Travel Tips – The Barefoot Nomad https://www.thebarefootnomad.com Travel. Tech. Family. Fun. Fri, 15 Jun 2018 22:40:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How I Manage Migraines on the Road https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/how-i-manage-migraines-on-the-road/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/how-i-manage-migraines-on-the-road/#comments Fri, 18 May 2018 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16577 Disclosure: I have partnered with both YMC and 1in8HaveIt and have received compensation for this post. All opinions are my own.

Do you get migraines? I do. I’m one of the unlucky ones who suffer from migraines and I know I’m not alone. 1 in 8 people around the world get them regularly.

The simple fact is, migraines are awful and as bad as they are at home, I think they’re even worse when you travel. At least at home I can minimize my exposure to the world and retreat to the comfort and safety of my room. Out on the road, my surroundings are harder to control and sometimes it takes a little work to find solace.

In hindsight, I’ve spent more mornings than I like to admit lying in a hotel room, with the shades drawn, suffering through a migraine instead of having fun on vacation with the family.

Imagine this: It’s our fist night in Madrid. We arrive in Spain just after supper, haul our far too heavy suitcases up the three sets of stairs to our rented apartment, and collapse into bed as we make plans for breakfast and a full day of sightseeing the next day.

Then, boom. The next morning I wake up with a terrible migraine. No freshly baked croissants, no morning walks along charming cobblestone streets in the Centro, and no delicious churros con chocolate with the family. Instead, I’m holed up in our rented bedroom apartment with the shades drawn tightly.

If I try to sit up, I feel nauseous and light headed, and there’s an ice pick poking at my sinuses.

Maestro Churrero in Madrid

mmm… churros con chocolate in Madrid

Unfortunately, this happens more than I wish. Even more unfortunately, I’m not alone in suffering through migraines. It’s estimated that nearly 2.7 million Canadians report living with migraines. Due to the use of over-the-counter medications, many people never seek help for their symptoms so, in all likelihood, this number is likely even higher.

My migraine story in Madrid ended happily though. Charles and the kids ran out, grabbed me bottles of fruit juice and sports drinks, and after a few hours of rest, I was still shaky, but ready to explore the city.

I was lucky that day. Migraines aren’t always so easy to get rid of. I’ve had plenty of travel days ruined by a bad migraine that wouldn’t go away.

Want to see if your headaches might be a migraine? Take the quiz at www.1in8haveit.ca and share your results with a medical professional.

I’ve had migraines for years now, but luckily they’ve usually been pretty manageable, with a few ugly exceptions. Not everyone’s so lucky. If you suffer from them regularly, don’t suffer through it alone. Seek help, there might be an underlying cause to them or at least a plan to manage them better.

Maligne Lake in Jasper Alberta in winter

A wonderful, migraine free travel day in Jasper, Alberta.

How I manage migraines on the road

Over the years, I’ve figured out a few things that help me manage migraines on the road or while at home. The most important one being the second a migraine hits me, I load up on liquids. For me, staying hydrated helps a ton and that alone can sometimes prevent a full blown migraine from hitting me.

Unfortunately, standard over the counter medications aren’t much help. I may as well be taking candy for all the good they seem do when a full blown migraine hits me. At best, they take the edge off a little, but I can’t rely on them to get me back on my feet and exploring the world again.

I also avoid triggers like red wine, too little food and lack of sleep when I feel a migraine might be at hand. The sleep portion can sometimes be hard when we’re on the road and I feel a migraine coming, but we slow down our pace and that, coupled with tons of liquids, seems to help.

I also find a quiet, dark area to hide in free from all outside stimuli. That means putting down my phone, tablet or computer and turning the TV off. It might seem like non-productive time, but the sooner the migraine passes, the more quality time I can spend with the family seeing the sights while we travel or getting work done when we’re at home.

It seems the more I can block out the outside world, the faster my migraine goes away, but that’s just what works for me. It seems like everyone’s migraines are a bit different in how it hits them, what triggers them and how they cope with migraines while traveling.

Help from fellow migraine sufferers

A little while ago I felt a migraine coming on, and asked our Twitter community what works best for them. There were some great answers, including lavender scent, sports drinks, and getting the right medication.

But what happens when sports drinks, over the counter medications, and avoiding triggers just isn’t enough to kill a migraine? Every case is so different that seeking out the help of your doctor is crucial.

Take the test at www.1in8haveit.ca and learn more about migraines including common migraine triggers, early migraine warning signs and overall migraine awareness.

how to travel with migraines

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Can You Volunteer Abroad Cheap or Free? The Real Cost of Volunteering Overseas https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/can-you-volunteer-abroad-cheap-or-free-the-real-cost-of-volunteering-overseas/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/can-you-volunteer-abroad-cheap-or-free-the-real-cost-of-volunteering-overseas/#respond Tue, 01 May 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16366 This is a guest post from Nicoleta, who shares her best tips for how to manage the true cost of volunteer work abroad, whether you’re trying to volunteer abroad free or just cheaply as possible. While volunteering is a wonderful way to give and visit the world at the same time, there’s often a cost associated with volunteering overseas, and she shares her insight into how much it costs to volunteer abroad. This is part of our series on jobs you can do as you travel the world and teaching English overseas.

