My first-rate experience in VIA Rail Canada Business Class


I love train travel.  Travel by train is as much about the journey as the destination.  There’s less hassle than flying, more comfortable than the bus and more relaxing than driving.  

Advantage of the train vs. the plane:  Flying time is perhaps shorter, but waiting in airport line-ups, boarding, and travel between the airport and downtown take so much time that, all things considered, going by train is often faster.

Advantage of the train vs. the car:  A train travels at roughly the same speed as your car, assuming you don’t hit any bad weather or traffic problems.  And since your are not driving, you are free to relax, work or just enjoy the scenery.

Business class costs about 20-25 percent more than an economy ticket So, when I got the chance to take a ride on VIA Rail Canada from Toronto to Ottawa recently, I happily accepted.  Come, enjoy the journey with me.

(video courtesy of Sambatuts, YouTube)

Union Station

Union Station InteriorStep inside this marble cavern of a building and immediately get transported to the heyday of train travel.  Toronto’s Union Station,  designated as a National Historic Site of Canada, is the largest and most opulent train station in Canada.

When I showed my ticket to the attendant he took my bags for me and put them on the train while he escorted me to the Panorama Lounge.

Business Class Lounge

Experience comfort in the VIA Rail Business Class lounge.

2013-06-03 13.38.19 2013-06-03 13.33.14You get exclusive access to the station’s business-class lounge.  Spacious seating and coffee tables and multiple TVs make this a nice way to unwind before or after you board.  Attendants there can help with reservation, ticketing and local entertainment needs.  You also have access to private washrooms, complimentary beverages, magazines and newspapers in both French and English. If you need to get some work done, there is a business area with PC and Mac computers and color laser printer and free WiFi in the lounge.


Staff weighs each carry on bag before you can board.  They are serious about the 50 lb. weight limit.

A staff member weighs each carry on bag before you can board. VIA Rail Canada is serious about the 50 lb. weight limit. However, we had our luggage stowed for us, so this was not a problem.  As a business class passenger you have a dedicated boarding area and you get the chance to avoid the crowds. It made boarding faster, and it added to the feeling of exclusivity.

The Ride

Pretty plush and roomy seats only four per row.  Lots of leg room.  The seats fully recline, which are great for naps, but a little awkward for the person behind you.  The bathrooms are clean and well-equipped.  Internet access was consistent, fine for casual surfing and getting some work done.  Each seat also has an electric outlet to juice up all your gadgets.  Plus, not being cramped in your seat is really nice.

Service and Food

2013-09-17Here is what I experienced.  As soon as we were seated and the train pulled out of the station the server (Costel served us on the train out, and Rohan was there for the return trip) came through with complimentary snacks (pretzels and drink screwdriver with orange slice garnish for me).  We were served at our seats, airplane style.

There was such a choice of local wine and spirits that I couldn't decide.  So I chose all of them.

I  couldn’t decide which local wine and spirits to choose, so I picked them all.

We were treated to newspapers, hot towels before our meals, unlimited wine and cocktails, snacks, chocolates and  juice throughout our journey.  The meals were cooked, not microwaved.  And they were really good.  Real glassware, dishes and cutlery – truly top shelf.  All of the products served are Canadian including the lovely maple chocolates at the end of every meal.

Getting there from Here

You can make a direct connection to these cities on Amtrak:

  • Vancouver, on the Amtrak Cascades line.
  • Toronto, on Empire Service or Maple Leaf lines.
  • Montreal, by the Adirondack line.

1 888 VIA-RAIL (1 888 842-7245)

Travel on Canada’s VIA Rail is a real treat, and train travel as a business class passenger is the best experience in North America, including Amtrak’s Acela.  In my opinion, it is well worth the additional cost.  If you can arrange it, business class is the way to go.




