Why a Portable Pocket Wifi Might Keep You Sane in Japan

Japan remains a tech giant, despite having been hit by a generations-long economic recession. It has some of the best internet infrastructure in the world, and it’s had it for longer than most countries in the world. That said, it’s critical to consider how you plan to stay connected when traveling or living in Japan.

While you can just use your mobile provider’s roaming service, we highly recommend you rent pocket wifi in Japan, or arrange for one to be delivered to you as soon as you arrive at the airport. There are several compelling reasons you’d rather rent a portable pocket wifi device than consider the alternatives, especially if you’re not planning to live in Japan for over a year.

Here are just a few reasons you should get a portable wifi device on your next trip.

Free wifi access is difficult to find

In contrast to most other developed countries, you won’t find reliable free wifi at most train stations and malls. When these are available, usually at hotels, they’re usually quite inconsistent due to the sheer number of people who may be using that connection. Having a pocket wifi device on hand makes it a snap to get connected wherever you may be.

You’ll find it easier to travel

Maps, street signs, and other important directions in Japan are of course, in hiragana and katakana. If you don’t have a good grasp of Japanese, it’s all too easy to get lost. This isn’t helped by the fact they also have an unusual map and address system that may vary depending on where you are. With a pocket wifi, you will spend more time at your intended location and less time getting lost.

There are no Offline Google Maps in Japan

In the Japanese market, Google does not allow the offline use of Google Maps, among many other things. Apple Maps also has its issues as well. With a ready internet connection, this problem becomes moot and it becomes incredibly simple to navigate around the country – particularly around the Japanese transit system, which can be quite confusing to visitors.

Countryside connectivity

Having an internet connection in the countryside is also a snap with a pocket wifi. Pocket wifi devices are still able to deliver a fast internet connection outside of cities, which is pretty incredible considering there are still cellphone dead zones in Japan. Without a pocket wifi, the only alternative would be to pay huge roaming charges, which can be unsustainable for many travelers.

Pocket wifi is cheaper than roaming

We all know how expensive data roaming can be. For travelers who need to be constantly connected, the final bill for a short trip could easily be hundreds of dollars, and it’s quite unsustainable for long-term travelers. A pocket wifi is a cheaper way to get online that allows you to connect more than one device to the internet. Contrast this with prepaid SIM cards, the other popular solution, which can only be used on one device.

The next time you go to Japan, just get a pocket wifi. Pocket Wifi rental companies like Japan Wifi Buddy can help you get connected as soon as you land in Japan, giving you peace of mind throughout your whole trip.

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What You Need to Know About California “City Shirts”

City shirts or shirts that have specific towns and cities as a theme are nothing ne. They have been a popular motif for t-shirts since shirt printing became popular. However, not all so-called “city shirts” are made equal. California city shirts are virtually a genre into their own for many reasons. Some of these include:

Different varieties

Unlike with many states, the sheer breadth and variety of shirt types are represented. California city shirts include tees (made popular by the film industry in Hollywood), raglans (made popular by Southern California surfers and punks), hoodies (a staple of wardrobes across the entire Golden State), tank tops (a Cali favorite all-year round) and even classic sweatshirts (no California college student would be without one). Given the state’s role in popularizing so many garments we take for granted today, it’s not surprising city shirts would come in so many different styles and varieties.

A selection of cities

San Francisco, Los Angeles, and other areas such as San Diego, Sacramento, San Jose, and the Inland Empire are all iconic places in their own right, and their residents as passionate about them as they are about their state. This makes collecting California city shirts a continuing challenge as a near-infinite deluge of designs are available, featuring different cities as a theme.

An ever-expanding selection of designs

Speaking of designs, more and more are added by shirt designers and enthusiasts every single day. With California’s status as a leader in world culture, tech, entertainment, and style there’s always something happening that will inspire a new shirt design. Even the skylines and the unique urban nightscapes have an iconic status, making these another existing theme in California shirt design.

Enduring popularity

We all know someone whose favorite shirt is one that shows off their love for their hometown. There’s just something about a well-designed, well-made shirt with a city theme that’s really earnest and endearing. This is especially true when the city in the design is something close to the heart of the wearer.

The earnestness that it takes to create a tribute to a city that you love is infectious – even if it is just a t-shirt. By owning and wearing a city shirt, you are expressing your love – and what can be more beautiful than that?

