Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip ~ Here’s What’s Great about Them

Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip

Updated:

Here’s the lowdown on the Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip.

Learn about the differences between these best-selling Fitbits so that you can buy one with features that are important to you and that will meet your needs.

Learn how these easy-to-use devices can help keep you motivated and why they are fun to use.

Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip
Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip

Why buy a Fitbit activity tracker?

If you are looking to get more fit or just to even be more aware of your fitness on a daily basis, personal activity trackers like Fitbits can really help.

They help you to determine where you are now with regards to fitness, help you set fitness goals, and measure your progress.

You can use a Fitbit for something as basic as just counting your steps and comparing your activity from day-to-day.

Or you can get more in-depth with it, and input your food intake, your water consumption, and other activities you have done, like swimming, etc.

We have found Fitbits to be less expensive on Amazon than on the Fitbit site.

Fitbit is easy to setup

Even for individuals who are not technically inclined, these are fairly simple to set up and use.

It is easy to set up any Fitbit device on your computer, tablet or smartphone.

If you travel often and want to be able to sync your steps, it may be better to register your Fitbit to your phone or tablet rather than a desktop computer.

It will still count your steps, and you will still know how you are doing on a daily basis, but you won’t be able to access all of your data.

My understanding is that you need to have a separate device for each Fitbit, meaning, two people are not able to sync their Fitbits to the same tablet.

We have four Fitbit users in our home (two with Fitbit Zip, one with Fitbit One, and one with Fitbit Flex) and we all need to register and sync them on different devices.

So consider which device you can use the most often and will be the most convenient before you register your Fitbit.

Once you decide where you want your Fitbit to sync on a daily basis (I use my iPhone) then Fitbit offers step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions.

I simply downloaded the free app on my phone and answered the questions: my email, weight, height, gender, and birth date.

It was straightforward, fast, and easy for even non-technical people (like me).

These days there are plenty of activity trackers to choose from.

We have taken two of the best selling ones and compared them in a Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip showdown.

Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip: Which is best?

Read on for a detailed look at the Fitbit Zip vs Fitbit One side by side, so you can answer the question, which is the best Fitbit for you?

What both of these Fitbit models have in common is that they are the clip-on type, not the one that goes around your wrist like a bracelet.

The second major consideration and an advantage to both of these types is that they run on a battery, which lasts longer than charging it every few days like for other Fitbit models.

Fitbit One

The Fitbit One is more robust than the Fitbit Zip and offers more functions. It is also almost double the price.

Depending on the features you are looking for, this may or may not be the better buy.

My husband owns this model and is very happy with it.

He doesn’t like wearing watches, necklaces, jewelry or really anything around his neck or wrists.

It feels very constraining to him.

He loves that he can clip the FitBit One on his pants or shorts pockets.

Otherwise he would never wear one.

Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip
Husband’s Fitbit One

This model has a battery that lasts between 10-14 days.

It takes up to two hours to fully recharge it.

If you charge it once per week, you will be set.

It comes with the charging cable as well as what you need to set it up and sync it.

Fitbit One which is better
Fitbit One clipped on pocket

The Fitbit One comes in black or burgundy.

The actual Fitbit device/tracker is black or burgundy as well as the case/clip to wear it and protect it.

When you buy the Fitbit One, it comes with both the device and the case/clip.

You can also buy a Fitbit One case in pink or orange.

We have read reviews that the clips break, however, after daily use for over six months, this has not happened to us.

If it does, you can easily get a replacement case for a nominal charge.

While you are waiting to get your new case, you can still use your Fitbit by simply putting the tracker itself in your pocket.

Fitbit One tracker measures:

  • Steps
  • Distance covered
  • Calories burned
  • Flights of stairs climbed
  • Sleep – how long you slept and how many times you were awakened; it comes with a sleep wristband so you don’t have to wear it on your waist
  • Number of active minutes (If you walked continuously for 30 minutes, it would show that you had 30 active minutes.)
  • Ability to enter your food and water consumption

Fitbit One offers:

  • See the time on the display
  • See your daily steps, calories burned and distance traveled on the display
  • Alarm clock
  • Integration with social accounts
  • Access to an online site
  • Water resistant

The Fitbit One weighs 8 grams; dimensions: length: 1.89”; width: .76”; thickness: .38”

It works with all of the major operating systems across both PC and mobile devices.

We looked at the reviews written across five big sites and on average the Fitbit Zip scored 4.2 out of 5.

We love ours and give it a 5/5 as it exceeds all of our needs and does an excellent job of counting steps.

Fitbit Zip
Fitbit Zip

Fitbit Zip

The Fitbit Zip does an excellent job counting steps which is what we wanted it to do.

Is offers less features than the Fitbit One but it can be half the price.

Again, depending on the features you are looking for, this may or may not be the better buy.

My two sons each own this model and are very happy with them.

This tracker runs on a battery, the flat coin type.

Typically, the battery lasts for 6 months of continuous use.

The fact that this comes with a battery that lasts for 6 months is a very positive advantage over other Fitbit models, like the Fitbit One where you have to charge it weekly.

It helps to buy an extra battery for the FitBit Zip (See them here) in advance so that you have it when the original wears out.

(There are other Fitbit models like the Fitbit Flex that you have to charge every couple of days.

This doesn’t sound like a big deal and it really isn’t except that once you start tracking your daily steps, it is disappointing if you forget to charge your Fitbit overnight and then have to charge your Fitbit during the day and not count your steps while it is charging.

Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip on colors:

If you opt for the Fitbit Zip, there are more choices for colors than offered for the Fitbit One.

You can buy it in black, lime, midnight blue or magenta.

The device/tracker is that color as is the case/clip to wear it and protect it.

The Fitbit Zip comes with both the device and case/clip, as well as what you need to register it and sync it.

The bright colors make it more appealing for children as well and will be easier to keep track of.

You don’t want to find it at the bottom of the washing machine!

But my kids each have the black ones and haven’t lost them yet.

Boy's Fitbit Zip
Son’s Fitbit Zip

Fitbit Zip tracker measures:

  • Steps
  • Distance covered
  • Calories burned
  • Ability to enter your food and water consumption

Fitbit Zip offers:

  • See the time on the display
  • See your daily steps, calories burned and distance traveled on the display
  • Social integration
  • Access to an online site
  • Water resistant

The Fitbit Zip weighs 8 grams; dimensions: length: 1.4″; width: 1.1″; thickness: .38″ It works with all of the major operating systems across both PC and mobile devices.

We looked at the reviews written across five big sites and on average the Fitbit Zip scored 3.8 out of 5.

For my sons and our purposes — counting steps and having Fitbit challenges with each other — we give it a 5/5.

It has definitely become so much more fun for them to be more active.

Main differences between Fitbit One vs Zip

Features: Fitbit One offers more features, including being able to track sleep and tracks the flights of stairs climbed each day.

Battery: Both have a battery but the Fitbit One offers a rechargeable one lasting 10-14 days.

The Fitbit Zip offers one that cannot be recharged and that needs to be replaced every six months.

This has been nice for my kids.

Price: The Fitbit One is almost twice the price of the Fitbit Zip.

Fitbit Zip great for kids

After my sons kept borrowing my Fitbit Flex, we decided to buy one for my son’s birthday.

He loved it.

My other son loved his brother’s Fitbit Zip so much that we offered to buy it for him as an early present but he chose to use his own money for it.

Read about my sons’ Fitbit for kids and why Fitbit Zip makes a great gift.

The Fitbit Zip is affordable enough that if it is lost, it will not be terrible.

Like when we broke the screen on the two month old iPad mini.

My boys own black Fitbit Zips and like that they can discreetly look at them in school without getting in trouble for being distracting.

Additionally, this is fun for them and gets them moving more.

It is an electronic in the true sense, but to be successful — i.e. get a lot of steps — they have to remove themselves from the electronics and get moving.

It has been very positive with increasing both of my boys’ activity levels on a daily basis, and they were quite active to begin with!

I must emphasis the point that owning the Fitbit Zip has been incredibly motivating for my sons.

My younger son especially, who we bought the Zip for his 8th birthday, has been particularly loving it.

When I pick him up from school, the first thing he does is tell me how many steps he got that day.

In the past, he would come home, sit on the couch with his snack and want to play games on the iPad.

Now, more often than not, he has a little snack and then goes to jump on our trampoline or shoots baskets just to get more steps.

Sometimes he even takes laps around the house — inside or outside — all in the quest to acquire more steps.

He is trying to do his own best, and while he enjoys doing better than the rest of us by having more steps than us, he is really happy to reach his own goal.

This has been a fun motivator for him.

My other son enjoys it too and always tries to reach his 10,000 steps and to get more steps than his parents.

Overall, owning our Fitbits have been a positive thing.

I seriously cannot think of anything negative about them.

More to like about Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip

Also with both of these models Fitbit will send congratulatory emails you when you reach certain milestone “badges” such as High Tops: 20,000 steps in one day; Urban Boot: 15,000 steps in a day; Sneakers: 10,000 Steps in a day; and more.

They also send congratulations for miles logged, including London Underground: 250 lifetime miles; Penguin March: 70 lifetime miles; and Marathon: 26 lifetime miles.

There will be more badges the more steps and miles you accumulate.

It is very motivating and rewarding.

Fitbit Zip versus Fitbit One both offer fun competitions

Another bonus is that from your tablet, computer, smartphone, etc., you can find family and friends who also own Fitbits and connect with them.

It is very motivating when you see how many steps everyone else is taking, and oftentimes you will find yourself marching in place or taking a walk around the block just to up your step count.

Fitbit 7 Day Steps

After your family and friends become your Fitbit friends, you can see everyone’s steps for the last seven days.

There is a way to opt out of this if you don’t want anyone to see your steps.

Fitbit Challenges

With your Fitbit friends, you can compete in fun challenges as well.

There are four challenges in total: Daily Showdown, where you see who can get the most steps in a day; Workweek Hustle, to see who can get the most steps Monday – Friday; Weekend Warrior to see who can get the most steps Saturday and Sunday; and Goal Day, where everyone tries to reach their own personal goal, usually 10K steps that day.

You can easily invite the Fitbit friends you want to compete with whenever you choose.

Or if someone invites you to one of the challenges, you can easily accept or choose to ignore it.

A side note: We take a lot of bike rides in my family so I like that these clip models track bike riding — each pedal counts as a step — whereas the Fitbits worn on the wrist, like the Fitbit Flex, are not able to track the pedaling though you can enter in the extra activity.

In general, you will find yourself wanting to increase your steps and will be more apt to walk rather than drive.

A side benefit is that you will be more environmentally friendly as well.

Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip ~ We love them both!

Both of these devices work great and serve the purpose of counting steps.

Both have got my family walking and moving around more than ever before.

I would buy both of them again and recommend them both.

I like that they both come with batteries, even though the Fitbit One has to be charged weekly.

They are both affordable and both would make great gifts.

The only downside with these Fitbit clip type models is that they can easily be forgotten when changing clothes and tossed in the washing machine.

That is the only downside!

You will enjoy seeing how many steps you log when you are travelling.

We take road trips a lot and enjoyed comparing steps on our recent trips to Milwaukee, Legoland Chicago, and Iowa with kids.

When we went to Legoland California, we were able to walk from Legoland to our hotel.

It was fun for us all to compare how many steps it took us given our different strides.

How to get healthier this year

Whatever Fitbit you choose, you will hopefully find yourself walking more and being more healthy in general.

Combine this with eating healthier — a NutriBullet is a great way to get more fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Drinking lots of water from a reusable water bottle or a fruit infused water bottle while you are out and about, and you will be off to a great start.

Know that when you consider the Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip that you will be making a great choice either way.

Checkout our article on Fitbit vs Jawbone and our Fitbit adventure on our trip to Nebraska and Wyoming.

Fitbit vs Jawbone ~ Which is Best for Your Needs?

There are now dozens of fitness trackers and trainers available.

Many firms have entered the market, and now there is a lot of competition.

Companies have to continually work to maintain their edge over their competition and continue to invent better products and features.

This is great for consumers because it means that there are many choices available.

Here we have taken the guesswork and done the research to help you determine the differences between Fitbit vs Jawbone.

In our series of fitness tracker comparison articles, like Fitbit One vs Fitbit Zip, we are working to cut through some of that noise and help you to make a decision faster.

Here we are going to compare the latest FitBit and Jawbone (See them here) offerings.

Fitbit vs Jawbone

Both of these firms offer cutting-edge technology products.

Fitbit has worked its way into the mainstream with their branding; however, both companies are big players in the fitness tracking market.

Both companies offer easy, step-by-step instructions, even for the novice tech person, to set up their accounts initially.

Once that is done, you simply have to sync your device and check your progress.

Sometimes you can do that right on the device, as with the Fitbit One and Fitbit Charge.

Sometimes you have to check it on the device you sync to, like your smartphone, as is the case if you own a FitBit Flex (See them here) which does not have a screen to view your steps, calories, distance travelled, etc.

Depending on the product you buy from either company, both Fitbit and Jawbone’s products offer long battery life in between charging them.

And the Fitbit Zip and Jawbone Upmove devices offer a one-time battery option that lasts 6 months and doesn’t need to be charged.

Both companies offer different sizes of wristbands so you can get the best fit.

Both Fitbit’s and Jawbone’s products offer the ability to wirelessly sync across a wide-range of platforms and devices.

Each company offers both wrist options as well as a clip model.

The Fitbit offers Fitbit One and Fitbit Zip.

Jawbone offers the Jawbone Upmove (See them here).

Fitbit products

Depending on what features you are looking for, there are many Fitbit products to choose from.

There is a wide range in price too, but we seem to find that Amazon has them consistently cheaper

  • Fitbit Ultra
  • Fitbit Flex
  • Fitbit Force
  • Fitbit Charge
  • Fitbit Charge HR
  • Fitbit Surge
  • Fitbit One
  • Fitbit Zip

The newer models have superseded some of the earlier ones, but the earlier models work well; they just may not have as many features.

Often, you won’t want those options anyway.

Additionally, these earlier models are often far cheaper than the newer ones, so they can be a good buy and are definitely worth considering, especially if you are not sure if you will stick to it.

Though we love our Fitbit fitness trackers so much and believe you will too!

Fitbit as a gift

Also consider if you are buying this as a gift or for someone who is new to technology and/or exercise or maybe as a gift for a child.

Read our review on Fitbit for Kids.

One of the less expensive models could be a perfect fit for them.

Jawbone products

Jawbone has fewer products available but what they do have offers similar functionality as the Fitbit.

Some of their fitness tracking products are:

  • UPmove
  • UP2
  • UP3
  • UP4

Fitbit vs Jawbone: which is best?

There is no way you can say that one company is better than the other.

They both make fantastic fitness trackers, which attract largely good customer reviews.

Each company takes a slightly different approach to how data is collected and presented, but neither has a reputation for providing more accurate information than the other.

With fitness trackers, which is best depends very much on what you are trying to achieve.

Some people only want to measure the number of steps taken.

Others want to use their fitness device as a virtual coach.

Still others want to monitor their general health as well as their activity levels.

That is why the latest model trackers include heartbeat monitors and sleep tracking.

To help you to narrow down the options we have broken down the rest of the article into a few popular user types then looked at both the Jawbone and Fitbit ranges to find the one that suits each user best.

Naturally, this is very much my opinion, so we try to explain the rationale behind my choice to give you as much information as possible.

General fitness monitoring

For this category, Fitbit Charge HR just has the edge over the Jawbone UP2.

The fact it comes in three different wrist sizes means that you can find one to fit.

Because the Fitbit Charge HR continuously monitors your heart rate, it is good at calculating how many calories you have actually burned.

Fitbit Charge HR monitors the following:

  • Sleep time and quality with a built in alarm
  • Heart rate during workouts and while resting
  • Steps

It also doubles as a watch and has a nifty caller ID feature.

This is very handy, especially when you are in a meeting or talking with someone.

You have the ability to casually glance at your wrist to see who is calling instead of obviously reaching for your cell phone.

Minimalist users

If you want a simple tracker, the Jawbone UP2 is a great option.

It is perfect for someone who is not a tech fan, for example, an elderly relative that wants to get fitter.

Jawbone UP2 does the following:

  • Monitors steps taken
  • Calculates calories burned
  • Tracks sleep with a built in smart alarm

It does everything automatically, including detecting when you are asleep.

There are no buttons to press and no screen just a simple system of three lights that alert you when you have completed your steps for the day.

Best small clip fitness tracker

If you want a discreet fitness tracker, the Fitbit One is a great option.

It is so small you can easily clip it to a bra; put it in your pocket; or clip it to your waistband.

Fitbit One monitors:

  • Distance
  • Steps
  • Calories
  • Time spent without activity
  • Best fitness coach features

Choosing Fitbit vs Jawbone

New fitness trackers are being released all of the time.

There is no doubt that fitness trackers will evolve and become even more invaluable to those wanting to monitor their fitness levels.

But the products that are available now, be it Fitbit or a Jawbone, are excellent.

You will increase your daily activity and burn more calories mostly because you will be more mindful of your activities, trying to set goals within your health and fitness range.

Maybe owning one of these products will inspire you to travel greener (Legoland California trip) by encouraging you to walk instead of drive.

While Fitbit vs Jawbone continue to come out with more products, whatever you buy now will be just fine for what you want, as it is already expert technology that you will find helpful, informative, and motivating.

Best Travel Pants for Men for Any Occasion

Best Travel Pants for Men

Updated:

We have searched the market and have come up with a list of the best travel pants for men who love to travel or just be comfortable in day-to-day activities.

Best Travel Pants for Men

Our favorite men’s travel pants:

What we look for as we rated the best men’s travel pants:

  • Lightweight
  • Wrinkle-free after unpacking
  • Crease-free after wearing them for hours
  • Functional with well-placed pockets
  • Comfortable for hiking or for traveling
  • Easy to clean — no dry cleaning needed
  • Appropriate to dress up or down, depending on the situation
  • May want pants with security pockets or with quick-dry fabric
Performance Flannel shirt
Performance Flannel shirt

Reviews of men’s travel pants

A good quality pair of men’s travel pants will serve you well.

