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Looking for the best travel backpack?
Over all those years, we’ve figured out first hand which backpacks are great for travel, and which aren’t. A good backpack, that can carry all you need, can make travel so much more enjoyable however a great backpack also needs to fit you well and match your travel style, while also managing to be stylish and affordable at the same time.
We’ve done all of the hard work for you by testing dozens of backpacks and picking the top travel backpacks. Keep reading to find the best travel backpack for you.
This is the complete guide to finding the best backpack for travel, with recommendations for the best backpack for Europe, the best carry on backpack, the best women’s backpack, top wheeled backpacks and more.
The Best Travel Backpack 2018
Are you looking for something specific? Just click a link to go directly to that section.
Check out our comparison chart with all of the options for the best backpacks for travel that we review here. Click on the column headings to compare!
Getting the best backpack is a mixture of getting a great fit, proper padding, the right size, making sure that it’s organized well for your needs, and finding the right style.
To get you started, we share our best tips for helping you choose the perfect backpack for you. We’ve taken great care to make sure these are the best quality backpacks for travel, and personally checked out every one of them. Although ultimately the perfect backpack comes down to personal choice, you won’t find any badly made packs here.
Does it fit your frame?
Since you’re going to carry your backpack everywhere you go, from planes to trains to hotels, fit is incredibly important in a backpack.
In the past few years, manufacturers have gotten pretty smart about this, and now make backpacks especially for women’s smaller frames and relatively wider hips. Check out our women-specific recommendations here. Many of the higher quality backpacks offer a few choices for torso lengths. There are also great backpacks meant specifically for men’s taller frames, or for women who are taller as well (see our men’s picks here).
I’m a 5 foot five inch woman, and the first backpack I tried on for our first year long trip around Australia and Asia turned out to be far too big. The shoulders didn’t fit properly, and the hip belt didn’t cinch tightly enough on me. After testing it fully packed before our trip I decided just days before we took off to get a backpack that was made especially for a woman’s frame. It was the best decision I could have made – my new backpack fit perfectly, and I could carry a surprising amount, because the weight was distributed nicely on my hipbones and padded shoulder straps.
No matter your size, make sure your backpack fits your frame properly. You should be able to cinch the hip straps snugly. This is important, as a properly fitted backpack will carry a good portion of the weight on your hips to reduce shoulder strain!
Also make sure that the shoulder straps fit comfortably on your shoulders. If they pull down and dig in, the pack frame is likely too small for you. If they stick up above your shoulders, then the pack frame is too big. Most backpacks have adjustable straps however every backpack has that perfect sweet spot that maintains comfort while providing necessary support.
Do I need to try it on?
If this article was written five years ago, we would have suggested going in store to try on packs, but today it’s easier to buy a backpack online and return if needed. Returns and exchanges are usually a breeze, and there are detailed sizing charts online, making it easy to get the right fit.
That said, if you’re having trouble finding that perfect fit, it might be worth it to go into a store that specializes in backpacks and get a personal fitting. After that, come back here to find our recommendations to see how we fared.
Size, carrying capacity and how much fits inside
Travel backpacks come in a lot of sizes, from small 30 L packs to huge 80 L or even 100 L behemoths.
Packs are usually sized in liters. 1 liter (L) is about a quarter of a gallon or the equivalent of a US quart, so a 40 liter backpack holds about ten and a half gallons.
The size of backpack you need depends on a number of things, like the length of your trip, how many supplies you want to carry, and if you intend to travel carry on only.
Most travelers carry a backpack that’s between 40 to 65 liters. If you need to pack a lot of computer or photography equipment, heavy winter gear, or if you want 10 complete changes of clothes and four pairs of shoes, then you’ll likely need much more than a 40 L backpack.
For women, a 50 or 65 L backpack is a great checked baggage size, without being excessively heavy. Since men are usually larger and can often comfortably carry more, a 65 to 70 L works well. These are just general rules of thumb though. The important thing is getting the right bag for you!
If you’re traveling on a budget, or just don’t want to hassle with checked bags, consider traveling with only a carry-on size backpack. Airlines are charging more and more for checked bags, so a good percentage of backpackers (like us!) choose to travel carry on only. This means that you’ll need a bag that’s 45 L or smaller.
Can you travel with a carry on size travel backpack only?
Here’s a good rule of thumb: a backpack that’s less than 40 liters (and even some backpacks that are 45 liters) can be taken on a plane as a carry on. However, carry on sizes vary a lot depending on the airline with European and Asian airlines traditionally especially stingy with sizes so check first.
If you travel with only a few changes of lightweight clothes, minimal toiletries, and few electronics or camera equipment, traveling with a carry on size backpack is completely possible. I travel with a carry on backpack (and small personal item) only for most of my solo trips, and I definitely carry more camera gear than most people.
However, if you carry a lot of electronic or camera equipment, or you need a dozen outfits and three pairs of shoes, a 40 L or less backpack will definitely be a challenge.
That said, it’s definitely possible to travel carry on only! We traveled carry-on only as a family of four during our last three month trip to South America and had room to spare.
Padding and comfort
Making sure that your backpack shoulder and side straps are padded is crucial for comfort. I’m a big fan of softer fabric on shoulder and hip straps, since the straps are often directly on your skin in hotter climates.
A lot of backpacks also have a mesh or light fabric on the back to let your back breathe, meaning no more sweaty back when carrying your backpack!
A padded back is also essential, as the padding keeps the contents of your pack from digging into your back and kidneys.
Adjustable straps on the shoulders and waist are essential. Plus, a small sternum strap that connects the shoulder straps in front of your chest can save a lot of back strain for heavy loads.
If there’s a laptop slot, it’s a bonus if it’s padded as well.
Backpack organization is crucial, especially if you’re on the road a lot, and essentially living out of your backpack.
I really love backpacks that have a lot of smaller pockets. This makes it easy to store things like electronic gear and toiletries separately. Bonus points for smaller pockets that are easily accessible from the outside, especially for storing things like phone chargers or a toothbrush. On top of that, we usually bring a portable international WiFi device (we love our little Tep portable WiFi), international electrical adapters, a travel journal, and much more.
I also love to have a smaller, collapsible day pack in or connected to my larger backpack. There are a lot of times that you’ll want to leave the big pack at a hotel or hostel, and just carry a day bag, so it’s well worth investing in one.
Some backpacks actually have an lightweight day pack built in, which is pretty cool. If yours doesn’t, we like the Outlander lightweight daypack below which is totally collapsible and comes in lots of colors.
I’m personally a huge fan of backpacks that open suitcase style, as they let you easily access the contents at the bottom of your backpack.
With traditional, top loading backpacks, you don’t have this option. I find it incredibly irritating to have to unpack my entire backpack just to get at something I’ve forgotten at the bottom of a top loading backpack.
That said, a some of the best backpacks on the market are top loading and people love that they can usually jam more into their pack than a side loader, so I haven’t ignored them in this list. If you’re organized, and put important things in the side or top pockets, the top loading packs can be a great choice, even though they didn’t rank as our our very best rucksack for travelling.
When you’re traveling, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’ll be carrying a laptop and charger at all times. All of that means you’re going to need pockets, and plenty of them. Above all, you need to make sure that your backpack is big enough to pack all of your gear.
Many good travel backpacks come with a built in rain cover, but not all top rated backpacks include a rain cover, especially those designed more for urban use. If it exists, the rain cover is often built into the waistband or bottom part of the pack. If your pack doesn’t come with one, you may want to think about buying a rain cover.
Joy Walker makes well rated backpack rain covers for 15-90 L packs. Just select the right size. See prices and more here.
Even if you’re not expecting bad weather, you may get stuck outside in the rain waiting for a bus or ferry. Last year, while in the Galapagos Islands, we were stuck in a surprise 30 minute torrential downpour, without any shelter, and with all of our luggage, waiting for our ferry to dock. Luckily our bags stayed dry. Unfortunately, we weren’t so lucky.
How much does the backpack itself weigh? Sure, the difference between a five and ten pound backpack may not seem like much when they’re empty, but when you’re on day two of carting your full pack through city streets or across powdery sand, an extra five pounds can feel like fifty. All else being equal, a lighter bag is a good thing.
This is one area where you don’t want to cheap out. Cheap travel backpacks are often uncomfortable, and likely to tear at stress points like where the straps attach to the backpack body.
Don’t be like the traveler I met in the airport in LAX airport a few years ago, who bought a cheap backpack and had to continually repatch it with duct tape for his entire six month trip through South East Asia.
Many backpacks have hidden pockets to hide valuables from thieves. Some of these are perfect for storing extra cash for emergencies.
If you’re concerned with security, look for a backpack that’s easily lockable and either has dual zippers that you can tie closed or a loop close to the zippers that can help fasten the zipper closed. Back in the day we used to travel with mini zipties and would ziptie our zippers together when we had to leave our packs in a not particularly safe area. It wouldn’t stop someone from running away with our packs but it did deter people from quickly rifling through the pockets.
Because travel backpacks are big, they usually aren’t made of slash proof material, since slash proof material is so heavy. That said, some backpacks have an RFID pocket to protect your passport and bank or credit cards from RFID scanners, and we found a great 40 L pack with anti-slash fabric. See our top anti-theft backpack pick here.
If you’re really concerned about safety, take a quick look at our money belt and neck wallet review here.
