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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Exploring Philadelphia

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Philadelphia

Whether you are in the mood for food, culture, sports or history, the City of Brotherly Love has it all. Better known as Philadelphia, the large American city, which lies beneath the shadows of New York and Boston, is filled with fascinating events and activities.

 
1. If you are looking to experience the food in Philadelphia, then look no further than the Philadelphia South Street Walking Tour. Located in South Philly, the tour takes you through one of the cities unique and diverse neighborhoods. Starting at a Jewish deli and ending at a popular "cheese steak" shop, the tour includes food markets, street art, historic buildings and more. 
 
2. Need some romance in the City of Brotherly Love? Then take your sweetheart on the romantic Spirit of Philadelphia. A 3-hour cruise that offers a live show, buffet dinner, and a spectacular view of the Philadelphia skyline. With the option of lunch or dinner, spend the rest of your day visiting the Penn’s Landing area. 
 
3. Interested in sports? Philadelphia is one of the most unique sporting cities in America. With wild fans that are passionate about ice hockey, football, basketball and baseball, take the opportunity to go to a game. Make sure you arrive early enough for the parking lot tailgate! Food like hot dogs, sausages and hamburgers are very popular, and inside the event Chickie's & Pete's is a favoured Philadelphia restaurant. 
 
4. Looking for a little bit of education while on your trip, or do you just love history? Either way Philadelphia is one of America’s most historic cities and there is no better way to see it than through the Colonial City Walking Tour. From the Betsy Ross house to Independence Hall, the tour takes you back in time to where the city of Philadelphia began. 
 
5. Lastly, if history, food, or sports is not for you, give the King of Prussia Mall a try. Philadelphia is home to one of America’s largest shopping malls, located just outside the city, the King of Prussia Mall has over 400 stores to delight your shopping interest. Made up of a Court side and a Plaza side, the mall is easy to navigate and has a little bit of something for everyone. 

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Things to do in Jamaica: Music and Good Vibes.

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Jamaica
Jamaica is known as the home of reggae, Bob Marley and jerk chicken. But there is more to Jamaica that meets the eye. The Jamaica Ocho Rios Jazz Festival celebrates music at its finest and is a definite can’t-miss for music lovers. It occurs during June, giving you a taste of summer in the Caribbean. Quick tip: bring a lot of sunscreen and mosquito repellent!

If you really want to cool down, you can always kayak in the White River Valley! This will give you a nice dunking in fresh water, a thrilling ride through rapids, and you will even get to see a riverside dwelling reminiscent of early inhabitants of Jamaica!  If river kayaking is not your thing, you can try the White River Valley Tubing – a more relaxing way to experience this river. It’s slower paced, giving you more time to appreciate the beauty of Jamaica and take pictures. Another great way to cool down is to take a Jeep Safari to Dunns River Falls. You will get to see a bit of Jamaica as the zebra-striped jeep takes you to some breathtaking sights. And, finally, the famous Dunns River Falls, where you can climb the 600-foot cascades!

Ocho Rios, despite its name, is not all about rivers. If you’re in the mood for something a little less conventional, you can always try Jamaican Dog Sledding. Yes, I know, dog sledding is usually done over snow and Jamaica never has snow. But why should that stop you? You will learn about the adventurous individual who decided to start the whole movement, meet the dogs, and harness them in preparation of your own ride! This is a great and rather unusual way to see Jamaica, and something to brag about to your friends.

If you cannot make it in June for the Jazz festival, or if Jazz just doesn’t tickle you the right way, you can always come down for the Reggae Sumfest in July. Eat some great food and soak in some of those ‘irie vibes’ as you listen to the music. To authenticate the experience even more, you can take the Bob Marley tour. Get the full history of the creator of Reggae and all the places he visited, lived, and is buried.

