Frequent flyer and travel memoir writer Rachael Weiss shares some travel tips.
The Borrego Valley Inn in Borrego Springs. It's a tranquil oasis in the middle of the Californian desert. There are only a few rooms and each has its own patio looking onto the native desert gardens and the critters that live there. It's a cool, quiet, private retreat. At night you can lie in the outdoor hot tub with a glass of wine, marvelling at the Milky Way. The desert is a wonderfully strange place to be, full of weird cacti, and coyotes crying at night. I was there when it rained and a rainbow came out - all the locals came running outside to see it, incredibly excited. See borregovalleyinn.com.
Singapore Airlines. Living in Europe, I've done the trip halfway around the planet many times. If I fly Singapore Airlines, I can go via Singapore Airport, the only airport in the world that makes me want to live in it. Among its many wonders they have free foot massage chairs. I know exactly where they are, so as soon as I'm off the plane I head straight for one, stick my feet in it and spend 15 minutes with wooden knuckles massaging away the knots. It makes the second half of the journey a lot more bearable.
I loved the Esplanade in the spa town of Marienbad (Czech Republic). It was an extraordinary trip back into the spa world of the early 1900s, with its cool white exterior, enormous colonnades, vast ornate foyer and liveried servants. Their brochures boast that Prince Edward (son of Queen Victoria) stayed there. The spa town itself has not moved any further than 1910, with the waters delivered from the ground through copper spouts in ancient tiled spa rooms. It's great for older couples and people who enjoy a bit of irony with their holiday. Not so great for kids, though. See esplanade-marienbad.cz.
I have a really cool Samsonite carry on bag with spinner wheels. It fits everything I need for a long weekend and it moves like a dream.
Travel nail clippers. In the early days I lost many a nail kit to security.
I would love to spend a year in an alien culture - Botswana or Mongolia, say. Somewhere where I don't know the basics of the language and where food, customs, beliefs are different from anything I know.
Rachael Weiss' latest book is The Thing About Prague (Allen and Unwin, $29.95). See allenandunwin.com.