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The benefits of a night-long stopover on a long haul flight

<p dir="ltr">When it comes to long-haul flights, there is nothing easy about being stuck in a plane for hours on end. </p> <p dir="ltr">Flying is exhausting, and can impact us in many physical and mental ways.</p> <p dir="ltr">While boarding a plane is undoubtedly exciting as you jet off to begin your holiday, looking at a long flight ahead can also make you dread the air travel. </p> <p dir="ltr">One solution to these long, sleepless hours on a plane is to break up your travel with a night stopover along the way to your destination. </p> <p dir="ltr">Say you’re flying from Australia or New Zealand to somewhere in Europe, taking 24 hours to recharge in Asia can make all the difference. </p> <p dir="ltr">Here are just a few reasons that taking a night stopover on a long haul flight is something you should consider on your next overseas journey. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Adjusting to jet lag</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Flying from one side of the world to the other often means travelling through multiple time zones that can mess up your body clock. </p> <p dir="ltr">Stopping along the way can often help you ease into a new time zone a lot easier, even if the time in your stopover destination is different to your final stop. </p> <p dir="ltr">Taking a few hours off the plane and living in a new time zone often helps beat the jet lag when you arrive at your final destination, making the first days of your holiday a breeze.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Giving your body a break</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Air travel physically affects your body in many different ways. </p> <p dir="ltr">From dehydration, stress on your ears, swelling limbs, and exposing you to germs in the recycled air, the physical toll of flying is no joke. </p> <p dir="ltr">Taking a much needed break from these harsh elements can limit how long these effects hang around for. </p> <p dir="ltr">You are able to rewind these physical effects much quicker with a break in your air travel, meaning you are able to bounce back from the second leg of your trip easier to enjoy your time away. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Being able to rest and recharge</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">It's no secret that being able to get good quality sleep on a plane is near impossible. </p> <p dir="ltr">Having a night stopover along your journey means you can get a shower and good nights rest to make the rest of your journey feel like a walk in the park. </p> <p dir="ltr">Breaking up two long-haul flights with a sleep, refresh and good quality meal is sometimes all it takes to make air travel feel much easier. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Exploring somewhere new</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Stopping somewhere along the way to your final destination means you get to explore a new place that you might not have thought of visiting. </p> <p dir="ltr">Experiencing a new culture along the way to your holiday spot is a great way to discover new destinations, even if it’s only for a short while. </p> <p dir="ltr">You could easily fall in love with your stop-over destination and all it has to offer, giving you a reason to start booking your next holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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7 foods you should avoid before flying

<p>When you have a long flight ahead, the last thing you want is your stomach to feel upset or uneasy. With the right diet choices, you can sidestep discomfort when you’re in the air. To stick with good-for-you foods that also make you feel good, skip this list of seven items, and stock up on a few others instead.</p> <p><strong>Skip: broccoli, cauliflower or brussels sprouts</strong></p> <p>These cruciferous veggies definitely fit the bill in terms of health benefits – but they can also make you gassy, says dietitian Caroline Passerello. A common cause of bloating in many people, these greens and whites pack lots of fibre and a type of sugar known to cause gas, called raffinose, according to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD). And that could make you an unpleasant seat-mate once you’re in the air.</p> <p><strong>Skip: alcohol</strong></p> <p>“Because of the change in altitude and breathing patterns, flying can cause dehydration,” says Passerrello. Alcohol will only add to that. Another problem: consuming spiked beverages can also leave you exhausted post-flight. “Although alcohol may make you feel sleepy initially, alcoholic beverages could cause disturbed sleep, preventing you from feeling rested when you land,” adds dietitian Bonnie Taub-Dix.</p> <p><strong>Skip: caffeine</strong></p> <p>Your best bet is to skip the coffee or caffeinated tea when in flight, as these can also dehydrate you. If you do have either, Passerrello suggests making sure you drink even more water to keep up your liquid levels. “Caffeine is also a stimulant and could keep you from catching up on important sleep time while in flight,” says Taub-Dix. What’s more: because it’s a diuretic, caffeine can make you pee more, which can keep you up if you’re trying to sleep. (Or disturb others around you!)</p> <p><strong>Skip: sugary foods</strong></p> <p>According to IFFGD, foods also high in certain carbohydrates (sugars specifically) can lead to gas. Lactose (in dairy products) can cause discomfort for some people, as can fructose (found in onions, artichokes, pears and wheat) and sorbitol (found in fruits like apples, peaches and prunes, and sugar-free snacks).</p> <p><strong>Skip: legumes</strong></p> <p>Filled with insoluble fibre, foods like beans, lentils and chickpeas can cause bloating and gas in many people thanks to their digestive process, says the IFFGD.</p> <p><strong>Skip: heavy meals</strong></p> <p>You might feel like you want to fill up on a burger and fries or a plate of pasta before you get on a plane, but that’s probably not your best idea. A belly full of dense foods can potentially upset your stomach, says Taub-Dix.</p> <p><strong>Skip: big portion sizes</strong></p> <p>You want to feel full but not completely stuffed, says Taub-Dix. Overeating can lead to an upset stomach and gas production – neither of which you want to experience on a packed plane.</p> <p><strong>Stash: healthy pre-packed snacks</strong></p> <p>“There are a lot of portable snacks that can hold you over until you land and become even more important should you get delayed,” says Passerrello, who suggests foods like unsweetened dried fruit, unsalted nuts, tuna or chicken pouches, dried edamame, or dry cereal. “Personally, my go-to carry-on has a hard case for glasses and I re-purpose that space for keeping a small banana so it doesn’t get smashed,” she says.</p> <p><strong>Stash: protein and carbs</strong></p> <p>“Pair wholegrain carbs with protein and healthy fat to keep blood sugar levels stable and help you feel satisfied,” says Taub-Dix. Some solid options: almond butter on wholegrain crackers or trail mix made with unsalted nuts and dried fruit – both of which you can pack before you even get to the airport. Or try protein bars that are loaded with prebiotics to help your digestion.</p> <p><strong>Stash: water</strong></p> <p>“Try to drink a glass of water for every hour you are in the air,” suggests Passerrello. And Taub-Dix agrees. She suggests thinking of drinking water as you would washing your hands for a meal. “Do it before, during and after,” she says.</p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/7-foods-you-should-avoid-before-flying" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader’s Digest</a>.</em></p>

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How to tell if your AirBnb has a hidden camera

<p dir="ltr">While there are a lot of things that come to mind when planning a holiday, worrying about safety in your accommodation is probably at the end of your list. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, with a rise of home-rental services and the easy accessibility to surveillance technology, it's an important thing to consider. </p> <p dir="ltr">More and more travellers have come forward in recent years about their horror stories of discovering a hidden camera in a short term rental, putting out the warning to others.</p> <p dir="ltr">In a now-viral video posted to TikTok by Marcus Hutchins, he outlines how to spot hidden cameras in hotels and Airbnbs.  </p> <p dir="ltr">“Take this fire alarm for instance, it is placed right above the bed,” the British backpacker says in the video.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Now one way to see if the device is a camera is to shine a bright light at it. If you hit a camera lens it’s going to get a blue-ish reflection.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Marcus also details how alarm clocks can double as cameras, as he demonstrates in his video by shining his smart phone's flash on a mirrored clock face revealing a tiny camera lens behind the screen on one side of the digital counter.</p> <p dir="ltr">“If we shine a bright light at it, we can shine through the glass, and see there’s a camera there. Now, this technique can also work on two-way mirrors.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The video has racked up over 5 million views, and has served as another reminder to always be cautious when travelling. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Readers respond: What is the best local food you've had while travelling?

