the cap, which can be purchased at auto parts shops.</p> <p>Have you ever noticed this fuel tank arrow indicator on your car's dashboard? Let us know in the comments.</p>

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5 travel hacks you need to know before you visit Europe

<p>Europe is every traveller’s dream, and chances are, it’s either on your bucket list, or you’ve visited the picturesque continent more than once before. Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum, it’s important to have a few tips up your sleeve when heading off to a foreign place, and if you plan accordingly, these tips will make your journey across the world much easier.</p> <p><strong>1. Check for visa requirements</strong></p> <p>This may seem like a no-brainer but checking any visa requirements before you hop onto a plane is important, because the last thing anyone wants is to be denied entry into their dream destination. While most countries in Europe do not require a visa upon entry, it’s still a good idea to double-check which ones do.</p> <p>Before you start packing, search online for visa requirements and whether or not you will need an on-arrival visa upon reaching the airport.</p> <p><strong>2. Travel off season</strong></p> <p>You aren’t the only one wanting to head to Europe during the summertime, chances are there are thousands of others that want to do so too, making your trip jampacked with people and crowds.</p> <p>While the idea of sunbathing in the Mediterranean sounds like a dream, overcrowded beaches do not. So, it’s best to travel off season. Not only will you be ditching the tourists, you’ll also be saving a lot of money on accommodation, airfares, tours and train tickets.</p> <p>Tourist attractions are usually open all year round, but it’s good to check their closing times before paying a visit.</p> <p><strong>3. Use affordable airlines</strong></p> <p>Europe is a minefield of budget airlines, meaning you can save a lot of cash if you choose to fly with an affordable carrier. But you need to be quick – because airfare is cheaper than train tickets, many seats often get booked quickly.</p> <p>Also, check for any additional fees and taxes that may not have been advertised, the last thing you need is a nasty surprise in the form of a hefty bill.</p> <p><strong>4. Hop on a train</strong></p> <p>Have you even visited Europe if you haven’t jumped on a train? Europe has some of the best railway systems in the world, so why not take advantage of it.</p> <p>You can travel from country to country on the Eurostar but be sure to validate your ticket to avoid fines.</p> <p><strong>5. Bring comfortable shoes</strong></p> <p>Walking is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the city of your choosing. Buses and other forms of transport just can’t reach the secret nooks and crannies like your feet can, which is why it’s important to bring a pair of comfortable walking shoes.</p> <p>Walking hours on end can be exhausting, but if you have the right footwear, your feet will thank you at the end of a long day.</p> <p>Have you visited Europe before? If you have, where would you like to visit next in Europe? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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Flight attendant reveals the one thing that will stop you from getting an upgrade

<p>A flight attendant has revealed the innocent request that may diminish your chances of nabbing an upgrade.</p> <p>Before boarding, passengers have the liberty to choose between special meals depending on their dietary requirements. And while it’s a service that’s convenient for those who are vegetarian or gluten-free, it’s apparently what reduces their chance of being upgraded to business class.</p> <p>Flight attendant Neil Jackson, author of <em>Welcome Aboard,</em> spoke to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/auhome/index.html" target="_blank">Mail Online</a> </em>and said: “Crew say veggies (vegetarians) hardly ever get upgraded, because there might not be a suitable meal for them upfront.”</p> <p>He also mentioned that those who are considered frequent flyers and have no known food allergies are more likely to hit the jackpot.</p> <p>Nik Loukas, a former Qantas flight attendant agreed, saying that those hoping for an upgrade should avoid requesting special meals.</p> <p>Speaking to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.businessinsider.com.au/" target="_blank"><em>Business Insider</em></a>, Mr Loukas said: “Because you’ve got dietary requirements, they might not be able to cater for you if they upgrade you.”</p> <p>Mr Loukas is the brains behind popular food blog <em>InflightFeed</em> where he reviews the latest airline food.</p> <p>Having accumulated over 25,000 followers on Instagram, the former flight attendant reveals the best, and the worst, in-flight meals.</p> <p>But despite the revelations, a spokesperson for Qantas has said the claims were “untrue” and if a passenger was to be upgraded, their dietary requirements would be catered for.</p> <p>Have you ever been upgraded on a flight? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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6 tips to survive an intergenerational holiday

