Travel Banking For Canadians

We use different cards in Canada than when travelling.  At home we’ve churned cards for Aeroplan points and used different cash back cards.  This has saved us money on purchases and allowed us to build up a big pot of Aeroplan points.  These will allow us to fly with points between the major regions of our upcoming RTW trip.  When we are on the road though we are more concerned about the banking fees.  For that we need different accounts/cards.  Typically when we’ve gone on holiday, we haven’t worried too much about banking with credit (CC) or debit cards.   😯  Not too smart as travel banking for Canadians can eat up a good chunk of your funds.  We always made sure we had some local currency (from previous trips) and then just withdrew cash from ATMs at the airport or in the towns when we got there.High Canadian travel banking fees

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Should We Bring A Laptop?

VS. BT Keyboard and Smartphone

 

If we want to blog while we are on the road then a laptop would sure make things easier.   It would also let us watch movies and TV shows during relax time.   We have an old (2009?) Acer Aspire 1810T Special Edition that is a great little 11″ ultraportable.  It plays HD movies, still gets about 5 hours battery life and runs Windows 10 Pro without breaking a sweat.  The big problem though, is that with the power adapter it’s 1.7Kg!  Pretty ironic for a carry on round the world blog no?  With a 40L pack and small laptop we’d already be up to 3Kg.  That’s almost 50% of some low cost carriers weight allowance!  So should we bring a laptop??

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Days On The Road

 

Since our one way flights to South East Asia on our open-ended RTW trip.  🙂

Planning Our RTW Route


65 countries: Mexico | Costa Rica | Nicaragua | Panama | Argentina | Chile | Colombia | Peru | Kenya | Madagascar | Morocco | Mozambique | South Africa | Tanzania | Albania | Austria | Belgium | Croatia | Czech Republic | Denmark | France | Georgia | Germany | Gibraltar | Greece | Hungary | Iceland | Ireland | Italy | Malta | Montenegro | Netherlands | Norway | Portugal | Russia | Serbia | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | United Kingdom | Vatican | Iran | Israel | Jordan | Turkey | Cambodia | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kyrgyzstan | Laos | Malaysia | Myanmar | Nepal | Philippines | Singapore | South Korea | Taiwan | Thailand | Vietnam | Australia | Cook Islands | New Zealand | Palau

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Airline Carry On Rules

Airline Carry On Rules

Airline carry on rules can vary wildly.  They each have their own specific guidelines for items that you can bring on-board a flight.  Some even allow for a secondary “personal item” like a purse or laptop bag.  If you do your research you’ll find lots of people saying a 45 L pack is good for carry on.  As you’ll find out, this is not always the case.  If you aren’t exactly within an airline’s requirements it’ll come down to the whim of the staff working on the day of your flight.  Unfortunately people are sometimes unpredictable and inconsistent.  So if someone tells you they were able to carry on a 45 L pack on say Ryanair, it doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do the same the next day.

In 2015 the International Air Transport Association (IATA) attempted to standardize carry on rules for its member airlines with advice from the aircraft manufacturers.  This attempt didn’t last long as all members had their own agenda and so agreement between all proved impossible.

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Definition of Home

definition of home

What’s the definition of home?

It sounds simple doesn’t it but I’m not sure that it is.  I was born in Liverpool, England, Helen was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  We both moved to Canada with our families.  Helen at the young age of 4 and myself at 13.  Years later we met in Saskatchewan in 1991 and since then have spent our last 23 years living our adult lives together in Calgary, Alberta.  Also, we’ve spent many months in Thailand since our honeymoon in 2000.  Therefore it would seem that home should probably be one of these places right?

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Traveling With Carry On Only

Helen's Gregory J38
28 days later and we are back!  It wasn’t years on the road but it was a good test of living out of our new Gregory 38 L and 40 L bags (J38 and Z40).  The traveling with carry on only experiment was definitely a success.  It sure was liberating being able to walk off the plane with all our possessions on our backs.  We flew Air Canada, Thai Airways International and the regional Thai Smile.  Absolutely no problems on any of the flights.  Over the years we grew to hate waiting for our luggage to come out on the carousel.  That’s because twice it was lost and was a major hassle.  Eventually it showed up but this worry is no longer a concern.   😀

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Choosing A Travel Pack

14s_j-38-fog-grey_front_web

Gregory Jade 38

14s_z-40-storm-black_front_web

Gregory Z40

Expect The Unexpected

Choosing a travel pack is a major decision when traveling.  The wrong choice can have a big impact on a trip.  Dragging a roller through sand to your beach side bungalow, carrying a duffel bag by its single carry strap for half an hour through a city or seeing your backpack come up the luggage carousel ramp with one of its shoulder straps torn off is no fun.  If you know exactly what you’ll be doing on your trip then choosing a travel pack to avoid frustrating scenarios is fairly straight forward.  However the longer the trip, the more likely you’ll be in a situation that you didn’t expect.

For example you planned a month in southern Thailand with your roller suitcase.  You arrive in Krabi or Phuket and the roller is perfect for these highly developed tourist friendly areas.  You then decided to go check out one of the Andaman islands after hearing great stuff about it.  Boarding the speedboat isn’t bad but then you need to go from the speedboat to the off-shore loading platform, then to the long-tail and finally jump off to the beach.  Once you get to the beach, hopefully near your accommodation, you’ll have an extremely uncomfortable drag/carry ahead of you.  For reasons like this, a backpacks flexibility has made them the go to luggage for long-term travelling.  Therefore choosing a travel pack is one of your most important trip decisions.

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Arc’Teryx Bora 65 Backpack

Arc'Teryx Bora 65 Backpack

Our Arc’Teryx Bora 65 Backpacks are 2 of the best things we’ve purchased.  Despite the miles on them they’ve come through everything with flying colours.  Arc’Teryx has provided us with some great products.  They are located in Vancouver, Canada and produce very high quality gear that they completely stand behind.  Over the years we’ve had 3 backpacks (Bora 80 and 2 Bora 65’s), 4 Gore-Tex jackets (1 15-year-old and 3 newish Theta ARs) and 2 hooded Atom LT insulated jackets from them.  Their stuff isn’t cheap but it performs incredibly well, making them a perfect example of the phrase “you get what you pay for”.

Their solid construction means they more than pay for themselves in the long run due to their longevity.  My 15-year-old Theta AR jacket still looks good and once washed with the correct DWR detergents still performs well.  There’s just some things that have failed with so many years of use such as the snow skirt drawstring glue failing and pocket liners delaminating, likely from always holding my keys.  The packs have been abused by airlines while going around the world several times.  After a recent pressure wash to remove sea salt, they still look great and have given us zero issues after 15+ years of use.  Helen returned her original, 2-year-old Arc’Teryx Theta AR because of some bubbling in one small spot on the fabric.  They sent her a brand new jacket no questions asked.

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Hosting a New Website

How do you go about hosting a new website?  This is another big step in the process of starting a blog.  There are so many choices out there, you will probably suffer from information overload once you start researching how and where to host your site.  There are 2 main decisions to make:

  1. How should I host it?: the type of hosting service you need such as home servershared, dedicated, VPS etc.
  2. What hosting company to pick to provide that type of hosting service.

The two are obviously related.  Depending on the type of hosting you need will drive your hosting company choice.  For instance if I decide to go the shared hosting route I’ll research what is a top shared hosting company.  The main drivers of the first choice are what kind of money you want to spend and how technical you are.

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