How to travel in style - Travel_Tips

Living the jet-set life sounds so glamourous; we see celebrities and bloggers living it up in private planes and flying first class. But for those of us who choose to spend more on the holiday than the transport, I’ll let you in on a little secret: you don’t have to fly first class to fly well!

If you want to travel in style, keep your outfit simple and comfortable.

Travel and style don’t always go hand-in-hand. After a long-haul flight most people feel quite unstylish, but there are some simple ways to change this. 

Here are a few common sense tips to make sure you can avoid wearing trackpants and crocs or arriving to your destination feeling and looking crumpled. 

A photo posted by @fashionbloggerstv on

The girls from @fashionbloggerstv make travel PJs look cool

Don’t overthink it 

A photo posted by Jessica Stein (@tuulavintage) on

@tuulavintage nails city dressing

Just because you’re travelling light, there’s no need for multipurpose items: zip-off cargo pants may seem practical, but they’re never a good look. Let’s break it down: if you were wandering the streets of your own city for the day, would you whip out the cargos and hiking boots? Probably not.

Don’t overthink it: if you’re going to a city, dress for the city. If you’re heading to the beach, dress for the beach. You don’t need to try to dress for all occasions at once. 

Don’t panic, it’s organic  

Vacation state of mind 🌿 | 📷 @yuanyu620

A photo posted by Diana Z (@zhours) on

@Zhours in a breezy linen shirt

Natural fibres are your friend! A glitzy nylon top might seem like a good idea but when you’re melting away in the Italian sun you need something that breathes. 
When things cool down, layer up with a nice merino cardy. Merino wool is luxurious but also light-weight and super warm. 

Keep it simple 

A photo posted by Pepamack (@pepamack) on

@pepamack makes basics look anything but basic.

A classic white shirt, a simple tee, a nice dark-coloured pair of jeans, neat shorts, and a basic dress will cover almost every base. 

Basics don’t date, they are classic, and can be mixed and matched. An added bonus is that these items aren’t overly memorable in photos; this makes them perfect for outfit repeating which is unavoidable when you’re travelling light.

If you want to mix it up add a colourful scarf or interesting jewellery to your outfit. Keep it simple and your travel outfits will be versatile and elegant.

Flatter your feet

A photo posted by STYLERUNNER (@stylerunner) on

@stylerunner make jeans and joggers look cool
When you travel you’ll be on your feet more than usual; meandering through markets, wandering cobbled walkways, running along railway stations to find the right platform (we’ve all been there), so you’ll need footwear that won’t compromise your feet – you’re going to be using them a lot! 

Comfort doesn’t always equate to ugly. My advice is to leave the crocs and worn-out runners at home and find some fun trainers that would look just as good with your activewear as your streetwear. Joggers and jeans can totally happen. There are so many shoes out there that are trendy AND comfy for covering the kilometres you do when you travel.

In the bag 

A photo posted by ECTU (@ectula) on

When you’re exploring you’ll carry more than you usually would. At a minimum you’re likely to have a camera, a notebook, sun cream, and a scarf! But that doesn’t mean you need a trekking pack. 

The best bag is one that doesn’t scream “I’m a tourist and I have lots of expensive things in my bag.”

Dress to respect  

@polkadotpassport in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul
The key to dressing well when you travel is to blend in and be respectful of other cultures. Do your homework so you know the cultural norms and dress accordingly. This could mean you may need to show less skin than usual, a scarf is versatile here – have one on hand for temples and churches.

Hero image via

Holiday Guilt. You’re not alone. - Travel_Tips

Feel like you’re wasting time when you’re trying to unwind? You’re not the only one. 

Most Australians struggle to relax while on holiday.  Eight out of 10 workers recently surveyed admitted to feeling guilty when relaxing – and a third confessed that even the thought of relaxing stresses them out. 

The survey, conducted by Galaxy Research, revealed that two-thirds of Australian workers use their annual leave to take care of family emergencies, attend medical and dental appointments, and to run errands. 

Australia has one of the world’s highest levels of annual leave; full-time Australian workers are entitled to a minimum of four weeks’ holiday a year, yet the majority of workers (58%) said work commitments prevent them taking their full entitlements. 

The survey, of 1,250 Australian workers, found that almost two-thirds of workers suffered from FOTAL – a Fear of Taking Annual Leave – and would take more time off work if they knew there wouldn’t be negative consequences for doing so. 

Gen Y workers were revealed as suffering the worst cases of FOTAL, with 86% of workers aged 18 to 34 saying they felt guilty about relaxing. Meanwhile, 80% of Gen X workers felt the same way. Both age groups carry far more guilt about relaxing than Baby Boomers where only 67% reported a sense of guilt.  

Dr Suzy Green, Clinical and Coaching Psychology and Founder of The Positivity Institute, said the findings show that workers needed to ensure they separate their work life from their leisure time. 

Dr Green is concerned workplace pressures including increased demands, longer hours, and budgetary constraints are impacting negatively on stress levels and are causing hesitation to take leave due to the anticipated repercussions once returning from a holiday.    

“These survey results highlight the need for Australians to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing by scheduling in annual holidays and seasonal mini-breaks to avoid FOTAL and provide a source of anticipation to buffer against stress and guilt. 

“Workers need to try to create a ‘holiday game-plan’ to help enhance their time off,” Dr Green said. This could include actions such as ensuring dedicated time slots for physical and mental relaxation and setting boundaries around email and phone usage. 

Tackle FOTAL head-on and book a holiday today. 

BONUS tip: see our blog post on why you should take a digital detox next time you take a holiday

About the survey – The Princess Cruises National Relaxation Survey was conducted by Galaxy Research with 1,250 respondents interviewed nationally in September. Source: ETB Travel News. 

Reasons to travel in your 20s - Travel_Tips

“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel – as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them – wherever you go.” Anthony Bourdain

The decade of your 20s is for exploration and experimentation. Make a choice to meet new people, taste new food, see new cities, and try new things, just because you want to. Make the choice to travel.

You might think your 20s should be the time to set yourself up for the future, but let me tell you that I’ve never heard anyone say “I wish spent more time at work instead of hiking the Andes and seeing Machu Picchu as the sun rose”.

Travel sets you up for the future in another sense; it allows you to immerse yourself in another culture and see how other people live. It will change your view of the world and how you live your life when you return home – for the better.

There are so many reasons why you should travel when you’re young. Here’s just a few:

  1. Because you can
    You are the exception to the rule if you have a 9-5 job, partner, a few kids, and a mortgage when you’re in your twenties.

    Most 20-somethings have the freedom to up-and-leave with little impact on those around them. Sure, your mum might miss you or your flat mate might be upset if you don’t find someone to pay your rent while you’re gone, but other than that you’re relatively free to do what you want when you want.

  2. To be intentional with your choices
    Making plans and making the ‘right’ choices can seem like a daunting task. But the important thing is that you just make a choice in the first place. Don’t be one of those people who reflects on a life that just happened, or worse, one that happened to you.  Don’t finish school or uni and roll on into a job (yeah, like it’s that easy K) because you’re expected to or because taking a break may hinder your career.

    There’s nothing wrong with starting your career at 27 or 37 or 47 – if you’ve been making intentional choices to learn, taste, and see something new you won’t have wasted any time.

    Equally, if you’re in a job that doesn’t inspire you, then taking some timeout may be just the opportunity you need to widen your horizons and work out what you really do want.

    Life is a result of intentional habits, decide what’s most important to you and do that first.

  3. Because science says it’s good to spend all your money on travel
    You might think that spending your money on a house or a car will make you happier than spending your money on travel, because these material things will last longer. But according to recent psychological research from Cornell University in New York, it turns out this is not the case. 

    Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who studies the relationship of money and happiness has said "We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them." 

    In a nutshell, you’re going to get used to the material things you buy and the happiness you derive from them will fade. Rather than buying the latest iPhone or new car, Gilovich says you'll get more happiness spending money on experiences like travelling.

    You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you,” says Gilovich. “In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.” 

    Sure, some assets and financial security are necessary, but nothing will make you richer than experience.

  4. To realise that the world is so big yet so small
    If you find yourself 20,000 kilometres away from home, in a city of 8.3 million people, you can still find a friendly face.

    Maybe it’s when you literally run into someone from your hometown in the middle of Oxford Circus (that actually happened to me); or you manage to become fast friends with your bunk buddy in a random hostel in Cambodia over a mutual love of obscure pop punk bands; or something as simple as Skyping your mum using the free wifi in the New York Public Library. Travelling has a way of connecting people over a common experience and making you realise what’s important (eg skyping your mum).

  5. Because your body can handle what you throw at it
    A wise man once told me that the best cure for a hangover is being under the age of 30, and as I edge toward this milestone and hangovers are harder to bear, I am starting to believe him. 

