I AM TRAVELLING WITH MY HUSBAND AND TWO YOUNG GIRLS TO GUANGZHOU, LONDON, MANCHESTER AND BERLIN. THERE ARE SO MANY APPS FOR TRAVEL I FEEL OVERWHELMED. IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE BEST APP THAT IS SIMPLE AND QUICK TO USE WITH MAPS, THINGS TO DO, SUCH AS GALLERIES AND POSSIBLY CHILD-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES. ALSO WHAT MUST I TURN OFF TO AVOID GLOBAL ROAMING CHARGES? T. LAKE, BILGOLA
I use City Maps 2Go, which accesses thousands of city and regional maps that you can download for use in offline mode. It locates your position, lets you search for addresses and locates ATMs, restaurants, points of interest, including galleries, museums and child-friendly activities. You can stick pins into the map, which is helpful to find your way back to a particular shop or restaurant. City Maps 2Go is available for Apple ($3.79) and Android (free) platforms. Another option is Pocket Earth, however, it is available only for Apple, also at $3.79. To avoid data roaming charges turn off the data feature on your phone. On an iPhone, tap "Settings" and turn Cellular to "off". On most Android phones, find "Settings", tap "More Settings", tap "Mobile networks" and set Data roaming to "off".
I AM A 62-YEAR-OLD FEMALE AND I WILL BE TRAVELLING ALONE TO JAPAN IN OCTOBER. COULD YOU RECOMMEND A GOOD PLACE TO STAY IN TOKYO? I AM NOT INTERESTED IN NIGHTLIFE, JUST GOOD, CHEAP RESTAURANTS, INTERESTING SHOPS, MUSEUMS, GALLERIES AND BEAUTIFUL PARKS. HAPPY TO SPEND AROUND $200 A NIGHT. A WORKMATE RECOMMENDED UENO.J. MCLEOD, WAMBERAL
The Ueno Touganeya Hotel (tougane-h.com) might be a good fit. The hotel is just a two-minute walk from Keisei Ueno Station, on the direct line from Narita. Rooms are small - just 12 square metres, which is not unusual for the Japanese capital - but comfortable enough for one. The hotel gets a robust international clientele, the reviews on Tripadvisor are good and the management responds, always a pleasing sign.
You're in easy reach of shopping and dining. Ueno Park and the Tokyo National Museum are right on your doorstep and you have easy access to Asakusa, Akihabara and Ginza. Room rate is around $80 a night. Another possibility just slightly to the north is Ryokan Sawanoya (sawanoya.com), a small, friendly and traditional family-operated hotel in the historic Yanaka precinct, with excellent reviews.
You'll be sleeping on futons and leaving your shoes at the entrance and the owner is an outstanding host with a big English-speaking clientele. The closest station is Nippori, about a 10-minute walk. A room with bathroom is about $110.
WE ARE FLYING SINGAPORE AIRLINES FROM LONDON TO SINGAPORE, WHERE WE HAVE A SEVEN-HOUR STOPOVER TO CONNECT WITH A QATAR AIRWAYS FLIGHT TO DENPASAR. THE AIRLINES DON'T HAVE AN INTERLINE AGREEMENT SO WE CAN'T CHECK OUR LUGGAGE. WE HAVE BOOKED A ROOM AT THE AMBASSADOR TRANSIT HOTEL IN CHANGI AND BEEN INSTRUCTED TO COLLECT OUR LUGGAGE FROM LOST AND FOUND BEFORE CHECK IN FOR DENPASAR. WE ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE LOGISTICS. R. EVANS, PYMBLE
Qatar Airways does not have an early check-in service that would allow you to get your luggage and check it in for the flight to Denpasar before going to your hotel. In such cases it is standard procedure for the hotel to arrange for your check-in luggage to be stored at the baggage services counter, until you are ready to pass through immigration, collect your luggage and go to the check-in desk for your Denpasar flight. The only other alternative would be to collect your luggage and spend your layover time at a hotel such as the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel, which is connected to Terminal 3. Since you already have the booking at the Ambassador Transit Hotel, and given the firm assurances Changi Airport has given me, I'd say you can rest easy with your original booking.
CONVERSATION OVER TO YOU . . . The question was: Have you had success seeking insurance cover for a pre-existing medical condition? Share your story.
According to E. Sweet, "My husband suffers asthma, which is usually covered as a pre-existing medical condition, but often not if you've been hospitalised for it in the past six to 12 months. We took a trip to Europe in September last year, and two weeks beforehand, he was hospitalised. We no longer met the eligibility criteria with CoverMore but had success with Webjet's travel insurance. My advice is to shop around and read the fine print. Be absolutely honest. My husband became sick again in London and it gave us peace of mind to know he could be treated because he was covered."
G. Morgan writes, "I have cover from my ANZ Visa credit card. They require an application each trip, because I had a heart bypass. That costs $75. The card fee is $89 p.a. I regard the cover as good."
From M. and J. Forster, "We have a couple of pre-existing conditions. We asked about travel insurance at Medibank Private, our private health cover provider, and had no problems."
S. Painting (aged 70) writes, "I have pre-existing medical conditions and I have comprehensive travel insurance with CoverMore. I have not had any problems with them at all. "
Next question: Have travel apps for phones and tablets made you a more enlightened traveller, or do you now spend too much time looking at the screen? Send a response to firstname.lastname@example.org. The best response will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.