The perfect beginners’ ski resort Zakopane Poland

For me, learning to snowboard was a painful process, spent fighting the elements over a bleak weekend at Cairngorm yjtyfMountain in the late 1990s. But I was lucky; for those who live further from the hills, getting into snowsports can be even harder. It can involve paying a small fortune for flights, transfers, accommodation and lift pass – just to spend all week on the lower slopes, watching others head for the peaks. For this reason, it’s wise to avoid super-resorts when you’re only looking to pick up the basics.

On a recent visit to Zakopane, at the foot of the Tatra mountain range in southern Poland, I discovered what may well be the ideal destination for beginners. Sorry Scotland!

My cheap flight to Krakow got me within two hours’ drive of the resort, where the guys from WhiteSide Holidays (one week from £389pp with lift pass, transfers, lessons, ski hire and self-catering accommodation) met me for the last leg. They’re on hand all week to shuttle guests among the many small resorts that surround the town, sometimes ticking off two in a day.

As most offered pay-as-you-go lift passes, we only

Five Things You Shouldnt Wear on a Plane

Knowing what to wear — and, more importantly, what not to wear — on a plane is crucial. Just ask Lady Gaga. In hkvh2010, the pop star donned Alexander McQueen “armadillo shoes” and a wild outfit of black and yellow tape on a transatlantic flight. During the voyage, Gaga began to experience symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, a life-threatening condition commonly caused by a combo of in-flight risk factors like low cabin pressure, dehydration, immobility during a long trip and cramped seats (so says the American Council on Exercise); attempt to endure this environment in a confining getup of tape and 12-inch stilettos, and you’ve got trouble.

Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clots form in veins, elevating the potential for a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms include swollen or red limbs, but individuals suffering from deep vein thrombosis often exhibit no symptoms. Luckily for Gaga, the star knew something was wrong. According to Gadling, when Lady Gaga complained that her legs were swelling up during the flight, the cabin crew convinced her to change into something a little more comfortable (and a little less likely to incite an artery blockage).

Chances are you don’t

Finding Hotel Rooms No Vacancy No Problem

On a recent trip, I landed in the Knoxville airport to find myself surrounded by hundreds of youngsters. “Who are all kyhkthese kids?” asked the person in front of me in the car rental line. The agent was all too aware: “They’re in the Destination ImagiNation Global Finals. It’s a computer contest or something, and there are about 20,000 of them.”

“Ah, that’s why it was so hard to find a hotel room,” said the customer. “In fact, it was impossible; we’re staying out of town tonight.”

Whether it’s an unexpected event in a small town, a political convention (don’t laugh, I know someone who got upset when he couldn’t book a room during the last presidential election), or a holiday like the Fourth of July or New Year’s or simply the summer high season — finding a hotel room can be challenging when there’s no room at the inn. What’s a shut-out traveler to do to get some shuteye?

Pick Up the Phone

As outlined in Choosing a Hotel, despite the Web’s instant and always-on compendium of lodging information, you might find out even more by getting a knowledgeable person on the phone.

Diving Southern Thailand

Diving Southern Thailand:
Thailand is such a wonderfully diverse country. It would be a pity to spend eight or ten days on a “live a board” then go home. Plan on at least a couple of weeks and do both land and sea.
In my very limited amount of time (18 days) I explored three different regions of southern Thailand.

Getting There
We made our 20+ hour flight from San Francisco via a layover in Tai Pei to Phuket. All transfers to our different locations were pre arranged. This is not always the best method to use; however, it was nice to see a sign with my name on it as we exited the airport. The ride from the airport to our hotel in Karon Beach was and “E-ticket” ride I could have survived without. Everything you have heard about Thai taxi drivers is true. This includes passing on curves, hills, tailgating inches behind the car in front — all the things one would get “shot” for in USA. The irony is, there is no road rage — but plenty of traffic deaths. I would recommend against renting a vehicle during your stay in Phuket.

Phuket Area
We stayed at the “Sea

Powder on the doorstep in Grimentz Switzerland

The bombshell came as our small group sat in the warmth of the Bendolla mountain restaurant, finishing our coffees, fiddling with our avalanche transceivers and half-listening to a briefing by our backcountry guide for the morning, Brit Nick Parks. “And then,” he said, “we just abseil down into the top of the run.” Hang on! What? I’d heard of people doing this in super gnarly resorts like La Grave, macho beardy ski-mountaineers usually, who eat icicles for breakfast. Was I really going to have to dangle on a rope like Sly in the Cliffhanger poster, snowboard between my teeth?

