Must-Have Travel Items

Traveling often, whether for pleasure, or whether for work, can be exciting, while expanding our horizons by exposing us to new places and cultures. But no matter how worldly some people may be, most of us have those things we just can’t leave behind.

We’re not talking about necessities like credit cards, I.D.’s or a laptop for work. We mean creatures of comforts, things that entertain, remind us of home, or just make us feel like everything is OK.

It might be a comfy pair of slippers, a favorite gadget, or something that reminds us of home. One thing all these items have in common is that their owners just can’t leave home without them. We were wondering:

Do you have any must-have travel items?

Amy Wensloo, CEO of Products to Profits in Pasadena, California, travels to trade shows conferences and meetings. She also takes vacation trips with her fiance. Her must-have items include a hair dryer. “Ridiculously bad hotel hair dryers are a pet peeve since I do a ton of speaking at events,” she says. “I’m currently looking at several high-end travel size dryers but haven’t found a great one yet.”

She also brings lavender, citrus and mint essential oils to help with energy, nausea and being happy; a “success journal,” a blender bottle for a healthy and fast breakfast; Natural Calm magnesium powder, and Pito Tubes, for her favorite toiletries. “I’ve been using the same set for over 15 years,” she says. “Completely leak-proof that entire time. Awesome!”

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Beth Beutler, a writer and consultant, says she brings a quilted “relaxing bag” with her on trips. “(It) includes a journal, a coloring/inspirational study book, and some trinkets from past trips to enjoy or reflect on during free time,” she says. “These particular items are only used when on trips, to make them special and different from similar items I use at home.”

While most people use fans to cool off, Mark Rust brings one on trips with him so that he can get a good night’s rest.

“I’m a light sleeper, small sounds inside or out will wake me,” says Rust, a musician from New Paltz, New York. “Even if it’s perfectly quiet, I can’t sleep. So when I travel I always carry a small electric fan. The constant ‘white noise’ of its blades put me right to sleep, and keep me from hearing anything from the trucks passing by the hotel, to the TV or conversation in the next room. Often in the hotel elevator, other guests will see the fan and remark how they wished they’d brought one.”

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Tara Cappe, who travels internationally as the owner of For the Love of Travel, a group travel company for young professionals, has a few things she always brings with her, including a favorite item of clothing. “When I go to Europe, I always bring my favorite Vince leather jacket, no matter what season,” she says. “It can go from day to night and always looks stylish.”

Her second must-have item is a pair of footwear, but not for styling reasons. “No matter what season, I bring flip-flops to wear in hotel rooms and bathrooms. You never know!”

Finally, she never travels without her pillow. “I know it takes up a lot of space but I always bring my pillow from home,” Cappe says. “I never get as good a night’s sleep without it.”

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Amy Killoran, creative manager with I Love Travel, a Toronto-based student travel company, notes slippers are a must for her when she travels.

“You can change into them on the plane, or at a grimy hotel, or a resort with cold tile flooring, and hang out on your hotel patio in them,” she says. “It’s something that brings a little bit of the comfort of home along with you on your trip, and feels so good to have on hand if you find yourself in a less than desirable room for the night. I bring a pair of slippers on every trip.”

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Katharine M. Nohr, a laywer based in Kaneohe, Hawaii, and the author of the new book, “Land Sharks: #HonoluluLaw, #Triathletes and a #TVStar,” says her plane necessities are a lumbar pillow, neck pillow, travel blanket and eye shades when she takes a long flight. And not just any pillow will do.

“I’ve tried many and have discovered the best in each category,” she says. “I’m always telling people about the best neck and back pillows.” She says recently broke a neck pillow before a trip to Italy, and was in Honolulu International Airport looking for the right pillow.

“I went all over the airport and into every shop, including the store where I originally found this fabulous item,” she says. “It was discontinued. After checking about 10 stores, I found it in one of the kiosks — their last one. And, it was on sale for half the original price! I’m now ready for my travel season with all my on board luxuries.”

When traveling with these precious items, you’ll want to know where they are at all times. The LugLoc luggage locator can help you keep track of your luggage and your possessions. For more information, go to lugloc.com.

 

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Traveling With Alcohol

 

When people travel, there seems to be a lot of confusion and misperceptions about the quantity of wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages you can take back with you, especially if you are travelling internationally. But the truth is, if you’re visiting wineries, brew pubs or distilleries on your vacation, you’re going to want to bring back some of these drinks as souvenirs to enjoy back at home.

When flying with alcohol, there are TSA regulations, airline regulations and import laws set by individual countries.