I truly believe that travel is one of the best things that anybody can do with their lives. Seeing amazing countries, learning about different cultures and having the freedom to explore whatever you want is a liberating and exhilarating experience like no other.

For those looking to add another dimension to their travel, spending some time as a volunteer can be an excellent option.

volunteering t shirt

Can you volunteer abroad cheap or for free? The real costs

As a volunteer, you not only get all the benefits of regular traveling, like seeing new places and meeting new people, but you also get a uniquely intimate insight into a culture and the chance to give something back.

If you’re considering becoming a volunteer, then you might be wondering how much it’s all going to cost. The truth is, there is no straight answer to this question, as different companies charge vastly different amounts.

However, there are some general common factors that can help you to know how much to budget. If you do it right, volunteering can actually save you money when compared with more traditional forms of travel, such as staying exclusively in hotels and moving around every day or two.

So, here are the basic costs of volunteering abroad, broken down for you to better understand and plan effectively.

How much does it cost to volunteer abroad?

The costs to volunteer overseas include the volunteer project fees, flights and transportation, meals, accommodation, visas and more!

The volunteer project itself

By this, I mean the fees that the volunteer organization charge, and it’s this that is likely to have the largest effect on your budget.

Project fees depend massively on the individual organization, as well as the location of the project, and various other factors. At the upper end of the scale, you may be expected to pay hundreds of dollars per day, and at the lower end, you may only need to cover a fraction of that.

It’s vital to look at what’s covered by the fees and whether there will be any additional costs. You should also check out things such as the quality of the accommodation as well as reviews by past volunteers, which are available through any good organization like uvolunteer.

The only way to accurately find out the cost of the project is to do some research and shop around.

what you need to know about flights and transportation when volunteering overseas

Flights and transportation for volunteering

The cost of your flights is likely to be another significant expense for any low cost volunteer abroad vacation. Obviously, the actual costs vary depending on how far you need to fly and the season, so this will be something you need to figure out before committing.

In terms of general transportation costs, many organizations will cover the most vital costs as part of the program fees. For example, good organizations will cover airport transfers, as well as any transport needed as part of the project.

Food and drink while volunteering

This can be another hidden cost, with some organizations failing to provide any food despite high fees.

If you don’t want to shell out for every meal, then try to look for a company that covers some of your meals as part of the program fees. For example, you may have lunch provided while you are working.

Drinks and alcohol are likely to be something you need to account for too. Volunteer placements are inherently social, and you can expect to be surrounded by other young volunteers who are up for having a good time, so you’ll probably end up going for a few drinks now and then.

volunteering overseas what you need to know about food and drink

Sightseeing and traveling after your volunteering

Volunteering is by no means all about work, and with the right organization you will have plenty of time to yourself. As you’re in a foreign country, it’s a good idea to use at least some of this time to explore the area.

So, if you’re wanting to travel to other areas and go sightseeing on your weekends, then you’ll have to factor in the costs.

As the countries with the most legitimate projects are usually in developing parts of the world, these costs are going to be lower than at home. For example, if you’re working as a volunteer in Thailand, then getting around, sightseeing and accommodation will all be very affordable.

volunteering Boti falls

Visas for volunteering

Visa costs for volunteering are rarely going to set you back a huge amount, but it’s still something that’s worth factoring into your budget.

For most countries that you are likely to go to, volunteering visas will generally not cost more than around $50 for a month or so, if anything. However, you will need to look carefully at the precise rules surrounding visas and volunteers, as some countries class volunteering as work. In these cases you may need to acquire a working visa, which can be a more complicated process and cost significantly more.

Plan ahead to avoid being hit with any surprise volunteering costs

The secret to accurately judging the costs for a volunteering trip is to plan ahead, so you don’t catch yourself asking why is volunteering abroad so expensive? Choose a good organization, figure out exactly where you want to go, for how long, and whether you want to continue traveling afterwards. Taking your time with this part of the process will help you to budget effectively, and save money in the long run.

Bio

Nicoleta Radoi is the resident content blogger for uVolunteer. Nicoleta is an avid linguist, speaks fluent English, Chinese, French, Spanish and native Romanian. She spent a decade working in China in the education sector and working with major international development institutions. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada and is passionate about volunteering, sustainable travel and has a soft spot for ethnic food.

Connect with her on InstagramTwitter

Do you want to volunteer abroad and travel, but you're worried about the cost? It is possible to volunteer for free or cheap, but our expert shares the real costs of volunteer work programs, including money to budget for airfare, meals, volunteer, fees and more. Is it possible to volunteer abroad and travel the world for free? Yes it is, but many work programs have real costs, and our volunteer expert tells you how to budget your money in volunteer destinations like Africa or Thailand or Costa Rica or South America. These tips can help with the real costs of volunteer programs like teaching English or conservation projects with turtles or elephants in Thailand. ]]>
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GoToob+ Review – Travel Containers For Toiletries: Are They Worth it? https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/gotoob-review-travel-containers-for-toiletries-are-they-worth-it/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/gotoob-review-travel-containers-for-toiletries-are-they-worth-it/#comments Sat, 24 Mar 2018 05:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16211 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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How To Find The Cheapest Flights To Anywhere https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/how-to-find-the-cheapest-flight-to-anywhere/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/how-to-find-the-cheapest-flight-to-anywhere/#comments Mon, 19 Mar 2018 19:11:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=5788 Itching to just grab your suitcase and fly somewhere? Don’t really care where as long as it’s cheap and gets you away from wherever you are now?