<p>Intergenerational travel is certainly a challenge, but it also offers immense reward. Here are six tips that may help you get it right.</p> <p><strong>Tip 1: Find a way to agree on a destination</strong><br />Agreeing on a destination that will please grandkids, children and you – or you, your kids and your parents - might seem like an impossible dream but many families have different ways to reach agreement. It’s a bit like Christmas – love and compromise will save the day.</p> <p>Start with the range of options and draw up a list. Give everyone a chance to contribute. In Australia we’re blessed with wonderful beaches, the outback, ski fields and everything in between from beautiful national parks to amazing theme parks.</p> <ul> <li>Some family groups take turns in letting each generation have a pick,</li> <li>others put the options in a hat and do a draw,</li> <li>maybe whoever pays gets to choose,</li> <li>the democratic version is to take a vote (you could organise a secret ballot so no one is offended).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Tip 2: Discover a holiday with something for everyone</strong> <br />Beaches can keep toddlers to teenagers amused for hours but you may need to provide an option for a siesta under a wide-brimmed umbrella for harried parents. If you’re in need of a break or just a little older and wiser – perhaps you’ll settle on a morning or afternoon stroll along the beach before settling back in on the verandah with a book.</p> <p>Snowfields can be a boon for everyone. Littlies love ski school; teenagers delight in some freedom on the slopes and everyone else is able to take things at their own pace. Sheer physical exhaustion will mean kids hit the sack without complaint while the adults enjoy a fireside chat and a well-deserved red.</p> <p>If you’re an outdoorsy family, camping can keep curious kids endlessly entertained in creating imaginary worlds among rocks and trees. The grown-ups savour some time in nature with the knowledge that they can retire to their own tent, simply listen to the cicadas, or can burn off some energy on bush trail. For grandparents, introducing younger kids to the delights of the outdoors can be especially rewarding. Toasted marshmallows, bush-tucker, even simple baked beans take on a whole new life when cooked over a campfire.</p> <p><strong>Tip 3: Write down something you each want to get out of the trip</strong> <br />Once you’ve agreed on the destination get everyone to write down one thing they’d like from the holiday such as: </p> <ul> <li>For me, spending precious time with my aging parents is enough.</li> <li>For my kids it might be mastering a new snowboard manoeuvre or learning to paddleboard.</li> <li>My Dad is happy if there’s a game of table tennis involved.</li> <li>Mum loves a spot of shopping, and</li> <li>My husband is keen on photography.</li> </ul> <p>If you know what everyone wants to get out of a holiday, then achieving it is so much easier. When everyone ‘gets’ his or her wish, you’ll know you’ve gone a long way to having a successful family holiday.</p> <p><strong>Tip 4: Plan to do things together</strong> <br />It’s important to carve off some time for yourself, but if you’ve gone to the trouble of organising an intergenerational holiday then make sure some of it is spent together. Meals are a great start and even independent teens will make it to the table a couple of times a day.</p> <p>Pick a couple of activities that you can all do together throughout your holiday. Visiting a local landmark or historic site can bring everyone together. Try doing something you’ve never done before – take a joy flight, go whale watching, even playing a game of croquet or lawn bowls can deliver fun with littlies and oldies all able to join in.</p> <p><strong>Tip 5: Get the duration right</strong> <br />For some families a week or two with everyone together will never be enough. For others a long weekend could be pushing it. As a group, you need to know your limits.</p> <p>Remember it’s meant to be a holiday and if you, the kids or your parents are stressed in close quarters then you really need to think long and hard about the length of your time together. Too long and everyone will be exhausted; too short and you might just feel gypped. A little compromise goes a long way.</p> <p>So, does creating ‘me’ time for everyone. Grandparents can take younger kids for a while; adult children can make sure the oldies aren’t being run ragged by the family group. . . and teens will inevitably find the internet somewhere! Let it be known what each of you need (no one is a mind reader). Go for a nap, take a walk, have an early night – it’s your holiday too.</p> <p><strong>Tip 6: Create wonderful memories</strong> <br />Every good holiday creates at least one memory that lasts a lifetime. We all carry a camera in our phone these days, so make it everyone’s quest to get great family photos. Funny photos, incidental photos, action photos, candid photos, scenic photos and selfies. Most important of all – get a few group photos. Perhaps aim for a family photo of the day.</p> <p>Build a “slideshow” when you get home or, better still, create a memory book online and get copies printed. Photo books are an appreciated Christmas or birthday present and everyone from kids to grandparents will enjoy a permanent record of the time spent together.</p> <p>It often seems that the family will continue together forever and sometimes it’s only in retrospect that the transience of life is fleeting. Finding time to spend together may be the most memorable holiday you’ll ever take.</p> <p>What are your favourite memories of holidays with your family? Let us know in the comments section below.</p> <p><em>Written by Sandra Hook. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/how-to-enjoy-a-holiday-with-3-generations.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a>.</em></p>

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Top tips for travellers on currency exchange

