Florida, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma… Oh My!

September 10, 2009

I’m already back in Orlando, boo-hoo!

What a whirlwind weekend adventure that was! It started at 3:10am on Sunday morning when my shuttle came to collect me from Chatham Square. I’d got home from work at midnight, headed over to a mates place to knock back a few drinks then rushed back to my apartment to finish packing, then off I went to Orlando Airport on no sleep what so ever. Actually, I hadn’t had any sleep since 9am Saturday morning.

Hashbrowns, french toast (was more like deep fried bread) and syrup!

Hashbrowns, french toast (was more like deep fried bread) and syrup!

By the time I got to the airport and checked in I was starving! The only thing I could find that was opened was a Burger King which had a very limited 4:30am menu. Ugh, I was hungry, so indeed, I ate then made my way over to my departure gate.

Needless to say I was absolutely buggered. I fell asleep by my terminal gate in fetal position on the floor with my carry on and my hand bag securely fastened in between my tummy, my knees and my arms. I can only imagine how ridiculous I looked to those around me. I think I managed to score twenty or so minutes of sleep before my flight boarded. As soon as I took my seat I was out so fast because I don’t even remember take off, the flight itself, or landing. I was now stuck within the perimeters of the Atlanta Airport for a few hours… no surprises here, but I fell asleep again at the terminal gate and woke up just as they were making the final boarding call! SHIT! I almost missed my flight!

The flight from Atlanta to Dallas was dead! There were maybe twelve of us on there so we were able to choose what ever seat we wanted. I had the entire exit lane to myself so the arms went up and I made myself comfortable across three seats with a blanket. Within seconds, I was out and before I knew it, I was in Dallas, Texas… earlier than I had expected too… seems they got us in a half hour earlier than what was scheduled. Actually, Delta had us in early on all four flights. I was very impressed with Delta’s courteous flight crew and their friendly service, not to mention their flight prices! I paid $125 US, return (inc. taxes)! Will definitely be flying with them again.

DALLAS :D One day I will live here!

DALLAS 😀 One day I will live here!

Kristi picked me up from Dallas Airport and we headed back to her apartment to change clothes and then head out for some lunch. Soon enough, we were at Jess’ apartment and departing for our roadtrip to Thackerville, Oklahoma. How do I put this nicely… those folks out in Thackerville, or maybe just Oklahoma in general… they are a whole different breed of people. There were some scary ass faces around there! Enough about them, though. We met up with Crys, Nicole and Kelly, did some outlet shopping and then headed to Chilis to meet up with a few other people for dinner.

Dinner was insanely fun. We maybe had one too many beers and the conversation led to not so appropriate dinner talk which led to me laughing until I looked as though I was crying and having to pee every ten minutes due to the amount of beer that was consumed. Fun times indeed! CONCERT TIME!

We got to the Winstar World Casino and saw it appropriate to carry on our beer-guzzling ways before Miss. Kelly Clarkson took the stage.

Kristi, Kelly, Nicole, Jess, Me & Crys right before taking our seats for KC!

Kristi, Kelly, Nicole, Jess, Me & Crys right before taking our seats for KC!

KC raising her mic stand to the audience to let them join in.

KC raising her mic stand to the audience to let them join in.

So needless to say Kelly Clarkson was amazing as always. She told us she had a big surprise for us which made me super excited, only to discover her version of a big surprise was cutting my two favourite songs and adding in a Reba McEntire song. FAIL! Grrrr, damn Kelly’s love for Reba! Ugh. I so wanted to hear Don’t Let Me Stop You. Booooo. Oh well, next time. And by next time I mean in eight weeks when I see her again in Las Vegas and Phoenix and then four weeks later in New Orleans. Yes, I am slightly obsessed. Love her to pieces; she is amazing!

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Kelly and her sex=on-legs guitarist, Cory!

Kelly and her sex-on-legs guitarist, Cory!

