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Top travel trivia we’re getting wrong

<p>Even if you are a geography whiz or avid traveller, it is time to face the facts – and realise you’re getting many of them wrong. It seems that kangaroo-riding, drop bear-avoiding Australians believe many of the myths and misconceptions perpetuated about rivers, peaks, cities and place names around the globe. For the sake of our high school geography teachers and pub trivia teams, we did our research to bust open these top 18 surprising mistakes:</p> <p><strong>Antarctica has no time zones – False</strong></p> <p>The widely held belief that Antarctica does not use time zones has been debunked by the stations operating on the icy continent. In actual fact, nine different time zones are in use in the South Pole.</p> <p><strong>Russia and Turkey are the only countries on two continents – False</strong></p> <p>A quick look at the map might make it appear that Russia and Turkey are the only countries lying across two continents, but the experts beg to differ. Geologists insist that the boundary between Asia and Europe is in fact the Caucasus watershed, which would mean Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan also qualify.</p> <p><strong>The Nile River is the longest in the world – False</strong></p> <p>This one comes down to semantics. If you take tributaries, river bends and multiple channels into consideration, the Amazon River is marginally longer than its North African cousin at 6992 kilometres to the Nile’s 6852.</p> <p><strong>The South Pole is the same as Antarctica – False</strong></p> <p>It isn’t actually wrong to identify Antarctica as the South Pole, although technicality would have it that the term can refer to four possible South Poles on the frozen continent. The Geographic South Pole, Inaccessible South Pole, Geomagnetic South Pole and Magnetic South Pole (which constantly moves with magnetic drift!) are all different locations in Antarctica.</p> <p><strong>The capital of Switzerland is Geneva – False</strong></p> <p>Despite its prominence in international politics, the European UN’s headquarters is not in fact the nation’s capital. Neither is Zurich, another famous global cultural centre. The title actually goes to humble Bern, the fourth largest city in Switzerland, situated on the Aare River.</p> <p><em>Written by Sophie Cullen. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.mydiscoveries.com.au/stories/top-travel-trivia-we-re-getting-wrong-antarctica-china-russia-turkey/">MyDiscoveries.</a> </em></p>

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Lord Howe Island: a nature-lover’s paradise

<p>From adventurous walks to stunning snorkels, Lord Howe Island is the ideal exotic escape for anyone wanting a diverse array of astonishing natural scenery and activities. It is the ideal vacation locale for venturesome Aussies looking to travel, quite literally, outside the 'normal' Australia.</p> <p><strong>Lord Howe Island facts</strong><br />Lord Howe Island is a multi-award winning, World Heritage-listed paradise less than a two-hour flight from Sydney and Brisbane. It is located 600km from Australia’s east coast and is an unincorporated area of New South Wales. Although it is part of the electoral district of Port Macquarie, it is self-governed by the Lord Howe Island Board.</p> <p>Lord Howe Island has just 350 permanent residents and allows only 400 tourists to visit at any one time. As well as regular flights from Sydney (weekdays) and Brisbane (weekends), QantasLink also offers a seasonal Saturday service from Port Macquarie (September to end of May in 2016/17). </p> <p>Lord Howe Island enjoys consistently warm weather, with average maximum temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius in summer, dropping to an average of 19 degrees in winter.</p> <p>The island is a truly unique and refreshing getaway as it is beyond the reach of mobile phones and other technologies, forcing you to evade civilisation and immerse yourself in the unspoiled natural landscape. The island features all basic amenities such as a hospital, shops, post office, churches and public phones. One of the most refreshing elements is that you can walk or cycle everywhere around the island. There are also a limited number of cars available for hire if the situation calls for it.</p> <p>It is incredibly safe for people of all ages, including children on account of the lack of snakes or stingers and the island-wide speed limit of 25km/h.</p> <p>The real attractions of Lord Howe Island are its pristine forests and coastlines, as well as the abundant native wildlife. The island is a remnant of a now-extinct shield volcano dating back seven million years. And remarkably, 87% of the original native vegetation remains on the unique isle. </p> <p>It is home to 241 species of indigenous plants, almost half of which are not found anywhere else in the world. On top of the 500 fish species, 1600 terrestrial insect species and 90 coral species, more seabirds breed in higher numbers on Lord Howe than anywhere else in the world.</p> <p><strong>How to plan a trip to Lord Howe</strong><br />In terms of organising your trip, there are a range of travel operators who organise travel, accommodation and tours to Lord Howe Island. It is easiest and cheapest to organise the trip as part of a package or bundle, as your accommodation provider will then pick you up from the airport and help you arrange activities once on the island.</p> <p><strong>Real traveller's tips<br /></strong>Gold Coast resident Heather Mayr recently did a trip to Lord Howe Island with her 78-year-old mother and 55-year-old sister and husband. Her biggest piece of advice for anyone travelling to Lord Howe Island is to be flexible. When planning tours she suggests that you simply register your interest, and then you will be notified (the night before or the morning of) as to whether the trip will go ahead.</p> <p>“Many of the tours and activities operate subject to weather conditions, which are very changeable – so don’t go there with a set itinerary. You need to be flexible and jump at opportunities when they come up.”</p> <p>Keeping this changeable weather in mind, Heather also recommended taking out travel insurance as the flights can often be cancelled. Below are Heather’s top recommended activities for anyone travelling to Lord Howe Island.</p> <p><strong>Top 5 activities on Lord Howe Island</strong></p> <p><strong>1. Bushwalk to a mountaintop for breathtaking 360-degree views</strong> </p> <p>Challenge yourself with the eight-hour return trek to the tallest peak (875m), Mt Gower. This stunning walk features a misty alpine forest, thrilling, rope-assisted climbs and unparalleled views of the surrounding coastline and bushland. Alternatively, if you are looking for a less demanding stroll, you could opt for the one-hour walk to Transit Hill, which also offers stunning 360-degree views of the island.</p> <p><strong>2. Snorkelling at Ned’s Beach</strong></p> <p>Snorkelling is one of the best ways to observe the phenomenal marine life of Lord Howe Island. Wade through the crystal blue water, watch as schools of colourful fish flock to your side as you hand-feed the fascinating little creatures and enjoy the mesmerising kaleidoscope of colours of the fish and coral reef – the southernmost coral reef on the planet.</p> <p><strong>3. Turtle tour in a glass-bottom boat</strong></p> <p>A glass-bottom boat is one of the most authentic and awe-inspiring experiences, allowing you to witness turtles and other phenomenal marine life in their natural habitat.</p> <p><strong>4. Fishing charter or boat tour circumnavigating the island</strong></p> <p>A boat tour provides you the chance to explore the 551-metre Ball’s Pyramid, the world’s tallest sea-stack. You can also go fishing, and spot birds, fish and even dolphins.</p> <p><strong>5. Surfing at Blinky Beach</strong></p> <p>Blinky Beach is a pristine location offering some of the most secluded surfing opportunities in the country. It is also a perfect location for a fishing trip or a relaxing picnic.</p> <p>Other popular activities on Lord Howe Island include golfing with one of the most stunning views in the country, scuba diving among the diverse marine wildlife, kayaking, paddle boarding, bird watching and a myriad of other tours and natural experiences.</p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/lord-howe-island-a-nature-lovers-paradise.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Evacuating with a grandbaby: Here’s what to put in your emergency kit

