Tag: iPad

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK

Twippers of the Week: Simon and Erin from Never Ending Voyage

Current city: Berlin, Germany

Age: 35

Total countries visited: 58

What makes you interesting: My partner Simon and I have been traveling full-time for six and a half years and have no plans to stop. We fund our travels with our travel blog, Never Ending Voyage, and our travel expense tracker app, Trail Wallet.

What brands do you love: Apple (we travel with Macs, iPhones, iPad, Apple Watch, and we make iPhone apps!), Tortuga and Osprey for backpacks, Bluffs for men’s travel trousers, and Lush for solid shampoo bars.

What’s one thing you have no problem breaking the bank for when traveling: Food! We love searching out the best vegetarian food on our travels, whether it’s a cactus taco on the streets of Mexico or a gourmet vegan meal in San Francisco.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: Having someone to experience magical moments with.

What do you put in your carry-on baggage: We travel with just one carry-on backpack each so they contain almost everything we own. I travel with a MacBook Air, Olympus OMD-EM5 camera, iPhone, Kindle Paperwhite, about 10 items of clothing and two pairs of shoes. Simon carries our toiletries but we don’t take much—Lush shampoo bar, toothpaste, solid deodorant, and once-a-day suncream, all in bottles under 100 ml.

What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: Train. Flying is always a cramped experience and I get travel sick on buses. Trains are usually comfortable, spacious, and take you right to the center of a city. Once we reach our destination, especially in Southeast Asia, we love renting a scooter to explore locally. It’s cheap, gives us lots of freedom, and is a great way to see the countryside.

What is your most favorite travel memory: One of our favorite places in the world is Greenpalms Homestay in the lush green backwaters of Kerala, India. Our host was a kind, gentle man called Thomas who each day would take us out to explore the village and meet the local people. One particularly magical moment came after a late night visit to a toddy shop to drink the local coconut sap brew. When we were returning to the homestay by canoe, Thomas and his friend sang us a capella Indian folk songs under the stars. It was the perfect moment in a beautiful place and brought tears to our eyes.

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: India. We loved it there, but it is a challenging destination and completely different from anywhere else. We found the trick is to take it slowly and treat yourself to a nice hotel every now and then to give yourself a break.

Next travel destination: We’re visiting friends and family in England on a short visit, and then will be traveling around Europe by train to France, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain.

Traveling With Children: Part II

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By: Dennis Breier

In our first post we discussed some strategies for taking your gaggle of children on a long road trip.  I have five, so that’s what I mean by “gaggle.”  However, traveling with any number of children is tough.  Why would you take children on a long road trip in a car?  So you don’t have to fly them in a plane, which can be exponentially worse.  Plus – and this is key – you can scream and yell at your children like a crazy person in your own car. On an airplane you have to act like Mother Theresa the whole time so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of 130 strangers.  So you’ve decided to take the brood on a plane to save some time, here are some ways to do it right, and maintain your cool.

1. Know What to Expect

You are going to get stared at and given dirty looks, especially if you have one or more children under the age of two with you.  This process will start when going through security and get worse as you enter the aircraft.  As you walk down the aisle of the plane to board, you’ll see the horrified look on everyone’s face that says, “If they sit next to me I’ll jump out the emergency hatch at 40,000 feet. Please God let these idiots keep walking.”

Don’t sweat it.  Frankly, these people all forget they weren’t born yesterday and they were, once a child.  You have to get where you’re going with or without your children, don’t let a bunch of people who only care about themselves ruin your fun, for a second.  

2. Dress Appropriately

We forgot to consider this the first time we flew somewhere and it was a nightmare.  You have to basically disrobe your children when you are going through security.  Shoes, belts, stuff in pockets, jackets, everything.  Do not put them in anything that is hard to take off.  For shoes, I recommend crocs that slip off.  Don’t put them in a belt because you have to take it off them.  By the way, don’t put them in belt ever. even for a regular day.  What kid wears a belt?  Belts are for professional baseball players and certified public accountants, neither of which describes your child.  Plus, they look stupid, and they look like you forced them into a belt.  Anyway, I digress, no belts, easy shoes, no socks, no coats, basically just bring them in a onesie and you’ll fly right through security.

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3. Save the Food for After the Trip

Ever try to bring a bunch of formula bottles and children snacks through security at an airport?  Sweet Jesus, all of sudden you’re standing at the end of the conveyor and the damn place turns into a chemistry lab.  They have to test the formula with some kind of acid strip, they have to open all the zip locks bags and check those.  It’s insane, and it takes forever, and you are one step closer to a full cavity search, which is not a place you want to be.  If you can help it, wait to grab your children their coveted fruit snacks until after you get off the plane.

