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Travel and The

Solo Woman

August 
This device transforms an existing door lock into a smart lock controlled by a smart phone.  An app will give others who are approved access to your room.

Found at: Amazon, Walmart, Home Depot, Target, and Menards 

Photography & accessories

Come see the world with me!
​​​Next month I will be discussing what non technology gadgets we can purchase to make our travels go more smoothly.
See you on Sunday, 
March 3, at 6:00 PM!
​​​Happy travels! Ciao!  😎

Door-Stop Alarm 
This wedge shaped door alarm will wake a traveler inside a hotel room before an intruder can open the guest’s door and probably scare them away from entering too.
 
Found at: Amazon, Target, Ace Hardware, Office Depot, Menards, Home Depot, Walmart and others.

Portable Safe 
This item will keep your belongings safe back in your hotel room.  Fill it with your items and lock it to a sink pipe or immovable piece of furniture.  This will not only keep your item safe within your room but allow you to travel without the extra weight too.

Found at: Amazon

The Pure Company Portable Purifier
Often times we find ourselves in places with less than pristine air quality.  When I visited the big island of Hawaii I came down with bronchitis because of the vog (volcanic ash-smog) on the island.  How useful would this device have been in allowing me to snorkel more often and enjoy my vacation with my friend!  Just a little over ½ pound, this device uses filter-free ionization to freshen the air in hotel rooms.  Similar to an oil diffuser, this device doesn’t need water, only oil.

Found at: The Pure Company and Amazon

QIAYA Ring Light 
This LED light is an attachment for your iPhone everyone needs in dark places or at night.  Bloggers and people trying to capture videos and selfies on trips will find this product indispensable.  The ring has 3 levels of adjustable lighting, rechargeable, and quite reasonable.

Found at: Best Buy and Walmart

Mobile Hotspots
A mobile hotspot will allow you to create a secure internet connection and a limited amount of other mobile devices join you and share your phone’s mobile data plan.

Found at: Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and most wireless phone providers. 

Dodow Sleep Aid Device
Like many others, I have suffered from jetlag several times.  The Dodow Sleep Aid Device will help you to relax by projecting a soft blue light on your ceiling. Using breathing techniques used in yoga, it uses an eight to twenty minute cycle to allow you to ready your body and mind for a restful sleep. 

Found at: Dodow, Amazon, and Walmart

Health and Fitness

Entertainment

Flexible Tripod
I have used one of these and they are wonderful for use on walls, rocks and other areas that aren’t flat.  I loved it while it was part of my photography arsenal!

Found at: Best Buy, Amazon, Office Depot, Walmart, or any photo shop

Headphones or earbuds


Found at: Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Amazon, Bose, US Cellular, JBL and others.

Smartphones & Accessories

Safety

GOING TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES

  • Google Translate - This is a free app I use all of the time whether at home or away.  It allows you to translate all of the major languages by typing, talking, drawing, or pointing your phone camera at a printed text.
  • Kurrency - Use this app to convert kilometers to miles and pounds to kilograms. 
  • XE Currency Converter - This is a great app for travel as it calculates the current rate of currency exchange in real time so that you know how much it will cost in American Dollars.
  • What’s App - If you want to stay away from international phone charges, you can keep your phone switched to airplane mode and use messaging apps on WiFi to keep in touch with friends and family.
  • Any local metro app​ - Using the search feature on your phone or computer, you can find a metro app for nearly every major city in Europe,  Downloading these in advance will allow you to plan out your trip using local transport or at least find your way to the metro lines.  Available on: quick search in the Play Store or iTunes. (City name+metro)

SAVING MONEY

  • Amount - This app is very useful to have help to convert kilometers and kilograms into miles and pounds.
  • Gasbuddy - This app is a must when taking any road trip as it will find the cheapest place to fill up your gas tank in the country.  
  • FlightTrack 5 - With this app, you can keep track of all of your flight information in one place.
  • Splitwise - This app is great for people traveling in a group as it keeps track of all of the expenses within the group.
  • Entrain - Use this app to help beat jet lag through mobile tracking.
  • Foursquare - An app to let friends and family know where you are and let you know where they are.  It also sends you points and eventually coupons for going about your shopping and everyday business. 

