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Archive for August, 2010

posted by TravAddict on August 31, 2010

Scotland is a fantastic destination with plenty to see, and Haggis Adventures is the perfect tour company to experience Scotland with!  Scotland is well known for a few things, and we thought we would share a few of their claims to fame with you:

- Whiskey is Scotland’s national drink, and it means ‘water of life’

- The Scottish invented the telephone, the bicycle, the television and pennicillen.

- The Scottish have won approximately 11% of all Nobel Prizes ever awarded.

- Bag Pipes are well known for being Scottish, but they are in fact dated back to 1000BC in Asia.  The Scots took on the bag pipes in the 1st C AD and they are still a popular instrument in Scotland.

- The Scots are well known for wearing their plaid kilts.  Men who could not afford armor originally started wearing the kilt with heavy pleats for movement and some protection……

-  How could we forget the mysterious Loch Ness Monster that is said to live in the Loch Ness of Scotland.

- Last but not least, Scotland is known for their national dish Haggis.  Haggis is essentially lamb or beef heart, liver, lungs, oatmeal and onions stuffed in an animal stomach and boiled for 7 hours.  Something you have to try if you visit!

Traveling to Scotland can be relatively cheap if you are looking for a tour on a budget.  Haggis Adventures offers a great option that includes your transport, a local guide, and a few extras.  Haggis pre-books hostel rooms for your convenience, but they do not require that you take this option.  You can pay on arrival for the hostel for the reservation Haggis has made for you, or you can choose another type of accommodation if you would prefer.

 

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posted by TravAddict on August 30, 2010

TravAddict is all about finding the perfect tour for you, and sometimes when you have spare time in a major hub, a self-guided tour can be very helpful!  TravAddict recently published an article with our self-guided tour of Rome and the Vatican,  so if you know you are going to have some spare time in Rome, check it out!

If you are interested in traveling to Italy, Busabout Adventures, G Adventures, and Intrepid Travel offer some great touring options.

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posted by TravAddict on August 27, 2010

- Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hardshell nuts, figs and apricots

- Turkey borders 7 countries (Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, Armenia, Iran, Iraq and Syria).

- Turkey is one of the top 12 travel destinations in the world, with more than 17 million visitors every year.

- Turkey’s national drink is Raki.  Raki is a clear brandy made from grapes and raisins, and tastes like licorice.  It is very comparable to Ouzo.

- Turkey is famous for their rugs/carpets.  The oldest Turkish carpet discovered to date was made in the 5th Century BC, and contains 347 000 Turkish double knots per square metre.

- Camel wrestling is very popular in Turkey.  They use long-haired cross-bred camels called Tulis, known for their aggressive nature.  A trained camel can learn to trip his opponent, force him into submission, and push him to his knees with his head!

- The Doner Kebab is Turkey’s national dish.  Doner Kebab translates to ‘turning roast’.

- The Turks are said to have an average of 14.5 sexual partners in their lifetime, which means they have more sexual partners than any other nationality in the world! (Australia comes in at a close second).

- The Turkey bird was accidentally named after the country.  After the Spanish first found the bird more than 400 years ago and brought it back to Europe, the English mistakenly thought the Spanish brought it back from Turkey, and named it after the country.

Tucan Travel, G Adventures, Intrepid Travel, and Busabout offer some great options for traveling to Turkey. 

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posted by TravAddict on August 26, 2010

Ever wanted to travel somewhere really different? Well, Antarctica is probably as different as it gets! The unique animals, landscape, and climate of this amazing continent is what attracts people here. The only human life on Antarctica are people working on scientific bases.  During the summer that is no more than 4000 people.  The remoteness of Antarctica is spellbinding, and the uniqueness of the landscape and the animals is what will make this trip one you will always remember.  The season for traveling to Antarctica is limited due to the harsh weather, so November to February is really the only opportunity to visit this magnificent land.

Antarctica is definitely not a place you can travel to on your own, and TravAddict recommends you check out our G Adventures options for traveling to this region on their cruise expeditions.

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posted by TravAddict on August 26, 2010

The Eiffel Tower is iconic  and a must-see if you are traveling to France, so we thought we would share a few fun facts about the structure with you:

- The Eiffel Tower was originally built for the 1889 World Expo by Gustav Eiffel, and was originally intended to only be a temporary exhibit.

-Initially the Parisians did not like the tower, but as the world’s interest grew in this architectural feat, the locals began to think it wasn’t so bad, and they eventually decided to keep the expo exhibit permanently.