    One of the best parts of travel is the food and the wine. From my experience many-a-day’s activity is planned around what you are going eat and/or drink next and when you’re travelling there’s no time to be wasted lazing around with a hangover. When you’re young you can handle less sleep and worse hang overs and not waste any precious memory-making, life-experience-acquiring time.

What if I’m not in my 20s? 
Travel anyway.

The same broad principles apply:
  • You make it work. Maybe this means you take the kids with you; that’s ok, adventures are great when they’re shared. Plus, you’re never too old OR young for travel!
  • You can spend as much or as little as you like, maybe you stay at a hotel with a few less stars this time.
  • Your career can be picked up when you come home. There’s always work to be done, someone will always need you.
  • Your body can handle it, you may just be little more hungover for your picnic under the Eiffel Tower.  
The moral of the story is there’s no time like the present. Get out there and see the world.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream, Discover. – Mark Twain

Why you should go to the Melbourne Cup - Travel_Australia

I went to the Melbourne Cup and I didn’t place a bet. I was so caught up in the revelry and the sunshine that I also almost forgot to watch the main event!

My experience at Flemington was raucous. More than 100,000 people were yelling and cheering, commentating and cajoling, buying drinks and spilling them. Yet when race time rolled around, the crowd held its collective breath and gazed uniformly in the direction of track.

The anticipation was palpable, the atmosphere: magic.

You should go to the Melbourne Cup even if you’re not a big racing fan.

The Cup has become an Australian institution, in its 150+ year history it’s become an icon of both the racing and fashion calendars.

The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday of November every year, but the Cup-day festivities begin long before the horses bolt with race-goers commencing the hunt for headwear and fancy outfits weeks, even months, in advance. It’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a nice little outfit for the big day.

Sure the horses are the main event, but the fashion and frivolity is what really makes the day fun – so much so that you too might forget to place a bet!

You can still win your fortune without a win on the track.
Myer Fashions on the Field, first staged in the 60s to encourage more women to attend the races, has become one of Australia’s most exciting outdoor fashion events. In 2015 the total prize pool is valued at up to $140,000. Winners are awarded in various categories and have the ability to take home the coveted national title along with some incredible prizes, including a Lexus IS 300h Sport and a $6,000 Myer Shopping Spree. With prizes like that, it’s no wonder the competition is so popular and the standard is so high!

Fashions on the Field attracts celebrity judges from around the world and has previously brought Dita Von Teese, Coco Rocha, and Tyson Beckford as guest judges. The competition has become something of an icon in its own right.

The Melbourne Cup race day is the focal point its namesake racing carnival: The Melbourne Cup Carnival. The carnival kicks off mid-September and culminates in early November.

Book your tickets to the cup here.

Jetstar has flights to Melbourne from Newcastle starting from $69*

Virgin Australia flights start from $99*

Flemington Racecourse is a 20-minute drive from Melbourne Airport and a 15-minute drive from the Melbourne CBD.

*Price correct as at 29 September 2015

How to create the best travel Instagram - Travel_Tips

With an average of 70 million photos posted on Instagram every day, it’s really not hard to believe that every two minutes we take more pictures than the whole of humanity did in the 1800s

Of those 70 million photos posted, I would hazard a guess that at least 60 million are selfies or foodstagrams. While these are certainly an important part of the Instagram ecosystem, the world is such a beautiful place! You should point you camera up and out – especially when you’re travelling.

Instagram is the perfect platform to share your adventures with your friends, family, and however many followers you like. It’s also one of the best ways to document your travel for yourself.  

They say that mankind has taken 3.8 trillion photos, and if a picture is worth a thousand words… That’s 3,800,000,000,000,000 words to contend with. Follow my tips below to make sure your travel Instagram photos speak to your audience and earn you those hard-earned double-taps. 

Magic Hour

Magic hour is the period of time shortly after sunrise of before sunset that shows off a particularly soft-yet-bright quality of light. In Magic Hour the sun isn’t as high in the sky, so it won’t cast as many downward shadows or be so bright as to over-expose your photos.

As a traveller, waking up early for Magic Hour has another major benefit: all the tourists are still in bed. 

Left of centre

Create interest in your images by framing the subject a little left (or right) of the centre. 

Think back to high-school art class and the rule of thirds: mentally divide your frame into three sections, vertically and horizontally so your frame is split into nine sections. Using these sections, angle your photo so the main subject is positioned within one third of the frame, without interrupting the background. If you’re taking photos directly through Instagram, the sections are already there for you! 

This is good to keep in mind if you’re photographing a person in front of a building of landscape and you want to show off both elements in your picture.

Outside the box

It was nice to see you again!

A photo posted by Daniel Taipale (@dansmoe) on

Instagram rules, but its ok to think outside the box and take photos outside the app on your phone or even on another camera. Taking photos on a DSLR camera will give you higher quality images than what you can capture on your phone. Or, take it back to Instagram’s ‘instant’ roots and play with Polaroids and photo inception, like in the image above.

Keep shooting

To capture the perfect shot in one take is rare. It’s not as though you’re paying 20 cents per print for each photo you take, so take 10-20 shots and pick the best to upload to Instagram. 

Enhance your reality

Instagram has a bevy of in-built filters but, since the app allowed us to upload pictures from our camera rolls the enhancing, editing, and filtering, options have become endless. Here are my fave out-of-Instagram editors: 

  • VSCO Cam: before the app, the company behind VSCO Cam built filters and presets for Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture — "the gold standard of film emulation," according to the company. Using one of their filters, you can filter your photos to appear as though they’re taken on different kinds of film. (image above has been edited with VSCO Cam).
  • Afterlight: the filters in Afterlight are categorised as: original, guest, and seasons (that house 74 unique and fully adjustable filters). You also have the option to add as many light leaks and/or frames as your heart desires.

DIY hashtag

Hashtags are great to join in a conversation and add your image to a collection of other #sunrise or #travel or #wanderlust photos, but the best thing to do when you’re travelling is to create your own unique hashtag.

Be creative and craft a hashtag that doesn’t have any other pictures attached to it, it’s a cool way to group all your travel photos together and build a following. Look up #followmeto for inspiration on an original image and hashtag that’s gathered a worldwide following. 

Take photos of humans

People communicate emotion like little else can: a subtle smile, a wide-eyed surprise, an intense stare can evoke feelings in your audience more than a witty caption or clever hashtag ever could.

Scale it up

Including a person in your shot also gives a sense of the enormity of what you’ve captured.

Don’t stop travelling

The view will be worth every step!

A photo posted by Daniel Taipale (@dansmoe) on

The only way to have the best Instagram travel photos, is to keep on travelling! 

6 things you don’t need to pack - Travel_tips

Packing for a holiday can present some unexpected challenges, mainly deciding between what you want to pack and what you need to pack.

Whether you’re going away for a weekend or for a year, there are some things that you might think you need but, from my experience, you won’t use at all.

These six things you simply don’t need to pack.

A towel
Towels take up so much space in your suitcase and weigh about 100kilos (may be a slight exaggeration) if they’re not 100% dry. There are so many other options for you to dry yourself than having to take your own towel.

If you’re staying with friends, surely they have a towel they can lend you? If you’re staying in a hotel, you’ll be spoilt for towel choice with most hotels offering both beach and bath towels; and if you’re heading off the beaten track consider doubling up the use of your sarong and using it as a towel.

A nice fluffy towel or your favourite Roundie beach towel are luxuries that, while lovely, aren’t entirely necessary when you’re travelling. If you can’t bear the thought of not having a back-up towel, consider a light-weight, microfiber travel towel.

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A sewing kit
If I lose a button or rip a shirt, I never whip out my travel sewing kit to fix it on the spot. I don’t do this when I’m at home, and definitely don’t when I’m travelling.

If the item of clothing is completely unwearable, I’ll eventually book in a mending session with my Grandma, the token sewer in my network. But until it’s at that point, I generally keep wearing the clothes without the button or by hiding the hole with a strategically placed scarf. Lazy? Maybe. Practical? Definitely.

If you’re a new-age Martha Stewart who’s quite handy with a needle and thread, maybe reconsider my advice. But, if you’re like me and have only ever used a needle to get your sim card from your iPhone, probably best to leave the sewing kit at home.

Hiking boots
This one applies to holidays that aren’t specific hiking holidays. Which to my surprise people do go on. And enjoy?!

The sort of hiking other travels might impose on you is more the trekking-to-the-beach and wander-up-a-look-out sort of hiking. And for this type of hiking, a decent pair of joggers will suffice.

Joggers and jeans are no longer a sartorial sin. What was once hailed as the epitome of tragic tourist attire has become the uniform of a well-travelled.

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More than one pair of jeans
Travelling or at home: I live in jeans. They’re comfortable, versatile, and warm. Yet, not too wintry-looking that they can’t be paired with a t-shirt for a warmer climate.

