Friendly Planet Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Peggy’s perfect travel gear’

Travel gadgets to get you comfortable up in the air

If your travel plans this holiday season include a long, international flight, chances are it’s going to be crowded. In the U.S. alone, 43.6 million people are expected to use air travel this winter holiday period, up 3 percent over 2009. But crowded airplanes inevitably mean noisy passengers.

So how do you block out the noise around you to listen to your music and movies, or get some shut eye? In my search for the perfect travel gear, I found a few gadgets that will help cancel out the sound around you and get you comfortable in your seat.

Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones. I’m sure you’ve seen fellow travelers slide these headphones on in the airport and as soon as you can turn on your electronics in flight. They cover your ears completely and block out all sound around you.

They might look big and bulky, but are unexpectedly lightweight and comfortable. And I can’t forget to mention that the sound quality from Bose is superb. Crisp, clear sound will make you feel like you’re in a theater. You can try them on at any electronic store and you’ll quickly see why they’re so popular and worth the hefty price tag. Available online for $299.95.

Shure SE535 Sound Isolating Earphones. If you prefer earphones to headphone and your budget permits you a special splurge, these little ones will do the trick. They deliver spacious sound with rich bass while isolating the noise around you. Available in clear or metallic, these earphones also come with a detachable cable for easy replacement if the cables get damaged.

To get the noise isolation, the earbuds have to fit just right. But don’t worry, included are sound isolating sleeves in three different sizes to ensure a customized fit as well as a handy airline adapter that’s compatible with European airplane armrests. Available online for $582.93.

Dreamsacks Airline Comfort Sack. Now that you’ve gotten the noise taken care of, it’s time to get comfortable with a blanket, pillowcase, and eye shade. Unless you plan to fly business or first class, chances are you won’t see any of these items for free on your flight.

And you won’t have to waste precious carry-on space by bringing on these useful amenities, because everything in the Comfort Sack rolls into a 12 inch bag that is less than a pound to carry. Snuggle up in your seat with these accessories and you’ll be resting in no time.

The silk blanket is 43 inches by 72 inches with a 10-inch pocket to tuck your feet in to stay warm. The silk pillowcase is 15 inches by 20 inches, the same size as a typical airline pillow. And the silk eye shade blocks out the light. Available online for $59.00.

Any one of these three items will help make traveling a little more quiet and peaceful. Have any other suggestions that would make traveling smoother? Leave them in a comment on this post.

How you can win a SCOTTEVEST Travel Vest

When I kicked off my search for the perfect travel gear, my hope was to give away some of the products I’ve featured. Well today I’m going to tell you how to win one of the first products I wrote about: a SCOTTEVEST Travel Vest.

A few weeks ago I posted a podcast with Scott Jordan, the founder and CEO of SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing. His clothing line is one of the most ingenious products I’ve reviewed.

It’s stylish clothing that actually saves you from having to carry around purses and bags. Every garment SCOTTEVEST sells has tons of pockets where you can securely stow gear and gadgets.

Here’s what you have to do to enter to win a SCOTTEVEST Travel Vest: Answer these two questions in a comment on this post.

  • Which Friendly Planet Travel tour would be best suited for wearing the SCOTTEVEST Travel Vest on? 
  • How would using a SCOTTEVEST Travel Vest on that tour change your trip?

It’s that simple. Click on “Post a Comment” at the bottom of this post. A comment box will appear. Answer your two questions, include your name and e-mail address where we can contact you if you win, and hit “Publish Your Comment” when you’re finished.

Please be as detailed (and creative) as you can with your answers. The winner will be judged on how well the Travel Vest is put to use on a Friendly Planet tour. You can flip back to our podcast with Scott to find out more information on how SCOTTEVEST can help free your hands when you’re traveling.

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure you leave your name and an e-mail address where we can contact you if you win. You won’t be eligible to win without this information. One winner will be selected from the pool of applicants based on the best use of the Travel Vest on a Friendly Planet Travel tour. Deadline for comment submissions is Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. EST Friday, Nov. 19 at 11:59 p.m. EST. I’ll announce the winner shortly after on the blog.

Note: This contest is open to anyone except employees of Friendly Planet Travel, SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing, and any Friendly Planet Travel vendors.

Is the new Kindle the ultimate travel companion?

