Tools for Travel

Remember when flying was fun?

If you’re under 40 the answer is most likely, “No.”
With the advent of the “hub-and-spoke” system of routing flights through a small number of central hub airports, journeys by air became much more like a bus trip than a jet-set adventure. Then came 9-11, and then the TSA, and baggage fees and… well, here we are.

It’s not fun.
But there are some helpful tools available to organize and monitor your travel agenda. I’ve compiled a list of apps and websites that have helped me survive the stressful rigors of modern travel. Take note road warriors! And feel free to share your favorite travel tools in the comments.

First off, I have a very general recommendation for creating a Google account. If you’re using Gmail then you’ve already got one. But even if you don’t use Gmail, the benefits a Google account offers for organizing your travel and itinerary are pretty awesome. More on that later…

Tripit • Flight Aware • ExpediaGoogle

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New Data for Old Devices

‘Tis the season for new gadgets.

Before you trash that old tablet or smartphone you might consider breathing new life into it with some free connectivity. Yes, free… as in absolutely free!

FreedomPop SIM Card
You can order a SIM card online or pick one up at Target.

FreedomPop is a mobile service provider that offers a variety of talk and data plans. Like most virtual network providers they do not own their own network (think Cricket, Boost, Consumer Cellular). Instead they resell bandwidth from other providers-in this case Sprint and AT&T.

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Spoon of the Future!

Here’s a unique product I picked up at a thrift store in Stillwater, Oklahoma. It was just too weird not to rescue and offer on eBay!

It’s the Combination thermometer & spoon!

This product is called the Thermo Spoon by Gaydell and is still sealed in the 1965 cellophane. The handle features a dial-style analog thermometer that I assume is connected to the spoon’s ladle.

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Mana in the Springtime

File this one under: Cool Motorcycles Americans Won’t Buy

A couple of years ago I took a spin on a motorcycle called an Aprilia Mana. It’s an 850cc V-twin that looks like a spiffy sort of bike- no fairings or leather tassels. Just a sit-upright standard with tons of storage and a comfortable seat.

I enjoyed the heck out of it. Brad even wrote a very favorable ride review of the Aprilia Mana. But– there’s a very big but…

It doesn’t have a shifter.

Omigod! That’s right. The Mana uses a constantly variable transmission (CVT) which in layman’s terms means “automatic.” And there’s no quicker way to emasculate the average motorcycle riding dude than to suggest he ride a motorcycle with an automatic. So this perfectly capable bike, dare I say versatile, sits in dealer showrooms across this country unwanted.

So the Mana will join the ranks of fine motorcycles, like the Honda Transalp and the Yamaha TDM 850, that have landed on our shores and promptly flopped.

But the good news is if you’re looking for a deal on a brand new motorcycle with a full warranty, you’re in luck.  Aprilia is offering 2009 Manas for damn near half the original sticker. For details visit our local Aprilia dealer: Brookside Motorcycle Company.

 

Buy a brand new motorcycle for nearly half price.