Explore the world through the recommendations of locals. Here’s our list of the 24 best secret spots in the world. Pack your bags and let’s go!
If you’re a student looking for discounted travel, hotels and tours, then you’ve come to the right place! Student Universe is the world’s leading travel booking service for students. Their HQ is in Boston, but they have offices all over the world, in London, Toronto, New York, and the Philippines. They’ve been around for more than 20 years, empowering students and young people to travel the world.
Why choose Student Universe UK?
Student Universe UK are on a mission to make global experiences possible. They believe that travel is essential to a modern education, and that students and young people return from their trips enlightened and inspired. They know that students can sometimes be a little short on cash, so that’s why they offer student discounts, youth fares, and top deals on flights, hotels, tours, groups, and more. Here are some of the other reasons why you should choose Student Universe UK:
- Dedicated UK office based in London
- 24/7 customer support to make booking simple
- ATOL registered for peace of mind
- Special member discounts to make your student loan go further
Student Universe UK are also members of the British Educational Travel Association (BETA), the association that represents the community of British youth, student and educational travel organisations.
If you’re looking to travel the world on your gap year, you can benefit from special member rates on flights, hotels, and tours. Their unique pricing and terms are negotiated specifically for students, through contracts with dozens of world-class partners and more than 70 airlines, giving students the opportunity to travel more, and spend less. And what’s more, it’s free to become a member. So how does it work?
- Step 1: Create your free student account at studentuniverse.co.uk by entering a few personal details.
- Step 2: They’ll double check that you’re an enrolled student, and then you can access their deals on flights, hotels, and tours. They also have youth deals that can be booked by anyone between 18-25 years old, whether you’re a student or not.
- Step 3: Start searching from thousands of great offers. Simple flights can be booked online, while tours and more complex trips can be discussed in detail with one of their expert travel consultants before booking.
Then all you have to do is get ready for the travel adventure of a lifetime – it really is that easy!
Where can Student Universe UK take me?
Student Universe UK offers cheap flights, accommodation, and tours all over the world. Students can save up to 40% on hotels and hostels, which means you’ll always find a price that’ll suit your budget. You’ll find some of the most competitive prices with:
- Hostels from £2
- 2 star from £14
- 3 star from £30
- 5 star from £56
And why not book a tour with the money you’ve saved on your flights and accommodation? Tours are a great way to experience the best a country has to offer, guided by experts, where you’ll meet like-minded travel buddies, and possibly friends for life.
Here are just some of the highlights available from Student Universe UK:
Greek Island Flexi Hopper – This 9 day tours begins and ends in Athens, with trips to Mykonos, Paros, Santorini and Ios in between. And their flexible itinerary means you get to choose how long you spend on each island.
- Watch the sunset behind white stone windmills
- Dance to fantastic DJs in Mykonos
- Explore Santorini’s black and red sand beaches
- Party until dawn on Ios
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in the heart of Athens, the Aristoteles Hotel is a great choice. It’s just a 10-minute walk to the National Archaeological Museum of Athens and Omonia Square, and 1.1 mile from Syntagma Square and 2 miles from Parthenon. The rooms have free wifi, a private balcony, cable TV, and complimentary toiletries. And the hotel features a restaurant and a bar/lounge so you can enjoy a few drinks in the evening.
Complete Iceland – Enjoy the very best of Iceland’s fascinating natural sites on this 9 day tour. Witness the lava formations of Dimmuborgir, the stunning fjords and glaciers near Höfn, and the hot springs and waterfalls of the Golden Circle. You’ll also have some time to yourself to explore the quirky Icelandic capital of Reykjavík at your own pace.
- Visit Dettifoss waterfall
- Marvel at The Great Geysir
- Look for sunbathing seals at the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon
- Enjoy free time for snorkelling between tectonic plates or hiking to hot springs
Your accommodation is included in the Complete Iceland tour, but if you’re looking to do your own thing, a stay at the Reykjavik Hostel Village places you in the heart of Reykjavik, within a 10-minute walk of Laugavegur and Hallgrimskirkja. This family-friendly hostel is 1.5 miles from Reykjavik Harbour and 1.6 miles from Reykjavik City Hall. Make yourself at home in one of the 45 guestrooms, and prepare your meals in the sociable communal kitchen. Enjoy stunning views from the terrace or garden, and make use of the picnic area and barbecue.
Cambodia Experience – This 9 day tour is ideal if you want to fit a lot in to a short trip. Cambodia’s natural beauty combined with its culture and history makes it a truly fascinating destination, waiting to be explored. Stand in awe of the architectural achievement of Angkor Wat and contemplate the horrors of the Killing Fields at Phnom Penh. Plus, your accommodation, transportation, and entrance to Angkor are all included so you can concentrate on having an amazing time.