We drove back to Dallas that night and I got some much-needed sleep. I spent most of the next day in Dallas hanging out with Kristi, but before I knew it, it was time to board my flight back to Orlando… back to reality… although I guess you can’t really call the life I’m living here in Orlando a reality… My reality would be when I eventually return home to Australia… but let’s not think about that right now.

Orlando, FL; Atlanta, GA; Dallas, TX and Thackerville, OK… Four states in the span of 48 hours! Insane, I know, but also insanely fun! I love my life here 🙂


Auckland, New Zealand – Leg 1

June 28, 2009

So I’m just sitting here in Auckland Airport, New Zealand. Had an extremely smooth flight over from Melbourne flying Air New Zealand which I can never speak highly enough of; wonderful airline. Scored myself the exit lane so I had a ton of leg room 🙂 Landed maybe 40 minutes ago. It’s miserable here; cold and raining. Yuck. Watched ‘I Love You, Man’ and half of ’17 Again’ on the ride over. Hopefully get to finish it on the next leg of the journey. During ‘I Love You, Man,’ I’d burst out into random fits of laughter… eh, I was enjoying the movie.

Leaving Melbourne Airport was like ‘Cry-fest 2009’. Sooooo many tears. Was so sad saying by to the girls, but even worse saying bye to mum and dad, especially mum!!! I gave her a massive hug 🙂 I also almost started crying while saying bye to Cookie this morning. I will miss his little fat face! Ah well, here’s some photos we snapped just before I departed Melbourne.

The girls and I... I felt so tall haha.

The girls and I... I felt so tall haha.

Mum and I :-)

Mum and I 🙂

Dad, Mum and I :-)

Dad, Mum and I 🙂


T-Minus 5 weeks & counting…

May 24, 2009

Tomorrow will mark exactly five weeks until departure; 35 days until I leave the secure nest that is my home, family, friends and job(s) and move to the U.S. for 14 months. The thing that bothers me about all of this though, is that I am not the least bit nervous. Am I meant to be nervous? Should I start to feel edgy and panicky or is it still a bit too early for those emotions to kick in?

I just finished watching ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’ and although this movie has nothing to do with goodbyes, while watching it, it hit me. No, not the feeling of nervousness, but more so the realisation of how much I’m going to miss people while I’m gone. My mum, my dad, Cookie my cat, my girl friends etc… all of whom up until now, have been my security blanket and my support when ever I’ve been in need, only in five more weeks, they wont be there anymore. Well, sure, they’ll still be there, but that there will be on the other side of the world. This thought made me sad. I may or may not have cried. Shhhh. Pretend you didn’t read that part.

All emotions aside, I’m pretty much almost set to go. I told my Team Leader on Monday that I was leaving my job. I had been dreading this day for some time now.  I had replayed this scenario over and over in my head all weekend. It was the cause of many hours of lost sleep. I tell the Team Leader I’m leaving. Team Leader yells at me. Tells me what a let down I am to the team and that I couldn’t have picked a worse time to leave. Yada yada. It went nothing like that, in fact, it was so completely the opposite of what I had imagined, I couldn’t help but cry happy tears when she was so excited and supportive of my decision. It was amazing. Finally, the weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could start openly expressing my happiness to everyone about my move! Phew.

I have finally booked all my flights! I already had the main flight from Melbourne to Vancouver taken care of, but was still in need of a few more. Ended up booking a flight with Air Canada from Vancouver to Montreal, then with Air Canada again from Montreal to Dallas. From Dallas to Orlando one of the girls on the program and myself decided we’d fly out of Dallas together with American Airlines. At least I will be arriving at Disney with someone and wont be a loner. Yay. We get into Orlando at around 11am and the Aussie’s on the group flight don’t get in until 11pm so we get to head to our apartments early and go and do some shopping!

