Tech – The Barefoot Nomad Travel. Tech. Family. Fun. Thu, 18 Jan 2018 04:03:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 10 Creative Ways to Preserve Your Travel Memories Fri, 22 Dec 2017 00:00:00 +0000 How do you keep the memories alive long after your dream trip is over?

Charles and I have traveled together extensively for over 15 years now. Since we travel so much, we have to be pretty picky about how many souvenirs we pick up.

The truth is, if we bought everything that caught our eye on our travels, we’d need another garage to store everything. Honestly, we probably overdid it in the beginning of our travels, as we still have boxes of souvenirs that we’ll probably never display. As a result of those, we’ve gotten pretty picky about the souvenirs we now bring home.

10 Creative Ways to Preserve Your Travel Memories

While it’s easy to pick up a T-shirt at any souvenir shop (and we still do sometimes!), we’ve aimed for some unique, interesting ways to preserve your trip memories.

After a lot of thought (and a lot of pruning of the list), these are the travel memories ideas that we love the best.

Send a postcard to yourself

Postcards are a classic way to preserve travel memories. The problem is that often they’re often pretty generic and boring.

That’s all changed now that apps like My Postcard let you send your own photos as physical postcards. You can send then straight from your computer or smartphone from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world. How cool is that?

Create a travel scrapbook

I’m not the scrapbooking type, but I do have to admit that they look pretty cool when they’re done.

It honestly looks pretty easy to do: just pick up a travel scrapbook kit, use the book and stickers they provide, print out some photos, and add things like airline tickets and notes.


Get a travel memories map

There are plenty of travel memories maps available, and they look great once they’re filled in and framed.

Some maps come with push pins, but most are scratch off maps. The best ones come with a scratcher, memory stickers, an eraser to clean scratch smudges and a magnifying strip.

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Create a memory box

A memory box (or shadowbox) is just a glass enclosed display box for displaying objects. You can even use a picture frame if you only have flat items to add.

Just add photos, plane tickets, and decorations and you’re done, like this DIY beach vacation shadowbox from MomDot, made with sand from a family vacation.

We really love this shadow box frame with a wooden background. It’s available on Amazon here.

Collect a unique souvenir from wherever you travel

Because we travel so often, we struggled with finding souvenirs that wouldn’t take over our house. There are many things that make great souvenirs, like fridge magnets, pebbles, patches, shot glasses, and the like, but we settled on bring home a paper map from wherever we visit.

Even in the age of Google Maps, it’s easy to pick up a paper tourist map at almost any hotel or airport. We just mark places we visit, and make notes to make the maps more personal. The best part is that they take up almost no storage room.

Write a travel journal

I’ve never once regretted keeping a travel journal. It’s amazing the details that you forget over time!

Unfortunately, the demands of working while we travel and taking care of a family mean that I don’t write in my journal as often as I’d like.

A travel journal doesn’t need to be on paper, emails to friends or family are great ways to preserve memories. If you like to write and take photos, consider creating a travel blog!


We love this highly rated Dingbats travel journal, made with biodegradable and recyclable materials. Get it on Amazon here.

Retro photo viewer

This is one of the cutest ideas I’ve seen in a while. I haven’t had a chance to try it out personally, but it’s definitely unique and whimsical.

RetroViewers are 3D viewers that are made from your own digital images. Each reel can hold seven images, and you can add text like location, time and so on.

Collect sand from everywhere you go

There’s something wonderful about being able to run your fingers through sand that you walked in on a tropical beach.

There are plenty of ways to display the sand, from keeping it in a bottle, to having it added to jewelry. I like to keep ours in small, separate glass bottles, rather than layering it in one bottle. One drop and it would be mixed together anyway!

You can pick up these adorable glass bottles on Amazon here.

Tip: Just be careful that you don’t take any sand or shells where it’s prohibited.

Keep leftover money

I think we’ve managed to keep just a little bit of leftover money from almost every country we’ve ever visited. Years later, I still love looking at the coins and bills.

If you’re crafty, you can include some of the small bills and coins in a scrapbook or shadow box.

We love this Punch Studio photo box. It would make a great storage box for coins and paper bills, plus other travel momentos.

Get it on Amazon here.


One of the best ways to bring back memories is through foods and smells. When we can, we love to pick up local spices as we travel and take them home. Cooking with them later never fails to bring back good memories from our travels and, if you can get typical mixtures that the locals, use that’s even better!

It’s unfortunate that spices only retain their true flavor for a few years at the maximum however if you get a local mixture that you love, ask for the amounts of each spice in it so you can reproduce it years later.

Spices in the souks of Marakkesh

Spices in the souks of Marakkesh

Bonus idea: Take more video!

I almost didn’t mention this because it’s pretty self-evident, but video is one of the best ways to keep travel memories. I wish we’d taken more videos on our travels.

As great as photos are, video brings back so many more memories, from sounds to little details you may have forgotten.

How to you preserve your travel memories? Let us know!

DIY ideas for how to preserve and display your travel memories and souvenirs. While it’s easy to pick up a T-shirt at any souvenir shop (and we still do sometimes!), we’ve aimed for some unique, interesting ways to preserve your trip memories. After a lot of though (and a lot of pruning of the list, these are the travel memories ideas that we love the best. 10 Creative Ways to Preserve Your Travel Memories. Since we travel so much, we have to be pretty picky about how many souvenirs that we pick up. These are our favorites. ]]> 6
How To Relax In Comfort While Not Traveling: We Review the VIZIO M50-E1 TV and Crave Go Speaker Wed, 13 Dec 2017 20:00:00 +0000 We received a VIZIO TV and Crave Go speaker for review. All opinions are our own. 

There comes a time in many nomadic people’s lives when the open road doesn’t hold as much interest as it once did. That was around two years ago for us when we decided to set up a home base back in Canada.

Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t still love to travel, because, well, we do, but living out of a perpetual suitcase can take its toll on the spirit. Especially the consumerism spirit. You know, the one that prefers Black Friday to Thanksgiving, Boxing Day to Christmas, and well, you get my drift.

The VIZIO M series TV

While living out of a suitcase can be liberating, freeing you from the things that hold you back, it can also limit you from achieving total comfort and relaxation. While I admit nothing beats lounging in a world class spa or floating in a warm sea for relaxation while I’m out globetrotting, when it comes to comfort on a cool day, at least in my mind, nothing beats a warm comfortable bed.

That said, one of the things we recently picked up that has made our life more enjoyable while not on the road is a new VIZIO 4K TV for our bedroom. Talk about total comfort. A super comfortable bed and a TV that streams 4K Netflix whenever I want? Yeah, you’ll thank me later.



Not wanting to overdo it, we limited ourselves to a 50 incher. I mean, there’s comfort and then there’s just decadence. Especially for a bedroom TV. We did however get the second highest quality 4K LED TV that VIZIO offers, the M50-E1. The only better model that VIZIO currently offers is the P series and, to be honest, we’re more than pleased with the M series.

Check out our unboxing video below.

Unlike the previous generation models, the M series doesn’t come with a tablet, but this time it has a fully functioning, normal remote control, which I prefer. We already have phones and tablets to spare, so having another one to charge and deal with would have been more of a hassle. Of course, this VIZIO model still features Chromecast abilities included with its VIZIO SmartCast suite, so if you want you can still stream just about anything to the TV via your own phone or tablet.

VIZIO TV and remote

VIZIO TV and remote

Another nice perk this year compared to last, is that the VIZIO TV also has built in apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube. This is great, since it allows us to start watching the moment we turn on the TV and doesn’t require an outside source. The fact that it still has Chromecast built in also allows us to say to our Google Home (another small luxury we recently purchased), “Hey Google, play Stranger Things on the TV in the bedroom” and when we get up the stairs our show is waiting for us.

Here’s a little peek at of some of the apps that are available to cast with Chromecast.

Chromecast apps

Now, luxury has its cost, but the VIZIO TVs are priced well for what you get. Plus, they’re often on or leading the best 4K TV lists. As a matter of fact, the M series are usually noted as one of the best 4K TVs on a budget or off. Check out prices here at Amazon.

Cartoon time for the kids!

Cartoon time for the kids!

Since the VIZIO M50-E1 is a 4k Ultra HD LED TV with HDR10, that means 4K content from Netflix and YouTube looks amazing. Since it comes with both HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR formats, you don’t need to worry about which format their HDR content is in. The display defaults to Dolby Vision, which typically offers a better picture than HDR10, when it’s available.

It also has 32 local dimming zones, which means you get great blacks compared to other LED TVs, which is great for dark scenes in shows or movies. Its V8 processor means it’s quick at navigating in the apps, and with 802.11ac WiFi it can connect well with our router without buffering issues or requiring me to run Ethernet cables to it.

I also like its small bezel, and though we hung ours up on the wall (it comes with 400×400 VESA mounts), it comes with cute little metal feet. When it comes on, the VIZIO’s colors are vibrant and the picture quality is fantastic. Because of the auto dimming zones, movies and dark shows look great on this TV.

