Category Archives: Travel

Solo New York Elite Backpack Review

Whether you are looking for a backpack for your study needs or for your travels Solo New York has got you covered with their multi-purpose and intricately designed backpack. The team at Solo New York have spent a great deal of time on designing this lightweight and carefully detailed pack and customers who have purchased this item have been incredibly happy with the product. Let’s take a look at some of the key features of this pack and why it has become so popular in such a short space of time.

The Body

The main body of the backpack opens from the front of the pack rather than the top as many do and as a result it offers a large amount of space and simple access to your stuff. There is more than enough space here for all of your study materials and you could also comfortably fit a couple of days clothing in there too. This section is opened with two strong zippers which line the main body of the pack, allowing for easy access.

Shoe Storage 

Taking your shoes with you no longer means a second bag or sneakers hanging from the bottom of your backpack by their laces. The Elite Backpack has a separate shoe storage compartment at the base of the pack which sits on top of the main body of the backpack. There is more than enough space in there for two pairs of trainers or even a pair of boots. This section could also be used to store wet clothes or laundry, without it affecting the rest of your luggage.

Laptop/Tablet Storage 

A feature of the pack which we really love is the sleek and padded compartment for your laptop or tablet. The laptop compartment measures in at 17.3″ which is spacious enough for all laptops. The soft padding doesn’t add too much to the bulk of the pack yet it is solid enough to protect your gadgets.

Organizer

When you unzip the flap which covers the main body of the rucksack you will find that this doubles up as a handy organizer section which you can use to store all manner of smaller items. There is space here for stationary, for headphones, toiletries, wallets, passports and whatever else you see fit to stow away inside. Each section here has its own zip which makes it a great place to store anything valuable, and ensure that nothing falls out when you are moving around.

Additional Ease and Comfort

The backpack is ultra lightweight thanks to its nylon fabric material and to support you when carrying it both the straps and the back of the pack have thick padding for your comfort. Beyond this we love the sports zippers which are strong and very easy to open and close regardless of how full the pack is. The backpack also offers long side pockets which zip close, perfect for quick access and the pockets on the very top of the bag can fit your phone or your wallet so that you always have it to hand.

Conclusion

This is a great product which is comfortable to use, offers large capacity and has an abundance of small details which you will adore. At just $86.99 this bag makes for the perfect choice for your campus use, and it will be a back which will last for a very long time indeed.

 

Tempting Thailand, the holiday destination of choice  

The world is a huge, vast place with numerous, exciting countries to visit that offer varied experiences and exciting opportunities for visitors, however, none more so than those available in Thailand.  Thailand is a vast country and due to its size has variation in both its weather and terrain which means it can offer a wealth of different activities to its visitors.  This means there is something for everyone and this beautiful country has the capacity to offer the holidaymaker more than most holiday destinations.

Accommodation

A wealth of choice is available of fabulous luxury accommodation to meet your every need, mansions in Thailand, opulent apartments, fabulous hotels and luxurious villas. Thailand caters for every accommodation budget with numerous quality hotels and apartments offering good value for money. Thailand is also a backpacker’s perfect destination as it has hundreds of hostels available.

Weather

Thailand has distinct seasons (although essentially it is a tropical humid country) and due to the vast size of the country will vary immensely depending on your specific location.   November to February are the preferential visiting months where temperatures range from 18c to 32c in the central regions.  It does rain heavily at times, but these downpours tend to occur in the evening and these do not tend to last for more than an hour.  The rain tends to be warm which makes it bearable if caught in a shower.  April is Thailand’s hottest month.

Beaches

Thailand has some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and has 2,000 miles of coastline and hundreds of islands .There are busy beaches, for those looking for activities such as water skiing, snorkeling and taking advantage of numerous beach bars, but there are also secluded beaches for those wanting a more relaxed beach experience . Exclusive beaches, such as Surin Beach, a stretch of fine white sand referred to as Millionaires’ Row due to expensive homes overlooking the Andaman sea also offer an exclusive experience.

Nightlife

Cities such as Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya offer a unique nightlife experience, bar hopping, bowling, dancing, watching a Kathy show or visiting a Go-Go bar.  A wide variety of bars and clubs are available with flexible opening hours and Bangkok has a thriving cabaret scene which showcase some of the most famous Kathoeys or “lady boys”.

Cuisine

In terms of the world’s cuisine Thai food is one of the best.  Coastal sea food must be sampled as it’s fresh (so fresh, some restaurants allow diners to catch their own fish and prawns and then cook them) and the variety is immense.  More unusual items available include locusts as a bar snack, very high in nutrients and a dining experience not to be missed.  As an exciting alternative to restaurants are the well renowned street food outlets, offering Thailand’s spiciest, Tom Yum soups containing fresh lemon grass, Kaffir lime leaves and Galangal.  Other tempting treats offered by street vendors to sample are rice with spicy stir-fried crabmeat with fresh yellow chilies.

Culture

As a Buddhist country Buddhism is inherent in all aspects of life and it is this Buddhist influence that makes Thailand such a friendly and peaceful place.  Beautiful temples in cities, villages or mountains are visit worthy and many festivals are held where visitors are always made welcome.

