Cool Travel Stuff!

I love looking at travel accessories…the gear to make our travel easier and more enjoyable! Here are some neat things.

Weather Related Items:

Patagonia Houdini Jacket – We all have one of these and it folds into a tiny pouch
Patagonia Nano-Air Light Hybrid Jacket – The girls and I all carry this handy jacket
Fidus Mini Travel Umbrella – We travel with two of these
Emergency Rain Poncho – OK, these aren’t exactly cool but they are great to have in downpours! We each have one.

Getting Around and Packing:

Travelon Packable Backpack -I compared several and settled on this one. I liked the padded straps and the small pouch that it easily stuffs back into. We carry two.
Eagle Creek Pack It Compression Cube Set -There is no way I could travel with just a carry-on without these miracle packing organizers!
GoToob Travel Bottles – These are amazing! They have flown thousands of miles and I have never once had one bottle leak.
Fun Luggage Tags – There are so many great luggage tags out there…why be boring?!
RFID Credit Card Protectors -Safety First! Our credit card information has been stolen 3 times and we tracked down two of the times to airports. Actually, I do use these but we also only use cash in airports now!
Pacsafe RFID Passport Holder -when I’m not using my Travelon Safe ID Family Passport Case that I mentioned in a previous post, I use the Pacsafe holder. It’s small but you can easily get 4 passports in it.

Electronics:

Bose Quiet Comfort Noise Cancelling Headphones -I would never ever fly without them!
Tumi 4 port USB Travel Adaptor -This baby is about to have the ultimate test in 10 countries. We will see how it does!
RAVPower Portable Charger – You never know when you might need it!

 

For looking good and smelling good:

 

FARI Mini Flat Iron and Curling Wand – This is absolutely, completely unnecessary to pack in my small carry-on bag because space is at a premium. But you know what, I’m bringing it anyway because I don’t want to look like crap for my entire trip!
Colgate Wisp – Bad breath is avoidable! Just pack these.
LiteWipes Flushable -Feeling not so fresh?
Scough -This very cool scarf has a pocket and comes with a replaceable filter to keep out the airplane germs. How cool is that?!

What travel goodies do you like?

 

 

TripIt, TripIt Good!

(Did you get my Devo reference? )

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So, what about my really long travel itinerary that I created? How did I put that together?

Well, I made that in a very cool app called TripIt . It is a travel itinerary app that organizes all of our travel plans. Yes, I did actually print it out and it was 32 pages.

Of course, being that I like to read reviews, I first read reviews of several other travel apps before I decided to go with TripIt.

TripIt didn’t have perfect reviews, but overall they were quite positive. I can use it on my laptop, iPad or iPhone although I have the most control over my itinerary from my laptop. I’m really not very technically savvy either (luckily, I have my awesome hubby to help me!) so I liked that it is very simple to use!

TripIt easily imported our flight information, train tickets, hotel and Airbnb reservations from my Gmail account and put it all into a nice, tidy format. It has room for me to type in my own notes too.

But, there have been things that I have manually put into this huge itinerary because I could not get them to import into TripIt automatically. That has been very time consuming. For example, I manually input all of our tours that we are taking as well as random things like ground transportation details from hotels. I also looked over each entry (multiple times) and made sure it had all of the details that I wanted, like I said…travel planning is very time consuming!

I also downloaded the Google Trips app on my iPhone. Although I’m not using it for my itinerary, it magically and automatically pulled most of my trip information from my Gmail so I can use the “Things to Do” part of the app if I need it. I’m still playing around with it so I may or may not keep the app….I haven’t quite decided yet.

Bottom line is that I used to type our travel itineraries in Word so this is a HUGE improvement and overall, I am very happy!

We also like to use some low tech planning in our house-obviously the travel books-but we also have a big world map on the wall. There are push pins stuck in our travel destinations and a string running between our destinations. It’s fun to have something on the wall to look at and to show our curious friends and family.

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I know that many people travel the world very differently and without a lot of plans. They might be the “fly by the seat of your pants” type. I’m sure they are very content with their way of travel. Good for them! To each his own! Live and let live!

Not me though! I am definitely Type A, I hate surprises and I like to be in control. Thus, the very detailed and anal retentive planning!

I do know that things will go wrong when traveling, in fact, I expect it. So, as long as it’s not catastrophic, we can deal with it. I don’t have to like it though…

Update May 22, 2018-we’ve been using TripIt Pro throughout our travels -numerous flights and 6 countries so far. The airline updates are well worth the money!

Want to see what I have in my tote bag?

I’ve got a lot of stuff!

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Here is a list of what I am bringing in my Briggs & Riley tote bag: (left to right, back row then front).

