Here for the Long Haul

Here’s the thing about being born and bred in Australia – it’s so bloody far. From everywhere. Except New Zealand. But that doesn’t count.

To get from my base in Doha, Qatar, to Sydney it’s a 14 hour flight and at least one connection. Even at the pointy end of the plane, that’s a long, long time.

So to ensure my survival and those around me (including crew and fellow passengers), I pack a survival kit. This includes:

1. Stretchy pants

Gap Yoga pants

Gap Yoga pants

Although many airlines in business class will give you PJs, the aren’t always the best fit. I have been known to wake up with them around my ankles, involuntarily. Really. These ones from Gap are my favorite at the moment and work double time as work-out pants at the other end.

2. EarbudHeadphones



Now all long haul flights regardless of class you are traveling in will give you headphones, but the problem is, sometimes they have been re-used. Also, especially the luxe “noise cancelling” ones, makes it difficult to fall asleep. White girl problems, I know. These ear buds by Beats are not only funky but portable and you can get a special adaptor for the three prong in-chair outlet. Beats by Dr. Dre

3. ipad




OK OK this is obvious, but I don’t watch movies as the screen is too small.Instead I pack with magazines including GlamourMarie ClaireVanity Fair and Gourmet Traveller. Nothing too taxing. Books on my summer travel list include The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster and We Need New Names by NoViolet Buluwayo

5. A decent lip balm

ByTerry Rose Lip Blam

ByTerry Rose Lip Balm

I am not a label queen but this balm is the best I have found. ByTerry (it’s better if you say with a French accent) is available at most high end department stories and its not only lush but smells amazing. Worth the price.

5. A great moisturizer

Moisture Hit

Moisture Hit

An oldie but a goodie, this classic by Clinique is best served slathered on. Makes me look half human on arrival.

All these fit into my admittedly cavernous handbag…but I never leave home without them.

Happy travels.



Connection Error…Is Free Wifi in Your Hotel a Right or a Privilege?

Free or Not to Free?

Free or Not to Free?

You stump up a wad of cash for a hotel room, with all the mod cons, some nice amenities in the bathroom, Egyptian cotton sheets….only to find that you are slugged for  in-house wifi.

It’s a huge bone of contention for regular travelers – you can get free access to wifi for the price of a coffee, yet pay US$200 for a hotel room, and you still have an addition cost (upwards of US$27 in my experience) for wifi access.

It’s not like we are downloading movies or other huge files, just simply access emails and trying to do a bit of work and the odd social media posting.

The tourism industry lobby group in Australia is taking the big chains to task on this. And as this piece –  Free wi-fi in travellers’ sights  – in  the Australian media  rightly points out, there are some ulterior motives for this campaign.

But, on the sonsumer side, free wi-fi is the main consideration for Australian travellers in choosing a hotel, according to a survey by the booking website with some travelers choosing “bed and internet” packages in place of breakfast.

What do you think? How much have you been charged for wifi while staying in a hotel?



The Listening Post

Does anyone EVER fill out those feedback forms you get at hotels and restaurants? I adit, I sometimes do, but seriously, does anybody read them?

Today I checked into the Grand Hyatt in Muscat Oman for one of my regular little weekend jaunts and found things a little different.

On my desk was this note

Talking to the guest

Talking to the guest

It asks me to get in contact if there is anything else I need or leave the note for housekeeping. It’s not the standard feedback, it’s actually asking me what I want.

Another nice surprise was the below…magazines I actually want to read (and steal)

Magazines I can actually read...

Magazines I can actually read…

And an amenity that is tasty

Nom Nom Nom

Nom Nom Nom

As I said in previous posts, Hyatt has started a conversation with their guests. They even have a blog and a targetted microsite for women travelers.  You can check this out here Hyatt Experience and their communications team have been actively soliciting the views of bloggers and tweeters who travel a lot. I was asked to contribute to this open discussion via the amazing Branch which really is a conversation. Check it out if you can…

A Hair-Raising Tale

What is it with hotel hairdryers?

Either they are bolted to the inside of a drawer in the bathroom or those weird tubular ones that gently waft lukewarm air in the general direction of your hair. That is, if you don’t manage to nearly strangle yourself with the bendy tube.

Beware the bendy tube

Beware the bendy tube

Even expensive, yea seven star hotels, see to neglect this one essential item and opt for the crappiest ones available.

Or, then there is the “find the hairdryer” game you have to play in some hotels.

Is it in the drawer in the bathroom? Hmmmm no. Perhaps it’s in the closet where those weird shoe polish things are kept with the sewing kit? Nope. Wait! Found it! It’s in the desk drawer. Of course! How could I be so silly? I always fancied drying my hair while I wrote an email. Doesn’t every gal?

The award for the best hotel hairdryer goes to Park Hyatt Moscow. It was a professional one, with excellent air strength, clearly designed to tame the luscious locks of those Russian beauties who stay there.

This may fall into the category of “white girl problems”, but seriously, how hard can it be?