There’s a Japanese Travel Agency for Stuffed Animals (Because of Course There Is)

Unagi Travel, Facebook

You think you’re feeling cooped up and need to get out and explore? What about that teddy bear of yours that hasn’t emerged from your storage closet since 1985?

A Japanese travel agency, Unagi Travel, which calls itself a “travel agency for stuffed animals,” has been taking plush animals on trips for the last three years. Why? To allow their owners to live vicariously through them. In fact, many of Unagi Travel’s customers are physically impaired. Well, and photos of traveling stuffed animals are cute.​”I want to see and walk around the sights that I viewed through my stuffed animal’s journeys someday,” said a 51-year-old woman, impaired by an illness that makes it difficult for her to walk, to the Japan News.

Unagi Travel’s Sonoe Azuma has shepherded more than 200 stuffed animals on trips. Be it a bike tour of Tokyo or a cross-Pacific journey to the United States, Azuma posts many of the photos of the traveling stuffed animals on Unagi Travel’s Facebook page (which is about to become your time waster of the day).

Stuffed animal travel is decidedly more affordable than the human kind: tours are priced between $20 and $55, depending on what the stuffed animals are getting up to. And just in case your stuffed animal likes the element of surprise, there are mystery tours, where your stuffed friend takes off to an unknown location.

Sound weird? Azuma’s clients love it; according to her about 40 percent of her clientele are repeat customers.

“I’m happy if my activities encourage those who can’t be positive to take a step forward,” Azuma said.

Just like your garden gnome taking a trip around the world, but better.

Friendly Planet Travel begins offering authorized travel to Cuba

cuba travel After several years, Americans are now able to travel to Cuba again under a new program from the U.S. Treasury Department. The aim of the program is to help Americans interact with locals of Cuba through educational exchanges focused on art, culture, music, and more.

As one of a handful of travel operators who have been granted a people-to-people license, Friendly Planet Travel will be operating two educational trips to Cuba that will allow people to immerse themselves in Cuban culture as well as learn about the country’s past, present, and future. The first trip is a 5-day “Discover Havana” trip ($1,899) that allows Americans to interact with locals and learn about Havana’s rich culture and history. The second trip, an 8-day “Colors of Cuba” trip ($2,899) is more in-depth and visits many culturally significant sites, such as Old Havana, Cienfuegos, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Trinidad.

Both of the trips include round trip airfare from Miami, a letter of authorization, entrance visa into Cuba, all land transportation, superior hotel accommodations, all meals, comprehensive educational programs, translator, and Friendly Planet guide. Trips will begin departing in March, 2012. For more information to see exact dates, click here.