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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Review: GoLite DayLite Large Tote

One of my favorite places to go is the farmers' market. I love discovering new local foods and also picking up fresh fruits and veggies for meals at home. It gives me the chance to cook healthier and support farmers and businesses from my area instead of big brands. I usually hit up the market once or twice a month to pick up the things I need to make vegetarian dishes or sides for a bunch of meals that I make double and triple batches of and then freeze, so I don't have to come home from work every day and cook something when I don't feel like it, and let's face it, that's more often than not. So when I hit up the market, I need a great bag to carry all my finds and that's where the large DayLite Tote from GoLite comes in.


This versatile tote is compact, but unfolds into the size of an overnight or weekender bag. The lightweight material is sturdy, but doesn't add any bulk once you start filling it up. As much as I love the market, I don't want to go every week, which means my haul is usually pretty heavy. A bag with wide, comfortable handles that fit over my shoulder is a necessity. That's one of the things I love most about this tote. It is also durable and wipes down easily.




Check out how much fit in the tote on this trip. Pretty good, right? That didn't even include the bag of bakery goodies I picked up, too.


So, what sets this tote bag apart from all the others on the market? I mean, everyone has a tote bag of some sort, right? GoLite set out to make theirs innovative and more usable and I think they hit the nail on the head. Not only is this bag roomy (there's easily 25 lbs of produce in it) but it also has strategic pockets that can hold your wallet, phone, camera, grocery list and more. There's a cool little clip on the inside for your keys, so they don't get lost in the bottom under your lettuce and beets. I liked that feature so much, I used it for my car keys instead of putting them back in my purse.



Going on a short trip? Use this as your getaway bag. It would make a great "personal item" carry-on where you could stash your cardigan, Kindle, snacks and games, with your travel docs in the outside pocket. If you have a baby, it could double as a diaper bag. Another favorite use for it might be for a beach bag. It’s big, but not overly big, plus it has a wide opening that zips closed and is perfect for the essentials: beach towel, cover-up, flip flops and sunscreen. It also has a large front zippered pocket for reading material, like your iPad, magazine or Kindle (or a mixture). Leave your purse out of the equation and keep your keys, a bottle of water, money for lunch, your phone and camera for those fantastic sunset pics in the inside pockets. I also tossed in a makeup palette for when going straight from beach to bar or restaurant, because you’ll want to freshen up a bit after a long day in the sun.


What more can I say about this tote? It comes in pretty colors, it’s attractive and I can’t wait to tuck it away in my day bag for my grocery and market visits in London and Paris, because not only will it make my purchases easier to carry, but I’m going to look great doing it and saving the earth by not using plastic bags.

More information
Where you can buy itGoLite online
How much it costs$29.99
Colors it comes indark purple (shown) | Dragon Fly (teal) | Smoke (grey) | Twilight Blue
Other specsDouble rip-stop nylon that is both strong and lightweight, 11 oz, 18" L x 4.5" W x 12.5" H


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

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Messenger Bag

Do you have a great day bag for when you travel, or even something to carry your necessities in when you fly? The problem with a lot of bags is that they are either too big or too small for what you need. Many aren’t secure and those that are aren’t attractive and scream “tourist”. The Signature Messenger Bag from Travelon can solve those problems for you. If you hate regular messenger bags that are bulky and hurt your shoulder, take a look at this stylish bag that won’t get in the way, is ergonomic and has an adjustable, wide shoulder strap.

As you know, I’m a bag hoarder. I have been known to buy a new bag every time I travel based on where I’m going and what I’m doing. Obviously, I want a different bag for the plane than I do for sightseeing or than I do for an amusement park or than I do for a beach trip. Do I need to carry a lot of things with me – like a sweater – or not? Yes, I am really particular, but I’m guessing many of you are, too. Here are the pros of this bag for those of you still searching for the perfect bag for your travels.


It’s anti-theft!
Going to any large city? Guess what? There are probably thieves. If you’re really worried about this, like I am going to Paris, then fear no more. The large strap is cut-proof and the lining of the bag has a slash-proof mesh as well, so unless they want to try to wrench the bag off of you and drag you halfway down the street, it’s a safe bet that no one is going to steal it off your person.