There is only one more major thing I require before heading off, and that is travel insurance! I’ll probably end up going with Allianz because one, I work there, and two, they are by far the cheapest for 14 months of full comprehensive cover with unlimited medical cover.

The next few weeks are going to be so hectic, but I look forward to them. I do not, however, look forward to bawling my eyes out at the airport upon departure. Ugh. I’m such a sucker for goodbyes. As soon as one person cries, then I start crying. Apparently crying is contagious. Boooooo.


Jetstar Photo Competition

May 7, 2009

Jetstar Australia has announced a pretty awesome photography competition aimed at professional, amateur and child photographers.

All you have to do is upload an unedited photo you have taken to one of the five categories available: Landscapes; Landmarks/Icons; The Locals; Evens and Star Jumpers (aka the Jetstar jump!). Whether you are a professional, a happy snapper or even a kid, there are categories to suit everyone!

The catch; all photos submitted must be taken at a destination that Jetstar flies to as seen below:

Jetstar Destinations

I decided to submit some of my unedited photographs that I took in Phuket, Thailand in January and February of 2008. Click on the below images to check them out and, if it isn’t too much trouble, flip me a vote by clicking on the thumbs up for me.

My first entry is in the amateur landscapes category under Phuket, Thailand:

Phuket, Thailand - VOTE

My second entry is in the amateur locals category under Phuket, Thailand:

Phuket, Thailand - VOTE

Entries can be submitted between May 1, 2009 – July 31, 2009 so hurry up and get snapping!


VISA + AIRFARES = HAPPY LYNNIE

April 22, 2009

This morning I woke at the unGodly hour of 6am in order to catch the 6.50am train into the city. I had an 8.15am appointment at the U.S. Consulate General on St. Kilda Rd in Melbourne and was advised to get there a half an hour before my appointment time. I managed to find my way to the Consulate and upon entry into the building, I noticed a queue had already formed. I was maybe the tenth person down the line. They took us in five people at a time. We entered our passport numbers into the computer systems and were issued a sticker with a barcode to wear on our shirts before our belongs were scanned through the x-ray machine and we had to walk through the metal detectors. Our bags had to remain at the security desk and we were only allowed to take out paperwork and our wallets in.

We were all told to take a seat and just wait until our number was called. In the mean time, we watched a security measures video and a montage of immigrants who had set up home in the U.S. and looked all happy and pleased with their new lives… it was on replay so I watched it no less than 15 times. Number 12 was called to window one so I made my way over. The old man behind the window asked for all my documents and my passport. He then took electronic fingerprints from both my hands and told me to sit back down. That was easy enough. Another hour or so passed before my number was called up again; this time to window two. The American lady behind the window asked a what reason I had to return home, asked to see financial proof of how I would support myself and then asked to see a copy of my University degree. She also asked if my previous trips to the U.S. were just for pleasure to which I nodded. I was rather nervous but that was soon forgotten when I saw her look up and smile at me… “Congratulations, I see no reason to not give you a visa. Everything is in good order.” To which I responded SWEET! Thank you! I left with the biggest smile ever plastered across my face!

I caught the train back home and headed straight over to STA Travel to purchase my airfares. At this point, I was still feeling a tad iffy about the response I had received from U.S. Customs and Border Protection last week. I didn’t want to risk flying into Los Angeles Airport then have the Customs Officer try to enter me on my J1 visa (even though I had been advised that I could enter on a Visa Waiver), so I decided to not take any chances and purchase a direct flight to Canada without any stop overs in the U.S. It was a tad more expensive than flying into L.A., but at least this way I know it will be hassle free and I get to fly my favourite airline, Air New Zealand! Yay to having a personal entertainment unit and movies and TV on demand the entire way!

Departure is June 28 flying from Melbourne > Auckland > Vancouver > Montreal… woah, what a mouthful!

I have my return flight booked in also flying Air New Zealand from Los Angeles to Melbourne however, I have to call closer to my return date (which, at this point is August 15, 2010) and push the date back further as they couldn’t issue the ticket that far ahead of time yet.

