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The PostSnap App: Sending Postcards And Greeting Cards Made Easy

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writing postcardsI always used to very good about sending postcards. And I still am – I try to pick up a few postcards in each place I visit, but I have found it increasingly difficult to find postcards everywhere I go. I visited five towns in Mexico last month, and only one of them had a few souvenir shops with postcards. The other four didn’t have any! The other problem I’ve encountered quite a few times recently? Finding a post office. And if I find one, making sure that I get there on a day and time when it is open. That’s how I ended up carrying all my postcards from Italy to the U.S. instead of sending them from Rome.

Sending postcards ended up becoming more frustrating than it was fun. But a few weeks ago, that changed – that’s when I discovered the Postsnap app.

Postsnap is an app that specializes in personalized postcards and greeting cards and lets you send a postcard straight from your phone within minutes, without the stress of finding a decent postcard or a post office!Postsnap card options

I love that I can use my own photos to create a postcard, which makes sending a postcard so much more personal. And let’s be honest: who doesn’t like to see a photograph they took on the front of a postcard?

The app itself is very easy to use. You select what kind of card you’d like to send: a greeting card, a postcard, or a special card like an invitation or an announcement.

In the next step, you select the photos you’d like to put on the postcard, and choose a layout. On postcards for example, you can choose between different mosaic forms and select up to five or your photos, or simply choose one picture that covers the entire front. You can select photos from your camera roll, Facebook or Instagram, which I love, since my Instagram photos are edited and look a little better than the original version. However, you can also add a filter right in the PostSnap app.postsnap process

Then it is time to add text – if you want to. I love that the app lets me personalize the postcard with a font I can choose, where I place the text, and how big I want it to be. The selection of fonts is fantastic – ranging from playful ones to handwriting to print letters, all of which you have several options.

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When you’re done with the front, it is time to write your postcard. You simply ‘flip over’ the card with a tap on your screen, add your personal message, once again select a font, the font size and font color, sign the app, and you’re almost ready to send it.

Adding an address is made easy: you can choose to add an address straight from your phone contacts, or add it manually. Once you’ve sent a postcard to someone, that person’s address remains in your Postsnap account, making it even easier to send them a postcard again.

After adding the address, you simply upload it, choose a size for the postcard, and pay – which is also made very easy by giving you the option of buying prepaid credit, so that you don’t have to charge your credit card or Paypal account each time you use the app. You’ll receive a confirmation email shortly after placing your order.

Shipment is free to North America if you are using the US version of the app or to the UK if you download it from the UK apps store, but I’ve only paid $0.20 extra to send a postcard to Germany and $0.50 extra to send it to other parts of the world, which I find very reasonable.postsnap postcard mexico1Right now, I am using Postsnap to send all my Christmas greeting cards – I can simply do it while I’m on the subway or, as I did earlier today, while in transit at the airport. I don’t need anything other than my phone which simplifies the usually very time-consuming process of designing and writing greeting cards so much. If you are feeling super lazy, you can even duplicate your cards and send the same ones to various recipients.

Download Postsnap & Get A Discount

You can download Postsnap for both iOS and Android here

download-postsnap

If you use the promo code GLOBETROTTER, you’ll get 20% off your first card!
postsnap postcard

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Carry-On Travel: How To Choose The Right Bag +Rise Gear Giveaway

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rise gearAfter over half a decade of full-time travel, I am ready to put my backpack to rest for a while and go on shorter trips instead of globetrotting nonstop. I started a trial for that last summer with a five-week trip around Europe: Berlin, Iceland, Amsterdam, London, Italy and Oktoberfest were on my itinerary, and one thing I realized quickly was that I was in desperate need of a decent carry-on bag. I’ve been traveling with a giant 65 liter backpack for years now, which is great for a notorious overpacker like me but impractical for shorter trips. The duffel bag I chose for my Euro trip last year, which spanned Iceland’s cold glaciers and Italy’s glorious summer temperatures, meaning I had to pack for summer and winter, turned out to be absolutely impractical. That’s when the search for an adequate carry-on bag began.

Luckily the search didn’t last long because soon after I was introduced to Rise Gear, a Canadian luggage company that focuses on efficient packing. More on that in a minute – let’s talk first about the factors you should consider when you’re in the market for a new piece of carry-on luggage, because there are so many different kinds and brands now that choosing one can be overwhelming. Here are the things you should pay attention to:

Price vs quality

You pay what you get for – and that definitely holds true for luggage. I have three (!) suitcases where the handle broke off, and had to throw out several cheapie rolling suitcases where the wheels or the handle broke after only a few times of using it. Now I am more interested in a piece of luggage that lasts for a decade or longer, rather than going for the cheapest one.

Type & Style

Are you looking for a backpack or a trolley suitcase? Are two wheels enough or are you looking for four wheels? Hard case or soft case? Duffel bag or a stylish flight briefcase? There are hundreds of variations. You’ll have to find out what works best for you – I for example dislike always having to pull a trolley and prefer a backpack or a duffel bag that has wheels.

Practicality

There are some stylish pieces of luggage out there these days, but when I observe other travelers in airports, I sometimes wonder how practical their luggage is. More important than optics should be things like: storage capability, durance, the stability and length of the handle, the durability and performance of the wheels. If you are looking to buy a convertible bag, try out how easy it is to convert the bag. Extra features such as internal and external compartments and organizer pockets, an expansion system and integrated locks are also important.rise transformWeight & dimensions

With airline restrictions becoming stricter and stricter when it comes to carry-ons, especially on low budget carriers, you have to make sure that the dimensions of your luggage match these restrictions. If you are like me traveling with lots of electronics, I say: the lighter the better! To check carry-on restrictions (by weight and dimensions) for every airline, I highly recommend this practical luggage size chart.

