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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Who's Going Where This Summer?

I'd like to get to know you better - I would love if you took the time to do my reader survey!

Summer is coming and a majority of American's will be traveling. Are you among them? We'll be taking our full vacation in the fall, but like many others, we will be taking a trip this summer as well. I DO think you can get away with spending less per person than shown, but this infographic will show you the hotspots this year. Either you want to join the throngs of travelers or avoid the top 10 destinations.

Travel Forecast for Summer 2013
Brought to you by Brian Halstrom

So, how do you compare with these summer travel stats? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

London's HMS Belfast: Life Aboard a Real Warship

I'd like to get to know you better - I would love if you took the time to do my reader survey!

If you’re like me, you often wonder what it’s like inside those big ships you see on the river. What do the kitchens look like? Where do crewmen sleep? What do they do for fun…if they have any onboard entertainment? Well, you can learn about all these things and more if you take a trip aboard the HMS Belfast on the Thames. See the ins and outs of crew life and hear about incredible stories of those that served its nine decks. It’s not often you get a chance to climb aboard a real warship. Though no longer in active service, the ship is an amazing piece of history and is the last remaining vessel of its kind.

Each tour admission includes an audio guide to help you navigate through the ship and learn everything you can, from how it was to eat in the mess hall to what it was like working in the engine room. There are recreations in every part of the ship, so you can see what it was really like. It is one of the most unique experiences you can find along the Thames.

A trip aboard the HMS Belfast comes complete with access to the Walrus Café and the gift shop, where you can find everything you could possibly want to remember your tour, including books, CDs, clothing, toys and souvenirs. You could easily spend several hours on the ship, listening to commentary, speaking to the crew on board, and enjoying seeing things like the chapel, the library and the medic facilities. I was truly fascinated by it all and we even caught a rare glimpse of Tower Bridge rising for a passing ship. Entry fees are very affordable at £14.00 for adults 16 and over. Under 16 are free when accompanied by an adult. 

Have you ever explored a warship?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Super Useful Travel Links

Happy Friday! I’m a little excited to be jetting off to Vegas for three days next month. Sadly, I think my list of things I want to see and do exceeds the hours I will be there – unless I decide not to sleep! As much as I love that Vegas is a 24-hour place, attractions aren’t open all day and all night and I once got there and didn’t have a room until the next day, so stayed awake all night and into the late afternoon and it was not pretty. I went straight to my room and look a nice long nap! After a while, the tireds get you more than the excitement of the slots and lights.

When you’re too tired to think straight, that is not the time to be wandering the streets or areas where you could get taken advantage of. New travel scams seem to pop up every day. It’s impressive how inventive crooks can be, but it just proves you need to be just as smart to keep from getting swindled. Here are 10 new scams to look out for. (Don’t most waiters need to take your card out of sight to swipe it at their station? I’m guessing this is a tip for less metropolitan cities.)

Planet Hollywood- Las Vegas, NV USA by Michael Miloserdoff

Again, I’m using Groupon to save on my trip. So far I’ve got a 2-for-1 certificate for a lunch buffet at the Spice Market Buffet in Planet Hollywood which is going to save us over $30. The other thing I’ve done to get discounts and freebies is to start playing MyVEGAS games on Facebook. Earn points when you play that you can turn into free comps. I traded mine in for two tickets to the Circus Circus Adventuredome and a free dinner and show at Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings. Eric is now playing, too, to earn a second ticket to Tournament of Kings, while I’m working on enough points for a fancy buffet for two. Between the freebies available in town and the freebies we’re earning, our trip is going to be even more affordable, making it really easy to splurge on ziplining on Fremont Street, entry to the Mob Museum and picking out some fun souvenirs to bring home.

Photos of Portobello Road Market, London

This photo of Portobello Road Market is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Sometimes the best things you find at a vacation destinations isn’t something found in a gift shop, but something that has history. Where can you find such things at reasonable prices? Flea markets! Here are 17 of the world’s most awesome flea markets according to AFAR Magazine.
Photos of Pyramids of Giza, Giza

This photo of Pyramids of Giza is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Has the Lost City of Atlantis been lost all these years because it’s located in the Bermuda Triangle? Some scientists think they have found the city off the coast of Cuba, including giant pyramids and sphinxes. It’s possible it just wasn’t ready to be found until now, or those that found it previously have mysteriously disappeared! This may or may not be the real thing, but either way it sure would be a fun diving adventure for those into such a thing.

