Tag Archives: canada

Free! Travel Information Delivered To Your Door!

The internet is an incredible free source of destination information, but it can’t quite match the thrill of receiving a whole envelope full of free glossy brochures of beautiful people streched out before vistas of azure oceans. Here are two great sources of free travel information delivered to your door; one defintely useful, the perhaps somewhat other less so.

Travel BrochuresLet’s start with the best. Tourism authorities are a fantastic and often-overlooked source of travel information – particularly for decent free maps and basic info with lots of glossy pictures. ANTOR’s* represents 48 official tourism authorities (including the Australian State authorities) and the destination info page provides (along side some basic travel info) the URL, email address and contact details for all of them. If you’re interested in any major destination for Australian travellers it will be listed. Simply email the relevant authority with your address, rough dates of travel and as far as possible the specific regions or cities you’re interested in and wait for the postie everyday for a week or so! No substitute for a good guidebook or your own research but generally there will be at least a couple of genuinely useful items in the material sent.

TravelBrochures.com.au and TravelBrochures.SMH.com.au are another clearing house for free travel information, although arguably of a must less useful nature. These sites allow to order free tour company brochures, some of which are available in digital (tree-saving) format. All the majors are available as well as a few smaller operators – useful if you wish to compare tours from a number of companies or can’t get to a travel agent. Of course some major operators now send out (often unintenionally comical) DVDs as as a bonus! Be warned, however, apart from ending up on a tour (which may or may not be a bad thing in itself…), you are likely to end up on a mailing list of the tour companies from which it may be difficult to extract yourself!

*(Association of National Tourist Office Representatives in Australasia)

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Image by Classroom III]

Advertisements

European cheap sleeps

ClinkIn my round-up of tips and hints earlier today I left out this article from The Age Nights of Cheap Splendor. In hindsight I’m glad because it deserves to be highlighted, it really is a belter if you’re looking for a place to stay in Europe. Highlights include the Clink Hostel in London, a restored London courthouse, that starts at $25 a night, converted first class rail carriages in the Scottish highlands, a treehouse in Norway and Colditz castle which was (without intending to reinforce any unfair negative stereotypes of hostels) a prisoner of war camp.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (26th of April)

Travel Tips of the Week

Gadling: Big in Japan: 5 mistakes made by first-timers in Japan

In a country where using the word “no” displays ‘as much social grace as a bovine’ and “toilet slippers” should be kept out of the kitchen some cultural tips come in handy.

General

ContikiNational Geographic has a list of the world’s top guided tours. Continki gets nary a mention.

Patronising quote of the week goes to Flight Centre’s marketing manager in The Age’s tips for using budget airlines to get around the place:

“We have people who have spent time on the internet to put their own itineraries together, and then come in to talk to our agents,” Bowman says. “That’s when the agent might say, ‘Are you aware that flight to London goes in to Luton and not Heathrow?’ The response is usually, ‘So what does that mean?’

“That’s when we need to explain all the details that the customer has not found on the internet.”

In our experience workaday wage slaves simply LOVE receiving bulk emails from you gloating about the simply wonderful time you’re having in exotic climes. If that hasn’t been you’re experience Traveler’s Notebook has some tips for writing emails the folks at home will actually want to read.

Intelligent Traveler has a guide to guides; five tips on how to pick a guidebook. Vagabondish goes one better with four alternatives to let you dispense with the darned things for good.

MSNBC makes taking children on a plane trip sound a marginally less complex operation than Dunkirk, while the Perrin Post has the Top Ten Toyless Ways to Occupy Kids on Planes without alcohol OR Prozac.

‘To have tasty and nutritious food on board, and be the envy of your fellow passengers, you need to bring your own. With advance planning, you can eat like a King or Queen on the plane.’ How to eat well at 30,000 feet via Beat of Hawaii featuring lots of Tupperware.

James Wysong has some tips for navigating customs: no fruit, no jokes, no phones and no porn are apparently the secret to avoiding being patted by down by your friendly neighbourhood customs officer. Hardly seems worth it.

Vagabondish has 12 clever and creative uses for a digital camera on the road.

The Americas

TorontoThe Times recommends six destinations in the United States, while Intelligent Travel has an excellent guide to taking teens to NYC. 10 free things to do in LA from Frommer’s.

Toronto is oft-overlooked even by travellers to Canada. Peter Greenfield has an introduction to its lesser known attractions.

Get closer to nature with five gems for the eco-tourist in Costa Rica.

Europe

The New York Times spends 36 hours in Naples where incredible history, garbage and toxic mozzarella meet.

About.com has a list of the five worst wookie rookie France travel mistakes. You’ll feel like Captain Cook with PeterGreenberg’s secret spots in Paris and The Times Undiscovered France: Poitiers. Alexander Lobrano reckons it’s possible to eat well in Paris. We remain unconvinced.

KrakowThe Guardian’s Blog by Blog section has some really interesting and unusual tips for things to do in London

The Telegraph has published a Madrid city guide, and claims to have a list of Madrid’s best budget hotels (£44+). To get there the Independent has some tips on tourist trains in Spain.

Eurocheapo has five free things to do in Krakow.

Whether or not to get a Eurorail pass can be a difficult business, here are some tips as to when it is likely to represent a decent deal.

YogaAsia

Business Week (of all places) has a list of India’s top five yoga centres.

Seth Mydans has some tips for Singapore hawker fare, street food heaven.

