Southern Vietnam: Costs of Independent Travel

Happy Hour Mojitios at the Hotel Majestic, Saigon

We’ve just returned from a short 2.5 week trip to southern Vietnam. Given that Vietnam seems suddenly being promoted to New Zealanders (thanks to the many more options of flying there) I thought I’d keep a record of our expenses on the ground to give you some idea. The Travellers My partner and I are experienced independent travellers. We travel light (carry-on only). We are 50’s/60’s so aren’t into too many hard-drinking sessions. But we do like to  drink a cold beer or 3 in the tropics, and we  like to eat – normally local food. For this trip our […] Read more »


Road Tripping in the Eastern USA – From an Australian/NZ Perspective

This is NOT I5 - somewhere in Georgia

We  drove 4300 miles over 4 weeks from Philadelphia and back via the Atlantic Coast, northern Florida, New Orleans and the Appalachians. It was quite a different experience – and because much of what is written about American road tripping is from an American perspective, I thought it might be fun to  write from a foreigner’s point-of-view. Driving on the “wrong” side. Is only a challenge if you are riding bicycle or motorbike – otherwise it’s easy – though be careful about turning into multi-laned roads particularly if there is no traffic around. More challenging are the other odd traffic […] Read more »


The Real Costs of a USA Road Trip

Market in New Orleans

The short version – travelling the USA for 4 weeks in a hire car cost us around $800 for the car – plus US$240/day for all costs for 2 adults.  To see where we went see my  Road Trip Plan post. Note these costs do NOT include the far more expensive cities of Philadelphia, New York (which we visited without a car) or Washington DC (which we skipped).   Hiring a Car for Non-Americans It’s expensive – no way around it. The actual car hire not so much – but the fact – that even I who often skip insurance […] Read more »


East Coast USA Itinerary – Well an Outline Anyway!

Wellington Train Station

Starting to get excited now – I know living in the “now” is a big thing is some corners of the Interwebs – but I love to dream and plan! It’s a cold, wet and miserable  Maundy Thursday as I write this, and we will be locking the door behind us on Easter Sunday – 3 more sleeps to go! Normally we start our trips by heading to the airport – but for the first time ever – we are heading to the train station and taking the train to Auckland. Whether I get pictures of anything more than rain […] Read more »


7 Tips for Stress Free Travel Flying – For Those of Us Who Can’t Afford Business!

Singapore Changi Airport Pool

This is a bit of a rant disguised as useful information – I just read a well-known travel blogger’s  take on stress-free travel. It all sounded very chill so long as you can afford priority access through security, lounge access and business class. Back in the real world, I don’t waste money of flights, I’m not going to pay 10X the price of economy for some “free” drinks and lounge access and a lie-flat business class seat. I’ll spend that money travelling. But I live in New Zealand – anything further than Australia  or Samoa is what the rest of […] Read more »


Do You Still Need a Camera for Travel Photos?


Short version – yes. Longer version. I have a decent “super-zoom” camera –  the Canon 20IS (the 50IS is the latest model). I’ve had it for several years and am not planning on replacing it. But I know more and more  travellers are ditching their point and shoot cameras and just using iPads or phones to take their images. So Let’s Go Experiment! So before our upcoming trip, and taking advantage of some extraordinary good weather I took my camera and iPad mini for a walk around Wellington’s waterfront. The quality of a “normal” scene in good light is not […] Read more »


This Blog is Not Going to Malta!

Cape Panwa, Phuket

So I’m a bad blogger, and I don’t update often enough.  But when I do update, it’s genuine. Which is why I’m not going to Malta. But I probably need to back up and explain: Malta is running a campaign which sees them sponsoring 72 travel bloggers to visit in 2014 In some ways this is why I’ve always been somewhat ambivalent  about travel blogging.  The big names, the famous ones, all have the same business model: build a big “personal brand”, have lots of followers  and fans – get free travel from sponsors and make real money doing the […] Read more »


Independent Travel – Ireland Edition

Independent Travel Ireland

I have traveled Ireland several times  – but for many people Ireland is their first trip overseas so what should a beginner be thinking about if they are considering a trip to the Emerald Isle. You could decide to go with an organized tour – lets be clear tours are great – so long as you enjoy being told to go, when to go and when to back at the bus. And have quite a lot of money. Well neither work for me – I have never been prepared to pay the premium for having a tour director bully me! Independent […] Read more »


Sydney 30 Years On

Sydney Ferries Under the Harbour Bridge - Dwarfed by a Liner

Sydney was my first overseas city which I traveled to solo At 19 at scored a holiday job a summer job with a multi-national oil company in Sydney’s Rocks area. A few weeks ago my latest trip was because I was taking a travel writing course Sydney Transport Options The first time I arrived I caught a bus into town, although this is still an option I took the train instead this time: the train was only $1 more than the bus, and much, much quicker: Sydney’s congestion hasn’t got any better over the years. It still has a reasonable public […] Read more »


My Non-Boring Travel Money Guide Is FREE


I‘m currently giving away my Non-Boring Travel Money Guide – free on Kindle. Sorry it’s back to it’s regular, but reasonable price of $3.99. (If you don’t have a Kindle, which personally I think is the best piece of travel gear invented EVER, you can still read it with a free Kindle app.  This is the third in my Non-Boring Travel Guide series. Why free? It’s a marketing strategy, if I get enough people to download the free book, then when it goes back to being paid in a day or so, I will be show up more prominently on Amazon, and […] Read more »