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Bianca Femia - Travel Specialist

Business or Economy?
Haha! I’d take anything, but I’ll always take Business Class given the opportunity. It’s a silly question isn’t it? I love the additional benefits that Business Class offers including the amazing variety of food and beverages available on the menu. Just take me away! 

Most frequented destination?
There’s two that I’ve frequented equally... Hong Kong and Bali. Both were on work trips and both are so conveniently located to Australia, and not only offer amazing shopping opportunities, but an insight into a culture so different to what we are accustomed to here at home. I become intoxicated by the smells, sights and sounds offered by each of these exotic destinations. My senses are awakened during every trip!

Favourite airport?
Hong Kong would rank at the top of my list, mainly because I love the shopping that’s available there. It’s unbelievable! I’m a shopaholic and the range on products available at the airport mean that I could travel to Hong Kong and not even leave the airport to enjoy a good shopping getaway. The fact that the airport was brand new when I was last there made the experience even more exciting. Transferring or making your way through the airport in Hong Kong is an adventure in itself! 

If I ran my own airline I would...?
I would most certainly introduce a Kids Club whereby parents could place all children in one sound proof room on the plane which would of course have sound proofed walls. I’m sure that a lot of people would agree that it would make travel so much more enjoyable! 

Where would you go with a million air miles?
A million air miles is a lot to use up, but at the top of my list I would most certainly include Europe, Canada and South America. If I had that many air miles, I’d be travelling around the world in First Class without doubt! My itinerary would be so flexible, I’d be zig-zagging all over the world! 

Best trip ever?
Africa and Canada – it’s really a toss up. Africa however was the most mind blowing. It was so different to anything I’d ever seen or experienced, and it had been a dream of mine to visit there since I was a child. I travelled to Kenya, and the Masai Mara was on my bucket list and to be able to tick that off my list was truly amazing! 

Most memorable overseas dining?
My most memorable dining experience was on the Rocky Mountaineer in Gold Leaf Class. It was pretty amazing! Dining with the stunning scenery passing by, with a menu offering British Columbia salmon, venison and more was enough to make my mouth water. Amazing food and wine combined with amazing scenery passing by made for the entire experience. 

In the suitcase? 
Too much! I have to take everything and always over pack! I always pack an extra book because it relaxes me and it’s the only time I get to read. I don’t know how, but I always seem to manage to cram in twice as much on the way home without being charged for additional luggage! 

The first thing you do in a new city?
The first thing I do is to go for a walk around the local area and get to know my surroundings. It’s a way to get my bearings and in doing so, ensure that I can find a landmark near where I’m staying in case I get lost.

How do you make the most of a spare afternoon in a strange city?
It depends where I am, but I would go to the local piazza, square or mall and people watch. It’s one of my favourite past times. I love watching how other people live, lead their daily lives and interact in different social environments. It never ceases to amaze me how differently people go about their lives in a different country. 

Other travel tips?
Don’t plan too much. Spontaneity is the key for me. Let yourself be surprised by your destination. Travel is about awakening your senses and experiencing a sense of adventure you don’t tend to find at home. 

Best overseas purchase?
My best purchase from overseas would definitely be Swarovski Crystal from Lucerne in Switzerland. My mother collected them and they went in her grandfather clock. It had personal meaning to it.

Best travelling tale?
It would have been when I was doing some leisurely duty free shopping at Hong Kong International Airport prior to my flight home. Somehow, I missed the boarding call for my flight to Adelaide. Airport staff were running everywhere with their walkie talkies calling out my name. Absorbed in my shopping mission, I was oblivious to it all. When the staff approached me in one of the shops, I was already laden down with a carry-on bag plus several plastic bags full of duty free. Having identified that it was me that they were looking for, the airport staff insisted that I run through the airport to the plane as my luggage had already been checked through. I could hardly breathe and looked a mess by the time I got on the plane. Thankfully, they had held the flight for me and I just made the departure on time! I’m sure I looked a treat as I bumbled my way down the aisle with other passengers looking on in annoyance!

Top travel gripe?
Packing. I never know what to take and generally over pack. I hate having to decide what I’m going to wear and like to have options before travelling anywhere. I also hate having to stand in queue at airline check in. It’s the series of seemingly endless queues and line ups that get to me when I’m travelling. No sooner do I seem to get to the end of a line than I find myself standing at the beginning of another.

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