Travel Ease: Luggage Locks and TSA Requirements

When was the last time you traveled? No doubt you've noticed the heightened security and 311 measures that take place now. Basically, restrictions on what you can [3 Oz toothpaste] and can't [nailclippers, tweezers] bring on your carryon bags have been in place for a while now.

As you can see from the image I took from the official Transportation Security Administration website, you can have liquids/gels in 3oz containers: this does NOT mean you can take a 6oz bottle of something that only has 3 oz or less remaining! Kevin tried this, it doesn't work! :) You are permited to take one quart-sized, clear plastic zip-top bag to place your liquids in. If you want to be fancy, you can buy some clear jars/bags from this neat 311 travel gear site.
I don't do the 'check' baggage thing because I'm too paranoid that my luggage will get lost, stolen, broken into, etc etc. I'm also not patient enough to wait for my things to get thrown off of the plane, slammed onto the conveyor belt, and then roll down the dispenser into my loving arms. If you simply have too much stuff to haul and you need to check, you should look into these neat locks. They are TSA approved! Basically, it's a luggage lock that the security folks at the airports can get into, but airport employees and hotel bellhops can't!

I think I'm going to invest in a couple. My mom likes to check bags when we go to El Salvador and they tear your stuff up! It gets to you all half-open, panties hanging out, and whatnot. These locks look pretty neat, it says they have 'global' ones, which means that international airport personnel will be able to check into your things, too.

Update: I bought one! Cost me about $10 at Macy's. Yay!

Labels for Posts

I think proper labeling is key to keeping an organized blog- this is one of the only posts you'll see here without a listed label. I've restructured the labels to only a handful, and I've explained them below.

I've found that sometimes I'll combine one or two labels, though only when necessary. I think these labels help me keep a focus when I'm writing. Yay for organization, my old history teacher would be proud.

Travel Info: any news or personal experience stuff
Tech Travel: new electronics used for travel
Flashback Trip: past trips taken
Travel Buyables: travel merch
Travel Planning: personal planning
Travel Tips and How To’s: things to do, tutorials, etc
Travel in Style: stylish merchandise, these are more luxury items
Travel Ease: deals, or programs like ‘Clear’
Travel Tools: online apps and sites
Travel Buddy: highlights on fellow travel bloggers

Travel in Style: Passport Wallets

They're called passport wallets, cases, sleeves, holders, covers, sheets- it's hard to find them all! While it was no easy feat, I found a handful of awesome passport thingies to make you feel like a well-classed traveler. If you're like me, you'll see which one you like best, buy a yard of boldly colored fabric from Wal-Mart, whip out the bedazzler or glue gun, and fancy your own!

For the classic traveler, simple and affordable!

Her Point of View, in terra cotta, charcoal, or my favorite, sunkiss- $20

Modern Agent has these awesome His and Hers passport wallets! You can buy them individually, or snag them both for $37! Each is £9.95, or $20. Very cute!

For the classy traveler, less means more!

St. Tropez has a more fun, snake skin approach! Get the pink "Window Seat" one or the lime "First Class," either are $25.

Bold and colorful, Tepper Jackson's line of passport cases will be easy to spot in your bag or overstuffed carryon, but worth the $26-$30 price range? You tell me.

For the first-class traveler, nothing but the best!

If you want to help a sistah out, get a breast cancer awareness passport holder, in pink or black. Just £13.50, which is actually a pretty pence at nearly $27. Beat Cancer, here and abroad!

These are hot! Soft leather, hand-stiched and embossed, John Lewis's items are worth the $30, £15, price tag. The raspberry one is my favorite, super sleek! Would be a major luxury item for me, though.

Found these on a bridal gifts site, simple soft covers to give as bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts. I LOVE the idea! A pretty good steal for that purpose at $35. Lots of colors, and you could have them engraved!

For the world-class, exotic one-of-a-kinds!

