PERFECT FATHER'S DAY GIFTS FOR THE TRAVELING DAD

As Father’s Day approaches each year, many of you will again be at a loss to come up with that perfect gift for your special Dad. If your father loves to travel, you’re in luck, as there is always something he can use to make his travels more comfortable and efficient.

Since our father travels all year round, it didn’t take too much thought to come up with some travel-related products to make his life on the road easier.

This is not your Dad’s Old “Leisure Suit” —Hip combines with comfort for a great style

tony_tracksuit-19_2048x2048 (2).jpg

It’s always a challenge to find a comfortable travel garment that will take you from a long flight to your destination--and make you look stylish each step of the way.  The venerable San Francisco-based Mission Workshop has specialized in a wide variety of travel gear, clothing, and other products for more than 20 years.

They just introduced the Blackwell High Performance Track Jacket & Pant which features a unique vapor management system that doesn’t have the “clingy” feel of traditional moisture wicking garments. While ideal for runners, it is also perfect for the frequent traveler, as it has a high degree of tailoring and design that will provide comfort and style in every airline class, from coach to business to first.

cutout_fe101a39-4634-4662-8331-9063473de738_2048x2048 (2).jpg

Its 4-way stretch makes it a perfect travel outfit where comfort is concerned, and the state-of-the-art vapor management never washes out. Both the jacket and pants have several zippered pockets, so you’ll always have a secure spot for your passport and valuables. Dad especially loved the comfortable elastic waistband with drawstring on the pants, especially after enjoying a bountiful meal or two on his travels.

Oh, and did I mention it is wrinkle-resistant and doesn’t mind being repeatedly stuffed in a bag or back pack?

Pops never looked so good on the road!

In Vino Veritas

Dad’s parents came from Sicily, so we never go wrong giving our Papa Italian wines. He especially loves Prosecco, known in Italy as “The Welcome Wine” and we found just the right wines for him, the Mionetto bubblies, which include Prestige Brut , Prestige Rosé Extra Dry ,and Luxury Cartizze DOCG which we will open on Father’s Day in a few weeks. Salute!

Mionetto Rose Low rez.jpg

A Place for Everything, Where Everything is Safe

pelican-go-watertight-phone-case.jpg

If your father is the active type, he will definitely appreciate the gift of Pelican’s new waterproof case designed for protecting personal valuables in any conditions. The Go Case is a watertight storage case for electronics, cell phones, keys, and more. The case is crush proof, dust proof and actually, everything proof.

There are two sizes to select from. The one we bought Dad, as he has a Samsung Note 9, is a G40 model (10.6” X 5.4” by 2.4”).

So if your father likes to engage in water sports of any type, fish, hike, or be the great adventurer, these strong cases will ensure that his items are kept dry and safe even in the most adverse of circumstances.  

Certainly better than another tie for Dad, this protective case keeps on giving wherever his travels take him!

We’re In La Loop

I recently wrote about one of my favorite travel accessories, the La Loop eyeglass holder.

One day I was waxing poetic about it when Dad mentioned that he, too, was always losing his glasses on his many trips, and needed a place to secure his shades instead of in his shirt or waistband. I gave him a pre-Father’s Day present of a La Loop holder for men as he was off on an Amazon cruise. He reported that it was the best gift ever, as he got used to securing his sunglasses on the loop when he didn’t need them.

Mens dog tag_4.jpg

I bought him the black sports La Loop and it was the best $25 I ever spent, to be honest—and Dad definitely agrees.

 

JOANNE'S TRAVEL PICS: STYLISH EYEGLASS HOLDERS, LIGHTWEIGHT RAIN WRAP, & MORE

Viva La LOOP—no more lost glasses!

My La LOOP Lady in Gold arrived in its own beautiful pouch. What a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day present!

My La LOOP Lady in Gold arrived in its own beautiful pouch. What a wonderful pre-Mother’s Day present!

I wish I had a list of all the sunglasses I’ve lost on my travels over the years. Most recently, I dropped my Gucci sunglasses while hiking over the cliffs of the Shetland Islands; my Maui Jims plopped into the waves as I leaned over the railing on a cruise; and my Dolce & Gabbanas met their end when they fell from my head as I was photographing the Grand Canyon. Trust me, propping your sunglasses on your head or stuffing them in your clothing, doesn’t quite provide the security you need to protect those expensive shades.

Those standard schoolmarm eyeglass holders were no solution, as not only were they unattractive, they constantly got tangled in my camera strap—to my constant annoyance.

This is why I was so excited when I learned about La LOOP, a company that specializes in stylish and functional eyeglass holders.