<p>We asked our well-travelled readers which country they found their favourite food in, and the responses flooded in from every corner of the globe.</p> <p>From pizza in Italy to street food in Singapore, here's where our readers found the most delicious cuisine.</p> <p><strong>Kerry Dalgleish</strong> - There are so many but paella in San Sebastian stands out in memory. Excellent food, wonderful company and days that enriched my life.</p> <p><strong>Grace Boland</strong>  - We moored at a little beach in the Greek Islands - near Santorini. There was a guy cooking Lobster on a BBQ. It was amazing and only $10. Delicious!!</p> <p><strong>Bob Correia</strong> - Biscuits and gravy in Topeka, Kansas. I stayed an extra day while passing through so I could have it again for breakfast!</p> <p><strong>Terry O'Shanassy</strong> - Mackerel and chips at Cairns.</p> <p><strong>Lorraine Waterson</strong> - Street food in Singapore.</p> <p><strong>Carol Cooper</strong> - Grilled sardines on the beach in Fuegirola south Spain washed down with a nice cold beer.</p> <p><strong>Marice King</strong> - A simple cheese, tomato &amp; basil pizza in Venice eaten by the canal with a glass of vino.</p> <p><strong>Colin May</strong> - In Robe, south East SA. Freshly caught crayfish, straight off the boat. Cut in half and smeared with wild garlic. Washed down with a local SA Ale.</p> <p><strong>Jenny Canals</strong> - Barbecued sardines on the beach in Badalona, Spain. Cooked by the fishermen at the annual sardine festival. Washed down with a warm rum.</p> <p><strong>Annette Taylor</strong> - Pastries in Brussels.</p> <p><strong>Lesley Wethers</strong> - Souvlaki bought off street corners in Greece and curries in Delhi, India.</p> <p><strong>Elizabeth Sorensen </strong>- Waffles in Belgium.</p> <p><strong>Patricia Tebbit </strong>- Clam Chowder in Boston.</p> <p><strong>Kathie Gambuto</strong> - Palermo, Sicily at a local seafood restaurant. The fixings were wonderful and we picked our own fish out of a tank.</p> <p><strong>Jon Harmer</strong> - Bangers and mash with squishy green peas in a London pub.</p> <p><strong>Krissy Pappis</strong> - Lobsters in Cuba, so so good! We pigged out every day.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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How to score a whole row of seats to yourself on a plane

<p dir="ltr">A seasoned traveller has shared her simple tricks for ensuring you get a whole row of seats to yourself on your next flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">Chelsea Dickenson, from London, shared a video to TikTok to tell her followers of the hack she uses when travelling in a pair. </p> <p dir="ltr">“Row to yourself travel hack. This actually works,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Chelsea, when selecting your seats online, she suggests booking the aisle and the window, leaving the middle seat free in between you.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The theory here is that someone is much less likely to book a seat in between two strangers and they’ll opt for another row,” Chelsea said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“And even if they do book that middle seat, you can always ask them if they want the aisle or the window and it works out for everyone.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Chelsea suggested the best rows to book are “towards the back of the plane” because it “tends to work a bit better”.</p> <p dir="ltr">Testing out her own theory, Chelsea and her friend James booked the seats in row 13 on a flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">“I’ve gone for row 13 as lots of people think it’s unlucky,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The video shows Chelsea and James waiting patiently in their seats before the cabin crew completed boarding.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Here we go, here’s the moment of truth,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Yes, the row is clear. We bloody smashed it.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Motion sickness: this might explain why some people feel sick in cars or on trains

<p>If you’re someone who suffers from motion sickness, travelling in many types of vehicles can be difficult thanks to a host of symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and even vomiting. But it’s not completely clear why some people can read and play games on their phone during a long drive while others spend the journey desperately trying not to be sick. Nor is it clear why some people only experience motion sickness in certain types of vehicles and not others. </p> <p>But there are two theories that might help explain what’s going on. </p> <p>The <a href="https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/y90-044">sensory conflict theory</a> proposes that a key player in motion sickness is our balance system. Balance is not maintained by just one single sensory organ. Rather, it combines what we’re seeing and feeling with information from the balance organ in our inner ears, which helps our balance system work out exactly where we are.</p> <p>If the information from our eyes, inner ears and touch or pressure senses doesn’t match up, it can make us feel off-balance or unsteady. This is why it’s thought that motion sickness is caused by a mismatch of information from our senses – with our eyes and inner ear telling our body that we’re moving, even though we’re actually sitting stationary. This is also why the <a href="https://cdnsciencepub.com/doi/abs/10.1139/y90-044">less sensory mismatch we experience</a> in a vehicle, the less likely we are to experience motion sickness. For example, travelling in a car on a smooth, straight road will cause less sensory mismatch than travelling on a winding road with lots of potholes.</p> <p>This theory is currently considered the strongest explanation for motion sickness – though we’re still trying to understand the brain mechanisms that cause <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/cns.12468">motion sickness</a>. </p> <p>An alternate (but related) theory suggests that it’s all down to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15326969eco0303_2?src=recsys">controlling posture</a>. According to this theory, motion sickness doesn’t happen just because of the mismatch of sensory information. Rather, it’s our inability to adjust our posture to reduce this mismatch of sensory information that makes us feel nauseous. While this makes sense – especially since we can’t always move around when travelling – there <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/s15326969eco0703_1">isn’t much evidence</a>to support this theory. </p> <h2>No single reason</h2> <p>Motion sickness affects people differently, and there’s no single reason why some people experience motion sickness more frequently than others. But differences in how well a person’s vision and balance systems work will affect how they may feel in different types of vehicles. Certain disorders – including migraines and inner ear diseases, such as Ménière’s disease – <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566070206002128">increase the likelihood</a> of experiencing motion sickness. <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566070206002128">Age and sex</a> may also affect likelihood of experiencing motion sickness – with some research suggesting experiences peak around nine or ten years of age, and are more common in women. However, it is uncertain as to why this may be the case.</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1566070206002128">type of vehicle</a> people travel in will also have some affect on the amount of motion sickness a person may experience. Broadly, any factor that increases the mismatch between each of the senses that contribute to our balance system will increase the risk of motion sickness. The longer the experience lasts and the larger the size of the movement, the worse the symptoms. For example, travelling on a small boat in a storm for more than eight hours will cause quite severe symptoms – whereas a one-hour train journey will probably have little effect, even if the track isn’t perfectly smooth.</p> <p>Many people also report experiencing motion sickness when they’re a passenger – not when they’re driving a vehicle. This is probably because drivers are (unsurprisingly) much better at anticipating the motion of a vehicle and move their bodies according to the movement of the vehicle. For example, if a car travels around a sharp bend, the driver is going to be looking ahead and anticipating the movement of the car as they turn – while a passenger is likely to react as the turn happens by leaning in the opposite direction. </p> <p>Motion sickness also isn’t limited to the “real world”, with <a href="https://dl.acm.org/doi/pdf/10.1145/2677758.2677780?casa_token=Wni6ONyXbJsAAAAA:MgFIc_qg3Kos4-rIbVZQD_FfuRhmbuGqf4N6OO1rKuQitKBPbGJ7wxDbJJNEPPq0CryffMEmmPSc">cybersickness</a> another type of motion sickness that people get from the virtual environments, often when playing video games. This likely happens because of the sensory conflict of seeing the environment move on the screen while the body remains stationary. <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0056160">Watching films in 3D</a> at the cinema can prompt motion sickness for the same reason.</p> <p>If you’re someone who suffers from motion sickness, the best thing to do the next time you’re in a vehicle is try to reduce the mismatch of sensory information. So avoid reading in the car – as this causes a mismatch between what we’re seeing and what we’re feeling – and try to instead look out the window. This may help reduce nausea as the visual information now better matches the balance information in our the inner ear. The same is true for boats and trains – focusing on the passing landscape can reduce symptoms.</p> <p><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7048153">Other tips</a> to reduce motion sickness include not having a heavy meal before travel, ventilating the vehicle and taking regular stops (when possible). But if these tips aren’t enough to tackle symptoms, using an <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/014556130608500110">anti-motion sickness medication</a> may help. These reduce activity in the balance system of the brain or reduce the number of signals the brain sends to the gut, which can help to stop nausea and vomiting.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/motion-sickness-this-might-explain-why-some-people-feel-sick-in-cars-or-on-trains-178087" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>

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Readers respond: What did you like or dislike about where you grew up?

