Posts Tagged With: Europe

7 things NOT to take with you on holidays

by Marie Drouvin, 10th of June, 2017.

Image: Working on vacationMy aunt visited us a few weeks ago. We had a great time, nothing to say about that. But what shocked me is the amount of time she actually spent doing the exact same things she would have done home. She left three days later, without really having been here at all.

I wondered what she could have done to avoid the situation, and I came up with a list.

Consider leaving these home while on holiday:

Anything that won’t pass at the airport

Taking the plane? Be careful of what you put in your suitcases. Depending on which companies, which airports, which country, or even the political state, we might want to leave some items home.

As a rule of thumb, it is better to avoid big bottles, aerosols, knives and jars. Generally there is a specific liquid limit. The airport website almost always has information about this, but you can phone the company or the airport if you are unsure.

And that applies for the return flight too! I have seen people throwing away gifts they bought their friends because security wouldn’t let them pass with it. So let’s try to avoid to splurge in duty-free giant perfume bottles on the way in! Or we will have to leave them at the airport on the way back.

Smartphones and Tablets

This may be the hard one for you. Do we really need to send all those pictures to our loved ones during our holidays or could it wait until we come back ?  Is that blurry Skype phone call completely necessary ?

We’d better enjoy the moment of peace, open our eyes and take in all the goodness about the scenery/people in front of us. Our loved ones will be happy to hear all about it when you come back. Our games will still be where we left them. And a map is surely better than a big surprise on your mobile bill.

Travel Girl on PhoneCameras

This one is difficult. If you are not a camera addict, or a passionate photographer, or only use it sparingly, you obviously don’t have to leave your camera home.

I know, bringing back home plenty of nice pictures is pretty much fixed into our holiday rituals. Although when I see hordes of tourist capturing everything they see through the lenses of their camera, I cringe.

Do they realise they are missing the best part of their holidays ? I don’t know about you, but the reason I travel is to discover, not bringing back pictures.

Travel Selfie on the beachEveryday Problems

Sure, not having our awful colleagues on our backs is great. But it doesn’t have to be the only thing we are thinking / talking about. First off, because it will bore every person we talk to and second, we need a rest. Let’s leave them where they are, and enjoy the moment. 

After all, holidays are a break in our everyday life. Right?

Which leads us to the next point:

Work

By now, you probably understood the general idea of this article. The success of a holiday lies in the principle of rest. Yet many people are taking last minute assignments, phone calls, or “short” Skype meetings and end up on their computers while they were supposed to enjoy themselves by the pool, or hiking in the mountains. 

It is such a shame to pay for holidays they won’t enjoy, don’t you think? Beside why are they taking a week off to start with?

Travel SuitcasesOver-packed Suitcases

I know how tempting it can be to fill our suitcases. « We never know », « We will be happy to have it if ever we need it ». And by all means take the essential in case of emergency. But we should avoid a scenario such as “me and my three suitcases when I first travelled alone”.

Five evening dresses, and two pairs of cocktail shoes are probably a bit too much for a week abroad. You can usually have access to a laundry service, which will cost less than a second suitcase in the plane, let alone a third one.

Nowadays, I try to still have room to bring back a few memories in my suitcase when I pack. Yes, it is possible!

Negativity

You don’t have to like everything. But trust me, no guide is going to pleasantly surprise you if you don’t want to. First of all because it would be unpleasant for him or her and second of all because you won’t learn anything no matter how hard he or she tries.

I have overheard a few times groups of tourists speaking badly about what they were visiting. They obviously weren’t aware that I was understanding them. How could they? French people don’t speak English right? The point is, whether they understand you or not, don’t speak badly of a local when you are in front of him or her. Body language can be rude too.

Without a certain openness everything is going to be bad anyway. Snails are going to taste bad if you already think it is disgusting. Impressionism is not going to be better in real-life if you dislike it. French people are going to be rude if you clearly expect them to be. 

Discovery is only accessible to the curious, so be curious, be open and ask questions. I promise, French don’t bite. (I obviously can’t say anything about other countries).

I hope you enjoyed this list, and I will see you soon for another article on World Traveling Joe !

