Posted on 74 Comments

Italy’s Lockdown Leaves Venice’s Canals Cleaner Than Ever

Much of Italy has been a ghost town over the past weeks as the COVID-19 virus forced the country into full lockdown, and Venice is no exception. One of the positives of the pandemic (and they are few, so we aim to make the most of them should they arise), is that there has been a dramatic reduction in pollution in affected areas. Venice’s typically-bustling canals are now eerily quiet and… clean!

The waterways are usually murky due to the various boats, ships and gondolas that stir up sediment, but since the canals have been out of use, the water has had time to settle, and now offer a glimpse of the wildlife lurking in its depths, including schools of various fish. Wild swans have also taken full advantage of the quietude, and have been seen drifting along past deserted piazzas and desolate alleyways. Venetian locals have even taken to filming the newly-crystal waters, having never previously appreciated the extent of the fauna flourishing beneath the inky surface.

A swan preening in the canals of Venice

Further afield, Sardinian locals have had the treat of a few dolphin sightings along the coastal regions due to reduced sea traffic. The Sassari region has also had a few unusual visitors in the form of wild boars, who wander through the quiet streets while locals take shelter in their homes to avoid the spread of the virus.

The restrictions placed not only on canal traffic but transport and industry in general, have also caused a great reduction in air pollution. NO2 levels across northern Italy have dropped significantly over major cities, including Venice, Rome, Milan, Bologna and Turin. Locals have noticed the effects of the cleaner environment, and hope to find a better balance between industry and eco-awareness once the effects of the virus peter out.

Border closures have also reduced nitrogen oxide levels, as flights have been greatly reduced, with many airlines scrapping European flights altogether to prevent further global infection. Italian health workers have been taking measures to reduce local transmissions, including disinfecting streets, swimming pools, plazas, pavements, bridges and other public spaces. They have been commended by the local council, who described their actions as “exceptional.”

An unusually quite Venice canal and bridge, with clean flowing water

The COVID-19 lockdown is just one example of a major impact on Venice’s thriving tourism industry. 2019 saw a disastrous flood destroy many areas of the Floating City. Venice alone attracts many visitors from across the globe, including China, on an annual basis, and repeated threats to the major tourist trade could have severe and long-lasting repercussions on the Italian economy.

Meanwhile, Venetian authorities have ramped up the distribution of COVID-19 tests. Their hope is that through identifying and isolating virus-positive patients, they can improve control over the spread of the coronavirus. Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region (which includes Venice), has also urged locals to remain indoors and avoid all unnecessary contact. Patients are encouraged to remain in self-isolation to avoid placing further strain on the already-struggling healthcare system. He went on to warn, “If you do not follow the rules, the healthcare system will crash and I will have to impose a curfew.”

Be sure to stay up to date with the latest information on the COVID-19 pandemic. You can view the World Health Organisation’s official coronavirus disease outbreak page here. Stay safe and be kind to one another!

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8125107/Venices-canals-cleanest-theyve-living-memory.html

b4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with b4i.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 210 Comments

Travel Plans Cancelled? We Feel Your Pain!

With all the isolation, self-imposed or not, we thought we would help to expand the horizons a little for you. Here are some great online choices from around the world, to try and minimise your wanderlust, being seriously curtailed by a serious case of Cabin Fever.

Take yourself on a virtual safari through the live webcams hosted by Africams, great to check out the wildlife roaming around, going about their daily routines, congregating at the watering holes and of course you also get to hear the beautiful sounds of the great outdoors. All the things we currently can’t do.

If you prefer life under the water, check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Live feeds. Go on, find Nemo. We dare you!

Fancy a bit of a walk down Abbey Road?  Made famous by the Beatles, this live cam normally features people recreating the Beatles famous Album cover. Today however you can check out their Live feed just to see how quiet it actually is on the streets of London.

Looking for a cultural lift? Some virtual walk-through tours of famous museums?  

