Tech – The Barefoot Nomad Travel. Tech. Family. Fun. Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:40:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 GoToob+ Review – Travel Containers For Toiletries: Are They Worth it? Sat, 24 Mar 2018 05:00:00 +0000 It’s no secret, we travel a lot, and no matter where we go, liquids are always a bother to take along. If we take tiny half ounce hotel-sized shampoos, we seem to run out far too quickly, plus they have a nasty tendency to pop open in our luggage. On top of that, it’s a huge bother to try to refill those tiny bottles with our favorite shampoo and conditioner.

Enter these little GoToob+ silicone travel bottles made by San Francisco company humangear.

Sure, the GoToobs are cute as all heck, but they’re also designed to be easy to refill, spill resistant and fairly rugged, so we decided to give them a try.

We tested out the medium 3.5 oz GoToob+, plus the 6.0z GooToob+ large.

GoToob large and medium

GoToob+ Review – Travel Containers For Toiletries

We tested out our new GoToobs+ on a family road trip down through Washington State, Oregon and along the west coast into Canada, plus we used them on several day trips around town. Our kids had a lot of fun trying them out for liquids the first few days as well!

Our first impressions

There’s no getting around it: the containers are cute.

They come in several colors, and they’re made of a soft, squeezable silicone that feels good in the hand. The lids snap on and off easily, and they seem to be well made.

Find out more about the GooToob+.

GoToob 3 pack in packaging

Are the GoToob’s easy to fill?

The new GoToob+ has a 25% bigger opening than the GoToob original, making them easier to refill.

GoToob+ refill opening

Plus, and this is pretty cool, you can just squeeze the GoToob+ to get a flat bottom, making them easy to stand up and refill hands free.

GoToob standing on end

Are the GoTube+ spill proof?

Well, nothing’s truly leak proof, but these do come pretty close. The cap has an opening with a special no-drip valve that keeps liquids from running out until they’re squeezed.

GoToob valve

There’s also a snap cap that goes on the top, with a LoopLock that snaps on over it. Taken together, this creates a pretty tight seal.

That said, the folks at humangear suggest storing your GoToob bottles in a plastic ziplock bag as an extra layer of safety, just in case of extreme changes in air pressure, or in case the bottles accidentally get crushed. We’ve been doing that with all our liquids for years and it’s compulsory if you’re taking them as carry-on anyway.

Can you use GoToob’s for carry-on?

The smaller GoToobs are 3-1-1 compliant, meaning that they’re under 3.4 oz (100 ml), and you can carry them in your carry-on baggage.

The large 6.0 oz GoToobs we tried are too large for carry on, but they’d be great travel containers for liquids in checked baggage.

How do the GoToob+’s perform?

I really love that the outside of these containers isn’t slippery and slick. They’re easy to hold onto in the shower, plus they fit nicely on shower shelves or on the side of the tub.

They also dispense a nice amount of shampoo or conditioner with a gentle squeeze. The opening isn’t so big that shampoo comes gushing out too fast, which has been a problem with other containers I’ve used in the past. Instead, the GoToobs seem to be able to handle both watery liquids like shampoo and thicker liquids like lotions.

New with the GoToob+ is a LoopLock that makes it easy to hang in the shower, or hang off a backpack.

GoToob+ LoopLock

They seem to be pretty sturdy and well made, and even after a week’s use by our nine year old, they looked as good as new. There’s also a lifetime warranty just in case anything goes wrong.

What happened to the suction cup?

The original GoToob came with a suction cup, but the new GoToob+ doesn’t. Instead, it’s been replaced with a LoopLock, which lets you hang the GoToob in the shower. We hear some reports that the suction cups would occasionally come unstuck in the shower, so I think the LoopLock is a good change.

GoToob in pack

What can you store in your GoToob?

You can put almost any travel toiletry liquid in your GoToob+. We use ours for lotion, shampoo and conditioner, but you can also use them for toothpaste or other lotions,

Can you use a GoToob for water or food?

You can even use your GoToobs for food and drinks, since the tubes are made from BPA-Free and FDA food-safe silicone.

In fact, our kids claimed two of our GoToobs immediately as juice bottles and super sour concoction carriers. They’ve been using them ever since. You could easily use them as ketchup or mustard bottles, too.

GoToob large in package

GoToob large

How do you clean a GoToob?

You can clean the GoToob+ tubes themselves and the collars in the top rack of the dishwashers, but the flip caps should be hand washed in warm, soapy water.

GoToob+ Price

You’ll definitely pay more for a brand name like humangear’s GoToob+ than an knock off brand.

That said, the GoToob+ is certified BPA free and FDA food grade silicone, which is great to know. Plus, the brand name GoToobs have a few cool features, like the flat bottom for easy refills, large opening for refills, the locking loop, and a lifetime warranty.

Our tips to organize your travel toiletries for carry on with GoToobs containers. They're cute, leak resistant, and great for storage for beauty products, shampoo and more. Are you travel toiletries a hot mess? I got organized with these cute little GoToob travel accessories containers.


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Busbud Review: How to Book Bus Tickets Online The Quick and Easy Way Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:00:00 +0000 In this post, we review Busbud, a website that lets you search and book bus tickets online from hundreds of bus companies worldwide.

Imagine this.

You’re in the middle of a foreign country, with absolutely no idea how to say anything other than hello and thank you in the local language, but you know from numerous travel forums that the cheapest and easiest way to get to a certain city is to just take the bus.

Sounds simple right?

Unfortunately, the local online bus site you want to buy your tickets from won’t take foreign credit cards or even worse, requires a local government issued ID number. Well, at least you still feel good because you did a decent job using Google Translate to get you through all the steps since they don’t even use the same alphabet as you. It’s not your fault. It just isn’t possible to book a ticket online.

The easy way to save money traveling or backpacking by using Busbud to book bus tickets online #travel #traveltips

Next option.

Head down to the bus station and just pick up your tickets in person. No problem, jump in a taxi and pantomime your destination to the taxi driver, while continuously saying what you think is the proper local term for bus station. The taxi driver just looks at you like you’re crazy until you point to a passing bus and nod vigorously.

Away you finally go, already exhausted before you even left the parking lot and still wondering what the proper term for bus station is.

Before you know it, you look up and there you are. That was faster than expected. Wait, wasn’t it supposed to be across from a park?

Xcaret sign at lagoon Xplor Canada Alaska

The wrong bus station

Oops, this happens to be the local bus station he drops you off at. You need to get to the long distance bus station on the outskirts of town.