About world Traveling Joe:  Joe markets memberships in a traveling social club that enjoys  over 1,000,000 members. He aggregates all things travel for super volume buying power. Members can choose from over 10,000 dream trips each year at prices that average 60% less than general internet pricing. PRICE GUARANTEE:  If you purchase a trip and find it cheaper within 7 days, you get a FULL REFUND and go on the trip for free!  see more http://www.worldtravelingjoe.com  http://www.worldtravelingjoe.dreamtrips.com/refer

Credits:  This article written by Ms. Marie Drouvin, Guest Writer. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marie-drouvin-528229140/

Travel Heart

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Family Winemaking in Italy….. it ALWAYS begins with a bottle of wine!

italian-family-winemaking

Family Wine Making in Italy. Beautiful words. I am proud to say that I have PERSONALLY experienced it, drinking it at least. I wish I could say I had been part of the process but enjoying the final product will have to suffice.

Rome, Florence, Venice I must say are insanely beautiful but are wine tourist traps. But, it doesn’t have to be that way but you have to be a savvy consumer and learn a couple important Italian words – Nonno del vini or vini di famiglia. These are your keys to the BEST FAMILY WINES of Italy. You will find it is also the best price, if you get charged at all!

Making Wine the “FAMILY WAY”

Typically it all starts with a discussion over a healthy serving of Sopressatta, Copa, Proscuitto, Romano, Asiago, Fontina and Focaccia.  Typical Italian Charcuterie and cheeses. There are many topics to cover. Where will we get the fruit, who will do the various tasks of de-stemming, crushing, pressing and bottling. The process usually looks like this:

grapes-2Source the Grapes:  Mamma, Papa or Grandpa knows best.

There are over 3,000 different Italian varietals. Basically any area can lay claim to their own grape because it is grown there (Of course, classifed wines may differ but this discussion is for family home made wines). Given the number of varietals, very little time is spent on  that subject… it is just “known” that Aunt Sicilia has good grapes on her property or many other “known” sources. Who cares what you call it, just call it GREAT WINE!

grape-stompingCrush: Italians like their women FULL BODY just like their wine.

The crush is a BIG DAY in the life of a wine and YES they still stomp grapes. Of course the contemporary new generations of people have opted for newer methods but there are still MANY home wineries that STOMP the grapes. WHY?  Well, it’s actually better for the grapes. The soft tissue of the feet “cushion” the press of the grape that minimizes bruising of the skins.  The desired result is to extract the juice without pulverizing the skins and releasing what you don’t want. Bigger women, Bigger softer feet, Bigger and more balanced wine – you get the picture.

Fermentation:  The NOBLE ROT.

Many Italian family wine makers have no idea about all of the contemporary and sophisticated yeast strains. They simply allow the grapes to use organic wild yeast that is natural to the vinicultural area and the decomposition of the grapes, hence NOBLE ROT. In fact a widely used practice was to let the grapes go to a mild rot on the vine to get the fermentation started. Yes, fermentation actually started the initial phase on the vine. Today, there are fine examples of this used for higher brix level dessert wines. Wine families do have their own yeast strains that have been passed for generations.

demijohn

Aging and Bottling:  What do we have to put this wine in?

This is probably the most varied part of the Italian Family process. The most popular ageing and bottling methods include demijohns which are 5-7 gallon glass jugs (hence the moniker “JUG WINE) glass bottles, glass jars and wine bags.  These wines are meant to be consumed SOON after the process is complete, therefore not much use of further aging methods such as wine barrels.

il-latini-restaurantOrdering Wine in Italy:  Tourist wine or Lafamiglia Vini?

My first few days in Italy I learned a valuable lesson. You are either a dumb wealthy tourist or Uno dei bravi ragazzi (one of the god guys). The waiter will ALWAYS assume the former. You will be presented an English written menu and wine list. Here is your GOLDEN TIP. Ask for these menus printed in Italian (c’mon- you know the word Lasagna!). Of course unless you really do speak Italian you won’t be able to understand the wine list…. but you don’t have to. Just look it over carefully, then look at the waiter and say one of these two phrases:  Nonno del vini OR vini di famiglia. You are asking for GRANDPA’S WINE or THE FAMILY WINE. I like to use both phrases one after the other… and chuckle. Your phrase will be met with a warm smile, probably the best wine you will get in Italy, and a check that may not even have a charge for wine!  ENJOY MY FRIENDS!

