Blog Archives

My Asian Journeys

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Just a short journey from Australia, the Asian Region is a fantastic area for the quick getaway. While many destinations would take weeks on end to see in full, for the traveller with only a week or two to spend, there are a fantastic array of highlight options that will give you an incredible taste of a destination then leave you asking for more, and willing to travel back there again in the future.

For those after their first taste of Asia, our Singapore with the Experts programme this October is the perfect way to get your first feel of a foreign culture without the huge differences that a lot of the mainland Asian destinations provide. From AU$2899 this is a perfect introductory trip to Asia.

For those that are more adventurous we have a couple of introductory tours we are running in early 2017 with the assistance of our longtime partner in Asia – Wendy Wu – to visit the best of Vietnam and the Best of China

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In March we have a fantastic 9 Day Tour of Vietnam, covering the Highlights of Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and the Mekong, starting at AU$3450 per person in share twin.

In April we discover the highlights of China over 10 days as we travel to Beijing, Xián and Shanghai, visiting the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the water town of Zhujiajiaou and more, starting at just AU$4026 per person share twin.

Both of these tours will be escorted with a minimum of 16 travellers, both tour departures are guaranteed to operate as scheduled. There are limited spaces on these departures, so should you wish to join them, or talk to us about a journey to Asia, we encourage you to contact us at My Travel Expert on (02) 4421 5577 or nowra@mytravelexpert.com.au

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Solo Asia with Wendy Wu

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Here at Shoalhaven Solo Sisters and My Travel Expert, when we work to match up Solo Travellers our aim to see that we match you up with someone that you believe you might be compatible with. We do know though that there are those solo travellers out there who don’t mind who they are matched up with –  and figure on a tour of a week or two they should be able to put up with a stranger for a week or two.

For BOTH of those kind of travellers, we have something here you may like!

Wendy Wu, one of our preferred industry partners have 3 fantastic Solo Departures on offer for 2016 with voyages to India, Vietnam and China. Inclusive of Airfares, Sightseeing, Accommodation, Visas, some meals and more these tours also offer no single supplement costs  and guaranteed single rooms on all 3 departures!

So if you have always wanted to get a taste of  China, Vietnam or India now is the time! Just contact My Travel Expert and the Shoalhaven Solo Sisters on (02) 4421 5577 or email us today at nowra@mytravelexpert.com.au

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Classifieds: Cruise the North Pacific

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Just a reminder to all we have a number of travellers seeking companions for their own trips, some of which are shown on our classifieds section. We do have one seeker looking for company on a Trans-Pacific Cruise in April 2015 with Celebrity cruises journeying from Shanghai to Vancouver with stops at Jeju Usland in South Korea, Kobe, Mt Fuji, and Tokyo in Japan and Petropavlovsk in Russia.

So if you have ever wanted to see even the basics of China, or cruise the waters of the Northern Pacific, encounter the Arctic Circle or if you are a single traveller who enjoys cruising this may be the opportunity for you! For more information just contact us!

SSS Update, Early December!

remarkable Rocks 2Seeking Expressions Of Interest: We are still hoping to settle a date for our tour to South Australia and Kangaroo Island, but we do need numbers – if you are interested in the area please let us know! We are also seeking starters for a introductory tour to Bangkok and of course our Christmas Markets tour. For more information on any of these please do not hesitate to contact us!

Classifieds: We have found a partner for the lady seeking a room-mate on Canada, if there is anyone still interested in Canada or our European River Cruise, we do still have a number of spaces available. We also have a lady travelling to China who is not averse to finding a travelling companion prior to going – if you have ever wanted to see the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the Yangtze or the Stone Forest then perhaps this is the opportunity for you.  We also have a lady looking for a companion to join her in experiencing the Kimberleys either on tour or via cruise, so if you have always wanted to see the top end perhaps this is your chance!

2016 Tour Workshops: So far our workshops for our 2016 Tours (which are all being held in 2015) are starting to fill – the first one in January which will showcase our upcoming Egypt trip now has limited spaces available. Should you wish to sign up to any of our workshops please visit the My Travel Expert facebook page or register directly at Eventbrite!

Discover Asia with Peregrine

Peregrine as we have said has a fantastic range of product available for the single traveller, including Asia. Myanmar, Thailand, India, Nepal, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and more – they have an incredible product range, and as discussed for solo travellers they can match you up with other singles on their tours, and if they don’t in many cases (but not all) they do not charge a single supplement!

