Chapter 4 What’s On Your List?

Chapter 4    What’s On Your List

In Chapter 3 we talked about Making a List, or Lists…and this chapter will cover what you may want to include on that “list”….for the items on this list can “make or break” your travels. In addition to the “list”….there are some basics to include in your carry on, and I got the following from a travel blogger, Jamie.

When you think of the best parts travel, immersing yourself in new cultures and eating authentic food probably sound more appealing than flying to your destination. But, when you have the right things with you, your flight can be the ideal time to relax and dream of all the discovery to come! To make your time in the sky even more enjoyable, we reached out to Go Ahead staff to hear which products they always pack in their carry-on bags. Here are ten of their favorites to have with you the next time you take to the skies.

One thing is for sure: Digging for your passport and other travel documents isn’t nearly as fun as digging into culture. That’s why having a functional travel wallet on hand is a must—and why we love the colorful selection made by Zoppen. With well-organized pockets for your boarding pass, money, cell phone, and more, you’re guaranteed to have everything you need at the ready. Plus, the wallet’s RFID-blocking material prevents anyone from electronically nabbing ID info and credit card numbers, so you can stroll through busy terminals at ease (and in style!).

2

Water bottle
If you’ve ever arrived at an airport’s security line just in time to remember you’ll need to toss the full water bottle in your bag, this tip’s for you. Next time you pack up your carry-on essentials, bring along an empty water bottle. You can fill it once you’re through security instead of paying high airport prices for a bottle while waiting to board your flight. Then, you’ll be able to refill it during your adventure (as long as it’s safe to drink tap water at your destination). We love the Hydro Flask bottles, which are insulated to keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot, making it easier to stay hydrated while quenching your thirst for adventure.

3

A good read
Far-off places spring to life from the pages of a good book, and bringing a travel-centric tale along during your flight is sure to get you dreaming of all the adventure to come. The Go Ahead team is full of top travel book recommendations, but one of our staff favorites is The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner. In it, Weiner says there’s a link between inspiring destinations and overall happiness… and we can’t argue with that!

4

Noise-canceling headphones
If you’d rather catch up on a good flick while coasting through the sky, noise-canceling headphones are the way to go. While quite reprieves may be hard to come by on busy flights, these headphones help keep any outside noise (think: crying babies) at bay while you tune into your movie or music. Want an option that won’t break the bank? Check out Sony’s over-the-ear headphones, which are comfortable enough for long trips and fold up when you’re ready to pack them away.

Portable charger
Enjoy passing the time on flights by watching movies on your tablet? A portable charger is the thing to bring. One of our top picks is the Jackery Bolt, a small-but-reliable external battery charger with built-in cords. It can provide a medium-sized smartphone with up to two full charges and give tablets and other electronics with USB ports more life. Simply plug the charger in overnight to give it some juice before you take off, and all you’ll need to think about is filling up your wine glass on tour instead of running out of battery in the air.

6

Toiletry bag
Like a good travel wallet, a roomy toiletry bag is a must for wrangling all of your in-flight essentials, and one of our favorites is the Herschel Supply Co. Chapter Travel Kit. The good-looking material is sturdy, the interior is roomy, and you can simply pop your plastic gallon baggie full of 3-oz liquids inside. That way, you won’t need to go rooting around in the bottom of your tote for lotion when your parched hands need some love mid-flight.

7

Antibacterial wipes
While meeting new people is one of the best parts of travel, picking up any germs (or sharing your own) undoubtedly dampen the adventure. That’s why using antibacterial wipes is always a good idea, and Purell’s travel packs are a good go-to. You can clean your hands, tray tables, and armrests in flight for a germ-free journey, and then tuck the package in a convenient place—the wipes aren’t considered a liquid so you don’t need to worry about keeping them in your gallon baggie.

8

Hand cream
An airplane cabin’s dry, recycled air can do a number to your skin, so it’s key to have a good moisturizing cream on hand (get it?). We love L’Occitane en Provence’s creams, which hydrate without feeling greasy—and call to mind bright fragrances in the South of France. If you’re hoping to sleep as you coast through the sky, opt for the lavender scent for an extra splash of relaxation.