<p>Many overseas travellers make the assumption that exchanging your Aussie dollars for cash in foreign currencies, like US dollars, Euros or Pounds, will be pretty much the same deal no matter which institution they choose. In reality; nothing could be further from the truth!<br /><br />Even a fraction of a cent difference in exchange rates can add up to big dollars, once you multiply it over the amount of funds you want to exchange. What’s more, the method you use for purchasing foreign currencies can make an even bigger difference and fees and charges can slug you again. <br /><br />So, what are the key rules to go by for making sure you don’t ‘get fleeced before you fly’?</p> <p><strong>Plan ahead for big savings</strong><br />The best option is to plan at least three days ahead and order your currency exchange online. This means you generally get a better exchange rate and can cut out potential commissions and fees that may apply.</p> <p>Here’s an example:<br />Say you want to buy $2000 USD for your trip to America. After comparing some rates, a foreign exchange company provided the best deal at a cost of just AUD$2739. If you wait to exchange at their airport counter or local bank, you would pay AUD$2833.05. That amounts to a hefty saving of $94.05 – enough for some fine dining at a fancy LA restaurant!</p> <p><strong>Use BPay to maximise the savings</strong><br />The above example is based on paying online via BPay, which is the most cost efficient method, as Travelex will not charge fees or commission for online orders using BPAY. You simply make an online transfer from your bank account and the purchase is complete and the savings locked in.<br /><br />The other good news when you purchase this way is that you can still pick up the cash at the airport, so you can avoid having to run around to get the cash beforehand.</p> <p><strong>Don’t assume that the banks are best<br /></strong>It might be reflex action to assume that the “big four” banks will have the best deals, but such an assumption could cost you money.</p> <p>It’s also a good idea to avoid shopping centre exchange kiosks too. They may be convenient, but you will probably pay more for the privilege.</p> <p><strong>Beware of fees and charges</strong><br />Currency exchange operators have two ways of making profit;</p> <ul> <li>putting a margin on the inter-bank exchange rate that they pay, and</li> <li>charging fees and commissions.</li> </ul> <p>The complexity of these fee structures can make them tricky to compare, so rather than trying to sift through this yourself the best approach is to just ask for a quote from each institution. This way you will end up with bottom line figures to compare after differing exchange rates and fees are taken into account.</p> <p><strong>Don’t rely on plastic alone</strong><br />Credit cards can also be more expensive. While you may see banks offering deals that say things such as “no overseas transaction fees on purchases”, they will still charge other fees such as an exchange charge - typically around 3% of the value of the amount exchanged.</p> <p>Of course, no one wants to carry around all their foreign funds in cash and the security of plastic does have merits, so the best solution is usually to use a combination of cash along with a prepaid travel card and/or a credit card to optimise convenience, cost savings and security.</p> <p>What is your experience on saving money on exchange rates? Share your ideas below.</p> <p><em>Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/top-tips-for-travellers-on-currency-exchange.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a></em></p>