ACCOMODATIONS 

  • HotelTonight - This app will help with booking last minute accommodations. 
  • Airb&b - An app that is free to download and gives the user $38 USD off your first booking. 
  • Hostelworld - This app covers 33,000 hostels in more than 170 countries. It's a great app for finding and booking hostels and getting deals, as well as B&B's and hotels.
  • Packpoint - A free app that will help you with packing.

PLANNING & ORGANIZING

  • HEHA Travel Planner - This app helps plan your itinerary for you.
  • TripIt - A free app that helps you organize your entire trip from a single app. 
  • Holiday Extras - A free app that helps prep everything.

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES (AND BOATS)

  • Uber -  A great app to have.  Most of us have used Uber to get somewhere.  The app is free to download and will get you an extra ten dollars to use with a promo code.  It is much cheaper and definitely safer that riding in a taxi, from my experience.
  • Any airline’s official app - I have used several different airline apps, and they do give you good deals if you choose to use them, but always check the validity of the app before inputing your credit card information.  I still choose to use a travel agent most times as I know they can get me the best discounts and provide me with travel insurance as well.
  • Flight Aware - Another free app that tracks important information about flights you are booked on, such as time, gate, delays, etc.
  • Sky Scanner - This free app searches flight alert drops to help you get the best flight prices. 
  • GateGuru - This is another app that will give you all of your airport and gate information.
  • Cruise Finder - This app help to find the best cruises at the best prices from thousands of itineraries.

GETTING AROUND

  • Google Maps - This app is free and is the ultimate app for directions, maps, restaurants and is available offline.
  • Aroundme - This is an ingenious app that provides information about all of the businesses around you.  Whether you are traveling or using it close to home, this is priceless.

WEATHER AND WATER

  • The Weather Channel App - A indispensable app that tells you what the weather is going to be like where you are and allows time to prepare.  

MISCELANEAOUS

  • Tripadvisor - I always use Trip Advisor for reviewing everything I can in travel.  It reviews of everything from hotels to food and restaurants.  If you don't find what you want you can even try a place out and leave a review yourself.  Regardless, it is a must have app!
  • Viator - A great app and website to review and book online.  With over 100,000 things to do and see, you can skip the lines and your payment is fully refundable within 24 hours before your tour or event date.  
  • Triposo - An app that is dedicated to everything related to travel. 

Selfie Stick 
Most people know what a selfie stick is and what they are used for.  Those of you who have never heard of one or seen one, it is really an extension of your arm.  It allows you to take a picture of yourself to for personal and professional purposes. I have a selfie stick that has a detached activation switch which I use to take selfies on trips.  If you don’t have one, it is almost a must when traveling alone!

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and most photography shops

Anker Powercore II 20,000

This portable battery/charger is one of the recommended chargers for 2018-19.  It is both reasonably priced as well as compact and provides a 20,000mAh compacity. Although it has only two ports it is much more affordable than others with more.  If you don’t mind paying more for four outlets, you may opt for an Omnicharge Omni 20, which weighs over a pound.

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Anker
Omnicharge - Amazon


Electronic Technology For The Traveler

LifeStraw water filter
Another water purifying device which removes parasites, bacteria and microplastics.  This item will last five years filtering 1000 gallons. This tool has no shelf life, has been tested all over the world, and gives back to the planet and its people. (Check out LifeStraw website at https://www.lifestraw.com/products/lifestraw)

Found at: Target, LifeStraw, Amazon, Ace Hardware, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Walmart

What apps can I install on my phone or computer to make my travel experience easier?
I have several apps on my phone that I installed about two years ago.  They range from translation apps to apps that find places in the place where you are staying.  I will discuss all of the newest apps out there that will make your trip one to remember.

