Tag Archives: travel accessories

One person’s African Safari adventure tale

Renee Silverman, vice president of marketing at Irv’s Luggage, recently took a trip to Africa. She is joining us today to discuss her trip and share some things she learned during her trip.

  1. So, Renee you were recently in Africa. What countries did you go to and how did you pick your destinations?

My daughter was volunteering as a nurse in Uganda, so that determined the start point IMG_1457of our trip. From there, it was easy to get to neighboring Tanzania, which was where we would spend the majority of our time in Africa. We hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro and went on safari in the Serengeti. From there we went to Rwanda, just to the west of Tanzania, to see mountain gorillas in their natural habitat. With so much time spent traveling to these destinations, on board comfort was imperative. I couldn’t have made it without a neck pillow, which conveniently attached to my backpack and made the journey much more comfortable.

  1. What was the favorite part of your trip?

All of it! If I had to choose 1 thing, I would say seeing the mountain gorillas up close and personal was my favorite.

  1. Working at a luggage store, you get to pick what bags you wanted to take. How did you decide what luggage to use?

Knowing ahead of time that we would be flying on small inter-country flights as well as large overseas carriers, helped me decide which bags would accommodate a variety of flights with different baggage requirements. The smaller planes we would be flying had stricter baggage sizes and weights due to the size of the planes, so we planned on packing to accommodate the strictest requirements. This meant traveling with a smaller checked bag than I might ordinarily have taken. Since the smaller planes would only allow a maximum weight of 40 lbs, that was what we used as our overall weight guideline for packing for the trip. I chose to bring a lightweight High Sierra drop bottom duffel that would allow me to separate my items, but which had a lot of packing space. In general, a duffel bag is a great option over a large suitcase when traveling far and needing to pack a lot. In addition, I knew that I would need a backpack for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb as well as the jungle climb to see the gorillas, so my carry on personal bag was a Granite Gear hiking backpack that I could use for those treks.

  1. What was your packing strategy and did you learn anything about packing during your trip?

I used a lot of packing cubes and compression bags in my luggage that I would highly recommend to every traveler. The packing cubes not only save on space in your luggage, but they help keep your belongings organized and make it easy to move when you are traveling from place to place. Everything I packed went into a packing cube. The compression bags are important if you need to pack bulky items that take up space. In our case, we had to pack lightweight down jackets, sweaters and other cold weather gear for the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb. After the climb, we would not need those items, so they were packed back into the compression bags and took up very little space in our luggage.

  1. Did you bring any souvenirs home from your trip?

MZQJ4638Yes! We purposely brought large duffels and packed light so that we had room for extras. It’s so important to plan ahead for buying souvenirs or the trip home could be a nightmare. Another great idea is to bring along an extra foldable tote or duffel to bring your souvenirs home in.

  1. What was the favorite item or items you took with you?

The backpack was the best and most important item we brought. Being hands free in airports and when boarding planes is a huge benefit. That said, be sure that your important documents are secured in the interior of your backpack and not easily accessible from the outside for security reasons. Invest in an RFID passport case to protect your passport and credit cards while traveling.

  1. If you go back to Africa again what item or items would you take with you? Did you take anything with you that you didn’t need?

We really didn’t end up bringing anything superfluous. We needed and used everything we brought. Researching your destinations beforehand really helps when it comes to packing correctly for a long trip. Many websites offer packing lists for specific destinations that can serve as guidelines for what to pack.

  1. Do you have any warm memories of the people you met during your trip? Can you tell us a little about that?

We have incredible memories of people that we met in every country! We made a pointIMG_2059 of talking to local people as often as we could so that we could really understand the cultures better. When traveling, local people expect tourists to ask a lot of questions, which we did. There was nothing we felt we couldn’t ask, and we learned more through these conversations than any amount of reading could provide.

  1. What type of outfits did you take with you and what would you take now knowing what you know?

It is important when traveling abroad, to research not only the weather of a particular destination, but the cultural norms of the countries you are visiting. We strive to dress in a way that is respectful to the cultures as well as comfortable for us. Layering options are key; we always had long sleeved layers we could add or take away. Also, plan for rain depending on where you are going. Rain slickers roll up small and take up little space in your luggage, but could save you if you encounter wet, rainy conditions.

