Review and Features of AWESOME Travelon Bags!

Just a short video review of my new Travelon Bag (which I am totally loving!

I have never really needed these security features in New York but I love that I have them.  🙂

And I managed to fit a ton of stuff (including an extra pair of flat shoes) with me for the football game at Yankee Stadium while still managing to have a bag that was smaller than the security restrictions for the stadium.

Soccer Game at New-To-Me Yankee Stadium

TravelBetterPodcasts.com at Yankee Stadium, New York City
TravelBetterPodcasts.com at Yankee Stadium, New York City

When my friend said he had an extra ticket to an NYCFC soccer game at Yankee Stadium, I was elated. Not only have I not seen my friend for a couple years, but I haven’t been anywhere near the South Bronx since the old Yankee Stadium was in use.

I debated trying to get a tour of the new stadium, but then I learned from thwir website that I will actually get to see more things if I go when it is not baseball season.

So instead, I got to the South Bronx  just early enough to meet my friend at a nearby bar called The Dugout before the game.

The video below is from our walk leaving the stadium.

A quick note about transportation to Yankee Stadium

If you’re coming from New Jersey and you’re not driving to the stadium, it can be rather challenging to get to Yankee Stadium in an easy way. What I discovered on this outing was that I could  get home from the stasium by takung Metro-North from Yankee Stadium to Grand Central in Midtown Manhattan and then it is an easy walk to Port Authority or Penn Station.

Adventures in Sensory Deprivation: Your Guide To Flotation Tank Experiences

Yesterday I posted a video stating that I had just had one of my best floatation tank experiences in a space called Art of Floating in Bloomberg, Pennsylvania, but I never got into what exactly floating is.

For those of you who are spa fanatics (like me), you will probably love floating as a nice alternative to the traditional spa experience.

Essentially, you get into a tank filled with water that has been mixed to hold as much Epsom Salt as possible. This makes your body effortlessly float.

The temperature of the air and the water matches the temperature of your body/skin so after a little while in the tank you don’t really feel the water or the air, and it is soundless and pitch black in there so you don’t see or hear anything either.

This allows you to lose a sense of your physical body in space (except for occasionally brushing up against the wall of the tank).

The benefits of this kind of experience are numerous, ranging from pain management to right brain/left brain balancing to improved athletic performance.

I find the floatation tank to be the ideal way to meditate because there are very little distractions that typically come up and you don’t have your eye on the clock because the floatation location will let you know when your session is complete.

You can float away in  both body and mind!

Here are the 5 locations have been to so far and what I liked and what I thought could use some improvement about each location.

Q Flatiron Infinity Float (New York, NY)

This was a fantastic first floating experience! They were thorough about telling me exactly what I needed to do before I got into the floatation tank. I loved how spacious it was and wish they had one more so that I could bring someone with me next time and we could float at the same time. When I left Q Flatiron after my float, I felt like I was Neo from The Matrix, walking amidst all of the hustle and bustle on the streets of Manhattan, but felt so balanced and calm that I could easily dodge the mayhem in the same way Neo dodges bullets at the end of the first movie!

 

Serene Dreams (Kearney, NJ)

The actual experience at Serene Dreams was really nice. They had a great locker room and spacious floating rooms. The pods they use are very nice and spacious.

The next day I had a terrible headache and I am not sure why but I was told that they use chlorine in the water which to me sort of defeats the purpose. Epsom Salt (magnesium) has a number of health benefits, but if you are also absorbing chlorine during your float I don’t think that is very good. They told me at Serene Dreams that the State of New Jersey considers this location a pool and therefore requires chlorine. That’s a shame. FYI, every floatation tank I have seen in every facility I have visited is cleaned after each client’s float with a very thorough and precise filtering process and all floatation facilities require visitors to shower before they float to keep the water clean. Chlorine is unnecessary.

Mountain Float Spa (New Paltz, New York)

Maybe my experience was unusual because I visited this location in winter on a day that was not so busy, but I found myself cold in this location. The room where the pod was located was cold, my feet were cold before and after the float and I was cold floating in the tank because the air was cold in the tank, which made the hour rather uncomfortable instead of meditative.  The relaxation room (after the float) was nice and I spent some time reading before getting on the road.  The people were nice.