<p>We asked our readers what their favourite and least favourite things were about growing up where they did, and the responses were overwhelming. </p> <p>From affluent suburbs and knowing your neighbours, to beachside homes and lasting memories, here's your favourite childhood memories from where you grew up. </p> <p><strong>Denise Peck</strong> - That as kids we could walk the streets knowing virtually everyone in our immediate neighbourhood. Simpler times when kids were relatively safe to roam.</p> <p><strong>Lynne Fairbrother</strong> - I lived across the road from the beach, loved the beach and was there most every day with my friends. Wasn't anything I didn't like about where I grew up.</p> <p><strong>Denise Shearer</strong> - Growing up in a rich suburb where the kids went to private schools &amp; I had to run the gauntlet to get to my bus stop. They waited for me &amp; chucked rotten tomatoes &amp; fruit at me until I changed the way I went to school. </p> <p><strong>Judy Wiese</strong> - We lived in a poor area in a Housing Trust house, however, life was good. We didn’t know any better. I loved school, had good friends, Mum was a good sewer and made our clothes, we had plenty to eat and were happy playing outdoors.</p> <p><strong>Vicky Johnson</strong> - I grew up with many friends in the same street.</p> <p><strong>Christine Dyson</strong> - Loved growing up in Eltham in the 50’s and 60’s so country then creeks, mines, cubby huts built out of sticks in the bush, scooters, two wheelers, neighbourhood friends and the ultimate 6pm curfew.</p> <p><strong>Lyn Bradford</strong> - Best day of childhood was when I finally got to leave &amp; put it all behind me.</p> <p><strong>Christine Whyte</strong> - Loved where I grew up, nice quiet streets back then, had great fun playing with all the kids in the street of whom I have remained friends with for over 60 years and the safeness of walking to school rain, hail or shine.</p> <p><strong>Peter Spicer</strong> - Loved where I grew up. Real rough neighbourhood but full of diamonds.</p> <p><strong>Margaret Frances Magurean</strong> - Loved the community of our little block of tract houses back in the 1950's. Lots of kids and everybody's mum and dad watched out for us all. Great way to grow up.</p> <p><strong>Elaine Stewart</strong> - It was like a big family where we all knew one another and life was so wonderful and uncomplicated. There was a war going on and our dads were away for years but it didn't really affect our way of life as children.</p> <p><strong>Ruth Hunter</strong> - Loved living next to school oval in secondary school, could leave home when first bell rang.</p> <p><strong>Alison Angel </strong>- My two years in Gibraltar were my best childhood years. Weekends spent on endless, deserted Spanish beaches before tourism began in earnest. And Spanish food.</p> <p><strong>Julie McGregor</strong> - I grew up in a small town in the wheat belt area of northern Victoria. I had a delightful childhood, swimming in the river going to the lakes with family and friends. Playing sports and local town celebrations. Going to school with friends I’d known all my life. So blessed I knew everyone in the town. Free and simple.</p> <p><strong>Michael Lawrence</strong> - I grew up where l grew up. I had no reason to like or dislike it.</p> <p><strong>Denise McGoldrick</strong> - Nothing. Life was a lot simpler back then. We only watched about an hour of TV after we did our chores and were in bed by 7.30pm. Was allowed to stay up later on weekends when I turned 14 to watch the <em>Johnny Cash Show</em>. Great Thrill.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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5 tips to make your fuel tank last longer while prices are high

<p>The federal government’s announcement of a halved fuel excise is no doubt music to many people’s ears. Following Tuesday night’s budget release, the excise (a government tax included in the purchase price of fuel) was <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/fuel-excise-slashed-to-ease-petrol-prices-for-six-months-20220324-p5a7mp.html">halved</a> from 44.2 cents per litre to 22.1 cents.</p> <p>It should provide some respite from high petrol and diesel prices <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-disrupted-russian-gas-supplies-will-hit-global-and-australian-prices-178023">driven by</a>Russia’s war on Ukraine.</p> <p>However, the cut is only expected to last six months. And Treasurer Josh Frydenberg <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-29/lowdown-on-when-fuel-excise-cut-will-be-seen-at-bowsers/100949562">has said</a> it will take up to two weeks before fuel prices get cheaper (and potentially longer in regional areas). </p> <h2>The costs</h2> <p>Assuming it costs A$2 per litre for petrol and diesel fuel, and an average fuel consumption of about <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/industry/tourism-and-transport/survey-motor-vehicle-use-australia/latest-release">11 litres per 100 kilometres</a> driven – driving a typical fossil-fueled passenger vehicle right now would cost about 20 to 25 cents per kilometre.</p> <p>You’re probably quite happy if you own an electric vehicle. With a <a href="https://mdpi-res.com/d_attachment/sustainability/sustainability-14-03444/article_deploy/sustainability-14-03444-v2.pdf">real-world electricity consumption</a> of 0.15 to 0.21 kWh per kilometre and <a href="https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/electricity-costs-kwh/">electricity costs</a> of about 20 to 30 cents per kWh, your cost of driving per kilometre is about 3 to 6 cents. And if you can charge your vehicle’s battery for free with home solar panels, your cost per kilometre is $0.</p> <p>But for those of us who don’t own an electric vehicle, making the best use of our fuel tanks will be a priority. Here are some ways you can make your vehicle go the extra mile.</p> <h2>1. Use a smaller, lighter car</h2> <p>There are a number of things you can do to reduce your fuel use. The obvious one is to not use your car, but walk or grab your bicycle, if possible.</p> <p>If you do have to drive, try to minimise your total travel distance. One way would be to combine a number of errands into your journey and optimise your route.</p> <p>The specific vehicle you use also matters. As a general rule of thumb, <a href="https://www.transport-e-research.com/_files/ugd/d0bd25_9527cdcb01a84440a53308b3b5624320.pdf?index=true">the larger and heavier your car</a>, the more energy and fuel it will require per kilometre. Choosing a smaller car, rather than a large SUV, will definitely reduce your fuel bill. A large SUV will use almost twice as much fuel per kilometre as a small car.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360128516300442">Research</a> also suggests that for every 100kg increase in vehicle weight, fuel consumption increases by about 5% to 7% for a medium-sized car. So in addition to driving a smaller car, it’s best to reduce your load and avoid driving around with extra weight. </p> <h2>2. Use eco-driving techniques</h2> <p>The way you drive is important too. Eco-driving involves being conscious of your fuel consumption and taking actions to reduce it. There are various ways to do this.</p> <p>Every time you brake and stop, you have to accelerate again to reach your desired speed. Acceleration uses a lot of energy and fuel, so driving smoothly, anticipating traffic and preventing stops will lead to savings on your fuel bill. </p> <p>What you want to do is flow with the traffic and keep your distance from other vehicles. It also helps to keep an eye further up the road, so you can avoid obstacles and therefore unnecessary braking and acceleration. </p> <p>If you’re in the minority of people who own a manual vehicle, drive in the highest gear possible to reduce engine load and fuel use. And if you’re in an automatic vehicle, use the “eco” setting if you have one.</p> <h2>3. Give your engine and climate a break</h2> <p>Another simple tip is stop unnecessary idling with the engine still engaged. A small car typically uses one litre of fuel per hour while idling, whereas this is close to <a href="https://www.transport-e-research.com/_files/ugd/d0bd25_2485b61095ed48f29bea980a73e74240.pdf?index=true">two litres per hour</a> for a large SUV. </p> <p>Of course, we idle regularly while waiting in traffic and generally can’t do much about that, other than trying to drive outside peak hours when roads are less congested. In other cases, we can change things. For instance, idling when a vehicle is parked will use up fuel unnecessarily.</p> <h2>4. Turn off the AC</h2> <p>Most people may not realise this, but using your air conditioner can use up quite a bit of extra fuel: somewhere between 4% and 8% of total fuel use. Using the fan instead will require less energy than air conditioning. Or even better, wind down the windows for a bit for fresh air when you are driving in the city. </p> <h2>5. Tend to your tires and consider aerodynamics</h2> <p>It also pays to keep your <a href="https://www.racq.com.au/car/greener-motoring/racq-ecodrive-research-study">tires inflated</a>, which can save you between 2% and 4% in fuel use. </p> <p>Also, your car is designed to be aerodynamically efficient. Anything that changes that, including roof racks, bull bars and bike racks, will come with an additional fuel penalty – particularly at higher speeds, such as on the freeway.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/5-tips-to-make-your-fuel-tank-last-longer-while-prices-are-high-180134" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</em></p>

