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    What to Pack in Your Travel First-Aid Kit

    What to Pack in Your Travel First-Aid Kit

    What to bring, whether you’re hightailing it to Hong Kong for a month or packing for a long-weekend glamping trip.

    The Essentials

    A list of your prescriptions (in case you lose them)—bring a translation if traveling abroad.

    • Hydrocortisone cream, for rashes and bug bites
    • Pain and fever reducer, such as Tylenol or Advil
    • Bandages
    • A copy of a recent EKG, if you have heart problems
    • Antihistamines for allergic reactions
    • Tweezers
    • Small scissors
    • Adhesive tape
    • Alcohol wipes

    For Traveling Abroad

    Emergency Contraception: “It’s not easy to find internationally,” says Anne Terry, director of the travel-medicine clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle.

    Travel Insurance: Compare different types of plans at insuremytrip.com, and check out our full travel insurance guide.

    Antibiotics: Ask your doctor for a prescription that will address diarrhea from bacterial infections.

    Rehydration Powder: If you spend half of your trip in the bathroom, you’ll need to rehydrate. Stock up on packets of Adventure Medical Kits’ oral rehydration salts.

    How to use Instagram to plan your next trip: 5 tips

    How to use Instagram to plan your next trip: 5 tips

    We’re all familiar with Instagram. It’s a great way to share photos of how Starbucks misspelled your name, videos of you zip lining through the Costa Rican jungle to make your viewers jealous, or even stories of a South African sunset on the beach.

    But what you might not be familiar with is that Instagram can also help you plan your next trip – here’s how:

    1. Ye Olde Hashtag

    Let’s not forget about our good old friend – the hashtag. Hashtags are a way to categorize topics, cities, countries and other cool spots. Let’s say you’re interested in checking out Asia, but you’re not sure which country to visit. So you look up #Asia and as you’re scrolling, you find a picture of monkeys bathing in hot springs and think, “That’s where I want to be!” Then, upon further digging – say with geotags for instance (more on that in a bit)- you find out that you can find these monkeys, the Japanese Macaque, in, yup, you guessed it – Japan. Then you continue to explore further by checking #Japan #Tokyo #thingstodoinjapan and so forth.

    2. Location, Location, Location

    The geotag on Instagram allows you to add the location of where you took the picture – and that’s where inspiration can come from. Let’s say someone posts this really cool photo of them by a graffiti wall and the location shows up as “Wynwood Wall,” you can click on this location tag and find out that it’s located in Miami. Then you can start writing a list of must-sees for Miami and before you know it, you have a rough draft itinerary prepared based on your own personal tastes and preferences.

    3. Travelers, Bloggers, Locals

    Instagram is packed with fellow travelers and travel bloggers. If you look up a hashtag such as #travel or #travelblogger, you will find millions upon millions of accounts – and I’m not even exaggerating here. Instagram also has a nice feature that showcases the nine top posts of the day so you can see the most liked posts. Once you click on these and explore a bit more, you can find a new destination or even a new blogger to follow or get inspired by. Locals, of course, are another obvious choice which you can also check with geotags, account biography information or even by being creative with your search such as #home.

    4. Tourism Boards

    Tourism boards are important for the tourism industry of many countries and are also plentiful on Instagram – cities and countries have accounts such as @visitchina or @sydney, accounts that are dedicated to offering you tips and advice on places to see, eat at, sleep in and discover.

    5. Get Social!

    Lastly, let’s not forget what social media is actually meant for – socializing! Write under the comments section when you find an interesting place and ask questions or try to get some tips. If you don’t know the account owner but are feeling brave – send a private message to ask for further details – your questions might just also help inspire a new blog post if the person is a writer. And use your own network as well. Feel free to post a picture of a dream location or someplace you have planned and ask for tips, you’ll never know who could offer some great advice or hook you up with a local contact to get a real authentic experience during your time there.

    Happy (Insta) travels!

