Protect your passport with one of these stylish and practical passport holders

passport

I’m a big believer in passport holders mostly because your passport is an irreplaceable travel document that needs special care. A good case will help keep it safe and dry and, depending on the style, can help increase your fashion quotient.

Here are three designs that I recommend. If you’re in the market for an upgraded passport holder, you’re sure to find one here that you’ll like:

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Phone charging passport holder

phone-charging passport holderReducing the number of items you have to carry when travelling is a god-send which is why this passport holder that includes a built-in power pack appeals to me. There’s room for your passport, some credit cards and cash and a slim 4000 mAh battery that can charge your phone or your wireless earphones with ease.

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MIDDLE OF THE PACK

Personalized leather passport holder

Personalized leather passport holder

Give a loved one the gift of one of these personalized leather passport holders so they can carry a piece of you wherever they travel. There are designs and colours aimed at different demographics and room for you to add your own heart-felt message to make a truly unique keepsake.

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Walnew RFID blocking passport holder

Passport holder

This slim and lightweight cover has some nice touches that you don’t see in other passport holders like a slot for your boarding pass, credit cards, a pen and even a place to store your phone’s international SIM cards.

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Get some actual sleep on your next flight with one of these popular travel pillows

travel pillow

It’s not often I get to travel in first class or business class, but when I do, I am in heaven because it means I might actually get a decent night’s sleep on a long-haul flight., something that’s rare when I’m more typically flying in economy.

The odds of actually getting some shut-eye increase drastically if I’m using a travel pillow. If you have the same problem sleeping on planes as I do, then I recommend you invest in a good-quality travel pillow. You can buy one of those horseshoe-shaped ones at your local drugstore for a few bucks, but there are better travel pillows that will do a better job of supporting your head so that you can fall asleep comfortably. Here are three examples that are highly-rated by travellers for you to consider and, as usual, I’ve given you a cheap, mid-price and top-end option. The choice is yours.

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trtl Pillow Plus, Fully Adjustable Travel Pillow

trtl travel pillow

Trtl has several styles and models of pillows and accessories designed to help you sleep in comfort in an uncomfortable location.  It’s essentially an improved version of their original Trtl pillow which is designed for taking on an airplane, car or bus ride, the train or even for using at home. It began as a Kickstarter project that was fully funded in just six hours. It’s differentiating feature is an adjustable strap that gives your neck perfect support.

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MIDDLE OF THE PACK

Huzi Infinity Travel Pillow

Huzi infinity travel pillow

Sleeping on an airplane involves a lot of shifting to get comfortable. This infinity pillow comes in a loop shape that lets you configure it in an infinite number of ways so that you can find that sweet spot without  having to contort yourself to do it.

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MLVOC Pure Memory Foam Travel Pillow

memory foam travel pillowThe horseshoe-shaped travel pillow is a standard, but the most inexpensive ones use cheap filler which might seem nice when you touch them in the store, but in the real world get crushed by the weight of your head, rendering them less than useful. This product uses memory foam that fits to the shape of your head and retains its shape so that you remain comfortable through the night.

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Are you securing your hotel doors with any of these portable travel locks?

hotel door lock

Do you ever wonder for your personal safety when you travel? Maybe you don’t trust the shoddy lock on the door of your hotel or worry that someone else has a key to your Airbnb and can let themselves in while you’re sleeping. 

It’s not an uncommon fear which is why there are numerous travel locks designed to secure your room from the inside so that no one can get in through the door unless you want them to.

Here are three of the most highly-recommended options to consider, with models for every budget:

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DoorJammer Lockdown

Doorjammer LockdownThis portable, industrial strength door-security device can be fit to any standard doors in seconds without the use of any tools in order to prevent unwanted entry. The only way anyone can get through the door would be to break it down and unless you’re an incredibly heavy sleeper, you’re likely to notice that.

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BARGAIN PRICE

Home and Travel Safety Lock

home and travel safety lockThis stainless steel lock slides into the door frame and sits over the existing lock bolt so that it remains locked from the inside of your room. You can use it to secure your hotel room’s front door, your bathroom door and it’s especially welcome in a setting like a B&B or Airbnb where you have no idea who has access to your room.

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MIDDLE OF THE PACK

Portable Door Travel Lock

Portable travel lockSimilar in operation to the previous travel lock, this model is made from thicker steel which makes it stronger than its competitors. Slip it over the existing lock bolt and it remains secure from the inside and you can rest easy that your room is safe.

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Inspire your future travels with these travel-inspired posters

Vintage posters

Looking for some interesting, travel-inspired art to dress up those walls that you’ve been staring at for far too long lately? I’ve run across some out-of-the-ordinary posters that I really liked and hope you will, too. Check these out:

100 Places Scratch Off Poster100 Places Scratch Off Poster

This is a variation on those scratch-off maps that show the places in the world you’ve visited, but instead of a map, this poster lists 100 destinations that are likely on your bucket list. Scratch them off as you visit each one.

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Heart in Heart, Personalized ArtworkPersonalized beach posterPersonalized art-work makes for a great gift. This beach scene lets you customize the names in the hearts and the date to transform it into a one-of-a-kind poster, perhaps to celebrate a destination wedding or other important anniversary.

