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Showing posts with label family gadgets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family gadgets. Show all posts

Jul 24, 2017

Summer Travel - Time To Hit The Beach

Summer Travel - Time To Hit The Beach

Family Beach Trip

We hit our local beach for the first time this summer for a little staycation. The day was very sunny and dry. The water was surprisingly warmer than we expected. Even warmer than in Aruba.
We had our beach staple with us, the beach sports umbrella, to provide much need shade. Also, a new travel accessory to try out for the first time in the ocean, waterproof sports wallet.

Beach umbrella
Sport-Brella Portable All-Weather and Sun Umbrella


Jul 18, 2016

Travel Gadget Review - Large Beach Umbrella

Travel Gadget Review - Large Beach Umbrella

sports beach umbrella

This is not a little sun umbrella that you can stroll around with. It is the kind you can set up and sit under in a chair.

However, it is not as heavy or bulky as you would think. It weighs 9 pounds and folds up into a slick, long, line that is easy to swing on the shoulder with built-in strap on the case.


We have been considering getting an umbrella awhile ago and have been doing research. And in researching beach umbrellas, we can across a beach tent for kids. So instead of an umbrella, we purchased the tent for our kiddo. It has been a hit and life and skin saver for the family. Read here how we have used it on trips to Aruba and Dominican Republic as well as on the local beach.
However, the tent is only for the little one, adults got left out in the scorching sun. Hence for our local trips to the beach, we needed a shade of our own.

Related:
Family Trip to DR - What To Pack
What To Pack For Vacation With An Infant

Why good to have on a trip:
- Easy to transport
- Unfolds easily just like a regular umbrella
- Comes with all the accessories and gadgets to keep down in the sand and with wind blowing
- Roomy for a family
- Has ventilation windows
- Can be used as a tent or
- Free standing, mushroom type
- Easy to collapse

Con: It does weight 9 pounds, so while it is the same operation as regular umbrella, you have to make sure to support it and works best with 2 people

Sound-off: What do you think? Let us know below

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Feb 25, 2016

Family Trip To DR With A Toddler - A Week Without A Screen!

Family Trip To DR With A Toddler - A Week Without A Screen!


Resort
Earlier in the month we traveled to Dominican Republic and one of its all-inclusive resorts. We like these as you get there put your bags down and you are good for the rest of the trip. You know 99% of the cost of the vacation already. Most of the activities and outings are pre-planned. Just need to carry your key card around and nothing else. Drinks, food, beach towels and chairs, all are included.

We have been to this resort before. And that was a major consideration when we were planning our second vacation with a toddler. Knowing the layout of the resort, where the food is and what kind of restaurants and meals offered, made the week a lot easier. And since we did not have to run around to find places, we got the vacation started earlier.
This is quite different from one of the cruises we were on. We were on Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas. Usually it takes me about a day to orient myself and be able to navigate without a map. On this ship, it took me 3 days to figure out where the restaurants, entertainment and the pools were. And even then, we ended up going the wrong way a couple of times. While the trip was nice overall, the layout made it a bit more stressful than needed to be.

The resort has changed a bit since last we were there. Less structurally, though there were some small rearrangements, but more in terms of clientele. The vacationers were mostly families with kids and seniors. There were plenty of those before, though this time these two groups made up around 98% of the population.


Traveling with toddler, even in all-inclusive, adds on a few things to consider and to plan out. After two days, we figured out the schedule and balance between food, swimming, napping, more swimming, entertainment and sleep. The first days were test and trial, but once kiddo got comfortable and we stuck to the schedule, it was smooth sailing.

We lucked out with the week we were vacationing at the resort. On our last supper there, it was a crazy time. New arrivals came to the buffet like vultures. They were lining up for food 10 or more deep, grabbing everything and then some and also grumbling. We were actually glad we had only breakfast the next day and then we are off.


Departure
At the resort, they charged extra for weighing your bags before departure. We were very glad that we brought our own digital luggage scale to save money at the airport and also ended up saving it at the hotel also.

