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STA Travel Blog

Ask the Experts: The Trans-Siberian and Beyond

It’s FRIDAY! And here at STA Travel HQ, on Friday, we rejoice. Why? Well, for starters, it’s one day away from the weekend (duh). And secondly, it means it’s time to Ask the Experts!

Our Experts are here every week to answer your travel related queries. If you’ve got a travel itch that you just can’t scratch, let our Experts help! Email them with your questions.

Right, without further ado, let’s here it from this week’s questioner, Jason from Milton Keynes, who has a query about the mighty Trans-Siberian railway. Take it away, Jase:

A friend of mine recently journeyed along the Trans-Siberian Railway, and I’m sold! Are there any ideal ways to travel onwards, and back home? Jason in Milton Keynes

Ooh, it’s a mind-boggler, that one. Can the Experts rack their brains and put all of Jason’s options into a neat little bundle? There’s only one way to find out…

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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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10 of the World’s Best Rail Journeys

Did you know, 2012 is your year of travel? In case you’ve been hibernating, we’ve taken the entire year by the scruff of the neck, and marched it over to you. Make the most of it, as we’re throwing in some of our best deals yet, and spicing it all up with some truly inspiring content, like our MOVE Remixed video.

With so many amazing opportunities on offer, it got me thinking about some of my own travel highlights; and many of them, have been experienced on one of my favourite forms of transport: trains.

I say “forms of transport”, because technically it’s true. However, I’m not talking about a Leeds to London trip here. I’m talking about the full-on railway experience, where your nose smudges the window.

The kind of journey that sees a simple train car transform into a micro-community, not unlike your average neighbourhood street (in the sixties). People will share food and drink; pop into carriages for a game of chess; a gossip about the new couple in carriage twenty-eight; or makes plans for dinner (in the restaurant car).

Two trains took divergent paths...

Jump aboard the thrill of the rails | Photo by kevin dooley

But where in the world can you find such delights? Well, I have a few ideas, which I think will suit your year of travel perfectly. All aboard, this blog post will be calling at Inspiration, Admiration, and Fascination before arriving in its final destination, Action Town.
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Joe King with… the Rt Hon David Cameron

This week at STA Travel Bath, I was quietly minding my own business when, to my utter surprise, (I’m not sure why I’m still surprised, I’ve been doing this a while now) who should not come in, but the Right Honourable David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain & Northern Ireland!

I stood up (which seemed appropriate) and saluted (which, as I was about to discover, seemed inappropriate). Mr Cameron looked confused; his boyish face wrinkled as he tried to understand what on earth I was doing.

David Cameron painted portrait _DDC9187

David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland pops in to see Joe King | Photo by Abode of Chaos

I realised my mistake, and quickly moved to cover it up, smoothing back my hair I introduced myself. “Hello Mr Cameron sir, what a surprise to see you here. Please, have a seat!”

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6 Great Ideas for your Gap Year

Gap years are the perfect opportunity to test the waters on a variety of levels. Whether its a way of working out your future career, or blasting holes in your bucket list, a gap year is the moment to grab life by the lug-holes and bellow into its face.

If that was a little melodramatic; try this… a gap year is the perfect time to do (almost) exactly what you want.

You shouldn’t be surprised that we’re talking about gap years today. Our travel experts meet with 1000s of travellers every year to discuss their plans for a variety of adventures during their gap year. Some are looking for a one-way ticket to a quiet island, some are looking for the ultimate round the world ticket that splices wild parties with the deeps of the jungles. With over 32 years experience in the business, we know a thing or two about finding the perfect blend.
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