Brightroam is giving away Free SIM Cards!!!

To start your summer off right, Brightroam is offering a FREE SIM CARD when ordered on or before July 31, 2011.

Your SIM card will remain active for 90 days and an extension can be purchased if you need one in the future.

Just follow the link provided and enter the promo code “FREESIM11″ at checkout for your discount.

Coffee souvenirs

Tea drinkers are starting to take over but even tea drinkers appreciate the smell of freshly ground coffee beans. A bag or tin of coffee is a suitable souvenir for friends, family and business acquaintances. It doesn’t take up much room in your luggage and is an excellent way to enjoy the unique flavors of many countries.

Whether you travel to popular coffee producing locations such as Costa Rica, Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Kenya, India, Ethiopia or to popular coffee drinking nations like Italy or Turkey, coffee is an inexpensive and simple gift to bring home.

Some of my favourite coffee destinations include:

Brazil – I am pretty sure is the largest coffee producing nation in the world, producing 35% of the world’s coffee according to Coffee Terms. Brazil beans are used in many Espresso blends. There really isn’t a better souvenir from Brazil – unless you are into football.

Costa Rica – The time I spent in Costa Rica drinking Tarrazu coffee was hands down my most compelling coffee experience. So much so, Costa Rican coffee is always in my freezer and I frequently order it right from Café Britt for gifts.

Hawaii – The largest of the Hawaiian Islands produces an amazing coffee bean called Kona. In the grand scheme of things, it is a very small producer of the world’s coffee, but it is very exotic and sought after. A cop of 100% pure Kona coffee (only available in Hawaii) is absolutely wonderful, especially when it’s accompanied by chocolate covered macadamia nuts.

Tips for buying coffee

  • Buy it at a grocery store or local shop. You will save a bundle
  • Wrap it in a tight plastic bag before you pack or everything you own will smell like coffee
  • If you have to keep it for a while once you get home, store it in the freezer

Best shopping airports

When I was a kid my father traveled a lot and somehow managed to bring something back for my brother and me each time. How could I forget my collection of plastic airplanes, snow globes and key chains? Twenty years later the days of kitschy souvenirs are pretty much over. With Coach, Body Shop, GAP, Bvlgari, Sunglass Hut, Emporio Armani, Mont Blanc, Nike, Herralds etc scattered across the world’s airport terminals why would anyone buy a key chain again?

London Heathrow

The most impressive shopping I have seen in my travels is London Heathrow. Heathrow is a terrible airport to visit with its delayed flights, long security lines and flooding hallways however they have one of the best food courts and shopping arcades in the world.
Check out the shopping arcade.

Singapore Changi Airport

Unlike Heathrow, Changi Airport is actually a lovely place to layover and waste time. The “Shopping City” offers over 160 eclectic shops and 80 restaurants. Traveling to Singapore is amazing in the first place, being pampered at the airport – now we’re really talking.
See what’s in the Changi Shopping City.

Amsterdam Schiphol Airport

I must admit I have never been to Amsterdam but I have heard lots of great things about Schiphol Plaza. Apparently not only does it have great shopping but also a casino!
Check out Schiphol Airport.

Travel with your pets

There are lots of reasons why you may need to bring an animal with you while traveling, from relocating the whole family to a new country, or taking a weekend road trip. Whether you are traveling across town or across the globe, there are many things you need to pack and prepare.

Familiar things

Animals like routine. They are more comfortable with their surroundings if they have familiar items. I’m not suggesting you pack the couch but anything that makes them feel more at home is important. When my dog comes along on road trips, we always ensure to pack his favourite toy, as soon as he sees it in the suitcase, he will jump on top and wait there – he knows that if that toy comes, so does he. Last time we moved, my turtles spend a week in individual plastic bins. They wouldn’t eat for days. The minute I put them back in their tank together, the world was right again and they ate like mad! Pets get very emotional, so anything you can do to surround them in familiar things will make their trip better.

Road trip packing check list

You have a mental checklist of all the things you typically travel with but it’s a good idea to have a written one of things you need to bring when you include the family pet. Chances are you will forget something if you don’t write it down ahead of time. I forgot the leash once when I went camping but luckily rope worked just fine.

Some great road trip gear:

Everyone needs a seatbelt
For a home away from home, the Canine Camper
For on the road, Traveling Water Bowl
For the small pet who goes everywhere
For the adventure dog

Pet Friendly Hotels

If you know exactly where you want to stay, give the hotel a call. Some places are willing to make exceptions for certain pets. However, there are many chains who always allow pets such a Sheraton Hotels . Visit the following websites to find a hotel where you are traveling:

North America: Pets can stay

Canada: Pet Friendly
Worldwide: Dog friendly

Airline travel

Flying can be really hard on your pets. It’s imperative that you check with your vet before you fly with your animal to ensure that they are healthy and prepared for flying. Visit Pet Travel’s Airline Pet Rules for valuable information on flying with your pet including immigration, quarantine and drugs. Also, remember to check directly with the airline you are flying to find out more on kennel and paper requirements. They will scream at you when you pick them up in the fragile cargo area and will likely stink but the reward is one happy pet who wasn’t left behind.