Tag Archive | "Safety"

Google Earth AirBnB travel vacation safety

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Using Google Earth Find the Perfect Vacation Rental, Hotel, or Hostel

Posted on 13 July 2017 by Leslie Lello

Have you ventured into using AirBnB (or other vacation rental by owner) for travel or are you still unsure about whether it is safe and reliable?

One of the things holding people back is that sometimes the images are not professional and therefore they wonder if they are getting the full story about where the rental is located.

This can happen with all sorts of lodging operations. Even chain hotels use special lenses to make the rooms look bigger and strategically frame the exterior to flatter the hotel.

This happened to me about a year ago when I went on Bookings.com and rented a room for a stay in Hamilton Ontario.

Not only was the person not there when I arrived (after 7 hours of driving) but there were also bars on all the windows. It was not a great neighborhood. I took off quickly and eventually got my money back (with struggle… bookings.com was not great about this) but the important thing is that I learned a lot from the experience.

I was reminded of this 2 months ago when a friend asked me about staying in vacation rentals in New York. She wanted to save money and asked about a particular AirBnB in Jersey City, New Jersey, across the river from Manhattan.

I told her that I only know New York, but that she could check out the neighborhood using Google Earth to get clues as to where she would be staying.

I told her to ask these questions when looking at the vacation rental’s neighborhood with Google Earth:

  • What the parking would be like?
  • How comfortable would she be coming back from New York City with her two kids and walking through this neighborhood?
  • Is there a place to grab breakfast or dinner or a snack?
  • What is the quality of businesses around? Are they Starbucks or are the money lenders?
  • Are the streets clean?
  • Is there greenery?
  • Do the building exteriors look new?

Is there a line where the neighborhood seems to go from good to bad? (In many urban areas, sometimes one block will make all the difference. However, sometimes the best deals are right on that line.)

Watch this video to see an example of using Google Earth to asses the neighborhood of a vacation rental, hotel, motel or hostel you are considering for your next vacation:

 

Side note, so far I have found AirBnB hosts to be exceptional clear and honest in their descriptions of the interior space and exterior neighborhood. This is just an added precaution.

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TravelonReview@TravelBetterPodcasts

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Review and Features of AWESOME Travelon Bags!

Posted on 18 June 2016 by Leslie Lello

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.

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It’s Hot, I’m Traveling with a Dog and I Have to Pee

Posted on 02 September 2013 by Leslie Lello

Leslie Lellowww.firewalkproductions.com

Imagine you are driving across Texas and it’s 110 degrees outside the car and you have to pee.

All you have to do is stop at the next service station and take care of business.

Now imagine you have a dog with you.

Not as simple, is it?

As everyone knows, it is very easy for dogs to overheat in cars, even when the temperature outside the car is a lot lower than 110.

So what do you do when you are on a road trip with your dog and you have to pee?

Here are some options

How to Take a Bathroom Break when Traveling With a Dog

Leave the Air Conditioning On While You Go Inside

In a pinch I have left the car on with the air conditioning blasting, and that seemed to work.

Obviously, you can’t be inside a long time because (1) there are laws about keeping your car running idol for too long and (2) despite the wonderful invention of air conditioning, the sun beating down can still make the inside of the car very hot.

Pee Outside

It’s probably easier for you to take a bathroom break outside with Fido if you are a guy, but again, in a pinch, I have done it.

Tie him to something in the shade

This solution isn’t an option with my dog because he hates being alone outside for even a fraction of a minute.

Also, I have heard of thieves snatching designer dogs from owners who leave them outside alone. The thief can make a lot by reselling the dog, but the duress on the owner goes much farther than the cost of the dog.

My dog is a mutt, so I’m not worried about this, but he’s also my best friend, and therefore, always at my side.

I wouldn’t recommend this option.

Bring Another Human

While I’m a big fan of the solo road trip, they can also be fun with other people.

And if you are bringing your dog with you on the road trip, having another human with you can save a lot of hassle, not only on the road, but also at hotels, stores and anywhere else your dog is not allowed in with you.

Best Choice #1: Bring the Dog Inside With You

In many of the rest stops that line America’s highways, it’s likely you will be able to sneak your dog in, especially if the entrance is on the outside of a building. I have done this numerous times, and unless there is a restaurant or food preparation going on nearby, no one should have a problem with you bringing your dog inside (unless your dog is unfriendly or loud), especially if it really is 110 degrees outside.

