Ask Away: Saving the best for last, Eli’s parting travel advice

Eli Orzessek recalls the best tips for his last column.

It’s a bit sad to write this week’s Ask Away column, as it will be my last. After three years working for Travel, I’m leaving to embark on a new journey — getting my MFA at the Elam School of Fine Arts. I’ve had a wonderful time answering your questions — but don’t despair if you have more to ask, as the column will be continuing with a new writer. So keep sending in your pressing travel queries to [email protected]

Thanks to all the readers who have sent in such interesting questions. For my final column, I’ve decided to share a few of my favourite questions over the past three years. I’ve also learnt a lot about the world of travel and the varied issues you might run into along the way.

Earlier this year, I was enlightened on the correct way to wear compression socks by Dr Marc Shaw, of the Worldwise Travellers Heath Centre in Auckland. Apparently you should put them on well in advance, preferably in the morning when you’ve just got out of bed — I’d previously just put them on at the airport before boarding a long flight.

Another question I enjoyed investigating was why we’re asked to put our phones in flight mode — and whether any accidents have ever occurred due to a mobile device being left on. It turns out it’s more of an annoyance to pilots rather than a serious safety concern — transmissions from phones can create interference over the radio system — but this is occurring less as technology improves. And it’s more likely to be a cabin crew member’s phone causing the problem.

I received quite a few questions regarding solo travel — and as a keen solo traveller, I’m always happy to share my tips. Many cruise lines and tour companies offer deals on solo supplements and it’s easy to make friends when you’re travelling with a group. But deciding to go alone is a great option as well — it’s character-building and you don’t have to deal with the stress of organising things with another person.

When a reader wrote in with tips for avoiding gastro issues when eating street food in India, I received some helpful tips from Swamy Akuthota, an Indian food expert who founded Auckland’s acclaimed Satya restaurants and has travelled extensively in India to research food. He said the two problem areas were water-borne infections and viral infections — so it’s best to only drink bottled water with tamper-proof lids, and only eat street food that is being cooked in front of you at high temperatures, as well as avoiding meat. As I’m quite partial to a bit of tasty street food myself, this has been something I’ve kept in mind while travelling.

So that’s it from me. Again, thanks for sending in your questions to me — and happy travels to all our readers!

Send your queries by email to [email protected].

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