The post 10 Things to Do in Tokyo (That Aren’t Shibuya Crossing) appeared first on The Blonde Abroad.
Travel is back and hopefully you have a trip planned for the near future! If you do have travels coming up, you’ll most likely want to figure out a way to stay connected while overseas. Things are changing quite quickly when it comes to this topic but luckily, it’s now remarkably easy, and inexpensive, to travel with a constant data connection. It’s all about eSIM cards as they are definitely the most traveler friendly option that exists.
What is an eSIM?
An eSIM is different than your usual SIM card that you would insert into your phone. Usually, your cellular company provides you with a physical SIM card and once inserted into your device, you are connected to their network.
With an eSIM, there is no physical card. Instead, it’s 100% digital, enabling you to connect to a cellular network without having to put anything in your phone’s SIM card slot. In short, it’s software that you download and that installs directly onto your phone.
A good example is Holafly’s eSIM for Europe as it allows you to download an international eSIM so that you can remain connected to the internet while traveling.
Why you should use Holafly eSIM?
First, it’s easy to set up and use. As you’ll see below, it only takes a couple of minutes from the moment you purchase your eSIM until it is ready to be used.
Second, the value is hard to beat. What you’ll pay for a month of data with a Europe eSIM card is about the same as you would pay for only 3 or 4 days of international roaming offered by your cellular company at home!
Third, it offers extensive coverage for travelers. You can purchase an eSIM for an individual country or even an entire region, such as Europe or Asia. This ensures that you are seamlessly connected wherever you go on your adventures, without having to worry about finding ways to get online every time you cross a new border.
Advantages of using an eSIM to travel to Europe
Let’s suppose you’re taking a trip to Europe. With HolaFly’s eSIM for Europe, you can buy your eSIM online in about 2 minutes and choose a plan that suits your travels. You can choose a plan for an individual country or for all of Europe if you’ll be bouncing around. You’ll also find plans for 7 days, 15 days and 30 days, depending on the length of your trip.
Keep in mind, you’ll still keep your phone number from home. If you have a regular physical SIM card in your phone, nothing will change with your phone number. But with the eSIM, you’ll be getting your data connection through HolaFly’s network of cellular companies, which is much cheaper than if you use the data connection offered by your cellular network at home.
Then, as soon as you land in your destination, you’ll be connected. And you won’t have to worry about exorbitant international roaming fees or paying for the very expensive international plan that you your cellular company at home offers.
How do I purchase an eSIM for Europe?
As mentioned, it’s simple. Here are the steps to follow:
- Go to HolaFly’s eSIM for Europe page: https://esim.holafly.com/esim-europe/
- Check the box that says “Phones compatible with eSIM” to make sure your phone is on the list
- Choose the plan that suits your travels and add it to the cart
- Go to “Checkout” and pay for the eSIM
- You’ll then receive an email with a QR code.
- Whenever you arrive in your destination (or right before you travel there), you just scan the QR code with your phone and the eSIM will be immediately delivered straight onto your device.
- Once this happens, your eSIM is activated and you’ll be connected!
Which devices work with the Holafly eSIM card?
There’s a long list of phones that are compatible with a Holafly eSIM card. Here’s the quick list but you can always check out the complete list of individual phones to make sure your device is indeed able to use an eSIM: Holafly compatible devices
- All models from the iPhone XS, XR onward, including the iPhone SE 2 (2020)
- From the Samsung Galaxy S20, S20+ and S20 Ultra onwards
- From the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Fold 2 and onwards
- From the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and onwards
- From the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and onwards
- Huawei P40, P0 Pro and later models
- Huawei Mate 40 Pro and later models
- Google Pixel 3, 3a (some versions do not allow eSIM)
- Google Pixel 4, 4 XL, 4a, 5 and later models
- Oppo Find X3 Pro
- Oppo Reno 5A
- Motorola Razr (2019)
- Motorola Razr 5G (dual SIM)
How much do I need to pay for an eSIM to travel to Europe?
