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Money Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Money

Anker’s Soundbuds Curve Are Budget Wireless Earbuds For Runners Who Travel

No matter how good a pair of sports earbuds are, if they don’t actually stay in your ears it doesn’t really matter. Anker’s Soundbuds Curve are a pair of budget exercise earbuds that aren’t great in any one category but manage to be solid across the board. When added all up these nearly $25 Soundbuds Curve are a good choice for travelers who run.

You can watch my full review of the Anker Soundbuds Curve in the video above or read on.

The Hook

There are a few main ways earbud manufacturers design earbuds to stay put. Some, like the RHA MA390 use a thick neck cord for weighted balance while others like the NuForce BE Sport3 leverage wingtips. Anker has opted a blended solution: smaller wingtips to maintain stability just above your ear canal and a larger hook over the ear.

anker soundbuds curve review

The result is a clunky set of headphones that are surprisingly light, relatively comfortable, and certainly stable. Soundbuds Curve won’t fall out, even on longer jogs, sprints, or running up stairs. Having used the Soundbuds Curve on near marathon length runs they only needed a few minor readjustments (usually when I began sweating) along the way.

Sounds… Average

Anker has done a good job of making the Soundbuds Curve seem more premium than a $26 price tag would imply. They come with a case, a variety of wingtips to fit in different ears, and Soundbuds Curve have a sleek matte finish. The microphone plus 18 hour battery life are also good touches Anker has made – these are the main features most people look for in sports earbuds.

Soundbuds Curve have decent sound quality too – not terrible or great. Simply average with an okay amount of bass, something most earbuds lack anyway.

When you’re working out though or especially running outdoors, sound quality or isolation isn’t important to all but audiophiles. Being cheap enough also not to be a devastating loss if they’re stolen or lost not to mention IPX7 waterproof, Anker is showing what’s possible for budget headphones. A few tweaks to the physical design and the audio can only get better with each new version, the overall average Soundbuds Curve are a good choice for running travelers.

7 Great Travel Gifts Under $25

Travelers can be difficult to shop for since they usually have specific, pricier, items in mind they want for themselves. Getting a gift for someone who knows exactly what they want can be tricky since you might not know if that preference has changed, they bought the thing already, or maybe it’s over your budget.

There are however a lot of very practical, clever items you can get a wide range of traveler from frequent to business, all under $25.

1. Multi-Charging Cable ($14.99)

CHAFON multi-USB charging cable

Anyone who has seen one next to my laptop mentions what a good idea these CHAFON multi-USB charging cables are. All you do is plug in the USB-3 port into a laptop, portable charger, or wall outlet to provide power to multiple devices over USB micro, mini, A, C, or Apple’s lightning. Having one of these multi-charging cables means carrying less cables plus charge multiple electronics at once. And if you want to charge using the USB-C port, this converter will do the trick.

2. Herschel Travel Pouches 3-Pack ($24.99)

herschel travel pouches

Slim and coming in 3 color options, these highly durable poly ripstop travel pouches are perfect for cable and other loose item backpack organization. Not only is the material strong but it slides in and out of backpack pockets with ease for someone on the go. Lightweight as well, these Herschel travel pouches come in a 3-pack of sizes one small, medium, and large.

3. PortaPow Data Blocker ($12.49)

portapow

Not the most elegant name (PortaPow) but many people gladly plug their devices into plane seats and USB hubs at airports without knowing the dangers of being hacked. What these little PortaPow do is block the data line of USB plugs, so they can transfer electricity and nothing else.

4. Portable Humidifier ($15.99)

Hotel rooms often blow very dry air from the vents whether set to cold or heat. For someone with sensitive sinuses, this MZTDYTL portable humidifier might help them suffer less. It’s also USB-powered, just smaller than a soda can, plus lights up elegantly in multiple colors.

5. Glorious Large Gaming Mouse Mat ($11.99)

glorious gaming mouse mat pad

These 2-millimeter thin mouse pads have a rubber anti-slip base and a very smooth cloth surface allowing for very precise and comfortable mouse movements. Not just for gamers, another benefit is the Glorious Large Mouse Mat is machine washable with anti-fray stitching for high durability. Several sizes to choose from, all under $25.

6. SurviMate Filtered Water Bottle ($21.29)

survimate

One of the best filtered water bottle for travelers, the SurviMate has replaceable filters and can help anyone use less plastic. Using the FaucetSafe app (on iOS or Android) can show you where the SurviMate might be most needed, which makes a good addition to the water bottle.

7. Mossio Hanging Toiletry Bag ($10.99)

mossio hanging toiletry kit

Made of waterproof and durable 300D Oxford tent fabric, the Mossio is a toiletry bag that looks more expensive than it is. Aside from being practical, it’s also large enough for shampoo or other bottles that aren’t necessarily travel size.