We’ve scored some fantastic deals using airfare search engines that let you type in your departure city (or country) and search for cheap flights to virtually any destination in the world. This is perfect if you’re searching for flights without a destination in mind.

Updated in 2018! We still prefer Skyscanner to Kayak Explore and other search engines – keep reading to see why.

Want to get started now? Click here to search on Skyscanner, and be sure to put Everywhere in the destination field to find cheap flights to anywhere in the world.

Using these hacks, we found a one way ticket from Cancun, Mexico to Madrid, Spain for $160 USD all in. We also just booked a one way flight from Istanbul, Turkey to Toronto, Canada for just $288 including taxes and fees. That’s less than your average local flight within Canada. These tips will work to find the cheapest flights from NYC to anywhere, or really from any city or country!

How to find the cheapest flights to anywhere

Sound interesting? In this post, we:

  • Tell you how we find cheap flights to anywhere (and no, none of these companies paid us to write this post).
  • Review the major flight search engines that allow you to search from a departure city (or country) without including any specific destination. You can use this feature to search cheap flights by date not destination.

Skyscanner

Let’s start with what we think is the best search engine of the bunch for finding cheap flights anywhere: Skyscanner.  To find cheap flights to everywhere from your destination, just leave the To field blank in your Skyscanner search (or type Everywhere). This works really well to find last minute cheap flights to anywhere as well!

Click here to search on Skyscanner.

Skyscanner search cheapest month to Everywhere 2018

Skyscanner lets you see a month of fares at a time, which can save you a bundle if your dates are flexible. It will also let you see the cheapest month.

To see flights for a whole month, or choose the cheapest month, just click in the Depart box.

Skyscanner Explore also lets you type in a country name in the From box to find cheap airfares from all cities in the country.

Skyscanner monthly search country results 2018

Skyscanner map search. This is one of our favorite features on Skyscanner, and it’s a great helping in showing you how to find random cheap flights to anywhere. On the Skyscanner site (click here to search on Skyscanner), scroll down and click on the map to see an airfare map with prices and explore cheap flights.

Skyscanner Explore our Map 2018

Then just select your departure city or airport and date. You can only select one month at a time for fares, but this flight price map is a great way to see cheap flights to a random destination in the world.

Skyscanner map explore search 2018

Free Apps: We use the Skyscanner iPhone app a lot as well to find Skyscanner flights to anywhere. The app seems to have almost all of the features of the site, including the ability to search for flights to anywhere, and for a month at a time. It also features a cool interactive cheap flights map that lists prices to cities around the globe. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, on Google Play, and Amazon apps.

The prices listed on Skyscanner are based on previous flight search data. That means when you click the link to search prices, your new search prices may be different from the first prices you saw. When you actually go to book, prices may change as well.

What we don’t like: The prices you see first aren’t always the final price you pay, as they’re pulled from earlier searches by Skyscanner users.

Our take: The best of the bunch. Skyscanner is easy to use, we’ve found that the fares it comes up with are generally accurate, and it even comes as a well designed app. Love it. It also makes a great tool to quickly find cheap alternative routes to your destination, and find cheap flights without a destination in mind.

Click here to search on Skyscanner.

Kayak Explore

The Kayak Explore tool is made specifically for searching for flights to anywhere. To find flights on Kayak flights to anywhere, type your departure city and select Anytime.

Kayak flights to anywhere screenshot 2018

Kayak’s Explore tool lets you search for airfares for different seasons, like spring or winter, making it a great tool for long term planning.

Results show up in a map. You can drag and zoom, making it easy to see airfares to different regions, or even for the entire world at once.

Kayak Explore has some fun search filters that let you see only fights by weather, and by things to do (golf, gambling, and so on). You can even narrow down results by budget. It’s among the best cheap flight finder to anywhere, but it’s not perfect.

Note: The Kayak Explore flight map prices are based on flights found on Kayak in the last 48 hours. When you actually go to book, prices may be different.

Free Apps: Kayak has a free app for iPhone, iPad, and Android.  You can use the Kayak Explore map feature by clicking Explore the world on the home screen.

What we don’t like: We’re not keen that the Explore tool only lists round trip fares, making it harder to plan trips with multiple legs. Another thing we don’t love is that Kayak Explore won’t let you see all flights from a specific country. Instead, you’re limited to searching from specific cities.

Our take. Very good. We love the map display of fares, and the fun search options, but don’t like that it only lists round trip fares (Kayak Explore one way doesn’t work), and that it won’t find cheapest flights any date from a specific country.