The prices for an Holafly eSIM for Europe varies depending on the length of time. For the eSIM package that will connect you to fast internet in 40 European countries, here are the options:
5 days unlimited = $19.00 USD
10 days unlimited = $34.00 USD
15 days unlimited = $47.00 USD
20 days unlimited = $54.00 USD
30 days unlimited = $64.00 USD
60 days unlimited = $84.00 USD
90 days unlimited = $99.00 USD
Alternatives to Holafly eSIM to have a data connection in Europe
Of course, an eSIM such as Holafly is not the only way you can have a data connection while traveling in Europe. Here are some other options:
This involves simply keeping your phone on as normal when you go overseas. It’s certainly easy enough but you’ll end up paying a fortune as the rates your cellular company at home will charge you for international roaming will leave your jaw on the floor! To lower those costs, many cellular companies offer an ‘international plan’ which you can certainly use. However, these plans still cost much more than an eSIM. You can expect to pay around $10 per day (plus taxes) for such an international plan, so after 3 or 4 days, you’re already spending more than if you had an eSIM to travel to Europe, or anywhere else. Also, you often need to actually call your cellular company, wait to speak with customer service and then go through an activation process in order to set up the international plan.
Another option is to purchase a local SIM card in each of the countries you visit. When you arrive, you can find a shop selling SIM cards and by inserting one into your phone, you’ll be able to connect to that network. It’s also quite common these days to find kiosks and shops at airports where you can buy such a local SIM card upon arrival. The main downside is that you won’t be connected as soon as you arrive in a new country as you need to find a shop first in order to buy the SIM card. Also, if you are traveling to multiple countries, you’ll generally need to buy a new SIM card in each country you visit instead of simply being connected automatically through one eSIM.
You can also purchase an international SIM card. This would be more like a traditional physical SIM card that you would insert into your phone. Several companies offer these international SIM cards and they can be a good option, especially if your phone is not compatible with an eSIM. In general, you would get the same benefits of an eSIM although the cost of data would be more expensive with a physical SIM card.
Final thoughts about Holafly eSIM card
The days are gone when having a data connection while traveling was difficult, to say the least. The transition from internet cafes to expensive local SIM cards to expensive international plans has finally landed in a sweet spot. With an Holafly eSIM card, you can have fast internet wherever you go, for a very affordable price.
As long as your phone supports an eSIM, it’s the best option to stay connected while on the road by far. And the fact that it takes only a couple of minutes to get connected is a huge bonus. You could be on your way to Europe right now, download an eSIM while waiting to board your flight and as soon as you land in your destination, turn on your phone and you’re connected!
*This sponsored post comes at an ideal time. I just used an eSIM while on my recent trip to Iraq and I wanted to share why this is the best way to stay connected while traveling.
Many major Canadian cities are fast becoming the most expensive places in the world to live. Ideally, you should travel to Canada before settling there for a significant amount of time, to get a feel for the place. But, for reference, you’re looking at at least $2,000 for a 80-square-meter apartment in Toronto, and you can double that if it’s a spacious place in the city center. Likewise, Vancouver is similarly priced, and whilst these cities have incredible amenities, the point of being a digital nomad is to be free from living in areas that we cannot afford.
So, when looking at flights to Canada, make sure you decide on the city that is right for you.
Halifax, Nova Scotia – Up And Coming
Halifax is on the rise, and whilst it used to be overshadowed by Vancouver, it’s soon becoming a wise alternative in the property market. Halifax has a decently-sized city feel to it when it comes to amenities and things to do, whilst its dense downtown is less easy to feel lost in than, say, Vancouver. It’s a small big city, in a way.
Halifax is cheaper than most of the big cities, but it is fast accelerating in prices, so you may not want to wait around. It’s currently around $1,500 for a one-bed apartment in the city. Because people are flocking here since the rise of remote work, it’s beginning to build a buzzing economy that has plenty of start-ups, making it ideal for networking and finding clients.
Ottawa – Affordable Big City
Ottawa is a great choice if you like a big city with plenty to do. With an average one-bedroom apartment costing around $1,600 per month, Ottawa is affordable for Canadian standards, given its 1-million population and strong economy. Often, the more affordable options in Canada have fewer things to do and less nightlife – but not Ottawa, it has it all. It’s a pedestrian-friendly and diverse city that has some great history to it.
