Tag Archives: Frequent Traveler

Keep Yourself Safe On Your Travels With Kitestring

As a specialist in travel communications, much of what we do at Tep is about allowing you to share the excitement and wonder of your travels, wherever you are in the world. But sometimes our travels take us to places which might be a little riskier, or at least where we feel a little more out of our comfort zone. At those times, it’s very reassuring to know that you can quickly tell people whether everything is fine and you are safe or that things might not be going to plan and you may need help. That’s why we made Kitestring part of the Tep product family.

What is Kitestring?

It’s a personal safety service. Ask Kitestring to check up on you at some future time, and Kitestring will text you to make sure you’re safe. Reply to the message or check in on the website and all is well. If you don’t check in, Kitestring alerts the emergency contacts that you set up ahead of time. Of course, you can always extend your ETA or check in early.

Tep - Kitestring

Why should I use Kitestring over other services?

There are some great personal safety apps and services out there, but there are a few reasons why we decided to create Kitestring.

Too many people don’t use personal safety apps because they’re inconvenient. We put a lot of time and love into Kitestring to simplify it into something people could activate quickly before they head out, rather than having to remember to do it during their journey.

A lot of safety apps are triggered by some action, like pushing a big red button or shaking one’s phone. We suspect that a lot of bad situations do not afford a victim the opportunity to take these actions. Kitestring is a little different—it triggers itself when you don’t do something you thought you would be able to.

Many of these apps are not free – after all, their creators need to eat. But any price tag, no matter how small, is enough to deter most people. Kitestring has a “forever free” version because we want people to use it. You only pay if you want bonus features.

Do I need to install an app?

No, to make it available to almost anyone, Kitestring is designed to be an SMS-based service. If you can send text messages, you can use Kitestring. That’s it! Kitestring can also be accessed via the Tep+ app.

If someone took my phone, couldn’t they check in as me?

You can designate additional secret code words to prevent someone from using your phone to check in for you. You can also set a special password which, if enabled, is the only word that can be used to check in. You can also designate a code word to indicate duress should you get into trouble. If you respond with that code word, the app pretends you have checked in successfully while secretly alerting your contacts that you may be in danger.

How does it work for my emergency contacts?

They don’t have to set up anything at their end. It’s always handy to let them know you are using the Kitestring service so they understand what’s happening if they receive a message, but you can customize the message they receive so it makes sense to them.

Can I use it anywhere?

The fact that Kitestring relies solely on SMS, rather than a data connection or standalone app, opens it up to millions of users across the globe who don’t have smartphones. The service is available in 217 countries, although English is the only language currently supported.

We want all your travel experiences to be memorable for all the right reasons. We also want you to be as safe as possible and, if things do go awry for whatever reason, to know that someone will be alerted if you don’t reach your destination.

There is lots more information about Kitestring on our FAQ page including details about setup and usage as well as pricing plans and billing for advanced features.

Kitestring is just one aspect of the Tep product family along with the Teppy personal Wifi hotspot, the Tep+ international messaging app and lots of other additional services.

The device is only $8.95 per day and don’t forget you get unlimited data usage on each day you rent from us.

Find out more about renting a device here.

Calling out around the world, are you ready for a brand-new beat?

At Tep, our mission is to keep you in touch with friends, family and colleagues wherever you are. A vital part of that is being able to call whoever you need to, wherever you are.

Call anyone, anywhere, without hesitation

The Tep+ Call & Messaging app is the best way to get in touch with anyone while abroad, thanks to rock-bottom international rates as well as best-in-class call quality & reliability.

You won’t have to worry about carrying multiple SIM cards or phones, have any uncertainty about how much that call is costing you or what the quality of that call is going to be like.

It’s designed to be great value for travellers

Our call and SMS rates are seriously cheap. You can check our rates for any country here. You can add credit instantly in-app, then pay-as-you-go or buy bundles. Transparent call & SMS rates put you in control of your costs.

Any text, voice and video chat with another Tep+ user is free. Just get your family or your travel buddies to download and use the app too and you can create group chats and share pictures, video, locations & recordings without it costing you a cent. The app is a free iOS or Android download, no registration or credit card required and it syncs with your phone’s contacts immediately.

Why do I need this if I already have apps like Whatsapp, Skype or Viber?

There are a lot of times, when you are travelling, where the call you need to make can’t be a free VOIP call using Wifi (to someone else who is also using Wifi and the same service). Here are some examples:

• Making a call to a local landline number to make a booking or reservation
• Receiving a call back from a local mobile or landline to confirm that booking
• Making a call to any emergency services

The Tep+ app (on top of the free App2App calls and texts) allows you to rent a local number so you can call local landline numbers and receive calls whilst abroad at no extra cost. This gives you a big saving over the per min and connection fee costs of other VOIP services which make the bulk of their money from you in this way.

