Follow Us Through Southeast Asia

G’day,

We’re travelling through Southeast Asia for a month so we’ve launched a new blog at http://www.allyadam.info! Many of the articles currently on here will be slowly transitioned over along with new stuff; check out our tips, photos, reviews from our trip! Hope to see you there soon!Ally & Adam's Big Adventure

QANTAS and Jetstar to do less with less

With sky-high fuel bills QANTAS has decided to do some route pruning. QANTAS will exit the Gold Coast-Sydney and Ayers Rock-Melbourne routes and reducing services on Ayers Rock-Sydney from August. From July Jetstar will cut Sydney-Whitsunday Coast, Adelaide-Sunshine Coast, and Brisbane-Hobart. The service reductions will reduce capacity by five percent ‘the equivalent of grounding six aircraft’.

According to the SMH

Qantas plans to “ground” two Boeing 767s, retire one ageing 737 and speed up the retirement of its fuel-guzzling fleet of four 747-300s.

But in a worrying sign, Qantas said its low-cost subisidiary Jetstar would cancel the delivery of one A321 and ground another of its relatively new A320s. This counters moves by other airlines to focus on the retirement of older and less fuel efficient jets. Jetstar said the grounded A320 would be used as a “spare”.

ABC Radio National’s PM: QANTAS reacts to petrol prices by cutting routes

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

Buzz Off – The search for a longer-lasting and more effective alternative to DEET

Short news clip from ScienceCentral about a study seeking a better alternative to DEET – hopefully a compound that is longer lasting, less irritating and (ideally) is even more effective. Oh yeah, and perhaps a substance that doesn’t dissolve plastics. We wait with baited breath.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

14,000 staff banned from flying BA because they threatened to bump the CEO’s daughter from a flight

Bump!Let me ask you a question? What would you do if, as CEO of a very large and influential company and your teenage daughter and her friend were intially bumped from an over-full international flight but placed back on the flight when you protest?

Complain? Sounds kinda reasonable.

Seek compensation? Perhaps, if you want to make a point. But maybe you’re still not satisfied…

Decree that none of your 14,000 employees will fly on the airline for business? Well naturally. Acorrding to The Times that’s exactly what an angry Chris Bell, chief cigar-chewer at UK bookmakers Ladbrokes, has done. British Airways, the airline at the center of the storm, claim to have offered the two girls, who were returning from a holiday in the Bahamas with Bell, £250 each in compensation. Mr Bell, however, is quite rationally having none if it. The Times claims ‘the private dispute, which has ratcheted up into a corporate row, could cost BA up to £2 million in business and has forced Willie Walsh, BA’s chief executive, to intervene personally in an effort to defuse the situation.’

For their part, Ladbrokes claim ‘the way Mr Bell had been dealt with was only one of a number of issues the bookmaker had with the airline’.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image by zen]

If you’re a tourist – demand a tax refund!

Stop Paying Taxes

Travellers can often claim back local sales tax on high-value goods you’ll be ‘exporting’. Whenever you make a purchase overseas it’s worth asking whether you can seek a refund of sales tax – it is possible throughout most of Europe but not for GST paid in New Zealand, for instance. Local regulations vary but this often involves having the goods and reciept stamped by customs before you depart. You may be paid on the spot, but more frequently you need to mail the stamped form back to the place of purchase for a refund check or electronic credit.

Global Refund - Tax Free ShoppingTwo services Global Tax Refund Tax Free Shopping and Premier Tax Free promise to simplify the process of reimbursement in many (overwealmingly European) countries, although whether you’re interested in the services or not the websites are useful for a guide to European sales tax rates and restrictions (e.g. time limit for export or refund claims).

Both services are designed to simplify and streamline the process and allow you to be reimbursed immediately at their airport kiosk for purchases previously mPremier Tax Freeade at participating merchants who display relevant logo. If you forget or don’t have a chance to claim at the airport you will often be able to access the refund by mailing the documents from home, but check this in advance. Global Tax Free is the larger with some 230,000 participating merchants in 35 countries, Premier claims around of 75,000 ‘retail partners’ across 15 countries. Both websites offer shopping guides containing a list of participating merchants and specific details of the claims process for each country.

Both of these systems charge a percentage commission (around 4%) for the service, which may or may not be a fair price for avoiding dealings with the local beuracracy.

For a good guide to tax refunds for travellers in Europe see Rick Steves’ guide.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image by Jahat]

The French are polite – so take that you English pig-dogs!

French Taunter

According to a Reader’s Digest survey New York, Zurich and Toronto are the world’s most polite cities and Kuala Lumpur, Bucharest and Mumbai the world’s rudest. Paris, unfortunately, did the stereotype of the rude Frenchmen no favours by managing no more than a mid-table finish of joint fifteenth with London. Even Sydney managed to do better, matching the Milanese as the 24th rudest city.

Three measures were used to test each cities rudeness quotient:

1) Walking into public buildings 20 times behind people to see if they would hold the door open for us.
2) Buying small items from 20 stores and recorded whether the sales assistants said thank you.
3) Dropping a folder full of papers in 20 busy locations to see if anyone would help pick them up.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Via Expedia]

Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image by Classroom III]