Travel blog postings

Travel Postings

Earliest: September 24, 2003Latest: August 12, 2018Total: 43

August 27, 2015

Carry-On Packing

Have you ever what to bring as a carry on during a short flight? Recently I did some quick research before a flight on what things to bring and was very surprised that their was very little tips and tricks on what to put in your carry-on. So I thought I share what worked really well for me. We were traveling from Boston to Fort Myers total flight time around 3 1/2 hours.

A couple of days before the trip, I purchased a large bag of M&Ms and some Swedish Fish candy. I figure this would be good as snacks on the plane. I got the large bags so that I would have plenty for the return trip.

I also packed my handy USB charger, Jockery Bar 5600mAH battery pack, which fits perfectly in one of the front pockets in my laptop bag. I packed cables for my iPhone and Kindle. In future flights I want to get shorter cables that are different colors so it will be easier to identify them in the bag. Once the plane was in the air, I put my phone in airplane mode and charged it the whole way. In my bag I had some napkins and some travel wipes, because you never know when you?ll need them.

I brought my Kindle Fire HD for my in-flight entertainment. Prior to the trip, I selected and downloaded some interesting TED talks. I also put two movies on my tablet; Frequency and Enemy of the State. I watched a couple of TED talks then watched my feature movie. The Kindle Fire held up the charge with no problems. I also packed some Boston brochures that I got at the Prudential Mall. I brought these in case my daughter wanted to look/draw at something on the flight, or while waiting to board the plane.

My feeling, after returning home, is that I packed just the right amount of food and entertainment that I didn't feel board on the plane or that had packed too much in my carry-on. My carry-on was small and light that I was able to put it under the seat in front of me and not worry about finding an overhead compartment. My lesson learned is that keeping it simple and light makes for a much better trip.

Logan International airport has lots of USB charging ports throughout the terminal, you can even find them under some of the seats. You won't find many wall huggers at this airport. I was surprised that their wasn't anything at the Fort Myers airport.

Carry-on packing summary:

August 19, 2015

Getting past the TSA during difficult times

Have you ever wondered what happens when your on a faraway vacation and you loose your wallet or purse? How will you get back home? Similarly, what happens if your license expires and get a temporary paper replacement (Which isn't consider an official ID). Can you get pass the security screening at the airport and still board an airplane?

It turns out the Transportation Security Administration does have some sympathy and will work with you to find other ways to identify who you are. Just be safe and plan on arriving extra early for your flight.

According to the official tsa.gov site:

We understand passengers occasionally arrive at the airport without an ID, because of losing it or inadvertently leaving it at home. If this happens to you, it does not necessarily mean you won't be allowed to fly. If you are willing to provide additional information, we have other ways to confirm your identity, like using publicly available databases, so you can reach your flight.
If we clear you through this process, we may give you additional screening. If we can?t verify your identity, you may not be allowed to enter the screening checkpoint or to board a plane.

Meanwhile for those in Massachusetts waiting for your official Identification:

If you get a temporary license at the Massachusetts Department of Motor Vehicles, you won't have to wait too long for your official identification. The good news is that the Massachusetts RMV will mail you your official license in about 7 days. (Good luck trying to find that information on their site!)

June 22, 2015

UHaul Van Rental Tips

This past weekend we rented a UHaul truck from Uhaul Natick site. Here are some tips/tricks that you should know to help make your move just a bit easier.

First make sure to reserve a truck online before going to the store. One person in line want a truck but was told by the manager that there were none available. However, there were a few available because a customer canceled a large order overnight. So, it doesn't hurt to constantly check on availability when you need a truck on short notice.

The Uhaul Natick store is well stocked with everything that you need for moving. They had lots of boxes, tape and twine at reasonable prices. The store seem clean and the layout was nicely done with similar products placed near each other.

We got one of the new model cargo vans. The truck was nice and clean. The dashboard was a bit hard to read, so I wasn't sure exactly how many miles it had on it - but I think it was roughly around 800. It took a while to learn how to use the side mirror on the Masspike traffic.

I found that the radio was a bit hard to use and didn't have much time to learn to get my station on. They did have an audio cable jack where I could have played my iPhone through the radio speakers, really quick way to listen to my music. I would recommend bring a male-to-male retractable audio cable. You'll need some music because van makes a lot of noise. There is a power car jack so you can also charge your phone as you drive. Yes, you'll need your own USB Car Jack charger. Oh and there's plenty of cup holders, I counted 4 places where a driver could put down their drink.

I had to remember that I didn't have my fastpass transponder with me and use the Mass Pike cash-only lanes. I have gotten so use to the fastpass system that I didn't know how much the tolls were. I put some change on the dashboard to remind me to pay cash. Currently it's $1.30 from the 84 exit to Framingham.

We rented some furniture moving covers which came in handy moving some mirrors and frames. These only cost $20 for a dozen and were perfect protection. Nothing broke during the move! The moving covers were dusty when we open them, so your best to put the covers on the pictures in the truck.

I cleaned out the van using a Multi-Purpose Mega Cleaning Brush that I got years ago at the California State Fair. It worked really well and got the job done quickly. I noticed that the rear cabin floor mat looks like that it comes out for really quick cleaning. I did a simple sweep job and made sure the drivers area was clean.