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Pan American World Airways  Vintage Airline Travel PosterRetro Caribbean travel posterI’m a big fan of vintage travel posters and have always been fascinated by the Pan-Am clippers so this one is right up my alley. 

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 Magnetic Poster Hanger Poster holder

While posters are nice to dress up a wall, hanging them can be a chore. Poster frames can be expensive and thumbtacks aren’t anything a grown-up should be using. These magnetic poster hangers are great because you can quickly swap out posters so that you can keep a variety of them in rotation.

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Vintage-styled Travel Posters

Vintage postersAgain, with the vintage travel posters! I like them, what can I say? These ones are nice because they are smaller in size which makes them perfect to create a triptych of destinations important to you. 

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NASA Space Exploration Travel Poster PackNASA space exploration posters

Space tourism isn’t really a thing yet, but it will be and one day you might be able to visit other planets and asteroids. These colourful and whimsical posters borrow from travel posters of the past to imagine travel posters of the future.

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Star Wars-Hoth Premium Wall Poster

Visit Hoth poster

Okay, so you can’t actually travel to Hoth, but as it’s May 4th when I write this, which is Star Wars Day (May the fourth be with you!), this poster seemed appropriate.

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Since we’re not going anywhere, it’s time to organize our travel photos

If you’re like me, you’re probably doing a lot less travelling these days which makes it’s the ideal time to finally organize your massive collection of travel photos because what’s the use of saving them if you’re never going to look at them again?

These days, most of us take digital photos, post a few to social media and save hundreds, or more likely thousands more, that never see the light of day. Make it your goal to bring those hidden gems to the surface where you can see them again and enjoy memories of your past voyages.

There’s no one way to organize your photo collection, but a good place to start is by taking inventory of where all of your images are stored and work at centralizing disparate folders into a single collection. Once everything is in one place, it’s easier to start deleting the duds and duplicates and go through the hard work of categorizing everything.

Use software to get organized

Adobe Photoshop Elements

The key to sorting through your digital photo collection is software.  One of the best in this regard is Adobe Lightroom. It’s a fantastic program for editing and correcting photos, but also has built-in tools to organize everything into one easily browsable catalog. The downside to make it fully searchable is that you need to write captions or tag your photos in order to find things quickly.

The learning curve for Lightroom can be steep, so many people opt instead for Adobe Photoshop & Premiere Elements, a more user-friendly program that makes it easy to not only organize your photo collection, but your videos as well.

Another tool that I use is Google Photos. This free service lets you store as many photos as you want on their cloud servers, although not at full resolution. Where it’s powerful is that you can search your collection by keyword, like you would any Google search, and it will display the most likely photos you’re looking for. I look at the date the photo was taken,  then turn to my Lightroom to find the high-resolution version that I need.

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Transform your analog photos to digital

If you’ve got travel photos that were taken in the pre-digital age as slides or prints or maybe ones taken by your parents or grandparents, then they’re probably gathering dust in a shoebox somewhere. Digitize them with an affordable scanner in order to bring them back into the light. The Magnasonic All-in-One High Resolution Film Scanner is a good choice as it can not only convert slides and negatives in a variety of formats ranging from 35mm to 126 and 110, but it does it all with a built-in memory of 128 Mb along with a 2.4″ LCD screen where you can preview your scans. 

For scanning prints, you may already have a printer with a built-in scanner, but I like to use Google’s free PhotoScan app on my smartphone which is a quick-and-dirty scanner that cleverly takes four photos of a print which is how it reduces any glare from the photo’s glossy surface.

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Get your photos framed

Aura digital photo frameDigital photo frames have come a long way since they were first introduced. If you gave up on those first-generation devices with their low-resolution screens and clunky interfaces, then you haven’t been keeping up with the times. Digital photo frames now have screens with incredible clarity and resolution and use internet-connected cloud services from which to draw your images. A great example is the Aura Mason Smart Digital Picture Frame. For what it’s worth, it’s a brand endorsed by Oprah and is a great way to enjoy your photos that would otherwise be forgotten. It’s also a good gift for relatives as you can share photos with them via the internet. 

I also like to print out annual photo books with my best photos as they’ll probably survive longer than any digital versions. There are numerous companies that can do it and I haven’t found any substantial difference between them so I just search for whoever’s currently offering savings coupons for their photobooks.

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Get backed up

TerraMaster NASCentralizing all of your digital photos into one place is definitely convenient, but if the hard drive where they are stored has a catastrophic failure or is damaged in a fire or flood, then you’ll lose everything. It’s a good idea to have a backup drive on your home network that has a duplicate copy of all of your photos. A simple external hard drive is good enough for many people, but I use a TerraMaster F2-210 2-Bay NAS device which has space for two hard drives, one of which is a copy of the other so if one fails, the other will survive.

While putting a local backup option in place is good, it’s probably a good idea to pair that with an online storage service. I mentioned Google Photos above. While it has a free option to store unlimited web-resolution photos, they can store all of your images at full resolution, but you’ll pay a monthly fee depending on how much storage space you use. It’s not a lot of money and is a good insurance plan in order to keep your precious memories safe.

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