Taken directly from the official TSA blog, any amount of alcohol greater than 3.4 ounces must be packed in checked baggage. Each traveler may also take up to five liters of liquids with alcoholic content between 24% and 70% if it’s packed in a sealable bottle or flask. Alcoholic beverages with less than 24% alcohol content are not subject to hazardous materials regulations. Please take note that the TSA is an agency of the U.S. and these restrictions will differ in other countries.

One big problem is that many in the industry don’t even understand the rules—including those who work for the airlines and the TSA.

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Stephen Gardner, a strategic communications consultant with NorthStar Policy in Washington, D.C., was traveling to Palm Springs to see family, and while there, he and his wife visited their favorite vineyard in Temecula called Palumbo.

“We took the wine luggage there with us that holds 12 bottles. We bought 12 bottles at the vineyard and after the holidays I headed to LAX for my flight back. After getting through security United called me and they were in a panic. TSA was telling them that I was only allowed to take 6 bottles with me on a flight,” he says. “They told me that either I could come back through security to the United Desk and try to make other accommodations for my wine or I could leave 6 bottles behind. I was very upset and couldn’t imagine how a luggage company could sell me luggage that I couldn’t use.”

Eventually, it was discovered that the six-bottle limit only applied to spirits and he was allowed to continue his journey,

And while wine and alcohol is not allowed in carry on bags unless purchased in duty-free stores beyond security checkpoints, this is not always the case.

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Mariza Leal, host of the Abroad Podcast, a show about expat life and living abroad, ran into difficulty when trying to bring a bottle of Cachaça from where she lived in Brazil to Las Vegas.

“I bought it at the duty-free before boarding the plane. It was a wedding present, one of those cute sets that comes with the glasses and a muddler to make caipirinha,” she says. “When I got to my connection in Panama City they set up this makeshift checkpoint. I put the liquor in the bin and they said I had to check it because it was more than 4 oz. I argued and ended up having to buy a bag to check it. It was very frustrating.”

According to the TSA, passengers traveling internationally into the United States, Canada and Europe with a connecting flight are permitted to carry liquids in excess of 100 ml (3.4 ounces) in their carry-on baggage, provided they were purchased in duty-free shops and placed in secure, tamper-evident bags.

Not all airlines have an explicit written policy on checking alcohol in your hold luggage, but the general rule is that it must be packaged to completely prevent breakage, which could damage other customers’ luggage and property. But packaging alcohol correctly can be a problem and is not easy, which is why many people opt to buy special luggage designed to hold alcohol.

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Dr. Ruth Berman, CEO of Bon Beer Voyage, offering tours for Belgian and craft beer throughout Europe, has heard horror stories from customers who traveled home with beer because they failed to pack the bottles correctly.

“Our guests often report back to us about what they brought home and what survived the journey,” she says. “And more than once they have purchased additional suitcases during the course of a beer-cation just to bring beer home with them.”

This allows them to use correct insulation and not worry about other things in the suitcase damaging or breaking the bottles.

Adam Tope, an attorney in New York, often takes wine trips and brings back anything between a few bottles to several cases of them on each trip. Over the years, he has brought back wine from Australia, South Africa and South America to the U.S. without any issues.

“If we are buying in quantity we use a standard cardboard box with Styrofoam inserts that wineries sell cheaply,” he says. “The biggest issue is finding these boxes in certain countries, so we have often brought them with us as checked bags. If it is a few bottles, I wrap a white T-shirt around the bottle and place it in a garbage bag (in case it were to break) and then bury it deep in my luggage.”

Be smart about traveling with alcohol. Don’t try to hide you are traveling with it, and package it so it’s safe from rough handling. If there are fees associated with bringing alcohol back to your country, be sure to declare it properly. Do all this and you’ll be enjoying your drink back at home.

 

Having peace of mind that your luggage (and wine or alcohol) is where it’s supposed to be going can provide peace of mind as well, so be sure to utilize LugLoc (www.lugloc.com), so you know where your bags are at all times.

 

 

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5 Things To Do As Soon As You Get On A Plane

Whether you are taking a long-haul flight or just a short one to the other side of the country, there are some things you should always take into account when boarding a plane. First things first. Take a look at these five, and share with us any others that help you feel more comfortable up in the air.

Count the rows until the exit

Flying is very safe, and of course, nobody wants to think about a plane crash! But, according to research, if you take a moment to mentally prepare for one, you increase your chances of survival if the worst does happen. In a report analyzing airline accidents from 1983 to 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board found that the survival rate of crashes was 95.7%. Now, if you combine those stats with the fact that airplane accidents are very rare, you truly realize that flying is actually the safest form of transportation.

So, next time you get on a plane, remember to count the rows between your seat and the closest emergency exit. And in case the plane goes down or makes an emergency landing, you will know how to make your way out, even in the dark, by counting the rows by hand.

