travel tips

Ten Travel Tips by Katherine Nielsen

Photo by  Rana Sawalha  on  Unsplash

Travelling can be expensive and seen as out of reach for so many people. A few years ago after I had been nursing for a bit. I made a conscious decision to make travel my greatest priority. Having a career like this has given me significant flexibility which is something I am really grateful for. You will never see me telling anyone to quit their job and travel, unless you want to then by all means go for it. For me it is all about balance and choosing how you prioritise funds.  

The first time I travelled was at the age of 18. I decided to go to Thailand with a friend. Wow, that was an eye opener. Arriving in Bangkok was such a culture shock. I can still remember the smell and the heat when I first opened the door of the hotel, I just thought what have I done. Sometimes that is all part of the adventure and after the initial shock. I had a wonderful time learning about this fascinating country and the people who live there.

Travelling everywhere and anywhere is my greatest passion, along with photography and being able to do this with my family is really incredible. I encourage everyone to explore this wonderful world we live in and I never hesitate to take my son out of school to travel.

1. Be brand loyal in order to get Frequent Flyers - I have Velocity Gold and my partner has Platinum. Now the best thing with Virgin is they allow you to family pool your points and this makes it easier to maintain, once one person has made their target you pool their points to yours.

We do also have Qantas but they are so much harder to gain higher tiers with. However these points enabled me to get a $1000 Canon lens for only $200.

Points can be used for flights, upgrades, accommodation or in my case camera equipment. Having lounge access for late night flights is wonderful especially for long haul with stop overs. You can shower, change, charge your electronics and enjoy the food and beverages.

Click here to Join Velocity Frequent Flyer Program for Free

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2. Use Flybuys - Flybuys is the reason I got my gold Velocity Card to begin with. I transferred my points into Velocity regularly and in turn they gifted me a free membership for three months and to maintain it for a year I just had to fly once. If you shop carefully they attach huge points bonuses to certain products so I buy what I need that yields the greatest level of points. This means shopping at Coles, Shell, Target, Kmart and Liquorland provides me with points I can transfer to Velocity Rewards.

3. Shop around - Do your research online first then get Flight Centre to price match. I have literally got the best agent she finds it her mission to locate the best trip options for us. I use expedia to find most of my trip options first then ask Flight centre what they can do sometimes its cheaper sometimes its not and when it isn't they, price match. 

4. Be prepared to go off season- While sometimes this means the weather can be average not being surrounded by thousands of tourists is always a bonus for me. Flying and staying off season can save you a few thousand dollars. 

5. Pack light - Learn to travel with carry on only. It saves you time and also means you can get better value flights. I still travel with a laptop, camera bag and backpack. We travel with Osprey pack’s and Pelican cases for our camera and drone equipment.

6. Use a credit card - I have a Bankwest World Credit Card this gives me travel insurance as well as Qantas points. Having this card saves me on international transaction fees which can cut into your holiday budget.

7. Google Drive - this is really handy for storing important documents and photos. Especially if you lose your passport. This is also a great place to back up your images.

8. Carry a basic first-aid kit - Accidents happen, so be prepared.  Bandaids, sea sickness tablets, pain relief that sort of thing. It saves you going on a mission to locate a chemist.

9. Booking flights - If you can book 3-4 months in advance you can usually save but don't be afraid to do last minute trips ether. Sometimes you can get some epic deals. If you are going to be searching for flights or accommodation, use the incognito feature in your browser to hide your history so booking websites aren't able to track your cookies and raise the price on you.

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10. Virgins #earnbassador points program - Virgin Airlines has recently introduced a hashtag that encourages you to promote Virgins frequent flyer program. If you promote a Velocity benefit on your social media platform. Simply tag @velocityfrequentflyer and use #earnbassador to be in with a chance to have your points balance topped up. Flying with these partner airlines will also yield points.

  • Delta Air Lines Alliance.

  • Etihad Airways Alliance.

  • Hainan Airlines Alliance.

  • Hong Kong Airlines Alliance.

  • Singapore Airlines Alliance.

  • Air Canada.

  • Alitalia.

  • Hawaiian Airlines.