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Stoke Travel’s Guide To Christmas Giving

How to find the perfect gift for your travel buddy.

‘Tis the season to be awkward, to awkwardly give and receive gifts. Receiving terrible gifts is an easy awkward, a smile and a forced thankyou, followed by an insistence that you will indeed wear it, before banishing the offending gift to the back of your cupboard. Giving subpar gifts, however, isn’t something that is so easily shirked off, and the shame of an ill-thought-out Christmas present could follow you around for at least another year, maybe more.

That’s why choosing the perfect gift for your travel buddy is the most important thing you’ll do this silly season. Get it wrong and you could be about to spend a lot of time with somebody you’ve recently disappointed, somebody whose low opinion of you could very easily compromise your travelling happiness. Get it right and you might be able to subtly manipulate your compadres behaviour through your shrewd generosity. But what do you get them? What do you get your fiancé of fun, your partner of pleasure? Well, depends on what kind of traveller they are.

The Party Animal

The Party Animal seems to have an unbreakable stamina when it comes to raging. They’re consistently the last person back to the hostel and the first to crack a beer the next day. The Party Animal is an expert at making new best friends every night and then forgetting all about them by the morning. As a matter of fact, the Party Animal forgets about nearly everything the next day, which is good for them, as remembering all the embarrassing things they do might buckle them into a forever cringe, twisting them in the middle so they’re permanently bent over like the Hunchback of Not-Again.

Gift ideas: well, you’re always going to wake up before them, so maybe when you do just give them a swift punch in the head and make sure those pesky brain cells know who’s boss. That would be a nice present, or maybe get them a ticket on our 24-hours of madness, Hogmanay New Year’s Eve trip, where forgettable behaviour is standard issue, and even the biggest of party animals will look like a lightweight compared to the Scottish locals.

The Thrillseeker

Oh the Thrillseeker, the goddamn energy-drink bleeding ball of energy that is the Thrillseeker, never content to kick back and chill, take in the sights, instead always wanting to hang-glide off this, or abseil into that, or rollerblade in the bar, or any other manner of extreme pastimes that are intended to make you feel bad about your inaction, but really just make you feel sorry for how lame this pal is. The Thrillseeker is always telling you how theyadrenaline is their drug, and right now they’re fucked up, and there’s no I in fear, and if you’re not on the edge you’re taking up too much space, but you just wish they’d drop it back a gear and shut the eff up.

Gift ideas: slip a six pack of Red Bull into their tea, put them in a shopping trolley and push them down the stairs of your hostel — the thrill that they’ve been seeking will hit them in the third eye like a gumboot full of crack cocaine to the gums and will scare them forever out of this silly obsession with pushing the limits. Or, perhaps a trip to the Running of the Bulls 2018 will show them just how partying is so much cooler than thrillseeking, as we pay less attention to putting ourselves in harm’s way from animals, and more into becoming animals of the party.  

The Casanova

Oh lover lover, mmm, they call this travel buddy Mr, or Miss, or Mrs, or Dr Boombastic, because they really think they’re fantastic when it comes to wooing members of whichever sex(es) they fancy. This self-proclaimed lothario is a real pain in the ass to travel with, forever chasing down whichever object of their affection had the misfortune of walking into the bar, crossing the street, being born — ditching all of your loosely-laid plans of having a goodtime together, seeing some sights, sampling some delicacies and then, after your diet of hearty laughs has been satisfied, perhaps encouraging some strangers to share your bed with you. No, the Casanova sees carnal knowledge as a mission that begins in your sleep and finishes when you’re not sleeping alone, and boy can that get tiresome.

Gift ideas: freeze a dog poo, put it in a condom, and slip it into their back pocket when you’re out and about. As the day progresses the poop will melt, and they will emanate an unbearable and undetectable stink, which will shut down any and all cockiness and render your overly cocksure chum an ineffective cocksagger for the rest of the trip. Or, bring them to Oktoberfest 2018, where we’re expecting more than 8000 travellers net year, more than enough people for them to try and hit on, while you find some much better friends.