You can certainly get you culture on by visiting the Louvre in Paris or pop on down to the Uffizzi Gallery in Florence, Italy to the home of the art collection of one of the city’s most famous families—the de’Medicis. Anyone can wander through its fancy halls designed by Giorgio Vasari specifically for Cosimo I de’Medici back in 1560.

Or of course one of our personal favourites, The British Museum in London (in collaboration with Google) provides a  virtual tour of this iconic museum that allows you to tour through various periods of history and discover curiosities like the Egyptian mummies. Also, hundreds of other artefacts can be seen there, so don’t miss your chance!

And last, but of course not least, if you want to check out the Mother City and see what it’s like on Table Mountain today, head on over to  b4i.travel YouTube Channel.

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 69 Comments

Your Coronavirus Travel Questions Answered

You’ve spent months looking forward to your trip. Flights, accommodation and excursions have been booked and paid for. You’re just about to start packing your bags, restocking on sunblock and plumping your neck pillow, when… Covid-19 brings international travel to an unplanned, unavoidable, screeching halt. So, what now? While serious, the situation may not be as dire as it seems, and may not necessarily entail the cancellation of your trip in its entirety. Here’s the rundown of your rights as a traveller, how to navigate the cancellation and refund process, as well as the answers to some of the most common queries travellers are currently facing.

Countries across the globe have been implementing their own travel policies and preventative measures. It’s important to pay attention to official updates, as these could impact the validity of your travel insurance policies if your actions do not align with governmental mandates. Many individual airlines carry their own set of travellers rights, so reading the fine print on your plane ticket is imperative. Also, be sure to understand the official differences between essential and nonessential travel.

Most countries have advised holidaymakers to reconsider nonessential travel, however, few have initiated a zero-travel policy. While the advisory is not to be taken lightly, technically you can still travel to non-affected areas who are still receiving international visitors. That said, it is very important to stay as up to date as possible on any changes to restrictions, most of which are effective without notice, and to observe strict preventative measures while abroad, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding large crowds or public spaces when possible. Many countries have closed borders to international travellers, but generally, borders have remained open to returning citizens and permanent residents. There is the possibility of quarantine upon re-entry, however, depending on countries visited and length of stay.

Destinations to be avoided and high, medium and low-risk areas fluctuate daily, so be sure to check the status of countries you’ll be visiting, as well as those you may be stopping over in. While many airlines are cancelling flights, particularly from Asia and Europe, there is also a duty carried by service providers to ensure a passenger’s safe return to their home country or country of origin should the passenger not be eligible for a flight refund.

In terms of cancellation, if your government has not issued an official warning for the area to which you plan to travel, then a refund is highly unlikely. Airbnb has put an Extenuating Circumstances policy in place allowing any accommodation provider or customer to cancel reservations between 14 March and 14 April 2020 for any reason without penalty. 86% of cancellations by guests in the past month were able to receive full refunds, however, it is advised that you speak directly with an Airbnb host if you plan to cancel and request a refund.

If you are hesitant to cancel your trip, many airlines, hotels and other facilities are allowing free rebookings should they be shut down as a result of the outbreak. Travel insurers are advising customers to first check directly with airlines and accommodation providers regarding refunds and rebooking, as travel insurance itself rarely accounts for cancellation costs in full.

Overall, the global situation is tenuous, uncertain and subject to drastic and often rapid change in both extent and official policy. As always in times of crisis, the most important weapon is information. Be sure to be attentive to official announcements from both local and international authorities, and consult the World Health Organisation for updates on the spread of COVID-19 and suggested precautions. Most importantly, stay safe and be kind to one another!

Sources: https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51615412, https://www.nytimes.com/article/coronavirus-travel-questions-advice.html, https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnscottlewinski/2020/03/16/airbnb-responds-to-coronavirus-with-expanded-cancellation-policy/#77422b645522

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 521 Comments

Tripadvisor’s 2020 Travellers’ Choice Awards for Trending and Emerging Destinations

Tripadvisor® remains the consigliere on all matters travel, and they recently announced their top destination picks in their annual Travellers’ Choice Awards. This year there were two new categories, showcasing the top Trending and Emerging destinations – a vital consideration considering the recent trend of holidaymakers traversing off the beaten track to seek more off-grid, sustainable and niche destinations.