Viator has some tips for Kuala Lumpur.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Contiki image via Glenn Ross on Flickr, Toronto image via Photofusion on Flickr, Krakow image via astilly on Flickr, yoga image via premasagar on Flickr]

Free Westpac ATM cash withdrawals overseas

Hole in the WallDespite being a long time Westpac customer, before today I’d never heard of the (rather menancingly named) Global ATM Alliance which, apparently, allows Westpac customers to access cash without paying international access fees at ATM’s owned by Bank of Nova Scotia, Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Barclays and Deutsche Bank. This allows reduced-fee access at ‘over 32,000 cash machines in over 40 countries’.

Regular account fees and a currency conversion fee apply.

Westpac certainly don’t seem to have done a great job at promoting this, with no mention on their ‘access your money overseas’ page. Indeed, all I could find on their website was this 2001 press release.

So has anybody used this service or have any other tips for accessing money overseas? Leave a comment.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!

[Photo Creative Commons via ohad* on Flickr]

Loose Change – A round-up of recent travel tips from around the web (19th of April)

Travel Tips of the Week

Tony Robinson’s Ten best train trips in BritainWestern Highlands Railway

Tony Robinson – Baldrick in Blackadder, host of Time Team, History’s Worst Jobs amongst many other great TV gigs – is a man in whom I live in awe. A train-nut, he shared his 10 favorite rail journeys in Britain with the Telegraph. A welcome reminder that Britain, despite it’s frequently disparaged rail services, has some of the most evocative (and most overlooked) rail journeys in the world. Is there anything this man cannot do?

General

‘Don’t hesitate, vaccinate’! Stress less about malaria and worry more about dehydration. Give those anti-malarials a run before you leave to roadtest side-effects. All this and more in MSNBC’s10 health pitfalls to avoid while travelling.

Vertigo Bar, Bangkok

Forbes Traveller counts down its list of the world’s sexiest rooftop bars. Because alcohol and great heights really do mix.

Luxury trains – who needs em? The Man in Seat 61 explains how the journeys on five luxury trains can be replicated on regular services for a fraction of the price.

MSNBC’s 5 common ticket screw-ups travellers make’ could be summed up in one: ‘don’t be stupid’. Read these tips and be stupid in your own original ways.

Get all zen with Bravenewtraveler which reckons travelling solo can teach you ten things about yourself. One thing it can occaisionally teach is how much you miss home, but Vaggabonding has five tips for dealing with homesickness. When you do head home, whether out of choice or necessity, bravenewtraveler has some tips for reconnecting with friends when you get home.

Luxury biking tours? I remain unconvinced by MSNBC claims to have tracked down ten of the best.Vespa

Betta getta Vespa – Rome by Vespa is one of the Guardian’s five best quirky city tours.

Free stuff always catches my eye and The Broke Vacationer has no less than 100 ways to get free stuff while travelling.

I spy with my little eye five games to pass the time while travelling at Vagabondish.

Africa

Reading Body in Motion’s 10 Things You Should Know Before Coming to Africa will guarantee you suffer no culture shock when arriving at Lagos airport. Okay, it may help. A little bit.

The Americas

Discover your inner Mickey – Fodor’s has 15 Tips for enjoying Disney at any age and Smartertravel will help you get around Disney World. The Telegraph has some budget (well sub £140 a night) hotel advice, while you’re there here are some New York recommendations from National Geographic’s Intelligent Travel.

Canada means Hockey and World Hum has some interesting and useful cultural background for neophytes (like me) interested in checking out a game.

Europe

The Crancky Flier gives the run-down on Heathrow’s new T5: would you be surprised if phrases such as ‘poor customer service’, ‘Someone tried to get way too clever’. ‘stupid’ and ‘Indifferent’ featured prominently? If not the conclusion ‘adequate but nothing more’ might even come as a pleasent surprise.

‘For a low-cost airline, AirBerlin’s service was very pleasant and efficient’ – Europestring.com enjoys a trip on German cheapie Air Berlin.

Even more free stuff to do in London from National Geographic and Europcheapo, while two contributors to The Rough Guide to Europe on a Budget suggest Prague and Naples for Euro cheap eats and Belgrade for the best value nightlife in an interview with Budget Travel

Ian Walsh from the New York Times, recommends walking Rome by night. The article is accompanied with a map of a suggested route from Piazza Venezia to Lago Argentia with embedded audio commentry. HighCultureLowBudget’s regular ‘Ask A Local’ feature is off to Firenze this week with Florentine Katie who can make 10 euro go a long way.

The Guardian has posted an audio guide tracing the May 1968 Paris student protests, while the Flyaway Weblog suggests twenty ways to explore Paris like a local.

The Times has an extensive guide to Vilinus and The Chicago Tribune has some tips for Athens.

Asia

BoracayLet’s Go Phillipines lists some budget hotel options in Boracay.

Budget Travel will get you started if you’re planning a trip to China, and The Telegraph has a feature on Beijing; ‘it’s grim to look at and as grey as a Mao suit, its climate is generally awful, it’s built on the most inhuman scale imaginable…’. Arthur Frommer writes that Ctrip is the only place to purchase tickets to or in China.

Flaway has some brief recommendations for eating cheaply and well in Phuket and Khao Lak. Shopping in Bangkok? I didn’t know such a thing existed. Travelling Blogger set me right. Mike Smith meets mummified monk of Khao Samui.

VietnaminFocus tackles when to visit Vietnam. August to March comes a close second to anytime, while Vietnam Travel Focus suggests beating the heat in Hanoi at The Army Hotel where you can hang out at around a rather nice looking pool for USD$4 for the day.

Subscribe to our RSS feed!