8 unusual celebrations & festivals from around the world

Another Bonfire Night approaches and here we are still not really understanding why we celebrate it. But hey, we’re going along with it anyway because SPARKLERS. But it left us wondering, what other wacky celebrations go on around the world…

Bonfire Night

What could be more normal than celebrating an attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament over 400 years ago by lighting fires and setting off fireworks?  We all know the story and if you don’t, Jon Snow, we mean, Kit Harrington told it very nicely on the BBC. Fortunately, Guy Fawkes’s attempt to kill and replace the King failed and maybe in the biggest show of UK pomp ever, King James decided to make his near-death experience an annual celebration.

How to celebrate: Start fires (responsibly) with a Guy Fawkes effigy a top or go and see a firework display.

 

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Bolas de Fuego

If you turn up in El Salvador on the 31st of August without knowing about this festival, you’re going to be in for a little bit of a surprise. Nothing quite like hopping off the plane and having a flaming rag thrown at you! Yep, that’s right, a Fireball Festival.

Back in 1922, the people of Nepaja were forced to evacuate following the eruption of a nearby volcano. As they were leaving, locals saw (goodness, gracious) great balls of fire coming out of the volcano and believed that this was actually their patron saint, San Jeronimo, fighting the devil.

How to celebrate: Dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge because these dodgeballs are lit!

 

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El Colacho

The Spanish are full of weird and wonderful traditions, but this has to be near the top of the list. We’re just going to say it… Baby-jumping. Yep, you heard us right. Grown men dressed like devils jump over babies born in the last 12 months in the small northern town of Castrillo de Murcia.

Apparently, it’s to ward off evil spirits but no one really knows how this started… We’re questioning this like we question the first guy to ever make milk. Weird.

How to celebrate: Watching only, we’re afraid to say – our first idea was to dress as a baby, but don’t tell anyone we told you that!

 

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Boryeong Mud Festival

Every year in Boryeong, South Korea, hordes of people get muddied up for FUN. What started as a marketing stunt for cosmetics has bizarrely stuck and 20 years later it shows no sign of slowing down.

How to celebrate: Get your swimming costume on and prepare to get down and dirrrrrty a la Christina Aguilera.  

 

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Fiesta de Santa Marta de Ribarteme

This time we’re going to Galicia, in north west Spain for the fiesta of near death experiences… We thought we were dramatic, but in Galicia they hold a procession and festival every year for anyone who has had a close brush with death. But they don’t just party and carry on, oh no. Instead, they get into their own coffin and have their family and friends carry them through the streets.

How to celebrate: If you had a near-death experience, bring your coffin and sing Paint it Black at the top of your lungs!

 

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(Nearly) Naked Festival

If you’re in Japan in mid-February, prepare for an eyeful… Hello loincloth-clad men fighting to grab a sacred stick to put in a box filled with rice. We promise, we’re not making this up.

It all comes from over 500 years of worshippers at the Saidaji Temple wanting to receive a paper charm from the priest to guarantee a year of good luck. Good luck keeping your bum cheeks warm!

How to celebrate: Grab your loincloth and get ready to catch those sticks like a bouquet at a wedding.

 

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Up Helly Aa

This just sounds Scottish doesn’t it? Imagine a portly Viking shouting this and you’re onto something. Head to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands on the last Tuesday of January to watch burly men (and lads) haul a Viking galley to a crowd of 5,000 spectators and burn it to celebrate the “lightening of the year”.

How to celebrate: Grab your thickest jacket and watch the flames of the torch lit procession and galley burning.

 

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Redneck Games

Sadly, these don’t run any more, but they had to get an honourable mention. After American media outlets responded to news that Atlanta had won the bid to host the 1996 Olympics Games by saying the event would be organised by a group of rednecks, the locals decided to give the people what they wanted. And boy did they deliver. With events that included toilet seat-throwing, the mud pit belly flop and the armpit serenade, you were guaranteed a good time while giving back to local children charities.

Join us as we chant… bring it back, bring it back!

