Are Timeshares a Good Idea?

Are Timeshares a Good Idea?

Thinking of purchasing a timeshare? We check out the benefits and drawbacks, and assist identify if a timeshare is ideal for you.

Travel has actually altered in 2020. As tourists, the majority of us are investing a lot more time on journey, going to locations more detailed to house, and investing more time in one location.

These modifications have actually resulted in a growing number of individuals taking a look at purchasing trip residential or commercial properties and timeshares.

What is a timeshare, anyhow? At it’s core, a timeshare is a trip residential or commercial property plan that lets you share the residential or commercial property expenses with others with a ensured time allocation each year at the residential or commercial property.

Are timeshares a good concept?

Timeshares frequently get a truly bum rap. Some of the criticisms are well established, however there are likewise some genuine benefits to owning a timeshare.

Not all timeshares are the exact same, however typically speaking, a lot of timeshares share some qualities. If you’re purchasing a timeshare, ensure you understand precisely what you’re entering into.

Poolside loungers with view of the ocean T

Timeshare pros

Cost. Timeshares are typically much cheaper than purchasing a trip residential or commercial property outright, specifically if bought through the resale market. That stated, you’ll likely need to pay month-to-month upkeep charges. Be on the lookout for transfer charges and service charge also.

Exclusivity. Some properties offer timeshare spots even if they’re sold out to the general public. For example, vacation clubs like Disney Vacation Clubs often have completely sold out weeks, so buying a timeshare by-owner there means you may be one of a select few who get to enjoy the resort at that time.

Convenience. The ease of timeshares is one of their most appealing qualities. There’s definitely something appealing about having a vacation spot pre-booked every year, just waiting for you to arrive.

Options: A lot of timeshares these days are affiliated with exchange companies which allow you to trade your week or points in for a week at a resort or property somewhere else in their network for little to no costs. Of course, every timeshare is different so make sure you check out your options when signing the papers.

Less hands-on maintenance and repairs. Most timeshares charge a fee for maintenance, which is then handled by resort staff. If you own the timeshare, you’ll pay a fee for someone else to do maintenance, but the day-to-day headaches aren’t yours.

You can always sell. You can sell most timeshares however, and this is IMPORTANT, make sure you look over your timeshare agreement before you buy, as some timeshares are difficult to sell, and some don’t allow sales at all!

oceanside lounge bed

How to sell a timeshare

Back in the day, the only way to sell a timeshare was through the resort itself, newspaper classifieds (remember those?), or possibly a real estate agent. Luckily, it’s much easier to tell a timeshare today, with several websites offering an online service.

We took a quick browse around SellMyTimeshareNow to see how the process works, since it’s the first search result that pops up in Google.

The head offices of the company are in the USA, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire (one of our favorite places to visit in the USA – check out our article on family things to do in New Hampshire). There’s also a corporate office in Orlando, Florida. They’ve been in business for 17 years – since 2003 (we verified by looking the URL up on the Internet Archive/Wayback Machine).

The site can connect you with a fairly full suite of services, from full service title insurance, to resale financing of up to $35,000 USD through their affiliate broker service and title insurance.

The website lets you sell your timeshare, buy a timeshare, rent your timeshare, or find a timeshare rental. There are a bunch of helpful resources, including information on timeshare resorts and brands, and helpful articles on the ins and outs of timeshares, or how to avoid timeshare scams.

There are timeshares for sale in more than 217 countries and territories worldwide. Since a timeshare isn’t a traditional type of real estate, you aren’t necessarily required to use a real estate agent to buy or sell.

Sunset view from the fifth floor overlooking the ocean at the Marival Residences Luxury Resort

Cons of timeshares

Potential of rising annual charges. Many people buy a timeshare, only to find that their annual charges keep increasing every year.

High pressure sales presentations. Timeshare sales presentations can be incredibly high pressure. Many resorts lure prospective buyers in with a free meal, or a deeply discounted stay of a few nights if they attend a time share presentations in exchange. However, the promised one hour presentation often turns into several hours, and includes high pressure sales tactics, and salespeople who hound you while you’re on the resort property.

One way to avoid these high pressure sales tactics and probably save money at the same time is to buy used instead. If you buy online, you’re even further removed from the high pressure sales.

Most timeshares lose value over time. Unlike regular real estate, you’re likely not building equity in a timeshare the longer you own it, and you may actually see the value of your timeshare decrease over time.

You pay for a timeshare even when you don’t use it. Even if you can’t visit your timeshare every year, you’ll still continue to pay annual fees (and payments on your loan, if you have one).

Sun Peaks Village Facing Ski Hill

You may not be able to rent out your timeshare. This one really depends on the resort, but many resorts won’t let you rent out your timeshare. Of course, there are other resorts that are happy to rent out your timeshare, and that will even manage the rental for you (for a fee, of course).

Your loan may have a high interest rate. Traditionally, loans for timeshare residential or commercial properties charge a much higher interest rates than traditional mortgages.

Extra fees may pop up. Most timeshares allow for one time extra fees to help pay for improvements like a new roof. You may even be charged a fee to sell, or pay a fee to trade your week for a different location in the vacation club.

Living and dining area in my two bedroom suite at the Marival Residences Luxury Resort

How to buy a timeshare

If you decide all the pros outweigh the cons, then there are a few helpful tips to make buying a timeshare much easier, less expensive, and less hassle.

Buy your timeshare as a resale. You’ll generally pay a lot more for your timeshare if you buy it directly from the resort. You’re likely to get a much better deal if you buy your timeshare from someone on the resale market because of how competitive it can be.

