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Free Phones – so why not free Myki Cards?

Sunday, 26 October 2014

My room at the Hotel Icon in Hong Kong a few days ago featured an in-room printer, ideal for when you need to print off boarding passes or other paperwork. And a free minibar, now that’s a nice touch.

IMG_8375 - Hotel Icon free phone - 270◄ And, best of all, a free mobile phone. When you check in you get your own smart phone to use while you’re staying at the hotel. It included free local calls, free international calls back to your home country, free internet, emails, Google maps and so on. Perfect! Using your own phone overseas and encountering sky high data charges can be a big problem for unwary travellers. Even for wary travellers when you simply have to download data. The Hotel Icon phone only works while you’re checked in at the hotel, when you’re departing you tap to disconnect and delete all your information, phone numbers and usage information.

Wouldn’t it be nice, I thought back home in Melbourne, Australia, if hotels here could offer free Myki cards. Myki is the Melbourne public transport card system that works on trains, trams and buses. It works fine, but for visitors from overseas or from elsewhere in Australia it must qualify as the world’s most visitor unfriendly travel card. Lots of other countries have public transport travel cards, but in Melbourne there’s no way of avoiding it (you cannot buy a simple single ticket, if you want to travel you must get a card) and the card is non-refundable.

So why don’t Melbourne hotels give all their guests a free card? The guests can then put money on for any travel they do and hand the card back to the hotel when they check out. If they have any cash left on the card, well that’s a nice little free gift to the next user. If they neglect to hand it back, well it’s only cost the hotel $6.

Myki Cards - 270◄ These six Myki cards are not my whole collection, I’ve got a bunch of them to give to house guests staying with us. On more than one occasion we’ve gone out somewhere without using public transport (walking, car, taxi), but then decided to return by public transport, only to find our guests haven’t got their Myki cards with them. Result? I buy them more Myki cards. No wonder it’s just been revealed that in Melbourne, according to The Age newspaper, ‘there are 10 myki cards in circulation for every weekday public transport user, with the massive over subscription blamed on a lack of short-term tickets.’

 

IMG_8375 - Hotel Icon free phone - 270

Free Phones – so why not free Myki Cards?

26 October 2014 | Living

My room at the Hotel Icon in Hong Kong a few days ago featured an in-room printer, ideal for when you need to print off boarding passes or other paperwork. And a free minibar, now that’s a nice touch. ◄ And, best of all, a free mobile phone. When you check in you g...

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IMG_8214 - aircraft, Yuz Museum 540

Yuz Museum, Shanghai

25 October 2014 | Culture

▲ Take the nose and tail of three private jets past their use-by date, join them together with long twisting tubes and turn them into three snakes writhing across the gallery floor. It’s Telle mère tel fils by Abdel Abdessemed. Art galleries are all the go in China...

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To license this image contact:Lonely Planet Imagesemail: lpi@lonelyplanet.com.auphone: 61 3 8379 8181

Goodbye Mecca

3 October 2014 | Living

True or False? • The house of the Prophet Mohammed’s first wife Khadijah in Mecca has been demolished and replaced by a block of toilets • The Victoria’s Secret lingerie shop in Riyadh was burnt to the ground by angry matawwa, the Saudi Arabian religious police •...

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Space Adventures

Space Adventures (& Teslas)

22 September 2014 | Living

▲ The view of earth from 400 km above in the International Space Station Back in 2008, courtesy of Space Adventures. I made a little trip to Moscow to visit the Cosmonaut Training Centre and then fly down to Baikonur in Kazakhstan to see a Soyuz space launch. I was...

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To license this image contact:Lonely Planet Imagesemail: lpi@lonelyplanet.com.auphone: 61 3 8379 8181

Who Was Rod? Where is Rod?

14 September 2014 | Living

Back in 1972 Maureen – at the tail end of the Asia trip which led to the very first Lonely Planet guidebook – Maureen and drove from Perth to Sydney. We shared the petrol costs to cross the continent in an EH Holden. Recently we’ve got back in touch – 40 years later –...

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A Week at the Airport

A Week at the Airport – A Heathrow Diary

9 September 2014 | Media

In between philosophising about everything from work, religion, sex and art to philosophy Alain de Botton also hung out at British Airway’s Terminal 5 for a week to watch what goes on. He was accompanied by photographer Richard Baker. It’s subtitled A Heathrow Diary. ...

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Ryanair seating 540

Reclining Seats

8 September 2014 | Transport

Fortunately the air travel story in recent weeks has shifted from the tragic (crashed 777s) to the ridiculous (arguments over reclining seats). And for my money the villain of the piece is James Beach, the jerk who used the offending ‘knee defender’, he’s just one ste...

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Postcards

22 August 2014 | Living

Remember postcards? A rectangle of cardboard with a picture. We used to send them to people, way back before emails and text messages and Facebook and Instagram. Well I still do regularly send postcards – to my mother (pushing 90) and to Maureen’s aunt (sailed past 90...

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Persepolis-0104 - 540

More on who flies where – Iran versus Iraq

9 August 2014 | Transport

So most airlines can’t fly over Iraq and as a result airlines heading north or south from or to the Gulf cities (Dubai etc) are flying a little bit to the east over Iran. Including Delta and United? The US has no diplomatic relations with Iran, US companies are not...

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To license this image contact:Lonely Planet Imagesemail: lpi@lonelyplanet.com.auphone: 61 3 8379 8181

Ostia Antica – where is the mosaic?

8 August 2014 | Places

Lido di Ostia is the beach resort for Rome, it’s nothing special but convenient if you’re flying out of Rome Fiumicino, the main Rome airport. I had an early morning flight so I decided to stay there and have a look at Ostia Antica, it was the port for ancient Rome, b...

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