Tag Archives: #travel

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 Best Places to Visit in the Caribbean

With over 7,000 individual islands and around 25 countries to explore, you’ll be guaranteed to find whatever holiday dream you’re in search of. From Cuba’s rich and unique heritage to the crystal clear waters surrounding the Bahamas and Jamaica’s lively culture – the Caribbean doesn’t disappoint. Here’s our list of the very best islands to help you plan your dream Caribbean getaway.

6. Saint Lucia

Saint Lucia is an island paradise overflowing with natural beauty and a top destination in the Caribbean. The landscape varies from unspoiled beaches and thick rainforests all the way to colonial towns and the impressive and incredibly photogenic ‘Pitons’ volcanic rocks. We recommend visiting the town of Soufrière where you will experience the vibrant Saint Lucian culture with its heavy European colonial influences, bustling sea front and an abundance of nature’s finest sights. Our must-sees include the world’s only ‘drive in volcano’/sulfur hot springsDiamond Waterfall, the Pitons and a tour on horseback that takes you through all of the best spots.

5. Saint John, U.S. Virgin Islands

Probably one of the lesser-known islands, with only 2,000 inhabitants, you’re almost guaranteed an extremely personal and homely experience in Saint John. As part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, Saint John is an attractive pick for those looking to experience a more unusual side of the Caribbean on a cheaper budget. Apart from lounging around on any one of the stunning beaches that line the island, there is a plethora of outdoor activities to keep you entertained for hours. Diving, sailing, hiking and watersports dominate our list of top activities to do in St. John but you can equally have a great time sipping on some tropical juice on Oppenheimer’s gorgeous beach or Salomon’s bay if you’re happy with some tropical nudity!

4. Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic or DR as it’s commonly referred to is one of the stereotypical island paradises you imagine when you think of the Caribbean. The DR is blessed with over a 1,000 miles of pristine beaches and stunning mountainous regions with lots of outdoor activities to help you capitalize on the island’s natural beauty. For all you adrenaline junkies, there is plenty to choose from, including kite surfing, whale watching, mountain biking and whitewater rafting. If you’re looking for relaxation your best bet is on one of the many beach resorts or for more inspiration check out this list of the top 10 beaches by CNN.

3. Jamaica

For such a tiny island, with just under 3 million inhabitants, Jamaica has managed to influence the world with its catchy reggae beats, sporting legends and tantalizing cuisine. Whilst the island has far more to enjoy than just that, we recommend you indulge in some of the classic ‘touristy’ things and try some of the island’s delicious jerk chicken, attend a ‘jammin’ reggae festival and visit Bob Marley’s house. There is also a vast array of picture perfect beaches to relax and unwind on, some of our picks are, Reggae beach, Frenchman’s Cove and the 7-mile long Negril beach. If you’re more of an active adventurer, Jamaica also offers zip lining, cave tubing, river rafting and some stunning inland spots to explore on foot and by boat.

2. Cuba

It’s the largest of the Caribbean islands and is growing in popularity with tourists year on year. The island typically conjures up imagery of gorgeous coastlines, rolling mountains, Cuban cigars brightly colored vintage cars and of course Che Guevara. The country’s capital, Havana, is a great place to start off your dream Cuban holiday and every year thousands of people flock there to relive the 50’s and 60’s culture that still lives on. The colonial architecture, combined with the vibrant Latin American culture creates a unique electric atmosphere. If you’re into classic cars we highly recommend taking in all of the city’s highlights in your very own Buick or Chevrolet, which you can rent for $50 (per person per day). You can’t leave Cuba without trying your hand at Salsa dancing at one of the many clubs and bars on offer, trying out the delicious street food and visiting the famous (but partisan) Museo de la Revolucion. For a full list of the very best Cuba has to offer check out this handy Buzzfeed article.

1. Bahamas

The Bahamas are technically located in the Atlantic Ocean but have long since been regarded as a part of the Caribbean – and they’re our top pick for 2017. Formed out of 700 individual islands and cays, the Bahamas are one of the ultimate destinations to enjoy beach life throughout the Caribbean. Depending on your mood you can find a beach to suit your needs whether that be de-stressing, eating ocean fresh food, adventuring or even partying! Tep’s favorites include the famous Pink Sand Beach, Junkanoo Beach (for all day party lovers), Gold Rock Beach, Treasure Cay Beach and any of the secluded beaches on Rose Island. If you don’t want to spend your entire holiday on the beach you can take a dive, try out a new watersport, go fishing or take a private flight around the entire archipelago – there’s an abundance to explore!