No Worries, It's All Inclusive Here
traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/2013/04/no-worries-its-all-inclusive-here.html

Aruba - First Family Trip South - Summer Continued
traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/2015/10/aruba-first-family-trip-south-summer.html

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Travel Gadgets & Travel Hacks

Razor Travel Hack
On this trip I tried out a shaving razor hack (see pic below). I have a travel case for it but it is bulky and plastic, making it hard to pack and takes up too much space. Instead you put a clip on top of the razor to cover up the blade so it does not catch on anything, and then you can stick it anywhere. I placed it within my grooming pack with all other stuff for easy and convenient storage.
Travel hack = works!



DryPack
Right before the trip we bought the DRY PAK Waterproof Wallet. The previous one I was using fell apart and we needed a waterproof container to hold our room card. It had decent reviews on Amazon. However, was not great in execution. The card was not dry after just first use. The inside was damp and visibly wet. The pocket was sealed as supposed to with the latches fully engaged. While it was better then using a zip lock bag or just having the card in the swimsuit pocket, it didn't work as described. I filled it with water to rinse after first use and found out why it didn't work - there was a whole in the pocket.
After the trip I contacted Amazon and seller describing what happened with the product. Without hesitation, they sent out a new pocket within a day. That was a superb experience and look forward to trying it out again.

Selfie Stick
The selfie sticks were more prominent during this trip then any other one we have taken. They were on the beach and all over the resort. People were taking their sticks and phones right into the ocean. I really hoped that they had some kind of waterproof protection on their phones or phones that are at the least water resistant




What would want, like to have, on next trip:
Gotenna, or similar communication device

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Sound-off: What would you want to take on your next trip, you have not yet? Let us know below

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Dec 17, 2015

Travel News - Gadget Related - December

Travel News - Gadget Related - December


7 Easy Tips for Taking Way Better Travel Photos (+ The Gear I Use)
www.bemytravelmuse.com/how-to-improve-my-travel-photograph/

Expedia to acquire HomeAway for $3.9bn
www.breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/expedia-to-acquire-homeaway

Best Water Bottle with Filter Guide ~ What to Buy and Why
gogreentravelgreen.com/water-bottle-with-filter

10 Top Tips for Safe Family Travel
www.familiesgotravel.com/2015/11/10-top-tips-for-safe-family-travel

United Airlines rolls out iPhones to airport staff
breakingtravelnews.com/news/article/united-airlines-rolls-out-iphones-to-airport-staff

Travel Gadget: Momax 11200mAh iPower GO+ External Battery Pack Review
outoftownblog.com/travel-gadget-momax-11200mah-ipower-go-external-battery-pack-review/

Travel Tip: Why It’s Illegal for Hotels to Block Wi-Fi Hotspots
petergreenberg.com/2015/11/25/illegal-hotels-block-wi-fi-hotspots/

How tech has changed the way we travel
www.thetravelchica.com/2015/11/how-tech-has-changed-the-way-we-travel



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Nov 9, 2015

Aruba Vacation - Kids Gadgets and Accessories

Aruba Vacation - Kids Gadgets and Accessories


This was our kid's first long trip as mentioned in the first post of the series (Aruba - First Family Trip South - Summer Continued). Overall, the trip was a success. So much so that we just booked our next one that will be in the start of the new year.
In packing for the trip, her luggage space outweighed both of ours. Besides clothes and shoes, she also was bringing toys, food, drinks, carriage, and multitude of gadgets to keep her entertained.

Backpack with a leash
Not only did this little pack contain all of the goodies that would be easily accessible to her during the flight, it came in very handy at the airport as well. It also helped that she liked wearing it. Quite a difference from the animal version we originally got. This one had very stiff straps and they were rubbing and hurting her. Brica By-my-side Safety Harness Backpack has soft padded straps, comfy and breathable design and is light.