Columbia Men’s Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

These are excellent, versatile, comfortable pants.

The Columbia Silver Ridge Convertible pair has a straight cut and there is a removable external belt, so you get a good fit.

The material is 100% nylon, so these trousers wear well and offer Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection.

They feature quick-wicking material as well.

If you want pockets there are plenty, these pants have six of them, but none of them are secured by zips.

These are great pants for warmer weather.

We were not sure whether we should include a set on the list because they do not really tick the box of being able to be worn to social occasions.

They are fine for a casual dinner or drink with friends, but you would not want to wear them to a more formal event.

That said there are many advantages to traveling with a pair of trousers you can convert into a pair of shorts.

Outdoor Research Men’s Ferrosi Pants

Outdoor Research Ferrosi traveler pants are primarily designed for hiking, so have an extra zippered pocket on the thigh.

It is well crafted, so the zip and opening lay flat, meaning that if you want to wear these trousers to dinner you can get away with it.

There are also two zipped pockets in the back.

On the darker versions, the zips blend in with the rest of the material.

However, some users have described the two front pockets as small.

These pants are stretch woven, so are very comfortable to wear and are a nylon/spandex mix, which means they are durable, crease resistant and easy to wash and dry.

We like that they are abrasion and wind-resistant and will remain crease-free.

Royal Robbins Men’s Global Traveler Pant

The Royal Robbins Global Traveler pants are made of 100% nylon.

That is good from a wear and tear point of view, but it is not always a good thing from a comfort point of view because there is no elastic element to the fabric.

However, these pants are well made and cut well, so they are actually comfortable to wear for travelling, sightseeing and walking, but you would not want to use them for an activity like rock climbing.

They are coated in Teflon so they stay clean in virtually any circumstance.

They are stain and water resistant.

The material is dot matrix printed, so does not look nylon.

It is much softer and the raised bumps created by this production technique ensure the slacks are comfortable and keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

We also love they are wrinkle-resistant and are made from quick-drying fabric for when you do laundry on your trip.

They even offer UPF 40+ sun protection.

There are five pockets. The pockets on the thigh and the right back are both zipped.

For additional security, there is a hook and loop closure system on one of the front pockets.

Columbia Sportswear Men’s Global Adventure Pant

Columbia Sportswear Global Adventure pants are very flexible.

They are made from 88% polyester and 12% Elastane and are woven so that they stretch four ways making them supremely comfortable to wear whether you are sitting or climbing.

As well as two front pockets, there is a secure zip pocket on the right thigh that is big enough for a passport.

These pants can be dressed up or down, so if you can only take one spare pair with you these would be ideal.

They are lightweight, fold up really small, and do not crease. Another bonus is that they are wind resistant.

The finish is water resistant and rain just beads and rolls off.

What makes them one of the best travel pants for men is that they also feature UPF 50 sun protection.

The styling is neutral and apart from the small-embroidered logo at the waist, they could easily pass as dress pants.

Here’s our other top men’s travel pants that we have tested and love based on overall best pants, best men’s zip off pants; best men’s cargo pants.

Best Men’s Zip Off Travel Pants:

Best Men’s Cargo Travel Pants

  • ExOfficio Nio Amphi Convertible Pant
  • Quiksilver Men’s Traveler L Cargo Pants
Best Travel Pants for Men
Best Travel Pants for Men

Buying travel pants can be tricky, but there are plenty of choices for the best travel pants for men.

Manufacturers continue to fine-tune their products, offering wrinkle-free, water-resistant, and sun protection.

It is worth buying the best travel pants for men as they are versatile and comfortable and still look good.

Travel Accessories for men

Be sure to check out the rest of our Travel Clothing Series:

Travel Socks and Travel Underwear: Best for Men and Women
Travel Jackets: Rain Jackets, Fleece Jackets, Lightweight Jackets and More
What is Eco Fashion?

What are travel pants?

There are some key things to consider when choosing men’s travel pants.

You should be able to fold them and have them come out of the suitcase or backpack without wrinkles.

They should also remain crease-free after spending hours sitting on a coach, train or airplane.

They also need to be functional, i.e. have enough pockets; be comfortable to wear while sitting for long periods or hiking for long periods; and be easy to clean.

If possible, they need to be smart enough to wear for social occasions as well as for activities like hiking and sightseeing.

If you are looking for men’s travel pants (or Best Travel Hair Dryers You Can Use Everyday) these are all great-quality men’s pants to consider.

Traveler’s Dilemma Choosing Convenience Over Sustainable Products

green traveler's dilemma

Updated:

Green Traveler’s Dilemma Choosing Convenience Over Sustainable Products – This weekend I stopped by REI to look for some hiking boots or trail running shoes.

Ideally, I want a shoe that is durable, supportive, breathable, extremely comfortable, and waterproof. Definitely waterproof.

I have put off hiking on damp and rainy days because I have not yet purchased what I feel is an essential item.

But choosing Gore-Tex means I will not be.
green traveler's dilemma

Choose convenience or Sustainable Products?

In my search for waterproof travel shoes I discovered that the seemingly only available option is Gore-Tex.

I admit that I didn’t know much about Gore-Tex until recently and even what I did know was limited to “it’s bad for the environment.”

After doing a little more research I’ve learned that Gore-Tex is essentially the same material as Teflon®, a perfluorochemical, PFC.

If you don’t know much about Teflon you should know this:

Cooking with Teflon pans can kill birds and it’s chemical compounds have been found even in polar bears in the Arctic.

The never-ending green traveler’s dilemma

If you want to know more about Gore-Tex I’ve listed some additional resources below.

But the key thing is this: the chemicals in Gore-Tex are bad for my personal health and they are bad for the environment.

But, wouldn’t it be nice to have breathable, waterproof shoes?

Concerns with your green values

I want to buy “made in America” products. I really do.

The problem is, I often can’t find them.

Sometimes when I do find them, I can’t really justify affording them.

It is an ongoing situation… especially when my children were younger and were growing out of their clothes quickly.

If I buy second-hand, not-made-in-America, is that better than buying local products new?

We are all doing the best we can, and even by being mindful of our choices we are already ahead of most.

So, I’m stuck with this green traveler’s dilemma:

Will choosing Gore-Tex hiking boots/shoes that will be convenient and practical for me (short term) or do I find something else that will, in the end, be better for my health and the environment (long term)?

Consequences of Global Warming

Green Travel Gear Products on the Market

With so many new Green Travel Gear products on the market, it’s hard to know what to trust.

Here’s a collection of our favorite, tried and true, environmentally-friendly travel gear.

To buy it for yourself, or read more on Amazon, click the image or the title.

Green Travel Gear

Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle

How it’s green: Klean Kanteens are BPA (bisphenol A)-free and made of stainless steel, so they last longer than plastic bottles.

Plus, they eliminate the need for wasteful bottled water.

See our Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Water Bottle Review here.

Mountainsmith Recycled Eco-Friendly Backpacks (for Men and Women)

How it’s green: Mountainsmith’s recycled backpacks are made from recycled plastic bottles.

There are many styles to choose from for women, men, and youth, so every traveler should be able to find one suited to her needs.

Still on the fence?

Read our review of the Mountainsmith Lily recycled backpack and our review of the Ivy by Mountainsmith recycled backpack
Travel Gear Wrap-N-Mat
How it’s green: The Wrap-N-Mat is a great alternative to disposable plastic baggies, plus it’s small and light, so you can take it anywhere.

Wrap-N-Mat
Microfiber Towel
How it’s green: Microfiber towels take up far less space than normal towels, so you can pack light.

And the lighter you pack, the less of an environmental impact your luggage will have.

Best Microfiber Travel Towel
Women's Ex Officio
How it’s green: With quick-dry underwear, you only need to pack a few pairs, even for long trips.

You can wash them in the sink or at your campsite, let them dry overnight, and wear them the next day.

Ex Officio Quick-Dry Underwear
Diva Cup
How it’s green: Say goodbye to tampons and pads.

The Diva Cup is the perfect solution for every (female) green traveler.

It’s made of silicone and it’s easy to clean and store.

Diva Cup

Note: We only recommend products we’ve tried out and liked.

We do link through affiliate links when they are available.

We are not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites, or other topics.

We will only recommend products or services that we believe, based on our experience, are worthy of endorsement.

Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.

Resources about Gore-Tex:

Minnesota Department of Health on PFCs

Amazon Green – Green Travel Products

Don’t you just feel better when you buy green products?

We know it is good to shop local.

It boosts the economy where you live and wherever you are.

You are able to keep the tax dollars where you live or where you are visiting.

Sadly, many “mom and pop” shops haven’t been able to compete with the big box retailers, and even after generations, have had to close.

This has oftentimes resulted in less choices for the consumer.

In the meantime, Amazon has launched Amazon Green.

As a consumer who likes to shop and buy green products, this could be a good thing.

On their site, Amazon displays products users tag as eco-friendly.

But is it a good way to find green travel products?

To be a really green consumer, aren’t we supposed to be walking to our nearby, non-chain, locally owned, independent store and doing more to support the local businesses in our communities?

When it was first launched, in 2008, Amazon Green was a little tricky to navigate.

And because the system is based on tags, if you search for green travel products you come up with items like:

I do love products such as the Mr. Bento Lunch Jar because it is durable, reusable and earth-friendly.

And best of all for me besides being reusable is that it isn’t made from plastic but from safe, food-grade stainless steel.

The second item that appeared were the Planet Earth DVDs.

They are pretty cool but to be even more earth-friendly, I’d rather check them out from the library or see if they are available to watch on Netflix or even through Amazon for that matter.

I don’t actually need to own them.

And we’ve already had the debate about whether the Kindle is a good green travel device as an alternative to books.

I wouldn’t bring any of these with me on a round-the-world trip, though possibly for the Mr. Bento jar as I do like the idea of the lunch jar for on-the-go trips, day-to-day for packing lunches, etc.

So while it I wouldn’t use it for traditional travel in the implied sense of the word, I could imagine using it outside the home when someone would be more apt to make a less greener choice.

Therefore, it would still count as being a product great for travel.

Amazon Green also has a Green 3 list where users choose 3 green products they think everyone should have.

And you can find a debate about whether shipping products is green in the Amazon Green 3 Forum.

Overall, I think Amazon Green is a good idea.

And the products it shows for green travel are generally cool, but they’re not necessarily the things I would pack for a trip.

If users start to tag more products as “travel,” Amazon Green could be a great tool for eco-conscious travelers.

Right now, at its inception, it’s not as great for green traveling as I was hoping.

But it’s still fun to browse.

Sometimes “green” items are far from green, be it how they are made, where they are made, or what they are made from.

Do your research, and you will benefit greatly.

Green Stocking Stuffers for Environmentalists

We’re building on our list of stocking stuffers for travelers today with these green stocking stuffers for environmentalists on your gift list.

You can feel great about giving theses sustainable gifts from eco-friendly companies, all sized to fit in a stocking.

Clever Travel Companion tank top

One of the easiest ways to be green is to use one item for more than one purpose.

Travelers can get double duty out of their tank tops and even underwear by using Clever Travel Companion clothing.

These high-quality cotton tees, tanks, and boy-short or boxer-style underwear include hidden zippered pockets to store documents, cash, and valuables while traveling.

So much more convenient and comfortable than a traditional money belt, these Clever Travel Companion tanks are easy to stuff into anyone’s stocking.

Mountain Khakis Organic Tees

I love the soft feel of Mountain Khakis’ organic cotton, and their tees are both eco-friendly and fun, celebrating the best of nature.

These tees appeal to men and women, and are easy to roll up and stuff into a holiday stocking.

For a more spendy option for men, pick up Mountain Khakis’ polo shirt made from recycled coffee grounds his is one of my favorite stocking stuffers for environmentalists.

Bamboo Sleep Sack

Made of viscose from bamboo, a sustainable and renewable resource and weighing only 16 oz, this sleep sack is easy to pack in its own stuff sack and will save countless hotel bed linen washings.

Just slide into this soft sleep sack and check ‘no thanks’ on hotel linen washings.

It’s a bit spendy for a stocking stuffer, but it has a lot of uses.

It’s also great for hostel and cabin stays, when the linens provided may be less than ideal.

USB Cell rechargeable battery

Get a two-pack of these USB-powered rechargeable, and they’ll last for 500 charge cycles.

No more disposable alkaline batteries!

The rechargeable function just like regular AA batteries, but when empty, travelers can pop their top to expose a USB connector that charges the batteries with their laptop.

i-Ecko Eco-Friendly Speakers

Made from recycled cardboard, these 3.25-inch cubes let you blast music sans batteries by siphoning power from MP3 players themselves.

They fold flat for travel, and can be used again and again. We think they’re perfect for playing a movie in the back seat.

These speakers will make great stocking stuffers for environmentalists who are also music lovers.

Light my Fire Sporks

We love Light my Fire sporks!

Everyone in our family has his or her own (in different colors so we can tell them apart) and we bring them on camping trips and backpacking treks, as well as road trips.

We use them in place of plastic, disposable silverware in fast food restaurants, and in hotel rooms for in-room dining.

Bed Buddy Neck Pillow

This neck pillow is great for relieving tension year-round.

Just stick it in the microwave to heat it up and wrap it around your shoulders and neck.

It’s made of natural materials and has lavender and chamomile for aromatherapy.

Any environmentalist is sure to love this relaxing gift.

Nothing Nasty lip balm

This lip balm by Nothing Nasty is made of all natural, organic ingredients is good for the environment and good for your lips.

And it’s easy to add to a holiday stocking!

I love the honey and vanilla flavor.

Nothing Nasty also has a full line of baby and toddler products for your little one’s stocking.

What will you be gifting as green stocking stuffers for environmentalists this holiday season?

Share your stocking stuffer ideas in the comments!

Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers Concerned About Environment

Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers – Whether you’re a traveler looking for ideas for your Christmas wish list or a shopper in search of holiday gift ideas for your favorite traveler, you’ve come to the right place.

From luggage and clothing to gadgets and water bottles, this list of the best Christmas gifts for travelers is full of excellent picks.

We even have ideas for kids who like to travel.

Read on and get your holiday shopping finished early!

Small Travel Backpack

I’m an advocate of packing light and a good backpack can make that easy.

I traveled in Argentina for 6 months with only a small travel backpack and an even smaller school backpack.

Opt for a front-loading backpack because top-loading ones make organization difficult.

Look for a backpack that’s comfortable, compact, attractive, and has lots of pockets.

Our pick: Osprey Farpoint 40 .

(Read our Osprey Farpoint 40 review.)

small-travel-backpack-osprey-farpoint-40 Best Christmas Gifts for Travelers

Lightweight, Rolling Carry-On Suitcase

A well-made carry-on suitcase is a gift that can last decades.

Opt for a lightweight suitcase that will make travel a breeze, so the recipient won’t have to worry as much about going over the airlines’ allowed weight.

With airlines charging steeper fees for luggage, every ounce counts.

Our pick: Atlantic Ultra Lite 22” Carry-On.

Read our lightweight luggage review for more ideas.

Pack-It Bag

A pack-it bag is a great way to stay organized while you travel.

Plus, it minimizes wrinkles, making it perfect for the business traveler.

The Eagle Creek Pack-It holds between 8-12 shirts or pants and fits into most carry-ons.

Our pick: Eagle Creek Pack-It Folder.

I’ve never owned a bag this size or of this type before and love it.

Tablet

I always thought tablets were unnecessary if you already had a laptop and a smart phone.

But after I won a Google Nexus, I have to admit it’s life changing.

It’s far easier to quickly look something up online on the tablet than it is on a phone or computer.

Plus, it’s portable.

Bringing it on the plane or train is much less cumbersome than a laptop.

I’ve really enjoyed watching movies, drafting documents, or reading on it.

Our picks: Google Nexus or Apple iPad.

eReader

While tablets are great, for the truly avid reader, eReaders are just a bit better.

The batteries last longer and they don’t put quite so much strain on your eyes.

Plus, when you’re traveling a lot they are much lighter and easier to carry.

Our pick: Kindle Fire.

Noise Canceling Headphones

As the folks now with the fussy baby on the plane, I’m a bit more sympathetic when it comes to other crying children.

But, air travel is stressful enough and there’s really no comparison between a flight with noise canceling headphones and one with out.

You can read our full post on noise canceling headphones here.

Or just buy Our pick: Bose Quiet-Comfort.
How do I get Internet While Traveling?

DSLR Camera

While the iPhone may take great pictures, there’s no substitute for a DSLR camera.

If you have an aspiring photographer, avid traveler, or wildlife enthusiast in your life buy him or her a DSLR.

Our resident photography expert, Katie, detailed a full explanation about the best digital DSLR cameras for budget travelers here.

Our pick: DSLR Camera

Dry Case for Cell Phone

This makes an excellent stocking stuffer and chances are, the recipient doesn’t already own this.

Travelers who love their gadgets and the beach are the perfect recipients of a cell phone wet bag.

These bags keep phones dry while still allowing you to use them.

They are recommended by active kayakers to poolside loungers as a great way to keep phones from getting wet.

Our pick: Dry Pack Cell Phone Case.

Gift card for ebooks

If your traveler already has enough stuff to carry around, buy him or her an Amazon gift card to buy ebooks or music and just about anything he or she could possibly want.

Travel Jacket or Fleece

A travel jacket isn’t just for keeping you warm.

A good travel jacket makes getting through security a breeze.

It can dress up an outfit or serve as a pillow on a long plane ride.

This year, we’ve discovered Scottevest jackets and I love them.

They’re stylish, versatile, and have tons of pockets.

Our picks: Scottevest Chloe Fleece Hoodie or Scottevest Molly Jacket.

Read our Chloe hoodie review and our Molly jacket review.

best-travel-fleece-scottievest-chloe-hoodie

Travel Jackets Rain Jackets, Fleece Jackets, Lightweight Jackets

Pair of Hiking / Travel Sandals

A high-quality pair of sandals is great for walking, hiking, and travel.

I love my Chaco Unaweep sandals and wear them all summer.

The model I have is a bit bulkier than the alternatives, but I like that because it makes the sandals so comfortable and supportive.