Even non-dog-owners know that leaving a dog in a car is a no-no and most people you meet on the road will understand why you need to bring your pooch in.

Best Choice #2: Plan Ahead

Planning ahead is not always a choice you have available when the 32 ounce big-gulp suddenly wants to leave your bladder, but that’s the point.

While it’s tough to know everything about the journey, you can research dog-friendly places that will let your dog come with you on a bathroom break, how long the trip will be vs. how long your pup can hold it, what the weather will be like and how much liquid you really need to consume during the trip.

By taking the time to think the journey through before you pull out of the driveway when traveling with a dog, you and your dog will be much more happy and comfortable.

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NOT the Best Way To Pack a Suitcase or Car

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TBP 0011 The Best Way To Pack a Suitcase (Part 1): Cars and Road Trips

Posted on 10 August 2013 by Leslie Lello

Not The Best Way To Pack a Suitcase or CarIf you Google “Best Way To Pack a Suitcase“, you will most likely come up with a number of sites presenting lists of what you should and should not pack and strategies to pack as much as possible within the least amount of space or to go as minimal as possible.

This is great, but customization is important.  I change the way I pack each time I travel.  I find that posts about the best way to pack a suitcase never differentiate between going to Europe by air or going to the Minnesota State Fair by car.

Road trips offer a lot of flexibility in packing, even if the car is crowded.

So to be clear, this is not a podcast about packing minimally, this is a podcast about going on a long road trip and wanting to be as comfortable as possible. In my mind, the best way to pack a suitcase cannot be separated with the best way to pack a car. This is obviously based on my own preferences (like the desire for awesome coffee in the middle of nowhere), but can be substituted for your preferences. Some of the things I mention are for safety and others are to save you time and money.

The Best Way To Pack a Suitcase (Part 1) – Podcast Clarifications:

I mention in the podcast that you should have a specific bag for travel information. You will probably bring some books and information with you, as well as pick information up along the way.  It’s best to keep this information in one specific bag. That way you know where to look when you are making travel decisions.  My passenger is also my navigator, so we leave the “information bag” in the backseat and the navigator starts to do research as we are approaching a town we intend to stop in for the night.

During the part of the podcast about bringing the diet food, I meant to say drug stores are where you can find Smart For Life Cookies, not grocery stores.  But really, I’m not sure if they are in grocery stores or drug stores. Best bet is buy them online. The “glorified candy bars” I referred to in the podcast are in grocery stores and are the protein bars that often have a lot of protein, but also a lot of junk.

Side note about the Vapur bottles. Don’t get the ones with the plastic cap. I lost the plastic cap and didn’t want to drink out of the bottle because I had placed my bag on the floor with the bottle attached and the mouthpiece most likely touched the ground. The bottle I linked to is the new kind and has a mouth piece cover that is attached to the bottle.

 

THINGS I LIKE FOR A ROAD TRIP:

 Reusable travel Mug
Tuna and can Opener (or whatever ready food that is nutritious)
Miso Soup
Diet Food (Smart for Life cookies, Ideal Protein)
Podcasts!
Reusable water bottles (Squishy water bottles)
Triple outlet converter (for the older hotels – used this a lot in Italy) or hostels
Tent (and yoga mat)
plastic utensils
pocket knife
two checks
ziplock bags
himilayan salt – good for headaches and sometimes weakness is due to lack of minerals
Aeropress
Tea bags

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TBP 0010: Better Pet Travel

Posted on 03 August 2013 by Leslie Lello

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I didn’t even think about pet travel when I got my first dog, but after my first trip through the desert from Flagstaff, Arizona to Venice, California, I realized that traveling with a pet takes more thought than just throwing Fido in the back seat and giving him a potty break half way to your destination.

If you don’t have a pet, some of the things I say in this podcast might relate to traveling with kids.  I don’t have kids, but I’m sure the same amount of preparation goes into baby humans as it does for baby animals.

Some of the topics I cover in the TBP0010 “Better Pet Travel” include: preparation and packing, lodging, visiting friends, driving, flying, restaurants, play and relaxation.

Three important things that I didn’t mention in my pet travel podcast:

1. Some states have seat-belt laws for dogs.  In New Jersey, if you don’t have your dog in a restraining harness when he or she is riding in the car, you could get a ticket. Plus, you always should have your dog restrained anyway because it is dangerous for both of you to not have your pet secured in some way.  I was driving 30 miles per hour with my dog, Buddha, when I first got him and he was not in a restraint.  I had to stop short and he bumped into the dashboard somewhat hard.  He’s had harder hits running into other dogs at dog parks, but it was enough to catch my attention and from that day on he was in a harness that attaches to the seat-belt of my car.

