Archive for March, 2008

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Daytripping, Flight of the Conchords Style

March 28, 2008

If you already know you won’t be able to take a massive vacation this summer, start planning a smaller one. What do you have available to you? A friend’s car? A bus ticket? Maybe just subway fare?

Without going far, you can still see and do a lot; you just have to look at it differently. For example, let’s say you live in or near New York. You can’t afford a trip to New Zealand, but you can afford a trip to the set of a hugely popular tv show featuring a famous band from New Zealand. Hey hey! Suddenly, a trip to the Big Apple becomes a day of wandering fancy Hollywood-ish sets and perhaps even bumping into some real life extras.

Flight of the ConchordsAlright, it may not thrill you as much as taking a Harry Potter tour of England or a Lord of the Rings tour of the real New Zealand or even a Doctor Who/Torchwood tour of Cardiff (although a girl can dream), but someone has taken the time to put together this whole tour guide to the streets and scenes of Flight of the Conchords and I think it looks like fun. Geeky, but fun.

Drink coffee outside Dave’s pawn shop! Sit around Bret and Jemaine’s stoop like a crazed member of the fanbase! Take your picture outside the faux New Zealand embassy! Good times are bound to be had.

When you finish with that, you can head to Boston and do the Good Will Hunting tour. Playing chess outside the Harvard Au Bon Pain is a must.

Travel and adventure is where you find it. Start looking around. 

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Famous People Travel. So Should You.

March 27, 2008

Why travel? To get away from home. To see something new. To take pictures that will make your friends jealous. To have flings with cute boys/girls you meet on buses and boats and in hostels. To improve your collection of coasters or keychains or smashed pennies. To leave someone behind. To get to someone else. To change who you are. Ooh, wait. That’s a really good reason. And maybe to change the world? A lofty ambition, but not impossible.

Jason Mraz in AfricaHave you heard of Jason Mraz? He’s a philosopher and poet and adventurer and surfer and lover and dreamer, and he sings from time to time, which is how he pays the bills, and his travel expenses. Mr. Mraz is on tour right now and has hit up lots of exotic places. In his online journal he recently wrote about his trip to South Africa, where he was suprised to learn that people there still lived their lives behind big thick walls, protecting themselves from each other, post-Apartheid.

Jason says:

“I’m writing this today because I left there a bit shaken. I’m sure there are plenty of people in this world who like me, are not keen to all the facts and all the news there is to know. I’ve lived my whole life with an “ignorance is bliss” attitude, and for many years it worked just dandy.

I don’t expect you to save South Africa. Nor do I insist you look into adopting an orphan child. I guess I’m just hoping that by sharing my travels, you yourself will have curiosities of your own.”

Be curious. Travel. Share. Continue the cycle and suck others into it until we’re all one big jacuzzi of travelers, learning and growing and working to understand each other.

And don’t forget to buy a keychain and take a few awesome pictures while you’re at it. 

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The Eiffel Tower: See it While You Can

March 26, 2008

New Eiffel TowerOh, those artsy smarty French. They’re always looking for ways to make things better, prettier, more refined or just more French. They did well with the whole Impressionism thing. The baguette is about as good as bread can get. Their fashion isn’t bad either. But now they’re messing with history, architecture and tourism, all at once.

They are “reshaping” the Eiffel Tower.

What can possibly be done to change a structure so big, so sturdy, and so well known? Well, you can put a little hat on it. Or maybe it’s a collar, the kind of big fluffy thing that kings named Louis once wore. You can accessorize it with a bit of frill and fringe and then hang some sparkly lights on it. Won’t that be nice? Maybe, maybe not.

The story that came out yesterday doesn’t indicate when construction begins, only that it will be complete in time for the structure’s 120th birthday next year. That means if you want to get a photo of you next to Eiffel Tower Classic, and not New Coke… er, The Eiffel Tower, Take Two, you’d better hurry. Or you’d better know someone who’s a whiz in Photoshop.

