The United Airlines Basic Economy Fare and What it Means For You

Next time you're booking a United Airlines ticket, you may notice an option now known as "United Basic Economy". Excitingly enough for the budget traveler, this new air fare option will have the potential to save you a few dollars by offering you the lowest priced seats on a specific flight. But before you start calculating how many mimosas this fare option will earn you, make sure you know what it entails! Here is who we think might benefit from the air fare and why.

The Limitation: Seat Selection and Upgrades Unavailable

What it Means: Your seat will be automatically assigned and there is nothing you can do to change it, including purchasing an upgrade for Economy Plus or spending miles for a free upgrade. Watch out for this, even for MileagePlus members!

Who This Works Best For (and who it doesn’t): Don’t go for this fare if you cannot stand the middle seat and you have a long flight ahead of you. However, if you’re a tolerant flyer and/or you’re booking a short flight, go for it!

The Limitation: Group Seating is Unavailable

What it Means: You will not be able to sit with anyone else you are booking the flight with.

Who Should Avoid: Families – especially those with younger members. If you feel strongly about sitting with anyone travelling on the same flight, this isn't the fare option for you (conversely, this ticket could be the perfect excuse to take a break from a coworker who just talks too much inflight).

Who Should Take Advantage: Solo travelers. No fellow travelers, no problem!

The Limitation: Only one personal Item Allowed - No Full Sized Carry-on

What it Means: The personal item must be 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches or less. Think briefcase, purse, or backpack, anything that will fit underneath the seat in front of you.

Who Should Avoid: The Light Traveler – there has been a movement in the last few years to ditch the check in luggage and just pack up a wheeled carry-on. The benefits of this method (usually) include less fees, less hassle, and less lost luggage. However, if this is your travel style, you may want to skip the economy basic fare!

Who Should Take Advantage: If you like to dump your suitcase at the agents feet at check in and not see your belongings again until you’re at your destination, then you shouldn’t have a problem with this ticket! Make sure your personal item can fit underneath the seat in front of you. The idea behind this fare is that you do not get any overhead space.

The Limitation: No Flight Changes or Refunds

What it Means: Once your flight has been booked, you can’t make any changes to your itinerary. Only book this fare if you know you won’t need any flexibility in your schedule.

The Limitation: You will be Place in the Last Boarding Group

What it Means: You will be in the last group to be called to board. There isn’t really a down side to this, as you won’t have anything to put in the overhead space anyway! Instead of standing in line in the jet way and then the aisle of the plane waiting for other people to arrange their bags and get sorted, you can just waltz on towards the end of boarding with no wait and hop right in to your waiting seat.

The Limitation: Certain MileagePlus and Premier Benefits are not Available

What it Means: While you will still get miles for the trip, there are other benefits you lose from choosing this economic fare. To see a full list, or for more details on anything outlined above, click here.






Bugs and Immunizations

Traveling often entails exciting adventures, but amidst the excitement of planning for a trip it's easy to take your health for granted. If you're planning a trip abroad it's important to consider potential health risks you may face. Plan ahead and talk to your doctor. Here are a few important points to consider:

1. Vaccinations. It's important to ensure that your vaccinations are up to date. Make an appointment at your travel clinic as soon as you begin planning your trip so you have time to get any vaccinations you may need!

2. Mosquitos. Not only are these bugs pesky, but carry deadly diseases. When traveling, remember to protect yourself. If you're looking for a chemical repellant, try Ultrathon. This highly recommended brand of insect repellant contains 34% deet, and the chemicals are immersed in a lotion so they don't seep directly into your blood stream. Ultrathon also comes in a carry-on sized bottle for easy transport. An alternative to deet based repellant is protective clothing. Exofficio has a line of clothing infused with permethrin which is invisible and odorless. The best part about permethrin clothing is that it can protect you from mosquitos, ticks, ants, and flies for up to 70 washings. If you prefer a more natural way of keeping away the bugs, we carry a great product called Bug Patches. These patches stick directly on your skin and stay there for about two days. The patches cause your body to produce more B1 Thiamin which is a natural insect repellent. We also carry Bug Bracelets that have geranium oil in them and last for 120 hours. 