Plane On Runway by PHIL DOWNS

While it may be too late to book anything for this long weekend, FareCompare has some money-saving tips for your next long weekend getaway. Learn when to book, when to shop, where to go and more.

And if you’re one of those last-minute packers and are going somewhere fun this weekend, here are some tips to pack light:
  • Shoes: Wear a pair, pack a pair (and make sure they’re comfortable).
  • Clothes: Mix and match. For three days, you can get away with two tops, a pair of pants (the ones you’re wearing on the plane can be reworn), a pair of shorts, a dress and a jacket.
  • Toiletries: Three days is hardly long enough to use much of anything. This is the time to dig out those samples of shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, sunscreen and anything else you have lying around and toss it in your 3-1-1 bag to save major space. If you’re lucky, you can throw away the empty containers before you come home.
  • Electronics: You’ll barely have time for much. Bring your phone and one multi-functional item, like your iPad mini. You can use it to check email, play games, listen to music, watch videos and update your blog. This also minimizes cords you need to pack, unless you have an iGo charger and only bring one in the first place, which is always a useful thing to have.
Have a fantastic Memorial Weekend and if you have a few moments, I sure would love it if you took the time to do my reader survey!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

2013 Reader Survey!

Hi! I want to know more about you, my readers. What do you like, dislike, want to see more of? Let me know! I would appreciate if you took a few minutes to answer 10 quick questions,so I can learn to write better blog posts for you. Thanks and have a fantastic day!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

48 Hours of Fun on a Budget in Tucson

In this blog series I show you how easy it is to budget travel anywhere and I also give you a quick overview of a new city each time in a brief 48-hour itinerary.

Before I moved to Portland, I lived my whole school age years in Tucson, Arizona. It’s been a while since I’ve been back and I’m contemplating a trip in the next few years to visit friends and “family”. I’m totally happy I moved, but there are people and things I miss, plus Eric has never been, so he won’t be all “again?” when I want to eat somewhere I’ve been a million times. Tucson is actually an amazing budget travel destination where you will find unique things to do, plus the weather is lovely almost year-round, especially if you love the desert heat. Here’s what I would do on a two-day trip.

Photos of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson
This photo of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Day 1
We’ll assume you got in last night, which means you have time to get up bright and early and grab breakfast at one of my favorite restaurants. Brawley’s is one of those places where folks line up outside to get a table and will wait around until one is available, because the food is plentiful and delicious, service is amazing and your bill will be much less than expected. Two can eat for less than $20, including a tip, and you may even meet some awesome locals. Brawley's has closed and my life may never be the same. I have it on good authority that a good substitute is Bobo's Restaurant. It's a little hidden gem that offers great food and great service at an equally great price. You can spend a comparable amount her as you would at Brawley's. $20 for 2.

Photos of Old Tucson Studios, Tucson
This photo of Old Tucson Studios is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Get in the car and drive 15 minutes outside the city to Old Tucson. This is where all the old westerns were filmed and even some new ones. Wander through the Wild West and witness stunt shows, gunfights and musical revues, and take a tour of the city while learning about movies that were shot there and also the old ways of the Native Americans. It’s a truly one-of-a-kind experience. Admission is only $16.95.

Grab lunch at Big Jake’s Bar-B-Q before heading back out to see more of the park. While you’re there, try your hand with a rifle at the shooting gallery and ride the train through the desert landscape, where you might get a bit of a surprise. And don’t forget to get your photo done as a gunslinger or saloon girl. It’s a fun souvenir.

Photos of Magpies Gourmet Pizza, Tucson
This photo of Magpies Gourmet Pizza is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Head back to town and make your way to Fourth Avenue downtown, where you can find some very cool boutique shops and the best pizza you may have had in a long time. Magpies has been voted best pizza in Tucson for the past two decades. You can’t argue with those kinds of stats! Kick back with a huge pie loaded with delicious toppings and you will love that you ended your night so simply.

Day 2
It’s breakfast time again! Head back to downtown and make a bee line to the B Line Restaurant. It’s a fantastic Mexican restaurant that is casual – you order and pay at the counter and grab a table where you will be served – and has amazing reviews, most for their yumtastic desserts, but also for their super-affordable entrees that are made with locally-sourced, and some fair-trade, ingredients. Everything on the menu is $10 or less.

Photos of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson
This photo of Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Is it time for animals? I think it is! I love a good zoo, which Tucson has, but they also have one of my favorite places to go: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. Slather on your sunscreen and strap on your walking shoes, because you’re going to be checking out all the wild and wacky, furry and scaly animals you’ll find in the Southwest. Say hello to gila monsters, javelinas, owls and more animals that thrive in the desert atmosphere. Very cool. Admission rates are just $14.50, unless you go during the hottest part of the year, when it is only $12.