There are a wide variety of lovely styles and materials available at all price ranges, but my eyes lit up when I discovered the LADY IN GOLD.  I knew this lovely design would take me through all sorts of press trips, from casual to formal.

Thanks to my daughter and family for an early, and much appreciated, Mother’s Day gift.

Comfy, and Effective, Eye Mask

Manta Mask.jpg

I’m always on the quest for travel items that help provide comfort during the long hours we spend strapped in airline seats.  Eye masks are crucial for me, not only on the plane but in hotel rooms, as I simply can’t sleep if there is ambient light in my vicinity.

 I can recommend the Manta Mask for a variety of reasons. The mask is super comfortable and boasts deeply molded eye cups, so your eyelashes have no contact with your mask, no matter what. This is so important for us ladies if we’ve applied full makeup on a business trip and just want a few quick winks on the plane without disturbing our makeup. The mask offers a super soft fabric and 100 percent black out, which makes it a wonderful traveling companion on long, transcontinental flights.

These Gloves Got You Covered

No matter what time of year, it is cold somewhere on this earth and you may need a pair of good gloves to fight off the chill while having the oh-so-necessary ability to operate your cell phone’s touch screen.

Photo courtesy @falzuh

Photo courtesy @falzuh

We tested out the touchscreen gloves from Mujjo both on a frigid trip to New York City in January, as well as an equally cold trip to the Grand Canyon just a few weeks ago.

The gloves provided an excellent degree of warmth, but their forte was being able to easily operate a cell phone and camera with the excellent touchscreen tabs provided on the glove’s tips.



When It Rains……


My home in Southern California has been hit with unprecedented rainfall this winter, and so I have had the opportunity to try out the innovative RAINRAPS “Pashmina for the Elements.” The wrap, which is super lightweight and water-repellent, has taken me through a few major downpours. It is without doubt a practical alternative to traditional bulky rain gear, is fast drying, and reversible too.

Rainwrap.jpg

Best thing is, I still looked fashionable while staying dry. My RAINRAP is going to be a packing staple when I travel to wetter climes around the world, especially since it will take up very little room in my carry-on (the only way I travel, incidentally).

 

 

 

JOANNE'S TRAVEL PICKS: A PERFECT ALL WEATHER COAT, WORKING IN BED, AND MORE

IT’S GOT YOU COVERED

As travel journalists, my husband and I need an arsenal of clothing that will take us through any weather condition we encounter. Since we live in Southern California, we really have to rely on some savvy outfitters to suggest the right clothing for our travels to cold weather climes.

Men_Cache_Creek_Coat_Black_A01.jpg

Since we only use carry-on for our voyages, no matter where we go and for how long, we definitely look for versatile, light and easy-to-maintain garments.

We often travel to rainy, windy (and cold) climates, so I was definitely in the market for a jacket for my husband that would protect him from the elements.

His Cache Creek Coat definitely filled the bill during our recent visit to the Canadian Rockies where weather conditions can vary greatly in October. It is light and breathable enough that he was able to wear it on the plane from San Diego to Vancouver without ever having to remove it during the flight! When we arrived in Vancouver, it was pouring rain. No problem. He put up the jacket’s hood and didn’t have to deal with a travel umbrella to protect him from the elements, as I did! And it equally protected him from the nippy wind and cold we encountered in Banff.

For travelers needing lightweight but robust outwear to stand the elements while traveling, this is a product we can highly recommend.

BEDSIDE MANNER

Working daily in front of the computer is a way of life for all of us, and it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I’m always looking for a way to alleviate the pain of sitting in front of my computer for 10+ hours a day. Even though I take breaks and try to exercise a bit in between, sitting for hours can be exhausting, and painful.

33768_DC_02_2048x1048.jpg

If you work from home, as I do, the LEVO G2 Deluxe Tablet Stand might just be the answer to your needs. You can sit in a cushy recliner or lie in bed and the Levo will securely hold your equipment at the perfect height and viewing angle. I love using this to read my emails in the morning on my tablet. It’s also perfect for reading a good book on your Kindle as you lounge in your recliner.

I do want to mention that this stand is not designed for use with a heavier laptop. I’m anxiously waiting for LEVO to make a heavy-duty version that will hold my 17” laptop securely and allow me to work on my assignments from the comfort of my adjustable bed.

When that happens, I’ll be their first customer!

SAVING YOUR NECK

As frequent flyers, we are always on the quest for the perfect neck pillow to get us through those tortuous long flights in coach. My husband is one of those people who naps during a flight and constantly wakes up when his head bobs suddenly onto his chest.