Installing the metal foot stand on the bottom of the VIZIO TV

Installing the metal foot stand on the bottom of the VIZIO TV

Some of my not so favorite aspects of the VIZIO M50-E1 is that the viewing angle seems fairly limited. It tends to wash out the farther away you are from center, but that doesn’t matter in our room where we sit directly in front of the VIZIO TV. I also find it has a bit of a glare with its somewhat shiny screen, but we usually watch this TV at night with the lights off so it’s not a big deal for us either and, in my mind, the dark blacks more than make up for these issues.

The VIZIO TV line up don’t include a built-in tuner, so you can’t watch over the air broadcasts without a separate device. This isn’t a problem if you have cable or satellite since you’ll be using those boxes anyway, but it does force you to pick up a cheap box (check prices for OTA tuners here) if you wanted to capture free over the air signals. Our city only gets one over the air channel so it’s not a big deal for us either.


One of our favorite things about this TV is that casting videos to it is just so easy. We just start whatever app we want on our phones, like YouTube or PopcornFlix, and with a tap and swipe it shows up right away on the VIZIO. Like I previously said, the VIZIO also plays nicely with our Google Home and Google Home Mini and you can tell it to play videos directly as well as control the TV with your voice.

We truly wish our main TV had this functionality, and you can rest assured our next one will have Chromecast abilities built in as well.

VIZIO TV and remote

All in all, we love our new VIZIO bedroom TV and it makes coming back to Canada from a long jaunt out in the world that much easier. A bigger problem is that we get so comfortable it makes it harder and harder to leave…

Casting with the VIZIO Crave Go speaker

In our time off from travel, we’ve also been having a blast casting to our VIZIO Crave Go speaker using our Google Home.

The VIZIO Crave is a wireless speaker with Chromecast built-in, which means it’s compatible with Google Home, Google Home Mini, and the Google Assistant. The Crave Go is compatible with all your Chromecast-enabled audio apps, like Spotify or Pandora.

We’ve been using it to cast Google Play Music into our kitchen, from the Google Play in our living room.

VIZIO Crave Go portable speaker

Since it’s wireless, we’re really looking forward to using it to listen to tunes on our back patio when the weather warms up a bit. VIZIO says there are six hours of battery life, so that should give us plenty of time relaxing in the hammock in the back yard. Just note that it isn’t water resistant!

What’s really cool is that when we cast over WiFi from our phone, it means that our music isn’t interrupted, even if we get a text or phone call.

This is definitely one nice looking speaker. There’s a good looking metal grill that over the front and top of the speaker. Since it’s portable, there’s soft, rubberized, plastic on any sides that may bump while it’s being moved.

It has a nice, sturdy feel, and it definitely has a look of quality.

VIZIO Crave Go Speaker

VIZIO Crave Go Speaker

There’s a kick stand on the back that we use to keep the speaker upright. Underneath, you’ll find a USB port, the power button, a charging port, and an auxiliary port. The volume buttons are on the side, as is a Bluetooth and a play/pause button.

How does it sound? It’s plenty powerful, and teamed with our Google Home, it has a nice sound for around the house, though we found the bass a bit muddy.

The Crave Go or Crave Pro(see below for a little chat about the Crave Pro) can be part of a multi-room system. If you have multiple speakers, you’re able to link them together to play the same thing everywhere, while still playing different things in different places.

Crave Pro wireless speaker

If you’re looking for an at home (non portable) speaker, VIZIO also offers the Crave Pro, also with Chromecast built-in.

The Crave Pro speaker is designed for multi-room pairing, to connect with other VIZIO SmartCast™ Crave Wireless Speakers for seamless listening throughout your home.

We didn’t get a chance to try the Crave Pro, but we thought we’d give it a mention, as it’s VIZIO’s slightly higher quality speaker, and its sound gets great reviews.

Like the portable Crave Go we tried, the Crave Pro works with Google Home, Google Home mini, and the Google Assistant. The Crave Pro is compatible with all your Chromecast-enabled audio apps, like Spotify or Pandora.

Crave Pro speaker

VIZIO Crave Pro

VIZIO Smart TV VIZIO M50-E1 Review VIZIO Smart TV VIZIO M50-E1 Review 4K HD


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The Best Gifts For Travel Lovers Fri, 01 Dec 2017 01:00:00 +0000 Are you looking for the perfect gifts for the travel lovers in your life?

In the 15 years we’ve traveled together, and the eight years we’ve blogged on The Barefoot Nomad, we’ve had a chance to road test quite a few travel gifts.

Some have been instant hits, like our GoPro HERO 6, my SCOTTeVEST travel jacket, and packing cubes. There have been some duds as well, but we’ve left them out so we can concentrate on showing you the best travel gear out there.

The Best Gifts For Travel Lovers

Here they are: our very best gifts for travel lovers.

Tep Wireless International WiFi Hotspot

What is it? The Tep international WiFi hotspot is a palm-sized gadget that gives you Internet access anywhere in the world.

We’ve traveled with our Tep for well over a year now, and it’s now an essential part of our travel kit. For just dollars a day, we can get WiFi almost anywhere in the world. Even better, we just pay for it when we need it. Check out our in depth review.

Want 10% off? Use our link to Tep Wireless and enter barefootnomad where it asks for the Discount Coupon.

Our Tep doing duty on the beach in Mexico

Our Tep doing duty on the beach in Mexico

Rosetta Stone

Would you love to learn a new language? We’re learning Spanish, and it was incredibly useful lately in Mexico, Columbia and then Ecuador to be able to easily order at a restaurant, or understand bus and plane schedules.

To get started, you can download Rosetta Stone and learn to speak the language of your choice in your own time. Live online tutoring sessions and online learning games make it fun, and you can choose the program that’s just right for you.

Subscriptions come in 3, 6, 12 and even 24 month packages, and you get the flexibility to learn another language on your schedule, with any device, from anywhere in the world. You can even download lessons to your mobile device to continue learning offline.

Want to try it out first? Click here to try the Rosetta Stone Free Demo.

Get your online subscription here, and learn from anywhere your mobile device takes you. Follow Rosetta Stone on FacebookTwitter, or YouTube.

Rosetta Stone

Joby GorrillaPod Smartphone tripod

We bought our Joby GorrillaPod about a year ago, and it’s become an indispensable part of our travel kit. Despite its small size, it’s surprisingly sturdy, and a lot of fun to tote around and use.

This little stand for smartphones has flexible legs, making it easy to level on uneven surfaces like rocks and trees. It folds easily, and it’s easy to slip into a pocket or our day bag, and lightweight as well. It has an adjustable phone holder that should fit almost all smartphones with no problem, as we use it regularly with a Samsung S6 and iPhone 6.

Buy it on Macfixit Australia

Joby GorillaPod Tripod for Smartphones

GoPro HERO 6

We just picked up our GoPro HERO 6 a couple of months ago, and we’re loving it.

Unlike older GoPro models, there’s no case to snap on and off. It’s waterproof as is, and it takes gorgeous 4K video and photos. See our sample video here and our tips for taking great family photos and videos!

We’re Canadian, so we picked our GoPro HERO 6 up locally from Sport Chek, but they’re available almost everywhere, including Amazon.

Buy it from Amazon here.

GoPro Photo of the GoPro-8406

What’s a GoPro without accessories?

The GoPro is made for action, and it’s the perfect little camera to bring in the water. The problem is: it doesn’t float. We use a bobber floaty for it in the water, and it keeps it from sinking to the bottom or getting lost in ocean waves. Buy the bobby floater on Amazon.

The GoPro can also use a bit of battery life if you use the WiFi feature, so it’s helpful to have a second battery always charged. Buy it on Amazon here.

We also love our Joby Gorrilapod for getting great shots. This version comes with an adapter for the GoPro. Buy on Amazon.

If you’re looking for a bunch of other accessories, we’ve had great luck with this inexpensive after market BAXIA TECHNOLOGY 44-in-1 kit that’s chock full of accessories like a chest harness, head strap, and plenty more. Everything we’ve tested from this kit has worked with our older GoPro 4 Black and the GoPro HERO 6. See it on Amazon.

Packing Cubes

Packing cubes honestly changed my life. No more digging through a suitcase to find that last pair of underwear, and no more dirty laundry accidentally jumbled in with the clean.

We use eBags ultralight packing cubes, but they’re a bit expensive (though incredibly lightweight and durable).

If I was buying packing cubes again, I’d seriously consider the Amazon Basics sets, which get stellar reviews, and look similar.

Buy on Amazon.

Canon EOS Rebel SL1 DSLR Camera

As a family of four, with two kids, we’re constantly struggling to keep our travel gear as light as possible.

However, as travel bloggers, we need a DSLR for good quality photos and video.

So, we opted for one of the smallest and lightest DSLR cameras on the market: The Canon EOS Rebel SL1. It weighs less than a bottle of water, and the camera body fits neatly into my hand.

We’ve been using the same little SL1 for over four years now, and still love it. Sometimes, we talk about upgrading to a professional grade DSLR, but they’re just too bulky, too expensive, and our lightweight SL1 does a fantastic job for us.