Inside the backpack there was
- light up ball with unique shape that prevents it from rolling away
- small travel books
- kids camera that shows different image upon click
- stuffed animal
- and washable crayons

Refresh-a-Baby Water Bottle Adapter
Easily replaceable tops for bottles. Genius. Instead of bringing with us multiple baby bottles from which our kiddo still drinks milk, that take up a lot of space within the bags, we brought these small packable tops. They can fit on just about any plastic bottle that we might buy anyhow to drink water. And we would be able to recycle it instead of tossing out by pouring milk in there and for kid to able to sip at their own pace from it.

Drawing Travel Board


Headphones
After seeing reviews on multiple kid travel blogs and reading through reviews on amazon.com, we got her the Kidz Gear Wired Headphones. These are very light, and comfortable on the head. As you can see I tried them on too. They are easily adjustable to quite a few head sizes. They also come with a chord that can limit the maximum value to safeguard toddlers ears. They had great sound. Much better than the cheap earbuds or the ones offered (sold) on the plane.

Sunglasses

Water bottle
Stephen Joseph Owl Stainless Steel Water Bottle - This water bottle is made for toddler. Gives them independence to drink by themselves. They can imitate adults when drinking from a bottle. And it has a top that closes completely to prevent spills in addition to the cap that keeps it clean.

Rash guard shirts
Kiddo was swimming in these almost the entire time. They kept her protected from the direct sunlight since they have 100% UV protection. The shirts also kept her warm on the beach since they dried quickly. It also meant putting on less sunscreen as not as much of her skin was exposed while we swam or played on the beach.

Water/beach shoes
While we wore ours only in the water to be able to walk on the ocean floor covered with rocks, she wore hers on the beach to keep her feet safe from various shells, rocks, and other things in the sand.

Phone preloaded with cartoons and games
Before leaving on vacation, we preloaded our phone with several gigabytes of cartoons and educational games and videos. It was a life and sanity saver during eating out and other times of toddler hysterics. During the stay we did not have WiFi and did not take the phone off of airplane mode as to not incur any roaming charges. We still were able to use it for entertainment as well as a notebook.

Phone holder
This little accessory was irreplaceable while using the phone at meals and we were very glad we took it with us. The phone stayed off the table in the right position for viewing and accessing controls. The holder folds up flat and is very light to just throw in our bag with all the rest of the stuff.

Sand Toys
Two buckets filled with sand toys were the unexpected, yet very helpful, babysitter on the beach. Once out of the water, the kiddo would play with them for at least half hour if not more. This gave us some time to arrange beach accessories, sit back, relax and sometimes even read our Kindles.

Sound-off: How do you travel with your kids? And what essentials do you bring along? Let us know below

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Oct 26, 2015

Aruba - Family Vacation - Gadgets and Accessories

Aruba - Family Vacation - Gadgets and Accessories

Charging Up Before The Trip

Getting There

The flight was the first one for our kid. It went well for the most part at the airport and during flight. To keep her occupied and get some of the energy out we got her a new small ball. She played with it while waiting to board. The ball is the non-rolling kind with bumps that prevent it from rolling away but at the same time has plenty of bounce. And it also lights up, making easy to find if it does end up under a bag or seat.
While getting ready and before packing, I looked through some of my favorite kid travel blogs to get some ideas and advice. Based on those suggestions we brought a lot of entertainment with us on the plane in her little backpack. There was a Fisher-Price Travel Doodler, small travel books, kids camera that shows different image upon click, stuffed animal, and washable crayons. And with all of that we almost exhausted all in first half hour. Though after see settled in a bit, it was better and the Jetblue in-flight entertainment helped a bit. We had the Mickey Mouse cartoon on all monitors.
On the plane we were in the first row (thanks to planing and booking by gowithirene.com). While we were first out on arrival, what we did not expect was that we had to wait for the stroller to catch up to us. Though by the time we were at the baggage carousel our bags were there as well.
In Aruba at customs, they had new machines for folks with the new e-passports. One person steps through at a time. Places there passport on scanner, looks up for camera and once all set, goes through. The line moved very quickly with this new technology.