Unfortunately, travel backpacks tend to be a little more functional than stylish. That said, some packs come in a wide range of colors, ranging from black and grey to blues, greens, and even colorful reds and oranges. Most likely, you’ll end up carrying a black, grey or dark green pack that can take scuffs, like being thrown into lockers, under bus compartments and into overhead plane bins and not leave any marks.
A backpack that’s made for a woman’s generally shorter torso and wider hips can be a lot more comfortable than wearing a unisex backpack.
Women’s backpacks aren’t necessarily smaller, so you can still get a good size pack that carries a lot, but a pack built for women distributes weight better on your frame, and is a lot more enjoyable to wear than a men’s or unisex model.
I was shocked at how much I was able to carry comfortably when I tried my first backpack designed for women!
The Osprey Fairview 55 backpack review
The Osprey Fairview 55 backpack has everything that I love in a great backpack for women. It’s designed specifically for women in mind with a broader hip belt, a shorter torso, and comfortably padded, narrower shoulder straps. I find it incredibly comfortable.
Plus, it has the suitcase style opening for the main compartment that I love so much, making it so much easier to access than a backpack that opens only from the top. I’m definitely a fan of easily being able to access pack contents, and I think the Osprey is the best front loading backpack for travel above 50 L.
A huge bonus of this backpack is that it includes a removable day pack.
If you’re traveling through a lot of airports, you’ll like that fact that you can tuck away the shoulder straps and hip straps, so you don’t need to worry about the straps being damaged in baggage.
If you always travel with a laptop or tablet like I do, you’ll love the main compartment’s laptop and tablet sleeve with lockable compartment.
There’s no built in raincover with this jacket, which is part of why it’s so lightweight at 3.8 lbs. You can also buy an add-on raincover from Osprey. See Osprey raincover prices or save a bit of coin and pick up a Jay Walker raincover instead. Jay Walker prices here.
The 55 L Fairview comes in two sizes, XS/S and S/M. The S/M is 24.6″ x 13″ x 11.8″, and the XS is a hair smaller at 22.8″ x 13.0″ x 11.8″, but it’s also only 52 L instead of 55.
There are plenty of pockets for storing things. There’s a zippered front panel slash pocket which is great for chargers and cables, plus a mesh zippered area in the main compartment.
All in all, it’s a smaller, sleek backpack with a lot of features, a great women’s fit, at a good price point.
If you’re looking for a slightly bigger pack, the women’s Osprey Fairview also comes in a 70 L size and gets great reviews too. See the 70 L Osprey Fairview prices here.
There’s also a smaller women’s 40 L Osprey Fairview, but it doesn’t come with a removable day pack. The 40 L Fairview is a great carry on pack. See prices and more for the 40 L Osprey Fairview.
Our pick for the best travel backpack for men is a tie between the Osprey Men’s Farpoint 70 and the Deuter Quantum 70 + 10.
A comfortable men’s travel backpack takes into account men’s generally wider shoulders and longer torso. We’ve also included our favorite slightly larger backpacks in the men’s list.
That’s not to say that these backpacks are for men only! These packs will work well for women with a longer than average torso, or if you simply you want to carry a larger pack.
Osprey Men’s Farpoint 70 Review
The Farpoint is the men’s version of our favorite backpack for women, the Fairview.
Since this backpack can open suitcase style, it’s easy to access anything in the main compartment.
What we really like is the fact that there’s a removable day pack included, which zips off easily when needed. There’s also a laptop and tablet sleeve in the day pack, plus a small slash pocket in front perfect for small electronics.
For security, there are lockable sliders on the main compartment zipper, plus the main compartment of the day pack is also lockable.
For extra storage, there are two front mesh pockets, plus a large internal mesh pocket on the front flap.
To keep your belongings in place, there are front compression straps on either side, plus two internal compression straps, and removable sleeping pad straps. To make it easy to carry, there are padded handles on the top, and on the side (so you can also carry it like a suitcase if you prefer).
It’s super lightweight at 3.92 lbs and 26″ x 14″ x 13″.
There’s no rain cover with this pack, but you can buy an add-on raincover from Osprey. See Osprey raincover prices or save a bit of coin and pick up a Jay Walker raincover instead. Jay Walker prices here.
The Osprey back straps and hip belt can be tucked away and hidden in a zippered rear flap. This is perfect for flying, as it keeps the straps from being torn or damaged when you check your luggage.
It comes in two sizes to make sure you get the perfect fit.
If you’re looking for a slightly smaller version, there’s also a Farpoint 55 L and Farpoint 40 L (the 40 L doesn’t have a removable day pack). See the Farpoint 55 prices. See Farpoint 40 L prices and availability.
If you’re looking for something just a little bit bigger, check out the Farpoint 80 L. See Osprey Farpoint 80 prices and availability here.
Deuter Quantum 70 + 10 Review
This is a great pack, which is only bumped out of top place because it’s a top loading pack, and we generally prefer the Osprey Farpoint’s suitcase opening style. You can access the Quantum’s main compartment through a U-shaped front zip, but it’s definitely harder to access than a true backpack suitcase style opening.
Still, the Deuter Quantum’s worth a look and is well reviewed. It’s a comfortable pack with well padded shoulder and hip straps that are fully adjustable.
The pack also has all the bells and whistles you’d expect, including compression straps, a detachable rain cover, stretch side pockets, and a separate bottom compartment. There’s also a zippered lid pocket, which is great for storing valuables.
The +10 in the title refers to the detachable day pack which is a nice bag in itself and can be carried on the front if you want to spread out the weight load.
If the 70 + 10 pack is a little too big, Deuter also makes a 60 + 10 version of the Deuter Quantum. See the 60 +10 Deuter Quantum on Amazon here.
Most travelers to Europe spend more time city hopping that getting out in the wilderness, so a backpack that’s compact and light is a good pick.
After dragging a large suitcase with cheap plastic wheels over the cobblestone streets of Madrid and carting it up flights of stairs every night in Portugal, we learned the hard way that backpacks are a great choice for Europe.
Looking for a tiny carry on backpack for Europe for discount airlines? Scroll on down to see our pick for the best small carry on backpack for European discount airlines.
Tortuga Setout review
The Tortuga Setout travel backpack packs like a suitcase and carries like a backpack.
It’s a great choice for Europe, where you’ll want a pack that’s stylish, but carries a lot for its size.
At 22″ x 14″ x 9″, it’s small enough to work as carry-on, but at 45 L it’s probably the most spacious pack you’ll get at those dimensions. It has soft sides, so you’ll be able to squish it to fit into those carry on size cages at the airport.
It’s also pretty lightweight, at 3.3 lbs.
The first thing I noticed about my Tortuga backpack was how streamlined and stylish it is. Then I opened it up, suitcase style, and could hardly believe how big it is inside, even though it’s only carry-on size outside. It’s designed to get the most space inside as possible in a carry on size backpack pack. Because it’s so large and open inside, you may want to grab some specially sized Tortuga Setout packing cubes.
Because it carries so much, and it has a stylish feel that will let you blend in while touring Europe, we rated it our best carry on backpack for Europe.
I’ve had my Tortuga Setout for a couple of months now, and it’s quickly become my favorite full size carry on travel backpack. This thing holds a lot! I can’t wait to try it out on our next trip!
It’s designed well for European travel, with straps that tuck away to avoid being snagged by plane conveyor belts, and a size that’s easy enough to lift onto train and into airplane overhead bins.
Here’s a little detail I love: the laptop sleeve is both padded and is suspended off the ground. This means that you won’t accidentally set down the pack and damage your laptop. I did that once, and I’ve insisted on padded laptop sleeves ever since (luckily my laptop survived, albeit with a big chunk out of the plastic corner missing). The Setout laptop sleeve fits up to a 17″ laptop, and the laptop compartment is easy to access and separate from the main compartment, making it really quick to access when going through airport security.
It’s not waterproof, but it is made with a high quality, durable fabric that could easily withstand a light rain shower. You can also pick up a custom fit Setout rain cover if you want.
There’s not much we didn’t like here. That said, the Setout is not height adjustable, and comes in one size, so if you’re very tall (over 6’1″) or smaller than (5’1″) it may not work for you. Tortuga says that it’s made to fit 17-19″ torsos. If you’re looking for a similar pack that fits a longer or shorter torso, or that’s height adjustable, check out their adjustable Tortuga Outbreaker, which comes in 35 and 45 L sizes, but is a bit more expensive and a little heavier. It’s a great pack as well.
Tortuga really stands out from other backpacks, I think, because the founders of Tortuga designed the first Tortuga after backpacking Europe. They found that their traditional top-loading backpack made it hard to access stuff, that there was limited storage for electronics, and they didn’t like that their standard backpack made them stand out immediately as backpackers.
So, they designed Tortuga packs to be great backpacks for urban travelers with plenty of storage (especially for electronics), and a cool, urban look and feel.
We really love the Tortuga Setout for traveling Europe, but if you’re looking for a bigger backpack for Europe, or a more traditional style of backpack, then see below for the Osprey Porter 46 and Kelty Redwing 44. Both are great choices.
We also have a couple options below if you’re looking for a larger backpack for European travel.
Osprey Porter 46 review
The unisex Osprey Porter 46 is an excellent pack with a lot of good ratings. It only lost out the the Tortuga Setout as best small travel backpack for Europe because it’s a little more conspicuously a standard backpack, so it’ll be harder to blend into crowds. We also feel that we can cram a little bit more into the Setout. However, the Osprey Porter is a fantastic pack as well, especially if you’re looking for a more streamlined traditional carry on pack.
