Friday, December 31, 2010

Win a Trip to Norway!

UK residents are eligible to win an 'Arctic Highlights' Hurtigruten voyage in Norway!

You can enter here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Top 5 Local Drinks You Have to Try

Everyone knows that in Mexico you drink tequila, in Japan you drink sake, in Greece you drink ouzo, and in Ireland you drink Guinness. But there are other, really interesting drinks that you'll only find in certain places all over the world. Here's our global pub crawl, and top five local drinks you have to try:

Palm Wine (Nigeria)
Made famous by the Fela Kuti song, palm wine (or palm toddy) is made from the sap of various palm trees, which is then fermented. It tastes light and sweet, more like a weak cider (4%) than a wine.

Feni (India)
Popular at trance parties in Goa, feni is a liquor distilled from cashews or coconuts, sometimes with lime or lemon infused. It's a strong drink (42%), with a powerful aroma. Be careful to buy it somewhere reputable.

Lao-Lao (Laos)
This Laotian rice whisky is often called Snake Whiskey or Scorpion Whiskey, depending on which creepy-crawly is inserted into the bottles sold to tourists. It's strong (40-45%), but has a mild vanilla-like flavour that mixes well with fruit juice.

Cachaça (Brazil)
The most popular drink in Brazil, which consumes over 1.5 billion litres annually. Distilled from fermented sugarcane, it has a rum-like flavour and a strong kick (up to 54%). It's most popular as a traditional part of the famous caipirinha cocktail.

Palinka (Hungary)
A traditional Hungarian brandy, Palinka is made from a variety of fruits including plums, pears, apricots, apples, and cherries. The strength varies from 40-80%. Locals say it is best drunk as a shot at a temperature warm enough to smell the fruit.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Food Replica of Boston


Check out this creative chef's miniature replica of Boston landmarks, built entirely out of food:

Tiny Urban Kitchen is more of a cooking blog, but I love the creativity in the food replicas of various flags from around the world as well:
Can you identify all the countries?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Win a stay at Kapama Game Reserve!


Okay South Africans, this one is for you:

Amarula is giving away a 3-night stay at the Kapama Game Reserve near Hoedspruit. All you have to do is send them a picture of your best sunset!

For more info or to enter, visit their website.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Top 5 Crazy Hotels in Sweden

I'll admit, this post was going to be worldwide, because there are crazy places everywhere. But as I researched all the wild and wacky accommodation options, I kept seeing Sweden pop up again and again. So in tribute to those crazy Swedes and the odd things they like to sleep in, here are five crazy hotels in Sweden:

There are many copycats, but Sweden’s Ice Hotel is the original. Snuggle up at -5 degrees in sleek, minimalist rooms made completely of ice. They also offer Northern Lights bus trips, ice sculpture carving classes, and weddings.


The rooms at the Tree Hotel aren’t your childhood treehouses. Each unique, they look like bird’s nests, lego houses, mirrored cubes, UFOs, and more. The only things they all have in common is that they’re perched high above the ground in the trees.


Utter Inn
This hotel lets guests sleep underwater after being left in the middle of Lake Malaren. An inflatable canoe is provided for visits to the nearest (uninhabited) island.


For the half of the world (including me) that can’t manage to sleep on flights, Jumbo Stay lets you snooze on a plane anyway. There are 27 rooms and suites including the luxury converted cockpit, and a cafe.


If isolation is what you’re after, then a hotel room 500 feet underground is perfect! The Sala Silvermine Underground Suite combines lavish banquets and furnishings with the stark rock walls of the underground cave its situated in.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Truth About Shark Attacks

Resorts in the Red Sea were recently 'terrorised' by a spate of shark attacks, so once again there's a lot of misinformation going around about how sharks attack. The Mother Nature Network put together this informative (and funny) infograph to dispel the myths:


Friday, December 17, 2010

Win a Trip to Miami!

Captain Morgan is giving away a trip for four to Miami, all you need to do to enter is send in a picture of your best 'Captain Pose'.