Get a lawyer. A lawyer, who is experienced in timeshares, can help you avoid a lot of potential pitfalls.

Clarify all the fees. Most timeshares have annual fees, but one-off fees for repairs, and even fees for transferring weeks, as well as other fees, are commonly found.

Read your agreement carefully. Timeshare agreements can be long, tricky and convoluted. Though it may be tiresome, reading your agreement thoroughly may save some unwelcome, and unpleasant, surprises down the road.

Know your rescission period. A timeshare rescission period is a short window of time when you can walk away from the timeshare purchase. In the USA, rescission periods range from a few days to over two weeks. The rescission period is based on where you buy your timeshare, not where you live.

If you buy a timeshare outside of the USA, you’ll need to read up on their rescission periods. Not all countries provide a rescission period.

Try before you buy. You can even try out a timeshare before you buy by renting a timeshare at the resort that most interests you. This isn’t a bad idea since you’ll get hands on experience with the building, the location, the people, the food options and the basic vibe of the resort.

All in all, while timeshares may not be for everyone, they certainly have actually their share of advantages and can be the perfect choice for the right traveler. If you’re truly interested in purchasing a timeshare, the resale market might be the best method to conserve cash.

Have you ever owned a timeshare? What was your experience? Let us understand in the remarks listed below!

Is a timeshare right for you? Is it worth the money?
25 Great Tips For Planning Your Trip From Top Travel Bloggers

25 Great Tips For Planning Your Trip From Top Travel Bloggers

Travel bloggers are, by their nature, a globetrotting lot. Along the method from Cairo to Copenhagen, or Dubai to Denver, they’ve found out some great tips for browsing the world of travel.

Sneak peek! Here’s our own top pointer: If you take several tips in a year, get multi trip annual travel insurance. It can be far more budget friendly than several single trip insurance plan, and conserves the trouble of getting travel insurance coverage whenever you getaway.

We asked a few of the worlds top travel bloggers to share their travel tips for beginning on a trip. They dish their finest tips on whatever from planning and packaging to conserving cash on flights.

Airplane at sunset

Planning

Be versatile. When taking a trip, constantly permit space for modifications in your schedule. Do this by having an open prepare for the week, day or month. Make it an indicate see something you would like, however don’t pack a great deal of things right away around it. This provides you time to see what you desire, potentially more, and without being required to leave prematurely. I understand that its occurred to me personally and to a lot of everyone I understand. We attempt to suit a lot of things and avoid going on a random experience or never ever totally accepting a location.

Pablo from Where’s Pablo. Twitter: @WheresP

Be open up to unpredictability. Most kinds of travel (specifically Independent travel) are unforeseeable. Just go – and don’t attempt to plan all the information!

David Thompson from Dave’s Travel Corner. Twitter: @DaveDTC

Don’t overplan. I frequently get asked: just how much to strategy and just how much to delegate chance? I suggest beginning with a couple of huge activities to create a huge trip around. Then, book travel to and from the locations and the opening night’s hotel. Everything else, I suggest delegating when in-country. It’s appealing to prepare more, however with the understanding that there are typically other tourists or regional guides, ATMs, and transportation – and now wifi – wherever you are going, all can be worked out. Over plan and the serendipity of travel may not have room to come into the schedule.

Kristin from Take Your Big Trip. Twitter: @takeyourbigtrip 

Don’t worry. I have found this out on my own through a lot of traveling and overseas experience — fear is often blown out of proportion when it comes to discussing certain countries. Whether it’s fear of the unknown, fear of logistics once you arrive, or fear from media reports. Even countries that are marked as ”dangerous” often have certain regions that are safe to visit.

David Thompson from Dave’s Travel Corner. Twitter: @DaveDTC

How to travel carry on only

Be prepared. Commit your family’s passport numbers (and expiry dates) to memory. It makes filling out immigration arrival cards so much quicker and easier.

Bethaney from Flashpacker Family. Twitter: (*25*)

Plan for the unexpected. When planning a trip, jot down the top 2 or 3 things you want to be sure to do on your travels, and then build in some flexibility for unexpected opportunities that crop up. You might find out about a great day trip or learn about a festival or market you want to go to. It is often these unplanned for activities that end up being the best part of your trip.

Travis Ball from FlashPackerHQ. Twitter: @flashpackerhq

Get in the know. Set up Google Alerts for the cities or countries that you will be visiting next so you can get updated on the news of what’s going on. Instead of searching for information, let it come to you.

Mig Pascual from Curious Nomad. Twitter: @CuriousNomad

Saving Money

Looking for some great deals? Who better than to ask these bloggers that travel all over the world.

Do The Research. Though you can always find great deals when you are actually face-to-face in a place, we’ve found that doing the online research beforehand has prevented us from a lot of undue stress. Online research helps us know approximate costs so we don’t get ripped off. Online research helps us know the key places we’ll want to visit and the different options of how to get there. Again, we usually close deals when we arrive, but knowing what to expect, what the most common scams are, and what I’m looking for, has helped us create more positive travel experiences.

Jacob at Holiday Buzzed. Twitter: @holidaybuzzed

Shop for flights three months to a year in advance. If you are looking for summer airfares in early June, start looking as early as the year before. Before seats fill up, airlines are often willing to offer their best deals to early customers.

Noel Morata. Twitter: @aplantfanatic

Use social sites for savings. A few months beforehand, sign up for LivingSocial or other deal sites in the locations where you’ll be traveling. Keep an eye out for things that you’d like to do. Once you find a deal you might like, do your research – check Urbanspoon, etc. for real reviews. If it looks good, buy it! This is a fun way to learn about an area – and forestall some on-the-spot decision-making when you’re hungry or the kids are bored. We’ve gotten coupons for laser tag, meals, coffee shops, museums, and stores. We’ve also discovered some pretty great restaurants which would not have been on our radar.