The Trending category aims to recognise destinations that saw an upswing in searches, booking interest, and positive reviews, while the Emerging winners have been identified as up and coming hotspots that Tripadvisor users are adding to their saved Trips. Neela Pal, Tripadvisor Vice President of Brand, says, “The Trending and Emerging Destination winners are based on the feedback and growing interest from travellers on Tripadvisor and are therefore fantastic sources of inspiration and planning for discovering somewhere new.”

Image of travel bag with travel accessories

The top three trending international destinations were named as Portugal’s Porto, Luzon in the Philippines with India’s Kochi taking first place, all of which appeal to nature lovers. Porto (the town after which port wine gets its name) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to various historical buildings, including a 14th-century church, as well as several cellars built along the banks of the Douro River.

Luzon is the largest Philippine island and home to the nation’s capital, Manila. It’s a natural paradise boasting some of the most beautiful and diverse landscapes in the world, including spectacular mountains, lush rainforests, bright coral reefs and pristine beaches.

beach in Luzon, Phillipines at sunset

Kochi, also called Cochin, is a collection of small fishing villages on India’s south-west coast and is garnering a budding tourist industry as visitors enjoy sunset walks, boat tours through the various surrounding islands, and sampling the catches of the day. Kochi also has a rich heritage with Portuguese and Chinese influences on both the architecture and cornerstone fishing industry.

As for the emerging destination top spots, Beirut and Albania’s Saranda were narrowly beat by Kaliningrad in Russia. Lebanon’s capital is often nicknamed “the Paris of the Middle East,” and has thriving nightlife for locals and tourists alike. The city has been destroyed many times due to war and civil unrest, yet each rebuild contains traces of the preceding influences, including Ottoman and French colonial dispersed through the current modern architectural style of many buildings.

Saranda is definitely one of the next beach hotspots, with vast stretches of white sandy shorelines, crystal waters and dense forest groves. It also shares the Ionian Sea with the nearby island of Corfu, one of Greece’s most popular tourist destinations.

Saranda beach in Greece with crystal waters and white sand shoreline

Kaliningrad is a small piece of land on the Baltic Sea belonging to Russia, despite only sharing borders with Lithuania and Poland. It’s famed for its amber harvesting and product industry, and one of its top attractions is the 14th century Königsberg Cathedral.

Neela Pal went on to further explain the new necessity of the new categories, saying, “From the hot destinations our Tripadvisor travellers are currently loving, to fascinating new places whetting the appetite of more adventurous explorers, these winners are all ones to watch, and hopefully visit.” We absolutely agree! Remember to view our local SIM packages if you are planning your European holiday so that you can connect affordably and securely.

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lealane/2020/02/25/tripadvisor-announces-2020-travelers-choice-awards-for-trending-emerging-destinations-from-key-largo-to-kahliningrad/amp/?__twitter_impression=true, https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-TrendingDestinations, https://www.tripadvisor.com/TravelersChoice-EmergingDestinations

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 7 Comments

Cape Route 62: An Instaworthy Expedition

A recent survey showed the famed Route 62, which connects Cape Town with Port Elizabeth, has some 28,000 hashtags on Instagram, making it one of the most Instagrammed road trips in the world. This feat, however commendable, pales somewhat in comparison to being named the top road trip destination in the world by a CNN Travel poll in 2017. No matter with what gravity you rank them, its accolades are most well-deserved. Let’s run through just a few must-see stops along this wonder of the Cape.

