Five apps for eco-conscious travellers 

You know that nagging feeling when you’re on a flight? No, it’s nothing to do with worrying about a missing left phalange. Or that the trolley might run out of Chenin Blanc. (Although these are both valid fears). That niggle, is probably your conscience.

Because while we are big believers that crossing borders has the power to break down boundaries and make positive changes in the world, as travellers, we can’t hide from the fact that our travel choices impact the environment.

We can all make changes to help, at home and abroad. Whether that’s choosing to take a train journey over an internal flight, or simply carrying a refillable water bottle and a reusable bag on your trip.

And this is where technology can help. Here’s how you can start making a world of difference, from your mobile! (Double Millennial points).

 

The Refill app: get FREE drinking water on the go

We love this app. Helping to keep you hydrated, save you money and reduce plastic pollution at the source, it’s pretty much the holy trifecta of apps!

It’s simple. When you’re out and about, just go onto the app and use your location to find local Refill Stations where you can fill up your bottle with drinking water for free. So now, there’s no need to spend money on expensive bottled water or contribute to the plastic problem.

Founded by Natalie Fee, environmental campaigner and all-around badass human, there are now 20,000+ businesses that have joined the refill revolution, including many UK airports. Look out for the drains as you pass through security, then simply fill up your bottle at the airside Refill Station to take with you onto the plane.

Why hit download: If just one in ten Brits refilled their water bottles once a week, we’d have 340 million less plastic bottles a year in circulation. Have you got the bottle?

ReGAIN: turn your unwanted clothes into discounts

Laying the foundations for a circular economy in fashion, this app helps you to get rid of your old clothes, save on new ones, and help the planet!

Just pack up your unwanted clothes, shoes and accessories, and ship them to ReGAIN for free or drop them at 20,000+ drop off points around the UK. The ReGAIN app then awards you with discount coupons to spend on new clothes, travel and homeware; with partner brands including ao.com, Boohoo, Missguided, New Balance and Superdry.

What happens to your old clothes? ReGAIN guarantee that 90% will be reused or recycled, with the remaining being used as combustibles for energy production to make new clothes.

Why hit download: Around 50 full trailers of clothing go into UK landfill every single day, with some garments taking 50 years to breakdown.

 

Images of Change app: watch the world change before your eyes

First things first, as the cleverest humans on the planet (and potentially outside the planet, although they’re the only ones likely to know about that and no one’s telling…) if NASA develop an app, you know it’s going to be a good one.

Using both imagery from space and from the ground, the app shows side-by-side and before-and-after images of Earth and how it has changed through climate change, urban growth and natural disasters.

Why hit download: Seeing is believing, and sometimes, we all need a shocking reminder that we need to take action. Also, to all your climate change deniers out there… the camera never lies.

 

The BeachClean app: do a #2MinuteBeachClean


Brought to you by the #2minutebeachclean campaign and supported by our favourite travel gear site, Surfdome, the BeachClean app is a great example of using app technology and social media to support, share and record the fight against marine pollution.

Part of a global movement that encourages people to do a 2-minute beach clean, the app allows you to record your beach clean, tag and upload it to social, and find your nearest beach clean station. It also collects data on the type of debris being found and helps to located potential pollution hotspots.

Why hit download: One million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals die because of marine litter each year. Picking up just one piece of rubbish could save an animal’s life, and tagging it, could help encourage others to do the same.

 

Oroeco app: track your climate footprint

Have you just taken the bus instead of driven? Or walked instead of getting a lift? Using their clever carbon footprint calculator, this app tells you exactly how your actions are impacting climate change. Sounds judgy? It isn’t. What’s great about this app is that it gives you practical tips and goals to encourage you to make more eco-conscious choices about how you travel, shop and power your home.

Why hit download: It doesn’t just help you to reduce your carbon footprint, but also helps you to save money.

 

 

Need more of a dose of plastic-free, environmentally friendly travel? Read on…

7 plastic-free

11 travel gifts for eco-conscious wanderers 

Our eco-traveller packing guide

7 plastic-free travel destinations you need to visit

 

On your Radar: Taiwan

If you thought the only things to come out of Taiwan were laptops, toys and bikes bearing the words ‘Made in Taiwan’, then think again.

When 16th-century Portuguese sailors first came across Taiwan’s dramatic sea cliffs and white sand Pacific beaches, they named it Ilha Formosa, or ‘Beautiful Island’. This often overlooked island has jaw-dropping national parks, quiet surf beaches, hundreds of miles of hiking trails and round island bike tours, and some of the most hospitable people in the world. They are also some of the most liberal in Asia, having just legalised same-sex marriage.

Compact, diverse and with hidden gems still to uncover, here’s why Taiwan should be on your travel radar.

 

It’s safe

In May 2016, Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan’s first female president. An avid supporter of LGBTQ+ rights, workplace equality and female participation in politics, she’s helped to influence the country’s social and political landscape. It’s partly down to this modern and free-thinking climate, combined with hundreds of years of ancient traditions and hospitality, that Taiwan regularly ranks in the top ten friendliest nations in the world. With an offer of help on pretty much every corner, it’s also a great destination for solo and female travellers.

It’s out and proud

On May 24, 2019, Taiwan sent a massive rainbow-coloured message to both its more conservative Asian neighbours, and to the rest of the world, by becoming the first Asian country to legalise same-sex marriage. The news was met with tears and celebrations by the LGBTQ+ community and its supporters, a huge amount of national pride, and a rush for couples to tie the knot.

The capital, Taipei, also hosts one of the planet’s most famous annual Pride parades, which happens over four days each October.

It’s also camp

Credit to @ohsnapisaac

Taiwan is a tantalisingly diverse mix of modern and ancient, man-made and natural. So if your expectations are of steam-filled night markets, exciting karaoke bars, intricate temples and sky-scraping rooftop bars, you won’t be disappointed. However, Taiwan is also home to more places to stay than just high-rise hotels. Mainly, its campsites.

Somewhat unexpected, but perhaps not surprising given that much of the country’s lush mountainous interior and rugged coastline are dedicated national parks and national scenic areas, Taiwan has more than 1,700 campsites. From luxury wilderness yurts, to riverside huts and roughing it under your two-person festival tent, Taiwan has seen a surge in camping in recent years. If you’re looking to discover the island’s great outdoors, this is the way to do it.

It’s green

Credit to @ohsnapisaac

We’re not just talking about its vivid mountains, valleys and volcanoes, but also its initiatives. Famous for manufacturing and exporting its bikes all over the world, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Taiwan has some incredible cycling. Which, combined with its impressive rail network, makes it an ideal destination for eco-conscious travellers.

The country is set up for cyclists. The roads are smooth and well-maintained, drivers are respectful of bike lanes, and there’s even an initiative where all the police stations are Bike Aid Stations if you need to stop for help or directions.

In 2009, the government also initiated a Bicycle Network Path Construction Plan to encourage more two-wheeled riders. There are currently 2,500 miles of cycle trails across the country, with routes suitable for all riders, from week-long challenging mountain trails to cross-island routes and coastal roads.
The route from Taipei to Kenting, which dissects stretches of wild coastline, dramatic gorges and hot springs, is one of the most famous for experienced bikers. Or if you need even more of a challenge, the Formosa 900 – a 900-kilometre race that circumnavigates the entire island along Cycle Path 1 – takes place every November.