Yet even as such a wardrobe staple in my life, I won’t travel with more than one pair. A pile of denim in your port can add some serious kilos to your luggage.

Jeans are a great travelling companion and if you pack a darker colour, they won’t be too casual for an informal night out and won’t need to be washed too often – a gross reality of some adventures!

A full medical kit
Take the essentials: some paracetamol, antihistamines, band aids for impromptu blisters, maybe some Dettol, and stingoes. You’ll rarely need any more than this.  A first aid kit bursting at the seams with a zillion bandages, tapes, and gauze that you don’t know how to apply probably isn’t that helpful. Stick to what you know and if you find yourself requiring a zillion bandages I suggest rethinking your life choices and finding the nearest hospital.

The exception to this rule is of course if you’re travelling to a remote part of the world where medical help may not be close by.

An excessive amount of cosmetics
I’m only offering some tips, not telling you how to live your life, so I will leave it to you to decide how much is ‘excessive’.

Just generally avoid taking any creams and potions that aren’t entirely necessary, doing so will decrease the weight in your luggage and decrease the chance of something spilling all through your clothes!

If you’re brave enough to go on a travelling adventure, be brave enough to leave a few lippies at home. 

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Why you should visit Canberra with kids - Travel_Australia

Canberra is our nation’s capital, the home of Australian Parliament, and probably not the first place you think of when dreaming up a family holiday.

But, it should be. There is much more to Canberra than parliament and politicians. Here’s a list of reasons you should visit Canberra with kids.

Because Jurassic Park is cool again

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At the National Dinosaur Museum you’re greeted by full-size model dinosaurs before being taken on a journey through time; from the earth’s very beginnings to some more recent animals. 

For the aspiring archaeologist or simply a curious kid, the National Dinosaur Museum is sure to keep your children amused with its 23 skeletons, 300 fossils, and a Q&A sheet to guide you around the exhibits with the reward of a Dinosaur Hunting Licence at the end.

Find out more at:  

To tour the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS)

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The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) is the cradle of Australia’s sporting success; it identifies, develops, and produces Olympic and Paralympic Champions.

A tour of the AIS will take you behind-the-scenes of world-class facilities where you might even catch some of Australia’s top athletes in training.

Every tour includes a Sportex experience where you can try wheelchair basketball, virtual downhill skiing, rock climbing, football penalty shootouts, and explore educational exhibits on the Sydney 2000 Olympics, heroes and legends of Australian sports, and sports science.

Visit for more information. 

To begin a quest for knowledge

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One of the best things to do in Canberra – regardless of your age – is to visit Questacon. Questacon is Australia's National Science and Technology Centre and cleverly disguises learning as fun, interactive games. If you want to highlight the educational factors, there are interpretive signs that explain what is going on scientifically.

Highlights include experiencing the effects of an earthquake in the Awesome Earth exhibit, testing your fear response on the six-metre free-fall down a vertical slide, and tricking your senses in the Rototron tunnel as it turns LEDs on and off to generate the visual illusion of movement. A highlight has to be peering into the ‘Disgustoscope’ to see both an ‘infinity mirror’ effect, and a ‘Disgustoscope’ illusion of writhing flesh.

For more information visit:

To remember


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The Australian War Memorial combines a shrine and a world-class museum that commemorates the sacrifice of Australians who have died in war. At first thought, it may seem an unlikely destination for kids. But, in its mission is to assist Australians to remember and understand the Australian experience of war, The War Memorial offers a memorable experience for kids and families.

The exhibits are (mostly) child-friendly, while still maintaining respect of the fallen. The Discovery Zone is designed specifically for children where they can try on different war outfits, dodge sniper fire in a WWI trench, ‘fly’ an Iroquois helicopter, explore an Oberon submarine, and even imagine what Trench Foot would look like on their own little legs – thanks to some clever lighting.

Visit for more information.

To visit a real life Fern Gully

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If outdoor adventures are what your family is into, an afterDARK Bush Tucker Tour at the Australian National Botanic Gardens is ideal. The one-hour tour is led by education rangers and a guest Indigenous presenter. Following a bush tucker tasting, your family will explore the varied biodiversity and habitat regions of the Gardens including the magical Rainforest Gully with a stunning lighting display. 

For more information visit:

For enlightenment 

If you’re planning a trip to Canberra in autumn, the Enlighten festival is a must-see. Enlighten transforms the Parliamentary Triangle into a dazzling arts precinct featuring free entertainment and the event’s trademark lighting projections, illuminating Canberra’s most iconic buildings.

After the sun sets, Enlighten still caters for youngsters with Swamp Juice, a puppet show that magically transforms household rubbish into shadow cartoons, and the Kaleidoscope Cubby. Facilitated by performance artists, people are invited to decorate the inside and outside of the clear-walled cubby with colourful static cling to create a stained glass window effect around the whole cubby.

Find out more at: 

To celebrate Spring

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Floriade is Australia’s biggest celebration of spring, and runs from the mid-September to early October showcasing one million flowers in bloom throughout Canberra’s Commonwealth Park. 

While there are some activities that have an admission fee – the ferris wheel ($8), tea cup ride ($5), and giant slide ($5) – entry to the flower festival itself is free. You can also find some awesome activities for young kids that won’t cost a cent such as the circus playground where kids can try their hand at juggling, balancing on stilts, and walking beams; kite making workshops where kids can decorate their own kite and see it fly; and Matilda’s Farmyard Nursery which provides a chance to get up close and personal with some cute farmyard creatures.

Because kids love balloons 


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The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is considered as one of the best hot air ballooning events in the world. 

Held each year in March, pilots begin each day by inflating their balloons on the lawns of Old Parliament House before ascending into the sky and creating an exhilarating backdrop to Canberra’s national attractions.

How to get there

FlyPelican has direct flights between Newcastle and Canberra.  One way fares start from $149*  

To book go to 

*Fares correct as at 23 June 2015

NTL terminal expansion weekly update: 12 May 2015 - Airport_News

This week work on Newcastle Airport’s terminal expansion again focused on the fit-out of our new food, beverage, and retail spaces.

Ceilings have been completed and are ready to be painted, services including water and power have been ‘roughed in’, and the fit out of Newstravels (our new newsagency and specialty gift store) is in its final stages, ready to open this weekend.

Last night Insomnia café (adjacent to the security screening point) was hoarded off to allow for new works to commence in its place. The management of Insomnia has set up a food cart in the check-in area for hungry travellers. This cart will operate until our new food and beverage operators open their doors next month.

To minimise the impact of construction works encroaching on our passengers, tomorrow we will open a new departure gate, Gate 4, (this new gate will also double as our international departure lounge should an airline commence international flights). Gate 4 will provide more space and amenities for our departing passengers.

This weekend passengers coming through the airport will be among the first to experience the sense of space within the new departures lounge. 

14 must pack items for carry on - Travel_Tips

We’re advocates for packing light—but in your mission to keep your carry-on under seven kilograms, don’t forget these essential items:

 The essentials

  1. Passport
    Obviously, if you’re heading overseas, you’re not going to make it very far without this. And remember, you need at least six months validity on your passport beyond your return date for your passport to be valid.
  2. Wallet
     A travel wallet is a godsend when you’re on the move, keeping your cash, credit cards, and travel documents together will help you keep an eye on them.
  3. Itinerary
    Keep your flight itinerary, hotel information, and any transport bookings handy, you may need to show these when you enter another country.
  4. Phone
    In case of emergency, and in case of something Instagram-worthy. Don’t forget to pack a charger for this too.
  5. Eye drops
    Even if you don’t normally suffer from dry eyes, a stint in an aircraft can leave your eyes looking red and feeling scratchy. Eye drops can calm this and are also a nice refresher for tired eyes.
  6. Lip balm
    As with the eye drops, you might not usually need this but after a flight your lips can use a little loving.
  7. Hand sanitiser
    They say there’s more germs on a public handrail than a public toilet seat. A little pre-snack sanitisation can’t hurt.
  8. Deodorant
    While we’re talking toiletries, deodorant is good for you, and for your fellow passengers.
  9. Pen
    Especially important for overseas travel so you can fill out your immigration and customs forms while you’re still on board.
  10. Headphones
    Sound-cancelling headphones help you enjoy your movie or music undisturbed and double as ear plugs if you need silence to snooze.
  11. A tablet device
    Loaded with a fully charged battery this is your own supply of inflight entertainment.
  12. A scarf
    Add a bit of personality to your outfit and warmth to your body, and if your scarf is large enough it can double as a blanket.
  13. A t-shirt
    If you’re wearing one and have one packed, you’ll always have something to wear while the other item is being washed. An extra pair of underpants is also good for the same reason.
  14. Snacks
    It’s best to avoid being Hangry at all times, and especially during travel times. 