You can read more and enter here.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top 5 Cities for New Year’s Eve Parties

For many people, the New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City are the beginning and end of the story. But there are a number of cities around the world that give the Big Apple a run for her money when ringing in the new year. Here are some of our favourite New Year's Eve parties worldwide:

Brazilians know how to party, and Rio's New Year (Reveillon) celebrations are ranked among the world's biggest extravaganzas. Over two million people head to Copacabana Beach, where revellers in white throw flowers into the sea to mark the passing of the year. There are massive fireworks displays, music concerts, dancing and parties everywhere you look.

Goa’s beachfront trance parties are somewhat legendary in the worldwide party community. Dancers with a lot of stamina groove to psychedelic music under the stars, and may catch a glimpse of famous Bollywood stars as well. Try a glass a fenny, an alcoholic drink made from guava, coconut or cashew nuts.

Prague's Christmas celebrations continue full-tilt into the new year, with Christmas markets in Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square serving up hot food and drinks. You can choose between the elegant New Year's Eve gala ball at the Prague State Opera, or the more rowdy parties in any of the city's bars and pubs. Don't forget to watch the spectacular fireworks displays from Charles Bridge.

Known to some as the 'party capital of the north', Reykjavik really lets loose on New Year's Eve. Icelandic fireworks laws are relaxed for a few days, meaning anyone can set off their own display and the skies are constantly lit up with bright-coloured light flowers, against a backdrop of the spectacular Northern Lights. Other than that, you may encounter friendly bonfires where stories are told, songs are sung, and drinks are shared.

Thousands of minstrels take to the streets in a dazzling display of colourful satin uniforms, shiny parasols, painted faces and foot-tapping banjo tunes that accompany the traditional Cape Malay folk songs. The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival begins in the new year and the festivities continue into January with extravagant street parades; singing, dancing, costume competitions and marches through the streets from the central city area of District Six.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Earth Photography

Word Travels is all about info, but if it's just travel porn you're after, then the images at Earth Photography will satisfy you. One of my favourite travel photo sites, it's nothing but galleries of beautiful pictures that make you want to get out there and see the world for yourself! This great image was taken in Lisbon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Word Travels Forum Round-Up #06

Time for our Monday round-up! Here are the most active topics on the Word Travels Forum right now:





Remember that anyone can take advantage of our forum to ask your travel-related questions! We have local experts in hundreds of destinations worldwide that are ready to help you!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Win a Trip to Geneva!


Speaking of Christmas markets, London City Airport is giving away four pairs of tickets to Geneva, Switzerland!

Geneva has a fantastic market well worth visiting... you can enter here, and you'd better do it soon!

Top 5 Travel Christmas Gift Ideas

Does Santa need a little help this year? Here are our favourite Christmas gift ideas for travellers:

Balanzza Digital Luggage Scale: There’s nothing worse than getting to the airport and discovering that your bag is several kilos overweight; you’re left rummaging through your luggage, wondering what you can possibly leave behind or lug with you on the plane. (I once spent a nine-hour flight with a queen-sized quilt clutched to my chest!) A luggage scale is a handy tool for frequent travellers, as it takes all the guesswork (and balancing on bathroom scales) out of packing.

Lifeventure Shampoo Leaves: With shampoo permanently on the no-fly list, there’s no way for sophisticated travellers to freshen up without digging through their checked bags. And there’s nothing worse than having a bottle explode all over your clothes and shoes! These shampoo leaves are perfect for those quick trips, and also for hiking and camping as they’re completely biodegradable. Makes a wonderful stocking stuffer!

Eurail Youth Pass: This is the perfect gift for all those graduates taking a gap year or summer vacation through Europe. The pass is available for anyone under 26, and allows them to wander through all 23 countries Eurail travels to. There are several options to choose from, depending on the length of the trip.

PicTranslator App: I know we talked about iPhone apps a few weeks ago, but this one deserves a mention. PicTranslator allows you to snap pictures of street signs, subway maps, menus and newspapers in foreign languages for instant translation in over 15 languages. Sure, you can’t wrap it up, but your iPhone-tourist friend or family member will love you for it.

Blankid: For well-travelled kids, this carryall/blanket is the ultimate in double-duty travel gear. It starts out as a backpack with removable pouched and unzips to become a soft blanket with a plush animal attached—perfect for naptime on the go!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Top 5 Countries You've Never Heard Of (But Should Visit)

Working at Word Travels, you have the privilege of discovering corners of the globe you never knew existed. Since I started here I've added many destinations to my bucket list, including the Plain of Jars in Laos, the Avenue of Baobabs in Madagascar, and the huge caverns of champagne at Epernay in France.