    (source: ef.com)

    21 things not to forget when packing for your vacation

    21 things not to forget when packing for your vacation

    Heading to the Sahara without a hat? Up the creek without a paddle? Avoid a vacation disaster with our travel checklist and packing tips.

    21 things not to forget when packing for your vacation

     

    With your flights and hotel booked, the luggage is the last thing stopping you from that great holiday. We know it feels like a chore, but if you follow our expert packing tips you’ll never have to worry.

    1. Make a list

    Ok, so it sounds a little boring, but idiot-proof lists are the gateway to a stress-free holiday. Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with your luggage limitations. If you need list inspiration – the following might be a good place to start…

    2. Don’t forget the first aid kit

    We’re not asking you to prepare for ER, just a small bag of the most necessary pills and medicine you might need. After all, nobody wants to suffer a punishing headache, high-climate fever, upset stomach or all three during a holiday. It might be easy enough to pick up a domestic remedy for your ailments at home, but medicines in the country you are visiting may be limited to prescription only. The same goes for allergy meds and asthma remedies – bring them on board!

    3. Limit your liquids

    We all know about it by now, and yet there’s still a mass confusion and hold-up when some chancer tries to sneak a bottle of water past airport security. Much to everybody’s chagrin, pan-European baggage restrictions state that all liquids carried in hand luggage must be no more than 100 ml per item, and must fit into one small and resealable transparent bag (usually available at the airport for a nominal fee). If you’re carrying anything larger, stow it with your checked-in suitcase.

    4. Name tags are there to help

    Unless you’re an international man of mystery, you shouldn’t have to worry about traveling incognito. Most suitcases come with name tags fitted as standard, so be sure to fill them in just in case you – or the airline – lose your luggage!

    5. Observe restrictions on baggage

    Observe restrictions on baggage

    If your airline says: “23kg”, then they mean 23kg! Weigh your bags before you get to the airport and make sure you are within the restrictions, otherwise, you’ll be forced to cough up extra cash at the airport or, even worse, have to say goodbye to that lovely hand-knitted cardigan your grandmother spent so long slaving over. We’ve all tried to squeeze that extra pair of pants in the already overstuffed suitcase, but the restrictions are there for a reason, and that reason is your safety. Which reminds us…

    6. Save bag space for all your holiday purchases

    Whether it’s duty-free goods or holiday mementos, it’s inevitable that you’ll be bringing more back home with you than when you left – so make sure you have room for it!

    7. Skip the shoes

    The biggest and most frustrating item of luggage. How many pairs of shoes you should take is very much dependent on how long your vacation might be, but we’d suggest that three pairs is a reasonable average for a 1-2 week getaway. More important than volume is versatility, so make sure you’re not stuck hiking in stilettos by bringing a pair of shoes for every realistic occasion of your trip. Wear your most cumbersome pair on the plane – plus, stuff your socks in the rest – and you’ll save even more space.

    8. Cosmetics – at a minimum!

    Unless you plan on traveling to a desert island, it’s likely that you’ll be able to pick up popular shampoo or sun lotion brands in almost any corner of the world. Fewer cosmetics also mean that you’ll be less likely to find an explosion of nondescript gooey liquids spoiling everything in your suitcase when you arrive at your destination. If you really can’t live without that special face cream, try to take only as much as you’ll need for your trip and nothing more. That way you can discard the empties and save extra luggage room for your trip back home.

    9. Keep on rolling…

    This tip is certainly up for debate, but we think that rolling your clothes really is the only way to go. Not only will it reduce those pesky wrinkles and creases in your gear, it’ll save you some much-needed suitcase space.

    10. All valuables go in hand luggage

     Observe restrictions on baggage

    It’s rare that airlines lose luggage these days, but why take the risk? Stay safe and stow all your expensive luxuries – from your camera to your diamond engagement ring – in hand luggage.

    11. Don’t forget the adapters

    If you do need them, save on the crazy airport prices by buying them ahead of your trip.

