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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Mother's Day Travel Gift List 2017

Mother's Day is coming up pretty fast here. Does your mom (or the mother in your life) like to travel? If so, I've got some great ideas for you for the perfect gift. No matter your budget, or the type of traveler your mom is, there's something for her and you. 

travel gift guide

Budget ($50 or less)

I love a good gift, but I don't always want to spend a ton on one, nor do I always have the funds to buy something expensive. I know you don't either, so here are cool things you can buy for 50 bucks or less:

1. Lewis N. Clark Phone Wallet: This little wallet is just big enough for the essentials and keeps your phone out of your back pocket too. It has a sweet wrist strap and looks great with everything. You can check out my review here. $24.99
2. Travelon Heritage Crossbody: I've basically just adopted this small bag as my new everyday bag, because it's the perfect size, has nifty anti-theft features, and it looks great for all my casual outfits. The more you use it, the more worn it looks, but never in that old way, just that lived-in denim look we all love. See my review here. $39.99+
3. Happyluxe Wayfarer Wrap: Traveling can require a lot of things, but this wrap can keep you warm, looking good, and double as a blanket no matter where you (or your mom) go(es). I take it with me everywhere, because I can use it as a wrap/scarf/blanket all at once on the plane. See my review here. $39.00
4. Battery Back-up: I don't leave home without a battery backup, because what if my phone is dying or I want to read for 6 hours on my iPad or I take a ton of photos? You never know when you'll need extra power for your gadgets, so keep a great power pack with you wherever you go. We have two of these doodads, which can charge two phones twice during the day. $15.99 
5. Travelsox Compression Socks: I have some terrible circulation in my legs, and I know other people do too. Traveling all day on the plane or walking all day can be hard and make your legs/ankles swell. I always keep a good pair of compression socks in my bag, and a review is coming for these from Travelsox. Long story short: They are great for keeping the blood pumping through my legs, even when standing on my feet for 8 hours. Average $20
6. Zensah Compression Leg Sleeves: Sometimes you just don't want to wear full socks. I love these sleeves, because they allow me to wear pants, but also sandals, but do almost the same job as a full sock. Athletes wear them for running and I wear them for traveling. They even come in fun colors. $20+
7. Travelon Boho Slim Crossbody: I'm in love with the new styles and patterns from Travelon and the new boho line is fun and functional, with all the anti-theft features you love. If your mom only wants to carry the essentials, while still being organized and looking good, the slim crossbody is for her. You should buy two, because you'll probably want one when you see it. $45.00
8. Bluetooth Keyboard: So...does your mom take a tablet and/or her phone with her and try to get work done or complain about how hard it is to answer email or do anything else? I bought one of these keyboards for short trips where I don't want to lug my giant laptop and it is awesome. Easy to use and works with pretty much all your devices. $10.99
9. GSI Outdoors Travel Javapress: Do you need a gift for a coffee lover? I've been so disappointed many times by bad coffee. Wouldn't it be awesome to just have a coffeemaker everywhere you went? I thought so, too. This commuter javapress is like a French press in your hand, but with a mesh strainer that does the same job. I have a review coming up for it soon. $22.95

Moderate ($50-100)

So, maybe you have a little bit more money to spend on a gift for the mom in your life. If so, here are ideas for under 100 smackeroos! 

1. Craghoppers Amiee Maxi Dress: So, this was one of the things I saw at the Travel Goods Show and immediately couldn't wait to wear it. This maxi dress is lovely and has a great silhouette. It works for all day sightseeing and then can go directly to dinner. It also has insect shield build in, so your romantic dinner doesn't get ruined by bug bites. Review coming soon. $75