How do you like to pass the time on a long flight? I know some people like to watch movies, play Sudoku, sleep, or read. Melissa, the voice of the Friendly Planet Travel podcasts, likes to read a lot. She just took a trip from Philadelphia to Los Angeles last weekend and got to use her new Kindle 3G.

She knows that I’ve been searching for the perfect travel gear, and offered to write a guest post about her new favorite travel gadget. She thinks it’s the best invention since sliced bread. But read on to see what she says and see if you agree.


I wouldn’t call myself a nervous flyer, but I do like to stay distracted when I’m soaring 35,000 feet up in the air. The less I think about how far off the ground I am, the better. The best way to do this I’ve found is with a good book and some magazines.

I’ve been traveling a lot recently and realized how much space books (especially large, hardbacks) take up in my carry-on bag. Not to mention all the extra weight they can tack on.

I had been eying the new Kindle 3G since the day it came out, and thought it would be great gadget to eliminate carrying books on the plane. Luckily, someone was kind enough to get it for me as a gift just in time for my trip to California.

When I put the 8.7 ounce e-reader in the palm of my hand, I was instantly infatuated. It is so light! I’m able to hold it with one hand without that hand falling asleep. And the battery life is incredible. Turn off the WiFi and you can go a month without charging. I had two weeks to familiarize myself with it before my trip, so I started playing with my new travel gadget.

The 3G model gives you Internet access anywhere, anytime. So having access to the Amazon Kindle Store is a huge plus. You can download a preview of any book you want in the store. If you’re as indecisive as I, you’ll really appreciate this capability.

I perused the sections of the Kindle Store and downloaded a handful of books to preview to determine which book I wanted to read on the flight from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. I was also able to download previews from my home computer. You can look at books in the store from your own computer and send them to your Kindle. It’s pretty cool and very convenient.

I started reading my first book on my Kindle and was impressed that the display looks identical to a page in a book. Its contrast is set just right and it doesn’t hurt your eyes. It kept getting better from there.

You can move your cursor throughout the page to highlight text and make annotations. By far, my favorite feature is when the definition of a word appears at the top or bottom of the screen when you put the cursor in front of it.

After familiarizing myself with it for a few days, I chose the book I was going to read, “The Accidental Billionaires” by Ben Mezrich. “The Social Network” just came out, so I had to read the book that the movie was based on first. ;) I also decided to subscribe to Businessweek on the Kindle, which is about $10 cheaper annually than the print edition.

So on the morning of my flight, I packed my backpack with the necessities I needed on the plane. I was astonished at how much lighter it was without all the books. I knew I was going to fill that extra space with some souvenirs from Cali. So with my lighter backpack I headed for PHL.

After I found my seat on the plane, I woke my Kindle up from its sleep and started reading. Then I realized that when we were asked to turn off all of our portable electronic devices, that meant my Kindle too. The words “Uh oh” came out of my mouth. Take off is my least favorite part of the flight for me. The loud engines, ears popping, the movement of the plane, are all things I try to avoid experiencing.

This was definitely the one downside of using a  Kindle versus a book. But I quickly grabbed a SkyMall magazine and looked at the crazy gadgets in it until we were allowed to turn on our electronics. For the next few hours I nestled in my seat and just read.

My eyes didn’t get tired. My wrist didn’t hurt. I was able to hold the Kindle comfortably for hours. And I didn’t have to reach into my backpack to grab a magazine when I needed a break from my book. I simply clicked the Home button on my Kindle to get my Businessweek.

By the time we were asked to put our tray tables up and our seat in its up-right position, I was finished my book and watching a California sunset. When I looked at the battery life, it barely nudged during my flight. It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to carry my charger around with the Kindle.

If you like to read and read a lot, the Kindle is what you want when traveling. I know some people are hesitant to make the shift from books, but give it a try. You might end up loving it more than you thought. That’s exactly what happened with me.

And its new pricing makes it even more tempting. You can get a Kindle with WiFi starting at $139. Or if you want coverage all the time, the 3G model is just $50 more. If you’ve been using a Kindle for some time, or also just got a new one, I’d love to hear what you think about it. Leave a comment on this post and we can swap Kindle tips!

SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing takes the weight off your shoulders

Scott Jordan, CEO and founder of SCOTTEVEST 

I’m kicking off my search for the perfect travel gear today with an ingenious article of clothing — SCOTTEVEST. It lets women and men travel hands free. The SCOTTEVEST really caught my eye and my attention because I always carry a purse or a large tote bag when I travel.