After all that walking, you’re probably famished. You have to stop into one of the many Eegee’s locations around the city. If you like a Slurpee, you’re going to love Eegee’s! I have withdrawals still. They were a staple at every party we ever had. Choose from strawberry, piña colada, lemon or the flavor of the month! After making that tough decision, order a sub sandwich or salad and dig in. My favorite is the turkey sub, because it goes with any Eegee flavor.

Photos of Golf N' Stuff Family Fun Center, Tucson
This photo of Golf N' Stuff Family Fun Center is courtesy of TripAdvisor

It’s time for some fun! Head over to one of the funnest mini golf courses. Golf n’ Stuff is housed in a giant castle and you can chose from two different 18-hole themed courses, cool off inside playing arcade games or laser tag, test your luck at the batting cages or attack all your travel companions in a bumper boat. Get an all-park pass for just $22. I spent many, many hours over the summers here.

Photos of Little Anthony's Diner, Tucson
This photo of Little Anthony's Diner is courtesy of TripAdvisor

End your day with a huge meal of all your favorite diner classics at Little Anthony’s Diner. A hoppin’ 50’s diner where you can get a huge cheeseburger, chili cheese fries, meatloaf sandwiches and ever flavor malted you’ve ever dreamed of! As much as I love a good dessert, after a meal here, it’s almost crazy to think about ordering one, but you can do it! Tell your waitress you want the World’s Smallest Sundae. At less than a dollar and only a few bites, it’s the perfect ending to your short trip!

Obviously, there’s a ton of other stuff to do in Tucson, including a day trip to Tombstone, hiking and ghost tours. You may need a longer trip or plan to come back to see and do everything you want…and eat all the yummy food there. If you do everything I've listed, including meals, you'll have spent less than $300 for two people. Have you been to Tucson? What was your favorite thing to do? 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Fly Far with Budget-Friendly Fares

Want to win a fun travel bag? Go enter the Travelon-sponsored giveaway.

Planning a vacation can be really fun, but once deciding on a destination next on the list is usually finding affordable airfare. While you may think that all airlines charge the same price, it’s simply not so.  Airfare is based on many factors, including gas prices, popularity of your destination and how many routes actually fly there and how often. There are more aspects involved, but there is a way to tip the scales in your favor, no matter where you want to travel. Here are five ways to get cheaper airfare. 

Fly in the fall and winter. The majority of travelers with children travel in the summer, because that’s when school is out. Unfortunately, summer is when many destinations will be most crowded, hotels have higher rates and store merchandise will be full price. Airlines take advantage of your time off by raising fares and adding more fees, which they disguise with obscure names, like “miscellaneous surcharges”. Even though most attractions are not open as long in the winter and fall, not having to wait in line allows you to see just as much in a shorter amount of time. Then you can spend a bit more time relaxing before you start again the next day. If you don’t have the luxury of traveling off-peak times, search for travel dates on Wednesday, Saturday and Tuesday, as those are the cheapest days to fly, respectively.

Check prices on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. The new rates for airfare are put out on Tuesday/Wednesday and then again on Saturday, for those that wait to book things on the weekend. Tuesday and Wednesday will almost always have the cheapest rates, but if you have some time before you have to book, get up bright and early and check prices on Saturday. Every so often you will find a super cheap rate that was put into the system incorrectly that you can snatch up before the error is caught. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s a total bargain for you.

Fly to a smaller airport near your destination city. Hub airports that the majority of travelers go through can actually cost you more for your plane ticket. Because they are so popular and convenient, airlines can charge more to fly into them. Try looking at alternate airports in the vicinity of your destination. You can often save a lot by doing it this way, and as long as you aren’t paying more for transportation than you saved, it’s worth it to check into it. Use an airline search engine like Dohop.com to find the cheapest alternate routes.

Set up airfare alerts. Although I love researching airfare and other parts of my vacation, I have a life and can’t be checking the prices all day every day. Chances are you don’t have that kind of time either. Set up airfare alerts on your favorite airline websites and booking engines. You can also use Yapta.com, which is great for constantly checking fares and sending you alerts when prices drop. Not only that, but once you’ve purchased your ticket(s), add your itinerary to your account with Yapta and they will let you know if the prices drop further and if you’re eligible for a refund.