Your dream Caribbean holiday wouldn’t be complete without your very own portable wifi device to help you stay connected and share those picture perfect beach snaps! Tep’s portable device is perfect for travelers on the go, it connects seamlessly in over 80 countries and fits in your pocket, so is great for adventurers too! For a fixed daily cost of just $9.95 per day, you get unlimited internet usage for up to 5 devices, plus you’re guaranteed to save you a lot of money on roaming charges. Given that it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to find a wi-fi zone when you’re travelling to remote beaches it’s perfect for your Caribbean escape. For more info or to buy/rent a Tep wireless device visit our site here.

5 Reasons Why Travelling is Good for Your Mind, Body and Soul

Travelling is the ultimate way to literally and figuratively expand your horizons, but it’s also extremely good medicine for your mind, body and soul. In fact, frequent travel can help you de-stress, improve your personality and can even keep your heart healthier. Here are our top 5 reasons to go travelling as much and as often as you can.

1. Travel boosts your immune system

When you leave the comfort of your home and step out into the world, you’re also exposing yourself to new and foreign bacteria. As a defense mechanism, your body naturally produces antibodies that help to protect you, and over time, your immune system develops resistance and gets stronger. The more you travel, the more your body is exposed and the stronger your immune system will become. Some well-seasoned travellers even swear by travelling as the ‘best probiotic on the planet’. Whilst we are by no means suggesting you forget basic hygiene and take unnecessary risks, we do think that a little dirt can do more good than harm.

2. Travelling improves your heart health

Believe it or not, travelling can actually decrease your chances of getting heart disease. A study conducted in the U.S. found that men and women who travelled more frequently were less likely to develop heart problems compared with those who vacationed less often. Amongst women it was found that heart disease risk could be reduced by as much as 50% and around 32% in men. Great news for anyone looking to justify their next holiday, as it could literally be giving you the gift of extended life.

3. Vacationing keeps your mind healthy

When you travel you’re constantly challenging your mind, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and pushing your boundaries. All of these have been shown to increase your concentration, memory and overall cognitive flexibility. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published research that proved that travelling improves your personality across the five overarching domains (emotional stability, extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness). In addition, travel has even been linked to people being more outgoing, optimistic, interesting and just generally more awesome!

4. Holiday = ultimate stress buster

It may be one of the most obvious benefits on our list, but it’s definitely one not to underestimate the importance of. Rest and relaxation whilst on holiday helps your body to rejuvenate and recharge. It doesn’t take much for down time to make a big difference either, almost 90% of holiday makers surveyed said they felt a significant reduction in stress levels after just a few days away.

5. Build stronger relationships on vacation

Solo travelling can be great for helping you find yourself, but when you travel with your loved ones, holidays take on a new meaning. You can build even stronger connections with your partner, family or friends simply through your shared vacation memories. For couples, travelling frequently can be hugely beneficial, with 63% of people believing that it helps them stay together longer. For families there are benefits too, 49% of adults claim they still have vivid (and happy) recollections of their family holidays, showing just how important it can be to make sure you take your family away every now and again.

Hopefully this post has left you with no doubts as to the amazing health and wellbeing benefits of wanderlusting. To summarize, travelling is almost guaranteed to help you live a happier, healthier and more fulfilling life – and could even help you live longer! Don’t forget to take along your very own Tep portable wifi device to get the most out of your time away. The device will help you reduce stress whilst on vacation, you won’t have to worry about huge data roaming bills when you return home (it’s just $9.95 per day for unlimited wifi for 5 devices) and you’ll never have to worry about getting lost as you’ll have access to the internet on the move! To buy or rent a device click here or for more travel inspiration check out our blog here.

The World’s Ultimate Scary Destinations

The world is full of millions of wonders and plenty of thrilling destinations to excite even the most demanding travelers. It’s also home to some pretty scary locations that will test all you adrenaline junkies and hardened adventurers. In this post we’ve given you a rundown of some the scariest locations you can visit in real life with our own fear factor rating to help you decide which ones you can (or cannot) handle

10. Nagoro, Japan

Fear Factor: 4.5 /10

The lonely village of Nagoro in Japan has been transformed from a ghost town to a very creepy memorial to the dead. Nagoro resident, Tsukimi Ayano, returned home to her village only to find it was empty, due in part to a lack of jobs and an aging population. She decided to fill the void by replacing her departed friends, family and villagers with hand-made life-sized dolls. Tsukimi created around 350 dolls, all of which are scattered around the town, in the places that she associated with each individual. She has even recreated a very eerie classroom full of children complete with a teacher. If you’d like to get a real feel for Nagoro you can take a proper tour or simply catch a glimpse of the dolls out on Google Map’s Streetview.

