My partner and I have booked flights to Europe for next April and plan to backpack through Britain and Europe for six months. I have an Australian passport but my partner has both Australian and British passports. I have read that the Schengen Visa limits me to 90 days in a six-month period in most countries in Europe but my partner can stay as long as he likes. I am 26 and don't plan to work in Britain during this six months but want to keep my options open for a later date in case we decide to live in Britain for a while. Is there any way I can extend the 90-day period other than by applying for a specific work visa?
- H.McDarmont, Shelly Beach, NSW.
You're on the money with the information on the Schengen Visa. Britain is not part of the Schengen Area and different rules apply. As a general guide, Australian tourists can remain in Britain without a visa for up to six months.
When you enter Britain, you might be asked to prove you have sufficient funds to support yourself for this period without working. If you want to stay longer and/or work, you will need a visa.
You should get this organised before you leave - you cannot apply for this visa from Britain. Since you're an Australian under 30, you can apply for a Working Holiday Visa (Tier 5).
This allows you to stay and work in Britain for up to two years. Of course once you have the visa, it's up to you whether you choose to work or not. Check the Work Getaways site (workgateways.com) for more information.
Many and ferried are the ways to get to Corfu
We are staying on the Amalfi Coast in July next year. We will have a car for sightseeing in that part of Italy. After Amalfi, we are travelling to Corfu. I am having difficulty researching our transfer from the Amalfi Coast to Corfu. One option is to catch a plane from Naples to Corfu. Is there a ferry transfer? Could we catch a ferry from Salerno or do we need to depart from Bari or Brindisi to reach Greece? As we have the car we could drive to the east coast of Italy to pick up a ferry. What cost are we looking at for these options and which is the quickest way to transfer?
- C. Gibson, Maroubra.
There is no ferry between Salerno, pictured, and Corfu. All the ferries between Italy and Corfu leave from Italy's east coast, and the closest ports to Amalfi are indeed Bari and Brindisi.
You can find out more information about this service at the Greek Ferries website (greekferries.gr), although prices and timetables are not yet available for 2012. You might consider taking your vehicle on the ferry to Corfu. It's a sizeable island and having a vehicle will give you a lot more freedom to explore, and it's not too expensive.
In 2011, Agoudimos Lines (www.agoudimos-lines.com) is charging between €35-€77 ($46-$102) to transport a car between Bari and Corfu.
Roman holiday on a budget
My daughter and her boyfriend are travelling to Europe during their university holidays in January/February. They will be staying in Rome at the end of their trip in early February 2012 and would like to stay in central Rome if possible. Can you recommend types of accommodation that may suit their student budgets? They had no trouble booking a cheap apartment in Berlin for a week but are finding similar lettings in Rome a challenge.
- L. Fraser, Northbridge.
Rome is problematic for cheap lodgings. An apartment is going to cost at least €450 ($600) for a week but if that's not out of the question, check the selection at Roman Reference (romanreference.com).
A big leap down the price ladder, Hostels.com (hostels.com/rome/italy) has a good selection about $25 a night. Cross-reference these with TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com) to help them pick a winner.
Another possibility is Airbnb (airbnb.com). These are mostly rooms for short stays in private houses, which can be a great way to pick up on local knowledge as well as a bed for the night.
Yet another option is staying in a monastery or convent, many of which take paying guests at a reasonable price, and some of these are located in the best parts of Rome. Take a look at Monastery Stays (monasterystays.com) for an overview. Dirt Cheap Rome (dirtcheaprome.com) is a handy website with lots of useful suggestions for budget travellers.
Picture-perfect Greek islands that fill a tall order
I am planning a family holiday to Greece for about three to four weeks next June/July with my husband and our three children aged 12, nine and three. After a short stop in Athens we plan to spend around five days each on two to three islands and we're overwhelmed by choice. We are happy to self-cater and don't require lavish accommodation but want to be comfortable. We are keen to be around tavernas where we can eat out when we feel like it but don't intend to go out partying. We are looking for white, sandy beaches (rather than pebbles) and islands with a few things to explore but we don't want to be rushing around. My husband and I are both keen photographers. Could you recommend a few beaches and islands that would fit the bill?
- J. Wallace, Newtown.
Tough question and lots of experts from the world of guidebook publishing, including Lonely Planet and Frommer's, tackle this question and come up with very different answers. Since you're travelling with young children, you probably want to keep your inter-island travel simple and compact, so I'm going to point you in the direction of the Cyclades.
Scattered off the south-east coast of mainland Greece, the Cyclades are the Greek Islands of travel agents' posters come to life. The Cinderella of the group is Mykonos but a better bet for you would be tiny Syros, pictured, which packs in a lively and cosmopolitan seaside capital and some of the best beaches in this part of the world. Next is Sifnos, another tiny gem, with ruins that date back to classical times and more fine beaches.
Finally, there is Santorini, the most southerly of the Cyclades, a half-circle of volcanic rock, ash and white marble encircling the caldera of what was once the island of Strongyli before it exploded, giving birth to the legend of Atlantis. Santorini is straight out of science fiction. Its landscape is lunar, its beaches are black volcanic sand, its cliffs rear 300 metres above the sea and its sunsets put poets out of work.
The Cyclades are a photographer's dream world. You'll find sugar-cube houses with bright blue doors and whiskery men mending fishing nets. As for accommodation, look to TripAdvisor (tripadvisor.com) for tips.