Travel

TripIt gets “iPadified” with New “On-Map” Interactions and Planning

Judie turned me on to TripIt about two years ago, and I have been a devoted user ever since. And today we got word that TripIt.com just got “iPadified”, and now “Travelers can interact with their trip plans on a map and create directions instantly online.” This is a new way for TripIt users to access trip maps and get directions and makes the service even more valuable than ever. As the news release we received explains, Now, when travelers log onto TripIt.com, they’ll have the option to view their itinerary alongside an interactive map, or select the traditional detailed…


JumpFromPaper Makes Real Life Feel Like a Cartoon with Seriously Ridiculous Bags

I loved the way “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” (1988) and “Cool World” (1992) mixed cartoon elements into a real-world backdrop. I enjoyed the same effect as a kid, watching older Disney movies such as Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Song of the South. There’s just something quirky and irresistible about imagining a world where cartoons can come to life; anything can happen! Evidently the minds behind JumpFromPaper feel the same. Created by Taipei-based design duo, Chay Su and Rika Lin, JumpFromPaper is a bag company that has produced a line of travel, camera, laptop and general gear bags which look like props from…


Alaska Airlines, Your Mega-Church in the Sky

A few years ago I was on a plane that almost went down. The person next to me had spent the flight trying to convince me why I was wrong in my “choice” of religions, and when the wingtip almost hit the ground he looked at me and with all seriousness said, “At least I know where I’m going when I crash.” Some might have found his comment and attitude offensive. Others might have nodded in agreement. I saw it as proof of what is strong about this country. This is America, and he is entitled to his beliefs; my…


Looking for a Deal on That Flight? Book Six Weeks in Advance, New Study Says

Buying flights has NEVER been fun – you know that no matter what you are losing out somehow … that somewhere on the same plane someone else paid less than you. And through the years there have been numerous strategies for getting the cheapest rates … and for avoiding too many of the add-on fees that seem to increase each year in number and cost! Now according to a study by the Airlines Reporting Corp. at the L.A. Times the latest strategy: shop six weeks in advance. Here is a section of the article: Passengers can get the lowest airfares…


GearDiaryGo Tip: Don’t Travel Without TripIt

We’ve mentioned this numerous times in the past but it’s worth reiterating, TripIt is probably one of the best travel companions you can have. The service and accompanying smartphone and tablet applications make it easy to arrange your trip, track your plans, and get notified when there are changes. And if you are traveling with a group that is coming from various locations you can link one itinerary with another so you can see where they are and what their plans will be. Ever since Judie introduced me to it two years ago I’ve been a huge fan. In fact,…


Quick Look: Belkin Travel Router

This year Gear Diary’s CES base will be a suite at the MGM Grand. All of us will be bunking together which means we will be able to get even more writing done early in the morning or late at night. Of course that presumes we have the wireless connectivity to go online and post. 🙂  The suite comes with free internet connectivity. That SHOULD mean both wired and wireless connections will work, but we won’t really know until we get there. Add in the fact that during CES there is such a huge demand on wireless systems and… we…


Oh the Times, They Are aChangin’

Here’s just one small indicator of how much things have changed over the past few years. One of our cars died and is on its way to the junkyard. Prior to having it shipped off we cleared out the glove box. Buried deep inside with these relics of travels past. Me, “hmmm, New car has nav. I don’t think we need these any longer.” Elana, “Yeah, I guess you’re right. Let’s just put them in the recycling bin.” It is a new world and one in which, like phone books, maps are really a thing of the past.


Yoobao Power Bank 11,200 mAh Battery Review

Welcome to another edition of “What’s Coming to CES 2012”. In our last episodes we visited with two PowerBags (I’ll carry the messenger and Kevin will carry the backpack) and Mission Workshop Sanction waterproof rucksack that Francis will bring along for the ride. The PowerBags will give us a total of 12,000mAh of device-charging goodness. That’s good… but it is not good enough. Thankfully we’ll have a few additional external batteries with us. One example, we will bring along this 11,200 mAh battery from Yoobao. Despite its relatively small size and weight, it is a beast in the energy department….


A Quick Peek at the Aligata Nude Beauty Medium Travel Bag

  It wasn’t too long ago that I reviewed the Aligata Nude Beauty Big Weekend Bag, and they have just sent their newest offering — the Nude Beauty Medium Travel Bag. I’ll have a full review up after I’ve had some time to actually USE the bag and change its color from the nearly white Nude Beauty to a natural honey patina. But in the meantime, I just had to tell you all about it because it is something that I know would be an appreciated holiday gift for your special someone … The interior sports a waterproof lining, a key fob,…


Quickie Experience — Groupon Getaways

Recently Groupon began expanding their deal offerings to include travel options. Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, and other resorts are offering significant discounts in off-season times for Groupon customers. Sarah and I took advantage of one deal over the summer, and this past weekend finally were able to use it for a long weekend in Cape Cod. Would we try this again, and recommend the experience to our friends? Read on to find out! On the Groupon side, the experience was as simple as it always is. The deal unlocked, and Sarah shot me an email with it, suggesting it would…


FaceTime and iOS Impresses Halfway Across the Globe

(Image courtesy of Apple) The world is a big place. At the turn of the century trying to visit loved ones who lived halfway across the world took months. Now, we can fly from one side of the globe to the other in less than a day. And even when we aren’t physically technology enables us to feel as if we are. I was reminded of this when FaceTime and iOS brought me closer to my wife AND saved us money in the process. My wife and I live in the midwest, but she is from Thailand. She is visiting her…


Lessons Learned from a Week of Road Tripping

Sarah and I have had a busy summer, but the big finale was definitely this past week. We started out Labor Day weekend, where we headed to Virginia, before returning to New Jersey for a day and then heading to Maine for a friend’s wedding. Lots of travel, lots of packing, lots of gear. What did we learn? Read on to see our hard-earned lessons and tips! Technology: Let’s start with travel gear. I opted to travel light to VA since we were driving to Richmond, then Virginia Beach for a race, then back to Richmond and then finally home….


