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STA Travel Blog

10 European Festivals for your Diary

I know. You’ve always wanted to go to at least one major European festival. For years, you’ve been hounding our mates to head down to Spain for La Tomatina. Since you were a wee child, you’ve been begging people to join you at Up Helly Aa.

Are you going to a festival in Europe this year? These boys are waiting for you, at Up Helly Aa

Hopefully you’ve ticked one or two off your list already, but this is your year of travel. This is the year to take a long hard look at your travel ambitions and make a move.

No continent does cultural festivals on the scale that Europe does; and while some have been around for what seems like eternity, other festivals have made their way onto the radar of fun-loving travellers with great aplomb.
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#RTW: Round the Block

Taking a walk around your block, what do you see? Some houses, the odd tree, a man and his dog, maybe a couple of shops? Well not on this block, people! We’re talking turbo-charged, mind-blowing excitement as you take a stroll around what must be one of the most incredible regions in the world — Asia!

This glittering gem of a continent has oodles to offer and, on a route like Round the Block, it’s only the best of the best for you! We’ve focused in on two of its most dazzling regions – the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia — to bring you a spectacular trip that’s filled to the brim with mind-blowing sights, mouth-watering cuisine, picture perfect beaches and brilliantly vibrant culture.

So, hold onto those backpacks as this trip is anything but your average stroll around the block. Unless, that is, you happen to live in some magical world where amazing, technicolour countries just appear out of nowhere every time you turn the corner? I didn’t think so.

But before you jet off and we really get stuck into all the amazing things you can do on this epic route, let’s take a whistle stop tour of all the incredible stops that lay ahead of you on this corker of a trip. Trigger-happy people at the ready; hit that play button and let’s see what you’re in for! Continue reading

10 Places to Escape Valentine’s Day

In case you haven’t noticed: it’s Valentine’s Day. I’m stood in the queue of a well-known coffee shop chain in West London, waiting for a fat latte to bolster my morning, staring out of the window at the usual humdrum of life. When, suddenly, I become aware of the gooey fact, that, “Love is in the air, everywhere I look around.” I even start tapping my feet.

There’s a guy on the corner with a half-dozen roses; ten feet away, stands a young lady, losing herself in her lover’s eyes. There’s a couple playing out a frisky reunion, and a cheeky grin unravelling across a young man’s face, as he looks down towards his mobile phone.

There’s a white van parked outside. In that van, sits a man. He’s sat quietly in the passenger seat, wearing a dark blue beanie hat. I’d say he’s around twenty-two. His arms are tightly folded, his thick fleece jacket is zipped right up to the top, and his chin is tucked into the collar.

I grab my coffee and a handful of sugar, and walk back to the office, to sit down at my desk, to write a blog post, titled: “The World’s Most Loveable Destinations”.

I had it all planned out; there was a lingering journey through Tuscany, and a sunset sojourn to Australia’s Whitsunday Islands among other heart-warming adventures.

But I couldn’t shake the image of that guy; sitting in his van; isolated from a world of lust. A pane of dirty glass was all that separated him from a world of tumbling romantic gestures. So I deleted the “Loveable” post; took a deep breath, and set about a new direction.

Don't be disheartened by Valentine's Day, we've got your back. | Photo by B.S. Wise

A look at some of the world’s best destinations to embrace the inner-singleton for your year of travel. A round-up of destinations that will leave you, the reader, feeling empowered. If you’ve recently broken up with someone, these selfless bursts of inspiration will help to soothe your achy, breaky heart.

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14 RTW Jargon Busters!

Booking a round the world flight is one of life’s highlights. A few moments after your credit card payment goes through, a realisation sets in: you’re going to travel, right around the world.

You’re going to meet people from every walk of life; and see things that will blow your mind.

You’re going to sample the purest form of freedom; soak up a robust tan, and while away the evenings with a bright twinkle in your eye.

But it can be confusing.

We couldn't find a suitable picture to represent 'Jargon'. So we plumped for one that represents confusion.

We fully accept that. We try hard to make it as easy as buying a bag of Skittles; but what you see in branch, or in the Round the World Travel brochure is just the tip of the iceberg. We shed jargon like a German sheds his lederhosen on a hot summer’s day.

Still, you might hear a few jargalicious terms slip out that leave you wondering. Before I continue with a breakdown of common jargon; if you’ve spotted any terms, or funny-looking words along the way to booking your round the world flights, then slam them in the comment thread below and we’ll clear them up for you.
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The Destinations in ‘MOVE’

Fancy taking a walk? How about taking a walk through 10 countries in 44 days, covering 38,000 miles and soaring through the skies on no less than 18 flights. Throw in some manly arms, and some trendy sunglasses. Split it all up into 200 frames, lob on some catchy music and splice into one neat 60 second clip. You’re on the MOVE.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you’ve managed to escape the brilliant piece of travel movie making that’s got everyone talking. Whether you’ve seen it or not, take a minute to watch our man, Andy, bring you up to speed.

Get a MOVE on, and get your #YearofTravel nailed!

MOVE pays homage to inspirational attributes of travel, the act of seizing the moment, by making 2012 your year of travel. We’re thrilled with the result, and we hope you like it, too.

Aside from the visual spectacle that is MOVE, let’s dig a little deeper into the creative and discover where exactly we sent Andy and his film crew, on their epic journey. Let me know in the comments which frames stood out for you, or if you’re inspired to visit any of the destinations featured.
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