Friday, 31 October 2008

Too spooked to stay in the hotel that inspired Steven King's The Shining?

Wheeeere's Johnny? At The Fairmont Algonquin, New Brunswick, Canada.

If you like your bed to go bump in the night and prefer to get your exercise ghostbusting around hotel libraries, this press release from Fairmont Hotels & Resorts might be of interest. Click here for “Spooktacular” Tales and Travel Getaways to Celebrate Halloween. Read more!

Sunday, 26 October 2008

World Travel Market - did 2007's Travel Trends Come True?

Predicting travel trends must be a fun occupation. So, Lord of the Rings is being filmed in New Zealand...that's definitely going to encourage visitors to by-pass Oz or push the boat out on a Downunder twin-centre holiday.

Or, now that everyone is a budding Jamie Oliver in the kitchen, surely we'll all want to take as authentic a cookery class as possible; demand for pizza masterclasses in Naples and curry courses in Kerala must be through the roof?

2007 was going to be the year that pets would see more of the world and Halal tourism would really take off. This press release, introducing a session on travel trends that's taking place at the forthcoming World Travel Market, makes really interesting reading. Click here to see if travel predictions made in 2007 have been lived out in the year's travelling antics.
Read more!

About SandWagon

In June 2007, SandWagon set off on its bumpy journey with this as its Mission Statement.

Rather than taking the predictable bandwagon route, SandWagon is committed to providing as wide a spectrum of travel news, reviews and inspiration as possible. It won't downgrade readers' worldwide exploration to a list of names to tally up and brandish competitively, nor will it won't plod with the crowds to just the must-see places.

I accept that travel trends exist and from time to time they'll influence the articles you find here, but the SandWagon’s route around the world is fundamentally laissez-faire. There's no fixed plan and SandWagon's travel articles aren’t tethered to market forces, fads, fashions or the locations of the latest Hollywood blockbuster.

I'm committed to writing from the the back of the SandWagon - barefoot and free of preconception, curiosity-giddy with the wind in my hair and my eyes fixed on the horizon - and I hope that you'll come along for the journey.

Subjects covered
Subject matter on SandWagon is diverse and the possibilities for posts is intentionally open ended. We do like to cover emerging destinations; responsible tourism; the natural world; travel literature; travel publishing; guidebooks; news and reviews; resources for travellers and travel writers.


SandWagon is keen to hear from contributors across the globe who want to help us push the travel bandwagon into the nearest ditch.
Contact me at
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Friday, 10 October 2008

Written Road - my latest post goes live

Having worked in the travel industry since the year 2000, and now having become a blogging addict, a certain event in California was certain to grab my attention. Read more about the travel industry Bloggers' Summit at Written Road Read more!

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Class not crass – Australia's 'where the bloody hell are you?' binned for Baz

Sandwagon bids farewell to Australia's, 'So where the bloody hell are you?,' tourism campaign, which was at best arrogant and at worst considered offensive. And it's fair to say that whilst it succeeded in getting potential visitors' attention, it didn't really lay claims to their hearts.

So, the Aussie's have called upon their talented son Baz Luhrman to deliver some epically themed adverts befitting his epic homeland. The ads and the entire tourism campaign feature themes and straplines, all with undeniably awe-inspiring backdrops, that have been crafted to stoke the 'finding yourself' fire that demands regular rekindling in the souls of travel addicts...

Admittedly 'Come walkabout' does make me think of sticky floors and cheap beer, in those green and yellow Aussie-styled bars that are scattered across the UK. But only for a few seconds... until the advert's string music kicks in and the camera pans out on a dreamy, romantic scene. Take the billabong ad above; its far too familiar human theme, set in the country's Kimberley region, really did make me shiver. It reminded me of past travels that gave me the chance to find myself again. And it set me dreaming of trips to come; before I let life and relationships degrade into a blur of deadlines and working and doing and ticking off to-dos.

Yep, I'm probably being a little too soft about the ads, but aren't all travellers perpetually on the hunt for the next destinationally-inspired chill along their spine that makes them feel alive?

Australia may well be on the Sandwagon travel agenda for early next year!

The ads air in the UK tonight and are tied in with Baz Luhrman's new movie Australia, starring Nicole Kidman.
Read more!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Travel TV Show Alert - World's Greatest Cities on ITV Tonight

Griff Rhys Jones gets under the skin of three of the greatest cities on earth for a new three part documentary series. Tonight showcases New York, New York. Catch the show at 9pm on ITV1

For Griff, New York, London and Paris are the cities closest to his heart...

“I love a lot of cities that are not included in this series, like Rome and Edinburgh, but I love the three we are covering most of all. New York for its style and warmth, Paris for its taste and chic, and London for its grubby soul.”

So what makes a city ‘great’?

“A great city is inexhaustible, it keeps throwing new sights, new people, new tastes and new sounds at you, but I’m drawn to places which have many, many layers of history. Anything which is huge scale and uniform tends to ultimately be dull. So London is a good example of a city which is made up of dozens of different parts and experiences as you walk through it. Ultimately it’s people and their pride in their environment that make a great city work. If there’s no place where people can express themselves, either by trimming the hedges or building extraordinary skyscrapers then the city has no soul.”

A few things took Griff by suprise.