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The holy grail tips to ensure you never miss your flight

<p dir="ltr">After years of Covid-19 lockdowns, travelling is finally back!</p> <p dir="ltr">However, if the scenes at Sydney Airport last week are anything to go by, some travellers have lulled themselves into a false sense of airport ease. </p> <p dir="ltr">The return of both international and domestic flights has come with long lines, confusion and general chaos, posing the very real risk of missing your flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">Sometimes arriving at the airport early just isn’t enough, so here are some holy grail tips and tricks to ensure you never arrive late at the gate again. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Try to avoid checked baggage</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">If you want to shave precious minutes off your time spent during check-in, this one is a no-brainer. </p> <p dir="ltr">Just using carry-on luggage is a sure fire way to ensure you can glide through check-in with ease. </p> <p dir="ltr">If checking in baggage is unavoidable, try to keep everything to just one bag, saving time on weighing and checking in. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Check-in online before arriving at the gate</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">By checking-in online, you are cutting out a huge chunk of time. </p> <p dir="ltr">Everything is already handled and all you need to do is print your ticket (you can save even more time by doing this at the self-service kiosk).</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Travel to the airport via public transport</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Seasoned travellers know that traffic always seems to be at its worst when you’re running late for a flight. </p> <p dir="ltr">Avoiding airport traffic by using public transport systems is a sure fire way to cut down your overall airport time. </p> <p dir="ltr">It’s always worth checking your city’s public transport system to see if there is a direct route to the airport. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Tell staff you’re running late</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Airport staff understand that running late for a flight is a stressful experience, and are always available to help if you treat them with patience and kindness. </p> <p dir="ltr">By altering the staff that you’ve been held up, they can help by directing you to a faster line or taking you through a different security checkpoint.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Weigh your luggage before you head to the airport</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">If your checked luggage is a few kilos over the weight limit, you may be held up by having to pull out items at the last minute. </p> <p dir="ltr">Weighing your bags before you make your way to the airport will ensure there’s no unpleasant surprises or excess baggage fees. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Keep all your documents in the same place</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">You’ll need to show your passport and ticket multiple times during the airport check-in and boarding process. </p> <p dir="ltr">To avoid rummaging through bags to find these valuable documents, keep them all together in a little folder or special compartment in your bag for easy access. </p> <p dir="ltr">It’s also a good idea to print off all your documents, rather than relying on your phone. </p> <p dir="ltr">We all know airport Wi-Fi can be spotty at the best of times, so having physical copies will make things easier. </p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Think about your outfit</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">To avoid getting held up at security, keep your jewellery in your bag until you clear through the metal detector. </p> <p dir="ltr">Having to take necklaces, earrings and rings off at the last second will only hold you (and everyone behind you in line) up longer than you want. </p> <p dir="ltr">Also, wearing slip on shoes will cut back time if you have to take them off to go through security. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Readers respond: What is the most beautiful place you have ever visited?

<p>We asked our well-travelled followers what the most beautiful place they've ever visited is, and we were inundated with responses. </p> <p>From all corners of the globe, our readers have seen some spectacular places on their travels. </p> <p><strong>Michelle Rolfe</strong> - Too many to name - from the stunning ocean from Cinque Terre, to the rolling hills on the Italian countryside, or the breathtaking scenery in NZ.</p> <p><strong>Hazel Drummond</strong> - Have traveled well but my favourite is Venice been twice would go again if possible.</p> <p><strong>Dot Bawden</strong> - I have traveled all over the world and I think the most beautiful place is Mitchell Plateau north-west in Western Australia. </p> <p><strong>Deborah Joy Woolmer </strong>- Ha Long Bay and Hoi An, loved them both would go back in a heart beat.</p> <p><strong>Larraine Biggs</strong> - Antarctica - the trip if a lifetime!</p> <p><strong>Vlasta Burcul</strong> - My birth country Slovenia.</p> <p><strong>Barbara Hendron</strong> - Haven't been to many places in my life but I loved the beauty of the rainforest in Alaska.</p> <p><strong>Dianne Swann</strong> - Too many beautiful places but Hawaii on top of the list.</p> <p><strong>Derice Harwood</strong> - So many places, but the one place that has remained my favourite is Grenada, Spain. It is the one place that has held my heart for 50 years.</p> <p><strong>Robyn Burton</strong> - South Island of NZ, awesome scenery everywhere.</p> <p><strong>Betty Smith</strong> - Paris, Venice, Prague, St Petersburg - too many more to list.</p> <p><strong>Lyndall Sullivan</strong> - A tiny little village in Scotland called Ullapool.</p> <p><strong>Colleen Lucas</strong> - Ayers Rock is just magical...... how lucky I am to live in Australia...spoiled for choice!!</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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How far would you go to save $1?