See prices on Amazon here.

Travel Jacket

My women’s SCOTTeVEST Chloe Glow travel jacket is by far my favorite item of travel clothing. It’s cute, comfortable, and has a whopping 18 hidden pockets to store all my travel gear. Even better, it’s nicely fitted, and is never bulky. See my review here.

Buy on Amazon.

Looking for a men’s jacket? The men’s SCOTTeVEST travel jacket has a whopping 25 pockets and great ratings. See the men’s jacket on Amazon here.

Travel Adapter

Every traveler needs a good travel adapter. The Orei World Travel Power Plug Adapter is rated one of the best out there, and it even comes with a built in dual USB charger.

Get it on Amazon here.

Tip! A travel adapter connects your plug to the outlet wherever you travel. An adapter does NOT change the power output coming from the outlet so make sure your devices can handle the local voltages.

Quick drying travel underwear

When you’re trying to pack light, quick drying travel underwear is a must. You need something that you can wash out in a sink or bathtub at night, and that will be dry by morning.

ExOfficio fits the bill. They’re lightweight, fit comfortably, and dry quickly. We have a couple of pairs coming for review, as we’ve heard from other travel bloggers that ExOfficio underwear is their favorite.

Buy women’s ExOfficio travel underwear on Amazon.

Buy men’s ExOfficio travel underwear on Amazon.

Books and a Kindle for the traveling soul

If your budget won’t quite reach to a high end camera or a trip, a Kindle is almost always a great gift for a travel lover.

We have the Kindle Paperwhite and love it. The only thing that we wish ours had was the cellular connectivity (it’s about a $70 add on). Cellular connectivity is free (after the initial buy), and it will let you download and shop on the go anywhere in the USA or roam in 100+ countries without an additional charge for wireless data. Trust me, your traveler will love this.

Buy the Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon.

reading the Kindle by the lake

As for books, here are a few of the most popular travel novels out there to get you started.

  • Eat Pray Love. The classic by Elizabeth Gilbert has probably inspired more solo trips than almost any other book. See it on Amazon.
  • Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes. The book’s protagonist buys an abandoned villa in Italy, and learns to love the simplicity of rural Italian life. The book was made into a movie starring Diane Lane and Sandra Oh. See on Amazon.
  • Wild, by Cheryl Strayed. This is a fantastic book for outdoor lovers. It chronicles her journey along the Pacific Crest Trail when she was 26. See on Amazon.
  • In A Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson. This is my favorite travel book of all time. It has Bryson’s trademark wit, along with plenty of interesting and entertaining tidbits about Australia. See on Amazon.
  • The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho. A wonderful, international best seller about Santiago, a shepherd boy who yearns to travel the world. See on Amazon.


We also adore audiobooks for travel. Every year we drive thousands of kilometers across Canada and the USA to visit friends and family, sometimes logging in over 40 hours and four thousand kilometers behind the wheel over a week or two.

Audiobooks are an absolute lifesaver on those trips. When we start a great audiobook, the hours fly by as we drive across our gorgeous country. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained, and keep us from going stir crazy.

An Audible subscription with Amazon makes a fantastic gift, and you can even sign your travel lover up for a free trial to see if they like it.

Check out Audible on Amazon.

Best backpack for travel

We’ve moved on from traveling backpack only to wheeled carry on only these days, but for many years we traveled with a backpack.

While most people get a backpack based on features and cost, the most important thing is probably making sure you get the right size backpack for your frame. As a woman who’s five foot five, I’ve tried on a few backpacks that are geared for tall men. What a mistake! They’re uncomfortable, the straps dig in, and even worse, the waist straps are often too big.

For women, the Osprey Aura 65 AG Backpack consistently gets great ratings, and it’s sized perfectly for female travelers. Even better the Osprey comes in small, medium and large for a perfect fit.

See the Osprey Aura 65 AG Backpack on Amazon.

For men or taller women, the Deuter Aircontact 65 +10 is a great choice, as is the Osprey Pack Atmos 65 Backpack.

See the Osprey Pack Atmos 65 on Amazon.

See the Deuter Aircontact 65 +10 on Amazon.

Keeping your gear safe with a travel pouch

There are a lot of choices for keeping your travel gear safe, from fanny packs to belt wallets to traditional money belts.

When we’re in a situation where we need to keep our valuables as close to us as possible, we usually choose a neck travel wallet (see our extensive review of them here). A neck wallet has room for passports, credit cards, money and the like. It’s small enough that you can wear it under your shirt and no one can see it.

Tip: The most secure way to wear a neck wallet is like a gun holster; over your neck, with one strap under one arm. If you wear it only around your neck, it’s easy for someone to rip off. The only downside is that it’s a bit embarrassing to have to lift up your shirt to access your wallet if it’s slung under your shoulder. Keep it slung in front of your body.

Silk is a good choice for a neck wallet. It feels good against the skin, plus it’s durable, washable and lightweight. I wore the Eagle Creek Silk Undercover Neck Wallet almost every day for a year. It was lightweight, thin, and comfortable, though I did have to sew the straps back on after about nine months.

Click to see prices here.

If you’re looking for something with RFID protection and that’s water resistant, the Venture 4th Travel Neck Pouch Neck Wallet gets stellar reviews. It’s a great alternative if silk isn’t your thing.

Click to see prices on Amazon.

Carry on backpack

For my last few solo trips, I’ve been trying out a top-loading Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 anti-theft adventure backpack.

It’s surprisingly lightweight, has a padded tablet sleeve, a wealth of pockets and locking zippers, and anti-theft Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into it complete with RFID protection. At 18 inches high and 9 inches wide, it’s small enough to use as a personal item with most airlines, and it holds an awful lot. It also has a molded frame that sits on the body quite well.

Get it on Amazon.

External battery chargers

We never leave on a trip without grabbing our external battery chargers. Finding a place to plug in our smartphones, the kids electronics, and our tablets, is a constant hassle, so now we have a few chargers with us at all times.

Our little Anker PowerCore+ mini 3350mAh Lipstick-Sized Portable Charger travels with me in my jacket pocket wherever I go. It’s less than 3 oz (80 grams), and less than 4 inches long, so it’s lightweight and compact. I can get a full charge for an iPhone or Samsung S6 from it.

See it on Amazon.

Our go-to charger for the family is an older version of the PowerCore+’s bigger sister, the Anker 20100mAh Portable Charger PowerCore. It can charge two devices at once, and has high speed charging.

See it on Amazon.


Admittedly, a headlamp isn’t the first thing you’d think of as travel gear, but our Petzl Tikka headlamp has been a must pack item for us for the past 10 years. It’s still going strong after a decade.

Even in the age of smartphone flashlights, we still love it because it lets us have a hands free light. It’s perfect for camping, and finding our way around strange cities after dark. We’ve used it for home renovations where we need our hands free, and the kids love to play with it, which is a bonus.

The Tikka we use takes three AAA batteries that last us months, and it’s lightweight enough that we carry it with us in our day bag everywhere we go.

Buy it on Amazon

Gifts for the home

While we spend a lot of time traveling these days, we also spend a fair bit of time at our home base in Canada.

We’ve included a few of our favorite at home items here. Even travel lovers like us like to spend a bit of time at home!

We’ve been eyeing up a new TV for a while now that does beautiful 4K images. We’re loving the look of the VIZIO M50 SmartCast 4K HDR Home Theater Display, which features Google’s Chromecast built-in and is compatible with Google Home and the Google Assistant.

I can’t wait to watch some of our favorite travel TV shows and movies on this beauty!

See it on Amazon.


We’ve also been having a blast with our Google Home Mini.

It’s powered by Google Assistant, so you can ask it questions, set reminders, control your smart lights, turn on your TV to watch Netflix, and even play some fun games.

We’re big Stranger Things fans, so we’ve had a blast using our Google Home Mini to chat with Dustin from Stranger Things 2. Check out this video, where they chat with Dustin on his walkie talkie and head into the Upside Down!

What’s your favorite travel gear? Let us know in the comments below!

best gifts for travelers. Are you looking for the perfect gifts for the travel lovers in your life? We can help. #travel #gifts #traveling Best gifts for travel lovers #travel #gifts #traveling ]]> 4
Tips For Getting Great Family Video and Photos with the GoPro HERO 6 Black and Sport Chek Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:10:00 +0000 So, you’re a regular person and not an extreme athlete or a pro surfer, and thinking of getting a GoPro video camera? Spoiler alert, you probably should.

I’m sure everyone has seen those amazing GoPro videos of surfers on a perfect wave, snowboarders carving down a mountain side, bikers taking 50 foot jumps or those extreme athletes jumping out of perfectly good airplanes or the side of a cliff. I love those.

Honestly though, if anyone needs a compact, hands free camera, it’s a parent. I find myself wishing daily for another set of arms, so carrying around a big, bulky camera just doesn’t work.

