making life easier while traveling

2013 has been a year of travel for me. I've been shooting on both coasts, Hawaii, and everything in between. I still have trips to both coasts, 2 countries, and another continent all before the end Feb 2014.

I'm very thankful for what I've seen this year and excited about what is to come!

travel tips and product reviews

I love to travel. And all of this travel hasn't come just by happenstance. One of my goals I set near the end of 2012 was to try to travel once a month. And for 2013, it's been about that and I'm very grateful for the opportunity. One of my favorite moments has been flying over the Pacific at night, as the moon lit the water below. Truly one of the most amazing sites I've ever seen.

I wanted to share and review some items or tips I have found to be VERY helpful in making some of these journeys – especially the longer leg trips.

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

I purchased the Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones not knowing if they would actually be of any help. I've heard good things about the larger over the ear version but I didn't want to have to deal with the bulk those would bring.

These are amazing! Seriously. The engine noise is reduced to a whisper and it has made long flights (any flight really) so much more enjoyable. I simply turn on some beautiful music (I highly recommend anything from Olafur Arnalds, especially “Living Room Sessions” for an amazing travel soundtrack) and I drift off into the beauty of the world below.

Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones product review

They have a new “aware mode” which allows you to click a button and hear what's around you – which is great for announcements from the captain on the plane, or the subways system's automated messages.

The earbuds are comfortable and stay in nicely. The carrying case is the size of my iPhone and just fits into my pocket. The downside is that the electronics and battery (which lasts 16+ hours!) are in a small little box. But it basically fits in your hand or pocket next to your phone, so it's not a huge deal. I'd rather have that then have the large headphones weighing my head down.

eBags Packing Cubes

I picked up the eBags Packing Cubes because when I got my new hardshell checked luggage (the Helium Aero 25 Spinner I wanted to be able to organize as I pack. (images below from Amazon)

eBags Packing Cubes product reviews

But beyond just being organized I have found that it is so much easier to live out of a suitcase for a week. Why? Because you can just take out few cubes, get your items you need (a shirt, some socks, etc) and then drop all of the cubes back in the bag and zip it up. You're ready to go. No more having to repack all the time because of the item on the bottom of the bag. SOOOO handy!

Travelrest Neck Pillow

I've finally found a travel pillow that I can get some sleep using! The Travelrest has finally allowed me to find some sleep on a plane. It's the only one that's ever provided any real neck support to the point I don't wake up in pain. (images below from Amazon)

travelrest neck pillow product reviews

It rolls into a small item you can clip onto your bag (or place inside the seat back pocket even).

It only takes a few breaths to blow it up and can be easily adjusted with any pressure changes. It has kept me sane on 15 hour days!

In-flight WiFi

I love getting work done from the air. What I've found is that if you have a multi-leg journey, it's often best to buy the 24 hour pass on the 1st leg, as it will be cheaper. You can also prepay with some airlines (like Delta) but sometimes it's still a dollar or two cheaper when picking it up on that first leg.

Seat Upgrades

I always ask if there are any upgrades to 1st class when I get to the airport. Sometimes, for $100 you can nab a very relaxing seat and meal. I was able to get one on my way to Hawaii this past August, and let me just say how nice that was.

On airlines like Delta, I often will pay a little extra for the Economy Premium seats on long halls to nab a little more legroom. That 4-6 inch difference really helps on a 6-9 hour long flight for a 6 foot tall guy like me.

Airport Lounges

Speaking of nice – getting away from the business of the airport on long layovers is great. Not only can you get away from the hustle and bustle, you can grab some snacks and a drink or two. However, lounges are not cheap always, but there are a few ways to get access for cheaper than $50/visit.

If you can find a cheap subscription to the https://www.skyguideclub.com/ (I'm only paying $69/year, compared to their advertised $199/year) you can get reimbursed for your visits. Some googling might save you some money here. What's nice is this program can get you into just about any lounge, regardless of who you are flying that day.

Also, sometimes if you have the airlines credit card (the Delta AmEx, for instance) you can get discounted visits ($25). When you have a LONG layover and want to get away from the throngs of people, it's worth it.

And if you can't get into a lounge (don't want to pay or they airport doesn't have one), spend a few minutes walking around. Most times there are quiet areas of the airport that most people don't go to. Check out terminals where there aren't a lot of departures. Or, in ABQ for instance, they have a “observation deck” which every time I've been there is either empty or only has one other person in it. Not only do you get a great view of the airport and Sandia Mountains, you get some peace and quiet.

travel tips and product reviews

I hope these help you find some more peace while traveling. I'd love to hear where you are heading next – or where you'd like to go – in the comments below!

PS: If you are wishing you could travel more, let me just say that you can if you make it a priority. A friend of mine told me recently that many people talk about traveling more but I'm the only person she knows that “puts their money where their mouth is.” Want one more trip a year? Get rid of cable. That's $100-140/month for some people (so $1200-$1600/year) – that's another trip right there! Our money will follow our goals if we make goals and make them a priority.

PPS: Some of the links above are affiliate links. So buy purchasing something above you may be helping me travel more in the coming year. Thank you. More here.

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4 Replies to “making life easier while traveling”

  1. I need that travel pillow for sure! And noise canceling headphones have saved me from countless sleepless red-eye flights with screaming children on them. Thanks for sharing this!

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