Gifts Ideas For Travelers

The holidays are filled with seeing your loved ones, consuming large amounts of food, and celebrating life. In the midst of all this, it is easy to get stressed out about all the preparation and planning that comes with this time of year. Thinking of presents to get your loved ones can be daunting, so I have composed a list of gifts perfect for the travel enthusiast in your life.

  • IT Luggage World’s Lightest Carry-On: This is the best selling, ultra lightweight luggage on the market. Weighing in at only 3.44 pounds, this allows you to bring more of your necessities with you. This comes in a variety of colors and is more structured than just a duffel bag, so there is better protection from the outside for the items you pack inside.
  • The Mophie Powerstation Plus: All travelers appreciate their portable electronic devices (smart phones, e-readers, and music players) and know the inconvenience of running out of battery life. This compact universal charger allows travelers to charge their devices easily on the go. These Powerstation devices work two to four times faster than other chargers and are good for 500 charging cycles at full capacity. When not in use, there is a place to hide the attached wires, so it is even more compact than other portable chargers.
  • Scrubba Wash Bag: This portable wash bag cleans your clothes as efficiently as a washer and only takes a few minutes. These wash bags are especially good for people who like backpacking or camping because they only weigh around 5 ounces, fold to fit in your pocket and will allow you to save money on washing clothes while traveling. 
  • BugLit LED Micro Flashlight: This micro flashlight is encased in a durable plastic housing with two “legs” that are flexible and made to be bent and manipulated so that it can be used hands-free. The white LED has a range of up to 50 feet and one-mile visibility. This flashlight has settings for high power, low power, strobe, and signal. There is also a clip attached to this so you can clip it onto zippers, keys, or belt loops for easy convenience. 
  • International Calling Cards: The holidays aren’t the only time to reconnect with loved ones; it is important to stay connected as much as possible. If someone spends most of their time traveling, it is easy to lose touch because of the high cost of calling internationally, but calling cards can eliminate most of the high prices (comfi.com has calling cards that can save you up to 95% on international calls). Showing someone that you care about hearing from them on a regular basis is an inexpensive and meaningful gift.
  • Fresh Travel Wipes: These wipes come in packs of face wash, antiperspirant, nail polish remover, makeup remover, bug spray, and anti-bacterial wipes. Not only are these great for the liquid limitations enforced on air planes, but they also eliminate the fear of liquids spilling in your luggage. These are relatively inexpensive and come in a little package, so they won’t take up much room and they would make for good stocking-stuffers.

Hopefully this list gives you some ideas of what to get your loved ones and gives you more time to focus on enjoying your holiday festivities!

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Liquid Scanner Could End Airport Restrictions

Most travelers will agree: the restrictions on liquids allowed on airplanes, while meant for our protection, can be a nuisance to abide by. As of almost ten years ago, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) set rules on liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes that limited the amount allowed through airport checkpoints to 3.4 ounces, or less, per container. This rule has caused more hassle for travelers and extra time spent in long lines while going through security.

Colbalt Light Systems has created a machine that can identify any liquid in a non-metal container within five seconds. This new technology, named the Insight100 Liquid Explosive Detection System (LEDS), can identify solids, gels, powders, and liquids based on their chemical composition.This machine can easily screen partially filled or full containers measuring from ten milliliters up to three liters.

Colbalt Light Systems’ Vice President of Security Products, Ken Mann, explains how the Insight100 works, “We shine a laser at the bottle and analyze the light that comes back, compare that with a spectrum and a library of threat materials. If it’s a threat, we alarm. It’s very specific, so we have a very high level of detection and almost no false alarms.”

This is not the first liquid scanner of its kind, but with the low false detection rate of less than 0.5%, the Insight100 is proving to be more reliable than its predecessors.

So far this security scanner is being tested out in 65 airports in Europe and Australia. If all goes well and this machine is implemented globally, there are expectations for the liquid restrictions to be removed by 2016.

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A Windowless Plane With a Better View

Imagine flying in an airplane where your view is not obstructed by walls and you can actually see the environment outside of the plane. It sounds like a science fiction novel, but it is actually a real concept in which the Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is trying to turn into a reality within a short amount of time.