4. Use Your Stroller as a Life Line

So basically you can’t bring anything on a plane with your children, but a stroller you can roll right up to the door.  Take advantage of this.  Put your carry-ons in it, your coats if you have them, toys for the children, iPads, whatever.  Everyone else has to carry all their stuff but you have a rolling shopping cart to take advantage of, so do it.  I don’t know what they do with your stroller once you get on the plane, but It shows up right outside the door when you get off, so I personally don’t really care if they have tied up to one of the wings.  

5. What Happens if There is a Breakdown, Or Worse, A Terrible, Terrible Smell

First things first, never apologize.  I see people do that all the time.  There kid is going nuts and their like, “I’m so sorry” to the people around them.  What the hell are you sorry about?  It’s a small child in a cramped space, his or her ears feel like they are going to explode, they can’t hear anything, and they can’t turn on any electronics yet.  Don’t worry about it.  There is no where you can go, so try to calm them down, realize you won’t see any of the people around you again, and think about how awesome your vacation is going to be.  Half the battle on a plane is not getting worked up.  There is really no reason for it.

The one thing you need to take care of right away is a hot steamy dump.  No one wants to smell that in an airplane.  Retreat to the lavatory immediately and take care of it.  I hate when you’re on a plane, and some kid has clearly ripped one-off in their pants and it just lingers in there.  Don’t be that person, please.

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6. Enlist the help of the Stewards/Stewardesses

These people are usually great with children on a plane.  It’s their job all day, every day.  If one of your children are having a breakdown, take them in the back and ask the Stewardess’ if they can see where they keep the food or something.  Believe, they’ll do it, they don’t want your kid screaming either.  If you need help, or have to take someone to the bathroom and are worried about your other children somehow ejecting themselves from the aircraft, ask the stewardess’s to watch them or something.  They are there to help you.

7. Miscellaneous Wisdom and Product Tips

If you are traveling with children over five, you need an iPad, or iPads.  Those things are like crack to a 5-10 year old.  I mean, if you’re into crack I guess, which I’m not.  Anyway, make sure you download some movies they like – and this is key – download the standard definition movies, not the HD ones.  They are cheaper, look just as good to me, and they take up way less memory so your children can still download Minecraft upgrades like it’s their last day on earth.

Great things to bring on plane in terms of food that won’t get treated like a threat to national security are fruit snacks, granola bars and my personal favorite, Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusks.  Those rice rusks quiet down a screaming toddler in a hurry, and when they dissolve they turn into a sticky cement like mess that you can leave on the seats to spite the airline for smashing you and your lap baby into the smallest seat ever.

There are only two products you need as an adult while traveling with your children that will make it seem like you can’t hear them.  Beats Audio Headphones and whatever beer they are serving on the drink cart.  You can’t hear a damn thing with the headphones on, and the beer says, “I’m on vacation, so…whatever.”  When you look over and see your kid screaming bloody murder, you can just act like you can’t hear anything while you enjoy your favorite tunes and catch a little buzz.  

Lastly, you might have a kid that’s potty training and you have to take a four hour plane ride.  Forget about the potty training and buy Pampers Easy-Ups.  I swear to god those easy-ups hold more urine than a kid could possibly unleash.  I took one-off my son after our last long trip and it looked like a water balloon on the cusp of explosion and the lad was perfectly dry.  Ridiculous.  Plus, your kid will enjoy reverting back to his infant days, you don’t have to find the smallest bathroom on earth, and you can re-potty train him the rest of the trip. Yeah!

In conclusion, don’t sweat a trip on a plane with your little children.  Most people get all defeated and worked up beforehand which makes it worse.  Most people know what you are doing is hard and will be understanding.  For those that aren’t, who cares, you’ll never see them again.  Good luck on your next trip and hang in there!

Traveling With Children: Part I

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK

Twippers of the Week: Betsy and Pete from Passing Thru.

TOW - Nov. 30

Current city: Bangkok

Ages: 61 and 59

Total countries visited: 22

What makes you interesting: As digital nomads go, we might be among the elders. Most people who travel full time at our age are retired. We actively work our online businesses, which provide multiple income streams to offset our expenses. As well, we work with destinations and accommodations partners to review, promote and inspire other travelers through our writing and photography.

Who is the most interesting person you have met while traveling: Oh, we’ve met so many interesting people that it’s hard to choose just one. Our most meaningful encounters recently have been in remote villages halfway around the world from each other. One was Lukomir, in the mountains above Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There we met 90-year-old Nura, who lives on her own in the old ways with her neighbors, who are semi-nomadic herders and farmers. Another memorable stop was here in Thailand, among the Kui people. Their heritage is a mix of Thai, Laotian and Khmer, and they are known for silk production, weaving and dyeing. Sometimes it’s almost better when you can’t speak each other’s language. It is then that you revert to the universal languages of kindness and interest in each other.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: Aside from the sense of security you have with someone, is companionship. There’s the flavor that you get from your partner’s interests, priorities and opinions. We each have our strengths and weaknesses and those are generally complementary, so the teamwork is an aspect. There are many experiences each of us might not have thought to have on our own, but the other person initiated them which created deeper memories.