This is an especially useful pack if you’re looking to cram as much as humanly possible into a smaller pack. There are padded straitjacket compression straps that do a fantastic job of squeezing down contents. The suspension is good and comfy, but not quite as fully adjustable as the more expensive Fairview or Farpoint from Osprey.
We also love that there’s easy access to the main compartment through a suitcase style zipper that’s easily lockable.
The Porter is only 22″ x 14″ X 11″, meaning you should be able to use it as carry on size for most European airlines.
It weighs 3.4 lbs, and comes in red, teal, black and grey.
There’s a dedicated laptop pocket in the back of the bag, separate from the main compartment, making it easy to pull your laptop in and out at airports. It can also hold up to a 17″ laptop.
The Osprey Porter has plenty of pockets, a stowaway shoulder harness and a stowaway padded hip belt, as well as a large lower zippered compartment that’s perfect for shoes or an ultra lightweight sleeping bag.
You should be able to use the Osprey Porter 46 as a carry on pack in Europe, if it’s not overstuffed, and if gate agents aren’t overly zealous.
One small downside with this pack is that there’s no exterior water bottle holder however you can grab a well reviewed carabiner style water bottle drink holder.
There’s also an Osprey Porter 65 L version, if you’re looking for a larger pack. It’s essentially the same pack as the 46, but larger.
Kelty Redwing 44 L backpack review
You may need to check your Kelty Redwing 44 L backpack, as it’s bigger than carry-on size for most European airlines at 25″ x 15″ x 12″.
That said, the Redwing isn’t that far off from a carry on size, so if you don’t over stuff it, and the odds are in your favor that day, you may be able to get this on board as European carry on. There are no guarantees with this – so be prepared that if they’re bringing a tape measure out at the gate, you may pay for checked luggage with this pack.
This is a top loading, multipurpose, unisex pack that switches easily between city streets and on the trail. There’s even a choice of colors (blue, green and black).
Best of all, it’s incredibly comfortable to wear, extremely lightweight at only 2 lbs 10 oz and absolutely packed with features.
The top lid converts to a sling pack, and there are seven exterior pockets for electronics and travel documents, including a stretch front pouch, zippered side pockets and a front pocket with plenty of organizational features.
If you want something just a bit bigger, consider the Kelty Redwing 50. It’s essentially the identical pack to the Kelty Redwing 44 L, but just a hair bigger at 50 L, 26″ x 16″ x 12″, and over a pound heavier at 3 lbs 11 oz.
Traveling in Europe most likely means dealing with more strict carry on size requirements than in North America or elsewhere.
Many European and Asian airlines, especially discount airlines, limit their carry on bags to tiny sizes. RyanAir has a carry on limit of 21.6″ x 15.7″ x 7.8″ (or 55 cm x 40 cm x 20 cm). That’s pretty small!
If you want to travel only with a carryon backpack on budget airlines in Europe, make sure that you check carry on sizes. They vary a lot.
Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 Anti-Theft Adventure Backpack
I have this Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 30 L backpack, and I absolutely love it. It’s my go-to carry on pack when small carry on size is important as it’s small enough to use for most European airlines carryon policies (at 20.3 x 11.8 x 7.9 inches).
That said, it’s not exactly roomy, and it will be a struggle for most people to use this as a backpack for more than weekend trips around Europe. It’ll be especially tight if you have any electronic or camera gear, or a lot of clothes.
One great feature of this pack is that it’s has a lot of security features like RFID protection and slashguard fabric, which are great for travel in Europe.
I can easily fit my 15 inch laptop in here as it also has a special laptop pocket.
What I don’t love about this backpack is that it’s top load only, so it’s hard to get to the gear in the bottom. That said, there’s only so much you can cram in a 30 L pack, so it’s not a huge inconvenience. There are also useful front pockets for storing stuff you need to access quickly.
I’d recommend this pack as the best weekend backpack for discount European airlines, but you’ll likely find it too small for longer trips.
We almost always travel carry on only these days. We’ve learned from experience that lugging around a comically over sized backpack or suitcase is backbreaking and annoying, not to mention expensive when we need to pay for checked luggage. Lugging a 70 L suitcase up a three story apartment in Lisbon cured us of ever needing huge suitcases again forever.
The best carry on backpack (or hand luggage or cabin baggage as it’s sometimes called) should be compact, and fit within the carry on size guidelines for most airlines.
Plus, it should fit well, look good, and be durable enough to withstand travel on airplanes, buses, and everywhere you might go.
Here’s our top pick for the best carry on backpack for international travel.
eBags TLS Mother Lode Weekender Convertible
The eBags Weekender convertible is a nice looking bag, and small at only 22 x 14 x 9 inches (55 cm x 35 cm x 23 cm).
I own a similar slim version of this pack, and I really like its stylish and city-friendly look that comes in a wide selection of colors. I have the grey (called heathered graphite), and the color hides dirt well and the fabric is nice and sturdy.
The Mother Lode Weekender is called a convertible backpack because it’s designed to be easily convertible to a carry-on suitcase. This makes it great for city travel, and traveling by plane, train and bus. If you judge the Weekender by the reviews alone, it’s the best convertible backpack for travel out there.
One of the best features of this backpack is that it can open up like a suitcase, making it easy to pack, and especially easy to find items once it’s packed.
There are a lot of smart features here, from interior compression straps to an easy access top pocket (for passports and the like) to a water bottle sleeve that pops out of a front compartment.
There are also an expansion zipper and external compression straps, a special laptop sleeve, and hideaway padded backpack straps, plus all the small zippered compartments and storage you could ever need.
Tortuga Setout Carry-on Backpack Review
We’ve included the Tortuga Setout in both our best backpack for Europe and this list of the best carry-on backpacks. It won as our best carryon backpack for Europe because of its stylish look.
The Setout converts to a duffel easily, and it carries a whole lot for its small 22″ x 14″ x 9 size.
The padded shoulder and waist straps tuck neatly away, and it opens wide like a suitcase making it a breeze to pack and unpack.
There’s a lot of storage for electronics and travel documents. Read more on our full review in the best travel backpack for Europe section.
You can’t buy the Setout on Amazon, but you can see prices and more on the Tortuga website here.
Wheeled backpacks have a couple of big disadvantages.
First, the wheels, handle and frame that are needed to keep the bag stiff make these packs heavier than a standard backpack. This means that they’re harder to carry, and you’ll need to make sure the straps are especially comfortable to handle the extra weight.
Second, the wheels and frame reduce the amount of space in the pack, so you’ll be able to carry less in a wheeled backpack than in a pack without wheels.
We’ve tested wheeled backpacks a few times, and every time we’ve come to the conclusion that their disadvantages far outweigh the convenience of being able to to roll our packs.
That said, backpacks with wheels are improving every year, and the new best rolling backpacks are made with stronger, lightweight materials for the wheels, handle and frame.
We’ve rounded what we think are the three best travel backpacks with wheels out there today.
Osprey Packs Sojourn 45 L Wheeled Backpack Review
The Osprey Sojourn 45 L wheeled backpack is a typical Osprey pack – well designed, robust, and functional.
This is carry on size at 22″ x 14″ x 9″, but it weighs in at a pretty heavy 7.93 lbs (non-wheeled backpacks of this size are usually around four pounds lighter).
The side compression straps mean you can squish a lot of stuff inside, which is great.
There are two rolling wheels on the bottom, and a retractable handle, and the wheels are high enough to roll easily along cobblestone streets.
There are plenty of pockets here, including internal mesh pockets, and pockets on the front lid. The Sojourn has a u-zipper in the main compartments that opens like a suitcase so you can see all of the contents inside.
Unlike a lot of rollable backpacks, the straps on the Sojourn are comfortable enough to be used full time. The shoulder harness, hip belt and back panel are all stowable if you want to use this just as a carryon suitcase.
Admittedly, it’s pricey, but there’s also a lifetime guarantee with Osprey packs.
High Sierra AT3 Carry-On Wheeled Backpack Review
The High Sierra AT3 rolling backpack is an option if you just can’t fork out the money for the Osprey.
At 22″ x 13.5″ x 9″ and 9 pounds, it’s very similar in size and weight.
This is a solid bag, and gets pretty good reviews. Even if it doesn’t have quite the durability of the Osprey Sojourn, it’s still a solid bag for the price.
Like the Sojourn, it has straps that can be stowed away. There are plenty of pockets for electronics storage, and dual-side water bottle pockets.
It does have one cool feature: a removable front day pack. A word of warning – it the daypack is full, you may need to pull it off to get the High Sierra to fit in carry sizing bins at the airport.
Osprey Packs Sojourn 80 L Wheeled Backpack
If you’re looking for a larger wheeled backpack, the Osprey Sojourn Wheeled luggage backpack is for you. At a whopping 80 L and 28 inches long, you’ll definitely need to check this beast. Dimensions are 28″ x 14″ x 14″.
It’s essentially an amped up version of the carry-on sized Sojourn 45 (without wheels) that we reviewed above.
You won’t want to carry this long as a backpack. It’s 8.97 lbs and there are some complaints it’s a bit top heavy. That said, the Osprey straps are typically comfortable.