Returning the van it took longer than expected since someone else had to open the store on a Sunday and that person got lost on the way. Once the manager opened the store, it took a few minutes to figure out how to turn off the alarm that was going off. Once the alarm was off, he then took a few minutes to figure out how to sign into the Uhaul computer system.

At this location, when you return a UHaul vehicle your supposed to stay with the truck until someone helps you - similar process when you return a car. I didn't do that this time, since I arrived before the store opened and thought it would be faster to be the first person in line at the store, that wasn't the case. There was another worker that was handling returns that was working while the manager was trying to get the store ready. Your best bet is to stay in the vehicle and wait for someone to come up to you.

Overall it was a good van rental experience and we certainly would use them again.

June 17, 2015

Group Photo Opportunity

Have you ever been asked to take a photo of a bunch of people that you don't know? It can be hard to get everyone looking at the camera so the photo is perfect.

The next time that you get asked, do everyone a huge favor and take multiple photos. Don't be afraid to take 10 to 15 pictures of the group.

We are beyond the age of film photography and people had to worry about using up film. If the person that owns the camera doesn't like the photo they can just delete it. What they can't do is bring back the moment to take a better photo because someone blinked or wasn't looking at the camera for the one shot that you took.

I can't count how many times when I ask someone to take a picture that they basically do the bare minimum and take one or two photos.

If you don't know how to use the camera ask the owner. You should ask if the photo doesn't look right. Perhaps the camera is in the wrong setting for the environment your in. Don't be afraid to speak up as you are the best judgment on how to give them the best possible shot.

You could also have people do different things to give them a fun shot, such as ask everyone to be silly or to have everyone do a thumbs up.

Be creative with the next time you are asked and by all means take more than a couple of pictures.

September 23, 2009

Back from Vacation

Yesterday we came back from a ten day vacation in LA and Las Vegas. In the next few day's I'll blog some of the sites that we saw and recommend some great places to eat.

We both had a great time on our trip and we took a lot of photos (3,000 +) and videos. Some of the photos were put up on Facebook, and others will go in the photo gallery with some detail descriptions of the place.

December 21, 2007

Frozen Cocktails

Some Frozen Cocktails to enjoy if your visiting St Maarten. I really enjoyed BBC and Strawberry Shortcake. You can find these at most bars on St. Maarten, or goto the pool bar at Pelican Bay. Each drink cost about $6.

  • Mango, Strawberry or Banana Coladas, Daiquires and Margaritas
  • Melon Coladas
  • BBC
  • Mud Slides
  • Blue Simson Bay
  • Banana Delight
  • Strawberry Shortcake
  • Lime Lambada
  • Toasted Almond
  • Mango Madness
  • Pelican Passion
  • Guavaberry Coladas
  • Bushwacker

If you are staying at the Perlican Bay Resort you can buy all the ingredients at the Peli Deli and make these drinks in your own room cheaper than getting it at the bar. Be creative and get a good Frozen Cocktail book before you go so you can try different tropical drinks.

November 28, 2007

Dream Pro Marketing

Anyone know anything about the Scratch Tickets given out by Dream Pro Marketing in Phillipsburg on St Maarten?

If you get approached by someone with the scratch ticket, avoid them. It appears to be a scam done to get people to purchase timeshare or merchandise.

November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'll be away for a couple of weeks, first in Glastonbury CT. Then off to St. Martin and staying at the Pelican Resort.

I'll probably won't be doing any updates until December 10, 2007. Have a great Thanksgiving!

November 9, 2007

Beverages on Airplanes

In the C terminal at the San Jose International Airport, there is a NOAH'S New York Bagles counter. Here's a brief price list on November 6, 2007:

Beverages
Fountain Soda $1.89
Milk $1.99
Juices $2.79
Bottle Water $2.19

The prices of beverages is importaint to look at, since passengers are unable to bring drinks past security. This is due to strict Homeland Security regulations.

However the drinks go through the same security screening as any other luggage. While I was in San Jose I noticed that a couple of cases of water was going through security. They weren't "double checking" the water or doing some complex chemical analysis. The water went through the same xray as my suitcase. However, I couldn't bring water beyond this point.

I think the liquid restrictions are unnessary and should be removed. I have no problem with drinking in front of security to show that the liquid is what it says it is. I do have a problem having to pay $2.19 for bottle water. Seems to me that some people are profiting from this regulation.

You can bring food past security. Which is good. I usually have these in my laptop bag:

November 8, 2007

Power Port on Jet Blue

JetBlue doesn't offer PowerPorts for laptop users. Don't go out an purchase an iGo, or some expensive power converter for a long flight on JetBlue. You won't need it.

I guess JetBlue thinks that since they have TVs at every seat, they didn't need to offer Power ports. The problem is that not everyone plans to watch TV, some people might need to work during the flight.

I recently took a Red-Eye from San Jose to Boston and most people did have their TVs on. I was the last person on the plane to have the light on as I was trying to finish a book on the flight. This particular flight offered the FOX Pay-Per-View movies for free. I guess JetBlue does this since there's nothing really on TV.

Possible Solution

So the easy solution to this is to just buy an extended battery for your laptop so that it lasts the entire trip. The total travel time to California from Boston is about 6 hours. In most cases just having a five hour battery pack would be good enough.