Archive for February, 2010


More Winter Advenure Destinations

February 26, 2010

Alright. You want to play and party like an Olympian, but on the budget of a mere mortal. No problem. Here are a few more hostels that will help you be wild and economical at the same time.

Austria has done very well in some Olympic sports, so it’s a great place to start your adventure. If your interests include mountain biking, hiking, climbing, paragliding, skydiving, canyoning, rafting, skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing or après ski (that’s the one I’m best at), then check out Snowbunny’s Backpackers in Kitzbühel, Austria. You’re just a five-minute walk from a ski lift and close to bars and nightclubs as well.

Cube Savognin

The Good Bye Lenin hostel in Zakopane, Poland comes with its own forest and is also very close to Nosal Mountain for skiing. With dorm rooms as low as 13 Euros a night, your money will last a while here.

The Cube Savognin hostel in Savognin, Switzerland is also located close to ski lifts and is a great location for mountain biking and swimming in the summer.

Finally, the Hotel Moravsko Village in Bansko, Bulgaria provides free transportation to and from the ski lift in Bansko and they have a petting zoo! What’s not to like about that?

Whatever you want to try on your holiday, there’s a hostel out there that offers it, is next to it, or can help you arrange it. Start by talking to a Travel CUTS student travel expert. They can get you on the right path with the right budget, and then you can put the finishing touches on your trip yourself, or they can help you nail down the details.

Ski safe!


How About an Ice Climbing Holiday?

February 24, 2010

Watching the Olympics makes me want to ski fast, jump high, catch some air and twirl until I don’t know up from down. It makes me want to figure out where I put my athletic genes and see if I can dust them off and do something wildly dangerous, or at least something that doesn’t involve a keyboard.

Rampart Creek Hostel

Combine the desire to do something physical with the need to do something affordable, and you wind up with a list of nicely-priced hostels in areas that allow you to try something new.

First, how about some ice climbing? The Rampart Creek Wilderness Hostel in Banff has over 150 ice climbs within 30 minutes drive. According to their website, “This concentration of ice is unparalleled in Canada and quite possibly the world. Climbs range from a few for the timid or beginner up to those for extreme (or insane) climbers, with new mixed routes popping up each year.”

Banff Alpine Center Hostel

If you want more than one activity to choose from, try the Banff Alpine Center. Rated one of Hostelling International’s top ten hostels, the Center offers skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking and mountain biking, not to mention two kitchens, two fireplaces, Internet access, a restaurant and pub. So if 30 minutes of hiking is all you need for the day, you’ll have plenty of indoor activities and company to keep you amused.

To book your hostel, transportation and anything else, talk to a Travel CUTS student travel expert. I’ll have some more ideas for you tomorrow.

Break a leg!


Attend a Travel Talk to Know Before You Go

February 23, 2010

Whether you’re planning a quick trip or a long journey, you’ll have a lot of questions about where to stay, how to get there, how to get around, who to tip, what to pack and what kind of visas or paperwork you need to do.

The best way to get your questions answered is to talk to a student travel expert. They can save you many hours of web surfing by boiling down what you need to know to the most essential details.

I also highly recommend attending a Travel Talk on a topic that interests you. Not only will you hear from the experts, but you might also meet other travelers with similar interests. See if there’s a Travel Talk coming up near you:


University of Calgary
Center for International Students and Study Abroad
MacEwan Student Centre, MSC 275

Topic: SWAP – Working Holiday Programs
March 17th at 12:00 p.m. ( noon)


The Adventure Travel Company
815 10th Ave SW, Calgary, AB, T2R 0B4

Topic: South Africa Travel Talk with special guest speaker from Intrepid Travel
March 23, 7:00 PM
Please call or email to reserve your seat.



Langley TravelCUTS office

#104-6153 200th Street, Langley, BC, V2Y 1A2
(Across from Rogers Video at Hwy 10 and 200th Street)

Topic: Europe on a Budget
March 3, 7:00 p.m.

Topic: SWAP – Working Holiday Programs
March 10, 7:00 p.m.

Please call or email to reserve a seat.



Room 225 University Ctr Building
Univ of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

Topic: SWAP – Working Holiday Programs
March 16, 12:00 p.m. (noon)

Please call or email to reserve a seat.



408 King Street West
Toronto, ON, M5V 1K2

Topic: Europe
March 11th, 6:30 p.m.

Topic: SWAP – Working Holiday Programs
March 25th, 6:30 p.m.

Topic: Around the World Trips
April 14th, 6:30 p.m.

Topic: The South Pacific
April 28th, 6:30 p.m.

Please call or email to reserve a seat.