It’s beachy

Credit to @ohsnapisaac

While Taiwan is now well-known for its national parks and neon cities, it still doesn’t seem to rank on our beach radars in the way that other Asian countries do. Time to change that.

For a start, it’s an island. And what do islands mean? Coastlines. Approximately 700 miles of coastline, flanked by the year-round warm waters of the Pacific Ocean and South China Sea. There is something for every beachcomber – surf beaches, luxury beaches, rugged beaches, and some fun seaside towns to explore. Also, many of its best beaches are just a metro ride from Taipei, so your city stopover can easily include some sandcastle building.

Snorkellers, kayakers and surfers should head to Ping Tung County, the island’s southernmost county. Subtropical in climate, it is home to Kenting National Park – Taiwan’s first national park. With spring-like conditions year-round, it’s a great place for wildlife, bird life and exploring on foot or bikes.

Surfers should definitely check out Baishawan Beach, Junshan Beach in Yangmingshan National Park, Wushi Harbor and Taitung Beach, which all have a decent local surf scene, great waves and surf shops.

If you’re more of a sunbather than boarder, try Dawan Beach. Flanked by a luxury resort, it’s both peaceful and pristine.

For a contrast to the sleek skyscrapers of Taipei, photographers should head to Laomei Green Reef by taking the metro. The naturally carved stone troughs and bright green algae make for some stunning photography.

 

Convinced? Check out our Taiwan travel guide.

7 plastic-free travel destinations you need to visit

In 2018, ‘single-use’ was named the word of the year by Collins Dictionary.

‘Plogging’ – jogging while picking up litter – also made it into the dictionary. (As did an updated description for ‘flossing’, but we’re studiously choosing to ignore that one!).

This evolution in language is indicative of just how far the dialogue on plastics has come, pervading how we think and changing our purchasing habits. But what is more inspirational is how some governments have gone a step further, by passing laws to ban plastics altogether from their countries, oceans and eco-systems.

This World Ocean Day, we thought we’d celebrate the destinations that are making serious waves in the fight against plastic pollution. From Italy to Indonesia, we salute you!

Capri, Italy

Famous for its stunning blue grotto, high-end beach clubs and café-strewn piazzas, the Italian island of Capri is a mecca for beach and ocean lovers. In an effort to protect its precious flora and fauna, in May 2019, the island introduced a law forbidding the use of disposable plastics, including plates, cups, straws, bottles and food packaging. Businesses were given 90 days to use up their existing stock, and fines of up to €500 will be enforced in order to implement the ban.

 

Rwanda

The West could learn a lot from Rwanda. This small East African country banned non-biodegradable polythene bags back in 2008. The fact that the first country to ban plastic bags was a developing nation, and that it was implemented over a decade ago, should be an inspiration to the rest of the world.

The ban is rigorously enforced, so fully expect to have your backpacks searched at airports and borders, and any old plastic bags containing your dirty washing confiscated! However, this heavy policing has paid off. Rwanda is noticeably clean. Not only do you not see the piles of roadside rubbish that can plague other countries, but this approach to waste and sustainability has become ingrained in Rwanda’s national psyche.

 

Bali, Indonesia

Last year, the shocking images of divers swimming through a sea of plastic off Bali’s beaches went viral on our social feeds, and helped to prompt a big reaction. In December 2018, Bali’s governor announced that after a six-month grace period for businesses, the island would be enforcing a ban on single-use plastics, including shopping bags, straws and Styrofoam cups.

After China, Indonesia is the world’s second biggest polluter of marine plastics. It’s hoped that this ban could help to reduce Bali’s plastic pollution by up to 70%, and that it will inspire other parts of Indonesia to follow suit.

 

Costa Rica

A haven of eco-tourism, Costa Rica is a global leader in sustainability and green practices. In 2015 and 2016, the country powered itself for more than two thirds of the year using 100% renewable energy, and aims to be carbon neutral by 2021.

On World Environment Day in 2017, Costa Rica announced a new national plan to eradicate all single-use plastics by 2021 and become the world’s first plastic-free country.

 

Chile

In a move to help break a culture of throwaway plastic, in 2018, Chile passed legislation to become the first country in South America to ban plastic bags. This came off the back of previous legislation that had banned plastic bags in Patagonia to try and help protect the region’s national parks and marine life.

Under the new law, businesses have been given two years to adapt to the new legislation, and in the interim, have been limited to giving shoppers a maximum of two plastic bags.

 

Machu Picchu, Peru

There have been numerous attempts in the past to help preserve the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu, including a permit system to limit the visitors allowed onto the ancient UNESCO site.

In December 2018, Peru’s National Service of National State-Protected Areas (SERNANP) passed a decree to forbid the use of single-use plastics on the Inca Trail and 76 natural protected areas nationwide, including Manu National Park and the coastal reserve of Paracas. Travellers are encouraged to take canteens, refillable bottles and cotton bags instead.

 

Koh Samet

In November 2018, the authorities of the tiny island paradise of Koh Samet launched a campaign to stop travellers from taking plastic bags and Styrofoam onto the island.

It’s estimated that Koh Samet receives 1,500 visitors a year, with each using an average of eight plastic bags during their stay. While the campaign is an environmental one, and not a legal one, it’s a groundbreaking move by the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, who have committed to reduce the use of plastic bags and Styrofoam in all of Thailand’s 154 national parks.

 

Shout out to the rest of the world…

Other places that are tackling plastic pollution head on, by either banning plastic bags, taxing them or charging for them, include San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, UK, Kenya, South Africa, Aruba, Dominica and some states in Australia. In fact, we are happy to announce that the full list is too long to print in full!

 

How you can further help reduce plastic in paradise

From the experts: safety tips for travellers

As it’s International Parents’ Day on the 1st June, we thought we should spare a thought for the people we leave behind when we disappear off on our travels – our family. And their specialist subject – travel safety! 

So, we caught up with our very own Alexx Hayward for her top safety tips. About to leave STA Travel HQ (sob) for a solo project called Destination: Everywhere (in which she plans to travel solo for a whole year based off the cheapest flight that’s available each Tuesday), she’s no stranger to worrisome family members. Most notably, her nan back in New Zealand. 

1. Don’t assume it’s a girl thing

Female solo travel is definitely a hot topic at the moment. And women certainly do have to be cautious when travelling. But everyone should take precautions when going away. Men, couples and groups of people can be just at risk, so while you should never let caution rule or ruin your trip, don’t think that these rules and safety measures don’t apply to you.  

2. Do read government advice  

Most governments have comprehensive country advice online, and you should always look up the advice for every country you are travelling to. As well as visa, health and terror advice, you’ll also find information on local laws and culture, which will include rules and tolerance on topics such as gender, drinking, dress, religion and LGBTQ+.  

Do your research. Things that we take for granted as acceptable in our home countries, may be seen very differently abroad, especially in some Islamic and Buddhist countries. For example, covering up your shoulders, showing the bottom of your feet, showing certain tattoos, carrying certain prescription drugs, public displays of affection, and drinking in public. 
For the UKwww.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
For Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au
For the USAwww.travel.state.gov 

3. Useful apps and accounts 

Make sure that someone at home has your flight, tour and hotel details, and that you are checking in and posting regularly on Facebook or Instagram so that friends and family know where you are and what your plans are. There are apps available for an extra layer of security, like Life360’s GPS tracking system that shows your current location, and STA Travel customers can share their full itinerary with friends and family through the STA Travel Account. Also, prepare for what you might need if you are offline. For example, the maps on Maps.Me works even when you don’t have any internet.  