<p dir="ltr">Would you spend the night at this one-star hotel for just $6?</p> <p dir="ltr">If you’ve travelled on a very strict budget, you’ve probably come across some interesting finds. </p> <p dir="ltr">One TikToker user has people divided over where to draw the line – even if it is cheap – after posting a video at a one-star hotel.</p> <blockquote class="tiktok-embed" style="max-width: 605px; min-width: 325px;" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@jesseogn/video/7056825451565550850" data-video-id="7056825451565550850"> <section><a title="@jesseogn" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@jesseogn" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@jesseogn</a> Would you stay at this hotel?? <a title="japan" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/japan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#japan</a> <a title="tiktokjapan" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/tiktokjapan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#tiktokjapan</a> <a title="japantiktok" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/japantiktok" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#japantiktok</a> <a title="japantravel" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/japantravel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#japantravel</a> <a title="osaka" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/osaka" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#osaka</a> <a title="creepy" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/creepy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#creepy</a> <a title="♬ Amityville Horror - Scary Halloween Sound Effects - Halloween Sound Effects" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/Amityville-Horror-Scary-Halloween-Sound-Effects-6780285433650612226" target="_blank" rel="noopener">♬ Amityville Horror - Scary Halloween Sound Effects - Halloween Sound Effects</a></section> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr">While travelling through Japan, TikToker Jesse checked in to the 500 yen per-night stay (about $6) in Osaka.</p> <p dir="ltr">Upon entry, Jesse notices the dodgy bedding, rickety TV and overall petite size of the room, before making his way to the questionable window.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The room came with a pillow, blanket, stained mattress and TV,” he says in the tour.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The room had a funky smell but I couldn’t open the window because it was broken,” he explained.</p> <p dir="ltr">Adding to its…appeal, he then demonstrated how small the room is, with just a few inches above his head when standing and lying down.</p> <p dir="ltr">The tour ends on a slightly more sinister note, as he makes his way to a creepy find at the entrance of the hotel – a poster of wanted criminals.</p> <p dir="ltr">The comments section was divided on the hotel, with some claiming it was a steal, while others said they’d rather pay a bit more and stay somewhere else.</p> <p dir="ltr">“I mean, for $90 a month… I’d probably live there,” one person said.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-4c6fd309-7fff-1d6e-5a0a-83eb65748a9f"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">“I’d stay there. Too bad they didn’t have mattresses with plastic covers on it. Great deal,” a commenter added.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: TikTok</em></p>

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How flight attendants deal with super annoying passengers

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed the sneaky way he annoys difficult passengers on his flight that he doesn’t like. </p> <p dir="ltr">Former cabin crew member James revealed that the main thing he would do to avoid talking to irritating passengers is hold a sick bag. </p> <p dir="ltr">He told KIIS FM’s <a href="https://www.news.com.au/entertainment/tv/radio/furious-kyle-storms-out-after-onair-fight-with-jackie-o/news-story/511e0ac37bf9aaaf180e39409883d778">Kyle &amp; Jackie O</a>, “Every time I used to go from one end of the plane to the other to eat my lunch, someone would always ask me something.”</p> <p dir="ltr">“So I used to put a can of coke in a sick bag, put a rubber glove on, and walk through the cabin so it looked like I am holding vomit – no one would ask me for anything.”</p> <p dir="ltr">He would also flat out lie to passengers he didn’t like, saying he would be back to help them with a request… and then never return. </p> <p dir="ltr">He said, “If a flight attendant ever says to you, ‘I’ll be right back,’ we don’t like you.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Another former flight attendant, who runs the Passenger Shaming Instagram account, said that she would often put more ice in drinks for people who annoyed her.</p> <p dir="ltr">In an interview with Yahoo, she said that she would “take a cup and scoop in a lot of ice, and when I pour the soda or juice in, there’s, like, two tablespoons.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This watered down cocktail is what she calls “The ‘A***hole Special”, and it’s one that she thinks other flight attendants make as well as a sneaky way to combat difficult passengers. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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How to get PAID to get married

<p dir="ltr">Couples hoping to tie the knot can now get paid almost $3000 to get married in Italy.</p> <p dir="ltr">The tourism board for one of Italy’s most popular regions Lazio – which includes Rome – has launched a fund giving people the chance to have their dream destination wedding there.</p> <p dir="ltr">Italy is a popular choice for couples looking to get married abroad, but the sector has been hit hard by the pandemic.</p> <p dir="ltr">The ‘In Lazio with Love’ scheme aims to bring weddings back to the country by enticing people with a free €2000 ($A2940) to spend on their Big Day.</p> <p dir="ltr">Nicola Zingaretti, president of Lazio, said the scheme was a way of revitalising the crippled wedding industry.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The scheme is needed to support a sector that has suffered badly from the economic crisis,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We have put the significant investment in place also with an eye on the tourism sector, and with the awareness and pride of being able to boast about every part of our region, with many locations among the most magical and fascinating in the world thanks to an unparalleled cultural heritage.”</p> <p dir="ltr">According to local media, 9000 couples have wed in Lazio since the start of the pandemic, compared to more than 15,000 in 2019.</p> <p dir="ltr">To bring weddings back to the region, almost $15 million has been set aside to help fund ceremonies, and both locals and tourists can apply.</p> <p dir="ltr">Valentina Corrado, Lazio’s tourism councillor, said the industry was ready to restart after a devastating two years.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Let’s relaunch a sector that has been on hold for a long time,” she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The whole wedding chain has suffered economically during the last two years.”</p> <p dir="ltr">To qualify for the grant, couples must get married anywhere in the Lazio region – which includes Rome, Viterbo, Tivoli, Latina and Bracciano.</p> <p dir="ltr">The money must be spent on Lazio-based wedding services, such as planners, venues, catering, and photographers.</p> <p><span id="docs-internal-guid-496c19ef-7fff-9a20-a1be-d953547ac366"></span></p> <p dir="ltr">Applications can be <a href="https://www.regione.lazio.it/nellazioconamore">made here</a>, up to the end of January 2023, or until the fund runs out. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Why people are booking stays in Ukraine with NO plans to check in

<p dir="ltr">While the people of Ukraine are navigating air-raid sirens, fleeing their homes and frantically messaging family for updates, they are also being inundated with Airbnb booking requests. </p> <p dir="ltr">However, those people booking properties in Ukraine don’t wish to come for a holiday. </p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, these accommodation requests are part of a creative social media campaign to funnel money to besieged Ukrainians in need of financial support. </p> <p dir="ltr">Users have even requested to book a one-bedroom apartment in Ukraine’s capital that belongs to politician Volodymyr Bondarenko, to which he responds with heart-felt emojis to say thank you. </p> <p dir="ltr">The initiative began when Russian forces started to bomb Ukraine and cut off essential services, with people all around the world wanting to help. </p> <p dir="ltr">The idea has quickly gathered momentum, with international guests “booked” for more than 61,000 nights in Ukraine, according to an Airbnb spokesperson.</p> <p dir="ltr">More than half of those nights were booked by Americans, with people from Australia and the United Kingdom also contributing greatly. </p> <p dir="ltr">"More than 10 bookings came in today. This was surprising, it's very supportive at the moment," Mr Bondarenko, 36, told CNN early Friday.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I told many of my relatives and friends that I plan to use this money to help our people who need it at this time."</p> <p dir="ltr">As well as the payments for their homes, those making the bookings are also leaving messages of support for the residents of Ukraine. </p> <p dir="ltr">New York City resident Anne Margaret Daniel “booked” a stunning apartment in Kyiv, and left a message for the host saying, "I hope that you, and your lovely apartment, are safe and that this horrible war is over ... and Ukraine is safe."</p> <p dir="ltr">"I will come and see you one day, please count on it, and will stay with you when we visit. God bless you and God be with you, your city, your country."</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Saving hacks for your next getaway

