Monday, August 3, 2009

Travel Essentials

New Zealand is a friendly country so many of the precautions that you need to consider when travelling overseas are just not necessary there. Of course if it is during the Rugby season and the All Blacks are going poorly you can expect to encounter a certain level of grumpiness, but such is only to be expected, particularly if they are losing to the mighty Wallabies.

When travelling with small children there are some portions of the trip you'd rather they just slept through, but when that is not possible some form of distraction is imperative.

When I was a child airlines staff arrived at your seat with peanuts, colouring pads, puzzle books with magic revealing markers, cards and an almost endless supply of small things to amuse the small minds.

These days you'd be lucky to borrow a pencil.

For the travelling parent there are few better friends than Mr Nintendo and Mr Sony (and for the parents Mr iPod and Mrs Noise-cancelling headphones are one couple that will never be divorced!).

To be sure I don't want them to spend the entire trip immersed in their toys, there will be plenty of times when I'll be stopping the car and having them pile out to admire something admirable or remark on something remarkable.

New Zealand is a holiday destination of grand vistas and a grand vista cannot be seen when you are too busy fighting off level 7 monsters on your DS.

However I have no doubt that there will be moments when we will be very grateful we actually agreed to let them bring their technology with them.

I will be taking some of my own - an XO laptop on which to blog, and rate, our way around New Zealand.

I'm going to be covering the lot - from the coffee to the comfy chairs and have already compiled a list of bloggable venues that I intend to visit. I'm even going to blog about the various things that I am trying out as travel aids such as a recently purchased GPS system (complete with NZ maps).

I figure there have to be other families out there in similar situations and if I an share both the successes and the failures, this might be useful to someone. I'm also going to rate the places we stay in - particularly in relation to their family friendliness.

I've reviewed a lot of the websites online that rate hotels, cafes and tourist attractions and I want to provide my own subjective and objective considerations of these.

I'll follow my usual rule - it is not my business to ruin someone else's business so in most cases when something is below par I'll share that with the owner and not say much online. Where something is at an extreme of good or bad they'll get a rave or a rant - I'd rather warn people about the truly dreadful and direct them to the best.

I'm not doing comparisons and have deliberately chosen a wide range of accommodation types from cabins in caravan parks to 4-star hotels.

I'll even review the car hire company we are renting with because if it works out as well as I hope then they offer a very good deal indeed.

There's no kickbacks along the way, I've already paid for everything and no-one knows we're coming to blog. My experience of New Zealanders is that this won't matter a bit - they are great at welcoming visitors and have an incredible tolerance for Aussies - unless your surname is Chappell.

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