When you’re picking out a pair of travel sandals, make sure they’re comfortable to wear for long periods of time, high quality, adjustable, and versatile.

Our pick: Chaco Unaweep sandals.

(Read our Chaco Women’s Unaweep review.)

Vegan Shoes for Travel

Pair of Vegan Walking Shoes

What’s the most practical item you can buy a traveler?

A pair of excellent walking shoes.

Vegan shoes (not made out of leather) are a must for sustainable travelers and there’s a short list of vegan walking shoes here.

Our pick: Jambu Barefoot ($99).

Simple Satire ecoSNEAKS

recyclable flip flops review of made in America sandals

Carry-on Luggage

Besides the practicality of have your child have his own luggage, kids carry on luggage makes a great gift because it helps kids anticipate and get excited for an upcoming vacation.

Encourage your child to pack her own bag in the weeks leading up to a trip and see what they decide to include or exclude.

And for kids who aren’t quite old enough to know what to pack, they’ll have fun either climbing in the suitcase (as our child does) or just carrying it around the house with them.

See Amy’s choices for the best suitcases for kids.

Our pick: Eagle Creek

Eagle Creek Flip Switch

Water Bottle

Kids need to stay hydrated just like adults.

Travel water bottles for children come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and for babies my son likes this Pura Kiki Stainless bottle.

Either use a water bottle as a stocking stuffer or for extra fun use the bottle to hide another holiday present in.

Our pick: Camelbak Kids.

iPad, iPhone or iPod

What makes an iPad an indispensable travel tool?

Its ability to be all things to all kids (and parents!): on one device, you can download movies to watch in the backseat, play music, listen to audio books as a family, play games, and read books.

You can also map your route, check for nearby restaurants and parks, do some light work from the road.

If multiple iPads are not in your budget, consider purchasing an iPod Touch.

Essentially, it can do everything an iPad can do, albeit on a smaller screen.

Our pick: Apple iPad

Portable DVD player

If you don’t have an iPad, or have very young children who like to watch the same movies from your DVD collection over and over, a portable DVD player for travel is essential.

They’re cheap to buy, sturdy, and easy for kids to operate.

Our pick: Philips 7″ Portable LCD Dual DVD Playerportable-dvd-player-for-travel

Handheld Video Game Device

Young kids have an easier time navigating and manipulating a handheld gaming device than an iPod, and games tend to have more value.

We travel with a used Nintendo DS for our seven-year-old; the battery lasts a long time, it can take a beating, and leaving it in a hotel room won’t set us back too far.

Our pick: Nintendo 3DS
Platypus plusBottle

Collapsible Water Bottle

Collapsible water bottles are the newest trend and Amy put together this top guide to collapsible water bottles.

These are great for travelers because of their size and portability and the fact that they easily attach to backpacks, day-packs and camera bags.

Our pick: The Platypus.

Glass Water Bottle

We wrote about glass water bottles for the first time over two years ago.

They’ve only become more popular since.

While not the best item for the frequent traveler as they are slightly heavy, they are perfect for use at home, in the car, or at work.

I’ve been using one nearly every day for the past few months and can’t say enough about how much I love it.

It’s sturdy and the water tastes amazing.

We love Eco Vessel and Zulu.

Our pick: Eco Vessel Surf made from recycled glass.

Best Gifts for Travelers ~ Gift Ideas for Green Travelers

Whether you’re buying a present for a green traveler or want to buy something for yourself, there’s no shortage of options available today.

As more and more people become conscious of the environment, companies and manufacturers are taking steps to make sure that these customer needs are met.

If you can’t make up your mind on what to buy or where to start, this guide to the best gifts for travelers will get you on the right track.

Best Travel Gadgets for Kids on the Go

A mug will come in handy for those quick camping outs and hiking trips, as it gives the traveler a reusable container for water or coffee.

Because it’s stainless steel a traveler can reuse it again and again, eliminating the need for paper or plastic cups.

While these mugs are often used for short trips, they’ll also come in handy for school or office.

With a stainless steel mug, they can pack up more quickly and get going.

Best Gifts for Travelers Water Bottles

There are few things an eco-friendly traveler needs more than a water bottle.

Different types of water bottles are available, but regardless what you buy make sure that it’s BPA free and it’s stainless steel as it will make the bottle last longer.

There’s a lot to be said about stainless steel water bottles, but their biggest benefit is they’re versatile enough to be used at home or on the road.

Since water bottles are so cheap, you can buy several of these.

Nothing beats a nice pair of eco-friendly shoes, and there are plenty of these available today.

Just go online and you’re going to find an array of green footwear made from recycled materials and using environment friendly processes.

Note that some of these shoes are for casual wear, so if you expect your recipient to wear it while traveling, get a pair of heavy duty travel shoes that can withstand rugged terrain.

This isn’t as hard as you might think as green footwear has become more commonplace.

No traveler will be complete without a travel book, it’s a fact.

Yes there are travel apps available, but what if he / she goes somewhere where there is no reliable Internet connection?

With a good travel book, a traveler will never be lost.

A good travel book will provide information about the country as well as photos, so it’s going to be an invaluable aid.

If your friend likes to travel to foreign countries, consider getting him / her a dictionary or a book with commonly used phrases and expressions, and it will also help if you get them an etiquette book, very handy to prevent misunderstandings and culture shock.

Ask any frequent traveler and he / she will tell you that a compost bin is a must-have, so why not give one as a gift?

They’re very practical, portable and eliminate the odor that would otherwise emanate from the thrash.

Many are sold in 1 gallon sizes although other options are available, and if you’re going to buy one, look for those with a charcoal liner as that helps eliminate odors.

A green traveler will appreciate this because it means they don’t have to rely on whatever the hotel is providing them.

And if they’re staying in simple lodgings chances are they’re not going to get any towels at all.

Towels for home use are large, warm and soft but usually not fit for travel, so it is better if you buy one that’s made of microfiber because it dries quickly, can absorb a lot of water and folds tightly and easily.

A molcajete (mortar and pestle) may not seem like a necessity, but if the traveler enjoys cooking then this will be something they’ll appreciate.

If you’re not familiar with it, a molcajete is the Mexican version of the pestle and mortar, and it’s especially useful for grinding and crushing herbs, spices and foods.

For hikers and campers who like to prepare their own food, this will be indispensable.

Anyone who travels frequently will need a backpack, but for eco-friendly travelers the recycled ones are going to be most appreciated.

Don’t let the term recycle mislead you, because these are as comfortable and dependable as any other backpack.

from the green factor, there are a lot of other factors to consider when buying a backpack, such as the size, capacity, and type and so on.

This all depends on what type of traveler your gift recipient is, so take that into consideration.

However, buying won’t be as difficult as it used to be since there are a lot of options available sold today.

Does your friend have a sweet tooth?

Then a gelato maker will be most welcome.

This might not seem to have anything to do with being green, but it does actually: having their own gelato maker means they won’t to deal with the urge to buy candies and consequently, not worry about where to throw away the wrappers.

Is there a better way to capture the beauty of nature than with a digital camera?

There are a lot of gadgets you can buy, but no question, a camera is what the green traveler will appreciate the most as it allows them to capture the most amazing moments of their trips.

Digital cameras are no longer as expensive as they used to be so finding one won’t be too difficult.

It’s true that smartphones and tablets have a built-in camera, but the quality a real camera provides is superior.

If your friend is picky about pictures, then only a “real” camera will do.

So there you have it, the best gifts for travelers, and whether your recipient has been traveling for a long time or just new to it, there’s no question that they will be grateful and will benefit from any of these gifts.

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10 Christmas Gift Ideas for the Traveler

Whether you’re a traveler making your own Christmas gift ideas list or a you’re shopping for a present for someone else who loves to travel, we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top 10 Christmas gift ideas for the traveler who’s not currently traveling.

Christmas gift ideas

Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug

It’s not something you’d bring with you on a long trip, but the Contigo stainless steel travel mug is great to throw in your bag to transport your coffee to work or school.

Read our review

Stainless Steel Water Bottle

If you read our blog regularly, you know how much we love our stainless steel, BPA-free water bottles.

They’re great to use while traveling or at home.

Our favorite is the Klean Kanteen, but check out our Stainless Steel Water Bottle Smackdown to see how others stack up.

Simple ecoSNEAKS

As I mentioned in my ecoSNEAKS Satire review, I love these recycled shoes, but they’re not ideal travel shoes.

They are fun for every day wear, though, and Simple’s ecoSNEAKS would make a great gift.

Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book

I love this book. With its amazing pictures of every country in the world, The Travel Book will make any lifelong travel want to hit the road again.

Kitchen Compost Bin

Any green traveler who’s on a temporary break will appreciate an under-the-sink Kitchen compost bin.

They reduce waste and it means you have to take out the trash less often.

And no, they don’t smell.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love is a fantastic book for anyone who loves to travel and misses the life-changing experiences that come with living in new countries.

Molcajete (Mortar and Pestle)

For the traveler who likes to cook, a molcajete is an excellent gift.

The guacamole you can make with a molcajete is amazing.

Mountainsmith Recycled Backpack

Do you know a traveler who’s about to take off on a long trip?

Get him or her one of Mountainsmith’s recycled backpacks and he/she will be forever grateful.

Not only are these backpacks recycled, they’re comfortable and attractive.

Check out our reviews of the Lily recycled backpack and Ivy recycled backpack.

Gelato Maker

Does anyone really need a gelato maker?

Technically, no, but having one is life changing.

Especially if you’ve experienced authentic Italian or Argentinian gelato.

This machine will make you want to go back.

Nikon Digital SLR Camera

Whether you’re on the road or at home, the Nikon is an amazing camera.

When you are not traveling, practice taking photos to hone your skills so you can better capture your travels.

Want More Green Gift Ideas?

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Oftentimes a great gift is something you love yourself.

Would it be appropriate for the traveler in your life too?

Hopefully you can add some of these gift ideas to your list of great Christmas gift ideas, especially in an age and time when so many people have everything already.

Best Holiday Gifts for Travelers – Top Picks

It’s the holiday season, which means it’s time to buy some gifts for the favorite traveler on your list.

Here are our top picks for Best Holiday Gifts for Travelers.

Our latest holiday gift guide has many gifts that are made in America, our favorite type of gift.

We all know someone who has too much, and it’s often hard to think of the perfect gift. Here are our top picks.

Touch Digital Camera

The Olympus Tough Digital Camera is waterproof, shockproof, and freezeproof – what more could a traveler ask for?

Universal Power Adapter

There’s nothing like arriving in a new country, trying to plug in your laptop, and realizing you brought the wrong travel adapter with you.

The Universal Power Adapter gives you an all-in one option for less than $10.

xShot Camera Extender

Perhaps one of the coolest gadgets I got to try out this year was a pocket xShot.

It’s pretty much an extendable arm or handheld tripod so you can take better shots when there’s no one around to ask for assistance.

A highly recommended stocking stuffer that someone will actually appreciate and use, unlike other bric-a-brac that often goes inside stockings.

Reusable Water Bottle

There are excellent stainless steel water bottles, glass water bottles, and fruit infused water bottles.

There are even water bottles with water filters in them now.

For an outdoor enthusiast, a reusable water bottle would be a welcome gift.

Any Food Related Gift

We love kitchen gadgets that bring home the taste of travel.

Be it a guacamole making molcajete or a tagine, here are our favorite gadgets, from gelato makers to pasta makers that bring home the tastes from far away lands.

While we are on the subject of food, we really, really love food as gifts.

Fill a basket with some gourmet pasta and sauce. Bring a box of endangered species chocolate.

Bring some desserts from a sustainable restaurant, bread from a nearby bakery, or beer from a local craft brewery.

It’s wonderful when you know a gift will actually be used/eaten and won’t take up any space in the receiver’s home.

Any Technology Gadget

We really like the idea of portable travel chargers and solar chargers too.

Check our guide to the best technology gifts and gadgets for travelers for gifts for the travel techie in your life.

Travel Journal

We always love the Moleskine line of products.

There’s nothing like the feeling of pen to paper.

One can never have too many blank pages to fill with all their memories.

Here are some more travel journals.

TuGo Cup Holder

What an awesome invention, as when you’re rushing through the airport, you never have enough hands.

The TuGo Cup holder attaches to your bag and allows you to keep moving with your favorite beverage until you reach the waiting area.

Travel Gift Cards

There are websites in which you can buy gift cards for your favorite airline or hotel.

They have gift cards saving you from 4% to 17% for places including Disney, Southwest, American Airlines,  US Airways, Jet Blue, Mariott, Hyatt, Four Seasons, and more.

For a traveler who is spending from $100 to $2000 at one of these places, the savings for such a card can be up to $350!

We’ve previously written about how you can essentially get a 10% off coupon for American Airlines by buying gift cards at a discount.

Awesome Best Holiday Gifts for Travelers Ideas

If you’re curious about previous year favorites, check out these posts:

Happy holidays, and enjoy shopping for these best holiday gifts for travelers.

There’s sure to be the perfect gift idea for everyone on your list.

Stocking Stuffers for Travelers

Stocking Stuffers for Travelers – The holiday shopping season is upon us!

If you have travelers on your gift list this year, surprise them with one of these 10 awesome stocking stuffers for travelers.

Not only do all of these Christmas stocking stuffer ideas meet the needs of all types of travelers, they’re also budget-friendly.

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Darn Tough Vermont Winter Socks

I love Darn Tough Vermont Merino Wool or Coolmax socks for winter travel.

Whether I’m doing some serious trekking in the snow, skiing, or city touring in the rain, Darn Tough has styles and patterns that keep my feet warm and dry.

Plus, they’re fun and colorful.

Knock Knock Travel Log

If you’re not familiar with the Knock Knock Stuff company, you need to be!

These creative people sell everything from car Bingo cards to packing lists, and every type of list, post-it, or stationery in-between.

Most of their items and shoppers can find a wide selection on Amazon.

Grand Trunk Blackout Hooded Neck Pillow I bring my hooded blackout pillow on planes, in cars, and while camping.

Not only does the memory foam neck pillow make it easy to get comfortable on the road, but the attached hood grants me darkness when I need it.

Grand Trunk is an eco-company I trust.

Most would appreciate this pillow in their stocking.

Safety-Tat Child Safety Stickers

These easy-to-apply temporary tattoos adhere to kids’ skin and list safety information like a cell phone number or allergy information.

Perfect for use in crowded travel situations like theme parks, Safety-Tat appeals to kids and adults.

Pick them up on Amazon for a great price.

You’ve seen these oddly shaped Frisbee sailing around!

They’re actually not just for kids, but fun for anyone needing to exercise and stretch their legs during trips.

We bring ours in the car for road trips (it only weighs 2 ounces) and it can easily be packed in a backpack, too.

At less than $10, the Aerobie should be in every kid and kid-at-heart’s stocking!

Pocket Soap to Go

Soap in stick form, that you can bring with you in the outdoors or on the road.

It’s only $2.25 for the small tube, and lasts for multiple trips.

Perfect as a stocking stuffer for travelers who spend a lot of time away from showers!

GOgroove Panda Portable Mini Speakers

GOgroove Panda Portable Mini Speakers cute as a button, these speakers pack a powerful punch, working great when more than one kid (or adult) wants to listen to a backseat movie or TV show in the car.

We keep one in our car at all times!

Family Travel Kits

With kits for all ages and interests, these innovative travel kits are a no-hassle way to shop for traveling kids.

Plus, you can customize your kits and buy items a la cart.

RumbaTime Watches

These fun and funky watches are cheap enough that you won’t worry about losing one on the road, and bright enough that you won’t lose one to start with.

Timbuk2 Hidden Duffel

It’s a full-sized duffel bag that folds down into a small envelope, allowing travelers to pack it in other luggage and use when needed!

I love using my hidden duffel after a work conference or family vacation when my souvenirs and baggage seems to grow en route.

Shopping Tips for Environmentally Friendly Green Furniture

Growing number of consumers are becoming concerned with environmentally friendly practices in all aspects of their life.

This concern now encompasses environmentally friendly green furniture that they bring into their homes.

The furnishings are a large part of what turns a house into a home.

While some people who favor an ultra-modern look may opt for materials like glass, metal and plastic, none of these really compares with the beauty and authenticity of wood.

Fortunately for these consumers, they have more choices than ever before when it comes to finding green furniture for their Eco Friendly Home.

It may require a bit more effort, but understanding why environmentally conscious furniture is important provides excellent motivation.

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Eco Friendly Harvested Wood

Conventionally harvested lumber is usually obtained with clear cutting techniques.

When this method is utilized, the entire forest is leveled.

Every tree is removed and so is all other vegetation.

Frequently, massive machinery is used to remove every trace of vegetation.

In some instances, the land is then burned and treated with herbicides that prevent anything other than the trees that will be planted from growing.

When the land is seeded, forestry workers focus on just one type of tree, each one spaced a precise distance from the others.

Where once there was biodiversity and a naturally thriving eco sphere there is now a ruthlessly controlled crop that the lumber company will someday return to claim.

Environmentally Friendly Green Furniture

Clear cut methods are ecologically devastating.

They take away valuable habitat that the wildlife depends upon.

Clear cutting may also lead to soil erosion, landslides and a host of other environmental problems.

The detrimental effects on nature are well known, yet most companies that harvest trees continue to use these practices.

Unless consumers do their homework, they are likely to buy wood furniture where the raw materials were obtained through clear cutting.

Fortunately, there is a growing number companies in the forestry industry who understand the delicate balance of the ecosystem.

They work steadily toward sustainable business practices that will serve them and the environment well over the long run.

Consumers who seek out wood products where the raw materials were sustainable sourced are supporting these efforts in a meaningful and fundamental way.

Initially, it seems like it would be impossible for people to know where the wood that made their furniture came from.

That’s where the Forest Stewardship Council comes in.

They are a global organization that has set strict standards for sustainable forest management.

Part of their function is to certify companies that adhere to these standards.

The Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, certifies not only companies that harvest lumber responsibly, but also manufacturers that use environmentally-friendly practices.

When a consumer sees a piece of furniture featuring the FSC certification, they can feel confident that the piece they are purchasing is as green as it can be.

