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Travelling

List of travel items I like

TravellingEdward KiledjianComment
Image by  Sean MacEntee  used under Creative Commons License

Image by Sean MacEntee used under Creative Commons License

I write about travel items because I love them. Instead of a review, I wanted to list some of my favorite travel items. These aren't just random items I found on the internet, these are things that I bought and use regularly. Remember I spent most of my career travelling (over 1M miles) so you know these are good.

  1. Best Carry-On bag : RedOxx Airboss 
  2. Best packing cubes : Eagle Creek Packing Cubes
  3. Best Travel Toiletry Kit : Eagle Creek Pack-It Wallaby 
  4. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones: Bose QC25
  5. Best Noise Isolating earphones: Etymotic ER-4 MicroPro 
  6. Best short Travel USB/Lightning cables: Nomad NomadKey
  7. Best Small Bluetooth travel speaker : Logitech UE Mini 
  8. Best portable travel power strip with USB: Belking
  9. Best travel portable water bottle: Vapur 
  10. Best waterproof point and shoot : Olympus TG-4 
  11. Best portable camera : Sony a6000

 

4 lifehacks for easier,cheaper and more enjoyable airline travel

TravellingEdward KiledjianComment
Image by  Lars Plougmann  used under Creative Commons License

Image by Lars Plougmann used under Creative Commons License

Travelling is a great way to travel to far flung locations making the world a  much smaller place. It isn't always fun or convenient though. I've spent thousands of hours trapped inside a trans-atlantic or trans-pacific flight wishing for it to finally be over.

There are some tips that will help make you flight just a little and more enjoyable. 

1 - Fly early and sit on the wing

I am not prone to motion sickness but I know plenty of colleagues who are. As the sun rises and heats the ground, the ground radiates that heat back into the sky potentially causing more turbulence. Flying earlier in the day means the ground may be less hot and you may experience less turbulence.

In line with the theme of motion sickness, try to reserve a seat on the wing. These are the seats with the least amount of tilting when the plane turns. 

2 - Use carry-on only

Talking to frequent travellers, one of the most common complaints is related to checked luggage. Complaints are caused either long line-ups to drop it off at check-in, luggage being delayed due to routing issues, luggage being damaged during transit, luggage contents being stolen or having to wait over an hour to pick up your luggage at the destination airport. 

If you can, fly carry-on only.

3 - Bring extra power

When travelling with electronics (Kindle, iPad, Nexus, iPhone) you want to make sure these device are able to entertain you during the entire trip. Make sure you travel with your own external battery pack (Link).

4 - Buy cheaper tickets

Read older blog posts and you will likely see advice recommending that you purchase your airline tickets on Tuesday. This advice no longer holds as more recent analysis shows that Sundays offer the best deals (Link).

Airlines Reporting Corp (a ticket processor transacting about half of all tickets sold) conducted a 19 month (130 million ticket analysis) and showed that Sundays offered the lowest prices. The second cheapest day was Saturday (with a rate of about $10 more per ticket). Tuesday was found to be almost $60 more expensive.

Historical data has shows Tuesdays having the most price drops so it may still be worth keeping an eye out for deals on that day. Yapta, a site that alerts corporate travel managers to price drops, confirmed that it saw 21% of its ticket price drops on Tuesday followed by 19% on Wednesday. 

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube Review

TravellingEdward KiledjianComment

I started travelling the world almost 20 years ago and haven't stopped since. I have been to all 4 corners of the world and over the years have refined my travel "recipe". In this case, my recipe is how to pack the most while still being able to travel (in most cases) carry-on only using the one bag approach. 

The competition

Before looking at the Eagle Creek Travel Gear Pack-It Specter On Board, I want to take a second to talk about cheaper products. 

The cheapest of the bunch are Chinese made knock-offs you can buy from Aliexpress, DHGate, DealExtreme or eBay. I bought a handful of these to test, ranging from the very cheap ones at $4,99 all the way up to their top of the line one listed at $36.05. 

First you wait between 4-8 weeks to receive the Chinese products. Once you start testing them you realize all the issues wrong with them:

  • cheap zippers that don't open/close smoothly
  • cheap inconsistent stitching
  • cheap plastic material that either cant contain a small leak or that rips after a couple of uses
  • illogical compartment design

Unfortunately most travel stores in malls resell these cheap Chinese products with their store name on it (relabelled) usually at a premium price.