Barely Over $25 Honorable Mentions

Although these other products are just over $25, you’ll often find them on sale through my Deals page on the tales sister-site. Anker’s PowerCore 13000 is a miniature but high capacity portable battery, the Soundbuds Curve are sports headphones that stay in your ears, and the Peak Design camera wrist and neck straps are the smartest ways to carry most cameras.

Did I miss anything? Let me know what you would add to the list in the comments below!

How To Travel

new york city

There are a lot of ways to travel smarter but if you want the most straightforward advice on how to get started, this is your guide.

First of all, traveling is not that hard. At least not the basics in general, assuming you’ve got some disposable income, a bit of time, and of course the inclination to go somewhere.

Where To Go

Traveling can mean a lot of things but often the first thing to come to mind is some far off exotic place. Those can be great choices but you’ve probably never gone to the tourist sites in your own town. What about the next town over? Maybe you want to start a travel blog or YouTube channel, you don’t need to go very far to do either.

Since you can’t see the entire world in a lifetime, these places are good choices to start from. If you love street food, definitely go to these cities. Adventure sports? Las Vegas. Want to see how much it costs to fly from where you are to anywhere? Kayak Explore will show you.

Honestly though, most of us have a place we’ve always really wanted to see. Don’t let people talk you out of it. Get suggestions on things to do nearby (more ideas can’t hurt) but if there’s somewhere you’ve always wanted to go, that’s where you should probably be headed. You might love or hate a place and that can change over time so aside from actual dangerous places, all you’re hearing are people’s opinions about a given point in time.

travel memes

And if someone’s never been to a place don’t listen to their advice about a place. It’s probably negative and definitely uninformed.

How To Go

Some places you have to fly. For others, taking a train is more environmentally friendly but also easier on your body than taking an airplane. Remember to add 4 hours at least to any total flight time – that covers getting to an airport on time, checking in, plus going through security. A 30 minute flight is really more like 4 or more hours of travel time.

Obsessing over flight prices isn’t likely to save you much nor is booking on a Wednesday. Check out multi-city flights. Travel savings are much more obtainable through choosing the right accommodation, where you eat, and by simple packing habits like buying a reusable water bottle.

What To Take

Recently I saw this tweet which is mostly true unless you’re a French horn musician. What you use at home is what you’ll use on the road. You shouldn’t pack more than you can use in two weeks and most specialized travel gear isn’t versatile enough to justify the costs (remember what I said about saving above?)

arthurs seat edinburgh

Learn these important phrases of the local language using this powerful tool. Gum or mints are essential. One other thing, it’s usually worth paying a bit more to get durable gear. Cheap fabrics don’t withstand traveling well so it’s better to get one good thing than 3 cheap things over the same period of time. Plus good products usually come with good warranties because the brands can stand behind their products.

Stay Connected

Currency is a helpful app that works offline. WiFox gives you passwords to all the airports in the world, important since getting to your accommodation from the airport is when you’re most vulnerable. Find some good travel blogs, they give good firsthand insights that can help with planning, navigating scams, and learning the local customs.

scottish highlands

Download Google Maps offline to help you get around. Put the phone down and look up when you don’t need it.

faucetsafe app

Go with the flow, try a food you’ve never had, and always eat where the locals do. Long lines of tourists don’t always indicate the best places to eat and TripAdvisor can only get you so far. Ask a local. Try it, you’ll get good advice like this.

Remember The Important Things

There’s certainly more, but this should help get you started. Traveling can be tiring, confusing, or a bit lonely sometimes. Keep in mind that if you can travel for recreation, you’re one of the lucky ones on Earth. Not everyone can travel and for most of human history it was impossible to move like we do now.

Understanding other cultures doesn’t require much footwork far or near – meeting new people can give you an important insight. Getting out of cities and into nature can give you perspective. The one thing to bring on any journey is an open mind, without that, you can visit every country in the world and still have not seen much of anything at all.

Timbuk2 Copilot Review And Discount Trick

Travelers looking for a new suitcase should take a close look at the thoughtfully designed and thoroughly durable Timbuk2 Copilot series that comes with a small discount trick.