9. Beelitz-Heilstätten, Germany

Fear Factor: 5/10

For those looking to take an in-depth look at one of the world’s most notorious sanatoriums and snap up some amazingly eerie photos, then Beelitz-Heilstätten in Germany should be your first stop. Located on the outskirts of Berlin you will find the Beelitz Sanatorium, which once famously treated Adolf Hitler. After the Second World War ended, the giant sanatorium complex was taken over by the Soviets who made use of it until 1994. Since then, the 60 impressive buildings that comprise the sanatorium have become dilapidated and nature has literally started to become one with the brickwork. Beelitz has gone from being a place of recuperation for injured Russian and German soldiers to a place that has hosted some of its own horrors. In 2008, the ‘Beast of Beelitz’ aka Beate Schmidt, a notorious German serial killer, used it as a venue for some horrific violent acts. If you’re a daredevil you could try and sneak inside some of the buildings to take a peek (like blogger Ciaran Fahey does here) but we would recommend you stick to the ‘baumkronenpfad’ or tree top walk-way that meanders through the entire sanatorium and gives you excellent angles for your photographic genius to shine through!

8. Gates of Hell, Turkmenistan

Fear Factor: 5.5/10

Everyone’s heard of the pearly gates of heaven, but have you visited hell on earth? The Karakum desert in Turkmenistan is home to a literal inferno called the ‘Gates of Hell’ (also known as the ‘Door to Hell’), which you can now see for yourself. The crater was formed as a result of an accident during oil drilling in 1971 and has remained open since. Nothing short of mystifying, the crater is composed of fire, boiling mud and bright flames that makes it look like it belongs in a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. It’s definitely one to add to your bucket list but falls quite low on our fear factor scale as you can enjoy the spectacle from a safe distance!

7. Pripyat, Ukraine

Fear Factor: 6 /10

Today an entire abandoned ghost town lies just a few kilometers away from the famous Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. The plant, which was once the largest in Europe, was decimated in 1986 when an explosion occurred. The destruction caused the entire area, with some 50,000 people, to be evacuated for fear of radiation exposure. The aftermath of the disaster left the once bustling town of Pripyat looking like a post-apocalyptic movie set. You can visit Pripyat and experience the haunting scenes of abandoned homes, left exactly as they would have been in the 80’s.

6. Forest Haven Asylum, U.S.A.

Fear Factor: 6.5/10

Built in 1925, Forest Haven Asylum was a state-of-the-art facility for mentally ill patients to recover, far away from the bustle of city life. However, due to serious budget cuts, the asylum deteriorated rapidly and became a real life horror story for thousands of its patients. After the asylum was forced to close in 1991, due to a series of lawsuits and a serious lack of funding, the buildings and grounds fell into disrepair. Today’s scenes are chilling; rusted medical equipment, battered furniture, lost records and rubble fills rooms that have witnessed many horrors.

5. Chapel of Bones, Portugal

Fear Factor: 7/10

The Chapel of Bones is one of Evora’s most iconic buildings and definitely worth visiting for a hair-raising experience. The Portuguese chapel, which was built in the 16th century, is creepily decorated with human bones, skulls and two mummified bodies. The chapel was constructed from the corpses of approximately 5,000 monks who were all from the same town. As soon as you enter the chapel you’re met with a sinister greeting from the bones themselves, We bones, are here, waiting for yours. Originally built to deal with the lack of cemetery space available, the chapel has become a place for solemn reflection on the meaning of death – and somewhere you’re guaranteed to experience the heebie-jeebies.

4. Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize

Fear Factor: 7.5/10

Deep inside a jungle cave in the Mountain Nature Reserve of Belize lies the remains of several people who were the victims of an ancient Mayan sacrificial ritual. Actun Tunichil Muknal, or “ATM” as it’s locally known, is where you can find the famous “Crystal Maiden” skeleton that has become completely calcified and gives off a mystical sparkle. The site is said to be haunted by the ghosts of those who were violently sacrificed there some 1,100 years ago. This one is not for the faint of heart and will require some stamina to reach the caves, explore inside them and also return back safely!