What brands do you love: We’re Apple fans – we travel with our MacBooks (Pete has a Pro, Betsy has an Air), iPads and iPhones. We love Starwood Preferred Guest hotels – particularly the Westin brand and their Luxury Collection with whom we’ve enjoyed amazing stays. Wyndham, Choice and Hilton hotel points programs have been great too. We have timeshare exchanges with Marriott and Interval International whose redemption options have allowed us to book free air travel and had us staying in off-the-beaten-path destinations.

What is the most impractical item you have ever packed: Pete would say our Apple TV box on his end, (although I got caught up on House of Cards in Australia using it). I would say tote bags are my downfall. We’ve always got too many because I tell myself we might need them. We never do.

What is your favorite mode of transportation when you travel: We’re partial to train travel. We just love it. You constantly glimpse daily life both on board and out the windows, as opposed to having to deal with airports, airplanes and air passengers.

Best thing you have bought during your travels: We don’t buy a lot of things because we’re nomadic. I got a full year’s wear out of a pair of slippas, (flip flops) which cost me $6 Fiji dollars, (about $3USD). They went all around the world and then back to Fiji. I tried to replace them with exact duplicates when we got back to Sigatoka, but the pair I thought was closest isn’t lasting me as well.

What does “Travel” mean to you: Travel means opportunity and freedom: opportunity to vividly experience life in a variety of settings and meet a constantly fascinating array of individuals. We’re free to go where we want, when we want and stay however long we want. We think this is about as good as it gets.

Next travel destination: We’ll be in SE Asia (Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) and then China!

TWIPPERS OF THE WEEK

Twippers of the Week: Josh & Liz from Peanuts or Pretzels.

twippers

Total countries visited: 30

Current city: Guangzhou, China

Age: Low to mid-thirties (both of us)

What makes you interesting: That’s a tough question, but our friends would say that it’s our personalities that make us interesting. We are naturally happy, smiling people, who are always up for fun. Plus, we are super curious. We enjoy meeting new people and learning new things. Whether its history, art, dance, music, food, landscapes, etc. — we just find everything so interesting.

Perhaps, we are more like a couple of big kids who have a lot of fun together! We are also geocachers, which is basically a scavenger-hunting game all around the world. We haven’t met many other geocaching travelers and we find that people seem to really be interested in learning more about this game. We enjoy geocaching while we travel because it opens up a whole new world of adventure and fun. It fits perfectly with our curious personalities and it allows us to experience destinations in a different way than most other travelers. So that’s really what sets us apart from other couples travel bloggers out there.

What is the best part about having a travel partner: While there is a lot to be said for traveling solo (and we have both traveled solo before), we do enjoy the company of a travel partner. Not only is it nice to have another person to share meals with and help navigate, but in difficult places, two heads can be better than one. We also feel like traveling with someone else gives you memories together, especially as a couple. Long after a trip, it’s difficult to reminisce with your friends & family who weren’t there. The two of us can laugh and talk about the good times we had during our travels when we are old. It’s nice to share the story with another person – they will get it. Plus when you are traveling long-term like we are, it is nice to have a support system — especially when things don’t go your way. For example, when Liz broke her foot here in China a couple months ago. It was nice to have someone there to help, especially during the recovery when she couldn’t leave the apartment easily.

What do you put in your carry-on baggage: Well, we typically carry-on all of our items rather than checking our main luggage. Occasionally we will check our backpacks. Beyond carrying on our valuable equipment such as cameras and computers (and accompanying cords), we always have our entertainment mobile devices – including the iPhones, iPad, and iPods. Sometimes we bring books, but rarely because they are heavy and we usually read on the tablet. Honestly, we prefer to travel light. For longer flights, we are both always sure to bring snacks and water, but Liz takes it further with the comfort items. She usually has hand wipes, ibuprofen, tissues, socks, an eye mask, neck pillow, and thick / fuzzy socks for long flights! These small comforts can really help to make the flight more enjoyable.

Where and when were you the most culture shocked: Definitely when we moved to China. Even though we had traveled many places before, and even lived in Southeast Asia for 4 months, nothing quite prepared us to what we found here in China. It’s just a shock. Some things we have gotten used to over time, while other things we will never understand…or get used to. We’ve been living and working here for 8 months now and plan to stay for another 8 – 10 months. It’s been a great experience overall!

If you were given a free trip tomorrow, where would you go: For a free trip, we’d want to maximize the savings by going to one of the most expensive places on our travel bucket list — and I think that might have to be Antarctica. Not a cheap place to get to but we have a dream to step foot on all 7 continents. So, a free trip to Antarctica would definitely save us some cash & provide quite the adventure!

Next travel destination: Things change for us, but it looks like Taiwan in a few weeks.

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