Travel Thread


I think one of our regular posters has a son who moved there… but that was a few years ago… was it @miss_ellie???


Yep, @Albert_Thurgood, my son has been living in Guatemala for the last 3 years.

@Gnik my son is currently home (always comes home for a few months this time of year for work) however he is away with work at the moment.

If you have specific questions re Guatemala, post them and will run them by him and get back to you.


Thanks - I’ll give it some thought


mmmm… let’s see

Qantas set to announce Frequent Flyer changes

Patrick HatchJune 19, 2019 — 10.26am

Qantas is set to unveil major changes to its Frequent Flyer scheme, in what it has described as “the biggest overhaul to the airline’s loyalty program in its 32 year history”.

Qantas Loyalty chief executive Olivia Wirth and Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce will announce the changes at a press conference in Sydney on Thursday morning.

The airline is being tight-lipped on the announcement, which is expected to involve how members earn and use points.

As well as from booking flights, Qantas’ 12 million loyalty members can earn points shopping at retailers including Woolworths, David Jones and Caltex service stations, and for any spending on co-branded credit cards.

The business has recently launched its own Qantas Money credit cards, and health and life insurance products.

Qantas’ loyalty division made a $372 million profit last year, which is close to half what it made from its entire domestic airline business.

The airline has been tinkering with ways to make it easier for members to use their points, with a common complaint being that there are not enough seats available to be booked just with points.

For example, Qantas will operate a flight from Melbourne to Tokyo in October where an entire A380s will be available to book with frequent flyer points. That will be the first of a series of dedicated “points plane” flights.


Yeah, I’m finding it hard to get a gauge on what QF will do here. Most changes they make benefits them not the customer but I don’t think they would want to kill the golden goose which is their FF program. Has been talk of family pooling similar to VA or dynamic award pricing. Hopefully not much of a devaluation


Virgins program is fantastic, easy to follow, easy to accumulate points, easy to use points.


I agree for domestic flights but unfortunately award availability for international flights has really dried up and not being part of a bigger alliance hurts. For domestic flying I would choose them 90% of the time over QF


Yeh that’s the only downside. Over xmas Me, Mrs and 3 kids went to LA on our points and it is really cheap. But Bali, Pacific Islands, HK and LA are pretty much the only options to use them on.

If you try for London or Europe, it’s on a partner airline and ridiculous amount of points per ticket.


Any bomber feedback on the best Pacific islands for a visit?

Ive been thinking Fiji or the Cook Islands with Tahiti looking a tad exxy.

A good warm winter escape for a week is the plan.


I’ve only been to French Polynesia (“Tahiti”). It doesn’t have to be absurdly exxy. There are some hostels/guest houses.

At least I can say I’ve thrown boomerangs in shallow water at Bora Bora. Screw those honeymooners on their thousand-dollar extensions into the bay with their overpriced cocktails.


I had to smile


Really enjoyed Tanna Island in Vanuatu. Less touristy than Port Vila, the only 2 places I’ve been in Vanuatu, and has a volcano with serious attitude. Also has good snorkling. Also heard some of the other outer islands are great.


Vanuatu is great.

Fiji is cheaper for all inclusive Budget & family friendly holidays, but I found Vanuatu people more genuine & better for more independent travel


I’ve been to Rarotonga in 2006 and Vanuatu (Port Villa & Espiritu Santo) in 2015.

Vanuatu was surprisingly chilly & windy in June / July, apparently Sept is better.
Would have liked to go to Tanna as @GRR suggests.

Raro is stunning- like a poor man’s Tahiti I guess.


Depends on who is with you.

If there are kids then Fiji is hard to beat as all the Hotels cater really well for kids; and are good for adults as well.

But if it is just for you and Mrs Vanders, then you cant beat Iririki Island Resort at Port Vila in Vanuatu. It is only about 500 metres off the shore but is a world away, we stayed there over a Christmas and New Year some years ago. We had a hut over the water with a view looking at Port Vila, many days we went across to the market, loaded up with Lobster, Oysters and Prawn, and French Champagne and sat on our balcony having a feast. Prices were so great, weather was perfect and Hotel has no kids so it only had adult noises. Well appointed and great staff.

And we did various tours around the place, which was relaxing and fun. Overall it was all reasonably priced and flights ex-Sydney were OK with Air Vanuatu.


Go to Fiji all the time for work, so I find it boring but there are some beautiful spots for sure. Coral coast on the south very unpredictable with rain and pretty isolated. Denerau if you have kids then any resort there would be good.

Loved Vanuatu, smaller and less tourists. We stayed out on a placed called Hideaway Island I think, very cruisy days. Few day trips out to Port Vila, then swimming with turtles and Blue Lagoon for a swim is a must. And the fire show is insane, best night out. Most fun family holiday we’ve had.

Tonga is under rated, the West coast of Tonga is spectacular. Great beaches for a swim, fishing, snorkelling. So many food options there in Nuku’alofa as well, good sized island to get out and explore plus a few surrounding islands as well.

PNG has some incredible spots, not that you’d know it cos all you hear out of the place is Manus Island and corrupt governments but there is some sensational waters there as well.

Solomon Islands same as above, but both Slomons and PNG wouldn’t be considered tourists spots and you’d really have to speak to someone in the know to get the right areas. I think there is a chain of islands where the below photo is from, (Malaita?) which has some amazing clear waters and reefs. Saw sharks, octopus, rays, really lively waters.


No kids and these are some ■■■■■■ great tips thankyou!

Ill check out all the recommendations with mrsVanders#18 over the weekend.




Manus Island?


This is Iririki Island, and they now have direct flights ex-Melbourne.