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Product Reviews

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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1,000 PLACES TO SEE BEFORE YOU DIE – book review and giveaway!

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 ***This competition is now closed***

1000 places to see before you die Asian ProverbBack in London, long before we set off on our journey as full-time travelers, I bought Jess the book 1,000 places to see before you die. We had been together for a few years already, and one of the things we shared from the beginning was a passion for travel. Even as poor students, we would scrape some money together and explore Europe, using budget airlines and every long weekend available.

I loved looking longingly into the pages of the book, ticking off places that we had visited and dreaming about where we would go in the future. Even though we traveled every chance we got, we just barely reached 50 places. With 950 places left, I wondered to myself how we were ever going to see all of them.

1000 places to see before you dieFast forward a few years and we have now been traveling full-time for over 800 days. Long gone are ‘vacations’ reserved for a few weeks a year as an escape from our corporate lives. Just when we are able make a much bigger dent in this tome of a checklist…of course now Patricia Schultz has gone and put out a second edition with even MORE places to see!! 🙂

There have been some definite improvements in this edition. The book is now in color, and includes some of our favorite spots we felt needed to be in there – like all of Nicaragua. By merging places that were formerly divided in single destinations, author Patricia Schultz was able to add over 200 new places, including 28 entirely new countries. Easy to navigate, 1,000 Places is clearly divided into logical geographical sections, starting with Europe. Next up is Africa, a section which includes islands in the Indian Ocean, like our personal dream destination: the Maldives.

1000 places to see before you die maldivesNext is the Middle East, a chapter filled with places we have not touched at all yet, then Asia, and on to Australia, New Zealand and the islands in the Pacific, followed by the U.S. and Canada, Latin America and finally the island paradises of the Caribbean.

You’ll find classic ‘Must-See’ destinations such as the Vatican, Machu Picchu, the Pyramids of Giza or the Great Wall, but also lesser known destinations such as Panama’s San Blas islands, Chicago’s Art Institute, the Gower Peninsula in Wales or Ottawa’s Rideau Canal (all of these lesser-knowns, except for San Blas, we have seen). There are even many places in my home country of Germany that I had never considered visiting or even heard of before owning to the book!

1,000 Places to See Before You Die is as practical as it is aspirational. If you fall in love with the idea of visiting somewhere, the logistics of actually getting there are well detailed:  how to get there, where to stay (including prices), when is the best time to visit (some destinations are recommended for certain festivals), how much a tour or excursion costs and a link to a website for up-to-date information.

1000 places to see before you die the middle eastOf course nobody is expected to visit all 1,000 places in the book (although there are some people out there who use this as their traveler’s life list and try to visit all of them). We’ve only been to 140 in total – despite traveling 365 days a year for over two years!

Seriously, though, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die offers a great overview of a region you’re planning to visit, reveals new places that weren’t even on your radar yet and gives travelers the inspiration to get up and see the world.

Patricia Schultz doesn’t only share our passion for travel, in general. She also shares our thoughts on why people should travel:

I think travel makes you a better person and a more aware global citizen. I know that I cherish it as a privilege and a gift – it lifts me up, lightens me, expands me. Most important, and most simply, travel brings us joy.

1000 places to see before you die bangkok's marketsIf you are looking to start your own bucket list of places to see before you die, we are offering three copies of the book to our readers which could serve as a source of inspiration!

Win a copy of the 1,000 Places to See Before You Die!

We are holding the contest via Rafflecopter which will randomly select three winners who will get their own copy of the book. Increase your chances of winning with multiple entries:

– Leave a comment on this post with THE ONE place you have to see before you die (mandatory)

– Join the discussion on our Facebook Page about your number one dream destination (optional)

– Spreading the word about the contest by sharing it on Twitter (optional)

– Liking our Globetrottergirls Facebook Page (optional)

– Liking this post on Facebook (optional)

The contest will run until 31 July and we will notify the winners via email.

We are ending with another great quote from the book, another one that we couldn’t agree more with:

If you’re waiting for a special occasion to make your next trip happen, then consider this the day you get off the couch and head for the airport, that’s the special occasion.

