DO THE MATHS
Good idea. Let's have a short local escape, and spend a night in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria with our friends. We may have a quick holiday and help out a local business. Let's see: Sorrento, this one looks nice - three bedrooms, four adults. Okay, so $395 per night plus $175 cleaning fee plus a $88.52 service fee comes to $658.52. Mmmmm. Quite steep. But wait a sec. Single night stays also incur a linen charge of $40 per bedroom. So, $658.52 plus $120 - a total of $778.52. For one night. We'd better not.
George Fernandez, Eltham North, VIC
The letter by Joanne Fitzgerald (Traveller Letters, December 5) about Afghan cameleers reminded me of a visit to Wyndham, Western Australia, on a road trip through that state's Kimberley region in 2011. I was most intrigued by the large grave, dating the late 19th century. Next to a sign with an explanation as to why a lead camel was laid to rest next to his master.
Cecilia de Rooy, Narraweena, NSW
ALONE AGAIN (UNNATURALLY)
Single people booking travel and accommodation in Australia are totally ripped off. One tour I explored said in the conditions that I would have to buy two tour bookings if I was travelling alone, and others want upwards of $900 for a single supplement. Isn't it better for tour operators and accommodation providers to have occupancy and not just money?
Beverley Wooding, Annandale, NSW
TWO'S COMPANY, ONE'S A CROWD
The issue of single supplements is one of those outrages which regularly makes its way to Traveller Letters. The reason is simple and obvious: it costs more to provide services to singles than it does to couples. Perhaps travel companies could avoid all the complaints if, instead of charging a single supplement, they charge everyone the same amount but offer couples a discount for being prepared to travel in pairs and to share the services provided rather than use them exclusively.
Merinda Tonkin, Kooyong, VIC
COMPUTER SAYS "NO"
We would like to use this forum to highlight how Airbnb and a selfish, negligent host ruined our only chance of a week's holiday this year. My husband has been stuck in Sydney working for the NSW government while I was in iso work in Melbourne . He was granted seven days' leave only when the border was lifted and I managed to get the same. I went onto Airbnb straight away and found a nice place in Bright that was clearly advertised as available, I booked it and the full price was taken immediately. The host took their own sweet time to inform us this was actually incorrect, it was booked but "their new IT system isn't talking to Airbnb's''. No apology. No offer to help us. Airbnb were equally disinterested in this error and their host's failure to test a new system. Money is tight so until the funds were returned we couldn't afford to book anywhere else. While the full debit was immediate, Airbnb takes up to 14 days to refund, therefore we missed an opportunity to secure another booking and, at the time of writing, still await the money back.
Victoria Watts, Brighton, VIC
KNICKERS OF TIME
Ben Groundwater, in response to your inability to locate your passport (Traveller, November 28) years ago I visited my sister in Darwin and she talked me into hopping over to Bali for a few days. So I contacted a friend down south and asked her to break into my house, find a certain box at the top of the wardrobe, burrow under all the postcards and paraphernalia, find my passport and Express Post it to me. Eventually it was sent and I had a wonderful first trip to Bali. Ever since, I have always kept it in my undies drawer. Works for me.
Patsy McHugh Toland, Frankston South, VIC
We don't travel in Australia any more than we have to because the prices are high and the service is poor. A couple of years ago, we stayed in a high end hotel in Lorne, Victoria. We decided to save a bit of money by bringing our own wine and ordering room service. The food was fine, however, the tiny table in the room had a projection in the middle so we couldn't fit the tray on it. We had to put the tray on the bed. They did not wheel the food in on a table like other hotels do. There was also no cutlery. They said that we had it in the room. Unfortunately, a butter knife is not so good for cutting steak, so I went to the restaurant to get steak knives. In contrast, in Oristano Sardinia, we stayed in a hotel for much less in a suite appointed with antiques and the breakfast buffet was served on gold-plated china. We did some washing in our room and returned at the end of the day to find it hung up on a drying rack. While we realise costs are higher in Australia than in Sardinia, hotels should be able to provide a basic level of service rather than casual indifference.
Louise Hitchcock, Carlton North, VIC
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