Tag Archives: travel

The Top Car Brands for Long Distance Travellers
[Partner Content] 05 NOV 2016

If you are a long distance traveller, you need a car that will be powerful, durable, and reliable. After all, the last thing that you’d ever want to deal with is a breakdown in the middle of your journey, as that would leave you stranded and cause you to waste time and money. So, if you are planning on looking through the many used cars for sale to find the perfect car for your travels, consider the following car brands.

duelling-cars-kia-versus-mazda

Toyota

Toyota is a hugely popular carmaker because it produces vehicles that will go the distance and last for many years to come. These cars hold onto their value as well because they are built so strong. But if you want to have a car that isn’t just capable, but also fuel efficient, opt for models like the Prius or the Camry Hybrid. In this way, you can spend more time driving to your destination than fuelling up at the pump. Plus, you will be doing something great for the environment by getting into a car that uses so little fuel, especially if you are going to be driving for a long time. But if you are in search of something larger that will comfortably fit your entire family, you can go for the Sienna, which is a hugely popular minivan model.

Subaru

Subaru is yet another carmaker that is known for producing high quality cars that are meant to last for many years. These cars also come with all-wheel drive capabilities, so you can take them over a variety of terrain and into a variety of weather conditions and still be confident you will not get stuck. Popular models include the brand’s SUVs, which are the Outback, Forester, and Crosstrek.

Kia

Kia is a brand that has come a long way. You can find affordable models from this carmaker, but you will be surprised by the quality of these vehicles and their ability to really get you places. SUVs like the Sorento and the Sportage are great choices for travellers who pack a lot and want to have some extra headroom and legroom for themselves and their passengers. Known for being safe and reliable, these vehicles are also surprisingly luxurious, so give them a test drive and see how you like them.

Audi

If you have the budget for an Audi, you can take your road trip in a luxurious vehicle that will keep you comfortable throughout your journey. Drivers who prefer SUVs can opt for the Audi Q7, which provides a quiet and comfortable ride. The handling is also highly responsive, and the vehicle is large enough to fit three adults comfortably in the second row, so you will have room for your family and your luggage.

black-hyundai-ix35-suv

Avid travellers who are planning on going on long distance road trips should stick with these top car brands that are designed to help you get to your destination safely and efficiently, no matter how far you are planning on going.

Visit South Korea’s saucy Loveland Theme Park with Episode 3 of East West Travel Attractions 29 JUN 2016

East West, the documentary style travel show that follows South Africans from all walks of life around globe and depicts their daily lives against the backdrop of their adopted culture, returns for episode 3 with an interview with English teacher Chantal Terblanche in her South Korean surroundings, followed by a look around Busan and then a trip to the popular Jeju Island.

Naturally, a trip to Jeju Island isn’t complete without mention or view of the saucy naughty erotic theme park Loveland… which is exactly what hosts Retha and Miguel do!

Episode 4 of this great web series should be out pretty soon, with the team moving on from South Korea and scouting out South Africans in Thailand next…

Related Link: East West | YouTube

East West: South Africans Zabroad Episode 2 now available Travel Attractions 19 JUN 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode from the East West team of Miguel and Retha, a web series showcasing South Africans living abroad.

South Africans ZAbroad East West Ep. 2 Seoul, South Korea - YouTube

Pleasingly, the second episode in the series has just been released, continuing their look at South Africans living in Seoul (the capital of South Korea) – this time featuring Cape Town film maker Raoul Dyssell and the man behind South African wine on tap, Tobias Jerling.

Definitely worth watching:

Nice, right? Now hit the subscribe button – I suspect it’s just going to keep on getting better and better!

Related Link: East West | YouTube

Japan 2014 – 01 Flying to Tokyo Narita Airport in Japan – and arriving in Yokohama! (2014-09-30) Photo Gallery 12 OCT 2015

Seeing as today marks Terrance and Yuko’s first wedding anniversary, it seems fitting to finally (a year later), kick off the posting of all my Japan 2014 photos to the blog.