Travel head rest.jpg

When I saw this new Kickstarter product, NapUpFly, I knew it might be the right device for him. He tested it during a recent flight and gave it a definite “thumbs up.”  The device comes in two parts:  a soft support cushion and a non-restrictive forehead strap that fastens onto your airline seat head rest.  The forehead strap can be moved up and down and is adjustable to all head sizes.

Since my husband loves to listen to music during his flight, the built-in headphone speakers were definitely a welcome accessory.

So for those of you who are prone to “bobbing” during your flight and need some head support, this new product is definitely worth consideration.

MAKING THE WORLD SMILE

5896_025-re.jpg

You may not think of toothpaste as part of your travel arsenal, but it definitely something you don’t want to leave behind when you are on the road.  I did come across a product I really enjoyed taking on our trips. The SprinJene line of toothpaste offers a wide assortment of natural flavors. It’s also certified in FIVE categories: Vegan, Gluten-free, Kosher, Halal and Cruelty-free). I loved the Black Seed Oil version and there are lots of children’s options to select from too. They come in convenient travel sizes. Check them out!

 

Disclaimer:  Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own and will not receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendations. My goal is to share my favorite travel tips with my followers, in an effort to improve the travel experience for us all.

 

Joanne's Travel Tips: My First GoPro, a Summer Wrap, a Belt with a Cause, and Living Sand-Less

My New HERO

GoPro.jpg

Okay, I admit it. I'm somewhat of a camera snob. I wouldn't dream of going on a press trip without my Canon SLR and several lenses. For years, fellow journalists have suggested I add a GoPro to my arsenal of equipment, especially for snorkeling, biking, and other adventure shots. It took the loss of two waterproof point-and-shoot cameras (one fell through a slot in a pier as I got of a kayak and another was ruined because the battery enclosure opened up as I was trying to follow a sea lion) and a near accident on a bike ride trying to shoot video with my SLR, to change my mind.

Oh, and the fact that I only had to spend $199 for a HERO GoPro sealed the deal.

I had one of those "what took me so long" moments the first time I packed my new GoPro on a press trip, which happened to be a small ship cruise through Costa Rica and Panama. Between hiking through jungles and snorkling daily in the crystal clear waters, my HERO saw plenty of action. Its miniature size and the many available adapters and holders made it so easy to shoot in a variety of circumstances. HERO features a 2-inch touch display, is waterproof to 30 feet and is extremely durable. A handy voice command makes control and mode changes a snap.

The image quality (especially for a device so small!) was impressive:  HD Video (1440p60 and 1080p60) with normal and wide angle 10MP photo performance. And did I mention that the HERO features video stabilization that helps smooth out the shakes? It even offloads your photos and videos to the GoPro app that creates shareable videos automatically (no more fumbling with your SD card or plugging your camera into a computer), so friends and family can travel right along with you.

The real test came a few days ago, as I was biking through the vineyards of Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley. No more clutching the handle bars with one hand as I try to maintain my balance snapping photos in the other. Thanks to a cool headband, the HERO captured beautiful photos and images, every step (pedal) of the way!

Hero bike shot.jpg

This amazing camera is definitely my new HERO!

 

It's a Wrap

Travel wrap.jpg

Now that summer is upon us, your probably aren't thinking of adding a travel wrap to your suitcase unless you are heading to Northern climes. But think again. A lightweight linen wrap can add a stylish touch to your outfit as well as protecting you from the sun or an unexpected chill.

I love the MerSea line of travel wraps, which are a must for a traveler like me, who ONLY takes a carry on, no matter how many weeks I am traveling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Belt with a Cause

Tired of being asked to remove your belt when you go through security because there is just a bit of metal on the buckle? If so, consider a Jelt Belt, a retro-inspired, multi-functional belt for everyday use, especially while traveling. The belt consists of super strong, stretchy 100% recycled elastic made from recycled plastic bottles (yes, I too was surprised to learn of yet another product made from plastic bottles!)

reid.morth-07242 (3).jpg

The patent-pending design has a low-profile buckle and a non-slip grippy inner gel that holds on tight, keeping the belt in place and your pants on.

Started as a social enterprise, Jelt Belt is committed to social responsibility by donating a portion of their sales to organizations that support veterans, families and the environment. The belts are manufactured in Montana as part of the Women's Prison Montana Correctional Enterprise, giving women prisoners the skills and confidence to live a more productive life when they are released.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LIVING Sans Sand

BAG6_1024x1024_bcbf7a71-bf85-4e39-afd2-62234fa8d3a7_1024x1024.jpg

A sandy beach may be beautiful to look at and photograph, but it isn't fun when the fine sand turns your beach bag into a soggy mess. Living here in beautiful San Diego, our family loves to spend time on our region's gorgeous beaches. I've gone through countless numbers of beach bags, but I must say, the CGear Sand-Free backpack stands up as one of the best for keeping our wet towels and swimsuits relatively sand-less after a day at the beach.