2. Regarding hotel stays with your dog: a lot of places require you to crate your dog if he or she is left alone in the room. Some don’t even allow you to leave the dog or cat alone in the room.  A crate comes in handy when leaving the animal, but is a huge pain in the butt to lug  into the hotel and takes up a lot of room in a vehicle.  I used a crate when my dog was a puppy, but as he got older I knew I could trust him if I stepped out for a short while, like going to the breakfast bar in the hotel.  I never bring a crate with me now, but I can’t recommend that to people with dogs that can be rambunctious indoors.

3. Always clean up after your dog – both inside and out.  If your dog shreds toys like mine does, pick up a majority of the fuzzes before you leave the hotel.  And always pick up your dog droppings – they attract rodents if you do not and nobody likes to walk their dog in the middle of a minefield filled with poopbombs.

Haha… I actually use the term “pet peeve” in this podcast.

Pet Travel Links:

Bring Fido: http://www.bringfido.com/

Trips With Pets: http://www.tripswithpets.com/

Go Pet Friendly: http://www.gopetfriendly.com/

Travel Pets: http://www.travelpets.com/

Luv My Pet for Affordable Pet Vaccinations (which are often required if you decide to board your pet in a kennel rather than take him or her with you): http://www.luvmypet.com/

Happy Travels!

Leslie
www.facebook.com/travelbetterpodcasts

PS: Did you enjoy this podcast and blog post about pet travel or know of someone that would enjoy it? If so, please share it with others! Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NAB 2013 in Las Vegas, my hotel room at Polo Towers

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TBP 0008: Las Vegas – Avoiding the Traps in the Most Touristy City in the World

Posted on 20 July 2013 by Leslie Lello

NAB 2013 in Las Vegas, my hotel room at Polo Towers

NAB 2013 in Las Vegas, my hotel room at Polo Towers

I had a rough time planning trips for Las Vegas the first few times.  I had always gone with people that were familiar with the city, so when it was my time to plan, I was surprised when I realized how little I knew.

But now that I am a more savvy traveler and actually lived in Vegas for a while, I can give you the scoop on how to do it with greater ease, save money and find some places that are off the strip that you wouldn’t know to visit if you hadn’t heard it here.

TB 0008: Las Vegas Podcast Links

Las Vegas People Mover/Train Monorail: http://www.lvmonorail.com/

HACIENDA HOTEL in Boulder City (toward AZ) FOR GOOD ACCESS TO LAKE MEAD, HIKING AND HOOVER DAM. (AND A HELICOPTER RIDE) There is one hotel out by Hoover dam that is nice and inexpensive with helicopter rides at $29. That might be good if you are not drinking and are doing sight seeing outside of Vegas
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60881-d91585-Reviews-or10-Hacienda_Hotel_Casino-Boulder_City_Nevada.html

Hoover Dam: http://www.usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/

PRIMM!  www.primmvalleyresorts.com

SKY MANIA!!! On the outskirts of Las Vegas on the Henderson side.  If you have a car, it’s worth going out there. This was my favorite thing to do in vegas.
http://www.skymaniatrampolines.com/

Stuff I forgot to say in the Podcast:

*** PET TRAVEL: DON’T BRING A DOG.  they charge a lot for dogs ($50/day typically), and aren’t you going to be partying too much to remember to walk your little pup?
*** Cabs can take longer than walking because there is so much traffic on the strip. Sometimes it is faster to walk.
Happy Travels!

 

Leslie Lello

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travel_Better_Podcasts_Hostel_Environment_Episode_TBP_0004

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TBP 0004: Enjoying a Hostel Environment: Hosteling for Fun, New Friends, Travel and Saving Money

Posted on 23 June 2013 by Leslie Lello

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Today’s podcast is about the wonderful world of hosteling – staying in hostels as you travel around the world.

I have used hostels extensively through out the United States and in some parts of Europe because there are a number of benefits to staying in hostels.

My podcast explains these advantages, tips for first timers and some of my favorite hostels in the United States.

Happy Travels!

Leslie Lello

 

 

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Welcome and thanks for visiting!

My name is Leslie and I am the owner, publisher and media creator of Travel Better Podcasts.

A few years ago I started traveling... (Click Here For More)


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