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

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 31, 2015

Top Travel Tech Gadgets Posts This Month

Top Travel Tech Gadgets Post This Month


New iOS Features - Hey Siri And Live Photos
How They Are Useful For Travel
http://traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/2015/10/hey-siri-and-live-photos-ios-features.html

Baseball Postseason Best (And Worst) Stadiums' WiFi
http://traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/2015/10/baseball-postseason-best-and-worst.html

New Cool Up-and-Coming Travel Gadgets - October
http://traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/2015/10/new-cool-up-and-coming-travel-gadgets_8.html

Aruba - Family Vacation - Gadgets and Accessories
http://traveltechgadgets.blogspot.com/2015/10/aruba-family-vacation-gadgets-and.html




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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

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Oct 19, 2015

Aruba - First Family Trip South - Summer Continued

Aruba - First Family Trip South - Summer Continued


This was our first trip to Aruba. It was also a first trip south on a week-long vacation for our kid. When planning this getaway we wanted a one-stop place with the least hassle for us. This one of many reasons we have chosen to stay at the all-inclusive resort. The package we got through our travel agent included a non-stop flight and transportation from and to the airport and Tamarijn Aruba.
At the resort, all meals and drinks are included. This was great for traveling with the toddler that can be picky about what she wants to eat. You can get or order just about anything and they will have it done. Tamarijn resort is actually known to be more family-friendly than most. And we were able to order plain chicken and veal as well as pasta every day. The selection of food for us was great as well. And they also do not water down their alcoholic beverages. With all these included, we did not have to think about where we going to eat or how to get there and what type of food and service we would get with a child.

While those are great pluses for the resort, their services throughout the hotel were not so great. The bell boy service leaves a lot to be desired. It was slow to not existent. When we first arrived there was no one in the lobby to greet us or take our bags even though we were arriving at a provided coach services. Even after checking in at the front desk we had to request and wait for someone to take our bags to the room. Usually, that would not be too big of an issue since we would have a couple of carry-ons and shoulder bags. But this time we had a lot more large bags and one tired and cranky toddler.

At breakfast and lunchtime, we received quite an inattentive service. It did get better over time and we also found out why some tables got immediate services and others didn't. Tips. I get that in regular restaurants tips are part of the experience and provided much-needed income to the wait staff. However, when you are at an all-inclusive resort you have already paid a large sum to have all of that taken care of ahead of time. One of the main reasons we chose to be there was so that we can leave our wallets behind and take only camera and room keys. This seems to elude a lot of 'regulars' as they continue to tip on top of that at every meal.

One of the benefits of Tamarijn hotel was the large number of specialty restaurants on premises. Again giving us plenty of choice with little travel. During dinner at these restaurant, unfortunately, we also experienced very slow service. At a couple of places it took over an hour for our food to come. A hungry and short fused toddler did't want any of it. Out came our snacks and iPhone with cartoons and games pre-loaded. Which was a savior during the meals and also flights.

With all this you would think we did not have that much of a great holiday. But we did. These things not withstanding, it was a good time had by all.

The rooms are all ocean facing. Can hear the ocean at night. Which is great to fall asleep to and wake up. The ocean was clear once you get in a few feet. The weather also got better after a couple of days where it was hot during the day but not as humid, and cool nights. On one of the nights it was very clear and we were able to see the Blood Moon/Lunar Eclipse perfectly in the sky.

There are Pelicans flying overhead constantly diving into water after fish. They are followed by seagulls that pick up left overs. And there are a lot of fish. In the evening they start jumping out of the water. One of the day's one of them flew so close it slapped my cheek. There were quite a few folk with snorkeling gear swimming around.

However...

As some reviews on Tripadvisor have mentioned, the beach is eroding. The middle portion of the hotel strip is ok for now, though the further edge has no send left, just bare rocks.  The hotel avoids mentioning it to arrivals when booking rooms.
If in the area bring swim shoes, since that is the only way to get into water. It is very rocky at the shore and in the water. Save your toes and enjoy swimming much more with a pair of water shoes.

Also there is a pipe in the middle of the water. And no sign of any sorts to let folks know about it. Ran over it with my knee while holding on to the kid. All ended alright. But that is a terrible set up.

To get away from the rocks and pipes in the waters by our hotel we took a trip to Eagle Beach in search of a better beach. It was much better. It was all send walking in and in the water. And the water was clear to the bottom. We had a great day swimming, relaxing, and for some us, napping on the beach. We saw a guy on what looked like hydro skates. He was doing flyboarding, similar to the guy on the show "America Got Talent". And them some other folks trying it out.

We were pleasantly surprised on last few days of our stay with a Cirque de solei type of circus show. It was very good with fun entertainment and great acrobatic acts. Another show that we all enjoyed the synchronized swimming. It was performed by the local swim team and it was well done with good music and moves. Kiddo loved it.

As we found out on the way back to get out of Aruba is quite a task. You have to pass two customs AND two full security checkpoints. And I mean taking your shoes and everything else and putting everything on the conveyor belt for the second time. And the kicker, when you first check in and drop off your luggage, you are not done with it. You pick it up before going through the second checkpoint of customs and security. By the end, we were exhausted since its a bit more hassle to do it with a kid and more bags. On the plus side, when we arrived back home we did not need to go through customs. Straight to the baggage claim and taxi.





Coming up next:
Aruba - First Family Trip South - Gadgets and Accessories

Sound-off: What was your first trip with the family? Let us know below

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