Contact Joe and Follow Joe: joe@worldtravelingjoe.com

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PLAN AHEAD for a GREAT travel experience. Tips from road warriors.

TRAVELING TO AIRPORTS AND FLIGHTS

AIRLINE CHECK-IN

It would be wise to reconfirm all flight reservations with the carrier about 24 hours before departure. This will help prevent any unforeseen schedule changes and give you time to adjust your plans accordingly.

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE YOUR FLIGHT

Don’t just be a no show if something comes up that prevents you from making your flight. Contact the carrier right away, inform them that you can’t make the flight, and they will direct you on the next step to take.

PLAN TO LEAVE EARLY TO ALLOW FOR UNEXPECTED TRAFFIC, ROAD CONSTRUCTION,OR OTHER DELAYS

It happens. Your trip is almost over and you’re headed home. Suddenly, your rental car (or even taxi or train) breaks down on the way to the airport. Or, there’s a big backup on the highway. By the time you get the situation taken care of, you’ve missed your flight (or train). Wise travelers always allow plenty of margin for error by leaving early. Sure, you may end up with some extra time on your hands, but if you plan ahead, you can put that time to good use. Also, if you get stuck, always call the carrier to let them know. If you are taking a long and expensive trip, you might even consider staying at a nearby hotel so you can have a restful departure.

WEATHER CONDITIONS

Weather conditions can cause havoc on the transportation system. Summer (not winter) is prime time for getting stuck in airports. If you travel enough, it will happen to you. So, plan ahead with extra power for your electronics. Take along some packable and nourishing snacks. Get in line immediately and call the airline at the same time. You never know which will be quicker. If you have a savvy buddy back home, let them know about the trouble and have them check other options for you.

VERIFY AIRPORT, TERMINAL OR STATION INFORMATION

Many cities have multiple airports and train stations. Make sure you know the correct airport and terminal or station. It’s your job to be at the right place at the right time. If you’re not sure, ask lots of questions until you ARE indeed sure. There are many good flight tracker apps that show you the location of your plane REAL TIME. It’s fun and keeps you informed.

UNEXPECTED BAGGAGE FEES AND RULE CHANGES

Each airline has individual baggage fee policies and they can change at any time. Some baggage fees are payable at the time of ticket purchase up until check-in, and they are not included in the price of your ticket. Be a savvy traveler and refer to the airline’s website to check all baggage fees before departure. In some cases, checking in online prior to departure allows for significant savings on baggage fees. Always have a credit card handy just in case.

DELAYED BAGGAGE

If you arrive at your final destination and your bags are missing, it is important to file a claim with your carrier BEFORE you leave the airport. Once you have filed your claim, make sure you are given a claim document and confirmation number. If you don’t hear from the carrier within 24 hours, call the phone number on the claim form to follow-up. TIP: Baggage tags can easily tear off during handing, so always place an additional ID card inside your luggage that includes your home address, cell number, email, and your final destination.

LABOR STRIKES

It doesn’t happen often, but a labor strike can mess up your plans quickly. You are typically at the mercy of the carrier, so contact them directly to have them accommodate you. You may also contact your travel rep to inquire about re-ticketing options or rebooking on another carrier.
HOTEL

HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

If your hotel room does not meet your expectations, always speak to the front desk clerk. In most cases, if another room is available, they are happy to assist you. Escalate to a supervisor, if necessary.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS AND ROOM REQUESTS

Always call to reconfirm hotel details 24 hours before arrival. Many smaller hotels are not necessarily electronically connected and still rely on tax or manual tools (easily lost) to coordinate online reservations- If you have special room requirements (i.e. non-smoking), then they should be confirmed during the call. Make sure you clarify the distinction between a “requirement” and a ‘request’, because requests are often viewed as optional or “if available”.
CAR RENTALS AND SHUTTLES

AVOID DAMAGE COSTS CHARGED BY A RENTAL CAR COMPANY

You are expected to return a rental car in the same condition you received it. Sometimes, even a mechanical failure you did not cause could still be charged to you (unreasonable wear or use). The safest bet is generally to buy the insurance provided by the rental company or make sure the insurance you carry (i.e. credit card coverage) kicks in for these type situations. Also, make sure your vehicle is checked and documented by an agent (keep a copy) before you leave the return area.