Dr. Jessica Voigts from Wandering Educators. Twitter: @WanderingEds 

Look for one seat.  Even if you are flying with more than one person, searching for two seats will give you the lowest seat price for two seats together. Looking for one seat will give you the cheapest seat available.

Noel Morata. Twitter: @aplantfanatic

Check Out The Low Cost Air Carriers Often. We’ve been in South East Asia for over a year now. We constantly check and recheck Air Asia, Cebu Air, and other low cost carriers and often find these amazing deals which dictate our next home. Because flying within South East Asia is so cheap already and there are so many regional airlines competing, they will send you deals that are literally cheaper than bus fair. Sign up for their notifications and you’ll be amazing how you can hop from country to country (if you are flexible with your dates) for a fraction of the expected price.

Kobi at Lovely Travel. Twitter: @mylovelytravel

Fly midweek. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the cheapest days to fly. Pay attention to the restrictions for many of the airfare sales as you can find the best deals on these days.

Noel Morata. Twitter: @aplantfanatic

Use Priceline’s Name Your Own Price. I have been able to save well over $1000 just in the past year using this site for hotel discounts. The key is to take an hour or two to really do some research and understand the bidding strategy beforehand. Find the area that you want to stay and determine your own budget. Then open up Priceline.com and Hotwire.com to compare and contrast areas, pricing and amenities. Next, go right to a site like BetterBidding and peruse the message boards, you can usually get a good indication of what bids are being accepted. From there, start your bidding, one zone at a time until you get the hotel you were looking for. Most of the time I can narrow it down between 1-2 hotels before I start bidding so it’s not really a surprise once my bid is accepted.

Liz Froment from Two Weeks to Travel. Twitter: @LFroment

Sign up for Airfare alerts. If you know your destination or when you want to fly, sign up for airfares deal from your departure city. Each airline will send you the latest airfares sales and alerts via email.

Noel Morata. Twitter: @aplantfanatic

Go for free. There are many ways to see sights for free. You can get many free city walking tours worldwide, and museums are often free during off-peak hours. Other museums are based on donations and plenty museums cost nothing to begin with. Art galleries are usually free (and, if you happen to arrive during an opening, you might get a glass of wine too). Parks and nature spots are usually free of charge.

Inma Gregorio from A World to Travel. Twitter: @aworldtotravel1 

Save on airfare. As perpetual tourists, airfares are our biggest expense. So we always try to search for the best online deals. There’s one URL you should keep in mind when looking for cheap deals: Skyscanner.

Skycanner is great if you know the location you are traveling to. They compare all the major booking airlines and sites to find you the cheapest flight to your chosen destination. This saves a lot of time comparing costs on each individual airline.

Nicole & Michael from Suitcase Stories. Twitter: @suitcases2

Is there an app for that? My husband and I were preparing for an African safari, a real bucket list trip. We found out at the last minute that passport-size pictures were required for our visa to Tanzania. How fortunate we were to find out that there is a free, instant app for that.  ID PhotoPrint is an app (available for iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch that provides an on-screen template that allows you to take perfect 2×2 passport-size photos.

Irene S. Levine from More Time To Travel. Twitter: @MoreTime2Travel

Packing

Don’t overpack. No matter how long you’re trip, packing light is key! To maximize your clothing options, choose long lasting items that you enjoy wearing and that can be worn in a variety of settings. Plan to mix and match to ensure that your wardrobe goes a long way and use packing cubes to fit more in less space. Never pack “just in case” items and know that you can buy practically anything you may need along the way. Above all, try not to over-plan. Learning along the way is all part of the process and the fun!

Alexandra Jimenez from Travel Fashion Girl. Twitter: @TravlFashnGirl

Save some room. Pack less than you think you’ll need (clothes, toiletries, etc.). You can re-wear some clothes or have them washed along the way and you can buy extra toiletries anywhere. Save some of that space for things you’ll want to bring back from your trip. Or, we take an extremely lightweight nylon duffle bag (like a gym bag) that rolls up smaller than a sausage. Then, on our trip, we put dirty clothes in the duffle and bring it back as an extra bag, saving room in the main luggage for souvenirs.

Laura and Lance from Travel Addicts. Twitter: @TravelerAddicts

Rolling saves space. When packing, roll your clothes tightly rather than fold them. They take up less space this way – not only that, but they won’t tend to be wrinkled as much that way, either. Stuff footwear with rolled up clothes, too, be it underwear, socks, or whatever. You might be pleasantly surprised by the extra space next time you pack!

Paul Johnson from A Luxury Travel Blog. Twitter: @luxury__travel

Keep it clean. Leave all of the possible use  items at home. This means stuff like your rain poncho, umbrella, headlamp, extra toiletries and so on. A lot of the time you won’t end up using them and more often than not you can buy those items anywhere you are. This frees up space in your bag and gives you a smaller list of things to account for and concern about!.”

Pablo from Where’s Pablo. Twitter: @WheresP

Travel light. Both your knees and your back will thank you when you get older. If you forget something at home or need something while abroad – many places in the world will have actually what you need. I’ve had too many problems with luggage being lost or delayed in the past when I check it in at the airport. There are also security advantages to be in control of your possessions whenever possible. You can keep it with you in say a taxi (rather than putting it in the trunk) and generally keep it with you on buses.