5 Reasons Why Traveling Solo Can Remedy Loneliness

5 Reasons Why Traveling Solo Can Remedy Loneliness (via The Cultureist)

By Silvia Mordini For quite some time now I’ve come up with all sorts of excuses why I couldn’t travel by myself: My partner didn’t like to travel and I didn’t want to go without him The guilt of leaving my partner and family behind Not feeling…

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Genius Pack luggage offers a savvy way to pack for traveling

74126_319909918110099_1982928111_nMy packing routine usually goes like this:  Think about what I am going to take with me.  Procrastinate until the night before I leave.  That night (or even the day of), panic and throw everything in the suitcase.  Discover, after I am on the road, at least three crucial things (like my toothbrush, curling iron or part of my outfit) that I left at home.  Now, Genius Pack is here with luggage to help the “packing-challenged” or the “organizationally-impaired” like me.

The company sent me the Genius Packer 22” carry-on luggage to test out.  Here is what I found:

  • Easy to handle.  The bag is designed as an upright, but ha a handle on the side for Spinnersversatility in carrying it.  Spinners make for easy maneuvering and don’t add to the stress of carrying or pulling from one place to another, especially when you are in a hurry.
  •  Designated compartments.  Open the luggage and find five interior compartments, labeled for you.  No guesswork about what goes where—underwear, socks and toiletries (which is removable).  There are also zipped pouches for electronics and an optional mini speaker to use with your smart phone. Of course, you don’t have to use the compartments as labeled, but what a relief to know they are there if you need them.  I also maximized space by using separate packing cubes for my tops, pants and other items.

Interior w pocketsThis bag makes packing idiot-proof.  There are labeled pockets for magazines, a water bottle, an optional mini umbrella and a front outer pocket for a charger (also optional) designed to recharge your mobile device directly from your luggage.  The umbrella and charger are sold separately.

  •  Separates clean clothes from dirty.  The  patent-pending technology has a detachable laundry bag that zips into the suitcase, accessible from the outside zippered pocket.  You flatten and roll up the empty laundry bag.  As you put your laundry in, you maximize space by rolling the bag toward the wall.  Excess air goes out of a one-way valve.
  • Coat hookA place for your coat.  There is a strap with a hook in the back of the bag.  You can place your coat on top, stretch the hook over it and latch it to the front.  Hands-free travel.
  • Can tilt forward when fully expanded.  I found that when I filled the luggage, including its two-inch expansion, it tended to be off balance, forcing me to prop it against something for it to stay upright or keep picking it up when it fell over.
  • You can have any color you want, as long as it is black.  Just an aesthetic, but a choice of colors would be nice.
  • Dimensions: 22″ x 14″ x 9.5.”  Weight: 8.6 lbs.
  • The Genius Pack 22″ costs $198 (without the speaker, umbrella and portable battery pack)

Genius Pack incorporates its unique organizational designs to all its products, including a 28” upright (not a spinner), garment bag, back pack, business case, duffel bag and “flight bag” that wraps around airplane seat to store all your flight needs such as a computer tablet and magazines.

The bag I used was provided to me by Genius Pack at no charge. All opinions expressed above are my own.


2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers — Part 3: On the Go Phone & Photo Gadgets

by expertflyer

Expert Flyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Although we called out some interesting and valuable apps for both business and leisure travelers in parts one and two of our Must-Have Tech series, research by the Collinson group shows that only those apps that are instantly engaging and immediately useful will be kept and used regularly when on the move.

smartphoneThe Mobile Traveler Survey by the Collinson Group also found that to most frequent travelers, the airport and often the travel journey itself, has become an experience to be endured, not enjoyed.  And, aside from airport lounge access, smart phones are among a short list of must-haves for business travelers who want and need to stay connected to work, family and friends.

Here are two companies who offer some interesting options for staying in touch:

  • Wireless Traveler, a leading provider of international phones and services to the travel industry, offers money-saving wireless communications products and services for the international leisure and business traveler.  Among their many cost-saving options is their Global Nano SIM Card ($44.95), which saves users up to 85% on calls using their existing iPhone 5 or iPad Mini.
  • When it’s time to recharge, Innergie’sPocketCell Duo and Magic Cable is a perfect companion for travelers on the go who can’t afford to run out of juice on their mobile phone or tablet.  The Innergie PocketCell Duo can completely charge an iOS or Android phone up to four times and provide about 7 hours of additional power to tablets, including an iPad, before the PocketCell Duo needs to be recharged.  The Magic Cable Trio, which comes with the PocketCell Duo, is an ingenious way to minimize the number of cable you need to charge every mobile device you have on your journey.  The Magic Cable Trio is a single cable that includes a 30-pin Apple tip as well as miniUSB and microUSB tips, which means consumers can connect to more than 10,000 mobile devices with a single cable.  The PocketCell Duo ($89.99) also has two (2.1 amp) USB ports so two devices can charge at the same time.  The company will also introduce a Lightning Tip in April for iPhone 5 users.
taking picture