  1. What memories did you take home from you?

So many memories; from the children in Uganda to Mt. Kilimanjaro to lions feeding on wildebeest in the wild and gorillas playing in the jungle! I highly recommend bringing a journal to record your daily activities, or setting up a WordPress blog before you go. We think we could never forget such memorable experiences, but the details inevitably fade with time. Recording the details in the moment is time well spent when taking a special trip.

  1. Renee, do you have any trips planned for the future and/or where would you like to go?

Yes! Our next destination is the Emerald Isle – Ireland! We plan to rent a car and spend 7 days driving through Ireland on a trip that we create. We hope to see the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, kiss the Blarney Stone, see the bustle of Dublin and the extraordinary countryside of Connemara.

Thank you so much Renee Silverman for joining us. No matter where you are going Irv’s Luggage will be there for you with all your travel needs.

 

Waist packs: A classic that never went away

Waist packs were a travel item long before they were considered a fashion accessory and though the popularity of this item, often call “Fannie packs,” had been on the decline, they have made a comeback and are more popular than ever. For those buying one for the first time, here are some suggestions.
Safe and Secure
Anti-+Theft+Waist+Pack+-+BlackOne of the best parts of a waist pack is knowing the item is on you at all times. Some brands even feature special safety elements. For example, Travelon’s Anti- Theft Waist Pack has features such as lockable zippers and a cut-proof belt. Other companies, such as Eagle Creek, have a waist pack that features RFID protection.
Sleek and Thin
Large waist packs can hold a lot but can be bulky when traveling to warmer destinations. Top+Zip+Waist+Pack+LimeFortunately, many of the new packs are slimmer and can still hold everything you need without weighing you down. Spibelt makes a waist pack that is super-thin, yet stretches to hold a phone, keys, and any other small personal items. Travelon also has a sleek top-zip pack that weighs mere ounces and has room for all your beach items.
Classic is Cool
Triple+Zip+Bagg+Charcoal+++FuschiaSometimes the best items are the classics, and leather waist packs are still some of the best looking ones around.. Companies like Piel and Winn have been making waist packs since the beginning and they have kept their classic looks, but have added modern compartments and sizing options so you can find the perfect one. You could even add a free monogram to complete the look.
These are just a few styles of waist packs available on the market. Some brands such as Kipling and Baggallini, even have convertible waist packs that can be worn over the shoulder. Just don’t let anyone tell you that waist packs are passé, because they are functional and stylish.

Ultimate Luggage guide for Caribbean cruising

With all the damage the recent hurricanes have inflicted on Caribbean islands, many people who would have normally gone to a resort on an island are for the first time considering going on a cruise ship instead. This is a great option if your favorite island isn’t quite ready for tourists, but you still want to enjoy resort type amenities and the great weather the Caribbean offers. However, you will have to approach how you pack slightly differently. Below is a guide to help you out.

Luggage

What luggage you take with you depends on your needs; however, there are a few things HYA-13071-3160-26you will want to keep in mind.

  1. You will always want to take at least one carry-on suitcase. This is a bag you will keep with you at all times. All your valuables and any items you will need on your first day of the cruise should go in this bag. You will do a lot of walking so make sure your bag wheels well before your trip. If you have an older carry-on this might be a good time to upgrade.
  2. Most of the time your suitcases will have to fit underneath your bed. This will require some planning if you are taking several cases. One option is to get a luggage set that can be nested. Another option is a rolling duffel that can be folded down for storage. This might be a good option for families.
  3. If you are bringing lots of formal outfits you might want to consider a rolling garment bag. Your nicer garments will arrive ready to wear and the bag can be hung in a closet without taking your clothing out.

Accessories

The following travel accessories are recommended for any cruise travel:LCI-1383-BLU_2

Packing cubes

Adaptors and/or convertors (see this previous blog, check with the cruise operator if you need one)

-A small backpack or tote for day trips

Toiletry bags and pill planners

Waterproof phone pouch

Luggage tags (the brighter the better) and locks

I always suggest reading the cruise operator’s website and follow their advice closely. Also, make sure to give yourself time to get to your boat (consider flying in the night before.) Travel insurance is recommended for everyone. Lastly, I highly suggest taking your passport with you and make sure it is not near expiration. Most of all relax and enjoy yourself.

Briggs & Riley’s Transcend line of accessories; a buyer’s guide

One thing we love about Briggs & Riley is their selection of accessories. Each one is designed to work with their luggage perfectly and with their new line of Transcend luggage, they have a redesigned their accessories to match their fashion-forward designs. Let’s take a look at three new products.