Scenery

Spectacular places are synonymous with Thailand, white sandy beaches with swaying palm trees are what most people think of first and they have these in abundance. However, magical tropical forests, breathtaking mist covered mountains and a range of compelling ancient monuments are other more than worthy stunning sights to be explored.  Ao Chang Nga Marine National Park which spans 154 square miles, encompassing 40 islands is a visual delight as is the Grand palace, home to generations of Thai kings, displaying unique architectural styles.  Pink water lilies in bloom are a sight to behold on many lakes around the country. In Udon Thani, lilies on Red Lotus Lake explode into a riot of crimson blooms between November and February.

Wildlife

Observe an array of exotic species that live in Thailand’s biodiverse park by visiting Khao Son National Park (460 square miles of pristine tropical evergreen forest).  These include gibbons, who can easily be heard as their calls can carry for up to two miles but are less easy to see but, under the expertise of the guides in the park can be found. Glimpses of other exotic creatures may also be made of sun bears, leopards, tigers, tapirs, Asiatic wild dogs, gaurs, monkeys and deer along the way.  Dive with Whale sharks, and visit the annual Monkey Buffet which takes place in front of the Pra Prang Sam Not temple in Lopburi province.   Watch elephants play polo in a tournament called the Kings cup and visit the caves in the Tenasserim Hills region in the Kanchanaburi Province to catch a glimpse of the world’s smallest mammal, the Kitti’s hog-nosed bat.

Retail therapy

Beyond compare, is the shopping experience to be tried in Thailand, especially in Bangkok which contains a preponderance of shopping malls and innumerable local markets that offer a huge range of wares to suit every shopper’s desires.  Bespoke, tailor-made items are available, vast amounts of curios and the opportunity to engage in effective haggling to get a bargain.

Often referred to as the “Land of Smiles” due to fact that it is hard to encounter someone who isn’t smiling, the people of Thailand are friendly, warm, open and kind and as a consequence you are always guaranteed to be made to feel welcome when you visit Thailand, another reason, one of many to make Thailand your next exhilarating holiday destination.

Study Abroad in Anonymity…Not in Norway!

Studying abroad is something everyone should experience during college, but, sometimes external factors might not make it the most ideal time to ship off to Europe for 6 months. If you never made it overseas to take your higher learning to another level, don’t fret, there is always grad shcool!

BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo created probably one of the coolest PR campaigns I have ever seen and they’re going to select one lucky applicant to essentially be the most popular person in the city, no, really!

Watch this video if you don’t believe me:

Imagine seeing your face and personal interests plastered all over Oslo in magazines, billboards, everyone in school friend requesting you on Facebook, everyone knowing how to pronounce your name properly, your name being placed onto a beverage, an actual national TV commercial, etc.

This is all going to happen for one lucky individual and I don’t see how that person will not be the most popular person on campus, even before they touch Norwegian soil. They’ve named the campaign, “A Flying Start” which is a pretty appropriate title given what the school plans to do for the one student who wins the honor.

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Oslo is the largest city in Norway as well as the capital. It is consistently being ranked as one of the top most livable cities in the entire world. Oslo showcases a large international student population, beautiful architecture, alluring surrounding nature, a lively nightlife and much, much more.

BI Business School is very diverse and proudly holds many major accreditations recognized the world over. Currently, there are more than 1800 students from an amazing 106 different countries making it one of the most diverse on the planet.

Where to visit near Bali

Wondering where to visit near Bali? Lombok's version of Kuta is a great start ... photo by CC user Tanti Ruwani on Flickr

Visiting Bali soon, but want to see a bit more of Indonesia than this uber-popular island? Next door, there is an island by the name of Lombok that has many of the natural and cultural charms that Bali has, but without the hustle and bustle that can plague much of Bali today.

Wondering what places you should visit here if you have a week to spare there? The following destinations will give you an island to rave about to friends back home that isn’t as well known as Bali (giving you those all-important bragging rights when it comes to travel)…

1) Senggigi

If you’re looking where to visit near Bali where you can access most of the conveniences that you come to expect from a tourist destination, then Senggigi is the place where you’ll want to hang your hat during your stay in Lombok.

While it is nowhere near as built up as Kuta, Seminyak or Ubud on Bali, Senggigi is home to enough restaurants, cafes, bars, and karaoke parlors to keep those in need of constant stimulation busy, and with tons of tours and cooking classes available through tour agencies, those seeking a bit more action will be well catered for as well.

2) Gili Islands

Senggigi has a beach that is good enough for some, but if you consider yourself a connoisseur of these seaside attractions, then taking a day trip to the Gili Islands (three are inhabited: Trawangan, Air and Meno) will satisfy your longing for beauty in this aspect of nature.

Diving and snorkeling are popular in the reefs located off these isles, while those looking to get their day drink on will find no shortage of venues to do the job on Gili Trawangan.

Those looking for a more chill atmosphere will find it on Air and Meno, which have not been as overrun by the party crowd as Trawangan has.