- When the tower was built, it was the tallest man made structure in the world.  Prior to the Eiffel tower, the Pyramids of Egypt were the tallest man made structure.

- The Eiffel Tower is 320 m tall, and weighs 10 000 tonnes.  It is made up of 12 000 pieces of steel and is held together by 2.5 million rivets.

- The view from the top of the Eiffel Tower receives approximately 6 million visitors every year.

We hope we have intrigued you enough to want to see it for yourself!  Intrepid Travel, and G Adventures offer some great options to travel through Paris on some of their Europe tours.

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posted by TravAddict on August 24, 2010

If you plan of traveling to Ireland and you want to make sure you trip includes adventure, then Shamrocker Adventures is who you want to travel with.  Their goal is purely to make you love Ireland!  All of their tour guides are Irish,  and they are knowledgable and passionate about their country.  Shamrocker aims to make your trip as flexible as possible by not including the accommodation , but still pre-booking a great hostel option for you if you wish to use it.  Shamrocker guarantees all of their trips, and they have never cancelled a departure!  Their prices are fantastic, and you are sure to have a great craic!  TravAddict recommends the Shamrocker 7 day All Ireland Rocker tour.

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posted by TravAddict on August 23, 2010

A lot of travelers like to have a keepsake of every destination they visit on their travels. I personally consider my pictures to be my souvenirs because I am not a fan of clutter at all, so I always remembered those travelers who would collect the same souvenir in every country/city they visited. Some were quite common, like bracelet charms, postcards, fridge magnets. But some were just a little weird. The most memorable was definitely the girl who wanted to eat a Big Mac in every city she visited, and save the wrapper. First of all, I'm sure the big mac grease made the collection smell, and second of all, there is nothing about it that makes any sense to me. She was a lot of fun to be around, and completely normal in every sense…..I suppose not in the souvenir sense though. If my memory serves me right, we were on a two week Europe tour. She had a large scrap-book where she would paste the big mac wrapper/broken-down boxes, label them, and rate them from 1-10. I believe Austria received the highest store. I hope if I ever run into her again, she owns her own McDonald's franchise:-)

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posted by TravAddict on August 22, 2010

It is certainly not enjoyable having to think about the ‘bad’ things that could happen to you while traveling abroad, but being prepared for the worst can help you out in an un-foreseen situation.

Our TravAddict team has put together a list of recommendations for ‘being prepared while traveling’.

1.  Always  be insured.  Travel Insurance is different to medical insurance.  It will be a savior in medical emergencies, if your luggage is lost or stolen, if your flights are delayed or canceled, if your tour is canceled, if you have to cancel your trip due to an emergency or medical situation, if you miss your tour departure due to a flight delay……..and so many other situations.  Please check-out our insurance page to find out more.

2.  Always have an emergency money source.  Hide a money source in your luggage for emergencies.  Putting all of your money sources in one place is setting yourself up for a lot of hassle if your wallet happens to go missing or gets stolen.  Keeping a spare credit card, or $50 in cash in a hidden compartment of your luggage will save you in this situation.

3.  Always leave a tour itinerary with someone at home before you leave.  It can be tough keeping in touch with your loved ones back home when you are always on the go.  If your loved ones know where you are on specific dates and any flights you are scheduled to catch, you will keep their mind at ease and it will help them to locate you in an emergency situation.

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posted by TravAddict on August 21, 2010

Australia is one of our favorite destinations, so we thought we would list our top 3 Australian destinations of the season, hand-picked by our TravAddict team.  If you prefer to take it a little slower on tour and prefer scenery and outdoor activities, then Australia is a great destination for you.  The beaches, the unique flora and fauna, the adventurous activities, and the people (of course) are definitely highlights.  The options for a tourist in Australia are endless, but we thought we would tell you a little about three destinations that we think are amazing:

The Whitsunday’s.
The Whitsunday’s is made up of 74 beautiful islands off the Great Barrier Reef.  It is is a beautiful coastal destination with great options for  sailing, island stays, swimming with tropical fish and visiting beautiful beaches.  Topdeck Travel includes a great Whitsunday’s 2 night sailing package on their Capricorn Suntanner 2011.