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24 hours in Bangkok

<p>Bangkok is the world’s most visited city, with well over 20 million people dropping in each year. For Australians, it’s not just a destination — it’s also a convenient stopover on the way to or from somewhere else.</p> <p>A stopover has different priorities than a full holiday: It’s likely to be between long flights, so rest, exercise and at least one good meal are high priorities. And if it’s Bangkok, you must include some time for shopping.</p> <p><strong>Hotels</strong><br />Bangkok has some of the most exclusive hotels in the world, notably the renowned Mandarin Oriental, but also the Peninsula, and so many others. They aren’t cheap, but fortunately, there’s a wide range of mid-range hotels that offer comfort, cleanliness, and security.</p> <p>One hotel that’s perfectly located and very Australian-friendly is the four-star Rembrandt Hotel on Sukhumvit Soi 18. This has been a very popular area for a long time so you’ll find everything you need nearby. It’s also less than a 10-minute walk to the Asok BTS station.</p> <p>The Rembrandt Hotel offers modern rooms, fast wifi, and a range of restaurants. It’s particularly good value if you book an Executive room or suite, as these are not only on the upper floors of the hotel with views but provide access to the Executive Lounge that offers breakfast, and evening drinks and canapés, as well as a separate check-in and check-out. Altogether, it provides a very relaxing break.</p> <p><strong>Shopping</strong><br />One of the more dramatic developments in Bangkok in recent years has been the evolution of its shopping malls. A good example is Terminal 21 Bangkok on Sukhumvit Road, which has an international airport theme. The information boards look like departure ones and the staff at the information desk wear flight attendant-style uniforms.</p> <p>Each floor is themed as a different part of the world — the basement is Caribbean themed (and has an excellent gourmet food store), then there’s Rome, Paris, and Tokyo. The third floor is Istanbul and its many gift shops do resemble a souk. When you arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge suspended above, you’re in San Francisco and the restaurant precinct. It’s fun, and while much of the fashion is for young Thais, the gifts and electronics make for hours of shopping.</p> <p>One MTS stop away is the very stylish EmQuartier, home to renowned designers from Celine and Jimmy Choo to Rolex and Prada. While the Helix Quartier and the Glass Quartier are stylish, the Waterfall Quartier with its rainforest and outside area is spectacular.</p> <p><strong>Dining</strong><br />The best way to have a memorable stay in Bangkok is with an outstanding Thai meal. One option is Nahm, where Australia’s own David Thompson has drawn huge accolades for his interpretation of Thai cuisine. </p> <p>To quote the World’s Best Restaurants, “Get ready for flavour: Chef David Thompson and his team take exquisite pains to ensure their dishes are perfectly balanced, but when Thai food is your metier, there’s an undeniable power to the flavours on the plate, with smoke, heat, sourness, funk, and bitterness all playing their part.”</p> <p>On my most recent visit to Bangkok, I managed to get a booking at Bo.Lan, long regarded as one of Bangkok’s best restaurants. It moved locations several years ago and the new restaurant at Sukhumvit Soi 53 is beautiful. As you enter the grounds, you leave the Bangkok streets behind and walk through a water garden.</p> <p>Before you are taken to your table, you visit the kitchen to meet the chefs and try a starter there. The set menu is inventive and reveals Thai cuisine at its very best. As we left, we stopped by the gift shop to buy a gift of some pepper oil that a pepper-obsessed friend in Sydney later pronounced as superb.</p> <p><strong>Massage</strong><br />Perhaps the only service more widely available than food in Bangkok is a massage. Indeed, these can be combined — opposite the Rembrandt Hotel, the Lean On Tree is both an outdoor restaurant and an indoor spa. Both were good without being great.</p> <p>Whether you need to be kneaded into shape after a long flight or following hours of shopping, you’ll find a massage service wherever you are. The cost of a one-hour foot massage that will leave you floating on air is a fraction of what you’d pay at home.</p> <p>Massage options range from the ubiquitous street massage shops to highly refined two-hour massages for couples or perhaps a massage by the blind. You can even have a massage at Wat Pho, regarded as the original home of the Thai massage, where you can learn how to do it yourself (though probably not to yourself).</p> <p><strong>The airport and transfers</strong><br />When Suvarnabhumi Airport opened in 2006, it marked a turning point in the growing sophistication of Bangkok. It was a dramatic step up in every way from Don Mueang Airport, that is still used for some domestic flights.</p> <p>Whether you want some last minute shopping, a massage, a meal, or simply some downtime in a tranquil lounge — it’s all here. Considering the often-dreadful Bangkok traffic, it’s very convenient that the airport is served by an airport rail link that connects to the BTS network.</p> <p>You can do a lot in just a day in Bangkok and much of it can be specific to the special attractions of the city. When selecting your next stopover, put the Thai capital at the top of your list.</p> <p>Have you found something in Bangkok that you’d recommend to other readers?</p> <p><em>Written by David McGonigal. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/24-hours-in-bangkok.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a>.</em></p>

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Where to eat in Sydney – without emptying your wallet