3. Malaria. Unfortunately, this mosquito-borne disease is quite common in many popular travel destinations. If you're planning a trip to a place where you may encounter malaria you may need to take more precautions than just deet repellant or protective clothing. Make an appointment with your doctor so that you can obtain preventative medicines. 

All of these products are available in our store, so if you have any questions, stop in and we'll help you choose a bug protection to suit your travels!

Our Favorite Fall Fashion Trends

Fall is in the air and we couldn't be more excited about all the new clothing and fashion trends! Here are a few of our favorites: 

Patterns: This fall is all about patterns! Fashion Week even featured patterned matching outfits. This season, some of our favorite brands like Nomadic Traders and Lisette feature stylish, travel friendly clothes that are perfect for mixing and matching patterns. Wear tops and mid length skirts together for a bold statement, separate patterned pieces and anchor your outfit with a neutral pant (we love Lisette), or dress your look up with a nice patterned skirt and a fancy black top. Your pattern possibilities are endless!

Colors: This season you'll see plenty of  blue, gray and purple. Come in and check out companies like Icebreaker, Habitat and Tribal all of which feature rich saturated hues!

Skirts: are functional all year round, and midi-length skirts are perfect for this fall. Sympli  features a classic, mid-length skirt that looks effortlessly chic! Another bonus: this fabric is incredibly wrinkle resistant, which makes it the perfect travel companion. 

Capes: These bold pieces are the perfect layering piece as the seasons change! Pair with jeans for a comfy, casual look, or dress with up with a classic pair of slacks. We love Parsley & Sage Capes, which come in a variety of unique patterns and rich colors. 

Preventing the Pick Pocket Problem

Do you have a trip to Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, or Paris this summer? Even if your summer travels don’t extend to these big cities you still need to protect your-self against pick pockets! Here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a pick pocket victim. 

Eagle Creek Undercover Money Belt

Eagle Creek Undercover Money Belt

The easiest way to protect your valuables is to keep them on your person. You can easily do this with an undercover money belt or neck wallet. These items are meant to be worn UNDERNEATH YOUR CLOTHES and are not supposed to be accessed during the day. Money belts or neck wallets are great places to keep your passport, emergency credit cards and main stash of cash. We even have belts and neck wallets with RFID protection built in (for more information see our blog on RFID).  

Alternatively, we also carry actual belts with bulit-in bladders designed specifically for carrying cash. The best part about this product is that it looks like you're wearing a regular belt! 

While it's helpful to keep valuables hidden under your clothes, you still need to keep frequently used valuables like cameras and money safe. PacSafe is a company that can help you out with this. They carry purses, wallets, backpacks, and sling bags that have wire mesh running through the fabric so bags cannot be slashed or cut. PacSafe bags  also have locking mechanisms on the straps and zippers for extra security Come see us for help on picking out the right PacSafe product for you.


If you prefer to sightsee without carrying a backpack or purse, Clothing Arts pickpocket proof travel pant for both men and women might be the perfect solution for you. These pants have a variety of snaps and zippers around the pockets designed to deter thieves. The success of a pick pocket is based on timing. If they cannot easily access your valuables they will move on.

No matter where you're traveling, remember to to be vigilant and pay attention to your surroundings, especially when you’re in big tourist areas (such as the Trevi Fountain or standing in line at the Louvre). 

If you have questions or concerns about pick pocketing or travel safety come in and talk to us 7 days a week. We're happy to share our advice - we want to help you have the best trip possible!

Guidebooks vs. the Interent

Seth Kugel recently published an article in the New York Times about the debate between good old-fashioned books and the internet to do your pre-trip research. The consensus may shock you! As we all know, the internet instantly offers access tons of information on any subject, and though hard copy books may seem passé and heavy, they still provide accurate and valuable information. Kugel’s article concludes that guidebooks beat out the internet in three crucial categories.  

