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STA Travel Blog

Shakedown, Los Angeles

What comes to mind when you think of Los Angeles? Amazing beaches? Glitz and glamour? Paris Hilton? The City of Angels and the surrounding county has it all, and then some.

This week, we’ll be shedding some light on where to go, where to stay, where to shop and what to do in California’s most sizzling city and beyond. Whiten those teeth and flash your best Hollywood smile – we’re shaking down Los Angeles!

The Fame Game in L.A.

What isn’t L.A. famous for? It’s the home of Hollywood, after all, which means it’s also home to trillions of movie locations. Stroll down Santa Monica Pier, and you might feel like you’re in Forrest Gump, or even that modern classic Beverly Hills Cop III.

Be Julia Roberts for a day and get kicked out of the very same posh clothes shop that she gets kicked out of in 1980s movie Pretty Women, over on Rodeo Drive. Bit of a celeb’ stalker? Jump on one of the touristy-but-oh-so-brilliant bus tours of the stars’ houses.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot an actual celebrity. When I did the tour, Dr Phil (yes, the Dr Phil!) came out of his mansion and waved at our tour bus. Best. Day. Ever.
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Slap a Snap Gap in Your #YearofTravel!

As the Year of Travel rolls through the wilds of your imagination, it’s time to turn your attention to your own travel ambitions. And what better place to start than with an adventure that celebrates the very best of a region, with a good amount of time to sink your teeth into its culture?

Some call them Snap Gaps; some say Snap Years; others label them ‘mini gap years’; I simply prefer to call them by their proper name: a couple of months’ travelling.

Two months is enough time to unravel, and immerse yourself in the experience. It’s short enough, that with a little planning, you can slip it into a summer of seamless fun, or set off on a sabbatical of untold possibilities.

But where would you travel to? There are some fantastic destinations, that are conveniently located beside each other, and seemingly begging to be explored this year. I’ve rounded up some of my favouruite regions around the world, to give you a flavour of what you could achieve throughout your Year of Travel.
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#RTW: The Jumbo Jetsetter

So, you’re one of those people who never like to do anything by halves? You’ve decided you want to see the world and you’re not going to settle for anything less than the whole kit and caboodle.

Well here’s us giving you one big, fat high-five! Or should I say high-nine? As that’s exactly how many incredible stops are awaiting you on The Jumbo Jetsetter round the world route, which is sure to knock the socks off even the most seasoned jetsetter.

The possibilities are endless on a trip like this; each destination has a multitude of amazing things to see and do, so take a deep breath as we’ve swept aside any mind-boggling mumbo to leave you with a trip that’s got it all and is — you guessed it — jumbo.

But wait! Before you go, if you’re the spontaneous type, check out our nifty Multiflex Pass that let’s you change the dates of your flights fuss-free, up to three times or more! It’s the ultimate in freedom and flexibility so you won’t have to miss out on one single thing. Phew!
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High Five… Central America!

Nestled neatly between the bigger, louder and brasher North and South Americas, it would be quite easy (but unforgivable) to overlook the compact cluster of seven incredible countries that make up the region of Central America.

Boy, are you in for an adventure! Volcanoes, Caribbean beaches, Mayan ruins, offshore reefs, colonial towns and dense jungles are ready and waiting for your eager little feet to explore.

Five unforgettable Central America Experiences

So with so much to choose from, wouldn’t it be ideal if you had a neat little list of, say 5, things to do in Central America? Well whad’ya know…
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11 Pointers for Planning your Gap Year

Gap years are the talk of the town, and they’re set to sky rocket this year as young people leave school to face one of the bleakest job markets in recent times, and the reality of rising university fees begins to bite.

We’re estimating around 3 million young Brits will be jetting off to reap the benefits of a gap year this year; using this unique opportunity to broaden their horizons and build their profile for the years of careers ahead.

But what level of thought needs to go into a gap year? Surely you just pack a bag full of fading threads, and hit the circuits for a loop around the world’s most hedonistic islands, clutching a brightly coloured bucket?

Well. You could. Or, you could build those party times into one of the most exhilarating journeys of your life; splicing mystifying cultures with monumental achievements.

Eiffel Tower

Gap years offer the perfect time for your brain to breathe! | Photo by freedomyears in the STA Travel Flickr Group

Gap years are amazing and, planned in the right way, can reap rewards for the decades ahead. It should go without saying, that we know a thing or two about gap years, so we’ve taken the time to get your brain in gear for planning your gap year, by producing this list of eleven points to consider as soon as your feet begin to itch with wanderlust.
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