Winter Escapes Made Even EasierJuly 31, 2018
Seasonal travel varies around the world. Some families (and singles) travel during the summer. The kids close school and many businesses shut down, allowing those with means to spend the season in a beach house, summer home, or campsite. Others take live-in summer jobs away from home, which entails long-term travel and accommodation.
Another approach is to travel during winter, opting to spend the season in warmer (and cheaper) climes. This generally involves leaving stark white sub-zero temperatures for tropical locations with sunshine and relaxation. This is entirely separate from travelling for the holidays, which is less dictated by weather. You simply go where your family is.
Aussie climate is a little upside down. Being down under means our winter falls during everyone else’s summer (in the majority of the western world). So we might travel at the same time as everyone else, and for the same reasons. But while they’re off for summer fun, we’re more driven by escaping our winter chills. That means we’ll pick temperate locations, just like they will, and Bali is a big destination of choice for us.
You’ll be leaving chilly winter climes, but don’t carry too many layers. If you picked the right location, you’ll rarely need them, and may end up losing them in transit, making for a very uncomfortable flight home. Plus, they just take up baggage space. Wear one warm jacket or hoodie that you can use on the flight back. You could have a scarf as well, and maybe a pair of gloves. The rest of your luggage should be weather-appropriate.
If you’re uncertain, just carry essentials. A few t-shirts, some shorts sundresses, and open-toed sandals. You can always shop for a more locally-suited wardrobe when you get there. Pay special attention to oft-forgotten items like passports, vaccination cards, and chargers. You can’t always be sure you’ll get a replacement laptop charger, or a compatible charger cable, especially not the ‘free warranty’ kind you get at your Aussie phone supplier.
Also, do a quick online check for hand luggage rules. We take them for granted, and it’s all fun and games until half your bag remains in the contraband airport bin. This includes the stuff you buy at duty-free, so be on the lookout for that as well. Browse (the net) before you buy. It’ll only take a minute, and most airports offer free WiFi.
Make house arrangements
Depending on how long you’ll be away, you may need some domestic arrangements. You might need a house sitter, or at least a pet sitter to come by a few times a day and pet the cats, walk the dog, or feed the fish. Alternatively, find a kennel for them, leave them at a friend’s house, or install an automatic feeder (fish feeders can last up to 8 weeks).
If the house will remain vacant, set up your security lights to go on and off automatically, simulating an occupied house. Ask the neighbours to keep an eye out for intruders. Swimming pools can be managed automatically using a phone app, even if you’re on a plane millions of miles away, so have a connect box installed and link it to your phone or tablet.
Some travellers prefer to call a cab or friend to get them to the airport. In such cases, make sure your car is secured in the garage. Lock the garage door as well as the garage entrance to the main house. Many residents leave this door unlocked for easy access, and many burglars use it for the same reason, so make sure it’s locked and bolted. On the other hand, you could take your car with you. It’s much easier to do now.
Park then fly
These days, there are airport-based services that let you park your car for the duration of your trip. Your options are wide – covered or uncovered parking slots; valet service or self-driving; car detailing if needed; assistance with kids, elders, or differently abled flyers. These parking services even have regular shuttles from the parking area to the check-in section, so you can plan your transit and move your baggage.
The service is designed for overnight parking, so your car will be safe for several days, in a well-lit, secure area with CCTV and regular patrols. It saves you the trouble of cabbing home after your return flight, taking much of the stress out your airport-to-house cycle. It also works out cheaper than taking a primetime airport cab, and is less annoying than bullying people into awkward airport drop-offs and pick-ups. Win-win!