Bose Sleepbuds 
Bose Sleepbuds are another great product created for us by the Bose company.   When used for travel, this product can block out other noises by providing the listener with one of 10 pre-loaded tracks.   These will help the user to sleep peacefully and wake them when it is time to get up.  They are both comfortable and conveniently sized.

Found at: Best Buy, Amazon, Target, and Bose 

The Ricoh Theta
This is a relatively small, hand held device which allows one to capture a spherical 360 degree image in one shot.

Found at: Amazon and Best Buy

Skyroam Solis Portable Wi-Fi Hotspot 
Some travelers only need occasional access to the internet and this device meets their needs completely.  It works outside of local SIM cards and international plans and is compatible with more than 200 carriers in 130 countries.  

Found at: Skyroam and Amazon

Virtual Keyboard
What we saw in a futuristic video fifteen years ago, at a teacher conference, now has become reality.  Virtual keyboards are components of software that allow one to type without the need for physical keys, minimizing the weight the traveler has to carry.

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, and Sweetwater

IPhone Telephoto Lens
These lenses are attachments to IPhones that allow us to leave the heavier cameras back in our rooms when going on hikes or out for a long day.  It gives your IPhone pictures and videos better clarity and higher resolution.  I don’t have one yet, but it is definitely on my wish list!

Found at: Best Buy, Sandmarc and Amazon

NudeAudio Move S Portable Speaker
Latest in the series of portable speakers, it is compatable with most laptops, computers and other devices, including the latest IPhones.  It is compact and perfect for travel.

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and the Grommet

The HP Sprocket 
This is an ingenious little device that not only allows one to print photos and videos, but also fits into your pocket as well. 
                                                   
Found at: Macy’s, Office Depot, Best Buy, Staples, and Target

Solar Backpack: 
Something every hiker should have for traveling through the woods or around a city. Not only does it do all of the things a regular backpack does, this backpack comes equipped with its own solar panel so you can recharge your battery on the run. Thus it eliminates the need to hunt for a coffee shop or other power source in order to recharge.

Found at: Amazon, SlackSocial, Ebags, and Kotula’s

​Chargers for Computer Laptops, IPads, and Smartphones



Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, and most any computer or Smart Phone store

The Plane, Train, And Automobile Solar Backup Battery
This convenient portable solar back up battery is an absolute necessity when traveling to places without electricity or outlets.  Just attach this hockey puck shaped device to a window and after two hours it will be ready to power your device.  Watch how to use it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lio-fFlJiBw

Found at: Hammacher Schlemmerco and Walmart

Universal Underwater Camera Case
This is a better version of the old camera case that keeps your Smart Phone dry and safe while underwater.  It is very affordable and can be used with most Smart Phones on the market.

Found at: Amazon, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, JC Pennys, and Sweetwater

Smart Watch 
My brother and sister-in-law both have one and love them.  It looks like a watch but can display your flight information, text messages, tell you when to get up and move around, and even provide you with directions when out for a walk.

Found at: Best Buy, Apple, Target, Walmart, Verizon, and Amazon

Fitbit Versa
Originally a fitness tracker, this has since evolved into a full scale health monitor.  It features heart monitoring, step counting, sleep analysis and video workout apps.  It can also store hundreds of songs on phone free Bluetooth, apps for weather forecasts, flight status updates and more.  Fitbit Versa might be a more affordable alternative to a Smartphone.

Found at: Amazon, Walmart, Kohls, Costco, Target and Best Buy

Chipolo Plus 
Chipolo Plus is a Bluetooth-enabled device that will help keep tabs on your valuables.  This item finder is an invaluable tech device for the traveler who must keep track of phones, keys, Ipads, etc.


Found at: Chipolo, Amazon, Walmart, and Best Buy

Convenience and ease of travel

1Tac Roadside Emergency Disc

Staying Safe On The Road.  Most of us have been caught on the road at night. What is scarier is when you are in unfamiliar territory on a trip with problems at night.   This “warning ring” of LED lights provides you with a light that surrounds you and can be seen from five thousand feet from all sides.   