Wine Farms

Source: afristay.com

Route 62 also boasts being the world’s longest wine route! From the wines of the Witzenberg and Breede River Valley to Robertson’s brandy and home-brewed witblits in De Rust, Route 62 is a connoisseur’s paradise! Almost all the roadside vineyards and distilleries offer tastings which can be enjoyed at leisure while taking in the diverse yet invariably breathtaking scenery.

Ronnies Sex Shop

Source: tripadvisor.co.za

What started as a prank has since blossomed into an attraction in its own right. Farmer Ronnie decided in the mid ‘70’s to open up a roadside farm stall, dubbing it simply, “Ronnies Shop.” Some locals seized the opportunity to change it to “Ronnies Sex Shop,” and the name has stuck. It is now a road hog’s hideaway, complete with a countless lingeries pieces as dangling ceiling decor.

Montagu

Source: proteafarm.co.za

This small town has big roots as one of the Cape’s top fruit and nut producers. It’s also known for its hiking trails and rock climbing courses, as well as its natural warm springs that offer the ultimate spa retreat. There’s also a local functioning fruit farm that gives orchid tractor rides (with as much fresh and dried fruit as you can eat) which is a great way to get an inside peek into Montagu’s main agricultural industry.

Cango Caves

Source: andbeyond.com

This twisting limestone labyrinth of caves reaches almost 300m underground and dates back millions of years. Located just outside Oudtshoorn, you can explore the caves in the traditional walking tour or, if you’re feeling particularly brave, in the adventure tour, which involves climbing over, crouching under, and even tunneling through some of the more enclosed areas of the system.

Flora and Fauna

Source: sa-venues.com

Like much of South Africa, Route 62 offers bountiful wildlife as part of its attraction. The renowned Garden Route is rich with plant life, which can be experienced in full blooming glory in the spring months. Oudtshoorn is home to ostrich, meerkat and crocodile ranches, while the Sanbona reserve just outside Montagu offers a heritage tour which gives visitors an insight into the indigenous San culture of the region, as well as the chance to see the world’s only wild white lions.

Prince Albert

Source: eatout.co.za

Located on the southern edge of the Great Karoo, Prince Albert is a small town with a surprisingly formidable foodie reputation. It’s filled with a number of notable eateries, and the Saturday farmers market is not to be missed when travelling through. You can sample fresh milk from the local Gay’s Guernsey Dairy, and stroll through the many art installations and exhibitions between meals. The Prince Albert Hotel is a dinner favourite, so be sure to book if you want to see what the fuss is about.

Who would’ve thought that one stretch of road could meander through so many enticing local landmarks? And if you’re planning the ultimate South African road trip, remember to stay connected with one of our travel SIM options.

Sources: https://www.traveller24.com/Explore/SAHolidayGuide/sa-insider-the-complete-guide-to-the-cape-route-62-20160911, https://www.brandsouthafrica.com/tourism-south-africa/south-africas-route-62-is-worlds-best-road-trip, https://thewc.co.za/besides-being-the-longest-wine-route-in-the-world-western-capes-route-62-also-accounts-for-one-of-the-worlds-most-instagrammed-road-trips-97902-2/

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 860 Comments

The Ten Most Disappointing Tourist Attractions

While just about every city in the world has a must-see tourist attraction, it seems that some of them could do with an update. We’re about to give you the rundown on a few places that are sure to be on your bucket list, and yet, disappointingly, aren’t worthy of the hype surrounding them.

The Mona Lisa

We know, right? How could a piece of art, let alone one that you’ve probably already seen countless times, be a disappointment? Well, precisely because of that. Upon seeing the Mona Lisa in person, you’re probably expecting a goose-bump-raising, magical experience, when in fact, it really is only a portrait painting not much larger than an A4 poster (cordoned off due to the daily throngs of visitors vying to take a peek at and a picture of the subject’s smirking expression).

Bondi Beach

While this Australian landmark is just as beautiful as it’s made out to be, the appeal is somewhat lost amongst the crowds of tourists that flock to its golden shores every day. The beach and surrounding town have actually been ranked as one of the most overrated Australian destinations, due not only to the overcrowding, but also the traffic congestion and outrageous tourist trap prices that go along with any holiday hotspot.