Kangaroo Island.
Australia is home to some very unique animals, and it can be exciting to meet a lot of them for the first time.  Getting up close and personal with a lot of these animals is very rare in the wild, and most tourists will encounter them in a zoo.  On Kangaroo island however, you can experience a number of Australian animals in their natural habitat.   You are likely to see wild koala’s, wallabies, Australian fur seals, dolphins and more…..

Coober Pedy
Coober Pedy is considered to be the Opal Capital of the world.  It is also very well known for it’s unique style of under-ground living.  Due to the intense weather in this outback town, many buildings were established underground.  You can visit underground shops, drink in an underground pub, and they even have underground hotels.  It is a unique town, one like no other in the world and it will definitely be one you will remember.  Intrepid Travel offers a great 10 day outback adventure that passes through this amazing gem that not many tourists have heard about.

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posted by TravAddict on August 18, 2010

Packing is a very important component of preparing for a trip, and it can be hard sometimes to remember everything…….I can't even count the amount of times I have left something at home!  But the  TravAddict team thinks we have found a resource that is going to impress you and assist you in hopefully remembering everything!  It will also assist those 'over-packers' to cut down on what they pack.

The Universal Packing List breaks down your personalised packing  list by the destination, the type of luggage you are using, the amount of time you will be away, where you are going, the type of transport you will be traveling on, and it even allows you to specify how you would like the packing list to be displayed!

Check it out, it will save you packing time and peace of mind:-)

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posted by TravAddict on August 18, 2010

When you are a budget traveller every penny you spend can be precious.  Most of the time people cut down on the obvious luxuries like staying in hostels v’s hotels, choosing to take the audio guide v’s a local guide, and eating from at street vendor instead of eating at a fancy restaurant.  Food is something budget travelers can probably strategise their spending on the most.  Every backpacker has a different theory on the best ways to save on food…..because although food is essential, you still have many options.

The nice thing about traveling on an organized trip, is you at least get meals provided some of the time.  I travelled with a guy on a 28 day t Europe tour who had probably the most interesting food theory.  It was not my favorite because I would not actually consider doing this myself, but it was unique.  He ate nothing but snickers bars….unless the meal was included.  Thank goodness this was a trip that had at least some meals included, because I would hate to see the effects of someone that only ate 3 snickers bars a day……….which he swears he did while traveling for a month through Spain.  So, if you are ever out there in Europe, I can tell you that Snickers bars are readily available in many countries, and it will only cost you an average of 3 Euro’s a day to feed yourself.  I personally think that stocking up at the included breakfast bar at the hostel then eating a decent dinner is the best strategy:-)

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posted by TravAddict on August 16, 2010

Experience a Moroccan bazaar, ride a camel in the Sahara, experience an African medieval city………Morocco truly is a unique destination with cultural influences from many different parts of the world.  TravAddict is giving away a 9 day trip to Morocco with Intrepid Travel if you create a TravAddict account before September 15th.

Here is a little look into the trip TravAddict is giving away:

HIGHLIGHTS:   Wander the buzzing streets of Casablanca, Experience traditional Moroccan life on a village homestay, Relive a glorious medieval past in Fes, Travel to the whitewashed town of Chefchaouen, Be impressed by the grandeur of Rabat and Meknes, Feast your senses on the sights and sounds of the souqs of Marrakech

DESCRIPTION:  Immerse yourself in the exotic colours and cultures that define Morocco. From the imperial cities of Meknes and Rabat to the whitewashed town of Chefchaouen, the rich history and traditions of this ancient land await. Discover the medieval old town of Fes, explore the spice markets of Marrakech and visit the Roman ruins of Volubilis – soak up the extravagant sights and revel in the hidden delights.

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

Accommodation

Hotels (6 nts), shared facilities homestay (1 nt), overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Transportation

Train, overnight sleeper train, local bus, taxi, walking

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posted by TravAddict on August 15, 2010

Traveling the world is a different experience for everyone.  Everyone has a different story about where they went, where they stayed, what they saw……..but as a young backpacker the one thing that usually sticks with you are the people you meet.  Just because you travel to China, it doesn't mean that the Chinese are the only people you will interact with.  In fact, as a young traveller, you are more likely to form a lifelong bond with the person you shared  a room with at the hostel, or the guy you sat next to on a long haul train ride.