Found at: Walmart, 1Tac, and Amazon

Portable Hard Drives
This is an external hard drive or solid-state drive that is used to store information outside the computer. I use one to store all of my old information which I no longer use from school, my old pictures, photo classes etc. It’s like having a portable storage unit for items when traveling to free up your computer.

Found at: Best Buy, Target, Office Depot and Office Max, Amazon, and Walmart

Echo Dot  
This is like an Alexa and connects with her and allows you to ask questions, play music, updates sports scores and weather. Great for the changing weather on a vacation.
 
Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, and Target

Forward CX-1 Suitcase 
I love this idea as sometimes I have problems carrying my suitcase through an airport.  This smart suitcase is the first hands free, self-driving suitcase and was only launched last year.

Found at: Amazon, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales

Lenovo Mirage VR Camera
This device will make your photo memories appear magical, while its two fisheye cameras capture the entire scene before you.  It also allows you to share it in real time with a built in Wi-Fi and LTE modem that will allow you to instantly upload your results.

Found at: Amazon, Office Depot, B&H, Lenovo, and Best Buy

Sony WH-1000XM2 Over-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Noise canceling headphones are some of the most useful pieces of equipment when traviling long distances. While I love to travel overseas, I hate the drone of a person talking behind me when I want to sleep or the crying of a child in front of me.  This product also has features such as Adaptive Sound Control, Quick Attention, Voice Assistance and touch control.  

Found at: Sony, Amazon, and Best Buy

KobraTech Triflex Mini Phone Tripod with Remote

I had one of the earliest versions of this and loved it!  It fits almost everywhere, is bendable and wraps around things like posts. This mini-tripod is a perfect travel companion, especially in places that are not flat.  It can be set on rocks, uneven ground, or wrap around limbs!  This version has a remote Bluetooth shutter that also allows you to take your own picture from up to 30 feet away.


Found at: Amazon and KobraTech

TravelBots (Travel and Chat Bot)
A TravelBot or ChatBot will provide you with human-like conversation.  This is especially handy if you are alone in nature or want to simulate a companion in your room while traveling alone.

Found at: Liveperson, LiveChat, Botique.ai, Amazon, and Dialog Flow

Computer Styluses
A type of “computer pen” used to draw on a computers or graphic tablets that use touch screens, in conjunction with drawing or art programs.  I use a Bamboo stylus for my drawing program and take it with me whenever I travel.

Found at: Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart, Office Depot, and Office Max.

Drones 

In this context, a drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle used to take photos.  Whether you are buying a drone for professional or personal use, you can get one from under $100 to the sky's the limit.  Check out Best Buy or Amazon for the latest and greatest in this category.

Podo 
This is the first camera that you can stick to a surface somewhere and have it take either videos, time lapse or photos for you.

Found at: Amazon, Podo Labs, and Urban Outfitters

Tile Mate 
One of the smartest things you can buy for a trip.  This is a device you can attach to luggage, wallet, keys, passport or anything important you don’t want to lose and will track it for you. 

Found at: Best Buy and Amazon

Sterilizer Pen
This is perhaps one of the best investments one can make when traveling to third world countries.  I went to the Dominican Republic ten years ago and spent the better part of a week, along with all of the people in my party, with travel scourge.  This would have been invaluable to save our vacation!  When you place this device in your water, the UV light creates safe drinking water.

Found at: Amazon, Target, Alibaba, Oemsie, REI Co-op, Getinge, and LL Bean

Optical Camera Lens
My huge camera always gets in the way, weighing a good five pounds. With this lens, all you do is attach it to your camera and with its image stabilization, capture your favorite pictures in all light conditions.

Found at: Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart

Binoculars - Swarovski CL Pocket 8X25 Binoculars
This binocular is a very high quality compact device which can fit into a pocket. They are both fog and waterproof and are made by one of the best in the business.

Found at: Cabellas, Amazon, and Swarovski Optics

Come see the world with me,
footloose and fancy free!