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every summer in Australia, bushfires, cyclones and floods threaten lives and properties. Preparing for these emergencies includes creating </span><a href="https://www.redcross.org.au/campaigns/prepare/prepare-get-packing"><span style="font-weight: 400;">an emergency kit</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that contains everything you and your baby will need if essential services are disrupted or you need to evacuate.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Infants are </span><a href="http://research.usc.edu.au:8080/vital/access/manager/Repository/usc:25429?lightbox=true"><span style="font-weight: 400;">particularly vulnerable</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in emergencies. Without access to appropriate food and fluid they can become seriously ill within hours, </span><a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2009111"><span style="font-weight: 400;">particularly in hot weather</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Families can be isolated without power or water in their homes for long periods. They can be </span><a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/126921723"><span style="font-weight: 400;">stranded in their cars while evacuating for hours or even days</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. And because government planning for infants is lacking, even when you reach an evacuation centre, you may have to </span><a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7528-0"><span style="font-weight: 400;">wait to access infant feeding supplies</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But parents can find it difficult to pack the necessary supplies for their babies. We are so used to having reliable power and water that it’s hard to imagine what it’s like not to have them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the 2011 Queensland flooding and cyclone Yasi disasters, for example, </span><a href="https://www.usc.edu.au/explore/usc-news-exchange/news-archive/2018/december/floods-cyclones-bring-sickness-threat-to-babies"><span style="font-weight: 400;">one-quarter of families evacuated</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> were unable to pack adequate infant feeding supplies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This difficulty is compounded by the fact that, apart from </span><a href="https://www.qld.gov.au/emergency/dealing-disasters/prepare-for-disasters/food-during-disaster"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Queensland</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, state and territory governments </span><a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-019-7528-0"><span style="font-weight: 400;">do not provide detailed guidance for parents</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> on what to pack for babies in emergency kits. Some emergency organisations offer more advice on what to pack for pets than for babies.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Gathering supplies at the last minute can be dangerous as it can delay leaving.</span></p> <p><strong>So, what do parents and caregivers need in their kit?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Emergency kits should have everything you need to look after your baby for at least three days without having any access to electricity or water.</span></p> <p><strong>Breastfed babies</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If your baby is less than six months old and fully breastfed, you will need nappies, wipes, and some extra water to keep hydrated.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some mothers worry they won’t be able to breastfeed during an emergency. Babies are often unsettled in emergencies but </span><a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16157942"><span style="font-weight: 400;">stress doesn’t impact milk production</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, </span><a href="https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/11/3012S/4686704"><span style="font-weight: 400;">it can slow the release of milk</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. If this happens, keep offering the breast, look at your baby, think about how much you love them; this will release hormones that make the milk flow and help you and your baby to feel more relaxed. Frequent breastfeeding increases the amount of milk a baby takes from the breast.</span></p> <p><strong>Expressed breastmilk-fed babies</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you feed your baby expressed breastmilk, you need to learn how to hand express, as it may not be possible to wash pump parts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You will also need drinking water for yourself, detergent, around 400ml of water per feed for washing hands, disposable plastic cups or single-use bottles and teats for feeding the baby, as well as nappies and nappy wipes.</span></p> <p><strong>Formula-fed babies</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are are formula feeding, we suggest the following as a minimum:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">an unopened tin of infant formula</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">enough bottles and teats to have one for every feed (thoroughly washed, sterilised and completely dry before sealing in a ziplock bag)</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://www.eatforhealth.gov.au/sites/default/files/files/the_guidelines/n56_infant_feeding_guidelines.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">small bottles of still drinking water</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (not mineral or carbonated water) for reconstitution</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">large containers or bottles for washing hands and the preparation area (about 500ml per time)</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">detergent for washing hands and the preparation area</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">paper towels for drying hands and the preparation area</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">nappies and nappy wipes.</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All of these supplies can be stored in a large plastic tub with a flat lid that you can turn upside down and use as a clean preparation surface.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When using the kit, it’s important to only make up the infant formula when it is going to be fed to the baby and to throw out any leftover formula within an hour of starting the feed.</span></p> <p><strong>Babies aged over six months</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If your baby has started solids, include enough canned baby foods and disposable spoons in your kit to feed your baby for three days.</span></p> <p><strong>Other things to consider</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are formula feeding and it’s possible you’re going to be isolated at home without power for more than a few days, you </span><a href="https://internationalbreastfeedingjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1746-4358-6-16/figures/3"><span style="font-weight: 400;">may need to store resources</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> such as a gas stove and a large quantity of water to enable washing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Emergencies often occur during heat waves and </span><a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/emergency/plan-for-an-emergency/2012-09-04/plan-for-a-heatwave/4215360?fbclid=IwAR1PreuexNYq8ZP0upXgfq7Q7VLOE6mIMfqHSkxcH6lm4MWdvAjapXl5DHw"><span style="font-weight: 400;">general advice</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> includes drinking plenty of water to prevent dehydration. This advice doesn’t apply to babies under six months of age. Young babies can be made </span><a href="https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00032470.htm"><span style="font-weight: 400;">very ill if given water alone</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Instead, offer your baby </span><a href="https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Factsheets/babies-children-hot-weather.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">more frequent breast or formula feeds</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re wondering whether to stop breastfeeding, consider delaying this decision until after the summer emergency season has passed, as it’s much easier to breastfeed than to formula feed in emergency conditions.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Karleen Gribble and Nina J Berry. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/evacuating-with-a-baby-heres-what-to-put-in-your-emergency-kit-127026"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Conversation. </span></a></em></p>

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Intensifying bushfires: Acknowledging the strain on our volunteers