<p>Sydney is as big a tourist drawcard as Paris and San Francisco. And like those other cities it’s easy to seek a meal near the city’s highlights only to find every other diner is a visitor to the city, too. So where do the locals go?</p> <p>This is not a matter merely of price. Some of the most expensive restaurants in Sydney are good value for money and some of the cheapest are just that for a reason.</p> <p>There are also some restaurants, bars and gelataria that are “flavour of the month/day/week/hour” where the queues never end – certainly not to dine when you want to eat. Here, the WYZA team have asked foodie friends and come up with a range of restaurants in places visitors are likely to go – or should visit.</p> <p>If you are serious about Sydney as a food destination (and that’s reasonable as a travel quest) the best place to start is the Fairfax 2017 Good Food Guide. It has been extended to include bars, cheap eats and cafes. And you’ll probably already have your own favourite foodie website such as Sydney-based Lorraine Elliott’s Not Quite Nigella.</p> <p>The first recommendation from locals was a surprise but it shouldn’t have been. If you are up around the Australian Museum or Hyde Park, consider heading to Sydney institution Beppi’s. Although Beppi Polese is no longer with us, his family-run trattoria in Darlinghurst maintains his standards – as it has since he opened it in 1956. It’s the only restaurant that appeared in both the first and 30th edition of the Good Food Guide. It’s not cheap, but it reflects Sydney’s historical and contemporary Italian dining heritage.</p> <p>At the other end of the timeline, it’s worth wandering past Central Railway down Broadway towards the World Square development then turn left into Kensington Street and the newly opened Spice Alley. Suddenly you feel like you’re in the back streets of Singapore with a wide range of Asia foods available very cheaply from the tiny vendor windows. You might have to battle for a seat but you won’t be waiting long for a very fresh meal.</p> <p>The Royal Botanical Gardens are not only the oldest scientific institution in Australia, but they may be the most beautiful, and the setting on the waterfront of Sydney Harbour is hard to beat. On a sunny day, a walk through the gardens for lunch at the indoor/outdoor Botanic Gardens Restaurant is a great Sydney experience. The food is seriously good (although not cheap) and the surrounds are superb.</p> <p>In Sydney to board a cruise ship? If the ship is too large to fit under the bridge (and most are) you’ll be at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay. You’ll also be next door to Sydney’s best restaurant: Peter Gilmore’s Quay. The chef is a genius and you’ll have to reserve well in advance unless you’re lucky enough to score a cancellation. The restaurant also has unsurpassed views of the Opera House but you may never discover this as your ship is likely to block them out.</p> <p>On the other hand, you may be departing from the new White Bay Terminal across the water in Balmain. If you feel like taking a walk into the suburb from the ship you won’t have far to go to reach Rosso Pomodoro, which serves some of Sydney’s best pizza.</p> <p>If you are visiting the Harbour City, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up at Bondi Beach at some time. The iconic Sydney landmark has a lot of food options but one that’s recommended by several locals is the vast China Diner that has offerings from across Asia, not just its namesake.</p> <p>Joining the commuters for the obligatory trip on the ferry to Manly? Make sure you walk down the Corso to the surf at the ocean beach. Try Chica Bonita a self-described hole-in-the-wall on the Corso for an affordable meal. Burritos, soft tacos and margaritas are the order of the day.</p> <p>The once working-class terraces of Paddington have been gentrified to the max so you’ll now find galleries and designer fashion aplenty in the area. Highly recommended at Five Ways is Mr T Vietnamese an offshoot of the Waterloo Restaurant of the same name.</p> <p>Kings Cross is more mellow than its raunchy past but it’s still a drawcard for both locals and travellers. If you want to watch the remarkable passing parade, head to the perennial Tropicana Caffe on Victoria St where the day begins with a healthy recovery breakfast (served from 5am) with good coffee and juice.</p> <p>Chinatown has so many food options that you can be numbed into indecision. My recommendation is BBQ King – and ignore your Sydney friends who say it’s closed. Yes, in 2015 the Chau family did close the restaurant that had adorned Goulburn St with formica tables and great Peking duck dishes since 1983. But it rose again (can a duck rise like a phoenix?) in 2016 around the corner at 76-78 Liverpool St. The duck and suckling pig are as good as ever.</p> <p>If you’re in the middle of the city when you need to eat, venture into Indu, a very attractive Indian basement restaurant at 350 George St, if you can find it. The virtually unmarked entrance is off Angel Place. It’s not as expensive as the décor would suggest and the creative menu is inspired and good value.</p> <p>Over at The Star you’ll find David Chang’s two-hatted Momofuku Seiōbo where the New York chef reveals how good Asian fusion can be. Before you leave you need to venture down to Adriano Zumbo at The Star for takeaway to challenge your tastebuds with his remarkable macarons. If you don’t make it to The Star you’ll find he has a store in the Queen Victoria Building (and another in Balmain), too.</p> <p>Who knows when you’ll next be in Sydney so why not splurge for the ultimate Sydney dining experience? You don’t have to move far from Circular Quay. Quay’s Peter Gilmore is also the chef for Bennelong Restaurant in the Opera House. It’s an iconic venue matched by wonderful food. Not far away, Matt Moran’s newly refurbished Aria Restaurant presents elegant Australian cuisine overlooking the harbour.</p> <p>Finally, what about a meal with a bird’s eye view of Sydney? When I really want to show visitors what’s special about my city I take them to the Shangri-la Hotel’s Altitude Restaurant. The trick is to arrive early enough for a drink in the adjoining Blu Bar before moving on to your table. From 36 floors above The Rocks – and with floor-to-ceiling windows - the views of the bridge, the Opera House and the harbour are sublime. The food is very good with service to match so it all combines into a great dining experience in the Emerald City.</p> <p>Have you got a special place to eat in Sydney? Share your recommendations here.</p> <p><em>Written by David McGonigal. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/where-to-eat-in-sydney-%E2%80%93-without-emptying-your-wallet.aspx">Wyza.com.au</a>.</em></p>

