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10th Birthday Travel Tips and Stories Competition Winners

We have had a great response to our Travel Tips and Stories competition and would like to share them with you. The winning entries are published below.

Congratulations to all the winners, your free pair of Exofficio underwear will be sent out to you.

Travel Tips 

1. If you are a confirmed tea drinker, carry a few of your own favourite tea bags (eg Twinning’s) with you on international flights. All major airlines offer boiling water, if asked. The result is a decent satisfying cup of tea. Much better than the insipid lukewarm tea usually on offer with your meal.
By Phillip Tyndall.

2. Always put a spare pair of underwear in your carry-on luggage. This way you are covered if your luggage does not arrive at the same time you do or if your are stuck in transit for longer than expected.
By J.Lambourne

3. If you are a bad flyer, put some of your favourite scent or aromatic oils on a pashmina or a scarf and wrap it around you during the flight to create your own calming atmosphere.
By R.B.

Travel Stories

1. Hello travellers

I had a trip to South Africa a couple of years ago. I was travelling with my adult son who has Down Syndrome. We booked a 5-day tour with Intrepid to Kruger and surrounds; I vaguely wondered whether I should tell them that my son had Down Syndrome … but busy, busy, busyness intervened and we just joined the tour. It was absolutely fabulous and a great reminder of the joys of travel. At our Kruger lodge, it was clear everyone was there [1] for the same purpose [see the BIG animals]; and [2] concentrating hard to communicate because folk came from different countries, heritages and languages. My son was just part of the mix and his communication was just part of the mix.
It was a wonderful experience for me [able to relax more than some times]; for my son [fabulous experience and memories]; and hopefully for other folk at the lodge.

By Deborah Fullwood

Switzerland Impressions, August 2014

Switzerland is like a picture postcard. Just think about jigsaw puzzles, tin boxes etc. The landscape is a rich green with contrasting dark brown houses and huts dotted around. It is a wonder looking down on the green valley with the river running by. They say there are 72 waterfalls. Everyday there seems to be more of these falls as the weather warms up and the rainfall comes down.

We had to quickly get a grip on the map and decide where to visit. Firstly we went to Lauterbrunnen the hub for most trains and then on to Wengen(pronounced VENGEN) where we are staying at the Alpenrose Hotel.

Our room is beautiful all done out in pale pine with rust woven woollen curtains. It creates a calm and cosiness. Our balcony looks towards the mountain view. Oh so enchanting.

Every night we have a 5 course meal, the interval being a salad bar. They are especially good at soups. We have tasted racklette cheese which is grilled on an apparatus which holds a cheese half and the cut side is warmed by a grill. The cheese is then scrapped off to be eaten hot with bread. Delicious. Thursday buffet, and then meat fondue. Breakfast has a variety of bread loaves, for instance, grain inside, grain outside, walnut, rye, wholemeal, white braid etc,2 types of croissants and 2 choices of bread rolls. Evening cheeses total 20 if only we could indulge, quite full by then!

We are fascinated as most people have visited this same place 11, 20, 30 times. It being a favourite with the English walkers some now in their 80's the men especially love it and continue to come even alone.

We take a train ride or cable car or gondola to our place of discovery each day and now getting the hang of it after generous tips from fellow walkers. The Jungfrau is the highest railway point in the Europe and expensive to get there. Even with a rail pass it is 56 Swiss Francs on top of that per person.From Wengen you change 2 trains and a cable car. Had lunch there waiting for a break in the clouds to see snowy view on top of the world. Amazing construction with 12 miles of tunnelling towards the top. It took 16 years to build and a man's incredible vision.

Everywhere there are mountainous vistas and you must remember to look behind you for yet another panoramic view.

We have seen the healthiest cows wandering and making continuous music with their bells. Wild flowers abound and also blooms change as the days go by. All strong colours blue, mauve, pinks and white contrasting with the rich green grass. The dark brown weathered pine flower boxes spill forth with the reddest geraniums as a setting for frothy lace curtains behind the shuttered windows.

The other thing I have noticed are vegetable plots for summer crops as we peer from our seats in the train carriage. There are waterfalls to glimpse as we scurry by and photo opportunities, so many that you are always poised to take a snap and you just laugh with the joy of it.

By Pamela Cameron

3. Australian Introduction.

Coming over from the US, I had been in Australia for 2 days, and I had booked in to WWOOF on a farm in Ayton, which is about an hour outside of Cooktown.  I was staying in Cairns at the time, and the owner of the property told me I just needed to book a bus to Cooktown, and I would transfer to a bus would drop me right to his door.
The "bus" looked more like an extended cab van and less like a bus and was 4WD to take us onto the dirt track for an hour into the rainforest to get us to our destination.  I had done no research about where I was going or what to expect at this point.
After an hour on a very rough track with my 2 very large roller bags, we arrived at the front "door" of the house at which I would be spending the next 8 days.  My first discovery was this there were no doors.  This was, in fact, a treehouse on giant stilts with no windows or doors, just a completely open floor plan well off the ground.  My accommodation, on the other hand, was a small shack on the ground out the back, complete with outdoor shower.  This was November, so it was quite hot and humid.  We were completely surrounded by water (1km) to the beach, and a river on each side of us, but we couldn't swim n any of it.  The ocean was full of stingers, and the rivers were full of crocs.  
When I left home, I had no idea what to expect, so I had a variety of clothing, most of which was not suitable for living in the middle of the rainforest.  We had no mobile signal and only one general IGA store, which was also the local cafe, pub, and post office a few km from the house.  We had internet, but it was very limited and quite slow, of course.  
It was paradise, but it was quite different to what I knew back in the US.  This was my introduction to Australia.  
I sure wish I knew about the Lightweight Traveller before I started my journey across the world!  So many products would've made my life so much easier! 

By J. Lange


Please share these travel tips and stories with any of your friends who might enjoy them.