DeLorme inReach or SPOT Gen3: Which GPS messenger to buy for outdoor adventure

Do your teens hike without you? Do you venture into the backcountry as a family? In winter, do you like to snowshoe, camp, or ski off-piste? If you answered 'yes' to any of the above, you've probably considered outfitting yourself or your kids with a GPS device for the field. In our opinion, these two devices are the best on the market for hikers, backpackers, and backcountry skiers. Here's our … [Read more...]

Travel Gear We Use: GlocalMe WiFi hotspot for travel

Let’s get real about WiFi usage and fees while traveling internationally as a family. When we travel, we embrace being off-the-grid most of the time, but we absolutely need wifi at various times. Sometimes, this is due to necessity: we need turn-by-turn directions out of a foreign city, or we need to call the credit card company to check our damage (I mean, balance). Other times, someone needs to … [Read more...]

CarLock review: Monitor your car while traveling

CarLock is a real-time car tracking and alert system. After installing the small device in your car, you can track many actions from your smartphone, including when your car is moved or started, how it's driven, and if your battery is low. You can also track where it goes via GPS. Read on for our CarLock review: What CarLock can do: Why do you need all this info? Let's say you're on a road … [Read more...]

Adventure travel for your phone: Tech 21 case review

Gone are the days when leaving your phone on the charging dock, at the ski lodge, in your backpack, or in the car is an option. I'm a big fan of outdoor adventure travel, but also a big fan of having my phone with me when I'm on vacation. It's often my camera, my communication device, my note taker, and my navigator. But I hate it when I feel limited because I'm worried about my phone. My … [Read more...]

Apple Watch travel tips

I bought my Apple Watch for heath and GPS exercise tracking. I regarded its travel uses with skepticism. After all, I have a phone, which already accompanies me on trips, and saw no need to carry two devices for the same purpose. However, after using the Apple Watch for a few months, I've found it to be an extremely useful travel tool. It's not great for everything, but it's helpful enough that I … [Read more...]

WiFi hotspot in your car: ZTE Mobley review

AT&T reached out to us to product test their mobile hotspot, the ZTE Mobley. We said we'd give it a whirl on a seven-hour road trip, because I was curious about the pros and cons of having a WiFi hotspot in your car: after trying it out, would we want to keep it? Would we decide we needed it, or not? We opted to set up the ZTE Mobley mobile hotspot in our Toyota van for use during a … [Read more...]

Travel Gear We Use: GoTenna review

When we visited Paris last winter, we spent a wonderful day in the Louvre. At least, it was mostly wonderful, except for the two hours we spent looking for each other. My husband had our two older sons in one section, and I had our youngest in another, and our plans to 'find each other later' went woefully sideways. We both had phones, but had put them in airplane mode to save on our international … [Read more...]

Travel Gear We Use: Spyder battery case review

I'm very picky about my phone case. My iPhone might just have more 'outfits' than me during a week! I need a case for everyday use, that's protective but still slim and offers easy access (for me, that's my OtterBox Symmetry), a case for the outdoors (hello, LifeProof), and of course, a case for those days I just KNOW my juice will run low. For those days, the Spyder PowerShadow battery case for … [Read more...]

Travel Gear We Use: Best cameras for small hands

A good camera or HD video device is essential gear for most families traveling today. We agree, and take it one step further: it's wonderful to put the camera in the hands of a child. Kids become more engaged with their surroundings when they have some control over documenting the trip, and we find our tweens and teens pay better attention on historic site visits or at natural attractions when … [Read more...]

Travel Gear We Use: Eagle Creek USB Universal Travel Adaptor

Twenty-five years ago, I went on my first international trip on my own. One of my first purchases for my journey through Europe was a travel adaptor. It came in a big bag with lots of various-sized plug adaptors. A few months ago, I finally upgraded. As it turns out, gone are the clunky, multi-piece travel adaptors. Instead, adaptors now come in one sleek unit, and include USB ports. I … [Read more...]