We’ve all heard the horror stories of travelers who’ve had their bags slashed open or stolen. Today, there are some excellent lightweight anti-slash and anti-theft features that can help you ward off problems on the road. Here’s our favorite carry on size anti-theft backpack.
The Pacsafe Vibe 40 Anti-Theft 40L Weekender Backpack review
The Pacsafe Vibe 40 Anti-Theft 40L Weekender is a solid travel carry on with plenty of anti-theft features.
It’s surprisingly hard to find a carry on size or larger backpack with great anti-theft technology. Most anti-theft bags are smaller, and designed as business or electronics bags rather than travel bags.
This backpack is a nice find, as it has a lot of room, a reasonably small size and weight, plus it has some great anti-theft features.
I’ve had a similar Pacsafe Venturesafe X30 backpack for a couple of years and absolutely love it. I’ve especially love the anti-slash feature for busy crowds and it also makes a great quick weekend away backpack.
The Pacsafe Vibe 40 is surprisingly light at 3.01 lbs considering that it’s made from an anti-slash fabric. At 19.7″ x 13.8″ x 7.1″, it should be carry on size with most airlines, whether domestic or European.
The entire body of the pack is made of hidden eXomesh Slashguard stainless steel wire mesh that’s embedded in the fabric, making it slash proof. Smart zippers interlock and can be secured to the locking system. There’s an RFIDsafe pocket for credit cards and passports. The pack’s straps are also made of a carrysafe slashguard material.
See it on Amazon here now.If you’re looking for a smaller anti theft bag, check out our review of the Pacsafe
If you’re planning to get out of the city and into the wilderness these packs are a great bet. They are the best hiking backpacks, designed to carry hiking gear like sleeping bags and trekking poles, and they have a traditional hiking backpack style.
Both the women’s and men’s hiking packs here are large enough for a longer hike like the Camino de Santiago.
Gregory Mountain Products Baltoro 65 liter – Best hiking backpack for men
This pack, the Baltoro 65 Liter Men’s Backpack, is no exception. It’s a great pack, and even though we’re not fans of the top load it offers, we seriously considered it for our main backpack.
It’s surprisingly light for its size at 4.84 lbs, and 30″ x 13″ x 13″”. There’s a high-strength aluminum frame, and it comes in six colors and three torso lengths.
It has plenty of cool features, like a removable hydration sleeve. The sleeve even converts into a day pack. There’s a rain cover included for inevitable bad weather and tons of straps to attach things to it.
Kelty Coyote 65 women’s – Best hiking backpack for women
The Kelty Coyote 65 is a solid, reasonably priced women’s hiking pack, bringing it to the top of our selections for the best hiking backpack for women. It’s a good balance between price, comfort and durability.
At 65 liters, it’s 33″ x 17 “x 14”, and weighs 4 lbs 13 oz. It’s available in black, green and blue.
One major issue is that it doesn’t have sleeping pad straps on the outside, but it does have an inside compartment for your sleeping bag. There also aren’t a lot of adjustments for sizing. That said, it should fit most women well.
We really liked the super comfy padded shoulder and hip straps that helped bring it to the top of our best trekking backpack for women list.
There are a lot of nice design features, including plenty of storage, and a removable top that converts into a light pack.
We’re big fans of backpacks that open more like a suitcase does, making packing and unpacking easier.
That said, a top loading pack is more traditional for travel and people swear you can pack more into it. Because there are no side zippers, it’s harder to access the interior compartment, so you can also argue that a top loading pack is more secure.
These are our favorite top loading backpacks that are geared more toward all-around travel than hiking.
Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG Review – Best men’s top loading backpack
The Osprey Men’s Atmos 65 AG is a great pack that’s loaded with features.
The Atmos has a removable top lid, which is perfect for holding toiletries. There are also plenty of pockets, including large zippered front pockets for easy access.
Fit is quick and easy, with an easily adjustable hip belt and shoulder straps. Plus, the entire harness is adjustable, making it easy to lengthen or shorten the torso length fit.
There’s also the Osprey anti-gravity suspension. Essentially, the anti-gravity suspension is a panel of lightweight mesh that extends from the hip belt to the top of the back panel. It’s designed to be lightweight and breathable, and conform exactly to the shape of your back.
For a 65 L backpack, it’s remarkably lightweight at just over 3 pounds, which might make it the best lightweight backpack relative to size on this list. The dimensions are 10 x 16 x 23 inches.
To get your load packed away securely, there are side compression straps, as well as internal compression straps. There are plenty of other features like a trekking pole attachment system.
The Osprey Atmos comes in small, medium and large sizes. Click here to read more about it.
Osprey Aura 65 Review – Best women’s top loading backpack
The Osprey Aura 65 backpack gets mentioned again and again by female travelers as their favorite women’s travel backpack, and it’s easy to see why.
This is a sister pack to our favorite men’s top loading backpack, the Osprey Atmos.
It’s made especially for female travelers, and the frame comes in three sizes, XS, S, and Medium for the perfect fit. There are also fit-on-the-fly hip straps that make it easy to fit well, plus padded shoulder straps that are fully adjustable, and a sternum strap to help ease the load on sore shoulders. The straps are built on an AntiGravity suspension (thus the AG part of the backpack name) that helps distribute weight more evenly.
As a 5’5″ woman, it fits me well, and easily holds a heck of a lot of stuff!
The Aura is a top load backpack, meaning that you load and unload it from the top. I’m usually a much bigger fan of backpacks that open up all the way around the main body (called a u-zip or suitcase style), but the Aura fits so well, and it gets such great reviews that I can almost overlook the top load only.
As a 65 L backpack, it has plenty of room to store everything you’ll need for week long (or longer) international trips.
One thing I find essential in a backpack is having pockets that are easily accessible for storing things like passports, electronics, money, snacks and toiletries. There are a few options in the Aura, including two fairly large zippered front pockets, a front mesh pocket, zippered hip belt pockets on each side, stretchy side mesh side pockets for storing water bottles and other gear, and an (optional) separate bottom compartment.
There’s also a removable top lid, which is especially useful for storing toiletries.
If you’re carrying a sleeping bag, you can stow it in the bottom sleeping bag compartment, which has a removable divider. If not, you can use the lower compartment to store items for easy access, or just remove the divider to have one larger internal area for storage. The video below shows a few of the features.
The compression straps on the side and top make it easy to cinch up.
There’s even an internal hydration reservoir sleeve, a trekking pole attachment, and lower straps for a sleeping pad if you’re planning on hiking with the Aura.
There aren’t a lot of negatives as this is a great pack, but I do miss that it doesn’t have a removable day pack built in. That said, it’s pretty easy to stuff a collapsible day pack like an Outlander in the top lid for easy access. See prices for the Outlander daypack here.
Another negative is that it doesn’t come with a built in rain cover. The backpack is made of water-resistant fabric, but it won’t withstand a heavy downpour. Instead you can buy an Osprey rain cover that fits this pack perfectly. See the Osprey raincover prices here.
What’s your favorite travel pack? DO YOU HAVE A BAG that you think is the best backpack in the world? Let us know, and maybe we can add it to our best travel backpack reviews!
from The Barefoot Nomad https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/travel-tips/the-best-travel-backpack/
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GoKite Cabarete Kiteboarding School is a frequent visitor to Punta Rucia, both for its beauty and tranquility, and for near-perfect kiteboarding conditions. For that reason, we often organize day trips to Punta Rucia, whenever the wind conditions in Cabarete aren’t that great. This summer, more than 50 of our students enjoyed the flat water and consistent wind with us.
This summer, we found a new spot, perfect for beginners, with its own beach and same flat water and steady winds. It’s only about 5km away from our usual spot, the mangroves, and it makes it easier for the less experienced kitesurfers to enter the water.
Last week, during one of the low-wind days in Cabarete, we decided to take a trip to Punta Rucia and clean up the beach at the newly-discovered spot.
After hours of cleaning up, we rewarded ourselves with a great afternoon of kiteboarding. We also took an opportunity to test our new DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone, as we’ll be adding lots of aerial and action videos…
We plan to use this beach much more often in the future, and will soon add a brand new weather station with live data about conditions in Punta Rucia. Stay tuned for the announcement!
from GoKiteCabarete http://gokitecabarete.com/new-gokite-spot-punta-rucia/
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Looking for the very best things to do in Penticton, British Columbia? We can help!
Since setting up a home base in BC’s mountainous interior a few years back, we’ve had ample opportunity to check out our hometown of Kelowna. We’ve also had the pleasure of exploring the majority of the beautiful Okanagan Valley that contains both Kelowna and nearby Penticton.
As we continue exploring this section of Canada, we’re constantly finding new things to do here and enjoy spending both summer and winter days driving around the 200 plus kilometers that make up the Okanagan Valley.
After discovering so many fun things things to do with the family in Kelowna, we’ve decided to go a little farther south and see what nearby Penticton offers. Only 40 minutes away from Kelowna proper, we’ve discovered that there are many family fun things to do in Penticton as well, no matter what your age.
We still have a few Penticton activities to check out ourselves, but summer isn’t officially over quite yet and we know there’s a good chance we’ll be back in Penticton again soon.
The Best Things to Do in Penticton British Columbia, Canada
So, if you’re looking for what to do in Penticton, check out our fun options below.
Kayaking with HooDoo Adventures in Penticton
Whether you’re setting out for a day of paddling on Okanagan Lake or taking one of their paddle and wine tasting tours, you’re still in for a great day.