We’ve invested in giving you great call quality

We know the foundation of a great experience is that it just works like you expect it to, without quality issues or other downsides. Tep+ is built upon a truly unique VoIP platform which uses 9x less data (and 8x less battery) than other mobile VoIP technologies available today.

TEP vs Competitors - Data Usage Per Call

This translates into much better call quality, due to a lower network load, resulting in reliable calls even in areas with weaker coverage or slower network speeds. Perfect for travelers looking for reliable and high-quality calls, wherever the road takes them.

Access all our services from anywhere

The Tep+ app allows access to a range of incredibly useful services direct from your phone. You can get help from our local concierges in over 160 cities, help keep yourself safe using the Kitestring service or order your own Teppy personal wifi hotspot if you didn’t have time to do so before you left home. You don’t have to buy any of our additional services at the time of rental or miss out, they can be added on when you need them.

We believe we’ve created the ultimate travel companion, with the Teppy personal Wifi hotspot and the Tep+ international messaging app. However you want to communicate, wherever you are, we’ve got your covered.

The device is only $9.95 per day and don’t forget you get unlimited data usage on each day you rent from us. Now you’ve got a great way to get even more use out of that!

Find out more about renting a device here.

The secrets to a perfect trip – in your pocket

The first travel experience in a new country, or even just a new city, can be daunting. You want to get out and explore, find the best places to eat, drink or just sample the local culture. There’s never enough time or budget to fit everything in and we all feel a pressure to make sure we spend our time and money wisely. Most of all, we want to be able to go home and wow our family and friends with stories of our amazing discoveries!

At Tep Wireless we’re all about creating the ability for you to communicate while you travel. While that’s often about staying in touch with home, we realize that our wireless hotspot devices are also a powerful tool to access local information where you are.

Renting one of our personal devices solves the problem of how you can access that information, the next question is, who do I get it from?

Introducing our local travel concierges – Real locals, real insight

Tep have partnered with local people, hand-picked because of their knowledge, to be on hand at the touch of a button to help you have the ultimate travel experience in their city. This service is already available in over 160 cities worldwide. You can chat with a local concierge from 9am to 8pm every day via the Tep+ app.

Sounds great, how much does it cost?

Just $3.95 per day. We believe you’ll make this back many times over with the time and budget savings our concierges can deliver in advising you on transport and the best value places to eat and drink. It’s like a genie in a bottle!

What sort of things can my concierge help with?

Our concierges are on hand to help with a whole range of ideas, planning, logistics and booking arrangements. Let’s take a look at a few examples of common situations our concierges can help you with.

Planning your day

One of the common problems travelers face in an unfamiliar city is how much it’s practical to fit into your stay. How long might I want to spend at that museum? Is it worth stopping off at this other place on the way? Am I just trying to cram too much in? Getting insight into how to pace your time so you don’t set too hectic a pace, or miss out on a highlight, is key to really enjoying your holiday.

Comparing transport options

Maps help you work out distances but don’t give you an accurate idea of journey times or how reliable different transport options are. Are taxis good value here? How do I figure out bus timetables? What times of day should I try to avoid to stay out of traffic gridlock? Being able to move around efficiently and cost-effectively takes a lot of the stress out of travel.

Finding truly authentic food experiences

No one wants to eat the same hotel buffet every night, right? Finding out where to eat, especially at night, isn’t easy. Firstly, you don’t want to roam the streets looking like a lost tourist after dark. Secondly, there are always really good value options out there if you just know where to find them. It’s something that only an unbiased local with a good knowledge of the available options can tell you.

Exploring a little more widely

In unfamiliar surroundings, we often tend to play a little safe. Heading out to the edge of town or into the surrounding countryside takes longer and has greater potential to waste time if we get lost or find the place was no better than a similar one in the city. Our concierges can help you make decisions about when and where it’s worth taking that time so you have the confidence to go explore off the beaten track.

Making arrangements

If you’re visiting a country where you’re not confident in speaking or writing the local language then it’s natural to be hesitant about making calls or bookings if you’re worried you won’t be understood or may ask for the wrong thing. Our concierges can make arrangements on your behalf, which can be especially useful if you’re not staying at a large hotel where this can be done for you.

Being able to react to events “on the fly”

We’ve all had the perfect day planned only for the weather to change or transport to let us down, meaning we need an alternative plan in a hurry. If you’re already out and about and can’t afford to waste time returning to your accommodation, then you need someone to be on hand wherever you are. This is probably the time when our local concierges are most useful. They are just an instant message away wherever you are and your Tep WiFi hotspot means you’ve always got the connectivity you need to reach them. It’s the perfect combination to ensure you have an amazing travel experience with minimal issues.