Family pool fun taken with GoPro HERO6 Black

Poolside in Mexico. Photo taken with GoPro HERO6 Black

So, it’s probably no surprise that we get a lot of questions from fellow parents about the GoPro who want to know is it waterproof? Is it easy to use? How much does it cost? Does it take photos, too? Those are a lot of questions for one tiny camera.

So when Sport Chek reached out to us to review the new GoPro HERO 6 Black, we jumped at the chance. It’s a perfect opportunity to answer all of those questions and more.

First impressions

Before we got our new HERO 6, we owned the GoPro HERO4 SILVER. It’s a great little camera and we’ve gotten some great footage the past few years, but I always disliked how we had to keep it in an external casing.

That’s changed with the newer GoPros, namely the HERO 5 and Hero 6. Unlike older GoPros (like the GoPro Hero 4 and earlier) the HERO 6 doesn’t need an external case to make it waterproof. This is my favorite feature, as it makes the GoPro HERO 6 so easy and convenient to use, and I never have to worry about putting it in a waterproof case.

GoPro Photo of the GoPro-8406

GoPro HERO 6 Video and photo quality

The GoPro takes great photos and videos. Even better, this tiny camera takes stunning 4K video, which means your family memories will be preserved in stunning detail.

Photo of Jasper, Alberta taken with GoPro HERO6 Black

Jasper, Alberta. Taken with GoPro HERO6 Black

To give it a real try, we took the GoPro HERO 6 Black with us on a early family winter vacation to Mexico and it was the perfect chance to test the GoPro Hero6 in a real world situation.

Take a look at the video below, filmed in 4K on our little GoPro HERO 6 Black. The video is raw and unedited, taken straight out of the camera. We didn’t always have the new image stabiliser on (our bad) and we’ve added titles and music, plus cut out some footage, but we haven’t done anything else. The video quality is just a sample of what you’ll get from this camera.

GoPro HERO6 Features

There’s a lot to like about this camera, and I’m especially fond of the burst feature for photos.

Like a lot of you, I always seem to just miss that perfect moment, like when my kids actually smile at the camera. With the burst mode, I just click the button, and the GoPro takes a burst of photos over several seconds. No more missed photos or that perfect smile.

The GoPro HERO 6 is waterproof to 33 meters. We’ve snorkeled with it, played with it in the pool, and even carried it with us as we boogie boarded in the waves. I let the kids carry it around half of the time, and they dunked it in the pool and the ocean dozens of times. Despite all of this, it remained perfectly waterproof.

Tip! We use a GoPro floating handle to hold the GoPro. This keeps it from getting lost in the surf, or sinking to the bottom of a pool.

underwater with the GoPro HERO 6

Underwater pool photo. Taken with GoPro HERO 6.

How to use the GoPro Hero 6

Is the GoPro easy to use? Well, it’s not hard to use, but using a GoPro is a little different than a smartphone or other camera. If you take ten minutes to learn how to use the GoPro at the beginning, you’ll pretty much know everything you need to.

Thankfully, there are only a couple of buttons: a shutter button, and a mode/power button. There’s also a touch screen in back, which makes getting through the menus pretty easy. Unlike the older models, you can see the photos and video as you’re taking them on the LCD screen just like a regular camera.

You can also download the GoPro app and connect the GoPro to your smartphone to take remote shots or to easily control all the settings. It can also save the videos and pictures directly to your phone so you can easily share them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

GoPro HERO6 Black touch screen

GoPro HERO 6 Voice Recognition

The GoPro HERO6 even comes with voice recognition, which we found works really well. Talk about hands free!

You can use voice recognition to turn the GoPro on and off, take photos and videos, and a lot more. It really makes mounting the camera to your helmet or chest strap easier than ever. Just tell it when to start and stop recording no matter what your hands are up to.

GoPro HERO 6 Video Quality

What’s the quality like? Video quality with the GoPro HERO 6 black is an impressive 4K video shooting at 60p, or 60 full frames per second. Those high frame rates per second also mean that it’s excellent at capturing slow motion video. As well as 4K, you can record in 1080p240, 1080p120, or the more classic 1080p60. What that means is that you can still record in high definition and still enjoy top rate quality with varying compression. This means that if space or extended recording is important, you can lower the resolution and not lose a great deal.

Jasper, Alberta taken with the GoPro HERO 6 Black Action cam

Taken with GoPro HERO 6. Jasper, Alberta.

Here are a few nerdy facts about video compression for you. The GoPro HERO 6 Black uses a new video codec called High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) H.265. It means that the video size can be smaller than the older H.264 protocol, but still retain higher 4K quality. Unfortunately, because H.265 is so new, many video editing software and devices can’t decode its advanced compression at the moment. Luckily, most of the newer Androids and iPhones can play H.265 natively, so wider support is guaranteed as more people get on board with using it. YouTube already supports the new H.265 codec.

Drumheller, Alberta hoodoos taken with the GoPro HERO 6 Black Action cam

Taken with GoPro HERO 6. Drumheller, Alberta.

GoPro HERO 6 Image Stabilization

The GoPro HERO 6 has digital image stabilization making for steadier video. Because it’s so tiny, we did find that we got some shake when the HERO6 was handheld, but there was less when it was mounted on something like a helmet, or the buoyant floaty handle grip we use. We also didn’t realize that we had turned image stabilization off for part of our trip until we had later watched the videos. For smoother motion, especially when it’s handheld, you’ll want to leave image stabilization on.

Jasper, Alberta. Taken with GoPro HERO 6

So is the GoPro for you?

Well, if you’re looking for a camera with 4K video, then yes, the GoPro HERO6 definitely does 4K video well and with it’s wide field of view or the new Superview, you won’t be missing anything as long as you have lots of good natural light.

Want a rugged, waterproof camera that you can take almost anywhere? Well, the GoPro HERO6 definitely fits that bill as well. With it’s small frame and rugged waterproof abilities, as well as the built in image stabilization, the GoPro can take what you’re giving and keep on recording.

Love playing with new technology? With it’s small touchscreen interface, voice recognition and it’s ability to connect seamlessly with your existing smartphone, the GoPro definitely ticks all the boxes when it comes to new tech. There’s a small learning curve, but it’s nothing that a few minutes watching how-to videos or a little reading can’t cure.

The GoPro HERO6 Black HD Action Camera transforms your adventures into incredible QuikStories directly on your phone.

Shopping for a GoPro in Canada? Sport Chek is an official supplier and carries all the latest GoPro devices and accessories.

The Platinum Floating GoPro Camera Mount is designed to ensure your GoPro camera floats if you happen to drop it. We use ours every time we take our GoPro in the water.

Looking for a deal?

Get 10% off your first purchase and free shipping on orders over $49 if you join the email list here.

Get free shipping on orders $99+ at Sport Chek here!

Thanks to Sport Chek for providing us with the GoPro HERO 6 Black for this review. It was on the wishlist and we definitely enjoyed using it.

Shop Sports Equipment, Apparel, Footwear and more at Sport Chek! Click Here!
GoPro HERO 6 Tips and Photos | GoPro HERO 6 tips | GoPro HERO 6 photos | GoPro HERO 5 Black #gopro #goprophotography

GoPro Hero 6 Photo Tips for family photos | GoPro HERO 6 tips | GoPro HERO 6 photos | GoPro HERO 5 Black #gopro #goprophotography The GoPro HERO 6 Black tips | GoPro HERO 6 tips | GoPro HERO 6 photos | GoPro HERO 5 Black #gopro #goprophotography ]]> 1
The Personalized Leather Passport Holder from JooJoobs: A Review Tue, 07 Nov 2017 05:00:00 +0000 The more I travel, the more I realize how important it is to stay organized. It’s just so easy to misplace or damage an important travel document.

A passport holder can be a great way to protect your passport from damage, and it’s also a great way to showcase your personal travel style. In this review, we’re taking a look at the JooJoobs leather passport holder.

JooJoobs leather passport holder front berries

The Personalized Leather Passport Holder by JooJoobs

When JooJoobs first reached out to us to review their personalized passport holder, I first clicked over to the JooJoobs Etsy page to check out their reviews. I was blown away by the over 5,000 reviews, with a five out of five star rating. Pretty impressive!

So, we asked JooJoobs to send us a sample to check out.

Want to win your own JooJoobs personalized leather passport holder? Scroll to the bottom of this post now for a chance to win one of five JooJoobs personalized leather passport holders!

What did we think of the JooJoobs leather passport cover?

JooJoobs personalized leather passport holder fits one passport perfectly, with no extra room for credit cards or cash (unless you tuck them into the inside passport sleeve).

JooJoobs personalized leather passport holder side

What’s really special about this leather passport cover is that you can personalize it with your initials, or even an image.

There are some really cool images to choose from, including a compass, anarchy, bio hazard, a fleur de lis and a happy face. You can also get your initials on the inside cover.

JooJoobs personalized leather passport holder up close

I always worry a bit about my passport falling out of a passport holder, but I honestly don’t think that will be a problem here. The JooJoobs passport holder is perfectly sized for the passport, and holds both the front and back passport covers securely.

