Posts in Travel Advice
Carrying on: Luggage Edition

Roller bag or backpack? Hard sided or soft?  Two wheels or four?  With built in phone charger or not?  $69 or $999?

Buying a suitcase can be as simple as answering those five questions, or you can take the approach I’ve taken: spend far too many hours researching, trying suitcases, and even buying far more than I care to admit.  (In fact, every time I comment on Keith’s quest for the perfect camera bag, he reminds me that my suitcase collection rivals his camera bag collection.  Watch for his camera bag recommendations in a future post.)

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Red Dot Blue Dot's Best Amazon Prime Day Deals for Travelers

Amazon’s Prime Day (ok, really two days in 2019) is here! Each of the last five years, we’ve found great deals on items that have enhanced our travels. Here are the items we’re watching for this year (between midnight Sunday, July 14 (Pacific time) and midnight Tuesday, July 16). If we’ve overlooked something, let us know in the comments!

First, if you’re not already a Prime Member, sign up for a free 30 day trial here.

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Carrying on: Medicine Edition

Traveling around the world in one carry-on and a backpack takes some planning.  (I often think of Rick Steves’ advice: “No one ever comes back from a trip and says ‘Next time, I’ll pack more.’”)  Because we get questions about this so often, we’re starting a series of posts on packing. (If you missed it, check out our post on laundry – a key part of being able to pack light.) 

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8 Packing Dos and Don’ts

Summer is officially here, the time to load up the (metaphorical) station wagon and head for the hills.  Whether you’re loading up a literal car or flying somewhere, packing can be stressful and unpleasant.  And when you add camera equipment to the equation, packing can be painful as you worry about getting your camera bag on board.

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Serendipity in Travel: Our 2019 Kauai Trip

One of our Photographers in Focus, Craig Semetko is big on serendipity, giving talks and workshops on finding and introducing serendipity in your photography and life.  Other than hearing Craig speak, I’d never thought much about serendipity in travel, until our April, 2019 trip to Kauai left me realizing Craig might just be onto something.

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Airing our Dirty Laundry: Managing Laundry and Long-Term Travel

One of the most frequent questions we get about travel is how we pack with one carry-on bag and one backpack each, whether for a trip that spans 10 weeks and 15 countries like last summer’s, or for shorter trips.  People often say “I could never do that because I work out” or “I need dress clothes” or “I carry a camera with me.”  I usually just nod and smile…

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A Traveler’s Guide for Panama City, Panama

Five hundred year old Panama City, Panama was never on my travel radar until last January when a friend emailed that he was planning a gathering there to celebrate his birthday.  Within less than an hour, we had checked flight availability and booked miles tickets on Copa via United.  Fast forward to Thanksgiving Day, when we were among the few intrepid travelers at O’Hare awaiting a very early morning direct flight to Panama City.  

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How to visit Taboga Island from Panama City, Panama Without the Group Tour

If your Panama trip is limited to Panama City, you may want to fit in a visit to a nearby beach.  There are a few within a two hour drive, but we didn’t want to rent a car for a day or do a full day tour.  Instead, while we were having breakfast one day during our stay, another person at the same event told us about Taboga Island.  We decided to check it out later that day.

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The Red Dot Blue Dot Guide to Inspiring Kauai

I tried to cancel our honeymoon.  We were in Chicago for 12 hours between our wedding and our very early morning flight to Kauai, and in that time, I told my new husband that I wanted to cancel our honeymoon.  He vetoed that plan, and instead packed for me (which is why I still own a week’s worth of clothes from the Lihue, Kauai Walmart and Hilo Hattie’s) and we went anyway.

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She said, he said: 2018 in review.

In 2018 we visited 19 countries — 16 of them for the first time.  One or both of us visited US cities from San Francisco to Washington, DC, Carmel, Indiana to Miami, Florida.  

All in all, Amy spent just shy of 5 months traveling and Keith wasn’t far behind.  From stepping briefly into North Korea at the DMZ to nearly a month in different trips to Cuba we were fortunate to see more of the world in 2018 than any other year of our lives, and were even inducted into the Circumnavigators Club.  We decided to look back on our 2018 travels as we look forward to 2019.  As usual, we didn’t always agree.  Check out our 2018 Year in Review He Said, She Said below.

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See a Country in a Day: Our Daytrip to Andorra

The tiny country of Andorra sits about a three hour drive from Barcelona, landlocked between France in the north and Spain in the south.  The “microstate” is one of the smallest countries in the world by both population (fewer than 80,000 people) and landmass (180 square miles).  It is mainly known for its low tax shopping, skiing, and hiking that attract 10 million visitors each year.  (Yes, you read that right – 10 million visitors each year in a tiny country with only 80,000 citizens.)  


Frankly, not the kind of place where we’d normally want to hang out long-term, but as a day trip, why not? We had already booked several commitments in Barcelona (Sagrada Familia, the Picasso Museum, etc.) that required us to be in Barcelona all but one day of our time there, which happened to be the last full day of our trip.

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She said, he said...month two.

This is the anniversary of our second month of full time travel.  We have some work that requires us to be in the United States for our coaching and consulting business, Apochromatik, for the next couple of weeks.  But don’t worry — RedDotBlueDot continues as we have several more international and domestic (USA) destinations on the docket before the end of the year.  (And many, many posts to write for the Blue Blog and photos to share on the Red Blog!) 

With that said, how was month two?  Aren’t you just dying to know?

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Deadliest Food Tour: Tokyo Edition

In his book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly, Anthony Bourdain confessed that for his very first meal on his first trip to Tokyo, in his jet-lagged and exhausted state, he was so intimidated by the soba restaurants and overwhelming nature of Tokyo that he went to Starbucks.  After considering his options, though, he bought a latte, rallied, and dove in to Tokyo.   

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A Guide to Guides: 21 Questions to Ask and Tips to Make the Most of a Group Tour or Private Guide

On our most recent Facebook Live (you can see them all on our Facebook page if you missed one), one of the questions was about using guides.  It is important to us that RedDotBlueDot be a place where readers can learn from our mistakes and benefit from our experiences.  So a more detailed answer to this question is in order . . . .

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