The zippers have locking clips so no one can dip into your bag without you realizing it. This is something that would take effort to achieve by a thief, no matter how deft they are. As you can see from the pictures above, there are clips that slip through the holes in the zippers on both the front pocket that holds your credit cards, phone and other small items and the main compartment as well.



Another feature you can use is the locking clasp that you can detach and reattach the shoulder strap to. Say you’re sitting down to eat at a cafĂ©. You don’t want to hold the bag in your lap while you eat and you don’t want to hang it on your chair where anyone can just make off with it. Instead, detach the strap, wrap it around the table leg or your chair and reattach it. The slash-proof construction basically turns your bag into a mini-safe. It would be pretty obvious that someone was stealing your purse if they had to take the entire chair or table with them.


Keep your information safe with RFID-blocking card slots that hold up to four cards and a passport. It would suck to get to your destination only to find that someone had used an electronic card reader to steal all your info – and maybe your identity – and spend all your money. Worst vacation ever, right? These things have been tested and they really work! You can feel pretty safe that your cards will still have any money on them that you didn’t spend and your passport won’t be compromised either.


A lot of room, but not too much room!
Most regular messenger bags are like un-structured overnight bags. You put stuff in there and it all falls to the bottom somehow, no matter what it is. Yes, everything is in the bottom. How did that happen??? I have no idea, but it’s annoying. I took this bag with me on the plane to Vegas and the main compartment was perfect for my netbook, but it would be more convenient for an iPad. I was able to also get all my travel docs in there and also stashed my airplane magazine in it as I was deplaning. It still closed and I had makeup items in the back pocket.



I’ve also used this bag on several outings, including a day out where I stashed my mini makeup bag in the main compartment, along with a cardigan, keys and sunglasses. I like that the main compartment is just that. The mesh pocket doesn’t go all the way to the bottom, which makes it easy not to lose things down there and also to get them out. If you can’t see the contents, use the included snap-in handy-dandy mini flashlight to check it out.



The back pocket fits next to your body and is good for things you like to have convenient, like your lip balm and snacks or gum. It is also a half-size pocket, like the one on the inside, so you can’t overstuff it, though, like me, you can try.


It’s pretty rugged!
It’s also pretty and rugged. The eggplant might be a bit feminine, but I feel like the black and the mushroom can work perfectly for men as well. Everyone’s going to look good with this bag slung across their body. Travelon bags can really take a beating. I know, we have a bunch and we aren’t gentle with our travel gear. After many trips, the Signature Messenger Bag is still going to look like you just got it.

More information
Where you can buy itTravelon online
How much it costs$65.00
Colors it comes inblack | eggplant (shown) | truffle
Other specsPoly twill fabric that is easily wiped down if you spill on it, 11.25 x 10.25 x 2 

Want to win your own Travelon Anti-Theft Signature Messenger Bag? Enter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was provided with the Anti-Theft Signature Slim Pouch for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Infographic: Put Away Your Phone - You're on Vacation

On vacation I cut down a lot on my technological distractions. I like to unplug while I'm out sightseeing and tend to only take photos. We watch a lot less TV when we travel and spend more quality time with each other. Of course, when we have been together 24/7 it can get a little stressful and that's when we will chill out separately at our accommodation. I use my mornings for quiet time and decompress by checking and answering emails while eating sipping my coffee and eating a bit of breakfast. This gives me the personal time I need to start the day. When we get back after a long day out, we talk about our day, but we can often be found in different parts of the room reading or playing on a handheld game. This alone time gives us enough decompression to do it all again the next day.

Holidays Unplugged

While I feel like I need to keep my phone handy for emergencies, I don't think I need to use it constantly on vacation. How do you detox from the digital world when you travel?

Friday, August 23, 2013

Super Useful Travel Links

Happy Friday! I've been poking around this week and decided to run a bonus edition of Super Useful Travel Links. A lot of sadness is coming out of Syria and Egypt (again), making it impossible for anyone to travel near those places. I mean, not like most normal people have Syria on their travel list, but a bet a bunch of you have had Egypt on your list for a long time and every time you hear that there are riots and uprising think "Whyyyyyy?????" Yep. Me, too. So, this week I found a bunch of ways to save money on your trips - that other people wrote!