SHUTTLE SERVICE

Call the hotel where you will be staying to inquire about shuttle services. Some hotels offer this service free of charge, but you must call ahead to make arrangements.
PERSONAL INFORMATION AND VALUABLES

CREDIT CARDS AND IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

It’s probably every traveler’s biggest fear. Your wallet and/or passport are stolen or lost First, cancel credit cards by calling each of their cancellation hotlines. If they were stolen, contact the local police. If your passport is gone, contact your nearest embassy or consulate. You may still be allowed to travel, but the authorities will investigate. Take into consideration that your trip will possibly be delayed.

VALUABLES

Savvy travelers avoid bringing along valuables or irreplaceable items. If they are lost or stolen, even from a hotel safe, the insurer may want original appraisals. Many carriers and properties also severely limit reimbursements and often exclude items such as heirlooms, antiques, eyeglasses, medicine, jewelry, photo equipment, and electronics. Ask yourself if you really need it that badly.

SHIPPED PURCHASES THAT NEVER ARRIVED

Souvenirs are often a part of traveling. If you ever buy an item too big to pack with you, always do your own shipping. Don’t trust a merchant to send it to you after you have paid for it They may not ship it, or even if they do, it may not be done correctly and may get lost or held up in customs. Always pay for significant purchases by credit card because it’s great fraud protection and might be the only proof you have.
Miscellaneous

DESTINATION ETIQUETTE

When traveling your personal or local etiquette may have an opposite meaning in a foreign destination. For example, wearing camouflage apparel, chewing gum, or shaking someone’s hand may be considered offensive by some. We recommend that you do some research on the internet to learn about local etiquette where you are traveling.

TOUR OPERATOR OR CARRIER CHANGES PLANS

You thought you were going to be on a nice, quick airplane flight and instead you spend hours on a bus. Be aware that most common carriers and tour operators have the full right to change hotels and mode of travel without compensation. It’s right there in the tiny print.
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What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Thanksgiving Leftover Macaroni & Cheese

Prep Time: 20min

Cooking Time: 40min

Total Time: 1hr 10min

Servings: 8

This is definitely the cheesiest way to enjoy all of your Thanksgiving holiday leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound Shredded turkey meat
  • 1 cup Leftover stuffing (optional)
  • 3 Medium size sweet potatoes, cut into small dices, cooked in salted water till tender
  • 1 cup Cooked peas
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • 5 Sage leafs, minced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup Leftover cranberry relish (optional)
  • 1½ quarts Milk
  • ¼ cup Butter
  • ¼ cup Flour
  • 4 cups Grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup Grated Fontina cheese

Preparation

Step 1

In a large pot add butter, onion, sage and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Step 2

Add flour, whisk and cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add milk and continue to whisk till mixture comes to a boil and thickens.

Step 4

After milk has thickened, whisk in the mascarpone, fontina and one cup of the cheddar cheese.

Step 5

Once cheese melts and sauce becomes smooth, fold in the turkey meat, sweet potatoes, peas and pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6

Place pasta mixture in a 3-inch baking dish, cover with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes till golden brown.

Step 7

Serve with a tablespoon of cranberry relish.

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Walk Butt Naked on the Beach! And no one notice!