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The early and ferocious start to the bushfire season in Australia this year has raised questions about the impact on those at the frontline – the tens of thousands of volunteers helping to put out the blazes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Australia, </span><a href="https://www.sbs.com.au/news/the-feed/why-do-australia-s-bushfire-defences-rely-on-tens-of-thousands-of-volunteers"><span style="font-weight: 400;">the vast majority of bushfire fighters are volunteers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. In the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, for instance, </span><a href="https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/about/Documents/Volunteerism-Strategy.PDF"><span style="font-weight: 400;">volunteers account for 89% of the workforce</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And with fire seasons due to become longer and bushfires more intense due to the impacts of climate change, this will place even more demands on the men and women undertaking this vital and demanding work.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Given this, it’s important for us to understand how our worsening bushfires are affecting the mental and physical health of volunteers. Is this causing burnout? And if so, is that making it more difficult for fire and emergency services to recruit new volunteers and keep the ones they have?</span></p> <p><strong>Challenges for volunteer recruitment and retention</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Of course, the impact of today’s bushfires needs to be viewed within the context of other challenges to volunteer recruitment and retention.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Two of the key factors are greater competition for people’s time – for example, due to </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1464286705000173"><span style="font-weight: 400;">changes in the nature of paid work</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> – and the increasing difficulty of balancing work, family and volunteer commitments.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1023948027200"><span style="font-weight: 400;">ways people choose to volunteer are also changing</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Many people are choosing more flexible, shorter-term and cause-driven ways of volunteering and eschewing the kind of structured, high-commitment volunteering that is common in the emergency services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the same time, rural communities </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/why-rural-australia-is-facing-a-volunteer-crisis-95937"><span style="font-weight: 400;">are facing a shrinking volunteer base</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> as people either leave for better opportunities in cities or can no longer perform strenuous volunteering roles.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile, a lot has been said about younger generations being less motivated by altruistic values to volunteer.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/stop-calling-young-people-apathetic-for-many-volunteering-and-activism-go-hand-in-hand-123754"><span style="font-weight: 400;">there is considerable evidence</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that younger people are highly committed to making a positive contribution to society. They are just doing it differently than their parents – they are tapping into the power of social media and working outside of formal, structured organisations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Changes to emergency management services are also at play. </span><a href="https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/publications/biblio/bnh-5415"><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the most significant shifts</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has been the professionalisation, corporatisation and modernisation of volunteer-based emergency services in recent years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While this has undeniably brought improvements to volunteer safety and the quality of service, it has also caused headaches for volunteers in the form of more bureaucracy and additional training requirements.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is a risk </span><a href="https://apo.org.au/sites/default/files/resource-files/2019/06/apo-nid244761-1369896.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">this could drive a wedge</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> between the corporate goals of fire and emergency service agencies that focus on risk management and efficiency, for example, and their more traditional, community-based roots – the reason many people choose to volunteer in the first place.</span></p> <p><strong>Improving support for volunteers</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This type of volunteering can be demanding. Bushfire volunteers face a range of significant stresses that can be </span><a href="https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=943666236119043;res=IELHSS"><span style="font-weight: 400;">physical</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><a href="https://www.beyondblue.org.au/about-us/about-our-work/workplace-mental-health/pes-program/national-mental-health-and-wellbeing-study-of-police-and-emergency-services"><span style="font-weight: 400;">mental and emotional</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/apr/09/former-fire-chiefs-warn-australia-unprepared-for-escalating-climate-threat"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Volunteer fatigue and burnout are real concerns</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are also economic burdens for both volunteers and their employers, as well as strains on their family members.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Additionally, with the likelihood of more intense bushfires in the future, volunteers will increasingly be asked to </span><a href="https://www.vfbv.com.au/index.php/champs/urban/results/item/739-cfa-assistance-to-nsw"><span style="font-weight: 400;">travel outside their own communities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to fight fires in other regions, further complicating their lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Having said this, support for volunteers is available and improving. In </span><a href="https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/research/resilience-hazards/3533"><span style="font-weight: 400;">my ongoing research</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> with other academics at the Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre, interviewees report improvements in operational equipment, technology and procedures that are enhancing volunteer safety.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Emergency services are also increasing mental health and well-being support for volunteers and developing </span><a href="https://www.ses.nsw.gov.au/media/2964/volunteering-reimagined-overview-paper.pdf"><span style="font-weight: 400;">more diverse and flexible ways</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for people to fit volunteering into their lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is also a </span><a href="https://malechampionsofchange.com/groups/male-champions-change-fire-emergency/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">strong commitment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to improving diversity and inclusion across the sector.</span></p> <p><strong>The reasons people want to help</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even though fighting fires is obviously demanding work, it is also extremely fulfilling and rewarding. </span><a href="https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/publications/biblio/bnh-6012"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Core reasons</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that people choose to volunteer include helping the community, learning new skills, feeling useful and doing something worthwhile, and experiencing camaraderie with others.</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.bnhcrc.com.au/research/resilience-hazards/3533"><span style="font-weight: 400;">In our ongoing research</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, we are consistently hearing that the personal fulfilment and rewards of volunteering are not being adequately communicated to the public. If they were, a lot more people would offer their services.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In addition, many volunteering roles </span><a href="https://www.miragenews.com/get-behind-frontline-to-help-our-emergency-services/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">do not require people to be on the front lines</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> at all. There are a large number of </span><a href="https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/Pages/McGowan/2019/11/Get-Behind-the-Frontline-to-help-our-emergency-services-.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">opportunities</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> to support fire prevention, response and recovery well beyond the fires themselves.</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212420915300388"><span style="font-weight: 400;">We also know</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that everyday people are deeply motivated to help others in the face of disaster. Indeed, NSW RFS and QFES are likely to see an upswing in people inquiring about volunteering in the aftermath of the current fires.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, there is one important thing to note: the best time to approach emergency services about volunteering is before an event, rather than during one.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If we are fighting bushfires into the next decade with the same or declining numbers of volunteers, using the same approaches we use today, then clearly the job will be much harder and the demands on volunteers will become more extreme.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The key variable that will make the most difference for volunteers is the willingness and commitment of emergency services, governments, society and volunteers themselves to embrace change to current practices.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This includes a greater investment in risk reduction, new operational approaches and involving volunteers more in organisational decision making. Emergency services providers should also be working more closely with community organisations to better understand and target the particular needs of different communities.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Whatever choices we make, we cannot leave it to our front line volunteers to bear an increasing burden of fighting the bushfires of the future.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Blythe McLennan. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://theconversation.com/as-bushfires-intensify-we-need-to-acknowledge-the-strain-on-our-volunteers-127517"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Conversation.</span></a></em></p>

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5 extraordinary uses for paper bags

<p>Paper bags are very to handy to have around the home. While they are standardly use to carry food, they have other incredible uses.</p> <p><strong>Here are five extraordinary ways you can use paper bags.</strong></p> <p><strong>1. Dry herbs</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wash and thoroughly dry several bunches of herbs and place them upside down in a paper bag.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tie the bag at the stems, punch in a few holes and put it in a warm, dry place for two weeks.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Grind the herbs, then store.</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>2. Boost compost</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">A great addition to any compost heap, brown paper bags contain less ink and pigment than newspaper, and attract more worms.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">First shred and wet the bags, then mix into the compost well so they don’t dry out and blow away.</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>3. Prepare vegetables</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rip open one or two paper bags and spread them over your benchtop when peeling vegetables, shelling peas, or doing any other messy job.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you’re done, simply fold the paper and throw it all into the compost.</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>4. Catch dust</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remove dust from a mop by placing a paper bag over the head, then use string or a rubber band to stop it slipping.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shake and gently bump the mop so the dust falls into the bag, let the dust settle, then take off the bag.</span></li> </ul> <p><strong>5. Spray stuff</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">You don’t have to make a mess when spray-painting small items.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just place what you’re painting inside a large paper bag and it will contain the excess spray.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once the item has dried, remove it and throw the bag away.</span></li> </ul> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-extraordinary-uses-paper-bags?slide=all"><span style="font-weight: 400;">handyman.net.au.</span></a></em></p> <p> </p>

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The real reason public toilet seats are different to ones at home

<p>It’s a detail that’s been staring at you in the face but it’s highly likely you’ve missed it.</p> <p>Why do some public toilets have U-shaped lids?</p> <p>The question seems to be on everyone’s mind as social media tries to decipher the reasoning behind it.</p> <p>Thankfully, YouTube channel Bright Side answered the question for all those curious minds out there, as in the US, it’s mandatory to have “open seats” in public bathrooms.</p> <p>But in Australia, things are a little different.</p> <p>“With one exception, there aren’t requirements for U-shaped toilet seats to be used in Australia through the National Construction Code, the national ‘standard’ for plumbing,” said Master Plumbers chief executive officer Peter Daly to<span> </span><em>news.com.au</em>.</p> <p>“This exception is for what are known as ‘adult change facilities’ where a full-circle seat is required for those with special needs. There are also special requirements for making sure the seat can carry a higher weight and doesn’t shift when users have limited mobility.”</p> <p>But that doesn’t stop you from seeing them in public spots around the country – and there’s a reason.</p> <p>“The U-shaped toilet seat is commonly found in public bathrooms because the gap in the front of the seat is also designed to be more hygienic for both males and females in a high-use environment,” said Mr Daly.</p> <p>This ensures the genital area is kept as far away from the toilet seat as possible, which is important because multiple people use public bathrooms.</p> <p>After the revelation, many have been grossed out.</p> <p>“This is why I rarely use public bathrooms unless absolutely necessary,” wrote one person on social media.</p>