Some people love to make their own travel videos, but carrying an extra electronic device and everything that goes with it - extra battery, charger, etc. - isn't always something  you want to do. And if you're one of those people who just uses their smartphone for photos and video, it's definitely not going to look too professional. Vine is good if you only want to take postcard snippets to share straight to social media, but what if you want a full-length video for your travel memories? Techlicious has the best apps for amazing smartphone videos. I'm loving the concept of Vyclone and may just try it out on my next trip.


As you know, I love to save money. This year I'm using Airbnb for my accommodations in London and Paris and have saved a ton. Not only have I gotten awesome apartments that have all the amenities I need - washer/dryer, kitchen, convenient location - but I am also spending less on places to sleep than I did the last time we stayed in hotels. 7 years ago. A great new blog called Independent Travel Cats also recognizes the awesomeness that is Airbnb and their post on it shows you how to use it, how it can save you big bucks and how to use it to meet locals who can give you valuable travel info.


I'm no stranger to the farmers' market. Not only does it give me a chance to try the local foods, but it also saves you money by giving you affordable food that you can make meals with instead of eating out at restaurants. Many markets even have food trucks and local bakeries where you can buy breakfast or lunch, too. Want to save even more at the farmers' market? VocalPoint has some great tips, though I don't think many markets give out big discounts near the end, nor do I feel like that is the way to treat farmers who put their life and soul into bringing you their amazing foods, but the other tips are spot-on. 


It's been a long time since I've been to Texas for longer than a day, but this list of suggestions on unique things to do and places to eat in Texas from Daily Candy really makes me want to take a road trip. I also just watched an episode of Tripping Out where Alie and Georgia went to Marfa and showed so many funky things to do there and in the area that i was ready to hop a plane to the city I'd never even heard of. Sleep in an antique luxury RV and take pictures of the fake Prada shop? In!


Is the staycation dead? Priceline seems to think so. They polled their users and the majority of them are taking real vacations now. Everyone is sick of staying home and coming up with creative ideas to do to save money. Possibly, the percentage of travelers is so high, because they are actively using Priceline to find places to stay or they are not including staycations that are in addition to their traditional vaca. Do you think the staycation is dead? If you're still taking one, you can get some fun ideas on my Pinterest board. There's everything from turning your backyard into a movie theater to engaging in a scavenger hunt around your city.


Living in the US, we get pretty spoiled with large meal portions, free refills and complimentary bread and water in restaurants. Europe is not the same. You don't get to take your leftovers home if you don't finish your food, free refills don't exist and ice is almost a myth. If only I had known this piece of advice before my last trip, I could have saved a lot. The blog EuroCheapo explains why you should never BUY water in Paris.

Have you seen any great money-saving posts lately?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fixes for Common Travel Problems Part 2

There are many things that can go wrong when you travel. In this series of posts, I help you to find solutions to common travel problems, because it's less stressful to travel when you can eliminate some of the things that have easy fixes. One of the most irritating issues when traveling, especially for me, is dryness. Air travel is just drying. the recycled air doesn't have any oxygen pumped into it, so basically you are sitting in stale air the whole time you are on the plane. Gross, right? 


Here are some of the best ways to combat dryness when you fly and even when you visit arid climates:

Hydrate! It's an answer to most everything: staying healthy, staying alert, keeping up your energy, being able to sleep. Say away from beverages that don't help you stay hydrated, like coffee, juice, alcohol and sodas. Water is the best choice. Buy a big bottle or two after you get through security to take with you on the plane, because waiting for the drink cart to come around is not always a good option. If plain water just sounds boring, bring along ice tea or other drink packets you can add to it for flavor.

Moisturize - Use a heavy-duty moisturizer or just double-up on it on the days you travel. You may also want to keep a travel-size lotion or lotion bar/stick with you to keep your hands and arms and any other exposed skin from getting all dry and cracky.


Don't pile on the products - Travel days are good for going minimal. The least amount of beauty products you can get away with is the best way to go. Wear a tinted moisturizer if you need some coverage, mascara and tinted lip balm can complete you look and help keep as much moisture in your skin.

Moisturize - Yes, it's important. Do it! Lip balm is your friend. Keep it in your pocket and reapply, reapply, reapply. Nothing sucks worse than feeling like you've been out in the desert for 5 days after getting to your destination.