The mesh bag can be carried or used as a backpack (which we prefer, especially when we are carrying a heavy cooler). A patented technology allows sand to fall out of the bottom, but prevents it from getting in when you set it down on the beach. While you can't avoid picking up some of those pesky grains during a beach visit, this bag certainly does an excellent job in keeping your experience relatively sand-less.

CGear actually offers a full line of products, from beach mats to footwear, that promise to give you a sand-free life when visiting your favorite strand. 

 

 

Disclaimer:  Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own and will not receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendation. My goal is to share my favorite travel tips with my followers, in an effort to improve the travel experience for all.

Joanne's Travel Tips: The Perfect Travel Wrap, Internet Hotspot Heaven, & More

It's A Wrap

A few months ago, my husband Tony and I spent the entire month of October traveling in Europe, with just one small carry-on and backpack each in tow. I’ve written about how to travel carry- on only in several posts, and each time I return from such a trip, I find a few more items to recommend to my readers.

A travel wrap is an essential if you go the "carry-on only" route.

A travel wrap is an essential if you go the "carry-on only" route.

Shoulder-season travel is a special challenge, as you have to prepare for every weather condition that might arise. Since we were traveling from Germany to Greece, I knew I had to have an outer wrap that would adjust to the fluctuating temperatures along our route.

I found just what I needed on the Mer Sea website—a classic travel wrap that would serve as a blanket on our chilly plane trip over the big pond, as well as a welcome companion on Europe’s city streets and on our cruise ship voyages.

Not only does this wrap look quite elegant, it is very well made and drapes beautiful in a variety of configurations over the body.  It provided great protection and warmth during some chilly rain storms in Bavaria and on a drafty vaporetto ride in Venice. It washes and dries well, even without access to a dryer (I draped it over our ship’s balcony to dry overnight, which it did despite the humidity in the air).

As an added bonus, it comes with a matching bag that, when stuffed with the wrap, serves as a comfortable travel pillow. This means you can carry it on the plane without packing it in your carry-on, saving space and weight for other items.

Thumbs up to this product! It is going to be my staple on all my future trips.

Internet HotSpot Heaven

Having a reliable internet connection while on the road is important to any traveler, especially for journalists. While many tech pundits claim that free Wi-Fi is available all over Europe, we had just the opposite experience during our previous trip last year. That is why, this time around, we decided to give RoamingMan, a global, pocket-sized portable Wi-Fi hotspot that works without SIM cards or cables, a try.

You're connected all over Europe (and many other countries) with a RoamingMan hotspot. The only way to go.....

You're connected all over Europe (and many other countries) with a RoamingMan hotspot. The only way to go.....

It became our best friend as we traveled through 8 countries in four weeks. Just switch it on and you will be able to connect your phone and laptop for instant internet gratification. It offers unlimited global data in 68 countries around the world.

This device connected to the strongest 4G networks available, and is capable of simultaneously connecting up to five devices. The cost is $9.95 per day for this comprehensive service and the device will arrive at your door one or two days before your departure. You’ll return your device via a pre-paid shipping label.

While we were only two people on the network, you can imagine how ideal and cost effective this would be for family vacations, trips with friends, or business trips with colleagues, since one device can keep five people connected.

As working journalists, it was such a pleasure to be able to effortlessly access the internet to download maps, research web sites, email, and upload to our social media and websites in any situation. Whether we were on a bus, train, or walking along Europe’s city streets, we had internet access. We were in Internet heaven throughout our long trip!

 

Record Your Travel Memories Just Like in Past Centuries

Journal Images.jpg

Okay, it may be cool to take travel notes these days by talking into your cell phone, but my husband is old school and loves to chronicle our adventures the old-fashioned way, with a travel journal.  This gorgeous leather-bound diary looks like something right out of a Masterpiece Theatre episode—and is fine enough to be put on permanent display on our bookshelf when its pages are full. Check them out at Soothi.com.

 

Knit Kicks

LOVE these shoes for all sorts of activities!

LOVE these shoes for all sorts of activities!

I realize this travel column is about items that make traveling more comfortable and less stressful, but when I come across a product I love, I take the liberty to report on it. These slip-on sneakers from the folks at Zenzee have certainly made the hours I spend in front of the computer more comfortable. The cushioned platform provides arch support and after a few wears, they stretch and form to your feet for the ultimate in comfort.

