Tag Archives: contiki

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)

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[Image by Classroom III]

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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.

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[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]