It’s made from full grain distressed leather, and each wallet is handmade to order.  The quality of the leather is great, and I have a feeling that this passport holder is going to be one of those items that wears beautifully.

Want more room for your credit cards?

If you’re interested in a passport holder with more pockets for credit cards, be sure to take a look at this larger JooJoobs leather travel wallet. It can hold two passports, plus six cards (in two credit card slots).

Enter to Win!

*** the contest is closed! Congratulations to our five winners! ***

JooJoobs leather passport holder front

Now we get to give you a chance to win one of five personalized passport holders with a MSRV of $37.00 USD.

The contest is open to residents of the USA and Canada, except Quebec. See the entry form for terms and conditions.

So how do you enter? It’s easy.

See the contest widget below? To enter, all you have to do is to enter your email or log in via Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest runs from November 6, 2017 to November 21, 2017. The winners will be contacted by email and the prize will be shipped soon after.

Want to find out more?

You can find JooJoobs on the JooJoobs website and on their Etsy shop, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Looking for a slim travel wallet?

If you love a minimalist travel wallet, be sure to check out JooJoob’s minimalist wallet, and their money clip wallet.

JooJoobs minimalist slim wallet front

JooJoobs minimalist slim wallet

Stay tuned, we’ll be writing a post comparing the best slim travel wallets coming up soon!

JooJoobs minimalist slim money clip travel wallet

JooJoobs minimalist slim money clip travel wallet

This article was sponsored in part by JooJoobs. We only work with partners we use and recommend personally.

The Barefoot Nomad is not responsible for prize fulfillment.

]]> 2
This International WiFi Hotspot Gives You Unlimited Travel Internet: The Tep Wireless 4G Tue, 31 Oct 2017 17:00:00 +0000

If you’ve followed us for a while, you know that we love our Tep International WiFi Hotspot. It’s unlimited internet has kept us connected all over the world, which is essential when you travel and work as much as we do.

What is it? The Tep international WiFi hotspot is a palm-sized gadget that gives you Internet access anywhere in the world.

We’ve used our original Tep 3G pocket WiFi for well over a year now. That’s given us plenty of chances to review it and I honestly don’t know how we managed without it!

As frequent travelers, it’s kept us connected while traveling in countries like Canada, the USA, Mexico, Europe, Ecuador and even Colombia, among other places. Since we work as we travel, we need reliable WiFi everywhere, and we found that we have that with our little Teppy. If you’re interested, you can read our original review of the Tep here.

Want 10% off? Use our link to Tep Wireless and enter barefootnomad where it asks for the Discount Coupon.

Using our Tep 4G in Jasper, Canada

Using our Tep 4G in Jasper, Canada

The International WiFi Hotspot – Tep 4G Wireless

When Tep reached out for us to try their brand new 4G International WiFi hotspot, lovingly called the Teppy, we agreed in a second, since we used their original Tep 3g device so much. We’ve had the new 4G Teppy for almost a month now, and we’ve had a chance to test it in Mexico and in Jasper, Alberta, as well as central Alberta and British Columbia.

What really got our attention is that Tep includes unlimited internet, which is never cut off, regardless of how much you use.

Click here to see Tep plans and pricing.

Tip! The 4G capability of the Teppy 4G only works where 4G service is available. So, where 4G isn’t available, the Tep just grabs the fastest signal possible, even if it isn’t 4G. For now, in some countries like Canada, 4G isn’t available for the Tep, but I think that’ll be changing soon. Find out where Tep now offers 4G service.

Here’s the non-technical explanation: Even if 4G service isn’t available, your shiny new Tep device will still work on other signals like 3G.

Our Tep doing duty on the beach in Mexico

Our Tep doing duty on the beach in Mexico

Is the Tep 4G as fast as they say it is?

We recently tested the Tep 4G service near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In our tests over the course of a week, the Tep 4g had a speed of over 30 Mbps. That’s pretty impressive. 30 Mbps is plenty fast to stream video on multiple devices, and more than adequate for social media, phone calls, email and streaming. Tep itself says that the 4G speed is likely to be around 18.6 Mbps, but we found our Tep 4G to be faster.

What is 4G, anyway? 4G is the 4th generation of wireless cellular service, and the successor to 3G cellular service. 4G is up to 10X faster than 3G service, which is why we think investing in a 4G mobile hotspot is essential.

33 mbps Tep 4G service in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

33 Mbps Tep 4G service in Puerto Vallarta Mexico

What does it cost?

It’s only 8.95 a day to rent a Tep, with free delivery. Returns are easy with the prepaid envelope. You get the Tep device, a handy carrying case, a charging cable, and a compact wall charger with adapters for different voltages. For me, the Tep battery lasted for about seven hours without recharging.

To get 10% off now, use our link to Tep Wireless and enter code barefootnomad.

If you try Tep and love it, they’ll give you $20 for every friend you refer!

Tep for short trips and family vacations

This is Tep’s most popular plan. You rent the Tep device for $8.95 per day, with free delivery to your home or hotel. To return, you just pop it in the return envelope at the end of your trip.

Who’s this for? We think the Tep rental plan for short trips works best for travelers who only take one or two trips a year, or who aren’t sure if they’ll like a mobile WiFi hotspot.

Tep for frequent and business travelers

This is the Tep plan that we use. Instead of renting our Tep, we bought it outright and it travels with us everywhere. It came with 3 days’ service, and the device cost $99. Additional days are only $8 per day. We really love that we don’t have to return the Tep at the end of every trip and it fits nicely into our electronics bag.

We think that the Tep for frequent travelers makes sense if you travel three or more times a year, and you’re sure you’ll use an international WiFi device somewhat regularly.

If the WiFi is good as we travel, we leave the Tep tucked away. However, if we’re somewhere remote where WiFi isn’t available, or I can’t find a good connection, I just connect the Tep, and voila, instant WiFi. It’s a pay as you go service, so all I have to do is turn on the Tep, grab the Wifi Signal, and I’m connected. Tep is a pay as you go service so if you don’t use it, it costs you nothing.

Tep Wireless 4G International WiFi Hotspot

How does it work?

The Tep grabs the nearest cell signal, and uses that data to give you WiFi. Because it uses multiple carriers, we’ve found that the Tep often gives us WiFi when our cell phone can’t get a signal. This is a huge advantage everywhere, but especially in places like rural Canada where cellular coverage can be spotty, even for major carriers.

To use the Tep, all you do is turn it on and connect your smartphone, tablet or computer using the Password and SSID (which is the WiFi name) on the front. It doesn’t require any setup, cables or installation.

You can connect up to five different devices to one Tep and your day of data lasts for a full 24 hours from the moment you connect.

Can I use the Tep with my Kindle?

Yes! The Tep works with any device that’s WiFi enabled, like Windows and Mac laptops, smartphones like the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones, plus tablets like the iPad as well as games consoles and anything else that connects to WiFi.

What countries does it work in?

The Tep works in over 100 destinations worldwide, including Canada, the USA, most of Europe, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, much of the Caribbean, and many countries in South and Central America.

Who will like the Tep 4G?

All travelers

An international pocket wifi is perfect for travelers. It can keep you connected, even when the hotel WiFi you were promised is down. It allows you the hassle of trying to find a local SIM for your phone or buying an expensive international data plan when you might only need data for a day or two of your trip.

Families and groups

Since multiple people (up to five devices at a time) can connect to the Tep simultaneously, it’s perfect for families and groups. The nice part is that when you factor the per device cost in, using the Tep is often the cheapest route to share data with multiple people when you travel.

Business travelers

Business travelers need reliable WiFi to get work done. Since we travel so often, and work as we go, I think we fall into this category. I was stuck in the Edmonton airport for about three hours waiting for my shuttle on a trip to Jasper, and the airport WiFi wasn’t working. My monthly cell data plan only includes so many megs of data so I pulled out the Tep and had a productive three hours while I waited.

Road trippers and RVers

Campground WiFi is notoriously sketchy, so having your own mobile device can ensure you’re connected even when you’re out in the wild. We’ve used our Tep to stream Netflix while out camping on rainy days and I especially loved being connected on a five hour shuttle bus to Jasper. I got a lot of work done, and had a little downtime streaming YouTube videos to my tablet while in the shuttle.


Solo travelers

I loved having the Tep with me on a girl’s trip to Boston last year. Since my Canadian phone service didn’t work in Boston, it was nice to know that I was always connected with the Tep and everyone in the group used it as well.

People who don’t like to get lost!

When we travel, we find ourselves checking local transit maps and Google maps constantly. We often preload the places we’re going to be while on WiFi but that doesn’t help when we need to do some research on the go. It’s nice to have our Tep with us so that information’s always at our fingertips if we need it.

We actually used our Tep this Spring in Florida while we were waiting to find out if our AirBnB rental came through and then while driving to it. Since we had it anyway, the kids streamed Netflix from the back seat while we did the 3 hour drive from Fort Lauderdale up to Orlando.

Tep for Pokemon Go lovers!