I’m so excited! Not long to go now! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!


Visa update Part I – Visa Waiver ESTA and J1 Visa dilemma

April 17, 2009

For the last week I have been racking my brain and emailing every U.S. visa and immigration contact I could find an email address for online. It was driving me insane that everywhere I searched online, I could not find the answer to my one very important question. This question was the difference between a $1600 (inc tax) airfare or a $4000 airfare so receiving a response was imperative to me financial wellbeing.

The issue at hand…

Granted I pass my visa interview next week, before heading to Disney, I want to swing by Montreal, Quebec to visit some friends I made last summer on Contiki through Europe. Pretty much every airline except for Air Canada have a stop over in Los Angeles, meaning I would have to clear immigration at LA airport. I had been advised by Disney that I was not allowed to enter the U.S. on my J1 visa then fly to Canada as it would cause issues for me in regard to the Disney College Program. So the question I was desperately seeking an answer to was…

“Can I clear immigration at LAX on a Visa Waiver (ESTA) in transit to Montreal, Quebec, despite having the J1 visa in my passport? (I wouldn’t be leaving LAX, I’d just need to change flights there). Then, when I fly from Montreal back into the U.S. at this point I will enter the U.S. on my J1 visa to avoid interference with the Disney Program.”

If the answer was going to be a no, then my only option would be to purchase a ticket with Air Canada as they fly direct from Australia to Vancouver which means I would be able to by-pass U.S. immigration. The only problem with this is a one-way ticket from Melbourne – Vancouver flying Air Canada is $3000 AU! And that is only one-way, I would still need a return airfare which would more than likely be another $1000 AU! Ridiculous. On the contrary, however, if the answer is a yes and I can transit through LA on a Visa Waiver ESTA, then I could purchase a return Melbourne – Los Angeles airfare for $1600 AU including taxes!!! $4000 and $1600… BIG difference!

The solution…

On my quest to find a response to this question, I was kindly directed to the CBP.gov (U.S. Customs and Border Protection) website. I searched every inch of pixel on that website trying to find the answer to my question, but no such success. However, what I did find was a nifty little section where you could ‘Find an Answer, Ask a Question‘. I searched through the question and answer database but still had no luck with an accurate response. After several search attempts, I noticed a new tab had become available which allowed me to submit my own question… PERFECT!

I submitted my question last night and was extremely impressed to see a response waiting for me in my email inbox today… less than 24 hours, amazing! The best part is, it was the response I wanted to hear!!!

“What your immigration “intent” is to do, is to make entry at LAX as a traveler for business / pleasure for which as an Australian citizen, if eligible, you may use the Visa Waiver Program and ESTA. You may do this because your “intent” is not to go to work at this time. Then after your holiday, it will be your “intent” to make entry as a J1 in Orlando.

With this scenario having the J1 visa in your possession is not a problem.

So, may you do this, yes.”

Problem solved. I am, however, going to print this response out and carry it with me through immigration in case I am given any hassles. I applaud the speed in which my submission was attended to, it was amazing, especially given the fact that they must receive a plethora of questions on a daily basis.

Five more days until my visa interview! Excitedness! Once I get the all clear, I’m off to STA Travel to purchase my airfares! YAY! I can’t wait to be done with all this paperwork…

Visa papers taking up my bedroom floor space!


Disney International College Program – Visa Interview

April 9, 2009

Today all my Disney International College Program visa papers arrived! So excited but also very stressed. There are so many papers to read through, fill out and sign. I’m worried that if I mess one thing up the whole visa opportunity will backfire and I will be denied a J1 visa.

I booked my visa interview for April 22 at 8:15am. I have to be at the U.S. Consulate in Melbourne at 7:45am however I can be waiting there for up to four hours before it’s my turn. At first I thought I’d kill the waiting time with mobile Facebook and Twitter, but they take your phones away from you before you enter! AHHH! I guess I will have to make do with some Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Swift on my iPod. Fun.