3) Kuta (Lombok)

Those fearing the hawkers, noise and insane traffic of the Kuta on Bali will find the complete opposite on Lombok’s version, which remains much more tranquil than its neighbor across the Lombok Strait.

One thing the two towns do have in common is excellent surfing: the breaks here have long served as a refuge for those sick of the scene in Bali, and while its secret does seem to be getting out (oops), it is still a world apart from the party-hearty nature of South Bali, making it a great place to get away from it if it isn’t your cup of tea.

Does an itinerary like this sound great to you, but you haven’t the first clue where to start? Luxury travel planners like eShores (www.eshores.co.uk) specialise in assembling the logistics for trips like these, allowing you to go about your daily life while the professionals plot out the journey of a lifetime.

5 of the cheapest ski resorts in America

Mount Shasta is among the cheapest ski resorts in America ... photo by CC user 41205764@N08 on Flickr

While skiing and snowboarding is a thrilling sport that many students enjoy on their winter break from college, it doesn’t come cheap. Gear (whether rented or bought new), lodging, food and lift tickets all exact a heavy toll on one’s wallet, making getting away seem a fleeting dream to many.

Don’t lose heart, as there are still resorts across America where one can get a lift ticket for a reasonable price. The resorts below are among the cheapest ski resorts in America, so scourge through your couch for change and return those beer bottles, and you might have that snowsports trip that you’ve been longing for recently…

But, before getting all exited and booking your ticket after reading the post, make sure you apply for your ESTA visa before heading there or you’ll be just dreaming about hitting the slopes on the plane back home.

1) Bridger Bowl (Montana)

A 2,600 foot vertical drop, 350 inches of snow annually, and there’s rarely ever a wait at the lifts … sounds like a place that you would shred in your dreams, or at least when you are out in the real world with a job? Nope. As it turns out, you can ski or board Bridger Bowl for the paltry sum of $49.

Even better, your apres ski will have you living it up in Bozeman, one of America’s highest ranked college towns for parties, atmosphere and overall quality of life. Ummm … one plane ticket to Bozeman please!

2) Powderhorn (Colorado)

Colorado may be filled with snow resorts, but most seem to be obsessed with becoming the next Vail or Aspen, making them unsuitable for our purposes.

For those of us that take skiing or boarding seriously (so much so that our gear bills leave us close to broke), places like Powderhorn are a breath of fresh Rocky Mountain air, as this area offers some of the best technical skiing in the state, as well as views of the rusty red rocks that herald the start of the deserts of the American southwest.

At only $61 for a lift ticket, you won’t believe your luck as you blast through powder stashes in challenging glades that get tracked out in hours at other resorts.

3) Mount Shasta Board and Ski Park (California)

Located in the shadow of Mount Shasta, California’s 14,000 foot sleeping volcano, you’ll find a ski and boarding park that offers something that’s really hard to find in this state these days – an honest-to-goodness deal.

For $49 for a weekday adult lift ticket, you can shred 275 inches of powder (and with El Nino set to roll through this winter, it may be a lot more than that!) over 425 acres of controlled terrain, during the day or at night.

With 75% of all trails being rated beginner or intermediate, Shasta is also a friendly place to bring your neophyte friends to get them hooked on the powder bug, and with an excellent snowsports school here, they’ll be planning a return trip with you before you know it!

4) Burke Mountain (Vermont)

In the northeast, Vermont has some of the best skiing, as the Appalachians has blessed them with some truly epic pistes. With the price inflation induced by affluent New Yorkers and Bostonians though, you may find that your wallet will be a lot lighter after visiting your average hill here.

Burke Mountain is the rare convergence of a quality hill at an unbeatable price, as $64 will buy you access to a peak full of runs that will test your mettle. 86% of the runs at Burke rank as intermediate or harder, keeping out the yuppies that cause collisions with their inattention, leaving only those that revel in a true mountain experience.

5) Dartmouth Skiway (New Hampshire)

In case you are wondering if there a college that actually has a snow resort in its backyard … yes. Yes, there is.

Dartmouth College in New Hampshire owns a hill 20 miles north of its campus in Hanover, using it to train its collegiate snowsports athletes, but also allowing the general public to carve up its nearly 1,000 feet of vertical for no more than $47 per lift ticket.

Looking for a reason to take a road trip up to see your Greek brothers or sisters in the ol’ NH? Now you have your excuse!

BONUS: Grouse Mountain (British Columbia, Canada)

While this is a list of American ski/boarding areas, we realize some of you have your passport and want to visit our Canuck cousins this winter. While you might be frightened by the cost of living up there, there are even snow areas here that are totally affordable.

Mix in a visit to friends at UBC with an outing to Grouse Mountain on the North Shore of Vancouver. With 1,300 feet of vertical, massive Pacific dumps of snow, and a killer view of one of North America’s most modern cities below, it is a killer deal, especially when you can get a lift ticket for no more than $58 CDN (~$64 USD).

Go at night, when the floodlights permit you to shred while admiring the glow of Van City below!

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