Archives for August 2011

Brightroam SIMs Can Save You Thousands


Photo courtesy of Ambro/

There have been many articles published recently about the outrageous bills people have received upon their arrival home from a getaway or business trip. In her article for The New York Times, Michelle Higgins recounts the story of Jeff Gardner, who racked up an $11,000 Verizon bill while in Jamaica for four days. Jim Eagles of the New Zealand Herald talks about two friends, who together faced roaming charges of about $800 traveling to France and Spain, each sending only a few texts and making a handful of calls.

In both cases, the articles mentioned the simplicity and spendthrift advantage of SIM cards. Brightroam’s SIM cards work in over 200+ countries, and the service is post-paid, meaning you’ll never use up your minutes before you’re finished your trip – and the cost per minute is very, very low.

One of our customers, Steve Connolly of New York, gave this testimonial about his switch to Brightroam: “My partner and I have switched to your service from pre-paid SIM cards. We pre-order, they arrive on time and it’s less hassle when we’re in-country. Amazing service that saves us money.”

Sounds a lot happier than Jeff Gardner, doesn’t he? Read more of our testimonials here, and remember Brightroam for all your communication needs while traveling.

Have A Nice Trip!

Travel – whether for business or pleasure – always comes with a few pitfalls: long wait times and line ups at the airport; unexpected changes in the weather; a smaller-than-expected hotel room.

With some advanced planning, you can ensure that everything within your control can be managed, and make every trip a pleasant one!

1) When packing for a getaway, make sure you have the following items in a carry-on bag:

  • an extra set of undergarments and an extra pair of socks
  • an extra t-shirt
  • a toothbrush and toothpaste, extra contact lenses and any other essential toiletries
  • any guidebooks, maps or language books you require for your stay

If your other luggage is lost at the end of your journey, you’ll at least have some things to get you by. Remember that most airlines don’t give much in the way of reimbursement for lost bags, so don’t get caught away from home without what you need!

2) Avoid jetlag by planning an overnight flight. You can sleep while you travel and wake up to a new day in a new place.

3) Rent or purchase guide videos to learn about your destination; by seeing the locations rather than simply reading about them, you’ll feel familiar with your new surroundings, and more at ease.

4) Learn the following phrases in the most commonly spoken language of your destination:

  • “Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to ________ (name of your lodging here)?”
  • “What time do you close/open?”
  • “Excuse me, where is the nearest pharmacy?”
  • “Please” and “thank you”

These are phrases you’re bound to use during your stay and learning them will help you plan, manage and enjoy your trip.

5) Renting a car while you travel is often a great way to get around; be sure to research the rules of the road, though. Find out what certain signs indicate, the speed limit of major routes, and anything else that will help you avoid getting ticketed or towed.

6) In some countries, the tip on meals is included in cheque’s total. Find out if this applies where you are staying, and avoid paying to much (or too little) after you eat.

7) Don’t carry your passport with you when you’re out and about; make a photocopy of the information and carry that instead – keep your original passport in your hotel’s safe.

8) Don’t overpack! Learn the weight restrictions of your airline before packing to ensure you’re not charged at the airport. If you plan on shopping on your trip, leave space for new items. This is often the main reason for weight overage charges.

9) Research any museums or galleries you plan to visit before you leave; many have reduced (or free) admission on particular days or certain times.

10) Order your Brightroam SIM or international phone as soon as you can to make sure it arrives on time. Don’t suffer the surprise of high roaming fees – plan ahead and get ready to roam!

Vacation Reads

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There’s no better time to crack open a book than on vacation – no distractions, just you and the written page. Here’s Brightroam’s guide to some great vacation reads.

The Great Gatsby

This classic story of class war, love and madness is currently getting the Hollywood treatment again, this time with Leonardo DiCaprio slated as the story’s devilish anti-hero. So why not indulge in this time-tested novel and be ready for the inevitable debate of “What was better – the movie or the book?” We’re sure it’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s incarnation, with its lush description of ’20s era New York, but it will be amazing to see what director Baz Lurhmann adds to the already gripping tale.