How to travel with carry-on only, even on long trips

As I said before, I am not very good at restricting myself when it comes to what I bring on a trip, especially a long one. I think I could fill up a carry-on with shoes alone (but I’ve learned to downsize!), and I like having choices. The only reason why I am finally able to travel with carry-on only is the book The Carry-On Traveller: The Ultimate Guide to Packing Light by Erin McNeaney which I read earlier this year. I highly recommend it to anyone who also struggles to travel with carry-on only – the book is filled with invaluable on how to pack for trips spanning different climate zones and even long-term trips (the author has been traveling with carry-on only for over six years now), it taught me how to deal with airline restrictions such as liquids, and has plenty of tips from long-term travelers on how to pack practically – from families to make-up fanatics to photographers who travel with lots of gear. And not only that – for less than $5, you also get advice on things like travel insurance, bank accounts that are suitable for overseas travel, super useful travel apps and sample packing lists. Erin’s advice on how to find the right carry-on for you has also been indispensable for me.
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Introducing the Rise Glider

When I was introduced to Rise Gear, I found the RISE Glider carry-on bag in their range, which I thought was perfect for me since it wasn’t only a rolling suitcase but it also came with backpack straps so that I could use it as a backpack. And since my number one recommendation for most places usually is to travel with a backpack instead of rolling suitcases, I thought this combination of backpack and suitcase couldn’t get any better. I could pull the luggage in places like airports, but strap it on my bag in places where it’s inconvenient to have luggage on rolls, such as train or subway stations where I find myself running up and down stairs all the time. Or cobble stones – especially in Europe it’s just hugely inconvenient to drag around a rolling suitcase, so having the option to wear it on my back seemed ideal.
rise gear gliderBut that’s not what makes the Rise Glider special – what makes it stand out of the ever-growing range of practical luggage is its collapsible shelving system. When I tried it, I had to ask myself why nobody else has come up with it. Check out the video below to see how exactly the shelves work:

You basically pack everything in the compartment you assign for it – there are compartments for clothes, but also for shoes and toiletries, laundry and a padded 15″ laptop compartment. And when you arrive, you simply pull out the shelving system and hang it in your hotel room or in the apartment you’re staying. The shelves are detachable, by the way, so you can store your suitcase in a different place, but you could also just leave it hanging underneath the shelves. I really don’t think you could pack in a more efficient way – during a Europe trip like the one I did last year, with lots of moving around and several stops, this packing system is perfect.
rise glider shelf systemYou always find your stuff right away. And also: with lots of cobble-stone streets everywhere in Europe, I love that I can unpack the straps (they can be stowed away in a pocket on the outside of the bag) within seconds and carry the suitcase on my back. I always prefer a backpack over a rolling suitcase and I have found it to be very comfortable when I carry it on my back since the front side of the Glider, to which the straps are attached, is padded. And because the suitcase is carry-on sized, it can’t get too heavy either – so far, I haven’t been missing the extra waist support that comes with a proper backpack.

I have also used the trolley function of the Glider, I am able to easily pull it with its solid metal telescoping extension handle, and find the rolling wheels to be sturdy and robust.
rise gear rollingThe only downsides of the luggage – or let’s say room for improvement: I like having a large outside pocket on my bag for travel documents and a magazine, but because of the backpack straps, there are only two small outside compartments on each side. The suitcase is also pretty heavy, so I am not sure if I’d get into trouble boarding a plane with it, which I have yet to try.

rise gear shelf systemPractical information

The luggage I am using is the Rise Glider rolling carry-on with a blue shelving system and detachable backpack straps. You can buy it via Rise.com, and if you sign up for the Rise newsletter, you’ll get 10 % off!

  • Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9″ inches (56cm – 36cm – 23cm); the hooks of the shelving system fit comfortably around 1.5″diameter bars
  • Weight: 11 lbs (5kg)
  • Materials: Polyester, nylon, metal, and rubberized strength steel hooks
  • Volume: 45l
  • Price: $323.00 (free shipping in the U.S. and Canada)

Note: If you are looking for a smaller bag, check out Rise Gear’s overnight jumper ($99) and Weekender ($139) duffel bags. Both come with the collapsible shelving system that makes Rise Gear so unique.
rise gear

Rise Gear Giveaway

I love the concept of the collapsible shelving system which is I am giving away one Riser, which fits in a carry-on. The system has shelves for clothes, a shoes and toiletries compartment, a laundry compartment, and each shelf holds up to 20lbs.

You can enter the giveaway via the pop-up window in this article!

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Packing made easy with the TUO, the ultimate Travel Undergarment Organizer

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am obsessed with packing cubes. I have four packing cubes packing cubesin different sizes which I use to separate my clothes – and since I’ve been using them, packing has become so much easier. Not only packing: finding stuff is what the packing cubes are really facilitating, and having them saves me so much time. No more rummaging around in my luggage in search of my running clothes – I know exactly which cube they’re in. T-shirts, pants, dresses – everything is rolled up neatly and stored in their respective cubes.

But there is always one that’s disorganized: my underwear cube. In this one, I just throw everything together: my socks, my panties, my bras. I admit, it’s a mess.
underwear packing cube messSo when I saw this video of the ultimate travel undergarment organizer (short: TUO) by Origami Unicorn, I was sure that they must have gotten wind of my underwear mess. See for yourself:

TUO, The Ultimate travel undergarment organizer by Origami Unicorn. Short packing presentation. Signature White. from ORIGAMI UNICORN on Vimeo.

This was exactly what I needed! When the TUO arrived in the mail a few days later, I was impressed with the sleek design of the product. It comes in a sturdy plastic sleeve (which I totally reused for something else), and is made of water resistant nylon fabric. The organizer comes in four different colors: black, white, hibiscus black and hibiscus white – I opted for black, figuring it doesn’t get dirty as fast as a white one would.

origami underwear organizerWhen you open the snap buttons and unfold it, you see that the TUO has three different compartments. All three are see-through and close with a zipper, and the top two compartments have three separate elastic pockets each inside.origami underwear organizer

For me it made sense to put my bras in the bottom compartment since they wouldn’t fit in the little pockets, and use the other two compartments for socks and panties/thongs. I love the little pockets – that way I could not only separate my socks from my thongs for example, but also divide my workout socks from my regular socks (which I stuffed into the pockets) and my thongs from my panties. The see-threw compartments make it easy to see where you put everything, but once you have a system in place like I do now, you will know in which compartment you stored which items.

origami underwear organizer

Once you’ve filled the organizer, you simply fold the thirds together, close it with the snap buttons and it is ready to go into your suitcase or backpack. I love the efficient and compact design, and how light it is. Of course you are not limited to using it for underwear – I find the little pockets useful for all sorts of stuff – jewelry for example, a belt, or other accessories.

The practical function of the TUO doesn’t stop at the easy packing and optimizing luggage space, however: it also serves as a hanging organizer, replacing your underwear dresser.origami underwear organizer

When I am staying longer in a place and unpack my backpack, I usually just dump my underwear and socks into one dresser compartment, similar to the mess in my packing cube – but with the TUO, I can hang it, keeping things neat and tidy and easily accessible while I am at my destination. It came in super handy in my room in a shared apartment in Mexico City where there wasn’t much storage space for anything, and I will also be using it in Arizona, where I’ll be staying for a few weeks, making it worthwhile to unpack my backpack.