For the next few days I will be pulling out my hair trying to figure out how to correctly fill out all these papers and pay all these fees. I hope I don’t make any mistakes. Granted I get my visa, then comes the fun part… airfare shopping! YAY!

Wish me luck 🙂


Southwest Airlines Fly High Above Their Competitors

February 4, 2009

It often startles me with how little airline companies are embracing online communication tools to reach their target audience. With the recent incline and interests sparked through online blogging and the current likes of Facebook and Twitter, these online marketing mechanisms could prove powerful to an organizations ongoing success if adopted and applied effectively.

Southwest Airlines are one of the few airline organizations that embrace all forms of online communication mediums, also introducing their own innovative online marketing tool referred to as ‘DING!

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES' DING! APPLICATIONDING! is a live desktop application that sits in the tray of your taskbar. Upon hearing a ‘ding‘ noise, exclusive airfares are delivered straight to you at heavily discounted prices. These discounts are not available any where other than through the application. You can customize DING! to deliver deals from ten airports of your choice.

With a mission to deliver the highest quality of service to its customers, Southwest implemented the use of Twitter to keep in contact with its followers. Twitter is a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES TWITTER ACCOUNT

Southwest uses Twitter to respond to customer inquiries, announce any possible flight delays and  promote new services and routes. If a customer tweets from an airport while experiencing difficulty with the airline, they are quick to receive a response from Southwest offering advice or a solution to their problem

Through Twitter, the airline is regularly posting photos allowing followers to gain a sense of the corporate culture that exists back at Southwest Headquarters in Texas.

NUTS ABOUT SOUTHWEST ONLING BLOGWhile being known to serve nuts on board their flights, Southwest used a clever play on words when titling their online blog ‘Nuts About Southwest.’ Employees from all facets of the organization share their stories and work experiences giving avid readers some insight on what it is like to work for Southwest. A new blog is posted almost every day and the airline has also made use of video blogging. Polls are conducted and the latest Southwest news is shared.

One of the more common marketing tactics embraced by many organizations including Southwest Airlines is a fan page on Facebook. Facebook gives people and organizations the power to share, making the world more open and connected. Millions of people use Facebook everyday to keep up with friends, promote their company, upload unlimited photos and generate board discussions.

SOUTHWEST AIRLINES FACEBOOK FAN PAGECurrently, the Southwest fan page has 56,887 fans. Through this page, Southwest are able to communicate new offers and click-through promotions with their Facebook fans. There is a discussion board that generates an ample amount of conversation from fans. The Southwest marketing department who double as the page care-takers often respond to current discussions and the airlines employees are also encouraged to help contribute with any answers they can.

Fans are able to upload and share their Southwest photos to the Facebook page and the airline are able to post videos that may hold any value in promoting Southwest.

With Southwest embracing such innovative communication techniques at a time where people seem uncertain about traveling, it is no wonder that they recorded a December 2008 increase in revenue passenger miles, up 1.1 per cent from the 5.7billion RPMs flown in December of 2007.

In this unsteady economic climate, more airline organizations should be making use of these online communication tools to enhance their performance and try achieving the same results that Southwest has.


ISIC Card – STA Travel

January 25, 2009

So you consider yourself a crazy traveler, hey? Well, I’m sure you’ve already heard about STA Travel’s ISIC card then, right? What! You haven’t? Where have you been living??? Dude, get with the times!

ISIC is an International Student Identity Card and is the only internationally accepted student ID card around the world. That’s right, the world! The ISIC has helped over 40 million students to get the most out of their travel experiences. If you have ever purchased travel from an STA branch, one of their friendly staff would more than likely have introduced you to this handy little piece of plastic. With access to a global network of affordable and specialised student services, the ISIC is your passport to more than 40,000 discounts and benefits in 106 countries worldwide. As a frequent traveller, I must say that the best perk this baby has to offer are the discount international airfares! I’m terribly saddened that my ISIC card and student status will come to an end in March of 2009. I will forever cherish the wonderful memories, dollars saved and travel discouts we have encountered together over these last few years *sniff*.