My kids figured out pretty quickly that the Tep 4g is the perfect thing for playing Pokemon Go around town. Every so often, I pull out our little Tep, we all connect, and we head out for an afternoon catching Pokemon. Because it’s a day to day type of device (once you connect you get a full 24 hours of use), it’s a small cost for a few hours of family enjoyment and it allows our kids to not need their own data plan.

Tep 4G Pokemon Go

WiFi hotspot rental in Europe

What’s the best mobile hotspot device for international travel?

Well, we haven’t tried every mobile hotspot device, so we can’t say for sure which is the very best. That said, the Tep 4G has served us very well in three continents, and there are plenty of great reviews for the Tep 4G service in Europe.

How to rent Tep and more

Want 10% off? Use our link to Tep Wireless and enter barefootnomad where it asks for the Discount Coupon.

If you have more questions, just ask us below (we’re happy to help if we can) or head on over to the Tep website.

Staying connected with the Tep at the hoodoos in Drumheller Alberta

Staying connected with the Tep at the hoodoos in Drumheller Alberta

how to have pocket WiFi wherever you travel - international WifFi Hotspot with Tep 4G Wireless Pocket WiFi A WiFi Hotspot to keep you connected ]]> 3
The Luxury Travel Wallet from Talonport: A Review Thu, 12 Oct 2017 04:00:00 +0000 I’m not entirely sure when it happened, but I’ve become a bit of a disorganized disaster at the airport lately. I have a pen in my backpack, my passport in my front pocket, my boarding pass in another pocket, and my wallet and cash usually in a back pack.

Somehow, my system for staying organized in the airport has fallen apart.

I’ve always avoided getting a passport holder, because the ones I looked at back in the day were ugly and bulky. Sure, I need a place to hold my stuff, but I don’t want to carry around a two pound monstrosity. I also really wanted something that would fit neatly into my pocket.

So when the folks at Talonport reached out to have us review their new luxury travel wallet, I thought it may just solve my problem. Their luxury travel wallet seemed streamlined and attractive, so I decided to give it a try.

I’m glad I did.

We got a sneek peek, but you can order it on Kickstarter now!

About the Talonport luxury travel wallet

It keeps your passport, travel documents, pen, cards, currency and more all in one place. There’s a unique fold-out document wing, it’s handcrafted in genuine leather and has a lifetime guarantee.

What’s in the Talonport wallet?

  • document wing to hold boarding passes
  • built in RFID blocker
  • four card slots. You can use each slot for multiple cards
  • pen holder
  • passport pocket

I’m always worried about my passport falling out of a wallet, but it tucks in snugly into the Talonport’s pocket. That said, it’s easy to remove my passport without having to undo a zipper or dig through multiple pockets.

I also need to be able to access my pen on flights. I always seem to get my paper immigration and customs forms to fill out at the least convenient time, so I really like that this travel wallet has a space for a pen. It doesn’t come with one, so you’ll have to add your own.

You can also see it on Amazon here.

Talonport also makes gorgeous luggage tags in leather or stainless steel.

Do you want a zipper in your travel wallet?

There’s no zipper in this travel wallet, and I wasn’t sure if I liked that at first. There is a small chance that something may fall out, I suppose, but I’ve never had that problem with my regular wallet so I can’t see why it would be a problem here.

Overall, I like that no zipper means that I can access my passport and boarding pass faster. No matter how often I travel, I always seem to hit the front of the security or boarding line faster than I’d planned. It’s nice not to have to fumble with a zipper to access my stuff!

Will it work for multiple passports?

No. There’s only space for one passport. I travel a bit by myself these days, so the Talonport passport wallet is perfect for those occasions when I only need to carry one passport.

Best leather passport wallet?

In terms of durability, leather’s probably your best best for a travel wallet. It wipes clean easily, and it doesn’t scuff or wear easily.

As a plus, it has a nice, soft feel.

Tip! There’s a lifetime guarantee on the Talonport Passport wallet when you register! The link is included in the package that comes with your Talonport travel passport holder.

The leather in the Talonport wallet is especially soft and supple. It has a soft, luxurious feeling in the palm of your hand.

Want to learn more?

Check out their Kickstarter here.








The Best Audiobooks for Family Road Trips on Audible Canada Wed, 13 Sep 2017 20:00:00 +0000 Every year we drive thousands of kilometers across Canada to visit friends and family. Many years, we drive from Kelowna to Winnipeg, and then back again. Within a few weeks, we log in over 40 hours and four thousand kilometers behind the wheel.

That’s why Audiobooks are an absolute lifesaver on those trips. When we start a great audiobook, the hours fly by as we drive across our gorgeous country. It’s a great way to keep the kids entertained, and keep us from going stir crazy.

Also, unlike watching movies alone in the backseat, the audio books allow our kids to watch the countryside, play with their things and most of all, not get car sick. It also gives us all something to talk about when we stop to refuel or while grabbing a bite to eat as we drive.

So when Audible reached out to us to help spread the word about the launch of Audible Canada, we wanted to pass it on to our fellow Canadians.

A quick note on Audible Canada

Owned by Amazon, Audible has the largest library of audiobooks in the world and is a great place to get audiobooks for any of your devices. What we love most about them is if you don’t like an audiobook, you can just swap it for another for free.

What’s really cool for Canadians is that features price parity with the US Audible website.

Did you catch that? If an book costs $15 USD on, it will cost $15 CAD on This is huge for Canadians right now, as it gives us about a 20% savings because of our exchange rate.

An Audible membership is FREE for 30 days, and that gives you one credit, which is good for any audiobook. As well, the marketplace is bilingual, and in Canadian dollars unlike

Click here to sign up for free!

Note: If you’re already an user, don’t worry. You can still access your existing library and credits. There’s more information on membership at the end of this post.

The best audiobooks for family road trips

We’ve listened to dozens of audiobooks over the years and the kids actually look forward to long drives in the car now since they know we’ll put one on. The trick is having a few to choose from and letting the kids decide which one appeals to them the most.

With audiobooks, we find that the narrator can make or break your experience. Even if the book is fantastic, a poor (or irritating!) narrator can make it miserable. On the other hand, if you love a narrator’s voice you can listen to just about anything they say, so choose wisely.

For example, Charles once got his parents excited to listen to some audiobooks on their yearly 34 hour drive down to southern Texas, but stressed that getting the right narrator was critical. A big fan of westerns, his parents chose a few narrated by a fellow with a slow, heavily accented southern drawl that literally made them pull over and take a nap after listening to him for a few hours.

The best audiobooks for family road trips with kids

I’ve included links to the Audible listings for each of these books, because each book offers an audio sample. To listen to the sample, just follow the link to the book, and the sample play button is right below the book image.

I’ve also tried to pick audio books here that adults should enjoy as well, making listening a pleasant family experience. However, everyone’s tastes differ, so check out the samples and read some reviews before making a choice.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1

The whole family really loves the Harry Potter series narrated by either Jim Dale or Stephen Fry. This was our first real foray into family audiobooks, and the 20+ hour car ride to visit family seems to fly when we listen to the Harry Potter audiobooks. Even though the kids have read the entire series and watched all the movies, they still enjoy listening to the audiobooks. We’re almost done book five and plan to keep listening until we reach the conclusion in book seven.

Unlike most audio books, the Harry Potter series has two narrators that do all seven books. Jim Dale reads the US version and Stephen Fry the UK version. Both are English, both are amazing and each excels at different things, however you can’t go wrong with either.

Written by: J.K. Rowling

Narrated by: Jim Dale

See Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on Audible

See the complete Harry Potter series on Audible

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials, Book 1

This is a fantastic book, and kept us all engaged for the full time we listened. However, some of the themes are a bit dark, and it may not be the best for young children. I had my doubts about letting our eight year old continue to listen, but she made it through OK. That said, she’s a pretty stoic little person, and I’ve never seen her upset by a book or movie.

Written by: Philip Pullman

Narrated by: Philip Pullman however there is a full cast for each character that really makes this audiobook shine.

Series: His Dark Materials

See more information about The Golden Compass here.

See Philip Pullman’s complete His Dark Materials series here.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2

There’s a whole series for The Chronicles of Narnia, and the narrators differ. We’ve listened to a few (not in order) and enjoyed them all however that said, I’m excited to try The Last Battle, narrated by Patrick Stewart of Star Trek (plus much more!) fame.

Written by: C.S. Lewis

Narrated by: Michael York

Series: The Chronicles of Narnia

Get The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe now.

Check out entire The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis here.

How to Train Your Dragon

We loved the How to Train Your Dragon movies, the Netflix series and the kids loved the books, so this is a natural choice. Even better? It’s narrated by the 10th doctor himself, David Tennant.

Written by: Cressida Cowell

Narrated by: David Tennant

Series: How to Train Your Dragon

See the How to Train Your Dragon audiobook.

Check out the complete audiobook series of How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.

How to Eat Fried Worms

This one’s a little shorter, at just under two hours. Kids love it, and it’s an easy listen for a shorter road trip.