1. Baggallini Provence Crossbody Handbag
2. Wet Wipes (because airplanes are really gross!)
3.Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Shopping Tote
4. Bestrice Makeup Bag (awesome little bags $6.99 on Amazon and comes in many colors!)
5. compression socks
6. scarf
7. hairbrush
8. Poweradd Portable Charger
9. Tumi Universal USB Port Travel Adapter
10. Bose Quiet Comfort Headphones
11. Travel slippers
12. Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX10K camera in a cute little neoprene case
13. iPad
14. Travelon Safe ID “Daisy” Family Passport Case (easily holds all our passports, money and other travel documents with room to spare)
15. Packets of EmergenC, cough drops, kleenex, tea and asprin
16. contact lenses and case/glasses
17. travel journal
18. daily organizer
19. bag of liquids
20. body wipes
21. sea bands
22. eye mask
23. ear plugs
24. playing cards
25. Lightweight black cardigan
*Not pictured but these are very cool-Ray-Ban Folding Wayfarer Sunglasses 

Whew! That was exhausting…

 

 

 

Totes, an Obsession

Obsession:

If you have an obsession, you’re totally fixated on something and unhealthily devoted to it. Some common obsessions include fantasy football leagues, celebrity gossip, and Elvis memorabilia. -taken from Vocabulary.com

Well, I’m certainly no fan of fantasy football or Elvis memorabilia (although my husband and I did renew our vows in front of Elvis for our 10 year anniversary…hum?!) but I am  obsessed with the totes!

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I think about tote bags a lot. Especially at night, right around 2AM when I can’t sleep. I log into my Zappos.com account and I take a look. Then, if I’m still awake I move to Amazon.com and maybe even ebags.com. When I’m feeling really sassy, I get onto Flyertalk.com-love those forums!

I have so many questions so I dive into the many detailed reviews. How much can I really cram into this bag? What are the pockets like? Are there padded pockets specifically for electronics? Is there a spot for my water bottle? Is there a pocket or a strap to attach the tote to the handle of my carryon? What are the exact dimensions? How much does it weigh? What is it made out of? Is it easy to clean? Will it fit under the airplane seat?

My heart is racing just thinking about…

Wait a second! I’m going to review the bags I already have. I don’t need anymore (for now!).

First up, the Longchamp le pliage tote-size large.  It seems like everyone has this bag. OK, maybe not everyone but lots of women have this bag. It’s super lightweight, easy to clean (A bird pooped on my bag in Greece and the poop wiped right off with a wet wipe!) and it folds up nice and small. It also comes in lots of exciting colors. I have both Black and Gunmetal. (not that exciting) The downside- there is only one dumb and pretty much useless pocket inside. (but this is why it folds up small!). This bag has traveled with me a lot and it gets the job done but I wonder…is there something better!

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Next, the Longchamp le pliage expandable tote. This bag is really, really, really big. I have not attempted to use this as my “personal item” although I have read some reviews from women who did use it as their personal item and they said they totally stuffed it under the airplane seat. Of course, they are talking about when the bag was NOT expanded. The cool thing about this bag is that you can buy lots of stuff and then carry it on and store it in the overhead bin. I checked this bag once after a trip to NY and it held up well. This is also a great bag for road trips! (In this image, it’s fully expanded)

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Next up is the Baggallini Avenue Tote. This is a nice size bag and someone clearly thought a lot about how it was going to get used. It has a padded inside pocket and a fantastic outside pocket that unzips to slide over your luggage handle. It is easy to carry, even when packed. It comes in many colors and has contrasting colored lining inside. This bag is a great choice for airline travel. I wish it came in a size just slightly bigger for my around the world adventure though. That’s why I had to order a few other bags!

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This Briggs & Riley Baseline Large Shopping Tote is the bag that I will travel around the world with. (I’ve been very happy with the Longchamp tote on past trips but since I downsized my roller bag a bit for this adventure, I wanted to increase my tote bag size.) With the exception of the Longchamp Expandable, this is the biggest tote bag of the bunch. You can fit an absolute ton of stuff in here…water bottle, hairbrush, jewelry and hair accessories, makeup bag, toiletries bag, liquids bag, iPad, small purse, a few travel books, travel journal, passport holder, scarf, light sweater, slippers, snacks, wet wipes and a bag of cords and chargers. I could actually cram in a bit more too! I love the amount of interior pockets plus it as a little detachable pouch that I use for my jewelry.  It has nice exterior pockets as well as an ID tag. The best part is how it easily slides over my luggage handle.

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The Sole Society Mason Weekend Bag.This is a cool bag and it’s different from most of my other totes. It is “fake” leather, which is great for animal lovers. What I absolutely loved about this bag was the clever zippered shoe compartment on the bottom of the bag. I packed that spot with shoes, a raincoat, travel book and a small umbrella when we traveled to Amsterdam and Paris in the fall. I did not like that the bag got a bit heavy when fully loaded and I really didn’t like that it was missing a sleeve to fit it over my luggage handle. The handles did begin to fray after a couple of trips. This is a fun bag for short domestic travel or road trips!