Never giving up, you jump into another taxi and go through it all again. However, for some inexplicable reason, this taxi driver understands exactly where you want to go. You swear you used the exact same word for it before. Maybe it’s the intonation?

This time however, it takes a lot longer than you expected to get to the bus station. As you watch the taxi meter slowly rising and, knowing you still have to get back to your hotel afterwards, you see your bus savings going right out the window.

Finally, you arrive at the bus station you wanted. You look around and it’s way bigger than you expected. There are dozens of buses pulling in a out and hundreds of people moving this way and that. It takes you 10 minutes just to figure out where you need to go and, as you line up, dozens of impatient looking people instantly queue behind you.

The Busbud app

Lost in translation

You finally get to the window and you can already read the panic in the ticket agent’s face. She knows you don’t speak her language and she obviously doesn’t know yours. This is going to be fun. Not.

You start to explain where you want to go but it doesn’t seem to get through. They finally give up and call for a friend or a manager to come help. The people behind you are starting to get really impatient.

Miraculously, the new person knows enough of your language to figure out what you want. The problem? They only allow booking a day in advance and you want to leave in three days. You get them to write things down because damned if you’re going through all this again in two days.

You get back into another cab and head back to wherever you’re staying. Not broken but definitely spiraling in an ever widening hole of lost in translation.

Sound familiar? I swear this exact scenario has happened to us dozens of times over the years. It’s actually uncanny how eerily similar each time has been.

Luckily, a new company has decided to step up to the plate and make bus travel as easy for the masses as booking a flight or renting a car. You know, online, in your own language, with just a regular credit card.

Thanks to Busbud, bus travel has never been easier. My only complaint? Why didn’t this company exist 20 years ago? It would have solved so many problems for us.

Check out Busbud here.

Busbud computer search

Busbud Review

As of right now, Busbud deals with over 1,500 bus companies connecting over 16,000 cities across 75 countries with millions of bus routes between them all. The best part, they’re growing at a ridiculously fast rate and if they don’t cover the country or area you’re looking at, I’m sure they soon will be.

Based out of Montreal, Canada, CEO LP Maurice decided that there needs to be an easier way to book buses. Like us, he had spent time in South America and realized that there had to be a better way to get around.

When he got back from his travels, he partnered with two of his old friends, Mike Gradek and Frederic Thouin and together they started designing Busbud. With over 30 employees and counting, the Busbud company is growing as fast as they’re adding new bus routes.

Bus on Highway 60 at Lake of Two River Algonquin Park Ontario Canada

Busbud bus routes

Now I know Busbud has Canada and the USA well covered however, those aren’t as important to us as bus routes further abroad. I will admit that it is much nicer to have all the bus routes covered on one site rather than having to jump around from bus company to bus company in Canada and the States so kudos to Busbud for that alone.

The real test however, is seeing how well we could have used them on past bus trips around the world. Here is our Busbud review of bus routes we’ve taken in the past.

How to Book Bus Tickets Online

We tried three test routes to take Busbud through its paces.

Test #1 – Bus route from Malagas to Tarifa, Spain

For the first example, I’m going to look at how easy it is to book a bus with Busbud from Malaga down to Tarifa in Spain. This is the bus route we took when we headed to Tarifa and, from there, took a ferry across the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangiers in Morocco (northern Africa) and then finally took an overnight train down to Marrakesh.

Walking by the train in Marrakech Morocco

Walking by the train in Marrakech Morocco

Typing in a location on the Busbud website is quick and easy and it surprisingly enters the cities as I type them in. That’s a good sign that the city is in their database. I chose five days out from today since that’s about as far ahead as we normally plan our small jumps. The best part about bus travel is that outside of major holidays, you rarely have to book much in advance.

The Busbud search takes a good 30 seconds as it scans all the bus lines in the area and calculates fares. I finally get two options; a morning option and an evening one.

Busbud Malaga to Tarifa search result

The morning one makes the most sense so I click to see more details. Busbud tells me the bus class and what amenities that bus includes such as air conditioning, whether there is a toilet on board and what kind of entertainment I can look forward to.

Busbud Malaga to Tarifa search result with details

After selecting the route I wanted, I’m presented with a screen asking for my information. The page also lists all the bus rules and regulations. I have to say the Busbud website is quite clean and well laid out here.

Busbud Malaga to Tarifa booking screenshot

This screen also includes everything from baggage allowances to their cancellation policy. Nothing jumps out as odd and the fare is $27.47 CAD with a $6.59 fee. Not too bad and pretty much what the local bus charges minus the Busbud fee.

Test #2 – Bus route from Nerja to Alicante, Spain for two adults and two kids

This next test I wanted to see how Busbud deals with families. Booking a family together on a bus trip is often trickier than a single fare so let’s see how Busbud handles it.

It was a bit of pain figuring out how to get all the family to Alicante, Spain from the little white village of Nerja where we stayed for a month a few years ago. We finally just decided it was easier to rent a car and drive up. The problem? There were way more toll highways than we expected. Turns out it might have been cheaper for us all to just jump on a bus.

After typing in my options on the Busbud webpage and watching it cycle through all the available bus companies in the area, Busbud listed all the same routes as the local bus company. Busbud’s prices, minus their fee, seems right on track with the other bus lines. This bodes well for those hoping to save a few pennies by busing rather than flying or driving.

 Nerja to Alicante busbud search results screenshot

The only thing I noticed was that Busbud appears to charge full price for children while the local bus companies give children a discount on this route. It wasn’t a huge savings but it’s there none the less. It would seem that if you’re traveling with a family you need to be aware of child discounts, otherwise it could end up costing you a few more dollars for the convenience of using Busbud than strictly for adults.

Little girl walking through the white village of Nerja

Our little girl walking through the white village of Nerja, Spain

Test #3 – Bus route from Quito to Guyaquil, Ecuador

Another recent trip we did where we looked heavily into busing options was down in Ecuador. We were in the capital, Quito and needed to get over to the Galapagos Islands. Flights out of Guyaquil were much cheaper than Quito at the time so we toyed with the idea of taking an overnight bus to Guyaquil and flying out from there. We had just gotten back from our Amazon adventure and were a little burnt out so decided to forgo the bus and just pay a little more for our flight directly from Quito.

