Monday, 14 December 2009

FRANKS FAVOURITES: Lost luggage, Singapore Stopover, QM2, Smart Travel, Niseko,


More than 8000 Australians will have their travel plans disrupted by lost and delayed baggage this holiday season, Australia's number one online travel insurer has warned.

Travel Insurance Direct ( said luggage loss, damage and theft represented the biggest single category of travel insurance claims, accounting for around 40 per cent of total claims.

Travel Insurance Direct General Manager, Ian Jackson said up to 90,000 bags were mishandled each day in airports worldwide, of which about 2 per cent would never be recovered.

"Worldwide, about 1800 bags a day disappear forever, either lost or stolen, so it's worth taking a few steps to minimise the risk," Mr Jackson said.  "Even though the vast majority of misplaced bags are found and returned to their owners within 48 hours, that's no consolation if you're caught in the European winter without your coat and gloves."

Mr Jackson gave 10 simple precautions to help ensure luggage arrives intact:

Tags – Ensure all items have clear, sturdy luggage tags that won't tear off.  Record your phone numbers for both home and destination.  Some travellers prefer to list their office address to avoid suggesting their home is vacant.

Itinerary – Place your contact details and itinerary inside your luggage, so you can still be located if external tags are lost and your luggage is opened for inspection.

Lock up - Locks and straps provide a deterrent to theft, but remember some destinations like the US only allow TSA-approved locks that can be opened by customs inspectors.

Stand out – A brightly coloured bag, luggage tag or strap reduces the risk of your luggage being mistakenly claimed by another passenger on arrival.

Timing – Arrive at the airport with plenty of time for check-in.  A last-minute check-in or tight connection increases the chance of your bags missing the flight.

At check-in – Ensure all old destination stickers have been removed from your luggage and that staff affix the correct destination stickers at check-in.  Be sure to keep your portion of the luggage sticker provided at check-in (usually affixed to your boarding pass).

Connections – Don't book tight connections. Ask at check-in whether your luggage is checked through to your final destination or whether you'll need to collect your luggage and re-check while in transit at another airport (especially if you booked flight sectors separately).

Carry on – For short journeys, consider travelling with carry-on luggage only.  This is especially worthwhile with airlines that charge for checked luggage.  Even if you check-in your main bags, place valuables and a few essentials items of clothing in your hand luggage, just in case.

Pick-up – Ignore other distractions at the airport and go straight to the luggage carousel once you've arrived and cleared customs, keeping a close eye on bags as they emerge. Keep bags close to you and never leave them unattended.

Travel insurance – Always have adequate travel insurance, even if travelling for short periods or domestically.  Insurance covers not only loss and theft, but can also provide a clothing allowance if luggage is delayed.  Keep receipts for your possessions where possible or consider making a photographic record of luggage contents, in case you need to make a claim.

Travel Insurance Direct  offers travel insurance at highly competitive prices. For more information and online quotes, see


FOR those to whom indulgence is unwinding aboard a 5-star long and leisurely ocean cruise – but without having to fly to the other side of the world to do it – has the ultimate answer with a fly, cruise and stay package embracing a free stop-over in Singapore, two nights in Cape Town, and a 17-night cruise back to Sydney aboard the grand Queen Mary 2.

Guests fly from mainland capitals to Singapore in early February 2011 for their complimentary night there at the Fairmont Hotel, then onwards to Cape Town for two nights at the Commodore Hotel before joining Queen Mary 2 – with all necessary transfers in both Singapore and Cape Town.

QM2 sails on February 5 2011 for a day in Durban, another in Mauritius, and visits to Fremantle for Perth, Adelaide and Sydney; all dining in a choice of restaurants from traditional to modern and cafĂ©-style is included, and when you've need for a drink, with a choice of thirteen bars and lounges there's  virtually a different venue available every day you are at sea.

Prices start from $6299pp twin-share including air and taxes from mainland capitals, hotels and transfers in Singapore and Cape Town, and 17-nights on QM2 with all meals and entertainment, port charges and taxes.