If you’re all ‘reggae-d out’ by the end of the Sumfest, there are many other things you can do in Montego Bay, like, let’s say, a zip-lining tour. This thrilling tour takes place in the canopy of Jamaica’s forests and will give you a fantastic bird’s eye’s view of the Jamaican rainforest- literally! And if you’d rather keep your feet on the ground, you can always try the ATV Safari in Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay is known as one of the most idyllic parts of this small island and you will get to experience and see some of Jamaica’s rich history while zooming along.

Jamaica is full of rich culture, fantastic music, beautiful sights and friendly people, and is a must-visit for everyone who wants a Caribbean holiday. Yeah mon!

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New Zealand – More than Rugby

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all-blacks-by-kiwi-flickr

In New Zealand, and in some households, the Rugby World Cup is in full swing. As England scraped through by beating Scotland this weekend, they will now face France in the quarterfinals next Saturday. On Sunday, host New Zealand’s team the All Blacks will try to beat Argentina and fight for home glory.

new-zealand-by-mhxEven for the not-so-rugby minded New Zealand has a lot to offer. A country the size of roughly 270.000 square km, the size of the American state Colorado, it has a population of four million people (Colorado roughly has five million), which makes it one of the least populated countries in the world.

The Tasman Sea is the water that lies between Australia and New Zealand and is also referred to as ‘The Ditch’: “crossing the ditch” would refer to travelling from the one country to the other. The Tasman Sea is named after Abel Tasman, the Dutch explorer who first recorded the sighting of New Zealand in 1642, even before Captain James Cook explored the coastline in 1769.

New Zealand has a gorgeous and diverse landscape so you can find glaciers, mountains as well as forest and beaches within the same country. Film director Peter Jackson famously used the country diverse landscape as backdrop for his Lord of the Rings Trilogy. These days you can take Lord of The Rings tours to see the locations where filming took place.

hot-air-balloon-flight_7793To really take in the spectacular views, take a hot-air balloon ride from Christchurch to see the sun rise from the ocean while admiring the stunning view of the city and the snow capped mountains surrounding it.

bungeeThe more adventurous have a lot of choices from bungee jumping in Queenstown to a Shotover Jetboat ride through the infamous Shotover River Canyon. Make sure to hold on tight as you shoot through the rapids and take 360° spins.

vineyard-phillip-cThere is also enough more sophisticated entertainment as New Zealand has lovely vineyards to explore. If you’re in Auckland for the Rugby Final anyway, why not take a ferry and visit the island Waiheke where you find three of the best vineyards and  can participate in some wine tasting during a vineyard tour.

No matter what you are looking for New Zealand has an array of activities, though if you fail to understand what the fuss surrounding Dan Carter’s all about, you might want to wait to travel until after the 23rd of October when the final of the Rugby World Cup will be played!


Photocredit Flickr: All Blacks by Kiwi Flick, Map by mhx, vineyard by Phillip C

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Discover the Beauty and Culture of San Francisco

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The San Francisco Bay Area has long been esteemed as one of the most picturesque and culturally-diverse regions of the US.  With its gorgeous natural scenery, vibrant art and music events, ongoing festivals, and diverse social scene, San Francisco has a something for everyone!

1. Cable Car Tour of San Francisco (+ Bay Cruise!)

You can’t come all the way to San Francisco without hopping on a motorized Cable Car Tour.  This fabulous little ride takes you just about everywhere—to the Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, North Beach, and more!

The tour ends with a refreshing, one-hour cruise through the San Francisco Bay.

2. Photography Tour of San Francisco

Discover your artistic side–and the beauty of San Francisco–on this guided photography tour.  Suitable for novices and experienced photographers alike, the tour is led by a local artist that possesses in-depth knowledge of San Francisco’s most picturesque parts! continue reading

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Spa and Sailing Deals in New York

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Spend a weekend in luxury as you enjoy eye-popping views of the New York skyline and relax with the aid of essential oils. Exotic spa deals will teach you how to roll a cigar or refresh you with a rose petal bath. Post-spa fun can be had out on the New York Harbor. Try the new Audubon eco-cruise to appease the naturalist in you or, if a livelier jaunt is your desire, dance the night away or take the helm yourself on an oceanic adventure. City lights will add a sparkle to your voyage no matter what the activity you choose!

continue reading

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Oktoberfest 2008 – share your crazy stories!