Share your #1 place to see before you die in the comments for a chance to win one copy of the latest edition of ‘1,000 places to see before you die’!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 ***This competition is now closed***

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Our new Donner daypack is just what the doctor ordered | Product Review

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I don’t like to think of myself as lazy, but there is one thing that had really been bothering me. Way back when we started traveling, Dani took initiative and became the one who brought a backpack everywhere we went. She’s the one with the camera, and the extra lens, so naturally she would always bring a bag. I would throw in my iPhone, my bottle of water, then there are things like wallets, gum, little snacks and suddenly Dani is carrying around this heavy pack every day, while I stand around with empty pockets. The thing is, she didn’t even really mind. She has no problem carrying a full pack all day, whereas on the occasions I would offer to give her shoulders a break, mine would start bothering me within a half an hour or so. I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about it lately, too.

That’s why when we were put in touch with Overland Equipment, I was ecstatic about testing out my own bag and their Donner bag looked like the right one for me.

overland equipment bagI liked this bag from the start and not only because it would assuage my non-carrier guilt. I’ve also been on a big organization kick this year, trying to keep things in the best order possible. I want to have my own wallet, pens, maps and phone on me, right where I know where they are. This bag seemed just right to avoid as much stress as possible. Think I am being dramatic? Perhaps. But some of you may remember reading about our big Lisbon freak-out? I need to make sure I know where everything is at all times.

The Donner is sturdy but slim, with one main compartment and then a separate front section with different size pockets for notes, pens, and even a padded slot for my iPhone. There are deep outside pockets on either side, which are the each fit a small water bottle, too. Plus, I really dig the colors. Because we’ll be using it for traveling, I like the inconspicuous coffee brown color on the outside, but really love the extra pizazz of the yellow interior when you lift the flap or look inside.

Well, I had the bag for all of a few days before one of the two outside pockets became the perfect pocket for Dani’s long lens. Honestly, it fits surprisingly well and I had no qualms about carrying it…

dani with overland equipment bagPretty soon though, Dani started bringing the bag on her long walks with Millie, the dog we were caring for. The bag really carries weight well, so between her camera, the lenses and the dog water bottle, the bag worked great. Over the next few days, I quietly noticed how the bag was always on Dani’s shoulders, not mine.

She loves the Donner bag as much as I do, and says she doesn’t mind carrying this one either. One good thing is that it is smaller than the other day-pack, which means at least it won’t be as heavy or filled with extra ‘stuff’ we don’t need. The only downside to that is it doesn’t hold a laptop for the days we go to work in a cafe. In addition to all the front pockets, and side pockets, there is also an easy-access large pocket in the back that getting to our plane tickets and passports much easier through the boarding on our way down to Cancun the other day, and it will work for holding a small notebook, pens and a map when we’re roaming around cities in the future.

overland equipment donner bagThe only complaint about the bag is the Velcro on the outside front pocket. It makes that typical ripping sound every time she opens the bag, which is loud, but the bigger concern is that the Velcro is less secure than a zipper would be. This means that when we are in a city like Buenos Aires, Dani – I mean we – might not use all those great organizational pockets that attracted me to the bag in the first place.

For now though, it would seem that *we* have found ourselves the perfect new day-pack…

overland equipment donner bag

Full disclosure: We would like to thank Overland Equipment for providing a complimentary bag for us to test. As always, the opinions in this review and all other product reviews are entirely our own. 

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Product review: Vasque Mindbender Trail Running Shoes

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For the last two years, I have been lugging around both a pair of hiking shoes and multi-purpose tennis shoes for long city strolls and travel days. With just one backpack, size really matters, so I wanted to find one pair of shoes that could replace both, especially the heavy duty hiking shoes. But while not adventure travelers, we tend to do some big hikes, like the day we went volcano boardingthe day we became cave explorers and the day we became mountaineers.

Just before staring a massive shoe search, we were put in touch with Vasque, who offered to send me out a pair of their Vasque Mindbender trail running shoes to test. I had never heard of the Vasque brand before and was not sure about the offer, but when a few minutes of research online revealed some hard core brand fans, I was convinced to test out whether these were the replacement shoes for me.

vasque velocity trail running shoesFrom the minute I tried on the Mindbenders, I was in love. They felt comfortable on my feet from the start, which is a relief for me as I have wide feet and don’t always find shoes I can say are the perfect fit. The shoes are lightweight but durable, and the tread is perfect for the trail running I was doing in the Arizona desert. The shoes should be even better for our upcoming adventure on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula.