 

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Roll up your sleeves and get ready to jump over some babies or throw a fireball on your next trip because we humans are a weird bunch that just really loves a party.

6 ‘Spooktacular’ Halloween Events from Around the World

Whether your thing is dressing up as Dracula, wearing a costume that resembles something out of the 70’s version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (hey – that movie is creepy as), or kicking back with a scary movie, let us bring you some golden nuggets of spooky inspiration with a guide to some of the best Halloween events taking place worldwide.

1. Visit Bran’s Castle in Transylvania

Wooden stakes and crucifixes at the ready, one mention of Transylvania and guarantee the first thing you think is: vampire! Bran Castle in Transylvania, Romania is the world’s ultimate gothic icon. It’s generally accepted to be the inspiration behind Dracula’s castle in Bram Stoker’s genre-defining 1897 novel, and said to be the former home of Vlad the Impaler, nice guy.

If you’re going to visit on Halloween – be afraid, be very afraid…

 

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2. Go on a witch hunt in Salem, US

Think Salem and you probably think of the talking cat in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. However, it’s also a city in Massachusetts; home to the infamous Witch Trials and the deadliest place in the US to be a witch so no hocus pocus-ing while you’re here!

A visit is creepy at the best of times; if jars containing the bones of the victims aren’t enough to send shivers down your spine, time your visit to coincide with the spookiest night of the year and let the numerous Halloween-themed events do the job.

 

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3. Kawasaki Halloween Parade in Japan

Japan is on their a-game when it comes to costume, look at their cosplay alone. So you can bet your bottom dollar that they go all out for Halloween. The Kawasaki Halloween Parade in the largest and most famous parade in Japan.

Just outside Tokyo, it sees over 3,000 people march through the streets in all kinds of garb, we’re talking from the stereotypical zombie to a full-blown and eerily lifelike cow costume…

 

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4. Dia de los Muertos in the streets of Mexico

OK OK, Dia de los Muertos isn’t technically Halloween because it takes place on the 1st and 2nd of November, but hey, any excuse to continue the party, right?

This celebration originated in Mexico where families welcome and honour the souls of the dead. But woah, it’s no downer. These guys party like it’s 1979 with a carnival-like celebration. Don your sugar skull masks (we know you’ve been doing them for Halloween costumes) and hit the streets a la Bond in Spectre.

 

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5. Feast of the Dead in Dublin

Sounds terrifying right?! But don’t worry, you won’t be drinking blood or anything else positively vampiric. Nowadays the Feast of the Dead (thank the pagans for that one) is known as the Dublin Samhain Halloween parade and who doesn’t love a good parade?

Head to Parnell Square for the parade which ends in a fireworks display, check out the decked out pubs, join the walk through Marlay Park’s haunted forest or take a ghost tour. If that’s not enough to spook you then the autumn whether is guaranteed to give you a chill. Brrr.

 

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6. The Village Halloween Parade in New York City

Oh the iconic New York Village Halloween parade, where do we even begin?

This famous parade has been running since the 70’s (it’s a pretty big deal) and kicks off on Sixth Avenue with bands, dancers and all kinds of Halloween attire – seriously, you’re gonna have costume envy by the end of the night… Think Notting Hill Carnival, on acid.

 

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If you’re a dog lover, arrive a few days early for the annual Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade – yes, really. Previous years have seen man’s best friend dressed as Lady Gaga, a fire engine, and a peacock. Amazing.

 

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So whether you’re gonna get your creep on visiting one of the above, watching a bunch of scary movies and not sleeping for a week or dressing up for the night as a mouse (duh!), have a spooktacular time!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

The 6 best beaches in the Philippines

For beach-bums serious about their passion for lying down in the sunshine, the Philippines is the lesser known alternative to other hotspots like Bali and Thailand. Made up of over seven THOUSAND islands, you can be sure you’re gonna find a slice of heaven here.

El Nido, Palawan

Ok, the famous one. Let’s get it out the way. It’s the Regina George of Filipino beaches; blonde and beautiful and we’re desperate to hang out. Not only is it great for general beaching, it’s a nature lover’s paradise with over 100 species of coral and nearly a thousand types of fish.

