The traveling season is upon us and it is fun to see how well the technology works to make it easier. We spent nearly the entire month of July on the road and we discovered that researching places, events, and schedules on the internet make it much more enjoyable. So what follows will be ideas and suggestions that you can use in your own traveling adventures.
First is a must, for road trips, you need to plan ahead not only in what you visit but also where you are going to stay, especially if you are heading to any tourist friendly destination. The good news is that nearly all of this can be done from your phone or tablet.
For overall planning, I have for years used Microsoft Streets and Trips which is now discontinued. I loved it because I could lay out the entire trip on the computer screen, check the road conditions, and best of all for me, tell it how long I was planning on spending at a location so that I don’t end up rolling into the hotel in the wee hours of the morning. For that reason alone, I still use it.
Another really useful tool we had in the past was from AAA and that was the AAA Trip Tiks where you put in where you want to go, it will map it out and give you hard copy road maps to your destination. Trip Ticks are still available online for AAA members (which is something else that you should not leave home without); but the problem with it is that you can only have 12 designated stops in a trip and can not use it to effectively plan your hotels. They are there to add as stops but you can’t use it to plan the timing of the trip.
I looked at Rand McNally Trip Maker but found it lacking. For instance, it could not find several places I was looking for like the University of Michigan Museum of Art which was a terrific stop on our trip. In fact, it had no place to look for it.
One of my go to sources for travel information is the Points Guy and he has a terrific article with lots of suggestions. Take a look and I will also be using him for my next trip.
My other travel tip is that if you are heading to a very busy tourist destination like the CN Tower in Toronto, or Ripley’s Aquarium right next door, the lines are often several hours long to get in. The tip is to buy a timed entrance ticket ahead of time online and avoid those horribly long lines. The same goes with another terrific destination; Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. At Fallingwater, you can’t even show up and buy tickets to tour the house, you must buy them in advance.
Ok, time for some new stuff. GoSun Chill is a combination cooler, power bank, and solar panel that will according to them: “The Chill is more than a cooler, it's an off-grid refrigerator without the noisy generator. GoSun joins the latest high-efficiency compressor technology with a solar-powered eco-system to keep you fueled and cooled no matter what. Say goodbye to fishing for soggy sandwiches in a pool of hotdog juice- the solar alternative has arrived. • No Ice: More Space, Less Weight and Fresher Food • Primary Power: Sunshine! Back-up power: 12 Volt & AC • Keeps Foods Frozen for Hours • Charges Electronics” Still on Indiegogo for $649.
Traveling whether by road or air, you need an organizer to keep track of everything from passports to credit cards to card receipts and tickets. Noreve has come out with a really cool looking organizer that is both leather but also contains an RFID blocking technology to keep your cards safe. Now do you really need to keep them safe? This site says No. This is a well put together organizer that has room for everything above and more. $249.
Ok, back home again and time to see what I can do for around the house.
Klipsch has created the new The Three II, a really great sounding tabletop speaker. Because it is wireless, you can connect it to almost any source via Bluetooth or the built-in 3.5 mm audio mini connection. I know that it doesn’t look like anything from Amazon, Google, Bose and the rest but I was so impressed with the sound and I have to admit, I am a retro guy when it comes to things like this and so I like this Mid-century modern design. A little larger than what you might expect at 14 x 7 x 8 inches, it will go anywhere. It features two 2 ¼ inch full range drivers and a 5.1/4 inch long-throw woofer that works with a pair of 5 ¼ dual opposed passive radiators. The specs are impressive. $399. Can’t wait to get one.
If you want to know your genetic makeup, not your ancestry or geneology; then Orig3n is a place to look. They offered free DNA genetic testing at CES and I was quite disappointed that it just came back with information on three chains. I could of course, buy some of the others but depending on how many chains you want to look at, it could be quite expensive. You can pick and choose what to buy. The Fitness DNA Test starts at $149. To see what foods suit you best, look at the Nutrition DNA Test, also $149.