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Fiji for the pleasure seekers

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Coming close to perfection, a cruise through Fiji’s Yasawa Islands won Bev Malzard’s vote – and heart.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After a four-hour flight from Sydney to Fiji and arriving in Nadi I immediately switched to ‘Fiji time’. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I strolled out to grab a cab to take me to Denaru Island – the island where all the fabulous hotels hang out together.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After checking into the elegant Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa, my companion and I scoped out the hotel to explore what we could do for the next two days – easy: eat, sleep, spa, pool. We tried fine dining, classic poolside snacks, brekkie on the Lagoon Terrace and a meal outside at Salt, where we sheltered under an umbrella while some welcome, cooling rain arrived the same time as dessert. Day two called for a day at the pool with intermittent trips for indulgent treatments at Mandara Spa – mmm, too good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Next day we embarked on a four day cruise on MV Endeavour that would take us up through the northern group of Yasawa Islands on Fiji time. Early in the piece we got used to making quick, crucial decisions – what to do today? Stay onboard and gaze at the horizon or read, go ashore to swim, snorkel, and walk along pristine beaches and visit local villages – hardly worth deciding really.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Long, white, sandy beaches beckoned even the most tentative swimmer; the waters are safe and serene.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One night after dinner we all joined in for the Reef Endeavour Cup – we purchased tiny hermit crabs and put them to work for the big crab race. NO crabs were injured in this exercise. The following day the dozy crabs were released into their new home, the famous Blue Lagoon – it’s all about location.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still on Sawa-L-Lau, a few of us were intrigued by a staircase built on the side of a cliff that started on the beach, stopping a few metres up the side. We climbed the stairs and paid a local man $10 and he opened a door behind some scrub in the side of the cliff. Curiouser and curiouser . . .</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We scrambled down a few damp, muddy steps, and beneath us appeared a glorious iridescent pool cupped in the middle of a cavernous cave. The water was exquisite aqua – no blue could ever match this. We dived in and looked up to the eye in the sky. We were deep inside a magical cave swimming in cold, clear water. This has to be one of the great swims of my life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With holiday joy providing a new colour to my aura, I realised that the ‘secret pool’ was just one of the parts that make up the rare and beautiful sum of what Fiji is.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Bula that accompanies the obligatory lei on arrival at Nadi airport has nothing on the bellow of ‘buuuulaaaa’ that welcomes guests at the Outrigger on the Lagoon, an hour’s drive away on the Coral Coast.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Staff welcome arrivals, and a talai (personal butler) hands each guest a refreshing towel and cocktail, and waits while we soak up the view from the reception area – clear across the top of the resort to the ocean – before whisking guests and luggage away to settle in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My talai offers to unpack and iron my clothes and promises to return each afternoon with champagne and canapes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The next morning we’re off to the Sigatoka Sand Dunes with our guide, Kini Sarai, ex-Fiji rugby international who now works at the Outrigger and coaches the local rugby 7s team that the resort sponsors.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s a fair hike through the forest and over vegetated areas of the 650ha of dunes, but we are surrounded by beauty every step of the way. Back ‘home’ we jump aboard the resort’s buggy, and are whisked up to the Bebe Spa Sanctuary. At the top of the hill beside the resort, it’s a dream.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I am cocooned in a bathrobe and led to my private treatment room. An hour later, scrubbed, wrapped and soaked, I’m led to the shower on a balcony overlooking the ocean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another hour later, massaged, soaked and moisturised, I watch the sun drop into the ocean from the resort’s Kalokalo Bar where I sip champagne wishing my Fiji time will never end.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Bev Malzard. Republished with </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/fiji-for-the-pleasure-seekers.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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How do you help grandchildren adjust when they’re moving?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When our children move house, we’re often asked to help store their clutter so their home is looking at its best during marketing. However, looking after grandchildren is sometimes added to the list of our desirable contributions when children are moving. And, given that moving home can be particularly stressful for young children and teenagers, there are a few tips to consider – before and after they move.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Routines are understandably disrupted in major ways during moving and sensitive planning can help all family members, but especially young children, to better cope with the impending changes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the problems is that busy parents, hectic professional lives, and the necessities of an extremely competitive real estate market can mean little thought is given to the effect moving has on young children and teenagers, both of whom respond differently. Certainly no thought is given to the advice grandparents might need when asked to look after children in the middle of the moving process or how to deal with what comes up afterwards.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Firstly, kids need time to get used to the idea of moving, so parents should give them as much advance warning as possible. It is important for other family members such as grandparents provide them with as much additional information as possible about why the family is moving and what they can expect in their new home and suburb.</span></p> <p><strong>Before the move</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here are some tips that should help smooth the process of looking after kids when they are in the process of moving suburb, interstate or overseas:</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Ask grandchildren to share their feelings with you:</strong> Although you’ll undoubtedly be going through your range of emotions, experts say open discussion is very important so your grandchildren can voice the feelings they’re encountering. Listen to what they have to say and assure them that you understand any concerns. Talk to them about your moving experiences and reassure them about life’s journey, and how change can often opens doors to new and exciting chapters and friends.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Don’t take their reactions personally:</strong> Children can have problems adjusting to a move, or the idea of moving, and can blame a parent or parents for causing it. Don’t fall into the trap of defending a parent’s decision making if this happens. Explain that sometimes big decisions can’t be avoided and reinforce some of the positive outcomes that are possible from a move.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Make them a part of the process.</strong> Ask your children to help very young grandchildren pack some of their favourite items as their house is being packed up. It can help them understand that although the family will be moving to a new home, their belongings will be moving with them. Personalise their boxes with labels and stickers. Perhaps even ask them if they would like some of their belongings to holiday at your house, during the move.
</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Be cautiously optimistic.</strong> It’s important to be positive and optimistic because your grandchildren’s attitude will largely mirror yours and that of their parents. However, don’t insist everything is going to be wonderful. Even if the new house is fantastic, it’s normal for it to take some time to adjust.
</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Help grandchildren to explore the new neighbourhood on the Internet:</strong> If they’ll be moving to a new suburb or town, use Google Street View, Google Earth, maps, tourism information websites, local council websites and Wikipedia pages from your new local council or the Internet to explain where you’ll be living. Explain any differences in weather and geography and talk about any nearby attractions that may be interesting, such as moving closer to the beach or to a park. 
</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Try to keep a routine:</strong> A child’s world is based on routine and it’s important to try and keep some semblance of normalcy throughout the process. We suggest sticking to a set time for dinner every evening, no matter how chaotic things seem to be, and to regular weekend activities the family enjoys.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For younger children and toddlers, it can be useful to speak to your doctor about issues such as a new diet or the start of toilet training. It may be better to put any further new experiences on hold until you’ve settled in to the new home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With teenagers, the most prevalent concerns revolve around the loss of peer groups, friends and what to expect from a new school. It’s vitally important not to invalidate their feelings but to openly acknowledge their fears and discuss the importance of keeping a sense of proportion and context. Moving house can be exceptionally challenging for teenagers but also an important, strengthening, life experience when handled sensitively.</span></p> <p><strong>After the move</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After your grandchildren have moved, there’s bound to be a settling in period – perhaps for you as well. If they’ve moved some distance away, you may feel just as heartbroken as them. In fact, it can be doubly difficult for grandparents because you may be experiencing considerable anxiety about the loss of regular visits to your children as well as your grandchildren.</span></p> <p><strong>There are a few things you can do to make the separation less arduous:</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re not particularly tech-savvy, or if you’d like to teach your grandchildren the art of snail mail, make a folder with some paper for very young grandchildren to write notes or draw pictures of their new neighbourhood and friends on. Include some addressed, stamped envelopes (taking account of any looming postal increases) and encourage them to snail mail you at any time.</span></li> </ul> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Set up a Skype account or try out Facetime with the kids before they move. It’s a great way of providing a fun and reassuring way of them keeping in touch whenever they like.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Create a photo album or a framed photo collage with all the great times you’ve shared.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Give your grandchildren a special possession for safekeeping and to remember you by.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Provide the recipe for one your grandchildren’s favourite treats or meals.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finally, it’s important to let children know that they’ll always be in your heart and in your thoughts, that their future holds exciting new adventures that will also include you, and that you have a pact to find ways to stay in contact and strengthen your bond until you see each other again next time.</span></li> </ul> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/how-do-you-help-grandchildren-adjust-when-they%E2%80%99re-moving.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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How to survive the holidays after divorce