Turn off that vent - That vent above your head only blows stale, germy air on you and will dry you out even faster and possibly give you the cold that that guy in 12B has. You don't want that. Stay healthy and feel less like you rolled around in dust on your trip.


Eat your veggies - You're probably not going to buy food on the plane, because it's ridiculously expensive, has little nutritional value and doesn't really fill you up, so bring your own healthy, non-salty snacks including fresh fruits and veggies that will not only make you glad you have them, but will keep up your energy-level and give you more hydration as well. For more ideas for fun make-ahead snacks for your trips, check out my Yummy Takealongs Pinterest board.

Gum! This should always be part of your carry-on and easily accessible. Not only can it help you deal with air pressure, but chewing gum can get the saliva flowing in your mouth, so you aren't feeling like someone stuffed cotton around your tongue after hours of being on the plane.

Moisturize! See above. This is one of the most important ways to keep your body from quickly drying out.

Do you have other ways to keep the dryness away while traveling?

Monday, August 19, 2013

My Kia, My Summer


When you road-trip close to home and bring your own car, it's pretty important that it's comfortable enough to sit in – for everyone – for hours at a time. My little blue Kia Rio, that I've named Kip, may be compact, but he has plenty of room for driving an hour to the beach and even three hours to Seattle or Bend. Summer may be coming to an end, but that doesn't mean we have to stop packing up our car and heading out to someplace fun. Though we tend to take Kip with us during the spring, we have shared some great summer memories in it as well.


When my old car was limping along on its last leg, Eric and I remembered a commercial from a Kia dealership in town that we saw quite often on TV and decided we should check it out. Neither of us had ever driven a Kia or knew that much about them, but we drove away in a brand new Rio and I have loved it ever since. I drive 25 miles a day, at least, to get to work and back, so something that was compact, comfortable, somewhat roomy and didn't eat a lot of gas was important. 


There's a surprising amount of space in the car. You can fit 2-4 carry-ons in the trunk as needed, plus we have room for my dog's car seat yes, she has her own special seat to see out of the window and our cooler for drinks and snacks. Kip takes us pretty much everywhere. All our weekend jaunts are with him, whether that means we're headed to the farmers' market and a movie or up to Seattle to take a little getaway.

I get 25+ miles per gallon, depending on what kind of driving I do: 25 mpg for mostly commuting traffic that can be start and stop, and around 30 mpg for highway driving. That kind of efficiency really saves us a lot of moola when we go on long-haul trips, which means our travels can be even more budget-friendly. 

Where Kip has taken us:


Bend, Oregon – You may or may not remember the long weekend we took to Bend, where we visited their cute Saturday market, hung out the deck of our vacation rental, visited a candy factory, hit up an outdoor concert (which is why we went there in the first place) and then hiked a lava cave. That was super-fun!
Travel tip: Google free and cheap things to do at various destinations to find unique activities to do along your way.


Seattle, Washington – there was the time when Harry Potter: The Exhibition came to Seattle and I bought tickets and dragged Eric along with me to indulge in my obsession. We ate at Hard Rock, rode the monorail, shopped at the Space Needle and walked a ton all over the city.
Travel tip: Use social media to get suggestions from friends who live near your destination or have traveled there. This is a great way to find hidden gems.


Multnomah Falls – About a half-hour drive outside of Portland is the tallest year-round waterfall in America. My friend and I drove Kip out to see it when she was in town, got a bit of a hike in, popped into the gift shop and then hit the restaurant on-site before heading back home.
Travel tip: You can save a lot of money on dining out if you pack road-friendly foods and snacks. You'll also eat healthier than you would if you stopped for every meal.


Lincoln City, Oregon – My dog loves the beach. I mean, have you ever met a dog that didn't? I didn't think so. She, somehow, thinks she can run and smell everything at the same time, so she will take off running as well as she can with her nose down and try to cover as much ground as possible. It's really fun to see her enjoy it so much, and we have gone the last couple times just for her. 
Travel tip: The beach is awesome, but it's not just found near the ocean. In fact, you could save substantially by traveling to a lake instead. Many have beaches and most of the activities you can do on the coast, but for a much smaller price tag.