Seemed like it. Two hours later our small group was huddled on a snowy crest, taking turns to drink little cups of hot herbal tea from Nick’s flask to recover from our hard hike from the limits of the lift network. We’d climbed to a col below the Becs de Bosson peak, and up through deep powder along a ridge to the top of the steep S-shaped couloir that was our target descent. Many times that week I’d stared up at the S from the village below – a streak of white carved into the cliffs like an

Children Flying Solo

A father watched as his 11-year-old son Seth embarked on a flight alone to visit family. Seeing Seth walk down the runway, he went home, assuming his son would arrive safely. Six hours later, he discovered Seth had walked off the plane before departure. He left the airport, stopped at a gas station for directions and trotted 30 miles along an interstate to his home town.

If you are allowing your children to fly alone, be sure to take every necessary precaution to ensure their safety. Millions of children fly alone each year, the majority without incident. But Seth’s case should be a warning to parents: Be sure you and your child are prepared for the trip.

Unaccompanied Minors

Airlines generally consider children ages 5 – 14 who travel without a parent or guardian to be “unaccompanied minors.” Many airlines will not allow children 7 and under to make connections at all, but in the event a minor is old enough to change planes, they will probably be assisted by airline personnel and a fee will be charged. Some airlines — Southwest, for example — will not allow any minor (5 – 11) to change planes. JetBlue will not allow any children

Top Underrated Destinations

Seeing the popular wonders of the world is definitely memorable, but travelers who chose to wander off the beaten path are often met with wonderful surprises. We compiled a list of places that satisfy wanderlust and we believe are underrated.

  • Fortaleza, Brazil: Most people think of Rio de Janeiro when they want to travel to Brazil, but Fortaleza is the fifth largest cities in Brazil and is known as quite a party town. This vibrant city has great beach options, including smaller beach areas. Praia de Iracema is jam packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants. Miereles is a cool beachfront town and sail boat port. This area is busy day and night and is packed with shopping and cafes.

Flights to Fortaleza starting at $521* one way.

  • Montevideo, Uruguay: Just a short distance away from the popular city of Buenos Aires, is the eclectic city of Montevideo, which is also the capital of Uruguay. Montevideo has a bit of it all: fun beaches, restaurants, bars, and colonial plazas. There’s beautiful and bright architecture everywhere you look. You can visit the modern skyscraper, Torre Antel and see the best view of all the city has to offer. A popular spot for tourists and natives is La

Find the Best Enjoyment for Your Holiday

What do you like to do when you are in your free or your leisure time? Well, I believe that everyone has their own things that they like to do when they are in their leisure time. We like to do it since this is such a fun thing to do and we enjoy it so much. There are many kinds of activities that we can do when we are in our leisure time. One of the common things that we like to do is by doing our own hobby. What is your favorite hobby? Everyone has their own hobby and we need to do and practice our own hobby if we want to have the pleasure from the actions that we can do for our free time.

One of the examples of the actions that we can do in our leisure time is by doing our sport hobby. There are many kinds of sports that we can do when we have our leisure time and we need to be happy if we can practice it in our daily life. If you like to play badminton, you can practice it with your friends and your beloved family. You will have

Challenges and opportunities for travel in China

As China’s travel market continues to grow, with an 11% uptick in the number of travelers last year, adoption of online booking is picking up as well. But while only 10% of 2009 trips were booked online, this proportion should double by 2011, forecasts China-based internet research firm iResearch. How best to serve the search needs of the travelers who feed what iResearch projects will be a $2.3 billion industry by 2013 is becoming the hot topic in the country and elsewhere. Online booking challenges One reason for the slow pace of search innovation might be the lack of a well-developed web-based market for travel products. China still has catching up to do in the automation of its online travel booking process, claims Ram Badrinathan, general manager for Asia-Pacific at PhoCusWright during the recent China Travel Distribution Summit. He says China’s online travel booking options have not developed at the same pace as thought, and compared online travel booking in China unfavorably to the other emerging Asian giant, India. “In India, you can book, cancel and reschedule online without talking to a person,” he says. “With Ctrip and Elong, you can’t do this.” He also notes that India reached this

Aroundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge

Any incidental charges such as parking, phone calls, and room service will be handled directly between you and the property.