Awesome as gifts

California receives the most foreign and domestic tourists of any American state. We can guarantee that city shirts are among the most popular, if not the most popular types of gift items that tourists get for themselves and their loved ones.

The sheer breadth of the designs and the love that goes into making many California city shirts ensures that there is virtually a shirt for everyone. Do they live in a cold place? Get them a hoodie. Do they like to go to the gym? Get them a tank top. Not sure what to get someone? Just get them a T-shirt of your favorite city. It’s all good.

What are your favorite California city shirt designs? We’d love to know!

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9 Essential Tips When Flying with Children

You’ve probably heard about or had to live through the horror of getting stuck beside a screaming baby on a long-haul flight. Bored and angry toddlers can easily create havoc for parents and surrounding passengers alike. That is aside from the problems that parents have trying to keep up with their kids on top of all the logistics of flying. However, with the proper preparation, there are some things you and your family can do to make sure that your traveling experience goes as smoothly as possible. Here are nine essential tips for when flying with children.

Plan on Providing Entertainment for Your Children

Don’t expect your kids to sleep on the flight. You can ask for the kids to visit the cockpit, but you may not be allowed to do so. So for your own sanity and that of everyone else around you, bring multiple activities for your children. You can bring a tablet or eBook reader, but realize that they may get bored with it, break it, or the batteries may run out at some point. For that reason, you should bring backup entertainment options like coloring books and crayons, sticker books, story books, cards and stuffed animals. For younger children, bring at least one favorite blanket for them to hold on to.

Bring Snacks for Your Children

Let’s be honest – your kid may not be able or willing to eat the fancy lunch they’re serving on the flight. You might not want to trust them with the roast beef and green beans, or they may be allergic to the main course. Bringing snacks that they like ensures they won’t go hungry. They may not be happy when told dinner won’t be served for another hour or all of the sandwiches that they like may have been eaten by the time the stewardess gets to you, so having food they like ensures they won’t melt down because they’re hungry.

Plan Toilet Stops

Plan to make regular toilet stops, and then make extra stops when you’re going to be in line. This means you should go to the toilet right before boarding the plane. Give your kids limited liquids while on the flight so they don’t have to go to the toilet every five minutes.

Go for Early Boarding

Take advantage of early boarding if you can. It is easier to get your children and your luggage in place when there are fewer people in the aisle. This is the time you’ll be able to get assistance, if you need it. You may not even have to pay extra for the privilege. If the airline asks whether those with small children or otherwise need assistance boarding, speak up. Then see if you can get someone else to get the stroller and three carry-on bags in the overhead bin.

Invest in Rolling Car Seats

One of the simplest ways to save your sanity when traveling with young children is investing in an airline-approved car seat that rolls. Now you don’t have to juggle several suitcases and car seats. The ideal model will let a sleeping or busy toddler sleep in the car seat as you pull them along.

Connect with Other Parents

Whenever possible, connect with other parents on the flight. You could strike up conversations with them about their kids and yours, and your kids could entertain themselves by talking to their new best friends. It certainly doesn’t hurt if you can get spare diapers or tips from another parent. However, this doesn’t get you out of your responsibility to pack enough wet wipes, pull ups and diapers for your children.

Be Ready to Talk to a Flight Attendant

If you have a child under two, you should be ready to talk to a flight attendant when you board. They need to know if you’re going to have the child sitting in your lap during the flight. Knowing the rules on asking for a bottled to be warmed or how to handle diapers in advance helps you avoid potential disasters, because you cannot put them in the toilet. Don’t forget to ask how to hold the baby during takeoff and landing.

Prepare Them for Pressure Changes

Children will complain about their ears popping when you’re on a flight. Discuss this in advance, and know how they can alleviate it. Hint – that’s by yawning or chewing gum. If the children are old enough, bring gum on the flight so you have it on hand. For babies and toddlers, give them pacifiers or a bottle to have the same effect.

Know Your Rights

There is a chance that your flight will get cancelled. Make sure that you know your rights regarding flight cancellation compensation before you leave so you’ll know the procedure in case something happens. Services like AirHelp can get you several hundred dollars back that you could otherwise leave on the table. You should also know about the travel perks that may come with your credit card or travel rewards program, such as immediate cash payment if they lose your luggage for instance.