We’re incredibly excited to be able to launch this service for our device rental customers, we think it’ll give you so much more value out of our portable WiFi solution, which we know people already love for its ability to keep you constantly connected.

The device is only $9.95 per day and don’t forget you get unlimited data usage on each day you rent from us. Now you’ve got a great way to get even more use out of that!

Find out more about renting a device here.

Paying your way: How your travel can earn you money

Our 21st century working lives are being changed dramatically by technology. More and more of us can work flexibly from home as well as an office. So why shouldn’t we be able to travel, work and earn at the same time? More and more people are doing exactly that so if you dream of your travel being self-funding here is some advice to consider.

Try finding a job with a lot of travel involved

If the thought of changing career just seems too risky, perhaps the most orthodox way of earning from travel is looking for a similar job to your current one, but with better travel opportunities. In a globalized world, most industries have roles that require staff to travel frequently so you might able to align your own career curve to intercept.

Start a digital business which you can run from anywhere

As the internet dominates our lives more and more, digital skills are becoming some of the easiest to take anywhere. Whether you’re a website coder, app developer or digital marketer, you don’t need much more than a laptop and an internet connection to ply your trade. You can video conference into all those meetings from anywhere!

Take advantage of the global desire for content

Once all those clever digital folks have built those websites, someone has to write something to go in them. The international tourism industry has a massive need for up-to-date content because we consume so much of it in considering where to spend the c. $7.5 billion dollars we invest in travel every year. Whether you want to be a freelance travel writer or start your own revenue-generating travel blog there are always opportunities to earn a living from describing places and people.

Hone your creative skill as a photographer or videographer

If you are thinking about starting your own travel blog then you do need a reality check, it’s not easy. Don’t take our word for it, Matthew Karsten, one of the world’s top travel bloggers has lifted the lid on how he did it and what it took. You need to be more than just a writer to stand out, these days most people running successful travel blogs are spending more time photographing or making video content as their primary way of communicating and building enough of an audience to generate income.

Acquire specialist knowledge of a particular place to work as a guide

If you have a favourite part of the world you’ve visited frequently and built up an intimate knowledge about then you may well find local travel companies or resorts interested in using you as a tour guide. Check out some top tips and see if you’ve got the mix of people skills and organizational ability to make a career of it.

Become an au pair

Working abroad as an au pair is an experience that many young people have tried as a way of funding time abroad and mixing in some travel and new cultural experience. Living with a family abroad can give you a much richer insight into how people’s lifestyles and cultures vary around the world.

Use your language skills

Teaching is another traditional route to overseas employment. English is still the world’s international business language although if you have other language skills in Spanish, Arabic or Mandarin then you’ll be in even greater demand. There are lots of opportunities to teach in Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

Become a skilled instructor

If you’re not a natural linguist then there are plenty of other opportunities to use any qualifications you have to carve out a role working abroad as an instructor. Watersports, scuba diving and skiing are all popular seasonal or year round roles that provide opportunities to take your skillset to different parts of the world.

Go to sea!

There are a much wider array of boat-related travel careers these days than actually being a sailor. You might enjoy the glamour of a crew role in the yachting industry, travelling from one chic location to another or to work on a cruise ship, these floating cities have as many job roles as on land!

Or just be a “jack of all trades”

You can, of course, travel and work in an altogether more freewheeling manner. There are a huge number of casual roles you can turn your hand to if needed, whether that’s in a restaurant, as a bartender or perhaps fruit-picking in the countryside. The same skills that make you a good traveler (a friendly attitude, good people skills and a desire to learn) are the ones that will open doors for you in any country.

A Tep portable wifi device could be a game-changer for you to be able to work and communicate effectively abroad. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.

In fact, we can even help you earn as you travel via our referral program. We’ll give you $20 for every order placed via your own unique referral link.

10 travel destinations you wouldn’t have visited a decade ago

The trends of must-visit travel destinations seem to change with ever-increasing frequency. While some places just go in and out of fashion of their own accord, some parts of the world suffer from extended periods of conflict or political isolation which mean they are an entirely different tourist experience by the time visitors can return. Let’s look at some current examples of countries emerging (or re-emerging) as exciting travel opportunities which just ten years ago were off limits.

1. Northern Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is such a popular destination today that it seems impossible it was seen as a risky country to visit so recently, but the 25-year civil war only ended in 2009 allowing this beautiful island to reclaim its rightful place as a tourist paradise. The northern part of the island contains a rich mix of cultural and natural highlights. Five times as many people visited Sri Lanka in 2016 as did back in 2005 and those numbers are only increasing.