    12. Pack all-rounder fashions, not eccentric statement pieces

    You might want to pack that banana costume for your trip, but is it really necessary? Fancy dress or no, this is a question you should really ask yourself when pressed for suitcase space. Pack great all-rounder attire and a classy evening outfit, but leave those outlandish statement pieces for a night out at home.

    13. Be delicate with your delicates

    If you have to pack any china plates or glass goods, wrapping them in bubble wrap or in-between clothes and putting them right in the middle of your case is the safest way to make sure they arrive with you in one piece.

    14. Categorise your clothes

    Pack clothes in groups: that means shirts with shirts, pants with pants -it’s easier to find what you need and unpack on the other side.

    15. Pack a mini closet in your hand luggage

    Not literally, of course, but it’s always a nice idea to add a clean set of underwear and a garment in your carry-on bag, in case of your luggage being lost in an airplane mix-up.

    16. Don’t predict the weather – check it

    Don’t predict the weather – check it

    Depending on where you’re going, weather forecasts are either your holiday’s best friend or biggest foe. Come rain or shine, meteorologists will always give you the best idea of what weather to expect on your holiday. Check the day before you fly and pack accordingly, and save room for that trusty pac-a-mac or umbrella you hope you’ll never have to use.

    17. No onboard manicure

    Tip for the well-groomed flyer: if you’re thinking about carrying a nail file, scissors, or any other sharp primping tool in your luggage – give up the idea! They are prohibited and airport workers will ask you to get rid of them.

    18. The most necessary things go on top

    If you believe that a particular thing can be useful to you very soon (perhaps at the airport), for example, a jacket – put it on top. Very obvious advice, but perhaps it’s so obvious that you’d be bound to forget otherwise!

    19.  Towels?

    Towels! Yet another pesky space-filler you need to think long and hard about whether you actually need. Check ahead of time to see if your holiday accommodation will be providing them (they probably will) and pack accordingly.

    20. Strip at airport security

    It’s unlikely you’ll be asked to strip down to your undergarments, but it’s possible that you’ll be asked to undress a bit as you go through to the terminal. This usually means taking shoes, belts, and jackets off, and removing any jewelry or metal goods. Travelling with a laptop or tablet device? Be prepared to present your gadgets to the friendly security staff too.

    21. Don’t leave home without the essentials

    This penultimate tip is a big one as, without these necessities, you won’t be heading anywhere but home: check and check again that you have your monies, a valid passport and – for the sake of your holiday companions – a toothbrush. Keep these all on hand and then you’ll be able to remember the most important thing…

     

    (source: momondo.com)

    25 Travel things to ad to your bucket list.

    25 Travel things to ad to your bucket list.

    It's often said that traveling leaves you speechless, before turning you into a storyteller. I predict that if you manage to tick off all 25 things on this list you're going to have some pretty cool stories to talk about when you're older. In no particular order, here are Smaller Earth's 25 amazing things to do before you die. #BucketListGoals

    1. DIVE THE GREAT BARRIER REEF

    Dive the great barrier reef

    In North Eastern Australia you will find The Great Barrier Reef, visible from Outer Space this ocean masterpiece is the largest living thing on the planet. The Reef is a whopping 2,300km-long ecosystem. It comprises of thousands of reefs and islands, made up of hundreds of different coral types. This colorful ecosystem is home to thousands of different types of fish, sharks, shells, starfish, turtles, and dolphins. Grab a snorkel and a Go Pro and you'll capture some of the best footage this planet has to offer.

     

    2. ROADTRIP DOWN ROUTE 1 IN CALIFORNIA

    Roadtrip down route 1 in California

    Starting from one end to another this beautiful coast-hugging road will take you from San Francisco Bay down to San Diego. You will never see a blue as vivid as the Pacific Coast. As you wind down from San Francisco you will pass through Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Los Angeles and Orange County before ending up in San Diego. You can camp at sites along the way, chill at the golden beaches, ride the ocean swell, and eat at the vibrant towns along the way. Hire a convertible, throw on some Beach Boys and make sure to take a camera. 