Why you should travel with your partner - Travel_Tips

There’s wives tales about how your partner treats their parents is how you can expect they’ll treat you. What I’ve found to be an even more reliable barometer of relationship success is how you and your partner get on when you travel together.

Travel has a way of bringing out the best and worst in people, and these highs and lows can sometimes be experienced in one long-haul flight. For this reason, travelling with your partner is the ultimate relationship test.

Here are five reasons travelling with your partner should be a priority:

There’s no I in team

When you travel with your partner, it’s you two against the world.
When you’re outside your comfort zone, you learn quite quickly if you can a) handle being in each other’s presence 24/7 and b) truly come to rely on each other. Six years and several continents later, I can tell you from personal experience that working together to tackle the world as a team is essential for a successful long-term relationship. 

Armrest etiquette is very revealing

You can really tell what kind of person someone is by how gracious they are with the inflight armrest.
If they go 50/50, or even all-out offering their shoulder as a pillow, you’re onto a winner. If they’re an armrest hog and leave you squished between them and a 120kg stranger, I think that’s a good metaphor for a bad relationship.

Learn to play to your strengths

There will be things that each of you can do better than the other so, use this to your advantage.
If one of you is better at organising things, let them map your itinerary. If one of you has Instagram-worthy biceps, don’t be too proud to let them carry your case up a flight of stairs. I’m never too proud for this one.

Polish up your rose-coloured glasses

When you’re together night and day for an extended period, things aren’t always going to be peachy.You’re probably going to see each other in some unflattering circumstances – cue examples such as a few days without a shower, running on little sleep, and copping a nasty bout of food poisoning after some dicey Barcelonan KFC. It’s a testament to your love for your partner when you can see the best in them even in a bad situation.

Know each other’s stories

Travelling together gives you seemingly endless hours to swap stories ask questions, and also gives you the chance to make new memories together and create your own stories together. Having new experiences with your person allows you to share some unique moments that will confirm that you’ve chosen the perfect partner in crime.  

How to avoid blowing the 7kg weight limit for carry on - Travel_Tips

If you’re flying with carry-on luggage only from Newcastle Airport, here are two things to keep in mind

  • You can take one main item of carry-on luggage and a second smaller item.
  •  these two items must have a combined weight of no more than seven kilograms.

This is a standard limit set by the airlines and is ample if you’re also checking in a suitcase. If you’re travelling with carry-on luggage only, it pays make sure you’re not overweight.

On a recent flight from Brisbane to Newcastle I had my carry-on sized suitcase packed with Tetris-like precision and used my handbag as my ‘one other smaller item’. I thought I was running a covert operation by sticking to the seven kilos with my little suitcase and jam-packing my handbag with other (heavier) items.

The handbag – bursting with my laptop, jumper, toiletries, snacks, and a spare pair of shoes – became my undoing. I was asked to weigh both items and the combined total weight completely blew the weight limit.

I was sprung; and had to check-in my carry-on for double the price it would have cost me if I had just checked in a larger suitcase in the first place.

Learn from my mistake and avoid getting caught out at the boarding gate. Here are my tips for flying with a carry-on bag only and not blowing the weight limit:

Purchase a lightweight bag

There are so many lightweight luggage options on the market you’re sure to find one to suit your budget. While you’re looking for new luggage, consider if you really the need to have wheels and a handle. These can quickly eat up your allowed kilograms and aren’t entirely necessary if you’re only carrying the bag short distances and it’s under seven kilos.

Wearing is not carrying 

I’m yet to hear of an airline that weighs its passengers. So layer up! Wear your heaviest shoes, jacket, and jeans and de-layer if necessary once you’re on board.

Forget toiletries

They actually do sell shampoo and toothpaste world-wide! Don’t worry about packing these items for a quick-trip. I would leave your towel behind too. Towels are surprisingly heavy and even heavier if they’re not completely dry.

Leave the laptop

And the guide book, and the camera, and the note pad. These days your smartphone is capable of doing most of what these things can do. At a stretch pack a tablet if you really feel the need for a bigger screen.

Take a Frisbee

Q: When is a Frisbee not a Frisbee? A: When it’s a plate, a fan, or an impromptu seat for wet ground. Apply this same logic to your other packed items, think about what can become multi-purpose. A sarong can become a curtain, a sheet, a picnic rug, or a towel.

Purchase luggage

If all else fails, simply purchase checked-bag luggage. It will save you the stress of being caught out like me as you board your flight.

Have I missed anything? 
Add your tips for packing light in the comments section below.

Image source: NBC / via

How to balance your urge to travel with your work - Travel_Tips

Work-life balance can sometimes seem fictional – like unicorns, and getting a full eight hours sleep – but it’s not as though these things don’t exist*, you just have to create time for them.

I know many people who work full-time feel as though they ‘don’t have time’ for travel or that they ‘have too much work on’ to take a holiday. With a bit of planning and getting your priorities in order, these excuses evaporate.

Here are my tips for balancing your urge to travel with your work:

  1. Make travel a priority
    Waiting for the right time to travel or waiting until you have enough money to travel or waiting until your workload isn’t as intense before you travel is a terrible idea. There will always be more work and you could always use more money. Don’t wait for the perfect time to travel. The perfect time is now. Make travel a priority and let the rest fit around your plans.

  2. Extend your business travel
    If you’re travelling for business, (eg a conference, training, or meeting), why not tack an extra few days of leisure time on the end of your trip? Usually you work will cover your flights and you won’t have to waste any annual leave days on travel-time. It’s a cost- and time-effective way to travel.

  3. Choose your travel dates wisely
    Last year I managed to take a 14-day holiday and only use seven of my annual leave days. By taking time off during a period where public holidays nestled among weekends I maximised my time away from the desk.

  4. Negotiate extended leave
    If up until this point you’ve been too much of a workaholic to travel, I bet you have weeks of annual leave that needs to be used. Negotiate with your boss to take a block of time off at once. This will force you to be organised to keep your work rolling while you’re away, and you can switch off your emails and jet-set into the horizon with no work worries for a good number of weeks.

  5. Leave without pay 
    If you’ve exhausted the above options but you’re still feeling the travel bug bite, it could be worth discussing leave without pay. Some truly adventurous types throw in the nine-to-five way of life for a life in the sky and foreign lands… but I know others would rather hang on to their hard-earned gig. Some companies are more open to this concept than others, but there’s no harm in asking. If you’re successful, you get the best of both worlds; you can satisfy your wanderlust and come home to a secure job.

Newcastle to Vanuatu, it is possible! - Travel_the_World

I was recently very much in need of a holiday, but as a mother of two small boys (aged four and 18 months) the idea of travelling anywhere for any length of time filled me with so much dread that I only dared venturing as far as the local shops.

The only thing I felt stronger than dread was a desire for my children to see different places and experience different cultures, and simply to get away from reality for a bit.  So I was constantly looking up destinations on the internet in the hope that some inspiration would hit…And then one day it did. I discovered something truly amazing – I can actually travel overseas and start my trip in right here in Newcastle!

Once I worked out this pearl of wisdom, I realised that you can pretty much fly anywhere in the world with a simple stopover in Brisbane or Melbourne. It's even possible to drop your bags off in Newcastle and the next time you see them is at your holiday destination.

In the end, we chose to fly to Vanuatu for our holiday. I was surprised to discover that the total travel time from Newcastle was actually much less than travelling via Sydney. To fly from Sydney to Vanuatu is a three-and-a–half-hour flight. While to fly from Newcastle to Vanuatu it is a one-hour flight followed by a flight that’s less than three-hours.

So yes, the total time in the air is about 30 mins more, but there was a lot less time on the road getting to the airport.  I also discovered that the flying time is broken up by some running-around-time in Brisbane; if you’re travelling with two children, some energy-burning time mid-trip is a life saver (for me and my fellow passengers)!

When I did the calculation of the three hour drive to Sydney, plus the possible expense of an overnight hotel and explaining to the kids who’d think they’ve surely already reached their destination by now that in fact the real journey hasn’t even started; it was a no-brainer to start my trip from Newcastle.  Actually, it was bliss.

The world has suddenly opened up to me and my young family. With so many new possible destinations available, holidays now are something to look forward to. In fact I’m planning my next trip already – kids and all!

5 travel lessons to take with you everywhere - Travel_Tips

The saying “travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer” is quite insightful. When you book the flights for your next adventure, the cardboard ticket that lets you board the plane isn’t the only thing you get in exchange for your hard-earned cash.

What you actually receive is an admission pass to the school of life where you can learn as much about yourself, and others, and the world as you explore this place called earth.

Here are a few things I’ve learnt along the way that I think we could all benefit from practising in our daily lives.