<p>For many of us who are going through or recovering from divorce, the holidays can feel dark, lonely and stressful. But moving on with our lives does not mean that we cannot enjoy the holidays. In fact, we can even make them better than ever before when we remember the following tips.<br /><br /><strong>Your memory may play tricks on you, so be careful!</strong><br />We’re all guilty of remembering our past "married" Christmases as perfect. It’s easy to fall into this trap when we are divorced. But what we forget are all the things that weren’t great during the holidays when we were married. When we shut those not-perfect memories of family holidays out, we are subconsciously setting ourselves up for failure. We are holding our current holiday mood up to an impossible ideal of selective memories that may not be correct. We do this when we are feeling down, trying to imagine a happier time.</p> <p>This way of thinking does not serve you because you are holding yourself to an ideal that is impossible to attain. Making yourself feel guilty or resentful or longing for the past will not serve you this holiday season. The only way to start loving the holidays again is to reclaim for yourself… now.<br /><br /><strong>Stay hopeful, but be realistic</strong><br />For years, we have been inundated with other people, the media and the internet telling us how Christmas “should” be. These unrealistic expectations of perfect holidays and families getting along have conditioned us to feel as if we are not up to those standards. We feel that we are wrong, and that we’re not celebrating the holidays “the right way”.</p> <p>You have worked too hard over the decades and deserve more than to get sucked into the idea that you’re doing Christmas wrong. This year, it is time to envision what the best holiday season means for you, regardless of where you are in your life.</p> <p>A change in family circumstance does not mean you are sentenced to feel bad. It just means that you are now given an opportunity to decide how you want the holidays to be, regardless of what anyone else thinks.<br /><br /><strong>How to love the holidays again</strong><br />The first steps to learning to love the holidays again begin here. Celebrate you and your new life, by answering the following questions. Ask yourself:</p> <ul> <li>What do you really want to do?</li> <li>What will give you joy this holiday season?</li> <li>What steps will you take to get there?</li> </ul> <p>That is all you must ask yourself. These answers do not have to be complicated. You are not required to spend a lot of money on them.</p> <p><strong>Reclaiming your holidays</strong><br />Shaking off your loneliness and reclaiming the holidays for yourself as a divorced woman or man over 50 is all about taking care of yourself for a change. This is the year that you can say “no” to the things from holidays past that you have not enjoyed and that bring you stress, such as travelling, seeing toxic family members, spending too much money.<br /><br />This is also the year where you can pick the traditions that you love and throw out the rest. This is the year that you can define what a joyous season means to you and choose to celebrate how you want to celebrate.<br /><br />And learning to love Christmas again, even if you are divorced and over 50, starts with kicking those unrealistic expectations to the kerb and ignoring the selective memory that plays tricks on you.<br /><br />These next few weeks can be the season that you finally recognise that you deserve holiday joy and happiness and you have the power to define that on your own terms. Will you accept that gift.</p> <p><em>Written by Martha Bodyfelt. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/lifestyle/wyza-life/how-to-survive-the-holidays-after-divorce.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Protecting your home while you're away

<p>Planning your summer escape, or heading off soon for a well-deserved break? Read up on these simple and cost-effective security measures to ensure your home and property remain safe while you’re away.</p> <p>Many people leave their homes and cars unattended when they head off on their summer holidays and that can be a green light for burglars. It’s important to take as many precautions as you can to ensure you don’t return from your holiday to find you’re a victim of crime.</p> <p><strong>Tips to help boost your home’s security</strong> <br /><br /><strong>1. Get a security alarm:</strong> If you have the time - and the budget - before you go away, consider installing a burglar alarm. This is still one of the best deterrents to break-ins. For most burglars, an alarm simply makes your home too difficult to try and enter. Be sure to display notices about the alarm system prominently at doors and windows.</p> <p><strong>2. Lock all doors and windows:</strong>It sounds obvious, but people in a rush to head off can easily forget to close a window or secure a door. A lot us have done it! If possible, fit deadlocks to main doors and windows, as these are a major hurdle for a would-be burglar.</p> <p><strong>3. Create a ‘lived in’ look:</strong>While away, make sure your home still looks ‘lived in’. Leave a pair of old shoes at the back door, some water in the dog’s bowl or an old towel on the washing line. Make sure a trusted neighbour or family member collects mail and regularly adjusts curtains and blinds. If possible, ask a friend or neighbour to regularly park in your driveway or outside your home, to suggest activity.</p> <p><strong>4. Set timers:</strong>Timers are available from hardware stores and allow you to switch your TV or radio on at various times during the day and some lights on at night. Tune your radio to a talkback station so there’s the sound of many different voices. If someone is snooping around, it will make it harder for them to know if someone is inside the house.</p> <p><strong>5. Sensor lights:</strong>These are anther inexpensive deterrent that remain useful throughout the year. Install them at all external doorways.</p> <p><strong>6. Secure the shed and garage:</strong>Put away and secure items such as ladders, tools and gardening implements as these can assist in forced entry and make sure the garage is locked. Store away any valuable outdoor items, such as bicycles and the barbecue.</p> <p><strong>7. Turn down the phone volume:</strong>An endlessly ringing phone can be a give-away that there’s no one home. Turn down the volume, and make sure the voice message gives no clue that you’ve gone on holidays.</p> <p><strong>8. Spare keys:</strong>These should be left only with a trusted family member, friend or neighbour. Don’t ever keep them under a flower pot or a door mat. A burglar will easily find them. </p> <p><em>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/property/protecting-your-home-while-youre-away.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Natural therapies for jet lag