Mostly, I worry about all the street vendors and souvenir shops that will have to either make room for new keychains, postcards, spoon drips, collector-edition thimbles, pot holders, and tshirts, or get rid of the old ones. Who’s to say what the tourists will want? Could this redesign launch a new industry or photographers on the street offering photos next to a backdrop of the old-style Tower for tourists who want pictures with both? If you’re looking for a way to pay for your trip, you can use that idea for free.

Contiki can take you to Paris and show you all the sites, or you can get a student flight and a hostel membership and go it alone. Either way, your friends at Travel CUTS can help you find the best deals. Bon voyage!

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Free Flights to London from Contiki

March 25, 2008

If you’re planning to tour Europe this summer, take advantage of this offer and save a bundle on your flights. Contiki specializes in tours for adventurers age 30 and under, so you’re sure to meet other students and young people and create memories that will last a lifetime (unless you enjoy yourself a little too much, and then there will probably be photos on your friends’ cameras to remind you of the fun you had).

Simply book any one of the following Contiki European tours with Travel CUTS, and your flights to London are FREE!

European Explorer – With Mykonos or Greek Island Cruising Options – 35 Days
European Adventurer – 17 Countries – 39 Days
Ultimate European – 17 Countries – 47 Days
32 Day Camping Tour – 11 Countries
46 Day Camping Tour – 20 Countries

You must book your Contiki no later than April 11, 2008 and start it by May 15, 2008. so get moving!

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A Day of Crocs, Roos, and Spa Treatments?

March 20, 2008

Australia ZooTerri Irwin just announced that she would like to expand Australia Zoo to turn it into a sort of Australian Disneyland, a place where families can go and enjoy several attractions and activities with on-site accommodation.

Having visited Australia Zoo, I’m not sure whether I like this idea or not. Like many places that become too big and too popular, I wonder if pushing the zoo to get bigger and flashier will really improve it, or just make it less charming and more expensive.

I remember when I did my Oz Experience trip, the bus drove us down this small, windy road. There were homes here and there, not even enough to really be considered suburbs so much as it was rural, and then, out of nowhere, there was the zoo. There were no banners along the street, no old timey street lights or massive souvenir shops or anything to make you think you’d left regular Australia for the theme park version Australia. It was quaint and subdued and the focus was more on the animals and the nature surrounding the zoo than on the celebrity that owned it. I liked the feeling it gave me that I was hanging out in Steve Irwin’s backyard.

Part of my hesitation about this plan comes from the fact that I can’t help but wonder whether this is what Steve would have wanted. If this was his plan all along, then I won’t feel so bad knowing I can get a mud bath and a latte after a day of croc-feeding shows. If not, well then it feels a little creepy. I suppose we’ll have to wait and see what the final plan looks like, and whether the locals will let them get away with it.

Learn more about Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo.

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Adventure Travel Workshops in SF Bay Area

March 18, 2008

Ready to plan a trip, but not sure how to get started? Learn more about combining your passion for travel with your interest in volunteering or your desire for adventure in one of these free travel workshops, sponsored by Hostelling International:

March 20th, 2008: World Travel 101 by Ben Tettlebaum
April 8th, 2008: Adventure Travel by Ben Tettlebaum
April 24th, 2008: Adventure Travel by Ben Tettlebaum
May 8th, 2008: World Travel through Volunteerism by Ben Tettlebaum
May 15th, 2008: Adventure Travel by Ben Tettlebaum

Locations: SF REI, Berkeley REI, Fisherman’s Warf Hostel. Check www.norcalhostels.org for details.

Workshops are held from time to time in other cities around the US as well. Check in with http://www.hiusa.org/programs/trav-prog.shtml for more details.

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Enter to Win a $1,000 Airline Ticket

March 17, 2008

This is the newest student travel contest from Student Traveler and Travel CUTS:

Win a $1000 airline ticket from Student Traveler and Travel CUTS! Student Traveler and Travel CUTS have teamed up to give one lucky person a $1,000 airline ticket anywhere in the world. The winner will be announced April 15, 2008.

You can enter here. Good luck!