GoTenna Mesh SMS and GPS Device 
A great addition to your travel gear, GoTenna will help keep track of you if you are heading out alone.  This device will allow you to text another and share locations without data or Wi-Fi within a 3 mile range of another who is connected to you.  It works like a modern day walkie talkie.

Found at: Amazon and GoTenna

USB car chargers
These are very economical and important to have if you are traveling by car.  I always carry one in any vehicle I drive now.   Everyday USB car chargers can be found in most stores we frequent.  But one that is highly recommended is RAVPower RP-VC006 because of its price and features.  It can differentiate between your devices and use the proper charging current for each.

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart

The Osmo Mobile
This is a stabilizer that is built for your smartphone.  Most of us use our phone to film videos as well as take picture and this allows for a smoother video.  It is sturdy and has a long lasting battery; one of the best you can buy.

Found at: Best Buy and Amazon

Lumos Sleep Mask 
This should be on everyone’s list that has trouble sleeping.  For those who suffer from sleep problems and jet lag it is a must! Definitely on my list of things to get for my trip to Australia in 2 ½ years! The Lumos Sleep Mask was supported by funding from NASA and Stanford and uses light flashes to adjust your circadian rhythms to your landing time zone.


Found at: LumosTech

The Vuzix Series of Smart Glasses  
This is really a wearable computer on your head.  It allows you to take pictures or videos, listen to music, talk on your phone, and a number of other things.  Although it is quite pricey, this is a nice addition to those who need their hands for other things!

Found at: Vuzix and Amazon

Jaybird Freedom 2 Sport Headphones
Great headphones that are super lightweight and tangle free, with enough juice to last a long flight.

Found at: Best Buy, Jaybird, and Amazon

The LARQ – self cleaning Bottle
This is a great water bottle for people who are on the go while traveling.  It uses UV light located in its cap, which automatically turns on every two hours and is rechargeable.

Found at: LARQ, Bloomingdales, and Kickstarter

iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini
IPads are very popular in schools for their compact size and sturdiness. This product goes with me when I travel abroad as well.  My iPad allows me to write, answer my emails as well as draw and paint while traveling.  IPads also provide a number of other features like their computer cousins, such as games, e-books, videos music and so much more.

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Apple​

TC1200 Flashlight 
This flashlight is twenty five times brighter than normal with a light that can both blind an attacker and shed light onto any work area or field.

Found at: Amazon and Walmart

Apps To Help You During Your Travels

The Spot X 
The Spot X is another two-way communication device which will allow one to stay in contact with another without a cell phone network.  This device is wonderful for trips or hikes off the grid to provide safety.  It even features an SOS button which will send your coordinates to the closest EM rescue units.

Found at: Spot, Amazon, Globestar, Target , Best Buy, and Cabela’s

This is an area that is close to my heart!  When I got my first job out of college, one of the first big purchase items was a Contex Camera with a Carl Zeiss lens.  It lasted me for thirty years, before I had to upgrade to digital.  I couldn't go anywhere on a trip without a good camera!

Xenvo iPhone Camera Lens Kit Pro
I love taking close-up shots of flowers and insects.  What better way to capture them when traveling but with the IPhone you have handy. I have missed so many amazing shots over the years because either my camera was too bulky or heavy to travel with me or it was inconvenient.  This item will allow you to take macro pictures with its macro attachment or capture a sunset with its wide angle lens to help.

Found at: Amazon and Walmart

Underwater Digital Camera 

I love mine!  I have a Nikon Cool Pix underwater and bought it several years ago.  I can take photos and videos, on land and underwater, zoom in on images and it is crash-proof, a big improvement over another I bought ten years ago!

Power Chargers, Adapters And Equipment

The Nima Peanut Sensor 
Many people have severe allergies to peanuts and travel can provide a big challenge for them.  But with this device, the traveler can test food for even trace amounts of peanuts

Found at: Best Buy, Amazon, and Nima

USB Hub
This device is similar to a power strip for the computer and provides the traveler with more than one way to access a host system.