Less than a block to the water, HooDoo Adventures even lets you rent a kayak or stand up paddle board and check out Okanagan Lake on your own. For a guaranteed good time, take a tour with the owners Mike or Lindi to learn more about the history of Penticton and the surrounding area. They truly are a fountain of information and are both avid outdoor adventurists.
On our tour, the kids loved kayaking under the boardwalk and stopping off at the faraway beach for a quick snack and to explore the water. With or without the kids, you’re guaranteed a great day on the water and we look forward to one day taking their famous Kayak and Wine tour.
Tubing on the Penticton Channel
A classic Okanagan event, floating on a tube or raft down the 7km (4 mile) Penticton Channel (also known as the Okanagan River Channel) that runs from Skaha Lake down to Okanagan Lake is an annual event for many families that live in the area. I first went over 15 years ago and had a great time with a bunch of friends. This year we plan on going with the kids and enjoying a nice barbecue after the trip.
You can do it on your own or you can jump on the Coyote Cruises bus and rent one of their tubes or rafts (Approx $6 for a tube and $6 for a bus ride.) Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen and something to drink because the full tube ride takes between 3 to 4 hours. If renting a tube from Coyote Cruises, they’ll only drop you off at the halfway point. Just be mindful of their hours since they don’t allow anyone past the halfway point past 4:30 PM.
If you’re going on your own, all you need is a flotation device (anything from an inner tube to a cheap lounger will do) and a way to get to one of the two drop off points. You can either jump on your tubes at the beginning of the channel at Skaha Lake or stop off at the corner of Green Mountain Road/Fairview Road and Highway 97, behind the Super Save gas station). Parking is limited at the halfway point and there’s a Tim Hortons just across the bridge if you’re hungry.
Play at the Loco Landing Adventure Park in Penticton
With everything from mini golf to high level ropes, including speedy go karts and ridiculously fun and a little wet bumper boats, Loco Landing Adventure Park is every child’s dream come true. This family run operation allows you to pay as you go for each activity or you can opt for a one time do it all pass that has no expiry and can be used by multiple people. We ended up buying two cards for the kids and bought separate go kart, mini golf and bumper boats passes for ourselves.
Loco Landing in Penticton also has an Aeroball court (2 player versus trampoline basketball) and the Big Baller with it’s WipeOut style fun. They also have a blow up American Ninja style course for the kids and trampolines complete with harnesses for safe back flips. There’s also an outdoor climbing wall and a small restaurant/canteen where you can grab a bite to eat or something to drink.
The Loco Landing Adventure Park started in Penticton over 10 years ago as a family run park and every year they add another activity. To be honest, the place just keeps getting better year after year and the kids had a blast.
Hang at the beach at either Okanagan or Skaha Lake
With not one but two lakes in Penticton proper, you can always be guaranteed a spot on the beach. Whether you’re hanging out on Okanagan Lake in the north of town or the equally beautiful Skaha Lake in the south end of town, both the beaches and activities are endless. With spray parks, playgrounds, volleyball and tennis courts, concession stands and picnic areas in both places, you can easily spend the whole day in either location without having to leave.
You can also rent stand up paddle boards and boats at both places and there’s washrooms a plenty. You can also opt in to float down the Penticton Channel starting from Skaha Lake or ending up in Okanagan Lake.
Go kart racing at Top Gear Karting in Penticton
Perfect for the older kids (and that includes parents), Top Gear Racing has go karts to suit the speed demon in anyone. With a banked corner and a winding track nearly a kilometer long, this course will tax even the hardiest of racers.
Timed laps go up on the daily leaderboard and you can race up to 8 people at a time or work towards breaking your own lap record. They also offer courses for younger drivers and double karts for parents with younger children.
Indoor climbing with HooDoo Adventures in Penticton
The only indoor climbing gym in Penticton, there’s no doubt the climbing walls at HooDoo Adventures will get your blood pumping. Especially great for adults practicing their bouldering skills, kids will also love the top rope climbing walls. As we found out the day we went there, it’s also a great place to have a birthday party.
Hoodoo Adventures in Penticton also rents out everything from kayaks to stand up paddle boards to bicycles and even snowshoes for those cooler winter months. They also offer some of the best tours in all of the Okanagan Valley.
Coffee and playgrounds at Jumping Beans Play Cafe
If you feel like having a coffee and snack while your little ones run around and play, then Jumping Beans Cafe might be the place you’ve been looking for. With inside wooden play structures and interactive games, the younger kids can work off some steam while you enjoy a decent latte.
It’s a win win for everyone and great for those cooler winter days or even in the height of the areas incredibly hot summers.
Ride the Kettle Valley Steam Railway in Penticton
The Kettle Valley Steam Railway is 20 minutes north of Penticton but is definitely worth the trip. Whether you’re just going for a ride or taking part in the Great Train Robbery and barbecue, you’ll be transported back in time 100 years as you climb aboard the 1912 steam locomotive lovingly named the 3716.
The 90 minute, ten mile journey of the Kettle Valley Steam Railway takes you by beautiful vineyards, large fruit orchards and through breathtaking vistas before getting a great view of the lake 238 feet above the canyon floor while crossing Trout Creek Bridge. Whether you love old steam trains or just riding in comfort as you take in the beautiful scenery of the Kettle Valley, this train ride shouldn’t be missed.
Hike or Climb at Skaha Bluffs
Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, just south of Penticton, is world famous for rock climbing, and one of the best places for climbing in Canada.
There are also well maintained trails, if you’re not the hiking type. There’s a lot of wildlife: You may even catch a glimpse of bighorn sheep, fringed and small-footed myotis bats, night snakes, or a Western screech owl.
Shop at Penticton Farmers Market and the Downtown Community Market
What happens when you close the majority of downtown Penticton every Saturday morning for a few hours to host a market? Usually good things.
The award winning Penticton Farmers Market coupled with the Penticton Downtown Community Market together form one of the biggest markets in the province. With hundreds of vendors selling everything under the sun you’re sure to find something that you’ll enjoy.
You’ll find everything from eggs & honey to fresh veggies & fruits straight from the farm including fresh baking, handmade crafts and delicious preserves. The best thing about it is everything at the Farmers Market in Penticton is either grown or produced in the South Okanagan valley. They also offer an ever changing selection of local liquor vendors every week so you’ll also get the chance to sample some of the regions best wines and spirits all in one place.
The Penticton Downtown Community Market runs every Saturday from May to October from 8:30 to 1:30 pm.
Bike the Kettle Valley Trail
Towards Naramata, on the east side of Okanagan Lake leaving Penticton, lies the old Kettle Valley Railroad line. This section of the railway is no longer in use and you can bike the Kettle Valley Trail all the way to Kelowna. Overlooking the lake with wide, flat terrain, the trail is easy to bike and the views overlooking Okanagan Lake are gorgeous with beautifully restored classic wooden train trestles found all along the route.
If you don’t have your own bike you can rent one from a few places in town including HooDoo Adventures or take their well reviewed bike tour.
Head to the Penticton Pump Track or the Penticton Skateboard Park
A new free activity added to Penticton last year is the amazingly popular Penticton Pump Track. This paved oval track has dozens of mini hills and crests that will keep the kids (or the parents) busy for hours. It’s a great course for budding mountain bikers, BMX’ers and experienced riders as well. Located on Naramata Road at the Poplar Grove Parking lot, near the entrance to the Kettle Valley Trail it makes a great start or finish to a day of riding the trails.
Have a rebellious teen or a budding Tony Hawk in your group? Don’t worry, there’s a large skatepark in Penticton right next to Loco Landing that will have the kids grinding the rails and doing massive grabs, flips, ollies and slides in no time.
Walk the plank in Penticton
While there are no wooden planks left, there are miles of paved boardwalks that circle the city. If you start at the skatepark besides Loco Landing Adventure Park and continue past the SS Sicamous (the largest surviving stern wheeler in western Canada and a nice museum as well) you can follow Okanagan Lake all the way past the Lakeside Resort and Conference Centre through Okanagan Lake Park and the Penticton Japanese Gardens all the way to the Penticton Yacht Club and Marina with all it’s sailboats and powerboats.
With the lake and the Penticton beaches on one side and restaurants, hotels and shops on the other, the Penticton boardwalk makes for a great stroll whether your a jogger, a power walker or just a family taking a stroll through town.
History buffs will love the visiting the SS Sicamous stern wheeler. It’s one of the most famous Penticton attractions and points of interest. The SS Sicamous launched in 1915, and was used to transport passengers and cargo to locations all along the shores of Okanagan lake. It was known as a beautiful, luxurious voyage, and it’s well worth a look. The SS Sicamous took its last run in 1951. Today, it’s preserved as a museum that’s open to the public.
Take the plunge in Penticton
If you happen to be in Penticton during their crazy hot summers, love water activities and have already tubed the channel, the Penticton WiBit might be for you. This floating outside watercourse comprises dozens of huge air filled obstacles that will not only get your adrenaline up but give your kids the workout they so desperately need. With water trampolines, climbing walls, obstacle courses and splash pads, if you’re not having fun then you must be doing something wrong.
Situated just down the beach from Loco Landing and the SS Sicamous stern wheeler on the west end of Okanagan Lake, this floating waterpark is open from 10 am to 8 pm every day of the summer beginning in June. Just note that kids aged from 5 – 7 require a parent to go with them (parents are free with kids 5 – 7) and they have reduced prices for evenings so if you’re feeling a little cheap this might be the best time to go.
