Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Why You Need Hotel Travel Apps

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I love to travel. I find new places and new cultures exciting. But I don’t have an unlimited budget, and in order to feed my desire for adventure, I have to make my wallet stretch as much as possible. One of the ways I do this is by using travel apps, especially those that help me find a good hotel at a decent price. Read more…

Posted on July 29, 2013 at by dave

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Traveling to go diving: Diving destinations for international students

divingOne of the best things about studying abroad is the opportunity to travel to nearby cities and countries during school breaks. For international students who are also certified scuba divers, a semester abroad can be the perfect opportunity to visit new diving destinations you might otherwise never see. Here’s a list of great places to consider while you’re planning your side trips for the semester or school year.

Tulamben, Bali

Divers studying in Asia will enjoy a visit to the wreck of the USS Liberty, located near the coast of Tulamben. The Liberty was hit by a Japanese torpedo during World War II, after which it was towed to Bali and spent 42 years on the beach.

In 1963, the Gunung Agung Volcano erupted and pushed the wreck out to sea, where it sank into black sand just off the coast. This is a relatively easy dive and therefore good for beginners; keep an eye out for garden eels, large schools of fish and hammerhead sharks.

Surin Islands, Thailand

Divers flock to this island in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Thailand to pay a visit Richelieu Rock. This spot is famous for its whale sharks, and in fact this is one of the places in the world where you’ll be most likely to swim alongside the gentle shark species during a dive. You’ll also see other species of marine life, like dogtooth tuna.

Queensland, Australia

The Land Down Under is a popular destination for international students; likewise, the wreck of the SS Yongala is a popular destination for divers. The ship sank off the coast of Queensland in 1911 and was discovered in the ‘50s; dive here for the opportunity to check out the spooky ship and to see the rare bull sharks and manta rays that make their homes in the wreck today.

Travel considerations

You’ll have a lot of items to tick off your list before you leave for your time abroad. First, you have to decide if you’ll bring your own dive kit with you or if you’ll rent once you arrive. If you decide to pack your own diving supplies, weigh them before you leave for the airport to avoid—or at least be prepared for—excess weight baggage fees. On the other hand, if you decide to rent diving supplies upon your arrival, factor that fee into the overall cost of your trip when you’re still in the planning stages. And it goes without saying that it’s crucial to check to make sure the equipment you rent is safe and in good condition.

As far as other safety considerations go, it’s a good idea to pack a first-aid kit in your carry-on for emergencies. Always dive with a partner, and tell someone back on land where you’re going and when you’ll be back. And consider purchasing international student health insurance to ensure medical coverage should something go wrong during your dive—or at any other time during your semester or year abroad.

Depending on where you study, your semester abroad provides a rare opportunity to pursue your passions for diving and travel while also continuing to pursue your studies. Take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime experience by incorporating a dive trip or two into your international study experience. The above destinations are a great jumping-off point for the numerous possibilities open to you, so do your research and make your diving plans now.

Posted on July 22, 2013 at by Guest Author

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Mobile Learning of Foreign Language

Mobile learning with gadgets was totally unheard of during earlier times. One either has to go to the classroom or study through correspondence. This entailed having to stay put in a particular place to be able to complete education. Transferring from one place to another made it impossible to attend and finish classes in one school. Even short-term courses were impossible to finish when students had to be largely mobile due to work and other obligations.

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The Advent of Mobile Gadgets

With the coming of the computer age, a lot of things have changed specifically in the way of life of humans including education. First, computers made it possible to study at home without having to be physically present in school campuses. Then the laptops which were obviously more portable  came. From then on up to now with the smaller gadgets like the tablets and smartphones being used for learning purposes, learning definitely became more accessible and convenient.

Mobile Learning Everywhere

Mobile learning is seen everywhere. Almost every student has some sort of gadget at hand which can be conveniently opened wherever it is seen fit. Working people and frequent travelers are not very far behind.

Language Learning

When a person is interested to learn a language , he or she traditionally gets it by enrolling in a language school. Thai classes will provide learning for Thai language, German classes will provide learning for the German language, and so on.

Although face-to-face classes are still considered the best option for language learning, online support also plays an important role. Mobile gadgets such as laptops and smartphones have made it possible to continuously learn while on the go.

Advantages of Mobile Learning

Mobile learning  usually makes use of modules divided into phases. The idea in mobile study  is that it is done according to the preferred phase of the student. It is no different in learning foreign languages.

The most common potential seen by students for foreign language study through this proposition is that the learning procedure is a lot more convenient. Separate modules are taken in a pre-arranged schedule. While absorbing the foreign language through actual use, students are given the opportunity to review and confirm certain points in online study.

Foreign languages can now be learned online with a lot of help from gadgets and language schools that offer them in such platform. Mobile learning can even happen en-route to the chosen place of travel. In this time and age, there is nothing that should prevent people from learning.

Posted on July 19, 2013 at by Teresa Martinez

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Best Places to go Backpacking Before Studying Abroad

Have you always wanted to go backpacking in another country, but couldn’t decide on the right time to go? Consider taking the backpacking trip you’ve always dreamed of before you spend a semester studying abroad.

Yes, you could postpone your backpacking trip, but what if other plans get in the way while studying abroad? While you may not regret those choices, you may regret not being able to go backpacking while you had the chance. With that in mind, here are some of the best places to go on a backpacking adventure.