But I didn't expect to find entire countries that were completely new to me! Here are five countries you're never heard of from around the world:


Bonaire
Meaning 'good air' in French, Bonaire is nestled in deep in the Caribbean. With a perfectly consistent tropical temperature, which is moderated by Atlantic trade winds, Bonaire is the ideal playground for lovers of all things aquatic. From scuba diving, snorkelling and fishing to sea kayaking, wind surfing and kite boarding, this little slice of tropical paradise will provide beautiful memories to be relived for years.


Bhutan
A tiny country in the Himalayas guided by a policy called Gross National Happiness, Bhutan is at times a wonderfully strange place: the walls of many buildings are emblazoned with drawings of giant penises - an invocation of good luck and fertility. All new structures must follow the ancient style and people are obliged by law to wear traditional dress in public. Monks have broadband access, and cigarette sales are illegal. And, uniquely, 70 percent of the land is owned by women as inheritance is matrilineal.


Kiribati
Kiribati (pronounced Kiribas) may be a tiny nation in the central tropical Pacific Ocean, but its 33 atolls, mostly surrounding turquoise lagoons and barely rising above the surrounding ocean, span a whopping 1.4 million square miles (3.5 million sq km) of the Pacific Ocean. Many people come here to sunbathe on one of the countless sandy white beaches, sip on an exotic cocktail and watch other beach goers partake in volleyball, surfing, kayaking and jet skiing.


Andorra
Most famous as a tax haven sandwiched between Spain and France, the tiny independent Principality of Andorra has some of the best skiing in the world. If skiing is not for you, however, Andorra also offers plenty of hiking opportunities, horse riding, golfing, relaxing in some fine restaurants and cafes, and of course some excellent duty-free shopping.


Curaçao
Curaçao is an ideal holiday destination for underwater lovers, as the excellent visibility, warm water, active reef conservation and variety of dive and snorkelling sites ranks the island among the best dive locations in the Caribbean. On land there are also several interesting sites to visit, including the 'living' Hato Caves where centuries-old stalagmites and stalactites are still being formed; the protected wildlife preserve of Christoffel Park with bent divi divi trees and blue iguanas; and the dramatic limestone caverns within Shete Boka National Park.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Snakes on a Plane... really.


According to news sources, a passenger was arrested in Abu Dhabi carrying a bag filled with snakes and other animals. Authorities have been unable to explain how the man was able to smuggle the animals onto a flight from Indonesia. The bag contained four pythons, two parrots and a squirrel.

Samuel L. Jackson was unavailable for comment.

Read the full story here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Where I've Been


Part website and part Facebook app, Where I've Been is a way for avid travellers to keep track of all the places they've been... and show off to their friends, of course!

You can customise your map with all the places you've visited and lived, and also mark the places you'd still like to visit. Who knows? Maybe you'll discover that you and your best friend secretly both want to visit Cyprus and start planning that trip!

Find out more about Where I've Been here.

Word Travels Forum Round-Up #05


It's our Monday Forum Round-Up, so here are the hottest topics for the week:




Not the info you're looking for? Ask our local experts yourself on the forum!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Win a Trip to South Africa!

It's Free Stuff Friday, and this week we're going wild!

Maybe you missed the World Cup, but you can still see South Africa! South African Airways is giving away two round-trip tickets from the US to SA via their Facebook page.

Enter now and there may be elephants in your mirror in the near future...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Salvador da Bahia


As the Northern Hemisphere is pounded with snow and ice and the mercury dips ridiculously low, you can't help but dream of a tropical getaway. .. and the only thing wrong with the excellent beaches in Salvador da Bahia is that visitors are spoilt for choice. The range extends from calm coves (ideal for swimming, sailing and underwater fishing, such as Porto da Barra beach) to wild beaches facing the Atlantic Ocean, such as Aleluia beach, which attracts surfers. Some beaches are surrounded by coral reefs, forming natural swimming pools that are ideal for children. The beaches are the location for many of Salvador's great festivals, including the New Year festivities, which include performances and an impressive fireworks display.