Eat your fill in Penticton
With over 100 restaurants in and around Penticton there’s something for every palate. From simple but tasty burgers and fries at Burger 55 to world class fare at the Bistro at Hillside Winery there’s also something for every budget.
While restaurants are scattered around town, you’ll find the greatest concentration of them near the downtown core and along Lakeshore Drive West.
If you’re wanting a real treat and you’re in Penticton during the summer, grab a bag, or even better, a bucket of mini donuts for the family. The mini donuts in Penticton are freshly made to order right off the beach at Our Little Donut Factory and they’re delicious. After that you can grab a bench or picnic table across the road along the boardwalk and watch the birds vie for your attention as they strut their stuff at the beach. It was a highlight of our last trip down there.
Wet your whistle in Penticton
With over 80 wineries within a 20 minute car ride of downtown Penticton, as well as 5 craft breweries and 2 distilleries, you might have wished you left your kids home for this trip.
All joking aside, the Okanagan Valley itself is home to over 300 wineries and Penticton is home to a good portion of them. With everything from wine tasting to cellar tours to even stomping the grapes yourself you can find a winery in Penticton that appeals to both you and even your kids. Most offer grape tasting for wee ones as well so the kids can feel like part of the action.
Some of the more popular wineries around Penticton include Bench 1775, La Frenz, Pentage Winery, Red Rooster, Ruby Blues and Lake Breeze. In terms of craft breweries, you have Highway 97, Barley Mill, Bad Tattoo Brewing, Tin Whistle Brewing and Cannery Brewing. Maple Leaf Distillery is the largest of the local distilleries.
Not wanting to risk the road after hitting a few of the wineries? Go on a winery tour with Hoodoo Adventures and let them drop you off at your hotel when you get home.
Get Your Farmer on at Covert Farms Estate Winery
Technically, Covert Farms Estate Winery is 35 minutes south of Penticton in the town of Oliver. There’s a working farm here, as well as a working winery, and a highly rated farm tour. A few years ago Covert Farms hosted the Amazing Race Canada. Every year in September, Covert Farms hosts the Freak’n Farmer obstacle race.
Visit the Penticton Visitor Centre
If you’re just coming into Penticton, it’s probably worth your while to grab a map of the local wineries and attractions from the excellent Penticton Visitor Centre located at 888 Westminster Ave. (It’s right beside the ever popular Penticton Convention Centre.) They can also help you with finding some of the more hidden gems in the area, direct you to special events that are on the horizon and can answer any questions you might have regarding Penticton and the rest of the Okanagan Valley here in BC, Canada.
from The Barefoot Nomad https://www.thebarefootnomad.com/canada/the-best-things-to-do-in-penticton-bc/
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from Extreme Hotels Cabarete https://extremehotels.com/why-cabarete-protected-from-most-hurricanes/
via Tumblr https://cabaretedr.tumblr.com/post/178248326473
Looking for a beautiful place to spend your winter?
Head straight to the Dominican Republic it will not fail you or disappoint, it is the ideal setting to get the best out of your winter vacation. We urge you to let yourself get swept away by the beauty of the north coast, on this vibrant Paradise Island and allow yourself the enjoyment of all it has to offer. This destination caters perfectly for an extended stay in an exotic location, coupled with it being a wonderful place to absorb yourself in the Caribbean culture and vibe. Where better to escape the wintry cold months of home and have a warm winter vacation.
Where can you find the best villas to stay?
To be situated directly on the gorgeous coastline, the only place to stay is one of the luxury villas in the beautiful gated community of Sea Horse Ranch. It offers the ideal accommodation, in the prime position of Cabarete. This location puts you right next to a selection of fabulous restaurants and bars. Where better to spend your time for the winter months, in this gorgeous climate you can expect to experience warm temperatures all season. Sosua and Cabarete offer some of the most spectacular beaches you can imagine. These areas also offer some of the best restaurants on the island. Staying here is an incredible way to ensure you get the best Caribbean winter vacation deal.
Discover places to eat with the best food and ambiance in the area
To enjoy delicious food in a beautiful tropical setting try our top 5 restaurants in Sosua and Cabarete:
Combining the variety of international restaurants with local Dominican culture and stunning beaches, you can’t fail to have the vacation of a lifetime. This is by far the best place for a Caribbean winter getaway.
Sea Horse Ranch offers concierge service for our guests and is happy to recommend and coordinate activities to enjoy this wonderful country. Our blog also offers suggestions on things to do during your Dominican Republic winter vacation.
Contact us today to plan a vacation holiday.
The post Get the Best Out of Your Winter Vacation in the Caribbean appeared first on Sea Horse Ranch.
from Sea Horse Ranch https://sea-horse-ranch.com/winter-vacation-caribbean/
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As Canadians, we’ve been lucky enough to visit most of Canada.
Since we also have family and friends all over the country, we always have a place to stay. It’s wonderful to have that sense of community wherever we go. Having an affordable place to hang our hats for the night doesn’t hurt either.
For visitors to our beautiful country, it’s not always so easy. Canada can be a terribly expensive place to visit. Because it’s such a big country, with relatively few people, flights are pricey. Plus, long distance bus service is limited here, especially in Western Canada with the coming closure of all Greyhound bus routes in the Western provinces.
To top that off, accommodation costs are high, especially in larger cities like Vancouver or Toronto, where most visitors start or end their visit.
Canadians in general are a pretty friendly bunch, but it’s always a challenge to feel like part of a community while staying in a hotel.
So, how can you save money traveling in Canada, and tap into the wonderful community we have here?
One fantastic way is to dip your toes into house sitting in Canada.
Housesitting in Canada
Canada is a great place to house sit. Since accommodation is pretty expensive, making house sitting a great value. Plus, there are quite a few listings, especially from homeowners with pets that need love and attention while their owners are on vacation.
How do you get started house sitting in Canada?
We’d recommend signing up for a house sitting website that connects potential sitters and homeowners.
The Nomador house sitting website is a great place to start. They’re relatively new to the house sitting world, but they’re already making a big dent, and quickly.
Nomador is becoming so incredibly popular, in part, because of their free Discovery option. The Discovery option lets you apply for your first three assignments at no charge. Homeowners can get a similar deal for their first listings.
After your first three assignments, there’s a membership fee to join. It’s the same rate for housesitters and home owners, and the website has listings all over the world.
What’s really cool about Nomador is the Stopover concept, which connects travelers and hosts around the world.
The Stopover lets home owners register to offer up a spare bedroom for members in between house sits. This lets members stay for a night or two as they travel in another country, or maybe even to fill a gap between house-sits. The culture of Nomador is based on community and the sharing economy, and we think they’ve really succeeded here!
Do I need to have references and experience to house sit in Canada?
It’s not a bad idea to have some references on hand, such as reference from a rental apartment or work.
That said, on Nomador you can’t add external references to your profile. Any references must be left by other members of the Nomador community. You can mention in your Additional Information area that you have other references and that you’re happy to send them to the homeowner.
A lot of housesitters in Canada get started building their references by doing a couple of short house sits close to home to build up their Nomador references.
Why do people get house sitters in Canada?
Many homeowners are looking for someone to help take care of their pets while they’re away. Getting a house sitter lets dogs and cats stay in their own home and keep their familiar routine, which can be a lot less stressful than sending a dog to the kennel.
Other homeowners just want someone to take care of their property to ensure it stays in good condition while they’re away or to bring in the mail and water their plants.
How do you find a good housesit in Canada?
Patience is the key to your first good gig as a house sitter in Canada. Take some time to fill out your profile, apply to several house sitting gigs, and even consider doing a short, local, trial run house sit to build up your references.
Can you get long term house sitting in Canada?
The length of a house sit varies quite a bit, from a few days to months on end. Plenty of homeowners go away on extended trips, take a year abroad, study overseas, or take a leave of absence from work, making their home available for longer periods.
There are hundreds of house sits available on Nomador, so the best thing to do is check out the listings and see what’s available for long term sits.
Where should I get a house sit in Canada?
Canada is huge, and expensive to fly in, so getting a house to sit in the right area is important.
As Canadians, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve run across a traveler who hadn’t done their research and ended up overwhelmed by the big distances and cost to travel between cities within Canada.
Let’s put it this way – it’s a 20 hour drive (at 100+ km/h, or 62 miles/hour) with no stops from our home city of Kelowna to Charles’ family in Winnipeg. That’s less than a third of the drive coast to coast across Canada!
Because Canada is so big, and most cities are spread out, if you’re house sitting in an area outside of reliable public transit, you’ll need a car while you’re here. Distances in Canada are large, and most of our population who are outside the largest centers get around by automobile.
House sitting in Vancouver
Vancouver is one of Canada’s largest, and most beautiful cities. It’s perched on the Pacific Ocean, and even in the heart of the city you’re likely never more than half an hour away from nature.
Most of Vancouver’s attractions are in the city center, so housesits in areas like downtown, Kitsilano, UBC, Gastown, trendy Yaletown, and the West End are pretty desirable.
In terms of best areas to house sit in Vancouver, don’t discount suburban areas like Richmond (which has a fantastic night market) or New Westminster either. Public transit in Vancouver is reliable and clean, especially if you can score a Vancouver house sit near the SkyTrain route.
