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You’ve learnt the basics of the language before you arrive
It’s a true wonder of the world that English is such a universal language.  Every tourist region has English-speaking staff.  This makes it so easy for us English-speaking tourists to get around. It also makes it so easy for us English-speaking tourists to take the English being spoken to us for granted and even have the audacity to get cranky and speak louder when someone doesn’t understand English (I’ve seen it happen over and over again).

When you’ve taken the effort to learn basic words in the native language of the place you’re visiting—words such as hello, thank you, goodbye, please, water, and you’re welcome—you are usually respected by the locals for it.  I’ll even go as far as saying that you’ll often find that for your effort they will go out of their way to help you.

You don’t travel with more luggage than you can manage on your own
In my blog ‘The worst type of travelling companions’ I called out everyone who over packs and then expects help from those unlucky to be in the vicinity when the bags need to be moved. 

In my travels, I’ll help out a first-time traveller who’s made the rookie error of too much luggage for them to handle alone.  But mate, if you’re travelling around the world and have three big bags, all I’m going to say to you is “God gave you two arms, not three,” as a nip up the stairs with my own bags.

You know when you’ve earned the luggage badge for good traveller, because this is when you’ll know what combination of luggage works for you and what doesn’t. For example, I love travelling with my big checked-in suitcase, a carry-on suitcase and a small handbag. My handbag goes over the shoulder and I use my two arms for my two cases.

You plan, but you’re flexible with the plan
I’m a real planner.  But, I’ve discovered that planning every minute for every day will mean that I miss out on the impromptu stuff that a city has to offer. 

A good traveller will arrive in a city with a hit-list of what they need to see, what they want to see, and then there’ll be spare time to ‘discover’.

I usually use discover time to browse the shops. Some people use this time to check out the pubs, museums, or any local sporting event. But the reason discover time is important is because I have also used it to discover and indulge in the hot springs in Rotorua, New Zealand; the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany; buy last-minute tickets to West End shows in London; and randomly meet local English-speaking Chinese in Beijing and go to dinner with them at their ‘local’.

You always take your own version of a first aid kit
As a good traveller you’ll travel with your own personal version of a first aid kit.  For me this includes tough strip band aids for blisters on my feet, sunscreen and after sun care, headache / migraine tablets, and antihistamines. 

You’re happy to ask for directions
Disclaimer here: I acknowledge that not knowing the way can lead to an adventure.  But, if I only have one day in a place, I can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll have a list of things I want to see. Don’t be above asking for directions.  It will get you taking with the locals and who knows, they may even give you a hot tip.

You quiz the locals about the best restaurants and bars
This is one that guidebooks don’t tell you. Chatting with the locals and quizzing them about the best places to eat and drink will get you in with the in-crowd. 

After checking in at your accommodation hit up the concierge or reception team and ask them where they go to eat.  Don’t be surprised or disillusioned if they try and direct you to the tourist spots, this is their default response.  You need to be persistent, tell them you’re asking for ‘their’ opinion and ask direct questions and for details.  Which restaurant on ABC Street? Which bar along the wharf? 

You’ll be enjoying the best the city has to offer without the crappy tourist food in no time.

You make the most of it – rain, hail or shine
Every traveller leaves hoping that they get sun, sun, and more sun.  However sometimes Mother Nature has a different idea and you end up with rain, rain, and maybe even sleet. 

The rain and the grey is probably not the vision of the city you had in mind.  But, don’t let this stop you.  Get out and get amongst it and get exploring. 

So what if you get a bit wet—are you the wicked witch of the west who’ll melt if you get wet?  The upside to the rain is your photos will look different to everyone else’s, and you’ll have great stories to tell of dashing from cover-to-cover as you attempt to stay dry.

You know the risks of not booking in advance and take the risk anyway
As I noted above, I love a good plan.  But, there is nothing like the spontaneity of booking that night’s accommodation while sitting in an airport waiting for your flight. 

However, beware.  While this might feel exhilarating and exciting, you’re walking a tightrope of bargain shopping or selling your first-born to be able to afford a bed. 

As someone who’s experienced both sides of the tightrope, I still occasionally find myself booking accommodation like this for the thrill of it but in doing so I’m well aware that this decision means I could very well be fleeced.

You take note of, and respect local customs
Local customs make travelling so interesting. Learning about how other people live, eat, and enjoy their spare time is fascinating.  Just like learning some key phrases before arriving in a non-English speaking city, learning about local customs and what is and isn’t appropriate will prevent you from faux pas. 

There are well-known customs such covering shoulders and knees when visiting churches in Europe and Asia, restraining from public displays of affection in India, but there are also little know customs such as leaving a little on your plate in China to show your host they gave you enough to eat that can go a long way to show respect for the city you’re visiting.

 
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Monthly check in:July 2017-Airport_news

Total

passengers
for the month

111,665

INCREASE

▲
5.2%

Passenger growth in July 2017 increased by 5.2% compared to the same month last year. This was supported by strong growth on all major routes. The blended load factor for all major carriers was 77.2%.    


Total

passengers for the
calendar year-to-date 

724,114

INCREASE

▲
6.8%

Year-to-date passenger numbers reached 724,111, up 6.8% compared toe the same period in the previous year. Additional seats on all major routes were the main contributors to this figure.