I’m not saying that Kip made it possible to go to all those places, but he certainly made them more fun! I really couldn’t ask for a better car that works as well in the city as it does in the country and everything in between. It fits in every parking space and is a breeze to parallel park – I got a thumbs-up from a cop on my excellent one-shot parking job. Four adults fit in it for carpooling and if you have kids, they will have plenty of room to stretch out in the back. (We have squeezed three adults in the back, but I wouldn’t recommend it for a trip longer than across town.) We've even discussed upgrading to a bigger Kia if our family grows larger, but right now Kip is the perfect size for us and fits all of our needs.  

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Go Small to Save Big: the Low-down on Boutique Hotels


When traveling outside of your own country – and sometimes just out of your own city – there is always the question of where to stay. When faced with lists of new restaurants, stores and hotels, it’s sometimes hard not to gravitate toward familiar names that you already frequent, but travel is a great way to break the habit of familiarity and get you out of your immediate comfort zone. That doesn’t mean you’ll be anxious and freaked out the whole time you’re away. Likely, it will be the opposite. You’ll find that one-off accommodation experiences can be very comforting and rewarding. So, why should you choose a boutique hotel?


Help the local economy and save. Many chain hotels are still owned by corporations in other countries, which means you aren’t helping local entrepreneurs with your stay. You can also save money by not staying at big-brand hotels, because the smaller ones have really competitive rates. Plus, many are more “traditional” to where they are located and can offer more personal service. While you probably won’t get a hotel with conference rooms and a gym, how many times have you ever used those things on vacation anyway? They still offer breakfasts, Wi-Fi, pools and many other amenities you’re used to and will actually take advantage of, and usually it is all included in your regular room rate.


Get more personalized service. When you stay in a smaller accommodation, you aren’t just a number. The front desk staff, as well as other employees, gets to know you on a personal level. Maybe this means that the head chef gives you recommendations on the menu based on what they’ve learned about you and your preferences, you’ll be called by your actual names instead of your room number or staff will give you some local secrets that you otherwise wouldn’t have heard of.

The employees of any hotel should be able to give you tips on where to eat, play and shop, but locally owned hotels can give you the inside scoop and don’t get kick-backs for their suggestions. (Not all hotels do this, but many brand-name hotels often get comped in some way for pointing hotel guests to certain establishments. Make sure to ask hotel workers who don’t work the front desk or concierge for their ideas, because they usually don’t have any affiliations.)


You aren’t one of hundreds of rooms. You know when you stay in giant hotels that have dozens of floors and endless hallways of doors? It makes you feel a bit like a sardine. All the rooms probably look exactly the same. A boutique hotel may only have a dozen rooms, and definitely much less than a hundred. They tend to be a bit more unique and rooms aren’t always clones. Aside from having their own distinctive decor, they can also have different floor plans and mismatched furnishings, making your stay more fun and intimate. You feel as if the details have been hand-picked in order to give you an unforgettable experience.

There are more boutique hotels than brand-name lodgings. While there are a ton of big brand resorts and hotels to choose from, there are considerably more locally owned ones to choose from. Not everyone can own a high-rise building, but there are plenty of people who can afford a smaller property where they can offer a handful of comfortable rooms with amazing customer service. Without unlimited funds and staff, to owners the hotel is not just a job. It’s a way of life. They put everything they have into making their hotel great and making sure their staff is personable and go above and beyond. It’s easier to deal with dozens of guests and rooms, rather than keeping track of a labyrinth of rooms and a laundry list of employees. For each brand-name hotel out there, they may be as many as 100 boutique options.
 


When choosing a smaller hotel, it’s best to look for recommendations on the reputability of the property. You want to make sure that you are getting a deal, but also getting a good experience. Don’t just look at price and the company website, but check out sites like TripAdvisorVenere and MrandMrsSmith, all of which offer honest recommendations, reviews and photos of rooms that may look drastically different from the hotel’s website. If your friends have visited the city you are traveling to, ask them for their suggestions as well.

