Arrivals & Departures Weekly Travel News & Views 28 November, 2023

Rottnest Express's Star Flyte Express.

Travel Editor Stephen Scourfield has all sorts of good ideas, and news of local legends, as he checks out another week in Travel


Vietnam Airlines’ direct flights between Perth and Ho Chi Minh City start on December 7, 2023, (or, more precisely, with take-off just past midnight on December 8, I think). In a Boeing 787, flying time is six hours, 20 minutes. There will be three flights a week, on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. I’m digging around the booking site and finding prices from $381 one-way, with most at just over $600.


Don’t let Casey, my faithful suitcase, hear me saying this, but there are moments when luggage is a nuisance. Let me put Radical Storage on your radar. It has been offering a luggage storage service for years, working with local companies that have safe storage space.

When might it suit? A spokesperson says …

+ Don’t know where to leave your luggage after checking out of the hotel or before checking in?

+ Do you have a business meeting and want to free yourself from hand baggage?

+ Are you planning to visit a museum, but you don’t want to take that heavy backpack with you?

The spokesperson adds: “Our main goal is to make your holiday or business trip lighter and more enjoyable. We’ll take care of your belongings from the first to the last moment.” The rate in Europe is €5 (about $8.20) per item per day, with no weight or size restrictions. For example, in Paris there are 292 luggage storage locations, and 124 in Rome. Luggage can be left in all sorts of places from Budapest to Lisbon and Athens. In the UK it is £5 a day ($9.50), and there are 254 locations in London, for example. In the US, the cost is $US6 a day ($9.20), with locations in most cities.


We’re always on the lookout for clever ideas that make life a bit easier. And on just that point, I bought a Shark Wandvac cord-free handheld vacuum and have never regretted it. Thoroughly tested, it is good for quick and powerful cleaning — the car, the caravan, or when camping. It is easy to charge and has a 10-minute run time. It has plenty of suck when you push the “extra power” button. I like it for those tricky spots in the vehicle, and keeping a tent or caravan crumb-free is good practice when nibbler critters are about. It comes with a number of attachments including a stick vacuum for full floor cleaning, nozzle for smaller spaces, and an extender. While it has strong suction power of 7700pa, it weighs 640g — less than a bottle of wine. The Shark Cord-Free Wandvac Handheld Vacuum (WV203) is sold by Harvey Norman, The Good Guys, Myer and at for $199.99.


I was introduced to Loop Earplugs through a casual conversation in England about music concerts. Apparently Loop Earplugs are what those in the know wear to loud gigs these days. But some travellers may also find them useful — in planes, or even just to reduce cacophony in airports or restaurants. Designed by a Belgian startup founded by Maarten Bodewes and Dimitri O in 2016, they look more like jewellery than “industrial earplugs”. With a distinctive circle design (that’s the “loop”), they come in a clear finish, and also a range of colours, from rose to flamingo pink to black and more. There are basically three models:

Loop Quiet — simply reduce noise, with up to 27 decibels (dB) of noise reduction. They are $34.95, with four interchangeable ear tip sizes.

Loop Experience — $49.95, to reduce the noise but keep the quality. There is up to 18 dB of filtered noise reduction.

Loop Engage — to “take the edge off while staying engaged”. There is up to 16dB of filtered noise reduction.

There’s free postage for orders of more than $64. Loop Earplugs have had more than 1.5 million customers.


We like local tourism businesses truly integrated into community. And Rottnest Express has been part of the Perth and Fremantle community for more than 60 years. Congratulations to them for their recently introduced Local Legends initiative, which recognises outstanding individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organisations making a positive impact in WA. Rottnest Express is owned by Australian company Journey Beyond. Winners of the new awards are:

+ Freo Farmers Market won the business category. The market, led by Freo local Kylie Wheatley, is every Sunday morning, and not only supports farmers, producers and artisans but has created a place for people to connect.

+ Broken Crayons Still Colour Foundation, run by Rachel Mac, has won the not-for-profit category. Led by survivors of domestic and family violence, the foundation works to provides support, including exit plans.

+ The individual category was won by Ron Gray for his volunteer work. Affectionately known as the “Tin Man”, Ron visits local businesses encouraging as many as possible to display their Cystic Fibrosis WA fundraising tins.

They all received $2000 and a trip to Rottnest Island.

The overall Local Legends title was awarded to the Hero Hunter Foundation. Established in memory of Hunter Leigh Madden, who was three years old when diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, it offers practical support to families with children undergoing treatment. The foundation received $4000 and a trip to Rottnest Island.