Yet Another Travel Pillow

This is interesting, and with a much better price point than the bullrest (at least for this kickstarter campaign), I feel like I would prefer the Ostrich Pillow Go. But don’t take my word for it, take a look for yourself. My favorite feature is that it shrinks down for storage.

WestJet Travel Holiday Miracle – Tis The Season

There is a reason that some videos go viral online, and although I usually avoid posting them on here, this one is special. I will admit, when I watched this video, I started crying. It is extremely touching, and it is one of the most amazing advertising ideas in the universe. Does it make me want to fly with WestJet? Absolutely, yes! Check it out for yourself:

WestJet Christmas Miracle

This is one of those holiday gestures of generosity that would make pre-ghost Scrooge go off on a bah-humbug-ical tirade.

I hope you enjoy it and are enjoying this wonderful time of year.

Happy Travels,

Kristin

Top 5 International Airports – Guest Post

Happy Friday everyone! Today’s guest post comes to use from an avid traveler and pilot, Christ Oquist (check out his bio at the end of the post). Although I have only been to one of these top international airports, his article definitely makes me want to check out the other four.  Without further ado, here is the article. Thanks Chris!!!

singapore airport

Whether you’re an airline pilot or passenger passing through on your return trip home, you can tell a quality airport from Newark Liberty National Airport. Just take a look around, what do you see? If you see a dirty, poorly-kept airport its service likely matches its aesthetics. On the other hand, if you’ve ever visited Changi Airport Singapore or the Hong Kong International Airport you know which is on the other side of this fence. Here are 5 of the best airports in the world in terms of aesthetics, service, and modernity. Read more

Lattitude: Volunteer Work Meets Travel

Hey everyone! A few weeks ago I got an email from Adam over at Lattitude, asking if I would consider publishing an article about their volunteer program. As you know, I am all about traveling, and also volunteering, so I thought I would go ahead and post this for them. From what I understand, they place people in open volunteer positions all over the world. Since I have no personal experience with their organization I am not going to tell you this is definitely for you, but if it sounds like something that interests you or maybe would interest one of your older teens, you should check it out. Without further ado, here is the article Adam sent me about their organziation.

Happy travels!

Kristin

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Lattitude: Seeing The World & Making It Better
We all like to make a difference. There’s something to be said about the person who lights up a room by entering it, or the fond memories we have of the kindness of strangers, who turned potential disasters into anecdotes for around the dinner table.

A particularly profound way to make a difference is by volunteering overseas, a hugely rewarding way for many young people to spend their gap year. In fact, volunteering overseas is commonly held to be the originator for the term ‘gap year’, said to be coined by volunteering placement experts Lattitude.
Since 1972, Lattitude (formerly GAP Activity Projects – see the connection?) have been helping young people between 17 and 25 make a positive difference to the lives of others. Volunteers enjoy the opportunity to travel throughout the globe, spending anywhere from three months to a year in foreign communities, teaching English, helping with healthcare or assisting in the development of communities.
Nothing frees the mind like travel, and with altruism at its heart, volunteering provides a richly rewarding way to see the world and immerse oneself in another culture. Lattitude offers placements in Japan, China, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia and more, but of particular note is the charity’s recent and passionate focus on the African nation of Malawi.

It’s appropriate that the flag of Malawi is a rising sun, as the nation itself is looking forward to a verdant new dawn. Since the historic inauguration of its first female head of state, President Joyce Banda, Malawi has enjoyed a renewed commitment to developing infrastructure, education and new opportunities for economic growth.

Lattitude have stepped in to help with that feat. Their volunteer placements in Malawi are currently ranging from teachers and healthcare assistants to conservation workers and community representatives, taking care of children with disabilities. As with all Lattitude placements, accommodation is taken care of on a volunteer’s behalf by the organization, meaning all you need to do is pack your bags, get out there and start making a difference.