Designed in European architecture with a mixture of modern and classic styles, Nha Trang Palace Hotel has 168 rooms and suites arranged luxuriously and comfortably to create a cozy atmosphere in royal style. The hotel also supplies full of amenities like swimming pool, restaurant with European and Asian dishes, bar, spa, free wifi, etc. When visiting Nha Trang, you’ll feel right at home at Nha Trang Palace Hotel, which offers quality accommodation and great service. Set 0.5 km from the excitement of the city, this 4-star hotel commands an excellent location and provides access to the city’s biggest attractions. With its convenient location, the hotel offers easy access to the city’s must-see destinations. OfferinG Hotel guests superior services and a broad range of amenities, Nha Trang Palace Hotel is committed to ensuring that your stay is as comfortable as possible. To name a few of the hotel’s facilities, there are meeting facilities, shared lounge/TV area, car park, safety deposit boxes, facilities for disabled guests. The hotel features 170 beautifully appointed guest rooms, many of which include hair dryer, telephone, satellite/cable

Cell Service Business Travelers the Pope Whats New in Cuba

Verizon, Pope Francis, and American businessmen are all landing in Cuba.

It’s been non-stop news since the U.S. reopened its embassy in Havana, and Cuba continued to make headlines this week and last. For travelers, the most groundbreaking update came when Verizon announced it would become the first U.S. wireless company to support roaming in Cuba. Visitors can now text, make calls, and use data (that means Instagramming those famous classic cars before it’s a #TBT), though the service is steep: voice calls cost $2.99 a minute, and a megabyte of data costs $2.05.

Verizon’s news came on the heels of the latest announcement from the White House, which further eased travel regulations and business restrictions on Friday. It’s now possible for authorized American citizens to travel by cruise ship or ferry to the island without specific permission from the government, though this will have little impact on anyone except those seeking to visit Cuba to establish a business.

Typically, Americans must continue to plan trips according to one of 12 pre-approved categories of travel. Now, however, family members can accompany authorized travelers, as reported by the New York Times. If you are headed south for business, research, or academics, for example, you can bring along the

Routes For Backpacking Trips

Backpacking has become increasingly popular among young travelers, and for good reason. It gives you the freedom to visit a handful of countries in a short amount of time, it encourages light packing (say goodbye to lugging around that roller bag), and it’s sure to land you in some amazing places that you might not have seen otherwise. And on top of all that, backpacking is one of the most inexpensive ways to see the world.

Between low-cost hostel stays and train tickets, you’ll save money while having one of the most enriching experiences of your life. We’ve done our research and have determined what we believe to be the top six backpacking routes in the world. The best news? StudentUniverse offers tours throughout all the regions listed here, so pick your favorite itinerary below and start planning!


1. London to Amsterdam

Duration: 14 days

The Lineup: London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Heidelberg/Rhine Valley, Amsterdam

Modes of Transportation: Train

Route Highlights: Eiffel Tower, Seine River, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, Boboli Gardens, the Duomo, Venice’s Grand Canal, Red Light District

2. Rome to London

Duration: 23 days

The Lineup: Rome, Viareggio

Airbnb and Beyond Tips for Safe Legal Vacation Rentals

After a period of rapid expansion and positive attention from the press, person-to-person lodging Web sites led by Airbnb have experienced some growing pains of late. While we still recommend the use of these services, both travelers and hosts alike will want to take note of, and hopefully resolve, these issues before their next short-term rental of this type.

There have been a few very high-profile problems with private rental services, from trashed apartments to safety threats and even one surprising instance of guests using a rental for the world’s oldest profession. But this latest round of issues is simpler than that — to wit, it turns out that many of the folks renting out their homes may not have the legal right to do so.

As reported in the New York Times, hosts in New York and Paris have faced legal challenges; short-term rentals are restricted in many places for a variety of reasons, including concern for the well-being of the hosts’ neighbors and an attempt by local governments to preserve limited urban housing for residents rather than visitors.

The New York case above was resolved in September 2013 with a victory of sorts for Airbnb. It was determined that a

Working In Ireland Just Got Moher Exciting

Does the idea of living and working in Ireland set you into an immediate daydream? We know the feeling. But it doesn’t have to be a dream. You can intensify your resume and your work experience with an unforgettable opportunity working abroad in Ireland this year. Not only will you gain work experience, but you get to travel abroad and check another destination off of your bucket list while earning an income and real life perspective by living in a new country.

Do you already have plans to study abroad in Ireland? You can combine the Work Abroad – Ireland program with a study abroad program and work part time. You can start the Work Abroad – Ireland program before you start your study abroad program, or stay on after for the summer. If you would like to work part time while studying, check with your study abroad advisor, as student visas may restrict your work to a maximum of 20 to 25 hours per week while studying.

Ireland conjures up images of pubs, rolling landscapes and more pubs, but in fact, Ireland is much more than that. Many household names like Google, Apple and Facebook have set up shop  in this

Last-Minute Trip Deals Save 15-20% Off Tours!

Craving for your next adventure? Well look no further! Whether you’re planning a last minute summer trip, or thinking ahead for a journey you want to take in the fall or winter, we’ve got just what you’re looking for AND for a great price! We’re back with a tours last-minute trip deals, saving you an extra 15-20%* off a wide selection of small-group tours. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite trips from each tour type to help you get started!