4. Book the basics 

I’m something of a lone-ranger when it comes to travelling, but I always plan and book the basics of my trip in advance, even if it’s just the first few nights of accommodation and my first bus or train journey. Not only will it save you money and ensure you’re not wandering around alone somewhere new knocking on hostel doors, only to find that there’s no room at the inn, but you’ll also probably need the name of where you’re staying to fill our visa applications and arrival landing cards anyway. 

5. Pack the basics 

By this I mean have quick access to those things that you might need on the road. Top things for me would be the name of the place you’re staying in the local language to give to a taxi driver, some small local currency for when you land and need to pay for a bus or taxi, spare passport photos for any visas that you may need at border crossings, emergency dollars in new notes to be able to pay for those visas, a padlock for your hostel locker or for your bag if you’re going on an overnight bus, and a spare power pack in case you find yourself without electricity for the night. 

6. Trust your instincts and if you need to, spend your money! 

I get it, we’re travellersand travellers have budgets. However, trust your instincts. If you feel uneasy on the road, there’s probably a reason why. For example, if you’re thinking you should get a taxi home because it might not be safe, then don’t ignore that feeling to save a few bucks – get that taxi. Also, don’t let your ego get in the way of your safety. You may want to do things your own way, but group travel will always be an option on any part of your trip. You’ll have peace of mind, safety in numbers, and probably a better time (instant friends, drinking buddies, people to shoot your next Instagram story etc…).

And for walks, hikes and treks – however small – research them thoroughly. How long will it take? What is the weather going to be like? And what time will it get dark? I would advise always trekking with a guide for safety and security.  

7. Baby, I got your number!  

911, 111, 000, 999, 118 118… I was six months into living in London when I found out that the emergency services number was 999, not 111 like back home in New Zealand (which was actually the non-emergency medical line!). Make sure you know the local emergency number and keep an emergency contact and the mobile numbers of your nearest and dearest saved in your phone and your wallet in case anything happens.  

8. Staying in touch 

I always travel with a SIM card that lets me use data internationally, so I’m contactable in an emergency without relying on Wi-Fi. If you prefer to be off grid, great, but at least let your family and friends know a rough itinerary and a date when you’ll next be in touch.  

9. Fake it ’til you make it 

Try your hardest to avoid looking like a tourist. Sometimes you can’t help sticking out like a sore thumb, but don’t be a sore thumb with a bulky camera, a map and a very confused face. Look confident, keep your valuables hidden and stick to roads that are well lit.  

It sounds obvious, but never walk around with your phone or wallet in your back pocket. And spend some time looking for the perfect day bag that works for what you’ll need to carry, without it looking like you’ve overthought it. Whether that’s a backpack with inside pockets, or a passport-sized cross body bag which can comfortably fit your phone, passport, money and be hidden underneath a jacket if you ever feel uncomfortable. And always keep it in sight and attached to you, especially when on journeys or sat in public. For example, if you’re sat at a table having a drink and it’s on the floor, loop it around your ankle.  

10. Insurance, vaccinations and visas 

The least sexy parts of travelling, but the most essential. You should never travel without insurance. It will cover you for lost luggage, travel delays and medical issues, and some policies even cover a companion flying over to join you if you’re injured abroad. Same with vaccinations. Yes, the initial outlay of jabs and antimalarials can be expensive, but some countries won’t even let you in without certain vaccinations such as Yellow Fever, and insurance companies may not pay out if you fall ill abroad for something that could be avoided. With visas, check what you need, and then check again. Don’t assume that you can get visas at border crossings or at airports. If you’re travelling across a border and you don’t have the correct visa, fees or photos, then trust me, you do not want to be left behind in a border town to try and figure it out. 

 

Top 5 places to visit in America for beer

Not just about dramatic landscapes, rich and diverse history, and extra-large food portions, America leads the way in cultish craft beer. Full of historic breweries and beardy backyard brewers turning out hop-based puns, here are five of the best beer towns you should tap into.

America’s ‘hoppy’ places

1. Portland, Oregon

Pioneers of the microbrewery and home to more breweries than any city on Earth (over 75 at the last count), this music and pub-loving city justly deserves the title ‘Beervana’.

Festival pick: Portland Craft Beer Festival
When: Beginning of July
Why go? A festival hosted by the ‘The Best Beer City in the World’. No brainer.

2. Denver, Colorado

Colorado was the first joint state to legalise cannabis, so is clearly committed to making the world a hoppier place. Their craft beers are also pretty dope, too.

Festival pick: The Great American Beer Festival
When: September
Why go? Because it’s the nation’s biggest beer festival with over 3,800 brews.

3. Boston, Massachusetts

Birthplace of American beer cult classic, Samuel Adams, Bostonians take their heritage very seriously and consume more beer per capita than anywhere else in America.

Festival pick: Extreme Beer Fest
When? February
Why go? Because skydiving and jet-boating just aren’t extreme enough anymore.

4. Bend, Oregon

What’s not to love about Bend? You can get a beer passport (BEER PASSPORT) stamped at 18 breweries along the Bend Ale Trail, plus a brewery that serves non-alcoholic beer FOR DOGS.

Festival pick: Bend Brewfest
When? August
Why go? Because in Bend, you’re only ever two letters away from a bender.

5. San Diego, California

Who knew that behind the healthy Californian suntans and laid-back seaside glamour, sunny San Diego held such strong beer swilling status?

Festival pick: BEER X
When? June
Why go? For the challenge of trying to “Stay classy San Diego” when surrounded by live bands and 120+ brews.

Ready to tap into your inner beer connoisseur, and ‘hop’ your way around these cool (and sometimes overlooked) cities? We’ve got flights from £249, and 10% off campervan hire so you can hit the open road and visit them all. It is one of the ultimate roadtrip destinations after all.

Flight match: Find your multi-stop or Round the World

Round the World and multi-stop flights. Confusing, right?

Wrong.

Basically, our Travel Experts can pretty much create any Round the World or multi-stop route from our super-flexible and exclusive BlueTicket student, under 31 and open-to-all adult fares. Some combinations can be more cost-effective, and thus form the basis of our most popular routes, but we can advise on this instore and work to your budget and bucketlist.

We’re essentially a travel matching service.

For example. Jack loves Asia and the Americas, but doesn’t like Australia or New Zealand. We don’t agree with Jack (who has clearly never snowboarded in Queenstown, snorkelled off the Great Barrier Reef, or eaten his holiday weight in Tim Tams and Whittaker’s chocolate… Tsssk, bad Jack). However, as the Cilla Blacks of the backpacker world, this is the cross we must bear. This is what Jack wanted, and so this is what he got. It actually worked out pretty well, plus, we were drinking rum at the time…

 

Mojitos Before Bros

The route: UK – Toronto – Buenos Aires – make your way to Bogota – Fort Lauderdale – LA – make your own way to Las Vegas – Vancouver – Tokyo – Manila, Philippines – Hong Kong – Bangkok – Dubai – back to UK.

