Category Archives: Travel Tech

More Proof of Hopeless Nerd Status

I’m excited today because I woke up to a surprise in my inbox–an ‘invitation’ from Amazon to participate in the Amazon Vine program!  It’s not that amazing or exciting to most people, but for hopeless-nerd me, it’s pretty darn cool.

So what is the Amazon Vine program?  It is an invitation-only program that offers reviewers the ability to review books (and other products) for free, and often before they are released to the general public.  You get to select your areas of interest, and then a list is sent two to three times per month with books (and other products) to review.

Of course I selected ‘travel’ as one of my main interest areas.  So you, dear reader, will be linked to any and all travel-related product reviews I may get to write–and anything worth featuring here will be featured here as well.

In other nerd-news, tonight’s full moon is apparently a special kind of moon–a Super Moon–meaning that it is as close to the earth as it can be.  So for those of you out there making travel wishes, tonight might be a good night to wish upon the moon–stars are way too far away.


Google and You Shall Receive

I often travel alone, and I do so for a variety of reasons.  As I continue to work on my book proposal (and, hopefully, my book), I will be going solo even more frequently.  In fact, if everything works out, I hope to be gone for most of the summer–or, ideally, a big chunk of fall.  Fortunately, I love traveling alone–but the one thing I do not love are all of the me-less photos I end up with.

Which got me thinking.  There has to be some sort of iPhone gadget made for just this issue.  So, in preparation for solo-book-proposal-research-trip #1, I googled ‘iPhone 4 Monopod’…on my iPhone 4, of course (is it odd that I Google in bed?)  Within one minute, I had discovered the xShot iPhone case and the xShot extender–both of which were JUST RELEASED at last week’s Consumer Electronics show.  The show ended this past Sunday–the day AFTER I Google searched, and the day BEFORE I ordered both products from Amazon.

They arrived today, and as soon as I’m not wearing pjs, I plan to take some test photos and post them on here.  I also have big plans for adding video, as soon as I can get my WordPress app to stop crashing every time I try to attach one to a post.

So–what, exactly, do these exciting gadgets do.  Well, since a picture is worth a thousand words…

Exactly what I was looking for!

Packing Practice Results Plus

Backpack after the husband packed--and he carried two shirts on hangers as well!

The packing practice trip was interesting.  While it was not intended to be a trip just to practice packing light, I’m glad I used the opportunity, as I learned several things.  First, my husband packs more than I do.  And even given this fact, he still forgets more than I do–and when he forgets something, it is a bigger deal.  For example–I only brought one change of socks–having two would have been nice.  He didn’t bring enough socks OR underwear.  I dealt with the sock ‘issue’ by wearing the same socks twice in a row (I do not find this gross–he does); he dealt with his sock/underwear ‘issue’…by going to Macy’s.  Which brings me to the next thing I learned–packing light on a short, close trip is kind of silly, especially when it means spending $30 on socks and underwear for your husband.  On a longer trip I would have just washed the socks and underwear for him (this is something I agreed to do for him for the entire trip–though, to be fair, in return, he agreed to go on the trip!).  But, because of his insistence on Macy’s, I got to go to the really nice Macy’s next to our hotel in Center City Philadelphia.  It was a really nice Macy’s–I spent the time he used to find socks and underwear to ponder buying a designer handbag (I refrained).  Also, I learned that there’s a giant organ in said Macy’s.  It sounded like we’d walked into Phantom of the Opera.  And again, this is just a Macy’s and it was just in Philly–I could see how having to buy sock and underwear in England or France would be even more of an interesting–if annoying and expensive–experience.   Finally, I learned that having lots of outfits is really not all that important.

Which brings me to my next story…the new smaller backpack I ordered arrived today–a Kelty Redwing 2650.  I am keeping it because it is what I was looking for–it is comfortable, sturdy, and reasonably priced (with a 25% off coupon code).  It meets airline carry on restrictions unlike the excessively large Redwing 3100 that I’ve already returned.  The zipper opens all the way down in the

Slightly smaller than a school bag Jansport bag next to slightly bigger than a school bag Kelty bag. And yes, I really like yellow.

front, making packing and unpacking (seem) easier.  But it is frighteningly small, considering it has to hold every single thing I will be taking across the ocean for five weeks–and I’d like to have room left over to bring back one or two things as gifts for the people looking after my house, dogs, and gardens.  If any of you are reading this–and you know who you are–you can look forward to your commemorative shoelace, because that’s all that’s going to fit!  I took a picture–right–to show the size of this bag in comparison to the one I packed for the Packing Practice Trip.  Clearly it is much bigger, and we will be taking two, not one, so there’s some comfort in that.  My husband, however, is not deciding on whether or not I’m ordering a matching bag for him–he’s waiting to check out the eBags Weekender that is currently on back order.  I can’t see it being comfortable lugging around what can only be described as a suitcase with straps, but he needs to figure that out for himself.  I think he’s hoping it will hold more–and he might be right.  And he probably needs the extra space, to avoid a 30 euro trip to the department store–and with the exchange rate right now, that’s probably a good thing.

Finally, I’ve officially determined that even if I’m not planning on taking one ounce of makeup–and I’m not–I will be taking one thing…a computer.  Or, more specifically, a netbook.  I need to write about things that I do (clearly!) and I like to do so whilst I do those things–I cannot imagine having to come back from over a month overseas and just then start writing.  I also cannot imagine coming back to the hotel or apartment or, in the case of my trip to Scotland, dorm, at the end of the day and not sitting down to write out at least a little of what I’ve done.  I’m a writing addict.  So now the netbook research begins!