The spicy atmosphere of this delightfully decadent city in Brazil is best soaked up on foot, within the narrow streets and in the markets, the best of which is the Mercado Modelo arts and crafts market. Most churches are open to the public and many have been turned into museums. One of the city's more unusual experiences is to ride the Elevador Lacerda, an Art Deco structure housing old electric elevators that carry passengers between the port and the old historic part of the town, on the hill.

Read more about Salvador here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Top 5 Christmas Markets

It's the holiday season, and we've taken a look at the best Christmas markets from around the world! Here are our favourites:

USA: Bryant Park Holiday Market (New York City)

This pretty park in New York City is bound to put you in the holiday mood. Situated around a large ice skating rink, there are lots of activities for kids including magicians, carriage rides, a reading area and carousel. A 50-foot Christmas tree lit by 30,000 lights adds to the holiday spirit. The market is open 11am-8pm Monday to Friday, 10am-9pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday through January 2nd.

Germany: Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt

Though Germany is famous for its abundance of Christmas markets, the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt has accumulated over 400 years of experience and now draws visitors from all over the globe. The Old Town is saturated in Christmas spirit with lights and decorations, and the scent of mulled wine and gingerbread fills the air. The children’s area even features a steam-powered merry-go-round! The market runs 9:30am-8pm Monday to Thursday, 9:30am-10pm Friday and Saturday, and 10:30am-8pm Sunday through December 24th.

Czech Republic: Prague Christmas Markets

It’s hard to choose just one Christmas market in Prague, as the city boasts four festive areas within walking distance of each other! The markets at Old Town Square, Wenceslas Square, Havelske Trziste and Namesti Republiky offer life-sized nativities, carol singing, children’s entertainment and hot food and drinks to warm you as you browse the stalls! The markets run daily throughout December.

South Africa: Adderley Street Night Market (Cape Town)

Cape Town’s famous flower market in the heart of the downtown area blooms with holiday cheer with the addition of hundreds of stalls filled with gifts and goodies of all kinds. The Adderley Street Night Market has entertainment for the whole family including magicians, face painters, trapeze artists and live music. The market is open from 6:30-11:30pm December 17th through 30th.

France: Noel a Lille

One of France’s most popular holiday markets, the Noel a Lille draws nearly a million people every year due to Lille's location on the Eurostar rail line. Along with the sumptuous decorations (including an 18 metre Christmas tree) and the sound of Christmas carols, the market boasts a 50 metre ferris wheel where you can get the best views of the city. The market is open 11am-8pm Sunday to Thursday, and 11am-9pm Friday and Saturday through December 30th.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Joburg Events Guide


If you find yourself in Johannesburg and don't know what to do, then don't despair! This great site has the best collection of event listings for the city, along with articles and reviews to give you an insider's look at South Africa's busiest city!

Visit Joburg Live to check it out!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Word Travels Forum Round-Up #04

Here are the most popular topics on the Word Travels Forum right now:





Not what you need to know? Remember, you can search the forum for posts related to your question, or post it yourself for our experts to answer!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Win a Trip to Tokyo!

Here's one for the Aussies:

To celebrate the release of the animated film Megamind, you can win a trip for a family of four to Tokyo! The 5-day, 4-night trip includes flights to Japan, accommodation, spending money, tours, and superhero training.

You can enter here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Highs and Lows of Marijuana in Amsterdam

Want the low-down on drugs in Amsterdam? We've got it.

In what can only be described as a major buzzkill, Dutch lawmakers have introduced a plan to bar foreigners from the famous (or infamous) Amsterdam ‘coffee shops’ where marijuana is openly sold.

At present, the coffee shops are allowed to sell up to 5 grams of marijuana to people over the age of 18. It is still technically illegal to possess marijuana, but the punishment for holding up to 30 grams is usually fairly light. Smoking in public is generally tolerated, but most visitors still prefer to smoke within the coffee shops. What isn’t tolerated is the use of hard drugs like cocaine or ecstacy.

Cannabis has been a major tourist draw for Amsterdam for years, with foreigners flocking in for wild weekends and pot pilgrimages. A number of tour companies even offer holiday packages that include visits to coffee shops and tours of the Red Light District. While officials have no plan to shut the venues down, their proposal would ban them from serving foreigners. There are reports that the city has started to close several coffee shops in the Red Light District, however.