IMG_20140930_130352 flying emirates airbus to dubai

So as I outlined before, last year Ryan and I embarked on a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, he an already quite seasoned international traveller and me heading overseas for the very first time in my entire life. (In other words, together he, Terrance and Yuko pretty much made all the arrangements, while I stared like a lost little puppy in the background).

Anyway, the 30th of September finally arrived, and Ryan and I met each other at Cape Town International, eager for our adventure to begin – even if the first leg was to be an agonizingly long 9hr 45min flight from Cape Town to Dubai aboard an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER.

First mistake though. Security immediately relieved me of my shampoo because the bottle was too big. Rookie error on my part for sure. That said, surprisingly, my small set of screwdrivers passed the screening with no mention at all!

Anyway, amazingly, I managed my first ever overseas flight reasonably well, ingesting movie after movie, enjoying the surprisingly good airline food, sleeping, and playing the odd two player game over the in-flight entertainment system against Ryan.

(Ryan however didn’t have quite as good a flight as me – but he blames part of that for the fact that I took rather more of his personal space than what a thin person normlly would!)

IMG_20140930_131643 ryan and craig lotter on an airbus

Dubai’s International Airport was my first real taste of the size of what a real international juggernaut airport is like, and needless to say there was quite a lot for me to take in – not that I had all that long to do this mind you – first time around, we only had about an hour to kill before the next 9hr 35min flight kicked off!

(Oh, and in case you were wondering, there was no way in hell my little set of screwdrivers were getting through the screening this time around though – all Ryan could do was literally face palm in disbelief at this horribly incompetent flier that his brother was turning out to be!)

The second leg of our journey was much the same for me as the first, long, boring but not particularly uncomfortable and I was more than entertained from start to finish. Ryan however again suffered a bit, but to be fair, I hadn’t shrunk after a mere 10 hours or so, meaning that I was still stealing a fair chunk of his allotted personal space!

(Seriously, he must have hated me for the segments where we were forced to fly or sit next to one another – which in hindsight I think was pretty much all of the time!)

Eventually we were given the signal that we were approaching Japan’s Tokyo Narita International Airport, and after filling in the necessary declaration forms, we sat back, enjoyed a smooth landing, and then more or less breezed through customs – before at long last finally being reunited with an excited Mr. Brown himself!

IMG_20141001_121332 ryan and craig lotter are reunited with terrance brown in tokyo

Surprisingly, we were still relatively fresh after our long flights, and with Terrance leading the way (his reasonably decent Japanese proving invaluable to us now), we made a few stops around the massive airport complex in order to collect the few pre-booked odds and ends (like our mobile data sim and portable modem), before being shuttled around by bus and then on board a fancy looking train – possibly the KEISEI Electric Railway’s Skyliner, but I can’t really remember because a) it was dark, b) it had been a long flight, and c) it was a YEAR ago – heading out of Tokyo and into Yokohama where we were going to be based for the first leg of our three part trip.

(Of course, this late in the evening already it was dark, and thus not much to see, but already just the sheer scale of Tokyo and its surrounds compared to our own minuscule Cape Town kept me absolutely captivated from start to finish of our train ride!)

In Yokohama at last, Terrance treated us to a short taxi ride to the Super Hotel Yokohama, which proved to be our first real taste of how the whole politeness thing of Japan works. The taxi experience itself was pretty cool – doors open automatically, we are not permitted to stow our own luggage as this is considered rude, and everything is precise, cordial and proper – i.e. about as completely opposite of minibus taxi experience as what you can get.

Locating the Super Hotel Yokohama proved to be relatively easy – checking in slightly less so. However, Terrance persevered, and together with our e-mail printouts and one or two phone calls for a language assist, he gained us access to our rooms for the night – our very first taste of just how cramped living space in Japan really is!