The TUO has one more well thought out feature: it comes with a small bag for dirty laundry. Since I have a big laundry bag though (which I love!), I decided to use it in a different way, and put my bikinis inside of it. They used to be together with my underwear in my packing cube, but I’ve found it much more practical to keep them in this separate little bag – No more searching through my cube for the top and the bottom.

origami underwear organizerOf course you could also use it for something different (I have so many little items in my backpack that could go in there), or use it as a dirty laundry bag just for your underwear. I can imagine that some of my fellow nomads who travel with carry-on luggage only hand wash their underwear occasionally, and then it would make sense to keep them separate from other dirty clothes.

The organizer is designed for 7 days of undergarments, but I was able to fit more inside – this might be because women’s underwear and socks are smaller than men’s, and I prefer thongs to panties.origami underwear organizer

Where to get the TUO

If you love the concept of this organizer as much as I do, you can order your own for US$49.90 here. (Tip: Sign up for the Origami Unicorn newsletter to get 10% off!). For more details, visit www.origamiunicorn.us

Origami Unicorn TUOGiveaway: Win your own TUOorigami underwear organizer dani

Because I love this travel undergarment organizer so much, I am excited to give away one TUO to one lucky reader! All you have to do is enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter box below: leave a comment and tell me which color you’d like the TUO in if you win the giveaway! (You can see all available models here)

Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close on 30 April 2016.
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My most valuable travel gear: pickpocket-proof clothes

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You might remember that I’ve raved about my Clever Travel Companion pickpocket-proof underwear before, but to refresh your memory: I’ve traveled with my pick-pthe clever travel companionocket proof tank top and my boy short style boxers for over two years now and they’re still holding up strong! The boxers have two little pockets in the front, each of which got a credit card or two and cash. The hidden pocket in the tank top even fits my passport. When do I wear them? Usually when I travel on night buses or know that I’ll be arriving somewhere really late. Where in the world? That doesn’t matter.

The first thing I was told when I arrived in Berlin in August was that people are not only pick-pocketed anymore, but also held at knife point until they give up their bags. Particularly in the Warschauer Strasse area in Friedrichshain, where a lot of hostels are.

clever travel companion tshirtAs for night buses: I tend to use them more often in Asia or South America, but I was happy to have my underwear on a night bus from Germany to Copenhagen earlier this year. Pickpockets are everywhere, not just in third world countries. All of Europe has become somewhat of a pickpocket hotspot in recent years, no matter if it’s Paris (be vigilant around the Eiffel Tower especially!), Lisbon, Rome and on trains – so if you’re like me doing an interrail trip around Europe, make sure you have an eye on your belongings.

The latest additions to Clever Travel Companions clothing line, a T-shirt and leggings (they’re about to launch in a few weeks, I can’t wait to get a pair!) are perfect for my train trip, for example: i might need access to some of the valuables I store in the hidden pockets, but wearing the tank top underneath a shirt (otherwise the rather large pocket is visible) and the boxers underneath my pants, it would be pretty difficult to get to them.clever travel companion tshirtThis is why the T-shirt with the pretty big pocket on the side (instead of the front, where it is placed in my tank top) is perfect for train trips. The pocket is big enough to hold a small wallet or credit cards and cash and is truly hard to spot – I’d almost go as far as saying it is invisible to those who don’t know that it’s there.

Like I said, I’ve owned my underwear for over two years now and not only am I still using them, but they are also still in a very good condition, considering that I, as a full-time traverse, most likely use them more often than the average traveler.clever travel companion tshirt

At between $24.90 and $34.90 per item, I find the clothes absolutely fair priced, considering the durable quality of the products.

The Clever Travel Companion accompanies me on all of my trips and gets the Globetrottergirls stamp of approval!

Check out CleverTravelCompanion.com


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Yonderbound: Book hotels and earn money while inspiring others to travel

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You’re probably thinking now: Another hotel booking website? Do we really need that? But bear with me: I promise, Yonderbound is refreshingly different and has one unique selling point that no other hotel booking website has.yonderbound

What is Yonderbound?

As I’ve already said, Yonderbound is a hotel search engine and booking website, but that’s only one aspect of the website. It is also the first travel knowledge monetization platform in the world.

Yonderbound has one major difference: In addition to the conventional hotel search and booking function, it allows users to earn money by recommending hotels. And let’s face it: Almost everyone I know rates or recommends hotels – be it by writing about it on TripAdvisor or another hotel review platform, a Google review or a rating on Facebook. And when you do that, you do it for free. Heck, I do it all the time: when I start reviewing a place on TripAdvisor, I often get sucked in and spend a couple of hours reviewing each and every restaurant, museum and attraction I visited in a place. Do I get paid for it? No. I do it because I enjoy it and I because I know others will find it helpful – I use sites like TripAdvisor almost on a daily basis to inform myself about restaurants, sights or hotels and to read what others say about it rather than just reading the marketing lingo of the place I am interesting in going to.

So why not get the chance to earn money from it!? This is what Yonderbound is all about: attracting users who want to share their recommendations with the incentive of a 70% (!!) payout of the profit Yonderbound makes when somebody books a hotel because you recommend it.

How does it work?

Yonderbound makes it super easy to share your favorite hotels by creating so-called Yonderboxes. These Yonderboxes can be anything from ‘My favorite beach hotels in Ibiza’ to ‘Best design hotels in the world’.yonderbound dani heinrichFor example: Since I’ve been spending so much time in New York lately, friends and readers keep asking me for hotel recommendations. And instead of sending them individual links to the New York hotels I love and recommend, I created a Yonderbox with my top 10 New York hotels. Now I simply send a link to my Yonderbox and my friends can look at all of them and see which one they like best. And instead of just leaving them to the regular hotel description, I add personal notes in the description which explain why I recommend that hotel.

If the person who asked me for my recommendations likes one of these hotels, they can book them right away through Yonderbound. And I in return will receive a small commission. It’s a win-win because especially in large cities like New York or Berlin with hundreds of hotels, it can be incredibly hard to choose one hotel out of this giant pool, not knowing if they’re located in a good spot or if the rooms really look as nice as the website makes it seem. In this day and age, everyone prefers a personal recommendations – that’s why people read blogs and consumer review websites are as popular as they are.