Like the other two scenarios, Busbud pulled up similar routes and timetables to the local options however I can quickly see that the Busbud site is a lot easier to navigate compared to most bus lines websites. Did I mention it wasn’t in Spanish either? That’s a huge bonus since my Spanish no está bien. At under $20 CAD, even with taxes and fees, we would have saved $50 a person had we gone that route instead. Of course, we also didn’t have to sleep on a bus…

Marine Iguana on Isabela Island Galapagos

Marine iguana on Isabela Island Galapagos

Test #4 – Bus route from Goreme to Istanbul, Turkey

After hot air ballooning in Turkey’s famed Cappadocia region, we needed to get back to Istanbul so we could fly back to Canada. After taking the bus from Bodrum to beautiful Pamukkale to check out the travertine springs and then onward to Goreme, we weren’t really minding Turkish buses. We were all set to bus it all the way back to Istanbul but we got a great price on a last minute Airbnb rental in Istanbul and decided to save time and just fly there.

That said, the Goreme to Istanbul bus route is very popular among travelers wanting to save a few dollars. After I plugged the info in, Busbud gave me a single overnight option. That isn’t too much different than the other bus sites and in a way, simplifies your choices. At $24.65 CAD all in, that really shows you how cheap it is to get around there. Considering that the bus lines I looked for don’t even display in English there, you know who I would book with.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque in Istanbul

Busbud E-tickets and printing requirements

As long term travelers, there’s not much more annoying than trying to get something printed out when you’re out and about. I don’t know how many times we’ve had to search for an internet cafe or ask our hotel or hostel if they offered a printing service. Sometimes it was free to print and sometimes it cost us a few dollars but never once has it been convenient.

On the Bus to Raft Arkanasas River in Colorado

On the Bus to Raft Arkanasas River in Colorado

With Busbud, it seems most bus companies allow you to simply present your e-ticket and identification when you get to the bus station or when boarding. A few, like New York Trailways, still require a pre-printed ticket but for most, all you need to do is show them the ticket Busbud has emailed you after you purchased so all you need is your smart phone or tablet and you’re good to go. No paper wasted and even more importantly, no crazy rushing around an hour before departure trying to figure out where to get your ticket printed. Modern technology for the win!

Is Busbud reliable? Busbud refunds for bus tickets

One of the nicest things about Busbud is their simple refund process. I couldn’t even imagine trying to get a refund for a bus ticket in some of the countries we’ve visited in the past. Based on lack of communication in our language meant just getting the correct bus tickets in the first place was a near Herculean task. Trying to get them to give our money back would have been a nightmare and anytime we’ve had a last minute change of plans we just swallowed the cost.

With that said, Busbud can refund a good portion of bus tickets with just a few clicks. The best part? Most bus tickets are 100% refundable within 48 hours notice of departure and it drops slightly the closer you are to departure time.  On a few of the tickets I checked above, you can get 80% of your ticket price back 2 hours before departure. That’s crazy! I wish airplane tickets were as forgiving.

Conversion differences with other currencies

One of the best things about Busbud is that it charges everything in your local currency. What this means is the price you see when you go to pay is the exact amount that will be charged to your credit card.

In terms of currency conversion, you never know exactly what your final bill will be when you buy something in another currency since it’s not only based on the day’s currency valuation (set by Visa and Mastercard) but also the bank fees that your credit card might charge as well. In Canada, nearly every single credit card includes a hidden 2.5% bank conversion fee and many banks around the world charge the same. What that means is that when you book with Busbud, what you see is what you pay, which is a good thing and can help offset Busbud’s small fee.

pound currency pxby

Busbud’s fees and my final Busbud review

To say that Busbud operates their website out of the goodness of their heart would be a stretch however their fees seem to be inline with most services these days. I saw fees that ranged anywhere from 10% to 20% on the dozen or so routes I looked into which would be huge if we were talking about air travel however for the $15 cross country tickets that exist in many locations around the globe, that only amounts to a few dollars difference.

If you want the convenience of easily searching out bus routes in both your language and currency, then you know there’s always going to be a cost. Busbud simplifies the selections, provides clear information including prices, schedules, bus service classes, amenities and even gives you mini maps of the bus station locations themselves. They also let you easily cancel your tickets and, more importantly, offer easy refunds for many of their routes.

For a fairly new company, Busbud is on their way to not only simplifying booking bus travel around the world but also in helping travelers access remote places that previously only die hard backpackers and locals ever tread. I look forward to their ever growing expansion and know that I’ll be booking my next bus travel via their clean and simple site.

If that means no more confusing taxi rides while trying to mime a bus station then so be it. I’d rather book my bus trip from the comfort of my hotel room and spend the afternoon checking out the local sights anyway.

Check out the Busbud site here.

They also have a free Apple app you can find here and a free Google app you can find here.

Have you tried Busbud before? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

How to save money on travel with Busbud online bus tickets #travel #traveltips

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The Best Travel Toiletry Bag: Which One is Perfect for You? Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000 Having trouble keeping your things organized when you travel? If so, we’ve found the very best travel toiletry bags to help keep you organized while on the road.

Like many of you, we always have packing cubes and a great laptop backpack to keep our important stuff like clothes and electronics together, but it’s easy to forget smaller things like toiletries when you pack.

If you don’t have a good toiletry bag to store your cosmetics or shaving kit in, you’re just asking for headaches. A good toiletry bag can help keep everything in one place, and also keep those inevitable spills contained whether you’re going on a short beach vacation, or a year long trip backpacking the world.

Interested in only a specific section? Click one of the links below to jump to the toiletry bag review section you want.

Compare the best travel toiletries bag 2018

Toiletry bagImageTypePriceOur rating /10
eBags Pack-it-Flat Toiletry Kithanging9.5
IQTravels Dopp kitcase9.0
ROWNYEON Mini Makeup Train Case

train case8.5
Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Baghanging9.0
eBags Portage Toiletry Kithanging8.5
CHICECO Large Makeup Bag Toiletry Bag
Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer
N. Gil Large Travel Cosmetic Pouch Bag
HOYOFO Barrel Travel Cosmetic Bag

TUZZ TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag

clear/TSA compliant8.0
Yamui TSA Approved Toiletry Bagclear/TSA compliant8.0

What to look for in a toiletry bag

When you’re looking into a new toiletry bag, there are numerous features you need to think about. Not only is it going to be pulled out every morning and night but it has to work with your travel lifestyle. Here’s a few things to look for when comparing and reviewing toiletry bags.