Requiescent Float Center (Ballston Spa, New York… Near Saratoga Springs which is north of Albany)

These floatation tanks were a work of art! They were clearly homemade which added to the charm. The one I was in was huge! I can’t say for sure how big it was, but it was twice the size of many of the floatation tanks I had been in so far. Also, the ceiling was very high in the tank. I don’t mind low ceilings in the floatation tanks, but people with claustrophobia might and I have one relative who does not like some tanks because they look like coffins. These tanks did not look like coffins. They offered plenty of room. I also liked that I walked into the shower and then went through the shower directly into the tank. It is a smart set up.

Art of Floating (Bloomsburg, PA)

This was my favorite location for a number of reasons. This is a large but quiet facility with a simple set up that is also beautiful. The tank is compact but I don’t mind (some people might) but it was in a very beautiful room. The relaxation space (where you go after floating) was large and offered a number of rooms to stay in after your float. There was also a sitting space outside on the porch. The people are very nice and helpful.

 


For more information about the benefits of floating, please watch this great documentary: Floatation Nation


PS: If you have been keeping up with my videos, I just want to let you know that video 4 has nothing to do with traveling, so I didn’t post it here, but if you want to take a look it should be up soon at https://youtu.be/WltQ_Q1eFpk

Video 3: Floating Around Central Pennsylvania

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On my way back to New Jersey fro Western Pennsylvania stopped at a floatation space called the Art of Floating which I had been wanting to visit for over a year.

This was one of my best floating experiences to date.

Here is the website of the floatation tank location: http://artoffloating.com/

It is in Bloomsburg, PA.

If you don’t know what floating is, I will explain it in an upcoming post.

I wanted to go after visiting my cousin because she is a Beachbody coach and I was still sore from some of the workouts we had done.

Here is Video 3…

https://youtu.be/B2UJFb7XdsA

I am making these videos as part of a challenge presented by Blossom Benedict.

#30dayvideochallenge, #rightvoiceforyou, #Day3

Video 1: Beginning Road Trip

When I am traveling, I am aways thinking about blogging my discoveries but I struggle with finding the time to post.

I am hoping that short video recaps make things better.

It is part of a 30 days of video challenge by Blossom Benedict (#RightVoiceForYou, #30dayvideochallenge).

I can’t promise I will make it past day 1, but at least I do have day one for you today.  🙂

https://youtu.be/vnb36n2CPBk

Toronto’s Planet Traveler Eco-Hostel

When I read that the Planet Traveler Hostel  in Toronto was not only an new Eco-Hostel but also in the center of Kensington Market, one of the coolest areas of Toronto, I thought that the price-tag was going to be outrageous, as it sometimes is for shared rooms in major cities.

I was delighted to find out that not only the price was on par or less than several of the major cities I have hosteled in, but also offered me some very comfortable accommodations that came with a very friendly and social atmosphere.

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First floor of Planet Traveler Hostel

The smartly designed rooms are small, but visitors are automatically provided with a key to a tiny locker that not only fits all those shiny electronics that we all like to bring with us, but also includes two electrical outlets so that you can charge your gear while you are resting without worrying about someone grabbing it.

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Multiple doors with Swipes for Keycard to get into the room – very secure.
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Didn’t need this while I was there. Room was nice and dark

Not that I felt that was ever an issue.

When I first arrived at the hostel the room was a mess (sanitary and clean, but clothes everywhere), which made it feel very small. Once the two women that had made the clutter had left, I got to know my other bunkmates very well and we removed all of the remaining clutter the messy roommates had left behind.

From then on, our room was tidy and pleasant.

There was a steady stream of friendly travelers in the room throughout my stay. I felt my belongings were safe in the room, but sometimes outlets are at a minimum in hostels so I am grateful for the lockers with outlets at this location and that they had the foresight to include such helpful innovation.