Tip! If you are in a foreign city and don’t know the road to your nearest airport, this quick distance calculator tool will give you directions and detailed information to go to your specific airport.

Google Flights

Google Flights Explore Map is quickly becoming one of our favorite ways to search for affordable flights anywhere in the world.

Google Flights Explore Map 2018

It’s fast, prices are accurate, but it just doesn’t offer enough functionality for searches to random cheap destinations. The major drawback is that you have to specify a departure date, and you can’t search for cheapest flights for an entire month or year.

It has an annoying feature I wish they’d correct; if you’re in the Explore map, and you happen to have a date in the Return box, you can’t delete it. Instead, you need to go back to the main Google Flights page, and re-enter your search without a return date to see one way flights.

What we like: It’s fast, and prices are among the most accurate of the bunch. There are about a million filters, which can be nice if you’re picky about price, number of stops, or flight duration and the like.

What we don’t like: You need to specify an exact departure date, which is annoying. You also can’t search for airfares from an entire country, which can be nice if your departure city is flexible.

Our take:  Not bad. Not quite good enough to move away from Skyscanner as our first choice for finding the cheapest flights today to anywhere, but it’s getting closer.

Other search engines

We use SkyscannerKayak Explore and sometimes Google Flights almost exclusively to search for flights from a specific destination to anywhere.

That said, there are a few other flight search engines that do a similar job (though not nowhere near as well). We’ve included them here just for the sake of completeness.

Kiwi.com

Kiwi.com is an unfamiliar name to most. That said, it has a decent map-based search function, and we find it somewhat useful for an “I’ll go anywhere flight search” moment. You can select a Departure airport, and select Anywhere in the To: field. You can put in a custom date range, which will let you search a week, month, or really any range of dates.  You can also select Anytime to find the cheapest flight on any date. You can search return or one way flights. This is helpful to find cheap flights to anywhere from your city.

Click here to search with Kiwi.com.

The airfares it give generally seem to be accurate, though you’ll almost always find more accurate rates on Google Flights or the airline directly.

How To Find The Cheapest Flights To Anywhere with Kiwi.com

What we don’t like: We found the speed of the map display to vary a lot. Some days results appeared to be lightning fast, and some days they were frustratingly slow, despite our Internet speed being consistently fast.

Our take:  Not bad. Not quite good enough to move away from Skyscanner or Google Flights.
Kiwi.com - Book Cheap Flights!

FareCompare – A Kayak Explore alternative

Like Kayak Explore, FareCompare lets you search for fares to anywhere from a specific departure city.

FareCompare Map Search 2018

The problem is that we found FareCompare to be slower, and have less features, than Kayak Explore or Skyscanner.

What we don’t like: We find the FareCompare search to be slow, and don’t love that you can only search from specific cities, as it won’t let you search to, or from, specific countries or regions. Once you select the airfare that interests you, finding that flight can be awkward as it opens a half dozen windows to other popular sites like Expedia.

Our take: Too limited and just another front end to more popular search sites.

Monmondo

Monondo has long been a favorite of travel hackers and bloggers, since it seems to be able to search more budget airlines.

Monmondo everywhere flight search

They now have an Anywhere search, but you need to enter a departure date. You can see results in a list, but there aren’t a lot of filters or options. It’s fine, but there’s no reason to choose it over Skyscanner or Google flights.

Click here to search Monmondo now.

What we don’t like: The big drawback is that you must give a departure date, meaning you can’t search for the cheapest fare for an entire month or year.

Whichbudget

WhichBudget flights to random destination search 2018

Whichbudget lets you search for cheap random flights from a city or country to anywhere for the cheapest airfare. It’s fast, and it also lets you search from a good range of international destinations, and was the only search engine that would let us specify Anywhere in the departure field, which is helpful if your departure city or country is flexible, but you know your destination.

What we don’t like: Unfortunately, the results are clunky, the text is hard to read, and you can’t sort the results to show the lowest price first. We didn’t find it user friendly at all.

Our take: It’s ugly too look at, with poor sorting of results, small text and worse than average results. Not our favorite way to search flights by date not destination, or well, any other way.

Airfarewatchdog

Airfare Watchdog cheap flight search 2018

Airfarewatchdog is probably the most bare bones of all the search engines that let you find a flight to any destination. It will only let you search from a specific airport (not even a city, but a specific airport), and doesn’t offer many useful filters.

What we don’t like: Limited functionality, and it’s annoying in that it keeps asking for your name and email to sign up and get low price alerts.

Our take: Not bad for basic searches where you have a destination, but not good for finding a flight if you don’t know your final destination. Might be good for email alerts if you want to go to specific place and are just waiting for a good deal.

Mobissimo’s Activity Search

Search from New York to anywhere on Mobissimo

Search from New York to anywhere on Mobissimo

The Mobissimo Activity Search lets you search for fares from a departure city to anywhere, based on the activities you choose. And no, it won’t let you search to, or from, entire countries.

Mobissimo search 2018

Unfortunately, the Mobissimo Activity Search just brings up a long list of places. You need to click on each location individually to bring up prices.

