Shermanstravel Blog

Travel Gear

Are you the type who starts planning for a trip months ahead of your departure, or do you prefer to wait until the last minute, speed-read a guidebook on the plane, and just leave the rest up to fate? Whatever your tactics (or lack thereof), the digital age has heralded a new breed of travel tools, designed to help intrepid travelers educate themselves about a destination so they can plan their trip effectively. Here are a few online resources that will surely enhance your next jaunt to a couple of key destinations… Read more

BorneoBorneo, the world’s third largest island, has seen significant portions of its rainforest cut down by logging companies over the years. Still, it remains one of the premier jungles in Southeast Asia, offering adventure travelers the sort of inspiring jaunts that are more typical in South America or Africa. Borneo is home to the endangered Bornean orangutan, the world’s largest flower, and is shared between three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei.

We hunkered down on the Malaysia side for two weeks, using Kuching as a home base for exploration. While the upfront cost to get there hurts (approximately $1,400 round-trip from New York City), visitors will be pleased with how cheaply they can feed and entertain themselves once on the ground. Here’s a breakdown of where you’ll spend – and where you won’t – next time you plan a trip to this southeast Asian island. Read more

Neiman MarcusWhen you fly, you have enough to worry about without stressing over the size of your liquid containers (3.4 ounces, max), or the plastic bag you put them in (1 quart). So we put together a list of some travel-friendly containers that hold everything from hair products and makeup, to perfumes and vitamins, and will get you through security quickly. They might even add a little style to your travel ensemble. Here’s the list… Read more

LugDon’t let snow, sleet, or Polar Vortex-level temperatures ruin a cold-weather vacation. With these affordable items for men, women, and kids, you’ll be prepared for whatever weather-related surprises January (and February, March, and April) have in store. Best of all, you won’t even have to spend a lot to keep warm. Here are ten of our favorites… Read more

Hotel Sleep

Filling up your itinerary is a great way to make the most out of any trip, but to fully enjoy your waking moments, it’s worth knowing how (and when) to properly rest. Here, a few ways to overcome common challenges on the road, like jet lag and disruptive noise, plus tips for better napping in transit and recommendations for useful gear we like taking on our own exploits. Read more

iPropBecause you have enough to worry about when traveling (see: delays, security lines, and those pesky airline fees), these tech favorites make life a little bit easier. Whether you want your electronics to be 100 percent charged, need to write an entire email free of typos, or look your best when you land, we rounded up 9 must-have gadgets. In no particular order: Read more

FACEDTOX-TRAVEL

Just because you don’t spring for the hotel spa doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some pampering while you travel – especially with this fab giveaway we’re hosting on Twitter this week.

Giovanni is an eco-friendly hair and skincare brand that’s been lauded by the likes of AllureGood Housekeeping, and more. Perfect for the well-groomed traveler, their travel kits include carry-on-sized sets of their bestselling products, all of which are free of parabens, phthalates, and sulfates (read: harmful chemicals found in many skincare products).

Three lucky ShermansTravel readers will win one of these treats:

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620x400_Scuola-del-Cuoio_FlorenceItaly wasn’t created for one-stop shopping – in fact, it’s not even that well suited to single-destination trips. Rome? Venice? Florence? How to choose? Well, you might not have to. The Italy deal in this week’s Top 25 newsletter offers a six-night train ride including a two-night stop in at each of those iconic cities. Since you won’t be spending the entire trip watching the scenery go by (at least, we hope not), here’s a look at the best shops to visit to take home a one-of-a-kind, easy-to-pack souvenir. Read more

Of course, the best gift you could get for your travel-obsessed friend would be a ticket to some far-off destination. But, no matter how deep the bond of friendship, most of our budgets don’t quite stretch that far. Here are a few more (affordable) ideas.

Wall Maps

Maps of all stripes make travelers happy. National Geographic is offering a giant personalized world map. You personalize up to 70 characters of text for the map title, and then your jetsetting friend or loved one can place different colored pins to signify places they’ve been, their dream destinations, and genealogical roots. It’s a little pricey at $169, so, for something cheaper, how about this scratch map ($20) where you scratch off the places you’ve been.

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Meeting new people can be one of the most exhilarating parts of any trip, especially if you’re traveling solo, but it’s not always easy. Approaching strangers can be both intimidating and unnatural for a lot of travelers. With the help of some new apps and web sites, however, you’re not restricted to making new connections at the bar, in tourist hotspots, or in hard-to-find local haunts. If you’ve got a smartphone and wifi, try one of these travel-focused tools…

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NYCMTAMap_sizedNew York’s MTA transit system contains 468 stations, 345 rail and subway lines and bus routes, and over 2,000 miles of track. No wonder you need a map to figure it out! Here are five of the best smartphone apps for navigating the NYC subway and New York’s regional transit systems. These apps can be a lifesaver for visitors.

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Duolingo Home ScreenWhen I tell people that I’m learning German via an app, Duolingo, I usually get a blank stare or a chuckle. It seems unlikely to some that learning a language on an iPhone, on a free program and for under 10 minutes per day, could show results. It isn’t until I take out my phone and show the naysayers the streamlined design, helpful features, and game-like structure that they begin to understand my new Duolingo addiction. For those who like to learn a bit of the local language before they travel, this app could be the perfect tool.

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The iconic yellow cab is known in practically every culture as a symbol of on-demand transportation, catering to both disoriented tourists and rushed locals alike. But in the digital age, the way we call for and utilize on-demand transport is changing. E-hail apps, as they’re known, harness the power of GPS in order to bring a ride directly to you, thus significantly changing the taxi game. Legislators are still ironing out the kinks in many cities, though both San Francisco and New York have already embraced the cab hailing tech revolution.

Here’s a look at the biggest players, what they offer, and how much they charge for their services. Read more

Airline In-flight iPad OfferingsAs the popularity of mobile devices continues to grow, the airline industry – often slow to react to such changes – has begun redefining the notion of in-flight entertainment. Unlike the ceiling-mounted displays that used to force entire cabins to watch the same movie, or even the individual, behind-the-seat monitors we are all accustomed to now, newer hand-held entertainment devices are being tailored exclusively for passengers.

On flights where in-seat displays aren’t available, the addition of tablets is a huge boon, though arguments for their alleged “benefits” (small size, multiple viewing angles, ability to share with neighboring passengers) get a little shaky. However, for die-hard tablet fans – or those simply interested in a different take on in-flight entertainment, here’s a look at which airlines are now offering the devices on-board. Read more

Samantha Brown ShermansTravelFor 13 years, Samantha Brown has captivated travel audiences with her down-to-earth, approachable personality, both on screen and off. After hosting countless shows on the Travel Channel (Great HotelsPassport to EuropeGreat Weekends, and Passport to Latin America, to name a few) and traveling to more than 220 cities in 49 countries, she’s much more than a travel expert. I got to speak to her this week about her travels, from what to pack to what her favorite destinations are. Here’s a sampling of our conversation: Read more

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