3. Pluckley, United Kingdom

Fear Factor: 8/10

This extremely tiny village in Kent is one of the most sought after locations for ghost hunting in the world. It’s also known as the most haunted place in Britain and for good reason. There have reportedly been at least 15 ghosts that haunt Pluckley’s streets on a regular basis. Some of these include the apparition of a mysterious gypsy woman, a ‘red lady’ who wanders church graveyards at night, a ‘hanging colonel’ who committed suicide in the forest and the supernatural presence of a monk. The town gets so packed with ghost hunters during Halloween that there is an increased police presence – so be wary of the time of the year you visit.

2. Island of Dolls, Mexico

Fear Factor: 8.5/10

Perhaps one of the most mysterious and bizarre sights you will come across is located in the heartland of Mexico’s canals. The Island of Dolls has become renowned as a tourist destination and not for the reason you might expect – it’s far from a child’s playground. The tiny island in Xochimilco is inhabited not by humans, but by hundreds of terrifyingly decrepit dolls many of which are simply heads, limbs or broken parts and all of them absolutely terrifying. As the story goes, the island’s caretaker, Don Julian Santana Barrera, found the body of a young girl who had drowned in the canal and shortly thereafter found a floating doll in the water, which he thought contained the spirit of the girl. To mark respect Don Julian then hung up the doll on the island but apparently became haunted by the spirit of the girl. In an attempt to appease the dead girl’s spirit, he began hanging up more and more dolls all across the island. In perhaps what are the most chilling circumstances, Don Julian was found drowned in exactly the same spot that the girl had died. There are still haunting stories of people seeing the dolls moving and whispering at night and some have even said Don Julian’s spirit now inhabits the dolls. So if you’re brave enough to witness the eerie island you could continue the tradition and hang up a doll of your own.

1. Aokigahara Forest, Japan

Fear Factor: 9/10

If you’re looking to push your boundaries with holidays and are looking for a stunning but deadly area of natural beauty, look no further than Japan’s haunted Aokigahara Forest. Deep at the foot of Mount Fuji lies one of the most well-known suicide hotspots where around 70 people commit suicide annually. It has also disturbingly been referred to in a Suicide Manual as “the perfect place to die”. In fact, Aokigahara Forest is the world’s second most popular place to die and it’s no surprise given it was popularized by the 1960 novel Kuroi Jukai. Apart from the obvious spine tingling you would receive from seeing the remains of those who have taken their own lives scattered amongst their personal belongings, you may also, according to Japanese spiritualists, come across some serious paranormal activity. Be wary – compasses, GPS and satellite navigation have all been known to stop functioning in the forest.

Having reliable internet access whilst traveling can make all the difference on a scary holiday and could save you from a few horrors of your own. Tep’s portable travel wifi device lets you stay connected even when you’re in the depths of a haunted forest or visiting an abandoned asylum. The device allows you to connect your mobile; tablet and laptop simultaneously with your very own secure travel Wi-Fi hotspot. It costs just $9.95 day and will definitely save you money on roaming bills. The usage is unlimited so whether you want to browse your emails, Skype your family or send an SOS message, you can make the most of your traveling time anywhere in the world. To find out more or to rent a device visit click here.

The Best Extreme Adventure Holidays to get your Adrenaline Pumping

Extreme is quickly becoming the new norm for avid adventurers who are looking to reach the outer limits of what the world has to offer – and share it live! There are plenty of options to choose from and in this post we’ve scoured the globe to find a handful of the very best extreme adventure holidays that are guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping and make your friends seriously jealous. For convenience, we’ve also rated each one on a scale of 1-10 to give you an idea of what you’d really be getting yourself into!

Timber Rafting in Sweden

Adrenaline rating: 5 out of 10

One of our ultimate adventure holidays for families or small groups, log rafting (or timber rafting) is a great way to test your engineering skills whilst admiring the breathtaking scenery of Sweden’s Klarälven River. Unlike other tours, you’ll be using your skills to build you own 2,000 kg raft out of timber, so the comfort of your journey down-stream is completely in your own hands. Our pick of tour operators is Vildmark i Värmland, who run 1, 3, 5 and 8-day trips along the river and provide all the supplies you need to make the raft your home for a few nights. You’ll begin your journey in the rural town of Karlstad and head north along the river to finish your adventure in Björkebo. This trip has plenty of amazing sights and just enough adventure to make a truly memorable (but safe) family holiday.

