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> Are co's such as Bunac/Real Gap Exp' etc worth it?, Advice needed for first timer to Oz..
post Apr 26 2006, 03:42 PM
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Hi everyone,

First of all, great site – finding your messages really inspiring!

Would appreciate your opinion on something…

I’m a 25 year old female from SE England finally about to realise my life long dream of travelling to OZ.

I’ve done a bit of research on companies such as Real Gap Experience, Bunac etc as I’m a first timer and the thought of going with the aid and support of such companies is tempting – more so as it would mean I’d have the option of travelling out with others as the idea of stepping off the plain on the other side of the world completely alone is quite daunting.

I’m interested to see if anyone would recommend this path for travel virgins or should I just stop worrying about such things and save the few precious pounds I have.

Look forward to reading your replies

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post May 18 2006, 03:41 PM
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I would say go for it on your own! I went to Oz on my own as a first time solo traveller a couple of years ago and I loved it! I was nervous so I didn´t know how long I would stay but I stayed for a full year! It is super easy to travl in Oz (hostals will pick you up from the bus, airport etc) and it is incredibly easy to meet people. Also, the company Oz experience is a ¨hop on hop off¨bus company that goes up the east coast and also makes things incredible easy!

Have fun! Happy trails!

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post May 23 2006, 10:58 PM
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I did NZ through BUNAC from Aug '04-May '05 and loved it. I had never travelled before and I had done a lot of research before I left so I wasn't too concerned about things. They were great for a mail service, help finding jobs, or just general advice. Now that I'm a bit more experienced I'd probably just save the program fees and go it alone, but it was a valuable learning experience.
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post May 24 2006, 12:28 AM
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G'Day Mate!

I would be really honest and say that Oz was one of the easiest places to travel around without a tour. I mean, it up to you and which kind of experience you are looking for. If its out of fear of not meeting people that you want to buy a package deal or worrying that you may not have it in you to organize things yourself, then don't book a tour. But then again, there are those travellers who want to let go and have everything done for them...then, book a tour.

You sound like an ambitious woman with some adventures to have...look forward to reading about them wink.gif

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post May 25 2006, 07:55 PM
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oz experience is the '18-30's' of austraila.. it's great for meeting people like yourself who are going up the east coast quickly for sun, sand and you know!

if your a travel virgin and a bit shy, oz is a brilliant jump off point.. if you get off the plane and stay in a hostel dorm your guaranteed to meet someone up for going out, it's sooo easy! probably the easiest destination in the world for backpackers to get together.. everything is set up for you.. i kid you NOT!

the temping job market has everything going for us aswell, never pay upfront to agencies, plus fruit picking sounds S*$# but people don't always do it for the money but for the people you meet and the good times you have..

good luck and forget any agency rubbish

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post Nov 26 2009, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE(pierredh @ May 7 2008, 05:00 PM) *

Green Lion / Greenway and Real Gap are NOT legal partners of SJ Vietnam (www.sjvietnam.org)

We have discovered that some unfair travel agencies are resolding our voluntary projects in Europe and USA without any agreement of SJ Vietnam since march 2008.
They charge their customers up to 1000 $ / 2 weeks workcamp to receive our contacts or they include our workcamps as an extra one week activity in their touristic tours.
SJ Vietnam works ONLY with national volunteer organizations abroad, as CCIVS member we refuse any direct placement and our participation fees are maximum 180 euro / month.

If you live in England, our partners are the non profit organizations as VAP-UK, VIA, SCI, CONCORDIA and NEVER the profit organization REAL GAP !

Our projects ARE not activities for alternatif tourists, our street children ARE not an attraction for tourists !

About Real Gap (UK) : http://www.realgap.co.uk

About Green Lion (Thailand) : http://www.thegreenlion.net

If you are victim of such travel agencies, please contact immediately pierre@sjvietnam.org (+32 495 680 934)

Hanoi, 26 march 2008
Dear Patrick Franssen, manager of Green Lion / Greenway

On behalf of SJ Vietnam, I would like to inform you that SJ Vietnam will officially stop all cooperation in term of our organization and your company as following decision:
- Stop placements of your participants in SJ Vietnam voluntary projects.
- Stop to send you all documentary support and reference to local partners in Vietnam.
The reasons are:
+ SJ Vietnam is a voluntary organization who is a member of CCIVS and we have to respect its regulation which is not allowed to host volunteers sent by non-voluntary partners in the network.
+ We don't have suitable program to host your participants for 1 week because all of our workcamps and projects last from 2 weeks to more than 1 month.
We are sorry for the unfavorable situation.

Thank you for your understanding.

Best regards,
Miss Do Thi Phuc, director of SJ Vietnam (Vietnam)
Mr De Hanscutter Pierre, President of SJ Vietnam (Belgium)

Mail from one Real Gap customer:
Thank you very much for your email. I originally booked my Vietnam trip through the company Real Gap, I paid an extra 300pounds to stay and volunteer for the four weeks. I received no pre departure training, but was told that all food and airport transfers were included. I did not realize at the time of booking that Real Gap did not arrange the volunteer placements themselves. I was thinking about emailing the Real Gap company to enquire and was thinking about asking for a certain amount of my money back to pay for the airport taxi and to make my food budget more substantial. Would you recommend this as a good idea? I do not want to offend anyone at SJ Volunteers if I email Real Gap, I have had no problem with SJ Vietnam itself and have been extremely happy with my co - ordinator Hoia. She has been extremely welcoming and accomodating to my needs. Thank you once again for your email, I hope to hear from you soon, best wishes Kerry Watson (UK)


Should have gone with Xtreme Gap... Much better value
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post Jan 4 2010, 09:45 AM
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Often you can just arrange your own travelling or volunteering and need no other company.

Other times a 'middleman' company may be useful if it can guarantee a worthy project and help give you extra information, help and preparation that you couldn't have easily achieved yourself.

This can be helpful for the host organisation too - as the 'middlemen' find them volunteers, take care of the initial administration and prepare them for the trip.

So they can be worth it.

Real Gap ??? No idea.

Check out http://www.volunteerhq.org/ - they seem OK and cheap.
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post Jan 4 2010, 07:33 PM
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Oh - I just noticed this is in the Australia / New Zealand forum

In that case - no, I doubt the companies are worth it. Why pay an English speaking company that is in Britain to arrange your Australian holiday.

Surely you can easily find an English speaking Australian company that is in Australia, and so therefore knows the country better and is cheaper (using AUD and not Pounds)
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