(c) Courtney Carmody

Everything is relative and, unlike the Collinson Group study, TripAdvisor’s annual business travel survey reported a bit more pleasure associated with business travel.  In fact, 62% of respondents said they “often” enjoy business travel and 18 percent said they “always” enjoy it.  And, 34% said, the best part about traveling for work is “seeing new places.  “We agree, so why not take along some fun gadgets to help you capture and keep some of those business-tourist memories.  Here are a few to consider:

  • The Pentax Q10 is a super-compact and ultra-lightweight camera that is barely larger than a deck of cards, and a great camera choice for travelers who want to achieve digital SLR photographic quality with the convenience of slipping into your pocket.  The Q10 features a new CMOS image sensor and an upgraded algorithm for much-improved performance with amazing image quality and faster autofocus (AF) operation. A special adapter allows hundreds of Pentax K-series lenses to fit on the Q10.  Suggested List Price (with zoom lens): $599.95.
  • With the Photojojo Phone Lens Series you may take full advantage of the camera on your smartphone or tablet while touring a new destination.  Photojojo’s phone lens series works with any phone or device that has a lens on it, including Android or iPhone lenses, iPod Touch, iPad, Blackberry and MacBook.  You can choose from professional quality Fisheye, Telephoto, Wide Angle and Macro Cell Phone lenses. You can get three lenses for under $50.
  • Taking pictures with your mobile phone is certainly convenient, but many times the photo is too dark, skin tones are inaccurate or the overall color just doesn’t seem right.  Now, with the help of Athentech Perfectly Clear iOS and Android apps, you can turn these photos into perfectly exposed and color corrected masterpieces with a single click, and share them with friends directly or post to social media from anywhere in the world. Perfectly Clear from Athentech does exactly that.  The app will render your photos as they should be and will convert good pictures taken with mobile devices into great photos to share instantly.  Manual adjustments can be made if you really want to get creative.  Using Perfectly Clear will have your friends asking, “you took that picture with your phone?”


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This article, 2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers — Part 3: On the Go Phone & Photo Gadgets, is syndicated from ExpertFlyer Blog and is posted here with permission.

Help for the hearing-impaired traveler

VitaSoundTravel can be as stressful as it is enjoyable, and a hearing problem is an extra challenge.  Here is a new device designed to help make it easier for the hearing-impaired traveler.

VitaSound Audio released its new Personal Audio Enhancer (PAE-300).  The PAE-300 is the only multi-functional device designed for folks with situational or early-stage hearing loss.  It helps you get higher audio fidelity and better distinguish sounds when there’s background noise, or low sound levels that can make hearing difficult.

When you travel, the noise-cancellation technology of the Personal Audio Enhancer will make the sounds you need to hear clearer and reduce unnecessary background noise if you’re having trouble speaking to someone in a crowded restaurant or on the phone or even if you’re just unwinding after a long day of walking around a new city and want to watch television.

It’s multifunctional, which lets you select the best mode to get the best results depending on your environment. It allows users to hear better in situations where background noise or low-sound levels make hearing difficult.

Four Distinct Listening Modes:

  • Watch Mode for watching TV or movies on airplanes, enhancing what you hear.
  • Talk Mode for conversing with a travel companion or seatmate is easier in noisy environments like waiting rooms, airport terminals or restaurants.
  • Listen Mode improves the sound on a mobile phone or an MP3 player.  You can select an EQ mode for different sound settings.
  • Relax Mode with ambient sounds for relaxation and sleep.

I received a unit, which retails for $399, to review.  There is a bit of a learning curve to get the settings right and achieve the balance you want between focused and ambient sounds. The hand unit is supposed to be paired to the base once, but you may need to pair the two each time you use it.