Transcend Shopping Tote

BR-TD445-47The Briggs & Riley shopping totes have always been a big seller and with the new design, this is sure to continue. The first thing I noticed is pockets, lots and lots of pockets. There are four outside pockets and each one has a different use. There is a large front pocket that has a place for a Kindle, Ipad or a Tablet, a place for a passport, another small elastic pocket, and a zippered pocket inside this pocket. A second smaller front pocket has an orange lining that is perfect for tickets or any other item you want easy access to. The side pocket is PVC lined which is easy to clean, making it perfect for a water bottle, umbrella, or even toiletries. The back has a small privacy pocket that is perfect for a phone and a sleeve that will allow this bag to fit over just about any luggage handle. The main compartment is open except for a 13’’ laptop sleeve and two small elastic pockets. This is a perfect place to keep a wallet, sweater or light jacket, even a change of shoes. The best thing about this bag that it’s the perfect size to fit underneath just about any airplane seat.

Transcend Clamshell Cabin Bag

Briggs & Riley’s has reconcepted the classic cabin bag for the modern era. Their newBR-TD441-8 cabin bag is a flexible enough that it can be used as either an overnight bag, business case, or a personal item for the airlines. The front pockets are similar to the shopping tote’s main pockets, only wider. The back also has a sleeve to go over other luggage as well. It is the main compartment that separates this bag from anything else on the market. The main area opens like a clamshell which allows for many different configurations of packing. On the left side it is open except for two small elastic pockets. It’s easy to see that this area can either be used for files, magazines, or a change of clothes. The right side is zippered and has one pocket on the lid that would make a perfect place for cords or medication. Inside the zippered pocket there is room for shoes or a full-size laptop. With the padding you won’t even need a sleeve.  With a detachable comfort shoulder strap; this is a bag that is ready to go.

Transcend Cargo Backpack

For the first time ever, Briggs & Riley iBR-TP465-46s offering a backpack in their Transcend line.  Backpacks are the hottest accessory for both business and travel and this item is perfectly suited for both. There are two front pockets, similar in layout to the tote and cabin bag but in this item the small pocket is on top and the lower pocket is the organizer pocket with room for a tablet, passport, and other travel necessities.  The back pocket is designed for a full-sized laptop but also can be used for files or even shoes. There is also a sleeve in this bag. The main compartment unzips completely so that it can lay flat for easy packing. The lid side has a small zippered pocket and a pocket that can stretch to hold files, shoes, even a second smaller laptop. The main compartment has no pockets so clothes will fit perfectly.

In addition, there is a wheeled tote (which I will cover in another blog) and a toiletry kit. Every one of their accessories comes in all three colors (rainforest, merlot, and slate) so they will match your new luggage. Best of all, every product Briggs & Riley has their simple as that® guarantee so no matter what happens to your bag, it is covered.

BR-TT410-46

 

Holiday Road: Your Guide to Summer European Travel

Summer is almost here and that means summer travel. One of the most popular destinations this time of year is Europe, and it’s no question why. With all its culture, cuisine, and beaches it is the summer hot spot. Once your trip is booked it’s a good idea to come up with a packing list. Besides the need to keep your valuables (such as your electronics) safe, what else will I need to take with me? Below are some tips for easy packing.

Safety First

Going to Europe can be a lot of fun and for the most part very safe. However, theft can be an issue in some parts of Europe. For all the attention that electronic theft has been LCI-1267-NATgetting in the media (see this previous blog post for more about RFID) the most common issue is still good old-fashioned pick pocketing. Having your passport stolen and can quickly turn you dream trip into a nightmare. The best way to protect yourself from pick pocketing is to keep your passport, extra cash, and credit cards in a money belt under your clothes. When worn properly, the thieves will never know that you have one on. My advice is to keep only a few essentials in a backpack or purse and everything else should go in the money belt.

Light and Flexible

BR-BP240-44For traveling around Europe the best advice is to pack light. If a carry-on doesn’t have enough room then take one medium (24”-26”) case and either a backpack or a wheeled tote. Having a small item like that is especially great if you’ll be doing lots of walking and sightseeing. Also, European cars tend to be smaller so you will be thankful for the extra room there. If organization is not your strong suit then packing cubes are a life saver!

