All posts by donnachamccormack

Five Reasons Why September Is the Best Time To Go InterRailing

When you stop to think about it, Europe is actually pretty small. Look at a World Map and it becomes apparent that you can get from Dublin to Athens quicker than Perth to Sydney. It’s no surprise then that InterRailing has been, and will continue to be, one of the most diverse summer adventures you can have, and on a budget too!

Continue reading Five Reasons Why September Is the Best Time To Go InterRailing

Honeymoon Spotlight: Martina’s Cruise Through The Caribbean

We caught up with Irish fashion blogger Martina’s Mark to hear all about her recent honeymoon in the Caribbean. 

 When most people think of a cruise they picture elderly couples playing shuffleboard wearing Hawaiian shirts on the deck so what made you decide to go?

The main reason my husband Barry and I decided on a cruise was that we both wanted to see as many places as possible without the hassle of constantly moving hotel rooms. We’ve both done heaps of travelling and a big pet hate of mine is packing and unpacking your backpack! Something always gets lost in the move and your bag magically gets heavier with every city! So after some research, we decided that a cruise in the Caribbean was the way to go.

Where did you go?

To start off with we flew into Boston from Dublin and then got a connecting flight to San Juan in Puerto Rico.

In hindsight we kinda wish we’d stayed a few days in Boston and then flew down to break up the travel time. I’ve been Boston before and it’s a great city to check out for two or three days but that’s for another time. Puerto Rico come at us!

The Central American oasis was the departure port for the Cruise so we spent three days here. We then sailed (our ship was an Adventure of the Seas by the way) to St Martin, St Kitts and Nevis, Antigua, St Lucia and Barbados. All these islands have been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember! All were totally fab and as you can imagine had pristine white beaches, crystal blue water and were the perfect setting to chill out to. And I needed to chill out! Life previous to the honeymoon was hectic, organising a wedding and moving house within the same month was fairly full on and I wouldn’t recommend it to the faint hearted!

 

In a nutshell, what was the cruise like?

Both my husband and I had an amazing experience and can’t wait to do it all again. The staff were so friendly and helpful and everything ran like clockwork. The sheer size of the ship means that there is literally something for everyone. The ship hosts a meet and greet night for honeymooner’s, lone travellers, retired patrons and so on so meeting people is very easy. The cruise is also family friendly with kids clubs and daily group pool activities. There was even a 70’s line dancing class!

Main highlights?

St Lucia was definitely my favourite place to visit. It was one of the main reasons we chose this cruise and it did not fail to meet my expectations. One particular excursion, as part of our cruise, consisted of a boat trip around the island followed by snorkelling which was fantastic. The snorkelling was on Sugar Beach which is one of the most amazing places I have ever visited.

Old Town in San Juan was like something out of a postcard. Every street was like a painting with the houses, streets and shops painted in bright colours. It was so pretty and made for some great photos!

But probably the biggest highlight of all was winning another cruise whilst on the cruise! Not to ruin my street cred or anything but on the last night of our cruise we were playing bingo and we won the top prize! We learned that every cruise ship has a final day bingo session with some deadly prizes so we decided to give it a go. It was good craic anyway, as some fellow passengers got a bit too into it, but when we got through to a knockout round against another couple we were buzzing! I couldn’t believe it when Legs Eleven got called out and I screamed Bingo. And so another cruise in November is on the cards, delighted!

Any lowlights? Can’t have been all good!

You’re in a part of the world where you’re at the mercy of tropical climate. It was rain season so the weather was unpredictable. There were patches of rain and it was fairly cloudy the odd time. However, we still managed to catch plenty of sunshine (the most important thing for any Irish person I think we can all agree) and the temperature was 30C every day.

One particularly bad experience was boarding the ship itself. The ship boards for 6 hours on departure day. If I could offer one bit of advice it would be to wait for an hour or two to let the main crowds dissipate before heading down to the port. Your main bags are also taken and delivered directly to your room. This might take several hours and unfortunately, Barry packed the sunscreen in our main luggage which meant we had to spend our first day in the shade!

Top tips for anyone thinking of cruising it?