Written by: Thomas Rockwell

Narrated by: Jay O. Sanders

Listen to a sample here.

Eragon: The Inheritance Cycle, Book 1

This is an engaging audiobook and the writer was only in his teens when he wrote the first one. It will capture the minds of every one in the car from the very beginning where a poor farm boy finds a polished blue stone that becomes a dragon hatchling to him becoming the next dragon rider.

Written by: Christopher Paolini

Narrated by: Gerard Doyle

Series: The Inheritance Cycle.

See it on Audible.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

At just under two hours, this is a shorter audiobook that both old and young Harry Potter fans should adore. We haven’t listened to this yet, but I think it would be a good book on tape for a family road trip.

Written by: J.K. Rowling, Newt Scamander

Narrated by: Eddie Redmayne

See Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them here.

Charlotte’s Web

Over on, this book rates almost five stars. It’s a touching classic narrated by the author in his raspy New England accent and will make your children both happy and sad in equal measure.

Written by: E.B. White

Narrated by: E.B. White, George Plimpton

See Charlotte’s Web on Audible.

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1

I’m personally not a huge fan of the narrator’s voice here, but the kids loved it, and the narration did grow on me after a while as we drove. Our 12 year old son, in particular, loves all Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books so this one was a natural for us. A nice bonus is that most of the books in this series can stand on their own, so you’re not forced to listen to every single one of them.

Written by: Rick Riordan

Narrated by: Jesse Bernstein

Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians

Listen to a sample of The Lightning Thief here.

Check out the complete Percy Jackson and the Olympians series here.

Isle of the Lost: A Descendants Prequel

I really enjoyed the narration in this story about the children of evil villains banished to the Isle of the Lost. Will definitely be a hit with classic Disney movie lovers.

by Melissa De La Cruz

Narrated By Sophia Carson

Series: Descendants

Listen here.

The Field Guide: The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book 1

This is a special treat, as it’s narrated by the rich voice of Mark Hamill and it’s a childhood classic.

Written by: Tony DiTerlizzi, Holly Black

Narrated by: Mark Hamill

Series: The Spiderwick Chronicles

Hear a sample of The Spiderwick Chronicles here.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Books One, Two, and Three

This is a great value, as it has three books in one, and over 16 hours of audiobook.

Written by: Kathryn Lasky

Narrated by: Pamela Garelick

Get it on Audible here.

Peter and the Starcatchers

My husband, Charles, loved this take on the Peter Pan origins story and its read by the fantastic Jim Dale, the same person who does the Harry Potter series. The kids enjoyed it as well.

Written by: Dave Barry and Ridler Pearson

Narrated by: Jim Dale

Hear a sample of Peter and the Starcatchers here.

See all the books in the Peter and the Starcatchers series here.

Audio books for younger kids

While most audiobooks for little kids can be about as much fun as nails on a chalkboard for parents, these children’s audio books should keep the adults happy as well.

Treasury of Classic Children’s Stories

This is an especially great choice for nostalgic parents, but the kids will love these classic stories as well. Jack and the Beanstalk narrated by John Ritter is especially good.

Written by: Oscar Wilde, Brothers Grimm

Narrated by: Audrey Hepburn, John Ritter, Sharon Stone, Orson Welles

Listen to a sample here.

The Ralph S. Mouse Audio Collection

This is the story of a mouse always on the lookout for more excitement.

Written by: Beverly Cleary, Tracy Dockray

Narrated by: B.D. Wong

Get it on Audible here.

Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies

If you love Julie Andrews, this is the collection for you and your little one. It’s as lovely and charming as you’d imagine.

Written by: Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews

Narrated by: Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews

Listen to Julie Andrews’ Collection here.

Audiobooks for the adults

While listening with the kids is a lot of fun, I’ve started to become a real fan of audiobooks on my own.

I spend hours on the computer each day, and while I love the ease of reading on my Kindle, I do sometimes want to give my eyes a rest. My favorite time to listen to audiobooks is when I’m lying in bed, relaxing before sleep.

Just for fun, I’ve included a few of our top picks for adult fiction and non-fiction.


The Handmaid’s Tale: Special Edition

Hurry and download this, as it’s FREE with the launch of Audible Canada, but mostly because this is an extraordinary audiobook. The Handmaid’s Tale is by one of my very favorite Canadian authors, Margaret Attwood. I read it first years ago, and it both touched and shook me deeply. Claire Danes is nuanced and sympathetic as the main narrator.

Written by: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin – essay

Narrated by: Margaret Atwood, Claire Danes, Ray Porter, Tim Gerard Reynolds, full cast

Get the Haindmaid’s Tale here!

Stephen King. It.

Full disclosure here – I’m too much of a wimp to listen to this, but I kind of want to. It’s been sitting on my wishlist for a while.

Written by: Stephen King

Narrated by: Steven Weber

Get It here.

Non Fiction and Entrepreneurship

Besides for this blog, we also operate several other websites, and we’re always looking at branching out the business into other areas. Needless to say, I read a lot of non-fiction geared toward entrepreneurs and business owners.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I’ve been struggling a bit with getting in touch with my creative side lately. While I’m a little too analytical to agree with all of Elizabeth Gilbert’s assertions here, this audiobook is beautifully crafted and has plenty of insights.

Written by: Elizabeth Gilbert

Narrated by: Elizabeth Gilbert

Listen to a sample of Big Magic on Audible.

The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth

Now, I don’t take everything James Altucher says to heart, but he is exceptionally good at getting you to view the world from different angles.

Written by: James Altucher

Narrated by: James Altucher

Get it on Audible.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Despite the title, there’s not as much swearing in this as you’d expect. Mark Manson is direct, and an easy listen. My favorite part is his discussion of how we all need Truth Panda in our lives.

Written by: Mark Manson

On Audible here.

About Audible membership plans for Canada

You can order books on Audible without a monthly membership, but I’m actually a fan of the monthly membership.

An Audible membership is FREE for 30 days. Click here to sign up for free!

After 30 days, membership is $14.95 per month. That $14.95 per month gives you 1 credit for a month. That credit is good for any audiobook, at any price.

You keep your audiobooks even if you cancel. If you want to buy more books, you save 30% on any additional purchases.

I especially love this last part – you can exchange any audiobooks you don’t love, anytime. Sure, there’s a five minute sample of an audiobook you can listen to, which is great, but it’s possible to get further into a book and decide you don’t like the book or narrator. In that case, just exchange the audiobook. Easy!

Common Audible questions

When we first started with Audible, I had quite a few questions about how it works.

Do I need to have Internet access to use Audible?

If you choose to stream your audiobooks, you need Internet access whenever you want to listen to them. However, if you choose to download your audiobooks, you only need Internet access for your download and then you don’t need Internet access when you listen to your audiobooks.

Can I download my Audible books?

Yes! The easiest way to download your audiobooks is to go to the Audible Canada library page and click the Download button.

How do I listen to Audible?

You can listen to Audible on your Smartphone, tablet or computer. You can also download audiobooks.

Can I listen to Audible books in my car?

Of course. There are several ways to do this. The easiest way, if you have a car that has Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, is plugging your phone into your USB port and following some simple instructions.

You can also use Bluetooth to stream your Audible book to your car stereo.

Can I use a USB stick to play Audible books in my car?

Our car stereo has a USB port, but it’s an older stereo, so it isn’t enabled to play automatically from Audible.

If this is your case too, you can use a FM transmitter that plugs into your device to broadcast from Audible through the USB plug.

Have you tried Audible? Let us know what you think!

the best audiobooks for family road trips

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Why I Love My Kindle for International Travel Sun, 10 Sep 2017 17:00:00 +0000 affiliate disclosure

As a family that both reads and travels a lot, sometimes you need to make hard choices.

The sad reality is that it’s gotten almost impossible to carry real books with us. On our last trip, both of our kids read the entire Harry Potter series from start to finish. Can you imagine hauling around all seven of those books for three months through South America? No. Thank. You.

Thankfully, we have an Amazon Kindle for international travel and these days, each of us travels with our entire book collection on our e-readers.

We have an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite, and love it. You can see the Paperwhite on Amazon here.

Why I love my Kindle for International Travel

Kindle Paperwhite ereader and a beautiful view!

Kindle Bundles !

I’m eyeing up these three Kindle Bundles options. Not only are you getting a Kindle at a great price but these bundles include covers, a kindle and an power adapter.

Kindle Essential Bundle

Kindle Paperwhite Essential Bundle

Kindle Paperwhite Travel Bundle

Kindle vs tablet for international travel

We’re all about traveling light, so I struggled at first with bringing extra devices in our carry-on only for our family of four. However, once I spent some time using an ereader, I quickly began to prefer the Kindle to trying to read on my tablet or my smart phone.

I can have 1,000 plus books on a Kindle that weighs about the same as a deck of cards. I can also read as much as I want (the battery lasts weeks!) no matter where I am. Whether that’s on long-haul flights, waiting in the airport, sitting by the pool or even relaxing by the lake.