The ability to hang

Hanging toiletry bags are fantastic, because they’re almost always designed so that you can easily see what’s inside, and access all of the compartments once hung. This means that you don’t need to pack and repack your bag, saving time and hassle. They do require a place to hung from however most bathrooms have towel racks or hangers behind the door. The nice part is they don’t require a big counter to sit on and you don’t have to worry about them getting wet while sitting there. That said, they can be awkward to deal with if you can’t hang them properly.

Easy to clean

Even if you pack carefully, it’s almost inevitable something will eventually spill in your kit. Bags with plastic lining are the best to clean, and bags that dry quickly after cleaning are a great choice as well. If you’re using a carry-on, getting some refillable silicone bottles like the new 100ml humangear GoToob+ Travel Bottle with Locking Cap  is a great idea.


Suitable for flying

Since the TSA requires travelers to pack all liquids in a resealable plastic bag, I make sure my 3-1-1 resealable quart size plastic bag can easily fit inside my travel toiletry kit. That way, it’s a breeze to pre-pack the plastic bag, put the bag in my toiletry kit, and just pull out the plastic bag when going through security screening.

Plenty of pockets

Toiletry bags hold an interesting array of things, from tweezers, razors and scissors to shampoo, perfume and lotions. They can also hold medication and toothbrushes so it’s handy to have plenty of little compartments to keep this all organized.


From leather and plastic to waterproof canvas, choosing the right fabric for your toiletry bag kit will ensure it lives up to your lifestyle. While leather looks great and is durable, it may get damaged if it gets wet. Conversely, some plastics fade or tear with age though are great to clean while canvas style fabrics are great for durability but may fail in the cleaning department. The trick is to match your bag fabric to your lifestyle.


If you’re an ultralight backpacker, you’ll want a small toiletry bag, while a large toiletry bag would be a great fit if you carry a lot of makeup or grooming products and tend to check your bags thereby space isn’t a premium.

Best travel makeup bag

The best travel cosmetic bag is a pretty individual choice. It depends a lot on your style and how many toiletries and accessories, like curling irons, you carry in your vanity bag. We’ve found what we think are the best women travel toiletry bags, though (of course!) men may love them too. They’re all water resistant on the outside, large enough to carry plenty of makeup and accessories, and all work well for travel.

We’ve picked the very best travel toiletry bags for women, including the train case, clutch, pouch, bucket or barrel, and hanging bag.

CHICECO Large Makeup Bag Review

The CHICECO Large Makeup Bag is a cute, large stylish clutch style travel makeup toiletry bag, with a gold color zipper that comes in several colors, including black, dark purple, grey, pink, and turquoise.

The outside is waterproof and easy to clean, though the lining is made of a non water repellent fabric. If something spills inside, you will need to wash the bag.

It’s one of the larger travel cosmetic bags at 10″x 7″x 4″. There’s plenty of room inside for your many liquids, hairbrushes, makeup, and more. It’s even large enough to fit an iPad Air in. Inside, there’s a zippered pocket (perfect for small items like tweezers and eyeliner pencil sharpeners) as well as a couple of smaller pockets for small items like lipstick.

See price and colors.

CHICECO Large Makeup Bag Review

CHICECO Large Makeup Bag

ROWNYEON Mini Makeup Train Case Makeup Organizer Bag Review

The zippered ROWNYEON Train Case bag is waterproof, with a spill proof interior, and it comes in black, blue and pink. The inside is packed with adjustable dividers that are perfect for creating a custom design to protect your cosmetics and perfumes, plus a top brush holder with a zippered pocket.

There’s a hand strap, and large sized at 10.2″ x 9.1″x 3.5″. It’s a fantastic choice for someone with a boatload of toiletries, as it keeps them organized and neat on the road.

We’ve included this in the ladies’ travel toiletry bags section, but it could easily be used for men’s toiletries and a shaving kit.

Click here to see price and more.

ROWNYEON Mini Makeup Train Case Makeup Organizer Bag Review

ROWNYEON Mini Makeup Train Case Makeup Organizer Bag

HOYOFO Bucket Barrel Travel Cosmetics Bag Review

If you like bucket bags, the HOYOFO Barrel toiletry bag is a great choice.

It comes in blue or pink, and it’s washable with a waterproof coating. This bathroom bag itself is 6.7″ x 9.1″ and also comes with a matching mini zipper storage bag (5.5″ x 3.1″) and a plastic pouch for makeup brushes.

There’a drawstring closure, with three mesh pockets inside.

Click to see prices and more.

HOYOFO Bucket Barrel Travel Cosmetics Bag Review

HOYOFO Bucket Barrel Travel Cosmetics Bag

N. Gil Large Travel Cosmetic Pouch Bag Review

If you’re looking for a cute, stylish cosmetic travel toiletry bag for women, the N. Gil cosmetic pouch should fit.

This bag’s biggest advantage is the 3 dozen plus colors and patterns it comes in, with everything from sea turtle aqua red (pictured below) to arrow mint green, purple chevron, pig navy blue, kaleidoscope zebra, flamingo navy, and a lot more. If you are a unique individual, this bag has your name all over it.

N Gil womens cosmetic travel bag colors

The exterior of the N. Gil Cosmetic pouch is water resistant, with a zip top and foam padding, and the interior of this travel toiletry case is lined. The bag is 8.5″ x 6.5″ x 3.8″.

See prices here.

N. Gil Large Travel Cosmetic Pouch Bag Review

N. Gil Large Travel Cosmetic Pouch Bag

For the best women’s hanging travel toiletry bag, check out our pick below, the eBags Pack it Flat Toiletry kit hanging cosmetics bag.

Best hanging travel toiletry bag

Sometimes, hanging your toiletry bag up on a hook is a great way to keep your toiletries organized, easy to access and out of the way of precious sink space. We’ve rated our favorite hanging toiletry kits below.

 eBags Pack it Flat Toiletry Kit Review

The eBags Pack it Flat Toiletry kit is one of our favorites on the list. When we first got it, it looked so flat that I wondered how we’d manage to put all of our stuff inside. No worries though, this eBags kit can hold an awful lot, but still remain fairly compact. Because it folds up neatly and packs flat, it fits easily into almost any kind of luggage, from carry-on, to checked bags, to backpacks or even a day bag.

It comes in colors that include aquamarine (like ours below), black, canary, denim, eggplant, grasshopper, raspberry and titanium.


The bag is water resistant and easy to clean, and measures 2.2 x 14 x 9.25 inches. There are three compartments of 2.25″ x 9.25, and the center section is 7.75″ wide by 9.25″ tall.