2. Myanmar

Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has been a country in isolation for most of the last 50 years. Under military rule for much of that time, it is only since 2011 that Myanmar has gradually opened up again to tourism. From the capital Yangon, to beautiful Lake Inle and the stunning temples of Bagan, there is no shortage of highlights to explore in this previously mysterious country.

3. Sudan

Sudan is a country with a fascinating ancient history which people are now beginning to re-discover. Situated south of Egypt and with a long, shared history via the Nubian people, Sudan has its own pyramids, most famously at Meroe, as well the historic cities of Khartoum and Omdurman. Sudan was partitioned in 2011 creating the world’s newest country, South Sudan, and while the fledgling South is still best by conflict and can’t make this list, its northern counterpart is now safer to visit than at any point in the last 20 years.

4. Colombia

Colombia has succeeded in ending a long civil conflict between the government and FARC rebels in the last 12 months. A historic peace deal was signed in December 2016 and Colombia has revived hugely as a mainstream tourist destination. Cities whose names were previously synonymous with drug cartels, such as Medellin, are safe to visit and the stunning colonial architecture of Cartagena on the Caribbean Sea coast is now drawing back large numbers of visitors.

5. Lebanon

The Middle East has been one of the most volatile areas of the world in the last half-century, with some sort of regional conflict having been almost continuous. For most of the 1980s and 90s the place most-associated with civil conflict was Lebanon and its capital city, Beirut. In the last few years, neighboring Syria has become the region’s flashpoint but Lebanon has managed to remain relatively peaceful. It is still a country that travelers should research carefully before visiting, some areas are safer than others, but there seems to be a groundswell of positive opinion that Lebanon is now a viable tourist destination.

6. North Korea

North Korea is possibly the most contentious country on this list as it is governed by a highly repressive regime which is at odds with much of the rest of the world. The relationship between North Korea, the USA and its own regional neighbors remains fluid and liable to abrupt change at any time. It should be noted that US citizens are advised not to visit North Korea at this time, although some people still do, the risk of arrest makes this inadvisable. For Europeans, organized tours are available, but these are the only way of getting access to this most secretive and suspicious of countries in the world right now.

7. Rwanda

Rwanda is a country coming to terms with one of the most shocking events in recent world history, a brief but unbelievably violent civil war in 1994. Even as the Rwandan people have rebuilt political and civil stability over the last 20 years the tiny country has continued to be affected by the volatile situation of its giant neighbor, DR Congo, which continues to struggle with the presence of violent local warlords. But Rwanda has, almost incredibly, blossomed, becoming a symbol of peace and prosperity in Central Africa. Over the last few years Rwanda has once again become a must-visit destination, with its stunning volcanoes and mountain gorilla population being the undoubted stars.

8. Cuba

Barack Obama’s tenure as US President brought about a significant change in US-Cuban relations. Whilst the rest of the world has been enjoying the beaches of Varadero and the unique atmosphere of Havana for years, American visitors have been embargoed from doing so. With restrictions having been lifted in stages throughout 2016 there are now plenty of itinerary options for Americans to enjoy legally via a direct flight.

9. Iran

Iran has been a tempting but unreachable destination for most western travelers since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. But the British government lifted its blanket ban on travel to Iran in the summer of 2015 amidst an improving relationship between Iran and Europe. It would appear in 2017 as though the Trump administration may create a more difficult atmosphere between Iran and the USA, which may make Iran a riskier destination for US travelers, but there is no doubt that Iran is open to visitors and that, away from troubled border regions, it is a safe country to visit currently.

10. Montenegro

Montenegro is unique on our list in being the youngest country. Ten years ago, hardly anyone had visited it in its current form as the country had only existed for a matter of months after an independence referendum in the summer of 2006. Fast forward ten years and Montenegro is becoming one of the trendiest destinations in Europe with travel magazines and bloggers regularly featuring the spectacular scenery of Kotor in particular. It’s also become a popular destination for cruise ships so if you want to explore Montenegro while it’s still cool, now’s the time!

Wherever your next adventure takes you, ensure you stay connected with home by using a Tep portable wifi device. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends or family can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.

10 extreme holiday activities around the world

So much of the world is now within the reach of every traveler that exciting experiences, which were once the domain of the thrill-seeking adventurer, have now been packaged up for families and senior citizens. In one sense that’s no bad thing, but it is human nature to question, strive and challenge ourselves to explore new experiences and sensations. So, in 2017, what qualifies as an extreme holiday activity? Let’s look at a few travel opportunities that can still get the adrenaline pumping!

1. Coasteering

You may not be familiar with coasteering, it’s not yet really taken hold as a mainstream activity yet, but it is a fun challenge. As the name suggests coasteering is the exploration of coastlines from sea and land. It involves swimming in tough conditions close to cliffs where the sea can be rough and unpredictable and then climbing out to scramble or canyon in and out of accessible areas. This is often accompanied by a jump back into the water from a height to continue the journey. Coasteering originated in the UK, with the rugged coastline of Wales especially popular, but you can now book these activities in many parts of the UK.