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jet lag occurs when our body clock ‘lags’ behind (or in front) of local time. Symptoms of jet lag include; fatigue, sleepiness during the day, trouble concentrating, sluggishness, clumsiness and generally feeling less than fabulous. Jet lag is made worse by travel fatigue. Sitting down for hours in small seats, squished side-by-side like sardines in a can, our muscles are bound to cramp and tire. Even sardines get to lie down.</span></p> <p><strong>Reducing Jet lag</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The trick is you set your watch to the local time of your destination. This means that you try to sleep when it is night-time at your destination, and eat at your destination’s meal times. Speaking of eating, it is best to eat lightly, so you don’t feel like a stuffed trout – salads and fruit, instead of sugar and starch. The air circulating in planes is as dry as a chip and dehydration adds to jet lag, also triggering sinusitis, headaches and blotchy skin. Aim to drink one glass of water an hour while on the plane. And before you take-off make sure you are fully hydrated (this does not mean ‘tanked’) for the 24 hours prior to take off, drinking at least 2 litres of water.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The downside to drinking all this water is the need to use the bathroom frequently, which can be inconvenient when you are in the middle seat. However, the trip to the loo can double as ‘exercise’. We need to exercise to prevent swelling of the ankles and legs, and to prevent deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal condition that comes from being cramped in a confined space for hours. Why not make the exercise fun? If you were good at hurdles at school, use the food carts in the aisles to practice your jumping skills – the hosties won’t mind a bit. More sedate exercise involves circling your feet and ankles, hands and wrists, lifting each thigh for twenty seconds, while pulling in your tummy. Looks odd, but works a treat.</span></p> <p><strong>Other tips:</strong></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Arnica, a homoeopathic remedy, is terrific for jet lag. Take a dose every couple of hours of the flight, and for a day after you arrive.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are an anxious flyer, take a dose of Rescue Remedy before and during the flight. Kava is also excellent for creating calm.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Take Ginseng and a B complex in the ‘morning’ to give you energy and Valerian and Passionflower at ‘night’ to help you sleep.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The herb Vitex agnus castus (Chaste tree) is thought to improve melatonin levels. Melatonin is the hormone that helps regulate our circadian rhythm. Take a dose with each meal.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you arrive, if it is night-time try to sleep or do relaxing things like a hot bath with lavender oil. If it is day-time spend some time outside in the sunshine to adapt to the new time zone.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you have the time, try to break up your journey with overnight stops. This will greatly reduce jet lag and your bank balance.</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Travel first class. French champagne is well known to prevent jet lag and travel fatigue. When sleepy, snuggle in between those crisp white sheets and remember your earplugs to help to reduce the bleating sounds from cattle class.</span></li> </ul> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Mim Beim. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/health/natural-therapies-for-jet-lag.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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The best golf holiday Australia has to offer

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Playing any championship course is a thrill in itself, but when you have a cluster of world class courses all within one region and only a short drive from each other it makes for a golfing escape without equal. That’s exactly what’s on offer in the Sandbelt region and Mornington Peninsula.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Easily accessible from Melbourne, the Sandbelt region stretches south east of the city and is the gateway to the picturesque Mornington Peninsula. The stunning selection of courses is enough to make any golfer’s head spin. Royal Melbourne, Kingston Heath, Metropolitan, Victoria, Commonwealth, Huntingdale and Yarra Yarra are all iconic names that showcase the work of the world’s finest course designers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Mornington Peninsula offers a paradise of sights, tastes and touring experiences, which are sure to please a non-golfing partner, or to add some variety to your golfing getaway. It’s an area that is rich in viticulture and culinary delights, set on a backdrop of delightful countryside.  </span></p> <p><strong>Hit the food, wine and farmgate trail</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why not tempt the tastebuds on a food, wine and farmgate trail to sample the rich bounty of this region of plenty. The wineries are just as world-class as the golf courses, with a superb selection of cellar doors to visit.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you are into gourmet produce you are in for a real treat. Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm offers a ripe and juicy reward for picking your own basket of berries and a host of farmgates beckon with delicious cheeses, dairy produce, olive oils, honey, fruit and vegetables. Once you have worked up an appetite, there are a range of premium restaurants and cafes to choose from, right across the region.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a change of pace, you can enjoy the seaside towns such as Dromana, Rosebud and Sorrento for beautiful beaches and stunning views over Port Phillip Bay.</span></p> <p><strong>Make sure you plan ahead</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Being private courses means that course visits must be arranged in advance and certain criteria must be observed in order to qualify to play. One alternative is to use the services of an organised golf tour operator, which can help make access a lot smoother and allows you to incorporate a range of other tourism experiences within the one package.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/the-best-golf-holiday-australia-has-to-offer.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au. </span></a></em></p>

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Are you planning a road trip?

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every now and then we all get itchy feet and feel the need to escape the daily grind, but perhaps don’t want the expense and or hassle of organising a major holiday to a far off destination. Why not just keep it simple and do a good old fashioned road trip? It can be a satisfying and stimulating adventure with lots of variety and experiences along the way and with a little bit of smart planning it can be a simple and economical way to take some time out.</span></p> <p><strong>Good planning is essential</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The difference between a fun-filled, stress-free trip and a frustrating, tiring one is all in the planning. Driving a long distance without a good plan is a recipe for a disastrous holiday. Get together with your partner or whoever you are travelling with and get some concrete ideas of:</span></p> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The general area and destinations you want to include</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">How far you want to travel each day</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">What attractions and experiences you want to sample along the way </span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Key places where you may want to stop over a bit longer </span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Where you will stay</span></li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Internet is a great place to research potential routes and to work out itineraries and there are some fabulous sites that can give you inspiration and let you plan for the factors listed above. The Drive Australia site is a great example. It provides a host of suggested route maps Australia-wide and it even breaks each route down to daily chunks, accommodation options and things to see and do along the way, so you can plan your adventure as much as possible in advance. It even has a handy ‘inspirations’ tool that lets you filter possible journeys that suit the profile of the people travelling, the length of time you have available and the types of attractions you are interested in.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The key to good trip planning is to focus on quality, not quantity. It’s not how far you drive or how quickly you can get to your destination that matters; it’s the variety and quality of experiences along the way. The major highways will often bypass some interesting country towns or some scenic wonders, so don’t let the road determine your itinerary; read and research the things that will fill your journey with richer encounters.</span></p> <p><strong>Organise your accommodation</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The last thing you want to be doing at the end of each day of the trip is to be hunting around for somewhere to stay the night. Take the stress out by booking your accommodation ahead. If you have a planned itinerary then you know what towns you will be in each night and it’s easy to research the options online.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The type of accommodation depends on your preferences. You may want to keep as close to nature as possible and opt for camping grounds or caravan parks. If you are more concerned about getting a good night’s rest, then maybe it is better to book hotels, motels or bed &amp; breakfast style accommodation.</span></p> <p><strong>Worry-free driving</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Make sure you don’t neglect the central hub of your roadtrip – your vehicle. It’s your transport and your ‘daytime accommodation’ so it needs to be in tip top shape for the journey. Safety and reliability are critical to a worry-free trip, so have your vehicle serviced before you leave to make sure things like battery, oil, tyres and belts are all in good order.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Then there are the little things that can make your time on the road more comfortable, such as windshield cleaner fluid, wipers and even just a good clean inside and out. Pack some emergency gear too, (just in case), including jumper leads, torch, a basic first aid kit.....and a spare set of car keys.</span></p> <p><strong>Feeding the mind and body in transit</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to food, variety is the key word. It’s nice to stop at the occasional café, restaurant or pub along the way, but you may end up eating too heavily if that makes up your whole diet, not to mention the extra cost involved. Mix up your meal options by taking a cooler bag with you and stock it up with some fruit, healthy snacks (such as trail mix), juice, bread and sandwich fillings. This gives you the flexibility to stop by a river, beach or scenic spot for lunch, rather than driving around searching for take-aways. A thermos can be refilled each morning at your accommodation and instant coffee and teabags will complete the picture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To keep the mind stimulated on the longer stretches of road make sure you pack your favourite music and even some audio books for a change of pace. Keep comfortable too by packing some moist towlettes, some bags for rubbish and maybe a pillow and blanket will be handy if you ever need to pull over at a quiet grassy spot to catch a quick refreshing nap.</span></p> <p><strong>A final tip</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the best experiences on the road will be the people you meet and not just the places you visit. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals for tips on the best places to dine and the more offbeat attractions to visit. You may be pleasantly surprised by the friendships you may strike up and the characters that will make your journey a more memorable one.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/are-you-planning-a-road-trip.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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The $8 Kmart item saving travellers hundreds of dollars