Not only will these windowless planes show a beautiful panoramic view to their passengers, but there are claims that it will reduce the price of flying, which will most likely result in cheaper airfare. On the CPI’s press release, they state, “A view of the skies will not only offer a passenger experience that will transform your journey, the elimination of the windows will also reduce weight, as well as enhance the safety and strength of the fuselage. Weight is a constant issue on any aircraft with over 80% of the fully laden weight being the aircraft itself along with its fuel. For every 1% reduction in weight, the approximate fuel saving is 0.75%. If you save weight, you save fuel. And less fuel means less CO2 emissions into the atmosphere and lower operational cost.”

Instead of regular windows, the airplane walls will be fitted with thin flexible screens that will display the view of the outside in real time (they would be linked to cameras attached to the outside of the plane). Not only would the screens be able to show the surrounding view, but it could also be programmed to show any scenery, including and not limited to in-flight video conferencing, or anything that the passengers would want.

While this new idea seems to be taking off at a fast pace, U.S. engineering firm, Spike Aerospace, seems to be the first windowless cabin of its kind to announce their expectations for the first launch for their luxury Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet to be in 2018.
Posted in airplane, comfi, cpi, technology, Travel, travel news | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Thanksgiving Airport Travel Tips

With November coming up fast, it is wise to start thinking about your Thanksgiving holiday travels. November is the start of the busiest travel time of the year and with unpredictable winter weather, it means even more travel delays and unexpected situations that travelers have to deal with. Here are some tips to reduce the stress of holiday travel, that will give you more time to be thankful.

1) Plan early- Generally speaking, unless there are brief special deals that pop up, the earlier you purchase your tickets, the cheaper they will be. If you do want to wait to see if there are any discounts that arise, you should follow your airline of choice on social media (often times special sales will be announced on their pages to their loyal customers before it is available to the public).

2) Use your smart phone- Not only are there applications for tracking your flights and hearing about delays, but airlines such as Delta, Southwest, and American Airlines all have mobile websites where their customers can check in and confirm their seats. Don’t forget to charge your devices before you leave your house, there are outlets in the airport, but it could be hard to track down an open one with the amount of people travelling. If you can, make sure to bring a portable charger.

3) Check in early- By checking in as soon as possible, you will not feel pressured to rush, which can add unnecessary stress to your day. Being early also gives you more of a chance at switching to a better seat and you will ensure that you will not get bumped from your flight. When a flight is over sold, airlines usually bump the customers who are the last ones to check in.

4) Pack light- If possible, try to pack only the necessities. If you can avoid checking a back then you will also be cutting out: time spent checking and collecting your bag, paying extra money, and the stress of worrying about being separated from your belongings.

5) Always ask- In the unfortunate event of a storm or natural cause that makes it so you have to re-book your flight, ask if you will be expected to pay for it. Some airlines have been known to issue waivers for some Thanksgiving flights. If the weather does make it so your flight is canceled and you have to leave earlier or later instead, sometimes airlines will offer to re-book your flight free of charge. If it will save you money, then you should definitely ask.

Posted in airport, comfi, Fall, thanksgiving, Tips, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Marriott Fined $600,000 for Illegally Blocking Personal Wi-Fi

Most travelers know the importance of Wi-Fi and how crucial it is to complete your day to day business. Unfortunately, it turns out that certain businesses, including hotels, are not above taking advantage of their customers personal Wi-Fi to make even more of a profit for themselves.

It is common for travelers to purchase and use personal Wi-Fi hotspots that connect to the internet via cellphone towers. Depending on what rate you want to pay, some people even upgrade their wireless data plans to turn their smartphones into hotspots. This way people will be able to connect to the internet while on the move and can avoid hefty fees charged by businesses.

The FCC says that employees at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee, used technology to disable personal Wi-Fi networks established by attendees at its conference facilities. The hotel then charged guests anywhere from $250 to $1,000 per device for access to the hotel network.

In a statement, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief Travis LeBlanc said, “It is unacceptable for any hotel to intentionally disable personal hotspots while also charging consumers and small businesses high fees to use the hotel’s own Wi-Fi network. This practice puts consumers in the untenable position of either paying twice for the same service or forgoing Internet access altogether.”