Our take: Fail. Unless you have countless hours to waste clicking through each link or just want some ideas of possible locations to check out don’t even bother. Not a good no destination flight search engine.

Drungli

Back in the day, the Drungli website used to have a Drungli take me wherever search. Sadly, it’s not working anymore, so it just acts like a normal search engine.

To sum it up

Skyscanner and Kayak, as well as Google Flights Map search, are helpful for getting a general idea of flight costs to different places around the world. If you’re coming up dry with those three, and have a bit of time, then check out the others for cheap flights to any destination.

Click here to search on Skyscanner.

However, once you’ve used any of them to pick out affordable destinations (and dates), it’s worth it to compare those flights to some of the budget airlines that don’t appear in a lot of search engines. You also need to compare hidden airline surcharges like baggage fees and specialty taxes.

Different airlines charge baggage and seating fees differently and a lot of these search tools don’t always factor those costs in.

Are you ready to say “fly me anywhere“?

For more tips on finding a great deal, check out our Six Quick Steps to Nailing the Cheapest Flight.

Did you like this article? Check out Advanced Flight Hacking: How to Save Money if Your Departure City is Flexible. We’re working on others articles to save you money – sign up to get our new blog posts by email so you don’t miss it.

How To Find the Cheapest Flights Out of Any City

cheapest flights to anywhere | cheap flights anywhere | cheap flights by date not destination | fly me anywhere

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Busbud Review: How to Book Bus Tickets Online The Quick and Easy Way https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/busbud-review-how-to-book-bus-tickets-online-the-quick-and-easy-way/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/busbud-review-how-to-book-bus-tickets-online-the-quick-and-easy-way/#comments Wed, 14 Mar 2018 17:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=16210 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? https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/the-best-travel-toiletry-bag-which-one-is-perfect-for-you/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/the-best-travel-toiletry-bag-which-one-is-perfect-for-you/#respond Tue, 13 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=15665 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
clutch8.5
Osprey UltraLight Roll Organizer
hanging8.5
N. Gil Large Travel Cosmetic Pouch Bag
cosmetic7.5
HOYOFO Barrel Travel Cosmetic Bag

barrel8.0
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.

Fabric

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.

Size

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.

eBags-Pack-it-flat-Toiletry-Kit

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

IQTRAVELS Dopp Kit

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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What Are The Best Countries to Teach English Abroad? https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/best-countries-to-teach-english-abroad/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/best-countries-to-teach-english-abroad/#comments Thu, 01 Feb 2018 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=15927 There are plenty of ways to make money abroad, from volunteering to picking fruit to working on a cruise line. One of the most tried and true ways to fund your travel is to get a job teaching English overseas.

Today’s post is from Jessica at MissAdventure Travel, who’s spent the last six years traveling and teaching English abroad. We wanted to share her thoughts on the best countries to teach English abroad, since she’s taught in both Thailand and China. Here’s what Jessica has to say.

Why did you decide to teach English overseas?

When I first decided to teach English abroad, it wasn’t for noble reasons. I’d wanted a way to travel and to write, and I didn’t have enough savings (more like $0) to live for a significant amount of time.

I’m a little more savvy now – I’ve even written about the the best travel hacks to save you money – but back then I was first learning of the idea of slow, meaningful travel, and it resonated. I wanted the chance to immerse myself in a completely foreign culture, to become a part of the community, to put myself as far out of my comfort zone as possible…all for the chance to come back changed.

Photo by Jessica J Hill

Perhaps I didn’t know I was seeking change at the time, but after teaching English abroad for nearly two years, first in Thailand and then China, I learned that with this kind of travel, the change is inevitable. It’s impossible to step outside of your norm, witness how those different from you live and think and speak, and to NOT return home a different (and better, I’d argue) person.

As airfare becomes increasingly more affordable around the world, the desire for meaningful travel experiences like teaching English abroad is also on the rise (don’t just take my word —here’s a list of the best blogs about teaching abroad!). After teaching abroad myself, I started a TEFL agency where I help those who are just getting started figure out where they’d like to go, and how to get there, proof that you just never know where teaching abroad can lead you.

What are the best countries to teach English abroad?

My first-hand experience in the industry over the last six years has given me insight into the world of teaching ESL, and as a result, a personal list of the best places to teach English abroad, for varying reasons as mentioned below.

Photo by Jessica J Hill

Photo by Jessica J Hill

Thailand

One could say I’m undoubtedly biased when it comes to putting Thailand at the top of the list, but I can quickly argue anyone out of that logic.

Thailand is an easy pick for the top because it’s the best of so many things. Not only do you get tropical weather, gorgeous scenery, a never-ending list of things to do and see, friendly locals, delicious food and ease of travel to neighboring countries with Bangkok as your hub, you’ll also experience a laid-back lifestyle, a light work load, and a super low cost of living coupled with a relatively high income.