<p dir="ltr">If you consider yourself a savings sleuth, then you already know some of the best ways to get incredible deals and cheap prices when it comes to travel.</p> <p dir="ltr">You’ll have signed up to airline e-newsletters for the latest sale drops, joined every frequent flyer program under the sun and kept an eye open for last-minute savings on accommodation on social media.</p> <p dir="ltr">There’s more than one way to get good deals.</p> <p dir="ltr">Here are three little-known hacks to save hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars, on your next holiday.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Buy your ticket from a wholesaler</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Snow fiends may have already heard of <a href="https://snoworld.com.au/">SnoWorld</a>, an old-school, family-owned travel wholesaler that offers budget-friendly package deals on ski holidays to the US and Canada. Their best kept secret is that they now deal directly with the consumer.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Some customers had trouble buying airfares alone from SnoWorld, thinking they had to buy some sort of snow holiday, so we set up the very basic Value Fares website,” says Craig Mathews, managing director of <a href="https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/sJV1CyojoDhB1P7kiMZy-a?domain=valuefares.com.au">Value Fares</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">The company specialises in flights to the US, and travellers often use them in conjunction with frequent flyers points as a cheap way to get to Canada, Mexico and Central and South America.</p> <p dir="ltr">“We buy blocks of seats, 500 at a time, every February and March for December and January departures. Fares from Sydney to Vancouver non-stop departing early January are often $3000 to $4000 return. Many people don’t want to, or cannot spend those amounts,” says Craig.</p> <p dir="ltr">“But if you can get a cheap fare to LAX, which is usually around $1000, you can then use frequent flyers points to get to Vancouver, or buy cheap tickets to airports on the US side of the border and then rent a car.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Check out the <a href="http://www.valuefares.com.au/buy-now-1">‘Buy Now’</a> page on the website for current deals and for regular updates, sign up to their newsletter.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>How to get cheap upgrades</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">“Being a ‘points pro’ means earning lots more frequent flyer points without spending too much more, if any more, money, then knowing exactly how to redeem those points effectively so you can travel in business or first class when you go on holiday,” says Matt Graham, co-founder of Frequent Flyer Solutions.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Aussie company offers 10 online courses under its Frequent Flyer Training umbrella that teach the three components of an airline or hotel loyalty program: earning points, redeeming points and earning elite status.</p> <p dir="ltr">It’s free to join as an ‘Economy Class’ member to access the first unit of each of the 10 courses, while a membership fee applies to access further content.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The courses teach how to calculate the value of a reward to determine whether it’s good value, some of the left-field ways to redeem points, how to find award availability and book an award ticket,” Mr Graham said.</p> <p dir="ltr">And if you’re just as confused about fare classes as us, this is a good chance to learn.</p> <p dir="ltr">“Understanding how fare classes work allows you to work out how many points and status credits your flight will earn, whether your ticket is upgradeable, how full your flight will be and can help to predict the likelihood of a points upgrade request being successful,” Mr Graham said.</p> <p dir="ltr">You’ll also learn hacks such as how to hire a car for $1 using a one-way relocation deal and how to get the best seats when flying Qantas.</p> <p dir="ltr">“The trick with Qantas is to select a seat exactly three days and eight hours before the flight’s scheduled departure time. This is when most of the blocked seats at the front of the cabin become available for selection,” Mr Graham said.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Graham said one of the best strategies they teach is buying heavily discounted frequent flyer points from overseas airlines such as American Airlines, Etihad, Air Canada or Avianca, which can then be redeemed for business and first class flights on different airlines including Qantas and Virgin Australia.</p> <p dir="ltr">“This can be a clever way to save thousands of dollars on premium cabin flights because by doing this in a smart way, you can attain the points you need for a flight for just a fraction of the regular airfare,” he said.</p> <p dir="ltr"><strong>Use your mobile device to get a steal on luxe stays</strong></p> <p dir="ltr">Booking accommodation in Bali, Greece or Italy? Close your laptop and pick up your mobile device.</p> <p dir="ltr"><a href="https://booking.com/">Booking.com</a> offers huge savings on accommodation bookings that are made through their app on your mobile device.</p> <p dir="ltr">Just be sure to read the reviews to see if it’s worth the value and make sure you tweak the filters to include free cancellations.</p> <p> </p> <p dir="ltr">Have any additional travel tips? We’d be happy to hear them.</p>

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10 red flags you’re about to stay at a bad hotel

<p>Even though you don’t spend a lot of time in your room on vacation, having one that is sub-par can really put a dampener on your trip. Before booking your trip (or to avoid booking the same bad place again) make sure you know about these red flags that you’re about to stay at a bad hotel. </p> <p>Make sure to look for these things when you book your hotel in one of these places you need to visit.</p> <p><strong>The photos are doctored</strong></p> <p>Sometimes, you may not realise a hotel is iffy until you arrive – but you certainly want to avoid that happening if you can. There are some bad hotel signs you can catch before you finalise your booking, and you should always be on the lookout for those. Spotting many is as simple as just doing your research on the hotel’s website.</p> <p>Firstly, give the photos on the hotel’s site a good look. “Hotels with a good reputation and nothing to hide will ensure that the quality of their photos is professional, accurate and not overly edited,” says Janet Semenova, co-founder of Boutique Travel Advisors. “Hotels whose photos are misleading or heavily photoshopped generally have something to hide.” For instance, look for gradient lines that indicate that colours were touched up. Another technique you might see is the use of a fish-eye lens. “If their pictures are all taken with a fish-eye lens, they may be trying to make small rooms appear larger,” cautions Grainne Kelly, travel expert, former travel agent and founder of BubbleBum car travel innovations. A quick Google image search for the hotel should quickly make it clear if the photos on the site aren’t giving the whole picture.</p> <p>And it’s not just what you do see – it’s the photos that are not there, too. If the website only shows photos of the exterior of the hotel, there’s almost definitely a reason that there are none of the inside. Even leaving out photos of a significant aspect of the rooms – think the bathrooms or the beds – can be a red flag.</p> <p><strong>The website and Google disagree</strong></p> <p>Once you’ve confirmed that the photos of the hotel are to your liking, head over to Google Earth for one last check. If the ‘street view’ of the hotel’s address looks nothing like the pictures on the site, there’s a problem. “Google Earth… will give you a very good idea of where the hotel is located and what is around it,” says Patricia Hajifotiou, owner of the touring company The Olive Odysseys and author of <em>Travel Like You Mean It</em>. </p> <p>“For example, if you are going to Santorini, you are going there for the caldera views. If your hotel is located on the back side of the island, you might have sea views in the distance but you will not be sitting on the cliff looking at the volcano (which might be fine for you). Make sure your hotel is really in the location it says it is!”</p> <p><strong>The price just doesn't seem to fit</strong></p> <p>Of course, there are plenty of ways to score great deals on hotels. But there’s a difference between using a legitimate technique to get a markdown and an up-front price just seeming… off. “If a price looks too good to be true, it probably is,” warns Leona Bowman, luxury travel blogger at Wandermust Family. “If you are getting a five-star hotel at a two-star hotel price, it is worth doing some more investigating. Double-check that there aren’t any renovations or local building works that are affecting the property and are causing the price to drop.”</p> <p>Cassandra Brooklyn, founder of the travel planning and group tour company EscapingNY, also recommends taking a quick look at the price of other, similar hotels to see if the charge seems reasonable. “If the hotel is much cheaper than surrounding hotels with similar amenities, there’s probably a reason that the hotel can’t charge higher, [such as] construction, paper-thin walls, bed bugs, or terrible service,” she tells Reader’s Digest.</p> <p><strong>There has been bed bugs sightings</strong></p> <p>If you weren’t aware that there was a ‘Bed Bug Report’ available online, now you are – and you should never travel without consulting it again. </p> <p>On bedbugreports.com, you can type in the name of your hotel and find its specific location to see if any guests reported bed bugs while staying there. If there have been sightings, especially in the past couple of years, you’ll definitely want to look elsewhere.</p> <p><strong>The site fires back at negative reviews</strong></p> <p>Don’t let a couple of negative reviews completely turn you off of a hotel. “There will always be complaints or misunderstandings so that in itself isn’t a reason to think that the hotel is necessarily bad,” advises Jurga Rubinovaite, travel blogger and author of Full Suitcase. What is a bigger cause for concern, though, is an immature reaction to a negative review. “Negative reviews can and will happen even at the most…professional and reputable hotels around the world,” Semenova says. “It is the way in which management handles these reviews, both online and off-line, that speaks to their integrity.”</p> <p>For instance, Rubinovaite says you’ll want to take note “if they don’t show concern about what happened or if their responses are rude.” Instead, they will ideally respond by offering a sincere apology and a solution to the problem – this is a strong reflection on how they will treat customers in person, according to Semenova. “Management that responds negatively to their negative reviews generally provides poor customer service to all their clients,” she told RD.com.</p> <p><strong>All of the good reviews are old</strong></p> <p>Pay attention to the positive reviews in addition to the negative ones – even the most glowing reviews can’t be taken at face value. “The date of a review is just as important as the review itself,” Brooklyn advises. “A hotel may have stellar reviews, but if they’re all over six months old, something dramatic may have changed since then.” And the opposite goes for bad reviews – watch for a sudden surge of recent ones. </p> <p>“If there was an issue five years ago and recent reviews are OK, then there is nothing to worry about,” says Rubinovaite. “However, if you find several people complaining about the same problem over…the last few months, then it’s definitely a red flag that indicates that the hotel doesn’t care to improve their customer experience.”</p> <p><strong>Safety measures are lax</strong></p> <p>Even if your hotel meets all of your preliminary standards, it’s still unfortunately not a guarantee that it’ll be the perfect home away from home. Some other warning signs are only apparent once you’ve walked through the door. While most hotels do take safety seriously, the sad truth is that there are always bad eggs. For instance, keep an eye on the reception desk. </p> <p>“Unattended after-hours reception areas with main doors unlocked” – even if it’s located in a safer-seeming area – are a big red flag, says Sheryl Hill, executive director of the travel safety organisation Depart Smart. Another red flag? Look for the keyless security latch or chain on the inside of the door. If there’s none there, or if it’s broken, that’s a good sign that safety may not be as much of a priority as you’d like it to be.</p> <p><strong>The carpets aren't clean</strong></p> <p>Of course, anything that’s conspicuously unclean is cause for concern once you’ve stepped into your chosen lodging. But, while you’ll probably make sure to check the beds and the bathrooms for any ickiness, you might not pay too much attention to what’s beneath your feet. But you should: Hill cautions that “nasty carpets usually mean nasty sheets and towels and coffee cups.” </p> <p>She reminds RD, though, that the age of the carpets doesn’t have anything to do with this. An older carpet can still be clean if it’s well-maintained. You should also be on the lookout for small patches of carpet that don’t quite match the whole thing. That’s a sign that staff hastily removed and switched out a stained or damaged patch, rather than replacing the whole carpet or doing a more thorough cleaning.</p> <p><strong>The signs aren't in good condition</strong></p> <p>Travel blogger Julie McCool, suggests that travellers pay attention to the literal signs. Are they in good condition, or are they in disrepair? “If the hotel won’t maintain the first branding you see, they may be ignoring maintenance issues throughout the property,” she told RD.com. </p> <p>McCool also warns to keep an eye out for hastily made or less-than-presentable signs hung around the property, especially if they’re there to police guests’ behaviour. “Lots of handmade signs scolding visitors from various infractions is a red flag,” she says. “The property may be poorly managed, or the clientele may be problematic.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.co.nz/travel/travel-hints-tips/10-red-flags-youre-about-to-stay-at-a-bad-hotel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>.</em></p>