David Thompson from Dave’s Travel Corner. Twitter: @DaveDTC

Split your stuff up. In packing for trips, we split pack everything. I carry half of all the clothes (both mine and my wife’s) and she carries the other half. We have had several instances where the airlines have misplaced one of our bags, however not the other. By splitting clothes, we both have something to wear for a few days until the rest of the luggage can (hopefully) catch up to us.

Laura and Lance from Travel Addicts. Twitter: @TravelerAddicts

Money and Safety

Cut it in half. The finest travel tip I’ve heard (from multiple sources). Take only half of the stuff you originally planned on bringing and double the amount of money you had planned on. Nothing worse than shlepping a bunch of crap you don’t need halfway around the world or missing out on a great experience because you didn’t bring enough money.

Travis Ball from FlashPackerHQ. Twitter: @flashpackerhq

Double up. Get a second bank account, preferably one that offers ATM fee reimbursement around the world (Schwab, Fidelity in the U.S.). Now you have two ATM cards in case one is lost, stolen or won’t work, though obviously use the free withdrawals as your main card. Next, only keep a reasonable amount of money in that second account and occasionally transfer more as needed. This will limit any potential losses. Finally, keep the two cards stored in separate areas on your person or baggage.

Jeff Blum from Lengthy Travel. Twitter: @lengthytravel

Did you delight in this post? We’ll be publishing another short article with some great tips from travel bloggers on how to get more out of your next trip quickly. Sign up to get our posts in your email inbox so you won’t miss it.

Things to Do on Crab Island in Destin Florida

Things to Do on Crab Island in Destin Florida

Wondering what there is to do on Crab Island?

Here’s whatever you’ll require to understand, consisting of excellent dining, destination, trips, and occasions.

We constantly have a lot enjoyable when we check out Florida! It’s a beautiful spot for sun and sand, as well as visits to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter World at Universal Orlando, LEGOLAND, and the stunning beaches of the Florida Keys.

Crab Island is the perfect place to catch some of that famous Florida sunshine and fun!

What to do on Crab Island in Destin Florida

Crab Island is an underwater sandbar near Destin, Florida, near the Marler Bridge, at the entrance of Choctawhatchee Bay.

Crab Island is a popular place for both tourists and locals enjoying the sun.

Is Crab Island busy?

Originally a quiet escape used to anchor boats, Crab Island has become more and more popular with each year. Today, Crab Island is usually full of people catching rays, wading through the clear water, and enjoying the social scene.

At its busiest, you can see hundreds or even thousands of boats on Crab Island on a warm summer day.

When is Crab Island open, and when should I check out?

Because Florida’s Crab Island isn’t an official state park, it doesn’t have posted opening and closing hours. That said, most people visit during the day to enjoy a day in the sun.

Most of the floating restaurants and vendors are only open from March or April to October.

The water at high tide is exceptionally clear and enjoyable, though you can visit at low tide as well.

friends partying on a boat

How do I get to Crab Island?

Crab Island is just two minutes from the harbor at Destin, Florida.

There’s no land access to Crab Island, so you’ll have to get there over water.

Important! Because the currents can be strong, and there’s a lot of boat traffic, please don’t attempt to swim to Crab Island for safety reasons.

The best way to get to Crab Island is probably by pontoon boat or jet ski rental.

Most visitors rent a boat, or take their own. If you’re an inexperienced boater, it’s best to anchor on the outside of the sandbar, as currents and wind can make you bump into other boats if you’re too close.

Pontoon (party boats) are a great choice if you’re a large group, or if you’d like to stay for the day. In fact, pontoon boats are hugely popular here, earning Destin the nickname of “Pontoon Capital of the World”.

The easiest way to visit is to check out boat rentals to visit Crab Island in Destin, Florida.

It’s easiest to rent a boat or other watercraft either out of Destin Harbor, or Calhoun Avenue.

You can even hire a boat with a boat captain to take you out to the island.

You can also take a shuttle boat out to Crab Island from Destin Harbor. It’s a 32′ glass bottom boat that stays on the island for 2.5 or 3 hours. Adult tickets start at $40, and all trips are round trip.

As of 2020, taxi boats were no longer allowed to take people to Crab Island and drop them off.

Crab Island is also accessible by jet ski, kayak or paddle board.

Where did Crab Island get its name?

Today, Crab Island is an elongated sandbar. It wasn’t constantly that shape.

The island was created in the 1960s by the Army Corps of Engineers by dredging the Destin Pass. The extra material was dumped where Crab Island stands today.

Over the years drifting sands and hurricanes buried most of the island in sea water, covering up the original shape of the land: which was shaped like a crab.

Today, the island may no longer be shaped like a crab, but it definitely has thousands of the tiny little sea creatures on the sandbar floor.

What should I take to Crab Island?

You’ll be spending most of your time on Crab Island outdoors, so it’s a great idea to bring outdoor gear.

Sunscreen is a must, and definitely bring a swimsuit and towel if you plan to get into that crystal clear water.

There are plenty of food options, but if you don’t want to eat out, bring a cooler filled with drinks and something to eat.

How deep is the water at Crab Island?

Crab Island is actually an underwater sandbar. The water depth ranges from two to ten feet deep. In most parts it’s one to four feet deep.

Are there restaurants on Crab Island?

Because Crab Island is underwater, there aren’t fixed restaurants. Instead, you’ll find food vendors lined up on the island.

Vendors offer typical American casual food, with burgers, fries, ice cream, hot boiled peanuts, soft drinks, and sandwiches being hugely popular.

If you’re looking for snacks or supplies, there are mini stores that sell beach equipment like towels and sunscreen, as well as chips and pop.

You can’t buy alcohol at Crab Island, but you can bring your own.

Some vendors accept credit cards, but many are cash only, so be sure to bring some cash!