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Last up is the Baggallini Gold International Laptop Tote. This bag is very similar to the Baggallini Avenue Tote bag. It is a bit shorter in height though. I do really like the gold accents on bag but it isn’t quite big enough for me and I like the Avenue better for my travel tote so it was returned. I do have the matching purse though, just in case you were wondering, and that little purse is traveling around the world with me in my Briggs & Riley tote!

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Next up…what’s involved with planning a trip around the world?

 

 

 

Lightweight carry-on bags

Lets take a look at some of my favorite carry-on luggage. For my requirements, it has to be very light-preferably under 5 pounds while empty and it needs to be approved on international carriers as well. You will also notice that I favor two wheels rather than spinners. I feel that the spinners take up too much space and are just a piece of luggage that might snap off but that is just my personal preference. I also don’t like how people push their spinners along in airports without really holding onto the bags-it just irritates me. No real reason why.

I really do love the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 bag! It is an amazingly awesome design. It’s lightweight, converts to a backpack and you can stuff a ton of clothes and shoes in it. Tom Bihn also makes awesome little organizers for the bag, like the “snake charmer” for my cords and chargers and the “311” toiletry bag. The only bummer about this bag is that it doesn’t have wheels. (but this is why there is so much internal space!) This well traveled bag has flown on many domestic and international flights and has been stuffed to capacity. I’ve never had a problem getting it in the overhead compartments.

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On our last international trip to Greece, I decided to try a bag with wheels. I used the Travelpro Maxlite 4 expandable 22 inch. This was a great, well made and durable suitcase. However, after all the ferry rides and stairs on the trip, I was wishing I had Tom Bihn backpack instead. But, this really was a trusty suitcase and I would totally use it again for domestic travel. This was the heaviest of all the bags that I am reviewing but to be fair, it’s still quite lightweight-about 6 pounds. We were asked to gate check my bag on one flight…I’m pretty sure I have could have made a stink and brought it on but gate checking was fine with me.

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This next bag is a nylon roller bag. It’s the Osprey Ozone 22 inch bag. It’s really lightweight, about 4 1/2 pounds and it comes in this cool blue color. (I got this bag for my mom simply because of how light it is and for the color!) It also comes in red btw. It has compression straps-always good for the over packers (me!) and I really like the 3 pockets but especially the pocket located on the back. The only downside to this bag is how the telescoping handle takes up space internally. You really need to roll your clothes cleverly around the hump to maximize the space. This bag is about to embark on a tropical Hawaiian vacation. Lucky bag!

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I’ve put all my eggs in one basket, or suitcase, with this next nylon roller bag. It’s the Lipault Pliable Upright 55/20 (a 21 inch bag). I decided that my daughters will take this bag as we travel to 10 countries in 100 days. This bag will get the ultimate workout! (I think a review after the trip will be in order!)

My girls have traveled with the Travelpro Maxlite in the past but for this trip, we will be going through numerous airports, including flying on some smaller planes, on and off of trains, boats and who knows what other forms of transportation! So, we downsized. This bag is really light-about 4 pounds and it’s really only a 20 inch bag, however, the soft, padded handle counts towards the total inches. Cons-I’m not in love with the outer front pocket and I wish there was a back pocket. Both of my daughters will use this suitcase in purple.

I was convinced that I would take my Tom Bihn bag around the world until I thought of all the hours I would be rushing through airports…then I changed my mind and decided that wheels would be best for this trip. The bummer is that this bag really does not hold as much and I was forced to cut 3 dresses and 3 tops from my suitcase. Major bummer for this over packer but I’m sure I will still have too many clothes!

 

Coming soon…tote bags!

 

Traveling with only a carry-on bag

I’ve ordered so many lightweight bags that I’m actually embarrassed when our UPS driver, Bruce, shows up at our house!

I am convinced that taking only a carry-on bag along with your tote bag or backpack is the only way to travel! However, I am not yet convinced which specific bag is the right one for me. So, I like to try other bags on for size.

I was so happy on a recent trip to Paris and Amsterdam that we weren’t hauling our huge checked bags everywhere. (Like we did in Italy and we only needed half of what we packed) And nowhere was more evident than on those European trains! I saw tourists struggling with their huge coffin sized suitcases and I felt sorry for them. They are so heavy to drag up the train stairs and you have to put them in a “big bag” storage area so they might not even be in your possession or sight. No thanks. 

For that trip, we traveled with the Tom Bihn Aeronaut 45 bag and it was great! My husband carries his with the shoulder strap and I use mine as a backpack.

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Honestly, I think packing all my stuff in a carry-on bag is totally challenging and I don’t enjoy it. But, the pain of waiting for your luggage, the additional time it takes, the chance that it won’t even make it to your destination and the fact that items might be missing from your bag make it worth the agony over deciding which dresses and tops to cut from my little bag.

Next up…some thoughts on my favorite carry-on pieces.