Archive for November, 2008


Give Us Your “Australia” Review

November 24, 2008



Only a Few More Days for Lufthansa Spring Break Deals

November 24, 2008

This is just a sample of possible fares, good through November 30th. Book now and avoid the last-minute rush.

From New York* to:
London $214 Frankfurt $295
Amsterdam $284 Barcelona $299
Paris $288 Prague $315
From Boston* to:
London $238 Frankfurt $234
Amsterdam $295 Barcelona $299
Paris $295 Prague $342
From Washington D.C.* to:
London $263 Frankfurt $317
Amsterdam $330 Barcelona $342
Paris $307 Prague $377
From Miami* to:
London $212 Frankfurt $352
Amsterdam $367 Barcelona $357
Paris $371 Prague $408
From Chicago* to:
London $278 Frankfurt $352
Amsterdam $391 Barcelona $351
Paris $272 Prague $384
From Los Angeles* to:
London $415 Frankfurt $364
Amsterdam $445 Barcelona $353
Paris $334 Prague $343
From Portland* to:
London $421 Madrid $309
Amsterdam $360 Athens $379
Paris $471 Rome $419
From San Francisco* to:
London $415 Madrid $341
Amsterdam $445 Athens $442
Paris $329 Rome $394
From Seattle* to:
London $212 Prague $442
Amsterdam $445 Athens $459
Paris $445 Rome $453
From San Diego* to:
London $462 Frankfurt $410
Amsterdam $333 Athens $488
Paris $380 Rome $390

Remember…you can only get the Lufthansa Student Spring Break Specials at Travel CUTS.

* Roundtrip fares shown do not include taxes. (Taxes are between $370 and $470 additional to fares shown). Fares are subject to availability, may change without notice, and vary by date of departure. Other destinations also available, ask your agent for details. Valid for departures between 27 OCT 08 – 11 DEC 08 or 25 DE C08 – 02 APR 09.

For more information or to book,
call 1-800-592-CUTS (2887) or visit your nearest Travel CUTS!


International Sights in Your Backyard

November 20, 2008

boston_cityhallI was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online today, as I sometimes do, and on their homepage an image caught my eye.

It was this small, thumbnail picture of a building that looked a lot like Boston’s City Hall. So I clicked on it and went to an article about the ugliest buildings and monuments in the world. Number one on the list: Boston’s City Hall. Impressive, wouldn’t you say? Having the number one anything right here where we can enjoy it?

The list includes buildings from France, Spain, Russia and even Liechtenstein, but there’s no arguing that Boston has one of the ugliest.

The lesson here is that while you may be traveling to see beautiful sights, you might come across a few ugly ones that are just as spectacular, in their head-scratching, “what were they thinking?” kind of way, and you should enjoy those just as much.

What’s your vote for ugliest landmark?


Change Your Latitude: Head to “Australia”

November 18, 2008

bazBaz Luhrmann’s “Australia” just had its Sydney premier and is set to take over theaters for the holidays. When you see it, you’re likely to walk out thinking a few different things. For example:

1. Wow, Hugh Jackman is hot even without the metal claws.
2. Wow, Nicole Kidman really doesn’t ever get to play an Australian, even in Australia.
3. Wow, Australia looks amazing. I’m packing my bags and going to see the red dirt right now.

For that third one, I can help you out a little. Luckily, Australia has a massive backpacker industry. Once there, you’ll have no problem finding hostels, cheap eats, surfing lessons, camping tours, pubs and nightlife and thousands of other backpackers to hang out with.

Getting there is the tricky part, because it can be expensive, even with student deals. Start by using Travel CUTS’ Australia Trip Planner, and talk to one of their agents. They send heaps of students to Australia every year and can help you save money wherever they can. (Or enter their contest for a free trip – now until December 31, 2008)

Another way to get to Australia – possibly with more help from your parents – is on a student visa. How about a semester or year abroad? Live like a local, meet students from all over, then take some time to travel around and see the sights.

Talk to your academic counselor about your school’s options, or, if you’re looking for a graduate program, you can apply directly to an Australian university. Just ask me about my year at the University of New South Wales. (Loved it!)


Put Spring Break on Your Christmas List

November 18, 2008

bahamasIt’s months away, but if you want to go further than your campus library for Spring Break, start planning now.

When relatives ask what you want for Christmas this year, let them know where you want to go and what you could use to help you get there. Maybe you need some new beach clothes, or maybe a travel gift certificate you can put toward airfare or accommodations.

Step one is getting together with a friend or five and picking out someplace you’ll love. Florida has been done, but how about the Dominican Republic, or a Bahamas Party Cruise? Check in with Travel CUTS for student discounts on the most popular packages.