9

Lip balm
A refreshing wake-up may be just what you need after snoozing mid-flight, and a minty lip balm should do the trick. One of our favorites is Smith’s Rosebud Perfume Co. Minted Rose Lip Balm. It hydrates while providing an invigorating kick and a light tint, all in a compact, pretty tin.

For the trip itself, let’s start with the obvious…your camera or camera phone, and the charger. Your IPad, if you use it for photos, and its charger. If you use your IPad for Kindle, then be sure you have the books you want to read downloaded while you have an internet service available. Sun glasses are always needed, and you might think about a case to keep them from breaking.  If you like to take notes of things you see, or memorable things that happen on the trip, take along a writing tablet or note pad, and a couple of pens that work. Maybe for you it is your daily Diary. Binoculars always come in handy, but get a good one. REI is where I got mine…very pleased and only $100. A small umbrella is always good to take, for even though you may be in an area where it is not suppose to rain, be prepared in case weather turns bad. Just keep it small. Sunscreen may be needed, so stick in a tube, but it has to be the right size. For the flight, air sickness or Jet Lag pills may work, and the same for sea sickness. Slippers for the long flights are often well used, as well as a neck brace and eye covers and ear plugs. Always good if you plan on sleeping on the flight. And, if you take medications, be sure you have them with you on the flight, not in your checked luggage.

We covered the correct clothes, coats, and hats previously….but also think about personal security. If you have a fanny pack or a pouch, be sure it is RFID, which protects valuables for potential theft of private information. If you carry a purse, be sure it is RFID and has a way to strap it to your body. Men’s wallets should be kept in the front pocket of pants, not in the back pocket. If you use a back pack, they are great but can be accessed from the back, and you might want to look at one that you can carry in front of you, as well as on your back. If you are in a big crowded area, keep the pack in front of you with your arms around it. Speaking of personal security.…let’s think about the credit card and cash that you carry. First, be sure and notify your credit card company that you will be traveling outside the US, and they will probably ask what countries, and the dates, so have this handy. And, be sure and mention that you may be using both a credit and debit card. Regarding US dollars, in cash, for the most part will not be accepted in stores. Use a credit or debit card. However, dollars can be used for hotel tips, etc. but again, not widely accepted. Local cash, which you can get at ATM’s, which are very accessible, is the way to go. I do not recommend keeping much cash on you (maybe $100 converted to local currency) as you can use your debit card for almost all purchases. This process is much more common outside the US than in the US. We will talk  more about getting local currency once you arrive at the in-country airport.

Now that you have done your pre trip planning, your pre-trip packing, and have your list of items to take, you are ready to depart and head to the airport. Chapter 5 will deal with “The Airport”….from getting there to taking off….stay tuned.

What to Know Before You Go…Chapter 2

Chapter 2  The Internet, Web Resources, and the Travel Agency

As you start your trip planning and you are trying to determine where you want to go, use the Internet. There are a number of travel sites, but the best way, in my opinion, is to use Google and put in such things as “vacationing in Australia, or Europe, or France, or the Caribbean, etc”. Many site will come up and you can take your time and look at all of the many places that you can see and things that you can do. On our recent trip to Australia, we knew we were going to Cairns as our first step on our journey, so my wife Googled Cairns. From Cairns, which is north on Sydney, we were able to go out to the Great Barrier Reef, rode the train up to and through the Rain Forest, then rode the Skytrain back down over the Rain Forest to sea level, and back to the city of Cairns, which in itself is well worth seeing. We found all of this on the internet….then went to our agent, who had also suggested these attractions, and made the ticket arrangements.

And, you can use a site like Expedia to get an idea of flights into almost any destination in the world. They will give you prices and times, although the prices are often on bad connecting flights , or bad times, but it gives you a very good idea of when and where you can go. Trip Advisor is another good one, as this give first hand experiences from travelers.