Check for a life jacket or life vest

They are usually under the seat but, who knows? The flight crew might’ve missed a routine check between flights. So be sure to check just in case you need to ask for one.

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Gather your in-flight essentials

It’s common to feel a little cold while on board a flight and, although some airlines offer a tiny flat pillow and maybe a blanket, it’s always a good idea to bring your own. Soft blankets and neck pillows make everything more comfortable. Plus, nowadays there are surprisingly compact products (that don’t need much space and are easy to carry).

TravelSmith offers a handy blanket that easily stows into its own compact stuff sack and unfolds to offer warm, lightweight, and luxurious comfort for 39USD. Eagle Creek designed the Cat Nap Travel Blanket, a super comfy blanket made of micro fleece that has a zip pocket for your eyeshade or paperback and a foot pockets for added delight. Price? 30.95USD. Another great option is the Fleece Travel Blanket, by Vera Bradley. It’s a generously-sized blanket that folds down into a travel pillow, includes a trolley sleeve for easy transport through the airport and can be yours for 38USD.

There are people that are also used to eye masks so, if you’re one of them, you might probably want to write that down on your travel list. Ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones can help you drown out the sound on the plane when you try to rest, cancel the turbine noise and just hear the sound of what you’re listening. Not a bad idea. This items will help you feel more pleased and enjoy as much as you can the flight that will be about to take off. Planes can be quiet from now on: “You don’t realize how much noise there is on a plane until you have these on and turn them off or take them off”.

Prepare your entertainment devices

Seemingly each day airlines add more entertainment to their aircraft. Not only movies and new albums but also Wi-Fi. In case you’re not sure what yours offers, or you just need your electronics (whether it is an MP3 Player for music and audio books, a laptop or Tablet for writing or reading, a portable DVD player or a portable gaming console), make sure you have them within reach. Of course, remember that some can only be used when the flight crew allow you to.

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For an enjoyable flight have your devices fully charged before leaving. Although the some airplanes have plugs right next to the screen, they usually run slow. Another option is to consider investing in a portable battery pack. If you have your electronics in your personal bag in the overhead compartment, remember to take out everything before taking off so that you’re not constantly getting up and sitting down.

Stay clean and hydrated

If you are one of those that need to brush your teeth after every meal, remember to bring a small toothbrush and toothpaste on the flight. You’ll be happy to stay clean and so will your seatmate (smelling someone’s breath after a 7-hour flight is hard!).

Airline travel is dehydrating, so stick to drinking water and plenty of it. It’s true that you can’t bring a bottle of water past security but you can accept the water everytime it comes your way while on board. Drinking leads to going to the bathroom but keep in mind that it’s always more important to be hydrated with a full bladder than being dehydrated. Also dry skin and scratchy eyes are really common up in the air, so avoid them with a nice moisturizer and apply them to your face and hands and use saline drops for your eyes, specially if you wear contact lenses.

Last but not least, keep your LugLoc near you so, as soon as the plane has landed and you have Wi-Fi signal, you can turn on the device and track your luggage to know if everything’s under control. Happy travels!

 

 

 

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LugLoc Luggage Locator – Review

When you travel with 4-8 pieces of luggage it’s so easy to misplace one, if not totally lost or even worse – stolen. Gratefully the last part hasn’t happened, but one never knows and needs to be prepared.

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Make Your Bag Standout

 

Imagine the following situation, you’ve just gotten off a flight, and are waiting for your luggage to come down the conveyor belt, only to see a handful of bags that could be yours. This has happened to most people, from first-time flyers to business travelers for whom airplanes are practically second homes

As discerning as you try to be, you see a suitcase that you’re sure is the one you’ve been waiting for. You take it off the belt, only to realize it belongs to someone else. So you try to put back on the belt, but that belt is moving, and there are people around you, and they’re getting annoyed. Plus, you see another bag that might be yours, but you’re missing your chance to grab it because you’re fumbling with someone else’s bag you took by mistake.

This awkward scenario can be avoided with some steps that can help make your luggage stand out, so with that in mind, here are some tips to make it easy for you to identify your luggage.

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Buy something distinctive: As you watch all those bags come down the conveyor belt, you’ll notice a lot of gray, black, and dark blue bags with handles and rollers. Not only can having a common-looking bag make it difficult to find your belongings, it increases the chances of someone else taking your bag.

For example, Triforce Luggage has just rolled out four luggage sets featuring the colorful, cartoon-like artwork of neo-pop artist Francisco Ceron, while Kipling has partnered with HGTV interior design star David Bromstad to produce a collection inspired by vintage travel pieces. This gives the look of vintage with the convenience of 21st century luggage technology.

Consider colors such as pink, purple or light green. Another option is luggage available in patterns, such as polka dots, stripes or plaid. Sports fans can buy bags with their favorite team’s logo on it. You might even be able to find a logo themed around your favorite band.

