Thursday, 6 December 2012

ISTD Initial Content Research.


"Backpacking is low-budget, independent, see-the-world, off-the-beaten-track travelling. Averse to lugging luggage and to the bland, packaged nature of the commercial tour, backpackers prize the mobility that their packs give them, and would never trade their pack for a suitcase, no matter how many wheels it had."

Backpacking is a subculture of generally youthful travellers exploring the planet on a limited budget. They refer to themselves as backpackers because they can be roughly defined as travellers that travel with a rucksack (a large backpack) instead of a suitcase. They may go hiking and camping, backpacking in the other sense, but they more often explore more urban settings. United in having slim wallets as well as a passion for the exotic, they seek out low-cost options such as sharing lifts, standby flights (or if the backpacking trip is circumglobal, a relatively cheap round-the-world air ticket which permits numerous stops), youth hostels, free hospitality services and buying food at supermarkets abroad instead of going to restaurants. They often collect in beautiful places with low costs of living such as Goa (India), Essaouira (Morocco), or Thailand.


The Inter Rail pass allows any person who has been living in Europe or any of Russia, Byelorussia, Ukraine, Moldova, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia or Turkey for at least six months, to travel throughout Europe by train. Eurail offers a similar pass for visitors from outside Europe, which is more limited in scope but also offers the option of first class travel.

"Interrailing" is less popular in these days of discount airlines and various affordable air passes, but it remains a uniquely flexible way to travel - you can literally arrive at a city, decide you don't like the look of it, and zoom off on the next train out. This makes it a great way to get a feel for a large region, especially when heading out into the countryside. Do not, however, fall into the trap of traveling so continuously that all you see is a blur of railway stations; it's always best to spend a minimum of three nights per destination so you can settle down a bit. Inter Rail is a great deal in countries where rail travel would otherwise be expensive, eg. Germany, Switzerland or Scandinavia. It's a poorer investment in Eastern Europe, where individual train tickets are generally cheaper. Do note that, if you're going to stick to a tightly defined geographical region, there will often be local passes available that may be more affordable than Inter Rail.

Europe is for the purpose of Inter Rail portioned into eight zones:
A: Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland
B: Sweden, Norway, Finland
C: Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria
D: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina
E: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg
F: Spain, Portugal, Morocco
G: Italy, Slovenia, Greece, Turkey and the Ancona-Bari/Igoumenitsa-Patras ferries between Italy and Greece
H: Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

City Breaks


Safari means ‘journey’ in Swahili, and every moment you spend with African soil beneath your feet will forever be a precious memory of your journey of self-discovery. Africa is not just a place, it’s an experience.

It's raw, pure and inspiring, a plethora of landscapes filled with the treasures of the earth, be it the shocking pink swathe of a thousand flamingos, the immense burnt orange Sossusvlei dunes or the lush green wetlands of the Okavango Delta. Africa must be seen and experienced to be truly understood.
Whether this is your first time treading the wilds of Africa, or you fell in love many visits ago, we can provide an experience that will stay with you forever. Young or old, single or with family, Africa safari holidays can be tailor made to be an awe-inspiring experience for all travellers.

Rather than choosing your destination first, it can be useful to consider the type of safari that you want. There are a number of factors to take into account, with budget often a solid starting point. But it’s also good to have an idea of how you plan to travel around, if you like the thought of staying in tented camps or traditional lodges, and whether you’re happy to join an organised group safari or would prefer to tailor-make your own.

Ski Holidays

5 Top Tips:

  • As a beginner, don't try to organise a ski holiday yourself - you won't have a clue what kind of accommodation to book. It's much better to put yourself into the hands of a specialist tour operator, and buy a travel and accommodation package. The tour operators also have reps on hand in the resort to help you through the confusion of the first two or three days.
  • Stay in a catered chalet if you can. Catered chalets are mountain houses or apartments offering guest bedrooms and communal dining, laid on by the tour operator's staff. The atmosphere is usually bright and sociable, and you can pick up lots of advice from the staff and your fellow guests.
  • Always, always get professional ski tuition if you are a beginner. Never let your friends teach you. Before long they'll get bored and drag you down something terrifying.
  • When thinking about beginners skiing tuition, do an internet search to see if there is a British ski school in your resort (of course, not necessary in North America). Book it separately from the rest of your holiday if you find one.
  • Buy as little as you can for your first ski trip. These days you can even rent your ski clothing.

When to go:

Very roughly, the ski season in the northern hemisphere runs from the end of November until the end of April. The busiest and most expensive times are over New Year, during February half-term and over Easter. All things considered, January is the best time for skiing beginners. It's cheap, the slopes are quiet and the snow should be in good shape.