Université McGILL
3480 McTavish
18h à 19h

04 mars 2010
23 mars 2010
15 avril 2010


Université CONCORDIA
Hall building
1455 de Maisonneuve O
H 771
12h à 13h

10 mars 2010

Saint-Denis / UQAM
1613 Saint-Denis
18h à 19h

16 mars 2010
30 mars 2010
13 avril 2010

Université Laval
Pavillon Maurice-Pollack, Local 1258

18 mars
12h à 13h

Salle Hydro-Québec au pavillon Desjardins.


Volunteer Abroad and Make Your Holiday Matter

February 19, 2010

Your generation isn’t nearly as shallow, apathetic, or clueless as the media makes you out to be. (Right?) Sure you want to have fun and spend some of your holiday sleeping in, dancing on pub tables, and extreme sporting, but you want a little more to show for your time away from home than a sunburn and a few blurry photos taken with your friend’s camera phone.

If you’re looking for an experience that will let you combine good times and good deeds, consider spending time as a volunteer in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, Nicaragua, Peru, or Tanzania.


With the Volunteer Abroad program, you can work with kids in a local school, support conservation efforts, help rebuild homes and schools in regions that have been hit by floods or earthquakes, assist in a medical clinic, or pick out one of the many other worthwhile projects available.

So get yourself connected. Projects last between 4 and 24 weeks, making it simple to combine a shorter project with a backpacking trip you’re planning, or make the volunteer experience the main part of your itinerary. Volunteer Abroad will help you plan your travel arrangements, including any day trips, weekend activities, or other destinations you want to add to your adventure.

Visit for more information.


Spend St. Patrick’s Day Shamrockin’ in Ireland

February 17, 2010

Here’s a quick list of events that are Must Do’s for serious student travelers:

  1. The Tomatina Festival in Spain (it’s a really big food fight)
  2. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  3. Oktoberfest in Munich
  4. Full Moon Party in Thailand
  5. St. Patrick’s Day in Dublin, Ireland

For now, let’s just look at that last one. St. Paddy’s Day is next month and right now Shamrocker Adventures is offering a few excellent trips to enjoy the green beer in Ireland:

  • Celtic Combo – 8 Days (North and South Ireland with a big stop in Dublin)
  • Monks & Mountains Flight Package – 4 Days (Fly London to Dublin, party in Dublin then head to the Wicklow Mountains)
  • Monks & Mountains – 4 Days (Dublin extravaganza and the Wicklow Mountains)

All St. Patrick’s Day Specials include:

  • All on-tour hostel accommodation
  • All on-tour attractions
  • Dublin accommodation for St. Patrick’s Day
  • Breakfast
  • St. Patrick’s Festival Survival Pack – full of info, maps & tips
  • Guinness Store House Ticket
  • Exclusive Shamrocker Adventures T-Shirt

Tours don’t include airfare, so talk to a Travel CUTS student travel expert for help with planning your transportation. If you have a few extra days to spare, they can also help you plan side trips, hostels and anything else you need.

Erin Go Bragh!


New Whistler Hostel Opens in July

February 15, 2010

The New HI Whistler Hostel

If watching the Winter Olympics has gotten you thinking about a trip to Vancouver or Whistler, you’re in luck. HI’s brand-spanking-new Whistler hostel is set to open July 1, 2010, and you can book your spot right now.

The new building looks gorgeous and offers a cafe, bbq area, ski/snowboard/bike storage, games room and an excellent location, close to the mountains.

Talk to a student travel expert and book your Whistler trip today.


Find the Perfect Hostel for You

February 11, 2010

One of my favorite parts of planning a trip is finding a fun place to stay. Usually, that means a hostel.

It used to be that hostels were cheap because they offered very little. You got a spot on the floor for your sleeping bag, or maybe a tiny bed, and there was a kitchen you could use to cook some noodles.

Now, many hostels are part of national or international chains (HI, Base, Nomads, St. Christopher’s) and the increased competition means they’re offering you more perks.

Keep this in mind when you’re looking for a hostel and be sure to read all the fine print about what you’re getting for your money. They may offer free breakfast, bike rentals, walking tours, movie nights, laundry, Internet access and other activities.

If you’re in a big city, chances are most hostels will look about the same and offer the same services. Head out a bit farther though and you could come across some really unique opportunities. How about staying in a renovated prison? A lighthouse might be fun, or a train, a castle, a treehouse or a boat.

Check out this Hostelling International video of 100 hostels around the world to get a better idea of what’s out there. HI isn’t the only place to stay, it’s just the first video I found.

Unfortunately, I’ve only stayed at three of these locations, but after seeing the photos I’d love to get to Bahrain, Bratislava and Brumund.

The most important thing to bring when staying in a hostel (besides flip flops for the shower), is an open mind and reasonable expectations. Your hostel may not be exactly the way you imagined it, but with the right attitude you can quickly turn a disappointment into an opportunity.

For example: Wi-Fi isn’t working? Then I guess you’ll just have to spend the evening talking with that hot chick in the lounge. No change for the laundry? Maybe the cute guy in the kitchen has some coins he can spare.

So where are you going to stay next?