Because of its cosmopolitan and progressive nature, Ottawa is popular and friendly towards immigrants. Much more so than say, Quebec, and it remains to have a very high median income and stable economy. Plus, you’ll meet tons of other digital nomads.
Edmonton – Cheap Big City Near Nature
Edmonton is the capital of Alberta, which lies in the midwest of Canada. Despite having almost a one million population, Edmonton is both very cheap and in the midst of amazing nature. With an average rent of $950 for a one-bed apartment, Edmonton is arguably the cheapest city on this list.
Although the city grid is fairly large, conservation areas and nature parks surround it. Elk Island National Park, Muttart Conservatory, William Hawrelak Park… The list goes on. And, despite the large city feel, Edmonton has one of the best bus networks in all of Canada, with 7456 bus stops. Usually in the US and even Canada, you can only have one of the two: Affordability and public transport. However, Edmonton offers both, making it ideal for the low-key outdoorsy types.
At the heart of walking holidays in Spain lies the Camino de Santiago – Pilgrimage of Compostela – known as the Way of St James in English. This is a network of pilgrim paths dating back to the 9th century, when the remains of the apostle Saint James the Great were discovered, in which different towns and villages across Europe all lead back to Santiago, Spain.
Although Camino de Santiago Frances begins in France, these routes all end in Spain. For this reason, Spain has become a very popular walking holiday destination, in which holidaymakers and hikers from around the world dive into a segmented route within one of the pilgrim paths.
This type of holiday has it all: physical activity, culture and history, and is a chance to explore different places. Whilst you may have driven from one town to the next in Spain, it’s not quite the same experience as walking, in which you have lots of time to take in your surroundings and see every inch of soil between two connected villages or towns.
Within Camino de Santiago, there are many routes with varying levels of difficulty. Sarria to Santiago is a popular one as it’s graded 2 out of 5, yet covers 111km, crossing various significant Spanish towns such as Sarria, Puertomarin, Palas de Rey, and Arzu.
This particular route takes 7 days to complete, in which there are many great hotels along the way. Of course, because most of the day is spent walking, which is free, and the hotels include half board or breakfast (up to you), these walking trips have very few unexpected costs.
Another popular route to Santiago is from St Jean Pied de Port. if you’re thinking that doesn’t sound very Spanish then you’re right, because this route begins in southern France and ends in, you guessed it, Santiago. The ‘French Way’ is one of the most culturally rich walks in the world. St Jean Pied de Port in the French Basque region is a 12th-century town. Soon, you head to Pamplona, which is world-famous for its bull-running, before you eventually pass through northern Spain. This walk is extremely diverse, allowing you to see both the differences and similarities in Spanish-French architecture, culture, and terrain.
Socialising and Culture
Of course, meeting other pilgrims along the way is also a key part of these routes – this is the benefit of sticking to the historical trails. Other like-minded folks will undoubtedly be crossing the same paths that are experiencing the same challenges.
Because these are historical routes, the towns they cross are culturally significant too. Almost any route you choose will have a plethora of cathedrals, architecture, and authentic cuisine. Rustic villages and forests are plentiful in northern Spain too.
What Time of Year is Best?
Southern France and northern Spain are both fairly mild climates all year round, with average summer temperatures of 25 degrees celsius (80F) and average winter temperatures of 12 degrees celsius (54 F). For this reason, no time of year is too challenging to make these walks, although between June and September is recommended if you want as little rain as possible.
It’s not a surprise that I often think back to my recent trip to Jamaica.
Whether it’s the flashes of white sand and perfect water, the local food, the wanders through downtown Montego Bay, the day trips into the jungle-covered interior and, of course, the infectious vibe of the people, the trip was beyond memorable.
I had been to Jamaica many times when I worked on board cruise ships as a Tour Manager, way back in the early 2000s. But this time was different. Instead of visiting for a mere few hours at a time, on this occasion, it was a full 10 days on the island. Naturally, this gifted me the opportunity to do more, meet more people, eat more food and simply visit far more places.