The FSC is not alone in its quest.

There are other reputable organizations that also provide certification for sustainably sourced wood products.

The Rainforest Alliance utilizes the SmartWood label while Scientific Certification Systems places the Green Seal on qualified wood products.

However, the FSC is the only global organization and their certifications are the most widely seen and most highly coveted by businesses that deal in wood products.

Rainforest Alliance Eco Friendly Products

Reclaimed Wood Furniture using Repurposed Lumber

Another fantastic way to acquire green wood furniture is by choosing pieces made with reclaimed or repurposed lumber.

These unique and beautiful furnishings all have a unique story to tell.

Wood that is now used for a kitchen table may have once been part of the walls of a barn.

Because the lumber has gone through decades or even centuries of weathering, it acquires a distinctive look that’s nearly impossible to replicate.

Reclaimed wood furniture is a remarkably green choice.

When someone decides to take down a barn, shed or other wooden structure, those materials can often end up in the landfill.

However, an environmentally conscious person might realize the value in all of that old lumber.

By selling it to a furniture manufacturer, they not only turn a profit but also keep huge amounts of waste out of landfills.

Reclaimed wood furniture can be elegant or rustic.

It makes amazing kitchen dinning table, chair sets and many other kitchen furniture that’s both stylish and functional.

The warm wood makes any kitchen instantly feel cozy.

Of course, reclaimed wood is suitable for use in any room of the house.

Bed frames, chests, sofas and coffee tables are just a few of the common examples.

Environmentally Friendly Furniture Manufacturers

Wood that comes from sustainable sources becomes even more environmentally friendly when it is combined with organic fabrics.

Furniture manufacturers who are aware enough to utilize green lumber are usually also on top of choosing upholstery that is organic and dyed without the use of harsh chemicals.

These eco friendly manufacturers even pay attention to how each piece of lumber is painted, glued or finished.

They’ll use safe, organic processes every time.

This means choosing non-VOC substances for joinery and finishing.

VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, are known to give off harmful gases.

This off gassing doesn’t just happen when the furniture is brand new.

In some cases the furniture can continue to give off potentially harmful gasses for years.

Still, many conventional paints and stains contain VOCs.

Consumers interested in a more environmentally conscious lifestyle are now insisting on limiting these compounds in their homes.

Some furniture manufacturers are heeding that demand.

Furniture that has received the FSC certification is likely to be finished or painted with non-VOC materials.

Environmentally friendly green furniture is the perfect way to decorate any room.

In the kitchen, green wood furniture provides a comfortable place to gather as a family.

Eco conscious wood can also be used to construct durable and beautiful bedroom furniture, and it can be a fantastic way to finish a living room.

As concerned consumers become better educated and begin to insist upon furnishings that are more earth friendly, it stands to reason that more and more harvesters and manufacturers will heed the call.

By choosing green wood furniture, people can take an important stand for environmental health and ensure that retailers who use sustainable practices are successful.

Look here for tips when shopping for green wooden furniture

Eco-Friendly Memory Foam Pillow Review of the Best

If you’ve ever slept on an egg crate foam mattress or a polyurethane-based foam pillow, you know that squishy, polyurethane memory foam can be hot and is not breathable.

Plus, polyurethane foams are not good for the environment and older ones may contain PBDEs, which can be toxic to your health.

Fortunately, there are more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional memory foam pillow.

Why buy a memory foam pillow?

Relax the Back EcoMemoryFoam Pillow

EcoMemoryFoam is made of plant-based materials and produces zero emissions.

I was sent a PureMemDown Dual Pillow by Relax the Back to try out.

It’s comfortable and high-quality, and I imagine it would be great for people with chronic back pain.

I like that this pillow is made in the USA, which means it didn’t have to travel thousands of miles and waste fuel to get to me.

Plus, it comes with a removable bamboo cover.

Magniflex GeoEthic Pillow

Like the Relax the Back pillow, the Magniflex GeoEthic pillow is comfortable and made to last.

The Magniflex pillow contains no materials that are toxic or non-biodegradable, but it’s made in Italy so there is an environmental impact from that aspect.

According to Magniflex’s website, the company “strongly believe[s] that environmental safety, both for our employees and customers, and safeguarding the earth’s natural resources must play an integral part in our manufacturing process.”

If you love traditional memory foam but don’t like the negative impact it has on the environment, I would highly recommend checking out these two pillows.

As with all pillows, I think perfection lies in the preference of the sleeper.

I think these pillows are both great and I would recommend testing them out before choosing the one that’s best for you.

Learn what’s in some of your everyday use products, like pillows, your carpeting and your couches and other hidden toxins in homes.

Also, so many products contain PBDE’s, which can be a big health concern.

When to replace pillows?

It is generally a good idea to replace your pillows every few years.

If you have not spent a lot of money on them, this is a fairly easy thing to do.

There are other many factors to consider regarding how frequently you should replace your pillows.

Consider if you have children; how often you change out the pillow case; do you have a zippered pillow cover on it as well as the pillow case; and are there people in your home with allergies.

Also consider if someone has been very sick and using the pillow.

When you buy a more expensive memory foam pillow, keeping it encased with a zippered cover will help you in the long run from wear and tear as well as keeping it cleaner and more hygienic.

Investing in dust mite encasement is also a wise idea and will increase the life of your pillow.

It will also help those people in your home who may have dust mite allergies, as dust mites live and thrive in pillows, mattresses, blankets and bedding.

One word of caution: Do your homework and beware of green washing.

Some memory foam pillow brands claim to be eco-friendly, when in reality their products are made with 10% eco-friendly materials and 90% polyurethane.

You will most likely enjoy having a memory foam pillow, just be sure you know what you are buying, and be sure to take care of it so it stays clean for better health for its user.

Useful Eco Gadgets for the Green Traveler

Eco gadgets for the Green Traveler are most definitely a growth market now.

Sure there are lots of gadgets that are a waste of time and money, but there are also some gadgets that are genuinely useful.

In this article, Dan talks about 10 of his favorite eco-friendly gadgets that are designed with the green traveler in mind.

Wind up Torch

If we’re going camping or anywhere else where there’s likely to be a lack of lighting when night falls, then we need a torch. Conventional torches eat through lots of batteries, so something rechargeable would be great.

Rather than use standard rechargable batteries, why not have a wind up torch?

I have two of these torches myself, and they’re fantastic!

Just a minute or so of winding up and you get around 30 minutes of torch light.

In practice, the light dims after a few minutes, so you just top it up again.

You never need to worry about finding some batteries ever again!

Wind Up Walkie Talkies

On the theme of wind up gadgets, there’s a great way to keep in touch with your party, or kids, or anyone really, and that’s with a walkie talkie.

However, we hit the same issues with batteries, so how about some wind up walkie talkies?

For a minute of winding, you get 2 minutes of talking time and 10 minutes of standby time.

Perfect for emergencies, and you don’t need to worry about mobile phone reception either.

Wind up 2-Way FM/AM Radio

If you want to go a little more advanced, then the 2-Way AM/FM/NOAA Emergency Crank Radio gives you a more bulky version of a walkie talkie, but you also get FM and AM radio.

This means you can listen to local radio stations whilst you’re out traveling.

Again, no need to worry about batteries, as you just crank it up for more hours of musical enjoyment.

Freeloader Solar Charger

If you are taking a mobile phone, games console or an MP3 player, you’ll only get a few hours use out of them on a single charge.

If you’re out traveling somewhere sunny, then you can enjoy your gadgets for much longer with a Freeloader Solar Charger.

In sunny conditions, the Freeloader charges up its internal battery in about 7 to 9 hours.

When you want to charge up your gadget, just hook it up to the Freeloader charger.

2C Solar Cap

When you’re walking about at night, you’ll need a torch to see what you’re doing, and you could use the wind up torch mentioned above.

However, if you need both hands free to read maps, then the 2C Solar Cap is really useful.

I’ve tried it myself and the bright white LEDs are at the perfect angle to light the path in front of you as you’re walking.

You only need to charge the cap up in sunlight for a couple of hours to get a few hours of light for night hiking.

SteriPEN Water Sterilization Pen

Right, time for a drink, but you’ve run out of drinking water.

How do you know the locally available water is safe to drink?

There’s no need to worry with a SteriPEN.

The SteriPEN uses ultraviolet light to sterilise clear drinking water (i.e. filtered water) to kill any nasty bacteria that remain in the water.

The SteriPEN comes in a range of sizes, including a very portable traveler size.

A single set of AA batteries is capable of sterilizing up to 100 liters of water, and even then you can use rechargeable batteries.

Solar Pocket Shower

It’s been a long days walk and you need a shower, thankfully you set up a Solar Pocket Shower in the morning and filled it up with 10 litres of cold water.

Thanks to the sun’s energy, the water in the black PVC-free bag heated up, meaning you can have a nice warm shower in.

Popup Shelter with Solar Shower

Stripping in the middle of a field may not be great for your modesty, so if you’d like to be a little more discrete, consider the popup shelter with a solar shelter.

Basically its the same solar shower, but in a tall tent-like cubicle to allow you to shower and change in comfort.

Poop Box

Nature calls, so where’s the nearest bush?

Well save the bush the trauma and try the cardboard toilet instead!

The rather oddly name device contains disposable liners, which can be buried when you’re done.

The bags are biodegradable, so they do no harm to the environment.

Solar-powered Backpack

Finally we need something to keep all of our gadgets in!

The Blackhills Solar Backpacks are designed to top up all your mobile phone, PDA, games console, MP3 gadgets, etc.

Thanks to a whole collection of charging adapters, you’ll easily be able to charge up pretty much any gadget you can throw at it.

There’s even a headphone socket so that you can keep your music gadgets dry inside the backpack.

So there you go, 10 eco gadgets for your next adventure.

E-Scooters and Electric Skateboards Safe Sustainable and Green?

Got any eco gadgets you recommend for travelling?

Stainless Steel Lunch Containers ~ Make Your Mornings Easier

stainless steel lunch

Updated:

Stainless Steel Lunch Containers – Do you dread packing school lunches? I used to.

I felt so wasteful using those plastic zip-locking bags, especially when I used up to five per lunch, per day.

I’ve also used many different brands and sizes of plastic containers.

These were okay sometimes but didn’t work all the time.

I really wanted to remove all plastics from the lunch-making process.

So last school year I resolved to do things differently and better, and I bought stainless steel lunch containers.

Read on to learn about the benefits of using stainless steel food containers, and how they can make your mornings so much easier and make packing lunches less wasteful.

No plastic bags in lunches with stainless steel lunch containers

I’m not into making cute lunches.

I’m not really that “into” food or recipes to begin with.

But I do encourage my kids to choose healthy foods for lunch as often as possible.

I have tried all types of containers for packing my kids’ lunches.

The best I have found and use exclusively now is LunchBots.

For my kids who are “grazers,” I love the Quad All Stainless and the Trio All Stainless.

Both of my kids are very picky eaters.

One of my sons has dairy and egg allergies and won’t eat bread.

It used to be a challenge to pack healthy lunches that would nourish and sustain them through the school day.

The stainless steel lunch containers I bought from LunchBots have helped immensely.

I now have a way to package and transport leftovers and other foods they like and actually eat.

stainless steel lunch
The LunchBots I bought and love

Why stainless steel lunch containers?

There are many benefits to using the LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers.

Here’s what I like best about stainless steel lunch containers:

  • Easy to pack various foods, including leftovers
  • Safe & easy to clean in dishwasher
  • Reusable & eco-friendly
  • Toxin & BPA-free
  • Save money over long run
  • Easy for kids to open/close lids
  • Less clutter in kitchen

What works for packing lunches

For my two children, I bought one Quad All Stainless, one Trio All Stainless, a set of three Dips Condiment Containers, and the Clicks Small Leak Proof Set.

These are the only containers I now use to pack lunches.

stainless steel lunch
LunchBots Trio

Quad All Stainless and Trio All Stainless

Stainless Steel Lunch Containers Pros

  • fits the foods my kids eat
  • eco-friendly
  • easy to clean in dishwasher
  • food-grade stainless steel safer than plastic
  • lids are easy to open
  • eliminated need for other containers
  • fit in lunch boxes my kids were using
  • durable and will last a long time
  • will save money over time

Stainless Steel Lunch Containers Cons

  • Expensive initially
  • For dry foods mostly (as stated on their website; this was not a surprise)
  • Will have to cut a sandwich smaller to fit (fits in Uno and Duo sizes)
stainless steel lunch
3-pack of LunchBots Dips

Dips Condiment Containers

Dips Condiment Containers Pros

  • fits small amounts of anything
  • leak-proof
  • stainless steel
  • durable
  • safe & easy to clean in dishwasher
  • kids can open/close easily
  • great for dips, ketchup, etc.
  • will save money over time
  • eco-friendly

Dips Condiment Containers Cons

  • expensive
  • silicone seal inside lid (food-safe)

These Dips Bot containers are perfect for sunflower seeds, chocolate chips, raisins, cookies, dried fruit, nuts, blueberries, etc.

Toward the end of the school year, my kids’ lunch snack was one Oreo.

I put it in one of the circular containers, and it fit perfectly.

The container fits two Oreos stacked on top of each other perfectly.

stainless steel lunch
2-pack of leak proof LunchBots Clicks

Clicks Small Leak Proof Set

  • stainless steel base
  • seals completely
  • put anything inside
  • nice for larger portion of main course; also used for chips
  • easy for kids to open/close
  • lasts for many years
  • stacks easily
  • saves money over time
  • eco-friendly

Clicks Small Leak Proof Set Cons

  • expensive
  • plastic lid (BPA-free)
  • I wash the lids by hand though they are dishwasher-safe

All of the items are made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel safe for foods.

Dimensions:
Quad All Stainless: 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″
Trio All Stainless: 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″
Dips Condiment Bots: 2” x 1.5” each
Clicks Leak Proof Set: 5” x 4” x 1.5” and 5” x 4” x 2” (1.25 and 2 cups)

Other stainless steel lunch containers available

There are many other items in various practical sizes.

I bought what worked for what my kids would actually eat at lunch.

My friend purchased the Bento Cinco All Stainless.

This is 60% larger than the other containers and wouldn’t fit in my kids’ lunch bags which have the insulated section on the bottom.

It does fit in her kids’ rectangular lunch bag (the one without a separate zippered section).

It measures 8″ x 6″ x 1.75″.

Because of the cost, she just bought one to start to see how her kids would like it.

They both love it and want to use it so they take turns until she purchases a second.

The only downside is it is not leakproof (as she knew) and once their blueberries smashed and ran into the other foods.

If my kids would eat yogurt, soups, chili, or stews, I would definitely purchase the 8 oz. Rounds containers as well.

Less clutter in kitchen

Because these containers are expensive, I only have used them for my kids’ lunches at school.

We don’t take them anywhere else.

They won’t get lost or misplaced this way so I was able to justify the investment in these safe, durable, and convenient containers.

They have saved me the hassle of looking for the perfect sized container.

Because we only use these containers, I recycled and donated all of our other plastic containers.

Also, because we use them every day, we pretty much pack them, wash and dry them, and refill them.

Great stainless steel lunch containers

I procrastinated and then panicked as I realized lunch making season was upon me in two days: school was starting.

My grammar-school-aged kids had never once, ever, bought a school lunch (or even a milk).

This is a first world “problem” for sure, but I really despised making their lunches every day.

This was mostly because I didn’t have a system that worked, until now.

I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to find these products.

After buying and using LunchBots, it has been so much easier for me to make lunches.

I no longer worry about plastic touching my kids’ food.

I’m no longer feeling guilty using and wasting all of those plastic bags on a daily basis.

Why I didn’t want plastic containers

I already had lots of plastic containers.

They worked for some things, especially when I wanted to pack one thing, like pretzels for a car ride.

But there were too many impractical sizes for the foods my kids took for lunch.

And somehow, we were always misplacing the lids.

It was hard to clean them well.

I didn’t want to put them in the dishwasher because the heat could break down the plastic which could release harmful chemicals into the food.

Best stainless steel lunch containers are eco-friendly

The benefits of these stainless steel containers is that I could put them in the dishwasher to sanitize them after every use.

I took them out and refilled them the next morning and repeated the process each day.

I only needed one day-to-day container and lid per child which eliminated all of the different-sized containers I was always searching for before.

And think of all of those plastic bags I was saving from the landfills.

After a (school) year of using the LunchBots, I don’t think I used a little plastic bag more than one or two days, and that was because my kids needed to pack a disposable lunch for their field trips.

The LunchBots I purchased were the ones with stainless steel lids.

They sell the Quad, Trio, Duo, and Uno with plastic lids also but I highly recommend the “All Stainless” series, which includes the stainless steel lids as well.

I wanted to be 100% stainless steel and be able to safely put everything in the dishwasher without worrying about the plastic breaking down over time.

The items I purchased with plastic lids were the leak proof ones. It is the only way to ensure there won’t be leaks.

Now it’s easy to pack lunches

All of this was easy when my kids were in preschool, and I sent them with a plastic bag full of Goldfish and another one with grapes or apple slices.

I was just packing snack time fare for them to reinforce table manners, to sit still, and to learn how to socialize with their peers.

Now that they are in elementary school, I need to provide them with actual sustenance.

Best stainless steel lunch containers for kids!

As a recap, we own five different sized containers.

I wanted to buy what I considered to be universally useful for the types of foods I usually pack for my kids so I bought the Quad All Stainless and the Trio All Stainless.

I also wanted a small container for ketchup and salsa.

They offered a three-pack of 1.5 ounce circle containers (Bots) which I bought.

The last two items (Clicks) came in a two pack and are the leak proof containers.

They were the ones I was debating on.

I’m glad I bought them because we use them a lot.

I wanted them because I liked the sizes.

I thought they would still easily fit in my kids’ lunch boxes and be useful for the types of foods my kids eat.

And unique to these containers is that they have leak-proof lids that snap shut.

The downside is the lids are made from plastic.

All of these containers have been user-friendly for my kids.

Goodbye plastic containers

Something to note: I don’t use any of my other plastic containers any more.