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Oktoberfest Prost PhotoI got a lot of responses to the blog about Oktoberfest that I wrote back in July, which emphasized the importance of ‘planning ahead’ – i.e. months before embarking on your weekends of debauchery – so that you would avoid fronting huge amounts of cash, sleeping on train station benches, etc.

Many of you probably missed the blog or ignored my advice. Totally fine by me, as long as you will now share the details of your crazy adventures with us!  Who has the best story to tell?  What did you lose?  Where did you sleep?  Who did you meet?  Did you manage to experience some cool parts of Munich?

Tell us, tell us. (By posting below…)

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What does ‘adventure’ mean to you?

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When I was up at the Edinburgh Fringe festival, I met a group of guys that were on to a great concept: an information sharing site, in the form of an interactive video dictionary.  Think Urban Dictionary, Wikipedia and Youtube, combined.

Their site, Wordia.com, launched today, and it looks promising (I may or may not have been talked into recording a definition for them, hehe).

I would like to upload another video on Wordia, but I need your help!  What travel-related word should I define?

Respond below if you want to get involved…this could be fun!

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Congratulations to Sarah Stocks!

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Congratulations to Sarah Stocks, winner of the isango! Perfect Holiday Contest.

Sarah entertained, surprised and inspired us all with her creative description of paradise, entitled ‘Tropical Rainforest? Or is it?’.

Having received the most public votes throughout the month-long competition, she is now entitled to £500 worth if isango! products.

Way to go, Sarah!

Here is her (scandalous!) entry:

Tropical Rainforest? Or is it?’

He looks right into my eyes with his soulful browns, rippling muscles, dressed only in a small loin cloth. “I want to take you to a secret place high in the rainforest” he says “we can make a hammock from the vines.” His voice is so sultry, so sexy. But no, I can’t. Yes, it sounds like paradise, but I am here with my new husband on honeymoon, and he is waiting for me. “I’m so sorry I need to go.” He looks sad for a moment then says “okay, but please let me walk with you to keep you company.” We stroll in the scorching heat, passing all sorts of wild and crazy animals. We walk for miles and eventually reach my partner standing beside a huge castle. My tall, dark stranger turns to me and whispers in my ear, “maybe tomorrow you will return? Balou was looking forward to meeting you and we really need a hand to stitch that hammock.” I replied, “we’ll see, Tarzan – I still haven’t seen Tigger yet, so that’s tomorrow’s goal.” I turn to my husband with freshly dripping ice cream in his hands and think to myself, “I love Disneyland…”

Ooh la la, Sarah! Great work. We hope that your holiday fantasy comes true!

Tours:
Enchanted Rainforest Dinner

Daintree Rainforest Tour

Disneyland Adventure

Disneyworld Adventure

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LAST CHANCE TO VOTE PERFECT HOLIDAY

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Attention travel lovers!  Calling all aspiring globetrotters!

TODAY is the LAST CHANCE to VOTE for your favourite PERFECT HOLIDAY CONTEST ENTRY.

Vote HERE, and vote now.

Winner announced in next isango! newsletter, which you can sign up to receive at the bottom of the isango! homepage.

Voting closes at 11:59 pm GMT.

Good luck to our finalists!

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Mahiki’s Famous Treasure Chest

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My sincere apologies for the delays in posting photographs—I’ve been having some technical difficulties…

If you missed yesterday’s blog about Mahiki, which is, apparently, Prince Harry’s favourite London night club, you can read it here.

Right, so I’ve decided that a photograph doesn’t do Mahiki’s signature concoction much justice, but, nonetheless, here it is:

Mahiki Treasure Chest London

…those straws are about to do a lot of damage!

Crazy, right?

End story: Mahiki is a fantastic venue for a hen party or a stag, if you can foot the bill?

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