Packable Backpack

Magellans Daytripper Bag Packable Backpack

If you are looking for a perfect-sized packable backpack, we found a nifty item that can really save the day!  The Daytripper bag by Magellans is a completely portable pack that stows away in a small zipper pouch until you need it.  The pack has ample space for any essentials you may need.  We like to stuff it in our pocket as a just-in-case bag.  It is a great on-the-go travel beach bag.  The outer pocket is lockable.  We also use it after swimming to carry our swimsuits and towels.  When not in use, this bag takes up only as much room as a pair of socks.  You can find this great bag at

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Vera Bradley Spring 2012

This Spring, Vera Bradley boasts a vibrant collection for Spring 2012.

We reviewed Vera Bradley’s new Laptop Travel Tote.  This tote offers colorfully padded protection for your laptop while in transit.  It contains a checkpoint-friendly design.  It is one of the easiest checkpoint-friendly bags we have seen because it contains zippers on both sides.

The Laptop Travel Tote comes in four colors: Island Blooms, Rosey Posies, Ellie Blue,and Camellia.  We reviewed the Laptop Travel Tote in Island Blooms.  The vibrant Island Blooms pattern made us wish we were headed to the Islands instead of the office!

This tote is a comfortable shoulder length.  It keeps your laptop close at hand and snug.  The Laptop Travel Tote contains two sections, a padded laptop sleeve and a zip-top section.  It certainly makes a vibrant alternative to usual, solid-colored laptop totes.

Find Vera Bradley’s Laptop Travel Tote here at

Rating: 3 Stars!  Good.

Vera Bradley’s Spring 2012 collection makes us feel as if we are in bloom!

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Best Holiday Scarf: National Geographic

Jamavar Wool Scarf

If you are looking for the perfect scarf for the holidays, we have a recommendation for you.  The Jamavar Wool Scarf by National Geographic is truly a wear-anywhere scarf.

The Jamvar Wool Scarf is light-weight, warm, and versatile.  Whether you are dressing for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, or New Years, this scarf’s coloring and design goes with all occasions.

The Jamavar scarf was once the mark of royalty and nobility in South Asia.  It will be a true asset to your apparel for years to come.  National Geographic carries useful yet unique products in its online store.  You can find this great scarf and more at

Rating: 4 Stars!  Very Good!

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Good Rest Is Key To Great Travel

Travel Dreams Sleep Mask

Getting good rest is essential to enjoy your travels.  A good sleep mask will help you get the rest you need.  We have reviewed several sleep masks through the years.  The Travel Dreams Sleep Mask by Rick Steves is one of our favorites.  It is compact, streamlined, and comfortable.

Best of all, you can fold it up and it fits comfortably and easily into your pocket, purse, or luggage.

Travel Alarm Clock

In addition, we recommend bringing your own travel alarm clock.   We tested Rick Steves’ Travel Alarm Clock.  This slim clock is easy to read and contains a built in night light for easy viewing.  It folds flat and contains a hard, plastic cover which becomes a stand when open.

We at Best Rated place a vote of confidence in Rick Steves’ travel products.  He is a highly experienced world traveler and guide and a great advice-giver.  Rick Steves plays an integral role in the design and development of his products.

You can find these great products and more here at

Rating: 4 Stars!  Very Good!

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Best Carry-On Luggage 2011

Lipault 22" Folding Carry-On Bag

If you are looking for the “best of the best” in carry-on luggage, we have a recommendation for you.

The Lipault 22″ Folding Carry-On Bag is one of the most beautiful, well-designed carry-on bags we have ever seen.

The Lipault Carry-On is truly beautiful.  It has a slightly shimmery sheen and looks luxurious.  Yet it retains its durability, since it is made of 420 denier nylon.

It is well-designed because it actually folds flat when not in use for easy stashing.  This bag also is laid out in a manner that helps to keep your clothing looking good.  It contains a slimline hanging bag which fits securely within but does not take up extra room.

Our reviewers rated this bag as “Best Carry-On Luggage 2011”.  It is truly a must-have for the discriminating traveler.

Find the Lipault Carry-On Bag  at

Rating: 5 Stars!  Best!

Posted in Accessories, Bags & Backpacks, Best Rated Reviews, Magellans, Magellans Travel Supplies, Travel, Travel Accessories, Travel Essentials | Tagged , | Leave a comment

How To Keep Your Shoes Looking Great While Traveling

Travel Shoe Bags

Here’s how to keep your shoes looking great while traveling: buy a shoe bag.
The more we travel, the lighter we try to pack. One of our greatest packing peeves is getting the dirt from shoes on the rest of our clothes.  Another shoe packing challenge is keeping dress shoes dressy.  We solve this problem by using shoe bags.
Read on as one of our male reviewers shares his concerns and solutions on shoes and travel:
One area that has always been of concern is my dress shoes. I normally put them in the bottom of my suitcase and lay clothing on top of them. My concern is that something will scratch my shoes, or that shoe polish will get on my clothes.  I’ve tried plastic bags, trash bags, a pillow case, you name it and I’ve tried it.
I recently discovered the “Shoe Bag” by Richards. The package came with a set of three bags. As soon as I got home, I realized that I had solved my shoe problem. It was so simple. I just slipped my dress shoes in the nylon bag, tightened the draw string, and placed them in the bottom of my suitcase as before. Now nothing can damage my shoes, and no shoe ploish will damage my clothes.
With three bags, I can also keep my freshly polished shoes in a bag in the closet so they will be freesh and ready to go at all times.  With the pace of life always trying to steal precious family time, the “Shoe Bag” has saved me time, money, and effort. Thanks Richards company for a great, yet simple solution to an old and bothersome problem!
You can find this great product and more here at
Rating: 3 Stars!  Good!
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Rest On The Road With Bucky

Bucky Eye Shades With Ear Plugs

Rest On The Road With Bucky

 Attention: all tired and weary travelers!  Be tired and weary no more.  Bucky to the rescue.  The Bucky Eye Shades with Ear Plugs will ensure you get the sleep you need no matter where you are.  We have reviewed several sleep masks over the years.  These are at the top of our list!  They are comfortably plush and roomy.  They achieve the instant “drape effect”.  The “drape effect” occurs when you feel as if you are in a room with thick drapes, enshrouded in darkness for the perfect resting conditions. 