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Big travel deals predicted to come soon following Jetstar's $22 flights

<p dir="ltr">Travel is slowly returning to normal and our major airlines are slashing fares, with Jetstar offering flights from major cities to our favourite holiday destinations for just $22. </p> <p dir="ltr">"They really want to entice people back into the air and they want to give you an offer that's almost too good to be true," Australian Traveller co-founder, Quentin Long, told A Current Affair.</p> <p dir="ltr">The destinations are far and wide and if a tropical climate is what you're looking for, Queensland's Cairns and the Whitsundays could be an option for you. </p> <p dir="ltr">Jetstar is getting in early, ahead of the launch of budget airline Bonza, which is set to enter the market mid-year.</p> <p dir="ltr">It's offering flights on more than 25 routes to 16 destinations and fares will average $50 one way on shorter flights.</p> <p dir="ltr">Qantas is launching its Asia Fly Away sale tomorrow which includes return flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide to Singapore starting at $699.</p> <p dir="ltr">A flight to Delhi from Sydney, Melbourne or Adelaide will cost $119 and a flight to Manila from Brisbane or Adelaide will cost $829.</p> <p dir="ltr">Meanwhile, Virgin Australia has $69 flights until May 10, with its Book Early Fares Sale.</p> <p dir="ltr">They're also running a weekly Happy Hour sale every Thursday with fares as low as $49.</p> <p dir="ltr">Experts believe this is just the beginning of sales to be seen both domestically and internationally, with big deals predicted in March and April - with the hope of getting more passengers back in the air.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You'll see aviation plus tours, plus accommodation deals coming to the market about then," Mr Long said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Having competitive and very good value airfares is really important to the tourist market, whether it's in Australia or overseas," Flight Centre chief executive Graham Turner said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Everything that we can do to help that inbound and outbound travel is certainly good for the hundreds of thousands of people employed in the travel and tourism industry.</p> <p dir="ltr">"And good value airfares are a really important part of it.</p> <p dir="ltr">"The domestic travel, tourism, business travel, will pick up steadily over the next 12 months and I think we will be back to around that 100 per cent mark in around 12 months' time."</p> <p> </p> <p dir="ltr">Jetstar's sale closes at midnight on Thursday unless sold out prior.</p> <p><em><span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: Arial; color: #000000; background-color: transparent; font-weight: 400; font-variant: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline; white-space: pre-wrap;">Image: Getty</span></em></p>

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Travel expert reveals VERY clever safety tips

<p dir="ltr">A travel risk expert has shared a series of clever safety tips to foil thieves and reduce your risk of harm on your next holiday – beginning with what hotel floors are the best and safest to stay on. </p> <p dir="ltr">Lloyd Figgins, the CEO of UK-based Travel Risk and Incident Prevention Group, believes that staying between the second and fourth floors in a hotel is the safest course, particularly in the case of a fire. </p> <p dir="ltr">"(The) biggest thing that is overlooked is the risk of fire," Figgins, a former soldier, told <a href="https://nypost.com/2022/02/21/why-you-should-never-book-a-hotel-room-above-the-fourth-floor/">The Sun Online Travel</a>.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Make sure you are staying between the second and fourth stories of the hotel because fire department ladders rarely reach above the fourth story."</p> <p dir="ltr">He also said that anything below the second floor of a hotel is a potential target for thieves.</p> <p dir="ltr">Figgins, the author of <em>The Travel Survival Guide</em> said travellers should also avoid revealing their room number out loud while within the hotel.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said guests should ask reception staff to write their hotel room number down instead of saying it out loud when checking in. </p> <p dir="ltr">The reason behind this is because “hotels attract criminals” who often pose as other guests in hotel lobbies and other common areas. </p> <p dir="ltr">"They are looking for people checking in alone because they can hear what room they are allocated — the receptionist says they are in room 301, for example," he said.</p> <p dir="ltr">He said that when potential thieves see a solo traveller in a hotel bar or common area, they know the room is empty and use this time to strike. </p> <p dir="ltr">Figgins also suggested that people travel with door stops or makeshift locks to keep their possessions safe when on holidays. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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How to travel minus the expense of accommodation