Yonderbound website introduction tour
Yonderbound’s introductory tour makes it super easy to figure out how the site works.

Yonderbound also makes the entire travel planning process much easier, because whenever I research hotels, I end up with 27 tabs open, comparing hotels, and usuallly copying the links into a document, ending with a ridiculously cluttered page. On Yonderbound, whenever you see a hotel that you like, you can add it to a Yonderbox by simply clicking on the little heart in the top right corner and the hotel will be added to a Yonderbox you’ve already created or give you the option to create a new one. It’s super easy. In the end, you have the selection of hotels you like orderly lined up in your Yonderbox and you can even save notes in the description of each one. Perfect! And when you’re planning a group trip, you can share your Yonderbox with everyone who is joining you on the trip, presenting them with a neat list of hotels you’ve preselected.

When I was returning to Bangkok this year, I knew I was going to receive a special visitor and wanted to treat ourselves to a nice hotel, knowing my usual basic digs wouldn’t cut it. So I started researching Bangkok hotels on hotel booking websites. The pool of available hotels was seemingly endless. I spent more than TWELVE hours reading through hotel descriptions and reviews and in the end I narrowed it down to 22 hotels. Twenty-two!

Bangkok Yonderbox
I created a list with my favorite splurge-worthy hotels in Bangkok so that you don’t have to go through what I had to go through 😉

How in the world was I going to make a decision? I was completely overwhelmed. In the end, I happened to read a blog post by a fellow blogger about a Bangkok hotel she had recently fallen in love with, and booked it without even thinking twice, because I trusted her opinion. I didn’t know about Yonderbound then – things would have been so much easier! I would have simply checked a few Yonderboxes and read which hotels other travelers recommended and made a decision based on that. It would have saved me hours of research! Everyone who accesses the website to book a hotel can see the Yonderboxes that have been created by travelers, bloggers or travel professionals for the place they are looking to visit. So instead of scrolling through 300 available hotels, you can check out the Yonderboxes created for the destination you’re interested in – just click on a Yonderbox with a small number of hotels personally chosen by someone who knows them and the city you are planning to travel to.

yonderbound paris
When searching for hotels, scroll down to the bottom of the page and you’ll see the Yonderboxes others created for the destination you’re planning to travel to.

In the Yonderbox I created for my favorite hotels in Berlin, I also added some attractions and eateries close to the respective hotel that I think are worth a visit.

You might ask: What’s the catch? Do I pay more because Yonderbound offers to pay some of its profits to its users? The answer is no. Instead of increasing the room rate, Yonderbound takes a smaller cut of the margin than other hotel booking websites.

How to guarantee that you make money

If you are more interested in making money than finding hotels through other people’s recommendations, here is a simple tip how you will make money for sure: If you’re planning a bachelorette party in a different city or simply a girls getaway, use Yonderbound to put together a list of hotels you like in that city in a Yonderbox. I created a Las Vegas Girls Getaway Yonderbox as an example.Las Vegas YonderboxThen you send the Yonderbox to your girlfriends, discuss which hotel to book, and then one of them books it through your Yonderbox. Since you created the box, you will earn the commission for the booking.

You are planning a vacation with your spouse? Same thing. Plan your trip, research hotels, put together a shortlist of four or five hotels you like in a Yonderbox and send it to him/her. He then goes ahead and makes the booking, you get the commission. After your trip, you can still use your Yonderbox to recommend hotels to friends who are planning a trip to the same destination. By the way – Yonderbound created an excellent video showing you how to create a Yonderbox in three easy steps. You can watch it here.

Book a hotel with Yonderbound

Yonderbound’s hotel search features are pretty similar to other hotel search engines – you type in the name of the city you’re planning to visit and your dates, and available hotels show up in a listing, and you can filter by distance from certain landmarks, maximum price you’re willing to spend, amenities you’re looking to have (such as free wi-fi or breakfast included).Yonderbound hotel filterOne notable difference is that you can filter hotels by their TripAdvisor rating, where once again the social factor comes in. If you’re like me who always checks what other people say about a hotel before making a booking, this is perfect. I can now see straight away which hotels are rated the best on TripAdvisor. Yonderbound also shows you in how many Yonderboxes a hotel is listed which gives you an indication of which hotels are popular on the site.Yonderbound hotel selection

Sign up now and get $10 travel credit!

yonderbound travel creditIf you sign up to Yonderbound now using my referral code, you get $10 travel credit!

Click here to sign up.

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This branded post was brought to you in partnership with Yonderbound.

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Introducing my favorite new travel planning tool: Trover

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I have to make a confession: I am slowly but surely starting to ditch my guidebooks! I used to always travel with a guidebook, no matter if it was a 3-day weekend getaway or a yearlong backpacking trip (which turned into a somewhat indefinite journey, since what I thought would be a one-year trip is still ongoing, nearly five years later, with no plans to stop anytime soon).Eyewitness travel guidesI’ve traveled with RoughGuides, Lonely Planets, DK Eyewitness books, and many more, but in recent years, I’ve found them to be increasingly outdated, and often cookie-cutter boring instead of filled with true insider tips or even just some lesser known sights. That said, I still bought the latest edition of Lonely Planet’s Southeast Asia On A Shoestring for my current trip to Asia, but mainly because of the maps and the practical information on how to get from A to B. For actual travel information and inspiration for what to see and where to go, I’ve been turning to the internet instead. First of all, the information is much more up-to-date, but also visually more appealing. When I announce travel plans to a new destination (like now, the Philippines) I usually get recommendations for places to see from fellow travelers, but also from you guys, my dear readers – and when somebody mentions a place unknown to me, the first thing I do is a Google Image search. If the place looks interesting, I add it to my ‘must see’ list for the destination I’m traveling to.

I am a visual person, and if I see a picture of a place, it’s much easier for me to decide if I would like to go there. Last month in Sri Lanka for example, Lonely Planet mentioned a Hindu temple in Jaffna, but there was no photo. Would it be really worth it to make my way there? A quick Google search later I had seen an image and YES – there was no question that I had to visit that temple. Purely because of the image I had seen. Because I rely so often on recommendations by other travelers, I am also a huge fan of Foursquare, an app where people leave tips for places they visit and virtually ‘check in’ at and that lets you find nearby sights, restaurants, coffee shops, etc. using the GPS in your phone, but I have to admit that while I used to love Foursquare (and used it obsessively), I’ve barely left any tips since the app required me to use Swarm (another app!) to check into a place, complicating the tip leaving part, which used to be super easy.JaffnaLucky for me, it looks like there is a new app that has managed to replace my Foursquare addiction: Trover! In short, Trover a visual crowd sourced travel guide. And it combines three of the things I love most: travel, photography and social media. It is basically a social network for people who love to travel as much as I do and who love to talk about their favorite places, sharing tips and recommendations with other travelers. If that’s not what I do all the time, then I don’t know.. Thus, it seems like Trover and I are a match made in heaven.