We have a habit of traveling to places in their hottest season and one major problem for me is how hot and sweaty my feet get. The Vasque Mindbender has a nylon mesh material that lets in just enough air to keep my feet dry, and so far I have yet to have sweaty feet in these shoes!

vasque velocity trail running shoe green like a cactusThough these shoes are intended for gripping mud or sprinting through sand, I tried them on solid concrete and was happy when even after hours of walking around my feet did not hurt. For the limited time I spend not wearing sandals on hot city streets, these will work perfectly. What’s even better is that I am now confident I have found the perfect shoes for our 4-day trek on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru, which has been a lifelong dream.

These shoes were provided on a complimentary basis, but as always, all opinions are entirely our own.

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Glove Stretchers and Petticoats: Packing advice from a Victorian Lady Traveller

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This is a guest post by Sophie McGovern. Sophie is a writer, musician and full-time nomad. When not writing she can be found reading about the adventures of ladies throughout history, and cruising along the UK waterways in her house-boat. She will soon be moving to Thailand to write for HeadingThere.

Whenever I’m reading about the inspiring adventures of female travellers today, I always wonder where it began. Who were the first women to explore the world alone? What was it like for them?

My pondering led me to the work of Lillias Campbell Davidson, a Victorian English writer who paved the way for generations of intrepid female travellers.

Lillias Campbell Davidson
Lillias Campbell Davidson (c) BNPS.CO.UK

Many of her crucial snippets of advice included things like, when travelling, ladies should never forget ‘strong smelling salts’, ‘a small bottle of brandy’ or your ‘ivory glove stretcher.’

This advice was included by Lillas in what was the very first travel guide ever written for female globetrotters.

Hints to Lady Travellers was published in 1889, and marked the beginning of a new era.

Before this time, there had been several travelogues written by upper class ladies who were privileged enough to travel, but never anything that gave the middle classes the advice and inspiration they needed to get out there and have a go themselves.

In the book, Lillias offers practical tips and encouragement for independent minded ladies with a thirst for adventure. Some of this, such as advice on tipping etiquette and respecting local cultures, is still hugely relevant today.

Other sections, including how to store your teapot when on the move and how many petticoats to wear on a cycle tour, are affectionate glimpses into the priorities and difficulties for intrepid travellers of the Victorian era.

For starters, luggage and equipment were far from our compact backpacks and quick-dry hiking trousers. In fact, when such items as a ‘well stuffed cushion for one’s feet’ were considered essential, I can only imagine with fascination the contents of a Victorian lady’s trunks and bags.

Reading Lillias’ advice on what best to wear when cycling is enough to make me break out in a sweat: ‘Wear as few petticoats as possible…and have your gown made neatly and plainly of flannel without loose ends or drapery.’

Written at a time when the woman’s place was still strongly considered to be in the home, when women did not yet even have the right to vote, Lillias’ ideas were pretty radical. Her writing began the trend in female travelling that has become so normal today, inspiring ladies all over the country to pack up their parasols and see the world.

‘If, by my endeavours, I have in any way assisted my sisters in their wanderings, or encouraged a single woman to join the path of travellers by land or sea, I shall feel that I have achieved the object of my labours, and that my task has indeed not been in vain.’

I only wish that I could drop Lillias a telegram with some pictures and stories of travel adventures from women’s blogs and journals today. I am sure she would feel thoroughly proud, of us and herself!

Get your copy of Hints to Lady Travellers: At Home and Abroad on Amazon.com.

hints to lady travellers


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Why mother is a four-letter word in Spanish | Madre, a book review

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When Liza got in touch with us to review ‘Madre’, we were more than happy to comply. After over 9 months in Latin America last year we fell head over heels for Latin culture and couldn’t wait to follow along on Liza’s own journey. Enjoy!