<p dir="ltr">Believe it or not, according to news.com.au. there’s a happy band of holiday-makers who travel far and wide and rarely pay for their accommodation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The costs of a week-long holiday in New Zealand, even staying in an Airbnb or locally-owned house, can quickly add up. Yet one Australian couple Christopher Ojala and Andrew Redfern have done it three times, all without paying a cent for accommodation.</p> <p dir="ltr">The Aussies are house-sitters, who have travelled across New Zealand, the US, the UK and Mexico, all by way of caring for strangers’ homes.</p> <p dir="ltr">“House-sitting gives you a completely different perspective, compared to going somewhere as just a tourist,” says Mr Ojala, who also manages the 17,000-strong Facebook group ‘House sitting worldwide’.</p> <p dir="ltr">“You get to see new places from a local’s perspective.”</p> <p dir="ltr">Most house sits aren't about the houses at all, rather, they're pet-sits in someone else's home. </p> <p dir="ltr">As it's a win-win situation for both parties and money rarely changes hands.</p> <p dir="ltr">Instead, it's a system built on trust between strangers which is also why the house-sitting community thrives in New Zealand, in particular.</p> <p dir="ltr">“In New Zealand, people trust other people much more than in a lot of other countries,” says Mr Ojala.</p> <p dir="ltr">“It's no big deal for people to have strangers in their homes. Whereas in the US, you almost have to go through multiple police checks just to be eligible to be considered.”</p> <p dir="ltr">In addition to sharing their homes, they're also eager to introduce guests to other facets of their lives, so they're able to truly live like a local.</p> <p dir="ltr">Still, house-sitting's biggest sell might be its affordability — but it's not just an activity for the broke backpacker set.</p> <p dir="ltr">According to Nick Fuad, founder of Kiwi House Sitters, roughly 25% of house-sitters on the platform are over the age of 60.</p> <p dir="ltr">It's also a budget-friendly vacation option for families, particularly during holiday periods when campgrounds are booked-out and hotels charge peak seasonal rates. </p> <p dir="ltr">Originally from Canada, Ms Mcallister met her future partner when she was house-sitting on the South Island.</p> <p dir="ltr">Since moving to Dunedin and settling down, she hasn't given up her favourite way to explore the country. Now, she takes her partner and his 6-year-old son along on her adventures.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's a beautiful way to be able to travel," Ms Mcallister says.</p> <p dir="ltr">The couple regularly house sit in Queenstown and Wānaka and have even done a beachside house sit during school holidays in their home city.</p> <p dir="ltr">For her partner's son, the location doesn't matter.</p> <p dir="ltr">"He just thinks it's somewhere different. There are different toys and it makes it a fun kind of holiday," she says.</p> <p dir="ltr">Ultimately, caring for other people's pets is a serious commitment and house sitting isn't for everyone.</p> <p dir="ltr">But those who do it, tend to love it so much that they almost don't want anyone else to know about it.</p> <p dir="ltr">"My partner, is like, 'You shouldn't be telling anyone about this," says Ms Mcallister, laughing.</p> <p dir="ltr">It's a secret she wants to share, though: "House-sitting can open up doors for world travel that you would have never imagined."</p> <p dir="ltr">How to get started as a house-sitter in New Zealand</p> <p dir="ltr">House-sitting positions are typically advertised on platforms such as TrustedHousesitters.com, HouseCarers.com, but KiwiHouseSitters.co.nz is by far the most active house sitting site in New Zealand.</p> <p dir="ltr">Regardless of what platform you choose, expect to pay around $NZ85 to $NZ150 per year.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you're not willing to pony up the membership fee, gigs are also posted on the House Sitting New Zealand Facebook group.</p> <p dir="ltr">Once you've found a potential house, set up a virtual or in-person meeting with the homeowners and their pets.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the very minimum, speak on the phone so that both parties have the opportunity to ask any questions.</p> <p dir="ltr">"Do your homework before you just jump in," advises Mr Ojala.</p> <p dir="ltr">Don't have any experience? Don't worry.</p> <p dir="ltr">In lieu of house-sitting references, offer to supply personal or professional referees or a police clearance.</p> <p dir="ltr">Even without references, your services will be sought-after if you plan to house sit over a school holiday period.</p> <p dir="ltr">A quick scan of KiwiHouse sitters.co.nz reveals upcoming holiday sits ranging from a three-week stay in the Mackenzie region at a sprawling country home with an in-ground pool, to a little closer to home, where there's a five-day sit at an artist's house in Titirangi, complete with use of kayaks.</p> <p dir="ltr">Remember: Love of animals is a must "House sitting" is a bit of a misnomer, it should really be called "pet-sitting".</p> <p dir="ltr">Very rarely will you see a posting for homes without animals, although the level of time you'll devote to taking care of pets can vary.</p> <p dir="ltr">Be sure to ask homeowners about daily routines and responsibilities, as well as how long they're comfortable for their pets to be left alone.</p> <p dir="ltr">If you envision long days spent at the beach or in nearby art galleries, bypass the horses and dogs, and look for a cat instead.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty </em></p>

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Flight attendant’s bizarre food hack to staying healthy in the air

<p dir="ltr">A flight attendant has revealed one particular thing you should always eat when you travel so you don‘t get sick.</p><p dir="ltr">Tiktok user Robine Blickman shared a video with her top tips to avoid feeling bloated on a flight – a feeling some flyers will be familiar with. </p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-5e6a0174-7fff-99d7-ee0d-5384e63454bd"></span></p><p dir="ltr">She swears by an unusual thing when she flies – artichoke.</p><blockquote class="tiktok-embed" style="max-width: 605px;min-width: 325px" cite="https://www.tiktok.com/@robineblickman/video/6827373409140362501" data-video-id="6827373409140362501"><section><a title="@robineblickman" href="https://www.tiktok.com/@robineblickman" target="_blank" rel="noopener">@robineblickman</a> For all our future travels!! <a title="aviation" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/aviation" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#aviation</a> <a title="flightattendant" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/flightattendant" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#flightattendant</a> <a title="bloating" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/bloating" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#bloating</a> <a title="fitgirl" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/fitgirl" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#fitgirl</a> <a title="food" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/food" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#food</a> <a title="stewardess" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/stewardess" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#stewardess</a> <a title="travel" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/travel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#travel</a> <a title="travel" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/travel" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#travel</a> <a title="travelhacks" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/travelhacks" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#travelhacks</a> <a title="traveltips" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/traveltips" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#traveltips</a> <a title="lifetips" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/lifetips" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#lifetips</a> <a title="hack" href="https://www.tiktok.com/tag/hack" target="_blank" rel="noopener">#hack</a> <a title="♬ original sound - Robine Blickman" href="https://www.tiktok.com/music/original-sound-6827373353360280325" target="_blank" rel="noopener">♬ original sound - Robine Blickman</a></section></blockquote><p dir="ltr">“Artichoke – okay I know this sounds so weird but I've got it in tea and in pills and believe me, it works so good,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr">“I take it before my flight, during my flight or after my flight, it doesn't matter. It just works.”</p><p dir="ltr">There is some science behind Ms Blickman’s suggestion of eating or drinking something with artichoke in to help prevent bloating.</p><p dir="ltr">Artichokes are also a great source of fibre and can help with digestion.</p><p dir="ltr">By drinking tea or taking tablets with artichoke extract in, you can help speed up your digestion and avoid feeling bloated. Ms Blickman had a couple of other tricks for flyers wanting to avoid feeling ill – hot water with lemon, and celery juice.</p><p dir="ltr">“On the morning of your flight, take a cup of hot water and some lemon and squeeze it in,” she said.</p><p dir="ltr">She went on to share the things you should avoid drinking if you don't want to feel bloated. “Try to hold back on the Coke and on the juices, believe me, they are the worst.”</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-bfa1a28d-7fff-e5f6-4666-91dc59b42969"></span></p><p dir="ltr">The video has over 25,000 views, and social media users agreed with the unusual tips.</p>

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