Found at: Best Buy, Target, Office Depot, and Walmart

Ventev chargestand​ Wireless Chargestand 
Using Qi, the only powerless charging method and Fast Wireless Charging, this chargestand is compatable with most technological devices that are wireless, including Apple IPhones. The Ventev Chargestand also can be maneuvered into different angles and allow it to be stand or lie flat on a table.

Found at: Amazon, Ventev, and Solid Signal

Computers & Accessories

Kindle
This hand-held device made especially for reading books can be taken on a trip instead of a pile of books.  The latest Kindle Paperweight is only 6.7” by 4.6 inches and weighs less than half a pound.

Found at: Amazon and Best Buy


PhoneSoap
Traveling is messy and airplanes are flying petri dishes filled with germs.  One of the best things one can buy to protect your trip other than wiping off the surfaces you touch before you use them is to bring this UV sanitizer and phone charger that works for cleaning all phone sizes.  It also works on other items such as smart watches, credit cards, and keys.

Found at: Amazon

Basu Personal Alarm 
A personal alarm system to provide safety for those traveling.  It can be clipped to any item and is small, but very effective.  The siren can be activated by just pulling the pin.  This one item can be very comforting when traveling alone.

Found at:Amazon and Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Target


Tigress  
A wonderful addition to your safety arsenal for overseas travel.  It provides a 130 decibel blast to scare away unwanted intruders or would be muggers.

Found at: Amazon and Tigress

Today's traveler is very different and more savvy than the traveler of my youth.  We travel with all sorts of technology, and if you are like me, you usually use every single bit of it! During the past ten years the travel technology business has burst with the newest and latest Dick Tracey-like devices we nerds love to use.  My brother and his family, who is sure to be reading this, will be looking up these items for days to come.  My faves, by far, are the attachments for photography which can be added to a Smart Phone, the LifeStraw, and the Smart Suitcase.  But I am getting ahead of myself...  Please read the following on the latest and best electrical technology for travelers and then make a return visit next month to see what new gadgets are available for travel in 2019!

Griffin Travel Power Bank Backup Battery for Apple Watch 
Very important if you are using an Apple Watch.  Right now Apple watches need to be recharged every night, so this ultra-small and portable key chain allows for that.

Found at: Griffin, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy

Digital Passport
This is an e-Passport with an electronic chip.  This chip contains all of the data that is on a regular passport, as well as a biometric identifier and a photo of the passport holder.  All e-Passports issued by the VWP or Visa Waiver Program countries, including the U.S, and security features that protect the stored information.

Found at: Best Buy, Office Depot, Walmart, and Amazon

EMBER BLUE TOOTH TRAVEL MUG
A great product at any cost if you love hot coffee or tea.  Ember allows you to select your own temperature and keeps it at that temp while traveling on a bus or plane, or anywhere else.
 
Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Ember, and Apple

Universal Adapter
When you travel to another country you have no doubt noticed the different plugins and voltages.  This adapter will allow you to use your electronic devices anywhere you go as it has all of what you may need in one product.

Found at: Amazon and Walmart

MacBook Air
I have an MacBook Air and use it EVERY DAY.  I write my blog and manage it on it, write my poems and books on it and manage my pictures.  So, wouldn’t it follow that I should bring one with me on a trip?  The latest MacBook Air is lighter and can handle a whole host of tasks. Although mine is a 13 inch, the 11 inch is probably the best for the world traveler. 

Found at: Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, and Apple

Digital Luggage Scale with tape measure
This two in one travel device will allow the traveler to measure their suitcase or bag and weigh it too.  We never have to be surprised by weight or size of luggage again! 


Found at: Amazon and Walmart

Starscope Monocular – Telescope And Camera Zoom Lens
This one is definitely for me!  The Starscope Monocular turns a phone camera into a quality zoom lens comparable to brands such as Zeiss, Nikon Leica, and Sony, costing thousands of dollars more.

Found at: Starscope and Amazon