Activities on Crab Island

Because Crab Island is water based, most activities are built around enjoyable and sun.

You can rent large water trampolines or even an inflatable slide if you’re there with a group.

Because large inflatables are becoming more and more restricted on Crab Island as of 2020, you may see fewer (or none) of them available for rent.

Kayaks and paddleboards are available for rent as well, and are a fantastic way to enjoy the clear water of the sandbar.

If you’re feeling a bit more like a motorized thrill, you can even rent a jet ski.

Snorkeling is also popular on the island. You can bring your own snorkel, rent a snorkel kit at the Destin harbor, or rent a snorkel, fins and mask from one of the rental places on the sandbar. You’ll need to be aware of boats if you’re snorkeling here, as the island can be crowded on summer weekends.

You’ll see a lot of parasailers out on Crab Island. Most rides don’t take more than half an hour, and it’s a unique way to get a different perspective on the local scene.

Sports on Crab Island, Florida

Water volleyball nets are set up all over Crab Island. It’s easy to paddle up and ask to join in a game, or you can even rent your own water volleyball net yourself.

If volleyball isn’t your thing, there’s also water basketball and smash ball.

Dolphin watching is a lot of enjoyable in these waters. Dolphins and other marine life are commonly seen at Crab Island, though you may have better luck on a day when the island isn’t overly hectic.

Looking for more fun stuff to do? Check out Destiny Water Adventures website for boat and jet ski rentals, plus great ideas for tours and activities.

In years past, there was a Crab Island Waterpark set up at the island. These days, there’s a tour that takes you to Crab Island, stopping at inflatables along the way.

Note: Because large inflatables won’t be allowed to anchor overnight on Crab Island as of 2020, you may see fewer of the large waterparks going forward.

There are plenty of other tours out to Crab Island, ranging from an adventure tour with plenty of water activities included, to the simple shuttle run, which just includes a check out to the island.

Every year, there’s an annual kickoff celebration in May. There’s a DJ, with lots of partying and dancing.

Throughout the year, musical acts perform a lot of Saturdays at twelve noon.

Have you been to Crab Island in Destin, Florida? Tell us what you believed in the remarks listed below!

What to Look for in an External Battery Charger (plus, our Crave PowerPack Review)

What to Look for in an External Battery Charger (plus, our Crave PowerPack Review)

Crave powerpack 2 size

Ever been someplace with your phone or laptop computer on the brink of passing away, panicking as the last couple of percent ticked away?

Of course you have; we’ve all existed. Running out of power at important times is never ever simple, whether on an crucial call, in the middle of reserving a location to remain that night, and even capturing those last couple of minutes of a video game or your preferred TELEVISION program.

We’ve utilized portable battery chargers, likewise called battery packs or external batteries, since we’ve brought our initially iPhone all those years back. These days, we never ever go on a journey without getting a minimum of a couple of external battery chargers.

In this short article, we evaluate our latest acquisition, the effective Crave PowerPack 2 external battery charger, and speak about what to look for when purchasing an external battery pack.

So, fed up with continuously browsing for a location to plug in your mobile phone, your tablet, and even your laptop computer? Well then, let’s look into the world of portable battery chargers.

Use code TBN10 to get 10% off a portable charger at Crave Direct.

See Crave Portable Chargers on Amazon.

What to look for when purchasing an external battery charger

For a basic gadget, an external battery charger can have an unexpected quantity of technical information that makes picking one puzzling.

So, what’s the most crucial thing when getting a battery charger? Some state mobility nevertheless, for the majority of people, the quantity of charges it offers is simply as crucial.

When you take a look at external battery chargers, the very first thing you’ll observe is the number of mAh they’re ranked for.

crave powerpack 2 charger and acessories

What does mAh stand for?

A mAh stands for Milliamp Hours. It’s essentially a measurement of just how much charge the battery can put out over an hour.

To offer you an concept, a little lipstick sized charger normally has about 2,000 to 3,000 mAh, a basic deck of cards sized charger has around 10,000 to 15,000 mAh, while a beast family-sized external battery charger can have up to 50,000 mAh.

I like to think about mAh in regards to the variety of mobile phone charges you can get. A little 3,000 mAh battery can nearly entirely charge my existing phone a single time, while a household sized 50,000 mAh charger can charge my phone 15 times.

Of course, the quantity of charges you get will depend upon your phone or tablet size and you will lose a little portion (up to 15%) in the transfer from a portable charger.

How numerous ports does a portable charger require?

When picking an external battery pack, it’s crucial to understand which charging ports are consisted of. The variety of ports (normally USB ports type A or C) identifies the number of gadgets can be charged simultaneously. If you have a phone and tablet for instance, having 2 ports can be really handy. Multiple ports also helps when you have a partner or family using it as well.

Once you’ve decided home numerous mAh you need, and how many ports you want, then there’s size and weight to consider. Most battery packs have a similar size to power to weight ratio so if the battery pack you’re looking at seems vastly different, it could be a cause for alarm.

Built in LEDs and accessories

As well as dimensions, portable chargers can include built in accessories like LED flashlights or hanging hooks and then there are also carrying cases to consider. These aren’t deal breakers for most people, however they could tip the scales when comparing two similar models.

A typical battery charger should also have a LED display that shows its charge level. Some battery chargers will show you a few lines, while some can tell you a percentage. Most are just estimates, so always take these readings with a grain of salt.

crave direct charger in back pocket

Portable charger sizes and weights

As well as capacity, the size and weight of a charger is a huge consideration for most people. The smallest lipstick style chargers weigh virtually nothing at around two ounces. The largest 50,000 mAh chargers weigh around three pounds, and are around eight inches long, two inches wide, and five inches wide.