The Sponge

The Sponge always wants a bite of your sandwich. The Sponge constantly forgets to bring their wallet to the bar. The Sponge remembers when they spotted you that 5¢ for an ice cream, but have conveniently forgotten that they haven’t chipped in for beach-drinking bottles of vino since you first rocked up in Barcelona. The Sponge is a take, take, take kinda guy, one of those travellers with short arms and deep pockets, the kind of person who will return from their time abroad with more money than they went away with. Fuck the Sponge.

Gift ideas: get a fake ID made up with your face and their details and then embark on a campaign of utter shittery, making a menace of yourself around the world, racking up an incredible, crippling bill of fines in their name, effectively crippling them for the term of their natural lives. OR, introduce them to any of Stoke Travel trips, like the Ibiza Beach Camp, or the San Sebastian Surf Camp, where everything is covered, food included, as a part of our all-inclusive packages. Kill them with kindness, and then when they least expect it smack ‘em right in the kisser with your left-jab of generosity.

The Logistician

Oh Logistician, give it a break. Give it a break from your constant penciling in of schedules, your relentless setting of alarms, your borderline breakdowns when the plans that you, and only you, made went awry due to the, completely justifiable, hedonistic tardiness of your compadres. The Logistician treats travelling as a way to alleviate the chaos in their accounting day job, an orderly break from the psyche-shattering maelstrom that is their home life of meal preparation, throw pillows and missionary position. The Logistician is constantly on the verge of a massive nervous breakdown and tries to pull you into one too by making sure that your every travelling moment is a nightmare of missed connections, trusting nobody and recounting your €3.75 change 86 times.

Gift ideas: a prostitute, a really decent prostitute who will love the neurosis out of them in under 30 minutes. Or, bring them along to Las Fallas, the festival where Spanish artists build beautifully elaborate statues and then burn them to the ground, a reminder that nothing is permanent, and therefore nothing matters, so, you know, just fucking let it go, maaaaaaan.

The Inseparable Bestie

Oh you’d take a bullet for this one, that’s for sure. This travel buddy makes travelling a breeze. They’ll go along with your plans as well as suggesting their own when you’re stuck for ideas. They’ll happily split a bill straight down the middle, even if you had the goddamn lobster and they were on the Caesar salad. The Inseparable Bestie fills long bus rides with laughter, and acts as a wing (wo)man when you need one, and as a cock (booty) blocker when you really, really need one. The Inseparable Bestie is your soulmate, the rare human who can survive a long trip with you and have the relationship emerge not only unscathed, but powered up. The Inseparable Bestie might start the journey as a relative stranger, but by the end will hold your hair back while your Montezuma’s revenge has you double ending into the bowl and bidet. The Inseparable Bestie thinks the world of you, and so they deserve it in return.

Gift ideas: their hand in marriage, a house next to yours, a million bucks, or the Stoke Travel Passport, for a summer of amazing parties and trips across Europe, taking in the biggest, best and wildest festivals as well as the most amazing destinations.

We hoped that helped! What’s the worst gift you’ve ever received? Light it up in the comments.

The post Stoke Travel’s Guide To Christmas Giving appeared first on Stoke Travel.



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Top Ten WTF Facts About Andorra

For sure you already know about Stoke Travel’s Andorra Ski Trips, including the much coveted Andorra Ski Big Weekender, duh, but you’re probably scratching your dome wondering just what in the W-T heck even is an Andorra, what’s it got to do with skiing and however can you get your hands on it. Well, freshen up your Andorran knowledge with this handy little cheat sheet.


