Tag Archive | "asia"

Sunset in Saigon © Lauren Juliff

My Favourite Budget Airlines

When it comes to transport I’ll often sacrifice comfort and time for a cheaper flight. However, after now having spent many years jetting around on budget airlines, I’m pleased to say that they’re actually not all terrible. In fact, in some countries I’ll often choose a budget airline over a full-service one because I know I’ll still receive great service, regardless of the price.

Sunset in Saigon © Lauren Juliff

Here are some of my favorite budget airlines.

Cebu Pacific

Cebu Pacific is the only airline I’ll fly with if I’m in the Philippines. Given that the Philippines consists of over 7,000 islands, it’s far easier to fly between them than take a ferry. I’ll always choose to fly with Cebu Pacific because they make my flights so much fun.

On every flight I’ve taken with them they’ve entertained the passengers by playing a game. They’ll call out items for everyone to hold up, such as a camera or some money, and the first one to do so wins a prize. It definitely helps to pass the time and helps keep you entertained!

Air Asia

With an extreme fear of flying, I love flying on airlines that I know have a 100% safety record. Air Asia is one of these airlines.

Whenever I’m traveling in Southeast Asia, I’ll always be flying with AirAsia, even if they’re charging a little more than their competitors. They fly to pretty much anywhere you’d want to visit in the region, occasionally cost less than the 24 hour overland alternative and have one of the best inflight magazines I’ve ever read.

EasyJet

Europe is one of the cheapest continents to fly around in thanks to the abundance of budget airlines. However, I’ll always choose EasyJet if I have a choice.

The staff are friendly, the planes are clean and they don’t have a ridiculous amount of rules and regulations designed to trick you into paying more money (I’m looking at you, Ryanair).

Which is your favorite budget airline?

Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com


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Sunset in Saigon © Lauren Juliff

My Favorite Budget Airlines

When it comes to transport I’ll often sacrifice comfort and time for a cheaper flight. However, after now having spent many years jetting around on budget airlines, I’m pleased to say that they’re actually not all terrible. In fact, in some countries I’ll often choose a budget airline over a full-service one because I know I’ll still receive great service, regardless of the price.

Sunset in Saigon © Lauren Juliff

Here are some of my favorite budget airlines.

Cebu Pacific

Cebu Pacific is the only airline I’ll fly with if I’m in the Philippines. Given that the Philippines consists of over 7,000 islands, it’s far easier to fly between them than take a ferry. I’ll always choose to fly with Cebu Pacific because they make my flights so much fun.

On every flight I’ve taken with them they’ve entertained the passengers by playing a game. They’ll call out items for everyone to hold up, such as a camera or some money, and the first one to do so wins a prize. It definitely helps to pass the time and helps keep you entertained!

Air Asia

With an extreme fear of flying, I love flying on airlines that I know have a 100% safety record. Air Asia is one of these airlines.

Whenever I’m traveling in Southeast Asia, I’ll always be flying with AirAsia, even if they’re charging a little more than their competitors. They fly to pretty much anywhere you’d want to visit in the region, occasionally cost less than the 24 hour overland alternative and have one of the best inflight magazines I’ve ever read.

EasyJet

Europe is one of the cheapest continents to fly around in thanks to the abundance of budget airlines. However, I’ll always choose EasyJet if I have a choice.

The staff are friendly, the planes are clean and they don’t have a ridiculous amount of rules and regulations designed to trick you into paying more money (I’m looking at you, Ryanair).

Which is your favorite budget airline?

Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com


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Now You Can Visit the Zoo with Google Street View

Google has sent its Street View team to some of the most remote places in the world, which have included the Arctic, the Amazon and even the tropical waters of the Great Barrier Reef. Now, you can get up close and personal with a few exotic animals from some of the world’s most iconic zoos with Street View.

  • 10 of the most amazing places in the world to visit with Google Street View

Six new zoos from North America, South America, Europe and Asia have been added to Google Street View, which now let viewers take a peek into different exhibits where the animals live. The recently added imagery now includes panda bears, polar bears, red pandas, tigers, lions, penguins, ducks, flamingos and lots more.

To see it all for yourself, you can go ahead and check out some of these zoos right now at the links below.

  • Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding (China)
  • Chapultepec Zoo (Mexico)
  • Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park (Canada)
  • Buin Zoo (Chile)
  • Zoologico de Bauru (Brazil)
  • Asahiyama Zoo (Japan)
  • Zoo Safari Park Stukenbrock (Germany)

Photo © Justin Lo / Getty Images

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Source: About.com


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Tonsai Beach, Koh Phi Phi © Lauren Juliff

5 Thai Islands That are Perfect for Students

If you’re planning a Southeast Asia trip this year then you’re probably spending every spare second researching where to go, what to do and, most importantly, what to pack. One region that always features highly on backpackers’ itineraries is the islands of Thailand.

With hundreds of islands to choose from, you’ll certainly be able to find one to suit your tastes. Here are some of my favorites.

For beauty: Koh Phi Phi

Tonsai Beach, Koh Phi Phi © Lauren JuliffFinding fame after the movie The Beach was filmed there, Koh Phi Phi sadly shot back into the news in 2004 after the Boxing Day tsunami devastated much of the island. Now, Koh Phi Phi is well on its way to recovery and is one of the more beautiful islands in Thailand. It has exactly what Thai beaches are most famous for — warm shallow waters, powder soft sand and towering limestone cliffs.

For partying: Koh Phangan

If you’re looking for a good time in Thailand then there’s no better place to drink the night away than in Koh Phangan, home of the Full Moon Party. This world famous beach party lures thousands of backpackers to the island every month, all in search of alcohol, fire, music and glow in the dark paint.

For diving: Koh Tao

Koh Tao is one of the cheapest places in the world to SCUBA dive, so if you’ve always wanted to explore the world under our waters then this is one of the best islands on which to get qualified.

For relaxing: Koh Lanta

Not a big partier or in need of some recovery? Koh Lanta is a quiet, untouristed island where you could easily spend weeks lazing on the beach.

For budgets: Koh Chang

Lonely Beach, Koh Chang © Lauren JuliffKoh Chang is one of the cheapest Thai islands and is great if you want to spend a few weeks chilling out and living on $10 a day. The bungalows are cheap and the beer is cold, Bob Marley plays out from every bar and Lonely Beach is one of the prettiest in Thailand.

 

Which is your favourite Thai island? Which would you like to visit the most in Thailand?

 

Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com


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Yosemite mountains and waterfalls

My Summer Plans: Exploring the US

Greetings from Portland, Oregon!

After two years of continuous travel, I’ve finally made it to the United States and it certainly feels like the perfect time to have done so.

With a heatwave sweeping across much of the country, I’ve found my transition from Southeast Asia to North America a lot easier than expected. I was slightly concerned about spending a month in Portland after being warned by practically everybody I spoke to expect rain, even in summer. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to have not experienced a single drop during the two weeks I’ve been here.

Yosemite mountains and waterfalls

With such fantastic weather, I’ve decided to make the most of it and so I’ve extended my US travels so that I can spend three months here in total.

Once I finish up in Portland in August, I’ll be jetting over to the east coast to check out New York City, Boston and Washington DC. I’ve visited New York City before, almost ten years ago, so I’m intrigued to see how I like it this time around. Boston and Washington DC will both be new cities for me to explore.

My final month in the US will be spent in the Southwest, where I’ll be driving from Phoenix to Austin. High on my list of places to see are the Grand Canyon, Saguaro National Park, White Sands National Monument and Big Bend National Park.

Apparently I really like hot weather.

I’ll be visiting a lot of brand new cities over my next couple of months in the US so I’d love to get some recommendations from you. I love quirky sights, unusual activities, hiking and great food. If you can think of anywhere I absolutely have to visit in any of these places then leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you.

 

Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com


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iPhone 5

Why I Travel With an Unlocked Phone

When I first left to backpack around Europe and Asia, I hadn’t even considered getting my cellphone unlocked. I’d foolishly assumed that I wouldn’t need to make phone calls while abroad and I thought it too complicated to pick up local SIM cards as I traveled.

It probably won’t surprise you, then, that approximately three days into my trip, I realized that I was carrying around what was essentially a brick. My locked cellphone was useless abroad.

I can’t deny enjoying being disconnected from the online world but I could only last so long…

iPhone 5One year later, I gave in and purchased an unlocked iPhone 5 – I felt like a whole new world had opened up for me! By picking up local SIM cards, I had surprisingly affordable cellular data ($5 for 5GB of data in Vietnam, anyone?), which I could use to make Skype calls anywhere in the world.