Check the daily itinerary on the ship to find out daily activities. A leaflet is delivered to your room every day and it is important to keep this handy as there are so many activities continuously taking place. We definitely regretted not going to more shows which were on every evening in the auditorium and checking out more of the restaurants onboard.  Also definitely budget for hidden extras. Wifi can be costly but it’s a good incentive to plug off from the outside world completely.  If you didn’t buy a drinks package from the start drinks can become expensive so do a bit research on that front.

 

Was it good value for money?

Honestly, I think cruises are great value for money especially when you utilise all the facilities available. All the food is buffet style and even if you attend one of the bill paying restaurants there is a reasonable set cover charge and the food is limitless. The drinks can be pricey but with a drinks package they work out quite reasonable.

Average age group on the group; was it good craic?

The age group was extremely mixed. We were fortunate to meet another couple on their honeymoon who we got to socialise with. There are countless bars and even a nightclub onboard. I’m ashamed to say that the bar men in The Duck and Dog bar knew us on a first-name basis.

What did you for entertainment whilst onboard?

There was so much entertainment on the ship. From a reggae band playing while you were lying by the pool to comedy acts at night time you can be entertained how you like. There was even an ice rink on our ship where shows took place! The Mr and Mrs show was absolutely hilarious hosted by the Irish cruise ship director Clodagh. The Karaoke bar got a visit when the cocktails took over, absolutely gas craic.

What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to anyone considering a honeymoon on a cruise?

Make friends. We made great friends on the cruise. I love my husband but it would have been a bit boring the two of us the whole time!

What was the fashion like on the cruise/islands?

The brilliant thing about the cruise ships is that they host formal and casual nights. The formal nights are a perfect excuse to wear your finest get up. I had great fun packing for the holiday as you don’t tend to get to wear formal wear on holidays. Most people on the ship take the formal night seriously too. However, it is by no means compulsory for those wishing to stay casual. During the day on board, everything is casual and similarly on the islands. I did pick up some lovely items in local markets.

What accessories (fashion or otherwise) could you not do without while on a cruise?

My sunhat and kindle were my ultimate cruise essential. My Canon DSLR camera wasn’t too far from my sights as well. You can never take too many photos and I want to remember the honeymoon for many years to come so I went to town with the camera!

Would you recommend a cruise holiday?

Absolutely – there is something for everyone and I am a big believer in trying anything at least once!

If you’re interested in any cruise or honeymoon packages find out more here

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Renewing your Irish Passport Is About To Become A Lot Easier

The Irish Passport Office is possibly the most sinfully tedious and boring place to be. At some point in time, we’ve all realised that our passport is soon to expire and we’d have to set aside several hours of sitting on an uncomfortable chair, surrounded by people invading our personal space, while you wait to renew your passport. If you don’t you risk a summer holiday to Leixlip, instead of one to Koh Samui! No one wants that.

You can imagine our delight at the news that the Irish Passport Office is investing £18.6m into the passport applications service and soon you’ll be able to do ALL of it online! Huzzah!

According to our good friends over at The Irish Times, a tender has been released to seek a suitable provider of digitising one of Ireland’s most often criticised processes. Currently, all passport renewal or first-time applications must go through the post but having had to recently take on a significant amount of new staff, the Irish Passport Office has had enough and is calling in the tech guys.

The news is particularly welcome considering the massive surge in applications since Britain decided to self-sabotage it’s own economy  vote to leave the EU and those based in the UK with Irish connection (a lot of people) have sought to make steps to secure a valid EU passport in the future.

Boris

Initial timelines suggest that some form of online application to for renewals could be made available as early as Q1 of next year, with a full roll-out expected in 2019. Coming from a man who’s passport expires late next year, a hat tip to the honourable ladies and gents who are making this a reality. Now, if they could treat A&E injuries through a USB port, the days of waiting rooms would be all but over…

 

 

Wanderlust in Beautiful Bali: James’ Ultimate Guide To Paradise

Dreaming of an escape to paradise on your next trip? James is just back from 3 weeks in beautiful Bali and he has more than a few highlights to share…

Bali is an incredibly unique island with a unique personality and atmosphere. There are people from all nationalities and all walks of life living on or visiting the island. The island is packed with adventure, great food, endless nights and friendly locals. To experience the warmth of Indonesia and all the Island has to offer is tough to do in a few weeks if I am honest, but we gave it our best shot!

Getting to Bali, a long slog but so worth it!