Marriott International has agreed to pay a $600,000 fine to resolve this Federal Communications Commission investigation. Along with the fine, Marriott will also file compliance and usage reports with the Bureau every three months for three years including information documenting any use of Internet access point containment features at any U.S. property that Marriott owns or manages.

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Using Your Cell Phone Abroad

With technology being so advanced, travelers know that their cell phones are more than just a device to make calls from. Your cell phone can be anything from a map to an airplane flight tracker, for basically just the cost of your monthly phone plan, but if you are not aware of the rules of using your phone while travelling then you can run into unexpected costs and trouble. Here are some tips to using a cell phone abroad the cheapest and most efficient ways:

  • Make sure to purchase an electrical adapter that will be compatible with the outlets in the country you are visiting. If you can’t charge your phone then you will not be using it for long.
  • Turn data roaming off! Your phone should automatically turn roaming off when you are travelling internationally, but it is also smart to double check. Most people are not aware, but if you are travelling globally, even you are not using your phone, your phone will still use data to do things like receive messages, update apps, and so much more. If you do not turn your data off, you will get a large amount of unexpected charges.
  • Use Wi-Fi. Always use Wi-Fi because it is free and it is available in many public places and hotels. To be safe, it is best to use a VPN (virtual private network). VPN’s protect your privacy and help prevent anyone from hacking into your phone because they basically create your own private network.
  • Download the iVox international calling application because it allows you to make international calls for cheap rates. When you use this app (with Wi-Fi) you will only be charged the low rate per minute; you will not have to worry about any unexpected charges on your monthly phone bill. This app will allow you to stay in touch with people back home as well as the people and places that you are visiting.
  • Write down important phone numbers and keep it somewhere safe. It is handy to have your it on you, but in the unfortunate event of losing or breaking your cell phone, it is always a relief to have the phone numbers you need written down somewhere you can access them.

These may seem like little tips, but if you take them into consideration you will avoid a lot of frustration and surprising fees.

Posted in comfi, gadgets, Global, iVox, Money saving, Smartphones, Tips, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fall Food Festivals Around the World

With the transition of seasons from summer to autumn, there are many things to look forward to, depending on where you live, such as: the beautiful changing colors of leaves, comfortable weather that is not too hot an not too cold, and the beginning of the holiday season. Thankfully, no matter where you are, fall also marks the busy season for food festivals. Here is a list of five highly regarded food festivals from around the world:
1)  Galway, Ireland- Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival. This year marks the 60th anniversary of this food festival that will be held September 25th-28th. This is the longest running oyster festival and includes talks and tastings in some of Galway’s best restaurants, oyster shucking championships, a Mardi Gras style Gala Event, family activities, live music, cooking demonstrations, and more.
2) London, England- London Restaurant Festival. Taking place October 8th-27th, this festival’s aim is to support London’s restaurant scene by letting people try as many restaurants as possible through a series of fun and delicious events. Each day, festival goers will be taken on a road trip through London to three different locations (including exclusive hotels and restaurants) where they will eat a starter, a main course and a dessert.
3) Alba, Italy- White Truffle Festival. Occurring October 11th- November 16th, this festival includes a white truffle market, cooking workshops, a donkey race, concerts, wine pairings, and an invite-only truffle world auction. Truffles are one of the top culinary dishes in Italy during the fall, so if you wold like to go, but cannot attend this festival, do not get too upset as there are many other white truffle festivals that take place throughout Italy.
4) Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, Australia- Good Food Month. Taking place throughout these Australian cities in October and November, there will be a showcase of the regions best restaurants, cafes and bars, as well as classes, talks hosted by special guests and various events and special offers.
5) Napa Valley, California- Flavor! Napa Valley. This festival will be held November 19th- 23rd and includes wine and food tastings, meals, demonstrations, seminars and hands on events. You can also feel good about attending this festival because net proceeds will support programs and scholarships at The Culinary Institute of America’s Greystone Campus in St. Helena, CA.
If you are a self-claimed foodie, or you just enjoy a good meal, you should definitely try to make it to one of these food festivals.
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