 

The world is your… oyster?

Essentially, if we weren’t the kind of people who knew that actually, 70% of oysters naturally contain norovirus, we’d say something cheesy like, ‘With our Round the World routes, the world is your oyster!’. However, we do know this, and so we won’t. Because basically, no one has ever been inspired by the prospect of a stomach bug.
So we’ll just say this. If you tell our Travel Experts what you want, they’ll cost it up for you. To help get an idea of what’s possible and prices, the team at STA Travel HQ have put together some of their favourite routes. Book them, adapt them, create your own.

 

UNICORN ROUTES.

So named, because these multi-stop routes are out of this world cheap.

The Northern Monkey

The route: UK – Reykjavik – Toronto – make your own way to New York – back to London

Named by our office Northerners (similarly responsible for The Bobby Dazzler, another awesome route), we love this multi-stop. When choosing it, the shopping list of stopovers went something like this: Mum went to Iceland… and Canada, and then the USA.

It’s also cheap as a bag of frozen chips, from £369 for students or under 31 / £419 open-to-all and you can find out more about it here.

 

The Gastronaught

The route: UK – Singapore – make your own way to Bangkok – Colombo, Sri Lanka – back to the UK

Named by Alexx – our resident foodie, photographer and drone geek – this all-Asia multi-stop is sweet like coconut curry, and cheap like a Singapore Hawker Market, from only £649 for students or under 31, and £719 open-to-all.

Make the most of it by using Bangkok as a base to explore Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam overland, before winding your way down a trail of barefoot islands and jungles into Malaysia and Singapore.

 

ONE CONTINENT ROUTES

One love is all you need. (Not our words, but those of British boyband, Blue).

The Big Five

The route: UK – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Cape Town – make your own way to Johannesburg – Zanzibar – Nairobi – back to the UK

One for wildlife and beach lovers, this all-Africa route has got some serious game. Take advantage of the overland sections to road trip along the Garden Route and Eastern Cape between Cape Town and Johannesburg, and get in some serious wildlife spotting between the tropical island paradise of Zanzibar and Nairobi. Nature is calling from £769 for students or under 31 / £839 open-to-all.

 

D’Asia Vu

The route: UK – Tokyo – Manila, Philippines – Bali – Singapore – Borneo – Ho Chu Minh City, Vietnam – make your own way to Bangkok –  back to UK

Chosen by Rachael in our Digital Marketing team, this is an oldie revisited, only now with even more stops! It also hits some of 2019’s biggest trending destinations – Japan, the Philippines and Borneo. The only downside is that it’s only available on our exclusive student and under 31 BlueTicket contracts (sorry guys, back to the cruise ship…). From £1,199.

 

TWO CONTINENT ROUTES

The Barney Rubble double, rock your route like our favourite Flinstone.

Simba to Samba

The route: (It’s the orange one, on the map above). UK – Nairobi, Kenya – make your own way to Johannesburg – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Buenos Aires – make your own way to Lima, Peru – Panama City – make your own way through Central America to Cancun – back to the UK

Our senior graphic designer, Simba, likes to think that this route is named after him. It’s not, it’s named after a lion cub with a mean uncle, but we let him believe what he wants because we needed someone to design the map for us. Combining just Africa and Latin America, without any of the usual Asia and Australia stops, this route is one for rebels. And only possible because of our student and under 31 BlueTicket contracts, we’re afraid. From £1,199.

 

Sax and the City

The route: (it’s the red one, on the map above) UK – Reykjavik – New York – make your own way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida – Cancun – make your own way to San Jose, Costa Rica – Lima – make your own way to Rio de Janeiro – back to the UK

“I’ve spent $40,000 on shoes and I have no place to live? I will literally be the old woman who lived in her shoes!”
OR you could spend a mere £999 on this music-mad multi-stop and live out of a backpack instead. You’ll travel through the bright lights and Latino beats of North and Latin America. Culture vultures, we may be. Carrie Bradshaw, we ain’t.

 

The Yellow Brick Road

 

The route: (Psst – it’s the purple one on the map above). UK – Tokyo – Fiji – Sydney – make your own way to Melbourne – back to the UK

From Mount Fuji to Fiji, whichever way you look at it, all roads lead to Oz. Deceptively simple in stopovers, there is so much to love about this route. Great for sabbaticals and working holiday visas, explore huge chunks of Australia and New Zealand, and use Fiji as a jumping off point for the rest of the Pacific. From £1,149 for students and under 31 / £1,249 open-to-all.

 

The Wild Child

The route: It’s the pink one on the map above. UK – Sydney – Christchurch, New Zealand – make your own way to Auckland – Santiago, Chile – make your own way to Buenos Aires – Rio de Janeiro – Lisbon – back to the UK

You animal! An unusual route due to its lack of stops in Asia, this would suit second time travellers who’ve already travelled a chunk of Southeast Asia or are saving it for shorter trips. From the Aussie Outback to the Amazon, and Sydney to Buenos Aires, this is packed with wildlife and wild nights, so pack an eye mask. Plus, we added a stopover in Lisbon. Largely because Pastel de natas are awesome. From £1599, students or under 31 only.

 

OUR ROUND THE WORLD ROUTES

Spin me right round, baby.

The Sidekick

The route: UK – Kuala Lumpur – Sydney – make your own way to Melbourne – LA – make your own way to New York – back to UK

The Round the World of the wedding world, this route is perhaps always destined to be the bridesmaid. It doesn’t show off with fancy zig zags and backtracks, but this is precisely why we love it. An absolute classic, it’s as trusty as it is timeless. It’s also a freaking bargain, from only £999 for students or under 31 and you can find out more here.

 

Coco Loco

The route: UK – Bangkok – Make your own way through Southeast Asia to Singapore – Melbourne – make your own way to Sydney. Add Fiji on for another £49, or fly straight to Christchurch, New Zealand – Auckland – LA – make your own way to San Francisco – Mexico City – Cuba – back to the UK.

New for 2019, this route was born out of Friday afternoon office drinks. It’s certainly one for the beaches. Climb a palm tree, read a book, dance the rumba, add rum where required. Because sometimes, life really is that simple. From £1,599 for students or under 31. Find out more here.

 

The Speedbump

The route: UK – Kilimajaro, Tanzania – make your own way to Johannesburg – Perth – make your own way to Sydney – Auckland – Buenos Aires – make your own way to Rio de Janeiro – back to the UK

Sometimes, you just have to employ a Roy Walker Catchphrase approach to life, and say what you see. Other times, it’s 6pm on a Friday and you just need a Round the World name.
This route may sound pedestrian, but it’s gnarly AF. It appeals to wild adventures that cross borders and comfort zones. Hike Mt Kilimanjaro, overland through Africa, roadtrip across Australia’s Nullarbor, campervan around Narnia (New Zealand), and waterfall and island hop between two of South America’s greatest cities – Buenos Aires to Rio. From £1,599 for students or under 31.

 

Got your own ideas about where in the world would make up a dreamy route? Cool, we’d love to hear it. The beauty of our Round the World and multi-stop routes is that you can choose one of our examples, build on them, or completely make up your own. It’s your route. So your rules. Check out some more examples here, or get in touch with one of our Round the World experts on 03333210095.