Thailand beach on Ko Phi Phi island

Nicaragua

Some people consider Nicaragua the forgotten step brother to it’s much more popular neighbor, Costa Rica, but I’d be willing to bet those people have never been to Nicaragua, and that’s precisely why I love it so much. If off-the-beaten track is your peanut butter, then Nicaragua is your jam. Think volcanoes, unspoiled beaches (great for surfing), one of the largest lakes in the word (with freshwater sharks!), and gorgeous, colonial towns. Nicaragua is pretty new to the ESL scene, so there are more jobs available than teachers to fill them, and you don’t need a university degree or even to be a native speaker to qualify.

Czech Republic

Beer and castles. Need I say more? The self-proclaimed beer capital of the world, and also the country’s capital, Prague, Czech Republic is a hot bed for English teachers right now. Not only does it offer a comfortable lifestyle with no shortage of things to do (hiking, castles, beer tours, shopping…), but it’s also one of the cheapest cities in Europe to live AND it’s almost smack dab in the center. As an ESL teacher in Prague, you could have a central home base from which to explore the rest of Europe by train or car (weekend trip to Amsterdam, anybody?) while earning a living wage. The salaries aren’t high but you will earn enough to cover your living expenses, and have lots of opportunity to work more if you wish. Plus, the Czech Republic is relatively new to the scene when it comes to hiring ESL teachers from abroad (and being able to get them work visas), so the jobs are aplenty.

Best countries to teach English. Want to teach English abroad? With six years of experience teaching abroad, travel expert Jessica shares her experiences teaching English in China and Thailand, and gives some great tips! | best countries to teach abroad | Where to teach abroad | Best countries to teach English | How to teach English abroad | Teach English abroad | Teach English as a second language | teach English abroad tips | Teach English in Japan | Teach English in China | Teach English in Thailand | Teach English in Europe | TEFL | ESL | ESL teaching #esl #travel #traveltips

South Korea

If you’re looking for a little more cushion in your bank account, consider a government-sponsored position in South Korea. Slightly more competitive than the above mentioned countries with more requirements (only open to native speakers with a degree AND a TEFL certification), programs like EPIK (English Program in Korea) come with great salaries, furnished accommodation, paid vacation and annual airfare reimbursement.

What questions should you ask when you’re looking at a teaching commitment?

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to choosing a location: the higher salary and better benefits typically equals longer contract commitments and more teaching hours required.

Another question to ask yourself might be if you prefer to teach in a public school or in the private sector? Children or Adults? How many hours per week are you willing to work? Will you want your weekends free?

Do you need a TEFL certificate? Can you get it overseas?

Regardless of where you decide to teach, it’s highly recommended to obtain a TEFL certification. With the growing popularity of teaching English abroad, more and more countries and employers are starting to require it, plus it will help you stand out above the crowd and make you a better, more confident teacher, which can only benefit your students in the end.

There are courses all over the world as well as online, so you can choose a program that suits your needs.

If you know you want to teach in Thailand, for example, it’s best to get certified there. Not only will you still gain an internationally recognized certification, but you’ll get hands-on experience and tips/tricks for what works specifically in Thailand, so you’ll be perfectly prepared to step foot in the Thai classroom, and from there, you’ll be able to tailor your skills to other students from around the world.

Bio: Jessica Hill is the face of MissAdventure Travel, a blog about adventure travel and teaching English abroad. After teaching English in Thailand and China, she started Teach English: ESL, a TEFL agency where she helps others teach English abroad. Find her on Facebook.

Where to teach English abroad. Do you want to teach English abroad, but don't know what country is the best? Our travel expert tells you her top countries, and explains why each is best for teaching English overseas. Not sure if Japan, China, South Korea or the Czech Republic is best for teaching abroad? We can help. Where to teach abroad How to teach English abroad. Teaching abroad expert Jessica shares her best tips for how to teach English abroad, the best countries for teaching English overseas, and shares if she thinks you'll need to get a TEFL certification (and if you can get a TEFL certificate overseas!). #esl #travel #traveltips

 

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How To Find Cheap International Flights The Easy Way https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/how-to-find-cheap-international-flights-the-easy-way/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/how-to-find-cheap-international-flights-the-easy-way/#comments Tue, 30 Jan 2018 21:10:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=15786 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.

via GIPHY

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.

How to get airline deals. Ready to save some money on flights? Sign up for a flight subscription service like Cheap Fly Club to get the best deals in your email everyday. How to find cheap flights | airfare deals | airfare cheap plane tickets | cheapest flight | Cheapest flights airline tickets | cheap airline tickets | #travel #traveltips #deals #flights #vacationtips Use this one easy tip to find the cheapest flight. Booking cheap flights can be really easy if you know the tips and tricks. It can be exhausting to constantly by scanning airlines and booking sites for the best deals, so I've learned to let someone else do the work. Read to learn my secret. | How to find cheap flights | airfare deals | airfare cheap plane tickets | cheapest flight | Cheapest flights airline tickets | cheap airline tickets | #travel #traveltips #deals #flights #vacationtips

How to find cheap flights. | How to find cheap flights | airfare deals | airfare cheap plane tickets | cheapest flight | Cheapest flights airline tickets | cheap airline tickets | #travel #traveltips #deals #flights #vacationtips

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Planning For A Trip: 10 Practical Tips To Save Time, Money And Hassle https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/planning-for-a-trip-10-practical-tips-to-save-time-money-and-hassle/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/planning-for-a-trip-10-practical-tips-to-save-time-money-and-hassle/#respond Sat, 27 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=15910 Travel planning can be overwhelming and time consuming, so, if you need help planning for a trip, this guide is for you.