Stop Here

Depending on your travel budget, a Timbuk2 bag might not be for you. People who take less than one or two trips a year probably won’t see (for a long time anyway) the immediate benefit of such a well-built bag. Particularly though for air travelers who check-in their luggage more than 6 or 7 times annually, the Copilot series has a lot of advantages worth its price tag.

timbuk2 copilot

What’s A Timbuk2 Copilot

Timbuk2 is a San Fransisco based brand that’s somewhat hipster blended with business sleek. Their Copilot series comes in 4 different sizes: 42, 52, 80, and 108 liters. You can review all the dimensions here but basically:

The exterior of the Copilot luggage is made of Cordura nylon (over 1000 Denier if you’re wondering) which is the standard for tough as hell bags. Internally, Timbuk2 use a variety of nylon, polyester, and other fabrics for a combination of strong but light fabric. And lightweight they are – even the gigantic 108 Copilot is just 4.6 kilos (10lbs) – compared to most bags that size pushing well over 6.5 kg (15 lbs).

timbuk2 copilot

I think it’s also worth mentioning that Timbuk2 don’t use materials that are toxic in any way, plus have an excellent recycling program for older bags. (They give you 20% back as well on your next purchase after you send the old bag back, which is a nice touch to the environmental benefits.)

Design That Makes Sense

Too often bag manufacturers try to get fancy, adding superfluous pockets that only take up space. Smart designers create bags, like the Copilot, that give users more flexibility to organize on their own. The Copilots (they’re all designed the same just at different sizes) open up clam shell style. On the outer pocket there’s quick access to the front compartment.

timbuk2 copilot 80l

Both interior sides of the “shell” have a mesh divider you can choose to use or not. All of the bags are spacious since they don’t have pockets in the way to steal space – but the clam shell style doesn’t work well with particularly bulky items. It’s perfect for clothes but if you’re lugging around boxy gifts, or large stuff that doesn’t compress, the Copilot can be tricky to pack.

Additional nice touches include skateboard wheels resulting in a very smooth roll without any pullback on your arms. Those wheels are also strong enough for skateboards plus they can be found all over the world if needed. The handle is also one of the smoothest I’ve used on roller luggage.

Save Some Money On A Timbuk2

Overall, there’s a lot to like about the Copilot series. For most of you interested in this bag, it’s a matter of finding the right size. Minimalists will appreciate the 42 and 52L varieties, most travelers who don’t mind a bigger bag will be happy with the 80L. Unless you’re a family who wants to use a single suitcase, think very carefully before deciding on the 108L. In any event you can return most bags with a minor (less than $10) processing fee.

Finally, to sweeten the deal for yourself, go through the Timbuk2 checkout process. Add the bag you want to the cart, fill in your details (especially email), then submit to get to the payment page. At this point, don’t submit your payment and just wait 24 hours. Typically Timbuk2 will send a 10-15% discount to your inbox to encourage you to complete the purchase. There’s also a popup on their site often but the email discount might be a bit more enticing so it’s best to wait and see. Good luck!

How Travel Influencers Make Money

Well, this is at least one (somewhat, maybe?) exaggerated version of what it seems like every travel influencer sounds like. You have probably heard most, if not all of what’s in the video above but either way, let me go over it again in a blond wig. What do you think? Authentic!

The Inateck Backpack Is An Aer Knockoff $200 Cheaper And Pretty Good Too

Typically when you’ve got a knockoff – ok, it’s technically not one – but if you look at the Inateck 30L Backpack and compare it to the Aer Travel Pack 2, you get the idea. As I was saying, knockoffs in electronics can often be close to the quality for the price of the brand version. When it comes to physical products like bags however, the drop-off is generally more pronounced. Yes, there are big savings but you sacrifice so much in quality over time, it ends up being more practical to go brand in the long run.

The Inateck 30L bag however, although it’s not as good as the Aer Travel Pack 2, might still have enough to consider, particularly if you want to save $200. You can watch my full review in the video above or read on.

Gentle Enough

For travelers who don’t demand a lot from their baggage, Inateck’s good but otherwise not outstanding nylon stitching should provide a decent lifetime of use. A little less nylon means the Inateck is lighter too, around 1.5 kilos (3.3 pounds) compared to the 1.7kg (3.7lbs) of the Aer Travel Pack 2. Though the Inateck tends to flop over when it’s not full mainly due to the internal padding being ever so slightly thinner.

inateck 30l backpack

Good Design Cues

Ripping off the design of the Travel Pack 2 (here’s my full review of that bag) and improving on it somewhat is something Inateck has pulled off well. The annoying shoe compartment of the Aer is collapsible in the Inateck, compression straps a bit more manageable, though it’s missing the very handy quick grab pocket that works great for passports.

Unpolished But $200?

Inateck’s 30L backpack is not one I’d trust for a frequent traveler, particularly if you’re going to be throwing this bag around a lot in less than ideal trains, taxis, or dinghy boats. Inteck has cut costs, a lot of them, meaning the zippers are hardly weather resistant, fabric you don’t want to snag, and straps that aren’t as comfortable as they could be. Still, for the different of $200, unless you’re looking for a premium backpack in the Aer Travel Pack 2, the Inateck may do just fine.

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