That one person you happen to sit next to on the coach the first day of your adventure tour just happened to choose the same journey as you, and will probably end up becoming your lifelong friend.   Young travelers have irreplaceable opportunities for traveling with other people interested in going to the same places.  Just because your friends at home don't have the time or the money to travel with you, there is someone out there from a place you have never been to or maybe never even heard of, that would make an amazing travel buddy and could be a huge part of your experiences overseas.  The best way to meet these travel companions is through group travel!  So what are you waiting for?  Search Adventure tours now………

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posted by TravAddict on August 14, 2010

It can be expensive buy travel guides, and with all of the information they include they often be quite large books, which can be a pain to travel with.   The good news is, you can find information on anything on the internet!  The best place to find free information and recommendations for travel destinations is Wiki travel.  Wiki travel contains travel articles and information guides written by Wikitravelers from all over the world.  The site currently has over 23 000 destinations.

You will also find that some of the world’s leaders in publishing travel guides now offer their information online to upload for a small fee.  Lonely Planet and Rough Guides both offer this feature.

Another affordable way to obtain travel information that is easy to take it traveling with you, are travel podcasts.  You can upload anything from language guides, to city guides, to traveling tips, even ‘podwalks’ that act as an audio guide for walking tours through cities.

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posted by TravAddict on August 13, 2010

There are always essentials on a packing list, like your passport, your toothbrush and your underwear, but there are also things to consider taking with you that you may not have thought of.  When embarking on a budget tour/adventure trip, 5 star luxuries will not be at your fingertips, so you have to improvise.  The TravAddict team has composed a list of things to ‘never leave home without’ based on our travel experiences:
– Hand Sanitizer.  Clean bathrooms and soap can often be hard to come by
– Sunscreen:  This is not always something you can readily buy when you are hiking in the sun in a remote area
– A universal power adapter:  This seems to be something that is often forgotten!
– Toilet paper:  It is common to encounter public bathrooms with no toilet paper
– A mini flashlight.  When returning to a campsite or a hostel room late at night while everyone is sleeping, it can be challenging to find your way without turning the light on!  A flashlight on your keyring can be a lifesaver.
– A photocopy of your passport!  It is always so heartbreaking to see someone go through the ordeal of losing a passport, and then taking longer to replace it because they do not have a copy of the details.

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posted by TravAddict on August 12, 2010

There are always mixed reviews when answering this question, so the best thing to do is break it down by where you are going, the company you are traveling with, and what type of accommodation you will be staying in.
If you are going to a place where you are likely to be hiking, camping or trekking, a backpack wins the argument hands down.  If you are going to a place where you will be mostly sightseeing and staying in hotels, both can with the argument for different reasons.
If you are staying in hotels and traveling via coach with a tour company, a wheelie suitcase can make your life a lot easier.  Just roll your suitcase in from the coach to the hotel, and take the elevator up to the room!  This can cause a problem however, if you plan on staying in boutique hotels, or older hotels that do not have an elevator.  At this point you will be WISHING you had a backpack.  If you are staying in hostels, backpacks are usually a better option.  They are easy to store in a locker, and they do not take up too much room.  If you are traveling via public transport at any point, a backpack can save you the hassle of having to carry your suitcase up and down the stairs, through busy crowds, and along cobbled or un-paved streets.
It may seem daunting having to carry a heavy backpack around vs wheeling your suitcase with ease, but the key to getting around this is the amazing ‘backpack with wheels’.  These designs will usually be slightly more expensive and slightly more heavy than a regular backpack, but to have the option to wheel or carry when it is appropriate is the ultimate solution!  High Sierra makes some affordable backpacks with wheels with a lifetime guarantee.

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posted by TravAddict on August 11, 2010

If you love to learn about history when you travel, Egypt is a place you cannot miss!  The feeling of stepping back in time is truly felt in this ancient land, and to top it off when you travel with any of TravAddict’s vendor’s you will be guided through any of the ancient Egyptian sights by an Egyptologist.

You can do any destination on a budget, but when traveling on a budget involves staying in three and four star hotels, you are traveling on a budget in style:-)  There are a lot of TravAddict vendor’s that offer exceptional itineraries to Egypt.  It is also not just about the ancient sights, but also about the beaches, the cities, the food, and the culture.  You will love this destination, and be sure to learn a lot about a history that has fascinated the world for centuries.

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posted by TravAddict on August 9, 2010

When you are trying to find a travel style that suits you best, it can sometimes be difficult to understand why traveling with a tour group is so great.  So, we have listed our top 10 reasons why traveling with a group is the best kind of travel!

1.  The selection – with hundreds of itineraries available, you are sure to find an adventure to suit you.  Some of our trips are great for first time travelers, and some are perfect for an experienced traveler looking to travel to a remote destination.