2. Shark Cage Diving

There are many amazing wildlife spectacles all around the world, but the ultimate is being face-to-face with an apex predator in their environment. When that environment is underwater it becomes an entirely different experience which is why cage dives to see Great White Sharks in close proximity is still the most extreme animal experience. South Africa and South Australia are the most popular destinations with long-established operators with good safety records and ethical values.

3. Heli-skiing

Skiing and snowboarding are a perennial favourite for activity holidays, but if you want to take your snow-based adventures to the next level then perhaps it’s time to swap for the ski lift for a helicopter! Heli-skiing provides the opportunity to create your own unique route, by accessing slopes from the air. Of course, like any backcountry skiing, that freedom comes with the need for expert guidance and piloting to make sure that you choose a suitable area and have an awareness of current local conditions. But if you want to explore and ski away from the crowds and create unique memories then it’s a great option.

4. River Surfing

Another twist on an established travel activity is surfing rivers rather than ocean waves. It’s become a popular choice for visitors to Queenstown, New Zealand which is a globally renowned hotspot for lots of extreme sports but has extended to locations around the globe. Check out this map for a handy reference. River surfing has a key advantage over ocean surfing in that waves can be created by objects in the water and remain in a stationary position. No need to worry about where that wave is going to appear!

5. High altitude trekking

Walking holidays are always wonderful chance to get out in nature. But if you’ve done the Appalachian Trail or bagged your share of Munros in Scotland then you might want your next challenge to be trekking in even more spectacular locations. You might love the idea of conquering Africa’s highest mountains, exploring the High Inca Trail in Peru or walking through the unbelievable scenery of Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas. Just make sure you’ve prepared, the lack of oxygen at higher altitudes can catch out even experienced hikers.

6. Highlining

Highlining is essentially the same activity as slacklining, walking along a length of webbing anchored between two points. But with highlining, the drop beneath the participant can be hundreds or thousands of feet of air. It’s been around for the best part of 30 years but has recently surged in popularity. It’s an activity you can try in an increasing number of US National Parks including Joshua Tree and the sport’s spiritual home, Yosemite. Safety is, of course, absolutely paramount with this activity so make sure you only try it with someone who is experienced at rigging lines and using safety equipment.

7. Extreme road trips

Using a vehicle on your travels doesn’t have to make you any less adventurous. It can be an incredible way to access some of the most spectacular regions on earth. Some of the most famous routes for extreme road trips are the Canning Stock Route in Western Australia, the Karakoram Highway (part of the centuries-old Silk Route) across Pakistan and China and the infamous Camino de la Muerte (Death Road) from La Paz to Coroico in Bolivia which no longer carries vehicle traffic but can be travelled by mountain bike.

8. Bungee jumping… into a volcano

The thought of bungee jumping over a river or canyon is enough to instill fear into a great many people but if you’ve been there and done that already and are looking for the next level of challenge then how about adding the location of an active volcano to up the ante? The Villarrica Volcano in Chile is one location where you can do this, it isn’t cheap and involves making the jump from a helicopter rather than a static platform but if you want the ultimate adrenaline rush then perhaps this is it!

9. Extreme Marathons

If the heat of a volcano isn’t your thing then perhaps you’d like a colder challenge? Marathon running is a pretty mainstream challenge these days, undertaken by thousands of people in major cities across the world every year. But taking that activity from the streets of London or New York to the icy wastes of Antarctica and attempting a full marathon at an altitude of 700m in temperatures of -20C? Different ball game! This is the challenge presented by the Antarctic Ice Marathon, which celebrates its thirteenth running in 2017. Sadly, you won’t be cheered on by penguins the course is too far south even for them!

10. Climbing Mount Everest

Scaling Everest, to the highest point on earth, is still the ultimate challenge. Since 1953, when Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay achieved the first confirmed ascent, only just over 4,000 individuals have managed to follow them. Achieving the ultimate challenge requires the ultimate commitment in terms of time (2 months in total in the area to acclimatize and make the climb) and money (likely in excess of $50,000). But it’s an exclusive club to belong to and you can’t really put a price on that feeling of completing the ultimate adventure and looking down on the world from its greatest viewpoint.

However far, however high your next adventure takes you, ensure you stay connected with home by using a Tep portable wifi device. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends or family can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.

Travelling less ordinary – 10 unusual modes of transport from around the world

The beauty of travel is its ability to give us a different perspective on the world. Sometimes the modes of transport we use can seem increasingly standardized, whether it’s planes, trains or automobiles. We peer out of the same small windows of the same vehicles on the same routes as everyone else.

