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

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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!