IMG_20141002_001422 yokohama super hotel room

(Ryan and I shared this room. I’m pretty much standing by the door for this shot – on my right is the door to the bathroom… capsule.

Yes, the toilet is very cool and very electronic – but it is very small and in the end, my big bottom’s personal nemesis for pretty much the entirety of our Japanese adventure!)

IMG_20141002_013720 yokohama super hotel toilet

Amazingly, after all our travelling and despite the lateness of the night, Ryan and I were so pumped that we immediately wanted to head out for a stroll in the middle of the night – something unthinkably dangerous to do in South Africa mind you – a request which Terrance was most happy to accede to.

After all, this was his wonderland to show off – and thus, our trip to Japan had finally officially begun! :)

[subvertedgallery link=”file” columns=”7″ ids=”34259,34260,34261,34262,34263,34264,34265,34266″]

(P.S. I slept like a log that evening once we had eventually got to bed – after spending who knows how long trundling along the city streets and taking in all the late night sights!)

Related Link: Tokyo Narita International Airport | Dubai International Airport | Emirates | Super Hotel Yokohama

Japan 2014: An Adventure in the Land of the Rising Sun My Life 07 MAY 2015

In October 2014 I embarked on my very first overseas trip ever – to the one destination that I’ve always wanted to see above all others: Japan.

Terrance, a friend I have known since primary school, has been living in the land of the Rising Sun since 2011, teaching English as part of their JET programme. In that time, he also found a fiancé in the form of Yuko Omiya, and thoroughly besotted with this wonderful woman, the date for their wedding was set: 12 October 2014.

Of course, he was very keen to have any of his South African friends come up and join him and Yuko on their big day, and although it was certainly something that I wanted to do, it wasn’t something that I could actually afford to at the time (you know, all the usual expenses that comes with being a married adult with children and bonds to pay).

However, my brother Ryan certainly could, and as such, he implored and convinced me to join him on the trip – and thus our Japan 2014 adventure was forged!

craig lotter, ryan lotter, yuko omiya, terrance brown in komagane japann 2014

Surprisingly, we didn’t actually put loads of research into the trip, in fact, it boiled down to less than a handful of Skype and e-mail chats with Terrance, and one or two real life meetups for Ryan and myself. However, it took almost no time at all to come up with a plan that would see us in Japan for a period of two weeks, travelling to the metropolitan marvel that is Tokyo, then to the rich spiritual, historic and cultural hub that is Kyoto, and finally enjoying the fresh, more rural air and pace of Ina and Komagane, situated within the Nagano prefecture.

With our destinations and our period of stay in each decided, Yuko handled the task of tracking down affordable accommodation for the two of us (it was much easier to organise that on their side than for us to try and do it from here), while Ryan handled the nitty gritty of all the flight tickets, insurance, etc. – and once the final hurdle of getting our Japanese visas via the embassy in Cape Town was cleared, all that was left was a little bit of wait time until we finally took to the skies.

Needless to say, I was excited as a puppy dog who has just discovered he can actually chase cats and they WILL run away!

terrance brown and yuko omiya wedding - craig and ryan lotter pose with the main attraction

The trip itself was everything I could ever have wished for (I’ll sum it up as amazing, and not at all what I might have imagined), and despite the fact that we actually spent very little time with Terrance and Yuko as a whole, Ryan and I were more than capable of getting around by ourselves in a land where very little English is spoken – and get around we most certainly did!

(Though to be fair, a big thank you to the wonder that is mobile data and Google Maps is in order.)

I’ve got 47 photo albums taken over the course of those 14 incredible days, all neatly sitting on my hard drive, patiently waiting to be uploaded and thus see the light of day – and although it is now nearly a year later (life as a dad to two small kids is so incredibly busy), I think that you’re finally in for a treat.

In other words, prepare for an upcoming deluge of amazing sights courtesy of probably one of my most favourite countries in the whole wide world – this is Japan 2014! :)