Bali is not the easiest place to get to from Ireland but it is 110% worth it when you arrive. We went through USIT using the book now pay later option which allowed me to pay a certain amount of money to guarantee my seat and gave me time to gather the funds and pay the balance by an agreed date. It was a great stress minimizer financially. USIT have loads of different Bali package options, starting from only €779 including flights!

We departed on June 18th from Dublin at stupid o’clock and we travelled Via Amsterdam and Hong Kong. We arrived into Bali on June 19th at 13:00 and had an airport transfer organised by the hotel to collect us and bring us to our first hotel. We flew with Cathay Pacific and had a great experience flying with them. Looking back I should have done a stopover on the way or on the way back for a night or two in Singapore or Hong Kong which is a good option but at the time we just wanted to get there!

Cliffs, Surf and Insane Views of Uluwatu

James uluwatu

Our first location was Uluwatu which is an area located on the cliffs south west of the island. Uluwatu is famous for its great surf breaks, the Uluwatu Cliff temples and some of the best beach bars in Bali. We stayed in The Saphire Cliff villas located beside Padang Padang Beach (surfers must), Sundayz beach club and Single Finn Bar and Restaurant. The hotel was amazing and perfect for couples as you had a private villa with complete privacy. The pool was shared but was always quiet and the hotel was never over busy which was great for a chill-out

We visited the famous Cliff Temple and ate in Single Fin Restaurant  (incredible food). Single Fin also has the best views in Ulawatu. The waves crashing into the cliffs below and a sunset which left us speechless. If an Irish lad has a capacity for romance, this place will bring it out!

The Astonishing 5-Star Ayana Resort in Jimbaran

Pushing the boat out for our anniversary we stayed in the 5-star Ayana resort for our anniversary. The resort is enormous with a private beach, Luxury private villas, two hotels run by the same management but with different styles. The resort is packed with restaurants to cater for your every mood. There are a number of spectacular bars on site with more insane views of the cliffs and the sunset.

Did Someone Say Room Upgrade?

Ayana Resprt.PNGWe had mentioned it was our anniversary and we were immediately upgraded to the best room in the hotel (Irish charm, we can’t even control it!). The Staff were exceptional and truly set the bar for 5-star resorts across the world. Every whim was catered for and each resort worker had a smile bigger than the last.

The Resort is completely self-sufficient with Bars, Restaurants, choice of pools, tennis courts, Gym, free WIFI, free transport from place to place inside the resort via Golf Buggy and a private secluded beach. You really do see another side to service and luxury staying here and I will never forget it. We ate in Rock bar on the first night which is a bar & Restaurant built into the cliffs edge overlooking the sunset. The food was tapas based and although It is more expensive than the rest of Bali, it is definitely worth it for the views and amazing food. We also ate in Kisik Restaurant also built into the cliffs and The Mexican restaurant inside the Rimba Hotel.

Jimbaran is vast and outside the resorts walls there isn’t much really going on. I would advise staying here for 2-3 nights anymore and it could get boring but 2-3 nights is perfect in my opinion. It is so chilled and you feel like you truly have escaped the real world and gone to resort heaven.

Party Time and Getting Loose in Seminyak

As almost perfect as the Ayana was, the one thing it lacked was a bar with live music or a party atmosphere. The bars were incredibly chilled which was nice but give me an Indonesian guy singing U2 at the top of his lungs over that any day.

Seminyak was a welcomed change to our new chilled, meditative-like state after the Ayana. Seminyak is one of the party capitals of Bali packed full of restaurants, bars, live music clubs and nightclubs to cater for whatever mood you’re in.

Haven Hotel & Seminyak’s Strip

We stayed in the 4-star hotel named The Haven which is located beside Double Six beachJames Surfing Seminyak
in Seminyak and was a 10-minute taxi to the centre of the action, Seminyak Square. I would definitely recommend staying around double six beach. The surf breaks are by far the best in Seminyak and the beach has Beach clubs every 50 meters with different genres of music playing. Every bar has an outside sitting area with comfortable bean bags to chill on and watch the sunset. If you haven’t guessed by now, every day ends with a sunset in Bali.

We ate on the strip every night in Seminyak favourites Char Char Grill, Batik and the Italian corner. Throughout the day there a host of beach clubs you can go to, the main ones being Potato head, Ku De Ta and Cocoon. Seminyak was insanely good and pretty hectic! After 3 days we were looking forward to some R&R in our next stop, Ubud.