Sign up for frequent flyer awards. You can now accumulate frequent flyer miles by doing many things that aren’t even flying. You can gain points – or miles –  by dining at restaurants, buying groceries, shopping online and much more. Miles can get you free flights, upgrades and discounts. Check out all your favorite airlines have to offer regarding collecting miles, like the iDine program, signing up for online reward programs that let you trade in your points for miles or even paying a small fee to turn your bank’s debit card into a mileage-making utility. If you’re going to spend that money anyway, you might as well make it work in your favor.

There are plenty more ways to save on airfare, but these are five of the easiest to do. They don’t require much extra effort and are free or almost free and also can save you the most money. Planning your vacations don’t have to be stressful, so over-thinking it will work just against you. Have fun with the research and planning and even more fun when you get there! What's your favorite way to save on airfare?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Elementary, My Dear Watson!

Want to win a fun travel bag? Go enter the Travelon-sponsored giveaway.

It’s one of the most famous addresses in London, if not the world. Almost everyone knows that Sherlock Holmes lives at 221B Baker Street and even though he’s a fictional character, you can visit the home of the renowned detective that solved countless cases throughout Arthur Conan Doyle’s book series. From the Hound of the Baskervilles to the Valley of Fear, wander through Holmes’ study, bedroom and more down on Baker Street at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.

Don’t turn around and assume the museum is closed when you find that there IS no 221B in sequence on Baker Street. The historical building is run by the Sherlock Holmes International Society and protected by the government. It still boasts the correct number, but it’s a bit further down the street than expected. Admission is fairly affordable at £6 for an adult and £4 for ages 16 and under.  

Explore the home of Holmes and Watson and you may even get to try on the famous detective hat and hold the magnifying glass. I did! Sit in the study, wander around Watson’s bedroom and also Mrs. Hudson’s room (the landlady). On the top floors you will find “evidence” and their stories as well as figures depicting characters from the mysteries, which can be a bit disconcerting, but still interesting. You feel as if you’re stepping back in time when you visit the museum and can find some unique and fun souvenirs at the gift shop before you leave.

Some of the steps are a little narrow and the museum itself isn’t all that wheelchair friendly, but make sure to check out the tiny attic loo and bring along your camera to snap a shot of yourself with “Holmes”, the Victorian maid and on the steps outside the door showing the infamous address – possibly with the “bobby” on security duty.

We gained free entry into Holmes' house with our London Pass. Though it's no longer included, it is still a great deal to do other fun stuff around town.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Review: OKA b. Shoes for Men and Women

Want to win a fun travel bag? Go enter the Travelon-sponsored giveaway.

As a traveler who spends a good majority of time out walking and exploring cities, one of the things I will buy every time I go on vacation is a new pair of shoes – possibly two. My needs in a pair of shoes on my trips can vary. Maybe I’ll be spending all day at an amusement park. Perhaps I’ll be hitting up museums to learn about local art and history. I might be strolling along the beach or visiting a zoo. No matter what it is, keeping my feet comfortable is my number one priority. Second is keeping my feet looking cute. That’s why OKA b. shoes stood out to me. With their trendy styles and fun colors, they looked like shoes that would pack well, look good and keep my tootsies happy.

My husband and I had the chance to test out two pairs of OKA b. shoes: The Grant flip flops for men and the April ballet flats for women. One of the first things you’ll notice about this footwear is that it is shiny and the next is that the prices are crazy affordable. OKA b. sells their shoes for $50 or less, which means for the same price as a pair of running shoes, you can get two – or even three – pairs. Though they are inexpensive, they aren’t made to look or feel that way. In fact, all styles have arch support and conform nicely to your feet. You’ll see how they have bumps on the footbed, and that is designed to massage your feet. The reflexology aspect of the shoes makes them awesome for travel, because you know how much your feet can hurt walking around all day and your podiatrist would approve of your choice of footwear.

I chose the April flat, because ballet flats go with a ton of stuff. They look great with everything from shorts to dresses. Also, the cute bow detail in a nautical color and stripe are very on-trend, especially for summer. As you can see, they go great with skinnies, but you can also wear them with a variety of other outfits, so whether you find yourself in Hawaii, New York or Europe, you will always have the perfect shoes. And if you get caught in a rainstorm, you don’t have to worry about ruining your new foot candy, because they are waterproof. Obviously, this is a fantastic feature for shoes in the Northwest, since at any moment you may be surprised by a downpour.