I donated them if they were decent and recycled the rest.

This act alone reduced the amount of clutter in my kitchen from having over 20 plastic containers and lids to now owning a nice stackable set of four rectangular containers and three small circular ones.

I keep them in their own section on a shelf and for most of the year, they are in the dishwasher or in my kids’ lunch bags.

We only use these for school lunches.

I don’t take them for snacks in the car or on outings because I do not want to lose them.

If I use an occasional plastic bag or paper cup for them to eat Goldfish from sometime in the car, so be it.

I am trying to simplify and be healthier for the 180 days my kids bring lunch to school.

I really am happy to have lessened the clutter in my kitchen cabinets.

Food options

And remember, you need to have food options.

This should go without saying but it is so true that after almost every trip to the grocery store I think to myself, “It is so much easier to feed my kids when I actually have food in the house!”

Yes, this should be obvious. But we have all been in this situation: trying to scrounge up healthy choices for a meal when you don’t have a “main food” and some produce.

I find if I have a meat or some type of protein to work around — even a jar of peanut or sun butter — then I can populate the rest of the meal with handfuls of this and that: some carrots and ranch dressing; some apple slices and raisins; some spinach and blueberries.

Something filling and healthy.

My point is that it really helps to have something around, even a box of pasta and a jar of sauce.

Learn more about stainless steel lunch containers at LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box and Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes and eliminating 9 Hidden Toxins in Homes.

Make mornings easier with the right stainless steel lunch container

Most of us have seen the cute lunches on Pinterest.

It is hard enough for me to wake up in the mornings and pack my kids’ lunches much less create art out of them.

And I always knew I could make them healthier.

When I first saw those cute bento lunch kits and lunch boxes I thought it was for the trendy and or the people who buy whatever is new.

It didn’t occur to me how eco-friendly they were.

I have used plastic bags and even those snack size plastic bags to try to save on plastic.

I felt wasteful using the zip-lock plastic bags, especially because I was learning more and more about how toxins in plastics can leach into our food.

But mostly I just felt bad every time I used a bag to pack their lunch items; I didn’t want to contribute to the landfills.

I have used many different brands and sizes of plastic containers.

Learn about the Yeti Rambler vs Ozark Trail tumbler and eliminate the need for disposable cups.

Eliminate plastic bags in lunches

These LunchBots stainless steel lunch containers are convenient, are safe for food, and they get the job done keeping each food separate and also allowing the foods to be portable, just like the plastic bags.

I plan on my kids using these every school day for years.

Best Lunch Containers Review: Here’s What to Get and Why

Those of us who pack our kids’ lunches know it’s a pain.

Yes, yes, we know: We should have our kids pack them.

Well, in our house, I’m still packing them and plan to for some time.

I just don’t need another battle right now.

Packing school lunches

My kids are very picky eaters.

One also has several allergies, which is an additional challenge.

For lunch, they eat practically the same foods every single day, so packing their lunches shouldn’t be a pain. But it still is.

This school year, I thought if I had better reusable lunch containers, maybe I could get my kids to eat better at school.

I didn’t want more plastic containers.

One of the ways we try to live green at home is to not use wasteful plastic bags.

I try to use reusable lunch containers whenever possible.

We’ve tried so many, some with more success than others.

What makes for the best lunch containers?

There are always considerations:

  • What materials is the container made from and are they safe?
  • Does it seal completely?
  • Does it fit in the lunch bag?
  • Will it hold the foods my kids will eat?
  • Can my kids open it?
  • How easy is it to clean?
  • Will my kids want to use it?
  • Will it keep foods hot or cold?

Thinksport Containers

This year, instead of giving my kids the same foods every day, I wanted more variety and more protein.

My older son brings a slice of pizza every day (always a pain to be sure to have it ready and not the healthiest food) and my younger son brings four slices of regular bacon or turkey bacon (also a hassle to make every day and also not healthy).

I also wanted to be able to pack different types of foods for them, including leftovers.

After researching online, I ordered two stainless steel Thinksport insulated food containers.

We use their water bottles and like that they’ve lasted a long time.

GO4TH insulated container review

We ordered the 12 ounce and 17 ounce GO4TH containers.

They are made from 18/8 medical grade (304 grade) stainless steel.

Thinksport GO4TH 17 oz and 12 oz

Safe lunch containers

Thinksport products are safer than a lot of reusable food containers.

Each product’s label lists exactly what isn’t in their products.

These are materials to avoid at all costs.

These Thinksport containers are:

  • Free of BPA and BPS
  • Lead-free
  • No PET, phthalates, or PVC
  • No other biological chemicals that are harmful

In addition to the safe materials, there are great things about the GO4TH containers:

  • Plastic doesn’t touch the food
  • These containers hold a lot of food
  • They are 100% leak proof
  • They are vacuum-insulated and keep food hot
  • Built-in spork (my sons love it)
  • They can be used for foods or drinks
Thinksport GO4TH 17 ounce Container
Thinksport GO4TH 17 ounce Container

Thinksport GO4TH 17 ounce review

My older son uses the 17 oz container to bring spaghetti with meat sauce to school.

It’s been great to introduce a new hot food.

It would work well for stews and soups as well.

We’ve also packed strawberries and watermelon (without the rind).

These fruits are usually hard to pack for a school lunch because they take up so much room.

It’s also been good for salads and fruit salad.

Pros of GO4TH 17 oz container:

  • The spork is great and allows them to eat foods without using their fingers
  • Holds a lot of food
  • You can put liquids in it without fear of leaking
  • Compact container for all it holds

Cons of the GO4TH 17 oz:

Like that the vessel is narrow but it’s hard to reach the food at the bottom without tipping it.

The spork doesn’t reach to the bottom.

There’s an extra plastic piece in the center of the interior lid.

If you remove it, there’s a hole.

When you wash the lid, water can get in it — and into the cap — so you have to be careful to shake out excess water and to let it completely air dry to avoid mold growth.

I’m not sure why this plastic piece is there as it doesn’t seem to serve a purpose to the user.

There are two lids.

You have to use the one that holds the spork for it to be leak proof.

The other one serves to cover the spork but isn’t otherwise necessary except maybe to help insulate it more.

This second lid does stay clean as it doesn’t come in contact with food but it’s still another piece for the kids to deal with at lunch.

They haven’t complained.

Thinksport GO4TH 12 ounce review

My younger son loves meat, and this container has been a great way for him to take it for lunch.

The 12 oz GO4TH is a good size for leftovers.

I’ve packed orange chicken, cut up hamburger, and cut up sausage.

He’s eaten them all and has said it stays hot.

On days he still wants bacon, I’ve put chunks of frozen berries in the container.

He said they’re not completely frozen but likes they are still cold and easier to eat than if they were entirely frozen.

So far this container has been exactly what I’ve been looking for.

Pros of GO4th 12 oz:

  • Spork is handy and easy to use
  • Holds enough food
  • Accommodates leftovers
  • Keeps food hot
  • It hasn’t leaked
  • The spork reaches the food at the bottom

Cons of the GO4TH 12 oz:

  • This one also has a removable plastic piece in the interior lid (see above)
  • There are two lids; wish there was just one
ThinkSport GO4TH Spork in Lid
Thinksport GO4TH spork in lid

Both sizes come with a spork

My kids love using the spork and like that it snaps right into the lid.

It’s easy to remove and to store the spork after you close the lid which means the spork won’t get lost.

What’s also nice is if you don’t use the interior lid (which makes it leak proof) you can fit more food.

Note: If you don’t use this interior lid, you have to keep it upright if something can leak but it’s a non-issue if it’s meat, pasta, etc.

It wouldn’t work for soups, juicy fruits, etc.

The 17 oz size would be great for adults to use for lunch at work and on the go.

Thinksport gives back to nonprofits as well.

Check out how they are making a difference.

We’ve found these to be the best lunch containers for kids.

They’re made from stainless steel and fit in my kids’ lunch bags well.

They aren’t bulky.

My kids have enjoyed using them at school each day.

I’ve been feeling better about giving them some different foods and being able to pack protein-rich foods they will actually eat.

Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes for School and Work

If you pack a lunch every day for work or your kids’ school lunches, you know how much waste can be involved when using harmful plastic baggies and pre-packaged foods.

Make the change this year to a bento box lunch system and eliminate the need for packaging.

You will feel better about packing food; it will be healthier; and you will be helping the earth when you use one of these best bento box lunch boxes.

What is a bento box lunch system?

Inspired by Japanese bento boxes, America bento box systems make it easy to pack non-packaged foods such as salads, left-overs, fruits, sandwiches, and snacks.

And depending on the container, there are those that can handle liquids such as yogurts and soups as well.

Eco-friendly bento lunches can be easily made with products ranging from simple BPA-free plastic containers paired with your own lunch box or tote Tupperware Bento Box to more durable, less porous stainless steel bento containers with multiple compartments and levels.

To help you find the right one for you and for your family, we’ve rounded up our favorite bento box lunch brands and listed their pros and cons.

Remember it is okay to mix and match to suit your family’s needs!

Click the following to learn about stainless steel lunch containers, LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box and eliminating 9 Hidden Toxins in Homes.

Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes

Laptop Lunches

Laptop Lunches are kid- and budget-friendly.

You can buy the BPA-free plastic ‘Bento Buddies’ containers separately in sets of four.

We found that the Bento Buddies boxes fit perfectly in the lunch boxes my kids already owned, saving us money (and allowing us to buy an extra few sets of Bento Buddies as back ups).

Plus they’re cheap enough that you won’t panic if you child loses one or two, and they come in plenty of fun colors to keep kids happy.

Another company also offers a full system which allows the containers to fit perfectly inside its own Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware.

EasyLunchBoxes

EasyLunchBoxes are very popular as well.

What makes them special?

First, they’re affordable at only $13.95 for a set of four.

Second, they are all one piece, making it easy for small kids to manage on their own.

They even have easy-to-open lids for small hands.

EasyLunchboxes 3-Compartment Bento Lunch Box Containers, Set of 4, Classic are available in just the bento containers or in an entire system with lunch tote.

Since they’re self-contained, it’s easy to store EasyLunchBoxes, too.

Basically, they’re just… easy!

And like all the other bento systems listed here, they’re BPA-free.

Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Kit

The Light My Fire Outdoor Meal Kit is designed for outdoor meals, but works well at home, too.

We took ours on our backpacking adventures during the summer.

Each child had his own and was responsible for cleaning his own.

What is great is that they are available in different colors, so everyone knows which kit belongs to him or her.

Now that we’re home for school, our oldest likes to use his for school snacks.

The kit includes a triangular main compartment with an extra covered bowl and cup, and includes utensils.

The pieces all fit together for storage.

It’s is a little small for complete lunches, but does close securely to be loaded up and placed in a backpack without a tote.

Goodbyn Bynto System

Perfect for young kids, the Goodbyn system is another all-in-one unit of BPA-free plastic with molded sections.

This one is shaped like a monster or fantastical animal, and comes with fun stickers for kids to personalize.

The Goodbyn doesn’t come with a tote, but rather is self-contained with a handle and lid.

It may be too childish for older kids, but preschoolers and kindergartners will love it.

It has three large sections, and can be picked up for under $16.00.

LunchBots

I really love the LunchBots brand, and in my opinion these are the Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes.

Right before school started, I bought some of their stainless steel bento boxes for my elementary-school aged kids.

I ordered directly from Amazon and enjoyed free shipping.

The items arrived in just two days!

I bought the Quad and the Trio and put them in my sons’ lunch boxes every day.

I also purchased the Small Leak Proof set which came in a package of two.

Last, I bought the set of three Condiment Containers.

My kids are not dressing-eaters but I have used it for ketchup.

Mostly, I use it for small treats, including dried coconut, a few pieces of candy corn around Halloween, or a few M&M’s or other candies.

Mr. Bento

Lastly, the grown-up Mr. Bento, perfect for adults and older kids.

Mr. Bento is more expensive than the other options in our round-up at $40.00, but is made of stainless steel that won’t leech any chemicals or flavors into your food, and has a sophisticated look of stacked containers.

You won’t want to send small kids to school with this one — just too easy to lose — but your co-workers will probably notice and ask you where you got it.

Mr. Bento comes in a more feminine version as well, though I think the classic stainless steel works for everyone.

Do you have a favorite bento box system?

What works for you?

What do you think are the Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes?

LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box Review

Until my son started going to daycare, I didn’t realize how incredibly time-consuming making kids’ lunches can be.

Especially if you’re focusing on healthy, whole foods.

It’s a four-step process: take out the food, find containers for each of the foods, prepare the food and put it in containers, put all containers in a lunchbox.

A week after daycare started, my search for a safe, stainless steel bento box began.

I quickly found the perfect product: the Quad LunchBots stainless steel bento box.

I figured being able to put all of my son’s lunch in one container would really cut down on lunch prep time.

Instead of spending 5 minutes digging out containers, then another 2 minutes searching for their lids.

Why are there always more containers than lids?!

I would simply need to find one container — the bento box — and its lid.

I was right and I love the LunchBots Quad.

It’s safe, easy to clean, and holds an impressive amount of food.

The LunchBots Quad bento box holds lots of healthy food like pear, blueberries, cucumber, and hummus.

Safe and Stainless Steel

The Quad bento box is made from 18/8 stainless steel.

If you’re a frequent reader, you know that we always choose stainless steel over plastic because it’s naturally BPA-free and doesn’t pose a health threat.

I love that I don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into my son’s food when I use the bento box.

Cuts Down on Prep Time

As I mentioned above, you will no longer have to dig through your tupperware drawer for matching containers and lids.

Simply pull out your Quad and its lid (easy to find among glass or plastic containers) and you’re ready to go.

It may not sound like it will save that much time, but if you’re a parent, you know how precious those minutes can be.

Spending 5 more minutes packing a lunch in the evening means you’ll have 5 fewer minutes of “me” time.

LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box Easy to Clean

If you get a Quad with a colored lid, the lid has to be hand washed, but the base can go in the dishwasher.

If you have the version with the plain (uncolored) stainless lid, both the lid and base can go in the dishwasher.

Holds an Impressive Amount of Food

Measuring in at 6″ x 5″ x 1.75″, the Quad bento box is neither too small nor too large.

It holds a surprising amount of food in each of its four compartments.

I usually pair the bento box with a Wrap-N-Mat, which holds a sandwich, and am good to go.

Spill-Proof

Although the LunchBots Quad isn’t completely leak-proof between the compartments (don’t put liquid in one compartment and expect it to stay there), it is spill-proof and the lid stays on surprisingly well.

If I’m sending something liquid or runny — like yogurt, cottage cheese, or applesauce — I’ll put it in a small Mason jar.

Click the following to learn about stainless steel lunch containers, Best Bento Box Lunch Boxes and eliminating 9 Hidden Toxins in Homes.

Bonus: LunchBots Quad Stainless Steel Bento Box Food Ideas

You can put just about anything non-liquid in your Quad bento box.

Here are some ideas to get you started (and be sure to read our Healthy Lunch Ideas for Kids Using Whole Foods for more great ideas):

  • raisins
  • cucumber slices
  • rice
  • nuts
  • last night’s leftovers
  • hummus
  • carrot slices
  • sliced fruit (apples, nectarines, pears, plums)
  • crackers
  • pretzels
  • cheese

I’m a big fan of the LunchBots Quad bento box.

It’s exactly what I was looking for, it’s safe, and it makes my life easier.

And isn’t that what every parent really wants?

Avocado Smoothies Anyone? Avocado Smoothies Recipes Healthy Benefits

Avocado Smoothies Recipes Healthy Benefits

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Avocado Smoothies Anyone – If you are not eating avocados you really should think about doing so.

This marvelous fruit has many health benefits. Here we explain more and give you some great smoothie recipes and other ideas to help you to incorporate this fruit into your diet.

You must start with a great blender and nice fresh Avocados (especially buying organic avocados has many health benefits).

Some local Food Trucks are now making healthy Avocado Smoothies.

Avocado Smoothies Recipes Have Many Healthy Benefits

How the NutriBullet Helped Me

Why avocados are so good for you

The main reasons avocados are good for you is they are a natural and unprocessed food.

Are avocados fatty?

Most fruit is primarily carbohydrates.

Avocados contain primarily fat.

In fact, they contain so much fat that in some countries they are known as cheese or butter pears.

OK now I know what you are thinking – A fat?

Yes, fat, and you say I should be eating more of this food.

Surely fatty foods are bad for me.

That is a very understandable thought process, but read on and I will explain why eating the kind of fat in avocados is actually good for you.

The fat in avocados is different

The fats in avocados are very different.

They fall into the category of good fats, which your body actually needs.

Over 75% of the fat in avocados are monounsaturated fat, and each 1oz serving gives you 0.5g of polyunsaturated fat.

Importantly, the fat is oil, not a solid fat.

This fat is absorbed and broken down by your body none of it is left behind to clog up your arteries or cause other damage.

They are also sodium and cholesterol free.

Avocados help you to absorb more nutrients

Studies also show that this fruit helps your body to absorb more of the nutrients from other foods.

They help you to get more out of the food you eat.

Make yourself a smoothie that contains spinach and avocado to get a huge vitamin and iron boost.

Helps to reduce the risk of heart disease

Adding an avocado or two to a well balanced diet improves the level of LDLs (good cholesterol) and lowers the oxidative stress in the bloodstream.

Reducing blood fat levels helps to protect the heart.

Helps to reduce inflammation in the body

Recent studies indicate that avocado can reduce inflammation.

The polyhydroxylated fatty alcohols (PFAs) found in this fruit are normally found in sea-based plants like seaweed and they are known to reduce inflammation.

Boosts mineral levels

A US study found that adults who had eaten an avocado within 24 hours had higher levels of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin E and a higher fiber intake than those who had not eaten one.

The fruit also contains vitamin B6, as well as healthy levels of copper and folate.

As you can see, avocados are very good for you.

Here are a few tips to help you to incorporate more of them into your diet.