The bag contains all my things for the flight, including my travel documents, netbook, iPhone, books, a change of underwear, cosmetics, and anything else I can’t live without for the duration of the trip abroad.

It all fits inside the tote, but that tote becomes pretty heavy once it’s loaded. And what a mess when I have to go through security! And with all that stuff inside the tote, imagine me trying to quickly put my hands on my iPhone when it rings. No way. It’s buried with all the other stuff. The phone usually stops ringing before I can get to it.

And men are in a similar boat. They use a backpack or other bag to hold their wallet, documents, smart phone, camera, etc. This extra bulk can weigh down your travel experience — literally.

SCOTTEVEST Travel Clothing is stylish clothing that actually saves you from having to carry around purses and bags, since every garment has tons of pockets where you can securely stow gear and gadgets. I know this might seem impossible, but when you see them for yourself, you’ll understand why these garments are so ingenious and helpful.

The SCOTTEVEST trademark vest has 22 pockets alone. It actually has special places for everything I carry in my tote bag, plus a pockets for a water bottle and a small camera. And guess what? The items don’t bulge out making you look (and feel) like a pack horse, and the vest is made from breathable, lightweight material making it quite comfortable to wear.

I have never promoted items on this blog, but honestly, it seems to me that SCOTTEVEST clothing has managed to solve a very common problem for travelers. I think Friendly Planet travelers would find them ideal for our tours.

For example, the vest is suited for travel in safari vehicles, which typically have little storage space even for a purse or hand luggage. Or, consider our island hopping tours, where frequently getting on and off boats makes having hands free to steady yourself virtually a must!

I loved the whole idea behind the clothes and was delighted when Scott Jordan, the founder and CEO of SCOTTEVEST agreed to be interviewed by Melissa, a Friendly Planet blogger, for a podcast.

During their interview, Melissa found out how Scott’s clothing aids travelers in getting through airport security faster, eliminates the need for a carry-on bag, what destinations it’s ideal for, and more. He also gave us a sneak peek at what they’ll be introducing for the holiday season. (Hint: It involves an article of clothing usually only seen by the wearer.)

SCOTTEVEST is also sponsoring the No Baggage Challenge with Rolf Potts. Rolf’s a travel writer who embarked on a six-week worldwide trip without using any luggage, just his SCOTTEVEST clothing. Scott’s been talking to Rolf frequently and Melissa got an update on how his challenge is going so far.

Scott also just talked travel. You’ll find out why he loves Israel and Morocco, and he makes his case as to why everyone should experience Burning Man once in their lifetime. What Scott didn’t know when he spoke to us is that our very own webmaster, Cameron Clark, has been to a number of Burning Man events. He can echo Scott’s endorsement of the adventure.

So turn up your speakers or pop in your ear buds, and listen to Melissa’s interview with Scott. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole conversation, I’ll be posting the transcript in a few days. But in the meantime, leave a comment on this post if you own a piece of clothing from SCOTTEVEST and tell me what you think about it.

Peggy’s perfect travel gear: The search is on!

We all take certain things with us when we travel. Whether it’s that tiny wallet, versatile handbag, or favorite jacket, they suit our needs well and make travel enjoyable.

But there might be some other accessories out there that could make your travels easier, safer, and more fun. So that’s why I’ve started a search party to find the perfect travel gear.

Our new blog series, “Peggy’s perfect travel gear” will tell you about the great items I find — from jackets, dresses, books, gadgets, music, and more — that will be beneficial to have on Friendly Planet Travel tours or traveling in general.

A member of the Friendly Planet team personally visits every Friendly Planet destination, follows the itineraries, and experiences all the great sites you see on our tours. So we consider ourselves pretty good judges of the types of accessories that are good to have when you travel. We’re kicking off the series this week, so keep your eyes peeled to the blog or bookmark our travel advice tag. And along the way I hope to have some more giveaways of the great travel gear I find!

About Peggy

Peggy Goldman is a specialty tour operator and travel expert, who owns and operates Friendly Planet Travel, a full-service company that specializes in tour packages to exotic worldwide destinations at affordable prices.   More about Peggy

Tour & Cruise Packages Our specialty for 30 years! Find one now:
choose a region Europe Mediterranean Asia Middle East Africa Central America Caribbean South America South Pacific
  • Follow Friendly Planet Share the love of travel
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Pinterest
McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams