If you dream of packing your bags, booking a flight, and taking off to wander a foreign part of the world for a few weeks or months, why not just do it? Travelling is no longer only a pastime of the rich and famous, and it is easy for young explorers to save up a bit of cash and backpack their way through their dream destinations.

With many cheap options for long term travel, such as WOOFing, Couchsurfing, volunteering or working abroad, anyone can have an adventure abroad!

backpacking

If you are thinking of going backpacking, here are some fantastic websites that will help you along your journey.

WWOOFING – http://www.wwoof.org/

How would you like to experience shearing sheep in New Zealand, picking olives in Italy, or herding Cattle in Canada? WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, and this fantastic program will connect you with a family on an organic farm in dozens of countries all over the world. In exchange for a few hours of help around the farm per day, you will enjoy free accommodation with the family and delicious home-cooked meals. It’s a great way to spend quite a bit of time in a country, without having to spend anything on accommodation. WWoofing is a wonderful way to get in touch with the rural traditions and family life of your destination country, and the laid back and quiet pace of living in tune with nature is refreshing.

Couchsurfing – http://www.couchsurfing.org/

The amazing grassroots movement of Couchsurfing has totally changed budget travel. On this website, you can create a profile about yourself (after undergoing the security verifications) and then search to find hundreds of people in dozens of countries throughout the world who are willing to offer you a place to sleep in their spare room or couch for free. If you make new friends quickly, this is a great way to travel for almost no money. Also, you can offer your couch to interesting visitors from other countries as well.

Au Pair World – http://www.aupair-world.net

Do you love working with children? Why not become a nanny in another country? This is a great job experience and, like WWOOFing, gives you an idea of what family life is like in another culture. This website will help you connect with families who are looking for an au pair, and give you tip for your search.

The Backpacker – http://www.thebackpacker.net/

An essential website on any travel-lovers bookmark bar, this website is a superb resource for travel tips, experiences, and adventures all around the globe. There are many free travel guides for cool destinations, travel stories shared by other backpackers, an index of nightlife around the world, and hostel listings which cover 149 countries.

Go Abroad

One of the best ways to see the world is by studying, volunteering, or working abroad. Rather than just skimming the surface as a tourist, these experiences allow you to truly integrate into the foreign culture and get a deeper and more meaningful experience. Go Abroad is a very helpful guide for anyone who is looking for an opportunity such as this. Whether you are looking for study abroad programs, volunteer trips, language schools abroad, or jobs abroad, this is the place to go!

Cotswold Outdoor

Cotswold Outdoor started life in 1974 as Cotswold Camping, selling a range of basic camping accessories from a small outbuilding in the Cotswolds. Nearly 40 years later, the company is an award winning multi-channel retailer with over 65 thriving stores in the UK and more to come.

With over three decades of experience in outdoor retail, Cotswold Outdoor offer one of the most extensive and comprehensive ranges of outdoor clothing, products and equipment. Selecting from over 250 internationally recognised brands to bring you the latest in outdoor technology and styles. Not only this, but each product is carefully selected and tested to ensure a high level of quality and value for money for our customers.

Hostel Bookers

Ah, the hostel! Whether you are tucking yourself into a bunk bed next to a dozen other travellers, chilling in the TV room when you get sick of the beach, or cooking with international friends in the communal kitchen, hostels are the ultimate hangout for the outgoing young traveller. Not to mention that their rock bottom prices almost always beat traditional hotels! This website allows you to compare prices for hostels all over the world, as well as read reviews, check the location, and even book online.

Don’t just dream about travelling the world, just go for it! You will discover that thanks to the great resources that can be found online, it is much easier than you ever thought.

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Think of New Zealand holidays and chances are that images of snow-capped mountains, bubbling volcanic lakes and mud pools, beautiful beaches and compelling cities such as Wellington, Dunedin and Christchurch will spring to mind. Since the South and North islands that comprise New Zealand are virtually vast, natural and exciting adventure playgrounds in their own right it’s a surprise that the country has any need for theme parks at all. That said – who can resist the thrill of a decent theme park when they’re on holiday? Here are New Zealand’s top ten theme parks.

  1. Rainbow’s End, Manukau, Auckland

    Home to New Zealand’s only corkscrew rollercoaster, Rainbow’s End near Auckland promises family fun thanks to a collection of white-knuckle rides as well as a log flume, pirate ship, go-karts, dodgems and stacks more attractions. corkscrew coaster at Rainbow’s End, Manukau, Auckland Live entertainment shows and plenty of places to eat mean you can easily while away a day here.

  2. Agroventures Adventure Park, Rotorua

    It may only boast five ‘attractions’, but Agroventures rides really are thrilling; not to mention unique. Here you’ll find the world’s only people-powered monorail system, ride in New Zealand’s fastest speedboat (at 100km per hour) and defy gravity and fly in the country’s only vertical wind tunnel. Plus there’s a 43-metre bungee jump and the truly heart-stopping ‘Swoop’ super-swing.
  3. Spookers, Auckland

    Despite promising family fun, Spookers might be a bit much for the kids. New Zealand’s self-proclaimed “No. 1 haunted attraction scream park” offers thrills of a different kind as ‘victims’ squeeze through the pitch black tunnels of ‘Claustrophobia’, are driven insane in the disorienting 3D maze known as ‘Disturbia’ and try to avoid the horrors that lurk in Spookers’ Haunted House.
  4. Splash Planet, Hastings

    Everybody loves a waterpark and Splash Planet has a superb range of rides and attractions (both wet and dry) which includes several monster water-slides, bumper boats, an adventure-filled pirate fortress, mini-golf, beach volleyball and loads more. When it’s time to eat the park has a selection of restaurants or, if you prefer, you can bring your own picnic or hire a barbecue.

  5. Puzzling World, Wanaka

    If head-scratching curiosities and conundrums are your thing; Puzzle World is the theme park for you. For more than four decades the park’s crazily-designed buildings have bewildered guests with optical illusions, forced perspective tricks, a giant maze, and a hall of 3D holograms where nothing is quite what it seems. Even the park’s café is packed with puzzling amusements to enjoy when you stop for a bite to eat.
  6. AE Fun Park, Whangarei

    The theme here is outdoor adventure; primarily a paintball park, AE Fun Park is the only place where you can drive your own paintballing tank! It also boasts the longest treeline zip-wire – the Flying Fox – on North Island and hosts many more outdoor activities including archery, clay-pigeon shooting, laser tag, pitch and putt and target shooting.
  7. The Waterworks, Coromandel

    The perfect place on a hot summer’s day, the theme here is water, and visitors are more than likely to get wet, but the Waterworks isn’t your conventional waterpark. Instead it’s a collection of seventy crazy inventions and attractions which feature the use of water in some way; here you can ride bikes which have been converted into giant water pistols, fire water cannons by jumping on them, have mini-boat races or simply marvel at the park’s enormous water-powered clock and musical box.
  8. Sheep World, Warkworth

    Don’t laugh – Sheep World is actually a fascinating day out that interactively and entertainingly traces the journey of wool from sheep to sweater. A large farm in a beautiful setting, Sheep World’s attractions include an eco-discovery walking trail, a mini-farm filled with all kinds of animals including alpacas, emus, possums, goats, ponies, deer and donkeys, a natural adventure playground for the kids, a shop and a café.  sheepworld
  9. Action World, Auckland

    They’re not kidding with that name; at Action World there’s a whole heap of inflatables to bounce yourself dizzy on, plus you can try your hand at free-climbing, high-wire walking, bungee-running and a host of other dare-devil activities including – for the truly brave or foolhardy – a harness-free trapeze (don’t worry; it’s still perfectly safe).
  10. Shantytown Heritage Park, Paroa

    Opened in 1971, Shantytown is both fun and educational and is a full-scale recreation of a pioneer gold mining town from the 1900s. Here you can ride a vintage steam train, explore various locations in the town such as the sawmill, blacksmith, fire station and livery stables, enjoy an exciting hologram theatre show and even pan for gold! There’s also an adventure playground for younger children and the opportunity to walk in the nearby rainforest.

Travelling, whether we like it or not, will always be a part of our travels. However although we can’t avoid travelling altogether, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to skip unnecessary travelling time. Here are a few of the best ways to make the most out of your European holiday.

Plan the shortest route
Once you have arrived in Europe, you should make sure that you are taking the most efficient route possible. If you are driving on the continent, use a website which allows you to
plan your driving route so that you can take the shortest path.

Use the fastest mode of transport
For this tip, you really need to weigh up the cost of transport against the time that it will take. If you compare the prices of transport methods, make sure that you consider whether they will give you another whole day to your holiday or not. For example when travelling from the UK to France, you might want to consider using the Eurotunnel to drive across the channel – not only is it faster than a ferry to France, it also means that rather than waiting around for a ferry you can enjoy many more hours of your holiday. You might end up spending slightly more on transport, but if you can reclaim a whole day’s worth of travelling time altogether, it is definitely worth the extra expense.

eurotunnel cars on train

Check in before you arrive at the airport
If you are lucky enough to be flying to your destination, make sure that you have checked in before you arrive at the airport. Gone are the days when you have to wait around for 6 hours before you can check-in: as long as you are at the airport an hour or two in advance, you can check in online and avoid the queues. Remember to check-in before you are departing for your return flight also – you can get a few more hours in at the beach that way!

Know exactly where you are going
The ultimate tip for minimising travelling time has to be to plan! Check websites which can provide you with
free train timetables and download or print free atlases of the countries you will visit. By ensuring that you have every travelling detail planned, you can make sure you are spending more time doing what you enjoy rather than worrying about making it to your destination on time. Although we live in a world where smartphones have taken over from the good old pen and paper, never underestimate the value of having a printed itinerary of your flights, train tickets or car route: we all know how unreliable technology can be, and so it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to travelling.