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Emirates To Offer On-Site COVID-19 Testing For Passengers

In a press release published earlier this week, Emirates announced that they would be working with the Dubai Health Authority to introduce additional COVID-19 precautions, including rapid on-site COVID-19 testing for passengers. The innovative move had already had its first trial run earlier that day, with passengers set to depart for Tunisia being the first group to undergo the new testing procedure.

The testing station was conveniently set up at Dubai International Airport’s Terminal 3 in the Group Check-in area, and results of the quick blood test were available to passengers within 10 minutes. Emirates Chief Operating Officer, Adel Al Redha, confirmed that the tests were conducted by DHA officials, and thanked the Authority for their involvement in and support of the project. He went on to express plans to increase the testing capabilities so as to aid passengers entering countries where COVID-19 test certificates are required upon arrival. He reiterated that the health and safety of staff and passengers remains a top priority for the airline.

doctor taking a finger prick sample of a person for testing
Source: businessinsider.com

“We are glad to work with Emirates on the successful implementation of rapid COVID-19 testing at the airport for departing travellers,” said HE Humaid Al Qutami, Director-General of the DHA. He said that the DHA were proactively working with various bodies, including various government organisations and the private health sector to tackle COVID-19. “We believe strongly that the most effective solutions require close partnerships with other public and private sector organisations.”

Emirates has instituted a number of protective measures since the pandemic was announced by the WHO. All employees are required to wear gloves and masks and use sanitiser frequently. Barriers have been placed at all check-in desks to ensure both passenger and staff safety during any interactions. Passengers are also required to wear their own masks, both while onboard a flight, as well as in the airport.

image of an emirates service desk and a customer with a face mask
Source: reuters.com

The inflight experience has also been modified to allow for social distancing protocol. Magazines and reading materials are no longer available, while cabin baggage is limited to a laptop, briefcase or handbag only. Food continues to be served during flights, however packaging has been modified to reduce contact. All aircraft are subject to thorough cleaning and disinfection after each journey.

While many other airlines have suspended services during the pandemic, we hope that the same strict procedures will be implemented as flights gradually resume and things return to normal. For now, stay safe and be kind to one another.

Source: https://www.emirates.com/media-centre/emirates-becomes-first-airline-to-conduct-on-site-rapid-covid-19-tests-for-passengers/

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’.

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Take a Virtual Step Into Nature With These Live Streams

The peaceful respite of nature is something we all take for granted but have surely been craving while huddling indoors due to the coronavirus pandemic. While the soothing tinkles of a river or the various cries of wildlife may seem to be another world away at the moment, technology affords us a natural experience of a more virtual kind with live streams from some of the most famous wildlife reserves across the globe. Here are a few of our favourite picks to get you back into nature while remaining firmly indoors.

Katmai National Park & Preserve, Alaska

This live feed focuses on the Brooks Falls area of the park where brown bears convene to catch fresh salmon from the stream. There seems to always be action happening on the feed and during sundown hours, a highlight reel plays until the live stream picks up again at dawn. At the right time of year, you can also spot a few fluffy cubs.

The Kruger National Park, South Africa

South Africa’s premiere National Park is currently closed due to the National Lockdown, but the live stream videos scattered throughout the park are still operational. You’re bound to catch sight of some of the indigenous wildlife (especially in the absence of the regular tourists) on one of the feeds, particularly those around the watering holes.

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

The Yellowstone park is giant, spreading across three states. It’s famous for its erupting geysers, including the aptly named Old Faithful which erupts precisely every 92 minutes. You can catch the eruption on this live stream direct from the park to your computer screen.

The Nature Conservatory, Australia

Take a dive down under with this live stream of one of Australia’s coastal coral reefs. This feed shows one in the Port Phillips Bay area and it will give you all the Finding Nemo feels! Great to keep little ones entertained for hours.

Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Washington

Located in Washington, DC, the National Zoo brings hundreds of thousands of tourists to its exhibits every year, and the age of social distancing hasn’t changed a thing. Viewers are now able to watch the famous panda enclosure through a live stream. Tian Tian and Mei Xiang will steal your heart within minutes, even from hundreds of miles away!

Ngala & Djuma, South Africa

WildEarth and travel company And Beyond have teamed up to bring viewers sunrise and sunset live streamed game drives through two private game reserves in South Africa. The drives are 2-3 hours long and run on a schedule so you can plan to fit one into your quarantine diary.

Monterey Bay Aquarium, California

This Californian aquarium runs an ongoing “Jelly Cam” so that you can watch the soothing movements of its resident jellyfish. There are also live stream cameras of a variety of other exhibits, including sharks, penguins and sea otters.

We hope that these live streams allow you to bask in the wonders of nature while keeping safe at home during these uncertain times. You may find yourself still turning in long after things have returned to normal for a virtual reconnection with the natural world.