Locals who make their living from selling weed to tourists are understandably upset by the proposed regulations. Pot is big business in the Netherlands, with an estimated 40,000 marijuana farms in the country. Today also marks the final day of the Amsterdam Cannabis Cup, putting all the newest and best innovations in the cannabis industry on show.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Kefalonia

Kefalonia (also spelt Cephalonia), named after a Greek hero from around the 5th century BC, lies in the centre of the Ionian Sea, 53 nautical miles from Patras. This is one of the most enchanting of the Greek islands, which accounts for its having become one of the most sought after by holidaymakers. Hundreds of visitors descend on the island year round, avid for the quiet, windless beaches, many at the base of steep cliffs that plunge into the sea, or to explore the verdant mountainsides clad in shadowy forests.

Read more about Kefalonia on Word Travels!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Out-of-This-World Holiday Reviews


We love reviews, in fact we set up our own travel review website, Trip Report. It's invaluable to read about others' experiences before you head out to the unknown, and many of us have been saved a headache or two!

But when I saw these hilarious reviews of Area 51 on Google Maps, I couldn't stop laughing... maybe they won't help me, but any interstellar traveller will hopefully find some useful information!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Win a Trip to Puerto Vallarta!


Toronto Life is giving away a trip to Puerto Vallarta on the west coast of Mexico for a family of four!

To enter, click here, and to find out more about what makes Puerto Vallarta so popular, click here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Full-Body Scanners


The TSA's Full-Body Scanners have been dominating travel news lately as they're rolled out to an increasing number of airports. Now in use in the US at 65 airports nationwide, as more people encounter them we're seeing strong reactions.

Many are opposed to the scanners as a violation of their privacy, and opt for the alternative 'enhanced pat-down'. However, there are also a number of complaints from travellers who find the search invasive and inappropriate, likening it to sexual assault. (For an account of the experience by magician Penn Jillette, click here, and for a video of software programmer John Tyner's refusal, click here.)

The TSA claims that the majority of Americans support the new security procedures, but many travellers are expressing negative feelings about them. What do you think? Is it a violation of privacy, or a necessary evil? Would you submit to the body scan or a pat-down? Many of us flying in the US over the holiday season will soon be forced to make these decisions.

Here's a complete list of airports that now use full-body scanners:

Albuquerque International Sunport Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, Boise Airport, Boston Logan International Airport, Bradley International Airport, Brownsville/South Padre Island International Airport, Buffalo Niagara International Airport, Bush Houston Intercontinental Airport, Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago Midway International Airport, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, Cleveland International Airport, Corpus Christi International Airport, Denver International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Detroit Metro Airport, El Paso International Airport, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Fort Wayne International Airport, Fresno Air Terminal, Gerald R. Ford Grand Rapids International Airport, General Mitchell Milwaukee International Airport, Greater Rochester International Airport, Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Harlingen/Valley International Airport, Harrisburg International Airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Honolulu International Airport, Houston William P. Hobby Airport, Indianapolis International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport, Kansas City International Airport, Lambert/St. Louis International Airport, Laredo International Airport, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, Lihue Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Louis Armstrong New Orleans International, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, McAllen Miller Airport, Memphis International Airport, Miami International Airport, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, Nashville International Airport, New York John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York La Guardia International Airport, Oakland International Airport, Omaha Eppley Airfield Airport, Orlando International Airport, Palm Beach International Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport, Port Columbus International Airport, Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Richmond International Airport, Washington Ronald Reagan National Airport, Saipan International Airport, Salt Lake City International Airport, San Antonio International Airport, San Francisco International Airport, San Jose International Airport, San José Mineta International Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Spokane International Airport, Tampa International Airport, Tulsa International Airport, Warwick T. F. Green International Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport

Monday, November 15, 2010

Unclaimed Baggage

Ever wonder what becomes of lost and abandoned luggage? In the US, it probably ends up in Alabama at the Unclaimed Baggage Center. They buy up new and used unwanted items from airlines and sell them to the public for prices far below retail value. They'll be launching a new website soon, so you should be able to browse online as well.

If you're in the area, it's not a bad place to do some Christmas shopping!

