My wife and I plan to travel to Botswana next year, however, all flights to Gaborone appear to go via Johannesburg. Given the recent publicity about the extraordinary difficulties of obtaining a South African visa, is there any airline that flies to Gaborone without transiting through Johannesburg? Or is it possible to transit through Johannesburg without a South African visa? My desire to visit South Africa diminishes with every letter published.

Max Farquhar

It's such a shame the petty visa spat between New Zealand and South Africa is putting up so many barriers to Kiwis visiting the republic.

I've asked my contact at House of Travel to help with your query. Here's what their airfare team had to say:

"Johannesburg is the more popular way to travel to Africa from New Zealand - however, there is another way to get to Gaborone. Kenyan Airways has fares ex-New Zealand travelling via Asia with an interline carrier and then on Kenyan Airways to Nairobi and onwards to Gaborone.

"It is possible to transit through Johannesburg without having to apply for a South African visa. Passengers will need to be on one ticket from New Zealand to Gaborone with no stop in Johannesburg. Airlines that offer a one-ticket option via Johannesburg are South African Airlines, Emirates and Qantas to name a few.

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"If passengers are on two separate airfares requiring two separate tickets then they will need a visa as they will need to collect bags on arrival and re-check back in for the next flight, meaning they will go through Customs."

Hopefully you can find something that works for you - all the best! I'm sure that your trip to Botswana will be worth the hassles.

Is there anything you can do if a child is misbehaving on a flight, kicking the back of your seat and that sort of thing? I'm not talking about normal kid stuff, but actual bad behaviour.

Warren L

What are the options when a kid is being obnoxious on your flight? Photo / Getty Images
What are the options when a kid is being obnoxious on your flight? Photo / Getty Images

My main advice in this situation is not to be a dick. I'm not a parent, but I imagine it's pretty hard travelling with kids sometimes, and even though they're expected to keep their kids in line, it's not always that simple. My first call would be to ask a flight attendant if you can switch seats - if there are some available, it shouldn't be too hard.
If you feel you must say something when the back of your seat is being attacked, talk directly to the kid. They aren't that self-aware yet and probably aren't doing it to bother you. Speak to them like an adult, don't sound angry, and ask them to stop. They probably will - when I was young, I was probably more likely to listen to another adult than my parents! Otherwise you could bribe them with lollies.

If I want to book an overseas trip and my dates are flexible, is it possible to search for flights by price low-high instead of by date?

Tess

The website Skyscanner allows you to search for airfares over a whole month and also lets you search for the cheapest month - that could be a good option if you prefer to book flights yourself. However, if you're extremely flexible and want to look outside of particular months and consider different destinations, I'd consider talking to a travel agent.

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They've fallen out of favour a bit with younger people because of the rise of online booking sites, but a travel agent's expertise can be invaluable. They tend to know what flights are on sale when and can help you find the best deal for connecting flights. It's a bit of a misconception that you'll pay more - I think they can help you save money. I've just booked a trip to Europe next year and while I thought I'd found the cheapest flights, a travel agent helped me find a comparable price on a much better airline.

Send your queries by email to askaway@nzherald.co.nz. Eli cannot answer all questions and cannot correspond with readers.