I shouldn’t start crying just yet though because STA Travel offer this card in various forms:

1. ISIC – International Student Identity Card: You have to specifically be a student to take advantage of some 40,000 global discounts this card has to offer.

2. International Youth Card: If you’re not a full time student and under 26 *raises hand* then you can still experience a plethora of global discounts by obtaining one of these cards.

3. International Teacher Identity Card: Need a holiday after dealing with screaming kids? This card offers a whole list of benefits and discounts for teachers who hold one of these babies.

What are the benefits of owning an ISIC you say? Well, here are just some:

– Internationally recognised poof of student status
– 1,200 discounts on flights, buses, trains and ferriers
– 2,800 discounts on entrance to the world’s leading museums and cultural sites
– 2,700 discounts on entertainment and attractions
– 2,400 discounts on youth hostels and hotels
– 21,000 discounts worldwide on bars, restaurants and shopping
– Access to a free 24 hour, multilingual ISIC Emergency Help Line
– ISICConnect an all-in-one discount communications package including phone, SMS, email and voicemail
– Access to a global network of 5,000 travel organisations that specialise in the needs of student and youth travellers in 106 countries

Sounds pretty cool, right? I’ve saved thousands on international airfares just by having one of these cards and purchasing my airfares through STA Travel. They really do cater to the student and young adult market and take care of everything to ensure your trip is an enjoyable one!

Where can you get yourself one of these cards? Well, you can either go directly into an STA Travel branch and get one made up or you can apply for one online. They only cost $25 which, in all honesty, is peanuts when you compare it to the dollars you will be saving with this card in the future. Easy peasey.

Travel is always more enjoyable when you know you are getting the best deal on it!

ISIC STA TRAVEL CARD

ISIC STA TRAVEL CARD


Traveling during an economic crisis…

January 16, 2009

Despite popular belief, traveling is still quite possible during this global economic crisis. While some countries have already hit recession, it is being predicted that Australia, fortunately, will surpass it. This does not mean everything is all well and good here, though;  just today it was announced that nearly 45,000 Australians lost their jobs in the month of December, 2008, a .1% rise on previous figures. This largest monthly decline of full-time jobs since March 2003 saw the job loss tally climb to 77,000 since August, 2008.

Although, for some, these figures represent gloom and despair, if you feel confident about the security of your position and your earnings, believe it or not, now is possibly the best time for you to get out there and see the world.

During an economic downturn and recession, travel is often the first cut people make in their budgets. Given that this crisis has struck on a global level, the whole world is adjusting to suit this changing economic climate. Just like the earths’ occupants, the world of travel is also having to alter its tactics to respond to the recognized decline that an unsteady economy brings with it. Airline companies right around the globe are slashing the prices of airfares to help enhance ticket sales. Their aim is to fill seats and they will do what ever it takes in order to ensure their aircraft’s are at full capacity. They realize that if they want people to travel during this time of uncertainty, they are going to have to make you an offer you can’t refuse and that is exactly what smart travel and airline companies like STA Travel and Qantas have been doing.

Launched in December of 2008, STA Travel Australia introduced online travel auctions to their website. Similar to that of eBay, you are able to bid on a huge selection of airfares, tours, package holidays and accommodation. The best part about all of this is that every single auction begins at a crazy $1 AU. That’s right folks, just $1! This puts you in control when deciding on a maximum amount to bid. If you’re after a bargain holiday, STA’s online travel auction is definitely worth the look.