My daughter reading by Okanagan Lake in British Columbia

E-ink really does look like ink from a book and Kindle’s have a great selection of fonts I can choose from, including Kindle’s own exclusive Bookerly font. I can also easily increase or decrease the font size and spacing and everyone in the family enjoys setting up their devices the way they like them.

The Kindle Paperwhite is so much lighter than even our lightest tablet and is really easy to hold. I also don’t get distracted by email, Facebook, Netflix or any of the other million apps out there so I get more quality reading time in. A bonus is that I know that when the kids are reading they’re actually reading and not playing games or watching Youtube videos.

No glare to strain my eyes

I also like to spend a lot of time outdoors, and glare makes reading in sunlight or poolside almost impossible on a tablet. Reading in bright light poolside on the Kindle is effortless with its no-glare screen.

It doesn’t help that my family has a history of macular degeneration, so I want to avoid eye strain and blue light from computer screens as much as I can. With no glare or harsh light I don’t have to worry about eye strain with the Kindle. The Kindle is lit from the front, gently reflecting the light back to me.

That’s why it’s also great for night time reading. The Paperwhite has four built in LED lights with a front light that gently lights the surface of the display and doesn’t strain my eyes. Unlike the back-lit tablets that tire my eyes out quickly, I can read the Kindle for hours without tiring. Even with the built in lights fully on!

I even use the glow light when it’s not that dark, since it helps with visibility and doesn’t consume too much power. If you’ve never tried an e-book reader with a built in light, run, don’t walk to a store and get one. It’s literally night and day better!

High end screen

To me, the screen is probably the most important part of an e-reader. I spend a lot of time on my laptop working, or on my smartphone, and the last thing I need to do is stare at something else that strains my eyes. At 300 ppi, the resolution on my Kindle Paperwhite rivals any high end tablet or smart phone and the writing is clear and easy to read.

Not only is it easy to read but the Kindle display is very responsive to finger taps and swipes. I can easily change pages, highlight a word to check out or make an annotation.

Crazy long battery life

Seriously, the battery on the Paperwhite can last six weeks. Weeks! That’s based on half an hour a day of reading however it charges quickly (four hours) with a standard micro USB cable and your everyday Android or Apple charger. If the battery does die, you can plug it in for five minutes to give you about an hour of reading.

Kindle for international travel use

You can buy books in the Amazon Kindle Store if you live outside the United States and use a Kindle. Depending on the country you’re in, you may need to buy from an international Amazon Marketplace like Amazon Canada or Amazon UK. There’s more info on Amazon here.

Kindle with free 3G

I can’t talk about the Kindle for travel without mentioning the Kindle 3G. If you buy a Kindle with 3G, it comes with Wi-Fi and built-in FREE 3G wireless connectivity with coverage in more than 100 countries and territories.  You’ll pay a bit more, of course, but it may be a great option if you travel often without WiFi available. See the Kindle Paperwhite with 3G.

Tip: If 3G isn’t available in your location, you can always use standard built in Wi-Fi.

Where I get my Kindle books

The fastest way to get books on your Kindle is through Amazon’s Kindle store.  There are millions of books available, from best sellers to nonfiction to travel books (my favorite)! Be sure to check out the daily deals and price drops!

You can search and buy new books directly on your Kindle (via Wifi or 3g) or can browse on your computer, a tablet or your smart phone and get them sent directly to the device.

If you’re looking for a great deal, check out the free and low-cost books. There are some fantastic reads on there!

Go to the Kindle store. 

Free books with Amazon Prime

I’m seriously thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime just for the ebook bonuses.

Amazon Prime members can read as much as they want from over 1000 books, magazine, comics, Kindle singles plus more. It comes with a free 30 day trial. Some other great benefits include free shipping on over 50 million items, video streaming, and audio books with Audible.

Find out more about Amazon Prime here.

Do you use an e-reader for international travel? What do you think? Let us know!

Using a Kindle for International Travel Kindle for International Travel ]]> 2
Ask the Expert: The Five Best Travel Tripods For DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:00:00 +0000

Today’s guest post is by Mark Condon, a Sydney based photographer from the UK. We’ve been meaning to write a post on the best travel tripods for DSLR and mirrorless cameras for a while, and we thought bringing in an expert would be the best way to go. After all, who knows more about the best lightweight DSLR or mirrorless tripods for travel than someone who uses them for a living?

Here’s what Mark has to say about the best travel tripods.

Before we dive headfirst into the world of our three-legged friends, you should ask yourself, do I really need to take a tripod on my next trip?

In most situations, even if you need a steady shot (for a long exposure night shot, or for a selfie with your family etc), you’ll usually be able to find a level place to put your camera to achieve the same thing. Lugging a tripod around on holiday, even if it is one of the best travel tripods, isn’t my idea of fun!

Having said that, for those of you who really need a tripod in your travel backpack, these are my picks of the five best travel tripods for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras available this year.

Let me know in the comments what tripod you’re currently using!

Joby GorillaPod Focus Flexible Tripod

Whilst every other tripod manufacturer concentrates on making lightweight tripods with rigid legs, Joby has been turning the rulebook upside down for years with this little gem of a tripod that was built to flex. Wrap the legs of the GorillaPod around anything you want to shoot that a rigid leg tripod can only dream about!

Micki’s note: We just bought the Joby GorrillaPod a few months ago, and we’ve been having a blast with it. It’s surprisingly sturdy, and it’s a lot of fun to tote around our little Canon SL1 Rebel DSLR on this. We end up using the GorrillaPod more than our larger MeFOTO Roadtrip tripod because it’s simply smaller, lighter and more convenient, especially when we’re trying to take photos with the family in tow.

Check Joby GorillaPod Focus Flexible Tripod prices on Amazon.

MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod/Monopod

Multi-function should be the name of the game for all your travel gadgets, and the MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip achieves this with its neat ability to switch from a tripod to a monopod. Choose from fourteen colors (9 aluminium and 5 carbon fiber), then smile all the way through customs since the MeFoto weighs only 1.6 kg – quite respectable for a tripod that extends up to 156 cm tall.

Micki’s note: We also own the MeFOTO Roadtrip tripod and love it. It may only weigh 3.6 pounds (around 1.6 kg), but we honestly find it a bit bulky to take along for most of our trips, especially since we try to travel carry-on only for our family of four. That said, the RoadTrip is wonderfully sturdy, easy to set up and use, and stylish. We use it mostly for short trips around our home base in Kelowna, BC. We have the red MeFOTO Roadtrip.

See reviews and prices for the MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip Travel Tripod.

Manfrotto BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod

From the Italian tripod manufacturer Manfrotto comes the Manfrotto BeFree Compact, with my favourite feature – flip-lever-locking legs (as opposed to twist to lock). Sliding each leg into itself and rotating it 180 degrees back on itself allows the legs to nestle neatly into the grooves of the sides of the ballhead. This kind of design is unique to the Manfrotto BeFree, and is testament to the attention of detail of Manfrotto products.

See Manfrotto BeFree Compact Aluminum Travel Tripod prices here.

ZOMEI Z699C Portable Carbon Tripod

Even though aluminium gives the best bang for the buck when it comes to price vs features with tripods, carbon fiber is definitely the gold standard. Usually the price of carbon fiber pushes it out of reach, but this isn’t so with the ZOMEI Z699C. For a relatively unheard of brand, this travel tripod has an impressive feature set, and an even more impressive price! If you’re willing to try something new, the ZOMEI Z699C is the most affordable way to get a carbon fiber lightweight travel tripod into your backpack.

More info and prices on ZOMEI Z699C Portable Carbon Tripod here.

Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod

The aforementioned GorillaPod isn’t the only ultra-compact tripod on the block. If you’re not a fan of the GP’s bendy legs, then the Pedco UltraPod II really is your next best choice. Weighing in at a carry on friendly 119 g, the Pedco UltraPod II can just about fit in your jacket pocket, but allows an impressive 2.7 kg load to be supported to provide a stable shot (i.e. more than enough for a mirrorless camera + lens).

See Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight Camera Tripod prices and reviews here.

Best travel tripods for DSLRs and mirrorless cameras for 2017

So there you have it, a short and sweet selection of some of the best travel tripods for dslrs and mirrorless cameras available in 2017. To recap, they include the Joby GorillaPod Focus, the MeFOTO Aluminum Roadtrip, the Manfrotto BeFree Compact Aluminum, the ZOMEI Z699C Portable Carbon and the Pedco UltraPod II Lightweight tripod.

If you want to dig deeper into the best travel tripods (and find out other models that made the cut), you can head over to Mark’s dedicated camera gear site While you’re there, be sure to check out his most popular posts on everything from the best mirrorless cameras to the best camera bags to the best camera straps. All information that you will find useful for your next travel adventure.

Bio: Aside from running Shotkit, Mark Condon is a wedding photographer and author of the popular ebook, More Brides, helping fellow wedding photographers book more weddings. Follow Shotkit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The best travel tripod for DSLR and mirrorless cameras |travel tripod dslr | travel tripod backpacker | travel tripod digital cameras

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