The Book of Awesome

Written by Neil Pasricha, it’s a compendium of happiness and an off-shoot of Pasricha’s blog, 1000 Awesome Things. This uplifting read will brighten any vacation (as if they aren’t bright enough!) with the affirmation that life, and all its messy, unexpected turns, is indeed amazing. From free refills to flossing, his accounts of the little things and why they rock are sure to bring a smile to your face!

A Stolen Life: A Memoir

The story that captivated America, Jaycee Duggard recounts her days as a kidnapping prisoner – and her miraculous escape – in this new bestseller. An incredible true story of will and courage, Duggard’s message of being a survivor (rather than a victim) will warm your heart.

When God Was A Rabbit

A quirky novel from new writer Sarah Winman, it’s an every day tale of the extraordinary lives of a brother and sister. Sure to make you realize how rich life can be, even during the tough times, the span of the novel (four decades) is captivating and clever.

How To Win Friends And Influence People

A vacation can be a great excuse to pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read for some time. This classic “self-help” read by Dale Carnegie is still as popular now as it was when it was published over 75 years ago, and the advice still rings as true. Find a little empowerment and return from your relaxing getaway with a new outlook on life!

To ensure your mind’s at ease all trip long, order a Brightroam SIM or international phone to avoid unexpected roaming fees!

5 Travel Must Haves

Packing is always the hardest thing to do – so much to organize in (usually) so little time. Some simple pre-planning and a handy list of must haves will save you valuable time, money and trouble!

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Here are five items you should always have with you for long journeys abroad, or quick weekend getaways.

1) Laundry Packets

Lighten your load for travel and bring along some travel packs of detergent to launder a few items on your trip. Laundry services aren’t available at every hotel/hostel you’ll stay in, so save yourself the hassle of locating a nearby laundromat and do it yourself in your bathroom sink!

2) Water Shoes

Be prepared for all types of water play with protective, lightweight shoes – they’re easily found at department/leisure sports stores everywhere.

3) Money Belt

Carry everything you need safely with a money belt. Leave your cash & passport in a hotel safe, and only take what you need for trips around town.

4) Insect Repellent Wipes

Avoid bug bites with easy-to-travel-with wipes.

5) World SIM Card

Stay connected to family and friends while you’re away (and have a clear mind when it comes to roaming charges) with a Brightroam SIM card.

Destination Unknown – Girona, Spain

While many who travel to Spain flock to the country’s well-known cities like Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao and Seville, the area of Girona (about 2 hours away from Barcelona) is a wonderful hidden gem for those looking to do something different on their European getaway.

With its mild temperature and laid-back atmosphere, visitors have an abundance of things to do during their stay, whether your interest is sports, culture or cuisine.

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5 Things To Do in Girona

1) Visit the Museum of Art

Spain is home to many wonderful museums and galleries, and the Museu d’Art is no exception. With a collection that spans the Romanesque period to works from the 20th Century, the most unique feature of the museum is the Museum-Pharmacy of the Hospital de Santa Caterina. The ceiling is decorated with paintings from the 19th Century, and the room contains pharmacy/apothecary jars and jugs dating all the way back to the 16th Century.

2) See the Houses on the Onyar

Brightly painted apartments line the river Onyar (which runs through Girona), and their interesting construction and unusual detailing are a sight to behold. Walk through the city and enjoy the urban scenery.

3) Take a cultural tour of the Catedral de Girona

No matter what your religious affiliation, the austere beauty of the city’s grand cathedral should not be missed. The tour includes an audioguide, and takes visitors through the Nave, Treasury and Cloister.

4) Enjoy a game of golf

An 18-hole game awaits you on a beautiful course at Golf Girona, designed by F.W. Hawtree. Packages are available in combination with several of the city’s hotels, and range from the “Landscape” pack to the “Luxury” pack. For more seriously sporty types, PGA Golf de Catalunya is also close by, and is ranked as one of the top 100 courses in the world.

5) Eat at the Casa Marieta

Offering traditional dishes like Duck with Pears, this mainstay of Girona’s dining scene uses market-fresh ingredients to prepare an unfussy array of delicious plates.

Though Girona has its own airport that receives flights from many European cities, a great way to enter the city is by train. The landscape between Barcelona and Girona is peaceful and pretty, and will help ease you into your adventure in this picturesque place.

Stay connected in Spain with Brightroam’s World SIM card, which includes wireless data services.