Applications up until 2014 are open, but with the real work kicking off in January 2013, the first wave of volunteers are getting ready for adventure! The earliest placements have a deadline that ends on 30 September 2012, meaning those wishing to be among the first helping to shape Malawi need to act fast.
Of course, Lattitude offers plenty of other destinations to make a difference, for those looking to visit a culture and leave it in a better state than they found it. Why not go to Fiji and become a teacher? How about becoming a healthcare assistant in Japan? Embrace the wilderness of New Zealand as an Outdoor Activities Instructor, perhaps?

If the purpose of travel is to make memories and enjoy other cultures, volunteering offers that in spades. Few opportunities exist in which you can return home comfortably saying you left a community better for your presence, and Lattitude allows young people with a mark to make on the world the chance to enrich the lives of people in every corner of the world.

What could be more fulfilling than that?

PressReader: Keep Up With Current Events While You Travel

Happy Friday everyone! Last week I got an email from Ray over at PressReader asking me if I would be interested in reviewing their newspaper app. He said that it might be something that my readers would be interested in hearing about, since most of them are usually hopping from place to place. The set up was painless, and when I got the app up and running, I was really impressed. As most of you know, I live in Athens, Greece, and it has been a year and a half since I’ve been back to my home country, the USA. When I opened PressReader I saw something I hadn’t seen since we left Los Angeles, a complete American Newspaper!! That’s right, it’s just like having a traditional newspaper, with all the adds, the comics, and different pages organized in a familiar way. I like it so much better than looking through the newspaper websites (which is what I normally do). Call me old fashioned, but I prefer the individual pages with the bold headings and the easy to follow flow of a traditional paper. If you want to hone in on a specific article for bigger text and an easier read, all you have to do is click on the headline which is conveniently highlighted in blue. It also has a lot of different countries and languages on it. I was able to find a few Greek newspapers, and one also had it’s English counterpart right next to it. In fact, when I loaded it on my iPad, it figured out where I was and brought up a bunch of Greek papers. With 2,100 periodicals spanning 95 different countries in 54 languages, there are a lot of choices.

Two of the various different views on the iPad: whole page, or single article.

I don’t know if this is public knowledge, but I’m about tell you, so now it will be. My husband, Travis, is a news-a-holic. He spends at least 30 minutes every day keeping up with local news and also following his beloved Anaheim Angels (no… I’m not going to call them the other name because it’s just ridiculous, all you Halo fans know what I’m talking about). When Greek people make comments about local events, he can contribute to the conversation because he knows what is going on. As foreign missionaries, it is extremely important for us to know what things are happening in the country we live in. At the same time we try to keep up with current events back in the US so we can be informed as citizens, and because Greek people are always curious to know what we think about what is going on in our home country (although to be honest we try to have as little of a public opinion on that as possible to avoid conflict). Travis also tested this app for me and he loved it! He even posted a funny comic he read on Facebook after viewing it in PressReader.

I can see PressReader being particularly useful for traveling because you can get your hometown news along with important and relevant news from the place you are visiting. It is always good to be aware of what is going on in the country you are traveling to.

Now down to the nitty gritty, how much does this app cost? Well, if you want access to all 2,100 newspapers, you are going to pay $29.99 (USD) a month. Would I pay that much for newspaper access a month? No, I wouldn’t personally because it’s just not in our budget at the moment (nothing personal, I still love this app, but food and rent come first). But if I lived in the US, owned an iPad, iPhone, Android or other compatible device, I would definitely rather pay for this app instead of subscribing to one physical, local paper. The appeal of being able to read news in other countries is extremely attractive to me! There is also the option of purchasing a single paper at a time for around $0.99… and that seems more my style. I could buy a paper once a week and only spend $4 a month and be pretty well informed.

So here’s the big question… would I recommend this app to you, the traveling reader? Yes, absolutely. It is a really cool app, and I feel like it would enrich your trip by helping you keep up with current events while you are traveling around. Not to mention the display on the iPad is sweet, for all you iPad owners out there.

So now let me hit you up with the appropriate links in case you want to investigate this impressive product further:

iTunes Store (for iPhone or iPad): Here you go

Official PressReader Website: Check it!

Happy Travels (and reading)!

Kristin

Note: PressReader provided me with a free trial version of this app in order for me to review it for you, my lovely readers.