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Travel Tips

A guide on choosing the best air mattress or sleeping pad for the trail

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camper waking up in sleeping bag

If you’re planning an overnight hike, the essentials that can make or break it are the essential provisions (food & water) and a good night’s sleep.

Getting the former right is not so complicated – you know your needs, you know the trek you’re tackling and you plan the volume and how energy-dense your food needs to be to keep you going.

On the other hand – getting a good night’s sleep outdoors is a bit trickier and calls for a bit more planning. The paramount choices you’ll need to make are the tent, the air mattress (or sleeping pad) and an add-on like a sleeping bag.

camper waking up in sleeping bagToday, we’ll look into what you need to know to choose a good air mattress. We’ll go over some basic rules-of-thumb and then we’ll mention a few specific products that might be right, depending on your scenario.

The basic questions

Before you even look at specific products, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:

  • Are you backpacking or driving to the trail?
  • Will you be setting permanent camp or move daily?
  • How do you adjust the size of the airbed to the size & shape of your tent?

Scenario 1: You’re driving to the trail & setting up camp to get back to each day

This is a scenario that will give you the most options to choose from because you don’t have to think about the weight of the airbed, the only thing to think about is fitting it into your tent.

The one mistake people make

You look at the space you have on the tent floor, you look at the dimensions of the air mattress, do the math and if they fit you might think that you’re OK.

It might sound basic, but we’ve seen it too often to ignore it – people tend not to take the slanted sides and the height of the air bed. This part is especially important if you have one of the two most common tent types – a ridge or a dome.

The inward sloping of the sides will become a problem if you go with a high-rise blow up mattress. The higher the air bed, the more it reduces the sleeping capacity of a tent with slanted walls.

For a 2-person tent

Rule of thumb: If it’s a 2-person tent you’re “working with”, a low-rise twin airbed or pad is your safest bet. Our picks as the best air mattresses for this scenario are the SoundAsleep Camping Series & the Lightspeed Outdoors TPU.

As per the user reviews we looked at, the SoundAsleep Camping Series is the top-rated classic airbed – it comes in Twin & Queen size, inflates in just under 3 minutes (the pump is included) and comes with a 1-year warranty.

SoundAsleep Air Mattress Queen

It sits at 9” and will not “waste” any significant tent space.

The Lightspeed Outdoors, on the other hand, is not what you’d call a classic model. The first thing that’s not classic about it is the material – it’s not vinyl but TPU. TPU is closer to the “feel” and characteristics of fabric than plastic.

It stretches less and, as a result, feels firmer.

The 2nd thing that’s worth mentioning is that it is an inch longer and an inch narrower than a twin airbed (usually 78 x 60 “). It sits at 8 inches high.

LightSpeed Outdoors TPU airbed

The SoundAsleep weighs just under 10 lbs (twin size) and the Lightspeed Outdoors is significantly lighter (just over 5 lbs).

Not only were these two models top-rated by users but they’re also labeled as best air mattress as per TheSleepStudies.com – a website that tests and reviews air beds.

For a 4-person tent

A 4-person tent will be approximately 65 feet square. These are large enough to comfortably fit in a queen size inflatable. Our pick here & the best queen size air mattress is the Coleman SupportRest.

coleman suppor rest air mattress

We didn’t have to do much research because this Coleman is the official camping air bed of the National Park Foundation.

It’s raised at about 20 inches and comes in Twin & Queen size. One thing to be aware of though, is that it doesn’t come with the pump by default. If you go with the Queen size, you’ll have to get the pump separately. The combined price of the two (the bed and the pump) is just over $70.

If you need something more durable & heavy-duty, you might look into Coleman DuraRest that was one of the top picks as per the Independent.co.uk.

Scenario 2: You’re backpacking or moving camp each day

In this scenario, an inflatable mattress will simply not be an option; they are too heavy to be carried around. You’ll want to go with a sleeping pad.

The best air camping air pads are significantly pricier than the options we mentioned above. The reason behind it is the fact that more technology goes into keeping you warm with a pad that’s lighter than 1 pound.

Our top pick here is the Therm-a-Rest NeoAir Xtherm. This Therm-a-Rest has been top-rated and listed as Editor’s choice as the best sleeping pad at OutDoorGearLab – a website that tests outdoor products, including sleeping pads.

Therm a Rest NeoAir Xtherm sleeping pad

What’s better about it is that the company managed to design so that it’s amazingly light and thin (just over 1 pound and 2.5 “).

They did it by using what they call triangular core baffles and ThermaCapture material. The former minimizes heat transfer between the ground and top surface of the pad, while the later reflects the body warmth of the sleeper.

If you don’t need so much insulation

If you’re not expecting cold night on the trail, you can go with something more budget-friendly, like the Klymit Static V. It’s wider and more comfortable than most pads in its price range. You can see more reference info about types and option you have when choosing a sleeping pad on REI.com

Do bear in mind that the R-value (describes how well the pad insulates the sleeper) of this Klymit is much lower than the mentioned Therm-a-Rest NeoAir (1.5 vs. 5.7). This means that it will keep you comfortable but won’t do much in terms of keeping you warm.