Using the device also requires you to use earphones plugged into the transmitter, then attached to a cellphone or when in the talk mode, which may feel a bit awkward at first.pae_frontback_boxshot-4_3_rx383_c540x380

In addition to having an audio enhancement device, here are other travel tips for the hearing impaired:

• Try to make all travel arrangements in advance. Once you make your transportation arrangements, request written confirmation to make sure that information is correct. Always tell the ticket representative that you are hearing-impaired.

• If possible, meet with a travel agent to allow the opportunity for lip reading, or if necessary, written exchange to help confirm travel plans. Agents can contact airlines, hotels, and attractions to make necessary reservations.

• Travel information and reservation services are also available on the internet. Be sure to print copies of important information such as confirmation numbers, reservations, and maps.  Keep copies of travel arrangements, including confirmation numbers, easily available.

• Arrive early at the airport, bus terminal, or train station. Tell the agent at the boarding gate that you are hearing-impaired and need to be notified in person when it’s time to board.

• Check the display board repeatedly while waiting in the terminal to confirm your flight destination and departure time as there may be delays or the departure gate may change.  Confirm the flight number and destination before boarding.

• Inform the flight attendant that you are hearing-impaired and ask that any in-flight announcements be communicated to you in person. Consider reserving aisle seats so that you may easily communicate with the flight staff.

• Do not be afraid to ask for help from fellow travelers—most are more than willing to offer help.

Stay in Trendy Neighborhoods to Stretch Your Travel Budget

Staircase made  famous in the 1932 Laurel and Hardy film, "The Music Box" is  in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.

Staircase made famous in the 1932 Laurel and Hardy film, “The Music Box” is in the Silver Lake district of Los Angeles.

Here is a tip to save money on hotels when you are staying in major cities during leisure or business travels.  Look to stay in cool, trendy neighborhoods.   You save on hotels, get away from downtown and see some of the real city. have uncovered a selection of hip, culturally diverse neighborhoods in some of the Top Domestic Destinations as ranked by the most recent Hotel Price Index (HPI) to help travelers not only extend their travel budget, but also have a truly authentic experience in some of America’s top cities.

“Consumers have now been trained that flying mid-week is better for their wallet, but when visiting major cities, hotels in downtown areas typically have higher rates and lower inventory due to business travel and conventions,” says Taylor L. Cole, travel expert for

“This is the perfect time to explore other neighborhoods of cities like New York and Chicago and save on the hotel stay and flight. Travelers can use that extra money to take in a show, dine at a top-rated restaurant or have an adventure in the new area of town they’re exploring,” he said.0_4200_84_2716_two_marcolivierleblanc_5140

Check out this list of 10 of the most popular domestic travel destinations, their average hotel prices according to the latest HPI, the trendiest neighborhoods in each city and why a stay there will not only save you money but also be a rewarding experience.

Some options for your consideration:

City & Average
Hotel Price

Neighborhood & Sample
Hotel Price

Why to visit

Boston – $186 Allston-Brighton – Best Western University Hotel, from $149; Crowne Plaza Boston, from $145 

Keep in mind Fall is peak travel season due to the proliferation of colleges in the area.

·      Boston University and Boston College bookend this thriving neighborhood.·      Electic restaurant and nighlight scene caters to the student and recent grad population.

·      This “college-burg” is a great place to go thrift shopping.

Chicago – $162 Wicker Park – Wicker Park Inn, from $109 ·      Home to a wealth of art galleries, beer gardens and music venues.·      Well-served by Chicago’s mass transit system.

·      Historic roots include German and Polish beer barrons that left a legacy of ornate mansions and first-rate dive bars.

Los Angeles – $148 Silver Lake – Comfort Inn West Sunset Boulevard, from $100 ·      Houses some of the most famous modernist architecture in North America.·      Numerous municipal staircases crisscross the neighborhood and provide pedestrian access up and down the area’s signature hills.

·      Known for its indie rock scene.

·      Boasts some of the nation’s most acclaimed food trucks and farmers markets.