A vacation to Jamaica should be high up, very high up, on any traveler’s list, especially if that traveler is fond of tropical destinations, a combination of relaxation and culturally-focused excursions, endless natural wonders and, to be honest, feeling happy from the moment you arrive. From that first smile and all the positive energy you’ll soak up from your first few conversations, by the time you reach your accommodation you will already know that you’ve made the right choice for your trip.
And the good news is that traveling to Jamaica right now is quite easy, with a simple set of Covid guidelines to follow:
As for my personal recommendations of places to visit:
- Beaches (Negril Seven Mile Beach is gorgeous!)
- Dunn’s River Falls
- Bob Marley Museum
- Wandering around downtown Montego Bay
- Appleton Rum Tour
- Food tasting (find out where the locals eat and try jerk chicken, codfish and meat patties)
- Hire a driver for a day trip through the interior (stop in villages along the way and meet great people!)
Jamaica is also a short flight from much of the US, making it an even more ideal destination for that well-deserved island vacation.
I’ll be back again myself, for sure. And it will absolutely be for another 10 day stay (at least!) as I still have plenty more of this welcoming, laid-back island to explore!
The Caribbean is the holy grail of boating holidays. With over 5,000 islands, incredible weather and endless tropical marine life, setting sail with a catamaran rental through Nautal offers up an endless world of possibilities. Here is a guide to the many adventures you can get up to when sailing around the Caribbean at your own pace.
Island hopping is undoubtedly the first thing that comes to mind when traveling around the Caribbean on a boat. Catamaran rental in the Bahamas, for example, is a fantastic way to pass the time, being home to 700 islands and 2,400 cays alone. When factoring in the Caribbean as a whole, you’re undoubtedly going to stumble on some hidden gems and potentially uninhabited islands.
For example, Salt Cay, a gorgeous island that is home to a quiet village and a sleepy atmosphere, is one you most likely haven’t heard of. With only one bar and one restaurant, you’re getting a unique experience of serene isolation, but with some locals nonetheless. There are countless other islands just like this, but also some more vibrant and populated ones too, like Staniel Cay in the Bahamas.
Beaches and Coves
Almost any one of the 5,000+ Caribbean islands is bound to have a white sand beach with crystal clear water, so it’s almost redundant to name some of the “best”. However, there certainly are some noteworthy names that are highly acclaimed, and it gives you somewhere to start in your search.
The first name that comes to mind is Grace Bay, which is on one of the Turks and Caicos islands. There is a coral reef just off the shore of its 8 kilometer long white sand beach. Being a highly regarded beach, there are also some famous exclusive resorts and hotels too if you’re looking to take a night off from the catamaran.
Seven Mile Beach located in Grand Cayman is another name you may have heard of – and for good reason. Laden with coconut palm trees, Seven Mile Beach is a very swimmable and tourist friendly beach that has plenty of hammocks, clear water and amenities for you to enjoy.
Before exploring the possible water sports that you can indulge in, it’s worth noting that the marine life in the Caribbeans is buzzing and rich in its beauty. Stingrays, turtles, tropical fish, and dolphins are just some of the many exotic marine life you may come across. This makes scuba diving a thrilling activity, and being on your own boat, you can stop off whenever and wherever you like.
Some local islands may offer boating tours, which would be redundant, but they may be worth trailing if you see one as they may know the exact spots for spotting certain species.
If you head to a more populated island, such as the Dominican Republic, you will find many merchants selling or renting gear for some water sports – like windsurfing and jet skis. In fact, Exumas in the Bahamas also has swimming pigs which is a once in a lifetime kind of thing to see.
Ultimately, renting your own boat at Nautal changes the entire dynamic of the vacation. Suddenly, you can see and do everything you want to but can do so at your own pace and with privacy. It allows you to improvise – perhaps you have stumbled on an incredible sunset or great snorkeling spot – and can avoid the crowds whenever you wish.
The post Catamaran Rental in the Caribbean: Ultimate Island-Hopping Adventure appeared first on Wandering Earl.