In this post, we’ve partnered with KAYAK to help share the best tips and hacks we’ve learned during our years of travel together. KAYAK searches other sites to show travelers the information they need to find the right flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation packages, so you can travel more confidently.

This post can help with finding the most affordable destination, packing for travel, finding the best area to stay, avoiding cell roaming charges, and much much more.

Poolside loungers with view of the ocean The Phoenix Belize Resort

So here are our top hacks and tips, all together in one simple trip planning guide, to make your next trip a breeze!

So what are travel hacks? They’re tips, tricks or tools to help fellow travelers ultimately make the planning process easier. That can mean saving time, saving money or saving you from making the same mistake others have made beforehand.

Planning For A Trip: 10 Practical Tips

So let’s get started: our first tip is to start by picking your destination.

Pick your destination

The first step in planning for a trip is to choose your destination based on your budget, your interests, the time you have available, and your travel partners.

Like most people, we start narrowing down our destinations based on cost. For us, especially since we’re in Canada, and since we travel as a family of four, airfare is the biggest part of our trip cost.

Because of that, we pretty quickly figured out that KAYAK’s Explore tool can help us find the most affordable airfare from our home airport.

Here’s how to do it:

Just go to www.kayak.com/explore, type in your Home Airport, and select the date you want. Chose Anytime if you want to find all the cheapest KAYAK flights to anywhere.

Now, just choose your budget, and see where you can afford to fly. I love this part!

We’re looking for a winter getaway somewhere warm, on as cheap a budget as possible, so I put in a budget of $600 a ticket for the example below.

KAYAK Explore Kelowna to Los Angeles

Even better, the KAYAK tool came back with a price of $233 for a return ticket to Los Angeles. Now that’s a great price!

Now, you can pick your dates and see if your timelines match up. Just don’t book yet, you need to do some quick research before you book your flight or hotel! Read on to find out why!

Pick your dates

Depending on how flexible your schedule is, your dates may be ironclad. If you’re fortunate enough, you may have a lot of flexibility and that’s when you’ll really save on flights.

Tip! If you only have a week or so to travel, I’d suggest staying closer to home, so your precious vacation time isn’t eaten up by travel time and jet lag.

Before you book! Quickly research costs, availability and paperwork

We do the core of our trip planning even before booking our flight or hotel, because we’ve occasionally found that hotel rooms can cost a fortune during conferences or holidays, eating up any savings we made on our cheap flight. Even worse, we’ve occasionally found an affordable and convenient flight, but found out that hotel rooms are completely booked out for that time frame.

You only need to spend a few minutes doing this – you’re not booking your hotel yet – you’re just doing a five minute check to make sure that you can get a place to stay in your budget.

We’ve also had friends book tickets only to find out that they need a visa for their trip that would take longer to process than their departure date allowed.

A list of things to quickly check before you book your hotel and flight.

  • accommodation costs and availability
  • car rental costs and availability
  • any must-do activity costs and availability
  • if you need a visa
  • if you need vaccinations. Depending on the vaccination, you may need multiple shots, so make sure you have enough time for these before you leave.
  • if your passport is valid

Book your flight

Unless it’s a quick unplanned trip, we usually have a baseline airline price for where we’re heading. It’s always nice to know it’s an actual deal and not just the lowest price you’ll see today. If it is, now that you’ve quickly scouted out your costs, book your flight quickly before prices jump!

Get your passport, visa, and vaccinations in order

As soon as your flights are sorted, make arrangements to make sure your passport is valid, apply for your visa (if you need one), and arrange for any vaccinations.

JooJoobs Passport Holder

Choose things to do and see

We always choose the activities we want to do, and the places we want to see most, before we book our accommodation. That way, we can base our accommodation based on how close it is to the airport, restaurants, activities, and any attractions we want to go to. If you’re not sure where everything is at your new destination, now’s the time to look them up!

Book your accommodation

So now that your flight is booked, you’ve got your paperwork in order, and chosen what you want to do, see and eat, the next step in planning a trip is to book your accommodation.

We love the KAYAK hotel heat map as a tool for choosing the best place to stay. It shows you what hotels are near restaurants, sightseeing, nightlife and shopping, which is fantastic if you want to be in the heart of the action. You can even use it in reverse to find a place out of the busy center if you’re looking for peace and quiet!

Inside family room at the Hotel Albemarle Isabela Island Galapagos

How to use the KAYAK hotel heat map

Search for hotels in your destination, during the dates you want.

In the results, click Go To Map.

In the popular areas box, select Eating, Sightseeing, Shopping, or Nightlife.

The map shows the most popular areas for each activity.

Because we’re usually traveling as a family, sightseeing is the most important activity for us followed by eating.

We’re going to spend a bit of time in Anaheim (hello Disneyland!), but our main focus would be Universal Studios. We went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando and LOVED it, so we’re looking at checking the California Universal Studios out.

