My husband and I want to travel from Melbourne to London with a stopover each way, because we don't like long-haul flights. We have to travel with reputable airlines. However, my husband has a business meeting in Kuala Lumpur on the way back and I'll continue home alone. What's the most economical way to travel? F. Lambis, Melbourne.
Your husband's business commitments in Kuala Lumpur make Malaysia Airlines (malaysiaairlines.com) the logical choice. This is certainly a reputable airline; it operates Melbourne-London services at a competitive price and also ticks the box for your stopover requirements. There are two key options for stopover accommodation. One is the Airside Transit Hotel within KL's international airport terminal. You can make a booking via the KL International Airport website (www.klia.com.my) or via a travel agent. The other is a city hotel, which is more appealing if you have some spare time. The KLIA Ekspres train (www.kliaekspres.com) links the airport directly with the KL Sentral transportation hub in Kuala Lumpur in 28 minutes.
Hawaii by bike or board
Our daughter, 13, and son, 9, are saving to splurge on our holiday to Hawaii in October. We'll be staying five nights each at Maui and Oahu. The children should have about $800. Suggestions? C. Dullard, Hamilton, NSW.
One of the best things to do on Maui is the bike descent from the volcanic cone of Mount Haleakala. This is the ultimate two-wheel schuss - almost 60 kilometres downhill from the 3000-metre summit to the sea, barely touching the pedals. There are several operators to choose from, including the Haleakala Bike Company (bikemaui.com). Another great adventure is a sailing trip along the Na Pali Coast, where sheer cliffs leap from the sea to more than 1000 metres into the clouds. The marine life is superb and there are several variations on this theme, including the Na Pali snorkelling trip, from Captain Andy (napali.com). On Oahu, the World War II Valour in the Pacific monument tells the story of the 1941 Japanese attack that brought the US into the war. Built at Pearl Harbour, the focus of the attack, this is an incredible experience. Take a look at the official Pearl Harbour tour site (pearlharboroahu.com) for a preview. How about a surfing lesson on Waikiki, too? The Hans Hedemann Surf School (hhsurf.com) promises to teach anyone to surf in just two hours, on classic Malibu boards. The calm, reef-ringed waters of Kailua Bay are ideal for sea kayaking and Twogood Kayaks guides (twogoodkayaks.com) can take the children sea kayaking, with turtles and snorkelling on the agenda.
Proper Danish done dirt cheap
I will be in Copenhagen in October. What sort of prices can I expect for food and accommodation? Is rail the best way to travel and what does it cost on the Oresund Bridge that links Sweden and Denmark? N. Dyer, Lake Haven, NSW.
The Mercer Index (mercer.com) put Copenhagen in 10th place on its 2010 cost of living ranking, sandwiched between Singapore and Hong Kong. The survey reflects costs for residents rather than visitors, yet it's a fair indication of where the city sits. Copenhagen is an expensive city but if you want to live and dine the way you might at home, adopt a creative approach and you'll find ways to stretch your holiday dollar. For example, a Big Mac costs 52 kroner ($9.50) but the traditional Danish delight of a hot dog from a street stand will probably cost about half that. Half a litre of draught beer is about $8-$10, a cup of coffee costs between $2.70 and $4.85 and a double room for one night in a three-star hotel might cost about $125. However, the same night in a hostel dorm will be about $25. Rail is definitely the best way to get around Denmark and the rest of Scandinavia. The toll for crossing the Oresund Bridge in a car is €40 ($54.50) for a single trip. Alternatively, you can get a seat on a train from Copenhagen to Malmo, on the Swedish side of the bridge, for $15. Visit Denmark (visitdenmark.com) is a good source of information.
Schoolies adventures without the hangover
My daughter is 18 in January, six weeks after traditional schoolies events, and we aren't keen on her going to Surfers Paradise. She loves activity and adventure and would like to do a group adventure trip. We have been unable to find a tour group that will take under 18s. She has less than $2000 to spend on her schoolies experience. Any ideas?
R. Donovan, Warners Bay, NSW.
World Expeditions gallops to the rescue with a newly released World Youth Adventures program (worldyouth.worldexpeditions .com). It's almost exactly what you're looking for.
Click on the orange "Schoolies Adventures" box on the left of the home page to see details of four trips: Nepal, Vietnam, Thailand and Tasmania.
These are schoolies-only trips – nobody else need apply – and the fact that your daughter is under 18 at the time won't be a problem.
The parent company, World Expeditions, has a vast amount of experience operating adventure trips in the Third World. I also have a daughter in year 12 and the idea of farewelling her on a World Youth Adventure to Nepal would be far less alarming than sending her off to Surfers Paradise for the week. Trips range from seven to 12 days; prices are from $1350-$1995, excluding airfares.
Although the seven-day Tasmania journey is the most expensive of these trips, airfares to Tassie make this the cheapest, all things considered, but still a budget-breaker for your daughter with less than $2000 to spend. If you have a bunch of points you can convert to air travel, this might just get her over the line and into the hills of Thailand or the mountains of Nepal. If the price is still too big a stretch, an alternative might be Rustic Pathways (rusticpathways.com.au), which also operates schoolies-only trips.
The one that falls within budget is the North Island Adventure – eight days of rafting, zorbing, snorkelling and rappelling in New Zealand, at a price of $1445 excluding airfares from Australia.