These sites, and many others, are great for travel information, but not always good for ticketing. As I have said, and will say many more times, the local travel agent can get the same, if not better, price….they can give you the experiences of other travelers, and they can do the “hard work” for  you, such as the reservations and ticketing. That is their job. But, you can do the pre-planning by using the Internet to get your general idea of where, when, why, and what you want to do.

A word about the Travel Agency. Only the good ones have survived the Internet. And they have survived because they can offer a service that the Internet cannot. As with almost any professional services these days, you can get almost any service on the web. But, you get what you pay for. I have planned and taken trips using nothing but the internet, with sites like www.hotels.com, and  www.expedia.com, and they were good trips. But, for the most part, I was “flying by the seat of my pants”. And, when all said and done, did not save a penny. Now we use an Agency exclusively. And, a couple of other factors as to why to use an agency….(1) some are specialists, like with Cruise Lines…(2) many of the agencies are really experienced. :Been there done that”  is true for many and this experience is passed on to you…..(3) Your individual travel agent in an agency will become “your good friend”, and they will have your interest foremost in their mind as they plan for you. This is that valuable factor…and can make the difference in your travels.

Next section is entitled….”Make a List”….and this is one of my favorites, for many do not do this until they get someplace and say, “I should have made a list of these things to bring”. Stay tuned.

Safe Place…Just there, so I know!

 

  • #1 is New Zealand (in my mind)

    One of the safest places, and we were there…must agree….It’s been said that there are more sheep than people on New Zealand‘s North and South islands and, indeed, even the largest Kiwi cities seem quaint and down to earth. On the Global Peace Index (an annual report put out by the nonprofit Vision of Humanity), the country ranks No. 4 as the most peaceful, behind Iceland, Denmark and Austria. It’s also perceived as one of the least corrupt countries in the world (behind Scandinavian stalwarts Denmark, Finland and Sweden), according to the nonprofit Transparency International. Why is that important? It means tourists are less likely to be singled out by organized scams, and if you do have a problem, it will be handled in an appropriate manner.

 

Australia and New Zealand

We just returned from Australia and New Zealand….it was GREAT… here is the promotion for Holland America…and I could not put it better….and cruises start at $1199.  Such a deal.

Exclusive Signature Experiences in Sydney & Auckland

Vibrant lands and natural wonders await in Australia & New Zealand. Before you sail away on your cruise, experience a memorable evening of fine dining and live classical music in the Utzon Room of Sydney’s iconic Opera House or immerse yourself in local culture during an exclusive after-hours event at the Auckland Museum. Plus, receive a complimentary two-night hotel stay and airport-hotel and hotel-ship transfers.

Specially crafted for our guests, and complimentary for suite guests, choose a Sydney or Auckland itinerary today to take advantage of this intimate pre-cruise signature experiences!*

Holland America, New Zealand, Evaluation, and Speaking

So far Holland America has been very impressive. Here are some of the highlights

  1. The food is very good quality and a lot of variety is offered from the Lido dining both inside and out including eating by the pool area or on the back deck  number 9.The sit down dinner’s in Vista dining on decks two and three is excellent and the service is out of this world good.
  2. The room is spacious with a lot of storage and a large veranda and very comfortable and quiet.
  1. The entertainment offerings are very good and a lot of choice from the rock and roll band to the piano to the Lincoln center stage a very nice variety.
  2. Scheduling of the events and the excursions is fine …..again with a lot of choice and variety
  3. Holland America does not use the speaker program and the descriptions of the upcoming ports probably is the weakest part of their ship so far. There seems to be a bit of a breakdown on the organization of the excursions and the tenders and this need work. They do not give port updates the day before you arrive such as what Viking does and this leaves passengers a bit up in the air and confused…. at least this is the impression from those that I talked with.
  4. On these longer trips which I much prefer there seems to be an older group almost all retired and it has to do with the length of the trip which is about 3 weeks from beginning to end for most. But your audience is very receptive and wants to be entertained so it is a good audience for speakers and entertainers and does not seem to be expecting much more than what Holland America offers.