24 Hours in Seattle

November 12, 2008

seattle_spikeI had a little more than 24 hours in Seattle last weekend, but I spent part of it visiting friends and making funny faces at their adorable baby, which probably won’t be on any of your itineraries. So, sticking to the sights that you might enjoy, here are some ideas of things to do in Seattle, rain or shine.

The Experience Music Project | Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame
This is two museums in one crazy looking Frank Gehry-designed building. Admission is $15 and gets you into both parts. If you happen to know someone who works for Microsoft (and in Seattle, who doesn’t?) take them and their discount card with you for reduced admission.

The sci-fi part of the museum will entertain hard-core geeks as well as those who enjoy the occasional Battlestar Galactica episode. They have a robot exhibit that includes an R2D2, a wall of space weapons like Klingon bat’leths and guns from Starship Troopers, costumes from Star Trek, Red Dwarf, Planet of the Apes and Alien, and lots of other fun things you’ll recognize. Allow yourself at least an hour to see it all.

If you want to learn more about the roots of the Seattle music scene – and not just the grunge years – the music side of the museum will show you a good time. It can be done in 30 minutes if you just want to take a quick walk through the exhibits, or you can spend hours there, listening to the hundreds of interviews and recordings that are available at various listening stations. You can even record your own story for other visitors to enjoy. There are interactive areas where you can play instruments and (for a fee) you can make a video of you and your friends being rock stars.

Learn more or plan your visit:

The Space Needle
I’ll be honest here and say that I did not actually go into the Space Needle. I did it on my first trip to Seattle, when I was 10, and don’t feel the need to go back. If you think I missed out, let me know. But I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower, the Empire State Building and other scenic points, and I figured I could do without.

If you’re in Seattle on a clear day though, it does have a lovely view. Find out more here:

seattle_undergroundSeattle Underground Tour
Like many cities built near water, Seattle used to be a lot lower. The sidewalks you see downtown were raised way above ground when flooding got out of control, but the underground streets remain. You can tour them, starting at Pioneer Square, and find out what a large part the toilet played in shaping American cities. If you don’t think that sounds like fun, you don’t know nearly enough about plumbing. The tour guides are funny and happy to answer questions, and the tour is just $12 with a valid student ID.

Head down under:

Theo Chocolate Factory Tour
It’s chocolate! And you can tour the factory! Tours are $6 and you do get samples along the way. It’s really good stuff too. That means it runs a little more than the .85 you’re used to paying for a Hershey bar, but it’s completely worth it. Theo is located in the Fremont neighborhood, which is a trendy, artsy, fun area. There’s a huge statue of Lenin smack in the middle of it all (on sale for just $250,000), there’s other art scattered around the streets, and there are lots of tasty places to stop for a drink or a meal.

Plan your tour:

starbucks_originalThe Troll Under the Bridge (a.k.a. the Fremont Troll)
This is also in the Fremont area and it’s free to stop by, snap some photos, have a picnic, rub the troll’s nose, or whatever else you want to do. And yes, that’s a real VW Beetle in his left hand.

Pike Place Market
This is where the fish throwing takes place. It’s also where you can get coffee at the original Starbucks, buy all kinds of touristy souvenirs, get a really good gyros or scone, and do some serious people watching.

Talk to your friendly Travel CUTS agent to get a student fare to Seattle (or bus or train ticket) and pick up a hostel membership and ISIC. You can save money at lots of restaurants, museums and other attractions across the U.S., and around the world, if you have these discount cards.

Don’t forget to pack an umbrella!


Get to D.C.for Inauguration Day!

November 7, 2008

white_houseIn January there’s going to be a whole lot of hoopla around the swearing in of President Obama. If you’d like to be in the middle of it, you have some options.

First, book a flight and a room. Now. Washington D.C. is filling up fast. Travel CUTS can help you find a hostel and a student airfare, so give them a call.

For tickets to the inauguration ceremony, you’re going to have to do some wheedling of your own. Real, official tickets are only handed out by congressional offices. They are free, but there are a limited number available. If you see websites that guarantee tickets for a high price, be very wary of a scam.

According to this article at, “Federal elected officials, Democrat and Republican, typically receive bundles of inauguration tickets for themselves and their constituents. About 250,000 have been printed nationally.” The article goes on to say that you can contact your local congressperson now to find out how to be put on the ticket request list, and some offices have created special email addresses and websites to deal with the requests. You may want to Google your local representative to find out what they are doing.

If you don’t have a ticket, you can still go, it just means you’ll be behind the 250,000 people who do have tickets. But you’ll be there, you can soak up the atmosphere, and you can enjoy the dozens of parties that are sure to spring up all over the place.

If you have any other tips, leave a comment to share with others.