Although by now, this offer has expired, just the other day STA Travel was promoting an insane sale fare of $999 AU including taxes for a return flight from Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Los Angeles, USA. In a perfect economic climate, fares like this are just unheard of. Despite the current exchange rate of $0.66 AU to $1 US, an airfare this cheap can all but make up for the loss in exchange.

In November of 2008, Qantas released a too-good-to-refuse marketing scheme in hopes to amplify its dwindling 9.3% fall in September traffic. A two-for-one ticket sale was launched by Qantas to stimulate demand for international travel. This offering allowed for a second passenger to fly for the cost of only taxes and charges; an offer which received an extremely strong response by the public. Again, in a perfect economic climate, Qantas would never, not even for a second, dream of letting a passenger fly for free.

As mentioned above, the Australian dollar has plummeted severely within the last few months after reaching an all time high in July of 2008. The Aussie dollar has dropped from a whopping $0.98 AU to $0.66 AU to the U.S. dollar. The comparison between the Aussie and U.S. dollar always seems to be the one making the news here, and while some may view this conversion as extremely unfavorable, it should be remembered that there is a whole world out there to discover; your travel plans are not just restricted to the U.S.

Try vacationing in a country with a favorable conversion rate. While these countries may cost a little bit more airfare wise, once you arrive it is a case of more bang for your buck. The Lonely Planet suggests visiting the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Thailand, Laos, Syria, Ukraine and Uruguay. While some of these countries may seem out side of your comfort zone or perhaps not your ideal sense of vacation style, they can be a real adventure to discover. Everybody needs a little adventure in their lives; it’s good for you. Go on, surprise yourself.

Choosing to stay in a hostel over a hotel can be one of the biggest money-saving decisions of your entire vacation. Many people are under the impression that hostels only offer shared, mixed-sex dorm rooms with public facilities. Quite the opposite, actually. Many, if not all, hostels offer private rooms with a private bathroom and sometimes, if you are lucky, even a television. I spent a few nights in a hostel while staying in London, England. My main justification for choosing a hostel over a hotel was the fact that I would be spending barely any time in my room. I really just required a bed and bathroom facilities to get ready in the mornings. I recall paying £15 per night ($33 AU). If the point of your vacation is to get out there and discover the world, your accommodation really just needs to be secure, clean and quiet enough to allow you to get some peaceful shut-eye each night. Another advantage of staying in hostels are the number of people you meet and quickly become friends with from right around the globe; this could prove to be another cost-cutter for when you require future accommodation.

Without realizing it, one of the biggest money-eaters while on vacation is food. The constant eating out at restaurants or snacking in between meals quickly accumulates. Food and beverages were easily my biggest cost concern when traveling, especially through Europe as everything seems to be rather pricey there. My suggestion is to purchase snacks from the supermarket to nibble on through out the day. Don’t go to the biggest major supermarket in town either, have a wander; walk a few blocks down and you will be sure to find smaller, family-run retailers (this is especially more so common in the back streets of Europe) that charge up to half the price that the larger, tourist-infested supermarkets are charging. While in France a few friends and I got lost amongst the back streets of Paris. We came across the most beautiful produce,  freshly baked baguettes and scrumptious pastries at small, independently run stores. We only had to chip in a few Euro each and we all enjoyed a glorious picnic dinner under the Eiffel Tower. There is no way eating at a restaurant could beat that experience, or that price.

Lastly, why waste your time stressing? Your concern is not going to mend the pitiful economy nor will it prevent your country from hitting recession. If you are in the position to, get out there and see the world. After all, traveling is a form of stress relief!

DON'T LET THE DWINDLING ECONOMY CAT YOUR TRAVEL PLANS


There must be something in the water…

January 8, 2009

‘Cause this is just insane. I just checked my email and saw this…

Insane STA Travel airfares at $999 AU inc taxes, Sydney to LA

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Valid for travel: 01 – 31 March 2009.
My birthday is in March. Anyone feel like purchasing me an insanely cheap birthday present? *wink wink, nudge nudge*