11 travel gifts for eco-conscious wanderers

Such is the current reusable and recycling revolution, that at home, most of us wouldn’t dream of buying single-use plastic water bottles and throwaway coffee cups, or using plastic straws on nights out. Right? However, while we might be a bunch of enlightened, environmentally-conscious and all-around excellent human beings in our day-to-day life (and our night life), those good intentions can often go out of the window when we travel abroad.

Which is bizarre, when you consider that many of the places we visit need our help to reduce non-recyclables the most.

 

 

It’s time to start travelling the same way we live at home – mindful of waste, and plastic free. Be kind to the planet and your travel-loving friends and family with these super green gifts…

 

1. Stojo Collapsible Coffee Cup

Coffee to go? I should Stojo!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by stojo (@stojo) on

Stojo’s collapsible coffee cups not only fit in your pocket, come with a reusable straw and can be bought in a variety of gorgeous shades, but they’re also made from recyclable material.

 

2. Upso bags

Tarp, who goes there!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by UPSO (@upsobags) on

Only UPSO, our favourite British-made eco-luggage brand since…. THE DAWN OF TIME! (AND BACKPACKS).
Destined for landfill, UPSO use sheets of waterproof lorry tarp, recycled seatbelt webbing and firehose to create their backpacks, hand-luggage cabin bags and bike bags. Not only do they look sheet hot, but they’re also extremely durable and each one is completely original. Plus, they’re all made in a factory in Lancashire, using solar energy to power their sewing machines.
(While still dubious about the presence of sunshine and thus solar polar in Lancashire, we just adore them).

 

3. Rareform bags and tags

And top of the Billboard Hot 100 goes to…

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Wallets feeling fatter thanks to that tax return? Good news… We’re celebrating with a Tax Break Sale! Shop BOGO wallets. Tag a friend & get in on the deal together. @johnonelio

A post shared by RAREFORM (@rareform) on

Rareform! Rareform take billboard vinyl destined for the scrapheap and turn them into hardwearing backpacks, satchels, passport holders, luggage tags, washbags, laptop sleeves and more.
Because each billboard is unique in its design, colour and typography, so is each bag. As a company, they repurpose 20,000 lbs. of billboard vinyl a month into their one-off products.

 

4. Toilet Twinning

Show someone that you give a crap!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Together we’ve reached 100,000 twins! Thank you so much for being part of our journey so far. #toilettwinning #twinyourtoilet

A post shared by Toilet Twinning (@toilet_twinning) on

Help to flush away poverty. 2.3 billion people around the world don’t have somewhere safe and hygienic to go to the loo. This incentive allows you to twin your toilet, or twin another person’s toilet as a gift, with a toilet in a developing country. The money then goes to help a family build a basic toilet, access clean water and learn about hygiene – a vital combination that can save lives.
The recipient of your gift will receive a framed certificate, complete with a colour photo and GPS coordinates of their twin location. Excellent reading while on the ‘throne’.

 

5. Pang Wangle journey scarf

Scarves that are safe, sustainable and scare away insects?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pang Wangle – Made In 🇺🇸 (@pangwanglegear) on

Yep, there are no flies on Pang Wangle’s Journey Scarf!
The unicorn of the travel clothing world (it shouldn’t exist, but it does), these infinity scarves have a hidden pocket to safely stash valuables (like a credit card, ID or cash), are made from soft recycled fabric, and have a built-in and odourless insect shield® that repels mosquitos and lasts for 70+ washes!
Mind. Fully. Blown.
As well as being perfect for treks and being out and about when you don’t feel safe carrying a wallet, because of their circular shape, they’re also perfect for countries and religious sites where women need to cover up their hair.

 

6. Pela eco-friendly phone case

Hello. Ocean here, you called?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pela Case (@pelacase) on

Yep, and we’d like to share this: Around one billion new phones are bought each year. Which means that one billion phone cases (or more if you upgrade your look every year) end up in landfill or in the ocean.
Sure, you could probably live without a protective case while travelling. (Who are you, and why are you not accidentally dropping your phone off a. bunkbeds, b. out of moving vehicles, c. all occasions involving happy hours?).
But the likelihood is, that you’ll need the protective services of a phone case even more while you’re away. Pela eco cases are not only beautifully-designed with limited edition prints, colours and graphics, but more importantly, they are 100% compostable, plus have a heap of other clever science credentials like being free from lead, cadmium, BPA and phthalates.

 

7. 4Ocean bracelet

Trash talk! Buy someone a bracelet to pull a pound of plastic.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Dogs want a clean ocean and coastline too. #4ocean #NationalPetDay #4oceanPets #WeeklyFluff 📸 : @igna.ferriol

A post shared by 4ocean (@4ocean) on

In the jewellery world, diamonds may be forever, but in the real world, so is plastic. A plastic bottle can take thousands of years to decompose.
4Ocean bracelets make the perfect gift for travel lovers. Supporting a different cause each month with limited-edition themes and designs, they not only look amazing and are a great talking point, but they also do good. Every time you buy a 4Ocean bracelet, a pound of trash is pulled from our oceans and coastlines. Plus, the beads are made from recycled glass and the cord is made from recycled plastic bottles.

 

8. House of Marley headphones or speakers

Sounds like a good idea to us.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by House of Marley (@houseofmarley) on

A soundtrack to your travels is an essential. Plus, people snoring in dorm rooms, on planes, trains, buses… in fact, any situation in life, is just annoying. Therefore, a good pair of headphones are a must-have on the road. But what if they could also have an environmental impact as well?
There are a few brands out there using recycled materials to make their headphones, but one of our favourites is House of Marley. As well as looking fresh and sounding great, they’re also made from mindfully sourced materials. The full list of materials they use to do good is genuinely too long to publish, but includes CNC milled-bamboo, recycled REWIND™ fabric and reclaimed and upcycled REGRIND™ Silicone.

 

9. Veja sneakers

… And hipster points to boot.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by VEJA (@veja) on


Recognise these? Made from organic cotton, wild Amazonian rubber, veggie-tanned leather and even recycled plastic bottles from the streets of Sao Paulo, 2019’s most-Instagrammed sneakers are 100% fair trade. Perfect for urbanites and outdoorsy types, they’re paving the way for trainer lovers worldwide to start thinking deeper about where their kicks are sourced, one step at a time.

 

10. Dopper insulated bottle (and more bonus Vejas for you)

Be cool. Travel how you live.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

All it takes is one single sip. And bang! You’re hooked. Your Dopper is now an essential part of your day-to-day outfit. Socks? Check. Pants? Check. Pink Dopper to tie it all together? Absolutely. (We got that one way before the socks, obviously.) Picture made by: @northern_french In the picture: @teglavdweck #dopper #shopsustainable #consciouslifestyle #ecofriendly #thermobottle #theconsciouscommunity #refill #fightplasticpollution

A post shared by Dopper (@dopper_official) on

We get it, the first piece of health advice you get when you travel is, don’t drink the water!
Of course, be safe and drink bottled water where you need to. But so many hostels now provide drinking water where you can refill your bottle, and lots of treks and national parks have actually banned single-use plastic on their trails.
Every refillable water bottle helps the environment, but we just love Dopper for their eco-ethos, pastel colours and the fact that the top screws off to form a handy wine glass. The insulated versions also keep liquid hot for 9 hours or cold for 24 hours. (Presumably, the same can be said for keeping white wine cold, too?).
TIP. Download the Refill app to top up your bottle with free drinking water on the go. Plus, Refill have worked with many UK airports to add liquid drains at security, so that you can empty your bottle before going through and then fill it up at the other side for your flight!