G.K. Chesterton famously wrote; “The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see”. So, let’s throw off the shackles of transport as a means of just delivering us from point A to point B and take a look at how different types of transport can be an experience in themselves!

1. Aerial Tramways

There are few better ways of seeing a city or a landscape in its entirety than by being able to glide serenely above it and get a bird’s eye view. There are so many incredible routes in countries across the globe, viewing a famous landmark like Rio De Janeiro’s Sugarloaf Mountain, experiencing the world’s steepest aerial tramway route at the Rosh Hanikra grottoes in northern Israel or ascending Mount Stanserhorn in Switzerland on a tramway with an open air deck (are you brave enough?).

2. Snow coaches

Sometimes if you want to go to extreme places and see extreme things then you have to invent your own transport. In the 1960s and 1970s, various types of large passenger vehicles were designed to operate on snow and ice to transport visitors into areas like the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park or for the purpose of viewing polar bears around Churchill, Manitoba.

3. Reed boats

Thor Heyerdahl’s epic 1947 Kon-Tiki expedition brought an ancient mode of transport back into the modern consciousness. Reed watercraft are still a viable mode of transport in various parts of Africa and South America. Perhaps the best known are the Uros people of the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca, who doesn’t just construct reed boats for travel on the lake but actually lives on floating islands made from the same Totora reed.

4. Maglev trains

What’s so unusual about a train? How about one without wheels that don’t touch the ground and can travel at speeds people thought an impossibility until recently? An Asian innovation, Maglev trains currently only operate in three countries (Japan, China and South Korea). The most ambitious of these, Japan’s Chuo Shinkansen transit project will connect Tokyo with Nagoya and Osaka, 400km away, in a total journey time of 67 minutes. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until 2027 for it to be operational for the public.

5. Horseback safaris

African safaris are always a hugely popular travel experience. Even from the conventional confines of a Toyota Land Cruiser, it’s amazing how close you can get to the majestic wildlife of Africa. But an entirely different experience has become hugely popular in recent years via horseback safaris. It’s eco-friendlier and a far more immersive experience whether you’re in the deserts of Namibia, on the beaches of Mozambique or amongst the Great Migration herds of Kenya and Tanzania.

6. Dog sleds

When we think about authentic travel experiences in the colder parts of the world, many of us conjure images of indigenous people using dog sleds as they have for centuries. Most countries within the Arctic Circle use this form of travel to a certain extent, Alaska/Canada, Scandanavia and Russia are all popular destinations for dog sledding experiences. You don’t need to undertake something as grueling as the legendary Iditarod Race, many resorts offer half-day or full day experiences into their local wilderness as a taster.

7. Canopy zipline tours

Another great example of a unique perspective is to traverse rainforest areas via a series of ziplines which make up a canopy tour. They certainly don’t lack for excitement and adrenaline too! These experiences can be found in many countries, South Africa and New Zealand have several but the original innovator of these tours has to be Costa Rica. They have become a staple of the country’s ecotourism principles and are often combined with other fun physical activities such as rafting or mountain-biking.

8. House boats

If canopy tours sound a bit scary then, at the other end of the scale, perhaps you’d enjoy the pure relaxation of a house boat? There are over 40 sites in the US alone, like the spectacular Lake Powell. House boats also have a long history in other parts of the world. The Norfolk Broads in the UK are synonymous with boat-based holidays as are the Indian states of Kerala and Kashmir.

9. Sub-orbital space travel

The final frontier? Despite years of hype, it does feel as though space tourism is now very close to a reality, even though it might be a few years before it’s affordable for most of us. Only Hollywood has been able to show us what it might be like to look down on our own planet from the ultimate vantage point, but the tenacity of the likes of Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson will surely mean it’s an inevitability in the next decade (or maybe two).

10. Your own two feet

Ultimately, the only truly unique travel experience you can ever have is the one you choose and travel under your own power. So, if you want to take your own path and see the wonderful, unexpected surprises that only travel can deliver, don’t forget the most important form of transport you have is your own curiosity. I wonder what’s around that corner if I just go a little further….

Wherever and however you take your next travel adventure, you can ensure you stay connected with home by using a Tep portable wifi device. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends or family can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.

The soundtrack to a perfect spring road trip

 

Spring is here, can you feel it? If you’re anything like us, longer daylight, warmer weather and the sight of the natural world awakening after winter makes you want to get out of the house and travel. It’s the perfect time to take a road trip to somewhere you’ve never been before and enjoy the inspiration that comes from seeing new sights and meeting new people.

An essential ingredient to an unforgettable road trip is some great music that can become part of your memories. For example, The Beach Boys are great anywhere but when you hear “California Girls” driving the Pacific Coast Highway it means so much more.