Simple ways to eat more avocados

Add them to salads

Spread them on toast and crackers

Add them to desserts, for example, vegans use them to make delicious cheesecake
Avocado Smoothies Recipes Healthy BenefitsAvocado Smoothies Recipes Healthy Benefits

Apple Avocado and Green Leaf Smoothie Ingredients

11/2 cups of organic apple juice

2 cups of steamed greens, spinach or kale is best

1 large apple peeled and chopped

½ of a ripe avocado

Preparation: Add the ingredients to the blender — we prefer using a NutriBullet — pulse and add a little water if needed then blend until the right consistency is achieved.

Avocado Coriander (Cilantro) Cucumber Pineapple Greens and Ginger Ingredients

1 cup of chilled green tea, the stronger the better

1 cup of coriander, partially chopped

1 cup of baby kale

1 cup of peeled cucumber

1 cup of fresh pineapple

The juice of one level

A 1 inch cube of fresh ginger finely chopped or crated

½ of a ripe avocado

Directions: Use the blender or NutriBullet to chop the coriander and kale, remove most of it and add the other ingredients then put the chopped greens back in.

Pour over the green tea and blend to a smooth consistency.

A variation on this recipe for those of you who do not like ginger and coriander is this one:

Avocado Pineapple and Kale Smoothie Ingredients

2/3 of a cup of almond milk, unsweetened if possible and vanilla flavored

2 large handfuls of kale – roughly chop before adding

1/3 of a cup of cubed pineapple

½ a ripe Hass avocado – Hass is best but you can use other varieties

1 cup of ice cubes

Preparation: Crush the ice first, add the other ingredients and blend until smooth.

Banana Ginger Kale Grapefruit and Ginger Smoothie Ingredients

1 large banana that has been frozen

½ of a grapefruit

¼ of an avocado – any variety

A large handful of kale or fresh spinach

A one-inch cube of ginger grated

½ cup of fresh water

Preparation: Blend the kale or spinach. Remove most of it, and put the other ingredients into the blender and add back in the greens.

Pour in the water and blend until you get the desired consistency.

Avocado and Strawberry Smoothie Ingredients

150g of ripe and cored strawberries

½ avocado

4 tablespoons of natural yoghurt, low fat if possible

¾ cup of skimmed or semi-skimmed milk

Add honey and lemon or lime to taste

Directions: Just add it all to the blender and hit the switch. If it is too thick, add a bit of water.

Avocado Ginger Carrot and Lemon Smoothie Ingredients

2 medium carrots – with tops if they are still on the carrot

1 avocado

½ lemon (for extra zing crate in a little of the zest)

1/3 inch cube of fresh ginger grated into the mix

A pinch of salt

A generous pinch of cayenne pepper

Enough water to cover all of the ingredients

Directions: Partially blend the carrots then add and blend the rest of the ingredients.

With all of these avocado smoothies, you are better off drinking them straight away.

Avocado starts to go brown almost the moment it is exposed to the air, so it is best not to put these smoothies in the fridge to use for later.

All of the recipes above were provided to us by the author of 101 Easy Amazing Natural Food Smoothie Recipes, which is available from Amazon…Just click the link.

Food Quotes
Staying in Shape While Travelling the World

Money Belt Reviews for Every Traveler

Money Belt Reviews

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Are you ready for your first trip abroad?

Have you packed your bags?

If so, then make sure that you have a money belt, where you can safely put your credit cards, travel documents, room keys, etc.

Read our money belt reviews to determine which one suits you best.

Why do I need a money belt?

Even if you are going to stay within your own country, depending on where you are traveling and what you will be doing — say, milling around a big metropolis — you may want to consider getting one.

And the good news is that when you are back home, you will probably find many other uses for it too, like wearing it to museums, fests, concerts, and sporting events.

What to consider when buying a money belt

The most important thing is that it’s comfortable for you so that you’ll want to use it everyday while traveling.

Other factors to consider are:

Where are you going?

Usually, you are buying a money belt because you are going somewhere and want to feel safe.

If you are traveling abroad and will want one to carry your travel papers with you, you will want more of the fanny pack style (though the pouch is in front).

If you are going to a crowded venue and want a way to carry your money safely, a different style — more of a traditional belt — will work.

What do you want to carry?

Consider the size of the money belt to be sure it will fit everything you want it to.

What is your size?

Check the length of the belt to ensure it will fit your waist.

Do you want compartments?

This may or may not matter to you, but some people like to have a zippered area for their money and a separate spot for credit cards and IDs.

Do you want RFID protection?

RFID stands for radio frequency identification.

This is a blocking material that can prevent unauthorized use of credit cards and ATM cards in your belt.

Money belt reviews

These high quality money belts come in many styles.

Your goal is to choose one you will want to wear as your essential travel companion.

Here are our top pics in our money belt review:

Eagle Creek has a full line of money belts, and they will be well-made, sturdy, functional and have superior zippers.

Our favorite is money belts manufactured by Eagle Creek.

It is roomy and measures 11.4 inches in width and 5.1 inches high.

You can fit an iPhone in it which is great, but it’s not made for that purpose.

It has two pockets so you can keep your credit card and passport separate from your cash.

The RFID blocking technology gives you even more security.

It’s made from nylon and has moisture-wicking material on the back to keep you cool.

This one is a true money belt in that when you wear it, it looks just like a regular belt.

You won’t be able to fit a passport and travel documents in it, but this is a top pick when you will be carrying cash with you and need to do so safely and discreetly.

It’s perfect for keeping money safe while traveling, and at fests, concerts, amusement parks and other areas where you will be among crowds of people.

Truly, no one will know you are wearing a money belt.

This belt measures 46 inches in length (117 cm).

The belt is 1.5 inches in width and should fit through standard loops in jeans and pants.

Travel Gear money belt

Its Travel Gear Undercover Money Belt Dlx is a premium quality travel accessory.

This belt has the features you need from a good quality money belt.

This money belt is lightweight, just what you want from a travel companion.

It measures 11.4 inches in height, 5.1 inches in width, and 0.1 inch in depth.

It weighs just two ounces.

There are two compartments in this money belt.

The larger compartment is at the back and has enough room for a passport and large bills.

The other pocket which is found up front could accommodate smaller bills, jewelry, and other miscellaneous items.

You can store your valuables such as cash, hotel room keys, passport, USB thumb drive, coins and even an iPhone.

Its elastic belt is fully adjustable and easy to fit.

The maximum size of the belt is 42 inches.

Travelwey money belt

If you are looking for a more inexpensive option, then the Travelwey Money belt is one you should consider getting.

It’s half the price of the Travel Gear Money Belt Dlx.

This money belt is particularly designed for the big guys—with a maximum waist size of 55 inches.

It has enough storage for bills, passport, credit cards, and identification cards.

Like the Eagle Creek money belt, the Travelwey money belt has a breathable mesh rear that makes it comfortable to wear even for hours.

It is compact and lightweight, measuring 10.2 inches in length, 0.2 inches in depth and 5.9 inches in width.

Travelwey also offers a 1 year money back guarantee on this money belt.

Landing Gear money belt

Lastly, there’s the Landing Gear undercover money belt.

This modern money belt is made of Ripstop nylon and is double stitched for extra strength.

It also features RFID protection.

And the backing is made of moisture-absorbing material so you can wear this all day long.

The Landing Gear undercover money belt is also designed for big people, with an adjustable belt that can fit up to a 56 inch waist.

It also has enough space for bulky items.

The first compartment up front is large and has two sections—one for a wallet, and another for passports and maps.

Then there’s a second zippered compartment which can hold bills and coins.

You would be hard pressed to find something to dislike about this Landing Gear money belt.

Perhaps the only thing you may not like about it is the logo placed in front of it.

Money Belt Reviews ~ Money Belts for Travel

A money belt is more secure than your travel wallet, giving you peace of mind as you navigate through a crowded street in India, or find your way in downtown Tokyo.

Some crafty and experienced travelers also bring a money belt and a travel wallet together.

The travel wallet is where they put the things they would need for the day – cash, one credit card, and an identification card like driver’s license.

They then put all the other essentials in the money belt like credit cards, debit cards, copy of passport pages, travel insurance information, visas, room key, and emergency contact list.

The money belt is also where you can put your emergency cash, or spare money that you can use in the event that you lose your wallet.

Of course, you can do away with the travel wallet and just use a money belt.

It’s really up to you.

Money Belt Reviews
Money Belt Reviews

But no matter how you wear it, your money belt should be kept away from prying eyes.

As much as possible, don’t let other people know that you have a money belt tucked under your shirt.

Be mindful when opening your money belt and be discreet.

Your goal is that no one even knows you are carrying secret storage for your valuables.

Guard your money belt as if your life depended on it.

Don’t leave your money belt on the beach as you swim.

Leave it (hidden well) in your room.

When you are travelling at night, wear it even as you sleep.

Keep a close eye on your money belt even when you take a shower.

Where to buy money belts

For the biggest selection, the best place to buy money belts would be over the Internet.

You can find a good variety of money belts online, as many of the top companies specializing in luggage and travel accessories have their online stores where you can order the same money belts that you can find in brick and mortar stores.

For the best fit, the best place to buy money belts is in a store that sells travel accessories.

Usually, larger department stores, in their luggage department, will carry them.

Sports stores may have a few as well in their travel accessories section.

While most of the money belts made today are made from comfortable and durable materials, some people may need to experience them in person.

Money belt reviews

As you would learn from most money belt reviews, you can get good quality money belt.

Deciding what you will want to carry in advance — passport and multiple credit cards or just cash and an ID, etc. — will help determine which to choose.

Many have separate pouches for credit card, passport, and paper currencies.

If you are planning a big trip, you might want to read about choosing the right travel backpack and lightweight luggage reviews.

More on money belts

Yesterday I was driving along, when suddenly I panicked, “Oh no! I’m not wearing my money belt.”

Of course, my terror only lasted a split second before reason took over.

But, this lack of money belt panic has hit me numerous times since I’ve been back in the States.

It’s as though some part of me is missing and my body panics when it’s not there.

I call these spells “phantom money belt.”

It happens every time I return from an extended trip.

There’s a little bit of panicking, and then I realize all is well.

What is a money belt?

In case you don’t know, a money belt is a compact and zippered pouch that you can fasten around your waist, and hide under your shirt or jacket.

Some people wear it around their waist while others wear it more like a necklace under their shirts.

But no matter how you intend to wear it, a money belt provides you a secure and covert way of storing your valuables.

Understanding the difference between a regular wallet and a money belt is simple.

Once you have one, you will wonder how you ever traveled without a money belt.

Pros of wearing a money belt

See, I wore my money belt everyday while traveling.

Even when it was ridiculously hot; even in a skirt.

There was security in knowing exactly where my passport, extra cash, and credit cards were at all times.

When I stayed in a hotel with a safe, I left my extra currency, passport, and other valuables there.

We probably didn’t need to wear them everyday as most places we visited were far safer than the U.S., but it was that extra feeling of security that mentally helps you when traveling.

Plus, it would have been a huge hassle had our passports been lost or stolen.

It is nice to have everything in one place, being able to see it, and not worry about pickpockets.

Cons of wearing a money belt

While I did not worry about getting my wallet stolen from my pocket or it falling out of my jacket pocket, etc., I did have to be mindful of it at all times.

A money belt is visible, so one must be careful that it isn’t stolen as well.

Someone who is skilled and on the lookout for them can easily cut the belt and be on his/her way.

But I found myself often holding onto the money belt, especially if we were in a line for something or if there were lots of people around. Being aware and cautious is key.

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Undercover Money Belt Dlx (Khaki)
Money Belt Reviews
Eagle Creek Travel Gear Undercover Money Belt Reviews

Using money belts locally

My trusty money belt has been everywhere with me: Belize, Guatemala, and Argentina.

I even use it when I’m at busy attractions when I am local, for example if I go to a city festival, outdoor concert, zoo, or sometimes a crowded museum.

As you can see, you have a lot of choices when it comes to money belts.

You don’t need to look far to find a good quality yet affordable money belt.

So what are you waiting for?

These money belt reviews will help you find one that can help you secure your valuables while on the road.

A money belt is so useful and practical.

After awhile, it will feel like it is a part of you.

You can find a great one with these awesome 5 money belts.

You will love using it to keep your valuables protected, wherever you are.

Bamboo Bikes and Bamboo Bicycles ~ Advantages of Bamboo

Bamboo Bikes and Bamboo Bicycles

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If you have been thinking about owning one of the new bamboo bikes on the market, there has never been a better time.

While they are expensive, there are many advantages of owning one and minimizing your impact on our planet by using it instead of driving.

Bamboo bikes have been around for decades and are becoming more popular and accessible as more people are looking for environmentally-sound products and eco-friendly means of transportation.

We love products made with earth-friendly bamboo, especially bamboo straws.

In the past, many people opted to ride their bike to be more eco-conscious.

Now, some are taking additional steps to be even more environmentally-aware.

When they want to upgrade their bike or perhaps buy a bike for the first time, they are looking at how the bikes are manufactured and are choosing bamboo bicycles instead of mass-produced, commercial brands.

Rent a bike when traveling

Consider cycling tourism on your next vacation.

It’s a green way to travel and you will be better able to immerse yourself in the local culture.

You can choose to be part of an organized tour or rent them on your own to explore as you wish.

Bamboo Bikes and Bamboo Bicycles
Bamboo Bikes and Bamboo Bicycles

Benefits of bamboo bikes

There are so many advantages to owning a bamboo bike.

Bamboo bikes are hand-crafted locally and often customized for the individual rider.

Another advantage is that bamboo is a renewable source.

Grown instead of mined, it is eco-friendly unlike conventional bike frame materials which are made from aluminum, steel, titanium and carbon frames.

Depending on the bamboo bike company you purchase from, many of the lugs are made with hemp fiber, which are natural fibers.

Advantages of bamboo

From a bike rider’s perspective, there are many positives as well.

Bamboo bikes are durable; resistant to stress and impacts; and they transfer power efficiently.

They are resilient, comfortable and offer a smooth ride.

Bamboo bicycles are available in different types, depending on the rider: racing bicycles, road bicycles, and mountain bikes.

While the frame is made of bamboo, the bamboo needs to be treated to seal it and prevent splitting.

They are generally finished with satin polyurethane which functions as a vapor seal.

This will enable the bamboo bicycle to be easily maintained, like a metal or carbon frame.

It is non-toxic and safe.

Overall, the production and materials used in building the bamboo bicycles have a minimal carbon footprint.

Downsides of bamboo bikes

There are a few disadvantages of bamboo bikes, including the cost.

Even the most basic model will cost well over the cost of an everyday, get-around-town bike.

This is due to the 35-45 hours it takes to build a bamboo bicycle.

And even though bamboo is a renewable source, many areas are becoming over-harvested, farmed and processed for bamboo’s versatile qualities.

Bamboo makes beautiful, long-lasting furniture and floors.

Bamboo has porous fibers, making it a silky, breathable and now-popular cloth that companies are manufacturing into socks, clothes, blankets and more.

Many fear this over-harvesting is threatening panda bears and further disrupting the eco-sphere.

Price of bamboo bikes

A quality manufacturer is key. Prices will vary from a basic model all the way to a custom one.

As maker Calfee Design’s website touts, “If there were an award for ‘Bicycle with lowest carbon footprint’ (least amount of carbon dioxide emissions in the production of the frame), this frame would win, hands down.”

Finding the perfect bamboo bicycle

My research brought me to Brano Meres Engineering and Design, which was founded by mechanical engineer and industrial designer Brano Meres.

He built his first bamboo bicycle (pictured below) in 2005 and even rode it in a bike marathon last summer.

Why go bamboo?

Meres says it’s light and bamboo frames dampen vibrations better than carbon frames.

And good news for anyone who’s thinking about buying a bamboo bike, Meres and other companies are increasing their production of bamboo bikes.

Helping others make big changes – Bamboo Bike Project

Calfee Design founder Craig Calfee teamed up with the Columbia University Earth Institute to launch the Bamboo Bike Project.

The project, which “aims to examine the feasibility of implementing cargo bikes made of bamboo as a sustainable form of transportation in Africa,” is well-thought out and sustainable.

Craig and his team show African villagers how to make bikes using local materials (like bamboo) and how to repair them so they’ll have reliable and sustainable transportation for years to come.

You can read about their trip to Africa last summer on the project’s blog.

Interested in the idea of bamboo bicycles and want to be a part of it without owning one?

The Bamboo Bike Project is perfect way to get involved. Learn more about donating to their cause on their website.

Build your own bamboo bike

There are weekend workshops where you can build your own bamboo bike.

Many bike shops have a cycling community with special interest classes and community rides for those who own bamboo bikes.

Whether for exercise, for fun or to do errands, bicycle riding is an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment.

Bamboo bikes are becoming the new trend as we all work to find better ways to consciously help our planet.

Now I really want to ride a bamboo bicycle.

Has anyone tried one out?

photo courtesy of Brano Meres Engineer and Design

Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike Review and Accessories

Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike

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We’re going to be looking at the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike.

Learn About Selecting the Right Hybrid Bike for You

There is a lot to consider when learning about hybrid bikes.

There are many different styles, models and brands.

You can read our review of Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike.

I have done a tremendous amount of urban/city commuting on a bike, and hybrids are great for Going Green Go Cycling.

I’ve had road bikes, cruisers and mountain bikes, but I truly recommend a hybrid bike.

Hybrid bikes are the Swiss Army knife of bicycles.

They are ‘ok/good’ at every type of riding but not great.

If a majority of your riding is casual, get a cruiser.

If it is long distance on paved roads, get a road bike.

If you are off terrain, definitely a mountain bike.

A hybrid bike can do all of these within reason and for a short duration.

Hybrid Bike

Another attribute I really liked about my different hybrid bike, is that they are beefier than road bikes for the curbs and potholes, and faster/easier to ride on pavement than mountain bikes.

hybrid bike don’t really fall into the category of road or mountain bikes.

They’re kind of a hybrid bike.

They’re in between and the reason you might want to get one of these bikes is if you are someone who does some riding on the street, maybe some light off-road riding, like hike and bike trails and that sort of thing.

You want a bike that’s going to be able to do a little bit of all of that.

So a hybrid bike is a good option for that.