When we stepped outside, lucky for us they were having the hottest day yet. It didn't let up for next few days

Gadgets and Accessories

Cameras:

- Olympus Stylus Tough - our blue all around camera. Since this camera is waterproof, shockproof, crushproof, and dustproof, it goes with us into the water, to dine, and on walks and  evening events. I just put it in my pocket and good to go. In the water, we also attach the orange camera float strap that keeps the camera dangling on our wrists and floating above water.


- DSLR - While Olympus camera is great and versatile, it does not take as good of a shots as DSLR. Our Canon Rebel XSi comes with us on every vacation to capture some of the more detailed, high definition, and artistic photos, some of which you saw on this site in previous posts.

GoPro - This was the newest camera on our trip. We have been looking to get a video camera since our kid was born, but it has been a tough choice. Most of the dedicated video cameras had very low features with very high prices that didn't make sense since we had similar video quality on the digital camera and phone. GoPro HERO4
on the other hand stood out for its lightness, small size, and superior video quality. Moreover, with the new cases it is also waterproof, has high-definition video and photography and very easy to operate. It became a no brainer for us to get GoPro for our trips.

- Phone - a necessity these days when traveling with child. Before leaving on vacation, we preloaded one of the iPhones with several gigabytes of kids cartoons and education videos. It was a life and sanity saver during the meal outings and other times of toddler hysterics. During the stay we did not have wifi and did not take the phone off of airplane mode as to not incur any roaming charges. Though we still were able to use for entertainment as well as notebook and memos.

- Phone Holder - to use the phone during meal times this little accessory was irreplaceable and we were very great we took one. The phone stayed off the table in right position for viewing and accessing controls. It folded up flat and was very light to just throw in our daypack with all the rest of the stuff.

- Mophie Powerstation - while we did charge our phone in the room overnight, it was definitely a piece of mind to have this juice pack with us as a backup as well as to give us a bit more up time at the airport.

- Kindle - we took both of our Kindles on this trip, though I was not too optimistic if we get to use them. As it turns out, I was not completely right. We had some time to read on the beach, since as it turns out the sand and sand toys were a great babysitter for our daughter for half-hour to almost an hour.

- Sports Watch - in most resorts there are activities and or shows that are at certain time. And meals are also at designated time. So a watch comes very handy. While at home, these days I mostly use the phone to tell time, that is not as easy convenient or safe to do while traveling. It is especially helpful when traveling with toddlers that need to be on their schedule or else (parents know what mean). The Casio watch I got is also great since it shows day of week which is helpful to know. And it is water proof up to certain depth. So could go swimming in the ocean or pool and be able to tell how long we been there and if it is time to reapply sunscreen or go eat.

- Water Shoes. A necessity these days in Aruba as the entrance and ocean floor can be rough and littered with rocks. We got some right before we left after we found recommendations for these on Tripadvisor (www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147248-d150690-Reviews-Tamarijn_Aruba_All_Inclusive-Oranjestad_Aruba.html). I had the Starbay Water Shoesshoes. These were easy to put on and take off which turns out to be a very good feature for water shoes.

- Belkin surge protector with multiple plugs. Hotel had several plugs but all accept one were behind furniture

- Travelon perfume holder - I wrote about it before and I take most of it back. I can still see how it could be useful when traveling, however it does not work. I loaded it up for this trip and when we got there there was nothing left in the container. All leaked out. I checked that it was closed tightly and it was. Thankfully, it was in its own ziplock that was inside another Ziploc, so nothing around it ended up all of the contents.

All these gadgets withstanding, this trip was a detox from computers and online access to the phone




Coming up next:
Aruba Vacation - Kids Gadgets and Accessories

Sound-off: What gadgets do you bring with you on holiday? Let us know below

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