Spanish Steps

As one of the epicentres of the ancient world, Rome offers countless breathtaking attractions that rightfully bring flocks of tourists traipsing through its cobbled streets each and every day. One attraction, however, does not seem particularly deserving of the innumerable selfie sticks that continually grace its facade. The Spanish Steps are nothing more than a flight of stairs, leading to nowhere particularly important or interesting, and have recently become known as a site around which pickpockets try their luck on distracted tourists.

Mital del Mundo

The self-titled “Middle of the World” lies in equatorial Ecuador, and the gaudy park (and outrageous entry fees) only goes further downhill upon discovering that its advertised latitude and longitude coordinates of “0-0-0,” in fact point to a spot a few hundred meters away with its own museum. Mital del Mundo is merely false advertising and tourist trappery at it’s finest!

Mount Rushmore

This literal mountain of a monument to four of America’s great presidents is surprisingly underwhelming in its own greatness. The journey alone requires one to specially plan a trip as there are no other tourist must-sees (or much to see at all) in the vicinity, and the novelty of the experience wears off markedly quickly, especially being such a well-known facade. It’s probably much easier and just as effective to grab a brochure from any nearby information desk to have a look at the four austere faces without veering way off a straighter course.

Copacabana

Yes, another famous beach has made it onto the list, but for a different reason. This seaside retreat, described in Barry Manilow’s song as “the hottest spot north of Havana,” has certainly deteriorated since Lola and Tony fell in love on its shores. Today it is filled with tacky hotels, humid, bustling streets, and sewage-contaminated waters – not exactly the prime spot to fall in love.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

If your sole aim in visiting Pisa is to take yet another picture, posing as though you’re holding up the crooked, rickety tower in the background, then by all means visit, but be warned that the main appeal is just about the only appeal. Even finding the perfect picture-taking spot can prove tricky amid the vast crowds of daily visitors, so you may find yourself walking away with only a souvenir and a sunburn.

Times Square

Although the flashy signs and jostling crowds seem to be the main appeal about Times Square in photographs, the reality is somewhat less glamorous and a lot more infuriating. Locals often avoid the area altogether, and it’s easy to understand why, with vast crowds making walking difficult, shucking off persistent street vendors, and almost nowhere to stop and get a decent picture. We’d recommend this Big Apple “must-see” only for the very brave.

The Pyramids at Giza

When advertising to tourist packages to Egypt, agents are quick to summon imaginings of stepping back in time to one of the most ancient civilisations in the world, but what they fail to mention is that the surroundings of the Giza pyramid complex are not quite as historic as their main attraction. Not only do the pyramids serve as a mere backdrop to the surrounding fast food restaurants, but the mounds of litter are a constant reminder of the inescapable modern world.

Hollywood Walk of Fame

Do you have a deep seated love for dirty stretches of sidewalk and handprints? No? Then the Hollywood Walk of Fame is probably not for you. Aside from being not much more than a regular walkway, once you’ve seen the first few stars, you’ve pretty much seen them all, and it doesn’t help that some of the older tiles could do with a facelift. For a much more interesting endeavor, rather grab a drink at one of the nearby restaurants and watch the eclectic crowds that pass by. You may end up seeing a star in the flesh if you raise your eyes from the ones you’re walking on!

Authenticity is truly in the eye of the beholder, but perhaps these insights may help you avoid any frustrations when planning your bucket-list travels. If you decide to risk the crowds, expense and disappointment in the name of adventure, we say onward! Be sure to save at least some of your time, money and security with one of our travel SIM options. Here’s to disappointing tourist attractions becoming great anecdotes, without the disappointment of public WiFi!