House sitting in Toronto
Toronto is Canada’s largest city, and it’s a busy, bustling place with plenty of diversity and a whole lot to see and do.
We spent a few days in Mississauga (a Toronto suburb) at a conference a few years ago, and I can say from personal experience that highway traffic can get incredibly congested and slow outside the core. The city’s actually known for having some of the worst traffic jams in the USA and Canada.
So, that said, a Toronto house sit that’s close to downtown, or on the Toronto Transit Commission subway line, would be ideal.
Good neighborhoods to house sit in Toronto’s downtown core are the Distillery District, Liberty Village, the Toronto Harbourfront, and Cabbagetown (don’t let the name scare you off).
House sitting in Victoria, BC
Despite being the provincial capital of British Columbia, Victoria is a small city with just about 85,000 residents. There’s no subway, so if you’re relying on public transit, you’ll need to take the bus.
Honestly, any neighborhood in Victoria is good to house sit in – don’t expect any ghettos.
As far as best neighborhoods to house sit in Victoria, Beacon Hill is one of the city’s most expensive neighborhoods, Gordon Head is middle class and suburban, while downtown is a good choice if you’re looking for lots to do and good restaurants.
While you’re in Victoria, be sure to check out the stunning Butchart Gardens.
House sitting in Calgary, Alberta
Calgary is a booming Canadian city on the footsteps of the Rocky Mountains with the gorgeous Bow River winding through the city. It’s also less than an hour drive from Banff National Park and only 30 minutes from one of our favorite Albertan mountain towns, Canmore.
The Calgary Zoo, located just outside the heart of the Calgary core, is one of the best zoo’s in North America and with warm Chinook winds, it’s not uncommon for Calgary to occasionally hit the high teens (Celsius) in the middle of winter (which isn’t so common in Canada). Calgary is also home to the Calgary Stampede, one of the largest rodeos in the world.
The CTrain runs throughout Calgary and makes it easy and fairly quick to get around. Calgary’s downtown, especially the Eau Claire district, makes a great place to stay with easy access to shops in all directions.
Some of the best neighborhoods in Calgary to house sit in relation to shops, amenities and transit outside the downtown core are Beltline, Arbour Lake, Sunnyside, Signal Hill, Westside, Bridge Line and McKenzie Town.
House sitting in Montreal, Quebec
Montreal is known for delicious food and lively entertainment. The city is as famous for poutine, smoked meat, tourtière and, oddly enough, delicious bagels as it is for cinema and culture.
Montreal is also the home to dozens of festivals, including the Montreal Jazz Festival and the always funny Just For Laughs Festival. Montreal is also the home city of Cirque Du Soleil.
Though Montreal is the second largest french city in the world (second only to Paris), most of its population is bilingual You’ll find the largest concentration of English speakers centered around the downtown core and towards the western side of the city.
There are 68 metro stations across Montreal (called the STM) and good enough transit that you can house sit just about anywhere in the city.
Some of the best neighborhoods to house sit in Montreal include Ville Marie (effectively the downtown area), Old Montreal (known locally as Vieux Montreal with its old architecture and picturesque streets), Griffintown (Irish descent and foodie paradise), Plateau-Mont-Royal (largest concentration of artists per capita in Canada) and The Village (very LGBT friendly).
Looking at house sitting in Quebec or other French Canadian areas?
Nomador has a great resource that talks about the differences (and similarities) between Anglophone (English) and Francophone (French) Canadian culture, and some special tips for applying for house sits in Quebec. Check it out here.
House sitters in Kelowna, BC
This is our home city, so there’s a lot to say. It’s a stunning small city (nudging 125,000 people), that’s perched on deep blue Okanagan lake and surrounded by mountains and wineries.
It pains me to say it, but Kelowna’s public transit is definitely lacking. There’s no subway, so you’ll need to rely on the buses, which take a fair bit of flak from residents for being less than reliable. That said, some routes are served well, especially the route from Kelowna proper to UBC Okanagan (near the airport).
If you get a house sit in Kelowna, try to get a car, or find a central location like downtown where you won’t need to commute much.
Kelowna’s roughly made of two cities, West Kelowna and Kelowna proper, which includes downtown, Rutland (which has an undeservedly bad reputation, honestly, and some great hole in the wall restaurants – try Latin Fiesta and Dosa Crepe Cafe), Lower and Upper Mission, Glenmore and several other nice neighborhoods. Kelowna is also only 30 minutes away from Big White, a huge international ski and snowboard hill.
West Kelowna is home to the stunning Mission Hill winery, and you’ll find that you’re pretty close to Okanagan Lake anywhere in the city if you love the water as much as we do. However, the real action in Kelowna, as well as most restaurants and attractions, are in the downtown area. If you’re looking to house sit in Kelowna and don’t have a vehicle, downtown is your best best.
A few last notes on housesitting in Canada
No matter where you want to house sit in Canada, you’ll likely meet friendly and welcoming people who will make your stay memorable and enjoyable.
From the Pacific to the Atlantic, you’ll find varied cultures, unforgettable landscapes and everything from majestic mountains to wind swept prairies to rocky peaks. Each place has its own charms and its own people.
Have you ever tried home sitting in Canada? Let us know your tips! We’d love to hear from you.
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Since Charles and I first met, we’ve done more than a few major road trips together. We’ve literally spent years driving through Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, Portugal, Ecuador, and of course, many zigzags across the USA and at home here in Canada.
There’s no denying that there’s something wonderful about the the open road, with all of that possibility in front of you. At no other point in your travels, save for perhaps the open sea, will you have so many options open to you.
Whether you’re driving through the mountains, across the plains, through tiny villages or giant cities, having your own vehicle gives you the freedom to see and do whatever you want. That being said, if you’re not prepared, road trips can eventually get tedious and boring.
After years of long road trips under our belts, we’ve figured out that one of the best ways to make a road trip easier and more fun are via audiobooks.
A great audiobook can make a long drive fly by so when you’re stuck in the car for hours on end, with nothing but open prairies or four lane highways for as far as the eye can see, these great audiobooks for road trips can save your sanity!
The best audiobooks for road trips 2018
Looking for a great audiobook for the family, or the best audiobooks for fantasy, romance, comedy or even science fiction? We’ve got you covered. The first part of this article is for the best adult audiobooks for road trips, but scroll down to the end (or check out this post) to see our top audiobook choices for the family.
Best Audible books for road trips
While there are a lot of ways to listen to audiobooks, we’re fans of Amazon’s Audible service. It’s easy, and because it’s Amazon, there’s a huge selection of titles.
If you’re in the USA, you can sign up with Audible for the USA directly through the link below!
Are you Canadian like us?
An Audible Canada membership is FREE for 30 days, and that includes two audiobooks for free. After that, your membership gives you one credit per month, which is good for any audiobook. What’s cool is that the Audible.ca marketplace is bilingual, and in Canadian dollars.
There’s more information on membership at the end of this post.
Best nonfiction audiobooks
New York Times business reporter Charles Duhigg focuses on how habits form and how they impact our lives. He delves into scientific discoveries that explain how habits are formed, and how habits are crucial to the success of our lives, communities, and businesses.
This audiobook is in my personal favorite’s list. It’s an easy listen, but there are plenty of great nuggets of inspiration and information in here.
Author: Charles Duhigg
Narrator: Mike Chamberlain
This is a great listen, and perfect for when you’re in an inquisitive, thoughtful mood. I’ve listened to it a couple of times now, and enjoy it anew every time.
Author and Narrator: Malcolm Gladwell
Dr. Brené Brown tackles the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness. Instead, she argues that vulnerability is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.
It’s another one of my favorites.
Author and Narrator: Brené Brown
I’m a big Wil Wheaton fan, from way back during his days as Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation. So, any time he narrates an audiobook, it’s a win for me. The author, Randall Munroe, is the creator of the popular xkcd webcomic, and answers interesting questions like “How fast can you hit a speed bump while driving and live?” and “If there were a robot apocalypse, how long would humanity last?”.
It’s an interesting listen, even if you’re not a huge science geek.
Written by: Randall Munroe
Narrated by: Wil Wheaton
Best fantasy audiobooks
The Game of Thrones books are huge bestsellers and the entire series of Game of Thrones audiobooks are no different. Like the HBO TV series of the same name, they’re full of intrigue, great characters, and a gripping story. The book series, actually called A Song of Ice and Fire, in case you’re one of the few who hasn’t heard of it, chronicles two powerful families playing a deadly game for the rule of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
Narrator Roy Dotrice switches effortlessly between character voices and accents, and it’s a real treat.
This is perfect for long, epic road trips, with a whopping 33 hours and 46 minutes of listening time.
Author: George R. R. Martin
Narrator: Roy Dotrice
This is one of the most popular Fantasy audiobooks in Audible’s collection. This is the first book in the Lord of the Rings series, and follows the adventures of the Fellowship of the Ring – hobbits, elves, wizards, humans and dwarves alike – as they plunge into the beginning of the ultimate clash between good and evil.
Narrator Rob Inglis switches effortlessly between characters accents.
This unabridged edition is a whopping 19 hours and 7 minutes, so get comfy and settle in.
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Narrator: Rob Inglis
Best fiction audiobooks
Author: Kevin Kwan
Narrator: Lynn Chen
The story follows Detective Ralph Anderson’s investigation into the death of an 11-year-old boy. The investigation’s suspension and tension will keep you following closely.
