Entries in ‘Travel Gear’ Journal

Ara Travel Shoes with Gore-Tex, Travel Gear Review

Friday July 6, 2012 at 10:10 AM | 1 Comment

"Ara Mercedes"

Ara Mercedes Travel Gear Review; slip on loafer with Gore-Tex for the active traveler

Comfortable, fashionable, waterproof shoes ideal for travel

With baggage fees escalating and carry on luggage restrictions tightening, traveling light is more important than ever.  Packing too many shoes is often the reason for over-weight luggage.  Having one pair of versatile shoes will help travelers avoid those extra baggage fees and stay comfortable and fashionable during travel. During a recent trip to Toulouse, France, I put the Ara Mercedes loafer to the test. Long walks through cobblestone streets in the morning, followed by hotel check in’s and formal French dinners had my Ara shoes performing double duty.

Year round footwear offered in Ara shoes with Gore-Tex

If you read the What a Trip blog regularly, you know that my home base is in Northern California. With temperate weather year round, those of us living in the San Francisco Bay Area don’t have to trade summer sandals for winter footwear. Instead, I trade waterproof sandals for waterproof loafers and topsiders.

Ara Mercedes Travel Loafer

For my trip to Toulouse, France, I selected the Ara Mercedes shoe for its cushioned comfort, easy slip on- slip off  loafer design, fashionable suede look and waterproof Gore-Tex features.

So what makes the shoes waterproof? The secret lies in the microporous structure of the Gore-Tex membrane. It consists of approximately 1.4 billion pores per square centimeter (about the size of a thumbnail!) These pores are about 20,000 times smaller than a drop of water, so no moisture can penetrate through the membrane from the outside.

One pair of travel shoes with Gore-Tex can take you from a morning business meeting, to a day of sightseeing to dinner and drinks – all while keeping your feet cool, dry and comfortable.  The Gore-Tex waterproof, breathable membrane provides protection from the weather and offers all-day comfort.

If You Go:

Ara Shoes

The Ara Mercedes shoe, with its special sole construction, helps to absorb shock and offers extra hold. The Ara Mercedes has a suggested retail price of $184.95.

Ara Mercedes shoe review written by Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. Gore-Tex supplied me with this travel gear for review.

Related Posts:

Kigo Footwear Travel Gear Review

Wolverine Boat Shoe Review


Travelrest 4-in-1 Travel blanket – Travel Gear Review

Friday June 29, 2012 at 8:08 AM | 0 Comments

"Travelrest blanket"

Travelrest 4-In-1 Travel Blanket – Travel Gear Review

Best Travel Tips – Travel Advice

With airlines cutting costs all around, does it ever make you wonder if you should really use that airline-issued blanket? Did that blanket really get cleaned on that last flight or was it simply re-packaged?

Perhaps I’m a bit jaded with the frequent flyer miles that I have racked up. I don’t use airline ice in my bottled water, typically bring my own food on the flight and carry-on my suitcase whenever possible to avoid lost luggage. That being said, I was happy to review the Travelrest 4-In-1 Travel blanket on a recent overnight flight from San Francisco to Paris, France.

Travelrest 4-in-1 Travel blanket
Traveling comfortably can often be at odds with traveling light – turning that small plane, train or car seat into a cocoon of rest and relaxation can mean lugging around pillows and blankets in addition to luggage. The Travelrest travel blanket is a handy, portable and comfortable solution. Made of soft and durable micro fleece, this poncho-style blanket keeps your hands free and gives shoulder-to-ankle coverage without worrying about the blanket slipping down mid-trip. The Travelrest blanket can also be folded up into its built-in carrying case, transforming into a pillow for head, neck or lumbar support. Available in beige or blue colors.

Travel blanket features:

  • Poncho style blanket designed to cover shoulders during travel
  • Built in carry case for easy transport
  • Micro fleece
  • Multiple uses for head, neck and lumbar support
  • Designed for plane travel, train travel, car travel and home use

My favorite “must have” travel items for short or long haul flights:

Briggs & Riley BRX Carry-on Luggage

Tom Bihn Checkpoint Flyer TSA approved laptop bag

What are your favorite “must-have” travel items?

If You Go:


Suggested retail of Travelrest blanket $24.95

HiGear Design supplied me with this travel product for review.

Related Post:

Sleep – Essential Travel Element

Giveaway: Fly Through Airport Security with Clear Card

Thursday June 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM | 24 Comments

"Harried Traveler"

Harried traveler making a mad dash through Vancouver's YVR Airport in Canada

Fancy yourself the James Bond type? Armed with high tech gadgets, Bond is able to enter high security buildings with his top-secret security clearance levels. At the wave of a hand or the scan of  an iris, Bond is able to go places not accessible to the mere mortal.

Biometrics could save you time at the airport

Enter Clear, the nation’s  biometric secure ID program that speeds you through airport security.  I recently joined Clear because I am a frequent flyer and I spend a lot of time waiting in airport security lines.  The Clear program recently launched its expedited traveler service at San Francisco International Airport (SFO). CLEARlanes will be located at every terminal at SFO, allowing all passengers on any airline to use their biometrics to speed through security.


Clear comes to San Francisco International Airport

Win your own Clear card FREE

Want your own Clear card? Leave a comment, including your e-mail address, offering a time-saving travel tip and you’ll be entered into the random drawing for your very own one-year James Bond experience, Clear card. Giveaway winner selected after June 30, 2012 deadline.

Everyone’s a winner here at What a Trip. Even if you don’t win the one-year Clear card, you’ll be able to experience the Clear card for three months compliments of Clear.  Enter code CMNB08 on the Clear page.  Hurry, this code expires July 31, 2012.


Verify your passport, scan your iris and provide fingerprints at Clearme.com

Clear at Denver, Orlando & San Francisco Airports

Since re-launching in November 2010, the CLEARlanes at Denver International Airport and Orlando International Airport have been used more than 500,000 times. CLEAR has a base of more than 200,000 members across the U.S., including about 40,000 in San Francisco.

CLEAR membership costs $179 for one year with unlimited use. Members may add their spouse or partner with the Family Plan for an additional $50. All children under 18 may use the CLEARlane free of charge, and with no enrollment necessary, when accompanied by an adult member. Enrollment can be a one or two-step process. Go straight to the airport to register online (don’t forget to bring your passport) or sign up on-line, you’ll need a credit card, and finish the process of passport verification, finger printing and iris image scan at an airport kiosk. Allow at least 15 minutes for the membership verification process.

For more up-to-date happenings, follow Clear on Twitter and like their page on Facebook. For all things travel related, follow Travel Expert Nancy D. Brown on Twitter.

"Clear card"

Speed through airport security with the Clear card.


WINNER: Congratulations Jen Leo. You are the winner of a one year CLEAR card. The winner was determined using Random.org.


If You Go:

CLEAR (855) ClearMe (253-2763)

The Clear card giveaway was sponsored by ClearMe.com. Clear supplied me with a one-year membership for review.

Related Posts:

How to Find Lost Luggage

Sleep – Essential Travel Element