In comparing cruise lines I think it goes back to what the passengers are looking for in that Viking includes the excursions and does a very good job.  Holland America does not include excursions, but offers good excursions. And the age of your passengers will be a factor especially for families. 2 weeks is a long time to be on the ship but I think will work best for me as it’s a more relaxed schedule or so it seems. As far as the facilities are concerned…. a good fitness area; a very nice library area…a smaller casino but seems to be very nice…. and large lounge  areas.  The Crows Nest area and then the open observation areas are well done.

We have had 3 days in New Zealand and it has been very impressive. The Fjords were magnificent especially as the weather cleared and we were able to appreciate the beauty of the second and third Fjords..Port Chalmers and Dunedin were equally as impressive with Dunedin showing its Presbyterian and Scottish background and traditions. Not only are the communities of Port Chalmers and Dunedin impressive but the port of Port Chalmers is a very active and attractive small town. Dunedin is a very beautiful area downtown with the railroad station and the Cathedral being the two focal points. But there is a lot of shopping and a lot of tourist attractions so well worth 3 or 4 hours.

The day in Christchurch so far has been a major attraction in that you see first hand evidence of what a massive earthquake can do and how a city can recover. But the other part of the Christchurch excursion is the drive over and back where you get to see the real beauty of the South island. Just magnificent.

The Ship tender from the ship into Akaroa is about 15 minutes. You then go directly to the bus and there were about 10 buses waiting at that time. You drive about 10 minutes through the little town of a Akaroa then start the trip to Christchurch ..initially you go through some hills but then follow the bay around and great photo shots and then up the mountain. Really impressive.

For many years I have heard that Christchurch and the South Island was the most beautiful area of New Zealand, Certainly  this trip over to Christchurch verified that. It is a slow trip over the mountain but then when you start down you start seeing the beautiful fields filled with sheep and cows and trees

Christchurch was the epicenter of a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in 2011 followed by some major aftershocks. The earthquake lasted 45 seconds and has cost billions of dollars to rebuild the downtown area. The area that was most damaged was in the center of town where the Cathedral was located. Immediately after the earthquake rebuilding and rehabilitation and reconstruction of the downtown area began. Except for the Cathedral which got caught up in a political battle between the church and the city and probably the state of Canterbury. The result is that it remains fenced and in the same condition as when it was damaged. The part of the Cathedral that collapsed was the main bell tower or alter tower as some of the building, maybe one half of it, is still standing. There are various memorials for the 180 that were killed around the downtown area and those killed were primarily in one building, as it happened midday so many workers were downtown.

The two shuttle buses drop off passengers right at either the art museum which is very very modern, or the Christchurch Museum which is in one of the buildings of the original Canterbury University that moved to another location in 1974.The old University buildings were damaged and evidence of the repair and renovation work is very obvious.When the university moved to another location various other organizations took over the building mainly for government use. Some of these buildings are behind the fence and others are being used  as the Information Center. The city tram is adjacent to the bus stop and is a good 20 minute round trip but you can get on and off as at the stops.

When speaking about Christchurch, prepare travelers for the 90 minute bus ride to and from. Prepare them for the new construction and the new modern building. Prepare them to see how they have repaired the old Canterbury University prepare them for the fences and the board fences that’s around the mini damage buildings.There are many cafes and bars especially along Victoria Street which is a tram stop and there are small cafes near the bus stohoff but also the red double decker bus.

Akaroa is the port city from which we boarded the buses for Christchurch. We tendered in and it took about 15 minutes and then got on the buses for the 90 minute ride over the mountains into Christchurch. Akaroa is a small French village- town very picturesque and a quaint little town. There is virtually no time in town before you board the buses but there is some time when you get back to look at the shops and do some souvenir shopping.