<div> <div class="replay"> <div class="reply_body body linkify"> <div class="reply_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Kmart is a must-visit for any traveller looking for a good deal on items they might need for a trip - whether that's an overnight stay in your city or a holiday abroad for a long period of time. </p> <p>The giant retailer recently begun selling a no-frills option which can revolutionise the way travellers pack for an incredibly enticing price. </p> <p>For just $8, savvy travellers can purchase lightweight packing cubes from Kmart. Whether it is camping that tickles your fancy or a Europe holiday abroad, there is a set of small, medium and large cubes that will keep you organised and tidy no matter where you are headed. </p> <p>Top handles make them easy to place in and out of your luggage and remains a sturdy, great no-frill option. </p> <p>For just a few extra dollars, Target offers a 3-pack of packing cubes for just $10. </p> <p>The collapsible, reliable cubes are handy for creating a neat carry bag. They offer a clean, tidy theme of packing that is hard to pass up. The smallest size contains an additional internal zip pocket that is great for hiding away any valuables. </p> <p>If you are willing to spend a little bit more money for guaranteed quality and sturdiness, then the 5-in-1 travel pouch from American Tourister for $29.99 might be the best option. </p> <p>From toiletries to personal items, laundry to shoes and intimates to charging cables, there is a pouch to make sure your every holiday essential is packed neatly and tidily in their five-piece set. </p> <p>This set also has a one-year warranty and can pack down into each other when they’re not in use.</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery above to see the handy packing cubes.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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A travel writer's guide to Athens

<p>Most baby boomers 'did' Greece in the far off past and we have held that time fondly in our hearts - so, time for a revisit - there are bargains to be had.</p> <p>If you haven’t seen Athens since before the XXVIII Olympiad in 2004 you’ll see a very different city from 20 or so years ago. The underground Metro is fantastic, the stations immaculate and beautifully decorated and the service fast and regular; Syntagma Square has fewer cafes now and Omonia Square is buzzing during the day but pretty seedy at night.<br /><br />It's best to go back to basics in Athens and spend a day on the hop-on hopoff bus to reaquaint yourself with the city, see what’s new and stop off at unfamiliar spots. Then, walk...<br /><br />The Parthenon is the most important surviving building of classical Greece. Walking around the Parthenon, and trying to imagine the original scope of this magnificent site still sends shivers down the arms – now if they’d just tidy up those old broken columns!<br /><br />Next stop is the New Acropolis Museum, designed by Swiss architect Peter Zumthor, which houses all the remaining treasures of the Acropolis including the day-to-day objects found that belonged to the folk who lived around the base of the mighty mount.<br />From inside the museum there’s a wondrous view of the sacred rock. This museum is user friendly and is full of interesting objects that will keep you enthralled for hours.<br /><br />Take a walk along the beautiful pedestrian road to Thission (with its ancient ruins alongside chirpy cafes and restaurants) and Monastiraki.<br />Monastiraki and Avissinias Square are full of narrow alleys providing a haven for stalls and little shops.</p> <p>Visit the Agora, the focal meeting point of ancient Athens. The Agora, with its elegant, creamy columns provides a welcome relief on a hot and heavy summer day. The Agora museum has a fine collection of ancient jewellery and old costumes.<br /><br />Then take Amalias Avenue to visit the temple of Olympian Zeus and Hadrian’s Arch. End this tour in Syntagma Square in front of Vouli (the Greek Parliament) and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The much photographed guards dressed in the traditional Greek uniform change the hour in an impressive, stamping march.</p> <p><strong>Bev's favourite places in Athens:</strong></p> <p>1.  Acropolis<br />2.   New Acropolis Museum<br />3.   National Archaeological Museum<br />4.   Museum of Cycladic Art<br />5.   Benaki Museum (recently refurbished and extended)<br />6.   DESTE Foundation<br />7.   Eleni Koroneou Gallery<br />8.   Byzantinon Restaurant in the Plaka<br />9.   Kafeneion Restaurant in Kolonaki<br />10. Eleftheroudakis Bookstore<br />11. Metro of Athens<br />12. Athinas Street, meat market and fish market<br />13. Herodes Attikikon Theatre.</p> <p><strong>Fact File</strong></p> <ul> <li>Bev Malzard stayed at <a href="http://www.novotel.com/">Hotel Novotel Athenes</a>, a 10-minute walk from <br />Larissa Station.</li> <li>Feel the rhythm of the city in the Novotel at night next to the swimming pool with a breathtaking view of the Acropolis and Lycabettous Hill.</li> <li>Visit <a href="http://www.novotel.com/">novotel.com</a>.</li> </ul> <p><em>This story first appeared in <a href="http://www.getupandgo.com.au/">Get Up &amp; Go</a> and has been edited.</em></p> <p><em>Written by Bev Malzard. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/top-things-to-see-and-do-in-athens.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></em></p>

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Staycations: A chance to spoil yourself

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The concept of a staycation is catching on, and it's not surprise why. The concept is simple; you save the time and money of travelling to a far off holiday destination and instead spoil yourself by focusing your spending on a premium local hotel, resort or apartment in your own hometown. Use the extra funds to indulge in room service or fine dining and during the day you can think like a tourist and experience some of the hometown highlights that you may have been taking for granted.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those who have tried a staycation report that they do actually achieve that ‘going away’ experience with a lot less hassle and cost, so if the idea tickles your fancy here are some ideas that may get your imagination inspired a little further.</span></p> <p><strong>Sparkling Sydney</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the world’s most beautiful harbour on your doorstep, why go anywhere else? For accommodation why not make the most of the harbour backdrop and stay at the Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel. Glorious harbour views, sumptuous seafood dining and historical and natural points of interest are right on your doorstep in the South Head area. Couple it with a ferry ride to an Opera House concert or show to make it an extra-special experience.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you want to be closer to the city action, try the luxurious apartments at World Tower, with their panoramic 70 storey high city views. The Capitol Theatre and Entertainment Centre are close by for night time enjoyment, Hyde Park is nearby for an afternoon stroll and an exotic dinner at Chinatown is just around the corner.</span></p> <p><strong>Magnificent Melbourne</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re a Melbournite, then South Yarra makes an ideal staycation spot with an artistic twist. Shopping, fashion, dining and entertainment are all at your fingertips. The bustling Chapel Street a prime example, boasting exclusive retail outlets, cafes, clubs, the Jam Factory entertainment complex. Prahran Market is nearby too if you want to sample the gourmet fare and fresh produce.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For more refined pleasures, pay a visit to historic Como House and maybe take in some of the renowned art galleries of the district, such as the Gould Galleries or the South Yarra Arthouse Gallery. If you want to breathe in some fresh air there are a multitude of options with panoramic city views, such as Fawkner Park along South Yarra's western boundary or follow the river on bike or foot on the Capital City Trail.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For some indulgent accommodation, The Lyall Hotel &amp; Spa is in the heart of South Yarra offers a premium 5 star experience, complete with a mini art gallery on each floor of the hotel and a cosy lounge with open fireplace. The in-house Lyall Spa is ready to rejuvenate the face and body and give you the pampering you deserve.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another option for your South Yarra base is The Olsen located right on Chapel Street. It’s named after the celebrated artist, John Olsen, who’s works permeate the entire building adding a unique charm. The elegant rooms are complemented by an on site day spa and two exquisite restaurants. You’ll feel a million miles away, even though you may live just across town.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Tom Raeside. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/staycations-a-chance-to-spoil-yourself.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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Sydney's top 5 picnic spots