Word Travels Forum Round-Up #02

Here's the latest hot topics on the Word Travels Forum:





Remember, our network of local experts is ready to answer all your travel-related on visas, destinations, tour operators, flights, hotels, restaurants questions on ... give us a challenge!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Win a Trip to Germany!


Here's where we let you know how to win trips to all the fabulous destinations featured in Word Travels!

Today's contest is from McDonald's who will send you to Germany for your crazy MacRib story.

Entry form and info here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Minneapolis


As depicted in movies like Grumpy Old Men, Fargo, and New in Town, Minneapolis has a single personality: cold! Filmmakers are eager to show ankle-deep snow, icicle-lined rooftops and sub-zero temperatures.

But this fair city has a split personality: summers in Minneapolis are when the entire city comes out to play, with a number of parties, concerts, and festivals taking advantage of the idyllic late-summer weather of August and September to spend as much time as possible outdoors.

August is when you’ll find the Minnesota State Fair in full swing, with fried food on a stick, 4H livestock competitions, and plenty of concerts, games and rides for everyone. It’s one of the biggest in the country, attracting millions of visitors every year.

Visitors can also get their thrills on the roller coasters at Valleyfair in Shakopee, or grab a burger in St Paul at the iconic Mickey’s Diner. You may find yourself wanting to stay a bit longer, as late September in Minnesota is when the leaves in Minnesota start to turn spectacular shades of red, yellow and orange.

Don't forget about great winter events though, like the St Paul Winter Carnival in January and February. If anyone knows how to have fun in the cold, it's Minnesotans!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Home Away from Home: House Swapping


For many travellers, the novelty of hotels has long worn off. Maybe you’re a seasoned traveller and can’t stomach the idea of more pastel paintings and single-serving soaps, maybe you’re a mother with four kids in tow that you’re tired of shushing for the benefit of other guests, maybe you’re just in search of something a bit more personal. You want to get away, but you still want to feel at home. Is that too much to ask?

Not anymore. The latest budget travel trend, popularised in the 2006 film The Holiday, is called ‘House Swapping’, where vacationers trade houses for the duration of their holiday. While many people might balk at the idea of allowing a stranger to sleep in their bed, drive their car, or care for their pet, most swappers have spent months corresponding with each other, exchanging emails, pictures, and phone calls.

Home swap sites offer exchange agreements allowing customers to be as specific as they like about what their guests may (and may not) do. While house swapping can be a great way to save money while on vacation, keep in mind that it involves a lot more work. Your home should be clean and well-maintained, and you’ll need to provide linens, basic food items, and detailed information on your area.

Many travellers are taking advantage of sites like Home Link and Home Exchange to find houses in exotic locations for their next trip. You can also visit 1st Home Exchange for more great tips on house swapping.

Travel Movie: Eat Pray Love


Who doesn’t want an all-expenses-paid trip around the world to get over a divorce? Based on the best-selling memoir by Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love follows her journey to Italy, where she learns to eat; India, where she learns to pray; and Bali, where she finds love.

Played by queen of quirk Julia Roberts, the film has largely fallen flat with critics who adore the beautiful settings but can't quite reconcile the fast-food spiritualism. Nevertheless, it has grossed over $80 million dollars in the US.

Whether or not you're excited by the idea of a paint-by-numbers journey of spiritual discovery, the cinematography captures the charm of Rome and gorgeous Balinese vistas, with some mouth-watering shots of food (and Javier Bardem!) thrown in as a side dish.

Eat Pray Love is currently showing in South African theaters, and will be available on DVD in the US from November 23rd.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pirates Week Festival


The 'Pirates' land in George Town Harbour on November 11th for a week-long fiesta of music, dancing, costumes, food, drink and fireworks that you'll find only in the Grand Cayman Islands!


(photo by kthypryn)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Three Airlines Offer Free Holiday Wi-Fi!


Google has partnered with three airlines to offer free wi fi service over the holidays. AirTran, Delta and Virgin America will offer free wireless internet to their passengers on flights between November 20th and January 2nd.