Users from around the world can add a photo of something cool in the place they’re in, which is then automatically geotagged, so that other people can see exactly where this place (called ‘discovery’ on Trover) is located. Trover users are adding new discoveries on a daily basis, and travelers in search for a cool thing to do simply open the app and can choose to look at ‘Nearby Discoveries’, and then go check them out if they like them. You can filter the discoveries and look specifically for sights, but also for food, bars, or new (ie. recently added) discoveries. When you click on the photo of a discovery you think looks cool, you can click on ‘map’ to see where it exactly it is, and open directions to that place in GoogleMaps or iMaps.

I downloaded the app only a couple of weeks ago and have already used it like crazy since then – both as a sharer of my own discoveries as well as using other people’s tips. When you sign up for Trover, you can start to get travel inspiration by looking at the ‘Top Trovers’ or ‘What’s New’ section on Trover’s home page, but I recommend following people to get even better travel tips. That’s where the social aspect of Trover kicks in. I’ve already found a number of fellow bloggers on there whose travel recommendations I trust, so of course I followed them on Trover, too, and now see their latest discoveries every time I log into my Trover account (or open the app on my phone):Trover NewsfeedIf the look reminds you of Pinterest, I have to agree – and I love the clean layout of the pictures – but let me assure you: this is so much better than Pinterest! While on Pinterest many photos you come across are simply sourced from a Google Image search, added on a ‘Dream Destinations’ board with no further information on the place (it might just be the prettiest beach – but where is it?!), Trover is an actual useful travel guide. Here, people are encouraged to add a short description to their discovery when they upload a photo. In my case, this might look like this:trover badeschiffAnd if the description isn’t sufficient for you, you can leave a comment with an additional question, and you can expect to get an answer from the person who posted the discovery.

I still felt that Trover’s travel tip leaving aspect was similar to Foursquare which is similar with its crowd-sourced recommendations, even though they’re more specific (if you check into a restaurant on Foursquare, for example, people will usually recommend their favorite dish there or which dish to avoid). When I put both apps to test in Helsinki last week, I realized, however, how much better Trover is. Let’s have a look at Foursquare:

Foursquare Tips
Foursquare Tips for popular sights in Helsinki

And Trover:

Trover Picks
Don’t you love the look of it?
Trover Picks Helsinki
Trover even gives you the exact distance from your location to each sight!

Not only does Trover have way more sights listed (Foursquare had only 7!) but it is also so much more attractive with the large picture layout (it looks even better on a laptop or a tablet) and I saw some sights on there right away that sparked my interest, like this cool organ sculpture or the love locks bridge (who knew that Helsinki had one of those!?):

Helsinki Tips
Cool Trover discoveries in Helsinki

Sharing travel discoveries on Trover

But the thing I personally am most excited about is that with Trover, I’ve found a new way to share my travel tips – in an easy and very visual way (showcasing my favorite photos at the same time). I can leave tips about cool finds either right away or upload a photo later onto the website. That way I was able to add a complete list with my top ten Sri Lanka highlights, each one with a photo and a short description. The map that goes with the list also shows you right away where all the places I shared tips for are located.trover sri lanka highlightsIf you follow me on Trover, you’ll see all my existing lists and you can decide which ones to follow. My Berlin list is a work in progress for example (I am in the process of adding the dozens of places I included in four comprehensive Berlin guides into one list on Trover – which will make it much easier for you to locate the places I recommend, if you travel to a destination and want to check out one of my recommendations). I’ve already started lists for other countries, such as my Favorite Places In Chile or My Israel Highlights, and there are many more to come.trover berlin discoveryAnd Trover’s user-friendly interface makes it extremely easy to share a photo and leave a tip: you simply click ‘add photo’, select the picture you’d like to add from your files, add the place (and I’ve found that Trover already has most places – restaurants, sights, shops). If the place isn’t listed you can just move the cursor to the exact location and add it, and if you add a photo via the app on your phone, it’s even easier, thanks to geotagging. When I added older photos from my phone, it always knew right away where they were taken (I am still amazed by the technology behind this!). Next, you add your description and you’re done. You can then add it your discovery to a list.

trover discovery
I couldn’t help but creating a list with my favorite coffee shops around the world. It’s still a work in progress!

I know that many of you follow me specifically for travel tips, which is why I am so excited that I have another outlet to share my tips on.

You can download the Trover app for free here for iPhone and Android or sign up via the Trover website here. If you’d like to follow me, you can do that here!

Room for improvement

As a crowd sourced travel guide, Trover is dependent on its users, which means it doesn’t have any influence on the quality of the tips. I’ve already come across some photos during my Hong Kong research that didn’t include any description whatsoever. There is also the problem that popular places like Paris and New York have a myriad of travel tips while destinations like the Philippines, that are a bit more off-the-beaten path, have way less tips – and which is why I won’t ditch my guidebook completely just yet.

Helsinki Tips on Trover
Great travel tips for Helsinki!

Trover also has come up with a creative incentive how to guarantee a high standard of the tips left on the app: by giving away money! They hold monthly changing contests in which they reward the most active users with the best travel tip for a specific topic – for example ‘best local gem’, ‘best food find’, ‘discovery of the year’, or right now the ‘best beach photo’ contest, which I of course entered. (And if you have a great beach photo that you’d like to share, you should enter too – The best photo wins $1,500!)Trover ContestAre you using Trover? Feel free to leave a link to your Trover profile in the comments below so that I can follow you!

This branded post is brought to you in partnership with Trover. All opinions are my own.
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How I stay organized when I travel (plus: $100 gift card giveaway!)