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Why you shouldn't let "air rage" get the better of you

<p>Going on flights can be a stressful and frustrating experience. But there’s a reason why you should keep it together – losing your cool on the plane comes with a hefty cost.</p> <p>Delays, confined space and close contact with other passengers could send you fuming, but having a meltdown above the clouds may leave you with massive bills, travel bans and even jail sentences.</p> <p>A disruptive or violent passenger may be responsible for the costs incurred by their air rage incidents. “Diverting an aircraft in order to offload an unruly passenger not only presents safety and security risks but also incurs substantial costs for the airline,” a 2016 report by the Australian Institute of Criminology said.</p> <p>“Costs may include fuel loss, airport-related costs and payments to other passengers for inconvenience caused.”</p> <p>Last year, a Perth court ordered a man to pay almost $26,000 after a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/travel/domestic-travel/qantas-flight-forced-to-turn-back/">Brisbane-bound Qantas flight</a> was forced to divert back to Western Australia due to his erratic behaviour. The man was also banned from flying with Qantas and Virgin.</p> <p>The report also said that flight bans “are not uncommon” for disruptive passengers across all Australian airlines.</p> <p>Under the Crimes (Aviation) Act 1991 and the Civil Aviation Act 1988, assaulting, intimidating or threatening a cabin crew member with violence could warrant 10 years of imprisonment. If you’re heading to an overseas destination, the authorities in that country will take charge.</p> <p>In Korea, a woman served five months in jail for disrupting a Seoul-bound flight in New York, where she ordered the plane to return to the gate so a flight attendant that served her food incorrectly could be ejected.</p> <p>Air rage incidents are on the rise. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), unruly passenger incidents occurred on one out of every 1,075 flights in 2017, with 10 per cent of the incidents involving physical aggression or damage to the aircraft. Incidents involving violent threats or weapons also increased from 1 per cent the year before to 3 per cent.</p> <p>The IATA said the top three issues were disobedience to safety regulations, alcohol or other intoxication, and smoking.</p> <p>However, a 2017 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States found that airplane design might be the problem. It revealed that air rage incidents are 3.84 times more likely to happen when there is a first-class section on the plane, emphasising the class difference between passengers.</p> <p>What do you think of these rules around air rage? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.</p>

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What to look out for when buying travel insurance

<p>You’ve got your flight and your accommodation booked and now you’re ready to buy travel insurance.</p> <p>You search for the cheapest one you can find online and – click – you’re all sorted.</p> <p>But did you read the fine print to make sure that you are adequately covered for any emergencies that can crop up?</p> <p>Learn from the plight of one Singaporean traveller who posted her story on Facebook to serve as a cautionary tale.</p> <p>She was going away with a group of friends and unfortunately, their flight was delayed for 24 hours.</p> <p>While her travel companions managed to claim for the delay through their travel insurance, she didn’t receive any compensation as her insurance provider didn’t cover delays caused by operational issues.</p> <p>Buying travel insurance is one of those times when you should definitely not skip reading the fine print as you may end up with less protection than you thought.</p> <p>Check these four things off your list when shopping for travel insurance.</p> <p><strong>Buy insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed</strong></p> <p>Many people tend to leave buying travel insurance until the last few days before their trip but that’s not a good idea.</p> <p>You should buy insurance the moment the trip is confirmed.</p> <p>Some policies cover you for up to 60 days before the trip starts so you’ll be protected should unforeseen circumstances crop up, such as serious injury to any of the travelling party.</p> <p>Read the policy’s fine print involving travel delays and trip cancellation, postponement and disruption.</p> <p><strong>Understand what is being covered</strong></p> <p>We know it’s tough to go through so much fine print but in the case of travel insurance, you do get what you pay for.</p> <p>Compare across several policies to see which benefits best apply to your needs.</p> <p>The usual benefits to look out for are personal accident coverage, overseas and local medical expenses, flight delays, loss of property, medical evacuation and personal liability.</p> <p>Be aware that medical costs in some countries can be really high so you may want as much coverage as you can afford.</p> <p>If you’re renting a vehicle, check how much rental vehicle excess is covered and if you’ve booked your trip through a travel agency, make sure your insurance covers your travel agency becoming insolvent.</p> <p><strong>Chose a reputable insurance provider</strong></p> <p>Do some research to make sure that the insurer you’ve chosen has a good reputation for paying out eligible claims.</p> <p>It should also provide a 24-hour hotline so you can get immediate advice on how to proceed should an emergency take place.</p> <p>Be aware that most insurers will need you to submit a claim or a report of the incident within a certain time period.</p> <p><strong>Take note of the exclusions</strong></p> <p>Most travel insurance policies won’t cover medical expenses that arise from pre-existing illnesses, such as a heart attack for someone with a heart condition.</p> <p>So, if you want extra peace of mind, look for a policy that covers this.</p> <p>You should also be aware that some policies will not cover you for what is considered dangerous activities or extreme sports, such as mountain climbing or scuba diving.</p> <p>If you’re going to be taking part in such activities, it pays to make sure that your policy will cover you during those moments, even if you have to pay a higher premium.</p> <p>Nothing’s worse than that sinking feeling you get when you head off on your adventure and remember you left something important at home.</p> <p><em>This article first appeared in <a href="http://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/cruising/how-to-pack-for-your-first-cruise?FROM=MYDISCOVERIES">Reader’s Digest</a>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, <a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.co.nz/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRN87V">here’s our best subscription offer.</a></em></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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Travel hacks to save you time and money

