Archives for June 2007


British Airways – World Traveller Plus

The direct flight from Seattle to London with British Airways is the quickest and easiest route to the UK but their economy seating is amongst the worst I’ve endured over the last eight years. Unable to afford Business Class seating, we decided to try British Airways’ World Traveller Plus class offering more comfort at an affordable price.

The only difference between World Traveller and World Traveller Plus is the seat, all World Travellers receive the same meal service and access the same bathroom facilities. Nine hours is a long time in any seat, and the wider World Traveller Plus seat with more legroom made the flight more bearable and I managed to get some sleep for a change, arriving ready to face the day. They also have a power outlet for someone who needs to out in nine hours work during the trip.

Is World Traveller Plus worth the extra cost?

For a larger framed individual, World Traveller Plus provides the wider seat and additional legroom you always need and is affordable luxury for even a budget traveller. For me, I’d save the money for a splurge at my destination or break a longer journey halfway. For the same cost, we could have spent two days in New York enroute and arrived just as refreshed because the flights are shorter.

Related link: SeatGuru


Marriott Residence Inn on Lake Union, Seattle

Marriott Residence Inn on Lake UnionEven the budget traveller enjoys the occasional splurge, and Marriott Residence Inns always provide a high standard of service and amenities when we go upmarket for a hotel.

The Marriott Residence Inn on Lake Union became our home for the last few days in Seattle, and provided us a nice refuge after completing the daily chores associated with moving. The two bedroom apartment had a view over Lake Union where we could watch the float planes landing on her calm waters or catch a glimpse of the yachts moored along the piers. The beds are wonderful, pillow-top mattresses that envelope you like a bosomy aunt, and it took effort to climb out each morning to greet the day. A separate lounge area and kitchenette provide a place to entertain guests privately without having them in your bedroom.

A basic gym, sauna and pool keeps the health conscious happy but I’d recommend running around Lake Union to explore the local area. There is also a guest laundry and a free shuttle that lets you leave the car in the hotel garage. My only gripe, when I pay a premium room rate, parking should be complimentary not an extra $19 per day.

A range of dining options are only minutes walk away offering food at family friendly prices or fine dining for your special occasion at local favourite Chandler’s Crab House or Bonefish Grill. On Wednesday, Marriott hosts guests at a free dinner catered by a local restaurant including beer and wine for your table. A basic set menu is provided but you cannot beat the value, and it helps to offset the cost of your little splurge.

The breakfast buffet is amongst the best offered by a hotel, a range of cereals, pastries and fruit accompanied by your choice of beverages to please most tastes. Cook yourself a waffle, a popular choice, to enjoy with your coffee after a bowl of oatmeal then grab some fruit to get your through the morning. This hearty breakfast can keep you going all day with only a light snack for lunch.


St.Martin-in-the-Fields Closed until October 2007

We made it to London, and I headed over to St. Martin-in-the-Fields to enjoy a cheap lunch in the crypt. To my dismay, they are closed for renovations until 30 Sep 07 and the crypt reopens on 01 Oct 07. They have taken to the road for services and evensong at other churches but their great lunches will be gone until October.


Exit Row Seat changing to Travel Mode

We move out of our house tomorrow and on Saturday I’ll share a pint with our daughter in a London pub. While we travel through Europe on our way home I’ll post our discoveries, new photographs and review the hotels and restaurants. Subscribe to our feed and travel along with us.


Moving Overseas – Establishing your Home Overseas

Moving Overseas logoIn this series, Moving Overseas, I will share my experiences living and working overseas, sharing the lessons I’ve learnt to make your move less stressful.

‘What am I doing on this plane?’

‘Why did I leave behind my home to live in a foreign country?’

The anticipation can overcome some people during the flight but if you did your research and selected a country that is right for your situation you are ready for the adventure. Kick off your shoes, grab a complimentary beverage from the flight attendant and relax, there is still a little work to do at the end.

Finding a Home. Some companies provide employees accommodation but most of us have to hit the streets and find a place to call home for our stay overseas. Tim Ferriss recommends taking a few weeks to get to know the city before you settle on a neighbourhood and a longer lease. Good advice but you also need to find a good agent to help sift through the options and especially the paperwork, remembering you may need to translate the lease before signing.

Your new co-workers are an excellent source of information and advice about the most livable areas but ensure you understand their situation before using their advice. The hipster single cruising bars every night might love living in the club district but your wife and kids may not be as enthused about the club scene.

Schools. English language schools are available in most countries but your choices may be limited. Young kids are capable of learning languages quickly, and I would not discount sending your child to a local school to be immersed in the culture. Of course, if you chose a country that speaks your mother tongue, the school choices are unlimited within the local zoning rules. Consider schools when looking for a home.

When in Rome. The biggest mistake people make when they move overseas is to try live their lives exactly the same way they did back in the old country. When I lived in Malaysia, we ate the local food and adjusted our habits to take advantage of the local conditions to minimise costs but some people would not adjust their steak and potatoes diet. Those families usually did not enjoy their time in Malaysia because it cost more to live and travel was less affordable.

Did you choose a similar country for your first job overseas?

America and Australia have similar cultures but there are differences that can stress people who insist on retaining the old ways. They go to extraordinary lengths to get their favourite comfort foods instead of finding a new favourite at the supermarket. I enjoy a Tim Tam as much as anyone but an Oreo is good with a cuppa too. You came to experience a new culture, leaving yours behind can make that goal easier to obtain.

Did you find this series usefully? Share your experiences with us, and vote in the poll.