 

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Nacpan Beach

Picture palm tree paradise and Nacpan isn’t far off. It’s a place where the fish are fresher than Will Smith; just look at it on the old IG. It’s also super easy to get to by scooter and there are some sunny walks to be had in the surrounding hills.

 

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Malapascua

In a country of 7,107 islands, it can be difficult to stand out. Sharks are generally pretty good at grabbing attention. Known to divers around the world, this rustic island paradise off the coast of Cebu has dazzling white beaches, chilled locals and some of the best diving in Southeast Asia.

 

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Siargao Island

Regarded as the surf capital of the Philippines, this laid-back tropical island is a favourite with international surfers. With both shore and offshore surf, including world-famous Cloud 9, of the 7,000+ islands in the Philippines, this is the best one to catch a break.

 

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Donsol Bay, Luzon

Known to bring a grown traveller to tears (the mask was just really steamy…), Donsol is one of the best places in the world to see whale sharks. From Nov-Jun you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to snorkel with these giant spotted swimmers.

 

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Southern Negros

Want multiple world-class beaches in one short trip? Greedy! Fly into Dumaguete and you’re just an hour from Apo Island – a great diving spot for you Ariel fans, Tambobo Bay and Siquijor Islands.

 

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Grab your floppy hat and glasses, you know you’d rather be sat on one of these beauty spots instead of crying into your pumpkin spiced latte as you shiver under three jumpers… See more from the Philippines here and get booking!

15 foods you NEED to try when you’re in Thailand

Sure, our main inspo to visit Thailand might have had something to do with a younger Leo and a beach but when we visited the Beach for ourselves, we couldn’t help but think… how were they so happy on a diet of fish and rice when there are street food carts and steaming bowls of Thai meals on every street corner?! We’d be crying into our pillows each night; Leo or no Leo (bold statement).

So, here’s fifteen Thai dishes we couldn’t travel without…

1. Khao Soi

Creamy, spicy chicken curry? Check. Oodles of soft noodles? Check! Top it off with shallots, pickles, chilli and more (this time crispy) noodles and you’re onto a winner.

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2. Som Tam (papaya salad)

Southeast Asia’s staple salad is made from thin strips of green papaya drowned in lime juice, red chilli, fish sauce and even sugar. Stop by a street cart and watch as the vendor shaves you a portion before sprinkling it with peanuts. Best enjoyed from a banana leaf!

 

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3. Massaman curry

Did you know there’s more than just green and red Thai curry? Those two are delicious enough but how about a beef, potato and peanut curry with cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg? Talk about spicy!

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4. Pad Kra Pao

Move over Gino D’Acampo, we want Thai basil, not Italian! Translating as ‘basil stir-fry’, this dish incorporates ground chicken or pork, rice, chilli, garlic, soy, oyster and fish sauce and handfuls of sweet, fragrant Thai holy basil leaves. Best served with a fried egg on top, there’s no brunch or lunch more satisfying.

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5. Ton Yum soup

This sweet and sour noodle soup is one you can find anywhere. It’s usually served plain with a side of chillies, ground peanuts and sometimes even sugar so you can go wild building your own flavour profile. Add fresh, meaty prawns, mushrooms and whatever else tickles your pickle, and you’re onto some pretty tasty, comforting broth.

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6. Hor Mok curry

‘Amok’ refers to cooking, and often (but not always) serving curry in either a hollowed-out coconut or wrapped in banana leaves. Tender, sweet and often loaded with fresh seafood and piles of shaved coconut, save this one for a special occasion or a regular day, we won’t judge.

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7. Bamee bpet yang

So, you’re a sucker for the duck when you head to a Chinese restaurant? We hear you. And so, it seems, are the Thais. Wander around any Bangkok market and you’re bound to come across a stand serving up this satisfying dish made up of honey-glazed roasted duck breast and egg noodles, served with a hearty portion of gravy. Yum.

