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What to Pack for a Cruise: Travel Advice

What to Pack for a Cruise

What to Pack for a Cruise

My heart beat with anticipation as our shuttle made its way to our departure port. The excitement of a first cruise, the knowledge that I would soon be in a small floating city on the high seas, brought out my inner traveler. When I started preparing for this trip, the last thing I wanted to think about was what to pack.

But that’s just part of the pre-trip fun! Depending on what sort of cruise you take and where you will be sailing, choosing your wardrobe and what to pack for a cruise only lends itself to the excitement.

To be on a huge ship where you can look out onto the endless blue water, and not feel hardly any swaying, is a unique experience. The sun shining down on crystal waters where the rays bounce up from the ocean; it’s truly like being in another world. Then I watched as my floating hotel approaches the shore at some exotic destination. And the best part? I got to visit several fabulous destinations without schlepping my bags. The scenery keeps changing, and yet your stuff stays in one place. Genius!

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5 Reliable Electric Cooling Blanket Options To Get A Perfect Night Sleep

Electric Cooling Blanket: Sleep Better

Even in the winter when I have blankets on to stay warm, there are times I wake up too hot and need to cool down. I hate sweating when I sleep, so I’ve learned over the years to stick my feet out from the covers to get my body temperature just right. Obviously, this doesn’t allow for too many comfortable sleeping positions; that was until I got myself an electronic cooling blanket, and life has been so much better.

I used to travel a lot for business and hated hotel beds. I could never get adjusted to the heat of the room or the thickness of the blankets. My boyfriend would always tell me just to kick the blankets off, but that didn’t work either as I prefer the comfort of having covers on my body as I sleep. I’ll admit, I’m a picky sleeper that needs the temperature to be just right.

Temperature is easily one of the most significant obstacles to getting quality sleep. Studies have found that the optimal temperature for the best quality sleep is colder than you may think, around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15-20°C). Temperatures that fall too far below or above this range can lead to restlessness. Temperatures in this ideal sleeping range help facilitate the decrease in core body temperature that in turn initiates sleepiness. Getting into that perfect sleeping temperature zone can be difficult due to warmer climates, the heating of your home or simply laying next to someone who naturally sleeps hot and warms the bed.

There is a wide range of sleeping products that market themselves as solutions for staying cool in bed. I started with a Cooling Pillow, which actually worked pretty good at first, but as I mentioned, do a lot of traveling. Packing a pillow is a waste of space in your luggage.

My goal was to find a quality electric cooling blanket that would keep my whole body at the right temperature. I quickly realized, though, you get what you paid for. I tried a few affordable cooler blankets before overpaying for a portable air conditioner. The air conditioner wasn’t worth the money and my partner didn’t like freezing every night. He got me to replace it and continue to search for a blanket that would keep me cold, not the entire room.


The following are five different options for staying cool when sleeping. Some are electric cooling blankets; others are cooling pads.

cooling mattress pad

Human Creations: Gel’O Cool Mat Gel Topper

Size: 24 x 59 Inches for Standard Queen, King Beds

I used this cooling mattress pad for years. I got it as a gift from my parents who knew I would be traveling a lot for work and was not a morning person if I didn’t get a good night sleep. Unfortunately, I left it behind in a room in Portland. I ended up picking up something else, but would highly recommend this cooling mattress pad. This sleeping pad does not need to be plugged in.

How does it work

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Travel Tips: How to Decide On Where to Go Traveling

How to Decide On Where to Travel?

As one who makes traveling a priority, people often ask me how I decide where my next trip will be. Well, that is a loaded question! Answering it includes many factors. Among them: how much time do I have? What’s my budget? Are there currently good deals on a place I’m interested in? These and many more questions invade my mind when choosing where I’ll go next.

With the advent of social media, the world seems to have shrunk dramatically, but I assure you, it still has quite a bit of surface area to cover! If you have limited time to see the world, it pays to make your choices wisely. Destination fads come and go.

The current hot destination seems to be Iceland, and everyone is flocking there. But are YOU really interested in going to Iceland? If not, don’t bother just because your cool friend at the office went.

What I Look for in a Destination

What are your interests? Hobbies? Are you a history buff? Go to Washington D.C., Rome, or Petra to name a few. Are you a shopaholic? New York, Paris, and London are perfect for that. For the outdoor lover, the options are pretty much endless. Chances are you’ll find a place to go pretty easily if you do any daily news reading and have a healthy curiosity about the world.

As for myself, I love the outdoors – activities such as hiking, camping, spending time in the mountains and along the water. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest is great for that. So when I have limited time, I’ll steal away for the weekend to somewhere within 300 miles, which makes it easy to plan a quick trip. But when I want to branch out, I like to research my next destination based on the activity I’m interested in.

Pinterest is a great starting point for my travel planning. In recent months, travel bloggers and the industry, in general, have exploded on Pinterest, with tons of great ideas to get the adventure juices flowing. From there I can access a wide range of resources that will further help me in planning my next trip. I’ve found that simply Googling an interest or destination casts too wide of a net and I have to sift through a lot of unnecessary web hits.

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Best Lightweight Waterproof Jacket: Columbia Switchback Review

In this article, I review the Columbia Women’s Switchback II Jacket. There are a lot of rain jackets on the market, but I believe I’ve found the best lightweight waterproof jacket for women in terms of value, style and price point. 