We believe we got our bases covered

This guide was planned to look at the process of choosing from different angles and scenarios. We believe we’ve covered 90 % of those. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comment section and we’ll do our best to help.

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Travel Tips

Get Peace of Mind When You Pre-Book Transportation

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Traveling is extremely fun, right? It helps you go to different destinations and enables you to have exposure to new people, cultures, and ideas. Many people travel with others so they can genuinely get a taste of life and share their experiences in real time with other people.

Remember that life is all about the experiences that you have and the memories that you make as these provide you with a life that is well lived.

Indeed, remember that your travel experiences, and other memories that you make are essential aspects of life because it gives your life a bit more flavor. You can feel a certain thrill when you are transferring from one airport to the other. It can give you joy because you are moving and being more free instead of being confined to one location.

Now, when it comes to a life well-lived, it certainly takes some effort. Most individuals find that they must be intentional about what they are trying to do to have the most opportunities in life.

This is certainly true for the traveler. The best travelers know that traveling is far from easy if you do not have the right amount of preparation.

Remember that it takes quite a bit of work to have a wonderful trip. It can be fun to have surprises, but it is best to have pleasant surprises. Here is what you need to know to have a pleasant trip.

Pre-Book a Transfer From Any Spanish Airport

If you find yourself in Spain, then you would want to make sure that you utilize the right modes of transportation to make sure that you get to your destination with ease. Thankfully, the beautiful country has great service providers that will make your travel life easier in this regard.

Remember that effective service providers will provide a taxi or a minibus. These service options are useful because they can cater to your various needs. For instance, if you have a large party, a minibus would be wonderful. If you have a small group of people, then a simple taxi would suffice.

These different options enable you to meet your needs regardless of the size of your overall party.

More Benefits in Pre-Booking Your Transfers

There are other benefits to pre-booking your airport transfers. Whether you are going to Barcelona City or to Madrid City, it is important to note the various benefits of working with the right transportation firm.

Now that you are aware of the options that you can choose with preeminent services, other benefits include locking in a price, minimizing wait times at the airport, and having a pleasant experience with a wonderful driver.

Instead of having to worry about the price and about cancellation options, or if someone will show up on time, working with a wonderful firm like Solhop enables you to have total peace of mind when it comes to your transfers.

You can also ensure that you will drive in style with the options available to you from the different cars on offer.

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Have Fun On Your Trip

Now that you have your transportation squared away, remember that you are on a trip and remember to have fun. Whether you are traveling from the United States of America or from other places in Europe, you can be sure to have a bit of fun in Spain!

 

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Europe

Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence

Whether you spend a half-day or full day in Pisa, we recommend that you Train to Pisa from Florence. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to get there.

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train to pisa

Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see the beautiful countryside of Italy. The train from Florence to Pisa takes about an hour, and the journey is stunning. The route takes you past vineyards and medieval villages, through tunnels and over bridges, with breathtaking views of the Tuscan hillsides. You can even see the Leaning Tower of Pisa as the train approaches the station.

Woman traveling by train looking out of window

Upon arrival in Pisa, you can explore the historic center and visit the famous cathedral, before enjoying a leisurely lunch overlooking the River Arno. With its stunning scenery and convenient location, a train trip from Florence to Pisa is a great way to spend a day in Italy.

Leaning tower of Pisa, HDR, Italy

How to get to Pisa from Florence

You have a couple of different options for your own half-day trip to Pisa from Florence depending on how you like to travel. But if you are like us and enjoy travelling around Italy by public transport, then you will definitely want to train to Pisa from Florence.

Train to Pisa from Florence

Florence and Pisa are less than 100 km apart and the easiest way is to train to Pisa from Florence. The entire trip one-way takes approximately an hour depending on your route with no transfers.

Trains leave from Florence S.M.Novella for Pisa Centrale a few times every hour. The closest train station to the leaning tower of Pisa is Pisa San Rossore, but it’s not worth the extra time or transfer required. Pisa itself is small and it takes less than 30 minutes to walk to the leaning tower from Pisa Centrale.

Plus you get to explore more of the city such as the River Arno lined with beautiful stately homes.

Pisa River, train from pisa to florence

If you want to book online then a one-way ticket by train to Pisa from Florence will cost from €7.80 (US$10.40) in 2nd class. It is important to make sure that when you are searching online via the Italian train booking site, Trenitalia, you search for “Firenze” rather than Florence.

The train schedules are very easy to understand so we recommend booking your ticket from the self-service machines on the train platform. The return journey is just as easy in reverse. Just watch that you don’t miss the last train around 10pm most days and carry cash with you for the ticket.

Finally, validate your ticket before boarding the train. We forgot a couple of times but used the typical “I’m a stupid tourist” line to get out of any fines.

Bus to Pisa from Florence

Another option is to catch the bus to Pisa from Florence.

There are two main bus companies, Terravision and Autostradale, run regular buses to and from Pisa Airport and Florence Airport into the Florence city centre, they don’t actually go into Pisa itself. The train to Pisa from Florence is so reliable, fast, and cheap, that you may not want to consider this option.