The Microplast material that OKA b. uses for their shoes is amazing. It has a bit of stretch, so after a long day of pounding the pavement or 14 hours on the plane, even if your feet are a bit swollen, they are still going to fit comfortably in your shoes. The other awesomeness of this material is that it’s made from salt and fossil fuels – totally eco-friendly! Plus it’s non-absorbent, antimicrobial and colorfast. Wear them all day without smelling like you did, and if they do get dirty, toss them into the dishwasher to clean them without the colors running. Once your shoes are worn out, you can either place them in your recycling bin or send them back to OKA b. to be turned into new fancy shoes.

I enjoyed the flats, as they were bright, lightweight and felt like I was walking barefoot, but a step up, because they weren’t hard on the bottoms of my feet. They have a bit of lift in the heel, so you aren’t just flat-footing it walking around, they have nice massaging arch support and don't pinch in the toes like many shoes do.

Another fun thing about the flats is the box they come in. It’s like a gift on its own and looks like you could spend the same amount on it as you would for the shoes inside. The origami construction is lovely, which would make giving OKA b. shoes as gifts pretty impressive before the recipient ever put them on their feet. The flip flops will come on a hanger and not come in a fancy box, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them.

Eric chose the men’s Grant flip flops to try out. He has a lot of flip flops, so he does have high expectations for them. He was drawn to the guava color, as it was bright and different than other colors that he currently owns. Unlike regular flip flops, he found them to be comfortable after walking around all day, with some nice arch support. They conformed to his feet and looked nice as well. He walked round in them all weekend and even tried to wear them while on the elliptical machine. While that didn’t work out, it wasn’t because of a support issue, but because they are flip flops. LOL!

I think these flip flops will be his go-to ones. It’s hard to find a pair that is comfortable enough to wear all day and not get ruined if you take them to the beach or pool and get them wet. Obviously, you can get them in more subdued colors, but we love happy hues for our feet. OKA b. shoes will also pack nicely – if you don’t wear them on the plane – because they don’t have rigid construction like other shoes.

Look at some more of their fun colors

More information
Where you can buy it: Oka-b online
Other colors they comes in
            April: black | red (shown)
            Grant: hot chocolate | licorice | cobalt | guava (shown) | slate
How much they cost
            April: $45
            Grant: $25
Other specs: reflexology-inspired design, anti-bacterial and odor-resistant, non-slip, non-marking, dishwasher safe, color fast, on-piece construction, made when ordered, made in the USA, environmentally conscious.

Connect with OKA b. on Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram

Disclosure: We were provided with two pair of OKA b. shoes for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% our own.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Infographic: Free Hotel Wi-Fi Expanding

Want to win a fun travel bag? Go enter the Travelon-sponsored giveaway.

As a blogger, and an internet junkie, it is imperative that wherever I stay has Wi-Fi. It's great to be able to check my email to keep in touch with friends and family, as well as to research when attractions are open or find reviews of a restaurant (and make reservations). I get really upset when I pay good money to stay somewhere and they also want me to pay extra for an internet connection. It's not like if I didn't stay there and pay that money they wouldn't have internet. And how much can I really use anyway? Building it into the room rate should be something all accommodations do. I'm not going to pay $10+ per day to check my Facebook page. I could easily go to a Starbucks and get online for free. Also, if places like Ramada, Motel 6 and Travelodge can offer free Wi-Fi, then other chains (and boutique hotels) have no excuse. Hotel Chatter made this sweet infographic for hotel WiFi. Do you compare other similar hotels when Wi-Fi isn't included in your first choice?

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Review & Giveaway: Travelon (New) Boarding Bag

Check out this lovely blue color

By now you know how super-excited I am by Travelon's products, so when they asked me what items I liked from their new collection, I jumped on the boarding bag. I bought their original one at least 6 years ago and have taken it with me on a bunch of trips and events around town. It's great, because it is cross-body and helps free up my hands for taking pictures and other stuff. Obviously, an upgrade was in order, and boy did they upgrade this bag! 

Old boarding bag

Last weekend we headed out to Portland's Eat Mobile where I was going to be spending a few hours juggling food cart samples, a bottle of water and stashing postcards in my bag. The perfect situation for testing out the Boarding Bag! I made sure to get a pic of me while waiting in line before I had my hands full and surrounded by hoards of people. (For comparison, I also added photos of the old boarding bag.) It's a great size and very comfortable to wear with the wide, adjustable strap. Let me show you what I was carrying around in there. I think you'll be pretty surprised by how much fit inside it.