- Explore exciting and fast-paced Ho Chi Minh City
- Float through the Mekong Delta
- Discover the magnificence of Angkor Wat
- Savour an authentic Khmer meal at a social enterprise project
You’ll end your tour in Bangkok, Thailand. If you want a good base to explore this vibrant city, there are a lot of hotels and hostels to choose from with up to 40% off the standard rate.
Can I purchase flight tickets if I’m a secondary school student?
Even without a school issued email, you can still take advantage of their great student airfares. Student Universe UK also offers Youth Fares. To qualify for Youth Fares, you do not need to be in school, you just need to be between the ages of 16-25. Since they have more fares available for students, if you are both a youth and a student, register yourself as a student to get the best fares.
They also have fares which anyone can purchase, so if you’re not a student, staff member or youth, you can still get great discounts on flights, accommodation and tours.
If I cancel my tour, what will happen to my deposit?
Because sometimes the unexpected can happen, it is possible to cancel a tour. Although deposits are non-refundable, your deposits are good for life so you can always use your deposit towards another tour later.
Can you help if I want to work abroad on my gap year?
With work abroad programs in Australia and New Zealand, you can experience new countries while developing skills in sales & marketing, hospitality, accounting, administration, telemarketing and more. Student Universe UK can support you in every step of the process, from helping you find living accommodation, to setting up a bank account with a working abroad tax ID. They help take the hassle out of the living and working abroad transition so your dream can become a reality.
Millions of students use Student Universe UK every year to make new memories. So whether you’re a student or young person wanting to explore the world on your gap year, or just simply looking for cheap flights back home for the holidays, they’ll always find you the best deals. Book online at studentuniverse.co.uk, call 0808 234 4107 or connect on social media.
For more inspiration, check out the Made4Travel blog.
Norway is a country of contrasts: you can find frozen tundra and the most beautiful coastline as well as trendy cities presenting outstanding museums and shopping centers. Trips to Norway are usually famous for visiting spectacular fjords, mountains, and islands. Norwegian tours guarantee fantastic experiences and unforgettable memories as Norway is one of the most dramatic countries in the world.
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It doesn’t matter which country you choose to visit as you will always find there many beautiful places to capture. Photographers love to travel as it is an incredible inspiration and a source of unique shots. If you are new and a little confused, don’t worry, because professionals are always ready to give advice. The main thing to remember when photographing in another country is that you should treat its inhabitants and culture with respect.
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Japan is actually made up of an impressive 6,852 islands in total. It extends over 1,900 miles and is the fourth largest island country in the world, with a population of more than 126 million. 430 of its islands are inhabited, but it’s the four largest islands which around 98% of the Japanese population call home.
Hokkaido is the northernmost main island, with Honshu, the largest of the islands (also known as the mainland), just south of it. Then you have Kyushu and Shikoku as you move further south. Here we’ll take a look at each of the four islands and what unique things they have to offer. From the unspoilt national parks to the hustle and bustle of the illuminated cities. There’s an island to suit everyone, whatever you’re looking for from your next holiday.
Hokkaido is the second largest, and least developed of Japan’s four main islands. It’s covered with snow and surrounded by sea ice in the winter. Some houses even have a second entrance upstairs, just in case it snows too much! But it’s these conditions that see skiers flocking from all over the world, with some ski areas receiving up to 20 metres of snow each year.
Is considered the powder capital of the world and as such, is the most popular international ski destination in Japan. It’s not unusual for snow to fall constantly from December to February, so there’s always a scattering of fresh snow. You can also ski after dark so you can enjoy the fresh tracks under floodlights. Other famous ski resorts in Hokkaido include Rusutsu, Furano, Tomamu, Sahoro and Kiroro.
Summer in Hokkaido is a little different. Whilst temperatures are pleasant at around 20ºC, it doesn’t get as hot and humid as other parts of the country. Perfect for those who want to explore the island’s natural beauty without melting in the heat.
Is the capital of Hokkaido, and Japan’s fifth largest city. Its population has grown dramatically to just under two million, from just seven people in 1857. Sapporo became famous when it played host to the Winter Olympics in 1972, and visitors still flock for its annual Snow Festival in February, and its world-famous ramen and beer.
Is Hokkaido’s most famous hot spring resort. In volcanic crater Jigokudani (Hell Valley), steam rises from the mountains and hot water bubbles up from the Tessen Ike geyser. Its city centre is decorated by stone demon statues, and trails run between the oaks in the Noboribetsu Primeval Forest. Guided day tours are available so you can see some of Hokkaido’s most spectacular attractions in all its glory.
Furano and Biei
Are towns in central Hokkaido, known for their picturesque rural landscapes. Visit in July when the beautiful lavender fields are in full bloom. Or in winter if you want to go skiing.
Is a town just west of Cape Shirakami, Hokkaido’s southernmost point. The former home of the Matsumae Han, it has an Edo period castle, Matsumae Castle, which is the only one in Hokkaido.