2. Craghoppers Cleo Dress: Yes, I loved the dresses from Craghoppers so much that you're getting two on this list. The Cleo is much more casual and has two pockets, one of which has a security zip pocket inside. It also has insect shield and a bit of an athletic look. I can't wait to wear it when it gets here. Review coming soon. It is out of stock at the moment, but you can buy a similar one (The Bailly) on Amazon. $70
3. Lewis N Clark Secura Convertipack: Who doesn't love a bag that can be used multiple ways? I'll tell you who. Nobody. And moms totally appreciate a multipurpose bag, especially if it's super cute like this one. The convertipack can be worn as a shoulder bag, crossbody, or a backpack. See my review here. $69.99
4. Pakems Travel Boots: These are another Travel Goods Show find. The woman who designed these was looking for a less bulky boot for skiing and playing in the snow and made her own. They are lightweight, still warm, they're cute, and they pack down small, so they don't take up your whole carry-on when you're trying to pack light. I got my Pakems and they are so awesome. Review coming soon. $65
5. Kameleon Rose Travel Dress: Okay, so I have rarely spent $65+ on a dress, but I have done it and have been happy every single time. What if you could spend that same money and get over 20 pieces of clothing? Because that's just what the Kameleon Rose dress is. It can be a dress, a skirt, pants, a top, a poncho and more! I'm loving mine that I picked up at the show and can't wait to show you with an upcoming review. $65-80
6. Hedgren S Glitch Shoulder Bag: I just got a box full of awesome Hedgren bags on my doorstep and they are lovely. I can't wait to show them to you. This one isn't among them, but I saw it at the show and adored the look. All the Hedgren bags are beautifully made and look classic, so you can blend right in when you travel. $84
7. Travelon Anti-Theft Tailored Backpack: Love the versatility of your Travelon bags, but wish they were a bit more upscale looking? Well, now Travelon has come out with the Tailored collection. You can get all your favorite silhouettes, including this adorable backpack, which gives you plenty of security and full use of your hands. I can't wait to bring you a review of this and several other pieces coming. $80

Splurge (Over $100)

Have a bit of money saved up just for the occasion? Well, I've got options for that, too. Here are gifts that cost over $100.

1. Lojel Novigo Carry-on: I bet your mom's been traveling with the same old carry-on she's had for decades. Well, why not upgrade her to a fancy new bag with all the bells and whistles and basically a crush-proof shell? I love the Novigo with its locking wheels, shiny exterior, organized interior and smooth spinner wheels. You can read my review here. $269.99
2. CoolBag: Ever wish you had a beach bag that was also a cooler, that you could also lock and leave at your beach chair while you're out swimming? The CoolBag is that bag. You can affix it to a chair or table, lock your belongings inside it, so nobody steals your stuff, plus it has a zipper compartment on the bottom where you can keep your cans, food or whatever else cold with the included ice pack. I haven't tried mine yet, but I have thoroughly checked it out when it arrived. Use it as a beach bag, carry-on, diaper bag or whatever else you want! Review to come. $130
3. Solite 603 Carry-on: This one may have to wait until next Mother's Day or Christmas, as it's not technically on the market, but this expandable carry-on uses a knob that expands and contracts your bag so you can make it bigger when needed and then compress your clothing, so it takes up as little space as possible. under $200
4. CityPASS: If you're like me, you like to give experiences as well as tangible gifts. The CityPASS works in different cities and lets the user skip the ticket lines and go straight into the city's most popular attractions. I love CityPASS because it saves time and money, making your trip easier and cheaper. $75+ per pass.
5. Popticals: Does your mom ever say she wishes that she could fold up her sunglasses and put them in her pocket? Well, she probably does wish that even if she's never said it. I usually put mine on my head, but then I have to shove them in my purse when I'm at dinner, a movie or on a theme park ride. The last trip I took, I scratched a pair of my favorite sunnies. Sad face. Popticals make this problem non-existent, because your glasses slide closed and the earpieces fold up, then they fit right into a cute little case. I hope to bring you a review of these, because they are super awesome. $199+
6. Airline/Hotel Gift Cards: Buy a gift card that can be used for their favorite airline or hotel chain (or Airbnb) or rental car company. It's nice because you can customize it and make it a bit more personal than a normal gift card. whatever you want to spend

What would be your ideal Mother's Day travel gift?

*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Novigo Carry-On from Lojel

I saw a lot of cool stuff at the Travel Goods Show last month, you guys! I was really excited to bring you some new carry-on bags and Lojel did not disappoint with their newest: The Novigo. Their bags are all named in the universal language in Esperanto and Novigo means "innovation". Once you see my review, you'll see why.

I love new innovative products, and this cherry red definitely caught my eye. I love a bright bag, so this one fit all the check marks I had for a new carry-on. Here's why:

First of all, it comes with all these fun accessories: A toiletry bag, a cover, a shoe/laundry bag, and a little separator hammock, which I'll go into in a bit. 

The Novigo doesn't have a zipper. Nope, because that's not secure or innovative. Nope, it has this nice little tongue and groove type closure. The top groove works with this bottom lip.