Underwhelming Ubud Saved By Tegenugan Waterfall

Ubud is located in central Bali and is the Cultural capital of Bali. We had been told that Ubud was much different to anywhere in Bali then we have already seen. Not as commercial, busy and fast as most other Bali tourist towns. We had an image of tranquillity in our minds that didn’t really get lived up to in reality. From day one we had a bad taste in our mouth from the sheer traffic inside Ubud and trying to work our way through it to our hotel so painstakingly close. Not the tranquil haven we had been told about. Although…

Loka Hut Hotel & The Jungle

We stayed in the 5-star Lokha Hut Hotel which was located about 15 minutes outside the Ubud town centre. We got great value for the 2 night stay through USIT. An infinity pool and spa overlooked the Jungle Canopy. Now we’re talking! Every morning we would be awoken by the sound of the jungle all around us and surprisingly you’re not in a bad mood. It feels good to be woken up by birds chirping and monkeys cackling, much better than the dreaded iPhone sirens!

Monkey Business

James Monkey

On our first day in Ubud we rented a driver for half the day and set out to see the sites. Our first stop was the monkey forest were monkeys roam freely throughout the forest looking for banana donations from much obliging tourist. If you wish to get up close and personal with the monkeys, anyone can buy bananas to hand out and make some new monkey friends. It was awesome, and hilarious! These little guys know what they want and how to get it. The Dell Boy’s of the chimp world!

Tegenugan Waterfall and Oh My God!

James Waterfall

From there went set off for Tegenugan Waterfall. The waterfall was just spectacular, I cannot stress this enough! From where your driver drops you off there is a 15 minute walk down to the waterfall and the views along the way are that of the real Bali I had envisaged in my mind. At the waterfall, you can swim in the pool made by the sheer power of the waterfall and take as many pictures as you want. We stayed for about an hour swimming in the water, taking photos and soaking up the beauty of the waterfall itself.

Backpackers Paradise in Gilli Islands & Nusa Dua

From Ubud, we arranged a car transfer to the Ferry port town of Pdang Bai to catch a ferry heading east the famous Gilli Islands. Our Hotel arranged everything and at a fairy reasonable price for the two of us. We decided to opt for the early 9am ferry which resulted in us having to leave Ubud at a painful 6am to be on time for the ferry. The ferry got us in at 11am which was perfect as the day was not wasted travelling as was a few of our days on this trip. You don’t wanna be wasting time sleeping in a place like Bali!

Gilli Trawangan

We stayed in Gilli Trawangan, the biggest island out of the trio of Gilli Islands. Gilli T is the most popular for backpackers and travellers looking to escape the main island and enjoy the party atmosphere which Gilli T is famous for. The Island itself is tiny compared to its surrounding neighbours of Bali and Lombok which look like something from Jurassic park during the Ferry Crossing. There are no cars or mopeds on the island and after 2 weeks in Bali it is a welcome relief. We stayed in Villa Ombak which was located on the more popular east side of the island where all the bars & restaurants are located.

Bar Crawl, Less Than Sober Cycling and Beautiful Beaches!

We rented bikes for the day and cycled all around the island stopping off at every beach bar (one every 20 metres) to test out their drinks menu. By the time we got back around we could have done with some stabilisers but everyone else was in the same tipsy boat!  The island really is paradise and the beauty is unparalleled, the beaches on the east side are beautiful whether the tide is in or out with crystal clear blue water and white sand. Proper ‘PC wallpaper’ set ups.

Turtle-less Turtle Snorkelling…

We hired a boat on the second day to take us on a turtle snorkelling trip which took us to Gilli Air, the second largest of the islands. We were out all day and it’s a good way to see the other islands if you plan to just stay on one of them. Gilli Air is a lot more tranquil and reserved and would be perfect for a couple of chill nights.

The Next Best Thing – Turtle Conservation Project

James Turtles

As we didn’t see any turtles on our “TURTLE” snorkelling trip, we decided it was only right to visit the turtle conservation centre on Gilli T as they buy turtle eggs from Farmers on the surrounding islands who are taking them to sell at a market, Instead of the turtle eggs ending up in the markets, the Conservationists buy them and house them until the eggs hatch and they are ready to go back into the Ocean. They keep the baby turtles in tanks for a few weeks before releasing them so if you don’t get a chance to see them snorkelling or diving then this is a must. The donation that tourists provide goes towards the maintaining of the centre and buying the eggs from the farmers.

