Archive for February, 2011


Spain is Burning! Go and Watch

February 28, 2011

Watch this:

Now hurry up and get to Valencia, Spain so you can live it. Las Fallas (The Fires) is literally an explosive event, full of parades, music and street performances. Arrange your own trip or check out the Busabout 5-day tour (it includes a Sangria & Paella Welcome Party).

Las Fallas takes place throughout March, but the big events happen from March 15-19. The dates are the same every year, so if you can’t pull together a trip in a couple of weeks, start planning now for March 15-19, 2012.


Take a Free Tour of Paris, No Travel Necessary

February 25, 2011

Can’t afford to visit Paris in Springtime? No problem. Visit for a free, hi-def view of the City of Light.

Get your 360-degree view of Paris here. Croissant not included.

This site allows you to zoom in on famous sites, learn a little but about them, and maybe get a bit dizzy in the process. Take a 10-minute vacation from your coursework or use the site as a trip-planning tool for your next European trek.

Bon voyage!


A Love Note to Christchurch

February 23, 2011

Christchurch's Cathedral Square, as I photographed it in April 2009

I spent last weekend in Atlanta with a friend of mine who recently moved back home after living in Christchurch for a few years.

We shopped, ate lots of cupcakes, compared gossip about our mutual friends, and talked about the life she left in New Zealand and the earthquake they had last September. She still couldn’t believe how much of downtown was a mess, months later.

Last night I flew back home, and after I got off the plane I got out my phone to see what I missed during our four hours in the air. Turns out, a lot.

The photos I saw of Christchurch were heartbreaking. I was there just two years ago, although it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long because my memories are still very fresh.

I had hot chocolate with pink marshmallows in the Arts Centre cafe and took photos all around the Cathedral because there the Flower Festival was going on, so the whole square was covered in colour.Then I went into the Southern Encounter Aquarium and Kiwi House to see some of the local furry and feathered residents.

I met up with friends and we had Mexican pizza and listened to live music at the Dux de Lux. I walked through the brilliant, bright gardens and stayed in the YHA that’s now a good amount of rubble (although the early reports of deaths in that building are now said to be untrue). And I just can’t believe it’s the same place I’m seeing on the news.

Travelling in a place, even for a short while, makes it a part of you. It might sound a little silly to talk about being a World Citizen, but looking at the people in Christchurch, the streets where I wandered and took pictures, the parks where I ate lunch, the shops where locals tried to figure out my accent, it makes me feel as sad as if it had happened in my home town. I guess that’s the blessing, and the curse, of getting to visit a new place and connecting with the people there.

If you’d like to help, visit the New Zealand Red Cross.



Semester Ahoy! Spend Summer or Fall 2011 With Semester at Sea

February 16, 2011

Semester at SeaWhatcha doing for Summer or Fall 2011? Apply now for a 2011 Semester at Sea voyage and you can get your travel kicks and your university credits, too.

Because why pick one destination for your semester abroad when you can pick a dozen? Let your friends do a few cold months in London while you hit Cape Town, Chennai, Ho Chi Minh City and Hilo.

This is your classroom.

Travelling the globe for three months without falling a semester behind takes planning though… and paperwork. If there’s one thing universities are really good at, it’s coming up with new and completely un-exciting forms for you to fill out, so best to start now.

The program is run by an American university, but it’s open to international students (see the admissions requirements). Talk to your academic adviser to find out more about how you can make a semester sailing the high seas work into your graduation plans, then get your passport and visas and your ISIC. (It’s good all over the place!)

Start preparing for the Semester at Sea application deadlines and say “bon voyage” to academic boredom! (Questions? Talk to Semester at Sea on Twitter: @SAS_Dave.)

Summer 2011, Voyage Theme: World Cities (Nassau, Barcelona, Naples, Dubrovnik, Athens, Istanbul, Casablanca, Boston)

  • March 4, 2011: SAS financial aid deadline.
  • March 25, 2011: SAS financial aid recipients are notified.
  • March 30, 2011: Course registration opens.
  • April 15, 2011: Payment deadline. Last day to cancel without penalty.
  • April 29, 2011: Course registration closes.
  • June 17, 2011: Voyage sails from Nassau.

Fall 2011 (Quebec, Casablanca, Takoradi, Cape Town, Chennai, Penang, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Hilo, Puntarenas, Panama Canal, Ft. Lauderdale)

  • May 26, 2011: SAS financial aid deadline.
  • June 3, 2011: SAS financial aid recipients are notified.
  • June 17, 2011: Payment deadline. Last day to cancel without penalty.
  • August 26, 2011: Voyage sails from Montreal.


Travel + Love = Adorable Animal Kisses?

February 14, 2011

I first saw alpacas in Australia, so this does remind me a bit of travelling.

What’s the best way to celebrate love and travel? Pictures of animals kissing, apparently. At least that’s National Geographic’s idea.

Vote for your favorite furry, slimy or feathered kiss at, and have a great Valentine’s Day!


Attend a Go Abroad Fair to Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

February 10, 2011

If you’re in Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto and are thinking about going abroad, you can’t afford to miss the free Study and Go Abroad Fairs. You’ll learn how to save money without spending any.

The fair will help you learn more about:

  • Study abroad and student exchange programs
  • Universities, Colleges and Technical Institutes from around the world offering full-degree, diploma, professional and short-term programs
  • Eco/adventure and language travel opportunities
  • Internship and volunteer abroad opportunities
  • Work abroad programs for students and youth
  • International job opportunities with an emphasis on teaching English as a foreign language
  • Scholarship and financial aid information, travel deals, housing and cultural information
  • Information seminars on a range of topics to help you choose and get the most out of your international experience:

Catch the fair in one of these locations:

  • Vancouver – Vancouver Convention Centre
    Thursday March 3, 2011 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Montreal – Le Centre Sheraton
    Saturday, March 5, 2011 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Toronto – Sheraton Parkway
    Sunday, March 6, 2008 from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Visit for more information. Happy planning!


Have an Ice Climbing, Winter Travel Adventure

February 9, 2011

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.

Break a leg!