The day  to Christchurch started off with a tender into the small port town of Akaroa where we caught the bus for the one in a half hour drive to Christchurch. Before the 2011 earthquake the cruise ship would come into a port about 20 minutes from the city center of Christchurch. Since the earthquake all of the cruise ships come into the port and are then bussed the 75 kilometers into Christchurch.  The road goes along the water and then immediately heads up over the mountains on a very dramatic trip with magnificent views coming over the mountains and down into valleys and the flat plains that are extremely rich with Agriculture sheep cattle and orchards. As we started to approach Christchurch the driver started giving us more detail has to the earthquake and what transpired immediately after and then in the 7 years since.. initially the town look very normal and as we approach the downtown area we found that the epicenter of the quake was nearby and follow this straight line into the downtown Cathedral area. Then as we got downtown from started to see the buildings that have been ruined and it was very evident that the quick get some of the major buildings in the downtown area. What was done immediately was $0.02 off the entire downtown area that had been affected by the quake.  They then started a process of the evaluating the damage putting all building that were in the destroyed area into three categories yellow amber and red. Today there is a great deal of construction reconstruction repair and rehabilitation going on all over the downtown area. Much has been done in these 7 years almost to an amazing degree especially with Canterbury University buildings. The Cathedral itself is there is still about 1/ 3 totally destroyed but they have not been able to repair the balance due to issues with the church and the city. We took the tram around the downtown area and it is a hop on hop off arrangement for about $20 a person and well worth it as it gives you a ride around the town. We had both coffee and lunch and buildings that have been hit and then repaired and are fine now. After the tram ride we walked around the key Cathedral grounds and then back down to the museum and the museum was exceptional and definitely a must see. The Botanic Garden is adjacent and very beautiful and well maintained and in full-bloom today. The photos show that destruction and the work this thing done to repair but also shows the construction on the new library as well as other downtown going areas that were hit by the earthquake. We met back at the bus at 3 for the 90 minutes ride back over the mountain into the port and into the tenders.

Christchurch should be a must see on any New Zealand trip and the drive is well worth it over the mountains as you get to see the real New Zealand farms, sheep,and cattle as well as the magnificent fields and varied agricultural programs going on in this part of the country.

This part of the world is unknown to many but in reflecting back this is one of the most beautiful areas we have ever seen.  The people are very friendly and they have a great outlook on life are hard working and they’re very very proud to be a New Zealander. I think my talk on this part of New Zealand should be very practical on what you  should you do and see in the time that you have using a lot of photos.

Dunedin is a remarkable little city in that it is about 100000 people and then there are about $25,000 in the university. We went in in the morning for a walk around and got to see the railroad station and the beautiful church octagon square and it was  worthwhile and our morning included going to Cadbury.  The railroad station is one of the most famous photo spots definitely a requirement when you’re in Dunedin. We came back to the ship for lunch then. On our tour bus took is to the Olveston house which is an old 1850 home built by a Jewish businessman that came here and it is a remarkable house and gardens and of course the Fiat 1921antique auto,  so well worth it to go through the house. It is one of a number of excursions that are offered but this is one of the  oldest houses and tour is great. We then came back by the Dunedin Botanic Garden and if it were in bloom would be spectacular but according to one of the workers the heat that they have recently had almost killed a lot of the flowers and they’re just now coming back for their second blooming … and should last through early April.  We concluded the tour buy another drive thru Dunedin to see the downtown area and back to the ship. The Scottish history of Dunedin is significant ….and the railroad trip from the station for about 90 minutes is well with it to see the surrounding areas.

 

Napier Notes….speaking ideas, etc

This is lk beautiful walk right along the bay in Napier. Walk from the Information Center in both directions one takes you to the museum and the other take you down through the gardens to The Little Mermaid of Napier.

My talk for Napier……and talk preparation in general….

Today we will be talking about Napier.  We will talk a bit about the history of the area the city as it was leading up to the 1933 earthquake;  a little about the earthquake itself; then the rebuilding of the city; the art deco revolution; and then a bit about how it is today. We will then talk about some local attractions and ways that you can most enjoy the city during your visit and we will then talk about some of the tourist areas for shopping and souvenirs as well as some areas to just walk and enjoy the views and the location. I see my role as an information communicator In that travelers – passengers; the  people on the ship are interested in having a good time on their cruise line;  my job is to help them enjoy their vacation more.