So, to help you assemble the ultimate playlist for your travels here are some of our favorite tracks to check out to make the miles fly by. Just for fun, we’ve assembled them in two distinct lists to suit a laidback cruise or a high-octane blast if you happen to be on a German Autobahn with no speed limit!

US Highway Cruising

  1. Here comes the Sun – The Beatles
  2. Crosstown Traffic – The Jimi Hendrix Experience
  3. Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane
  4. Little Red Corvette – Prince
  5. Every day is a Winding Road – Sheryl Crow
  6. Shut up and Drive – Rihanna
  7. Fast Car – Tracy Chapman
  8. On the Road Again – Canned Heat
  9. Holiday Road – Lindsey Buckingham
  10. You Can’t Catch Me – Chuck Berry
  11. Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
  12. Interstate Love Song – Stone Temple Pilots
  13. Life in the Fast Lane – Eagles
  14. We Weren’t Born to Follow – Bon Jovi
  15. Roadhouse Blues – The Doors
  16. City – Natalie Imbruglia
  17. Travelin’ Band – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  18. Waking up in Vegas – Katy Perry
  19. Maps – Maroon 5
  20. Fly Away – Lenny Kravitz

Autobahn Energy

  1. Danger Zone – Kenny Loggins
  2. Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  3. Gasoline – Audioslave
  4. I’m Shipping up to Boston – Dropkick Murphys
  5. Somebody Told Me – The Killers
  6. Bad Habit – The Offspring
  7. The Chase is Better than the Catch – Motorhead
  8. Crazy Train – Ozzy Osbourne
  9. Animals – Nickelback
  10. Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
  11. Nightrain – Guns n’ Roses
  12. Crank it Up – David Guetta
  13. The Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Band
  14. Unchained – Van Halen
  15. Road Runner – Aerosmith
  16. Fox on the Run – The Sweet
  17. 502 – Megadeth
  18. Further On (Up the Road) – Bruce Springsteen
  19. Speed King – Deep Purple
  20. Call Me the Breeze – Lynyrd Skynyrd

Yes, we know, there were a lot of classics that didn’t make this list! But we hope this might give you a few gems to add to your playlist and discover (or re-discover)!

To make sure the music flows continuously on your journey, especially if you’re sharing DJ duties across multiple devices, a Tep portable wifi device could be just what you need. It’ll save you a fortune on data roaming charges and up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage. Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.

Top 10 reasons to travel at Easter

Easter is a time when many of us plan to spend time with family and loved ones. It’s a beautiful time of year so why not take some time to travel around the Easter holiday and enjoy some quality relaxation? If you’re agonizing about whether to start using up your paid vacation time here are some compelling reasons to say yes and go for it!

1. The timing is perfect

Christmas was a long time ago; the summer holidays are still a way off. It’s the perfect time for a getaway to recharge the batteries, even if just for a few days. City breaks or road trips are a perfect way to escape without busting any budgets.

2. It’s a great time for romantic travel

Some of the world’s most romantic cities are at their best around Easter, especially in Europe. Like the song says, we all love Paris in the springtime and the same is true for Venice, Rome, Lisbon and Budapest.

3. Seeing Nature’s beautiful spring colors

In many parts of the world, Easter is a time when nature is at its absolute best. Whether it’s to see fields of tulips in the Netherlands, stunning cherry blossom in Japan or the huge variety of wildflowers in Yellowstone National Park there are natural sights you won’t find any other time of year.

4. It’s a great time to go skiing

In both the US and Europe, Easter isn’t too late to get some time on the ski slopes if you focus on areas with higher altitudes where good snow remains late in the season. Plus, it’s generally a little sunnier, prices are lower and the longer days mean you can spend more time practicing!

5. It’s the best time for family holidays

The kids are out of school for a couple of weeks, they’ll only be bored around the house so why not take them away over Easter? Travel is cheaper than during the peak summer season so if you’re thinking of travelling as a family Easter is one of the best times financially.

6. Take advantage of public holidays (in Europe and Australia)

Many European (and Antipodean) countries have a clutch of public holidays around the Easter period so you can make vacation days go much further by combining them with public holidays. In the UK you’re guaranteed one four-day weekend and you can get a ten-day break while only using four days holiday!

7. No long-haul flights needed

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, as we come into warmer weather around Easter it means we don’t have to travel as far in search of sunshine. We often take for granted the great experiences to be had travelling just within 100 miles of home. This is the perfect time to explore that local area you’ve always overlooked.

8. It’s not too hot for adventure

It might not be quite warm enough yet to be planning a beach holiday, but that’s a good thing! Easter is a time when we often do our most interesting cultural or adventure travelling and the temperature is perfect for doing more without fatigue. So, whether you want to hike the trail you’ve always meant to or just want to put in the miles on foot to really explore your favorite city then there won’t be a better time.