  1. It’s cool to be kind
    Some of the best people I know are people I met when I was travelling. Perfect strangers became best friends after sharing a once in a life time experience. But I don’t think it’s the experience alone that starts the friendship. More often than not it started with a simple “hello”.

    Why are we so open to greeting a stranger just because we’re in a foreign land yet in our home town busy ourselves with our phone or cross the street if we see a stranger walking toward us?

    It takes the same amount of effort to extend this simple kindness to a stranger when you’re away as when you’re at home. Set yourself a challenge and say “hi” next time you pass someone in the street; I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t make you both smile.

  2. It doesn’t hurt to try new things
    Learn a new language. Taste a new food. Start a new hobby. Go ice skating. Tick something off your bucket list. Travel has a way of luring out your adventurous spirit, but there’s no reason you have to pack it away when you’re unpacking your suitcase.
  3. Things don’t always go the way you plan 
    And that’s ok!

    As a self-confessed control freak, this was a tough lesson for me to learn. After a few re-directions due to track work on the London tube, accidentally booking a flight to Porto instead of Lisbon in Portugal, and a near-missed flight due to a lost taxi driver in Melbourne, I’ve learned to roll with the punches.

    I take this lesson with me wherever I go, and highly recommend that you try it too: whatever comes your way, go with it. When things don’t go to plan, adapt and keep moving ahead.

  4. Don’t take your health for granted
    Sure, you need to sample a croissant when you’re in a French patisserie and go ahead and treat yourself with some take-away after a long week of work… but, whether you’re at home or abroad you need to look after yourself.

    Incorporate exercise into your adventure and into your daily life. Get moving by involving yourself in activities that you enjoy so they don’t feel like a chore.

    If you want to walk along the Bather’s Way in Newcastle, or cycle along Death Road in Bolivia, these activities are going to be more enjoyable if you’re not struggling to breathe.

  5. Be present
    With the world now literally at our fingertips, thanks to our mobiles, we can look at and share anything with almost everyone whenever we want.  We’re apparently more social than ever before, yet I personally find when I’m scrolling through ‘social’ media I am more involved in my own thoughts than with whomever is in the room with me.

    Travel and Instagram go together like bees and honey; the perfect way to share your life with the world. But, it’s just as nice as to stand there and share it with people IRL (in real life). Wherever you are, take some time to experience the world in 3D not 3G. 

The best shopping spots in Melbourne - Travel_Australia

Melbourne is one of my favourite places to shop because it is so easy to get around, once you’ve topped up your myki Melbourne is your oyster. The streets are lined with high street labels, the laneways are bursting with unique boutiques (try saying that at speed), and there’s artist’s markets in locations that are as lovely as their wares.

In my opinion, the CBD should possibly be renamed the CSD (Central Shopping District) simply due to the abundance of shopping options that burst from the city’s seams.

Flinders Lane is home to some gorgeous home-grown fashion labels including Alpha60 which is known for their fresh take on classic cuts and sophisticated quirk. Lady Petrova is also perfect if you’re looking for quirky. Hidden in a laneway off Flinders Lane, it is an enchanting escape for those fond of unicorn hair, who have never met a bow too big, or a piece of lace they didn’t like. It’s like walking into a life-size dollhouse.

Bourke Street Mall is a predictable recommendation, but the reason it warrants a mention on every single Melbourne article ever written is because it’s just really good. The David Jones store occupies three massive buildings and Myer puts up a good fight with an impressive nine stories of retail options.

From Bourke Street walk through Myer to reach Little Bourke Street. Here you’ll see stores such as Coach, Michael Kors, and Kate Spade New York; these stores connect to the CBD’s latest shopping mecca: Emporium Melbourne.

Emporium Melbourne boasts some of the heavyweights of international chainstores: UNIQLO and Topshop. Head here for all your puffer vest needs and on-trend clothing respectively. 
On the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Streets you’ll find Melbourne’s GPO; even if you’ve never been to Melbourne you will find it. Melbourne’s GPO is the original general post office building (built in the 1800s). It has been fully restored and houses the biggest names in Australian and international designer fashion, including the ever-popular H&M.

Collins Street runs parallel to Bourke Street, along here is where you either window-shop or expect to leave with your credit card smoking. It’s Melbourne’s answer to the Champs Elysées; home to prestigious boutiques and high-end retailers with its eastern end of the street sometimes referred to as the 'Paris end' because of its rich architecture. Even if your bank account can’t spare a dime for the latest Louis Vuitton, at least make a stop to have breakfast at Tiffany’s. 

If you’re not one for traipsing on foot or alighting a tram, Melbourne has something even for you.
Chadstone Shopping Centre, affectionately referred to as ‘Chaddy’ by the locals, is an easy 25-minute drive from the city. And I say easy because you don’t even have to know how to drive there, simply jump on the free fashion shuttle that departs from Federation Square daily and you’re away.  

Chaddy is a must-see when visiting Melbourne. They have an enormous variety of stores ranging from Chanel to chainstore. Chadstone is the largest mall in the southern hemisphere, so if you can’t find something here you like, maybe you’re too fussy.

Or maybe you’re looking for something a little less mainstream? In which case head toward Fitzroy to browse Brunswick, Smith, Rose, and Gertrude Streets. It’s here that you will really see Melbournians in their natural habitat; looking super cool as they browse vintage furniture and clothes.  

Each Saturday and Sunday the Rose Street Artist’s Market is where those in-the-know find Melbourne’s best creatives hawking one-off wonders that you (probably) won’t get anywhere else.

These are just a few of my favourite shopping haunts.
Do you have any to add?

Image sources:

  5. Chadstone Shopping Centre
  6. Rose Street Markets

Jetstar and Virgin Australia both operate flights between Newcastle and Melbourne.

Why you should travel around Australia in 2015 - Travel_Australia

To see what the hype is about
Tasmania has been named in Lonely Planet’s Top 10 Regions for 2015. It earned this title based on recommendations from hundreds of authors, travellers, bloggers, and tweeters, who say Tasmania lives up to the hype.

According to Lonely Planet, Tasmania is physically dazzling; you can bushwalk, cycle, and kayak until your heart’s content. Beautiful Wineglass Bay, craggy Cradle Mountain, and the heaven-sent Huon Valley must be added to your itinerary – wild places like these are the essence of Tasmania.

For the less outdoorsy types, tantalise your taste buds with gourmet food and wine. While I haven’t been able to personally try the seafood (anaphylactic shock isn’t my favourite way to pass the time) my friends rave about the freshest-of-fresh seafood, and claim the scallops will have you salivating for days.

Art buffs will think they’ve found heaven at Tasmania’s Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). MONA spans three underground levels concealed inside a sheer rock face, even if you're not an art buff, you can still appreciate this world-class museum.

Read more about Tassie here and here
Image source:

To forget about exchange rates
The Aussie dollar is no longer rivalling the American Greenback; this means travelling overseas is becoming more expensive as your dollar is no longer worth a dollar in many overseas destinations.

The declining dollar might not be as bad as you first think; for one thing, it’s going to bring more money into the local economy as Australia will be more affordable for international visitors.

For domestic travellers, the dollar is going to go further at home – you’re always going to get $1 for $1 in Australia.

To taste the good life 
Australia is famous for its wine regions; Barossa Valley, Margaret River and my personal (and biased) favourite the oldest wine region in Australia—Hunter Valley. It’s known for its Semillon and Shiraz, and famous for wineries that welcome everyone; whether you’re a viticulturist or a vino-rookie, you’ll be made to feel at home in anyone of the 150+ wineries.

In autumn, enjoy fresh colours and temperatures to match; winter is cool, by Australian standards, providing the perfect weather for a hearty Hunter Valley Shiraz; in spring the Hunter Valley warms up, exploding with bright green vines, giving you the perfect backdrop to sample a Semillon.  

Book a wine tasting tour to sample the best wines in the region (dare I say the world…?) and not have to worry about driving home.

For more information on the Hunter Valley visit:
Image source:

To see your own backyard before you see the world 
Australia has 19 UNESCO World Heritage-listed sites, including some of the oldest rainforests on earth and around one-third of the world’s protected marine areas.

All but three of Australia’s World Heritage sites were made by Mother Nature, so you’ll have to get off the beaten track to see them:

  • The Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics of Queensland, which includes the Daintree Rainforest give you a taste for a tropical climate and spectacular colour.
  • The Greater Blue Mountains in New South Wales is exactly that, beautiful and blue.
  • The Northern Territory’s Kakadu and Uluru/Kata Tjuta National Parks take on a different personality and look every day, and will leave you awe-inspired at our country’s long history, and
  • Western Australia’s Purnululu National Park in the Kimberley is a striking landscape that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Image source:

Why you need to go to the Australian Open once in your life - Travel_Australia

Federer in action at the 2014 Australian Open. Image source:

Tennis has a way of mesmerising you like no other sport. The pendulum-style back-and-forth of the ball hypnotises even the most disinclined sports fans into thinking that sitting under the Melbourne sun for hours at a time will be a good time.