  •  Maps. The internet maps just don’t compare! Besides, with a trusty hard copy map you'll never have to worry about having 3G access or running down your phone battery!
  • Ease and quality of information. In order to find what you want to on the internet, you have to know what you are looking for. Guide books give you information that you don’t even know you need to know.
  • Convenience. With a book, your entire research is in one place, rather than strewn about on multiple print outs, screen shots, and phone applications. 

We have a full wall dedicated to guidebooks for most countries in the world to help you plan all of your adventures. We carry Lonely Planet, Bradt, Moon, Rick Steves, and more! Find the one that works best for you! 

Reference: Kugel, S. (2013, December 29). Planning a trip: guidebook versus the net. The New York Times, p. TR 2.

RFID: What Traveler's Need to Know

Never heard of RFID? It stands for Radio Frequency Identification. Passports (issued after 2007) and credit cards now have these chips in them. This is good news for big box stores because they are able to quickly process credit card information and get people through check- out efficiently. The down side (with the advent of smart phones) is that there are applications  that enable thieves to steal your personal information through your purse and/ or wallets. Unfortunately, if thieves capture valuable information, like your name and credit card number, they are able to steal your identity and open credit cards in your name. The good news is that at Changes in Latitude we carry a variety of products designed to protect your personal information! We sell everything from wallets and purses to undercover money belts that have RFID protection built in. If you’re attached to a wallet that you already own, we have simple sleeves that can slide over your card and can easily slip into any wallet!

Look out for these symbols and come see us for more information and help in picking out the right product for your needs!

5 Reasons We Love Icebreaker Merino Wool Clothing

Our spring clothing shipments are steadily arriving, and we have recently received a vibrant collection of one of our favorite lines, Icebreaker. This brand specializes in functional and stylish merino wool clothing that is supremely designed with travelers in mind. Here's five reasons why we love Icebreaker clothing!

1. Feels soft, silky, and  comfortable. Merino wool isn't like regular wool. The sheep are raised at high altitudes so their wool grows in long, soft strands. Woven together, the long strands create soft, silky garments that are never itchy!

2. Keeps you warm when it's cold and cool when it's hot. Because Merino sheep live at high elevations, they have evolved to have wool that keeps them warm in the harsh, chilly winters and cool during the hot, dry summers. The wool comprising each Icebreaker garment does the same things for the person who wears it, which makes it great for layering and traveling. 

4. Easy to care for. Almost all of the Icebreaker garments are machine washable. It's recommended that you hang dry your Icebreaker garments to prevent shrinking, but you'll find that merino wool dries in a matter of hours, even in humidity. If you're on the road and need to hand wash your garment you'll appreciate the quick-drying feature!

5. It never smells. Merino wool fibers develop in such a way that the bacteria which cause body odor will not stick to the fabric. As a result, you can wear your garments over and over with out needing to wash them. You may smell, but your garment won't! It's the perfect fabric for camping and travel!

6. Looks great! From T-shirts and jackets to sundresses and skirts, Icebreaker clothing is beautifully designed with exciting colors and fashionable styles. At Changes in Latitude we have Icebreaker merino wool for any occasion!

Adapters vs. Converters: An Overview

In today’s digital age we may find ourselves relying on electronic devices, even when we travel. Odds are that if you’re planning an exciting vacation you’ll at least take a digital camera to capture the memories of your trip, or an iPod to keep you entertained on long flights. Though electronic devices make our travels easy and comfortable, it’s often unclear as to what devices are necessary to safely charge electronics outside of the country. There are 2 devices you could possibly need. Let’s start by explaining what each device does:

Sea to Summit Adapters

Adapter: These devices slide on to the end of your power cord and make it possible for your appliance to plug  into a different outlet configuration. For example, I can slide a round 2-pin European adapter on to my US camera charger. This will allow me to plug the charger into the wall. It is crucial to remember that adapters do not change electrical current. They simply make it possible to plug a device in.