One Last Party, Nusa Dua & The Sadness Of Having To Leave

Gilli T is full of Bars and restaurants so there is always something to do at night. The bars are packed full of backpackers and travellers enjoying the Gilli T lifestyle and partying late into the night. We left on day three to head back to the main Island, the ferry brought us back to Pdang Bai and from there we made our way to our next and final destination of Nusa Dua for some much needed R&R after the madness of Gilli T! We stayed in the Inaya Putri resort, another slice of paradise for two days before it was time to depart the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to, and the best adventure so far.

My Top Travel Tips For Bali

  • The Currency is Indonesian Rupiah. The easiest way to look at it is that €10 is 150,000 IND or €100 is 1,500,000 IND.
  • Always ask the Taxi drivers to go by the metre when you get in unless you have struck up a deal before getting in. the metre will give you the cheapest rate location to location.
  • The electricity output is the European two prong connection
  • Travel as light as possible if you decide to move around a good bit
  • Ask if there are any upgrades available in the hotels and sometimes they can be extremely cheap to upgrade to a better room.
  • Plan your route as best as possible to avoid long travelling days. on holiday these travelling days can be a nightmare for a simple journey.

Looking for a quote on an adventure to Bali this year? Give our experts a call on (01) 602 1906 or info@usit.ie.

 

New South Wales: David Malin Awards Photos Will Blow You Away

These are some absolutely breathtaking pictures…

New South Wales, Australia may not be as famous as say, Norway or Iceland for stargazing and the Northern Lights but these 11 submissions for the Astrofest 2016. Established by the Central West Astronomical Society in order to bring some of the best astronomical photographers in Australia and beyond, the exhibition will be touring the country, starting in  Sydney Observatory on Friday Aug 13.

We could ramble on about the impossible beauty of these images all day (and night), but we’d rather just let you enjoy them. Scroll down for the overall winner of the ‘David Malin Awards 2016’.

This article originally appeared on Mashable.com

Astrofest Winner.PNG
The overall winner is this stunning pic of the Simlin Orion by Troy Caswe

 

Monster Heatwave To Hit The US Next Week! 6 Awesome Ways To Enjoy It

Just when you thought Ireland was fighting back in the weather stakes, the US has once again trumped (sorry) us! With the Atlantic current, El Nino being particularly mild in 2016 and the effects of climate change in play, parts of the States will hit over 40 degrees in cities like Las Vegas and Pheonix early next week.

 

Heat USA.PNG
That is one seriously warm 48 states! Via National Weather Service

 

Weather forecasters are predicting the heat wave will strike in the first few days of next week and it will be a pretty much coast-to-coast affair. For anyone lucky enough to be out there in the US, whether at Camp, on the J1 or a year-long Grad Visa we are commanding you to stock up on the sunscreen and make a plan to get the most of the awesome weather.

Chase and Catch Pokemon In Central Park

NYC Central Park

Getting sick of the Pokemon GO craze? Well, maybe skip this one. We’re big fans of anything that gets people out exploring the world, plus we get pretty much unlimited Pokeballs as our office in Dublin is a Pokestop!

Having said that, a Pokehunt around Central Park in a heatwave sounds like one exceptional way to spend an afternoon so charge your phone, invest in a cap and go find that Rhydon hiding underneath one of the beautiful bridges.

Free Kayaking On The Hudson River

downtown-boathouse

If you’re in New York and you haven’t done this yet then next week is the perfect chance! The Downtown Boathouse operates Tue-Sun as a non-profit and provides the public with FREE ACCESS to kayaking facilities and classes. Might be an idea to book it now though, because there will be plenty of people want to cool off this time next week.

See Chicago By Boat

We’re gong to go out on a limb and guess that if you’ve been in Chicago for anymore than 40 minutes, you’ve walked down Navy Pier or took a pic beside ‘The Bean’ in Millenium Park. They’re a given so for something a bit different why not watch the glistening Chicago skyline float by from Lake Michigan?

