Travelling Tips

We all know the saying, “The best laid plans of mice & men often go awry”.  Well, it certainly is true when travelling. There can be transport delays, bad weather, distance to travel to a particular attraction can all make one have to reconsider their plans on any day. We have had to do this a few times but if you travel knowing that it is not all ‘plain sailing’, you can have great fun.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Not sure whether to say yippee, there are only 160 days until we leave or, oh no, still 160 days before we hop on the plane on the 1st leg of our trip to see the Northern Lights.  Things are gradually coming together.

Once again Bjarni has surprised me. When I e-mailed him before my previous post he said that no bookings for the Aurora Safari Tour would be done until we had paid in full but just 2 days ago he wrote giving the names of the hotels we shall be staying at in Oslo and Bergen.  We have had the opportunity to look up their web pages and they both look very pleasant.  Also went on to Trip Advisor, an excellent, helpful and informative site, and am convinced that we will have a really great stay in each of these. It was also interesting to read comments by those who have already been on the Aurora Safari Tour and there are plenty of good reads.

What I like about Trip Advisor is that it puts in all the comments, good and bad and one can see various categories – singles, couples, families and groups. I should have checked comments by couples before making our Berlin booking last year. We stayed in a very nice hotel but it was definitely more for younger folk. No cupboard space except a small one next to the bed and what hangers there were did not cater at all to blouses or shirts. They were short pieces of thin wood in the shape of a bow. Then there were 3 geometrically-shaped hooks for hanging jeans, so we were told.  The hotel itself was spotless, well run and very friendly but we only saw employees who were probably under 25. It was the only place we stayed where there was good, free wi-fi  too.  wall hooks Berlin

Back to what has been planned so far. As I said above our hotels for Oslo & Bergen are now booked and from the comments on Trip Advisor, the good news is that they are very close to the station. I have also made bookings at hotels for our self-travel plans from when we leave Tromsø, Northern Norway all the way down to Fuengirola, Southern Spain. All bookings done through and the ones selected require no deposit, the cost is as at the day of booking and they allow one to cancel up to 6pm on the day of due arrival without any cost. 

There is only one city where I have not booked thus far, Barcelona where we plan to spend 3 nights. The reason I have not booked is because we like to have accommodation very close to the Central Station and I am trying to learn the name of the station as it would seem that there are 2 possibilities.  I have e-mailed the tourism bureau in Barcelona and am awaiting their reply. All added to the spreadsheets too!

Once that is done all accommodation will be booked. Still a few things after that to do but will probably only be done from early September – pay balance of tour costs, apply for visas, order Eurail Pass and other bits and bobs.  Yaay!!!  Exciting!!!

Write comment (0 Comments)

In early 2000 my husband and I were invited to a presentation and if we attended, that is all we had to do they said, we would get a free trip to Mauritius. Being a lot younger and even less wiser, we agreed to attend. Since then we have learnt of so many others who were caught in the same trap. On our arrival at the hall where we had been told to meet, we discovered that it was a presentation on the purchasing of points for holidays in various resorts around South Africa and in neighbouring countries. Within a few years we were also able to book holidays on other continents in partnership with RCI (Resort Condominiums International).

Write comment (0 Comments)

It has been a while since I wrote on the preparations and that is mainly because we are in the quiet period of preparation. We have planned our itinerary, the deposit on the tour has been paid and accepted, our air tickets have been purchased, we have confirmed our booking for the last week in Southern Spain and we are agreed on how and through which cities we are going to travel from Stockholm to Malaga.  It is hard to believe that 6 months from today we shall be in Trondheim, Norway. We get an extra day on board the boat because we will be travelling on Christmas Day. I understand that Christmas on these ships can be quite wonderful.

Write comment (0 Comments)

PillsAs we get older our medicine kits start to take up more and more space in our luggage. We know we are not as fit as we used to be and are more susceptible to injury and illness.

There is nothing worse than getting sick or running out of your medication while on holiday.

Here are some reminders about what to do before you go away and while you are on your travels.

Write comment (0 Comments)

I cannot believe that it is more than half way through the month of May!  That means it is 7 months to the day before we leave on this wonderful trip. It is getting really exciting but there is so much to do. This past week I completed a couple of tasks taking those few steps closer to having a wonderful holiday in December.

As I have mentioned before, after having been to Northern Norway to see the Aurora Borealis, we will be working our way south through Europe to Southern Spain’s Costa del Sol for a week ‘to warm up’. Well, I booked a week at the Marina del Sol in Fuengirola.  My sister and I stayed in this very popular part of Spain in 2002 and I loved it so much I could not miss the opportunity of visiting there again. It will be a first time for Trevor and it will be great fun to show him what I remember and also to see some places we did not get to see due to my breaking my leg while on a tour to Rhonda. Of course, Pat and I decided that it was not broken and we had a wonderful time going from Spain all the way north to Scotland.

The second step was to confirm with Bjarni, the Tour Operator in Norway, that the deposit for our trip will be paid this coming week. Once that is done then it is definitely going to happen. Over the past 3 months there have been over 25 e-mails between Bjarni and myself and, as it goes with e-mails, replying back & forth, a lot of repetition gets included so last night I copied the content of the e-mails into a MS Word file in the Northern Lights Folder that I created right at the start. I have dated each one and used different colour, size and format fonts. This has been printed out and placed into my 2-ring binder so that I have all the information in one place.

I read an interesting article the other day. Its main theme was to inform the readers on how to create a signature on to a PDF file without having to print it out, sign the paper copy, scan it back into the computer and then return to whomever had requested it. The author was bemoaning the fact that the use of computers has not brought about the paperless society it has always boasted it would. Instead, there seems to be just as much, if not more, paper used. I have to admit I am one of those who adds to that ‘use of the forests’. I am much more comfortable with pen and paper and being able to write down and mark out whatever it is that I am working with but, on the other hand, I am also an avid recycler wherever and whenever possible.

The next step in the preparation for our holiday is the one of education. We want to learn as much as we can about the different towns, cities and countries we will be visiting. Then there is also a not very exciting but very important part ot preparation and that is to ensure that all our own paperwork and financial records are up to date and accessible in case anything happens to us and someone else has to 'pick up the pieces'.

Write comment (0 Comments)

As always, time just flies when one is busy and has a very exciting trip to plan. I have had people say to me that it is so early to do all this but, as said before, having had some unexpected occurrences and missing out on some things we have planned to see due to not doing all the homework, I am doing everything I can now. Of course, that does not mean we will forget to “Expect the Unexpected”.

Write comment (0 Comments)

If, like me, you have often searched the internet for the cheapest flight to your planned destination only to discover that it is not actually as cheap as advertised at the start. Well, you see, as with so many other things advertised, there are Terms & Conditions. These are often long and in small fonts so we read the first few, if any at all, and then we give up. One cannot have the cheap flight if you do not agree with to the Ts & Cs so just click 'Accept' and continue. By the time we have to put in our Credit Card details, the price is nearly twice what we had expected.  

These Irish ladies sing for us in a wonderful way telling us why Cheap Flights are not always that Cheap.  Take a moment to listen and, not only have a good laugh, but remember the messeage too. 



Write comment (0 Comments)

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

Featured Posts