Ranging from ‘b*itch’ to ‘untalented’ to ‘I don’t give a sh*t, the word Madre (Mother) is used in everyday Spanish in hundreds, if not thousands, of negative expressions. From her days living in Mexico and after her return to the U.S.,  author and linguistic anthropologist Liza Bakewell, held countless conversations over the years with a truly eclectic set of friends and academics in attempt to uncover how the word mother became a four letter word.  Witnessing Bakewell’s passion to understand specific aspects of the Spanish language woven in with stories of her time spent in Mexico create an entertaining travelogue, as well as creating a blueprint for anyone who is serious about successfully learning a language. She creates a window into Latino, specifically Mexican, culture by posing questions to various friends and acquaintances that result in heated cultural debate, sharp intellectual discourse and rowdy laughter.

As Bakewell begins a spell in Mexico City, she notes graffiti on a wall which shouts ‘A toda madre o un desmadre’. Although she felt she was fairly fluent, she can only decode the phrase literally as ‘to everything mother or an un-mother,’ which makes no sense. As she spends more time in Mexico,  she discovers that these sayings using the word ‘madre’ make less and less sense to her. Why does ‘des-madre’ (un-mother) describe someone who is a waste of space, and why does ‘me vale madre’ (literally: it is worth mother to me) translate to ‘I don’t give a damn’?

Madre by Liza Bakewell

Bakewell is further incensed when she discovers that the use of ‘padre’, meaning father, is as positive as mother is negative in Mexican slang. Whereas ‘madre’ is used in countless shades of derogatory expressions, the use of Padre is simple: ‘Qué padre’ means ‘how cool’, ‘padre, no?’ means ‘good, right?’, and the superlative ‘padrisimo’ means fabulous.

Readers follow ready and willing along on this journey, which, for such an intellectual travelogue, is jam-packed with a spicy mix of four-letter words as we learn the translations for the plethora of disrespectful terms. The writing is entertaining, the tone is cheeky and yet her anthropological and linguistic research is clearly very serious and logical.

While Madre delves in a very specific aspect of the Spanish language, even non Spanish speakers can be entertained. However one, perhaps unintentional, benefit of reading Madre is that this book holds the key to successful language learning within its pages. There is not one lesson, and that is not the book’s intent. With Madre, Bakewell subtly yet effectively highlights key learning habits for anyone serious about learning a foreign language. Becoming both bilingual and bicultural is made possible not from parroting back words or phrases from the teacher, but from taking an active part in understanding the culture in which each language is spoken. As a (former) English teacher, one of the most difficult hurdles was that while language learners may eagerly come to class with their dictionaries and sharpened pencils at the ready, the key to success is that tenacious mindset to understand the interwoven intricacies of language and culture. Only when you accept that you must learn both can you ever truly master a language.

As we fly off to Thailand next week, I will be taking my own advice to do the best I can to pick up as much Thai as possible from the locals. As Liza Bakewell puts it, language learning truly takes place in ethnographic laboratories – kitchen tables, bars, real life conversations and the subtitle of Madre says it all: You must dive in and take a journey with the language if you truly want to master it.

Pick up your copy of Madre: Perilous Journeys with a Spanish Noun
on Amazon as a hardback copy or the Kindle version of Madre
.

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The Kodak zi8 pocket camcorder – the best could still be better | Travel Tech Review

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Tomorrow we are heading on a trip to the waterfalls of Agua Azul and Misol-Ha and the Mayan ruins of Palenque. No doubt, there will be spectacular scenery, wildlife and local customs that would be great to get on film, and I’ll certainly catch some of it on my Kodak zi8 pocket camcorder. However, the footage that gets uploaded to our YouTube channel won’t be edited, unfortunately, because of all the hi-tech, user-friendly and useful aspects of the Kodak, the editing options are terrible.

Don’t misunderstand; the Kodak Zi8 is a fantastic device which has moved the pocket camcorder market up a level. Though we’re not an overly tech-savvy pair, we dig in and do our research before committing to a product that will form an integral part of our travel (blogging) experience.

We snapped up the camcorder in the UK for ₤109; an excellent price for a sturdy, compact camcorder. The zi8 is a vast improvement on its older sister, the zi6, and this version has also surpassed the more famous and funky-looking Flip Video camcorders. The device films in standard and High Definition; the top HD mode is 1080p, plus there are two 720p modes – one at 30 frames per second and the other at 60, good for grabbing sharper images of fast-moving objects. This means that the footage you record looks great even when hooked up to most massive HD flat screen TV, and there is a cable included for this.

