Tripologist: SIM-ple fix for iPads overseas

Day walks ... the Kosciuszko National Park near Thredbo.
Day walks ... the Kosciuszko National Park near Thredbo. Photo: Alamy

Data could be a SIM-ple fix

I am travelling through Central America for six weeks before going on to Britain and Europe. I was wondering what the best data SIM card for my iPad would be? Would I need to buy multiple for each country?
- M. Keyte, Mandurang.

You can either buy a micro SIM card in each of the countries you're visiting, or buy a single micro SIM that will give you close to worldwide coverage, or a combination of both.

If you're planning to spend a couple of weeks in one Central American country, it might well be worth your while to buy a prepaid micro SIM that will give you access to data services via your iPad. However, Central America has embraced wi-fi internet as enthusiastically as the rest of the world. In many cafes and hotels you can hook into the internet in all its glory either free or for the price of a cup of coffee. Before buying a prepaid SIM card for the country you're in, check whether free wi-fi services are adequate. The same advice applies in Europe.

The beaten track ... Innsbruck, Austria.
The beaten track ... Innsbruck, Austria. Photo: Getty Images

If you want a single micro SIM card that gives you access to data at a discount in most countries, there are several products on the market from service providers such as GO-SIMOneSimCard and TravelSim.

Although the cost for using data services with these providers is less than if you were to use the SIM card of an Australia-based telco, the charge can still be steep.

In Europe, legislation has pegged the price for data roaming at a maximum of €0.50 (65¢) a megabyte. This is the most you should pay with any of the providers listed above.

Gangnam Style ... K-pop star Psy.
Gangnam Style ... K-pop star Psy. Photo: Getty Images

Some snow-free Snowy walks

I live in Sydney and would like to visit the Snowy Mountains this spring-summer for about a week, to go on a few day walks. However, I do not drive and would need to rely on public transport or tour bus to get there and back. I have not been able to locate one that operates over summer. Can you suggest any companies that provide transport services?
- A. Duke, Sydney.

Once the snow melts, so do transport services to the Snowy Mountains resorts. CountryLink (13 22 32) can get you as far as Cooma by a combination of train and bus via Canberra. From Cooma, Snowliner Coaches ((02) 6452 1584) operates a bus service to and from Jindabyne.

This is a school run and it operates on school days only, and at times that fit in with the school day. From Jindabyne, the only option is Jindabyne Taxis, (02) 6452 2444.

I suggest you make Thredbo your base, since the village has a vigorous program of summer activities including day walks, plus a good range of accommodation and dining options.

 

Sometimes it's best to keep to the beaten track

My husband and I are planning to spend two weeks in Austria and Croatia in February, starting with Vienna. We are looking for a snow vacation and trying to avoid highly commercialised places. What do you recommend?
- U. Merchant, East Perth, WA.

Avoiding commercialised places in this part of the world might sound like a fine notion but it means you'll be putting yourself out in the cold as far as restaurants, hotels and activities go. Towns attract visitors, and therefore become commercialised, because they're attractive and offer a good array of services, and that is probably what you want in midwinter.

Innsbruck might be a good fit for what you're after. It is as pretty as a screensaver and its ski lifts offer access to more than 130 kilometres of runs. Innsbruck also has more to offer than just skiing, including former imperial palaces and museums, many housed in splendid baroque and renaissance buildings.

The Austrian Tourist Office website will help you plan your trip.

Continuing the theme of a snow vacation is tougher in Croatia. There are a couple of ski resorts near Zagreb but facilities pale in comparison with Austria. It's the islands and coastline that attract most visitors and, in February, you'll find accommodation bargains and empty cafe tables in such honeyed spots as Dubrovnik, Split, Trogir and on the islands. The website of the Croatian National Tourist Board has plenty of useful information.

 

Get into the heart and Seoul of South Korea

I have stopped over in all the popular places in south-east Asia on the way to Germany, and always had a holiday breaking up the trip. So next time, July 2013, I'm considering South Korea as a stopover and want to spend about five days there each way. I have no idea what to focus on, to see or do or where to stay. Can you give advice?
- A. Just, Frankston.

Although Seoul is a huge and dynamic city that never calls it quits, South Korea also has serene hermitages in its mountains where the loudest sound is the rustling of leaves.

Among the many activities that might draw you to South Korea are wonderful shopping for IT goods; the traditional tea houses of Insadong; a visit to the Demilitarised Zone, where communism and democracy still confront one another over the barrel of a gun; and the chance to marinate yourself in a bathhouse.

South Korea also has a distinctive cuisine whose signature dish, kimchi, never fails to leave an impression on the visitor. This is also the home of K-pop - current fascination of the music world - and the place to learn to dance "Gangnam Style".

One good source of information is the Frommer's online guide to South Korea, which also has suggested itineraries for a one-week stay.

For accommodation, check the best picks based on travellers' reviews on TripAdvisor. The official website of the Korea Tourism Organisation, visitkorea.or.kr, is another prime resource.

 

Digiwatch

Outside Online is the internet site for the leading adventure magazine in the US, Outside, and it tackles the world with an ice axe in one hand and a satellite phone in the other. It is packed with dangerous ideas for restless spirits, fitness tips and dispatches from the field, and has a Gear section that gets down to the nitty-gritty of hydration systems and the innards of camp stoves. outsideonline.com.

If you have travel questions, we'd love to hear from you. Include the name of your suburb or town  and send it to tripologist101@gmail.com. Personal correspondence cannot be entered into. Only questions appearing in print will be answered. One published letter each week will win a Lonely Planet guidebook.

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