Lonely Planet Writer

Traveller talk: December 2016

shutterstock_145225978Have you forgotten something? © bikeriderlondon / Shutterstock

The last month of 2016 saw questions about 'aggressive' luggage, travelling with allergies, a bus trip from Armenia to Iran, plus much more. The Thorn Tree community rose to the challenge.

Road trip request

Jc828 is planning a bus trip from Yerevan, Armenia, to Tabriz, Iran, and was looking to chat to those who had done this journey recently. Owenmorton warned of heavy snow, while SaeedAlizadeh suggested having a guide meet them at the Iranian border and that a taxi would cost almost the same as the bus – if travelling with two or more – but would allow stop offs, for example, to see Tatev monastery and Saint Stephanus church. Owenmorton recommends Babak Castle on the Iranian side and altona says the night train from Tbilisi to Yerevan was ‘marvellous’.

Don't forget to pack...

Travelphotosmichael asked for one thing you forget to pack, and one thing you never use. Mooseintransit says a travel sink plug is often forgotten (and that a Pringles lid works well instead) and marichel1981 brings back a third of their clothes unworn. Julie_l has discarded a pocket knife while mclarjh wishes they could bring one but can’t due to carry-on baggage restrictions.

An article in the Washington Post about aggressive luggage (hard cases) is taken to task by davanden who asks: ‘is this a real thing?’ Sfgirl42 says her hard case protected her wine, while norrie19 says the increased prevalence of hard cases was due to new plastics and adds: ‘this shell luggage comes in white, yellow, lime green and turquoise... hardly tints of aggression’.

Tablet or paperback?

Jessn1 wonders whether to take a Kindle or a 'real' book travelling and gets a mixed response. Ben says tablets ensure enough light for reading while travoyageur, friendly_checkingirl, and julie_l advocate taking ‘real’ books and doing swaps. Julie_I says ‘I've found some books that I really enjoyed but that I never would have chosen myself’.

Healthcare queries

TT-ers help bebobo who is looking for advice on drug pricing and hospitals in Thailand to help with cancer aftercare. Vitalyivanov suggests Bangkok Hospital on Koh Samui is expensive and overly vigilant. Barbarastarkie personally recommends Bumrumgrad hospital in Bangkok. Lannatrav kindly offers to make enquiries at the International desk at Chiang Mai Ram Hospital. Andie points bebobo also to the TT health branch, where there is a nurse who is ‘very knowledgeable’ about the Thai healthcare system.

Tomato rasam, South Indian soup, Indian cuisine Tomato rasam, South Indian soup, yum... but do onions lurk? ©bonchan/Getty Images

Food rules

GozoMogg sent out an SOS to TT-ers asking for help coping with a severe intolerance to onions while travelling in India. Kalikalooti offers some phrases for asking for ‘no onion’ and suggests asking for Jain food. AzureSkyFollows suggests the Zomato restaurant app and explains that Jain is a religious group that does not eat anything that requires 'killing' – harvesting onions require pulling them up and ‘killing’ the plant. Lifesupport suggests asking for ‘sattvic’ food, which has no onions. SlicedMilkToast says to be careful of a possible tendency to try to please and say something is onion-free when it's not.