3 Seriously Sexy Travel Spots
What is a sexy destination? In my book, these are qualities that always rock my travel libido:
 Undiscovered: There ain’t nothing sexier than being able to walk down the beach butt naked without having a million pairs of eyes checking out what mother nature gave ya. Or, to saunter through a town square without having to fight your way through a throng of postcard shops and tourists.
Sensual cuisine: Think juicy fruit, young coconuts and fresh caught fish. I love being able to walk out my door and pick a succulent papaya, drink down some delicious thai coconut water or watch the sunset with some fresh grilled fish.
Steeped in Tradition: There is something incredibly sexy about cultures that are focused on preserving the “old ways.” Making things by hand, using all their senses, weaving offerings out of flowers, making feta by hand, picking your own herbs for brewing, bakeries that actually bake their own bread… sexy, sexy, sexy.
Topography: Undulating hills, blazing hot sun over a vista of sand and stone, dense jungles teeming with exotic flora and fauna, breathtaking deserted beaches, fields of fragrant herbs and wildflowers.
Well, now that I’ve laid out my criteria for a sexy destination, I’d like to share with you a few of my absolute faves that really get me going:
1. Ko Lanta, Thailand: A big part of what keeps this destination so damn sexy is that it is a bitch to get to. Ko Lanta is an island, so no matter how you slice it, you have to take a combination of planes, trains, buses and ferries to get there. But, what’s a little effort when heaven on earth awaits on the other side?
Chinese pole houses dot the breathtaking shoreline, and you can easily hire a boat for day excursions to remote islands and hidden caves. Ko Lanta is a stone’s throw by boat from the luxe tourist haven of Phi Phi… so it’s really the best of both worlds. Mango House has awesome traditional pole houses on the water, and Sun Island Tours has the best boat tours around. The village itself is traditional with some of the hottest – literally – food around. Lemongrass, basil, cilantro and chilies abound. Also, seriously, this place has the sexiest coconuts on earth.
2. San Salvador, Costa Rica: Costa Rica is synonymous with sexy: beaches for days, jungles with monkeys, sloths and exotic birds and fresh, delicious food at every turn. Costa Rica’s natural sensuality has been both a blessing and a curse. Now, people are catching on, and many areas of Costa Rica run the danger of becoming extremely unsexy.
But, there are still a few hidden, tucked-away gems that really get my mojo going. There are a few awesome well known retreat centers in Dominical on the coast. But, when I’m in Costa Rica I like to go a little further. I land in San Jose and head for the hills. About one hour north of Dominical is a little mountain village called San Salvador. In an open forest clearing is Finka De Vida. This place is beyond sexy. Just about everything you eat is grown on their local farm. You have the choice of picking and preparing your own meals, juices and smoothies or having there chef do it for you. The menu is as raw as you want, or fully cooked. It’s up to you. Activities include yoga overlooking the jungle, bathing in the local waterfall and beach excursions. I promise you will feel so sexy you’ll never want to leave.
3. Lesvos, Greece: Lesvos is not called the island of women for nothing. If Santorini, with its active volcano and harsh landscape, is the masculine side of the Greek isles, then Lesvos is definitely one foxy lady.
Lesvos is where a lot of Greece’s olive oil comes from, so it is covered in olive groves as well as an abundance of cherry, apple, pistachio and pine trees. Because it is so far north, most people don’t know about Lesvos. In fact, it’s so far north you can take a ferry to Turkey in 30 minutes.
The island is filled with cobblestone mountain villages, forts, castles, Turkish hammams and nary a white and turquoise domed structure in site. The houses are built of wood and stone and have more of an Ottoman feel. Expect quiet beaches that you can explore “in the all together,” sleepy villages where homemade feta and bread are served, freshly grilled octopus for supper by the sea and horses and donkeys that you can ride through the mountain groves and pick your own herbs for supper or tea. I lived on Lesvos for four years, and I swear by its undeniable sexiness. There are many many wonderful places to stay on Lesvos. My absolute fave for authenticity and sexiness is Elainonas Nikou on the Gulf of Gera. Rojo Caliente!
Travel is a sexy sport. Don’t be a wall flower. Vow to never hit a homely destination again… between you and me, they don’t call it wanderlust for nothin’.

ASK JOE about an AWESOME travel deal to Lesvos, Greece. Think 7days 6 nights all inclusive for $599!

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The Backpack Life: How to Pack for 6 months abroad.

Think back to your last vacation. I bet your suitcases were so stuffed you had to sit on them just to get the zipper closed, and that was just for one week! Now imagine if you had to pack absolutely everything you needed for six months on the road, or even a year, and it all had to fit into one big backpack! That’s the challenge I face every time I head overseas for a live-in excursion to places like Costa Rica, Nicaragua, or even on a walkabout around the world for a year. Hell no, I’m not complaining — I get to live in the tropics like a beach bum and write my heart out, but packing every single possession I’ll need in a bag no bigger than a laundry sack becomes a Divinci-esque feat of science.

2013-08-01-images.jpgThe North Face Base Camp duffel bag/backpack.
It’s hard to find a backpack big enough to accommodate everything you need for a prolonged stay. Most mountaineering and hiking bags are only in the 3,500-4,500 cubic inch range, but the North Face makes an oversized duffel bag/backpack that holds about 8,000 cubic inches. It’s super durable and very roomy, with padded shoulder straps so I can throw it on like a backpack when needed. I haul it around bus stations and airports a lot more than actual wilderness excursions, so that works great.