Financial year-on-year comparison


Total passengers (arrivals / departures)










Becoming international ready-Airport_news



In 2016 Newcastle Airport received notification that its application for a Restart NSW grant had been successful. This $855,000 grant will be used towards the funding of the $1.6 million fit-out for the border agency requirements. Until now, Newcastle Airport had only the dedicated terminal space for international passenger processing, not the necessary infrastructure to be able to have international flights to-and-from the airport.

In April, Newcastle Airport announced Hunter-based builder, Kingston Building had been awarded the $1.6 million project. This project involved the installation of the necessary security technology, IT technology, passenger screening equipment, and furniture for the border agencies. Now complete, ahead of schedule which is a credit to Kingston Building  who's managers saw the project executed  to the highest standard with no lost time to injury, ensuring it came in ahead of schedule and ahead of budget.

And, while we haven't got any announcements on the horizon about direct flights to new destinations just yet, here is a sneak peek below of what you can expect when we do get to use our new facilities. You will see we're international ready for when an airline says YES!



Frequently Asked Questions

Does this mean that international flights will start right away?

We wish we could say with certainty yes. But, unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
Completing this project doesn’t guarantee international flights will start from Newcastle Airport in the near future. But, what it does mean is that from an infrastructure perspective, we have done everything we need to do to prepare our terminal in readiness for international fights.
You can read more about what we’re doing behind the scenes to bring more services to Newcastle here  

Will I get to use the new facilities when I fly domestically?

No. Our new facilities will only be used fro international departures and arrivals.

How is this project funded?

This project has been partly funded through the NSW Government’s Restart NSW Fund and by Newcastle Airport.

Where will you fly to first?

That is a good question and one we are working hard to answer! We are looking at short-haul destinations like Fiji and Bali or New Zealand. It's a long race we're running but we are committed to doing everything we can to bring new services, both domestic and international, to Newcastle Airport to give our region an airport it deserves.

I hate sitting in Sydney traffic, how do I fly out of Newcastle overseas?

We couldn’t agree with you more! That Sydney freeway trip can really take its toll. If you were keen on starting your trip from Newcastle we can hub to more 65 destinations world-wide in just one stop.



Byron Bay is winning at winter-Airport_news


Fancy leaving the chill of winter to holiday on some of the best stretch of coast Northern NSW has to offer?

Catch a plane to Byron this season and you’ll be in paradise in no time. With average winter temperatures around 19 degrees and clear sunny days this cosmopolitan spot is the perfect place to soak up some rays and explore a region that is rich in culture and diversity.

What’s more winter is the perfect time to enjoy a spot of whale watching as Australian east coast humpbacks migrate.

Flying makes quick work of the 800 kilometre trip, leaving you to enjoy your break and the get the most from all that Byron has to offer. This easternmost point of the Australia is famous for its beaches, surf breaks, sunrises, fishing and green hills. But there’s so much more to the area. It’s a foodies dream, from market stalls to high-end restaurants Byron boasts outstanding local produce.

With a host of scenic walks, meditation retreats, regular festivals, shopping and entertainment a trip to Byron will leave you feeling truly inspired.

In fact, the chances are you may never want to leave Byron’s blissed-out buzz, yet there are loads of interesting places within an hour’s drive, not least beautiful Ballina.

This bustling town offers stunning beaches, endless waterside attractions and some of the best local seafood you’re likely to find. With 25 kilometres of cycleways along the beautiful Richmond river, kayak tours, river cruises and heritage walks its captivating scenery can be enjoyed at any pace. Visit Macadamia Castle for some family fun, delve your way through the Ballina markets or saddle-up and take a horse ride along the beach.

With some great packages currently on offer from Pelican Travel, your winter blues may have just turned a warmer hue.


THINGS TO DO IN BYRON AND BALLINA:
Splendour in the Grass –  July 21 to July 23 
Byron Bay Writer’s Festival – August 4 to August 6
The Bangalow BBQ & Bluegrass Festival – August 11 to August 12
Ballina Market – 3rd Sunday of every month
Quota Club of Astonville Craft and Garden Fair – Balllina August 26  to August 27
Sample Food Festival – Bangalow Showgrounds

GETTING THERE:

Ballina is just 5 minutes from Ballina Byron Gateway Airport and Byron is under 30 minutes drive.
FlyPelican has six direct flights a week from Newcastle to Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, with flights from $99. 
Flight time is 1 hour 30 minutes.
Looking for all-inclusive? Byron Bay
 packages are available through Pelican Travel. You could enjoy a winter getaway at the luxurious Byron at Byron, with airport transfers to the resort and return flights Ex-Newcastle from $549 per-person.

Why do people love Byron bay so much? Read on to find out our top five reasons to love Byron


*This article first published in the Newcastle Herald 

Monthly check in: June 2017-Airport_news

Total

passengers
for the month

98,217

INCREASE

▲
6.2%

Passenger growth in June 2017 increased by 6.2% compared to the same month last year. This was supported by additional seats on all major routes. The blended load factor for all major carriers was 75%.


Total

passengers for the
year to date (FY)

1,257,210

INCREASE

▲
6.6%

Financial year passenger numbers reached 1.257 million, up 6.6% compared to last financial year. Positive growth from all major airlines and new routes to Coffs Harbour and Dubbo during the year were the main contributors for this record figure.

Financial year-on-year comparison



Total passengers (arrivals / departures)









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