Mexico

Mexico is an ideal destination for students with a tight budget. Choose from dozens of hostels to spend the night in, or camp out on one of the many remote beaches to truly get in touch with nature. If you need a break from walking, take advantage of Mexico’s affordable bus transportation system.

Visit Chiapas to learn about Mexico’s rich history – ruins, temples and shrines can be found throughout the area. Backpackers in Mexico can experience both the popular tourist attractions, like beaches and city landmarks, and the local gems that make the country so unique.

New Zealand

Backpackers who want to experience nature’s beauty will find it in New Zealand. With trails that snake into towns, cities and wilderness, you’ll always find adventure. Since New Zealand is such a small country, traveling is a breeze – rental cars, bus systems and domestic flights are all affordable options.

New Zealand has no shortage of activities to do and places to see. Hike through one of thousands of trails, or test your endurance by trekking one of the Great Walks, which can take two to four days to complete. Sporty types can partake in the area’s many athletic opportunities, including biking, kayaking and skiing. Tolkien fans can visit Middle Earth – or, at least where the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed.

Vietnam

Backpackers experience a diverse culture and landscape when traveling in Vietnam. It’s the perfect place for those who want to experience everything – mountains, cities, fishing villages and beaches are a few locations Vietnam offers. Travel in Vietnam is inexpensive.

No trip through Vietnam would be complete without visiting Ha Long Bay. Referred to by the Vietnamese as the “Bay of Descending Dragons,” the bay is comprised of around 3,000 limestone islands. For a view of city life, trek through the capital city of Hanoi, where you’ll find a mix of ancient temples, wartime museums and bustling markets.

Before you go

It sounds romantic to hop on the plane with nothing but the clothes on your back and the change in your pocket and go where the wind takes you, but being a bit more practical will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

If you haven’t already started the process, apply for a passport at least two months before your trip, since processing can take a while. Make copies of your passport and itinerary for your family, and protect yourself with a student health insurance policy in case of an emergency. Pack the essentials – weather-appropriate clothes, first aid kit, map/compass – or smartphone/charger, sunscreen and food and water.

Don’t let finances or fear of the unknown keep you from experiencing an overseas backpacking adventure. If you plan ahead and are determined enough, you’ll be able to see what these historical places have to offer. Perhaps this adventure will make next semester’s foreign studies class that much easier.

Posted on July 17, 2013 at by Guest Author

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International travel: Tips for the solo female adventurer

You might find yourself traveling solo for any number of reasons — for a business trip, to visit relatives, to study or just because you don’t want to be fettered by someone else’s finances and fickleness. Whatever your reason, solo international travel can be a wonderful adventure as long as you plan ahead and stay safe.

Getting ready to go

Regardless of where you go, your first step is to check for travel warnings; change your plans if they take you close to social or political turmoil.

If you’re traveling solo, it’s up to you to stay busy and interested. Plan, plan, plan! Creating an itinerary for at least your first couple days can help you avoid moments of indecision. Plus, if you know what you’re going to do, you can go about it more confidently, making you look less like a tourist.

Book a place to stay for at least that first night before you leave so you don’t have to deal with that hassle while you’re fighting jetlag. Also before you leave, collect all your travel and reservation documents — passport, airplane tickets and itinerary, hotel and car rental confirmations and proof of insurance (you did get international medical insurance, right?). Most of these go in your carry-on luggage, but you should keep your passport, proof of insurance and other ID with you at all times and put copies of everything important in your checked luggage.

Getting around in the world

Just because you’re traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be by yourself all the time. You can befriend fellow travelers along the way by staying in hostels and by joining group tours. Not only is there safety in numbers, but you can start your list of international pen pals as you make new friends in exotic places.

Avoid traveling alone at night, even if you’re using public transportation. Getting a taxi can be safer, but climb into a cab only if it bears the official markings of a business. If you’re traveling by train, don’t sleep in an empty compartment.  Find a family or a small group of travelers and ask to stay with them.

Stay safe out there

The best safety advice for a woman traveling alone is simply to keep your wits about you. Pay attention to what’s going on around you and trust your instincts. Follow these guidelines as you go about your daily travels:

  • Walk with purpose and resolve. Criminals prey on the weak and vulnerable, so walk as if you’re comfortable in the environment and you know exactly where you’re going.
  • Don’t look like a tourist. Take fashion cues from the women around you and try to match their style.
  • Leave your bling at home. If looking like a tourist is bad, looking like a rich tourist is doubly so.
  • Keep important documents with you. This includes your ID, passport and proof of insurance.
  • Wear a wedding band, even if you aren’t married. Yes, wearing a fake wedding ring is un-feminist, but implying that your husband is waiting for you can help you sidestep uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations.
  • Don’t drink to excess. If you’re falling-down drunk, not only are you an easy target for ne’er-do-wells, but your inhibitions drop, as does your ability to make rational decisions.

If something bad happens, make a fuss. Go nuts! Yell, scream, hop around, throw things — anything that draws others’ attention to you will discourage would-be villains from continuing with their nefarious schemes.

Yes, safety is a big issue when you’re a woman traveling alone, but that shouldn’t discourage you from your adventure. A little planning, a dash of preparation and a heap of common sense can see you through some of the most amazing travels of your life. Who knows, you may enjoy solo international travel enough that you make a living out of it the way travelers like Runaway Jane, Solo Female Nomad and Adventurous Kate have!

Posted on July 10, 2013 at by Guest Author

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