Day pack.
I bring a regular-sized backpack to carry my laptop around, head to the beach, or take plenty of day trips. I use this smaller pack all day, every day so for this trip I chose a O’Neill Suburbia backpack because it has a laptop compartment, water bottle holder, and comfortable shoulder straps.

Clothing:

1 Pair lightweight jeans.

Flip flops.
I bring one good pair and one pair that can get wet for the beach. Reef makes some cool new flip flops that have a compartment in the sole so you can hide money or your room key. Genius!

1 Pair slip-on shoes:
Something light, breathable, and easy to slip on is fantastic in hot, beachy climates. I like my classic Vans, and Crocs makes some cool new waterproof shoes in funky designs that are much cleaner and safer because of their plastic soles.

Running sneakers.
A pair of running sneaks for working out, hiking, or if I have a big day sight seeing.

7 Tank tops.
When I first started traveling I brought too many t-shirts, but soon realized I wanted something as light and airy as possible in tropical climates, so now I load up on tank tops.

7 T-shirts.
I try to find the ones that aren’t pure cotton, which is heavier and doesn’t breathe when you sweat. One by one I cut the sleeves off my t-shirts, anyway!

3 Collared shirts.
I fit in a few short sleeve button-up shirt for those nights on the town or nicer dinners.

2013-08-01-935333100.jpg3 O’Neill Hybrid shorts/swim suits.
I used to pack several swim shorts and also bring a few pairs of normal cotton shorts, but Hybrid shorts changed that. They’re made of comfortable, breathable quick-drying material that can get wet, but look like nice dress shorts. They’re the best invention for travelers because you only have to pack half as much but can throw them on no matter if you’re going to work out, sweat, jump in the ocean, or just walk around town. I love the ones by O’Neill, which fit great and come in plenty of cool patterns.

4 Athletic shorts.

1 Baseball hat.
1 Fisherman hat.
I look goofy as Gilligan in it, but a big hat is your best friend on the beach at midday or in direct sun, where it’s easy to get heat stroke.

Socks and underwear.

Sunglasses.
I wear sunglasses most of the day when I’m outdoors, but I always seem to break or lose them, so I get a decent pair only in the $25 range. The good news is you can buy cheap sunglasses anywhere you go on the beach. I also bring a little cord to keep them on my head in case I’m kayaking or zip lining or doing something where they might fly off.

1 Comfy hooded sweatshirt.
A warm hoodie is essential for cold airplane rides, early morning trips on the water, or some nights as your only pillow and blanket!

Lycra long sleeve shirt.

Technology:

2013-08-01-photo.JPG laptop computer.

Travel adapter.
I bought one for $20 that lets me plug in my electronics in almost any country, and also acts as a surge protector for those frequent power outages.

2013-08-01-ScreenShot20130731at7.14.21PM.pngGoPro Hero 3 Black camera.
I recently converted from my jenky digital camera to a super fun Go Pro. It’s smaller than a deck of cards, has huge storage capacity and battery life, and fits into a shockproof case so I can take it over rough terrain or underwater. I can strap it to a surfboard, bicycle handlebars, or on a headgear clip while I’m getting my ass kicked in the boxing gym. I have a wifi remote so I can document the wonderment of traveling abroad in movie quality without holding a camera up to my eyes all the time, and I plan to expand my travel blog to a more-entertaining video blog.

iPhone.
Whenever I hit the road I suspend my US cell service for $10 a month, forwarding my number to Skype or GoogleVoice, but I still use my iPhone as a mini computer via local wifi, accessing apps that allow me to make calls, use GPS, a compass, translate languages on the fly, and serve as a killer flashlight.

Flash drives.
I’m paranoid about getting my laptop ruined or stolen and losing all of my data, so I back up daily on high-memory flash drives and hide them someplace safe.

2013-08-01-opplanetgoalzeroswitch8solarrechargingkit.jpg
GoalZero portable solar charger.
GoalZero, one of my new favorite companies, makes the Nomad 7, a portable solar charger that’s no bigger than a notebook. It unfolds into two panels that catch the sun and recharge my phone, GPS, camera, or MP3 player with a simple USB hookup. A separate recharger battery the size of a tube of toothpaste, the Switch 8, can be thrown into my backpack and gives my devices plenty of juice in case of an emergency or if I’m stuck out in the jungle. When that happens, and it will happen, a quick solar charge can literally be a life saver.