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No matter if I travel somewhere for a short amount of time or if I stay in a place for longer, I need to be able to access all my stuff quickly and to pack and unpack my luggage as fast as possible. Nothing drives me crazier than rummaging through my bag or suitcase, trying to locate something. Thankfully I have become much more organized over the years and nowadays, I’ve got my bag packed and unpacked within only a few minutes. And I have to thank smart packing systems for that – from the packing cubes I’ve been raving over and over again to other packing organizing tools, like a laundry bag, shoe sacs, cosmetic bags and an awesome hanging toiletry organizer I recently found.Containerstore Toiletries Organizer closedOrganizing tools to make packing more efficient, and clothing and storage organizers specifically for travelers have literally revolutionized the way I travel and pack. So where do you find these practical items? At the Container Store®! I could get lost in the Container Store® for hours (and spend hundreds of dollars) discovering new organizing systems and taking advantage of the store’s amazing bargain prices.Containerstore Toiletries Organizer

My most recent purchases at the Container Store® include:

So how do I organize my stuff when I travel? Here are my best tips how to pack and organize your belongings efficiently when traveling:

Pack systematically

Before you start packing, decide where you are planning to put each individual item. I have three large packing cubes for example, and I use each for different things. Once I decided which cube to use for what, I always kept it the same way to ensure I’d find quickly what I needed. The same goes for my various shoe sacs, different toiletry and cosmetics bags, and my smaller packing cubes for miscellaneous items.

Optimize your suitcase space

The next thing is to optimize the amount of space you have inside your suitcase. I did that by trying out various ways to fit all my packing cubes and other items until I found the best way to fit them all, which means the way where I still have room left once I’ve packed everything. That is because I know I end up picking up souvenirs along the way. Every time I pack my suitcase now, I pack it the exact same way – which saves me lots of time! No more squeezing and moving things around until I finally manage to close it.ebags packing cubes

Unpack the smart way

This is especially important for me when I stay longer in a place, and since I have started to slow down quite a bit, I tend to spend more than just a couple of nights in a place. When I arrive, I like to unpack right away to get rid of the ‘living out of a suitcase’ feel and I organize my belongings the same way everywhere I go. Most hotels don’t really think about easy unpacking, but there is one exception:

A new hotel concept for organized travelers

TownePlace Suites by Marriott®, the Marriott brand that focuses on long-term stays (meaning anything over four nights). TownePlace Suites® teamed up with Container Store® in 2014 in order to make it easier for travelers to stay organized. We all know that sad-looking closet with nothing more than a few hangers inside – which is the reason so many of us live out of a suitcase instead of unpacking – but TownePlace Suites® decided that it was time to change that.containerstoreTogether with Container Store®, they installed the elfa® closet system (which is a custom closet that boasts loads of different storage options) in 11 of their hotels – I can basically organize my stuff in the elfa® closet system the same way I’d organize it in my bag, without feeling like I’m living out of a suitcase. Not only does the system offer me several levels of hanging space, various closet rods and a shoe shelf, but also a gliding drawer for suitcases, t-shirts and other folded items.packingIn case you haven’t stayed at a TownePlace Suites® hotel yet (you can see some photos and their latest deals if you follow TownePlace Suites® Facebook, here are some other reasons why you’d want to consider them for your next trip – especially if you’re a digital nomad like me or travel for business:  aims to make long-term stays as homey as possible, offering spacious studios as well as one- and two-bedroom suites with separate living/working spaces. The hotels are ideal for business travelers and digital nomads alike with its ergonomic in-room work space, full kitchens and free wi-fi.

My terrific Christmas giveaway for you!

Tps_oc_fcl_zpse5201e1dTownePlace Suites® is giving away a $100 gift card towards your next stay at a TownePlace Suites®! All you have to do to be entered in the raffle is to answer the following question:

What would you use the most in the elfa® closet to stay organized while traveling?

Share your thoughts in the comments below to be entered in the giveaway – please note that this contest is only running until 31 December 2014 and for U.S. residents only.

**This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only. Must be 21+. The content ends 31 December 2014. (Click here for official rules)

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From Europe to the U.S. on a Budget Airline: My Experience with Norwegian Air’s 787 Dreamliner

norwegian air window 787 boeing dreamliner

I have to admit that when I had agreed to give Norwegian’s transatlantic Dreamliner Experience a try, I was a bit skeptical. A budget airline that offers transatlantic flights? What were these flights going to be like? Memories of budget flights I had taken within Europe with a certain Irish budget airline (whose crazy CEO had suggested standing room on flights a while back) popped into my head. Memories that included throwing a fit over a fee for not having printed my boarding pass (a fee that was more expensive than the ticket itself). Memories of radio commercials for said airline playing so loud from the speakers on the plane that you were barely able to hear your own voice. The list could go on, but let’s not go there.norwegian air dreamliner 787Of course I have not only had horrible experiences with budget airlines. I still treasure the memories of countless AirAsia flights which were all smooth and painless, and I was curious to see how Norwegian would compare. Plus, I was highly impressed that an airline was finally offering flights from Europe to the U.S. at an affordable rate. Prices for a flight from Stockholm to San Francisco start at an incredible $187, and flights from London to New York start at $249 (Note: London – NYC seems downright expensive compared to the Stockholm – San Francisco route, but that is because the airport fees in both London Gatwick and New York JFK are among the highest in the world. Stockholm – NYC flights start at $158, Oslo – NYC at $167). Not all seats are sold at these rates, but if you are planning a trip well in advance, it is possible to snag one of these amazingly cheap tickets.norwegian airlines top dealsI am familiar with this concept thanks to train, bus and European air travel: the earlier you book, the cheaper the tickets are. With Norwegian though, I was surprised to see that less than a week prior to my flight from Berlin to London, from where Norwegian runs its transatlantic flights (in addition to Stockholm, Copenhagen and Oslo), Norwegian didn’t only come up as the cheapest option in my flight search, but still offered flights for 29 Euros, as I had seen advertised in some magazines and at the airport in Berlin from where I’d flown to Israel the month before. I was happy to see that I didn’t necessarily have to plan my trip months in advance to get a great deal like this, but could still spontaneously book a flight at that cheap rate five days prior to my departure.norwegian air window 787 boeing dreamlinerMy next moment of joy was when I discovered that I didn’t need to print a boarding pass, and that I wouldn’t have to fear a fine for not having a physical print-out, instead, I didn’t even need to present my booking confirmation on my smartphone – my passport was enough.

Before I got on the plane, I was a bit worried that the planes would have rows as narrow as Ryanair’s, where the pockets on the back of the seats (to store your magazines and other stuff) are missing, just so they could fit in another row of seats or two. I can tolerate no leg room (I am 5.7′ and have long legs) for a two hour flight, but not for seven or eight hours. I also wasn’t sure what to expect entertainment-wise, knowing that most other low cost carriers don’t even have monitors. 

Check out my short video: What’s it like to fly Norwegian Air?