     

    3. CAPTURE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

    CAPTURE THE NORTHERN LIGHTS Capture the northern lights

    The Northern Lights can be seen from many locations, but the further north you go the better the lights will be. More formally known as the aurora borealis these mysterious rays of light create an almost lava lamp like spectacle in the sky. It is the result of fast moving highly charged electrical particles created by the sun. It's fair to say the Northern Lights will dazzle you.

    Check out our latest Smaller Earth programme: Summer Camp Canada

     

    4. INTER-RAIL AROUND EUROPE

    INTER-RAIL AROUND EUROPE Inter-rail around Europe

    An inter-rail pass can ultimately tick off a handful of European countries in one trip. It gives you the opportunity to delve deep into different European cultures, visit historic cities and towns, discover some of the world's best landscapes, gateways, and trails. Whether it's two weeks, one month or longer, it's the ultimate summer trip for the first time gap year backpacker. 

     

    5. DISCOVER PETRA, JORDAN

    Discover Petra in Jordan

    Petra or "The Rose City" is an archaeological site found in the desert of Jordan. The entrance to Al Khazneh carved into the red mountain rock is 45m high and dates back to around 300BC, it's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the seven new wonders of the world. Petra was once a thriving trading city until it was abandoned and left in ruins for centuries. You might recognize it from the Indiana Jones film 'The Last Crusade'. 

     

    6. VISIT THE TAJ MAHAL

    Visit the Taj Mahal

    The Taj Mahal was commissioned in the 17th century by Shah Jahan, a Mughal emperor. It's located in Agra, India. The mausoleum took over 20 years to build, a world heritage site that is one of the most famed pieces of architecture in the world. A symbol of India built around Indian, Persian and Islamic influences. Around 3 million people visit this spectacular landmark every day. 

     

    7. EXPLORE ANGKOR THOM

    Explore the Angkor Thom

    Angkor Thom, located in Cambodia Asia, was the last city of the 12th century Khmer Empire. A city that represents one of humankind's most astonishing and enduring feats of architectural achievement. Most of the city has disappeared but these beautiful remains are one for the bucket list.

     

    8. VISIT LAKE LOUISE, BANFF

    Visit the Lake Louise, Banff

    Lake Louise is located in Banff National Park in Canada. The Park itself holds some of the best ski resorts, hiking trails and lakes in the world, but none of them are quite as famous as Lake Louise. Often described as 'The Diamond in the Wilderness'. It's surrounded by glaciers and waterfalls. If this is on your bucket list then bring an extra battery for your camera. 

     

    9. CATCH A SUNSET AT THE GRAND CANYON

    Catch a sunset at the Grand Canyon

    No travel list is complete without having The Grand Canyon on it. This rugged, beautiful natural formation of red rock stretches as far as the eye can see in almost every direction. The Grand Canyon National Park is more than just a pretty sunset though, you can go hiking, camping, spot rare wildlife and even go white water rafting at the Colorado River. 

     

    10. STAND BEFORE THE GREAT PYRAMID OF GIZA

    Stand before the Great Pyramid of Giza

    Ancient Egypt is one of the most fascinating and studied cultures of all time. A civilization that left us a legacy with The Great Pyramid of Giza. It is the oldest and most intact of the 7 Ancient Wonders of the World and a symbol of the great Egyptian architecture. The pyramid took over 20 years to build and to stand in its presence is awe-inspiring.

     

    11. HIKE THE GREAT INCE TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU 

    Hike the great Ince trail to Machu Picchu

    For many travelers to Peru, a visit to the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu is the whole purpose of their trip. With its awe-inspiring location, it is the best-known and most spectacular archaeological site on the continent. Apart from a few indigenous Quechuas, nobody knew of Machu Picchu's existence until American Historian Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in 1911.