I could check my email on the go, use Google Maps to ensure I’d never get lost and contact hostels in advance to enquire about availability and price.

Quite simply, it has completely changed the way I travel.

I always recommend using local SIMs over international SIM cards, which are usually much more expensive (especially when it comes to data). However, if cost isn’t an issue then international SIMs remove the inconvenience of running around trying to find a SIM card on your first day in a new country.

If you don’t have an unlocked phone, can’t get it unlocked (it’s now illegal to unlock your phone in the US without your carrier’s permission) and don’t want to buy a new one, then take a look at renting an unlocked phone for your travels.

Unfortunately, there aren’t really any other viable alternatives. You definitely shouldn’t even consider using a locked phone and data roaming when traveling, as that’s how this guy ended up with a $65,000 bill after he downloaded a movie abroad!

For more information on unlocked phones and local SIM cards:

  • Using Your Cellphone Overseas
  • How to Save Money While Traveling
  • The Best Value Local SIM Cards Around the World

How do you stay connected while traveling? Do you travel with an unlocked phone? Share your tips for cheap phone calls and data abroad in the comments!

 

Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com


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Riding a camel in Morocco

Why I Love Overland Travel

Like many things in life, travel is often more about the journey than the destination. At no time is this truer than when traveling overland – in other words, traveling without setting foot on a plane or boat.

Riding a camel in Morocco

There are many benefits to traveling overland and there are dozens of reasons why you should try it. In general, it’s much cheaper (especially with student discounts!) and better for the environment when compared to flying. Overland travel allows you to see so much more of a country, all while giving you greater opportunities to connect with locals. Some of my favorite travel memories have been formed while traveling overland.

  • Greyhound Student Discounts
  • Amtrak Student Discounts

I can’t talk about overland travel and not mention train travel – one of my favorite ways to explore a new country. Europe is probably my favorite continent when it comes to train travel. The trains are clean, modern and fast in Western Europe and cheap and full of character in Eastern Europe!

One of my favorite European train journeys was when I made my way from Germany to Turkey, passing through nine other countries along the way.

  • How Eurail passes work
  • Using a Eurail Pass in Eastern Europe

There’s no denying that I adore traveling by train but how about in countries where it’s simply not possible? There are plenty of alternatives.

I traveled across the United States by bus and drove the Great Ocean Road in Australia. I explored Morocco by camel and Southeast Asia by motorbike. No matter which form of transport I chose, I almost always had a memorable journey filled with beautiful scenery, friendly locals and a much happier wallet.

  • US buses for Student Travel

Just don’t ask me about the time my bus broke down in Northern Thailand in the middle of the night and a friendly local offered me what I thought was a bag of French fries. I gratefully popped one in my mouth just before realizing that they were, in fact, fried cockroaches.

Are you a fan of overland travel? I’d love to hear from you. Share some of your favorite overland travel experiences in the comments below!

 

Photos © Lauren Juliff | Student Travel Blog Home

Source: About.com


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Nine Inch Nails Make Some Lineup Changes Before Reunion Tour Begins

Back in February when it was revealed that Trent Reznor was going to be reactivating Nine Inch Nails for a new tour, I noted that it wouldn’t necessarily be the same lineup as it had been at previous times in the band’s run — and that it probably didn’t matter one way or the other. “This reunited NIN will feature a new lineup, though, including former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, although for most fans, this band starts and ends with Reznor,” I wrote at the time. Well, even if most people associate Nine Inch Nails with just Reznor, there’s been some changes to the band this week as they prepare to start touring in July.

First came word that Avery was pulling out of NIN. On Wednesday, the bassist took to his Facebook page to say, “its been a tough call and i don’t know if its the right one. but i really want to focus on my musical life here in la, on film work in particular. as the tour dates kept growing… i just got overwhelmed.” The reason for his decision stemmed from having just gotten off the road with Garbage, which he called “a year of heavy travel.” This, by the way, isn’t the first time he’s pulled the plug on a band. Back in 2010 as Jane’s was getting things back together, he tweeted that he was dropping out of the group before they started working on their new album, which would eventually become The Great Escape Artist.

