Traveller Letters: Australia doesn't seem interested in getting tourists back

LET ME IN

You Australians are holding me in a vice. I have bought a six week trip to Australia departing on December 27. I have also purchased a subscription to your newspaper to keep an eye on the situation. But you do not write anything about whether it will be possible for me to travel and nor can I see that you are interested in getting us tourists back to your country.

Peter Morell, Tilst, Denmark

EDITOR'S NOTE We've been in touch with our distant Danish reader to endeavour to explain our complex border arrangements to him with international tourists, as the time of writing, not allowed into Australia until the new year. Feel free to send your well-wishes and tips, for his hopefully eventual successful visit to Australia, which we will aim to forward to him.

LETTER OF THE WEEK

MOUNTAIN TENSION

The Glacier Express from St Moritz to Zermatt in Switzerland is indeed a picture perfect postcard of calendar shots and a celebration of Swiss engineering, as described in Traveller's recent extract from the new Hardie Grant book Ultimate World Train Journeys. But to rail travel enthusiasts, the fine dining experience is a distraction. We parted with over $100 for the most moderate offerings, while the family group across the aisle tucked into the gourmet seven-course "excellence offering". The breathtaking scenery competed with a cacophony of clattering plates, clinking glasses, unrelenting wine top ups and incessant chatter. Having my time again, I would pack sandwiches, water, and snack bars and follow the same track using the regular Swiss Rail service.

Ian Whitehead, Traralgon, VIC

NOT APPY

Is there a computer whiz among your readers who has managed to couple their vaccination certificate to their Qantas account and so earn 1000 frequent flyer points? If so, could they explain, simply, how to manage this for those of us who have tried many times but have had our efforts rejected by the Qantas app?

Ted Richards, Batemans Bay, NSW

CHECKED OUT

Michael Jones's letter about the truly scary Syangboche "airport" (Traveller Letters, October 23) above Namche Bazaar, Nepal, is no longer correct. Built to support the construction and servicing of the nearby Everest View Hotel by Japanese interests, it was decommissioned years ago for fixed wings and wealthy tourists are now transferred by helicopter closer to the hotel. The old runway becomes a logistical supply depot in the April-May expedition climbing season where helicopter loads are transferred to yaks and porters to carry to base camp. The trekking trail skirts the perimeter with a fine view of it all.

David W. Benn, Freshwater, NSW

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FASTEN YOUR SEATBELTS

I was fortunate to experience amazing takeoffs and landings from strips like those in Papua New Guinea whilst living there for many years. A lot of the runways are dug out from a mountain side and are 6000 to 7000 feet (up to 2135 metres) above sea level . Weather conditions were most important whilst flying in PNG and also tackling some of the most dangerous isolated terrain in the world. Now that was an experience and airstrip.

Barbara Audas, Black Rock, VIC

TAKING A SHOT

The article on Glasgow (Traveller, October 16), refers to "whiskey". In Scotland, whisky does not contain the letter "e". To suggest that "whiskey" is the predominant beverage in the featured establishment is misleading and quite clearly incorrect.

Alan Wright (Glasgow born and bred), Baulkham Hills, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE Apologies. The error occurred during the production process. The online version of the article at our website was corrected after a stiff dram of whisky or two.

MAKES CENTS

Even though the world is opening with sensible conditions for vaccinated travellers, I am sure there are many like myself, a keen traveller in the 80s, who view world travel now as too expensive and too exhausting. And what do we do with all those foreign coins left over from previous trips? Is there a charity somewhere with easy collection points ready for donations?

Marjie Williamson, Blaxland, NSW

EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE

Apropos of your recent story about airports (Traveller, October 9), any chance all Australian airports could institute a simple painted line (as is the case in Japanese airports) about a metre back from baggage carousels? Many are the times I've smiled knowingly at other travellers who are also exasperated by some people's need to stand right up against the carousels. Firstly, they block our view of and our access to the baggage. Secondly, they don't seem to like it when our baggage clips them as we scramble through the bodies to grab it. A painted line wouldn't be idiot-proof but it would help.

Brendan Coyle, East Ballina, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE: You'll find these lines at some Australian airports, including Melbourne's. Alas, many passengers choose to ignore them.

HANDS OFF

To avoid taking the wrong luggage or worse (Traveller Letters, October 23) - having had mine taken by another passenger - I use a brightly patterned stretch cover (hundreds available on Ebay and Amazon), fluoro-coloured address labels (Go Travel), a bright novelty label with a message like "Hands off it's mine!" (from a "$2 shop"), and a striped combination-lock strap. It's instantly recognisable upon emerging from the conveyor, even from the far end of the carousel.

Anne Cloak, Bargo, NSW

Ruth Hoskin writes about "the luggage carousel problem", seeking "a quick and easy way" to match travellers with their luggage. Low tech solutions exist: buy a distinctive case, or tie distinctive ribbons or put bright stickers onto your case. Once you locate your case, cross check that your name appears on the baggage tag.

Heather D'Cruz, Geelong West, VIC

I am sure that somebody is working on an expensive tracking app with an identity module placed in your case, but a far, far cheaper and easier alternative is to simply knot a gaily coloured-piece of material to the handle. Works every time for us.

John B. Quinn, Avoca, VIC

PUTTING US TO THE TEST

As Australia opens up to overseas travel and we need to provide negative test results before embarkation it would be helpful if Traveller did an article on where in the capital cities these tests could be done and approximate costs. It would certainly be a helpful guide to travellers.

Jan Rolph, Blacktown, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE You'll find a detailed piece about PCR tests for travel, including where you can get one, in our article here

Send us your travel-related tips, opinions and experiences

Letters may be edited for space, legal or other reasons. Preference will be given to letters of 50-100 words or less. Include your full name and suburb. Email us at travellerletters@traveller.com.au

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