Other Necessities

Adapters and converters will be needed for your electronic appliances. If you are not ENV-TRB3sure what you need check out this guide. Another great item to have is a daypack for short trips. This a great place to keep a sweater, water bottle, and anything else you might need for the day. If you plan to shop on your trip remember that stores in Europe often don’t have bags, so a foldable shopping tote is a great item to throw in your purse or daypack.

Have fun

Once you have your trip booked and you are all packed up, then it’s time to relax. Studies show that the less stress you have during the trip, the more beneficial you time away from work will be. Make sure to give yourself “off” days on your trip so you can just sit back, relax, and take in an unique culture and just have fun. Bon Voyage.

Adapters/Converters… What you need before you go

One must-have item before you travel overseas is the right adapter or converter. Most countries outside of North America are on a different electricity standard, which requires the use of an adapter/converter. Buying one can seem confusing, maybe even overwhelming at first, but with this handy guide you will be on your way with everything you need.

The first question is what country or countries are you going to. North America, most LCI-AP-EK58of the Caribbean and Central America, and Japan use our plugs so if that is your destination then most likely you don’t need anything at all. However, the rest of the world has different sized plugs and/or different voltage than the United States so you will have to look up the standard of the country you will be visiting. Most travel agents or hotels will be happy to provide you with this information, and Lewis & Clark publishes a handy guide. Be careful though, some countries have more than one standard so you might have to get several types of adapters

TRV-12712-BLKSmall electronics, such as phones, tablets, and e-readers only need adapters, as well as most camera batter chargers and shavers. Laptop computers also only need adapters, but those should be grounded. Hair appliances are a different story though. Some are duo-voltage, but many still are not. Most hotels now have hairdryers and if you usually use a hair curler or straightener maybe consider a hair style for your trip that will not require the use of one (hats always work). If you still feel the need to take one the next step is to determine both the voltage and wattage of your device. It will be on the device usually on the handle or inside. When you get your converter make sure the wattage of your device works with your converter. If you are using more than one item I recommend a high-low converter.

Once you know what you need then it is time to choose what adapter and/or LCI-AE-EK121converter you wish to purchase.  Most people will be fine with a single use adapter. They are the easiest to use and the least expensive. There are also kits available that contain adapters for all over the world or both the adapter and the converter. One other choice is a device that has all the adapters or adapter/converter in one. These tend to be the most expensive and might not work with grounded items (or even in all countries).

If you are still not sure what you need after all this then going to your local travel store (such as Irv’s Luggage) might be a good idea. They are the experts and deal with these questions all day long. I often tell people to bring what they are planning to take with them so I can see what they need and not just guessing. This is the surefire way to make sure you are not stuck with a wrong plug or even worse a burned out appliance.

 

 

10 Items that Help You Travel Stress Free

Do you want to have a great travel experience and one that is stress free from start to finish? The following are 10 essential items that you should carry on your next trip:

1 – An anti-theft cross body bag or backpack is an essential travel item. Anti-theft bags are made with slash proof materials and RFID protected credit card pockets to keep your valuables safe and secure while you travel.

2 – A handbag organizer with several compartments for organizing credit cards, cosmetics, toiletries and other small items you want to carry along .

3 – Bringing your iPad or eReader? You’ll want to buy a padded iPad case to keep your device safe and protected. Your electronics are a big investment so it pays to invest in a quality case.

4 – A cosmetic bag or beauty case to organize your toiletries and makeup essentials; an essential travel accessory for every trip.

5 – A waterproof pouch. Whether is your iPad, eReader or phone, you’ll want to protect your electronics from water, sand or dirt while having fun outdoors.

6 – Bring a jewelry organizer case. This will allow you to separate your jewelry, keep it organized and together, and will prevent your items from getting broken and tangled.

7 – Antibacterial hand sanitizer and wipes. For your own safety, it is better to bring your own antibacterial hand sanitizer and wipes to make sure that you can protect yourself from germs while you travel.

8 – Laundry soap and a stain stick. There are travel size laundry soap packages you can pack in your luggage as well as stain sticks that will come in handy while you travel.

9 – Multi plug adapter. Be prepared to charge your electronic devices anywhere with the appropriate adapter. Make sure you are bringing a “worldwide” or “universal” plug so that you won’t have any problems charging up.

10 – Use packing cubes to organize your clothes and small items. Packing cubes are available in different sizes to accommodate larger clothing items as well as small items like socks and underwear. They save tons of space in your luggage because everything is contained and the cubes can be easily stacked and arranged in your case.