What equipment to take:

Almost everything you need for your first ski trip can be hired - boots and skis or a snowboard are available in the resort whilst you can hire clothing in the UK or alternatively borrow some from a friend. However there are some essentials that you will need to buy before leaving the UK such as:
  • Goggles - so you can see in heavy snowfall
  • Gloves
  • A woolly hat or a helmet for snowboarding
  • Swimwear - Jacuzzis are the best way to relax tired muscles after a day on the slopes.
  • Socks, jumpers and fleeces in case the temperature drops.

Holiday Parks

UK holidays, weekend breaks and short breaks from Center Parcs, we operate four Holiday Villages in the UK; each is set in a forest environment, providing high quality holiday accommodation in fully equipped villas, apartments and holiday lodges. Each Village offers an extensive range of sports and leisure activities plus numerous restaurants, bars and retail outlets and superb Aqua Sana Spa facilities. Whether you are looking for a family holiday, activity holiday, short break, weekend break or even a spa break, Center Parcs has all the essential elements to make the perfect UK holiday.

Center Parcs has over 200 indoor and outdoor activities, from free activities such as the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, to paid for activities such as Badminton, Tennis, Paintballing, Windsurfing, Canoeing and much much more. Once you have booked your break, you will be able to book your activities online.

Billy Butlin opened his first resort in 1936. Right from the start, his aim was to bring a little colour and happiness into the lives of hardworking families. Billy’s principles for the perfect holiday were as straightforward and down-to-earth as the man himself. And to this day, while a lot has changed, we still believe in his mission to delight.


Camping is an outdoor recreational activity. The participants (known as campers) leave urban areas, their home region, or civilization and enjoy nature while spending one or several nights outdoors, usually at a campsite. Camping may involve the use of a tent, caravan, motorhome, cabin, a primitive structure, or no shelter at all. In many parts of the world, camping refers exclusively to the use of tents or similar portable structures. Camping as a recreational activity became popular in the early 20th century. Campers frequent national or state parks, other publicly owned natural areas, and privately owned campgrounds. Camping is a key part of many youth organizations around the world, such as scouting. It is used to teach self-reliance and teamwork. Camping is also used as an inexpensive form of accommodation for people attending large open air events such as sporting meetings and music festivals. Organizers often provide a field and other basic amenities.

Carry on glamping: Europe's poshest, coolest camping experiences Yurts, tipis, eco-pods, retro and gypsy caravans – there are now dozens of ways to enjoy the great outdoors without forgoing little luxuries like beds.

Belrepayre is a retro-style campsite situated near Mirepoix in the Pyrenees. Bring your own caravan (only vintage or Airstream models allowed) or tent. If you rock up in a vintage car (anything with 30 years on it), you'll get a 10% discount. Alternatively you can hire one of nine vintage Airstreams on site – from the Melody Maker, dedicated to 70s rock with record player, records and tapes, to the 1953 Silver Streak Clipper, decked out with 50s kitchenware and beautiful multicoloured curtains. There is a general store with fresh local produce and – apple of the owner's eye – the Apollo Lounge, an idiosyncratic Airstream diner. There are outdoor cinema sessions, yoga, table tennis and badminton facilities and retro disco nights. You can relax in the cedar wood hot tub or the Mongolian yurt, or discover the countryside and farmers' markets. You're not given directions until you've confirmed your reservation – this ensures that the park remains a well-kept secret.

Package Holidays

Several years ago booking a holiday could sometimes be a very stressful task. This is because you would have had to have booked the flights and accommodation plus sort out things such as vehicle hire and travel insurance. Trying to organise everything at the same time and getting everything done in time will have no doubt put a bit of a burden on the holiday before it had even begun. However, thanks to the invention of package holidays, booking a trip couldn’t be easier. So many companies now offer package holidays and they can range from simply just flights and accommodation to packages that include absolutely everything you will need for your holiday.

It’s hardly surprising that so many people opt for package holidays now rather than booking everything yourself. If you are booking everything separately then it is very easy not to realise how much your holiday is actually costing you. By the time you have added everything up you are more than likely going to find that you have actually spent a lot more than what you had planned. However, with package holidays you have the price right in front of you as well as a description of everything that the price includes.

Booking everything that you need for a holiday can be very stressful and time consuming. For example, once you have booked the flights you need to try and find a hotel that has availability at the same time and then you need to find things such as car rental as well. Getting all these things coordinated together can be very difficult especially if you are planning on going away during the peak season. Package holidays come with all these things included so all you have to do is select the holiday that you want and everything else is done for you. If you have decided to go on a completely different holiday to what you are used to then package holidays may be the safest option.