Follow these tips, and you’ll avoid many of the mistakes that make others regret traveling with their children. Furthermore, you will all be in a better mood when you reach your destination, ready to enjoy whatever awaits.

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5 Family Vacation Ideas That Work with Your Budget

Everybody enjoys a good vacation, but planning one can be quite the headache—and an expensive one at that. Not everyone can afford to fly out together to an exotic getaway, but just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean you need to skip out on vacations altogether. Being smart with your money, as well as doing the right research, will help you get the most out of your budget as possible. At the end of the day, all you want is for the whole family to bond, have fun, and come home with happy memories.

Here are some budget-friendly ideas that you can use when planning your next vacation:

1. Plan a Hotel Staycation

Staycations are all the rage these days since it has all the components of what makes a great vacation, without having to travel so far away. But instead of staying in one place all day, why not switch it up a bit and use the time to explore? Choose a hotel with a strategic location, where you can experience the secrets of the metro without having to rush. Family-friendly hotels like Pinoy Pamilya Hotel in Pasay, for example, is centrally located near many historical sites and entertainment centers.

2. Go on a Road Trip

Why book a plane ticket when you can simply drive there? Packing the family into a car and setting off on an adventure is a favored vacation activity for many. You can plan a driving route that stops over in as many tourist spots as possible, pack your meals to ease up on the budget, and simply take photos as souvenirs. Another road trip option includes visiting a relative who lives far away and taking your time to get there to get the most out of your road trip.

3. Get into Sporty Activities

Shake things up and get active on your next family adventure. Go to a park or a nature reserve (you don’t even have to go far: UP Diliman has an open field to play in and the La Mesa Eco-Park has many fun activities the whole family can participate in), or you can also visit a bicycle park and rent bikes for everyone. Other activities you might want to try include hiking, swimming, kite-flying, rafting, obstacle courses, camping, rock climbing, and more. Many beach resorts even offer water sports, easily allowing you a way to spice up a regular beach trip.

4. Go on a Cultural Trip

Sometimes you don’t even need to go far to have fun. Going on a culture trip in Old Manila provides a jam-packed day of adventure on its own already: go museum hopping in the museum complex, bike through the historic walled city of Intramuros, walk through Luneta Park, catch a glorious sunset along Roxas Boulevard, then end the day on a ride at Star City. The beauty of Old Manila is that the attractions are located close to each other so you merely need to walk to each spot or hop on a jeepney to get there.

5. Go Home-Swapping

Renting an Airbnb is a perfect example of home-swapping. Budget-conscious families can go on a vacation in another region and experience life as it is lived there, as well as visit whatever attractions are nearby. This is best for families looking to go on a trip but can’t afford a fancy hotel. Home-swapping is also great since it provides a homey environment—almost replicating the thrill of just moving into a new home while providing all the comfort that home offers.

You don’t need a lot of money to have fun and make new memories with your family. With just a little creativity, as well as a dash of resourcefulness, you can go places—literally!

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Dealing With Disaster on a Vacation

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When you head away on vacation, you expect to let your hair down and relax for a week or two in some desirable destination overseas. You choose a convenient flight, arrange comfortable accommodation, and pack your case with swimsuits, towels, and other bits and bobs that will tide you over during the warm weather and allow you to splash about in the pool and sea or kick back on a lounger on the beach. However, it’s important to bear in mind that while the majority of vacations go swimmingly, some don’t always stick to plan. There are various things that can go wrong along the way and it’s important that you know what to do should things take a turn for the worse. Here are a few problems that you might experience while on vacation along with some advice regarding how to best deal with the situations.

Accidents

Accidents can happen anywhere and at anytime. So, it’s important that you are aware that you could experience an accident while on vacation. This is something that you should keep in the forefront of your mind when you head to countries that have less stringent health and safety laws, rules, and regulations in particular. In advance of your trip, you should take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Generally speaking, people tend to associate travel insurance with something that covers the cost of lost or damaged belongings while you are away. Sure, your policy should cover this. But instead, prioritise the ways in which your policy protects you individually. Travel insurance should have a high limit on the amount of money you can claim back for healthcare costs. This means that if you have to make use of medical assistance while you are away, you won’t have to worry about being in major debt once you return. Travel insurance should also cover transporting you back home should needs be. Once you are home, you should contact Robinette Legal Group’s legal services. Reliable lawyers will be able to create a case on your behalf against the individual or company who has caused your accident. You may be able to claim compensation, which will go towards any uncovered medical costs and which can replace lost earnings while you recover.