Not only is it wise to choose a powerful enough battery charger, you also need to purchase one that will fit your lifestyle. If all you need is a quick top up from time to time and you like to travel light, then a lipstick size charger might be fine for you. However, if you’re a work from the road kind of person, then a heavier duty charger that can top up your laptop and phone multiple times might be more appropriate.

The same applies if you love to stream video or play a lot of video games on the go. Both can eat up your batteries much quicker than simple browsing, talking or texting. If you’re having to charge your gadgets several times in one day then you definitely need a bigger charger.

People often find that the best charger for them is the one they’re most likely to carry with them regularly. Too big might slow you down but too small might leave you searching for another answer. You might also find that having one that’s more powerful as well as a lighter one works best for you depending on the day.

External charger USB port options

While portable battery chargers come in all shapes and sizes, older battery packs typically have standard USB-A ports for outputs and a micro USB port for input or to charge the battery pack. These work fine for older devices, but thankfully a lot of newer chargers come with the USB-C standard.

USB-C is easier to plug in (it doesn’t care which direction it goes in and can often be used for both an input and an output port), and generally has the advantage of letting you charge faster (though not always). Of course, if you have older devices that still use USB-A, it might be better to get a charger with that style output.

Note: Apple’s Lightning cords can have either USB-A or USB-C opposite ends, depending on the phone or tablet model you own, so you can go either way. Also note, you can get cables or adapters that work with either style charger port, so don’t fret if the model you like the best isn’t the perfect match to your current phone or tablet.

One thing we will note is that if you get one of the newer chargers that uses USB-C, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you find one with both USB-C input and output so you can use the same cable for both charging your device and for recharging the battery charger.

Fast charging options for battery chargers

For fast charging, you need a device that accepts fast charging, a cable that allows fast charging, and an external battery pack that provides fast charging.

So, what is fast charging? To understand that, you first need to understand what regular charging means. Most phone chargers are based on USB specs. Traditional USB 2.0 specs meant 5 volts and 500 milliAmps power, but then USB 3.0 came out and boosted that to 5 volts and 1 amp.

Fast charging means that not only is the power boosted from 5V to 9V (or even 12V). but the amperage can be boosted up to 2 amps and sometimes even over 3 amps. What this means is that if your device is plugged into one of these super chargers and your phone supports it, you can charge your device way faster than you used to.

Now, there are a dozen different companies that support a bunch of different protocols, so how do you know which one works best for your device? Well, your best bet is to research your own device and see what it supports.

QC3 or Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 is the most common newer protocol when it comes to fast charging, which often works across multiple brands like Samsung, Motorola and LG devices. Apple uses USB Power Delivery for fast charging. This means an 18W adapter with a USB-C to Lightning cable.

The good news is that most chargers should work with nearly every brand out there. Most will output at the default 5V/500ma power unless there’s a chip in your device that tells it that it can support higher speeds. While you’re not guaranteed to get the fastest charge without finding a compatible charger, the charger will nonetheless charge your device (albeit possibly slower than its max).

If you’re still unsure which works best with your own device, check out reviews of people using the same device as yours on the different chargers. Though not always 100% correct, they can often tell you if you’re covered.

Our Crave PowerPack Battery Charger Review

crave powerbank 2 in the box

For years, our go-to charger for the family was a 20,000 mAh portable charger. It can charge two devices at once, and has high speed charging.

Since we’re a family of four, each with our own devices, we’ve found that we often need to carry at least two of these 20,000 mAh chargers to keep our phones charged on the go. It also seems like we’re constantly looking for an outlet to replenish our external battery chargers, which truly seems to defeat the purpose of a portable charger.

Since our family of four often travels complete with laptops and gaming systems, it’s obvious we need a lot of battery power. Something with a lot of power is likewise great for our travel trailer to help keep the strain off our main batteries.

For us, it was time for an external battery charger that was powerful enough to manage topping up the charge on all our devices.

crave direct

Time for something bigger, with more power.

Time for the Crave PowerPack 2.

The Crave PowerPack 2 is a beast. It’s a whopping 50,000 mAh, meaning that when it’s fully charged, it can charge a typical smartphone 15 times from 0% to 100%. It can even charge a tablet over a half dozen times.

Complete with two Quick Charge 3.0 ports (the most common charging style), charging our phones has never been so fast.

Use code TBN10 to get 10% off at Crave Direct.

See Crave Portable Chargers on Amazon.

As well as just about every small device in your house, you can use it to charge your laptop (as long as it has a type-C input for charging). Our current laptop still uses the old style charger, however we’re on the lookout for a new one so having the PowerPack with those ports ready will make our decision even easier.

Tip: Crave sells a multi-tip USB cable kit on Amazon that works with older laptops. Click here to check it out.

The trade off for all that charging power is that the Crave PowerPack 2 is quite a bit bigger and heavier than our current 20,000 mAh chargers. This isn’t a charger you can pop in your back pocket and carry around town. It’s made for heavier duty uses than that.

Honestly, though, now that we’re doing more road trips, and using our rolling luggage more, the weight of the PowerPack 2 isn’t a problem.

Travel restrictions have definitely changed our style of travel. We used to travel with gear that was as lightweight as possible to make our airplane carry-ons as light as possible for our household. That said, we haven’t taken a flight since the pandemic started, electing to do more road trips and camping.

Now that we’re spending a lot more time in our travel trailer or on road trips, we can carry a little more in our bags. Honestly, I’m really liking being able to be a bit more relaxed with our packing!