If you have never been somewhere before and don’t know the best places to go and stay around the area you could end up somewhere horrible. However, with package holidays you can feel confident that the company you are booking your holiday with know all the good and bad places to go to.

Charity Work Abroad

If you’re looking for a new challenge, look into volunteering opportunities abroad. Voluntary work will change your life – not only is it a great way to see the world, but you’ll also make a bunch of amazing new friends whilst helping out on projects that mean everything to local people. Plus, charity work abroad looks great on your CV and potential employers will be impressed by the fact you’ve lived and worked in another country. If you’re worried about the cost, don’t be - our volunteer projects start from as little as £35 per week, including accommodation.

Do you enjoy travelling?  Are you an animal lover?  Why not travel the world and work with animals?  From South Africa to Guatemala, there is plenty of choice available to you as a volunteer. Relaxation and exploration is what awaits you when volunteering in Guatemala. Beautiful exotic parrots, delicate fluttering butterflies, tiny sea turtle hatchlings and cute howler monkeys are just a few of the animals you can expect to see and help look after. From general day-to-day care, rescuing and releasing hatchlings, repairing cages, monitoring habitats to environmental conservation, you will never be lost for things to do in the stunning place of Guatemala. Voluntary work abroad with animals is such a unique and satisfying experience, where you feel accomplishment for the things you do to help. Many of the animals cannot fend for themselves and volunteers are welcomed with open arms in order to help the animals adjust and to care for their safety and wellbeing.

Do you want to experience new things in a different country? Why not consider doing voluntary work abroad? Volunteering with children is a rewarding and satisfying experience. Helping underprivileged children can really make you feel warm inside as you see the smiles on their faces. Most of the children in the volunteering placements throughout Africa, The Americas and Asia do not get the love and support they need. Volunteers help with this and can really make a huge difference in children's lives now and have a positive effect on their futures. You really won't want to leave and will continue to want to do more and more throughout your stay. Always full of fun and something to really get stuck into, working with children will keep you busy and leave you feeling happy and content in return.

Clubbing Holidays

Ibiza has long been top of the list when it comes to clubbing holidays. The ultimate nightlife destination, Ibiza holidays are synonymous with clubs, beach parties, drinking and hedonism in general. For clubbers, sleep is a rare commodity, but the glorious beaches are the best place to get your head down for a couple of hours before heading out again. Entry prices to Ibiza clubs are not cheap, but for avid clubbers, it's money well spent. What's great about Ibiza is that despite its reputation, there's actually far more to enjoy than the clubs. It boasts some of the most gorgeous beaches in the Mediterranean, and if you're savvy enough to book car hire in Ibiza you can spend some time beach hopping between nights out. Club wise, there's a handful of Ibiza clubs you simply can't miss. Our must-do list includes Space, Pacha, Amnesia, Il Divino and Manumission, and for the best beach party head to Bora Bora Beach and its famously eponymous beach club, where the party starts at 4pm sharp every day and continues into the small hours.

Magaluf is not shy about its reputation as a hedonistic party goers' paradise. Its monster clubs, laser shows, world famous DJs foam parties and drinks promotions keep serious clubbers flocking in year after year. Undoubtedly one of Europe's greatest clubbing destinations, Magaluf's main clubs are the mighty BCM and the MCP clubs, Bananas, Buffalo Girls, Boomerang, Honey's and Tokio Joe's. Clubbing holidays in Magaluf guarantee the ultimate party experience. In the centre of Magaluf, BCM Planet Dance is one of Europe's biggest clubs and attracts the biggest names in trance and dance music. A Magaluf clubbing holiday wouldn’t be complete without at least one visit here. If you're serious about clubbing in Magaluf, it might be worth buying the MCP - the Magaluf Club Pass - giving you entry to Magaluf's top five clubs.

A European clubbing destination to rival Ibiza, Ayia Napa is great for quality clubs and fantastic sandy beaches to recover on. Originally a small fishing village, Ayia Napa has become famous for its nightlife, which plays out in hundreds of bars and clubs. The Square should be your first stop for Ayia Napa nightlife. For a relatively small area, there's a LOT packed into it, including plenty of places to drink and dance. The Square's hotspots are The Castle Club, Bedrock and Ice, each providing a unique experience with their variety of themes and, of course, music. Ayia Napa clubs are open until dawn, so people don't tend to go out until around 11pm, and it doesn't get really busy until gone midnight, with clubs opening at around 1am. Drinks and club entry prices are high, but nowhere near as high as in Ibiza, so if you're on a budget, an Ayia Napa clubbing holiday might be the way forward.

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