Sailing the highest lake in Peru

Adrenaline rating: 6 out of 10

Lake Titicaca is said to be the birthplace of the Incas and, at 12,500 ft. above sea level, is also the highest commercially navigable lake in the world. Straddling Peru and Bolivia, the lake is one of the largest in the region and has impressive vistas over the Andes mountains. We recommend visiting the island of Uros and Taquile and seeing the ancient Inca ruins Chincana and Pilko Kaina. For sailing lovers, this article on Lake Titicaca gives great insights into the best spots to check out if you’re planning to navigate on your own.

Horse Riding in the Pyrenees

Adrenaline rating: 7 out of 10

Situated in the heart of the Pyrenees Mountains you will come across one of the most ideal spots for a truly unforgettable adventure on horseback. The wild, lush landscape of the region is perfect for exploring on horse-back. If you’re looking for a week long excursion we recommend the trail offered by Panorama Trails which takes you on an incredible trek via the Camino Real, the hills of Garrotxa, the mountains and finally transferring to the ‘Bandits trail’ just outside of Girona all on the Spanish side of the mountains. Alternatively, Les Crinieres Noires (south of Toulouse, France) is a great option for day tours around the Ariege region of the Pyrenees.

Desert Motorbiking in Mongolia

Adrenaline rating: 7 out of 10

For adventurers wishing to get their thrills on two wheels, the impressive and challenging terrains of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia is the perfect location to start. This is one of the world’s best locations to enjoy off-road motorcycling in extreme conditions – with temperatures ranging from -42°C to 39°C! You’ll experience the unusual nomadic culture of the local people, who travel around with their yurts and herd in tow, whilst riding through the rolling hills of the middle Gobi, the vast desert plains of the Southern Gobi, sand dunes, canyons and famous Gurvansaikhan mountain ranges. For a truly authentic ride we recommend booking with Nomadic Trails on their Gobi Desert Motorcycle Tour. This holiday is not for the faint-hearted or those who have little experience riding, you’ll be covering around 1,800 km over 10 days, so it’s recommended you check ahead to see if you can handle the intensity.

Swimming with Sharks in Fiji

Adrenaline rating: 8 out of 10

You may have already heard of people diving next to sharks, protected by the predator proof bars of their own cage, but in Fiji you can literally swim with the sharks – minus the cage! Fiji is a stunning island located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean which is also a hotspot for a variety of shark species including Bull Sharks, White Tips, Tiger Sharks and Grey Sharks. One of the best places to check out in Fiji is the island of Beqa and Beqa Adventure Divers who specialize in shark diving experiences. If you’re looking for the ultimate shark experience, this is definitely it – you can look at one of the ocean’s deadliest assassins right in the eyes with only a rope separating you! Whilst shark diving is dangerous and will at the very least raise a few hairs it’s not as dangerous as you might think. Contrary to popular belief, deaths caused by shark attacks are extremely rare (in fact the odds are 1 in 3.7 million) and you’re more likely to die from a lightning strike! For an in-depth review of shark diving in Fiji visit the Expert Vagabond’s blog here.

Volcano Bungee Jumping in Chile

Adrenaline rating: 10 out of 10

When you think of bungee jumping, you don’t typically associate it with ash, molten lava and fire, that is until now. Bungee jumping is making a comeback in Chile with a new addition to make it that much more tantalizing for thrill seekers, a jump into the very much alive Villaricca Volcano. This is probably one of the most dangerous activities you can actually pay to embark on, and it’s not cheap either, with one jump costing close to $16,000. First brought to the public’s attention as a stunt for MTV, Bungee.com (the company responsible) decided to make it available to anyone crazy enough to attempt a bungee jump where your face will literally be a few hundred feet away from molten lava. We should note that you can actually die whilst participating in this activity as the volcano could erupt at any time – so perhaps one to enjoy from the comfort of your home on your TV.

No adventure holiday would be complete without a few key ingredients. Our must have essential travel buys for any type of extreme holiday are:

1.  Fully comprehensive health insurance – better safe than sorry (or broke, or dead).

2.  A portable, waterproof and adventure-proof camera to capture your epic adrenaline filled moments. We love the tried and tested Go Pro HERO5 and the DGI Phantom 4.

3.  A Tep portable wifi device to keep you fully connected on your travels, so you won’t have to worry about data roaming bills and will still be able to share your holiday in real time. The device is only $9.95 per day for truly unlimited wifi that can be used by up to 5 devices simultaneously – plus it works in over 80 countries (including all of the ones mentioned in this post). To rent, buy or find out more click here.