As you travel, however, most likely the footage is seen either on YouTube or on the device itself. The zi8’s wide, bright LCD screen is much better than  the smaller Flip screen, and makes watching footage on the device much easier. YouTube clips need only footage in a standard film setting, which allows for many more hours squeezed onto the SD card. (You will have to purchase an SD card with the zi8, unlike with the Flip which comes with 4G of space. Although this is an extra cost, it also means that fresh cards can easily be swapped into the device on a busy filming day without deleting or uploading clips onto the computer first). Also an improvement compared to the Flip is the 5 Megapixel camera. After all, if phones can take snapshots, why shouldn’t a camcorder be able to? The zi8 takes great pics.

Like the competition, the zi8 has a built-in USB stick to transfer files off the device. Even better, however, is that the Kodak comes with a rechargeable battery which charges whenever the USB is plugged in and until recently, the Flip depended on 2 AA batteries. The newer Flip Mino does come with a rechargeable battery, but the Mino still doesn’t film in HD and only has a 2x zoom. The zi8’s 4x zoom is high-quality, if not a bit too jumpy. Traditional camcorders have a much better stabilization element while filming as compared to pocket camcorders. An additional feature unique to the Kodak zi8 is the external mic jack which allows users to get a much higher sound quality than relying on the built-in mic. This is very useful for travel bloggers who are conducting interviews, filming tour guides or creating online travel videos.

But it is this last little snippet – editing the video – that has been the challenge with the Kodak. Between the .mov format of the HD footage and the downright medieval software which accompanies the product, editing the footage has been a complete flop so far. From experience, the iPhone 3GS allows users to edit/trim footage directly on the device with one finger. Literally. With the zi8’s free software (which is not made by Kodak and for which the company claims no responsibility), even trimming the files is a pain, and as of yet has been impossible. Much less useful editing options include adding a bit of sound or text over the video before uploading, but the footage would still remain uncut. There is free editing software available online, but apparently the .mov file format requires QuickTimePro.

In principle, we are not opposed to purchasing this or similar software, but for those travelers like us who have moved over to the lightweight and practical netbooks, it might not even be possible to use the program at all – the RAM does not allow for large software programs to run without seriously slowing down everything else on the computer. In fact, after speaking with a few tech-geeks much more knowledgeable than ourselves, it seems that doing any editing at all on a netbook is out of the question.

If anyone out there can advise the best way to edit footage from Kodak zi8 HD .mov files on my Asus Eee PC netbook, we would be eternally grateful. Of course, then we’ll actually have to take the time to do all the editing! But it’s worth it. There have been so many moments that we have recorded and wanted to share, but couldn’t thanks a blip or a beep or a sneeze or busting out into laughter inappropriately that should be edited out before being added to the infinite eternity of the web.

C|Net Review: zi8
C|Net Review: Flip Video
Read this fellow Kodak zi8’s love-hate relationship with the device.

Here are two of our unedited videos with the Kodak zi8 so far – the quality and zoom are excellent, the sound quality (no external mic) leaves a bit to be desired but overall we are very satisfied with the device.

Voladores in Chapultapec Park as filmed with Kodak zi8

San Francisco Cable Cars filmed with Kodak zi8

Kodak Zi8 camcorder - smaller than a postcard!
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iPad envy? Not yet.

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On the top of our priority list for before setting off on our round the world trip was the purchase of a top-notch netbook. At the time of our purchase, the choice of netbook over laptop was clear. That was before the iPad landed.

However, despite a few geeky twinges of initial iPad envy, there is no question that the netbook is by far the best choice for a Globetrotter Girl.

We chose the ASUS Eee PC 10.1-Inch Netbooks due to the right balance of price ($278 each), weight (2.9lbs, 1.4 in thin) and battery life (9.5 hours).

Advantages of a netbook over a laptop or iPad tablet

  • The weight

For backpackers and business travellers alike, every extra ounce of weight counts. The netbook is lightweight (2.9lbs) and small (1.4 inches). The iPad is only 1.5 lbs, but extra keyboard is required (see point 7).

  • The price

We bought 2 Asus netbooks from Best Buy for less than $700. including taxes and Geek Squad insurance, which includes one new battery each within 2 years. An iPad starts at $500, and can hit $800-$900 for a 64GB device. The extra games and goodies tend to cost as well – from iTunes to eBooks, making the actual price of the iPad much higher.