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Getting Out To Asia with Travel Indochina

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When people talk about getting away, a lot of feedback and questions we have are along the lines of where is worth seeing and what is within my Budget? For us the list of destinations and things to do is longer than our arms, and the options to fit within budget will vary from destination to destination. What we could recommend though that is generally within many peoples budget ranges is a trip to Asia, and there are a number of wholesalers including Wendy Wu, Peregrine and Travel IndoChina who have some fantastic options for single travellers.

Asia has a fantastic array of destinations where you can get out and see some incredible natural sights, areas of unique cultural and historic, and there is always special interest and river cruises. China, Mongolia, Vietnam, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand .. there are literally dozens upon dozens of options to think about! There are even more ways to get out there and experience what there is to discover. One of the more popular ways is small group touring – which Travel Indochina specialise in. Small groups usually of between 10 and a maximum of 16 travellers allow you intimate access to guides and sites without the bustle of a large tour group.

For example here are 4 of Travel Indochinas 2014 Itineraries that are great introductory tours that showcase the highlights of their destinations

Vietnam Insights: 11 days in Vietnam from AU$2610 per person in share twin. This trip takes in the base highlights of Vietnam – Hanoi, Halong Baym Danangm Hue, Hoian and Saigon including the Mekong Delta and the Cu Chi Tunnels.

China Panorama: 15 days in China from AU$4250 per person in share twin. This trip takes in the major highlights of China starting in Shanghai, then to Zhuijiajiao, Guilin, Yuangshuo, Longshen, Chengdu, XiÁn and Beijing.

Iconic India: 17 Days in India from AU$3985 per person in share twin. This journey soome of the true highlights of India – Udaipur, Jojawar, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Agra (including the Taj Mahal), Orchla, Bandhavgarh National Park, Khajuraho, Varanasi andDelhi

Burma Revealed: 13 days from AU$4080 per person in share twin. Burma is a fantastic destination and this tour covers the least of what one would want to encounter – Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, Kalaw and Inle Lake.

Please note that all rates shown above are subject to availability as well as varying terms and conditions. These and many other itineraries are available and we can provide costings for specific dates for across Asia with Travel Indochina.

TravelIndochina_LARGEWhich is my next point – why is Travel Indochina someone we would recommend that a Solo Sister Member consider travelling with? The simple answer is that on their small group departures there are some fantastic options in regards to sharing and pricing that work in favour of the  single traveller.  Travel Indochina on their small group departures will offer to match a single traveller “with a stranger”, which means they will attempt to match you with someone of the same sex (and hopefully age) for the duration of their tour. As a bonus on their small groups should they not be able to find someone to match you with, and you then need to have a room to yourself .. they won’t charge a single supplement. This is a great opportunity for a single traveller who doesn’t want to fork out the additional for a guaranteed room of their own and who doesn’t mind sharing.

So if you have been considering a trip to Asia, why not drop by My Travel Expert / Shoalhaven Solo Sisters and speak to us about the opportunity presented with Travel Indochina

My Wine & Cheese In Review…

What a fantastic weekend! We were thrilled with the turnout and the response and hope that you all enjoyed sampling the flavours of the Shoalhaven as much as we did!

We have a few ladies looking for partners on our Hong Kong Trip and our Evergreen Europe Cruise – if you were thinking of joining these trips please let us know!

Classifieds Update: We have a lady heading for China in May for 21 days, if you wanted to travel with someone and relieve the cost of paying a single supplement, and would like to meet your room-mate prior to travelling – then give us a call and we can introduce you! If the match is suitable we can then help you organise your trip to join them in China! We also have a lady looking to find a partner for a Mediterranean Cruise and some time in Sicily and Malta in 2015, if you are interested in seeing this area in the new year than  please let us know!

Now for that which I am sure you have been looking forward to seeing .. a few shots showing the ladies and gents who attended our Flavours of the Shoalhaven Gathering to sample local produce, listen to what Uniworld does in Europe and to mix and mingle with other travellers!

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Events & Festivals, Preparing To Attend Them

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With Easter now upon us it has reminded us of any number of events which happen across the Globe, from the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race every boxing day to Easter Mass at the Vatican. The one thing every large event around the world shares is that for those wanting to attend it is always best to plan ahead.