But then on Friday, somebody new was added to the NIN lineup. It’s not a bassist, though — It’s Robin Finch, a guitarist who has been part of Nine Inch Nails in the past. “The addition of Robin to the mix of players I’ve assembled makes this band incredibly powerful and versatile,” Reznor wrote as part of the announcement. “We are deep in the rehearsal process and it feels exciting and great to be back at this.”

So if you’re keeping score at home, that means the NIN touring lineup consists of guitarist Adrian Belew, keyboardist Alessandro Cortini, keyboardist Josh Eustis, guitarist Robin Finck, drummer Ilan Rubin, and Trent Reznor. They’re doing two dates in Asia at the end of July, and then it’s back to the States for a performance at Lollapalooza in August. For a look at what else is on their tour itinerary, best head over to the band’s website.

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Photo: Rob Sheridan.

Source: About.com


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Obama Inauguration to be Heard by World via Radio

The second inauguration of President Barack Obama will not just be a domestic affair in the United States of America. There are various radio services supported by the U.S. Government which are designed to reach into countries and cross language barriers in order to present an American point of view. From Prague to Pakistan and Chechen to China, the voice of the U.S. is loud and strong. Read more. (Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, Radio Marti, Radio Free Asia logos, Screenshots: bbg.gov)
Source: About.com


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T-Mobile Names John Legere As New CEO

T-Mobile has announced Sept. 22 that industry veteran John Legere will fill its open CEO. Interim-CEO Jim Alling plans to return to his role of chief operating officer.

Legere, 54, is a marathon runner and the former CEO of Global Crossing, a worldwide Internet services provider. Under his direction, said T-Mobile, Global Crossing "completed the world’s first integrated global IP-based network, achieved near-perfect network operations and significantly improved customer satisfaction."

Before Global Crossing, Legere was CEO of a joint venture with Microsoft, a senior vice president at Dell and a senior executive at AT&T, where his roles included President of AT&T Asia.

"As T-Mobile moves forward with its strategic initiatives to improve its market position, including expanding its network coverage and initiating LTE service, John has obviously the right skillset to lead the business into the future," said René Obermann, CEO of T-Mobile parent company Deutsche Telekom.

T-Mobile’s last CEO, Philipp Humm, resigned June 27, with plans to return to his family in Europe (said T-Mobile) and oversee Northern and Central European coverage areas for Deutsche Telekom rival Vodafone.

Legere takes on the mantle as T-Mobile undergoes a considerable network upgrade that includes a rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which will enable it to support the Apple iPhone. T-Mobile’s lack of an iPhone has contributed to its falling revenues and customer losses. Last week, it was the only top-four network left out of Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement.

Technology Business Research (TBR) analyst Eric Costa has forecast that several important factors will come together for T-Mobile in 2013, but not before then.

"T-Mobile is in the middle of a company-wide restructuring, including a new post strategy, new leadership and a network modernization project," Costa wrote in an Aug. 9 report. These, he said, "will not have time to positively influence the company’s results in [the second half of 2012]."

Its first-quarter 2013 deployment of LTE and its refarming of spectrum for use in its LTE deployments, however, should provide "sufficient network improvements that will help retain subscribers and slow revenue loss," said Costa.

The rather inevitable addition of an iPhone to the network will also help to boost T-Mobile’s data revenues, according to Costa. Though while competitors such as Sprint have used the iPhone to attract new subscribers, for T-Mobile the iPhone will help with the task of keeping current subscribers in place.

T-Mobile’s growth efforts were also slowed by the nine months of 2011 that it spent in limbo, as AT&T worked to persuade the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow it to purchase T-Mobile. T-Mobile executives testified before a Senate sub-committee that the carrier didn’t have the funds to roll out LTE and so wouldn’t be able to effectively compete in the current market.

Ultimately, it was the denial of the acquisition that enabled T-Mobile to begin its network refresh, as its contract with AT&T included a consolation prize of sorts—a portion of spectrum and nearly $4 billion—if the deal were to not go through. On Feb. 23, Humm announced T-Mobile’s plans to spend $4 billion on network upgrade that will include LTE, improvements to voice and data coverage, the pursuit of new business-to-business opportunities, the expansion of T-Mobile’s sales force, and new advertising investments.

Legere said in a statement that he is thrilled to join T-Mobile at "such a pivotal time." He added, "T-Mobile is taking a number of significant steps to revitalize the business and I look forward to leading our team and partners to accelerate these efforts to become a force in our industry."

 

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.

Source: Eweek.com


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