Miami – $174 Wynwood – DoubleTree by Hilton Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay, from $139; Marriott Miami Biscayne Bay, from $152  ·      Indulge your wanderlust for art and fashion in one neighborhood – Wynwood is divided into two sub-districts known for these crafts.·      More than 70 galleries, museums and art collections in the Arts District. Take part in a “ArtWalk” on the second Saturday of the month.

·      Formerly known as Little San Juan, you can find a lot of Puerto Rican influence in the food scene.

New Orleans – $161 Warehouse District – Lafayette Hotel, from $99; Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel, from $139 ·      Offers a respite from the Bourbon Street scene but within walking distance of the French Quarter’s attractions.·      Also known as the Arts District for its abundance of galleries and world-class museums.

·      This newly remodeled area features some of the city’s best restaurants.

New York City – $264 Williamsburg, Brooklyn – Condor Hotel, from $179; Hotel Le Jolie, from $199, ·      Just one subway stop away from Manhattan.·      Offers some of New York’s best music, food and nightlife options against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline.

·      Numerous entertainment options found on Bedford Avenue.

San Diego – $134 North Park – Layfayette Hotel & Swim Club, from $127; Inn at the Park, from $129 ·      High rate of pedestrian activity relative to other areas of the city, making it perfect to explore while on vacation – no parking meters to plug!·      Culturally-diverse and full of trendy boutiques, restaurants, galleries and bars.

·      Home to a farmers market every Thursday and a gallery walk the second Saturday of each month.

San Francisco – $185 Mission District – Inn San Francisco – $175 ·      Classified by its abundance of Mexican cuisine and Latino influenced buildings with ornate murals.·      Tends to have some of the city’s sunnier and warmer weather due to it geography.

·      Valencia Street is full of quirky shops, slow food restaurants, wine bars and coffee shops.

·      Unbeatable views of the city in Dolores Park.

Seattle – $158 Capitol Hill – Homewood Suites by Hilton Seattle Conv. Center/Pike Street, from $118; The Roosevelt, a Coast Hotel, from $129  ·      Home to Volunteer Park, which has a 108-step brick water tower with one of the best views of the city and region, and the Seattle Asian Art Museum.·      A great cup of coffee is a given in this neighborhood.

·      Spontaneous street parties are known to break out here.

·      Steeped in history, the neighborhood is dotted with Victorian mansions alongside fringe theaters, shops and nightlife hotspots.

Washington, D.C. – $157 H Street – Hilton Garden Inn Washington DC/US Capitol, from $134; Courtyard Washington, DC/U.S. Capitol, from $129 ·      Recently revitalized area is an arts and entertainment mecca and is home to numerous theaters and performance studios.·      Easy transportation via streetcars is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

·      Along with the arts came the restaurants foodies and families alike adore – there’s even a kid-friendly wine bar.


Kids Go Free! – Cruises, All-Inclusive Resorts and More

Via Wicked Good Travel Tips. By: Authors at

Budgets seem particularly tight this year just as prices are on the rise, so to make sure you can have a great summer vacation, we’ve gathered together an impressive list of family vacation offers where the kids go free!  You’ll have to get the kids there, but once you all arrive, your children can stay, play and eat free.  These offers are for two children (and sometimes more) staying in the same room/cabin with two adults, black-out dates may and age restrictions may apply.

All-Inclusive Resorts Where Kids Stay Free

Iberostar Beach

These deluxe all-inclusive resorts offer maximum value for families.  Typically summer travel is considered off-season with resorts offering deep discounts on vacation packages.  These mega resorts offer beachfront settings, elaborate pool complexes, dozens of restaurants and a full slate of activities to entertain your whole family.

Iberostar Resorts – Mexico, Dominican Republic and Jamaica
Iberostar has built a reputation for having some of the most luxurious and fun resorts on the planet.  Book by May 31, 2013, and stay now through December 31, 2013, with kids free at selected properties while staying in the same room as two paying adults.  Visit for list of participating resorts.