Sources: https://www.thetravel.com/disappointing-tourist-attractions-that-are-a-waste-of-time/, https://lovin.ie/travel-1/five-most-disappointing-tourist-attractions

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 80 Comments

Coronavirus: How to Stay Protected When Travelling During the Outbreak

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is urging international travellers to remain cautious and prioritise their health during the recent outbreaks of coronavirus in China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and more recently Iran and Italy. While many are on edge about the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus, a few simple hygiene reminders and awareness of one’s risks can go a long way in reducing further cases. Here’s what you can do if you plan on travelling to or from an affected area, or simply want to reduce the risk of contraction while in international public spaces, as well as what procedures are to be expected while in transit.

Keep Clean

The WHO has promoted sufficient hygiene as the most important way to prevent further spread of the illness. This includes frequent washing of hands, covering one’s mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoiding contact with one’s own mouth and nose, or those of others. Since this is a virus, anti-bacterial hand gels are not a sufficient substitute for warm water and soap. Surgical Masks have not yet been determined to be effective barriers in avoiding the transmission of the virus, although if you suspect you have caught the virus, it may assist in preventing you from passing it on.

What To Do If You Become Ill

Should you become unwell while abroad, self-isolate, stay indoors and seek medical treatment either through your health insurance broker, or local public health guidelines. It is important you inform any doctor, clinic or hospital in advance of your visit. Only resume travel once you have completely recovered. Should you return home from an affected area, you should monitor your condition closely for at least 14 days post-travel. If you begin to exhibit flu-like symptoms, including; a fever, cough and shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention.

Screening

Some countries have employed temperature and symptom screening procedures at customs controls. Should you be entering a foreign country with screen procedures, ensure that you have permission to do so. Keep up to date with any potential travel restrictions before and during your travels. For example, foreign nationals entering the United States will be denied access if they have visited China or Iran in the preceding 14 days.

Cruise Lines

Many cruise lines with scheduled stops in Asia have had their routes cancelled or modified to prevent contact with affected areas. One may also be denied re-entry to the country of origin if one has travelled in an affected area. These precautions follow the quarantine of the Diamond Princess ship in Japan after 700 passengers were found to have the virus, resulting in at least 5 fatalities.

Flight Cancellations

Many international airlines have halted travel to China, and these cancellations may begin to be extended to other affected areas. Some airlines are offering waived fees in lieu of the cancellations, but it is best to check with your specific airline whether your flight will proceed as scheduled or, in the event of a cancellation, whether you will receive a refund.

Travel Insurance

While airlines and accommodation facilities seem to be doing their utmost to refund any cancelled bookings, a trip cancelled due to the outbreak may not necessarily be refunded in full. Most standard travel insurance packages will not account for the effects of the virus, however, if you have a Cancel For Any Reason policy, portions of your trip may be covered in the event of cancellation. If you have already purchased an insurance package and are concerned about your trip being cancelled, it’s best to contact your broker directly for information about the extent of your coverage.

Ultimately, as with any international crisis, staying up to date with reliable information as it is released is always the best measure. If you can avoid travelling until the outbreak has been contained and the associated risks greatly reduced, this, although not always possible, is recommended. View the WHO complete coronavirus library here.

Sources:https://www.who.int/ith/2019-nCoV_advice_for_international_traffic-rev/en/, https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/coronavirus-travel-advice/index.html , https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/news/499/novel-coronavirus-covid-19-general-advice-for-travellers

b4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with b4i.travel since 2010. We have partnered with some of the worlds most reliable; car rentalflight bookinghotel booking, travel experience and travel insurance companies. So, get set up and ready to go with b4i.travel – before you travel. It’s time to ‘explore your world with us’.

Posted on 1,531 Comments

Say “Howdy” To These Top Things To Do In Texas

The Lone Star State is the second largest in the USA, so it goes without saying that there’s plenty to see and do if you find yourself passing through this gem of the south. We’ve assembled this list of Texas bucket list sights and activities and we’re sure that you’ll make a point of visiting once you’ve read it!

