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THIS JUST IN: Experience Cuba with Abercrombie & Kent Beginning September 2013

New Connections Journeys to Cuba to Begin in September 2013

Why go:

Although only 90 miles separate the United States from Cuba, for decades it has remained off-limits for most Americans. Travel provider, Abercrombie & Kent is bridging the gap with Cuba: People to People, a 10-day program filled with meaningful interactions and people-to-people connections which reveal the spirit of this fascinating, culturally-rich island.

What to expect:

Limited to just 24 guests in a program that enables Americans to discover Cuba through a combination of authentic personal encounters designed to transform their understanding of the people of this enigmatic country, Abercrombie & Kent USA has been granted a license by the U.S. Department of the Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control to offer people-to-people educational exchange programs to Cuba.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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GO NOW: 3 Volunteer Travel Experiences Making A Difference

Are you looking for a meaningful travel experience that offers the opportunity to make a real difference in the world? Volunteer trips can create lasting impact and greatly enrich the lives of those involved.

To be absolutely honest though, I’m not an across-the-board supporter of voluntourism. In my most cynical moments, I imagine the heartache of orphans repeatedly left behind by well meaning visitors, jobs performed by vacationers that might have been a day’s wages for a local in need, or disreputable organizations profiting from the misfortune of others. 

But I’ve also experienced firsthand the immense joy of human connection and witnessed the magic that occurs when people of different nationalities come together in support of one another.

To help you find a volunteer travel trip that gives back, here are three volunteer experiences by adventure travel providers that I trust and respect.

1.) Haiti Volunteer Experience with Elevate Destinations

Photo courtesy Elevate Destinations

This July, Elevate is partnering with the Edem Foundation – a non-profit supporting the education of children in Haiti and the development of economic activities in Haiti by working with local communities – to provide a Children and Youth Leadership Workshop. Activities and lessons are informed by the skills of the volunteers and can be anything from kids’ yoga to poetry reading and writing.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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Win A 12-Day Tanzania Safari With Mountain Travel Sobek

Is an African safari on your bucket list? Do you dream of photographing the extraordinary wildlife, seeing the vast plains of the Serengeti, and staying in luxurious camps, with all the comforts, in of some of the planet’s most amazing wilderness?

Get ready, because Mountain Travel Sobek (MTS), pioneers in adventure travel, just launched an Ultimate Tanzania Sweepstakes in celebration of their 40th anniversary. 

Prize pack includes:

  • -12-day Ultimate Tanzania Safari.
  • -Roundtrip airfare from Exito Travel.
  • -Gear pack with safari clothes and goodies from Magellan’s.

 

Sweepstakes ends July 18th, 2013. No purchase necessary to win.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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Win A Trip for Two to Peru With Heifer International

Win The Trip Of A Lifetime And Make A Difference

I have a soft spot in my heart for Peru and its people. My husband and I recently spent nearly five months in the vibrant city of Cuzco (often spelled Cusco) and fell in love with the country and the friends we made during our extended stay there.

So, it is with pleasure that I share this Pass on the Gift® in Peru Sweepstakes sponsored by catalog merchandiser, Garnet Hill, and Heifer International, a nonprofit organization seeking to end hunger by partnering with and empowering small-holder farmers around the world. 

Seven-year old Benjamin Sanchez-Quispe and his four-year-old sister Anita Veronica Sanchez Quispe from Peru with one of the lambs their family received from Heifer International. (Photo by Jake Lyell, courtesy of Heifer International)

One grand prize winner will be awarded an all-inclusive trip for two to the ancient Incan Empire capital of Cuzco where they will experience the vibrant local culture and have an opportunity to participate in Heifer’s local alpaca project in the Andean region near Cuzco, an initiative designed to end poverty in the region and foster sustainable development.

The winner will engage with a Heifer family and see first-hand the breadth and depth of Heifer’s impact in combating poverty and will also receive a $1,000 Garnet Hill gift card. The sweepstakes ends March 12, 2013. To learn more or to enter the Pass on the Gift® in Peru Sweepstakes, visit garnethill.com

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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Do You Want The Best Job in the World? Australia Tourism Is Hiring—Again

Best Job in the World is back: This time with not one, but six dream jobs up for grabs.

In 2009, Tourism Queensland put the word out that it was hiring a ‘caretaker’ for its Great Barrier Reef with job benefits including a large salary, free lodging in a multi-million dollar villa, and transportation there and around the islands. The campaign went viral.  

This time, Australia is teaming up with industry, State and Territory tourism partners for a new ‘Best Job in the World’ global competition offering not one, but six dream jobs, each with an attractive six month salary package worth A$100,000 including living costs.

Best Job in the World Competition/Australia Tourism

Apply, and you could be the next…

• Chief Funster (New South Wales)
• Outback Adventurer (Northern Territory) 
• Park Ranger (Queensland) 
• Wildlife Caretaker (South Australia) 
• Lifestyle Photographer (Melbourne) 
• Taste Master (Western Australia)

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".

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Free Best in Travel 2013 eBook from Lonely Planet

THIS JUST IN…

Travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet reached 1 million fans each on both Twitter and Facebook this week. To celebrate, the publisher has launched its “Thanks a Million” campaign, offering its Best in Travel 2013, the latest edition of the annual series that highlights the hottest travel destinations and trends for the year, as an eBook for free.  

To download, visit http://www.lonelyplanet.com/campaigns/one-million. It is available until March 31st, 2013 either as a PDF or as an iBooks-compatible ebook for the iPad/iPhone. 

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".