Readers' travel tips: Have you cake and eat it too in Vienna

TIP OF THE WEEK

HAVE YOUR CAKE

There are many extraordinary Vienna cafes offering amazing cakes but this new gem is a level higher than most and worth hunting down in central Vienna. The young owner, Julia, is Viennese but happy to be claimed as part Aussie since she spent her formative years living here. From Flemington Primary, Melbourne, to Law at the University of Vienna to patisserie and chocolate-making internships in Paris, New York and around the world. Her cafe with 14 foot ceilings, beautiful cakes, avo smash for breakfast and coffee/teas is just extraordinary! Amazing find. For more see facebook @cremedelacremevienna

Janette Thorburn, Moonee Ponds, VIC

FIELD OF DREAMS

We have just returned from a fabulous six weeks in South America where the highlights were an 11-day World Expeditions Patagonia Adventure which included challenging but amazing treks to Fitz Roy glaciers and Torres del Paine and eight days on the Eden boat in the Galapagos where we saw an enormous array of land and sea-based creatures, all in the company of a lovely group of American university students on a field trip. Best holiday ever.

Carolyn Brand, Point Lonsdale, VIC

PRIVATE MATTERS

Regarding travel to Bled

(Tip-o-meter, March 12) after numerous trips to Slovenia visiting my parent's home country, I've also found it difficult to get in and out. Two years ago I struggled with timetables, as I had a tight schedule. Someone suggested GoOpti, a new private transport company. After booking online I was picked up from Milan Airport and, a comfortable six hours later, dropped off at my hotel door in Ljubljana for a reasonable price, using the economy ride share option. I used their service three times with only one slight delay and would recommend them.

Mill Repse, Brighton, VIC

WILDLIFE HIGHWAY

We enjoyed a trip on the Alaska Marine Highway by ferry from Bellingham near Seattle to Skagway. On board, our en suite cabin was basic but comfortable. There is a big lounge with scenic windows and a ranger on board who gives talks and preps for the next stop. Campers with tents can tape them down on the solarium deck. The only downside was the cafeteria food but you can bring your own. It's true that you pass some small places at night but we spent several hours visiting Ketchikan and surrounds. Then on to Sitka for three days hiking and canoeing with sea lions on Sitka Sound before boarding another ferry to Juneau to do a glacier cruise. Then on to Skagway by ferry and bus to Whitehorse in the Yukon where we picked up our Dodge Ram dual cab truck with slide on camper for three wonderful weeks camping in State Parks including Denali (book ahead).

As it was the salmon season we called it the Bear Safari, seeing 22 in total.

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David and Pamela Sheargold, Batemans Bay

LOCK AND KEY

I have often had my bags opened when travelling in the US (Tip-o-meter March 5, 2017).

Simply buy TSA approved locks which can be opened and relocked without damage.

I bought mine at kogan.com.au for $25 for a set of three.

Gwen Anisimoff, North Sydney

SNIFF TEST

In humid countries, smell the small wrapped butter squares at hotel breakfasts as sometimes they are left out all morning then brought out the next day, sometimes rancid. I keep a colour photocopy of our passports in my backpack so I can check into our accommodation without taking the originals out of their hiding places. If travelling with children, sew small pockets on the inside of their clothing to keep a small amount of local currency and the address of the accommodation you are staying at.

S Marshall, East Geelong, VIC

DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Regarding the answer to J. Harper regarding a first time overseas traveller on a tight budget (Tip-o-meter February 19, 2017) I feel a couple more warnings should be given.

1. Check out from the brochure what's included and what are "optional extras" as the cost can sometimes be quite expensive. A dearer tour may have more inclusions so be sure to compare. On a tour of Italy a few years ago, if we had taken all the optionals, it would have cost us an extra $600 each. We didn't mind skipping a meal in a fancy restaurant, but who wants to miss out on a gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, or a tour of the Sistine Chapel, because it hasn't been budgeted for? The tour guides push all of these as the company pays them a commission on each booking and it's in their interest to get as many customers as possible.

2. Australians aren't used to tipping, especially in the US where it's virtually compulsory. The tour company generally issue a suggested schedule, such as six euros (or US dollars) per person per day for the tour director PLUS four euros a person a day for the driver; then any local guides who are recruited for a morning or day tour also expect a handout of a few euros (or US dollars). So for a two to three-week tour you need to budget several hundred dollars for this expenditure.

Judith Lowe, Avalon Beach, NSW

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