Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Pete and Marty's travel tips

Thinking of getting away from it all? This week our well-travelled duo of experts, Peter and Martin answer your travel queries, with hints on where to go, what to see and how to justify it.

Dear Peter and Martin, my partner and I are planning a trip of a lifetime to the Americas. Our problem is we can't make up our mind – north or south? Can you advise? Money is not an issue.

Martin replies: Peter and I have occasionally argued in the past over the north or south thing, too. But in our experience, especially when someone else is picking up the tab, why choose? We feel it is incumbent upon us all to embrace both north and south in an inclusive and generous way. Our current trip is an example of cross-border co-operation combining a week down south in Brazil taking in the sights of Rio and Sao Paulo, followed by a city break north in Washington.

Dear Peter and Martin, I am continually baffled by the charges posed by various airlines especially regarding luggage. What do you suggest?

Peter replies: Martin and I come with considerable baggage ourselves so this is something which concerns us, too. Personally I believe it is incumbent upon those weighing the scales to act in a transparent and even-handed manner at all times. In recent days I believe there has been a perception among a section of the community that there has been a lack of such even-handedness. I will continue to speak out where I fear there has been injustice over even-handedness. I will not be silenced!

Dear Peter and Martin, like yourselves I am always on the go and friends have suggested I might enjoy an activity holiday. But which activity? Can you help?

Peter replies: It really depends on what you enjoy doing on holiday. Speaking for Martin and myself, it may come as a surprise to know that our favourite activity is not hobnobbing, or availing of the five-star luxury and taxpayer-funded travel to exotic locations. Yes, we enjoy all that. But our favourite activity by far is forging links. Closely followed by seeking investment, identifying new markets and promoting tourism. We are especially interested in forging links between the emerging economies of the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and our own wee BRIC-throwing country.

Dear Peter and Martin, at a time when money is tight and we're all trying to support the economy, don't you feel the staycation is a great idea?

Martin replies: Absolutely! The staycation is a marvellous option for those who cannot avail of taxpayer-funded travel. For those who can escape the grim recession, however, now is a good time to get away for a sunshine break. Especially as it's currently Baltic in Belfast. Weatherwise we're not Brazil, we're the North of Ireland. But you can be assured that Peter and I will leave no stone unturned as we continue to promote our foundered wee country on a world stage and explore mutually beneficial opportunities to top up our tans.

Dear Peter and Martin, when is the best time to visit China?

Peter replies: In our experience the best time is when the local Politburo is choosing a new leader. This provides lots of opportunity to practise forging links with low level officials who don't actually count. The dedicated traveller can then justify a follow-up trip a few months later to forge links with officials missed out first time round.

Next week – coping with jetlag and how the in-flight food in business class compares to that over-priced can of Coke and mini pack of Pringles in economy.

• Peter and Martin regret that they are unable to answer questions on how much a trip to China costs, why they had to go to Brazil to celebrate George Best, why they had to go to Washington to celebrate our patron saint, how many jobs they think they have actually attracted in all this and how many air-miles they intend to clock up in 2013.

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