Honshu is the largest and most populous island in Japan. Known as the mainland, it’s home to most of the country’s major cities and cultural sites, including its capital, Tokyo. It has a humid subtropical climate, with warm and wet summers and mild winters. Most of Japan’s tea and silk comes from Honshu, and Yamanashi is a major fruit-growing area, with Aomori being famous for its apples.
Is the highest volcano in Japan at 3,776m, and the seventh highest island peak in the world. Its symmetrical cone is snow-capped for around five months of the year, and it became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2013. It is one of Japan’s “Three Holy Mountains” along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku.
Stay at the Fuji Mountain Resort Hotel for a good base to explore the area. The hotel is around 2 miles from Lake Kawaguchi Ohashi Bridge, 2.3 miles from Fujiomuro Sengen Shrine and 3.7 miles from Kawaguchi Asama Shrine.
Is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. Formally known as Rokuonji, the temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and its top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. It has burned down numerous times throughout its history, and the present structure was rebuilt in 1955. But it is still one of the most popular buildings in Japan.
Is a broadcasting and observation tower standing at 634 metres, making it the tallest tower in the world. There are two observation decks which offer spectacular views over Tokyo. Skip the queue and get your tickets before you go.
Is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks, and it played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century. Its main castle tower was struck by lightning in 1665 and burnt down, and it wasn’t rebuilt until 1931. It’s now home to a museum about the castle’s history.
Is Kyoto’s most famous geisha district. It’s filled with shops, restaurants and tea houses (ochaya), where geisha entertain. It attracts tourists worldwide with its traditional wooden machiya merchant houses, which are only five to six metres wide.
Miyagawacho is the perfect area to stay in Kyoto for spotting geisha without the crowds of Gion. The 3-star Rinn Miyagawacho Grande is well located. It’s set 0.8 miles from Samurai Kembu Kyoto, 1 miles from Sanjusangen-do Temple and 1.1 miles from Kiyomizu-dera Temple.
Kyushu, the southwesternmost of Japan’s main islands. An early centre of Japanese civilization, it offers many historic treasures, modern cities and natural beauty. It has a subtropical climate, and it’s known for its beaches, natural hot springs and active volcanoes.
Is Kyushu’s largest and one of Japan’s ten most populated cities. It’s home to museums, mega-malls and Kushida-jinja, an 8th-century Shinto shrine. The annual Hakata Gion Yamakasa festival is centred on the shrine.
Is a coastal city, known for its castle, the annual Karatsu Kunchi festival which takes place in November, and its local pottery. It was once a major stop for ships making the journey towards Korea and China.
Is the largest active volcano in Japan, and one of the largest in the world. Its peak is 1,592 metres above sea level, and the main crater can be accessed and viewed by tourists.
Is one of Japan’s most famous hot spring resorts, producing more hot spring water than anywhere else in the country. Visitors can bathe in nutrient-rich water, mud and sand. To the west, Mount Tsurumi is accessible by cable car.
Is a former castle town, famous for its stone Buddhas which are sculpted into the cliff walls and date back to the 12th century. In Japan, Buddha statues are usually made of wood or metal. Stone Buddhas are rare, and they were the first stone Buddhas to be selected as National Treasures of Japan.
Shikoku is the smallest of Japan’s major islands. It’s encircled by a 1,200km, 88-temple Buddhist pilgrimage route (henro) honouring the 9th-century monk Kukai. The island’s mountainous terrain has hiking trails and rivers with whitewater rapids. The laid-back Pacific coast is lined with surfing points and beaches. The best time to visit the island of Shikoku is from May until October, when the temperatures are pleasantly warm, with little rainfall.
Is the largest city on Shikoku, with the stunning Matsuyamajo castle standing at the heart. The castle’s hilltop vantage point offers a view of the city and a glimpse of the Seto Inland Sea.
Is the northeastern most city on Shikoku island, known for its swirling whirlpools. They can be seen in the Strait of Naruto underneath the Onaruto Bridge connecting Tokushima to Awaji Island. It’s also the starting point of the Shikoku Pilgrimage, which visits the 88 temples around the island.
Is one of the most famous historical gardens in Japan. It’s located in the city of Takamatsu and includes a tea house, as well as ponds, hills, historic trees and beautiful pavilions divided into a Japanese style garden in the south, and western style garden in the north.
Flows through Nishi-Awa and is considered to be one of the three greatest rivers in Japan. The Yoshino’s claim to fame is how beautifully crystal clear its waters are. It’s considered the best river in Japan for white water rafting, perfect for thrill-seekers.
Is an area filled with steep mountain slopes and gorges. Today, it offers visitors a unique look at the traditional lifestyle of Japan along with a natural atmosphere. You’ll find hot spring hotels and museums, along with many hiking popular routes.
With so much more to see and do in Japan, we’re sure you’ll want to go back again and again. Browse Made4Travel to compare the best travel deals and book tours and hotels to suit every budget.
For more inspiration, see also A Travel Guide to Japan: 11 Things You Have to Do