15% off Europe YOLO

Cities of Europe on Sale 15%

Duration: 14 days

The Lineup: London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice, Munich, Heidelberg, Amsterdam

Route Highlights:

  • Eiffel Tower – the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world, this iconic landmark is not one to pass up!
  • Roman Colosseum – also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, this site from ancient Roman times was completed in 80 AD and is considered one of the greatest works of architecture ever built
  • Anne Frank House – this house was home to Jewish diarist Anne Frank while she was in hiding during World War II and now serves as a

Oasis of the Seas

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children she didn’t know what to do”.

The opening lines of this nursery rhyme remind me of how we felt on our recent vacation when there were so many choices it was hard to decide what to do. On any given day we could ice skate, zip line, surf, play miniature golf, swim, lounge in the spa, or work out at the gym. We could also choose to watch a Broadway show, attend an art auction, gamble in the casino, or even stroll through Central Park. Where were we? Taking a 7 day Caribbean cruise aboard the Oasis of the Seas, one of Royal Caribbean’s newest and largest ships along with 12 of our closest friends and more than 5000 other revelers.

Our trip began on Oct 5, 2012 on Virgin America flight 346 to fly nonstop from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale where we would board the ship. As has been our experience with flying on Virgin America, we had an on-time departure and we actually arrived in Fort Lauderdale ahead of schedule. Although the flight was a red-eye, there was a jovial atmosphere since many

China Lodging Group IPO shines light on Ctrip supplier strategy

Leveraging its market share, cash war chest, and insider relationships, Ctrip is making strategic investments in hotel chains to secure access to inventory and potentially even integrate IT and some operations with their partners.

On March 12, Ctrip announced that it will purchase shares equivalent to 8% of the company at the IPO price (see Tnooz, JLM Pacific Epoch) and also 15% of another hotel chain, BTG-Jianguo Hotels & Resorts. At the expected IPO price, Ctrip’s investment will cost them $48-58 million.  China Lodging Group will appoint Ctrip co-founder and CEO Min Fan as a Board Director.

For China Lodging Group, 8% to Ctrip represents a significant stake—all other public investors are expected to account for only another 15% of the company.  While some of Ctrip’s shares are newly issued, most of the shares are being sold by China Lodging Group’s venture investors:  Chengwei, CDH Ventures, IDG VC, Northern Light, and Pinpoint Capital.

After the sale to Ctrip and IPO, VCs will represent only 15.6% of the company.

China Lodging Group investment  just the latest in a series of strategic moves by Ctrip to dominate hotel distribution

This move is just the latest in Ctrip’s grand strategy to strengthen their already powerful position in

The Pros and Cons of Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea is arguably the most comprehensive study abroad program available to students today. The nonstop travel from country to country and constant exposure to new cultures is both daunting and exhilarating. Whether you’re already a seasoned traveler or have never ventured outside of the United States, this program is guaranteed to test your limits and leave you more competent and confident than you were before. That being said, the program certainly comes with its ups and downs, and I’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of Semester at Sea:


1. You get a little taste of everything. Unlike other study abroad programs which are usually stationed in one city, Semester at Sea gives you the chance to see over a dozen countries (15 countries, in the case of my Fall 2014 voyage). Upon my first look at the itinerary, I didn’t think four days in Barcelona or five in Havana, Cuba would be nearly enough. But as the voyage went on, I realized that these short visits were just right. I was able to get a feel for the local culture, experience the city and determine if it was a place I’d like to come back to someday.

2. Your

Mesmerizing Travel Destinations in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian major cities offer a range of holiday options in the form of shopping, adventure sports, beaches, mountains etc. Mecca and Medina are the pilgrimage centers visited by millions of pilgrims each year. Abha, Jeddah, Al Khobar and Riyadh are the most popular tourist as well as business destinations.

Abha is one of the favorite places to visit during summer time in Saudi Arabia. Abha city has chilled and pleasant climate which makes it a popular tourist location for the locals as well as the expats. Domestic Flights to Abha are available from Medina, Jeddah and Riyadh on a regular basis. The region has rich cultural heritage and has numerous historical places such as forts and other ancient locations. Taking a long drive from Khamis Mushait to Abha can be exciting as one gets to view and experience beautiful sceneries on the course. But, utmost care has to be taken while strolling on this highway as it consists of narrow bends.

Jeddah is the cultural as well as the business hub of Saudi Arabia. It is a global city that proudly boasts of ancient Islamic rituals and traditions. It has close proximity with Mecca and Medina. Masjid Al Haram in