Author - Mike Patch

5 Best Compact Binoculars For Travel, Bird Watching or Everyday Use

Best Compact Binoculars

Binoculars are such an underrated travel accessory. They’re small enough to fit in your pocket but add so much value to a sporting event or sightseeing when traveling.

I remember using a pair binoculars at a Red Sox game and it totally changed my experience of seeing aspects of the game I love so much. I would have never thought to bring binoculars either; it was my old girlfriend at the time that had them. I love Fenway Park and had always wanted to see a game there. We scored tickets last minute when we were in Boston, and I was ecstatic soaking up the smells and sounds of the stadium. It was an iconic event for me. We didn’t get great seats, but I didn’t care, I was just happy to be there. I remember just as we were starting to get comfortable in our seats, my girlfriend whipped out a pair of compact binoculars. I actually didn’t even know she had them on her. For the next hour, I hogged these mini binoculars as I peered around the stadium watching everything from the players on the field to the details all around the stadium at far distances.

Best Compact Binoculars

Years later, I got roped into spending the day with these photography students trying to capture photos of birds in the wild. My friend was the teacher of the class, and I owed him a favor after he helped me move into my apartment across town. He needed an extra set of hands hauling equipment, and I had nothing to do that weekend. Because the kids were using their cameras, I was asked to help spot birds using binoculars. I had no idea what I was doing, I didn’t know what I was supposed to look for, and would just randomly say “bird” and point to a direction which followed with a dozen or so clicks from these young students. I kept joking I was the dog in that Pixar Movie “UP” that would stop mid-sentence to yell “Squirrel.”

Anyways, that day I got to test about a dozen pairs of binoculars. The students would hand them to me to use to spot birds, and by the end of the day, I really noticed a difference between the different brands, weights, and distances. From what I found, the best compact binoculars have a few common traits, but design can be misleading. After that day, and knowing how great my experience was at Fenway, I heavily researched the best compact binoculars online as I wanted to get a pair for myself.

Here are a few quick yet essential takeaways when researching or shopping for binoculars:

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6 Best French Press Coffee Maker Models on the Market

Best French Press Coffee Maker

The following article is a complete breakdown of the best french press coffee maker models on the market that I have researched and tested. This article explains what makes a great french press and should help you narrow down your search for finding the best coffee maker that fits your needs. 

Best French Press Coffee Maker

I would classify myself as a heavy coffee drinker, but not a pretentious one. I don’t go to Starbucks very often, but when I do, my order is straightforward; a medium cup of black coffee to which I add a little cream and sugar and I’m good to go. I work from home mostly, so I make coffee at least twice throughout the day for myself. Over the years, the evolution of the coffee makers I have purchased got bigger and more complex. I liked coffee makers that would grind the beans for me, measure the right amount of water to add and even give me digital options to how refined the grind was. However, that all changed after having my first cup of coffee from a French Press.

Best French Press Coffee MakerI remember it well, my wife and I took the kids to visit friends who lived out of town for the weekend. The first morning I woke up I was greeted with a nice cup of coffee, but I never saw it being brewed. I assumed it was some fancy new expensive coffee maker as the coffee was vibrant with flavor. At the time, I was currently looking for a new coffee maker after my $349 Breville maker had broke, so I was very curious to learn about what had made this great cup of joe. When I discovered the coffee was made from a French Press, I was amazed. I was in disbelief that something so simple could whip together such a great cup of coffee.

When we returned home a few days later, I went out to pick up my own French Press with the intention of it being a temporary replacement until I could find the next best thing as far as a pro-style coffee makers go. But, it’s been over six months now, and I’m still using a French Press. I love the taste and my wife, and I love how much extra counter space we have in our kitchen now.

However, I should point out that I have tested out a few different French Press maker models. In fact, I met this guy working for a local department store that seemed to be a coffee fanatic. He was Barista that worked at this local hipster coffee shop part-time and also worked at the department store where I was shopping to buy the best french press coffee maker I could get my hands on. He was the perfect person to bounce questions off.

I was interested in learning that despite the fact that a French Press coffee maker was such a simple tool for brewing coffee, it has a few different versions. Some are cheaper than others while some seem to charge more for a more professional but don’t, in fact, brew better coffee.

The following are the six Best French Press Coffee Maker Models on the Market.