GoalZero portable speaker.
I listen to music 24/7 and the speakers on my laptop don’t cut it. But most mini speakers sounded like trash until I finally found a good one that is affordable and durable, with 20 hours of battery life, the RockOut 2 speaker by GoalZero. They come with a built in durable case and you can power them via your laptop, charge their internal battery, or even go solar.

2 Headphones.
One pair of earbuds and one over-the-head pair for jogging.

I bring a Tupperwear container to store my electronic accessories and twist ties to organize their cords and cables.

Work out:
I get back to basics on the road: pushups, burpees, etc., but I do bring a jump rope and a stretchy fitness band, which take up almost no room but are versatile for any-time workouts. Gymnastic rings also are easy to hook up anywhere for strength and balance conditioning.

I have an incredible trainer, Trevor Gibbs at Health Behaviors, who sets my workout plan virtually based on my natural elements, no matter where I am in the world!

Swim goggles.

Small gym towels.
I carry a little towel around with me everywhere I go to wipe the sweat away, dash through a rain storm, or even dry off after a dip in the ocean. These are great because it’s always super hot in the tropics and I sweat like… well, like a gringo in the tropics. I used to “borrow them permanently” from hotels, but I’ve since reformed and now I buy a pack.

Security:

Combo lock.
Once I settle down and get an apartment overseas I bolt a solid combo lock onto a railing or post near my front door and put my house key in it. That way I never have to carry around my key (a pain if you’re living near the beach) but I can get in any time.

I should use a laptop cable lock, but I prefer just to hide it in a ceiling panel or the bottom of the garbage can when I leave my hotel or apartment.

Likewise, instead of fancy false-bottom containers and security devices, I just hide my important stuff — passport, credit cards, flash drive, etc. in the bottom of a cereal box or hollowed-out can of peanuts.

Instead of wearing those dorky tourist money belts I just put money in the sole of my shoe.

Copies of travel papers.
I make copies of my passport, drivers license, and medical immunization card and keep them in a safe place. I also email photos of those to myself, along with credit card and bank information.

Toiletries and Medical:

Sanitizing toothbrush case.
Sanitation is always a question mark in third-world hotel bathrooms and hot, humid climates, a breeding ground for bacteria, so I bring the million germ eliminating travel toothbrush sanitizer by Violight. The case sanitizes 99 percent of germs and the battery lasts 2,000 hours! I found it in Hammacher & Schlemmer’s catalog on the airplane.

I carry around a Z Pack of antibiotics in case of severe stomach sickness, and a course of anti-malarial meds if I’m going deep into the jungle.

A few packs of Emergen-C’s come with me to so I don’t get sick with all that nasty fake air on the plane or when I’m fighting off exotic germs in my new locale.

I bring travel size toiletries on the plane to last a few days, but deodorant, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. I buy when I get there.

Other:

Compression bags.
I found a cheap set that I stuffed my clothes into then rolled the air out of vents on the other side and sealed shut. These bags reduce the volume of my clothes by 30 percent and keep everything dry.

Dryer sheets.
Stuffed into my bag keep everything smelling fresh.

Twine.
It’s easy to set up a drying line anywhere I go.

Deck of cards.

Small notebook.
That I can fit in my back pocket and write whenever inspiration hits. Some times you have to go old school!

Hair clippers:
A haircut might only cost $2, but finding a barber shop in every little beach town and rural hamlet is problematic. I keep my hair shaved short so I just bring my own cheap clippers.

Believe it or not, that all fits into my North Face duffel bag/backpack with plenty of room to spare! I can always pick up bug spray, sunscreen, batteries, beach towels, etc. when I touch down. It may seem like a scarce amount of possessions for 6 months or more, but the funny thing is no matter what I pack, I never even use all of it! And by the time I’m ready to head back home my bag is always packed with different things – plenty of souvenirs, works of art, and gifts from the beautiful countries I’d visited. And those, along with the memories of the wonderful people I met and the experiences we shared, are what’s truly priceless to me!

THANKS TO: Norm Schriever!  EXCELLENT Article!

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