Why I love Eagle Creek

Over the next few weeks,  I will write reviews about various Eagle Creek travel tools that I recommend. The Specter line from Eagle Creek is designed with the frequent and light traveller in mind. They are extremely light weight, durable, easy to maintain and will simplify anyone's travel.

Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube

  • It has 2 smaller zip pockets on the top flap and 7 organizer slip pockets.
  • The central compartment  is large enough to accommodate a medium blow dryer, medium hair straightener or it can even carry a small travel cube with shoe polish, shoe brushes or whatever else you want to carry in there.
  • Eagle Creek has used a thin yet durable "silnylon" ripstop material which is lightweight, easy to maintain and allows you to see through it  ( making content identification easy).
  • It is water resistant and stain resistant. 

I purposely let a tube of toothpaste "leak" and the material contained it perfectly within the toiletry bag. I tried the same experiment with a face cream and once again the material contained it which meant nothing else got dirty or stained. Now I do recommend sealing creams and liquids in a ziplock style freezer bag during travel (freezer bags are typically more sturdy) but this will protect your luggage even if you don't.

Those that have been reading my blog for a while know that I love and only travel with RedOxx luggage. RedOxx makes light, durable and flexible luggage but the thing I love most about their products is the lifetime warranty, Well Eagle Creek offers a lifetime warranty on their products as well:

Travelling is extremely demanding on gear and the one time I tried to use an Eagle Creek product warranty, they replaced the item no questions asked (and without any hassles). 

Important considerations

I love reading internet comments related to products I am reviewing. I read a bunch of complaints from people that obviously don't travel much. Here are some elements I want you to keep in mind.

My main Redoxx luggage is the AirBoss and it has a soft flexible outer shell. This makes it incredibly light and expandable yet it also means I have to fully stuff it if I want it to be stiff and solid (which I don't of course). Same thing here.

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube is made from a flexible material which means it won't stand easily on its own. But this is something you want. You want a light and flexible material not something heavy and rigid like leather or pleather.

The Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube is washable but if you want to keep it working for a long time, don't throw it into the washing machine. To clean this product (or most other travel cubes or flexible luggages):

  1. first make sure it is completely dry and dry wipe any spots stains or dirt
  2. You can use a soft dry plastic bristle brush to gently clean the cracks and crevices. The important words here are soft plastic bristles and very very gentle strokes. 
  3. Using an air compressor, I then blow any dust or debris away
  4. Using a mild soap (like Dr. Bronner’s Magic All-in-One Soap) hand wash the Pack-It Specter On Board Packing Cube in lukewarm water. Gently stirring the item in a tub of water or a large sink. 
  5. Then I rinse it off with fresh lukewarm running water and let it air dry. Never dry it in the automatic dryer or under the sun.

Because it is flexible, you will need to 2 hands to open and close the zipper. The zippers are equipped with pull ties making opening and closing easier.

The downside

Overall I think this is a fantastic addition to anyones travel kit and I know you will get years of satisfaction from it. The only 2 issues I had with it are:

  1. I wish the price was a little lower ($45 on Amazon.com LINK). Don't get me wrong, I would gladly pay $45 for this product because I know all of the careful thought that went into the design of this uber useful toiletry kit but casual travellers may find it a bit too pricey.
  2. As a single man that shaves his head, I travel with a very limited number of toiletry items. I found that product was often 50-60% empty for me but remember it is light and flexible so it doesn't take any extra space. It curls and compresses around the items it is protecting.

Verdict

If you travel moderately (or more) and are looking for the most convenient toiletry bag than this is it. You should go buy it. You will love it. 

If you travel once a year for a beach vacation, I would still say buy it because I hate cheap travel gear that breaks, but you could be forgiven for buying something a little cheaper. 

Amazon (link)

Track your luggage via bluetooth thanks to CalypsoTag

TravellingEdward KiledjianComment

If you travel more than a couple of times a year, you should be a onebag traveller with no check in luggage. There are times when you need to check a bag in and this where the CalypsoTag comes in handy (link).

The distinctive tag comes in 4 highly visible colors.

Add one to your luggage to quickly see it come down the conveyor belt. The Calypsotag has another trick up its sleeve: it comes bearing bluetooth 4.0 goodness. With their app, your phone will notify you as your luggage get's closer. This means you don't have to stand by the conveyor belt waiting, in a crows of tired and angry travellers. You can stand a couple of feet away and relax. Your phone beeps, you move closer, pick up you luggage and walk away.

Most other bag trackers offer more detailed global positioning information of your luggage but cost $10-15 a month for global GSM cell service.

All of this CalypsoTag can be had for a reasonable $99 one-time fee.