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8. Pad pak bung fai daeng (morning glory)

We love an innuendo and so does Thailand. The perfect side dish to any meal, this green veggie is best when drowned in soy, garlic and those ever-present Thai red chillies.

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9. Gai pad pongali

This is a curry with a difference – an egg is cracked and scrambled into the curry before serving, giving it a chunky texture, which gives twice as much flavour as the norm.

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10. Skewers

Moo Satay or Khao Neow Moo Ping… chicken, beef, spicy pork, scorpion, yano whatever… Whatever your meat of choice, you’ll never be far away from delicious morsels sizzling on an open grill. A snack we can get behind, load up on these in-between big feeds.

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11. Pad kee mao sen yai (drunken noodles)

‘Pad Kee Mao Sen Yai’ translates to ‘drunken noodles’. Sounds fun, right? They are. Loaded with soy, garlic, fish sauce, sweet basil, chilli and just about every other Thai flavour going, they’re a perfect taste sensation even after a few too many Changs…

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12. Pink broth

One for the wannabe unicorns, Yen ta fo is a highly Instagrammable rice noodle soup which is coloured pink with fermented bean curd.

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13. Thai pancakes

Not heard of banana pancakes? You won’t be able to escape them in Thailand. There’s no dessert more satisfying than a hot, griddled, squishy banana, melted chocolate, fruit and coconut, you’ll end up eating these for most desserts. And breakfasts. And probably lunch too…

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14. Kluay tod

Deep-fried. Battered. Banana. Hot, sweet and crunchy on the outside, and melt-in-the-middle within, these snacks cost mere cents, so keep your eyes peeled (pun unintentional) for these babies.

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15. Mango sticky rice

Rice puddings’ exotic cousin, Thai sticky rice has a slightly dried texture making it easy to pull apart using your hands. And who doesn’t love literally diving into their food!? Generous helpings of coconut cream and sticky mango make it all the more appe-thai-sing.

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If you read this blog pre-meal, we feel for ya. But, what better way than satisfying those hunger pangs for tastes of the east by booking a one-way ticket to Thailand? When you’re out there, don’t forget to get an iconic 7-Eleven toastie. They will save your life. Seriously.

The best coffee in the world and where to drink it

Looking for the best coffee in the world and where to drink it?

Oh coffee; our pick-me-up in the morning, our hangover cure and best friend for helping us pretend we’re totally awake. But put down that paper cup of filter coffee, who do you think we are? The losing team in The Apprentice? Don’t pass the sugar, Alan, we’re going premium.

Tanzania Peaberry coffee on Mount Kilimanjaro

Head to where these bad boy beans are grown, Mount Kilimanjaro itself, for a fruity, acidic Arabica coffee. What could be better than finishing a mountainous hike than a cup of joe? A shower. Maybe, a shower… But just think of the views as you look across the country below, steaming cup in hand. Plus, double winner, hand warmer!

 

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Guatemalan Antigua coffee in Semuc Champey

Grown over 4,500 ft above sea level, this premium coffee is full bodied – like us after pizza Friday’s – spicy and velvety. Take your flask of just-brewed juice to Semuc Champey, one of the most beautiful natural sights in Guatemala. A group of tiered pools perched above a limestone bridge, the trek through the rainforest might be a bit tricky but the emerald pools at the end are worth the feat.

 

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Sumatra Manheling coffee at Lake Toba

Sweet, herby and earthy, this Indonesian bean is smooth as heck. Head to the Lintong region where the beans in your cup were made and explore Lake Toba – the beauty spot which also doubles as the world’s largest crater lake. According to local legend it was formed by a magic fish; pretty big fish…

 

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Ethiopian Harrar coffee in Gondar

Wild and exotic, two words we wish were used to describe us, this Arabica bean is grown 4.5-6.5k feet above sea level. Some say it tastes almost like red wine which is enough to sell us a pint or two of the good stuff. Enjoy your coffee after a tour of nearby Gondar, once described as the ‘Camelot of Africa’ and be the royal you were born to be as you tour the nearby royal castles. Move over, Meghan.