Good food, great cocktails and some spectacular views – this is a venture to rally the troops for! There’s plenty of good cruise operators to go with but our favourite is the guys at Odyssey which cost about $40.

Perfect Weather For Lolapalooza To Come To Town

 

Lol
Image via edmcchicago.com

 

This could not have worked out better, as Chicago’s legendary music festival rolls into town, greeted by the heatwave! This year’s lineup includes Radiohead, The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, LCD Soundsystem and a whole host of top bands.

We’re going to be honest, the festival is Sold Out and while you need to be careful getting your hands on a pass from non-official channels, it’s worth researching some buy/sell sites and #ticketfairy on Twitter. Of course, you’ve probably already got your ticket so in that case, we are crazy jealous!

Stroll Around Boston’s Esplanade Park

Boston_Public_Garden_panorama-636x317

Esplanade is an absolute hive of activity along this 3km stretch of leaf land alongside the Cambridge River. On hotter day’s you’ll see families left, right and centre enjoying the sun plus Boston’s enormous running community will also be out in force. Too hot for that carry on? Perhaps.

Have a Picnic Atop Grizzly Peak and Watch San Fran Sparkle

view-768524_1280

If you’re in San Fran, then you know Grizzly Peak is where it’s at for the best views of the city. A peak needs to be at least 1000m to be a mountain, this is only 536m high so we are officially forbidding you from crying off and not taking on the climb. Pack a picnic and a blanket and once you reach the top, the hours will just melt away and it’ll be like heaven. We may call in sick and head here to be honest. Mulling it over…

Of course, this is just a flavour of the pretty much endless list of things to do in the US during a heatwave. What are you guys up to? Let us know on Twitter & Instagram and we’ll publish the best ideas.

Be safe, soak up that sun.

 

 

Camp USA Spotlight: Eoghan, Aideen & Aoife’s Experience So Far…

It’s six weeks or so into this year’s Camp USA and it is HOT! We checked in last week with Camp Counsellors Aideen & Eoghan in Camp Weequahic in Pennslyvania and Aoife, who’s stationed in Virginia with Camp Horizons.

Fairly surprised to hear that none of them had melted in the sun just yet and not so surprised at how much they’re enjoying their summer in the US!

 

What’s been your highlight so far?

Aideen:  My highlight so far has been working in my programme area. We performed Aladdin last week and it went so well! I also loved my kids I had the youngest of the juniors and the canteen raid is definitely up there with one of my best memories from camp.

Eoghan:  Being selected as a Tribal Leader! My team didn’t win, but getting to lead a team of 130 campers and counsellors was an amazing experience that I will never forget!

Aoife: The entire adventure has been a highlight so far, it’s hard to pick one out. The other staff members here are really fantastic and we are all having a blast together.

What’s Your Favourite Thing To Do?

Eoghan: Story time! We tell stories before bed every night, usually involving great adventures around camp with goblins, fairies, and mermaids. The kids absolutely love it and beg for stories every night!

Aoife: My favourite thing to do by far is to sing and dance and just act silly with the campers. It’s more acceptable here to do that!

Portrait of young friends jumping into the water from a jetty. Young people having fun at the lake on a summer day

Favourite thing about your Camp?

Aideen: My favourite thing about camp is all of the amazing new people I’ve met. All the counsellors are so driven and inspiring. Also, I love how you can just be a big kid in camp like dancing and singing in the dining hall with all your campers.

Eoghan: The counsellors! Camp invests a lot of time and effort in finding the right people to create an amazing experience for their kids, so you are surrounded by a bunch of hand-picked, fun-loving, outgoing counsellors. It’s incredible!

Biggest challenge you’ve had so far?

Eoghan: Dealing with the heat! I spend six hours a day on the tennis court, and going back to a bunch of eight-year-old kids yelling and playing in the bunk can be pretty taxing. You manage to work around this with your co-counsellors though!

Aideen: As much as I’ve loved camp, it has been really tough too. I find it difficult being surrounded by people 24/7 and never having a moment to yourself. I think it can be difficult to work successfully alongside co-co’s sometimes trying to find your role as a counsellor while also trying to create a great experience for kids. It’s a lot of pressure especially when you are trying really hard to do your best.

Aoife: Being so far from home was challenging at first, but now I have made my own family here at camp they are always there for me when I need them.