Taking a look at the KAYAK heat map tells me Universal is pretty close to some other great LA attractions, like the Griffith Observatory and the La Brea Tar Pits. Now that we know roughly where we want to be staying, we can pick a hotel.

KAYAK hotel heat map Los Angeles

Get travel insurance

After one too many accidents and health scares overseas, we’re huge fans of getting travel insurance. Even if you’re healthy, it’s so easy to have a car accident or hurt yourself on your vacation. You can pick up good medical travel insurance from just a few dollars a day and we believe this is an essential step in vacation trip planning! If you’re from Canada, take a look at our Canadian Travel Insurance post that we update every year.

Pack smart!

We often stress far too much over packing when in reality all you absolutely need is a smartphone, wallet and passport. You can buy everything else at your destination if you really need it so those are really our only essentials.

As you can guess, we’re big fans of traveling as light as we can. We find it’s a lot less stressful to travel with carry-ons only, as you never have to worry about misplaced luggage, and you don’t have to lug around big bags. We even managed to travel carry-on only as a family of four for over three months last year!

Here are a few tips that will help you pack lighter:

  • Check the weather for the time you’ll be there, and pack accordingly.
  • Put everything you want to bring on your bed next to your luggage, and only pack the items that fit and that you need. Put everything else back.
  • If you travel with checked luggage, fly with one change of clothing (or a change of underwear at the minimum) in your carry-on, just in case your checked baggage is lost.
  • Pack clothing and shoes for activities like hiking or swimming.

Sort out cellphone and Internet access before leaving

Make sure you take a minute in your vacation planning to sort out cell phone coverage and Internet access before you leave.

Depending on your home cellphone plan, and where you’re going, you may be able to get a good data roaming rate with your local phone company. Check with your cell provider to see if they have any roaming deals and that they can provide roaming services where you’re heading.

Tip! Don’t think that your monthly plan includes automatic coverage for a reasonable price if you don’t have confirmation. We’ve seen people rack up hundreds of dollars in costs because they didn’t realize how much checking their Facebook page cost overseas or how much that phone call back to family cost them.

Because our cell roaming plan is pretty much non-existent away from home, we always travel with an international WiFi hotspot, which costs us less than $10 a day. Even better, we can connect up to six devices, which is perfect for our family of four. We could rely solely on hotel and public WiFi, but we find that sometimes hotel WiFi can be dodgy, and it can be surprisingly hard to find public WiFi in some destinations.

The nice part is that if you own an international WiFi device like we do, you can connect for only a day or two as needed while you travel so you’re not paying for it when you don’t need it.

Our Tep doing duty on the beach in Mexico

Our WiFi hotspot doing duty on the beach in Mexico

Check local currencies

These days, we rarely buy currency ahead of time, with the exception of US dollars. We always carry enough in US dollars to get us local transportation, a hotel room and food for a day or two in case our debit cards are lost or stolen, or there’s a rare problem accessing credit car machines.

Generally we like to live a little dangerously and grab some local currency at an airport ATM after we land (not usually the best rate) and then some more from a local ATM via a bank machine. We also tend to use use our credit cards for bigger purchases like hotel rooms, meals in nicer restaurants and higher priced attractions.

If you like to plan more ahead, your best currency conversion is probably going to be from your bank at home. You can get almost any currency from your local branch however some currencies could take a few weeks to get in so make sure you give yourself enough time before you leave.

Do you have any travel planning tips? Let us know what works for you!

This post is in partnership with KAYAK. Start your 2018 travel planning at KAYAK.com.

vacation planning tips. Travel planning can be overwhelming and time consuming, so if you need help planning for a trip, this guide is for you. We help with packing tips, getting a good hotel, and making sure you're ready to travel. Trip planning | Trip planning tips | vacation planning | vacation planning on a budget | vacation planning tips | vacation planning travel hacks | travel planning | travel planning tips #travel #traveltips #vacationtips #vacationtips #vacation #KAYAKtravelhacker #KAYAKsponsored #ad Trip planning tips. We share the best tips and hacks we've learned during years of travel together to help make your  your travel planning a little bit easier. There's help finding the most affordable destination, packing for travel, finding the best area to stay, avoiding cell roaming charges, and much more. Trip planning | vacation planning | vacation planning on a budget | vacation planning tips | vacation planning travel hacks | travel planning | travel planning tips | planning a trip #travel #traveltips #vacation #vacationtips #vacation #travelblogger #travelblog #KAYAKtravelhacker #KAYAKsponsored #ad

 

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The Best Business Travel Backpack https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/the-best-business-travel-backpack/ https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/the-best-business-travel-backpack/#comments Wed, 24 Jan 2018 18:00:00 +0000 https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/?p=15668 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
177.5
SwissGear Travel Gear 1900178.5
Kopack Lightweight
15.68.5
Uoobag KT-01 Slim Business
15.68.5
Dell Adventure Laptop178.0
AmazonBasics178.5
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.

Organization

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.

Fit

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.

Weatherproof

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.

Security

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

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.

Style

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!

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