The crazy thing is, it actually is a great time.

Last January was my first Australian Open experience; I tagged along with my Grandma who is a diehard tennis fan and has been making the pilgrimage to the Open for as long as I can remember. She was the perfect companion for the experience, making sure I knew all the players on the court and pointed them out in the crowds as we meandered around Melbourne between games.

Grandma’s hot tips for the hot weather were also fantastic for an Aus’ Open rookie. In our hotel before we headed to the arena, we saturated light summer scarves and froze them overnight to help keep us cool during the day. She also knew the fastest line for Frosty Fruits (on the eastern side of Rod Laver Arena), and wasn’t opposed to swapping seats with me when hers eventually became shaded.

During the day, the temperature crept dizzyingly high (above 40 degrees Celsius, invoking the tournaments extreme heat policy) yet, the show went on. It was an amazing display of physical and mental strength as the tennis players remained laser-focused on the match and ignored their plastic drink bottles melting on the sidelines.

The entertainment – and discipline – wasn’t restricted to the courts. The cheer squads recite their chants with the precision and power surpassed only by a serve from Venus Williams.

One cheer squad you literally cannot miss is the The Fanatics; they stand out, head-to-toe in green and gold. Their cheer leader appropriately dons a captain’s hat, ready to ignite the “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!” chant as soon as there’s a break in play. They’re not only colour-coordinated, but have impeccable timing too, fitting an entire chorus of Waltzing Matilda between sets.

Another tip from my Grandma is that as the Aussie players peter out at the business end of the tournament, it’s recommended to adopt a new Aussie, as per the standard set by ''Aussie Kim'' Clijsters in the early 2000s, and barrack for them as though they’re your own.

After we’d seen enough sets to be able to sing along with the chants, a quick ride on tram route 70 from Melbourne Park (home of the tennis action) had us in the CBD for a late dinner and balmy walk along the Yarra before bed.

The atmosphere of the Australian Open is electric, both in Melbourne Park and in the city; it lures thousands of people from around Australia and the world.

The fact that Melbourne Park is only a heartbeat away from the city lets you wine and dine, or shop until your heart’s content, pre or post-tennis.

When to go
The Australian Open is a two week tournament is held every January. This year the event dates are 19 January to 1 February.
The Open is a knock-out event, so the going during the first week of the tournament will let you see more players in action.

Ground passes start at $39 in 2015 and give you access to every court at Melbourne Park except Rod Laver and Margaret Court Arenas.
For information on single session tickets to Margaret Court Arena and Rod Laver Arena, go to:

How to get there
Fly from Newcastle Airport to Melbourne with Jetstar or Virgin Australia.

All the tennis action takes place at Melbourne Park, an easy walk from the city along the Yarra River, or jump on a famous Melbourne tram (route 70) to be there in no time at all.
If you want to take my grandma as a tour guide, I’ll be taking bookings from January 19.

For more details visit

How to get there

Fly from Newcastle Airport to Melbourne with Jetstar or Virgin Australia. During summer, both airlines have added additional flights on selected days.  Visit or to find out more.

Travel tips from industry insiders - Travel_Tips

One of the perks of working at an Airport is collecting travel tips from industry insiders and gypsy globetrotters that are forever roaming the world/building that I work in.

Many of these have already been shared with you including how to travel with a suit, survive long flights with children, and how to pack your carry-on like a pro.  

The five quick tips below are ones that you may not have come across yet:

No phone charger? No problem
Have you ever unpacked your bag with the sinking realisation that you’ve left your phone charger behind?

Worry not, dear travellers.  Fellow forgetful travellers can help you out of this particular pickle: the number-one item left behind in hotels is the phone charger. So, before you rush out to buy a new one, check with the hotel's front desk for a spare you can borrow – or even keep!

Enjoy infinite reading options
Spending time in transit means offers the perfect opportunity to read uninterrupted by guilty thoughts of how your time should be better spent. This often means reading an entire book can be achieved in a matter of hours or days instead of weeks or months. So what do you do once you’ve finished your book?

Read another of course. Travelling with a library in your luggage is definitely not what we would describe as practical. In this instance an e-reader is your answer.

Never go hungry

It can be tricky to travel when you have a restricted diet, especially if you don’t speak the local language. Avoid the headache – and stomach ache – of dietary requirements becoming lost in translation by carrying a card with you that describes what you can or can’t eat in the language of the destinations you plan to visit.

Personally, I’m a fan of google translate. I type in my allergies and take a screen shot that I can print, email, or simply show to the waiter on the screen of my phone.

See the world in your language

Experiencing different cultures and languages is one of the best things about travelling, but it can also be one of the most confusing.

Enter: Word Lense. This free app instantly translates printed words using the built-in video camera on your phone. It can be a real life saver if you’re not a polyglot.

Fix a broken suitcase zipper

It's Murphy’s Law: your suitcase zips perfectly when you’re leaving home, but when you’re packing for your return trip, your zipper just won’t budge. If the zipper is stuck, rub lip balm, or bar soap on the teeth to help it slide a little smoother.

If the zipper handle has snapped off completely, loop a loopy keychain through the slider to create a makeshift zipper pull. The loopier the keychain the better, as it can also help you spot your bag on the luggage carousel.

The top 5 travel mistakes and how not to make them - Travel_Tips

I like to be organised, and this is particularly so when it comes to planning a holiday. For me, planning a trip is almost as fun a taking the trip itself – I said almost!

I like knowing what I will do, what I want to see and how long I’ll be in each place…but no matter how much I plan, I have still had some travel-related hiccups.

This list is so you can learn from my travel mistakes so you don’t have to make them too.

Mistake 1: Not giving yourself enough time to get to the airport

I travel to Melbourne often. I’m familiar with the route between the CBD and the airport and I know roughly how long the trip should take.

I once used this knowledge to buy myself some extra time to window shop before jumping in a cab to head to the airport.

I let the driver know we were heading to the airport., He nodded convincingly, and then proceeded to kick back and enjoy the 30-minute drive. Meanwhile I was chatting away with my travel companions, taking no notice of what was passing us through the windows. But, by some amazing twist of fate, I looked outside as we drove straight past the airport turn off.

The next 20 minutes were full of wrong turns, and one way roads that made us realise we weren’t in Kansas anymore. We ended up having to jump out of that taxi into another at a red light and made it to check-in for the last calls of our flight.

Lesson learnt: if it takes 30 minutes to get to the airport, give yourself an hour.

Mistake 2: Planning too many activities for one day

Arriving in London from Australia at 6am, finding your accommodation (and how you’re going to get there), then trying to see Big Ben, the London Eye, Oxford Circus, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Camden Lock, and Portobello Road in one day will not make for a very enjoyable experience, trust me.

Slow down! Give yourself at least three days in major cities so you can explore at your own pace and take time for simple pleasures like people-watching or sampling local cuisine.

Lesson learnt: Make time to wander and take the city in serendipitously, it’s worth it.

Mistake 3: Not keeping your passport safe

This one is a no-brainer. When you’re travelling you keep it on your person, in a travel wallet, and check twice that you have it before getting on or off any aircraft. But from my experience, you need to take care from the second you apply for your passport.

My partner’s passport was damaged on its way to our mailbox; it must have had a rain cloud over it the whole journey because when it reached us it looked like ‘fingers that had spent too long in the bath’.

When we went to leave the country, the airline said they couldn’t accept the passport in its ‘wrinkly, waterlogged state’.  This meant we had to reschedule our flight for the next day and high-tail it to the passport office to apply for a passport with a 24-hour turn around.

Lesson learnt: order your passport with enough time to send it back it its damaged while being mailed to you.

Mistake 4: Not meeting the owner of your short-term apartment rental

A great location, professional real estate photography, and a decent price isn’t all that you should look at when you’re booking accommodation outside of hotels and motels.

I used Airbnb to book an adorable apartment near Washington Square Park in New York and it was everything the website said it would be: a great location; clean and spacious; and the owner had left recommendations for the best local restaurants – they’d also left behind a notice of eviction from their landlord, effective: date of our arrival.

We were panicked.  We hadn’t met the owner, only her cleaner, and couldn’t contact her directly. Thankfully Airbnb were able to sort it out for us (their customer service was great) and apparently the issue with the landlord was sorted.

Lesson learnt: Had we met with the owner in the first place, we could have sorted out the problem on the spot and saved ourselves a mini-heart attack.