If you want information about A Bicycle Built of Bamboo 

Selecting the Right Hybrid Bike for You

Some of the characteristics of a hybrid bike is that they will have tires that are wider than what you would find on a road bike but generally narrower than what you would find on a mountain bike.

They may have some tread on them to give you some traction and some mulch or loose soil.

They may or may not have suspension.

Some hybrid bike have a suspension fork in front to soak up some bumps.

Some have a suspension seat post to soak up some bumps coming from the rear wheel. But again that may not be the case with every hybrid bike out there.

They’re generally a little wider than a mountain bike and a little heavier than a road bike and again they’re not going to be the best at anything, but they’re sort of a jack-of-all-trades type bike.

Renting a bike

If you have the opportunity to rent a bike on your vacation or while at home, you will get a better idea of what you are looking for.

Test out a few models to see what you like.

Budget for your bike

First thing you might want to consider is your budget. When you go out, just have something in mind of what you can afford.

So you even know where to start looking in and what section of the bike shop should I even start looking.

How will you ride your hybrid bike

The second thing you might want to think on is how do I plan on riding my hybrid bike.

  • Am I going to put a lot of miles on it, a lot of road miles?
  • Will I use it around town as a city commuter?
  • Will I want to use my bike to grocery shop and/or to commute to work?
  • Am I going to be a road rider/maybe light MTB trails, mountain bike trails, bike paths, etc.?

A lot of that is going to determine what style hybrid bike that you want to get.

So the style would probably be one of the next things you would want to think of.

Bike fit

The other is hybrid bike fit.

You got to find out what hybrid bike fits you.

If it doesn’t fit you, you’re not going to like riding it.

The other is if you like riding the bike, so test ride as many as possible.

I can’t stress that enough.

Go to as many bike shops as you can, borrow hybrid bike, whatever you got to do; but ride as many of them as you can.

You can find one that you really, really like riding because if you like riding it, you’re going to ride it a whole lot more and that’s a pretty key factor.

Then you can start going in the other details about the hybrid bike.

Suspension or no suspension

A big thing to consider is whether they have suspension or not suspension.

Of course it’s going to lighten up the bike some if you do not have a suspension.

If you live in a really rough area and you have a lot of potholes, curve hopping, things like that or if you’re going to be off roading.

I prefer a suspension type that you can lock out for road rides and one that you can set a pre-load adjuster on too so that when you’re riding, you’re not always just putting all your energy into those front forks but when you hit that pothole, it’s not hard.

But a lot of bikes don’t need it.

Brakes

The braking is pretty important. An older style are called V brakes, like modulated linear pull.

Now the big thing is – and I agree – are disk brakes.

Of course this tendency if you get in the mud or you ride in the snow or anything like that, dirt and debris can build up.

It’s closer to the road. They get wetter.

I hear a lot of people say how much better just stopping in the rain but I don’t find any trouble with the linear pull brakes in the rain and they might squeak but you still get great stopping power.

But disk brakes will build up with a snowy mud that’s for sure where V-brakes brakes don’t.

Tire size

Tire size can be a huge factor on how fast you want to go and how they perform in various conditions.

Most hybrids nowadays are going to come with 700 cc series.

Some are as a city commuter which I think is an ideal city commuter.

Hybrids are great bikes to be a city commuter.

Usually they are equipped with 26 inch by 1.6 tire on it, semi slick so you get some speed on the road and some grip doing some bike paths and stuff like that.

Drive terrain

Drive terrain is also going to be really important thing to consider.

The crank, front chain rings, rear derailleur, front derailleur and rear cog set.

Hybrid bike are not designed to be fast bikes, they aren’t meant to be.

Typically you will have three front chain ring with two rear gears.

And a decent front and rear derailleur.

Gears

Your brake levers are pretty standard.

The gear shifts are called twist grip shifters or you got index shift.

There are so many variables out there now in the hybrid world.

You really got to factor in what your riding style is going to be and start going from there and start looking at bikes that are going to fit your riding style and how much you enjoy it.

Then in budget too, you also got to factor in extras which a lot of people tend to leave out and probably even other things like suspension seat post.

I love a suspension seat post and I’ve had bikes that don’t have them and they are ok but I prefer a suspension seat post.

Bike light

Are you going to want a Speedometer?

I particularly don’t care for one.

For me, lights are more important so I allocate more money to great bicycle lights.

Bike accessories

Probably going to want a saddle bag, basket or some kind of storage to carry certain items.

You may want a rack.

You may want a pump.

Carry your spare tube, lock.

Highly recommend a Awesome Bike Lock or you probably won’t have your bike too long especially if you get a nice one.

Water bottle, water bottle cage, you got to buy a helmet and all these accessories start adding up pretty quick too.

So if you just buy a new bike, you don’t have any accessories but you want to upgrade your bicycle, you got to kind of factor those into your budget or just do without until you can afford them

Hybrid bike summary

This is has been an overview.

It’s a really quick one on what you might look for in going out for a new hybrid.

I would recommend:

First, your budget, and not just for the bike but also factor in component upgrades and accessories.

What is your predicted riding style you know that you’re going to be using your hybrid for.

Next, “Does it fit you?” and are you comfortable RIDING it (gotta test ride them).

If you are not comfortable you will not ride it as much, and definitely not enjoy it when you are riding.

Last, “Do you like it?”  It can be the best bike in the world and if you don’t like it, you’re just not going to want to ride it as much.

So I know some people probably have better ideas and things that you could probably add to this.

This is not promoting any particular brand or model.

Just trying to throw some tips out there for buying a new hybrid and so hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about hybrid bikes and it helps you pick out a good hybrid bike for you.

A great option, and one we recommend, are the Diamondback Bicycles Insight 1, and Diamondback Bicycles Insight 2.

There are two recommended options, and this review will cover for both the Diamondback Insight 1 and Diamondback Insight 2 of the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike line.

They are both hybrid bikes, ideal for commuting and coming in with a pretty competitive price point PRICE, like some of the other hybrid bikes that are out there from Rockhopper or Giant or possibly Trek.

So, each manufacturer has a bike that comes in around this price point.

These are pretty stable hybrid bikes.

They have some nice features that I’m going to point out and also show you some of the modifications that I’ve made to my Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike that I think make it a little bit more user-friendly and better for the commuting environment, Go Green Go Cycling.

We have nice article about Learn About Selecting the Right Hybrid Bike for You

Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike
Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike

Diamonback Insight Hybrid Bike Review and Accessories

Beginning with the handle bars, the handle bars are a little bit on the thick side on the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike.

So that means you’re not going to be able to get a standard mounting for let’s say a BV Bicycle Super Bright 5 LED Headlight and 3 LED Taillight, or the speedometer, odometer.

You’ll have to rig up something kind of special because the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike has a really thick handle bar stem.

But it is a strong hybrid bike that can withstand the harsh rode pothole curb environment of an everyday commuting hybrid.

Regarding the handle bar grips I use are not the stock grips that came with the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike.

Instead of having a round grip, I prefer kind of a flat surface and it’s ideal for resting the palms so that your tendons and nerves in the hand don’t get pinched.

So that’s real key, I think that’s a good investment to go and upgrade to the nicer grips.

The shifting is really quite nice on the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike.

It has a lever action.

You push in too shift up and then pull this level back here to shift down.

Very simple for the beginning or advanced user.

Breaking is pretty good.

I did notice some squeaking but they work very well when the rims and tires are a little wet or even like a little bit of oil on them. So they are definitely a plus.

And I’ve discovered that that squeaking noise has become kind of a safety feature.

Often people are wearing headphones and listening music in their own world.

So you need more than just a bike bell to alert people that you’re coming up behind them.

And the squeaking is perfect.

It’s there when you need it when you start braking as you’re approaching.

The valve stems that come with the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike are Presta valves.

And so they are narrower.

They don’t work if you go to a gas station or use a standard air pump.

You just can’t pump up the tires.

So I added a little adapter which allows you to go to pretty much any air pump and fill up the tires, which is really convenient for a commuting bike because you’re going to be riding around town and maybe you’re not going to have a specialized bike shop or carrying around special pump with you to pump up the tires.

And at about 50 cents to a dollar, it’s definitely worth it to have for convenience.

I do find that the Presta valves that come with the bike, for whatever reason, maybe it’s just me but it seems that they tend to hold air better.

I’ve actually noticed it over the years.

It seems like a Presta valves on bikes tend to keep the air.

And maybe it’s just the tighter seal with the rubber gaskets in there or whatever.

Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike

Another item that I almost always add to my commuting hybrids bikes are fenders.

If I’m replacing a bike with a new one I’ll just remove and move the fenders from the old hybrid bike to the new hybrid bicycle.

I added the fenders from Planet Bike.

There are bunch of brands out there.

These are just the ones that were available.

But I found that they work well.

It’s good to have a plastic lip thing on the back to help catch the extra road dirt.

These are pretty basic fenders.

They mount to the forks and cover most of the rear part of the tire.

And that’s going to prevent road dirt, grit, sand, all that kind of stuff from getting up in the bottom bracket of those front gears that are really susceptible to picking up road debris.

Definitely a worthwhile item and fenders aren’t that expensive.

Depending on what kind of bike you have, if you have wider tires, you’ll need wider fenders.

Almost ALL hybrid bikes DO NOT come with a kick stand, it’s a $10 item.

I had that added on afterwards. Definitely worth it.

You probably want to stand the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike up on its own sometime.

I also like to add a bike rack.

This one is from a previous bicycle.

It’s a Ventura Universal Bicycle Rack.

I like this rack, I mean it works like a normal rack but it also works with TOMTOP Cycling Bike Bicycle Rack Pack that you can get. Definitely worth it.

Having a bag on top the rack is kind of nice.

You can hold the Kryptonite U-Lock with 4-Foot Flex Cable in here pretty easily.

Another feature that I like, is it does expand so you can really get a lot of extra, maybe a rain suit in or extra gear or whatever you want for a day trip or weekend trip on the bike, or just going from home to work.

For whatever won’t fit in a rear bike bag or if you really have more to carry with your Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike on your commute , you may want to go ahead and get a bike trailer.

I use the one from BicycleR Evolution, their trailers are starting at about $250 and up from there.

I like theirs because you can order just the metal frame structure and put your own tub on the back.

And because it’s using a rubber tub, it’s relatively waterproof which is a good thing.

The connection is similar to that of a high pressure air hose like air tools that are found in a garage or workshop. And so it just clips on and clips off.

Really quick, really easy, you don’t have to fiddle around the straps or whatever, just clip it on.

There is a u-bolt there you can see. And that u-bolt is useful for locking the trailer down if you want to lock it to a bike rack.

One thing I want to point out also is that they do have accessories.

So the same trailer can be used for two or three bikes.

You can buy an adapter and easily hook it in.

I ended up replacing the seat and seat post that came on the bike with a bike suspension Comfort Seat that’s very cushy, very comfortable.

If you’re putting a lot of miles on, which I do, you want a more comfortable seat.

I went ahead and got a heavier duty seat post because I wanted to make sure I had plenty of leg room.

Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike typically don’t come with a water bottle cage, so you want to go ahead and use one from a previous bicycle or pick out one that fits the kind of bottle that you’re going to be using.

I usually go with a basic aluminum black one.

And that works just fine for me.

One thing I found was that the pedals on most bikes are kind of small and plastic and slippery.

And in the rain, or year-round biking, you’re going to want something a little more stable than that.

So Diamondback has something they call the “Diamondback Bigfoot Pedals”.

And you’re going to get a better grip with your shoe to the pedal.

Less likely to slip off and have an accident which is a good thing.

And basically, other than those modifications, the bike itself I think has performed pretty well.

It’s a stiff frame bike and there is no suspension to it.

But the Diamondback Insight Hybrid Bike I would say is definitely worth the money.

But is you are interested in Bamboo Bikes

Lightweight Luggage and Suitcases Reviews for Frequent Travelers

lightweight luggage Review

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Lightweight luggage reviews are important to consider when you plan on travelling to any destination for your vacations or business.

A lot of people tend to pack heavy and face a lot of problems when they arrive at the airport.

Many manage to even lose some of their bags or suitcases.

Always travel light and smart so that you avoid the hassle of taking care of your bags while travelling.

When you plan your next trip,consider purchasing lightweight luggage when considering new suitcases or luggage bags.

It is important that you pay attention to both the size of the bag you purchase and its weight.

Luggage bags and suitcases made with plastic or aluminum provide a number of advantages.

Donate your old suitcases to charity like Goodwill.

If they are in bad condition, remember to recycle them. Kids carry-on luggage

Lightweight luggage bags are specially designed to reduce stress and strain of carrying your bags around with you.

Lightweight suitcases are designed to withstand a heavy load but at the same time provide you the ease and comfort of carrying your bags around.

Sleek and trendy luggage designs can be stowed away quite easily under your seat or overhead in the luggage space of the plane.

Read some lightweight luggage reviews to find out more about why packing light is essential for travel. Luggage for kids

 

Features Discussed in Lightweight Luggage Reviews

Easy Luggage

Using specially designed lightweight luggage while travelling can considerably reduce your travel expenses, for example overweight luggage costs and luggage costs in general.

Plus, lightweight luggage is easier to carry and lift when you are being checked at the airport.

You will not need to worry about hauling your luggage around.

Baggage Fee Reduction

Majority of the airlines charge a considerable amount of money if your baggage weight exceeds the prescribed limit.

You can find wheeled bags which are lighter than your average suitcase which means you will not have to pay anything extra for your bags.

Since the luggage itself is light, you can pack your heavy stuff in it easily.

Less Strain on Your Back

Carrying heavy luggage is a back crusher.

You might seriously injure your back when travelling with heavy luggage, in the process ruining your vacation.

It is advised that you research lightweight luggage reviews to ensure you get lightweight bags and suitcases which are easy to handle and carry because remember you will also have to handle your baggage when checking in a resort or hotel.

Make sure you buy a durable set of lightweight baggage so that the trip is comfortable for the entire family.

Lightweight bags are very strong, they may look light but they are built with strong materials such as plastic and aluminum.

Easy to Manage

The ease and comfort lightweight luggage provides cannot be emphasized enough.

Light baggage provides ease of handling for people who travel regularly and over long distances.

Small and durable travel bags are sturdy and easy to store anywhere when travelling.

Plus, lightweight luggage is easy to carry along especially when you have to move around a lot after reaching your destination.

Even at the airport, you have to board the bus that takes you to the airplane and while you’re roaming around the airport you will not have to worry about carrying heavy luggage with you.

Packing in a lightweight luggage bag is always convenient.

Do not make the mistake of carrying heavy luggage.

It can turn a happy trip into a trip filled with backaches and groans.

You’ll be resting half of the time during your vacations if you carry heavy luggage around.

How to Choose Lightweight Luggage

Here are some important tips to make your travels pleasant and enjoyable.

First of all, it is important that you plan your trip accordingly and depending on the period of days you will be travelling you must calculate how much luggage you will be taking along.

22-inch upright wheeled bags should weigh than 10 pounds when empty to be considered lightweight.

There are even some lightweight bags which weigh less than 8 pounds.

You can always pack more when the luggage is lightweight.

On the off chance that you are not a very organized packer, be sure to purchase a lightweight bag.

The lighter your luggage is, the lesser you’ll need to endure the hassle involved in handling it.

Secondly, decide what kind of lightweight luggage you need, for example you can get a soft-shelled lightweight bag and a hard-shelled one.

But soft sided luggage bags are often lighter as compared to the harder ones.

If you want to go for strength and durability, it is strongly suggested that you buy a durable suitcase made with components such as ABS or poly-carbonate.

These substances are both light and strong.

Luggage made of durable nylon, rip-stop materials or fabrics which are thick, for example the ‘Cordura’ are also very light and extremely durable.

Third, make sure you look for bags which have light handle frames.

Upright bags for travelling are built with handling frames which are light.

These handles are made using components like fiberglass, graphite or aluminum, which are all light materials.

Lastly, when you are purchase a lightweight travel bag, make sure that the bag set you choose doesn’t have too many attachments.

Unnecessary suitcase and travel bag attachments add more weight to the bags.

Choosing the Best Lightweight Bags

If you are in search of a lightweight luggage set, then try looking at some of the finest collections of lightweight travel bags on Luggage Pros and their section on ‘Lightweight Luggage’ has to offer.

You can buy suitcase bag sets in all shapes, sizes, colors and weights.

If you have read some lightweight luggage reviews, you might have noticed that much emphasis is also made on choosing four-wheeled and two-wheeled lightweight bags.

You can also get a bag which has a lock or non-lock handle option.

If you have a habit of leaning on the handle of your bag, it is advised that you buy one with a lockable handle.

The main advantage of suitcases which are under the 7-lb mark is that they are extremely light and durable.

These bags are so light that even kids can manage them.

Ultralight Edition by the World’s Lightest collection can be a good travel buddy as you can pack a lot of stuff in it and it will still be light.

The bag is a sophisticated product in terms of its structural integrity.

The only flaw in the bag is that it is a bit too light, which is a good thing, but from a protection point of view it does not stand a chance against a heavier suitcase.

Users of the bag have mentioned that it is sturdy enough for long or short travel.

The ‘ultralight’ edition is suited for those who prefer to travel light and are mainly carry-on travelers who carry just clothing and other non-breakables.

How the ‘Ultralight Edition’ by the World’s Lightest collection is rated:

The usefulness and portability factors is rated 10/10, as it is durable and super light to carry.

It offers good value for money.

These suitcases are reasonably priced making it affordable for everybody.

Another 10/10.

The durability of this particular product can be somewhat questioned as it is not that strong compared to a heavier suitcase.

So, the durability factor stands at 7/10.

Apart from this, the bag comes in different colors and has a very trendy look, so 9/10 for looks.

Lightweight Luggage Reviews Other Luggage Items

Let’s say you need to make a decision regarding a lightweight suitcase with wheels versus a suitcase that has no wheels and you decide to go for the one with the wheels then what should you look for?

Once you have decided that you want a bag with wheels it is important to then decide how many wheels would you prefer, four or two?

Do you want a hard sided bag or a soft sided one?