Dreams Resorts - Mexico and Dominican Republic
Make everyone’s dreams come true by booking a family vacation in a luxury Dreams Resort between August 24, and December 22, 2013.  Choose between resorts with spas, golf, elaborate pools and beautiful beaches.  Find all the details at

Divi Aruba
The Divi Resort in Aruba has been serving up the fun in Aruba for many years.  Now through December 20, 2013, kids 12 and under stay free and can take advantage of the kids camp that operates Monday through Friday.  Find all the details at

Everyone Loves A Cruise!

NCL Cruise

What’s better than a relaxing vacation that’s also filled with exciting non-stop activities, entertainment and changing landscapes.

Norwegian Cruise Line
The folks at tuned us in to a great promotion by Norwegian Cruise Line.  NCL is offering a promotion where kids 17 and under sail as a third or fourth guest in a stateroom free of charge.  Cruise examples include the Norwegian Sky sailing a 4 day itinerary to the  Bahamas from Miami.  For dates in September and October, 2013 with an inside stateroom, a family of our can cruises for $820.28.e

Costa Cruise Line
A European vacation for the whole family may not be out of reach thanks to Costa Cruises.  For spring and summer Mediterranean and northern Europe itineraries kids cruise free.  Junior cruises age 17 and under pay only government taxes and fees through July, 2013.  Rates start at $399 per person for 7 night western Med cruises.  For young cruisers aged 3 to 17, Costa offers a full range of complimentary youth programs.  Get all the details at

Kids And Nature – An Unforgettable Combination!

Chaa Creek Lodge

Some of your most wonderful family memories may just happen when you turn off all the electronics and razzmatazz and go adventuring together into a natural setting.  There is something about walking along a trail together that inspires conversations and appreciation of our planet.

The Lodge at Chaa Creek, Belize
This award winning Eco-lodge situated in a 365-acre Rainforest Reserve is an ideal choice for families to experience a pristine rainforest environment.  Families can participate in hikes along the Maya Trail System, canoe the Macal River, swim in the new Eco-friendly pool, enjoy bird walks with on-staff Naturalist Guides and take part in a guided interpretive tour on the Maya Medicinal Plant Trail.  Children under 18 can stay free when they share a room with two paying adults.  Get the details at

The Appalachian Mountain Club, New Hampshire
Spending time with the AMC is the surest antidote to an over-stressed life.  Hiking along fragrant wooded trails running beside stunning waterfalls is a sure way to reconnect with all the members of your family.  Every time I stay at an AMC lodge, it renews my passion for spending time away from electronic devices and more time experiencing pristine environments.  This year AMC Huts will celebrate their 125th anniversary, with Lonesome Lake Hut offering a kids stay, play and eat free deal. Cardigan Lodge in the NH Lakes Region will also be welcoming kids to vacation free this summerAll the details can be found at Outdoors.Org.

Chocolate Makes Everything Better!

Hershey Park

Located just three hours from NYC is one of the happiest places on the planet, Hershey Pennsylvania where life is surely like a box of chocolates.  This summer The Hotel Hershey and Hershey Lodge have introduced a promotion where Kids Stay, Play and Eat Free.  Kids sharing a room with their parents receive a complimentary breakfast and Hersheypark tickets for a day.  Hersheypark is a 110-acre amusement park featuring 11 roller coasters, a water park and zoo.  Guests also receive complimentary admission to Hershey Gardens and to the Museum Experience at The Hershey Story.  This promotion is available May 2 through July 2, 2013.  Details are available at

Photo Credits:  Flickr CC – #1 dkaz, #2 swimphoto, #3 Adalberto H Vega, #4 lostinmiami

This article, Kids Go Free! – Cruises, All-Inclusive Resorts and More, is syndicated from Wicked Good Travel Tips and is posted here with permission.

Making Travel with Kids Easier with New Products

Even under the best of circumstances, when you travel with kids and babies you need patience, organization and a bit of ingenuity.  New items that debuted in March at the 2013 Travel Goods Show in Las Vegas, Nev. make traveling with kids easier for you and fun for them.

PlayAway case

8606_AmyJo PlayAway-8656-200x200 edhi_amyjo_cases_airport-200x200

There are children’s travel games. There’s children’s luggage. Why not combine the two? That’s the concept behind JK Worldwide’s PlayAway carry-on.  The PlayAway case, a carry-on with integrated “pod” or entertainment center that keeps young travelers entertained with knowledge games and educational modules about planet Earth, including a stowaway board game, counters, dice, activity pad and crayons.