 

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Nicaraguan coffee at Masaya Volcano

Warm your belly and your toes (probably your whole body really) with a trip to Nicaragua’s Masaya Volcano. You can drive your car right up to the lip of the crater as sulphurous clouds billow up from the molten lava lake at the bottom… Bit reckless, no? Just us? After that trip, take a sip on the new entry in all the coffee best lists and get ready for the tastes of CHOCOLATE. Yummm.

 

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Sulawesi Toraja coffee in Tana Toraja

One of the four Great Sunda Islands in Indonesia, this tropical paradise knows how to brew. The whole island is a dream but once you’ve drunk your dark-chocolate-and-ripe-fruit-in-flavour cup of coffee, head to Tana Toraja for a real taste of local life. This region is famous for embalming their dead in trees, making burial grounds in cliffs and even leaving mummified family members in the house!

 

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Kenya AA coffee at Diani Beach

Full-bodied, floral and winey, this premium tipple is one to not be missed. Okay, okay, you don’t put beach and coffee together but you haven’t seen Diani Beach. Out on the Indian Ocean coast of Kenya, Diani Beach is a dream getaway made for sandy toes and cheesy grins like those people you see on stock photos.

 

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Hawaii Kona coffee in Haleakalā National Park

Think Hawaiian coffee and you get a rich yet light taste with a splash of yummy buttery-ness. Hawaii’s islands are Instagram-perfect, don’t pretend you haven’t ogled. Try something different and head to the Bamboo Forest in Haleakalā National Park for some real wood, we mean good adventure and exploring.

 

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Are we making you thirsty after all that? Sarrryyyyyyy. Check out more on our blog for destination inspirations and travel advice!

13 unique and unusual places you NEED to stay in

We’re all about embracing the unusual here at STA Travel and when it comes to accommodation, the quirkier the better! Earn some serious travel street-cred and take your trip to a whole new level by calling a grounded plane, a rain forest canopy or a Japanese library home for the night…

1. Sleep in a plane (firmly on the ground) in Sweden

That’s right, a hostel made from a plane and this one is super cool. Next time you’re in Stockholm, make sure this jumbo jet is on your list.

Book your stay today!

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2. Sleep in a crane (firmly off the ground) in Amsterdam

Weird and wacky Amsterdam would have a hostel in a crane, wouldn’t they? And that’s why we love them! Anyone with a fear of heights/dangling above the ground, beware!

Book a night here…

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3. Sleep in the trees in Peru

Planning an Amazonian adventure? Sleep among the monkeys in your very own treehouse lodge – your mates will be green with envy at the lush rainforest within arm’s reach of your bedroom window.

Book a night in the trees…

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4. Sleep down, down, underground in Coober Pedy 

When where you live is this freakin’ HOT there’s only one way to go – underground. Find shops, restaurants, even hotels and hostels all burrowed below the earth’s surface. This quirky little town is not to be missed!

Book a stay here!

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5. Sleep in a silo in New Zealand

We never thought we’d say it, but yes, we really want to stay in a silo! No longer a tin structure to hold grain, this New Zealand offering now stores sleepy travellers.

Book a night here!

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6. Sleep in a library in Tokyo

Prepare for a night of bookworm paradise. Nestle yourself between shelves stocked full of literature in this quaint library hostel. Then get some epic Instagram pics before nodding off…

Book your stay!

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7. Sleep locked up overnight in Australia

The look on your mum’s face when you tell her you spent the night in a prison will be so, so worth it (plus, you can lie in luxury – don’t worry, you won’t actually get shackled up!)

Spend the night here!

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8. Sleep in a salt palace in Bolivia

Embrace royal life when you tell your mates you’re staying in a Palace. Even more unique, a palace made of salt (FYI licking the walls is not ok kids)! This place is uber chic and definitely won’t leave you feeling salty.

Book your stay!

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9. Sleep in a hotel made of ice in Sweden

Ice, ice babyyy – any excuse to get that line out and we’ll take it. This place is straight outta Narnia and will have your jaw trailing on the floor.