<p class="">You take a holiday to relax. But often many of us feel like we “need a holiday to get over the holiday”. </p> <p class="">The three main causes of post-holiday stress are worries about money, the constant to organise and over-planning activities. </p> <p>So, how do you make it easier on yourself? These travel hacks will help. </p> <p><strong>1. Book a package deal or a tour</strong></p> <p>Leave the organisation to someone else. Package deals often come with significant discounts. You don’t need to plan. You just need to turn up and go. </p> <p><strong>2. Use a travel agent</strong></p> <p>Travel agents can do all the organisation for you. Come prepared with your wish-list, your budget and your must-haves and they will do all the research. This takes a great deal of planning stress off your shoulders. It also means that if something does go wrong – the travel agent can help to sort it out. </p> <p><strong>3. Go far, far away</strong></p> <p>If you are going on holiday to de-stress, get as far away from home as possible. Remove the possibility that you could “just duck back and get something”. </p> <p><strong>4. Find the fast airport security line</strong></p> <p>One airport security line always seems to move faster than the others. Here’s how to pick it. Avoid lines with children or families. Scan the passengers – pick the one where the people have removed items such as laptops ahead of the scanners. Avoid lines with large groups. Instead, pick one with more singles.</p> <p><strong>5. Pack your charger in your hand luggage</strong></p> <p>These days many planes have USB ports in the seats. If you pack your charger in your carry-on you will have a fully charged device when you step off the flight.</p> <p><strong>6. Portable power</strong></p> <p>Taking a lot of photos with your phone will zap your batteries power. Don’t stress about it. Simply pop a portable phone charger in your bag. You can use it to recharge when needed. </p> <p><strong>7. Packing cells</strong></p> <p>These small plastic or fibre pockets allow you to separate your luggage into different containers. They save you serious time searching through and unpacking your luggage. Keep your underpants in one, your T-shirts in another. If you are travelling with family and share a bag you can colour-code each person’s belongings. </p> <p><strong>8. Don’t pay twice for insurance</strong></p> <p>Sometimes your travel insurance package will cover car insurance while overseas. If it does, you do not need to pay the insurance for the hire car. Make sure you check your policy</p> <p><strong>9. Have adequate insurance</strong></p> <p>Make sure your travel insurance policy covers as much as possible. You never know when you might need it. </p> <p><strong>10. Carry-on essentials</strong></p> <p>Put all your medications into your carry-on luggage. We also recommend adding a spare pair of underpants and socks, swimwear and a toothbrush.</p> <p>Do you have any other travel hacks you use? Let us know in the comments.</p> <p><em>Written by Alison Godfrey.<span class="Apple-converted-space">  </span>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/travel-hacks-to-save-you-time-and-money/">MyDiscoveries</a>.</em></p>

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Top tips for travelling with hearing difficulties