This is one a bag that can easily be used by men or women, and we even use it as a family of four (though we have to keep our four large electric toothbrushes elsewhere). You can store one or two Sonicare or other electronic toothbrushes inside, as long as you remove the heads.

One feature that I really love is the removable pocket mirror, as I don’t normally travel with one.

Click to check prices and more here.


eBags Pack it Flat Toiletry Kit

The Larger Option: eBags Portage Toiletry Kit Review

If you’re looking for the best travel hanging toiletry bag in regards to size, check out the large eBags Portage Toiletry Kit. It measures 5.2″ x 13.5″ x 8.5″, and unlike it’s smaller sibling, it also stands up as well as hangs.

This would be a good family size toiletry bag for a family that shares one bag for all their toiletries. As you can probably guess, it can hold a lot of toiletries.

Check prices here.

Large eBags Portage Toiletry Kit Review

Large eBags Portage Toiletry Kit

The hanging Travelon toiletry bag is another option if you’re looking for a even larger option. It’s 7.5″ x 13.2″ x 9.5 inches, and folds into a neat cube. See prices and information for the Travelon bag here.

If you’re looking for a leather hanging toiletry bag, just check out the Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Bag, below.

Best mens travel toiletry bag

While (of course!) men can use any bag in our list, there are a few that are designed specifically for men’s travel kit shaving and grooming needs. These are our top picks in mens travel toiletry bags. Of course, women are free to use these bags as well.

Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Bag for Men – Dopp Kit Review

If you’re looking for a stylish leather hanging toiletry bag designed for men, the Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Bag is our pick. This leather travel toiletry bag gets stellar ratings, and has a luxurious look.

It’s made of high grade PU leather, which is easy to clean and water resistant, with an interior of PU leather and a canvas lining.

The bag is designed to hang or lay flat, with four interior pockets (two large, and two small). When unfolded, it’s a large travel toiletry bag at 20.9″ x 12″, and it’s 8″ x 12″ when folded closed.

Click here to see prices and more details.

Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Bag for Men - Dopp Kit Review

Vetelli Hanging Toiletry Bag for Men – Dopp Kit

IQTRAVELS Dopp Kit Review

The IQTravels Dopp Kit for men is a good size, at 12″ x 5″ x 5″.

It has a large center pocket, with tow medium pockets on the side. The pockets fold out flat, like wings, for easy access. The design is flexible enough that you can use it as a toiletry bag, a travel storage organizer, shaving kit bag, shaving dopp kit, or makeup bag.

The dopp kit itself isn’t waterproof, but it comes with a waterproof bag for your liquids. The waterproof bag is large enough you can even use it to hold a pair of shoes, or a change of clothes.

It also includes two free e-books: Hack your Way to Better Travel and RV LIVING: The Ultimate Beginners Guide.

See prices and more details here now.

IQTRAVELS Dopp Kit Review


Clear toiletry bag for air travel

There are a lot of clear toiletry bags for air travel. They’re all great at making items easy to see and access. However, not all of them are small enough to be TSA compliant. There’s definitely something so nice about being able to pack your liquids in one bag and leave them there for the duration of your trip, including trips through airport security! The best toiletry bag for carry on definitely needs to be TSA compliant.

The kit that I’ve traveled with for years is a clear bag that I chose because it’s clear and easy to access. Unfortunately, it’s not small enough to be TSA compliant, meaning I have to carry my liquids inside a separate plastic Zip-lock style bag inside.

What does TSA compliant mean? This means that the bag is compliant the the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule, meaning that it’s a quart or litre in size, resealable, and clear. According to the TSA’s website, “You are allowed to bring a quart-sized bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. These are limited to 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item. This is also known as the 3-1-1 liquids rule.” Any liquids over 3.4 ounces need to be carried in checked baggage.

Tip: What a lot of people do is take a quart size TSA compliant clear toiletry bag, and use it to store their liquids. They store other (non-liquid) toiletries and accessories, like hair brushes and tweezers, in another bag.

I’ve been eyeing up the best TSA toiletry bag for my carry on. There are quite a few that meet the grade, but these are my favorites.

YAMIU TSA Approved Toiletry Bag Review

The YAMIU toiletry bag is a quart sized, clear, resealable bag that’s TSA compliant with the 3-1-1 toiletries rule.

It’s a great value if you’re looking for more than one bag, or for couples or a family.

This bag is waterproof, comes with two sizes, with two of each size, so you get four bags in total.

See prices here.

YAMIU TSA Approved Toiletry Bag Review

YAMIU TSA Approved Toiletry Bag

TUZZ TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag Review

The TUZZ carry-on bag is a quart size bag that’s compliant the the TSA’s 3-1-1 liquids rule, meaning that it’s a quart in size, clear, and resealable. It’s 7.8 x 2.5 x 6.3 inches, and weighs only 1.6 ounces. The TUZZ is made of PVC, making it waterproof (though big spills of liquids may leak through the zipper).

Designs on the outside of the bag are printed on, and can’t be removed.

TUZZ TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag Review

TUZZ TSA Approved Clear Travel Toiletry Bag

See prices and more here.

Best toiletry bag for backpacking

While we love the eBags Pack it Flat Toiletry kit, for backpacking, at 11.2 ounces it’s a little heavier than some backpackers would want. A great, lighter alternative, is the Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer.

Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer Review

The Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer is just like the name implies, a compact and lightweight choice for backpackers. It weighs only 4.5 ounces, and measures 6″ x 3″ x 9″, making it easy to squeeze into a backpack or carry-on. It’s made of washable and water resistant nylon, and it comes with a hook for hanging, plus a little mirror.

Click here to see current prices.

Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer Review

Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer

Final thoughts on our toiletry bag review

No matter which toiletry bag kit you choose on this list, you can’t go wrong. Each offers something great from size to options to style. We’ve owned several different kinds over the years and our choice of toiletry bags have changed as our needs have changed.

Since we now travel as a family of four, we need ones that are a little bigger to hold both ours and the kids toiletries. Half the time they’re also full of hotel shampoos and soaps (we unofficially collect them) as well as our usual assortment of toiletries.

We loved the idea of hanging toiletry bags and were jealous anytime we saw others using one so we’re excited to have our new eBags one. Coupled with Charles’ Dopp Kit, we should be golden until the kids are big enough to need their own.

Our other travel gear reviews

Interested in some of our other popular travel essentials reviews? If you’re looking for the perfect laptop backpack click here. Wondering if packing cubes are for you, click here here to see why we like them. Always wanted a little more security and can’t decide between a money belt or neck wallet? Click here to read our lengthy review of them.