2.  The inclusions – our vendors ensure that they include both popular highlights and  also unknown treasures that you cant always find in a guide book.

3.  The fellow travelers – you will make friends for life with people from all over the world!

4.  The price – Our vendors have set their prices to fit travelers on a budget.  On paper traveling alone can sometimes seem to be the more economical option, but when you pay-as-you-go unforseen surprises can often mean the cost can pile up fast!  An up-front all in one cost can ensure you stick to your budget, and you do not have to worry about money when you are out there.

5.  The guarantee you will see what you planned to see – it is one thing to plan an independent adventure, but it is another to stick to your schedule.  Our vendors have well planned schedules that ensure you will see all of the sights and destinations on your trip with only the most extreme circumstances an exception.

6.  The free time – traveling with a group doesn’t mean you will ALWAYS need to stay with the group.  All of our vendors ensure that their schedules allow ample time to explore destinations on your own.  The best part is, the guides are there to help with suggestions for great things to do in your free time.

7.  The minimum hassle – Traveling with our vendors eliminates all of the hectic planning.  They take care of details that can cause a lot of stress and headache when traveling on your own…….like missing your train,being unable to find available and affordable accommodation, or getting lost.

8.  Emergency assistance – our vendor’s are there to help you in any security situation.  If you lose you belongings, lose your passport, or get stuck at a boarder they will be there to guide you though it.

9.  The guides – each of our vendors ensure you travel with a knowledgable guide.  Their local knowledge will give you that extra bit of info you cant always find in a guide book.  They can lead you directly to the best sights and suggest unique things to do.

10. The security – Traveling alone to foreign destinations can leave you vulnerable to many types of danger.  Traveling with a group and a trusted guide will greatly reduce your exposure to theft, extortion, and tourist scams.

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posted by TravAddict on August 8, 2010

When you are planning a trip overseas, it is common to not instantly know where you want to go, the options are endless!  It is always important to remember that someone who already knows where they want to travel to was inspired somehow to choose that specific destination.

I have traveled to many parts of the world, so people often ask me ‘What is the most amazing place you have ever been to?’.  In all honesty I cannot answer this question because to me, each place is special or memorable for different reasons.  When I am planning on traveling to a new destination, the first thing I base my decision on is what I want to see or do while I am away.

Do I want to visit a big city or a small town?

What kind of scenery do I wan to see? I.e. beach scenery or mountainous scenery?

Do I want to see exotic animals?

Do I want to experience a new language?

Do I want to experience new food?

Do I want to go somewhere warm or somewhere cold?

The list of questions could go on, but if you ask yourself some of these base questions, it will help you to narrow down your search.  There is aways a destination in the world that will satisfy your specific travel needs, but how do you find them?  I find that hearing about someone else’s experiences is the most effective way to be inspired.  This might be through talking to a friend that has traveled extensively, or speaking to someone with a passion for a specific destination.  I suggest to start by reading the travel section in your local newspaper, online articles or travel blogs.  TravAddict.com allows you to read reviews on the trips we feature, which will also be very effective in helping you to decide where to go, and how to travel there.  Ask all the questions to YOURSELF before you travel, and you will be sure to decide on a destination that will not disappoint.  Simply searching Travaddict.com for trips in a continent you are curious about is a great way to start your search for the perfect destination for YOU!

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posted by TravAddict on August 3, 2010

I guess the best way to start a blog is to explain why it was started.  Travaddict.com is the reason this blog was started, and the reason it will continue…..hopefully forever!  Travaddict was founded under the premise that there needed to be a great online resource for young people looking to travel abroad and experience new cultures.  I guess 'experience' is the key word when explaining what TravAddict.com stands for.  It is one thing for you to decide to put on the backpack and get on a plane headed for a foreign land, but it is another to further that experience and travel with others interested in going to the same place you are.

When I traveled abroad, most other travelers I met told me that the most memorable part of their trip was the people they had met.  It is one thing to visit the Eiffel Tower, but it is another to make a life-long friend from a foreign country who's ultimate traveling dream is to see the Eiffel Tower, just like you.  TravAddict specializes in adventure group travel, and aims to assist young travelers find their ultimate travel itinerary and share the experience with others from all over the world who are interested in going to the same places.

Even if you aren't ready to book that big overseas adventure now, at least you know TravAddict.com will be there when you are!

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