 We tested them on and off the road and found them to be suitable for travel and daily use.  Our favorite feature: Bucky Eye Shades with Ear Plugs contain a hidden pouch which holds a pair of ear plugs on a cord.  Now, you will never have to wonder where you put your ear plugs again. 

 Bucky also makes matching travel pillows so you can rest in style.  We reviewed the Minnie Travel Pillow.  The Minnie is miniature travel pillow which will give support in tight spaces, such as airplane seats.  It is also a great neck pillow for kids.  Bucky even makes the Bucky Bag, a travel pouch for the Minnie so it stays clean on the road. 

 The Bucky Eye Shades with Ear Plugs are a must-have for serious travelers looking for rest on the road.  The Minnie Travel Pillow and Bucky Bag will add to your resting bliss as well.  We recommend them!

Find them at

Rating: 4 Stars!  Very good!

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Waterproof Binoculars Great For Travel

Legend Ultra HD

With today’s amazing technology, Bushnell makes binoculars that give clear visibility even on a cloudy or rainy day. The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Binoculars are compact, portable, and easily accessible. They offer high definition visibility. They also come with a sturdy carry case.

The Legend Ultra HD Binoculars contain a Rainguard coating which keeps them clear and waterproof in rain. They are a great pair of binoculars to take along when traveling, since you never know what the weather will do.

When we tried them, we found all of their features useful for traveling. They also contain ED Prime Glass and a special coating which allowed us to use them for extended periods of time without getting tired eyes!

The Bushnell Legend Ultra HD Compact Binoculars offer high-quality visibility yet are compact enough to be portable. These binoculars include a neckstrap, which makes them extra portable.

We recommend them!

Rating: 4-Stars! Very Good!

You can find them here at



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Best Birding Accessory 2011

I-Flyer Birdsong Scanning Wand



If you like birding, you’ll love this! The I-Flyer BirdSong Scanning Wand by Identiflyer allows you to recognize birds and hear their songs immediately!

The BirdSong Scanning Wand packs neatly into a compact, hard travel case which is efficient for storing the Scanning Wand and BarCode ScanBook. The Identifyer BirdSong Scanning Wand is built like a jumbo pen. It has built-in volume control.

We tried out this product in a wooded pine forest in the Central United States. We put bird food in a feeder and waited. Soon, a cardinal arrived. So we turned on the I-Flyer BirdsSong Scanning Wand, found a picture of a cardinal in the I-Flyer BarCode ScanBook, and played it for the cardinal. Suddenly, 3 other gorgeous red cardinals arrived and a female, also. Their curiosity got the best of them, so they had to come see what all the fuss was about.

It was thrilling to know that we had called the birds and they came! We began to call several other birds as well, including yardbirds, such as Blue Jays, Robins, Crows, and a Woodpecker. Each bird began responding in the forest and some of them flew overhead or perched in a tree nearby.

When we played the woodpecker, the forest really stirred up as three woodpeckers began calling back. They were quite persistent. We set out to find them to discover why. To our delight, we got to see a momma woodpecker feeding a baby woodpecker in the hole of a hollowed-out tree.

Now, we call the I-Flyer BirdSong Scanning Wand our “magic wand”. It brings so much joy and delight into our lives to be able to interact with birds and the beauty of nature on a closer and more educated level that enriches the lives of everyone who enjoys nature as a part of their travel or leisure. Whether you are a seasoned birding expert, a novice, or just someone who enjoys the beauty of the outdoors in your backyard, this is a must-have product.

Editor’s Note: This really is a product for the whole family. Kids love it, too. It gets them out of the house and inspires them to explore our wonderful world. This product is an editor’s favorite!

You can find it here at

Rating: 5-Stars! Best!

This product was rated as “Best Birding Accessory 2011” by Best Rated Reviews.

iFlyer Birdsong Scanning Wand Video:

Courtesy of Identiflyer

Buy It Now!

Posted in Accessories, Awards 2011, Beach, Best Rated Reviews, Editor's Pick, Electronics, Hiking, Identiflyer, Kids Travel, Outdoors, Outdoors/Nature Guide, Picnics, Sports Equipment and Apparel, Travel, Travel Accessories, Travel Essentials | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best Beach Mat

Sandless Beach Mat

What if you could enjoy the beach without that gritty feeling? The Sandless Beach Mat, available at Hammacher Schlemmer, makes it possible to enjoy the beach, camping, and picnics sand-free! This amazing mat contains layers of sturdy material that sift sand beneath your feet. All you have to do is rub it in to the mat and it disappears right under your feet, leaving you sand-free.

Our reviewers tested the Sandless Beach Mat at the beach. It really works. The Sandless Beach Mat folds neatly into a sturdy, streamlined bag for easy transport and storage.

You can find it here at

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