Mistake 5: Not being honest about your interests, likes, and dislikes

If you’re travelling with a friend or partner, it’s nice to plan activities that you’ll both enjoy. But, sometimes your ideas of a nice day out might be different, and that’s ok! There's no shame in wanting to laze on the beach or relax at cafe instead of traipsing around to every tourist haunt in the area. Just  make sure you know each other’s expectations before you’re on your holiday activities.

You also need to make sure you’re ticking off items from your own bucket list, not someone else’s. Make up your own itinerary so you avoid seeing things based on people’s recommendations, rather than what you’re actually interested in.

Lesson learnt: If you’re not a museum enthusiast, there’s no need to become one just because you’re in a new city.

The advantages of travelling solo - Tips_and_Hints

When I decided to take a summer school elective in my final year of university, I thought why not tend to my adventurous streak and study abroad?

Before I began studying, I took a whirlwind tour of Europe with my partner and didn’t feel the slightest bit concerned about leaving him with friends in the UK to continue on to the course in France… until I had to leave him with friends in the UK and continue on to the course in France…

Now, I need to let you know that I’m not a crier. But on that flight every one of the concerns I hadn’t felt prior to this point were rushing from my eyes and down my cheeks all at once. I don’t know what the people on my flight were thinking (or saying for that matter) but their faces certainly looked worried.

And I was worried too – why was I doing this all alone?

Looking back on my solo travel, it’s crystal clear why I did it and why I recommend you do to.

Here are a few of the advantages of travelling solo that I found:

  1. You lose your inhibitions
    As demonstrated by that un-characteristically emotional journey, when you’re travelling alone you lose your inhibitions. In a good way. Travelling solo is the perfect opportunity to feel all the feelings; you can cry in public, smile at strangers (or ask them to take a lame selfie for you, see picture to the left), gasp out loud in amazement and not feel silly for doing so.
  2. You’re truly independent
    Travelling on your own forces you to rely on only you. You become your own problem solver initially because you have to, and then because you enjoy to. No one else but you is going to find your hotel, carry your bag, or decipher that map but you.   
  3. You call the shots
    An extension of your newfound independence is that you get to call the shots. Travelling with friends and loved ones is great, you have your nearest and dearest by your side to share your experiences. But when you’re travelling solo you decide which museum you visit, what restaurant you’ll try for dinner, or whether a train or a bus would get you there faster. 
  4. You don’t have to be alone
    The French accent became a source of beautiful white noise to me that made Australian accents reach out as an invitation to join their conversation and often times their adventure. Meeting new people, of your own nationality or otherwise, is easy when you’re alone. A single person is much easier to strike up a conversation with or squeeze into a taxi.

Liquids, aerosols, and gels at Newcastle Airport - Airport_News

Did you know that there are different rules for what is allowed on board a domestic flight to what is allowed on board an international flight?  To help you out, we’ve put together a quick overview on how to travel with liquids, aerosols, and gels (LAGs) when flying from Newcastle Airport.

Domestic flights
Restrictions on LAGs don’t apply when travelling on domestic flights throughout Australia.

Newcastle Airport is a domestic airport, so when you’re flying from here you can pack liquids, aerosols, and gels in your carry-on luggage.
For more information on domestic travel, take a look at the Travel Secure website.

International flights
The restriction on the carriage of liquids, aerosols and gels apply to international flights to-and-from Australia.

The restrictions
limit the quantity of liquids, aerosols and gels passengers may take on board the aircraft with them, including duty free liquids, aerosols and gels.

At the moment, on international flights, passengers are not permitted to take more than 100mL in a single container and all LAGs must fit inside a small, clear bag. Sometimes purchases at duty free at the airport have different rules.

Find out more about restrictions for international flights here.

Dangerous goods
There are some things that are prohibited from being taken on board your aircraft, be you travelling domestically or internationally, because they present a safety risk and have the potential to harm other passengers and crew.

These are termed
dangerous goods’ and are not allowed anywhere on the aircraft because they’re explosive, flammable, magnetic, caustic or simply too dangerous to be taken on board.

It is possible to travel internationally from Newcastle
Don’t forget that is it possible to travel internationally from Newcastle (so it may be worthwhile to take a look at the LAGs restrictions for the international leg of your journey). Our Newcastle to Fiji blog will help you in planning your next adventure.

Check with your airline
Each airline also operates under its own Conditions of Carriage which may indicate what you cannot take on board or pack in your checked baggage. You should contact your airline if you are unsure whether you can take a particular item on board or pack in it your checked baggage.



Four best blogs about Newcastle - Travel_Australia

Tourists and locals alike know that not far from the airport you can cuddle a dolphin or watch a whale in Port Stephens, and that by moving away from the coast you can guzzle all the Semillon or Shiraz your taste-buds desire in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley.

What’s not widely known by visitors to our region is that the CBD has developed its own unique appeal. Fresh green sprouts in the form of funky bars, cafes and restaurants, have grown through the cracks in the concrete of a once sleepy CBD and are blossoming, giving Newcastle a new lease on life.

We’ve pulled together some of the most interesting blogs on Newcastle that share the secret life of Novocastrians, emerging creatives, foodies, socialites, and shopaholics alike.

1.     HUNTERhunter
The idea for this blog came after two local Newcastle ladies grew tired of forever-googling things to do, places to eat, and what was new in Newcastle.

The content focuses on businesses in Newcastle and the Hunter region that are doing things differently; whether the features are food, beer, or fashion they’re always accompanied be beautiful photography and a healthy dose of wit.

If you want to find a café or restaurant, small bar or beer hall, somewhere to shop or adventure, HUNTERhunter is your go-to blog.

2.     The Novocastrian Files 
The Novocastrian Files is put together by Siobhan Curran. Siobhan initially started the blog as a way of finding out more about some of the interesting and talented locals in our area and secondly as a means of identifying where the good coffee / lunch / dinner spots are via their recommendations.

Posts are published on average once a week and share her appreciation of the ‘crazy good’ in this part of the world. The blog features a mix of interviews, puts the spotlight on local artists and events in Newcastle, and humourously has compiled a list of ‘Newy speak’, which will have you feeling like a local in no time. 

3.     All the streets in Newcastle

All the streets in Newcastle offers an insight into Newcastle, past and present, through the eyes of ninety-four year old Rose as she documents her adventure: walking all the streets in Newcastle.

As described in the very first post, the blog began quite by accident. Rose likens the experience to her neighbour’s cat who sometimes seems to reconsider a leap mid-air; Rose found herself exploring the streets of Newcastle one day and then realised she was mid-way through a new adventure.

Rose takes the photographs that accompany the posts on an ‘emergency telephone’ her grandkids make her carry, and due to diminished eyesight she relies on ‘statistical probability to deliver a well-framed image’.

Rose learned of blogging from her homecare nurse who explained it as a ‘large public noticeboard for stories, even boring or terrible ones’, this gave Rose the confidence to send her ‘perfectly adequate’ hand-written stories to her friend who publishes them online. This blog tells a Newcastle story from a very unique perspective. 

4.     Newcastle Now and Then

This photo blog features images of Newcastle, its people, and places. The blog was inspired by Lost Newcastle and ABC OPEN’s ‘now and then’ exhibitions, and aims to feature awesome local photographic talent that captures everyday life in Newcastle as it is today, as well as how it used to be.   

Some images are crowd-sourced by monitoring the hashtags: #newcastle #lakemac #newcastlensw #newy #newie. So be sure to include these in your own image posts for a shot at being featured on Newcastle Now and Then. 

Winter getaway: Melbourne - Travel_Australia

Being able to wear coats and boots without breaking a sweat is such a cosy and delightful novelty for those hailing from Newcastle; winter in Melbourne offers the perfect weather for such an outfit.While Melbourne has a reputation for rain, the city actually receives less rainfall than either Brisbane or Sydney. In winter it’s cool and fresh, and perfect for wandering the famed laneways, tasting fine food, and sampling the music scene. Here are my tips for your winter getaway to Melbourne. 

Breakfast at Tall Timber

Image source: @garypepper 
My friend (an ex-Novocastrian / nouveau Melbournian) took me to
Tall Timber for breakfast. She was new to the area and I was essentially a tourist, yet we were made to feel very welcome in this friendly corner-shop café.

I was apprehensive at first as I have a number of allergies and often find eating out difficult. Much to my surprise the waiter and I had in common an egg allergy and he was a delight in helping me cherry-pick the most suitable things for me on the menu.

My friend enjoyed a Mexican-inspired breaky while we surveyed the scene; the typical clientele of Tall Timber isn’t typical at all. We saw an equal number of suits and hipsters as we did mums and bubs.

Find Tall Timber tucked away on Commercial Road in Prahan, it’s a little (but worth it) walk from the hubbub of Chapel Street.

Go cupcake crazy

Image source: @kaitlyngreen
Cupcake Central bakes fresh batches of cupcakes every day with a mix of experimental flavours (green tea and red bean, anyone?) along with the classics (like chocolate and red velvet).