 

11. Vagabands ID bracelet

Safe, eco and good-looking? We’re with the band.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Vagaband ID (@vagabandid) on

These award-winning bands are one of our favourite travel gifts. Not only do they help to keep you safe (just snap open to reveal all the important safety, medical and practical information that you want to keep to hand on the road), but they also look fab and are a really lovely memento of your adventure.
As well as being virtually indestructible and potentially life-saving, they’re also environmentally-conscious. Aiming to be carbon negative by 2020, the bands are 100% recyclable and hand-made in London.

 

When we’re not out exploring the world, lusting after ethically made travel accessories and, we try to be as kind to the planet in other ways too. If you want to find out how, click here.

Europe’s best island hopping

It’s hoppening! From Ibiza’s barefoot Balearic beats to the castaway islands of Croatia or turquoise waters and ancient ruins of Greece and Turkey, summertime in Europe is all a boat island hopping.

Here are some of our favourite European islands for this summer.

(more…)

It’s our 40th! Join us on a trip down memory lane…

You know you’ve turned 40 when you remember travelling with hand-written airline tickets, Sony Walkmans and something called maps. (Martians and Millennials, these were made of something called paper, and were designed to stop you from getting lost).

There are obvious benefits to being 40, of course. Largely that you did most of your stupid stuff before the invention of social media. The idea being that no one would ever have seen this beer bath.

Or these shorts.

Oh…

So anyway, this year STA Travel turned 40! And to celebrate (slash, humiliate) we thought we’d raid the adventure archives and take a trip down memory lane to answer some important questions. Such as, what was travelling really like before Facebook? And seriously, what was with all that hair?

Well, it all started back in 1979 with two Aussie backpackers. In the 70s, people didn’t typically take gap years, or big round the world trips. They went camping. And perfected album cover shots like this instead.

Inspired by their own far-flung adventures, our flare-wearing founders sought to change all this by making the world a more affordable and accessible place. They did this by creating student-only flights and tickets.

The tickets looked like this.

And if you wanted one, you couldn’t go online, or on an app. You had to go into one of these. (This is called a store, we still have these).

Where someone had to look up a price for you. In one of these. A book. (We don’t have these anymore. Since, you know, computers and science and the such).

Computers and science and the such. With dog.

Also back then, STA Travel didn’t stand for Start The Adventure, it stood for Student Travel Australia.

As well as being Sci-Fi AF in the 80s – and apparently advertising trips to Earth for extraterrestrial lifeforms – we also advertised trekking trips to Asia with this foot.

Trips to Great Britain with, erm… face?

And thanks to the onset of video media, trips to the USA by throwing TVs out of hotel windows.

We also displayed similarly irresponsible behaviour by encouraging members of the general public to develop mysterious and debilitating ailments so that they could go on nice holidays. (FYI, we’re totally bringing this campaign back…)

A lot of other things have changed in the travel world too.

For example, if this nice lady had wanted to meet up with Jan, the handsome Swedish backpacker that she’d met in Koh Samui. (Which incidentally, only got its first tourists in the 70s and looked like this).

Courtesy of www.samuipedia.com

Then she would have had to either leave a message on every hostel noticeboard in town, or write a letter and use Poste Restante – a system where the post office holds mail for you at local post offices.

Equally, if she’d wanted to have changed her flights, she would have probably had to have travelled hundreds of miles to an airline office or travel agent to get her ticket revalidated. Hopefully, she would have caught a ride with these early cast members of The Wonder Years, who look like a lot of fun.

And her huge backpack? Full of photos. On long trips, the protocol would be to develop your films on the road, ship the prints back home, and then once you had word that they’d arrived, send the negatives back with the next lot. So basically, if a shipment went missing, you at least still had the negatives.

You’ll genuinely never moan about the speed of loading your latest travel pics to Instagram again.

So, no digital cameras, no Google Maps (no Google for that matter), no booking apps, online trip reviews, mobile phones and data roaming. Just, well, regular old-fashioned roaming. And an incredibly hipster enforced digital detox.

No relevance to this blog or travelling whatsoever, but seriously, Super Mario WOW.

A lot of things may have changed over the years. We look different, and we certainly travel differently, but our philosophy and sense of adventure are the same as they were 40 years ago.

It’s perhaps true that each generation believes that they are the pioneers. However, for us, it was this generation of sandal-clad adventurers that broke borders and boundaries, so that we could so easily tread those same paths today.

The world is infinitely more affordable, accessible, and easier to research and explore today. And we’d like to think that STA Travel played just a small part in that.

Love, peace and 40 years of adventure,
STA Travel.

P.S. We’ve got some pretty amazing deals this month to say thank you for joining us on this crazy journey. Check them out here.

Your 2019 travel horoscope

Question: How do you make sure that your next trip is your best trip?

Answer: You planet.

OR, you could throw cosmic caution to the wind, and turn to the stars instead!

Hear us out, celestial cynics.

Ever wondered why you’re compatible with certain travel companions, or are drawn to seemingly random destinations? (Aside from the intergalactic forces of Instagram, that is). Or, why some travellers are organised within an inch of their spreadsheets, while you’re perpetually upside down in your backpack in search of your passport? (Capricorn, meet Gemini – you guys need each other).

Well, we think we just might have the answers. Or at the very least, have had a lot of fun trying!

Shoot to your star sign, or read the whole chart and share with your besties.

 

Aquarius | Pisces | Aries | Taurus | Gemini | Cancer | Leo | Virgo | Libra | Scorpio | Sagittarius | Capricorn

AQUARIUS
“The wannabe influencer”
Uranus can cause major problems for Aquarian travellers. (Sorry, we just had to get it out of the way, we’re honestly done now). As their ruling planet, it can make them either timid and shy, or boisterous and eccentric in character. But what all Aquarians share, aside from a confusing personality disorder, is their independence, quirkiness and intellectual nature. Aquarians see a world of possibilities everywhere, making them natural travellers, always searching for offbeat and original destinations, and sharing them with others.

Although adept at putting up barriers to avoid intimate situations, often coming across as aloof until you have gained their trust (never hug an Aquarian, not even an awkward side hug), Aquarians are big-hearted humanitarians. They love helping people and are excellent problem solvers, always able to see both sides of a situation. This makes them great travel companions, useful for adjudicating card games, drinking competitions and arguments over who gets the top bunk. (Back down Leo, go and cat nap somewhere else).

Symbolised by a water bearer, an Aquarius is also a useful traveller to have on your team. Especially in the following situations: hot countries, hiking, all other travel-related occasions.

Travel match: The weird, wacky and wonderful world of Japan.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Leo or Sagittarius.
Can’t travel without: Water purifying tablets or a UV Steripen.
Most likely to abroad: Start a niche blog about Japanese cat cafés.

PISCES
“The soul surfer”
No Kurt Cobain, it’s not okay to eat fish. These fish have feelings. Lots of feelings.

The most tolerant sign of the zodiac, Pisces make the kindest travellers and most faithful travelling companions. Wise, compassionate and always willing to help others, they easily make new friends and ask for very little back.