Trying to decide if you can travel with only carry-on bags. We did it as a family of four for over 3 months without a problem. You can see it here. Looking for a little more room to store things on the plane, check out my review of my favorite travel jacket ever, the SCOTTeVEST Chloe Glow Hoodie here.

So, do you have a favorite toiletry bag we missed? Let us know!

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How To Find Cheap International Flights The Easy Way Tue, 30 Jan 2018 21:10:00 +0000 Do you have that one annoying friend who always gets amazing flight deals?

Did you imagine them slaving over their computer late at night, every night, obsessively checking and re-checking airline deals?

Well, I used to be that person. Most days, I had Google Flights open in one tab, a Twitter feed for the best deals open in another, and half a dozen airline websites in the rest. Even with all that work, I’d still miss a deal or two.

Eventually, I figured out a better way: Let someone else do all that work! Even better, let a real, tried and true, cheap flights obsessed someone else do it.

These days, I live my life away from my computer (gasp!), check my email a few times a day, and let the cheap flight deals come to me instead.

What’s the secret? I signed up for Cheap Fly Club, run by a super nice fellow named Josh, who’s a flight finding travel expert. I imagine him and his team hunched over their computers 24 hours a day, finding me the best deals.


How to find cheap international flights for 50% off or more

New York to Christchurch, New Zealand for $245?

Fort Lauderdale to San Jose, Costa Rica from $199?

Chicago to Paris for $392?

Any of these deals sound good? They’re just a few of the prices I’ve seen in my inbox since I joined the completely free Cheap Fly Club last month.

I’ve even clicked on dozens of deals in numerous emails I’ve received and have verified for myself that they’re legit and real.

Cheap Fly Club homepage

How to get cheap airfare: Sign Up For Emails From Cheap Fly Club

Getting flight deals by email is a great time saver. Subscription services watch for sales, prices errors and fare drops to destinations all over the world. It’s so easy! When they find a great deal, they send you an email. That’s it.

Even better, it’s completely free to sign up for emails from Josh and the team at Cheap Fly Club. If you want to get even more deals, there’s also a paid Premium membership that starts at $3 a month however I’ll talk about that more, later in this post.

All of the deals Cheap Fly Club sends are for flights that are at least 50% off, but often they’re an even bigger discount. That means you won’t be swamped with emails with small dips in the prices. Everything they send means you’re paying half or less!

FYI: All the deals that they send are for international flights only, and they’re primarily for USA residents, though you’ll see deals from Canada’s largest cities as well. Now don’t despair if you’re from outside North America since there’s a good chance you can go the other way for a similar price as well!
Click here for more information or to sign up.

Sample email from Cheap Fly Club

Curious to know what the emails from Cheap Fly Club look like? Here’s one of those mistake airfare deals that landed in my inbox earlier this week.Cheap fly Club New Zealand Deal

What’s up with the premium membership?

The paid Premium Membership at Cheap Fly Club gives access to all the deals, which occur about four times more than the free subscription. It starts at $3 a month.

The biggest bonus is you can also choose your departure airport with a premium membership.

Will I get spammed with email?

No, since on the free plan, I’ve been getting about seven emails a week, or one a day. They were all great deals, so I was glad to see them in my inbox!

Do I need to fly last minute?

No, most of the Cheap Fly Club deals are between 3 to 10 months away. There are some last minute deals, but I’ve found that the best deals tend to be for a few months out.

What’s the catch?

There really isn’t one. The basic subscription is free. Try it, and if you don’t like it, all you have to do is hit unsubscribe. Worst case, they provide you with a bit of wanderlust. Best case, a very cheap flight.

Click here for more information or to sign up.

Hankering for some more sweet tips on how to find cheap airline tickets?

Check out our articles on how to find the cheapest flight to anywhere and our six quick steps to nailing the cheapest flight.

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The Best Business Travel Backpack Wed, 24 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000 A good travel backpack can make any business trip more enjoyable, and a lot less stressful. I’ve done a lot of business travel over the years, and learned first hand which backpacks were great for business trips and which weren’t.

Choosing the best business backpack is an important decision, because it can mean the difference between enjoying your time on the road, and having a miserable trip. You need to make sure that your laptop fits, and that the backpack is comfortable and stylish.

Luckily, we’ve done the work for you. Keep reading to find our reviews of the best business travel backpacks below.

Choosing thebest laptop backpack for work is an important decision, because it can mean the difference between enjoying your time on the road, and having a miserable trip. You need to make sure that your laptop fits, and that the backpack is comfortable and stylish. Luckily, we’ve done the work for you. best backpack for work | best laptop backpack for work | best backpack for work for women | best backpack for work - laptop bags #backpacks #laptopcase #travel #traveltips

The Best Business Travel Backpack

Looking for something specific? Just click the link below to go directly to that section.

Comparison Chart for the Best Business Travel Backpacks

Check out our comparison chart with all of the options for the best laptop backpack that we’ve reviewed here. Just click on the column headings to compare!

BackpackImageMax laptop sizePriceOur rating /10
eBags Professional Slim159.5
Pacsafe Venturesafe X30159.0
Targus Drifter II
SwissGear Travel Gear 1900178.5
Kopack Lightweight
Uoobag KT-01 Slim Business
Dell Adventure Laptop178.0
Solo Vintage Colombian Leather Laptop Backpack15.68.0

How to choose the best business backpack for travel

There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for a great business backpack. Just because your boss loves her backpack, doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. You need to take a look at fit, style, and if the backpack will fit you properly.


When you’re traveling for business, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be carrying a laptop and charger at all times. On top of that, you may be bringing a portable international WiFi device (we love our little Tep portable WiFi), plenty of chargers, plugs, business cards, and so much more. All of that means you’re going to need pockets, and plenty of them. Above all, you need to make sure that your backpack is big enough to pack all of your gear.

Does your laptop fit?

If your laptop doesn’t fit in the backpack, it’s time to head back to the drawing board.


If a backpack’s too big for your frame, it’ll seem clunky and awkward, not to mention heavy. If it’s too small, you’ll likely find the straps and general fit awkward.

Padded against accidental damage

I’ve learned the hard way that padding in a business backpack is crucial. I dropped a laptop bag on the floor a couple of years ago, and because it didn’t have good padding on the bottom, my nice new laptop ended up with a good crack on the casing. Luckily, it still works perfectly to this day, but I won’t make that mistake again.

Make sure that there’s padding on the bottom of the bag especially, but padding all around the laptop sleeve is a great feature as well.