Once you find a boutique hotel that incorporates everything you want in a lodging, including a great price, you are guaranteed to have a very personalized experience on your trip and it will make your travels even more memorable. You could end up paying much lower rates per night than at big name hotels, while still experiencing the same luxury accommodations, and possibly even better service. Most touristy cities have no shortage of budget boutique hotels to select from, so next time you travel, branch out from your usual hotel choices and look for a smaller alternative.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Infographic: How to Get That Upgrade

Traveling in coach and economy can be cramped and unpleasant. I have short legs and even I feel like I have no space sometimes. With talks of some airlines trying to cram even more seats into planes that aren't getting any bigger, it would be nice to get upgraded to a better seat, wouldn't it? The best I've ever done was to get upgraded to an exit row and also the bulkhead. Perhaps if I traveled alone I would have a better chance of getting upgraded to a fancy first-class seat. If you want to try for the upgrade, here are some tips to do it. 

Cabin Crew Reveal How to Get an Upgrade

Have you ever gotten an upgrade using any of these strategies or another one?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Guess Who's Three?

That's right! Shereen Travels Cheap is THREE today! Can you believe it? Because I sure can't. I love writing this blog and all my other travel and writing projects, as I hope you are excited to read them. As always, I like to look back at the year and see what posts are grabbing your attention the most and pick the top 5 that you may have missed or want to read again. Do you have favorites that aren't on this list? 

  1. How to Get Free Airfare - Everyone likes free stuff, and when it comes to travel, it's even better, because it can often save you big bucks. In this post, I show you how to use your frequent flyer miles to earn free flights. It can be easy once you know where to start and how to accrue miles.
  2. How I Spent $10 on 2 Plane Tickets - Yes, I totally did this and you can, too. Read the basics here and then the total how-to on #1. You can go so many places when airfare isn't hundreds or thousands of dollars, right? I'm totally thinking about going to Greece next year!
  3. Last-Minute Gifts for Travelers - You guys love travel gadgets, bags and gear! That's okay, so do I, which is why I am constantly bringing you reviews and suggestions for things I think and know would help you travel better and lighter or make amazing gifts for the traveler on your list. I have a nice list going this year for a Pre-Black-Friday round-up, so stay tuned!
  4. Travel Goals and Resolutions - Did you make your own travel resolution list for 2013? Somehow, I've been super-busy, but haven't crossed off nearly enough things on my list. Maybe I shouldn't have made it so long! I DID talk myself into going to Madame Tassaud's wax museum, which was completely terrifying to me, and I lived! (post on that coming later) Check off "something that scares me". This year I'm going to attempt to speak French to actual French people. Wish me luck!
  5. Super Useful Travel Links (from March 1, 2013) - These Friday posts are always fun to come up with. I'm not sure why this one is more exciting to everyone than others, but maybe you just love churros, too. Or you want to take a nerdy vacation? In any case, if you haven't read this post yet, maybe you want to check it out and see what all the hype is about.
Happy Travels, everyone, and here's to another 3 awesome blogging years!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Fixes for Common Travel Problems Part 1

When you go on vacation there are some things you just can't avoid. It seems the further you travel the more likely these things become evident, like jet lag, swollen feet and dry skin. After many years of travel, I have learned a lot of things and have yet to master some others. As you know, practice makes perfect, so I decided to pass on some tips to you to help you travel better, too. 

Photo credit
Combating Jet Lag

Jet lag is the worst. Nobody wants to get all excited for a trip and then lose a day or more because of the time difference and jet lag crash. It's happened to me. Maybe it' even happened to you. The point is that we need to nip it in the bud so we can enjoy our whole vacation.
  • Adjust to the new time as early as possible. If it is before you leave that's even better. If you are flying, try to sleep if it's nighttime where you are going or stay awake if it's daytime. Don't do what I did and try to sleep as much as possible on the way overseas when it was the middle of the day there. After Day 2 in London, I crashed hard and lost another half day.
  • On the other side, make sure you get enough sleep once at your destination. Staying up way too late or getting up way too early is not a good plan. If you have issues falling asleep, try a natural sleep aid like melatonin or even Dream Water. You may not sleep a full 8 hours, but the sleep you get will be quality and you'll wake up rested.
  • Don't overplan. Make sure your first couple days are relaxed ones, though you don't want to tax yourself on the rest of your vacation either so you can enjoy your time away, but the first couple days of adjustment are crucial.
  • Hydrate! Water is so important. On your plane ride, try to avoid alcohol, coffee and soda, as these can dehydrate you and cause you to crash, tire out easily and sap your energy. 
  • Eat! get on a routine and stick with it. Choose veggies at each meal and try to avoid overdoing the fried foods and desserts. I know it's vacation, but sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much, you know? Below is a fun infographic from Heathrow's website giving a diet plan for the days leading up to your trip. I don't know if it works, but I'm definitely going to try it on my overseas flight and will report back after. If anyone else has tried it, I would love to hear your results:

I'm all for a new food routine and maybe I'll just continue to aim for a balance. Even though I'll be traveling for a longer time in the fall than I did last time I visited London and Paris, I still don't want to lose any time when i could be soaking up everything those places have to offer. Already we are doing a better job planning, just having the previous experience and all the travel experiences in between then and now, which means I'll have a great loose itinerary in place before we go. How do you combat against jet lag?

