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Group travel magazines very own "Housewife, Superstar and Travel Guru" Dame Ivana Travelalott answers all your travel conundrums


Dear Ivana

Is there any definition of an adrenalin filled weekend?  At my local WRI, nothing gets  Mrs Devine more excited than a deep dive in the tunnel section with Mrs Alton at the Towers Amusement Park, while Mrs Goldsworthy and Mrs Turrell enjoy nothing more than Mr Moore’s curves and holes at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Dear Prudence,


What constitutes a thrill-seeking weekend is something entirely subjective.  For example, your ladies may enjoy downing a yard of ale in every pub from The Horse and Groom to the New Crown Inn on Merthyr Tydfil High Street, whereas I revel in a champagne bath while being exfoliated and depilated by a pair of compliant handmaidens.  Each to her own, I say. 

Dear Ivana


My convent upbringing was cruelly exposed on a recent fam trip, when I came last in the cocktail challenge.  My Tequila Sunrise was more of a shepherd’s warning, and my Long Sloe Comfortable was anything but.  How can I avoid such embarrassment in future?


Dear Miss Congeniality


Practice is only way, Darlings.  As I say to Mr Ivana only yesterday evening:  More, more, more!  Practice, practice, practice!  This is especially true for you, having such a wasted childhood.  Those nuns mean well, but they can be so cruel; depriving a young girl of all the life skills that she will need when Mother Superior is not around to show you what should be shaken and what should be stirred.  Don’t worry, practice plying all your friends with alcohol and, in no time, you’ll be handling their twizzle sticks like professional.

Dear Ivana

How do we get the best value from train travel?



Dear Isambard,

Be not afeared, but this not as easy as it used to be.  Sadly, since the demise of the British Railways ‘Blue Pullman’ it has been necessary for we, the real passengers, to share trains with the Sainsbury’s sandwich eating Hoi Polloi, travelling in carriages devoted to Standard Class, or steerage, or whatever the myriad operators designate them these days.  If, by any chance you meant ‘cheapest tickets’ when you asked for ‘value’ - I have misunderstood your request and cannot possibly offer any advice.  As with all the worthwhile things in life, when it come to rail travel, if you have to ask the price, you cannot afford it.

Dear Dame Ivana

I’ve often been scornful of those mature excursion opportunities, the likes of which are organised by companies like ‘Fifty Plus’ and ‘Adult Travel Finder’. Now I am of a certain age is there any way I can volte-face without losing face?

Dear WTM of Bexley

You really have little to worry about.  The clientele will hardly have taken any notice of your ranting’s, and I’m sure the operators will welcome your booking fee with open and forgiving arms.  I am concerned however by the examples you give.  I have checked, and these companies do not specialise in travel.  I rather suspect that whatever publication you were reading had some pages stuck together and you strayed out of the travel section in error. 

Dear Ivana


As modern airliners cruise eight miles high, should I be ready to go flaps up during the climb to altitude or wait to put the undercarriage down on final approach?

Dear Captain Speaking


If I had pilot’s cap for every time I’ve been asked this, I would be flying the world in one of those lie-flat first class cabins so beloved of British Bonkways, and totally wasted on virgin. As an aviator, I have to assume you are familiar with the proper procedure for such flights of fancy.  They generally include rollback, apply thrust, rotate and take off - in that order.  If you miss out any of these steps, you’ll most likely end up with an embarrassing mess on the gangway, or runway, or both.

The views and opinions expressed are not that necessarily that of the publisher or company. Anything funny or entertaining is.

Complaints should be sent to Ms Dame Ivana directly, but we don’t have her contact details at the moment as she is currently on the run from Interpol.

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