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Connect With the World Down Under

August 14, 2008

I had no intention of switching from Myspace to Facebook. Everyone I knew was on Myspace, I was all set up there, and it’s blue hues felt cozy and homey compared to the stark whiteness of Facebook.

About a year ago though I found out that Canadian Chris, who I met in Sydney, was on Facebook. If I wanted to swap messages and links and YouTube videos with him, I would have to join. Ditto English Chris, who I met in a Sydney nightclub. Also, Sparky (real name Chris, but there are already too many of them).

Pretty soon Facebook helped me to reconnect with lots of the people I met traveling, some of whom I hadn’t talked to in two or three years. I met dozens of wonderful people while traveling Australia – more people than I’ve ever met on any other trip anywhere. Why? I think it’s because the whole country caters to backpackers and student travelers. There’s an entire industry in place to help you move city to city, adventure to adventure.

Australia Zoo

Australia Zoo

That (back)pack mentality may make it harder for you to get off the beaten path, but it also makes it much easier to meet likeminded travelers, to socialize with large groups of people who are enjoying the same experiences, and to find great deals. After all, the larger the market, the more options you have, and the more power you have when choosing where to spend your travel dollars.

Two of the best ways to see Australia with limited fuss and maximum enjoyment are a Contiki tour and the Oz Experience bus. Contiki provides tours with set schedules and activities. If you have a set amount of days and specific sights you want to see, Contiki can get you around and hit the highlights with almost no independent planning required on your part.

Oz Experience gives you more control over your schedule. It’s an open bus pass – you hop on and off buses when it suits you. You can choose to stay in one place for two days, two weeks or two months. There are some restrictions, and the buses may not always fit your schedule as precisely as you’d like, but you are guaranteed to meet a ridiculous number of other backpackers as you go.

Learn more about both of these options from Travel CUTS, or call an agent for more details.

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