How to Choose the Right Travel Luggage

Although holidays can be great, getting there can often be stressful. One of the worries is taking luggage on a plane. There are so many rules, and the prices for taking luggage are so high, that you really need to be careful with the luggage you take on a plane.

It is therefore important that you choose the right luggage for your trip. Both check-in cases and your hand luggage. To help you find the best luggage try luggageontour.com where you can find reviews and information on the best bags for your travels.

Checked Luggage

As this is going to be the larger of the bags you take on a flight, you need to consider your requirements carefully.

  • Your holiday. You need to consider what activities you are going to be doing on your holiday, before you buy any luggage. Are you going camping or on a boat? You will want a soft bag that you can carry.
  • Your travel. How are you going to get to the airport and from the airport to your hotel? This will have a bearing on the luggage you take. You may not want wheeled luggage if you are going to be up and down stairs and on and off buses.
  • Taking into account how you are going to get to your destination, and what you are going to do once you are on holiday, do you want wheels? Many people like to have wheeled luggage when they are travelling. You can buy luggage with either 2 wheels or 4 wheels.
  • 2 wheels. These are generally lighter but easily tip over. They are easier to drag over rough surfaces and up and down curbs.
  • 4 wheels. A case with 4 wheels will stand upright. They are easy to manoeuvre as you can pull them in any direction.
  • Consider the size of the bag and whether you would be able to carry it once it is fully packed. You could certainly have over 20 kilos in the bag so would a large size make it difficult to manoeuvre?
  • If you have a large bag, there can be a tendency to over pack. Always check the weight of your bag before you arrive at the airport to a nasty surprise. You can buy a luggage scale so you have peace of mind that your bag is not over weight.
  • Not all airlines allow the same weight of luggage. An expandable bag is therefore a good option especially if you fly with different airlines.
  • If possible, buy a brightly coloured bag. This makes it easier to spot.

Hard Sides

Some people have a preference for bags with hard sides. They are often seen as being very durable and long lasting.

  • Can be very stylish and come in a huge variety of colours.
  • Whilst they used to be heavy, they can now be very lightweight.
  • You get more protection from the hard sides.
  • They are generally more expensive than soft sided luggage.

Soft Sides

If you don’t want luggage with hard sides, then consider soft-sided bags.

  • These are usually lighter than a hard sided suitcase.
  • There is not much protection.
  • You can pick some up for quite a cheap price now.
  • You can buy expandable models where the sides unzip to allow for extra space.

Carry On Luggage

Having a good carry-on bag can make your trip far less stressful. It also makes wandering around the airport far more pleasant. What sort of features should you look for in your hand luggage?

  • Most importantly, check the size. Different airlines have different guidelines so ensure yours complies. Make sure you measure its dimensions if you are unsure.
  • This is your personal choice but do you want to wheel your hand luggage or carry it. Again, there is a difference between 2 wheels and 4 wheels.
  • Try and buy the lightest bag you can. Remember you should be able to lift it up into the overhead locker.
  • Day trips. Think about your activities whilst on holiday. A backpack for your hand luggage is also useful when on holiday and going out and about for the day.

Water Filter or Water Softener – What’s the Difference?

You may live in the UK or US and think our water is perfectly fine. Water filters and water softeners are for countries where you can’t drink water straight from the tap. Right? Unfortunately, this is not the case and you may be surprised to learn that you could actually benefit from a filter or softener. It is important that you do your research to find out if you could benefit from a filter or softener. Sites like SoftWaterFiltrationgive you all the information you need to work out how to improve the quality of your water. There are also reviews and comparisons of the different options which are really useful.

What is a Water Filter?

A water filter removes contaminants from your water. Water can contain bacteria and impurities such as heavy metals, and chemicals. A water filter will purify your water to filter out the impurities so your water is safe to drink and tastes better.

There are numerous choices with a water filter. It can be connected to your water supply for example under your kitchen sink, or you could just filter drinking water by using a jug.

What is Hard Water?

Our water may be treated and absolutely fine to drink, you may still have a problem with hard water. Our water comes from rainwater. Rainwater either stays soft or picks up hardness from the ground. Therefore, hard water is a geographical problem. If you live in an area with hard water, everyone else in the area has hard water.

You can check to see if your area is a soft water or hard water region. Chances are, if you live in a hard water area then you probably already know it. If you have hard water, you will get limescale deposits from your water. This will reduce the efficiency of, and ultimately damage, your appliances. You can see it as bits at the bottom of your kettle, and that white powder that comes out of your iron and onto your clothes. Normally your best ones.

Hard water is water with minerals like magnesium, calcium and iron. Not only can these minerals line your pipes, but they can have an unpleasant taste. They can even affect your hair and skin when you bathe and shower.