<p>Who loves going on a delicious picnic once the weather turns warmer? We do too! After all, it is a fantastic opportunity to gather friends and family for a fun afternoon. Ready to go?</p> <p><strong>1. North Bondi Beach</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moving away from the tourist filled Bondi Beach main stretch, head north and you’ll find where the locals spend their time. There are a few picnic shelters and coin-operated BBQs, but get there early to save yourself a good spot!</span></p> <p><strong>Highlights:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Relax at the beachside park whilst enjoying the beautiful ocean view. Plus, if you feel like going for a dip, it is only a short walk to the beach.</span></p> <p><strong>Facilities:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Playgrounds, outdoor workout gym, running water, outdoor shower, lockers, change rooms, gelato stores, cafes, buses, coin-operated barbeques.</span></p> <p><strong>2. Como Pleasure Grounds</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Living up to their name, the Como Pleasure Grounds offer serenity and relaxation among its well-tended plant life and riverside views.</span></p> <p><strong>Highlights:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Enjoy stunning panoramic views of the Georges River.</span></p> <p><strong>Facilities</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>:</strong> Playground, picnic tables, bike track, BBQ areas, parking, seasonal aquatic recreation facility, tidal baths, cafes and restaurants. </span></p> <p><strong>3. Auburn Botanical Gardens</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Auburn Botanical Gardens are famous for their idyllic Japanese Gardens, complete with a waterfall, decorative bridges and bonsai. Numerous animals also wander freely around the Botanical Gardens including Black-faced Cuckoo Shrikes, Peacocks, and Magpie larks - just to name a few exotic birds!</span></p> <p><strong>Highlights:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> An annual Cherry Blossom festival is held between mid-August and early September in these traditionally landscaped Japanese Gardens. </span></p> <p><strong>Facilities:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Playgrounds, buses and free parking.</span></p> <p><strong>4. Wendy’s Secret Garden</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After the death of her husband, artist Wendy Whiteley took it upon herself to clean up a patch of derelict land owned by NSW Rail. Over the past 15 years Wendy transformed the area into a beautiful garden, entirely open to anyone who knows where to find it. In 2009 Wendy was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for her efforts in creating the garden.</span></p> <p><strong>Highlights</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>:</strong> A peaceful haven to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, with beautifully maintained gardens, outdoor sculptures and antiques plinths, it is deemed an oasis in North Sydney.</span></p> <p><strong>Nearby</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>:</strong> Luna Park.</span></p> <p><strong>5. Cockatoo Island </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A quick ferry ride from Circular Quay will get you to Cockatoo Island, a former naval site with stunning views of the harbour and plenty of industrial buildings to explore.</span></p> <p><strong>Highlights:</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> The island is centred in the stunning Sydney Harbour with numerous shady picnic spots, BBQ areas and even an Island Bar.</span></p> <p><strong>Facilities:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Cafes, BBQ areas, bars, ferries, vending machines and camping areas.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/top-ten-picnic-spots-in-sydney.aspx"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au. </span></a></em></p>

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5 things smart travellers always do before a flight

<p><strong>Passport protocol</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you’re travelling internationally, you won’t get anywhere without your passport on-hand. So make sure to double check you have it in your carry-on bag before heading to the airport. “Make a copy of your passport to carry around at all times, and keep your real version in the hotel safe,” says Patricia Hajifotiou, who owns the small-group tour company The Olive Odysseys and has been leading tours in Europe for 21 years.</span></p> <p><strong>Protect against mishaps</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So many things can go awry while travelling – trip delays and cancellations, delayed or lost luggage, travel accidents, emergency evacuations, and more. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No, this doesn’t mean you should stay home and give up your dreams of seeing the world. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When I am booking an international trip with my family, I make sure to pay for our flights, lodging, and rental car with a credit card that offers reimbursement for these inconveniences,” says Leah Althiser, owner of travel blog The Frugal South. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Most premium travel rewards credit cards offer these benefits, some with an annual fee less than $100. These benefits can potentially save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong on your trip.” If you don’t have a credit card that offers this peace of mind, consider purchasing separate traveller’s insurance.</span></p> <p><strong>Notify banks</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Want to escape off the grid entirely? Even if you don’t tell your mother where you’re headed, you should tell your credit card company. “Banks take extra precautions to prevent credit card fraud and will block transactions that don’t fit your normal pattern,” says Tom Carr, founder and CEO of Preferred Vacations. “If you don’t travel often, it’s best to let them know where you’ll be so you’re not in the checkout line or at a restaurant without a way to pay until you can speak with your bank.”</span></p> <p><strong>Prevent jetlag </strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If your circadian rhythm is easily disturbed, a little foresight can help decrease your adjustment time. “Set your watch to the arrival time zone as soon as you sit in the plane,” says Mitch Krayton, CTA, owner of Krayton Travel. “Then eat, sleep, and act like you are already in the time zone. This will help you manage jet lag and keep you ready to go on arrival.” </span></p> <p><strong>Put on compression socks</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They may not be sexy, but compression socks are a simple life-saving measure everyone should add to their wardrobe. “Especially during a long flight, remaining sedentary for extended periods of time can introduce problems,” says Dr. William Spangler, Global Medical Director with AIG Travel, who has more than 30 years of emergency medical experience. “One of the most common of these is deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is the formation of blood clots, particularly in the lower leg or thigh. It doesn’t cause much pain, but when the clots break off and go elsewhere, they can create serious problems.” Aside from compression socks, which help to increase circulation, Dr. Spangler advises getting up at least every two hours, even if it’s only in your seat just to move your legs. If you can walk up and down the aisle a bit, that’s even better. </span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Written by Jill Schildhouse. Republished with permission of </span><a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/travel/13-things-smart-travellers-always-do-before-a-flight/page/1"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Wyza.com.au.</span></a></em></p>

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5 secrets hotels won’t tell you

<p>Hotel receptionists spill their best secrets – from how to score a discounted room to how to get that Wi-Fi charge waived from your bill!</p> <p><strong>Insider tips to get the best from your next hotel visit</strong></p> <p>Hotel receptionists spill their best secrets – from how to score a discounted room to how to get that Wi-Fi charge waived from your bill!</p> <p><strong>Don’t try to bargain with the reservations number we give you</strong></p> <p>The 1-800 reservations number will probably send you to a central office with set rates. If you call the hotel directly instead, you can negotiate.</p> <p><strong>We don’t get everything from online booking sites</strong></p> <p>Hotels can pay a commission of up to 30 percent to online hotel booking sites. So offer me 20 percent less than the online price, and we both come out ahead.</p> <p><strong>Don’t expect a discount if we are not independently owned</strong></p> <p>Independently owned hotels are far more likely to give you a discount. Some chains baulk at dropping the rate.</p> <p><strong>Give the housekeepers time</strong></p> <p>If you show up at 11 a.m. and check-in time is 2 p.m., please don’t be upset if your room isn’t ready. I can’t make the housekeepers go any faster. And you don’t want them to rush.</p> <p><em>Written by Michelle Crouch. This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/travel/travel-hints-tips/21-secrets-hotels-wont-tell-you?slide=all"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA87V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a><span><em> </em></span></p> <p><span class="CmCaReT" style="display: none;">�</span></p> <p><img style="width: 100px !important; height: 100px !important;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7820640/1.png" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/f30947086c8e47b89cb076eb5bb9b3e2" /></p>

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