How to pick the perfect accommodation. 

Lots of friends ask me tips for choosing the best hotel , apartment & B&B. 

Admittedly I do spent a crazy amount of time selecting but over the years I have become better at finding  good accommodation. 

These are my guidelines. 

1. When you know where your are going start by googling that place and usually I’ll then go to I have signed up for an account and this pays off because the more you use it to book the more points you earn towards better deals. I also like to use it because all the bookings  made ( or even cancelled ) are kept on your account. This is a good reference when suggesting places to friends. It also often lets you book but often allows cancellation without penalty. 

2. Then you put your destination in and dates (if you know them ) and when the list comes up I go straight to the map and look at the locations. It’s no good finding what sounds like a great hotel but then finding its away from the main part of town or city. 

3. Browse a few to compare. Look at prices and features and read reviews. I focus more on the negatives. If there are just a few picky type negatives I tend to go to trip advisor to see the reviews there and compare. Be careful to check air con if it’s summer, stairs if no lift, parking ……

4. I always Google earth the location and look at the satellite view to see if it’s next to something bad – major highway, tip, railway line. 

5. Make a booking but be sure you can cancel without penalty. In peak times this is very important because things book out very easily. You can always cancel if something changes or you find another place. 

6. Look on Trip advisor reviews for room tips. They are usually at the end of a review if someone mentions the room they liked. Then if you get a few tips put that in your booking request. Eg: first floor away from the street. 

The only time I have broken my own rule on location I was sorry. I had thought it was too far away from the action! But  I booked anyway. And despite the good reviews of  great breakfast , good beds , free bikes, all day tea coffee …… I would prefer a great location. 

I’ve got good lists of places to stay particularly in Italy and France so email me if you want some advice.

Travel plans for 2016

The New Year is here and we are planning our next adventures.

I look back at our  holidays last year. The trip to France and Spain in August was wonderful. Check the stories out in earlier posts. Then our recent trip to Cambodia to see Pete and Elena and celebrate their engagement was amazing.

As I sit on the beach chatting to friends we share stories of last years travel and what’s on our bucket list for this year.

Lea fancies Norway and Russia and as does Jill. Two friends both leaning towards the same places!  Susie is looking at India and maybe a wedding. Carmel will be going back to Sri Lanka and India for work. And the Maitlands have a few little holidays and surprise surprise another swim trek. This time to Montenegro. We’ll follow up with a week or two in my favourite country – Italy. This time in the heel of the country – arriving in Bari and heading south to Otranto and holidaying the way Italians do.

Other little holidays or ‘getaways’ this year include. Melbourne for Australia Day and perhaps a night at the tennis. Another visit in February to Melbourne with friends for the Edinburgh  Tattoo. Yes it’s coming to Melbourne!

Then in April,  New Zealand with Chris and Jill Wilson to visit friends from our Greece swim trek. Steve is braving the cool waters of Auckland and doing a swim with Kim and David. We’ll also visit the area called the Coramandel.

We head to Sydney for niece Pips wedding to Hugh in April and then nephew Patrick’s wedding to Lauren in Port Macquarie in May. Hopefully we’ll be able to call into Crescent Head to visit the McGregors.

By June we’ll be preparing for our holiday swimming in Montenegro and touring Puglia.

Maybe the USA in October to visit our swim trekking friends and sample the wines near Lodi where Jordan’s parents live.

Then in December it’s back to beautiful Cambodia for Peter and Elena’s wedding. It’s on Dec 20. The date they met and the date two years later they got engaged.  We can’t wait.

So that’s it’s for holidays at the moment. Lots to look forward to.