Planning ahead is essential, not just so you can organise any necessary seating, tickets or entrance fees, but by planning ahead you can ensure that accommodation is available when you want it and if you are lucky you are still able to get reasonably priced flights. So what are the main things you need to be aware of when planning to attend an event and why should you book early?

Visas, and Entry Permits

To start with these are always important, if you are denied entry to a destination, planning to see an event becomes a moot point, and in some cases how you get permission will determine how you travel!

If as an example you wanted to attend the Mass Games in North Korea, as an Australia Citizen you would be required to travel via China (Beijing Specifically) to get your visa issued, which means in turn getting a visa to enter China.

It is also important to plan because some Travel Visa’s take time to acquire, for example a tourist Visa to Brazil takes up to 50 days to process with the embassy, so coming in and saying “I want to attend Carnival” two weeks before it occurs in Rio as an Australian Citizen means, whether we can secure tickets, flights and accommodation becomes meaningless next to the fact that you wouldn’t get a visa issued in time to travel.

Accommodation

Any number of events are in the end limited by the availability of who can comfortably get in to see the event and how many the local town or city can accommodate – for example only so many hotels exist in Cusco and only so much area is available for camping, so ensuring you have things planed out for a trip to view Inti Raymi is imperative.

On the Gallipoli Peninsula for example there are only a very few low quality hotels, so most stay across the straights in Cannakale or Assos (or further afield) so planning ahead ensures you have the time to choose a tour that will stay and cover what you are after.  With Oktoberfest, the population in Munich booms like no other time, so if you are there to attend Oktoberfest if you want a hotel or property that is within walking (or stumbling) distance of the main beer tents then it is imperative that you book in as soon as you can or otherwise you will be up for much longer travel times.

Flights & Travel

So as you can see, ensuring you book out far enough to make sure you can be accommodated is important.

Getting there, and paying a reasonable price is at times just as imperative, and sometimes the convergence of events doesn’t help with prices if left to the last minute. For example this year as in every year Easter coincides with school holidays,add to that the fact that this year ANZAC day falls the same week that Easter Monday arrives. This mean if you were looking to travel to  Europe to attend Mass at the Vatican over Easter you would be competing for flight space with school holiday makers (students, teachers and families), as well as pilgrims heading to Turkey and France to attend ANZAC Day services. Even six months out flights were already becoming more expensive than many hoped for.

Tickets and Entry

This may sound simple enough but making sure you get the right ticket for the event you are attending can be critical. Making sure you have seating at the best spot to view the parades as Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, to witness the final match at the Australian Open, or to get a close up view of the Edinburgh Tattoo. Booking ahead, or as soon as they become available means that you will have more choice in where you want to be placed, rather than simply being placed wherever is left.

Climate and Preparing for it.

Not everyone stops to consider this but, while the weather in Australia is fairly mild year round, when travelling to attend events overseas the weather can make a huge impact on your travelling arrangements. For (as an extreme example) if you attend the Harbin Ice Festival you will be in China in the midst of winter, with temperatures often below freezing which means packing heavy duty cold weather gear, a big change from the thought that you may need a jumper when you travel, making sure you have well fitted gloves and jackets means making sure you have time to get them before you travel.

As another example people attending the Dawn Service at Gallipoli will usually spend all night on the beaches, so whilst the days may be moderately warm (or not unbearably cold) the temperatures drop fast in the night and towards Dawn are almost freezing – an not every tour company provides sleeping bags for whilst you are on the beach so being prepared is definitely a key to attending this event and packing appropriately.

Finding You A Travel Companion!

Finally, and from our perspective always worth while, is that the best reason to start looking, thinking and organising early is so that if you do want us as Shoalhaven Solo Sisters (or My Travel Expert) to find someone else who is interested in travelling to the event of your choice, then the more notice you give the more chances we have of being able to find someone for you from our database and possible pool of travellers. If you let us know 12 months, or 9 months out that “hey I really want to attend Naadam in Mongolia” , then we have a chance at finding you a travel parter. Where as if you come to us 3 months before the event is due to take place the possibility of us finding someone, let alone someone who will be willing to pay an inflated price for booking closer to the event, is far, far, less probable.

So, if you are thinking about attending an event somewhere around the world, remember to get in touch with us early to ensure your arrangements are organised to meet your desires, and an affordable budget!