I had read though that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was one of the most modern planes out there – if not the most modern one. From extra large windows for better views, plus a button to darken the window should the sun disturb you (instead of window shades), an automatic dimming light system that changes according to the time of day or night, better (ie. lower) cabin air pressure which is supposed to reduce jet lag, power outlets and a USB charger. And the environmentalist in me was happy to find out that the Boeing 787 is the most fuel efficient airplane on the market. The Dreamliner itself sounds amazing!Norwegian Air windowsAnd it turned out, the plane lived up to my expectations and all of my worries were unfounded: Legroom in the plane was spacious, there was room to store a book in the backseat pocket, and each seat has its own TV screen. In fact, the thing that impressed me most was the entertainment selection on my flight. Even the music selection, which I usually ignore, had plenty of albums that I wanted to listen to, and ranged from billboard chart topping hits, to classics, to a whole bunch of jazz and classical music. My flight wasn’t even long enough to listen to all the albums that sparked my interest, and I hadn’t even checked out the movies and TV shows yet. If you are planning to take the eleven hour direct flight from Copenhagen to Los Angeles, do not fear: there are enough Hollywood Blockbusters and Classics to keep you entertained for the entire length of the flight (and back!).

The snack bar, also accessible via the 9′ high-tech touch-screen monitor, allows you to order food simply by clicking on the item you desire, and it will then be brought to you shortly after. Prices aren’t cheap – $11 for a sandwich, $4 for a chocolate bar – but that is to be expected. You can, however, order a full hot meal when booking your flight (more on that below).norwegian air dreamliner screenThe other thing that I absolutely loved was that I didn’t only have a USB charger (most planes have them these days), but also a power outlet on the side of my seat to charge my laptop. I made use of both of them a lot and being able to work on my laptop without it running out of battery was a huge plus for me.

You’re also able to purchase accessories like a blanket ($5) or a headset ($3) – for some people it might be annoying having to pay for these things but let’s not forget that Norwegian has to cut its costs somewhere to be able to offer their incredibly low fares, and I for example used my own headphones. If you book premium economy, these add-ons are already included, as are the meals.norwegian Air economySpeaking of meals: This is the only aspect of the flight where I see room for improvement. Even the flight attendant looked apologetic when she handed me my pre-paid vegetarian meal, offering me to add some fish, because it looked quite meager. Considering that the extra cost for a meal isn’t insignificant, I’d expect a little more here. Other than that, I didn’t find anything to complain about during the flight – like I said, the Dreamliner itself and the service on board were faultless.

Norwegian Air being a budget airline, I was curious to see how much the extra charges, or ‘hidden fees’ would add up to. The first time you come across potential additional charges is when you choose your fare and start the reservation process. Here it actually pays off to read the fine print: Norwegian gives you the chance to pay an additional $60 to the basic fare (LowFare), but for that, you’ll get a seat reservation, one piece of luggage and a meal included in your ticket automatically.norwegian upgrade offerI chose to stick to the Lowfare to see how much extras would add up to. Checked luggage is charged at $42, and if I’d like to reserve a window seat (or any seat, but why would I want to reserve a middle seat?), that would be another $42. Now my total was already at $382.20 which, in a way, already contradicts the ‘budget’ aspect. However: Let’s not forget that I was looking at a flight two weeks from now.

With an added vegetarian meal though, the price comes to $417.20, which is pretty steep. Remember though that Norwegian had given me the option to choose a better fare option, the Low Fare +, which includes all these add-ons and is $357.20.norwegian airlines payment on low fareThe last step to confirm my reservation: Making the payment. If you’ve ever taken a budget airline, you know that they charge an extra fee for payments made with a credit card. Norwegian is no different, but at least it is possible to avoid the $7.30 fee if you decide to pay with a debit card. Since I don’t own a credit card that doesn’t have to be paid off entirely the next month anyway, I am fine with putting the payment on my debit card, but I know that most people prefer credit card payments. However, a 1.99% credit card surcharge is not outrageous.norwegian credit card feesIf you were to pay your ticket with a credit card and you opted for the Low Fare+, this would come to $364.20. So if you are one of these travel types I admire who travel only with carry-on only, don’t care about a seat reservation and survive on a New York bagel bought before boarding the plane in NYC, you can get away with the Low Fare ticket, which comes to $304.30 with the credit card surcharge.norwegian food pricesWhat I discovered when I was going to finish my reservation was the little box saying ‘Need More Time?’, offering me a 4-hour money back guarantee should I decide to cancel my ticket within the next four hours. That way, travelers can reserve a ticket at the lowest price but should they find a cheaper fare or change their minds for whatever reason, they can still cancel without being charged.norwegian credit card feesWhile the NYC-London deal is good (thanks to the large amount of daily connections on this route it is possible to find similar deals on regular airlines), I think what makes Norwegian really stand out are the fares offered from the West Coast to Europe. $187 incl. taxes from San Francisco (Oakland) to Stockholm? Los Angeles to London for $249? Yes, please! And remember that if you decide to fly to Stockholm or London on this low fare, you can transfer within Europe on the cheap by taking another inexpensive Norwegian flight, say to Rome or Madrid, or like I did to Berlin.Norwegian Air San Francisco to StockholmDuring a quick search, I found return flights from L.A. to Copenhagen for $465 which is a steal. If you accept the no-frills policy and the fact that extra fees for meals and baggage are part of the concept of a budget airline and your priority is flying on a low fare, you can’t go wrong with them. The Dreamliner Experience was nothing but pleasant for me, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a transatlantic flight with Norwegian Air.norwegian airline screenBy the way: Norwegian also runs long-haul flights between Europe and Bangkok, starting at $204!

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The Happiness Of Pursuit, My Search For A Quest, And A Book Giveaway!

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There’s a quest waiting for you to find, claim or create.

After reading Chris Guillebau’s latest book, The Happiness Of Pursuit, this sentence stuck with me. I wasn’t even twenty pages into the book when I decided that it’s time to find – and pursue – a quest of my own.

The author himself undertook to huge quest of visiting every country in the world before turning 35. And even though he was successful, he had to overcome countless hurdles, setbacks and other issues, but he never gave up. In the book he doesn’t only talk about his very own quest, but he looks at all kinds of other quests, pursued by people who he got to know while in the process of reaching his own goal. The things people were challenging themselves with were not always travel-related, but included self-discovery quests, academic quests, athletic quests and creative quests (to name just a few).