Converter: A converter (also known as a transformer) literally changes the voltage of the electrical current. The United States runs on 120 volt electrical current, but much of the world runs on 220 or 240 volt currents. If you plug an appliance designed to run on 120 volts to an outlet which provides 220 volt current, you will fry your device.

Before leaving the country you need to consider 3 things to determine whether you’ll need  a converter, an adapter, both devices, or none of the devices.

1. What does the country’s outlet look like? If the outlet at your destination looks different from the outlet you have in your house you need an adapter. If it looks the same, you do not need one.

2. How many volts does the country’s electrical current run on? The United States runs on 120 volt electrical current, so if the country you’re visiting also runs on 110 or 120 volt currents you will not need a converter.  If you are visiting a country that runs on a 220 volt current or higher, you may need an adapter. This depends on whether or not your appliances are dual voltage.

3. If your destination runs on a higher voltage current, determine if your appliances are dual voltage. All appliances have this information written on them. Typically, this information is listed  in tiny embossed lettering near the end of the cord where the plug is.

  • If the appliances says something like “Input 110/240V” then your appliance is dual voltage and you will not need a converter, though you may still need an adapter. If your appliances are dual voltage do not plug them into a converter; it will ruin them.
  • If the appliance only says something “Input 110V” and does not mention a number above 220V then you will need a converter. In this case, check to see how many watts the appliance runs on. This will ensure you buy the appropriate converter.

Other things to consider about adapters and converters:

  • Many electronics are made to be dual voltage. These typically include computers, smart phones, digital cameras, tablets, eReaders, iPads, iPhones, and iPods. If you are using these appliances chances are you’ll only need an adapter.
  • Personal care appliances like electric toothbrushes, shavers, curling irons, hair dryers, and straighteners are usually not dual voltage. In this case, you will need to buy a converter or purchase a dual voltage version of the appliance.
  • Universal adapter sets are very handy, but they do not include the South African plug. If you are planning a safari in or near South Africa you will need to ensure that you have the appropriate adapter.

As always, if you have any questions about converters and adapters, please stop in the store or give us a call at 303-786-8406 and we will be more than happy to help you determine what you need for your trip!

Happy travels!

10 Tips for the Carry-on Traveler


1. Buy the right luggage. Don't let your luggage define your travels, let your travels define your luggage! If you're planning a multi-city backpacking trip through Europe a 4-wheel, 28-inch roller suitcase will be difficult to travel with. A lightweight bag with convertible backpack straps would be a more appropriate choice for such a trip.  No matter where you're going be sure to choose something that will serve you well!

2. Make a packing list at least one week in advance. This will give you time to figure out what you have, and give you time to go shopping for any necessary items you may be missing.

3. Pack simple styled clothes in maintainable fabrics. Fabrics like merino wool, pima cotton, bamboo, and polyester blends are easy to wash, quick drying, and don't wrinkle. This makes them fantastic travel fabrics!

4. Choose a color scheme and stick to it. This will allow you to easy mix and match your clothes to create a variety of outfits.

5. Pack small toiletries and remove all excess packaging. This will allow you to utilize the maximum amount of space in your 3-1-1 bag.

6. When in doubt, leave it out! If you're not sure if you'll need it, you probably won't. Save your precious carry-on space for the essentials!

7. Pack your bag and walk a quarter mile with it. If it's too heavy, reduce your load. You also should be sure that you can lift your bag over your head - you're probably going to have to put it in the overhead bin!

8. Wear all valuables in a security wallet, even on short trips. In the case of passports and money, it's better safe than sorry.  Keep these extremely valuable items in a money belt or neck pouch. 

9. Mail home souvenirs and purchases as you travel. Did you find a gorgeous tribal mask or one-of-a-kind painting that you simply must have? Buy it! Then mail it home so your beautiful new purchase doesn't weight you down during the rest of your trip. 

10. Don't forget your smile, sense of humor, and flexibility. Chances are you'll hit some bumps throughout your travels,  but as long as you've brought your positive attitude you'll make it through with no problem at all.  And hopefully, since you're traveling with carry-on luggage, you won't have to deal with any lost luggage!