Illness

Like accidents, illness can affect you at any time without any given warning. Now, when you are heading overseas, you may find yourself exposed to all sorts of germs and bacteria that your body isn’t used to, as they may not be present or prevalent back home. This is why it’s extremely important that you have relevant immunisations and vaccinations before heading away. Generally speaking, you will be able to consult your doctor and they will be able to advise what injections you will need and how long you will have to have them before you go on vacation. You will usually need more immunisations if you will be spending time in rural areas rather than major cities. You should also ensure that you have malaria tablets and mosquito spray if you are heading to a location where malaria is a threat. Another way that you can prevent illness while away is to be particularly vigilant in regards to what food and drink you consume. Determine whether tap water is safe in your chosen destination. If not, always drink bottled water and make sure that the bottle is sealed (so you can be sure that the water is fresh and hasn’t been opened and refilled with tap water). When eating out, check whether water used in ice cubes or to wash salads is clean too. It’s always a good idea to take basic medication with you to alleviate any symptoms that you may experience.

Sunburn

Another factor that commonly causes issues for individuals on vacation is sunburn. But this can be so easily prevented! Make sure to take a high factor sunscreen with you and to apply it regularly throughout the day. Sit in the shade during particularly hot periods and wear a sunhat and sunglasses. You may also want to use cooling and calming aftersun products once you retreat to your room. If you do develop sunburn, stay out of the sun until you have recovered and consider using aloe vera gel, which can soothe the burn.

Hopefully, your vacation will go well and you won’t have to even consider disaster. Following the above steps, however, will help to prevent certain incidents from occurring in the first place and will help you to deal with any incidents that do occur as efficiently as possible!

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Luxury Travel That Doesn’t Cost a Fortune

The idea of what constitutes luxury is clearly subjective, yet for most people it involves jetting off to a faraway place in opulent surroundings. Of course, it depends what you’re used to, as some people wouldn’t consider a trip to be luxurious unless they were flying first class, or perhaps even in a private jet – this article isn’t quite for that demographic.

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That said, if you’ve ever looked into how much does it cost to charter a private jet, then you’ll know it’s not actually as much as you might think. Indeed, if you’re travelling as a large family or group of friends, sometimes chartering a private jet can even save money – rarely – but it’s possible!

This is particularly the case if you’re flying from quite a remote location, or somewhere that isn’t particularly well connected – particularly in the US, where for instance, a 30 minute plane ride from Huntsville (AL) to Atlanta (GA) can cost $200!

Now we’ve established that everyone’s idea of luxury is different and this article isn’t going to be all about caviar and champagne, let’s dig into some of the best destinations to live a luxurious life on a budget.

However, before we do that, let’s look at a few principles of squeezing the most from your budget in order to have a more luxurious experience.

    1. Don’t Fly Business Class
    If you want a luxurious experience without paying the steep fares for business class, then you can follow this simple trick and get a business class-like experience that will feel much more VIP than your regular travels without costing a fortune.

    Most airports have premium lounges, where First Class and Business Class customers get access to food, alcohol, super fast WiFi, massage chairs and sometimes even real-life masseuses. Did you know that you can pay to access these lounges, as a normal passenger of any airline – even low cost airlines?

    There are a number of passes available that allow you to use premium airport lounges throughout the world, for a very reasonable amount of money, in fact, sometimes these perks are included for free with a premium bank account or credit card.

    2. Be Flexible
    The more flexible you are with your flights, the cheaper they will be, as flight seats are sold off in bands; for instance, Band A might be $100, then Band B is $120, with Band J priced at $240. Once Band A tickets have been sold, Band B g on sale, and so on… meaning, the earlier you book the cheaper the flights tend to be.

    Of course, sometimes, airlines will discount a significant number of tickets close to the time, as the plane does not have the occupancy it should do by that point – but the general rule is to book in advance, and be as flexible with dates as you possible can be.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than paying $300 for a flight, that you know, the next day is being sold at $120! That said, you can’t always be flexible with your dates, as flights must fit around life rather than the other way around – and most people travelling, are doing so as a vacation from work, meaning they have a specific window.