     

    12. FALL IN LOVE WITH PARIS

    Fall in love with Paris

    "We'll always have Paris" France's capital is one of the most historic and beautiful European cities. The language, the food, the art, the culture, everything about Paris will leave you wanting more. From its quirky cafe's to its scenic landmarks Paris will find a place in your heart. 

     

    13. VISIT THE ISLE OF SKYE

    A trip to the Isle of Skye will give you landscapes and views to rival anywhere in the world. From its pure sandy shores to the picture-perfect waterfalls it's an island full of hidden treasures. 

     

    14. GET LOST IN VENICE

    Get lost in Venice

    Stunning architecture. Mysterious passageways. And of course, the canals. Venice is one of the most alluring cities in the world- the type of place where, as a visitor, you'll welcoming getting lost.

     

    15. GO ON AN AFRICAN SAFARI

    An African safari is surely high on the dream list of any wildlife enthusiast, intrepid traveler or adventure seeker. Safaris in Africa are unforgettable – and no two will ever be the same.

     

    16. WALK THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA

    Walk the Great Wall of China

    The Great Wall of China is one of the true wonders of the world. It winds up and down across deserts, grasslands, mountains, and rivers for around 13,170 miles. (so maybe don't walk all of it!) It's over 2000 years old and a famed tourist spot for its architectural grandeur and historical significance.

     

    17. VISIT THE THE NATIONAL KHAO SOK PARK, THAILAND 

    Many believe this lowland jungle (Thailand's rainiest spot) is over 160 million years old, one of the world's oldest rainforests. Dramatic limestone formations and waterfalls cascade through juicy thickets drenched with rain and morning dew.  Whether it's riding in the back of an open Tuk-Tuk, or racing across the waves in a longtail boat, a journey through Thailands islands always feels like a real adventure. Thailands beauty has no ends.

    You can visit this on our Best of Thailand Tour

     

    18. WALKTHROUGH ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK, JAPAN

    WALKTHROUGH ASHIKAGA FLOWER PARK, JAPAN Walkthrough Ashikaga flower park, Japan

    Space travel to James Cameron's Pandora in "Avatar" would be pretty much ideal, but until that becomes possible, the Ashikaga Flower Park is the next best thing on the list.

     

    19. VISIT ROME

    They say all roads lead to Rome and it's easy to see why a city steeped in history and culture that paved its way through our history books. From the famous ancient Colosseum to the nearby Vatican City you are surrounded by beauty in Rome. 

     

    20. VISIT SANTORINI

    Visit Santorini

    Santorini may well have conquered a corner of your imagination before you’ve even set eyes on it. The main island of Thira will take your breath away with its snowdrift of white Cycladic houses lining the cliff tops. When the sun sets, the reflection on the buildings and the glow of the orange and red in the cliffs can be truly spectacular.

     

    21. SAIL AROUND HALONG BAY, VIETNAM

    Being recognized as Natural Wonder of the World by UNESCO, Halong Bay is one of the most beautiful destinations in Vietnam for travelers who love discovering nature. One of the best way to explore this wonder of the world is a cruise trip through rock islands, caves and spectacular beaches.

     

    22. HIKE TO THE WULINGYUAN SCENIC AREA

    With its towering sandstone pillars, dizzying stone bridges and mysterious caves, the Wulingyuan Scene Area is one of China's most aesthetic natural sites. 

     

    23. EXPLORE BAGAN: MYANMAR

    EXPLORE BAGAN: MYANMAR Explore Bagan, Myanmar

    Bagan (or Pagan) is an ancient city that was the capital of the first Burmese Empire. Bagan serves as home to temples and buildings built from the 11th century to the 13th century. There are more than 2000 pagodas and temples to be found that were built by ancient kings.

     

    24. STAND ON PREACHERS ROCK, NORWAY

    Stand on Preacher's Rock, Norway

    "The Pulpit Rock" is a square formation of rock resembling a pulpit, standing 604 meters above the Lysefjord. The hike takes about two hours and when you face the view on the top, you will immediately see why this remarkable rocky plateau receives well over 200.000 visitors every year.