Every case comes with 12 high quality plastic crayons, a PlayAway Activity pad and free unlimited access is to the PlayAway online fun educational activities which you can download and print to take on your trips

The PlayAway case retails for $124 and is available immediately at the company website and in stores starting in July.

Go Anywhere Travel Feeding Booster Seat


It weighs 1.4 lbs., folds pinkespressodown messenger bag style with a handle and shoulder strap and is the only seat to comply with standards set by ASTM International.  The Go Anywhere Travel Feeding Booster Seat  features a five-point restraint harness, three sets of adjustable straps to secure to almost any chair and is ideal for traveling and everyday use.

Compact, lightweight and easy to carry, it folds up easily into a messenger bag style 12 inches x 4.5 inches x 11 inches (folded), 12 inches x 18.9 inches x 11 inches (open).  It holds a maximum weight 40 lbs. Recommended for 12+ months, it also is suitable for a child who can sit unaided.

Go booster, inflatable booster seat

gobooster2gobooster1Your child may be too old for a car seat, but still needs a boost.  Seat belts can be dangerous for children when they aren’t properly positioned, but ordinary booster seats are bulky, heavy and impractical for holiday travel.

Now, there’s the GoBooster, the world’s only inflatable high-backed booster seat. The easy-to-use inflatable GoBooster combines safety with convenient, travel-friendly features. The GoBooster comes with a drawstring travel pouch, so you can easily take it along in your handbag, suitcase, or backpack and even keep a spare in your glove compartment.

The seat is not designed to completely replace a normal child seat.  But if you have an occasional need for a booster seat or inflatable GoBooster is designed with six shoulder belt positions and adjustable safety clips, which position the shoulder belt safely over your child’s chest instead of dangerously close to the neck.

The unique lap belt guider keeps the lap belt position over your child’s upper legs, protecting her stomach. The lightweight, durable inflatable GoBooster weighs less than 2 lbs., inflates, and deflates in just seconds, so it’s ready when you are. Whether you’re a parent, grandparent, or a babysitter, the GoBooster is the fast, convenient way to keep children safe wherever you travel.

Miamica Lil’ Traveler baby on-the-go kit

Miamica baby on-the-go Kit GirlsHere’s one sleek baby travel item that does not come in pink or blue or covered in juvenile artwork unless you want it.

The Lil’ Traveler baby on-the-go kit from Miamica, provides all the essentials for the infant jet setter — and in a fashion-forward design that compliments the lifestyle.

An organizing dynamo, the bag’s compact design includes a 15″ x 18″ changing pad that folds down to about 4″ x 6″ and fits into the diaper compartment.   There are also labeled compartments for lotions, pacifiers, diapers, wipes and other baby items.  Measuring 9.6” x 6” x 3.75”, Miamica’s Lil’ Traveler baby on-the-go kit glams up the fashionable baby’s necessities.  The Lil’ Traveler baby on-the-go kit

Trendy Kids Luggage Collection

Popo---Parrot---Case-BackPackladybug_inside_empty_400x521Popo Parrot joins TrendyKid’s line of travel products for kids.  Travel Buddies  comes in five designs with bright colors and eye-catching 3D elements in a 17” wheelie bag that is worldwide carry-on-compliant.  Constructed with a lightweight and durable ABS hard shell design, the bag has a lined and roomy interior.  A matching backpack is available.

For tweens, TrendyKid has CHAT and Danger Zone designs from its TravelKool line, Danger_1044x2000on-trend cases that appeal to fashion-conscience older kids who want their luggage to look as good as the clothes they carry.

Travel Buddies may be purchased as a set comprising a hardshell wheelie case and matching 13” backpack, or bought separately at Sets sell for $89.99 each; individual pieces are priced at $64.99 for the case and $29.99 for the backpack. The TravelKool cases retail for $69.99 each.