Spend the night…

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10. Sleep in a hotel made of sand in Egypt

Feel like the real Lawrence of Arabia with a night in a sand hotel. Just be careful not to huff and puff in case it all falls down (of course we’re joking… we think).

Book your stay!

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11. Sleep in an old bull-fighting ring in Mexico

Steeped in history and oozing Hispanic luxe, this accommodation will have you snapping at every turn.

Book a stay here!

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12. Sleep in a capsule in Hong Kong

These guys are known for their space-saving methods and this capsule hostel is no different! If you’re claustrophobic, this one isn’t for you…

Stay the night here…

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13. Sleep in a train carriage in California

All aboard!! Choo-choose a night in a train carriage next time you visit California (thanks Ralph Wiggum for that pun). Each one has its own theme from seaside vibes, Parisian boutiques to Harley Davidson shrines. Random? But of course.

Book your stay!

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If you want more regular accommodation, check out ALL of our hostels and hotels.

8 reasons why travelling by bus is the best way to see New Zealand

So, you’ve journeyed to the other side of the world and saved up a small fortune for your trip. You’re desperate to explore the full 990 mile length of New Zealand, but you can’t drive and you want as little faff and as much adventure as possible. Well my friend, a Hop-on Hop-off bus is for you. Here are our top reasons for travelling New Zealand by Hop-on Hop-off buses.

1. Stress free

There is no need worry about traffic or getting lost, as someone else is doing the driving. It’s completely hassle free. Meaning you can admire the changing landscape, which New Zealand is so famous for, all from the comfort of your window seat.

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2. Insta ready

Spot the perfect setting for an Instagram snap or a selfie? No problem! The Hop-on Hop-off bus drivers are always happy to make a quick photo stop to help you keep your (many) followers updated and feeling extremely jealous. That’s what it’s for, right?

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3. Practical

Worried about how you’re going to find your hostel in a town you’ve never been to? No worries, a Hop-on Hop-off bus will drop you right at the door of your hostel or at a very central point in town.

4. New travel buddies

Flying solo? This network of buses is a great way to meet other solo or group travellers that you can travel on with. Then, if you’re feeling popular, you can jump off and onto a later bus for a whole group more of new travel buddies! Winner.

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5. Flexible

Don’t want to be pinned down to anyone’s schedule? Or maybe you just want to stay a little longer in Queenstown? Bus travel is designed for even the most laid-back of travellers. Once you are ready to move onto the next stop, you can login via your bus pass and book your seat.

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6. Sleeeep

It’s a tough life all this travelling malarkey and it’s more tiring than you think. There is so much to pack in – from glacier hikes, bungy jumps, canyon swings and a whole heap more. You can sleep to your heart’s content on the bus, meaning you get to save your energy for the important stuff, like this!

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7. Local tips and tricks

Have you got serious fear of missing out? Want to discover those hidden gems off the beaten track? The Hop-on Hop-off bus driver are a treasure trove of information and places that fly under the radar. After all, there is no one better person to show you the most beautiful parts of New Zealand than a local.

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8. Fit it ALL in

Hop-on Hop-off bus extraordinaire, Kiwi Experience, have a whole range of itineraries to pick and choose from for your trip to New Zealand. So what are you waiting for?! Go check it out now and get booking that dream trip around the North and South Islands. Don’t mind us, we’re gonna sit here and daydream…

8 places in New Zealand you can have all to yourself

Looking to do a gap year in New Zealand, but want to find some hidden spots on your tour to amp up your Insta? Kiwi photographer lola.photography has scoped the place out and provided her top 8 spots to escape the crowds and have a piece of New Zealand all to yourself.

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Top tips on surviving a long-haul flight

After a journey Down Under for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, Team England athletes shared their top travel tips with us to beat jet lag and make a 14+ hour flight comfortable (or as comfy as it can be…).

H2-oh yeah!