What Harm Does Hard Water Do?

As you can see, it is not great to have hard water, but what harm does it actually do?

  • Hard water causes a build-up in your pipes of the scaly deposit. This will eventually block your pipes.
  • They will also get clogged up so will work less efficiently as they are working harder. Eventually, they will break down.
  • Hard water leaves a residue on your dishes when you do the washing up.
  • Hard water is harsh on your clothes and the residue will leave the colours looking dull.
  • Skin and hair. Hard water is harsh and drying on your skin and hair. If your hair is very frizzy, this could be a cause.

What is a Water Softener?

A water softener removes the excess minerals from your tap water that cause the hardness and scale. This is usually done with a process known as ion exchange. It is normally connected where your water enters the house. It doesn’t sound very nice, but it uses salt to remove the minerals. The salt is slowly added to the water, so you need to refill the dispenser on a regular basis. You can get salt free water softeners if you don’t like the thought of adding salt to your water.

Water softeners need a fair amount of maintenance. A salt-based water softener needs restocking with salt. You can use a system that is not salt-based such as a magnetic system. This type of water softener is cheaper and requires less maintenance but is less effective.

When Would I Need a Water Filter?

If you think your water smells, or tastes, of chlorine. If you’re concerned about the quality of the water that you are drinking and using. Then you should consider a water filter.

When Would I Need a Water Softener?

If you live in a hard water area, and you have a lot of limescale then you would benefit from a water softener. A water softener is not just a nice to have, but it can ensure your appliances and boiler are working correctly and more efficiently.

Types of Water Filter.

There are a variety of water purification techniques to remove the impurities from your water. There are 3 common methods:

  • Activated carbon
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Sediment filtration

The filter system sits under your kitchen sink. Water filtration systems don’t require much maintenance, but they are quite expensive.

If you have hard water, a water softening system will be the most cost-effective solution. However, if the quality of your water is not great, then the water softener won’t give you better tasting water. You will need to remove the contamination with a water filtration system.

Only you can really decide if you need either a water filter or a water softener. Remember, these are two totally different solutions. One system removes chemicals and contaminants from your water, the other system makes the water softer. It doesn’t have to be an either one or the other solution, you can install both systems. You can also get a solution that does both in your house. You really need to know if you have impure or hard water, or not.

Should I Get an Advanced Thermostat?

Keeping your home comfortable can be harder than it seems. For one thing, rising energy costs are making it more expensive to heat your home or keep your air conditioner running. Plus, the higher prices are making many families take a hard look at how they can get the most out of their systems. An advanced thermostat can help you keep your home nice and cozy, without all the headaches. 

Why Buy an Advanced Thermostat

At first glance, an advanced thermostat system may seem like a luxury. With features like room specific temperature control, complex energy and temperature read-outs, and even wi-fi connected systems, you may think that an advanced thermostat is just another expensive toy for the rich. However, a high-end thermostat doesn’t only give you more control over your heating system, it also makes that system run more efficiently.

When you run your heater, you’re heating your whole house. This is great if you’re using every room in the house, but realistically you probably spend most of your time in only a couple of rooms. This means that you’re paying for heat or air-conditioning in rooms you’re not using, meaning you’re wasting money on heat you don’t need. Why not just pay for the rooms you use?

An advanced thermostat has the option of controlling the temperature in each room individually, saving you tons of money on your energy bill. Plus, you can set up your thermostat on an energy saving schedule to maximize the money you save while minimizing the impact you have on the environment. Most thermostats promise at least a 20% cut in your energy bill, and many homes can maximize their savings even further by making the most of their thermostats energy-saving features.

If it sounds like a lot of work scheduling what times to have certain rooms heated or cooled, don’t worry, it’s not. Many of these thermostats have a basic artificial intelligence, or AI, a feature which allows them to learn your family’s schedule over time. Using movement sensors, your thermostat will pick up on when and how often your family uses different rooms at different levels of activity, meaning that your thermostat essentially schedules itself! As it continues to learn and adapt to your activities, it will only further optimize and automatically change it’s own schedules, meaning once you’ve installed the system all your work is already done.

If you’re considering purchasing a high-end thermostat for your home, head over to the experts at Thermostat Center and check out their reviews and guides to find the thermostat system that’s right for you. 

Features of an Advanced Thermostat

Advanced thermostats can come with a variety of different features to help you keep your home at a nice cozy temperature while cutting energy costs. Of course, not every thermostat has every feature. If any of these benefits appeal to you, make sure that you buy a thermostat that includes those features.

