Archive for June, 2010


Comic-Con 2010 Is Coming!

June 30, 2010

This photo is an example of: 1. An unexpected celebrity sighting (Nathan Fillion!) for which you need a camera 2. A poster tube coming in handy for the poster that is being autographed by said celebrity 3. A poster tube making the wearer look like a cool Jedi.

I seriously have the geekiest travel plans ever this fall. Awesome, but geeky.

To start with, three weeks from today I’m flying to San Diego for Comic-Con 2010 – four long days of airbending, wizardry, cosplay, singing Gleeks and movie freebies. Hopefully a LOT of freebies.

If you’re heading to Comic-Con for the first time, or even if you’re going to another con this summer, here are the conventional tips I picked up last year:

Wear sensible shoes. This is one thing your mother was totally right about. It’s nice to look good, but after 58 hours of standing in lines, your bleeding toes aren’t going to look good in any sandal, no matter how cute and expensive, so bring clean socks and footwear that offers some cushioning.

Carry Band-aids with you, just in case those sensible shoes don’t work out. One bad blister can ruin your whole weekend.

Pack some snacks. Comic-Con isn’t cheap. You’ll want to buy shirts and toys and posters and maybe shell out $40 to have your photo taken with your favorite dreamy BSG cast member. So don’t waste an extra $20 a day on bottled water and potato chips. (You also don’t want to give up your seat or place in line to go buy them.)

I took along some nuts, granola bars and M&Ms and that way only had to buy a sandwich or something once  a day, saving time and money.

Photo by "Max" at Picasa

Bring a big frakkin bag. A lot of booths will hand out bags, but it’s better to come prepared and have a way to keep all of the stuff you buy in good shape. A sturdy folder is great for signed photos and a poster tube is handy, too. Get one with a strap so you can wear it on your back and you get the added bonus of feeling like a Jedi.

Always have your camera/phone ready. Always. You’ll have it ready when stars take the stage, but even walking through the main exhibition hall you never know when Seth Green is going to walk past you, or when you’re going to see someone in the most incredible Transformers costume ever.

Bring your ISIC. Most museums in San Diego offer discounts if you show your International Student Identity Card and so do some harbor tours, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, the San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld.

Don’t blink. It will all go by really fast, so remember to take a breath every now and then, have a look around you and enjoy the madness. (Not blinking will also keep you from being killed by Angels, as every good Whovian knows.)

I’ll be blogging from the con, if the wi-fi will let me, so stay tuned for my crazy, geeky gushing and ranting.

Petrificus totalis!


Find ISIC Discounts Across Canada and the U.S.

June 28, 2010

If your summer vacation is mostly a staycation, then your goal is to maximize your good times while minimizing your expenses, right?

Please meet the ISIC.

The International Student Identity Card is something most students pick up before a big trip overseas. Along with discounted student airfare and tour packages, you can flash it at:

  • hostels
  • museums
  • bus stations
  • amusement parks
  • restaurants
  • shops

And lots of other places to get discounts on purchases, tickets, admissions and other travel expenses.

But the ISIC isn’t just for use around tourist destinations in Europe and Australia. There are places right near you that accept an ISIC, so you can save cash even if you’re going for pizza and a movie with friends.

For a full list of ISIC discounts in Canada and the U.S., check out the ISIC website. Here’s a sample of where you can save.

  • Ontario Science Centre, Toronto: 20% off general admission
  • CN Tower, Toronto: 15% discount on Look Out and Glass Floor admission
  • Madame Tussaud’s, Hollywood: $6 off price of admission
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: $10 USD admission with valid ISIC
  • Greyhound buses, Canada: 25% off an adult ticket (one way or return)
  • VIA Rail, Canada: Save 30% on the regular adult Economy class fares. Your discount can reach 50% with the VIA 6 pak – six one-way trip tickets between the same two cities.

Don’t have an ISIC yet? Get one now.


New Video of Harry Potter Theme Park

June 23, 2010

My trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is still four months away (I’m going for Halloween), but I. Can’t. Wait.

Check out some videos of the official opening.

Lumos Maxima!


Canada’s Greatest Summer Job

June 21, 2010

Terra Nova National Park © Parks Canada / W. Lynch /, 1992

No, it’s not judging a bikini contest or being an ice cream taste tester, although both of those jobs have their good points.

According to Parks Canada, Canada’s Greatest Summer Job is being a video reporter in the national parks. The 32 students selected for this task will produce a series of video reports on their experiences in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas.

It’s outdoorsy, it involves travel, it’s working in film, and it’s not flipping burgers or folding t-shirts. Sounds like a pretty awesome job to me. Want it to be yours next summer? Keep an eye on the student employment opportunities offered by the parks and get ready for summer 2011.

The Parks also offer “Summer jobs that are outside the box“, and outside the shopping mall, so there are lots of ways to make your summer job seem like a summer staycation.


Spend A Semester in Nepal

June 18, 2010

Doesn't this guy look like he loved studying in Nepal? You might, too.

London, Sydney, Paris – these are the cities most students consider for doing a semester abroad. But what about Kathmandu?

I came across this quick story about a student who did just that, and was instantly jealous that I hadn’t thought of doing something more exotic. Not that I didn’t love the year I spent in Australia – I would do it again in a minute – but if I also could have done a semester in Nepal I think it would have been amazing.

I shouldn’t have to remind myself to think outside the travel box. I mean, I know there are a million places out there that I haven’t been and would love to go, but sometimes I forget that there are already programs in place to help get me there.

Want to do something totally different? Chances are, someone else has already figured it out for you, or at least knows someone who can help. Talk to your advisers and international study offices. Look beyond London, there’s a whole world ready to be your classroom!


Sail Away to the Greek Isles

June 16, 2010

As the weather gets better and the skies get bluer I start to think about beaches and boats and lakes and oceans. I hate feeling landlocked this time of year, so when it’s time to plan a summer adventure I start to look to different coasts and islands.

One of the best ways to enjoy the life aquatic? Island hopping in Greece. Just look at this view:

How could a trip to any place that looks like that be anything other than awesome? Topdeck offers tours for 18-35 year olds to Greece and other destinations in Europe, and they’ll make sure you see all the hot spots. To get a feel for the Topdeck treatment, have a look at this little video they put together:

Ready to go? Pick a tour and book now.


Europe in Two Weeks or Less

June 15, 2010

Yes, it’s June already, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to plan a summer getaway.

If you’re looking for a great student travel deal to Europe, Travel CUTS can hook you up with trips to Paris, Istanbul, Rome, Amsterdam and anywhere else you want to see the sights and have some European fun.

You won’t get to see everything, but you’d be amazed at just how many memories you can make in a short amount of time.

Check out Travel CUTS’ Top 5 European Snapshots to see if one of them is right for you. An agent can help you find other tours if you’re looking for something different, or they can work with you to put together a trip of your own with hostels, train and bus passes and airport transfers.