<p>Planning a trip can be stressful — especially for the one in three Australians over 55 with hearing difficulties. But hearing loss is no reason to avoid travel; by planning ahead and managing the problem early, you can set yourself up for a safe, worry-free, enjoyable trip.</p> <p><strong>How could untreated hearing loss impact you on holiday?</strong></p> <ul> <li>Making reservations over the phone could turn into a frustrating task</li> <li>You could miss airline boarding and in-flight announcements</li> <li>You might not hear hotel room-service knocking on your door</li> <li>You could find it hard to follow dialogue during guided tours or live performances</li> <li>Understanding foreign accents could be even harder</li> <li>It could prove impossible to hold a conversation in cafes or restaurants.</li> </ul> <p>Coupled with some clever listening techniques, a reliable and adjustable hearing aid is one of the best ways to manage a hearing difficulty on holiday. Hearing aids take the hassle out of planning and ensure smooth sailing throughout your trip. Just ask Australian sailor Angus Lockheart.</p> <p>Angus has sailed thousands of nautical miles in and outside Australian waters. He’s been living on a yacht with his wife for more than five years. “A yacht’s living space is much smaller than a house, and a couple spend more time together,” said Angus.</p> <p>But as his hearing loss increased, so too did his wife’s frustration at having to constantly repeat herself. With his living quarters tightening in on him, Angus finally ordered a pair of Blamey Saunders hearing aids online. They were posted to a port for him to collect, perfectly programmed using his results from Blamey Saunders hears’ online hearing test.</p> <p>“The difference is amazing!” Angus said. (And Mrs. Lockheart is pretty happy too.)</p> <p>When flying to your dream destination, you can wear hearing aids through airport security screenings and on your flight without any damage to your devices or discomfort to you. But people with impaired hearing can’t sit in exit row seats for safety reasons, so double check the seat on your ticket and notify your flight attendant.</p> <p>Back on land, outback traveller David Lloyd has visited some of Australia’s most remote deserts with hearing aids but says not all aids are created equal. “The first problem that I faced was feedback when flies flew past, but I was able to stop that happening,” said David, who recently switched to a hearing aid that can be adjusted to suit any environment using a program on his smartphone.</p> <p>Travellers should look for a hearing aid that has self-adjustment capabilities, such as Blamey Saunders aids, which allows you to adjust your settings on the go — using an app on your smartphone or Windows computer.</p> <p>For additional support, Blamey Saunders hearing aid users can contact the company’s telehealth team by phone or email. The team can even adjust a person’s hearing aid settings for them remotely, making things easier for people in remote areas.</p> <p><strong>Managing your hearing difficulties while travelling:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Print itineraries, maps, reservation numbers, and tickets in advance</li> <li>You can usually rely on the terminal display for boarding information but it’s a good idea to ask a staff member to notify you when it’s time to board</li> <li>Inform your flight attendant of your hearing loss and ask that any in-flight announcements are repeated to you in person</li> <li>If background noise is an issue, you can try strategies; such as choosing to sit in the least noisy part of a restaurant, or adjusting your hearing aid to a directional setting</li> </ul> <p><strong>Looking after your hearing aids while travelling:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Always remove your hearing aids when you swim. Most are water resistant but are not designed to withstand full immersion</li> <li>Keep your hearing aids in a drying jar whenever you’re not using them, especially when holidaying in a hot climate, as sweat can damage a hearing aid’s delicate circuitry</li> <li>If you take out travel insurance, make sure it covers your hearing aids</li> <li>Make sure you have enough batteries to last your trip, and store them in a safe place, away from sun and moisture and out of reach of pets and children</li> </ul> <p><strong>Has your hearing ever affected your travel plans? Let us know in the comments.</strong></p> <p><em>Written by Mahsa Fratantoni. Republished with permission of <span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/top-tips-for-travellers-with-hearing-difficulties.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></span></em><strong> </strong></p>

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Woman's genius travel hack for packing undies

<p>Packing for a holiday is already hard enough as it is, and usually ends up one of two ways: you either pack enough clothes for a two-week trip to last you 12 years, or you end up with hardly any clothes because you decided one t-shirt would be enough.</p> <p>But if you’re Karina Judd, you wouldn’t have that problem. The savvy genius took to Facebook group, Meme Queens, to share her clever travel hack. One that requires scientific calculations and mathematical formulas to help you figure out how many pairs of underwear you need to take when you travel abroad.</p> <p>It started when one member of the group posted this:</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 383.6477987421384px;" src="/media/7822762/2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/3f0e96a98f174ffa8775b51944647994" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Photo: Facebook/Meme Queen</p> <p>To lend a helping hand, Karina posted this to share her incredible travel hack.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 383.6477987421384px;" src="/media/7822761/1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ab337064919547ebaf85749f4b919ded" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;">Photo: Facebook/Meme Queen</p> <p>And if you aren’t quick with numbers, she also created an <a rel="noopener" href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19OozLIzUI5vsFGB81qYOoTlDr_lkAi4LdIC5Jjcfjwc/edit#gid=0" target="_blank">online spreadsheet</a> that does all the work for you. The only thing you need to do is enter how many days you plan on being away and other tiny details.</p> <p>So before you head off on your dream vacation, try out Karina’s <a rel="noopener" href="https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19OozLIzUI5vsFGB81qYOoTlDr_lkAi4LdIC5Jjcfjwc/edit#gid=0" target="_blank">spreadsheet</a> to help make your life a whole lot easier.</p> <p>Will you be trying out this nifty packing hack? Let us know in the comments below.</p>

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