Aoife.PNG

Best tip for anyone thinking of going next year?

Eoghan: Camp is an experience like nothing you have ever or will ever have again. It is tough, it is tiring, but it is worth it. My advice is to jump right in and go for it!

Aideen: The best advice I can give is to give 100% to every job you do whether that’s caring for your campers or your programme area. I think you need to be completely committed to your role as a counsellor whatever you’re doing. Also, try to take time out when you can to recharge  because it’s absolutely exhausting and difficult to keep your spirits up. Finally, I would say go there with an open mind willing to try new things, work hard and expecting to be pushed outside your comfort zone.

Aoife: If you are applying to this program, be open-minded! There are so many different types of camps out there! Working at a special needs camp has really opened me up and now I can’t imagine being at any other camp.

Where Do You Plan On Travelling To After Camp Is Finished?

Aoife: For travel after camp, my friends and I have planned to go to the deep south and travel to Nashville, St.Louis, New Orleans and then to New York.

Eoghan: America offers great bus services – last year I travelled from New York to Philadelphia to Washington DC to Atlantic City – all on buses that cost less than $30 each. New York is a must, and Washington DC is a personal favourite!

Aideen: After camp, we are planning to go to Orlando, Washington DC and New York. Soo excited!!

As excited as Aideen to head for the US next summer? Camp USA offers you a full-time, paid job, a summer full of exploring the great outdoors and a brilliant way to experience American life.

We are now accepting Early Bird Applications for Camp USA 2017. Not all Summers were created equal!

Beautiful New Zealand Beach Bought via Crowdfunding And Made Public

Power to the people!

Crowdfunding is becoming more and more popular to give like-minded people the opportunity to back ideas they’re passionate about and this may just be the best one yet!

Seeing that this beautiful stretch of private New Zealand coastline was up for sale, Kiwi’s Duane Major and Adam Gardner decided to set up a Crowdfund to re-claim this little piece of heaven at Awaroa beach on the northern tip of New Zealand’s stunning South Island and give it back to the public.

The project gained serious traction with 40,000 people contributing over $2m to free the beach from private ownership and have it become part of Abel Tasman National Park. Having raised most of the funds needed, a $350,000 donation from the New Zealand Government helped get the sale over the line.

Finally, on the 10th July the deeds officially changed hands and was simultaneously opened to the delighted public. What a brilliant example of people power..and what a beautiful beach!

Thinking of discovering the Land of the Long Cloud? USIT is Ireland’s No.1 travel company for Working Holiday Visas to New Zealand. Drop us a line today info@usit.ie or on (01) 602 1906.

 

New Zealand: When James Cameron Directs Your Tourism Videos, You Know It’s Worth Talking About

In case you haven’t already noticed we are MAD about New Zealand and it now looks like we are most certainly not the only one. Having proven beyond doubt that New Zealand is one of beautiful places in the world, it seems like a multi-Oscar winning Director shares our passion…and it’s not the one you’d think!

Titanic and Avatar Director, James Cameron and his wife Suzy have launched a series of videos with 100% Pure New Zealand. The footage is unsurprisingly breathtaking and there’s one key message, James Cameron wants you to go to New Zealand, NOW!

Cameron narrates each video, taking in his own experiences of the South Island and to the backdrop of the stunning landscape. The ‘GoPro’ feel is guaranteed to get your pulse racing and dreaming of exploring New Zealand, whether on a Work Holiday Visa or just a shorter term adventure.

Frankly, we’ve already rambled on enough so we’re handing you over to James…enjoy!

Interested in starting your New Zealand adventure? We’ll get your Visa, Flights & Insurance all covered for €1,359 with the Essentials Pack from €479. Drop us a line and talk to our NZ experts info@usit.ie or on (01) 602 1906.

 

5 Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Visiting India and Nepal

When it comes to choosing a holiday destination, many factors are at play – the weather, the resorts, the cost, the landmarks etc. All of these blend together for a while and battle each other Top Trumps style in your head until eventually you find a winner and thunderbirds are go!

Take a brief moment to rank your holiday priorities. Now, if we’re to guess that relaxing, unwinding and comfort immediately sprang to your mind would we be wrong?

Continue reading 5 Life Lessons You’ll Learn From Visiting India and Nepal