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STA Travel Blog

11 destinations to beat Blue Monday

Cheer up chappy! We know it’s Blue Monday but blue is definitely NOT a colour we associate with being down in the dumps. How could it be when you’ve got the Philippines’ turquoise oceans, Santorini’s dome roofs and the mountain city of blue, Chefchaouen?  Here’s our top 11 destinations where you’ll be seeing things with azure tinted glasses.

Chefchaouen, Morocco

A city that’s painted blue, but won’t have you feeling a single shade of it. Wander around the tourist-free narrow alleys in the Medina and pinkie-promise us you won’t leave without trying a cup of freshly made mint tea. It’s known in Morocco to bring you health benefits that will help sip those blues away!

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Read more: Morocco travel guide

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The Sunday sesh: Perth’s big 5!

Do as the Western Aussies do and say ‘Catch ya’ to snoozy Sunday’s and hello to Sunday sessions! Whether it’s a go hard or go home (at 10pm) kind of deal, a few beers by the beach or a perfectly crafted cocktail on a rooftop, we’ve broken down our pick of the bunch to show that Perth has got you covered.

1. Cottesloe Beach Hotel, Cottesloe

Deliciously fresh seafood, a glass (or many) of Margaret River wine and some seriously glammed up individuals? This year-round Sunday sesh is a classy affair or at least that’s how it begins!

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Hello Australia!

Meet Pippa. Former STA Travel Customer Service Manager, European travel addict, and the manager of our new Working Holiday Heroes in Australia. (Essentially, the nice people in our Backpacker by STA Travel stores who help you find your feet, hug you if you’re homesick, and help explain what-the-hell-a-tax-file-number is). Having just migrated permanently Down Under from the UK, we figured who better to talk us through the whole Australia working holiday thing.

The whole visa thing. Is it as complicated as it sounds and when should people be applying?

Unlike the scramble for Canadian work visas each year, Australian working holiday visas aren’t limited to a certain number, so you can apply at any point. But really, the sooner the better to avoid a last-minute meltdown! From the date you get your visa accepted (and remember, you have to be outside of Australia at this point, so you can’t go into Oz on a tourist visa and then change your mind), you have 12 months to enter the country.

The process can be as quick as one week, but can take up to a few months if you need to provide more information to the embassy. The guys at STA Travel in the UK can help you get everything set up.

What’s the oldest you can be to get a working holiday visa?

Currently, it’s 18 to 30 years old. As in, you have to get your visa accepted before your 31st birthday. However, there has been talk about the Australian government changing this to 35 years old, so watch this space…

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Eating vegetarian & vegan while travelling Australia

Whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian, or you simply want to cut down on your meat and dairy consumption for ‘Veganuary’ and beyond, you don’t have to compromise your beliefs or dietary needs just because you’re travelling. In fact, one of the best things about travel is experiencing new cultures, and delicious food is a big part of that.

So if you’re travelling meatless in various parts of the world, we’ve got a vegetarian friendly guide for you. First up, Australia. Show us what you’ve got!


Australia may as well take a crown as the vegan capital of some sort because this is a country that knows how to do vegan and make it freaking tasty.

Of course, you might struggle a little more when eating out in the outback, but if you’re cooking for yourself, the supermarkets will keep you sorted. There’s a wide range of vegetarian friendly brands available, such as Quorn, Frys, Linda McCartney and Veggie Delights, so hostel cooking won’t be a problem. In fact, vegan products grew by 92% last year in Aus alone. There are even local vegan “butchers”, making plant based “meats”, such as Suzy Spoon.

1. New South Wales

Sydney and its surrounds are also home to the epic vegan fish and chip shop called Bliss & Chips, a plant-based burger chain called Soul Burger, and even a pub where the menu is entirely vegan, The Green Lion. Asian food across the city is largely vegan as well; Thai Pothong in Newtown deserves a special mention, purely because of its separate vegan menu featuring an array of fake meats. On Saturdays, head to the famous Glebe Market, jam-packed with #foodporn moments including beautifully crafted vegan cupcakes! All the yum.

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#TravelTheRainbow: Colourful destinations from across the globe

The world is a colourful place, and if you’re not out there exploring it, then sometimes it’s easy to forget! So if you’re cooped up in an office staring out the window at a bleak and dreary scene, here are some destinations from across the globe to brighten up your day and inspire you to #TravelTheRainbow

Red: Daigo-Ji Temple, Japan

Not only is this temple an absolute beauty, but it’s also of huge cultural significance to Japan. It’s a designated World Heritage Site, and provides the Shingon sect of Japanese Buddhism a place of community and worship. For travellers, it’s an amazing sight to behold. It’s situated on a mountainside and surrounded by a wealth of nature to complement its deep red hues perfectly.

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