Ingeniously, they’ve developed a cupcake calendar so you know which day to pay them a visit and grab your favourite flavour.

I love Cupcake Central because as well as the good old fashion cupcake, they also offer vegan and gluten free cupcakes that are so good that you honestly can’t tell they they’re not made with traditional cupcake ingredients.

They take special care not to cross contaminate but can't guarantee to be 100% vegan and gluten free.

Explore the Laneways

Image source: @streets_of_australia via @visitmelbourne
Often missed by tourists, Melbourne’s laneways a full of hidden bars, restaurants, boutiques and galleries.

Booking a Laneways of Melbourne walking tour is the best way to help you find your feet in the city and make sure you don’t miss any hidden gems that the locals love.

Eat more food

Image source: @casamexicogroup via @mamsitamelb
Mamasita, meaning 'hot babe' in Spanish, is a taco and tequila bar that stays open well into the night. The food is fresh and delicious and not smothered in cheese like a more American-style Mexican eatery. 

The tequila list is seemingly endless, however the staff are on hand to help explain and recommend. There are also Mexican beers, margaritas, and a wine list on offer to help wash down your barbequed corn entrée.
Find Mamasita at the top end of Collins Street.

Treat your ears

Image source: @palaistheatre
The Palais Theatre is a former cinema, located in St Kilda that now functions exclusively as a concert venue. This winter at the Palais you have the chance to see one of the biggest bands of the 90s: TLC. It’s the bands first ever Australian tour, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas and Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins will play shows featuring a full band plus dancers and video projections of former member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez. The perfect event for those of you who don’t want no scrub. Other acts to look out for this winter include a variety of acts ranging from Foster the People to HI-5.

How to get to Melbourne: Jetstar and Virgin Australia both fly direct to Melbourne from Newcastle, with fares during June and July starting at $55* one-way. 

*Price correct as at 23 May 2014.

Winter getaway: Gold Coast - Travel_Australia

The Gold Coast stretches along the southern coast of Queensland and is renowned for its theme parks and for being home to some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches – the most famous being Surfers Paradise.

Image source: @shubeebeach
Surfers Paradise attracts millions of visitors every year. They swim, party, shop, and, of course, check out the infamous meter maids.

Image source: @visitgoldcoast
In winter when the mercury drops (to 20-something degrees), so do the crowds. But, there’s still plenty to do. The winter months are the driest on the Gold Coast and even though it’s cooler than in summer, it’s still warm and sunny.

Image source:
You can wander around after dark in little more than a light jacket. On Wednesday, Friday and Sunday night, treasure hunters and after-dinner walkers make their way to the Surfers Paradise Beachfront Markets to wander along the beachside promenade showcasing 120 market stalls.

Image source: @visitgoldcoast
There’s more to Surfers Paradise than the beach. Observation deck SkyPoint is located on top of the iconic Q1 Building,  Q1 is one of the world's tallest residential towers and is taller than th Chrysler building in New York City. From SkyPoint you can have spectacular 360 degree views from the surf to the hinterland and beyond.

Image source: @visitgoldcoast
And there is more to the Gold Coast than Surfers Paradise alone.  South of the city, you can take your pick from not only beautiful beaches, but delicious restaurants as well. The Fish House is fuss-free, fine dining restaurant that delivers seafood in its purest form; offering beautiful fresh produce and an amazing wine list. The beautiful food is matched only by the beautiful views from the window seats.

Image source:

When you’re away from home, it’s sometimes hard to find good food and better coffee.

When you’re in the southern Gold Coast area, look no further than Little Mali. Little Mali is a boutique espresso bar / delicatessen in Rainbow Bay. At Little Mali you can find premium 100% certified organic coffee, healthy salads and sandwiches, and tasty-fresh cold press juices and smoothies. You can even borrow a complimentary picnic rug and sample your Little Mali delights on Rainbow Bay beach, an easy walk from the cafe.

What are your hot tips for a Gold Coast winter getaway? Tell us in the comments below.

See more than suitcases at Newcastle Airport - Airport_news

When you step into Newcastle Airport you see more than suitcases and flight attendants … you also see emotional ‘see you soons’ in the departure lounge, and excited ‘I missed you so much!’ in the arrivals hall.

Every day our airport is a stage where our passengers act out their own life story.  And honestly, you couldn’t script the scenes that play out in our terminal.

Whether you take the leading role to farewell your friend, or slink past as an extra in someone else’s feature film; Newcastle Airport has an emotional atmosphere.

No one can deny the romanticism of saying goodbye to your loved one with a long hug in the departure lounge and waving for as long as possible before they vanish out the departure gate.

Nor can one deny that a final wave and cheeky glance back over the shoulder isn’t the same when it takes place on the footpath of the two-minute drop-off zone. (We’ve all done it; our special person leaping out of the car, kicking their suitcase out the back door, as you zoom off narrowly avoiding a parking ticket … ‘Bye!’)

If I have one recommendation for when you visit Newcastle Airport, it’s this: park your car and give yourself the time to experience the theatre of hellos and goodbyes.

Popcorn optional.

Stay and say hello / goodbye 
At Newcastle Airport, it doesn't have to cost you a fortune to park.  So there’s no excuse for not having a proper goodbye or hello.

For some loose change you can park in the Short Stay Car Park -- right at the front of the terminal. Stay half-an-hour for $4.00 or an hour for $5.00. Take a look at our other parking options here.

Take the time to grab a cake and coffee or a sneaky bevvy with your someone special. If there's one surity in life, it's that you never regret spending time with the people you care about. Check out our dining options here

Love Actually perfectly captured the romance of the arrivals hall:

Car parking prices noted correct as at July 2017.

Melbourne is where you need to be - Travel_Australia

For the next two weeks Melbourne Park is where you need to be.

Don’t miss Vika, Roger, Lleyton, Rafa, Andy or Maria battle it out for Grand Slam glory.

This week flights* from Newcastle to Melbourne start from
$139 with Jetstar and $155 with Virgin Australia.

The Australian Open Live Site in Federation Square has live coverage of all the action daily from 10.00am.

Where: The Square
When: 13 - 26 January 2014, daily from 10am
Price: Free

Australian Open Live Coverage 
13 - 23 January, from 11am (until end of play)
24 January, from 3pm (until end of play)
25 + 26 January, from 6pm (until end of play)
Catch all the action from centre court with live broadcasts on the Big Screen.  

For more information visit:

Australian Open Fan Marketplace 
Or if you want to be courtside, check this out:

Tennis Australia, in conjunction with Ticketek, has launched the Australian Open Fan Marketplace – a safe and secure platform for fans to re-sell tickets to the 2014 Australian Open.

The marketplace provides you with the ability to list tickets for re-sale as well as buy great seats that have been 100 per cent verified and guaranteed by Ticketek.

For more information, or to purchase tickets head to:

*Details are correct as at 14 January 2014

Photo courtesy of the Australian Open Facebook page:  

Schools out: the wrap on Newcastle Airport's Schools Program in 2012 - Airport_News

As a childless, twenty-something, and airport marketeer, the end of the school year, you would think, is beyond my concern.

However, the end of the school year signals the time I hang up my ‘Miss Kaitlyn’ hat, forget about headcounts, morning tea and toilet breaks, and switch back to my ‘inside voice’ to reflect on the year that was for the Airports’ Schools Program.

Every Wednesday and Thursday for the past 30 weeks, my colleagues and I have braced ourselves for the onslaught of 90-odd Stage One (Kindergarten to year two) students flooding into the terminal halls to take part in the Airport Schools Program.

“They’re here!” often echoed around the office at 9.45 each morning, as the identically-dressed miniature humans marching toward us in two straight lines, were spied through the office windows.

At my first encounters with students from Hunter and Central Coast schools I was shocked at their impossibly small hands; but as excursions progressed, what shocked me more was their impossibly large personalities.

My colleagues and I each led a charge of students around the Airport on a behind-the-scenes tour, and we set out to impart our knowledge on all things transport and aviation; but actually learnt a lot ourselves. Little did we know, it takes three months to drive to Queensland, about a year by boat to reach America, and that you better be careful in Hawaii or you’ll catch a kissing disease like one students’ poor aunt.

For some children, the Schools Program was their first experience of an airport; others had flown “a million times” and were keen to teach us a thing or two. Regardless of their experience, all students seemed thrilled to see the behind-the-scenes operations of a busy transport hub.

Throughout 2012 we introduced almost 3,000 students to our mascot, Captain Newy, and to the world of aviation all without leaving the land.

I’m looking forward to welcoming students to the airport with my faux-teachers’ hat on again in 2013.

Schools interested in participating in 2013 should contact my colleague and School Program coordinator, Kahli Brooks, on (02) 4928 9800.

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