  • Makeup bag where I keep hand lotion, a brush, band-aids and other girly necessities all in one place.
  • Actual makeup: powder, concealer (you never know) and lip balm
  • Keys: so I could get back in my car and into my house when I got there
  • 2 cameras: you only see one, because I needed the second one to take this picture
  • Smarty phone: so I could check-in and make everyone on Facebook jealous
  • Pen: again, you never know when you'll need one
  • Business cards: in my Moo keychain holder
  • Card case filled with credit cards, cash and driver license
  • Pullover - for when evening turned chilly
  • Two sets of bamboo utensils: we didn't realize they were providing Bambu sporks this year
Main compartment: Both cameras were in this mesh pocket before we got there, too
Amazingly, all that stuff fit in the bag and there was still room for postcards, pamphlets, an extra beverage bottle, my sunglasses and I could have put several more items in there. While the old bag was roomy, this clearly has twice as much space and the items are easier to get to, because the wide mouth of the compartments has more versatility and convenience instead of only being able to access items from the top. Even though the zippers go 3/4 of the way around the compartment, nothing falls out, because they have extra fabric to keep the flap from falling all the way open and from your items dropping out and getting lost.

Smaller compartment: easy to grab items
While it can be nice to have your smart phone on the outside of your bag, that also encourages theft. With the larger phone sizes now, it would also make this bag wider, so there's a handy dandy slip pocket in the smaller compartment where your phone doesn't get wedged in and you don't have to fight to get it out when you hear it ringing. It's cool that the pocket is near the top, too. No fishing around in the bottom of the compartment to get to it, no matter what else you have in there.

And here I am making use of the mesh beverage pocket
I don't know about you, but when we go anywhere, I always have a bottle of water with me. If it's not me that's thirsty, Eric thinks he's dying of thirst. This zip-open mesh pocket for bottles is genius, and most other day bags aren't that innovative. It stretches to fit different sized bottles (or your sunglasses) and allows the bottle to breathe if it's cold and sweating, so you don't have a pocket full of condensation. It's the only thing from the old bag - besides the great adjustable strap - that they kept, because they obviously know a good feature when they come up with one! When gorging myself on endless samples, some better than others, it was imperative to keep something on-hand to wash down food. 

After such a successful venture out with the Travelon Boarding Bag, I came home and repacked it how I would if I were getting on the plane. (Imagine that soda bottle is a bottle of water or a travel mug.) Besides my phone, there is room in there for some snacks. Probably, quite a few more than my one little granola bar. And if I pack a bunch, there is a snazzy little keychain light in this compartment to help me find stuff in the dark. It stays in place with a snap, but can be unattached to use elsewhere. Love it!

My makeup bag fits neatly in the bottom of the main compartment, then my sweater (because it's always either sweltering or freezing on the airplane), my iPad mini and power cords. As you can see, there's still some room at the top for anything else I might need to carry with me (or stash tiny bags of pretzels I procured on the plane).

I also love that the smaller of the compartments meant for credit cards is easier to maneuver and you don't have to unzip the whole thing to get to your money. another plus is the addition of RFID blocking material, so thieves can't steal your info. this part of the bag, where all your important stuff is, is on the backside of the bag and is against your body, foiling those sneaky pickpocketers. 

And yes, while you could use that mesh pocket for more electronics, I think it's also awesome for cash and spare change you will inevitably need at the airport or once you get to your destination. It's easy to get to that way and the mesh makes simple to see what you're grabbing, so you don't end up fishing out a handful of change and sifting through it and wasting time. This compartment would probably also be home to my sunglasses and possibly my DS, because not all games I play are compatible with the iPad.

Need convincing that this bag is not just for the ladies? Eric said he would use this on trips and found it comfy as a cross-body, too. It fit nicely on him and this is without the strap being fully extended. If you are a lady, you can even wear the boarding bag as a shoulder bag.

It's a great size for anyone and carries all your essentials, and then some. It frees up your hands to take photos while sightseeing, wrangling your kids, dragging your carry-on or handling your passport and other travel docs. There's also a nice handle on the top of the bag for pulling out from under the airplane seat, too. 

Do you love it? Learn more about the Boarding Bag below and then enter to win your own!

More information
Where you can buy itTravelon online
How much it costs$55.00
Colors it comes inblack | sand | steel blue (shown)
Other specs420 D. Polyester fabric that is easily wiped down if you spill on it 7 x 9.5 x 3.5

Now you can win your own Travelon Boarding Bag!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was provided with the Travelon Boarding Bag for the purposes of this review, but all opinions are 100% my own
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