Therefore I want to approach the job as one who can inform passengers about the Port that they are about to enter and what they can do there; what is interesting about the port and the city and the area around the port. I can do this by talking briefly about the history and background of the port city such as Napier before the earthquake then a little about the earthquake then what has happened since the massive earthquake .Then I would transition to the port today mentioned something about the Commerce and the economy that is evident in the port and then move on to what to see and do in the port city..I would then cover the main tourist attractions such as the museums the train ride in Picton NZ and the cable car in Wellington; the Cathedral and Wellington and the museums.Then I could wrap up with shopping areas and then the shuttle back to the ship and any other practical matters about the day…So it seems like I would put the presentation into three or four segments and announce this at the beginning the background and history the main attraction the shopping and truest areas and then the practical application getting on and off etc.

We had a great half day in Napier as we were there for the art deco weekend. This is an annual classic car and 1930’s weekend.  They expect 40,000 over the weekend.  Car folks come from all over to show the cars.

Napier is a remarkable place with an exciting port and an unusual beautiful downtown area with almost all rebuilt since the massive earthquake in 1933.

There are many places to visit including the completely rebuilt downtown areas but also the walk along the water is beautiful and with the trees and flowers right on the water it’s a very impressive area.

The art deco Museum has is well worth it and has a short 20 minute presentation on what happened before and after the earthquake and what turned it into the place it is today

And across the street from the art deco museum is there history is him that has a downstairs exhibit featuring the earthquake with a 20 minute revolving film about stories from survivors

Both museums are well worth it and you can do both in about an hour

That shuttle takes you right to the Information Center and from there a lot of information about the four or five main streets with lots of shops and restaurants and bars

The aquarium is very well done and has some excellent exhibits but is about a 20 minute walk from the Information Center but again well worth it if you like aquariums

If you have limited time in the port city then it’s best to leave early as the shops will open about 9….

As you leave the information Center you can walk up to Clive Square which is at the edge of the art deco area and then come back by the Cathedral which was completely destroyed and totally rebuilt very impressive with the wood and stucco and a nice of the earthquake and the organ is spectacular.In summary Napier is very much well worth the time     very impressive and rather amazing world wide to think that the city was totally destroyed and it’s been completely rebuilt. The earthquake museum really illustrate what the city went through and how they recovered in such a short time very well done.

I think it is important to mention that if you do not want to have some fun why are you here that you are on vacation to have a good time emphasize that at every presentation

So my job is to help you enjoy your vacation have some fun learn something about the area and just have a worthwhile time on your vacation

The purpose of my talk is to give you information that would help you enjoy your vacation more

As we arrived in Napier this ship comes into the harbor and turns around and then is backed into the harbor pulled buy a tug and I have it on video free see the Navy chip in for watching us and as he watches we see the buses said to come along with Bertie and his old English sports car. It looks like and mg but we will find out for sure as he will greet us as we get off the ship

The amazing thing about this Harbor is that is very small and very close to the downtown area and the course lumber activity as well as a huge story adjacent to where the ship is

Today was a most interesting day in Wellington we have just pulled away from the doc and it was very interesting to see the tugboat help get us out of the doc area with these wins as strong as they are

Today we started by taking the shuttle into the center of town and then walked to the New Zealand museum for the Galilippo  show exhibit. It was outstanding. From there we walked back the little car and R rode the cable car to the top walked around at the top then road the cable car back down and walked to the building or the clock was b**** is an old bank building completely redone

We then walk down to the Beehive and the Parliament and the State Library then to the old Cathedral which was remarkable and then was all done in wood and was very very beautiful

We then walked by the railroad station stopped and had a McDonalds coffee and sweet then back to the shuttle

The thing about today that was worth remembering for the strong winds in downtown Wellington

Wellington is a gorgeous remarkable modern sitting with this huge Harbor Bay area and very impressive with a lot to say and really too much for just one day