As the fourth fastest English swimmer of all time, we weren’t surprised when David Cumberlidge’s advice was: “Water! You’ve got to stay hydrated so make sure you drink as much as you can before, during and after a long flight to help keep you feeling fresh.” Just maybe take an aisle seat to avoid evil glares from Bob as you pop to and from the loo…

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Tick, tock, body clock

There’s nothing worse than finally reaching your holiday destination and wanting to crash straight away. Wheelchair triathlete Jade Jones-Hall suggests getting a head start on the jetlag by adjusting to the new time zone early: “Do what you can to adjust your body clock before and during the flight, that way it’s less of a shock when you get there and you don’t spend your first few days collapsed in bed!”.

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Move those tiger feet!

One of the more unusual tips we’ve heard, but parasport swimmer Tom Hamer has a couple of hand-luggage musts he swears by. Tom says: “It’s important to stay active and keep moving whilst you’re on a long flight so I always pack a hockey ball and foam roller, so I can stretch on the plane.” Each to their own!

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Shut the world out

Planes aren’t your first thought for a good night’s sleep, but swimmer James Wilby is onto something with his top tip: “Noise-cancelling headphones have been a game changer for me! I sleep so much better when I wear them.” Either get the tunes on or just block out the background noise as your journey literally… flies by…

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Pack Comfy

Swimmer Jessica Fullalove had her own thoughts on packing and in-flight outfits: “I always try to pack a lot of nice-smelling things; you really appreciate it after a long flight. Make sure you dress comfy as well – you’re there to relax!”

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So there you have it, rules to live by for your next long-haul flight and beyond! Congrats to all of the Team England athletes who competed at the Commonwealth Games, bring on the next lot in Birmingham!

 

Feeling up for a long-haul flight Down Under? Check out our flights to Australia here! 

48-hour fling with Amsterdam

Just an hour and a bit away by plane (or even the train), this is one short-distance love affair waiting to happen. Here’s 7 reasons why the Netherlands capital will have you saying Amsterdaaaaaaaamn.

1. Cyclist heaven

Love being on two wheels? Amsterdam is a cycling utopia, just be careful as bike lanes are also shared with motorbikes… If you’re not keen on hopping on the saddle, walking around this picturesque city couldn’t be easier.

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2. Food, glorious food

You’d be hard pressed to find a bad place to eat in Amsterdam to be honest. If you’re feeling lazy, don’t worry about researching the best restaurants for each meal, take a walk on the wild side and just… walk on in! If you are looking for some shout outs, we highly recommend Bakers and Roasters and the Foodhallen.

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3. Cheaper Saturday nights

Or Monday nights, or Tuesday nights, we won’t judge whatever day you choose to hit the town, but when you do go out, make sure you order yourself a Heineken for the ultimate payback in change. Enjoy that beer hangover!

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4. Cat ladies rejoice!

If you’re a fan of the feline, then you NEED to visit the illustrious cat boat. Yep, you heard us right. There is a boat, full of cats. A local charity sat on the water decided to open its doors to the homeless cats of Amsterdam and now their doors are open to the public too! Get ready for furry cuddles and purring galore.

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5. Art and history

Rouse your inner nerd with a tour around the Van Gogh museum, Moco Museum or take a step back in time at Anne Frank’s house. Whatever your preference, you’re sure to find an attraction for you.

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6. Pack your walking boots

Amsterdam doesn’t just have cheap Heineken, it has plenty of free sights you should get on your checklist. Whether it’s escaping the city’s hustle and bustle in the scenic Vondelpark, exploring the Red-Light district, getting your picture taken at the I Amsterdam sign or checking out the floating flower market, make time to just wander the streets – they’re pretty photogenic after all.

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7. Weird and wonderful is totally normally

Want to go sit in the world’s smallest movie cinema (just one seat, sorry mates)? Hit up Amsterdam’s CINEMA41! Or maybe you want to spend an afternoon giggling with your mates (so immature) at animatronic dolls in risqué poses? Hello, Sex Museum! Or for those cat lovers (got you covered again) wanting to spend the day looking at cat art? KattenKabinet is the one for you…

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Whatever your reason for visiting, you can be sure that a trip to Amsterdam will be like no other! So get this yummy European destination on your list, you won’t regret it!