     

    25. IGUAZU FALLS, ARGENTINA

    The exquisite Iguaza Falls is also known as the Iguassu Falls or Iguacu Falls. The magnificent spectacle of these 275 individual drops has awed tourist, locals and indigenous inhabitants for centuries.

     

    (source: smallerearth.com)

    The safest seat belt for your dog.

    The safest seat belt for your dog.

    All dog seat belts are not created equal. Just ask Lindsey Wolko.

    “I had to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident, and Maggie was tangled in the tether,” said Wolko, who is the founder and CEO of the Center for Pet Safety. Maggie is a 30-pound English Cocker Spaniel. “She launched off the back seat into the front seat, and she was injured.”

    That crash—Maggie made a full recovery after sustaining a strained spine and hips—got Wolko thinking. If Maggie had such a rough time in the car during a relatively minor crash, imagine what other dogs might endure in a serious collision. The worst part? Companies who make automotive pet restraints aren’t legally required to test their products before putting them to market.

    “It’s so intuitive for us to just reach over and strap a seat belt on, but people don’t think about using these products for their pets,” Wolko says. “It’s incredibly important.”

     

    So in 2011, she conducted a pilot study of four-seat belts that seemed to be the highest quality offered on the market. Not even one passed basic safety criteria.

    “We had a 100-percent failure rate,” Wolko said. “The dogs were flying off the seats.”

    That’s where Subaru came in. Executives there say two-thirds of its drivers own dogs (AAA reports that nearly 90% of U.S. pet owners say they travel with their pets)--so canine safety is particularly important to the brand. And after seeing Wolko talk about the crash test failures on morning talk shows, the automaker commissioned a full CPS report that tested belts for small, medium and large dogs in simulated crashes.

    It worked as much to raise awareness about pet safety in cars as to call out faulty harnesses.

    “The thing people don't think about is that [having a dog in the car] is like carrying an 80-pound sack of spuds behind your seat,” said Michael McHale, director of communications at Subaru of America. AAA says that a 10-pound unrestrained dog in a car traveling 30 miles an hour will exert 300 pounds of force during a crash.

    The safety harness results reported last month weren’t great. Four of the seven brands tested had “catastrophic failure” during a crash, which CPS defines as allowing the dog to become a projectile or release from the restraint. Only Sleepypod’s Clickit Utility Harness consistently kept dogs from launching off the seat; it was the only restraint deemed to offer substantial protection to all passengers including the dog.

    The other belts? They ripped, tore, stretched and broke in crucial areas, releasing the fake test pooches as missiles thrown across the vehicle. Some broke “legs” and “ribs.” Others were decapitated.

    Behind the Numbers

    To compile the report, CPS recreated the same crash tests used to rate child safety products. Subaru and CPS enlisted MGA Research Corporation, an independent lab often contracted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, to study commonly available pet safety harnesses.

    Testing included fake dogs built around steel frames--a 25-pound “terrier mix,” a 45-pound “border collie,” and a 75-pound “golden retriever.” The models were weighted and packed to give a realistic representation of a dog’s body. Each device was also fitted with internal computer instrumentation to measure harness performance and collect baseline data.

    The ultimate goal of each harness is to maintain the dog’s stability and restrain movement under duress. Each should also help stabilize the dog’s spine and limit rotation during an accident in much the same way seatbelts for humans work.

    “It’s so intuitive for us to just reach over and strap a seat belt on, but people don’t think about using these products for their pets,” Wolko says. “It’s incredibly important.”

    Important--with plenty of room for improvement. Subaru will soon offer Sleepypod's Clickit Utility Harness as an optional accessory in its vehicles.

     

    (source: hanna elliot, forbes)

    Follow Hanna

    on Facebook: Hannah ElliottTwitter: @HannahElliott, Instagram: @HannahElliottxo

     

    tripatricks shoutout – Tagged "cat"