Carefree Georgia Vacations Start With Savannah Historic District Hotel

savannahIt’s a bright new day for vacationing in southern Georgia and there’s no better place to start than in Georgia’s first city, where hotels in Savannah Historic District offer a restful reprieve and an abundance of opportunities for fun and exploration.

Filled with historic places and beautiful garden squares, trolley tours, River Street dining and fine shopping, travelers can easily wrap up a weekend getaway or vacation retreat in this amazing city with deals like the “Discover Savannah” package offered at the Savannah Downtown/Historic District hotel. Offering inclusive amenities such as trolley tour tickets, breakfast and valet parking, guests of this historic district hotel in Savannah, GA, will find both comfort and value when booking their stay with this welcoming hotel package.

The refreshing “Discover Savannah” package is one of many hotel deals and discounts offered by this new hotel nestled among the oak trees of Montgomery Street and Oglethorpe and is designed to make Savannah travel fun and hassle-free. Included in the package are two tickets to an On/Off trolley tour, complimentary continental breakfast and valet parking. With rates starting as low as $142*, guests can choose from all-suite accommodations that include king- or queen-sized beds and pamper themselves with an in-suite whirlpool, in upgraded rooms. All rooms include a separate living and sitting area with a sofa bed for added comfort as well as a mini-refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker with tea service, dishes and utensils for their convenience.

Local River Street events add a warm ambiance to this downtown Savannah hotel’s location as GA visitors co-mingle with area residents at First Friday and Saturday events along the Riverfront or take in any of the many special events planned throughout the year. From St. Patrick’s Day and Fine Arts to Seafood and the Fourth of July, there’s always reason for celebration in this bustling district. Located within walking distance of popular destinations, including the City Market, Savannah Civic Center, and the Juliette Gordon Lowe Birthplace, the lodging is also popular among hotels near institutions such as the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and Telfair Museum of Art.

“Discover Savannah” accommodations can easily be booked online by using promotional code ARN here or by calling 1-800-228-9290.

*Rates are per room per night and valid seven days a week through 1/25/14 based on availability at the time of reservation. Rates reflect double occupancy. Tour times will be provided by the hotel Concierge. Offer does not apply to groups of 10 or more rooms and may not be combined with any other discount or promotion. Please visit hotel website for additional terms and conditions.


2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers – Part 2: Leisure

2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers – Part 2: Leisure & Family Travel Apps


ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Last week, we offered top app picks for business travelers from Shawn DuBravac, Consumer Electronics Association and Chris LoPinto, ExpertFlyer.  As promised, in part two, we have brought you some useful and interesting apps to enhance your leisure travels with family.  H-Appy Travels!



iFly Airport Guide – The airport guide for the informed flyer, iFly Airport Guide, based on the service at, offers in-depth coverage of 700+ airports around the world.  Utilizing more than 500 GPS Terminal Maps, travelers can use the app to locate the closest restaurant (with reviews) to their departure gate or in their terminal and see how to get there. What about Wi-Fi? How far is your connecting gate? And transportation options? Look no further, iFly Airport Guide’s got it all.

KIDzOUT — The perfect free app for your next family vacation – you’ll always know where to go for diaper changing stations, kid-friendly restaurants, parks and play places, and medical facilities using a proprietary database of over 260,000 known locations.

Railteam Mobile – is a free app providing live timetable information for all European trains and connections, synchronizing and simplifying travel across Europe. Station maps ease your connections by showing where you arrive and where you need to get to. Timetable enquiries for specific stations and routes can be made in real-time and then displayed immediately on your device. Railteam Mobile is available in English, German, French and Dutch.


uPackingList – another free app designed to turn packing into a fast and convenient activity for any journey – business trip, vacation, family picnic, fishing, Disney, etc.

You can easily create lists of necessary items and control the packing process. Update your packing list whenever you think you need yet another thing to take. You can create and maintain an unlimited number of lists and use a built-in items catalog, which is simply customizable per your needs.

Next week, in our final installment, we’ll be featuring on-the-go phone and photo gadgets.

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This article, 2013 Must-Have Tech for Travelers – Part 2: Leisure & Family Travel Apps, is syndicated from ExpertFlyer Blog and is posted here with permission.
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