“I was surprised at how quickly New York changes its character. People now live on Wall Street because so many banks left it after 9/11. The printing area is now a fashion area and the West Side is changing its spots daily. I was surprised by how funny and helpful the Parisians were once you stop being a tourist. We had the best laughs with French people and I wasn’t expecting that.

The one thing that made me laugh the most in Paris was when I drove a 2 CV around the Arc de Triomphe where all the rules of driving are temporarily abandoned!”

He had a few hairy moments as well. .

“When I was working as a window cleaner at a 30 storey building in New York, I did get moderately scared when the guy who was teaching me didn’t seem to know how the safety equipment worked!

However, the most terrifying thing I did was to take part in an inline skating event in Paris. They do it every Friday and the streets are closed to traffic to enable the people to skate around the central streets in safety. We did it on a Wednesday for some reason, into the rush hour traffic. I had never inline skated before and feared at every moment that my skates would clip one of the many drains and potholes and that I would fall under the wheels of a Parisian bus!”
Read more!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Frommer’s Travel Guides New for Apple iPhone® and iPod® Touch

A perfect pairing of America's best? Next time you're hitting the streets of New York, San Francisco, London and Paris, you can couple the sleek and simple design of Apple's latest gagdets with the latest in essential travel information.

Storing the city guides directly to your device gives you access to info on the move, without having to connect to the net and trawl through ad-ridden content. Frommer’s for iPhone also features local travel tips, restaurant and hotel reviews, and bonus features such as location-based services, interactive maps, and web and phone links. Turning the pages of a printed guide is now replaced by instantly accessible information at the flick of a finger, using the unique touchscreen interface.

“Frommer’s [an imprint of Wiley Publishing, Inc] is the go-to resource for millions of travelers every year,” said Larry Olson, Vice President and Marketing Director, Professional/Trade, Wiley. “There’s no doubt technology is changing the way we travel, and by partnering with Modiality [a market leader in transforming premium, branded learning and lifestyle content for personal handheld media players] to bring Frommer’s to the iPhone, we are positioning our content to appeal to the most savvy pleasure and adventure seekers in the marketplace.”

Click here
to view a demo of the digital travel guide

The digital ediions of the 2008 Frommer’s New York, San Francisco, London and Paris guides are available for purchase and download on via the new Apple App Store and on iTunes for $9.99. Additional Frommer’s guides are scheduled for release in late 2008.

Image ©Frommers/Wiley Publishing, Inc

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Monday, 6 October 2008

Sandwagon's Spruced Up Design

Sandwagon has been live, traversing the bumpy terrain of travel news and reviews, since June 2007. The old style site did us proud, but as it was definitely due for a revamp we've gone for a much snappier layout.

Those lengthy, entire posts that hogged the whole page have now been replaced by taster paragraphs that showcase the latest stories at a glance.

And we've also applied a cleaner design for a wind-in-the-hair look and feel that suits the Sandwagon travel philosophy perfectly.

Here's a glimpse of the the old style site, just for old time's sake. "So long," to the sand dunes where I set off on this journey.
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Friday, 3 October 2008

Sun Salutations on the sand? Book a Yoga Holiday at The Yoga Show, London

Dedicated and aspiring Tree, Warrior and Crow practitioners will find 'All Things Yoga Under One Roof' at The Yoga Show - held at London's Olympia, from 11am Friday 31st October until 6pm Sunday 2nd November.

Sandwagon will be chatting with the holiday companies on show, reporting back on the latest yoga destination trends. I'll also be perusing the assembled yoga mats and equipment, well-being products and techniques with far-flung origins.

Earmarked for special Sandwagon attention are;
Yogatraveller -fun yoga holidays and retreats worldwide
Free Spirit Travel - who've run yoga holidays for 15 years
Yuva Yoga Holidays - eco centre on the Turkish shore
Camp Paradiso - transformational experiences in the land of miracles (Lourdes, France)
Ayurveda Retreat - an oasis offering treatments, training courses and yoga

See you there...

1 day passes Friday Adults £7 Concessions £5 / Saturday & Sunday Adults £10 Concessions £8
2 day pass Adults £16 Concessions £12
3 day pass Adults £22 Concessions £18

Buy them on the door or at The Yoga Show website

Opening Times:
Friday 11am-6pm Saturday/Sunday 10am-6pm

Image ©
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Time Out - 2 for 1 Passes for selected London Galleries this October

I did work for a competitor of Time Out Guides but it's their books and magazines that I count as the ultimate must-haves. They're my favourite publisher of city focused stories, listings and journalism , and in my opinion living in the Big Smoke without a copy of Time Out London is like hotdogs without the onions or bacon sarnies devoid of sauce.

Time Out London's things for Free listings saved the day so many times when I was completely skint, but intent on making the most what our glorious capital has to offer. I knew that I wouldn't be living there forever, so every day's explorations counted.

Over the last 40 years, Time Out has covered more London art exhibitions in more venues than anyone else in the capital. To celebrate their birthday, they're offering 2 for 1 entry to the finest art in the capital this October.

Download your voucher
to gain 2 for 1 entry to all ticketed exhibitions from October 1-31 at:

- V&A, including Cold War Modern: Design 1945 - 1970
- Hayward Gallery, including Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms
- Design Museum, including Design Cities
- Zoo Art Fair October 17 - 20
Read more!