Not suitable for kids.
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Will Patton
If, like us, you’re fans of video games and 1980’s movies, personas and nostalgia, it’s a must listen.
Ready Player One is set in the year 2044, and it follows the story of Wade Watts, who escapes the grim reality of his dystopian world by spending his waking hours in the realistic cyber world of the OASIS. Brilliant and eccentric OASIS creator James Halliday has left his immense fortune to the first person to find a well hidden Easter egg in the OASIS. There’s plenty of action, adventure, and even romance as Wade races to win the contest.
There’s now a movie of the same name directed by Steven Spielberg (which I hate to say was entertaining, but doesn’t do the book justice at all).
You’ll either love it intensely or hate it. Give the sample a listen before you buy.
Author: Ernest Cline
Narrator: Wil Wheaton
Best sci fi audiobooks
Beautifully narrated by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins, this is a great favorite of mine.
Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury, is set in a bleak, dystopian world where books are almost extinct and television rules. This tells the story of fireman Guy Montag, tasked with destroying printed books and the houses where they’re hidden. In time, Guy meets a young neighbor, Clairisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear, and the ideas in books weren’t forbidden.
Author: Ray Bradbury
Narrator: Tim Robbins
This gets 4.5 out of 5 stars in over 9,000 reviews. That said, it wasn’t my favorite, but I think a lot of folks may enjoy it, so I’ve included it here.
Author: Orson Scott Card
Narrator: Full Cast Recording
The entire family really enjoyed the geekiness that is Bob. This quirky sci-fi comedy audiobook spans centuries as Bob, once a normal, living, breathing human being dies. When he comes back as a computer a century later, he never imagined he would one day be humankind’s only hope for survival. This audiobook delves into everything from space exploration to what it means to be considered human.
The narrator, Ray Porter, does a great job giving life to all of Bob 2.0’s emerging personalities and the story is incredibly fun to listen to. We’re almost done book 3 and are sorry the ride is coming to an end.
With 4.6 stars of five from 1,900 reviews, you know people are enjoying this one.
Listen to a sample now, but just be warned, you won’t want to turn it off.
Author: Dennis E. Taylor
Narrator: Ray Porter
Best mystery and horror audiobooks for road trips
As the book starts, Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives to the unveiling of a discovery that’s supposed to “change the face of science forever.”
Author: Dan Brown
Narrator: Paul Michael
FYI, it was eventually adapted into the movie World War Z starring Brad Pitt however like most movies based on books, loses something intangible in the retelling.
Author: Max Brooks (Narrator, Author), Alan Alda (Narrator), John Turturro (Narrator), Rob Reiner (Narrator)
Narrators: Max Brooks, Alan Alda, John Turturro, Rob Reiner
Classic audio books for the road
Admittedly, I’m personally not a huge Jane Austen fan, but this gets 4 and a half stars (out of five) from a whopping almost 8,000 reviews. The narrator, Karen Savage, does a nice job switching between character voices with an English accent and an American accent as narrator.
Well worth a listen if you’re an Austin fan, and if you’re heading out on a long road trip, since the total length of this Pride and Prejudice audiobook is a considerable 11 hours and 1 minute.
Author: Jane Austen
Narrator: Karen Savage
Best romance audiobooks
This witty and uplifting quirky romance is soon to be made into a movie starring Reese Witherspoon.
I really love narrator Cathleen McCarron’s spot-on accents and the timbre of her voice here.
Author: Gail Honeyman
Narrator: Cathleen McCarron
This hugely popular historical romance is a great listen. It begins in 1945 when Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is instantly transported to 1743 Scotland by touching an ancient stone ruin. There, she’s thrown into a romance with gallant James Fraser and warring border clans as she tries to make her way home.
Sure, unlike the TV show, you won’t be able to see Sam Heughan (who plays love interest Jamie on the TV show) shirtless, but it’s still worth a listen.
Diana Gabaldon (Author), Davina Porter (Narrator).
Best funny audiobooks for road trips
There’s nothing like a good laugh to break up a long drive. This list of comedy audiobooks for road trips features some of the best comedians around.
In this audiobook, The Daily Show host Trevor Noah tells the story of his journey from his childhood during the dwindling years of apartheid in South Africa to his life in the USA hosting The Daily Show.
His stories are in turn comical, dark, poignant, hilarious and sometimes simply weird. Whatever they are, it’s pretty clear that Trevor Noah is a voice well worth listening to.
Author and Narrator: Trevor Noah
If you’re a Tina Fey fan, you’ll love this book. It’s full of her usual quick wit, sardonic reflections and self depreciating humor.
Don’t let the cheesy first minute of the sample turn you off, this is Tina Fey at her funniest.
Author and Narrator: Tina Fey
If you like her standup or tv roles, you’ll like this audiobook.
Author: Mindy Kaling
Narrators: Mindy Kaling, Michael Schur, B. J. Novak
Best free audio books
It’s honestly tough to find good free audiobooks, but I’ve tracked down a few. Give these free Audible audiobooks a try to give your wallet a rest.
In this fantasy adventure short story, lead character Riyria is hired to get a jester’s treasure, and Royce and Hadrian are trapped in a booby-trapped cave.
While this is a companion story to The Riyria Revelations and The Riyria Chronicles, you don’t need to be familiar with them to enjoy the story. Narrator Tim Gerard Reynolds is a pleasure to listen to, and the hours listening to this passes quickly.
Author: Michael J. Sullivan
Author: Keith C. Blackmore
Narrator: R. C. Bray
This book is set in a science fiction world of Mars and more remote planets, but it feels more like the personal journey of a military man.
Author: Steve Umstead
Narrator: Ray Chase
Best audiobooks for family road trips
Audiobooks are a fantastic way to keep kids entertained on long drives, without resorting to a lot of screen time, or hearing endless bleats of “I’m bored” from the back seat. It also gives rise to meaningful family conversations as the stories are shared and topics you might never discuss (though are worth discussing) come up during breaks and meals.
I’ve included what we think are the best children’s audiobooks for road trips, but you can read our full list of the best audiobooks for family road trips here.
The list starts with the best audiobooks for older kids, but scroll further down to find some picks for great audiobooks for younger children.
Best audiobooks for teens and tweens
Listening to audiobooks with teens and tweens is an entirely different beast than listening with younger children. Once kids are in their tweens, there’s a whole world of tween and young adult audiobooks that are also entirely entertaining for adults.
Here are our very favorite audiobooks for road trips with tweens and teens.
Coraline is an inventive, dark children’s fantasy. Heroine Coraline finds herself trapped in a lost world behind the mirrors with other lost children.
This is narrated by the author Neil Gaiman, and he does an excellent job.
Author and Narrator: Neil Gaiman
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Book 1
The Harry Potter series of audiobooks are probably our favorite family audiobooks. To date, we’ve listened to five of the seven books in the series and have just started book 6.
We really love the audiobooks narrated by Jim Dale. He does a great job with all the voices, even Hagrid and Hermione Granger though some people prefer the Harry Potter audiobooks narrated by Stephren Fry. To be honest, we’ve listened to them both and you can’t go wrong with either of them.
Written by: J.K. Rowling
Narrated by: Jim Dale
The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1
I’m personally not a huge fan of the narrator’s voice, but Charles and the kids loved it.
This series is a great choice for tweens, in particular, and both our son and daughter loved the Percy Jackson books during the tween years.
The best part is the books in this series can stand on their own, so you’re not forced to listen to every single one of them.
Written by: Rick Riordan
Narrated by: Jesse Bernstein
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Peter and the Starcatchers
This take on the Peter Pan origins story is read by Jim Dale, who narrates the Harry Potter series.
It’s imaginative and engaging, and adults should enjoy it as well.
Written by: Dave Barry and Ridler Pearson
Narrated by: Jim Dale
Audio books for younger children
While some audiobooks for little kids are excruciating for parents, these picks should keep the adults happy as well.
Treasury of Classic Children’s Stories
These are sweet and nostalgic, and both parents and kids should enjoy these classic stories.
Written by: Oscar Wilde, Brothers Grimm
Narrated by: Audrey Hepburn, John Ritter, Sharon Stone and Orson Welles
The Ralph S. Mouse Audio Collection
This story of a mouse on the lookout for more excitement honestly couldn’t be more adorable.
Written by: Beverly Cleary and Tracy Dockray
Narrated by: B.D. Wong
Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies
If you love Julie Andrews, this is the collection for you and your little ones. It’s both charming and sweet.
Written by: Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews
Narrated by: Emma Walton Hamilton, Julie Andrews
About Audible membership plans
You can order books on Audible without a monthly membership, but I’m actually a fan of the monthly membership.
An Audible membership is FREE for 30 days. Right now, you get two free audiobooks with a trial. Click here to sign up for free!
After 30 days, membership is $14.95 per month. That $14.95 per month gives you 1 credit for a month. That credit is good for any audiobook, at any price.
You keep your audiobooks even if you cancel. If you want to buy more books, you save 30% on any additional purchases.
I especially love this last part – if you find you don’t like an audiobook once you’ve started it, Audible will let you exchange the book. I’ve returned an Audible book a couple of times with no hassles once I’ve started a book and realized I didn’t care for it.
Do you have any favorite audiobooks for road trips? Let us know your favorites below!
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Learn about traveling and living in the Cabarete, Dominican Republic. Good places to visits and fun things to do in Dominican Republic.