Friday, August 9, 2013

Super Useful Travel Posts

Want to win a Pack-Flat Toiletry Kit from Travelon? Enter here!

It’s been a while since I did a round-up of links. I guess I just haven’t found too many interesting things to share that were fun and not depressing, like the travel alert from the U.S. government to international travelers. This week was big for travel things I found amusing, interesting and useful. I hope you find something in here for you as well, or share a link you found lately, too. Happy Friday! Enjoy.


It turns out that unhappy United Airlines customers have been tweeting @unitedairlines for months. Too bad their Twitter handle is @United. The owner of the parody account decided to answer all those angry tweets with tweets of their own. Pretty hilarious if you ask me, though it’s possible that the travelers didn’t think so until they realized they were tweeting to the wrong address. The Daily Telegraph shows you some of their favorites.

Photo credit: David Bussel
Would you like to find a hidden message in your hotel room? With a little sleuthing, and if David Bussel had been there, you could. Since 2006, he has been leaving (mostly) hidden messages on his travels in random places in hotel rooms, like behind pictures, the underside of drawers and the back of mirrors. Check out all his fun graffiti on his Tumblr.


Are you a diver? If I was, I would love to find awesome hidden and abandoned stuff, like the Nymphas Show Bar, an underwater strip club off the coast of Eliat, Israel. No one knows why it’s been abandoned, but the interior is totally pristine, like it’s just waiting for its clientele and staff to show up. What a cool thing to find on a dive, no?

Photo credit: Lysippos
Ever wondered what it would be like to be able to walk through a wave? You can do it in the Swiss Alps. The Rhone Glacier has a walk-through tunnel that feels like a wave about to crash. Who wouldn’t travel there just to experience this amazing work of nature?

Photos of Friet Museum, Bruges
This photo of Friet Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Sometimes museums are just super-boring. Well, not these five! Not only are these great options for the girl traveler going through a break-up, but they are fun for anyone looking for something different. I love a unique attraction and what’s more unique than a museum dedicated to French fries or gelato?
There are so many awesome vacation destinations; however, there are some that are just downright unsafe. Do your research before you go and, if one of these destinations are on your list of places to visit, you might want to rethink plans of going there, because this is 15 travel destinations that could kill you. I’m not saying they will, just passing along the information in case you were really excited to go to Somalia or Burundi. Wait, is anyone?

Photo credit: Hotel Chatter and IHG 
Isn’t it cool to stay in a hotel that has something different than other hotels? Even Hotels is opening two new hotels in 2014 that offer exercise equipment in the rooms! If you’re like me, I always say I’ll make it to the gym, but even though it’s like 40 feet to the elevator and up two floors, I never make it there. I might if it were three feet from my bed though. How about you?
August 20th is Flight Attendant Celebration Day! San Francisco Airport has a celebration planned. If you can’t make it there, then you can check out the online museum that chronicles the history of the flight attendant uniform by a flight attendant and airline-admirer.



And if those two things aren’t enough to make you feel like you have done something to celebrate the people who clean up after us, tell us the safety procedures and bring us drinks, then check out this rad flight attendant on Southwest that made everyone’s flight a little better by rapping his instructions. How come nothing exciting ever happened when I flew on Southwest?


And since you’re smiling, I’ll close with five new travel scams that you’ll want to be on the look-out for. Who would have known that you may lose your entire bank account one and two dollars at a time? Another way to save yourself from getting your credit card information stolen is by using an RFID-blocking wallet or just card sleeves that have the same technology. Travelon has a large selection of wallets and bags with RFID-blocking card slots.

I hope you have a great Friday and are planning a trip someplace amazing!

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