If you’re spending a lot of time outdoors, you may want to make sure your laptop backpack is waterproof, or at least water resistant.


Since I carry my laptop and other valuable gear, I like to make sure that my backpack’s as secure as possible. Many backpacks have partially hidden compartments, as well as zippers that are theft proof, and some are made of materials that are hard to cut or slash. Some backpacks even have an RFID pocket to protect your passport and cards from RFID scanners.


Straps are a crucial part of the best business laptop backpack. If the straps aren’t comfortable, you won’t like the backpack, and you won’t use it. Good straps mean the fit is comfortable. Here are a few things I like to look for:

  • Adjustable straps. If a backpack doesn’t have adjustable shoulder and waist straps, don’t buy it. Even if it fits you as is, you may want to wear the backpack with a heavy coat someday, and then the straps won’t fit. You might also not be the only one to one day carry it.
  • Padded shoulder straps. A padded shoulder strap means that your sometimes heavy backpack won’t dig painfully into your shoulders. I know that my backpack gets pretty weighed down with my laptop and accessories, so a comfy shoulder trap is important.
  • Padded back. You don’t want so much padding on the back that the backpack gets heavy. A softly padded back can be a blessing when you’re running to catch your flight, and your backpack keeps bumping against your back.
  • Carry strap. Usually a carry strap is a loop at the top of the backpack. It makes it easy to pick up your backpack from the floor.


Because you’re using your backpack in a business capacity, you’re going to want a pack that reflects your style. Whether you’re the buttoned down power suit type, or an edgy, creative type, there’s a style that’s suited for you.

Easy access

My favorite backpacks have what’s called a u-zip. This means that you can open them completely on at least two sides, making access easier. I’m not a big fan of top access only backpacks, as I find it hard to find things that have moved to the bottom.

inside front pocket of eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

u-zip access on the eBags slim professional

The best laptop backpack for women

For women, the best business laptop pack is one that fits their body, and (hopefully!) also fits all their gear as well. Most (not all) women have shorter bodies and narrower shoulders than men, making a slightly smaller and compact backpack a great choice. We’ve used a Dell backpack for years now, and while it holds a ton, as a woman who’s 5’5″, I find that it’s uncomfortably big and bulky to carry around.

I really prefer our new, narrower and more compact eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack.

eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack

I’m definitely a fan of this eBags backpack.

It fits me well, and easily holds my monster of a nearly 16″ Lenovo Ideapad laptop in the back compartment.

This is a great backpack for someone who wants a professional look, as it also converts to a briefcase when you tuck away the straps.

At 18.5 inches high x 12.75 inches wide, it’s plenty small for carry on luggage for most airlines, or even as a personal item.

There’s plenty of padding in the back, the Airmesh back panel keeps it from being too sweaty on hot days. The straps are contoured, padded, and fully adjustable, making for a great fit. There’s even a removable front (sternum) strap for heavy loads.

The front compartment is chock full of zippered pockets to hold cables, flash drives, and all your gear. There’s also a limited Lifetime Warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.

All compartments have a u-zip, meaning that you can open them up and load from the the top or side. top view of eBags Professional Slim Laptop Backpack open

Click for the current price, more information and reviews.

Best business backpack for men

The best men’s business backpack takes into consideration all of the points above, but also takes into a man’s (generally) broader shoulders. My 6 foot husband loves our Dell Adventure Backpack. It’s a great laptop backpack and holds a ton but the style is pretty casual and it can get a little uncomfortable when it’s loaded with 40 pounds of electronics. It’s also older and I’m a little afraid it’s running out of stock, so something like the SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack is a great choice instead.

SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 ScanSmart Backpack

SwissGear products usually get good reviews, and the SwissGear Travel Gear 1900 Scansmart TSA Laptop Backpack is no exception.

It’s another more casual choice, and a medium to large size bag, at 9 inches deep, 13.5 inches wide and 18.5 inches high. It fits a 17 inch laptop.

This is marketed as a TSA SmartScan backpack with lay-flat technology, which just means that it’s designed to meet the TSA’s criteria to allow a your laptop to stay in the bag during screening. That said, I’ve always had TSA agents ask me to remove my laptop, and they don’t seem especially keen to discuss exceptions.

This is made with weather resistant 1200D ballistic polyester. It’s not waterproof, but it should withstand some tough knocks and a bit of rain.

The shoulder straps are all adustable and padded, and there’s a padded back panel as well.

The main laptop section zips to lay completely flat, making access to your laptop a breeze.

All in all, this is a solid, more casual choice, that should last a while.

Click for more reviews, the current price, and more.

Dell Adventure Backpack

We’ve had our Dell Adventure laptop backpack since 2014, and it’s still going strong. There’s hardly any wear on it, even after 4 years, and it’s traveled with us to at least four continents, carrying a lot of gear each time.

The downside is that I find it’s pretty big, and it gets insanely heavy when it’s jammed with all of our gear. Of course, the upside is that it’s so big the we can jam in a crazy amount of gear.

It’s definitely a casual look, and ours has a blue accent, but they only offer it in black and orange now.

It will fit a laptop with up to a 17 inch screen however we once carried 3 laptops and their power bricks, 2 tablets, 4 eReaders, a DSLR camera in it’s own case, 2 GoPro’s, a couple chargers and a half dozen cables in ours. Needless to say, the bag is a good size at 9 inches deep, 13.7 inches wide, and 18.3 inches tall.

There are padded and adjustable shoulder straps, along with a padded, mesh back. There’s no waist strap.

Access to all of the compartments is easy, with zippers that open wide.

Click for the current price, more information and reviews.

Amazon Basics laptop backpack

The Amazon Basics laptop backpack is a good size backpack that will hold a 17 inch laptop, and is seven inches deep, fifteen inches wide, and nineteen inches high. If you’re looking for a wide backpack, this is for you, as it’s the widest one in our review.

As with all Amazon Basics products, it’s great value for the price, and people seem to really like it.

Like all the other backpacks in this review, the shoulder straps are padded, and the back is padded as well. There aren’t any hip straps.

There’s nothing fancy here, no specialized waterproofing or security features, but it’s a good value. There’s light padding on the bottom of the laptop pocket.

You can get it with, or without, the Amazon logo on the front.

Click here for the latest prices and to see more information.

Best travel laptop backpack for security

For my last few solo trips, I’ve used our top-loading Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 anti-theft adventure backpack. I don’t love the fact that it loads from the top, so it doesn’t make my cut as the absolute best backpack for business travel, but other than that it has some great security features.