However, there are some advantages to taking the bus. You will see a lot more scenery from the window of the bus, and it’s definitely cheaper; sometimes you can find fares as low as 4 Euros, especially on Fridays.

Travel Guide to visiting Pisa from Florence

Driving to Pisa from Florence

If you have hired a car or scooter in Tuscany then you might look at driving to Pisa from Florence. However, even though the distance is less than 100km, the trip will still take approximately 1 hour.

Aside from the fact that the train to Pisa from Florence typically takes less time than driving, you also have to avoid the crazy Italian drivers. Not to mention trying to find a carpark in two of the most popular cities in Italy. Impossible.

Travel to Pisa from Florence by train, Leaning tower of Pisa HDR

Guided Tour to Pisa from Florence

If you have been enjoying the sunset in Florence and all the city has to offer then you might want to take in a guided tour to Pisa from Florence. Not only do you get a great guide to learn all about the history of the area, you also don’t have to worry about getting to Pisa from Florence.

You might want to check out this guided tour around Pisa or get a little bit more adventurous and try out a segway tour in Pisa. Perfect for the family and it will keep the kids entertained between stops.

If you have a whole day, and haven’t managed to fit in a hike around Cinque Terre, then we recommend looking into the Pisa and Cinque Terre day tour. Lasting roughly 12 hours, you will travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, with a 2 hour stop in Pisa to see all the main sights.

We also reckon guides help you get the best photos, as they have seen all the poses.

Adela funny jumping Pisa

Tell us below if you have taken any funny photos in Pisa!

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Travel Tips

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Yacht

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Spending time on a yacht is a great way to relax. You can cruise, do water sports, try your luck in fishing, or you can even entertain guests on your yacht. However, a yacht is still a significant investment, so you must learn as much as possible before buying one.

If you are pondering buying a yacht, there are several things that you need to know. You should ask yourself what type of yacht you want to buy and what type best suits your needs.

Aside from this, you also need to determine your budget for purchasing a yacht. Boating safety courses and trial runs are also essential to ensure your safety while on your chosen yacht.

What Do You Want In A Yacht?

 

When buying a yacht, you must ask yourself, “What do I want in a yacht?” Do you want the yacht to be big? Do you want to use the yacht for fishing?

Answering the questions about the yacht you want can help you determine your priorities in buying a yacht. Take, for example, if you want to utilize your yacht for watersports. Certain types of yachts cater to watersports, like wakeboarding and wake surfing.

Another popular way to spend time on your yacht is an overnight cruise. If you want to do this, you should consider the size of the yacht you want to buy. Can it accommodate passengers sleeping onboard?

Questions like these can help determine if you need different amenities in a yacht, like cabins, cooktops, and relaxation areas.

How Much is Your Budget?

Now that you have determined what you seek in a yacht, it is crucial to set a comfortable price for your pockets. When buying a yacht, you can get carried away by all the types and models available.

It might be tempting to go above your budget when buying a yacht, especially when so many options are available. However, it is vital to research yacht prices on manufacturer websites, as well as sites of brokers and dealers.

After all, it is necessary to keep the costs of maintaining a yacht in mind. Some costs of owning a yacht include insurance, repairs, fuel, and general upkeep.

Determining your budget for the yacht and sticking to it can make the most out of your yacht purchase.

Where Do You Buy A Yacht?

Since a yacht is a significant investment, going to a trusted and reliable dealer is your best bet. You can visit websites or written material to gather information about a prospective dealer.

Seasoned dealers need to know your lifestyle to determine what type of yacht suits you best. They can ask questions about your boating preferences, whom you boat with, and other similar queries. They use this information to match you to the yacht that best fulfills your needs at the right price.

Should You Try the Yacht Before You Buy It?

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Try and test the yacht that piques your interest as much as possible. If you know a yacht owner with a model you are interested in, you could ask to check the yacht out. Doing this helps you assess the amenities and features of the yacht before you make the big purchase.

Boat shows, if available, are also good ways to see and assess the yacht of your choice. Well-known brands do these shows, allowing you to see and experience the yacht.

What About Your Safety?

Some places require a recreational boat license for you to sail on your yacht. However, you can easily avail classes to sharpen your boating skills. These can help you learn how to sail on a boat and some basic safety measures while on your yacht.

You can look for information on the official website of your local or national maritime safety authority.

How Do You Buy A Yacht?

Buying a yacht might seem like a long, detailed process, but it is pretty straightforward. First, you need to find out what you want in a yacht. In other words, determine your purpose for buying a yacht.

The next step is to set a clear budget and the amenities and size of the yacht you want to buy.

Conclusion

Sailing on a yacht is not a simple task, so acquire all the necessary documents to operate a yacht. The necessary paperwork can include a boating license, boating safety courses, and other relevant documents.

Test the yacht before you commit to it, and make sure that you are comfortable with it before purchasing it. You can attend boat shows and dealer demos or ask someone with a similar yacht to let you assess their yacht.

Lastly, find a yacht dealer that wants the best for you. Finding the best dealer can make your yacht buying process much more manageable. Reliable dealers will keep your budget and goals in mind while matching you to the yacht of your dreams!

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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