It fits snugly, so it's waterproof and stronger than your usual zipperedd carry-on. Nobody can force it open with a pen, that's for sure. This means your belongings are safe from those "overhead thieves". The ones who open the bins mid-flight and unzip a bit of your bag to steal your valuables. 

So, what keeps your bag closed? The Novigo has two large TSA-approved locks that have combination locks on them, so it makes it twice as difficult for non-TSA agents to get into your bag. While you think this is a minimal security feature, thieves aren't going to mess with a bag that isn't easy to get into. 

The hardside shell is made of a strong polycarbonate, which can really take a beating. How do I know? Because I filled it with all the things I picked up at the show and checked it home. I wasn't smart enough to put the cover on it, plus the bag may have gotten to Portland way before me, as I didn't leave Vegas until 11 hours after I was originally scheduled and from when I checked it through. When I finally made it home, my bag was waiting for me, but it was beat up and that nice sheen was less shiny. Aside from a few scratches and dirt, my Novigo wasn't bent out of shape or anything. 

The inside of this bag is gorgeous. I love it. There are two large compartments (larger than I expected before I opened it). One is your main compartment and the other is a mesh zippered compartment, which is awesome to me. 

Not only can you strap down your clothing in the main compartment, but you also have this removable hammock that can go over the top and hold things you want easy access to. I used it for underwear, but if you're a business traveler, maybe this is where you keep your ties or other things that you'll want to keep flat. It's nice that this also helps your stray clothing pieces from sneaking out and keeping your bag from closing.

It makes closing your bag easier, because it's not all bulgy. The same goes for the top compartment  that zips closed. The mesh is taut and doesn't allow you to overstuff it. I was able to get a lot into this bag when packing for our next trip. We have clothing for a week (4-5 shirts and 3 bottoms each), a pair of flip flops for Eric, a pair of walking shoes for me that I put in the shoe bag, my toiletries (including my 3-1-1 bag), my lint roller, a wrap and our bathing suits. 

Here's most of what I brought home from the show. It all fit (and then some) into the Novigo with no problems. 

See the backpack on top of the Novigo? It's not much bigger than the carry-on is, and fit all that awesome swag.

Okay, so there's more that makes this bag awesome. #1 are these great little feet, so your bag can sit on its side but not get all scraped up on the ground. 

#2: The bag's pull-out handle has two locking positions, making it easy for short people (me) and tall people (my husband) to both roll it along. We've had bags that have only had one locking position that was either too long or too short for one or both of us. This was perfectly comfortable for me in the shorter position, so I didn't have to strain to drag it along.

#3, and the thing that made this bag intriguing to me, were the locking wheels. Both sides have this little pedals that allow you to independently lock and unlock your wheels, so your bag doesn't roll away on a slope or the bus. I took it on the monorail with me back to my room from the convention center and it stayed put in front of me. The wheels, when not locked, are really quite smooth and I rolled it over the parking lot to the monorail and then through the carpeted hallway at the MGM and then over the uneven sidewalk 4 blocks to my room. I had no issues at all with it rolling smoothly on all four double spinner wheels, which I've always had with other spinner bags. I was impressed. 


#4 The top handle of the bag is wide and gives you a nice grip. It also has a slow release so it doesn't bang on our suitcase when you let it go. It doesn't seem like much, but I like it. It also allows the handle to lay flatter when not in use, getting in the way. 

I was super impressed with this carry-on. It looks great (even after the airlines scratched it up a bit), is seriously secure, and holds a ton. It's kind of magic. The hardside shell keeps you from overpacking, it's comfortable for almost everyone to roll through the airport (or the streets of your destination) and it's incredibly light for a hardside bag. 

Your bag fits easily in the overhead bin of the airplane and holds everything you need for your travels, so whether you're looking for a new bag for your own trips or looking for a gift for mom, dad or your favorite grad, this carry-on is ideal for anyone who wants to travel in style.

Other specs
Where to buy: On the Lojel website or Amazon
How much it is: $269.99
Colors it comes in: Black | Passion Red (shown) | Steel Blue
Size: 21.6" x 15" x 9.4" (small)
Other stuff: Double spinner wheels, just 8.4 lbs, has a 2319 in³ inside capacity, made of Advance polycarbonate (making it super strong) with a super strength alloy frame, comes with a dust cover for storage at home.

Check out Lojel's other products, which you're going to love, and then follow them online:

Disclosure: I was provided with the Lojel Novigo for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.
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