It has anti-theft Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh embedded into it complete with RFID protection. The Venturesafe X30 is fairly lightweight, has a padded tablet sleeve, with plenty of pockets and locking zippers.  It also has a built-in rain cover, an aluminum support back panel, and a stowaway hip belt for adventurous hikes.

At roughly 18 inches high and 9 inches wide, it’s small enough to use as either a carry on or even as a personal item with most airlines, and it holds an awful lot. It also has a molded aluminum frame that sits on my body quite well.

If you’re really concerned about security while you travel, check out our in depth money belt and neck wallet review here.

Pacsafe Venturesafe X30

In terms of security, the Pacsafe is my top backpack for security pick. I’ve had my Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 for well over a year now and I really love it. It’s lightweight, good looking, and has great security features like RFID protection and slashguard fabric.

It has a 30 liter capacity, fits a 15 inch laptop, and officially measures in at 7.9 inches deep, 11.8 inches wide and 20.3 inches high.

Tip: If you’re looking for something even smaller, Pacsafe sells the Pacsafe VentureSafe X22, which has a 22 liter capacity, and measures in at 4.7 inches deep, 10.6 inches wide and 18.1 inches tall.

The big disadvantage to this backpack is that it’s top load only, making it hard to get at gear in the bottom. Of course, being top load only means that it’s also harder for thieves to access your gear. It also has a bit more of a casual look than the eBags professional.

That said, I’ve used this backpack on multiple trips now, and it has plenty of room for my laptop, charger, cables and gear, plus my DSLR camera and lenses, my MeFOTO Roadtrip lightweight tripod, plus a GoPro HERO 6 and accessories.

See prices and more reviews now.

The best business travel backpack reviews

Now that we’ve talked about backpacks that are great for different uses, here are my other picks for the best business travel laptop backpacks. These packs are in addition to the backpacks noted above, and are all solid choices.

Kopack Slim Business Laptop Backpack

Along with our eBags slim pick, the Kopack slip business laptop pack is one of the more stylish laptop bags we found. It has a sleek, professional look, and it comes in black, grey, and a nice pinkish purple.

It’s on the smaller end, at 7.1 inches deep, 11.8 inches wide, and 17.7 inches high. It will hold a 15.6 inch notebook computer.

The fabric is water-resistant, and anti-scratch nylon.

It has a dual access zipper with anti-theft design, but no RFID or anti-slash tech. There’s a hidden back waist slot for concealing a credit card or small item.

Shoulder straps and the back are padded, and there’s a loop handle on top to make picking it up easier.

It has a useful external USB charging port on the outside. Just connect your power bank to it on the inside (check out our favorite external battery pack on Amazon), and connect your USB charging cable to the outside port. No more rummaging in your pack for your spare power bank!

The front pocket has a large, easy access u-design zipper, but the laptop compartment only loads from the top.

Unfortunately, there’s no extra padding at the bottom of the laptop compartment, so be careful when placing it down on hard surfaces or pick up an Amazon laptop sleeve to give you extra protection.

Click here for the latest prices and to see more information.

Uoobag KT-01 Slim Business Laptop Backpack

The Uoobag KT01 is a pretty sleek looking back, in pure black with red accents.

It fits a 15.6 inch laptop, and the entire laptop compartment is padded. It measures in at 5.9 inches deep, 13 inches wide, and 18.1 inches high. It weighs in at 2.1 pounds.

Tip: If you’re looking for a slightly bigger option, there’s also a 17 inch version that measures 6 inches deep, 12.6 inches wide, and 19.3 inches deep. It won’t fit a thick 15.6 inch gaming laptop. You can find it here on Amazon.

The Uoobag KT01 also comes in coffee and a lighter grey color.

Safety features include anti-theft dual zippers and a waist pocket. There’s a lockable ring on the side of the laptop compartment.

It’s made of 210D water repellent fabric.

Click here for the latest prices and to see more information.

Solo Executive 15.6 Inch Premium Leather Laptop

The Solo Executive 15.6 Inch Premium Leather Laptop is our only leather option that we rated well enough to be included.

It’s a sleek, professional looking leather laptop backpack that fits a 15.6 inch laptop, and measures 13 inches wide and 17 inches high.

It’s one of your best bets if you’re looking for a polished, professional image.

Shoulder straps are padded and adjustable, with a padded laptop compartment. It comes in espresso only.

There’s no strong leather smell, and there’s a u-zip to make access to the middle compartment easy.

See prices, and more reviews and information here.

Targus Drifter II Backpack for 17-Inch Laptop

The 17 inch Targus Drifter II is a solid choice, with a bit more of a casual look. It’s also on the larger end of these choices, and while it is casual, it’s a real workhorse, with the 17 inch version holding a 34 liter capacity.

It’s a good size, at 7.87 inches deep, 14.57 inches wide and 20.08 inches high. Be warned, though, it does swell to more than 7.87 inches deep when it’s full!

There are approximately 8 million pockets in this backpack. While that’s definitely an exaggeration, there are pockets in this thing for everything from your laptop (of course), to a microfiber lined pouch for sunglasses.

Straps are fully adjustable and padded, and the back is also padded for comfort. It doesn’t have a sternum (chest) strap.

There are no special security features like RFID or fancy zippers here, but there is a cool secret zipper compartment on the back for hiding keys or your wallet. There’s also no waterproofing on the zippers, and no separate rain cover.

It also comes in a 16 inch version, if you’re looking for something slightly smaller.

The only issue with this backpack is quite a few reviews that mention straps that start to wear with use.

See prices, reviews and more here.

Want to find out more?

See how we manage to travel carry on only for a family of four here, or check out our business travel checklist here.

What’s your favorite laptop pack? Let us know, and maybe we can add it to our business backpack reviews!

What's the the best work backpack from women? We help make sure that your laptop fits, and that the backpack is comfortable and stylish. best backpack for work | best laptop backpack for work | best backpack for work for women | best backpack for work - laptop bags #style #backpack #laptop #workstyle #business #traveltips How do you choose the best laptop backpack for work? You need to make sure that your laptop fits, and that the backpack is comfortable and stylish. best backpack for work | best laptop backpack for work | best backpack for work for women | best backpack for work - laptop bags #style #backpack #laptop #workstyle #traveltips ]]> 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. ]]> 8
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

You can also control your VIZIO’s SmartCast 4K display using Amazon’s Alexa. There’s a tutorial on how to set it up here.

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.

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