I only wish I could tuck these into my carry-on during our press trips, but I’m afraid their size (though they are lightweight) makes this unpractical. You can’t have it all.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer:  Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own and will not receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendation. My goal is to share my favorite travel tips with my followers, in an effort to improve the travel experience for all.

 

 

 

What to Wear in Paradise--Joanne's Fashion Tips for Tropical Climes

Ladies, if you are traveling to a tropical destination anytime soon, let me share my favorite wardrobe suggestions with you. These items served me well during a recent 2-week trip through the Hawaiian Islands, both in a luxury hotel and on a boutique expedition cruise ship. 

Walk All Day in Comfort

Since it’s always a good idea to put your best foot forward, I’ll start with the amazingly comfortable and chic NAOT sandals, which had me walking on air during my two week sojourn in the Hawaiian Islands.

NOAB's Sara Sandal

NOAB's Sara Sandal

While I dislike hyperbole as much as the next person, I can honestly say that these, without doubt, were the most comfortable sandals I have ever had the pleasure to wear.  The secret lies in the construction of the footbed.  NAOT engineers its insoles with a blend of natural latex and cork designed to replicate the shape of the foot. The insoles also boast excellent arch and heel support, which no doubt also contributes significantly to their amazing comfort.

Whether trekking through Hawaiian trails, strolling through picturesque towns, or lounging by the pool, these super comfy sandals will keep your feet happy throughout the day and evening. Oh, and did I mention all this comfort looks fashionable, too?

It's also interesting to note that the NAOT sandal is considered the “shoe of peace,” as each shoe is handmade in Northern Israel by the joint effort of Israelis and Palestinians—all the more reason to consider ordering your travel footwear through this company.

Making a Fashion Statement

I guarantee you’ll feel like a Hawaiian princess in any of the designer dresses and separates available in the Shahida Parides collection of resort wear.  I know I did, each time I slipped into my gorgeous poppy red lace-up kaftan. Renowned designer Shahida combines the latest fashion trends with her signature bold patterns and bright colors, and there’s no question you will make a fashion statement in any of her unique and beautifully crafted clothing items.

Making a fashion statement on board UnCruise Adventures' Safari Explorer, off the coast of Mauai

Making a fashion statement on board UnCruise Adventures' Safari Explorer, off the coast of Mauai

My dress, designed to be worn three ways (V-neck, off-the-shoulder, and strapless gown) served me beautifully for a variety of occasions--from lunch on our hotel terrace to an elegant evening reception on the beach, as well as for other casual activities in between.

Hand-made of exquisite silk crepe fabric, with sparkling beading embellishing the bodice, the kaftan was as delightful to wear as it was to care for. A hand wash and hang to dry was all it needed to regain its fluidity and good looks.

What I especially loved about this dress is that I didn’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. This is the ultimate dress solution for women of any size and age who want to be comfortable, fashionable and chic.

And I can’t count the number of compliments I enjoyed each time I stepped out in this beauty. 

 

Good Looks and Versatility

Comfort, good looks and versatility don’t often go hand in hand, which is why I can highly recommend the Blue Ginger line of clothing. The company has been selling exclusively- designed resort wear in Hawaii for over 30 years, so it’s no surprise they’ve come up with the perfect solution for the island visitor.

Two indispensable clothing items--a full-length flowing dress and a short sleeved top that reached mid-thigh--became my best fashion friends during this voyage. As an added bonus, they took up almost no room in my carry-on bag, the only piece of luggage I bring along on all my trips.

The quality of Blue Ginger's fabric is superb and feels light, smooth and silky against the skin, even under the hot tropical sun. Even after several washings, the items maintain their color (the rich blue ginger pattern is achieved through a unique Batik dying process) and need no ironing.

Talk about versatility.  It was amazing how many times I wore my short sleeve top for a variety of scenarios. It served as a swim suit cover-up, a sun protector while kayaking, a lounging jacket, and as a quick outfit over leggings for stepping out to a casual dinner.

Living the Aloha Lifestyle, Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Living the Aloha Lifestyle, Hanalei Bay, Kauai

My elegant Blue Ginger dress also served me well when the occasion was a bit more formal. It was perfect for several social engagements on land, as well as for the dinner evenings aboard our Hawaiian Island cruise.

Check out the Blue Ginger web site for resort attire and accessories for the whole family.

 

Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are strictly my own. I was not compensated by the companies represented in my reviews, nor will I receive any future compensation based on sales arising from my recommendations.

My goal is to share regular, unbiased reviews with my readers for products that make travel more comfortable and efficient.