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

Earbuds

Earbuds

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

 

Essential

Essential

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.

 

 

Date at the Gate?

I don’t know about you, but i am never at my best when traveling. I’m grumpy, usually a little disheveled and frankly always a little sweaty.

I don’t even like speaking to people I know when I am in the lounge or the airport cafe, let alone courting potential love interests. This is why the popularity of Meet at the Airport fascinated me.

Dating at the Gate?

Dating at the Gate?

Apparently, there are scores of travelers who like to have a flirty drink or something else while they wait for their transatlantic flight.

What do you think?

Airport Dating is Really Taking Off

Safe Haven – Mumbai voted safest Indian city for women travelers

Some cities and countries in general get a bad rap for attitude and experience of women travelers.  India is one of those destinations – you either have a really amazing experience or a shocker.

I have had a couple of short and sharp trips to India – Goa, Delhi and Mumbai –  in recent times and have always enjoyed my time there. I have even booked a quick trip to Chennai later this month. Granted I have mostly stayed in five star hotels and benefitted from the amazing local knowledge and connections of friends, but have found myself comfortable and welcome. And of course, there is the food. 

Tripadvisor issued it’s Solo Women Traveller Survey and the results for India were interesting and reflect the experience, attitudes and expectations of Indian women travelers.

Mumbai, one of the most cosmopolitan cities in India, emerged as the city considered safest by solo women travelers, with the majority vote of 34 per cent, Ahmedabad and Bengaluru came second with 12 per cent votes each.

Due to the recent spate of crimes against women, the national capital Delhi has gained notoriety with 84 per cent women claiming it to be the most unsafe metropolitan and major city in the country.

The survey was conducted among 500 Indian women. According to the travel site, 84 per cent women claimed to have travelled alone for leisure, business or both. The survey also brought to light that 94 per cent of the respondents worried about their safety, always or at least sometimes, when they travelled alone in India. Nearly 34 per cent women indicated they loved travelling alone as it was adventurous and exciting. Another 32 per cent  said the thrill of managing everything by themselves was the motivator as well.

Interestingly, 78 per cent respondents said they would prefer to stay in an all-woman’s hotel or on a women exclusive floor in a hotel, when travelling alone.

You can see the full report here Tripadvisor India Survey

Enchanting India

Enchanting India

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?

 

 

 

 

Room With a View…of the carpark

Hotels often have hilarious ideas of what constitutes a “safe” room for a single woman traveling alone.

I was once given a room, far from the elevator, so far in fact I actually got lost looking for it. This hotel had a lovely view from most of its rooms of a nearby temple. No such luck for the traveling lady.

I got a view of the car park.

When I questioned this, I was told it was a “quiet and safe” room. Had there been a fire, the trail of breadcrumbs I left to find my way back would have been toasted. And if by quiet you mean there was literally no one within a five room radius, yeah that succeeded.

I was quickly moved, but it does highlight the issue that in many hotel chains, a “safe” room means away from the hustle of the hotel. Which is a nice concept in principle.

But in reality, the closer I am to the elevator and to people, the safer I feel. Not just for the fire issue, but also it means I am in my room faster.

Some hotel chains, like  Hyatt, have been making a concerted effort in recent times to cater to the needs of the single traveler. They will give you a room close to the elevator (which you can also specify on booking as well as have it noted on your Gold Passport loyalty program profile).

Some hotels, like Bella Sky have women-only floors. Which may be going to the extreme, but it does enhance the sense of safety.

What do you think? What is your idea of “safe and quiet”?