Ruled by the planet Neptune, Pisces are an artistic bunch who are drawn to music as much as water, with beaches and lakesides appealing to their spiritual, melodic and, let’s face it, lazy side! Man, these swimmers love to nap. However, for these music-loving soles, it’s all about the bass. And their desire to grab a moment of solitude or sleep on the road will usually come after they’ve gone completely cray at a club, festival or beach bar. They generally hake show offs, and would rather to be alone rather than spend time with travellers who aren’t on their wavelength.

Because of their easygoing nature, Pisces can often come across as pushovers, so don’t forget to stand up for yourself this year! In the world of travelling, you may be a small fish in a big pond, but be careful not to lose your voice and get lost at sea.

Water analogies and fish puns over. (Sorry, ish).

Travel match: Festival travel, anywhere, so long as there is a beat and a beach to sleep on after.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Virgo or Taurus.
Can’t travel without: Snorkel mask and eye mask.
Most likely to abroad: Adopt a stray puppy and hide it from hostel staff.

ARIES
“The CEO (Chief Exploration Officer)”
Represented by a flying ram, Aries are clearly natural travellers. (Although in general, ewe should always be wary of livestock on any form of aircraft). The first sign of the zodiac, Aries travellers are certainly not afraid to be leaders of the pack. Ruled by their heads, they’ll pick the destination, plan the itinerary and probably buy the first round at the airport. Confident, enthusiastic and born organisers, they make excellent travel companions for the more laidback or indecisive signs of the solar system. (Looking at you Libra, stop weighing things up and sort out your cosmic BS).

One of the most active of the star signs, Aries travellers are also adventurous, outdoorsy and naturally competitive. Which is why you should never go head to horns with an Aries at either running races, competitive sandcastle building or hostel card games. Guaranteed, you’ll end up being the ‘Arsehole’. (Or ‘Shithead’, or whatever other unfortunately named card game you’re playing that night).

Never happier than when out on a mission or planning one, just be aware that these itchy-hooved travellers may become impatient with long periods of inactivity, and so should be avoided at all costs on designated hangover/hammock days.

Travel match: Campervan road trip across North America, Australia or New Zealand.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Libra or Leo.
Can’t travel without: GoPro to capture everything as they speed through life.
Most likely to abroad: Steal all your money at pool.

TAURUS
“The high flyer”
The wandering bull, it’s said that these wayfaring bovines are destined to wander the planet in search of love. Whether actual bull or not, this sign is clearly destined to be a great traveller. And if not find love, at the very least get some excellent passport stamps trying.

Ruled by Venus, the planet of love, Taurus travellers are drawn to romance and beauty. Lovers of art, culture and food, they literally have the horn for anything that pulls on their creative senses – cookery classes, basket weaving, neon body paint…

That said, whilst a magpie towards shiny and material things, and thus the star sign that’s most likely to blow their budget on big gestures or a plate of Michelin-star microherbs, they’re also a hands-on Earth sign, and equally wouldn’t be out of place on a volunteer project.

One of the most reliable signs, a Taurus is a solid person to travel with – protective, loving and generous. But be careful, they are risk averse (this bull will never bungy) and prone to stubbornness. Never take a bull by the horns. They prefer harmony and routine, often happier in big cities rather than off-the-beaten-track destinations, so let them lead and don’t make them go anywhere they don’t want to.

Travel match: Explore the colour, creativity and classicism of Buenos Aires.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Scorpio or Cancer.
Can’t travel without: A stylish and well-planned travel wardrobe.
Most likely to abroad: Actually visit an art gallery, rather than just pretend to like everyone else.

GEMINI
“The Peter Pan traveller”
Let’s party! No, let’s read a book. Doh, I just don’t know what’s up with me today, I feel so conflicted!

Ladies, gentlemen and mystics, meet your split personality traveller, Gemini. Curious, expressive and pathologically scared of routine, Geminis fly by the seat of their elephant-print pants, constantly running away from boredom and towards their next adventure.

Making friends? No problem. Next destination? Sure. Happy to take whatever life throws at them, Gemini are born travellers. Often feeling like their other half is missing, they’re constantly on the search for new friends and experiences. However, they are gentle rather than overbearing souls, and hate travelling alone. Which is fine, when cosmically at least, as twins there are always at least two of you.

Big chatters and deep thinkers, Geminis make excellent travel companions, especially for shyer signs whose worst nightmare is first-day hostel chat. The only problem is, restless one minute and reflective the next, you never know which Gemini traveller you’re going to get. Which can be confusing, as how do you dress for both a disco AND a fireside discourse on Shantaram? Sequins, perhaps.

However sweet and social as a sign, a Gemini’s love for a D&M can be exhausting. Which is why it’s wise to politely shun a chatty Gemini traveller in the following situations: hangovers, toilet queues, libraries.

Travel match: The Philippines. Only another 7,000 more islands to go, you guys!
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Sagittarius or Aquarius.
Can’t travel without: A worn copy of Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist.
Most likely to abroad: Go fully nomad, only to turn up three years later with a freaking awesome beard.

CANCER
“The BTF (Best Travel Friend)”
Although depicted as a lone crab, solo travel isn’t always in the stars for Cancerian travellers. Their adventurous imagination, but strong ties to friends and family at home, can often see them scuttling sideways back to shore. (Which is also okay, as in this metaphor, that’s usually where the beach bar is).

Despite their hard shell, these compassionate crustaceans are a sensitive sign, deeply empathetic to the world around them. This makes them wonderful travellers, kind to the people and places they visit. Usually happier travelling with their close inner circle, Cancerians can often end up being more concerned with whether everyone else is having a good time, rather than focusing on creating their own memories.

However tricky Cancerians may be to get to know at first, once cracked, you’ll struggle to find a more fun, loyal and protective travelling companion. Put it this way, they’re not the type of traveller to spill their guts to a bunch of strangers around a firepit and five cans of strong cider, but they are the type to hold your hair back if you do.

Just be aware, as a Water sign, Cancerians will have waves of highs and lows, so leave them alone for their ‘me’ time or they may get crabby. Just make sure they don’t hermit too much.

Travel match: A group trip around Indonesia or Southeast Asia with mates.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Capricorn or Taurus.
Can’t travel without: Their headphones. While better in groups, Cancerians need their alone time.
Most likely to abroad: Get a really crap matching traveller tattoo… because everyone else has.

LEO
“The animal”
The mane event, you’ll always find a Leo at the heart of the action, surrounded by new friends. A Fire sign with great hair, Leo travellers are confident, warmhearted and outgoing, with an infectious energy that can be impossible to resist. Effortlessly collecting friends from all over the world, their trips are often planned around visiting them.

Quick-minded and quick-witted, these cool cats like to dominate and are great problem-solvers. Happy to take the initiative when it comes to resolving tricky travelling situations, but too fearful of embarrassment or failure to get into any real scrapes, they make great travel companions.

Just be aware though, that travelling with a Leo can be full on. In love with life and everything it offers, these lions rarely sleep – tonight or any other night. (A-weema-weh, a-weema-weh… apologies for the Lion King earworm that’s now stuck on loop in your head!). This passion for the wild life makes Leos excellent party animals, but shocking dorm room companions. Plus, you know, the snoring.