Enchanted Rock

This enormous pink granite dome is the second largest of its kind in the USA and makes the perfect campout spot to watch the sunset and do some Texan stargazing. The tribes native to the area gave it its magical name, believing it to be haunted, and telling campfire tales that those who dared to spend a full night on it become invisible. We suggest you risk it for the incredible twilight views!

Buc-ee’s

Source: GulfCoastNewsToday.com

This chain of pit stops is native to central and eastern Texas and if you happen to pass one, you have to stop off for a bite. Satisfy your Southern cravings with sandwiches, freshly cut beef jerky, fudge bars, and an unsurpassed variety of candy for the road. You can also leave with a token beaver branded item so that you can keep a piece of the Buc-ee’s experience forever.

Remember the Alamo

Source: hertz.com

This fort was built in 1744 by Franciscans and played a crucial role in the Texas Revolution. You can visit the restored landmark and the onsite museum, as well as commemorate the fallen soldiers in the cenotaph. This is a fantastic way to learn more about the state the overcame innumerable struggles and feats in the fight for independence from Mexico.

Space Center Houston

Source: visithoustontexas.com

You could spend hours exploring the sprawling complex that houses the world’s largest space program. Learn about NASA’s latest projects and upcoming missions, walk inside replicas of a space shuttle and the Skylab space station, touch extraterrestrial rocks, and even chance an encounter with an actual astronaut.

Cadillac Ranch

Source: nbcnews.com

This public art installation lies along the Amarillo stretch of Route 66 (another Texan icon!) and is comprised of a row of Cadillac shells buried nose first in the sand. While that alone seems worthy of a visit, the real clincher is that visitors can leave their own mark on the exhibit with spray paint, creating a constantly changing canvas.

Cowboy Time

When in the south, do as the southerners do! Be sure to attend one of the many annual rodeo events. This is also the perfect opportunity to dress for the occasion in a good pair of denim jeans, Stetson and cowboy boots!

The Sixth Floor Museum

Source: flickr.com

A book depository may seem an odd must-see site for a tourist, but this Dallas landmark earns a spot on our list as it was from the sixth floor that a fatal gunshot was fired, killing President John F. Kennedy. The entire floor is now a public museum dedicated to the momentous and tragic moment in US history. If you have the time, the nearby John F. Kennedy Memorial monument is also well worth a visit.

Eat Your Fill

Texas is the root of some of the South’s world-renowned culinary staples. Try one of the state’s famed burger joints, slurp up wood-fired oysters, sample a traditional barbecue or some Tex-Mex style chili (the spicier, the better!), conquer over 2kg of steak at Big Texan Steak Ranch, and seek out a chicken fried steak at just about any road side diner (or anything deep fried for that matter!).

This giant state has loads to offer, so we’ve merely skimmed the surface in this list! If you’re planning your visit, be sure to have a look at our USA SIM card options here and ditch the risk of non-secure hotel WiFi.

Sources:https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/dallas/best-things-to-do-in-texas-bucket-list, https://www.planetware.com/tourist-attractions/texas-ustx.htm

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 590 Comments

South Africa’s Most Idyllic Camping Locales

Camping for South Africans is not so much a fun holiday idea as it is a tradition. We are fortunate to have so many stretches of vast, untouched wilderness that make the perfect base to set up camp, light a braai, and take in the reprieve from the usual chaos of city life. As April’s Easter Weekend (the first of four long weekends this year) speedily approaches, perhaps it’s due time to start planning a camping trip to one of these peaceful, pristine and breathtaking spots.

Beaverlac, Cederburg

Nestled in a valley of the Cederburg, Beaverlac Camping site is sprawled along the river that runs through it. The shelter from surrounding mountains makes it the perfect spot to sit back and relax for a few days. The river and various rock pools make it great for children to explore the rugged natural environment, plus this spot is pet friendly!

