Can one buy a chip in Europe that would work in all European countries including Great Britain? I would appreciate your help.
- Ashley Wilson
The best and cheapest option when it comes to using a smartphone overseas has always been to buy a local sim card when you arrive at your destination — chances are, you'll see a variety of providers trying to hustle for your business at the airport. Staff will be able to help you choose the best package for your trip and get your new sim card in your phone, if you haven't changed them over before. Make sure your New Zealand SIM is safely stowed away for your return home — tape it on to a piece of card to be sure, as the little things can slip away easily.
A local SIM will be pretty cheap in most European countries, but the only downside had been you needed to buy a new one for each country you visit or pay steep roaming charges.
However, since June 15 this year, roaming fees within the European Union are over. This means you'll pay the same price for data, calls and texting in any EU country as you would where you bought your sim card originally. As it looks like Great Britain will remain in the EU until at least 2019, you should be able to take advantage of this.
If you are entering non-EU countries, like Switzerland or Norway, you may have to buy another SIM for the duration of your stay or rely on Wi-Fi. I definitely recommend sorting out mobile data for your trip — it really makes it that much easier to get around. I can't even imagine how I'd get around overseas now without Google Maps — with integrated public transport information, it really is a godsend.
I've heard you can get better-quality food on a flight if you order one of the special meals beforehand. Is this true?
I don't think this is universally true, but it's worth a try! When I was younger, I found the kids' meals were definitely better than what the adults received, but I'd probably feel like a weirdo if I ordered one now. However, I did try the kosher meal on Air New Zealand recently and it was definitely a step above the norm.
I got enough food for two meals — hot salmon and rice, cold salmon and couscous, beetroot salad, two desserts and even some lollies. My neighbours looked really jealous. I think it depends on your airline and where you're flying from — I recently saw an Oriental Vegetarian meal that was just a bunch of raw chopped vegetables. No thanks.
Anne Fleming wrote in to point out that the reciprocal medical agreement between Australia and New Zealand only relates to hospital treatment, which is correct.
"I sustained a nasty gash to my ankle and went to the local emergency clinic and had to pay $300 for stitching," she wrote.
"On the other hand, an Australian who fronts up at our local clinics gets treated like any New Zealander who presents at a clinic anywhere in NZ. It is a very one-sided 'agreement' and should be altered to be same-same."
I agree — be a decent neighbour and sort it out Australia!