Use code TBN10 to get 10% off at Crave Direct.

If you want to see what Crave sells, and how their reviews look, pop on over to see the Crave products on Amazon.

More about Crave

While Crave is best known for their external battery chargers, that’s not all that they sell.

They likewise offer screen protectors, cable televisions, cases (for Apple, Samsung, and Google), bluetooth speakers and earphones.

crave direct car charger

Use code TBN10 to get 10% off at Crave Direct.

See Crave Portable Chargers on Amazon.

What to Look for in an External Battery Charger
How to Make a Travel Itinerary

How to Make a Travel Itinerary

Wondering how to make a travel itinerary?

Making an itinerary doesn’t require to be made complex, and it can guarantee you don’t miss out on anything crucial as you travel.

We comprehend, producing an itinerary for travel can be tiring. The preliminary research study for a journey can take days or hours, and after that you require a method to track your journey’s timeline.

Even tourists like us, who truly delight in last minute trips, still require to track where we’re remaining, on what night, and any bookings we have.

Keeping an itinerary is a lot more crucial with brand-new travel constraints. Most tourist attractions need pre-booking to keep numbers low and make social distancing possible. That indicates that all of our journeys now consist of a lot more preparation. It’s simply a reality of life.

I constantly make a travel itinerary.

Airplane at sunset

When you travel with a restricted quantity of time, and on a set budget plan, you don’t desire to miss out on possibilities. That’s why producing even a rough itinerary can considerably assist your travel preparation.

There are 4 primary actions we utilize to develop an itinerary:

  • Do your research study
  • Make a list of your must-do’s
  • Make a draft timetable/calendar
  • Create the ended up travel itinerary

Here’s how we develop a journey itinerary.

Do your research study

You can have a completely arranged itinerary, however that all heads out the window if the hotel or tourist attractions you’ve selected are losers.

There are a great deal of contrast sites out there for hotel and airline companies, however I’ve been having a look at a brand-new one recently. PissedConsumer.com is among the most popular consumer problems and customer advocacy sites online, with 1.7 million consumer evaluations, 78,000 business examined, and a tremendous 3.5 million month-to-month visitors. It’s a one-stop location to look for evaluations of hotels, travel services, and travel bureau.

To get concepts, I like to do an online look for things like “eccentric things to perform in ABC City” or “the very best breakfasts in ABC Country”. This brings up a great deal of article by other blog writers, which are a great method to get journey concepts directly from travel specialists.

Make a list of the locations you’d like to stay, things you’d like to do and see, and your favored transport

As I’m doing my research study, I write down whatever I’d like to see, in addition to hotels, and transport choices.

I simply utilize Evernote or a text file on my laptop computer to do this. If you choose, you can utilize an old made note pad, or any digital note taking app. If you’re more of a visual individual, utilize an app that will let you include pictures or perhaps videos, for motivation.

In the start, the list I develop is simply a messy information discard with a lot of excellent concepts.

As my research study is ending up, I arrange the list into 3 classifications:

  • Must do’s
  • Would like to do, and
  • Optional products

For each activity on the list, I jot down an approximated quantity of time the activity will take and a rough approximation of where each activity remains in relation to each other.

Laptop under a thatched umbrella at Victoria House Belize

Create a draft calendar

You can develop a draft calendar as a basic list (either online or hand composed) or in a table. Write down every day of your journey, and copy and paste the must-do products to the best day.

Since you’ve currently approximated the time each product will take, you’ll be able to see at a look if you have sufficient time for your must-do activities.

If you have additional time in your calendar, then include some (or all) of the would like to do, and optional activities.

Sometimes things get included merely due to the fact that we have a couple of hours to kill and they’re best throughout the roadway from a piece de resistance or they’re on the method to a need to do and the household will require a break in travel regardless.

The next action is to bring all of it together.

Create the ended up itinerary

In the last action, you’re producing a ended up itinerary, total with lodging and transport information, and a list of the activities daily.

You can be as detailed as breaking down your itinerary hour-by-hour on a calendar, or you can simply keep a basic list of the products you’d like to do and see every day (in addition to your hotel and transport information).

There are actually numerous sites out there that will develop your itinerary. Some are excellent, some are excellent, and some are definitely ineffective. After taking a trip together for over 18 years, we’ve most likely attempted the majority of them.

Our system for keeping our itinerary arranged has actually developed to basically the most basic method possible (for us): utilizing Google calendar and maps. We’re Gmail users, so that indicates our flight or hotel bookings are sent out to our Gmail inbox.

From there, Google immediately inserts a placeholder both in Google Calendar and on Google Maps with the time and day of our booking. It’s specifically useful due to the fact that Google immediately inserts flight numbers, hotel addresses and telephone number.

If Google doesn’t immediately develop a Calendar entry, I include one by hand.

Google likewise generally immediately produces a journey with the booking dates on Google trips. It’s a convenient method to see all bookings in one location. You can likewise include things to do, flights, and lodging by hand in Google journeys.

I typically utilize Google Maps to keep an eye on our itinerary if we have a great deal of things to perform in a day. It’s great because it automatically lets you know how long your trip will take, and even lets you select transportation options like car, walking, or bus.

Tip: I’ve been finding the integration between the desktop version of Google maps and the Google maps app a bit glitchy lately. I create my Google map itinerary in my smartphone for the best results

Having my itinerary in Google Maps is perfect for road trips (and we’ve been doing a lot of local road trips lately), but it also works to plan your route for checking out a city. I also love the fact that I can save my Google map for offline utilize.