    3. Compare
    You should get yourself onto a flight comparison site such as Momondo or SkyScanner that compare routes and prices for most major airlines. This way, you can save a small fortune on the cost of your ticket… and it’s particularly helpful if you’re not too sure where you want to go, as you can search by country rather than city, or simply search “Everywhere” as your destination – meaning the cheapest flights from your departure airport will be shown, to everywhere in the world!

    You also want to use sites such as TravelSupermarket to compare hotel prices – as whilst you might have a favourite platform such as Hotels.com or Expedia, often the same hotel will be sold off at different price points by each of the OTAs (online travel agents). Therefore, using a comparison engine like this will transparently show what each OTA is charging for the same room.

    Moreover, with comparison sites, you tend to find a much broader range of properties to choose from as they are searching most major bed banks and online travel agents to bring you the best deals.

    4. Save And Splurge
    The concept of save and splurge means you want to save on certain things, that don’t matter too much (e.g. car rental) but then splurge on once in a lifetime activities such as swimming with the dolphins or skydiving. There are many ways you can save money whilst travelling, particularly when it comes to food – yet it shouldn’t be all about saving money, as, after all, there should be an element of luxury to this trip.

    Therefore, what if you were to have picnic lunches for two days (rather than eating out) so that with the money saved, you can afford a Michelin starred tasting menu! That is the perfect example for save and splurge.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at three destinations to live life like a king (or queen) without it costing a fortune.

1. Morocco
Morocco has been somewhat of a mecca for tourists looking for something a little more edgy, for decades, yet nowadays the market has turned very upmarket with a number of elite riads (palatial houses) catering to an affluent audience.

A riad experience is not like anything you’re likely to have encountered before – there’s a certain intimacy yet refinement that makes one feel very much like ‘king of the castle’. Indeed, some riads come with a ‘house boy’ that acts as a concierge though the dynamic is such that it can feel like something from Arabian Nights, where you are the master of the house.

Marrakech is a great place to visit in Morocco, albeit intense, particularly in the summer heat that can get up to fifty degrees celsius! Here, you’ll find the souks and cultural hub that is Morocco’s most frequented tourist town – whilst retaining a very traditional and authentic feel to the city.

Then, if you wanted a little more adventure you have the Sahara Desert at your doorstep, or the coastal town of Essaouira, just a couple of hours drive away, which is a cooler and more relaxed place to chill out than Marrakesh.

2. Thailand
Thailand has something to offer everyone; as a culture, Thai’s are known for being great with children and are very accomodating of families. At the same time, they welcome all types of travellers from budget backpackers to hedonist honeymooners.

The great thing about Thailand, from a cost perspective, is that even though it’s relatively expensive when compared to places such as Indonesia, it has good infrastructure and the quality of five star accommodation tends to be of a five star standard. Indeed, there’s nothing more frustrating when travelling to different countries and their rating system isn’t on par with what you’re used to.

In Bangkok, for instance, you can get a decent five star hotel of a recognised brand such as Westin or Le Meridien for less than $100. If you go for a less well known brand, that is of a five star standard, then you could bag a bargain in the region of $50 – which is the same price as many rundown motels in the states.

Then, we have the food. Thailand is known for its food, and when you consider the price of something such as prawn fried rice in most countries being in the region of $10, in Thailand, you can find this for just $1 (if you know where to look). Most tourist places, of good quality, will charge more in the region of $3, yet, given the freshness and size of the prawns in question – it provides exceptional value.

3. India
Whilst India isn’t at the top of most people’s luxury travel bucket list, there are some really good options for luxury travel to be found in India. The prices are cheap, which means you can live very well for very little – and in India, there is the option for extravagant places, unlike neighbouring Nepal or Pakistan where very few options exist for people seeking luxurious comfort.

If you head down toward Kerala and Goa, for instance, there are a number of wonderful properties that you can find on Mr and Mrs Smith which will set you back a fair amount, but provide phenomenal value.

And, when you think about luxury travel that doesn’t cost a fortune – that’s what your focus should be – value. We often focus way too much on how much something costs, when it tends to be a more sensible approach to look at the value that’s offered. For instance, a hotel that costs $100 but provides a phenomenal service and opulent experience versus a hotel that costs just $20 but is next to a busy road with horns honking all night long – the more expensive option tends to provide much better value.

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