Speaking of helpful innovation, all guests are REQUIRED to take a tour.

The reason?

The owners of the Planet Traveler hostel want people to know about the ecologically friendly technology that went into the place, like the geothermal heating from the alley next door and the copper wrapped pipes that keep the water piping hot whenever needed.

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Part of the eco tour at Planet Traveler Hostel

Breakfast, consisting of fruit, toast, spreads and coffee, is served until 1pm in the afternoon incase visitors have a late night. I like that this hostel appreciates that people are on vacation and sometimes don’t want to get up at dawn in order to catch breakfast.

While I was there, I also attended a free barbecue on the hostel’s roof, and there were a few other social activities like trivia night and a pub crawl that I would have attended if my schedule allowed.

And about that gorgeous roof…

The roof is where they keep the solar panels that power everything in the hostel – year round.

The roof also has a gorgeous view of the city, and I spent a couple of my nights in Toronto just sitting out on the roof, gazing at the beautiful summer sunset or watching the lights on the CN Tower.

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Toronto’s Skyline from Planet Traveler Hostel’s roof.
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Planet Traveler Hostel Sunset From Roof

It would be freezing up there in winter, but it was delightful during the summer and had better wi-fi than in the main lobby.

And if you are looking for groceries or a reasonably priced meal, Kensington Market (which is really a neighborhood) is a half a block away and offers an overwhelming variety of food choices, and also some very eclectic clothing and shopping opportunities.

PlanetTravelerHostelNeighborhoodby Leslie Lello
Planet Traveler Hostel Neighborhood is Kensington Market

More Kensington…

kensington Market in Toronto near Planet Traveler Hostel by Leslie Lello
Eclectic art in Kensington Market
Kensington Market in Toronto near Planet Traveler Hostel by Leslie Lello
Green Grocers all around in Kensington Market
Planet Traveler Hostel Neighborhood is Kensington Market
Great Mexican Food at Nine Lives in Kensington Market

One important thing to know when you are booking is that there are only three parking spaces reserved for the entire hostel, so let them know you want one (cost $9 per day).

If you don’t get one, you can always go to a municipal lot for about the same price. You just have to walk a few blocks to your car.

This is the indoor municipal lot I stayed in for about 4 days (cost was about $35)

Carpark 68, 20 St. Andrews Street (Kensington Garage)

Planet Traveler Hostel Municipal Parking In Kensington Market
Planet Traveler Hostel Municipal Parking In Kensington Market

Remember, if you don’t have wi-fi in this country then you have to figure out directions beforehand or find open wi-fi.

Handwritten Directions to my car in Kensington Muni Parking
Handwritten Directions to my car in Kensington Muni Parking

I try to find local small businesses in the area for this, but if I’m not sure, my go-to open wi-fi place in Canada is Tim Horton’s, which also has good coffee and snacks that are reasonably priced.

Trusty Tim Horton's for Coffee and Wi-Fi
Trusty Tim Horton’s for Coffee and Wi-Fi

(But if you are in Kensington Market, do your best to support the local businesses. They have had to fight to keep this area cool and unusual and to keep big box stores out, so help them to do that by spending money in the local establishments.)

Shuffling to Buffalo Hostel

 

travelbetterpodcasts.com hostel buffalo niagra

 

I am still on the move as I write this, but just wanted to post about my stay at the Hostel Buffalo Niagara (also referred to as Buffalo Hostel), a “non-profit hostel is in the heart of downtown Buffalo’s Theater District”.

I am a little groggy in the video. Sorry about that.

A friendly Indian family had shared some chai with me that morning, but it wasn’t as caffeinated as my usual espresso. At least I’m keeping my media shorter these days.  🙂

And here are a few more shots of the room I stayed in:

 

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Private room at Buffalo-Niagara Hostel (New York State)
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Private room at Buffalo-Niagara Hostel (New York State)

 

To read more about the hostel, visit Hostel Buffalo.

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Exterior of Buffalo-Niagara Hostel (New York State)

I don’t really have much to say about the City of Buffalo because both times I have been there, it was only because I was passing through.