  • Andorra is a country. I know, who’s heard of it? But it is, it’s a tiny principality nestled in the Pyrenees mountains between Spain and France. It’s about 40 kilometers across Andorra and it’s population is around 80,000, which makes it the 16th smallest country in the world by landmass, and 11th by population, smashing fellow European featherweights like San Marino and Liechtenstein.  
  • But it’s not in the European Union. When you go to Andorra you’ll be leaving Europe, even though you’re still absolutely within Europe. You’ll be outside the Schengen Zone, meaning that you won’t use up days on your tourist visa while you’re there. There’s no real border when you enter or leave Andorra, although customs agents from Spain or France might stop you to search your car for cigarettes.
  • It’s main export is tobacco. Because Andorra is in the middle of the mountains, not much of the land is farmable, something like 2%. But on that 2% they grow a lot of high-quality tobacco, of all things, because when you don’t have much land to farm, farming tobacco seems like a really good idea.
  • But that’s not why cigarettes are really cheap there. No, that’s because Andorra is a tax-haven attracting wealthy European’s with its low-tax rates. This means that there is little government add-on to the cigarette price, making them considerably cheaper than in neighbouring France and Spain. Because of this many Europeans go to Andorra to buy cigarettes in bulk so that they can drive them to their countries and puff away on less costly cancer sticks, hence the border searches. The tobacco companies, evil lot that they are, know this and in 1997 supplied the tiny principality with 3.1 billion cigarettes, or seven packs a day for every man, woman and Andorran child.
  • It has two princes. So Andorra is a principality, which means it has a prince, but in the case of this crazy little nation it has two princes, one who is the president of France and the other is the Urgell bishop, who is the head of a small Catholic diocese taking in Andorra, as well as parts of northwest Catalunya. Nowhere else has two princes, nowhere has a prince who is the democratically elected head of another nation. What does this mean for your visit to Andorra? Nothing, but it does mean that you’ve got some pretty boring trivia to tell your friends.
  • There is basically no crime in Andorra. Next to no violent crime, or street crime, 43 people in its jail — for mostly drug offences or shoplifting, 700 years of neutrality and non-participation in global conflict, only two roads into the nation that are monitored by customs agents 24-7, with drug sniffing dogs. Given its tax-haven status the nation probably attracts a lot of dubious tax-avoiding individuals from around Europe, but white-collar crime isn’t real crime, is it? (It totally is, but it doesn’t make Andorra a dangerous nation).
  • There are bears and wolves in Andorra. There are a handful of bears that roam the Pyrenees between France, Spain and indeed Andorra, the result of a reintroduction program since the big furry legends were made extinct. The bears are the offspring of three Slovenian bears released in the Pyrenees in 2006 and now number around 40, which means that they’re all inbred cousin bears making out with each other. Wolves, on the other hand, made their own way into Andorra from Spain and probably aren’t cousins, although if they are it means they’re choosing to bang their kin, which is pretty wild, just like we’d expect wolves to be.
  • The country is basically shopping malls and mountains. That’s what you’ll notice when you enter Andorra, that the valleys are full with ugly shopping centres, the legacy of having little tax, cheap consumer goods, and no shortage of tourists who want to buy it. The mountains are spectacular and beautiful, because it’s damn difficult to build shopping malls on mountain tops, although we wouldn’t put it past the Andorrans to try it.
  • There are 98 ski lifts in Andorra. Maybe more, maybe less, that number is kind of a guess. There are a lot of ski lifts for how small it is, and many lift tickets allow you to visit multiple mountains, some of them connected by big-ass gondolas, which is radical. We go to the Vallnord ski area, which allows us to ski the mountains of Pal-Arinsal or Ordino-Arcalis, connected by, you guessed it, a dang radical gondola ride. The combined resorts have 43 lifts, covering more than 90 kilometres of skiing trails, with a maximum altitude of 2600 metres.
  • The Stoke Travel Big Ski Weekender is the best way, by far, to visit the tax-free, tobacco producing, low crime, dual principality, alongside bears and shopping malls. This trip leaves earlier from Barcelona than our regular, albeit awesome, ski weekends, allowing us maximum time up on the mountains, plus we stay on the mountain side, as opposed to in the city of Andorra la Vella, which is essentially mountainside anyway, because this is Andorra and everything is mountainside. Anyway, the Big Ski Weekends go out from Barcelona at 11am on Fridays January 26th and February 16th, so if you can do those dates, get on it, all over it.



So now you’re an expert on all things Andorra, all you have to do is go and check the place out for yourself. Are you ready? Reserve your place now. And for more Andorra information, check out our comprehensive destination guide. 

The post Top Ten WTF Facts About Andorra appeared first on Stoke Travel.