He shows examples of people who successfully pursued their quests or are still in the process of doing so, on track to reach their goal soon. He explains why the people he interviewed for the book decided to pursue their respective quests, how they overcame roadblocks and blocked out naysayers, and what exactly defines as a quest.

The happiness of pursuitWhat exactly defines as a quest?

Many people set goals, like getting in better shape for example, or run a marathon, travel to fifty countries or improve their photography, but a quest is actually much bigger than that.

Chris Guillebeau defines a quest as an undertaking with a specific goal and end point, a challenging pursuit, something that requires a sacrifice of some sort and is driven by an internal motivation that can border on obsession. To reach the end goal, incremental progress is made, step by step. Quests that he talks about in the book that I thought were remarkable included Laura Dekker, who set off to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the world alone in a sailboat at the age of 16, Martin Powell who ran 250 marathons in one year and Thomas Hawk, who challenged himself to take, edit and publish one million photos. As you can see, no quest is like the other.

I am longing for a challenge

Maybe the book resonated so much with me because I am at a point where I am simply ready to take on a challenge. The author asks the reader in the book: What’s the next chapter of your story? And after the big changes and hurdles I’ve dealt with this year, I have actually asked myself this question several times in the past few weeks.

I’ve already made the decision to undertake a quest of my own, but I am not ready yet to announce what I am going for. I have to admit that it’s not likely to be a travel-related quest, just because I don’t feel anything in travel would really challenge me. While for many people walking the Camino is a quest, I never doubted my physical ability to finish it, even though it will be challenging. A quest to visit all the UNESCO World Heritage sites around the globe is just not special anymore. Cycling overland from Europe to China or walk across Africa? Visiting all 50 US states or National Parks? It’s all been done. And, even though I have seemingly a million places I’d like to see on my travel wish list, I don’t have the desire to visit every country in the world, that’s just not my quest.

To challenge myself, I know it has to be a physical goal, something that pushes my body to the limit. That is all I am going to say about my own quest for now 🙂

the happiness of pursuitAre you ready to pursue a quest?

If you are like me, looking for something to challenge yourself with and to work towards to, want to get some more inspiration to find your own quest, and how to successfully pursue it, this book is definitely for you. I found myself taking notes the entire time I read The Happiness Of Pursuit, and I don’t remember the last time I actually marked paragraphs and sentences while reading a book!

To find out if you are ready to undertake a quest, you could ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you long for a challenge?
  • Do you enjoy setting goals?
  • Does making progress toward a goal motivate you?
  • Do you have a hobby or passion or something you might be almost obsessed with?
  • Are you ready to follow your passion?
  • Do you have ideas you can’t stop thinking about?
  • Is there more to life than this?
  • Are you ready to break out of the traditional life path?

If you can answer most of these questions with YES, you are probably ready to pursue your very own quest.

finding your quest
Finding your quest is not always easy.. but pursuing it is even harder.

You can order the book from Amazon or find it in your local book store – or enter the giveaway!

Win a copy of the book!

I am giving away one copy of The Happiness Of Pursuit to one lucky reader – so if this sounds interesting to you, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy! I’d like to know if you’ve ever pursued a quest, and if so, were you successful? What kind of quest was it? If you are planning to pursue a quest: what kind of quest would be for you? A physical challenge, a travel quest, self-improvement or educational? I am looking forward to your comments!

To find out more about the author, visit ChrisGuillebeau.com. To find out more about the book, visit FindTheQuest.com.

Disclaimer: This review of The Happiness of Pursuit including the book giveaway is sponsored by Random House. The winner of the giveaway will be chosen via Random.org. The giveaway will close on 22 September.
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Product Review: The ENO Doublenest Hammock

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Neither of us are exactly the outdoorsy type – we’ll kayak or canoe, but only on occasion and not for more than an afternoon. We hike but we don’t camp. But we love moving our ‘office’ out of doors and as we say on Twitter – we work as often as possible from a hammock.  So when we had the opportunity to test out the ENO Doublenest hammock, we couldn’t resist.

dani and jess in the eno hammockFounded by brothers Peter and Paul Pinholster, ENO Hammocks are based in one of our favorite cities, Asheville, North Carolina. The brothers quit the cubicle and became career-breakers in 1999, selling hammocks at festivals across the country out of the back of their van until dedicating themselves to creating Eagles Nest Outfitters hammocks on a larger scale to people after their own hearts. How could we turn down the chance to test out a product from guys right after our own hearts.

The thing is, we are never the ones responsible for hanging the hammocks. That is the job of the restaurant, the bar, the hotel. Now suddenly we would have our own. I pictured Dani hanging upside down and backwards by one leg or me crashing down onto my tailbone. What happened was quite the opposite.

Five minutes flat. That’s how long it takes us to get our ENO Doublenest Hammock up, as long as we’ve got two poles or trees to wrap the cords around. Our first attempt, stringing it up around two palm trees in Mexico, took fifteen minutes, but that included careful reading of instructions and at least one Tecate beer each.

globetrottergirls setting up the eno doublenest hammockNow we’ve got it down to a science and have it hanging by the pool at our housesit in Costa Rica. Here’s what we love about it.

The hammock and the straps fold up into a small bag, and take up no more room than my rain jacket. That whole process takes a couple of minutes. The material, which feels like being wrapped up in a parachute, is super comfortable (and dries quickly). The ENO Doublenest is meant for two people. Dani and I did fit side by side, but truthfully it was a squeeze. The positive side of that is it is incredibly roomy for one person. Wrapped up inside the ENO is the first time I’ve ever even considered sleeping outside at night, knowing I could just wrap myself and even my entire backpack up into the hammock and end up sleeping like a baby.

What makes it so easy to hang are the straps. Called Slapstraps Pro, you just put one end through a loop at the other around the tree and pull tight. there are notches along the strap to hook into with a metal belay clip which sets the height of the hammock. This means no knots to tie and possibly mess up – bonus!

eno doublenest hammockThe straps seem so…thin…too thin to hold our weight, we thought. In reality, it feels perfectly sturdy as I toss and turn inside my ‘nest’, and it should, considering it does have a 400lb weight limit.

There are a few features missing from the hammock to make it absolutely perfect. First, we’d like to see a zipper on either side of the hammock. For single sleepers, there is so much room inside here, if you could just zip yourself in with a little screen for breathing, I can imagine camping to be a breeze.

You can pick up an ENO Double Nest Hammock on Amazon, REI or directly on the ENO website.

using the eno doublenest hammock

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