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lavanyasunkara/2020/03/16/stuck-at-home-connect-with-nature-through-these-invigorating-live-feeds/#515bf2f77f60, https://www.businessinsider.co.za/best-webcams-south-africa-2020-4, https://www.insider.com/live-animal-cams-zoos-aquariums-watch-from-home-2020-3#the-aquarium-also-has-live-views-of-other-sea-species-like-penguins-sharks-and-otters-4

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’.

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Top Podcasts for the Vicarious Traveller

Let’s face it, there’s only so much Netflix that can be watched. And while being in quarantine has its perks, even these start to get a little dull after the first few days. If you’re itching to get back to exploring the world around you, we may have an isolation-appropriate alternative: travel podcasts. We’ve rounded up some of our tops picks to get you started, and we believe you’ll still be tuning long after isolation procedures have ceased.

Flight of Fancy

One of the most diverse travel podcasts on offer is Ben Groundwater’s Flight of Fancy. The 30-minute episodes make for perfect bite-size listening as Ben interviews various travellers and experts on a range of topics, from healing heartbreak through adventure to shady and treacherous border crossings.

image of a lady on her couch, with a laptop and earphones plugged in

The Budget-Minded Traveler

This series is great for those who yearn to travel the world but may not have a world-class budget. Not only does host Jackie Nourse offer invaluable budget-friendly travel advice and her guests also offer great stories that speak to the inimitable adventure rush that often comes along with penny-pinching expeditions.

Women Who Travel

This podcast was originally a Facebook group which organically grew into the weekly episodic it is today. Hosted by the editors of Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, these experts give insight on what it’s like to be a female traveller, from feminist road trips to the stories of refugees. This one is great for making even the most-timid crave the taste of adventure.

Travel Genius

Travel Genius is aimed at both frequent and beginner travellers. It’s packed with travel hacks, from packing light to getting flight and hotel upgrades. Travel experts also weigh in, so you know that these tips are verified for you to use on your next globe-trotting expedition.

EcoLust

Sustainable travel has been a huge trend over the past few years and this podcast is 100% dedicated to helping you live and travel more eco-consciously. The episodes are about an hour-long, so grab a snack (preferably organic) before you settle down to listen to an episode.

image of a phone with earphones plugged in and a podcast playing next to a cup of coffee.

The Indie Travel Podcast

Hosts Linda and Craig have been on a non-stop global trip since 2006, and their prime aim is to encourage people to live life as one long, debt-free adventure. Their 14 years of nomadic experience have made them masters in just about every area of travel, and their 350 episodes give you plenty of options to pick what you’re most interested in hearing about.

Zero to Travel

This podcast is more for those who take a philosophical approach to travel. Host Jason dives into what travel is, how it affects us, and how we could be doing it better. There are also a few episodes dedicated to answering listener questions, as well as some unusual travel techniques.

We know it can be difficult staying indoors with limited social interaction, but podcasts are a great way to feel like you’re listening to an extended voice note from an old friend. These ones, in particular, will give you a much-needed taste of the world outside while in isolation and are a great jumping point to start planning out your next holiday once travel restrictions have lifted. For now, sit back, relax, stay safe and be kind to one another.

Sources: https://www.contiki.com/six-two/best-travel-podcasts/, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/best-travel-podcasts/

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’.

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Learn a New Language With These Amazing Apps

Self-isolating can quickly start to take its toll on our productivity. Being trapped inside for extended periods of time soon destroys any sense of routine and purpose, as days begin to bleed into one another and you start to wonder if watching too much Netflix will really make your eyes go square. This is why it’s important to keep both your body and mind active while trapped indoors, and what better way to get a practical mental workout than by learning a new language? We’ve rounded up some of the top apps for language learners to keep you engaged, entertained and productive while under lockdown.

Rosetta Stone

This app is unique in its methods in that it replicates an immersive experience. Instead of translating from your home language to the target language, the app transforms to communicate with you only in the target language. It also makes use of speech recognition to track your level of fluency and proficiency and even has AR integration where users can aim their mobile camera at an object to receive the translation in the target language in order to improve vocabulary.

image of a man holding a phone with a laptop next to him

Babbel

Babbel’s minimalist layout and activity-based learning technique are similar to taking an online course. Each lesson is only 15 minutes long and includes vocabulary lists, flashcards, exercises and quizzes. There’s also a listen and repeat component, and the app makes it easy to track your progress towards fluency.

Mondly

This app is perfect for first-time second language learners! Not only does it teach vocabulary, but encourage your progress through gamification, leaderboards and speed drills. There’s even an AR integration which allows your virtual teacher to pop up on your screen and appear to be “standing” right in front of you. It also caters for a variety of learning styles, using audio, images and in-app games to help you remember translations and phrases.

Duolingo

Duolingo is perfect if you haven’t yet decided on a target language and want to dabble in a few options before you commit to one. You work your way through various levels, but if you aren’t consistent in your practice, Duolingo will push you back a few levels when you next log on. It’s also easy to track your proficiency by monitoring your weak areas, and you can revisit previous lessons if you’ve forgotten a thing or two.