9. It’s quiet enough not to plan

One of the joys of travelling is just being able to go with the flow, step out of time and forget about schedules and deadlines. During busy summer seasons that’s not always practical, popular destinations will be busy and it’s too risky to just turn up and wing it on accommodation. But around Easter things can be a little quieter, meaning you can often enjoy a more peaceful style of travel and plan less rigidly.

10. There are amazing one-off festivities

Easter is a global celebration, but one that is celebrated with a lot of variation in different countries. So there is always a different way of experiencing this holiday depending on where you go. If you visit the Greek island of Corfu, keep an eye out for flying objects as there is an Easter Sunday tradition of throwing ceramic pots out of the window! In France, one small town prepares a 5,000 egg omelette on Easter Monday. Or if you want to include something more epic in scale to your Easter festivities then head to Seville, Spain where celebrations last an entire week and involve a cast of thousands!

Wherever you decide to head to this Easter, you can ensure you stay connected with home by using a Tep portable wifi device. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends or family can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.

Top Spring Break Holiday Destinations

Christmas seems a long time ago, doesn’t it? We know what’s been keeping you sane through the winter months; the thought of being able to get away from cold weather, classes, the family and just go be yourself, enjoy some sun for the first time in forever and spend time with your friends.

In other words, it’s been all about planning for Spring Break. It’s nearly upon us, so if you haven’t finalized your party destination for 2017 we’ve got a handy guide to help you find the perfect getaway. There’s more choice than you might think, so we’ve grouped some different location ideas depending on your style of travel.

1. The best beach parties in the US

This is many people’s idea of the classic spring break. Why spend your budget on airfares when you need it for partying? Florida has dominated the US spring break scene for decades and there is a lot of choice, from Panama City Beach in the north to Key West in the south. With Miami Beach having stricter rules for 2017 Tampa and Orlando are also worth considering – whilst in places it may seem like you’re hanging out with families, there are great accommodation bargains to be had that you might struggle to find in the major party towns.

Elsewhere in the southern US, South Padre Island, TX is a well-known location if you want to be in the thick of the action with lots of other people around. Myrtle Beach, SC is also a popular choice for making your money go further.

2. Alternatives to the beach

Sand gets everywhere, sunburnt isn’t a good look, or maybe your beach bod just isn’t quite ready this year. If you want to look elsewhere for a great party, then these destinations could be for you. Las Vegas is an obvious starting point, if you can’t have a wild time in Sin City then you may need to check your pulse. Likewise, New Orleans is a guaranteed good time, albeit one that can be pricey to fly to. But if you stay outside the French Quarter then you can get a good deal on hotels or rentals. SXSW is also on in Austin, TX and the party never stops on Sixth Street.

If you’d like to break up the debauchery by actually “doing stuff”, then you open up a lot of other interesting possibilities. It’s not too late to get some late season ski time in Colorado and you can always combine that with checking out the best breweries in Denver.

Or if you just want to get into the great outdoors and away from the rest of the world then you can take a couple of days out to one of the accessible National Parks. Arches (from Vegas), Joshua Tree (from LA) or the Everglades (from Miami) are all great choices.

3. Spreading your wings beyond mainland USA

Spring Break is a great time to take a trip further afield in the company of friends. Over the last decade, the numbers of people heading to the Caribbean or Mexico for Spring Break have been steadily rising.

Traditionally the most popular party locations in Mexico are Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas. In the Caribbean, Jamaica has the longest spring break history (and perhaps hence the most dubious reputation) which may explain why Puerto Rico, Nassau, Bahamas and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic have all become established hotspots.

If you’d like to spend Spring Break creating memories rather than losing your memory then there are lots of opportunities to volunteer abroad in Central America, South America or even further afield. Projects Abroad is an organization that schedules week-long Spring Break trips which coincide with the major US universities.

However, you decide to celebrate Spring Break we hope you’ll:

  • Stay safe;
  • Make new friends;
  • Enjoy experiences you’ll treasure forever.

To help you do all those things wherever you are in the world a Tep portable wifi device should be part of your essential packing list. Not only will you save money on ridiculously expensive data roaming charges, but you’ll also be able to capture the highlights, connect with people you meet and stay in touch with family from your mobile phone. The device is only $9.95 per day for unlimited data usage, plus, you and your friends (or loved ones) can all share one device (up to 5 gadgets can connect at a time). Tep’s portable device is amazingly travel-friendly too, it will slip into a handbag, pocket or rucksack, and could save you from losing your friends in the chaos, as the internet will always be at your fingertips. Find out more or buy/rent a device here.