Best Lightweight Waterproof Jacket

On a recent spring trip to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, I boarded a ferry to the city of Victoria from Port Angeles, Washington. Sunny skies suddenly turned to cloudy drizzle are caught me by surprise. I found myself wrapping my inadequate sweater jacket around myself. I really wanted to spend this ferry trip at the helm, marveling at the passing Olympic Peninsula waters, instead of hunkering down inside and drinking stale coffee.

Ferry to Vancouver Island

The temperatures were mild, but the incessant drizzle was soaking my jacket. I realized I had made a mistake: I did not bring along a suitable light rain jacket on this trip, something that was pointed out to me my by some locals as a rookie mistake to the Pacific North-West, as it randomly rains a lot.

But a little post-sailing shopping spree never hurt anyone, right?

Vancouver is a very trendy modern city, with a down to earth nature vibe to it. Home to such brands as Lululemon and RYU, the friendly people are active and tend to dress in layers often due to random rainy drizzles much like the one I found myself in.

If there is one thing a lady needs, it’s a high-quality, durable waterproof jacket. Whether I am walking the city streets, or going for a hike on a forest trail, having a light wind-breaking rain jacket is a must. I needed one that was waist-length for ease of movement, fashionable and functional. A warm-weather coat that spoke to my adventurous side when traveling, and to also be an everyday jacket.

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5 Must-Have Items To Include In Your Travel Outfits For Long Flights

Travel Outfits For Long Flights

In this article, Julie Buckingham gives away her favorite tips for building the best travel outfits for long flights. The key to surviving a long plane ride doesn’t involve an aisle seat or in-flight movie, it’s about staying comfortable.

Travel Outfits For Long Flights

Travel Outfits For Long FlightsI dread long flights. In fact, I try not to travel anywhere for a short period of time if the destination requires a long flight. I would much rather find a way to stay an extra week on my trip or vacation if it includes an eight-hour flight or longer. The reward of course, is an amazing adventure, sandy white beach or visiting a culture in a city you’ve never been to before. Despite our discomfort, it’s worth the time stuck in a seat in the sky.

However, your mood could easily change if you were uncomfortable. Travel outfits for long flights are not just fashionable, their practical and even essential for an extended period of time on a flight. The fabrics you wear, the shoes on your feet are all important decisions in making your long flight tolerable.

In this article, I talk about 5 items to include in your Travel Outfits For Long Flights along with some items of clothing that you should avoid.

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What To Wear In Thailand: Travel Advice For the Perfect Trip

What to Wear in Thailand

What to Wear in Thailand

Thailand, you hot, humid, glorious goddess. You are equal parts beautiful and messy, wild and prudish, sublime and exhausting.

I fell in love with Thailand from the first day, despite the intense embrace of humidity that greeted me like an old friend. From the beautiful chaos of Bangkok to the peaceful mountains to the incredible landscapes of the countryside, Thailand is a mix of old and new.

The city of Bangkok is a mish-mash of crazy shopping, delightful temples, and a welcoming culture. They love tourists as long as they respect their traditions! But I guess the same is true in just about any part of the world.

What to Wear in Thailand

Picture I took while Bangkok

Chang Mai seemed to be a bit more ‘Americanized’, where the younger locals are fashionable yet still modest in their dress. There is a large expat population here, and I found evidence of that throughout the city in the way of familiar retail stores and fast-food restaurants.

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Matein Backpack Review: The Perfect Travel Backpack

Matein Travel Backpack

I’ve needed a new backpack for a while now. After so many destinations and so many miles, my trusty pack is starting to look like Indiana Jones’ worst nightmare. It was never anything special to begin with, but it became my constant companion. I’ve been trying to ignore that widening rip on the side that I keep bandaging with safety pins. I keep ignoring the fading blue exterior that was once so vibrant in its infancy.

But I can’t have her for much longer. As much as I’ve grown attached to this hunk of fabric that has held my worldly possessions so lovingly for so long, I need to find another. And quick! Because I’m flying across the country to do a solo hike and my current backpack will simply not stand for another bout of abuse from the overstuffing and inclement weather.

My Old Backpack

Luckily, I’ve found the perfect replacement. After much research online and checking out disruptors, I’ve discovered and love the Matein Travel Backpack. This backpack is far more advanced than my current bag in every way. It’s a travel backpack, but it can be used for just about anything. After landing a new job in tourism management, my search preferences changed slightly. This new job will require me to carry a laptop from time to time, along with a camera. I wanted to find a backpack that had the security and durability as something you would need to take on the train every day to work, but also look and feel like a backpack that you could take on a hike.

My good friend good and contact who helped me land this new job recommended the Matein Backpack. She actually uses the Matein Slim Travel Laptop Backpack, but I tend to overpack, so I got the larger of the two. The larger Matein Travel Backpack also has more features, including one of my favorite design concepts with the built-in combination lock. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to bring or lost the lock for my old pack. This feature easily allows you to lock your back with a combination code.

Matein Backpack

This backpack has a sleek design and dark color making it a stylish piece for both men and women. It’s extremely light in my hand for its size and holds all of my stuff beautifully. The main compartment is roomier than it looks on the outside and holds all of the clothing needed for a long trip.

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