Luggage Tags are another terrific options. A simple tag allows you to write your name, which helps identify your bag, but choosing a tag that stands out will make your bag easier to spot. Countess colors and patterns are available, as are tags decorated with iconic figures ranging from Mickey Mouse to Albert Einstein, and animals such as owls and bees.

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Decorate your bag. You don’t need to be an artist to make your luggage stand out. A lot of people use duct tape to identify their luggage. We’re not talking that gray stuff you use to stop a leak until the plumber arrives: Craft stores have dozens of colorful and playful options, and a placing a piece on both sides of your bag can be a big help. Other options include patches, decorative travel stickers, luggage belts, bungee cords, and ribbons—which are all affordable and simple ways to make your bag stand out.

Comedian Dan Nainan, who travels on average 200,000 miles-plus a year for his job, has had several issues with finding his bag over the years.

“I once caught somebody making off with my bag,” he says. “Now I’ve tied a ribbon around the bag and there’s no way anybody could mistake it for theirs.”

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Lain Ehmann, a writer and speaker, was once on a cross-country flight from California to Boston with her husband and 18-month-old son.

“On the plane, we saw a family with a child the similar age and we exchanged pleasantries and a few comments. We were super-surprised when we got to our hotel room with our bags, opened one, and saw it contained toddler clothes and diaper, but in pinks and purples, not reds and blues,” she says. “Yes, the other family had somehow gone home with our suitcase, and we had taken theirs.”

Since then, the family marks their suitcases with large, colorful tags, and she carries more diapers in her carry-on.

Finally, keep in mind that no matter how special you make your luggage look, someone else may have done something similar. You still need to check the name on the tag to make sure it’s yours, but following these steps are sure to take the guessing factor out of choosing your luggage.

And be sure to keep track of your luggage with LugLoc, the luggage locator that let’s you know where your luggage is in real time. It’s the perfect way to make sure no one runs off with your luggage by mistake.

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Tricks and tech tips for nervous flyers ready to embark on a flight

Keep Track of Your Things: One of the biggest worries many travelers have is that their luggage won’t make it to their same destination. And there’s nothing worse than being stuck in the same T-shirt for days while the airline tracks down your belongings. LugLoc is one of the first luggage locators that allow you to track your luggage worldwide. Simply insert the chip into your luggage, and download the LugLoc app on your phone. This comes in handy particularly for flyers that have multiple connections.

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Graduation gifts: 9 gadgets to give the grads in your life

Gadget expert Steve Greenberg shows Kathie Lee and Hoda a variety of nifty gadgets you can give as graduation gifts. Some of the items include a portable mini oven, a selfie light and a luggage locator.

 

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Secure Your Vacation

The Doctors are joined by safety and security expert Bill Stanton to discuss keeping you prepared with the latest safety gadgets for your next vacation.

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Smart Hotels Are Changing The Way We Travel

 

For many years people thought that hotels would never change their standard way of doing things: travelers check in at reception desks, pick up room keys and transport their luggage to their rooms. So boring and old school.

Fortunately, one day the travel industry realized that frequent travelers would really appreciate an evolution and, nowadays, we can say that hotel technology is getting increasingly creative to provide a more seamless guest-friendly experience from check-in to check-out.

Just like the MagicBands of Disney World, a wristband that is used to get into your room, buy food and enter the park, among other things, many hotels are also giving their hosts a smart band to have it all within reach. In this way, people have in the same wearable device a key to the the resort room and a digital wallet that can even be used on vending machines. There’s no doubt that this idea makes it easier for you to spend money. Tui Group, for example, has designed a smartband connected to a room’s lighting and environment controls so that, when you walk out, the lights and air-conditioner turn off, saving on electricity.

Let’s take into consideration that, in 2015, almost 70% of Americans had a smartphone. This helps to firm up the fact that this type of interaction is one of the most popular targets for hotel industry. Nowadays, chains like Marriott allow customers to check in directly from their mobile app the day before their arrival, as their credit card information is stored within their Marriott Rewards profile. But that’s not all. Today you can also request items to your room using mobile devices. “Message us for housekeeping, amenities, valet and more”, is noted on their website.

Have you heard about the robot butler that works in Aloft Cupertino Hotel? Starwood, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, has added two automated assistants that deliver bottled water, towels and other amenities to guest rooms and the lobby. When a guest calls down and asks for something they need, the hotel employees load up the robot with the requested items, dial in the room number and the tech butler handles the rest.

You can start a smart trip from the moment you leave home: LugLoc is a tiny device that helps you track your luggage anytime and anywhere. A true jewel for travelers that appreciate the tech that hotels provide today. Meet LugLoc now.

 

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