Another UK find! I guess when you live so close to 'the continent,' you're bound to do a bit of travel on a monthly basis...Anyway, Radley has gorgeous passport wallets, in a plethora of colors, but all still hand-stitched leather. A mere £19.99, or painful $40, unless you want to ultra sleek Bond-esque wallet for a cool $45. A major splurge, but oh so pretty!

Travel Ease and Tools: Passport

Traveling abroad? the Bahamas? Mexico or Puerto Rico? Then you need a passport. Having a passport is a good idea, anyway. When the zombies hit, you're going to want first dibs at a flight, and if you think post office lines are long at Christmas time..!

Pete has never had a passport [newbie!], so here are a couple links to get you [and him] started:

Passport from US Gov
How to apply
Ready-to-Print Application forms
Emergency Passports

There was a time you didn't need a passport for the Bahamas or Puerto Rico, if you were a US citizen, I'm not sure how much of the rules has changed, but this is a great article for those questions.

You will also need a passport photo. The govt is very specific about these, it must be 2in X 2in, and your head has to be precisely centered, just right. Both ears have to be showing, and the image must be against a solid background, preferably light-colored. I'd keep makeup to a minimum, and your hair the way you typically wear it. I've actually seen people get stopped for looking nothing like their passport photo because they decided to go Hollywood Glam in the RiteAid. You can get a set of passport pics taken at almost any local drugstore, and sometimes, they have coupons!

If you don't have time to run down to the store, many pack-n-ship shacks take the photos, too, as well as official post offices. However! Now you can take your own passport photos! Here is a neat tutorial on making your own passport photo. Do me a favor and don't dig up the 1986 college pic you cling to because your hair hasn't fallen out yet and you didn't need glasses. Either take a picture to crop, or find a current pic taken in good lighting! Here is a site that allows you to do all the cropping online, just upload, crop, and print! It's a neat site, actually-

You should receive your passport in a few weeks. After that, keep it in a safe place, keep it clean. There are numerous places to buy passport sleeves, cases, jackets, etc. I have a clear plastic one I bought at CVS for $2, but here is a way cuter one and other passport accessories!

I have a few passports of my grandfather, they are a testament to his life and I cherish them greatly. I travel as much as I can, to places that require stamps so that my kids, and their kids know that I did stuff, went places- and I hope they do, too.

Travel Tools: TripOvation

I stumbled on this site today called 'TripOvation,' which I immediately misread as 'TripOvulation.' Actually, maybe I didn't read it as 'ovulation,' it's just that 'ovation' sounds like a word that should be associated with that region.

Anyway! This site is totally new, still being built, I suppose- but I'm super excited to see what it is?! Is it a site for dying people, one last trip? Is it a site for cycling your ovulation cycle with the natural cycles of mother earth? Can you conceive when the aurora borealis starts? In my frantic wonderings, and before I strayed too far, I researched.

"A new kind of travel company for people who love to travel by people who love to travel." This is the tagline on the website. Is it a personal travel concierge site!? That'd be awesome. I read on, StartupSquad reported below:
PEHub is reporting that TripOvation has raised $3 million in Series A funding led by Azure Capital Partners. What will they be working on? Not much is known except for - travel merchandise and travel booking. Will see how that one goes.
They also mentioned other startups on the hunt for capital venture, FareCast and Yapta. Farecast I'm familar with, but what is Yapta?! Yapta is apparently a downloadable app that lets you track and 'tag' flights, it helps you stay alert when a flight drops in price and allows you to organize all in once place. Pretty neat! I'll have to try that out with my latest trip to Japan.

Next, I found that TripOvation recently [5/31/07] released news of securing their first round of VC money, a whopping $3 mil, courtesy of Azure Capital Partners. W00t! I also learned that they are based out of Menlo Park, CA., and according to VentureBeat, the site will serve as a "travel merchandise and travel booking site."

Then, I found a really nice list of travel startups, over at Digital Goggles. Very awesome! The list forgets a couple, though- like triporama!

Last findings:
CEO is Kevin Fleiss.