Memrise

Memrise is a great option if you’re wanting to learn to be more conversational in your target language. Short videos are included as part of the coursework so that you can see how the vocabulary and phrases you’re learning are used in daily situations. It also helps you to spot patterns, making it much easier to pick up new things.

image of a lady learning a language on a couch and holding coffee

Busuu

This app takes a holistic approach right from the beginning, asking you what language you want to learn, why you want to learn it, and it encourages you to set a goal to be completed within a certain timeframe. There’s also an introductory placement test which ensures that you get placed at the right level, which is great if you’re not a complete beginner. When you log in for each lesson, Busuu also reminds you of weak areas from your previous lessons that should be revised.

While we can’t guarantee you’ll be flying across the world to be immersed in a foreign culture anytime soon, you can still get a taste of new culture by learning a foreign language. These apps are just a few of the ones available that make learning a new language easy, fun and accessible. Make sure to try a few of them while you’re self-isolating, and remember, stay safe and be kind to one another.

Sources: https://www.fluentu.com/blog/apps-to-learn-languages/, https://www.cnet.com/news/best-language-learning-apps-of-2020/

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’.

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Take a Mental Holiday With These 10 Travel Books

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many of us holed up to prevent further spread of the virus. While the idea of lounging at home with nothing to do may have sounded like a dream mere months ago, it can rather quickly lead to boredom, frustration and a general case of cabin fever. While we can’t encourage you to escape to the outside world just yet, there’s nothing stopping you from disappearing on an excursion of a different sort. Lose yourself in an adventure and take a mental holiday with these 10 travel books.

Into The Wild

Christopher Johnson McCandless’ wanderings through the Alaskan wilderness are told by Jon Krakauer in this biographical account. McCandless faces the very human emotions of loneliness, persistence and, ultimately, peace as he goes on a journey of self-exploration amid one of the cruellest and most desolate landscapes in the world, and by the closing page, you’ll be planning your own post-COVID19 backpacking trip.

Eat, Pray, Love

Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir-style account will have you in stitches one second, and bawling the next. Wanting to escape her life as a modern American woman is all too relatable, and she promptly whisks you along on her escapades, first eating her way through Italy, then learning how to pray in an Indian ashram, and finally coming to terms with self-love in Bali. The autobiography functions as both entertainment and inspiration for every reader.

bali - flower arrangement

The Alchemist

This classic tale follows the forays of a shepherd boy as he travels from Spain to Egypt, chasing his dreams and adventure! Author Paulo Coelho puts a philosophical spin on a simple story, and the pages are littered with quotes sure to inspire wanderlust in even the least intrepid reader.

The Great Railway Bazaar

Paul Theroux depicts his sojourns while following the famous and now obsolete Hippie Trail from London to Asia for over 4 months. His narrative takes place during the 1970s and it’s interesting for the modern reader to reflect how different the world was almost half a century ago.

The City of Djinns

This historical account of India’s capital outlines Delhi’s rich history, complex culture and key characters. While non-fiction may not be your first choice when it comes to escapism, William Dalrymple’s story-telling flare is unmatched and will transport you right to the bustling streets of Delhi.

India farmers market - show casing fruits, vegetables and spices

Down Under

I say the name Bill Bryson and you’re already reaching for the phone to call your local library. In Down Under, Bryson gives an all-inclusive account of life in Australia, told in his usual jocular tone, and touches on everything from geography and climate to the pioneers who first dared to navigate the notoriously desolate landscape.

Vagabonding

Rolf Potts’ tale of bravery and acceptance is loved by many. While on the surface a story of escaping the drudgery of daily life to go to new places, learn new languages and meet new people, the deeper meaning is to escape the comfort zone, accepting and loving each new experience, good or bad, with the goal of growth. A must-read for those feeling the effects of isolation!

Lost on Planet China

In a country as vast and populated as China, it’s easy to get lost! J. Maarten Troost seamlessly entwines travelogue with humour, while still depicting China’s ancient cultural heritage and social idiosyncrasies that often leave tourists baffled, yet somehow remain endearing.

China - ancient Chinese building on the waters edge

Blue Highways

William Least Heat-Moon takes his reader on a tour of the various aspects of the rural American countryside. Featuring memorable encounters with locals and vivid descriptions of the highways that weave between America’s small towns, you’ll feel as though you’re in the passenger seat alongside Heat-Moon until the closing page.

Into Thin Air

Jon Krakauer (sound familiar?) now steps into his own exploring shoes in his personal account of the Mount Everest expedition in the mid-1990s. The trip turned into a disaster when a severe snowstorm combined with heightened competitiveness and resultant overlooking of safety procedures, finally culminating in the deaths of eight climbers. The story takes the reader on an emotional rollercoaster and will have you itching to turn the page until the very end.

We hope these reads will help you pass the time in this climate of isolation and social distancing, and keep your travel bug alive and well for when the global situation reaches stability and resolution. For now, stay safe and be kind to one another!

Source: https://www.holidayme.com/explore/these-10-travel-books-would-be-your-perfect-companion-this-holiday/

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’.

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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’.

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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’.

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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’.

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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’.

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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’.