Bontle, Marakele National Park

Bontle Camping Site is the epitome of “the middle of nowhere” – perfect for those who want the ultimate off grid escape. It lies in the heart of the bushveld in the Marakele National Park, and its Setswana name literally means, “beautiful.” The sunrises and sunsets in this stark landscape are truly unmissable.

Cape Vidal, Isimangaliso Wetland Park

Cape Vidal lies not only mere meters from the beach, but within the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site due to its prolific bird life and pristine coastline, a paradise for snorkelers! The site only offers 50 spots so booking is essential, and we guarantee that the natural scenery here is simply unmatched.

De Hoop, Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

This is the ideal spot for those wanting to reconnect with nature in its purest form. De Hoop has no electricity or hot water, but the desert-like landscape hides a surprising array of wildlife, including plants, birds and animals of all shapes and sizes.

Ebb and Flow, Garden Route National Park

Ebb and Flow lies in the Wilderness region of the sprawling Garden Route National Park, and is the epitome of lush. Aside from the dense greenery, the campsite offers a wide host of activities, including forest hikes on the mountainside, as well as canoeing and whale watching along the coastline.

Fiddlers Creek Rest Camp, Orange River

The Orange River cuts a jagged horizontal line through South Africa and is the longest river in the country. Fiddlers Creek sits on its lush banks, and is the perfect getaway to enjoy all river-related activities, from 4×4 trails to swimming and, of course, mandatory river rafting.

Mazhou, Mapungubwe National Park

Mapungubwe National Park flourished as an African Kingdom between 900 and 1300 AD, and is currently a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While traversing through the wilderness and ancient relics of the park, Mazhou Camping Site offers an overnight stop with space for 10 tents.

Pyper se Boom, Tankwa Karoo National Park

You’ll need a 2×4 or 4×4 to access it, but once reached, Pyper se Boom is a welcome respite amid the vastness of the park. The park itself has no tar roads or shops, so be sure to arrive prepared, however homely comforts are soon forgotten with visitors reporting frequent sightings of wildlife, including tortoises and Oryx.

Camping offers the ultimate mental and physical reset. Venturing into the sparseness of nature and escaping the mayhem and stresses of day to day life is not only a holiday, but an essential chance to completely turn off. We hope one of these local suggestions will be perfect for your next wilderness respite!

Source: https://theculturetrip.com/africa/south-africa/articles/15-scenic-places-to-go-camping-in-south-africa/

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.

Posted on 31 Comments

Is Virgin’s Cape Town to London Flight Making a Comeback?

Virgin Atlantic, one of Richard Branson’s midas-touched enterprises, recently Tweeted a tease for an upcoming new route.

This comes after an announcement from the company’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Darrin Thomas, that Virgin Atlantic would be actively employing 84 new direct destinations upon completion of Heathrow airport’s third runway. While some followers began speculating that the Tweet was alluding to Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, the reference to Signal Hill’s Noon Gun was a dead giveaway to any Capetonian. 

If the whole palava seems like a touch of deja vu, then that’s not amiss. Virgin in fact used to have a direct flight between Cape Town and the UK, but pulled it a few years back in favour of direct flights only to O.R. Tambo International in Johannesburg.

Source: diecasttrading.com

The revitalisation of the flight route is welcome to Cape Town locals and foreign travellers alike, as British Airways is currently the sole provider of a direct Cape Town to London flight. Thomas Cook previously offered some healthy competition, but the budget airline fell into liquidation in September last year.

Even though it will be a waiting game to hear the official announcement of the opening of the direct Virgin route, we’re pretty confident in our guess. Watch this space for further developments!

Source: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/travel/flights-to-cape-town-from-london-uk-virgin-new-route-when/

B4i.travel simplifies your communication needs when travelling and takes the risk out of high international roaming costs. We offer a range of pre-loaded, pre-activated and pre-registered world travel SIM cards so you’ll be connected when you arrive in the country you are visiting. Tourists, students and businessmen have been talking like a local in South Africa, USA, Europe with B4I.travel since 2010. It’s time to ‘Explore your world’.