(photo by nerissa's ring)

4 Secrets to Saving Big on Cruises


Cruises are becoming increasingly popular ways to holiday, but for many the price tag is just too high. We dug up our four favourite ways to save big on cruises:

Repositioning Cruises – Vacationers looking for a long trip on a small budget should try a repositioning cruise, which happens when a ship is moving from one route to another. These trips tend to be between 14 and 28 days long, and can start as low as $35 a day. Keep in mind though, that there will be fewer stops in ports, and flight costs for one-way trips can offset savings.

Book Your Next Cruise While on Holiday – Enjoying your cruise? Most cruise lines will have an on-board travel agent that will help you book your next cruise right on the ship. The lines have an incentive to keep you loyal, so these agents will offer discounts and stateroom credits to entice you back. You’re not locked in to a specific date, so when you get home speak to a travel agent to see if there are any further discounts available.

Keep Watching Prices – Cruises used to offer their best rates to those who booked far in advance, and this is sometimes still the case. However, keep an eye on prices even after you’ve booked. If it drops before the final payment date you can simply cancel and rebook through your travel agent.

Sign Up for Newsletters – Cruise lines sometimes offer extremely low rates to preferred booking partners, with the caveat that they aren’t allowed to advertise them to the general public. Sign up for email lists of these cruise-focused travel agencies and watch for notices to ‘call for low rates’. These rates are usually available for only a short time, so you’ll need to book quickly.

(photo by Kabacchi)

Top 5 iPhone Travel Apps

There's no denying technology is changing how people travel, and there are new and exciting advances every day that make seeing the world easier... and more fun! Here's our favourite iPhone travel apps to help you on your next trip:

TripIt Travel Organiser – This handy app organises all your itinerary info into one place for easy access throughout your trip. (Free)

Flying Without Fear – Virgin Atlantic’s highly regarded course to help nervous travellers overcome their fear of flying has a 98% success rate. ($5)

FlightTrack – This is the most recommended app out there for keeping track of your flights with real-time updates on gates, delays, and cancellations in more than 5,000 airports worldwide. ($5)

Currency – You’ll always know how much you’re spending when you use this no-frills money calculator. It provides up-to-date exchange rate info at your fingertips. (Free)

Trip Journal – A great way to keep friends and family updated (and jealous) on your holiday activities. You can track your route, tag locations, and insert photos and notes into real-time updates. ($3)

Got a Blackberry or Android phone? Click on the links for their best travel apps!

(photo by Gonzalo Baeza Hernández)

Decoding Your Plane Ticket


Most seasoned travellers know the important letters and numbers on their boarding pass: gate and seat assignments, flight number, and boarding time. But most of us never stop to consider what the other codes mean.

The ticket code itself generally consists of the following information: which airline you’re flying, what flight you’re on, your ticket class, and the date and time of departure. Most of that is pretty easy to understand, but what’s a ticket class?

The ticket class is a coding system used by airlines to put passengers into castes. F or P will mean first class, J, D or C for business class, and the rest for coach. But even within coach, there are many different classes depending on what you paid for your ticket. Y indicates you paid full fare, while Q or other letters generally mean a discounted ticket.

Why should you care?

Passengers with higher class codes get preferential treatment. If you’re travelling on a Y class ticket, you’ll be less likely to be bumped and more likely to be upgraded. In fact, Y, B and M are generally the only classes eligible to be upgraded. Higher ticket classes also earn more frequent flier miles, sometimes up to 150%, and enjoy more freedom in making changes and cancellations to their itinerary.

The bad news is you can only get a higher code by paying more. But when you’re on the quest for that bargain ticket, you understand what you’re getting for the price you pay.

(photo by melloveschallah)

Word Travels Forum Round-Up #01


Here are some of the hot topics on the Word Travels Forum at the moment:





Remember, if you have any questions on visas, destinations, tour operators, flights, hotels, restaurants... anything travel-related at all! You can post it on our forum and let our local experts hunt down the answers for you!

(photo by Xurble)

Free Entry to US National Parks!



National parks in the US will waive their admission fees on November 11th in honour of Veterans Day. Many shops, lodges, and other businesses associated with the parks are also offering special deals.

Why not take this opportunity to explore Yellowstone, Yosemite, or any other of the dozens of beautiful national parks in the US? To locate the parks closest you, use the National Park Service's Park Finder.

(photos by kevincole and rengber)