  • Battery life

This is where Asus was the clear winner over all other netbooks. The 9.5 hour battery life (compared to Dell’s 4 hours) is no joke. As long as it’s fully charged, we can spend an entire afternoon at a café and not worry about plugging in. This is especially relevant for travel in lesser developed areas who will not have built their cafes around the needs of the hi-tech nomadic types. The iPad also boasts a 10 hour battery life, an absolute advantage over some other netbook brands out there.

  • Space + Ports

The Asus Eee PC has 160 GB, almost 3x the iPad’s 64GB. The iPad also does not have USB ports, meaning that all new content needs to be downloaded from the web or through a cable connected to your ‘real’ computer. Essentially, without USB ports to easily transfer documents, music and video, the iPad remains a secondary device rather than a stand-alone travel companion. With the iPad we would have no real way of transferring video from our Kodak zi8 HD camcorder onto our devices and eventually onto Youtube, for example.

  • Multi-tasking

Asus makes the motherboards for all Apple and Sony Vaio products. This means that iPad (and iPhone) users are getting Asus hardware with an Apple operating system.  Oddly enough, while the iPhone 4 allows multitasking, the brand new shiny iPad is using the older operating system, which makes the iPad a one-task-at-a-time device.

With the netbook, we have multiple web-browsers open with several tabs, plus text documents and image editing software, just like on any laptop (though open too many and the netbook slows down considerably due to limited RAM and memory). I can’t imagine writing a blog post in a document and having to exit out to go online to find a website to hyperlink.

However, when working on too many images or with Word, Firefox, Excel, Photoshop and Skype running all at once, the netbook is definitely slower than a laptop.

  • The keyboard

This makes the choice of a netbook over an iPad a simple one. Netbooks have keyboards, the iPad doesn’t. For someone who writes thousands of words a day for Globetrottergirls posts and travel articles, doing without a keyboard is not an option, especially when considering how many mistakes I still make with my iPhone when texting. The iPad has a $70 keyboard, but now you are lugging around a 1.5lb tablet and a keyboard. No thanks.

  • The netbook closes

There is something poignant about finishing an article or a post, hitting save, and closing the laptop. True, maybe I’ve watched a little too much of Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, but also, the iPad screen is constantly at risk for damage, even when the tablet is not in use. Globetrotters need a device that can handle the occasional drop, knock, or spill. Plus, the greasy fingerprints are apparently also still a major issue on the iPad.

Dani blogging @ airport

Disadvantages of the Asus Eee PC netbook

The netbooks we have are by no means perfect, and there are still plenty of improvements that can be made.

  • Image+Video Editing

Both image and video editing would be so much easier on a Mac. With the limited RAM and processing power, running a video editing software is neigh on impossible.

  • Screen resolution

A major disadvantage to the netbook is the small screen. The Asus has a 10.1in screen. Reading longer posts or articles requires a lot of scrolling.

  • Entertainment

The iPad is essentially part-ebook reader, and it is possible to download thousands of books without taking up any space in the backpack. This includes guidebooks for the entire world. However, imagine standing on the streets of Delhi or San Salvador and getting out your iPad to see what Lonely Planet suggests to see and do. Sometimes a good old fashioned guidebook is much more functional.

For the ‘app’ addicts out there, yes iPhone / iPad apps are awesome. There are some really great apps out there for traveling bloggers which would only look even better on a bigger screen (and after all, the iPad is just a larger version of the iPhone in so many respects). If you are already traveling with an iPhone, however, then this last point is also moot.

Conclusion

The netbook is a slimmed down, fitter version of the laptop, and is 15 years in the  making, with everything you need, but no frills.  The all-frills iPad is the first generation of user-friendly tablets, and like its cousin the iPhone, the next gen iPad will be better than the first, and the 4th will be better than that.

The fact is, the Globetrottergirls are not ‘a Mac’ or ‘a PC’. Brand loyalty is of no importance. We are simply globetrotters, looking for a dependable, lightweight device fast enough for our amateur techie requirements of fast speeds and easy blogging. So, do we have iPad envy? Not yet, but maybe next year, or the year after that.

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