Micki in a Hammock in Ko Lanta Thailand
Home in a hammock

A few tips on creating a flexible itinerary

Tip! Whatever system you use for storing your itinerary, leave a little room for down time, bad weather, jetlag, and to allow a buffer if your plans change on the fly.

The worst travel experience I had was on a journey to Mexico (planned by someone else) where every second was booked, and there was virtually no down time allowed. It made the whole experience unnecessarily stressful and left a shadow over what could have been an awesome experience.

If you’re traveling with a partner, make sure you allow some personal time and if you’re traveling with a family, allow some swimming in the pool time and some electronic down time. If the kids are tired and miserable you can guarantee that no one is happy.

If you like a full schedule and want to maximize your time somewhere, simply add an hour here and there in the timetable. Grabbing a local coffee, strolling through a park or spending an extra few minutes browsing in a regional market can all go towards making what you’re experiencing real and will help cement your memories of the place in the future.

Having a flexible itinerary can go a long way to ensuring that your travels are memorable for the right reasons however producing an itinerary in the first place is wise in todays world. How you go about it is completely up to you.

Do you have any travel strategies reserved?

How to Create the Perfect Travel Itinerary.jpg
The Average Person’s Guide to Military Surplus for Travel Gear

The Average Person’s Guide to Military Surplus for Travel Gear

Here’s a little trick. You don’t require to remain in the military to usage or use military gear.

Over the years, we’ve discovered that military gear has it’s location in the travel world and can frequently be acquired for much less than comparable, however far more pricey, travel particular gear.

Military surplus gear has benefits in the travel world

For one, military and army surplus tends to be well made, and can endure heavy usage. It’s likewise typically made to be portable and useful.

A big bonus offer to military gear is that you can frequently discover it for more affordable than it’s travel themed brethren and let’s face it, tactical and military gear absolutely has a cool element.

army surplus backpack for hiking

Those are all terrific benefits for tourists and what travel connoisseur doesn’t desire travel gear and clothing that are well made, long lasting and expense efficient.

In reality, army surplus gear that’s developed to endure wear, tear, and direct exposure to the components is a fantastic option for daring tourists.

Army surplus gear can be specifically beneficial for outdoor camping and outside gear usage, whether you’re checking out the Amazon, taking a Recreational Vehicle trip, or simply on a brief walking. From water bottles to camp lights to dry bags and treking boots, military or army surplus gear most likely has something you might utilize in your journeys.

Combat trousers and freight trousers for tourists

Cargo and fight trousers are developed to be difficult, long lasting, and made for movement.

Even much better, they’re filled with pockets of all sizes and shapes, and some are even enhanced in the knee or seat.

Not just can they make bring things simpler, they’ll likewise likely outlive anything else in your closet.

army surplus pants for travel

Army surplus knapsacks and other bags

We yap about knapsacks here, and we’ve examined a few of the very best for organization travel, carry-on, and even household travel.

However, we haven’t spoken about army surplus knapsacks a lot. They do have some benefits, consisting of cost. Many knapsacks made particularly for tourists are pricey, and army surplus knapsacks can be a fantastic method to conserve cash.

Plus, military gear has a lot more than knapsacks. You can discover waist packs, hydration bladders, handbag, day bags, dry bags and even travel suitcases.

Military gear and base layers

Tactical and military sources are a great location to discover base layers to keep you dry and warm. You can even discover them in popular brand names like Pentagon, Tervel, and Helikon.

Since reliability is the foundation behind many military gear, discovering the ideal base layer is simple when you’re browsing for simply that best product for your journeys.

What to appearance for in terrific tactical or army gear for tourists

There’s a lot to think about when looking for terrific tactical gear.

Durability is among the most essential aspects to take a look at when purchasing travel gear (and even daily clothing). Make sure that the fabric is suitable for the climate. Fabric weight and breathability are especially important.

Cotton is one of my favorite fabrics, but unfortunately it isn’t great for hot and humid climates, as it dries relatively slowly and holds moisture. Lightweight, quick drying fabrics are best for hot or humid climates.

If you’ll be traveling outdoors, weather resistance is important. Choose waterproof or water resistant fabrics for wet climates. For cold climates, heat retention is important.

Options to consider when purchasing Army Surplus

Worried about looking like an army sergeant all the time in head to toe camouflage? Luckily, not all army and military gear is camouflage patterned. Neutral tones like olive, black and tan are also pretty common and are staple colors when looking for typical travel clothing.

One of the biggest advantages of military gear for travelers is the amount of storage built in. Military gear tends to have plenty of pockets and storage space. Even so, think about how much gear you carry, and make an assessment of the number of pockets you’ll need when choosing pants and shirts. Hidden pockets are also incredibly useful for travelers.

Carrying weight is another thing to consider. Decide how much gear you’ll typically need to carry, and based on that, make an assessment of roughly how many pockets and other storage compartments you’ll need.

While military surplus is often affordable, it’s always essential to weigh cost vs use and enjoyment. If a piece of gear is a little more expensive, however is more durable, and with more features, it may well be worth the extra money.

Why is military surplus so affordable?

Military units across the world buy a lot of equipment. When they buy in such large quantities, they frequently pay a discounted price.

Often, the military overbuys, just in case, or even purchases items that are no longer needed due to changes in world events. When this happens, the surplus is sold, generally at a significant discount, to the civilian marketplace. Entrepreneurs then purchase the gear and resell it at a big discount over the original price.

What this means to you is that you can get dependable travel gear, often for a fraction of the cost as the often overpriced travel items currently out there, leaving more money for your travels or the option to buy gear you constantly wanted however couldn’t usually pay for.

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Have you attempted army surplus travel gear? What did you believe? Let us understand in the remarks listed below.

Military surplus travel gear