The Aligata Nude Beauty Big Weekend Travel Bag Review

  When I travel by plane, I use a virtually indestructible LuggageWorks rolling carry-on. It’s great for getting through airports and attaching my other bags to, and I never have to worry about it being damaged when gate-checked because it’s extremely durable and already ugly as sin. Did I mention that it’s also ridiculously heavy? LuggageWorks bags have a metal frame around their bottoms and backs which is part of why they last virtually forever, but it means that the 22″ version I have weighs 15 pounds when empty and can weigh 30+ pounds when fully packed. Although it is just fine for airport…


The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED Pocket Floodlight Inspection Light Review

photos by Kevin There is not much worse than being in an unfamiliar dark area with no idea where to find a light, or that feeling you get when you have dropped something vital into a dark crevice, but you aren’t sure if there is a “critter” down there that might bite or sting. Carrying a pocket flashlight (or penlight, as we’ve always called them) is an easy solution, and I’ve found one that you might like to consider. The Maxxeon WorkStar 220 LED Pocket Floodlight is a slim penlight that uses three AAAA batteries, the first set of which…


Aligata Leather Releases New Premium Leather Products to Protect Your Gear in Style

One of the best things about being involved in this blogging community is that you never know who you are going to meet along the way. That is certainly the case with our friend Tom from Aligata leather. Shortly after the iPad was released, I did a review of a number of iPad folio cases. Shortly thereafter we received an email from Tom. He told us he was designing a simple but premium leather folio for the iPad, and he wanted to know if we wanted to take a look. Shortly thereafter Judie and I received sample of them. We…


SCOTTEVEST SeV Sport Coat Review

When I first heard that SCOTTEVEST was releasing a sport coat, I didn’t know what to think. I did, however, know that I wanted one. There’s no big surprise there, considering the fact that I wear something from the company pretty much each and every day. I’m grateful to SeV’s Scott Jordan for giving me the opportunity to review one of their new SeV sport coats! I have worn the review sample at various times for the last 2 1/2 weeks. I’ve worn it with jeans and boots one day and with dress pants and a tie another. I did…


VinniBag Review

I am not a wine connoisseur at all.  However, back in the day I was into drinking good beers.  I remember one trip where I visited a Rock Bottom Brewery restaurant where I had some of the best beer I have ever tasted.  They had beer that I could have taken home in bottles, but because I flew into Denver and was flying out the next day, I could not take any home with me.  If I had the VinniBag it would have been a piece of cake! VinniBag is a wine bottle-shaped bag that has a few interesting features.  First, it…


The Five Stages of Smartphone Withdrawal

Regular readers of Gear Diary may remember I got married earlier this month. We just returned from our honeymoon, a fabulous week on beautiful San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. It’s absolutely gorgeous; white sandy beaches, sun, drinks, food…what more do you need? Well, in my case, the one thing missing from the island (and the one thing that had Sarah practically doing cartwheels of joy) was the distinct lack of internet service. Yes, I had to go an entire week without a smartphone. Just like the five stages of grief, I went through five stages of connectivity withdrawal. It’s…


Skooba Gear Introduces Their New Ultralight Bag Collection, Techlife

Get ready for something special from Skooba Design! They are in the process of rolling out Techlife, a  collection of  sporty, casual, and Ultra-super-seriously-lightweight bags. Shown above is the Techlife Digital Daypack, which will retail for $99.95. According to Michael Hess, this collection includes … Updated versions of our iPad/Netbook bag and neo-skin, a slick new backpack in 2 sizes, a compact laptop messenger (for MacBook 13 and similar), a slim laptop case, and my personal favorite “big story,” which is… drum roll… The Weekend Warrior Duffel [$119.95] — nothing else like it on the market. A solution for “single-bag,…


Balanzza Intros Mini Luggage Scale to Help Avoid Added Luggage Fees

Airline luggage fees have been on my mind this week ever since I spoke to Scott Jordan about his dealing’s with Delta Sky magazine. (Heck, Scott even announced a new product, the Carry-On Coat to take things to the next level.) The fees for bags and extra weight keep growing and the free allotments keep diminishing. In a travel environment like this it is more important than ever to make sure your luggage doesn’t go over the weight limit. A new product makes it easier than ever. The Balanzza Mini, the lightest digital scale in the market, weighs less than…


TravelTeq’s TRIP Will Pack You, Seat You, Carry You and Rock You

… and it will cost you. 😉 Nothing is more tiring than the journey anymore; getting to airports hours early, waiting in long lines, being herded like cattle through security only to find that there are no seats left for your oversold flight at the already over-packed gate … ugh! But the ends justify the means, right? And whether it is for vacation or business, we continue to endure the pitfalls of modern day travel. With that in mind, I found this product interesting when it landed in my email this morning; the TRIP is a carry-on suitcase that carries…