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Hotwire Review: My Personal Experience (Includes 7 Booking Tips )

Hotwire review

Hotwire Review

For some people, booking a hotel can be a long and exhausting process. For others, it’s just paying for a room to sleep in while you’re out of town. Nobody wants to stay in a dump, nor do they want to pay too much. That’s why Hotwire has a really changed the game when booking a hotel room. The following is my personal Hotwire Review along with some hotel booking tips to ensure you get the best deal

How Does Hotwire Work?

Instead of researching and comparing rooms between dozens of websites, looking stock photos that never look like the room you stay in or reading fake reviews online, you can bypass all of the hassles with simply selecting a list of things most important to your stay. With Hotwire, you are presented with a list of priorities and some basic information to fill out. Things like the area, amenities, star rating, and price. From there you pay for your room but you are not told the hotel name until after purchase…and it’s non-refundable or changeable.

What Are The Benefits?

The benefits of booking with Hotwire are simple, you can stay in a beautiful room for a fraction of the price.

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5 Airplane Toys For Toddlers To Keep Both You And Them Happy

Airplane Toys For Toddlers

Just recently I wrote about how my entire family took its first trip to Disneyland and the success of that vacation hindered on getting my kids their own luggage. Having your children involved in something as simple as being responsible for their own toys, gives them a task and allows them a sense of purpose throughout the whole traveling experience. Each kid had their own luggage, but we put those bags into the overhead compartment throughout the flight. To avoid having to get up 15 times throughout the flight, we brought a carry on bag for the entire families needs. In that bag, we included games and toys for the kids to keep busy along with snacks for them to eat.

Airplane Toys For ToddlersIn this article, I wanted to share with you some of the awesome airplane toys for toddlers that I picked up for the flight. Now I know what you’re thinking, who buys brand new toys for their kids just to behave on a flight…. well, I do. I didn’t break the bank at all, but I did find some awesome affordable toys online that made the 6-hour flight easily worth it. My kids were so well behaved, the wife and I got to enjoy a beverage and even got to play a game of scrabble (an app on her phone) while they played quietly.

Tip: To read about our trip and to get advice for Kids Carry on Luggage, I would suggest checking out my Best Luggage For Kids article. There you should be able to get some tips for your upcoming trip.

The following are 7 awesome airplane toys for toddlers. I didn’t buy all of these, but my step brother has 5 kids and made some suggestions to this article to give you more options. He was the one who suggested getting them toys when I mentioned our family vacation.

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Best Luggage For Kids: 5 Suitcase Options Your Kids Will Love

Best Luggage For Kids

Best Luggage For Kids

I think there are two types of parents in the world. There are the parents who envision the perfect family vacation with countless pictures and priceless memories, and then there are the parents who absolutely dread the concept of traveling with toddlers.

I happen to fall into the category of overthinking all the things that could go wrong. Sure, I want all the happy memories and good times with my wife and kids on vacation, but the idea of my kids throwing a meltdown on a plane or whining about the travel time makes me want to abort the whole mission.

Just recently, my wife twisted my arm and the whole family made it’s the first trip to Disneyland.

Best Luggage For KidsMy wife, who is extremely organized took care of most of everything. I tried to help by offering “end of the world toddler scenarios” as she put it, but honestly, the trip wasn’t bad at all.

I do think the key to the success of our vacation was buying our two toddlers there own luggage. It gave them a sense of responsibility and encouraged them to stay organized. Kids love to feel involved in what everyone else is doing, so finding the best luggage for kids was tops on my list of things to do after remembering all the local day-trips we’ve done where Dad has had to carry everything. 

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Vegas On A Budget: Tips to Save Money and Still Have Fun

Las Vegas On A Budget

Ah, Las Vegas. Even if the good old Sin City has left you in alone in an alley, penniless and weeping in the fetal position, there’s something about it that always keeps you coming back for more. It’s probably not the promise of winning money from gambling (the odds are always against you in Vegas), but more of the promise of adventure and excitement. Vegas is a place we return to time and time again because we believe it’s somewhere that anything can happen. As adults, we’re taught to be polite, show restraint and constantly keep our desires, opinions and true nature at bay, but Vegas is the one place where we’re encouraged to drink (and drug) excessively, sleep around and most importantly, be our true selves.

Unfortunately, Vegas bankrolls all this fun and craziness by making as much money off visitors as they can (anyone who has been to the Subway across the Cosmopolitan knows what I’m talking about. Paying $12 for a gross sandwich is not unheard of on the strip), and you should be well aware of this fact before you try to make your next trip to Las Vegas. Luckily, with enough planning and creativity, an amazing trip to Vegas doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are some few Vegas on a budget tips to help you have fund without wasting too much cash.

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