Unable to resist an adventure, Leos suffer FOMO easily and don’t like to hear the word ‘no’. They are the kings and queens of the jungle after all, with a large pride. The ego kind, not just the harem-of-worshipping-followers kind.

Travel match: Tanzania safari followed by Zzzzzz on Zanzibar’s tropical beaches.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with an Aquarius or Gemini.
Can’t travel without: Tinder.
Most likely to abroad: Go to a party in one country and wake up in another. And then selfie it.

VIRGO
“The excel explorer”
Expert planners, every traveller needs this celestial goddess on their squad. Virgos are kind, loyal, and possess the one thing that all travellers desire – an alphabetically-ordered Lonely Planet bookshelf.

The organisers and analysers of the zodiac, Virgos like practicality, cleanliness and wellness: traits that are reflected in how they travel. Fortunately for these list-loving signs, the travel world is home to the king of all lists – the bucket list! And a Virgo traveller will rarely feel happy with themselves until they have ticked off every experience on it.

An Earth sign, Virgos have a deep sense of humanity, and are drawn to places of natural beauty and calmness that appeal to their orderly nature. Which is why if you ever meet a stranger on a mountain quietly formatting an Excel spreadsheet, it’s most probably a Virgo.

However, Virgos can often come unstuck in the chaos of travelling life. They like to leave very little to chance and can get so obsessed with the details, that they forget to enjoy the ride. Take heed, hardworking Virgos, your sign is a goddess! Try to balance work and play, and let your locks down a bit more this year. Besides, every traveller needs a massively misjudged dreadlock phase.

Travel match: Working holiday in Canada. Clean mountain air and just the right amount of mischief.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Pisces or Cancer.
Can’t travel without: Anti-bac, guidebook and a bucket list.
Most likely to abroad: Completely freak out when they run out of the aforementioned anti-bac.

LIBRA
“The wandering diplomat”
Ahh, the scales. No one’s friend in bathrooms or at the bungy jump weigh in, everyone’s friend when it comes to negotiating a peaceful resolution to the great Anglo-Aussie traveller debate: Marmite vs. Vegemite. (Marmite clearly, you actual monsters).

The zodiac’s most sociable sign, Librans are sharers, thinkers and lovers. Philosophical but non-confrontational, they require constant stimulation from the things around them, whether that be books or beauty. As travellers, they are quick to form emotional connections whenever they travel and are prone to falling in love. (Ski instructors, surf instructors, diving instructors of the world, watch out! Not you driving instructors, sorry).

Like their namesake scales, Librans crave symmetry when they travel and the perfect balance of exploring and chilling. Often sentimental, they’re happy to revisit past destinations, where they’ll always find a new reason to fall in love with it again. Although they like beautiful things, their fair-minded spirit and sense of humanity hates conformity, and so they often find beauty in places others don’t.

Easily able to adjust to new situations, Librans make laidback travel companions. However, their indecisiveness can be frustrating. Also, on the other side of the scales, their love for a debate can often tip over into “I told you so” territory. No one likes a know it all, Libra.

Travel match: Balance your yin and yang with a rafting and yoga retreat in Rishikesh, India.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with an Aries or Sagittarius.
Can’t travel without: Something to read. Librans rarely visit a place without learning about it first.
Most likely to abroad: Have been there, done that and got their t-shirt stolen for being so annoying.

SCORPIO
“The sassy one”
There’s no beating around the bush, jungle or any other nature-related metaphor with Scorpio travellers. One of the most distinctive signs of the zodiac, Scorpios are decisive and independent, always confident in where they’re going and what they’re doing. Passionate and brave, but with cool heads, their resourcefulness as travellers is a cosmic force to be reckoned with. Essentially, if you need to argue your way out of a missed bus, hostel mix up or unpaid parking ticket, you need a Scorpio on your side – they will never back down.

Scorpios may initially come across as suspicious, and much like their namesake scorpions, spikey. However, as a Water sign, they are deeply in tune with their own and other people’s emotions. Once you get past the tough traveller act, they make the most loyal friends, which is why you’ll often find Scorpios travelling with a bunch of lifetime mates.

Like life, Scorpios attack travelling at a million miles an hour, always pushing their itineraries and holiday allowance to include as many new places and experiences as they can. Our advice to you Scorpio, would be to take some time to chill this year. Not everything in life is a battle.

Travel match: Embrace your Water sign and some ‘Fiji time’ on the islands.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Taurus or Cancer.
Can’t travel without: Their phone, with every app imaginable – Scorpio’s have to be in control.
Most likely to abroad: Talk their way into an upgrade.

SAGITTARIUS
“The lone ranger”
Depicted as an armed centaur, Sagittarius are the great travellers of the zodiac.

Strong-willed, independent and outdoorsy, they make fearless solo travellers, happy to leave the pack behind and veer off the beaten track. Which also pretty much makes them the heartbreakers of the hostel world. Bye bye love of my life, it was fun while it lasted. (Aries sobs quietly into her guidebook).

Ruled by Jupiter, the largest planet of the zodiac, Sagittarius are larger-than-life characters, whose enthusiasm for the world knows no bounds. Known for their generosity and humour, if you come across a Sag on your travels, hold onto them while you can – it will be one hell of a ride.

However, never try to trap a Sag. Happy with their own company and not needing the approval of others, if a situation isn’t working for them, they’ll simply move on. Clinginess will only increase their impatient nature and itchy hooves. Also, these warriors shoot from the hip, with an honesty that can come across as blunt. Basically, if you’re having an emotional day, never ask a Sag if your bum looks big. They’ll say yes. Which is ironic, as their sign is half horse. Ass.

Our advice for 2019, stop trailblazing. Sometimes, we all need to be part of a pack.

Travel match: Gallop off into the sunset and snow-capped solitude of Patagonia.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Gemini or Aries.
Can’t travel without: A battered 20-year old rucksack, covered in sew-on patches.
Most likely to abroad: Add the most notches to their belt, sorry, patches to their pack.

CAPRICORN
“The flashpacker”
All work and no play makes Capricorn a dull… goat? One of the most disciplined signs of the zodiac, it’s time to give this hardworker a holiday!

Like their fellow Earth signs, Capricorns are practical, organised and make excellent trip planners. However, they often find it difficult to completely unwind on holiday, preferring instead to keep busy with day trips, nights out, and business calls by the pool on giant 80s mobile phones. Nope, that’s definitely the TV show, Dallas. Either way, whatever floats their goat. Because you should never push a Capricorn – they are always completely in charge of their own destiny.

Perfectionists to the core, whose success in life and love of nice things often makes them more flashpacker than backpacker, a Capricorn’s trip will always be the envy of others, with beautifully curated Insta stories and posts. (Even if it was a struggle to reach that summit, you will never see it).

Detail orientated, a Capricorn’s travel plans are always achievable, they always know what visas are required, and they never lose anything. Nope, not even at 3am. This admirable skill for passport and hostel key detective work, combined with their loyalty and kindness, makes them excellent travel companions.

Travel match: Apply your hardworking ethos to a volunteer project in Central America.
Cosmic compatibility: Should travel with a Taurus or Cancer.
Can’t travel without: Wi-Fi. Instagram can’t update itself.
Most likely to abroad: Surprise everyone by falling in love with the trip leader and becoming an artisan cheesemaker.