48 hour fling with Venice

I’ve lived in a fair few cities in my 27 years on Earth – Newcastle, Lincoln, Indianapolis, Sydney, Melbourne, and London. And when I visited Venice for the first time, I fell in love instantly, and could easily see myself taking up residence there.

So what does Venice have that these other cities don’t, I hear you ask? Well, curious little readers…

1. It’s a floating city

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

(more…)

15 things travellers are thankful for

This week, we’re taking a leaf out of our American neighbours’ book and counting our blessings for all things travel, in honour of Thanksgiving. Not just the the serious (and amazing) stuff like learning about other cultures, but also the little things we didn’t realise were so amazing until we set off on our travels…

Free wifi – oh you beautiful thing

(more…)

9 reasons why you should travel with a group

I did an epic 2.5 years of travelling solo, and on my way around the world I got myself on some group tours (because who wants to do everything alone?!) So I’ve compiled a list of 9 reasons it was amazing travelling as part of a group.

I had people to take photos of me

 

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

(more…)

How to spend 8 days in mainland Thailand

I’m Rachael, certified Netflix binger, beer pong fan, and one of the website guru’s at STA Travel. I recently got back from an Asia trip – and by recently I mean 6 months ago, but I’m in denial. Of the places I visited, I spent 6 weeks in Thailand. As well as eating my body weight in curry and 7-Eleven toasties (if you know, you know) I’d like to think I got to know the place pretty well, so this is what I’d tell travellers to do on a 8 day/7 night trip.

Day one

Fly in to Bangkok, because that’s probably the easiest and cheapest to get to. I spent three weeks in Bangkok (not because I’m crazy, I did a volunteering job) so I’ve done a lot there. You could either spend the day visiting amazing buildings like the Wat Pho/Wat Arun temple and the Grand Palace – all beautiful and worth a look, or if you’re more about the markets, head to one of the many floating markets around the city. We decided to get in a taxi and drive to Talin Chan and Khlong Lat Mayom, which were both really close to each other – we preferred the second one as it had much more of an authentic feel to it (the first one was very touristy).

A post shared by Rachael Porter (@rporter90) on

(more…)

Where to visit the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef – mother nature’s greatest masterpiece. When you picture it, you may just think of the Reef as part of Tropical North Queensland, accessible from everyone’s favourite party playground, Cairns. However, the Reef actually runs almost all the way down the coast of Queensland (1,430 miles in fact), so you can visit it from multiple places on your East Coast adventure. So where are some of the best places to visit the Great Barrier Reef, and what can you do there?

Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up, as if you’re coming from Brisbane.

From Hervey Bay

Photo courtesy of Tourism Queensland

Firstly, if you’re in Hervey Bay between July to November, you’re in prime whale watching season. Humpback whales are known to stop off at the bay for a rest before continuing their migration. Once you’ve experienced that, think about taking a scenic 40-minute flight from Hervey Bay over to Lady Elliot Island, the southernmost island of the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll see all the beauty of the reef from above. Known for some of the clearest of water on the reef, the area is perfect for snorkelling. The island is known as ‘Home of the manta ray’, with over 700 species in its waters – AND if you arrive between November and March, it’s hatching season for the green sea turtles. An amazing flight, some excellent snorkelling, prime whale watching, swimming with manta rays AND green sea turtle hatching?! Sign us up!
(more…)

What jobs can you do on an Australian working holiday?

Saw-wielding ghost train monster, fruit picker, Outback barmaid, funeral insurance cold caller… What do all these professions have in common? They were all jobs on my two-year working holiday in Australia. My name’s Rachael, STA Travel Digital Marketing Exec, Love Island enthusiast and owner of one kick ass (weird, but nevertheless…) CV.

Taking the plunge and going on a working holiday visa in Australia can be both daunting and exciting, all at the same time. You’ll be constantly wondering ‘What if I don’t get a job?’, ‘How hard is it to find work?’ or just plain saying ‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!’. It’s okay, I found myself asking the exact same questions when I booked my flight five months before I left, because I’m impulsive & apparently enjoy giving my parents a heart attack (don’t do that – unless it’s super cheap, then who cares about our parents?).

All jokes aside, I’m here to tell you that it’s easier than you think, and you can pretty much do just about anything to work your way around Australia – my friend once dressed up as a mascot for a corner shop.

(more…)

7 reasons travelling by campervan is the best way to travel

All hail the person who decided that we needed a Pot Noodle cooker (kettle) and a beer fridge in the back of our rides! It’s time to give some serious kudos to the campervan…

1. You can sleep wherever you want, whenever you want, within reason

(more…)

Which Great Barrier Reef trip is best for you?

Ahh, the famous Great Barrier Reef! Unless you’ve lived in a hole all your life, you’ll have heard of this natural beauty. It’s the jewel of North Queensland, and for good reason – it’s the largest living thing on Earth. And if you fancy shooting up into space in a rocket, you can even see it from there.

If you don’t fancy a trip into space, we’ve got an easier way to get there (much easier!) we’ve got a one stop flight from London! A quick stop in the Philippines, and you’ll be off to Cairns, where the Great Barrier Reef lies just offshore.

And whether you’re into diving or Disney, snorkelling or sunbathing… we’ve got a way for you to discover it.

Non-swimmers
Who are you, and why are you here? Just joking. But seriously, you can view the Great Barrier Reef without jumping into the water, just jump into a glass bottomed boat instead.

 

(more…)

10 times backpacking actually sucks

Living out of a backpack just gets too much sometimes, and you promise that you’ll never take your wardrobe for granted again.

You feel like you’re constantly on a budget, saving for the next destination on your trip. Although is there a better kind of budget to be on?! Calculating complex daily allowances for beer, sleeping and 7/11 slurpies? We vote no.

(more…)

7 awkward hostel moments every traveller can relate to

When you unwillingly become the object of some unwanted attention.

 

 

When the local cuisine doesn’t agree with your stomach, and you’re sharing a dorm ensuite.

 

When two people have decided to put on a night time show, unaware you’re still lying in bed… awake.

 

When you work on hostel reception, but there is also a hostel bar on the same floor. And drunk people keep making song requests to you thinking you’re the DJ.

 

When the guy with the guitar suddenly sits down with the group and starts ‘jamming’.

 

When you haven’t made friends with anyone in the hostel yet and you’re forced to sit on your own.


When you’re a guy picking up your washing from the machines and somehow end up with someone else’s frilly pants, and you can’t explain how they got there…

 

Think you can beat our awkward hostel moments? Send them over to us via email. We’re dying to hear them!