For full details phone 1300 369 848 or visit

MORE SHIPBOARD INFORMATION: Queen Mary 2 is one of the largest ships afloat and as well as having ten restaurants also features 24hr complimentary room service… and the thirteen bars and lounges, that include a traditional English pub, offer everything from martinis and jazz to Guinness and sing-a-longs.

There are two decks devoted to sporting activities including five pools, tennis and basketball courts and a putting green, spa and fitness centre, world-class entertainment and a Royal Court Theatre with classical plays and concerts, designer shops, a planetarium, college-level seminars, and a casino.


Australian travellers for the first time can make complex multi-passenger travel arrangements in the single online booking.

Tempo Holidays is the only major travel company in Australia with such smart technology driving online bookings, according to CEO Steve Reynolds.

The site -- -- is extremely efficient and flexible, as verified by travel agents who have been using the site since February, "so it has been well tested by expert travel managers", he said.

A five-person Australian family, for example, travelling from different parts of the world to meet for a three-week holiday in Paris and regional Italy where each person embarks on different local tours in both locations and uses a mix of rail and car rental, can be created in the one booking.

The system can manage simple bookings too, like an air-hotel package for Rio de Janeiro.

While consumers are accustomed to shopping across single-purpose websites for best-price airfares and accommodation and being required to make an instant commitment to buy, the technology driving  means bookings stay live in the system for retrieval, alteration and re-costing at a later date, without starting again from scratch. And there is no booking fee.

The site holds air, accommodation, sightseeing and extended tours, gateway city packages, rail, cruise, car rental and car leasing for the 49 countries serviced by Tempo Holidays in the regions of UK-Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America. (Note: this site contains only Tempo Holidays travel product and is not a travel industry search engine.)

On site, travellers can tailor Tempo Holidays product to their own needs, unlike some travel sites that are strictly geared to given packages.

Tempo Holidays is a 20-year-old Melbourne-based travel wholesaler, now owned by the India-UK company Cox & Kings, at 250 years, the world's longest established travel business.



Take it to the limit with Novotel Twin Water Resort's Adventure Package which rolls sky diving, jet skiing and off-road Segway experience into one adrenalin charged weekend.

High flying guests will get an eagle's eye view of the resort as they leap from a light plane at 3500m in tandem with a professionally trained member of the Ramblers Skydiving Club.

For those jumpers who prefer a slow descent over the Sunshine Coast to the extreme rush of a sky dive, there's a Hop 'n' Pop option in which the parachute opens immediately.

Back at sea level, guests clip on a lifejacket and head off on a 90 minute jaunt on a jet ski exploring the waterways of the Maroochy River which flows alongside the resort.

Novotel Twin Waters is also surrounded by eucalyptus forests, white sand beaches, boardwalks and paths, ideal for the two hour off road Segway two wheeled safari which is also part of the deal and the closest you can come to gliding without leaving the ground.

The Adventure Package also includes overnight accommodation, dinner for two and a full buffet breakfast in the resort's Nouveau restaurant. Cost is $1498 per couple per night or $749 per person twin share.

The resort is centred on a lagoon with catamarans, kayaks and windsurfers supplied and adjoins an 18 hole championship golf course.  There's also a day spa for those seeking a soothing massage after the adrenaline rush of the day.

Novotel Twin Waters is on the Sunshine Coast an hour's drive north of Brisbane and five minutes from Sunshine Coast Airport.

For more information or to make a booking call 1800 072 277 or go to


Pay for five nights and get two nights free, or pay for 10 nights and get an additional four free at SkiJapan Travel's managed properties such as the new luxury Snow Crystal two and three bedroom apartments in the heart of Niseko.

The western-style complex is a snowball's throw from the Ace Family double chairlift which is regarded as one the premium locations in Niseko, with the free nights offer available from 6 March until the end of the 2010 winter season.

Snow Crystal is also ideally positioned for guests to appreciate the resort's renowned apres ski action and spectacular views of Mount Yotei from the apartments themselves.

Also Ski Japan Travel will always determine the cost of client's snow holiday based on the actual exchange rate on the day they pay for their holiday.

For more details contact Ski Japan Travel on 1300 137 411 or log onto