Top 2013 travel destinations

A new year is all about planning exciting new things. Consider some of these amazing destinations for your travels in 2013 and enjoy the savings of a VIP Backpackers membership card in all these locations.

To see the full list, click here to see the January newsletter.

HOBART, TASMANIA

Salamanca markets, Hobart - www.visitedplanet.comThe harbour city of Tasmania has become one of the hippest towns to visit downunder. Not only does it lie along a lovely waterfront but there’s the famed Salamanca Market with the best of Tassie produce, plenty of good restaurants and cafes and now the world class MONA museum that should impress and shock. Those into more outdoor pursuits can climb nearby Mt Wellington, enjoy bike and walking tracks around the harbour or sail the Derwent River.

VIP Backpackers: Accommodation | Tours

KANDY, SRI LANKA

Elephants bathing, near Kandy - www.visitedplanet.comWith the civil war an increasingly distant memory, there’s been no better time to visit Sri Lanka in the last 20 years than now. Prices are still affordable in Sri Lanka too. Kandy is a great place to visit in the highlands for a real experience of local culture – there are plenty of orange cloaked monks, the amazing Kandyan dancers, a tooth relic of the Buddha at the UNESCO listed Temple of the Tooth, wonderful mountain vistas and even elephant orphanages nearby. It’s also a lot cooler up here than along the coast, making it the perfect place to escape the Asian heat.

VIP Backpackers: Accommodation

PATAGONIA, ARGENTINA

This region in the far south of Southern America is one of the most rugged and isolated on earth but don’t let that stop you. We have hostels and tour packages to keep you safe, busy and absolutely enthralled with what you’ll see. There are glaciers, ice falls, treks and even the end of the world to explore in this part of the globe. Don’t miss it.

VIP Backpackers: Accommodation | Tours

PARIS, FRANCE

Notre Dame, Paris - www.visitedplanet.comOoh la la! If you haven’t visited the French capital it’s time you went to this old favourite. It’s also a good chance to consume as much croissant, pain au chocolat, crème brûlée, crepes, fromage (cheese) and baguette you can stomach. There’s also a few famous sights to see too – make sure you get your photo taken by the Eiffel Tower, the gargoyles of Notre Dame, the River Seine and the Moulin Rouge in the Latin quarter. Then sip on champagne and snack on cheese platters at any of the fine bars and cafes around the city. Très bien!

VIP Backpackers: Accommodation | Tours

NZ's thermal activity - www.visitedplanet.comROTORUA, NEW ZEALAND

If you can handle the sulphurous air of Rotorua on the North Island you’re in for a treat. Hot springs, geysers and mud pools are the order of the day in this area that boasts thermal activity. But relaxing in a spa is not the only thing to do. There are plenty of adventure activities in Rotorua from excellent mountain biking to fabulous white water rafting on grade 5 rapids. The other attraction are the Maori cultural events including their incredible hangi dinners guaranteed to fill even the hungriest traveller’s stomach.

VIP Backpackers: Accommodation

Add your own recommendations here or click to see the full list in the January newsletter.

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Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact Jo at viplounge@vipbackpackers.com

World Cup cricket review

While the World Cup is well underway now, there’s still time to check out the action.

We certainly hope you’ve checked out our newsletter with all the details of the cities where VIP Backpackers can help you with your World Cup assault.

If you haven’t seen it yet here are some snippets from one of the Indian and Sri Lankan host cities where there is still some action to be held.

Mumbai train station. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

Mumbai, India
Mumbai is home to Bollywood and that alone is probably reason to visit for all the glitz and glamour of the studios! We all know it as India’s entertainment capital but it’s also something of an economic powerhouse and this has attracted huge numbers of migrants from all over India making it the second most populous city in the world. It hums, creaks, churns and froths but it’s also a city that gets under your skin. The potpouri of cultures makes for interesting eating and markets, there are some wonderful architectural features such as the main railway station and plenty of swish bars and restaurants.

And despite the population density the city only allows the polluting rickshaws in some suburbs while public transport is 88 percent of passenger traffic and taxis and rickshaws must run on compressed natural gas. It also has some good natural features such as its coastal location, various rivers and lakes, and deep harbour.

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World Cup 2011 gets underway

Cricket match in Brisbane, Queensland. Pic: Joanne Lane, http://www.visitedplanet.com

The World Cup cricket tournament got underway on 19 February and that means three months of matches for cricket mad fans around the world.

Nationals of India, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Canada, Australia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, South Africa, West Indies, Ireland and England who have teams in the contest will be glued to television sets, radios or at the stadiums themselves over the coming weeks to follow the action.

Action takes place in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh this year and many of the cities where matches are hosted are part of our network.

Given we know many of you in our VIP Backpackers network are some of those fans we’ve dedicated the March edition of our newsletter to the World Cup so stay tuned for previews of the locations and consider heading over there if you can. Click here to view the newsletter.

The final is not until 2 April so you’ve still got plenty of time to make it. And as we detail in the  newsletter the biggest cost to you attending the World Cup is the airfare as accommodation and ticket prices are minimal once you are there. There are plenty of budget options for getting to these places though, so check out the venues listed at the Cricket World Cup website and then airlines like Air Asia or Tiger Airways and join the passion and fervour in these cricket-mad nations!

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Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at blog@vipbackpackers.com

VIP Destinations: Top 10 places to go in 2011

It’s that time of year when we make a few predictions about places we think could go off in the new year. Here’s a few places to consider during your travels in 2011. All are VIP destinations so that means you’ll have a fine choice of accommodation and tour/packages when you get there. Enjoy!

These summaries have been lifted from our current newsletter:

1. Alice Springs, Australia

Alice Springs Camel Cup, www.visitedplanet.comThanks to Oprah Winfrey’s visit late in 2010, we think outback Australia is going to take off this year. The US talk show host didn’t get to Alice, but she did get to Uluru and Alice is your stepping stone to the rock. So get to Alice and learn all about desert environments, Aboriginal people, colonial history in the region and then head out into the wilderness around – there are plenty of canyons, chasms, gorges and odd formations before you even get to Uluru. A fun itinerary would be heading through the West MacDonnell ranges, down past Kings Canyon and onto Uluru and back to Alice. Click here for VIP Hostels.
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