Use promo code to get wall charger with 2 AC and 4 USB outlets at a discount

I have a similar Aukey charger and it's great for travel or in a room where you want to charge a lot of devices at once. It has 2 AC Outlets and 4 USB ports. I just bought this model for my bedside table. Use code 8US35ZN2 at Amazon to get it for a discount. Read the rest

How the infamous India gem scam works

If you go to India, you might encounter a person there who quickly befriends you and tries to build up a relationship of trust over the next few days. It could be that they recognized you as a swell person deserving of their attention, or it could be they are setting you up for a long con involving fake gems, leaving you up to $60k poorer than before you got involved with them. This video has the details about this scam, which is reminiscent of an early Mamet movie. The takeaway: don't do business with people you don't know well.

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Here's how to plan for a trip to Japan

I've been to Japan at least 8 times, so I feel like I am pretty good at knowing what I need to do before I go. This video, "Must-Do Things Before Flying to Japan" has a number of useful tips, like how to book a good restaurant in advance, how to get a SIM card, how to book tickets to Disneyland, how to get a rail card, how to get a visa (most countries give you 90 days with no visa required), and which medications not to bring with you. Read the rest

Get a 12-pack of small tubes of toothpaste for air travel

For a variety of reasons, most hotels don’t supply toothpaste in rooms. (Here’s an article from Slate that explains why.) And you can’t take a standard-sized tube in carry-on luggage because the toothpaste police at the airport will confiscate it. You can buy a 12 pack of 0.85-ounce tubes of Crest on Amazon for .

(For more tips and recommendations, check out a book I co-wrote, called Recomendo)

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My travel packing list

In my latest Recomendo newsletter (subscribe here!) I wrote about my travel packing list. It’s a PDF that can be edited in Adobe Illustrator (because I don’t expect anyone to pack the same things I do). As you can see, my list is broken down into sublists of different bags: charger bag, meds bag, tool bag, etc. I keep the stuff in these excellent Japanese mesh zipper bags. Now I don’t forget important things any more like I used to. I recommend that you make a similar packing list for yourself. Read the rest

Grass-fed beef bars for travel

Airport and airplane food is usually bad, especially if you are on a low-carb diet. A lot of times I just won't eat anything at all from the time I arrive at the airport until I arrive at my destination hotel or Airbnb. But I also keep a few of these grass-fed beef bars from Mission Meats with me, which, unlike beef jerky, have no sugar. They taste good and one bar curbs my hunger for a long time. Read the rest

Avoid Euronet ATMs - they use a dirty trick to cheat tourists

Honest Guide is a YouTube channel for people planning to visit Prague (and sometimes other places in Europe). In this video, you are warned to stay away from Euronet ATMs. Apparently, they are located only in tourist areas. They can detect when a foreign card is inserted and offers terrible exchange rates (15% less than the going rate), plus they tack on a 4 USD fee. Read the rest

Luggage scale for $5

Use coupon code H7Z3OIO9 and you can buy this digital readout luggage scale for $5 on Amazon. I bought one a few years ago and use it every time we take a family trip. Read the rest

This guy collected 5 million travels miles

Travel writer Ben Schlappig uses something called "mileage running" to accumulate lots of travel miles.

Mileage running works by collecting miles on cheap flights and spending them on expensive ones. Over a week, Ben might take over 30 discounted flights. They only cost him $800 and he'll earn over 62500 air miles. He then uses those miles to buy a first class ticket to Japan, which would have cost him $13,000.

[via] Read the rest

The hidden lever to raise aisle seat armrests on commercial planes

My friend, the brilliant Pam Grossman (What is a Witch, Phantasmaphile), posted the following discovery on her Facebook page.

You are undoubtedly already familiar with the fact that the armrests on plane seats can be raised and lowered, all expect for the aisle rest. Turns out, that one can also be raised, if you can find the lever. It's under the armrest (if it exists on your model aircraft) and probably looks something like the one above. Pam describes her squee in finding it to be a for-real feature:

I have been taking a lot of flights of late, and so I have garnered a few tips to offer re: how to make things *slightly* less horrid when doing so. But holy horses, this one changed my life on this last go-round. When I tried it - and it worked! - it was all I could do to keep from leaping to my feet and crowing about it to my fellow passengers like some sort of zealous banshee.

In the responses on her FB page, someone asked about the other "few tips" she alluded to. I asked Pam's permission to include her reply here. There may be a few useful ideas in here for you. I have recently become a convert of 1 & 2:

Oh, not secrets. Just silly little tips. Here are a few more: 1. TSA Pre-Check is highly worth it and makes everything so much better. 2. Buying a carry-on wheelie bag with 4 wheels that go in all directions is worth it 3.

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Video: how to pack 100+ items in a carry-on bag

Rachel Grant makes good use of ziplock bags to stuff over 100 travel items into a carry-on bag.

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Pizza stone, magic trick, game timer, hotel outlet adapter [Gadgets 004]

In each episode of Gadgets the editors and friends of Boing Boing recommend technology they love and use. This time Jason and Mark talk about the best chess timer for Scrabble players, a fantastic pizza stone, a compact 3-outlet adapter for hotel use, and a great magic trick for under $5. Plus, a website that converts PDFs to Kindle format.