In any case, it is highly recommended that you go for the eBags EXO 2.0 Hardside 24″ Spinner.

The ‘EXO Hardside Spinner’ is considered top-of-the-line when it comes to lightweight travel bags due to its extraordinary structural integrity.

The EXO has a bombproof shell made with ribbed polycarbonate component and provides strong protection against rough bag handling and any other chaotic event.

According to various sources some testers of the EXO said that the bag survived a very long European trip (approx. 13,000 miles) without a dent or a scratch on it.

It is regarded as the most reliable and durable two-wheeled spinner ever made and tested and most users completely agree with this statement.

Lightest Suitcase – easy to Lift

When it comes to lightweight travel bags, IT Luggage has been unbeatable with its ‘World’s Lightest’ collection pioneering in lightweight suitcases which are wheeled, The luggage bags have 2 and 4-wheel options as well.

Hard-shell is also a very good option and has become fairly popular when it comes to lightweight travel luggage sets.

Antler has a very sophisticated hard-shell suitcase design starting at very lightweights (4.8 pounds) and is a more durable option.

If you prefer to go for a more expensive product then get the ‘Liquis’ which uses a hard substance called poly-carbonate.

It is a design which can bend but will not break or crack, with a very beautiful yet sophisticated design.

Lightweight bags are popular and this is primarily due to the fact that you can reduce your overweight charges.

‘Delsey’ specializes in offering sophisticated handlebars which alert the user if the luggage goes over 50 pounds.

This suitcase will prove to be quite useful on your travels.

You can even opt for a Rimowa Salsa Deluxe which has very good handling options.

The Salsa Deluxe has a telescopic handle which you can stop anywhere you want in order to adjust the height.

Another feature involves a front pocket made out of Kevlar, a material used to make bulletproof jackets.

New Wheel Technology

The original manufacturers of the famous ‘Rollaboard’, Travelpro came first in a show pertaining to best travel products and took an award for its product known as Platinum Magna.

This item features technology which uses magnets to keep the wheels straight.

Samsonite Winfield vs Samsonite Omni Carry On Luggage – Which Should You Choose?

Convertibility

Sometimes a bag needs to be more than just a single bag and transform itself into another bag.

Eagle Creek designed a bag called Morphus which has an amazing feature: the bag can become another bag.

You can unzip the front end of the bag and zip on the full-sized bag which is placed on the back of the original bag.

Another amazing lightweight bag known as the Podal, a product by Visionair, can be turned into a table so that the user can use his/her laptop or tablet sitting anywhere conveniently.

Researching in advance will come in handy to you if you wish to travel smartly and efficiently.

Go through them before you purchase luggage the next time!

Packing Cubes – Save Space and Travel Lightly

When it comes to packing cubes, not all products are the same in terms of quality, construction and overall durability.

When you are traveling, you need something that is easy to use and durable.

You also need packing cubes that can help you to get through customs and security at the airport without a problem.

Buying the right packing cubes can actually make it easier for you to travel.

These are necessary for those who travel frequently and who want a great product to keep them organized throughout their trip.

Packing Cubes: Save Space and Travel Lightly

Which Should You Buy?

While there are a number of different packing cubes on the market, some products are just a better option than others are.

As you consider your needs, there are a few manufacturer’s products that received higher praise from consumers.

Look at those here.

Rick Steves Packing Cube Set

One of the options to consider is the Rick Steves Packing Cube Set which has three flexible, five deep cubes with three side perimeter zippers.

When you do not need to use them, though, they collapse into nearly nothing, taking up very little room.

You can pile whatever you need into them and close them securely on three sizes.

It is easy for the airport security personnel to dig through them as they need to, though.

Customers like the high quality and durability of these.

eBags Packing Cubes

Though there are numerous sizes and shapes available, the eBags Medium Packing Cubes seem to be the most popular option.

This comes in a three-piece set. There are several benefits to these.

These benefits include the double zipper pull to keep closing easy and the mesh top panel that allows you to see what is in them.

In addition, the mesh is soft enough that it will not damage even your softest of materials.

The handle makes them easy to carry if you do want to carry them on their own.

Moreover, the durability of the entire piece is a great asset.

You can get a set of 3 for $23 dollars at ebags.

Eagle Creek Travel Gear Double Packing Cube

Another option to consider is Eagle Creek’s Travel Gear Pack It Double Packing Cube.

It has a mesh top to allow for breathability.

It is sized to fit on top of or into a Pack It Folder 18 inches.

For those who are looking for a true travel system, this company’s products are perfect for just that.

You will find cubes the right size for just about anything.

These will keep your clothing or your gear easily accessible but organized throughout your trip, too.

Customers like the durability and the ease of using these.

For those who are looking for packing cubes they can trust to keep them organized and those that are actually sized to be useful for the items you take with you, choose those listed here.

Consumers love the overall options and details of these packing cubes, and the costs are right in line with all other packing cubes on the market.

Choose the sizes you need and then rest assured you have the best.

How to Pack Lighter and Smarter For Traveling

Best Travel Hats for Bug Protection, Sun, Wide Brim, Crushable, Tilley

Hippy Feet hat travel hats

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Best Travel Hats – The hat I usually took with me when traveling was an old baseball hat.

It was “broken in,” fit me well, packed well (I usually put socks inside it in my bag to save on space), and would keep the sun out of my eyes.

It served it the purpose I needed.

The baseball hat provided shade, looked decent, and covered up a bad hair day.

These are all important qualities in a hat.

But sometimes when you are spending a lot of time on a boat, in the rain forest, on the beach in the sun, hiking in the desert, or somewhere with lots of bugs and mosquitoes, you need something better than a baseball hat.

Here are the best travel hats for bug protection, sun, wide brim and more, based on hats in various categories.

After getting attacked with bugs on our visit to the southeastern states, we made it our mission to never leave for a trip or even a day hike without a hat to keep the bugs away.

Here are two of our favorites.

Best travel hats for bug protection

These mosquito protection hats really do help keep the bugs away:

Olymstore Camouflage hat – This Olymstore(TM) 2pcs Camouflage Beekeeping hat is so affordable, I couldn’t believe the price was for two of them.

And I sure wasn’t sure what to expect after I ordered them.

Yet, they proved to do the job and then some.

My hat was great at keeping the mosquitoes away from my neck — where I’m usually bitten — during my evening hiking excursions.

I used it during the day another time and had rolled up the netting.

It was there if I needed it.

This is great for using during fishing, camping, hiking, gardening, and more.

It provided excellent protection from mosquitoes and works great to prevent bees, pesky gnats and no-see-ums too.

ExOfficio BugsAway Mesh Cape Hat – This comes in two sizes so this hat is great for older kids as well as adults.

It’s made from nylon.

The mesh part detaches.

It doesn’t completely cover your face but what’s nice is that it snaps in front so it covers better and won’t flap around.

It’s so important to protect against mosquitoes, especially when traveling to other countries.

Best Sun Hats: Wide Brim and Beach Hats

We love spending time in the sun.

The best travel hats for sun protection include those that have wide brims or special neck coverings to keep the sun as much off your face and neck as possible.

I’ve also included beach hats here:

Dorfman Pacific Solarweave Mesh Trekker Hat
Sahara Hat – Women’s
White Rock Oasis X-Lite Bucket Hat
Outdoor Research Oasis Sombrero – Women’s

Tilley Hats (and Tilley style hats)

Travel Hats

These hats are all in Tilley brand hats or in the traditional Tilley style.

They have wide brims, tend to be breathable, and come backed with a brand name that says:

This is an awesome hat – so awesome that we guarantee it for life.

Tilley LTM6 Airflo Hat

This Tilley travel hat floats if it falls in the water, offers 50 SPF protection, fits with a cord under your chin (for high winds or high speed boat rides), and comes with Tilley’s lifetime guarantee.

Tilley also offers an aviator hat, a Tilley Winter hat, and a Tilley Hemp hat.

Tilley look-alike travel hats

They look much like the Tilley hats, but are cheaper in price.

They generally do not offer the same breathability as Tilley’s hat, but they are usually similar in style.

You may find some imitation brands that snap on both sides to keep the flaps up if you want them up instead of down.

Best Travel Pants for Women that are Stylish and Comfortable

Crushable Travel Hats

These crushable travel hats allow you to fold up or roll up the hat so that it doesn’t get crushed or wrinkled in your suit case while you are traveling.

Our top picks include:

Brixton – Gain – Comes in black crushable felt
Dorfman Pacific All Season Crushable Hat

Best travel hats for bug protection wherever you are going

It is so important to wear a hat, even if you don’t particularly like wearing them.

There are best travel hats for wherever you are going.

Remember to pack one or two on your trip as the right kind of hat for your journey can be more effective than sunscreen alone to shield you from the sun’s harmful rays.

And who knew there were hats to keep the mosquitoes away.

Even if you think you don’t need one or won’t wear it, pack a hat before leave for your trip.

You just might find it comes in handy.

Natural Mosquito Repellent Ideas ~ Plants and Other Tips

As a child in the 1970’s in the Chicago area, I remember going inside and watching from my living room when the mosquito control truck would go down our street spraying chemicals to prevent mosquitoes.

Even then we knew those chemicals couldn’t be good for us to breathe in but we didn’t have many natural mosquito repellent choices.

We sprayed Off! from aerosol cans and enjoyed our evenings.

Wearing a hat seemed to help keeping them away from my head.

I haven’t seen those trucks in decades but they have to exist as without them in some areas, there would be even worse mosquito population problems.

Increases in mosquito populations cause devastating public health issues, including increases in Malaria, West Nile, Lyme Disease, Yellow fever, Dengue fever, Encephalitis viruses, and more.

There become more problems for livestock and wildlife as well.

So many mosquitoes

Did you know that in the US there are over 176 types of mosquitoes and over 3,000 types in the world?

No matter what area of the country or world you’re in, chances are you may be plagued by these pesky creatures.

And if you’re like me, to ward them off you typically reach for mosquito repellent sprays or creams which are all basically chemicals.

Traditional Deet-filled mosquito repellent is far from natural.

Thankfully, there are preventative measures you can take.

There are even plants that repel mosquitoes.

They either work by planting them in your garden or by taking a bit of the plant and releasing some of the scents.

Natural mosquito repellent ideas

Whether or not it’s the season for mosquitoes, it is always a good time to think about keeping mosquitoes away from your property.

There are easy chemical-free steps you can take to ward them off, especially if you live in an area where it doesn’t get below freezing often enough to control their populations.

Remove standing water from around your home

You can do this by ensuring you don’t have empty buckets or flower pots collecting water.

You can also take a broom to “sweep away” standing water in low spots on your driveway or patio.

Make sure your garbage cans are always closed.

Clean out your gutters

Dried and decaying leaves, damp twigs and water are the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Rake and remove leaves

Damp and decaying leaves blow around your yard and often bunch up under bushes, at the base of trees and fences, and around your house.

Though unsightly for my neighbors, I always thought a few little piles were okay and even good; I thought they would break down and enrich the soil.

Now I know while they may be good for the earth, removing them eliminates mosquitoes from living and breeding there.

Avoid being out at sunrise or sunset

Especially in the hot summer months, these are times when you are most likely wanting to be outside; however, this is the time when mosquitoes are most active.

Natural mosquito repellent ideas

Hang a bat box

When we lived in Indianapolis and in Tucson, we saw lots of bats — probably because there were lots of mosquitoes!

We bought bat boxes to encourage them to fly around and feast in our yard.

Hang bird feeders and man made nesting boxes

Some birds, like swallows, eat mosquitoes so do what you can to encourage these animals to live near your home.

Bird feeders, man-made nesting boxes, and bird baths are helpful.

However, if you use a bird bath be sure to empty and clean it frequently because mosquitoes will breed in the water.

Plant mosquito repellent plants

This is a controversial topic as most research points to the mosquito-repelling benefits only when you rub the leaves on your skin.

It is important before doing this that you test a small amount on a small section of your skin for a few days to ensure you are not allergic.

Mosquito repelling plants

Here are some mosquito repelling plants that have been known to help:

  • Fennel
  • Thyme
  • Clove oil
  • Basil
  • Citronella Grass: Use the oil from Citronella. Ensure the plant you’re buying is not just a “Citronella Plant,” “Citronella Geranium,” or “Mosquito Plant” as these are different varieties and while they may smell similar to Citronella, they are far less effective.
  • Catnip: Reported to be up to 10 times more effective than DEET
  • Clove
  • Eucalyptus
  • Garlic
  • Lemon Grass
  • Marigolds
  • Neem Trees
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm (a great alternative to Citronella)
  • Lemon Thyme (studies show this is about 60 percent effective as DEET)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Tea tree

Not all of this mosquito repellent plants grow in all climates.

Check with your local nursery to find the plants that grow best in your area.

In order for these mosquito repelling plants to be most effective, plant them in potted plants around your patio area.

When you’re sitting outside and the mosquitoes are especially bad, break off a piece of plant that repels mosquitoes.

Crush it, and rub the oils on your pulse points.

How to prevent mosquitoes

Citronella oil to repel mosquitoes

The plants that contain the citronella oil in them may deter mosquitoes.

However, it is mostly when you crush the leaves and rub them directly on your skin.

There is also citronella oil that you can purchase online or at health retailers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) when used correctly, mosquito repellents that have DEET or picaridin are safe for adults and children over 2 months.

Still, many mosquito repellents are in spray form.

These are bad because we inhale them.

Also, if they are aerosol and not pump bottles, they contribute to ozone depletion.

We’re also busy slathering sunscreen on ourselves during these mosquito prevalent months.

There are a lot of chemicals being absorbed through our skin.

Preventing mosquitoes

While there are many ways to prevent against mosquitoes, it seems some people attract mosquitoes than others.

When we lived in the Midwest, my elementary-aged son was what our family calls, a Mosquito Magnet.

Since moving to Tucson, I have been given that distinction.

Even better than repelling mosquitoes is preventing them.

Do what you can with natural mosquito repellent ideas to prevent mosquitoes.

It’s so important to control mosquitoes.

Remove standing water and have a few plants potted in your backyard.

You may be on your way to a DEET and mosquito-free spring through fall!

Sun Safety for Kids Tips from Safe Sunblock to SPF Clothing

It’s the summer vacation season, and whether you’re traveling or staying at home, sun safety for kids is a must.

In addition to buying new sunblock for your family every year, it’s important to ensure you apply it often and in ample quantity.

Read on for lists and picks of safe sunblock for kids, plus sun protectant wear for everyone in your family.

Choose a Safe Sunblock

With hundreds of sunblock brands to choose from, how to know which are best for the environment and your skin?

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) does the work for us, annually testing top sunblock brands to bring consumers environmentally safe picks.

The best sunscreens protect skin from UVB (sunburn) and UVA (skin cancer) rays, score a low hazard rating, and are rated at 30-45 SPF (higher is usually meaningless).

If you want to dig deeper, 21 safe sunscreen winners are listed by the Organic Authority, as well as the best kid-friendly sunscreens from Delicious Baby.

Our own top three choices for active travel, travel with kids, and all-purpose use all rate highly assafe sunscreens:

All Terrain AquaSport:

All Terrain is all-natural, oxybenzone-free, and includes a skin protectant to protect from drying effects of the sun.

It comes in a convenient, non-greasy stick ($10.30) for active travelers.

EWG safety score: 1 out of 10 (the best possible score).

Badger Baby Sunscreen

Badger has long been a trusted name in natural sunscreens.

Badger is thicker than many mainstream sunscreens and provides excellent protection for you little one’s skin.

It’s a little pricey, but it goes a long way.

EWG safety score: 1 out of 10 (one is the best score).

Badger Baby Sunscreen

Kiss My Face:

Kiss my Face products, including their lip balm and sunscreens, are made with organic beeswax or hydresia and no artificial colors.

Plus, they’re vegan-friendly and use no animal testing.

It’s more economical than some other options.

EWG safety score: 2 out of 10.

If you have some sunscreen at home that isn’t expired, check it on the Good Guide to see its safety rating.

Make Your Own Sunscreen

Not sure you trust any brand to make truly beneficial sunscreen, or can’t afford the expense?

Make your own sunscreen utilizing any of the many Pinterest recipes below.

In general, most standard sunscreen recipes call for the following:

  • coconut oil
  • cocoa butter
  • aloe vera gel
  • zinc oxide powder

Opt for SPF Clothing

Over the years of wrestling kids to wear sunscreen and remembering to wear (and reapply!) it myself, I’ve found the best sun protection is in clothing.

Make sure you pack a sun hat and sun protective clothing in your bag along with sunscreen before a day outdoors in summer.

The three brands below are my favorite for sun protective clothing for women, kids, and everyone!

Athleta:

Athleta’s line of sun shirts and cover-ups for women are sporty, so they won’t hamper your active vacation or day out.

In other words, these are not decorative cover-ups meant only to make a fashion statement or cover where swimsuits don’t.

They are lightweight, playful, and do double-duty as shirts and dresses to eat out in or do some shopping in should you be traveling.

Sun protective clothing:

I love Sun Protection line of sun and swim wear that blocks 98% of UV rays, because they offer them in sizes from baby to adult for both genders.

Gone are the days of baggy, ugly sun protective wear: these items are fitted and fun but still get the job done.

Sunday Afternoons:

This line of sun-protection clothing for men, women, and kids boasts wide-brimmed hats, sun shirts, and swim wear.

A ground-breaker in sun protection, Sunday Afternoons has been around since the beginning of sun protection awareness.

Remember the sunglasses!

Sun protection for your eyes is crucial, and is often overlooked for kids.

If you have kids who resist wearing sunglasses, try fitted pairs with elastic straps, soft frames, or foregoing sunglasses in favor of wide-brimmed hats.

My kids refused sunglasses until well into their school-aged years, and we relied completely on hat protection to shade their sensitive eyes.

Keep kids safe while in the sun

Sun safety for kids, even on days that don’t seem hot, is essential.

How to keep kids safe while in the sun is easy with some precautions.

It’s always a good time to review the measures you take for sun protection.

With these tips for sun safety for kids as well as adults, you can arm yourself with sunscreens and protective wear.