  • Energy Saver

Any advanced thermostat will cut your energy bill down compared to a basic one. However, some come equipped with features to help you reduce your energy costs even further. One useful feature is an energy use tracker. Most smart thermostats will provide a regularly scheduled report, once a month, for example, on your energy usage. These include information such as how much power your system is using, how your energy usage has changed over time, and how much you’re spending or saving on these changes.
Many also include tips on how you can save money for the next month by minimizing energy usage Whether you know it or not, your house has it’s own ‘energy profile’. This is formed through such details as size, location, heating and cooling systems, local weather patterns, and more. Using this information, a smart thermostat can be programmed for your specific home, as opposed to just working off of the base settings.
Don’t worry though, you won’t have to do much. A lot of the time, your advanced thermostat will determine your profile on its own or through a couple short questions, or it will be programmed during installation. Many owners don’t even realize that their thermostat is optimized for their home because the process practically takes care of itself.

  • Remote Control

Many advanced thermostats have an option to control it remotely right from your phone. All you have to do is download an app connected to your system, and you can check your thermostat any time. Think you left the AC running? Turn it off while you’re on your way to work with the press of a button.
Heading home early and want to start the heater before you get home? Just pull up your phone as you walk out of the office and turn it on so that your home is nice and toasty when you arrive. This is also a great feature for when you go on vacation because you can make sure that your heating and cooling systems aren’t running on their normal schedules when you’re not there.

  • Weather Tracking

Some newer advanced thermostats have an incredibly helpful weather tracking feature. Your thermostat will track changes in your local weather and adapt its function to account for the weather outside. 

An advanced thermostat can help you keep your home comfortable while saving you money on your energy bills. These helpful devices are an excellent addition to any home. Your family will thank you for keeping every room cool in the summers and warm in the winters, and your wallet will be grateful for the lower energy bill.

The Surprising Benefits of Growing a Beard

Beards have always been something special for men. No matter how much we strive for equality in our society, there will still always be one thing that women will never be able to understand. The joys of growing a beard are unique to those of us blessed with that wonderful Y-chromosome, and it’s not hard to find at least one friend or coworker with a rich and full beard. Beards are beautiful, and they can help men feel strong and rooted in their masculinity, but the benefits don’t stop there.

The Significance of Beards

Beards have been important symbolically for the last few thousand years. Religious imagery, philosophers, and leaders throughout our history have all immortalized the strength and glory of full-grown facial hair. Of course, when left to their own devices, beards can quickly grow ragged or messy. There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking care of your beard.

If you’ve already taken that triumphant leap into beardedness, head over to Manly Matters to browse some of the absolute best products and electric razors for keeping that hairy beast in check. Otherwise, read on to discover the surprising health benefits of growing a beard so you can start growing out that manly facial hair with pride.

Benefits of Beards

  • Beards Protect Your Skin

Although it’s probably not one of your first thoughts when you think of a beard, your skin is actually protected by that mass of thick hair on your face! Every time your face is exposed to sunlight, UV rays are causing microscopic damage to your skin. If you spend a lot of time outside or work out in the sun, that constant exposure can lead to leathery skin, wrinkles, and spotting.  Men with beards are protected from up to 95% of those harmful UV rays. This can lead to healthier skin, and even possibly prevent or reduce the risk of developing skin cancer later on in life. Next time summer rolls around you might not be so quick to reach for the razor, and your skin will thank you for it.

  • A Beard Can Prevent Disease

Believe it or not, beards can actually help protect you from diseases. The facial hair growing around your mouth actually stops tons of airborne bacteria from entering, catching it before it can wreak havoc on your mouth and throat health.  There have been multiple studies which show that keeping these bacteria and other small particles out of your mouth help protect you from throat and lung disease to the point that many men working in particularly dusty or filthy environments are actually encouraged to grow out a full beard for their health!

  • Beards Provide Warmth (Duh)

Every time winter rolls around, beards grow more common. The insulation and extra layer of protection provided by a beard keep the cold away from you and away from the sensitive skin on your face. Next time you start to reach for a scarf, consider putting your razor away while you’re at it and stave off the cold in style and comfort.

  • Beards Can Help With Asthma!

Similar to how beards protect from throat and lung disease, the extra protection of a beard can actually help men who suffer from asthma as well. Most people who suffer from asthma think that an asthma attack simply happens, but they are actually usually triggered by toxins or allergens entering the lungs. Just as beards protect your throat and lungs from bacteria, they also filter out a large portion of toxins and allergens in the air before they ever have a chance to reach your sensitive lungs.

  • Beards Can Help Prevent Acne

Not only is your skin safe from UV damage beneath a full healthy beard, it is also safe from bacteria that invade your skin. Shaving can create tiny cuts and tears in your skin which, if exposed to bacteria, can quickly become acne. Not only will thick facial hair cover up any existing acne you have, it will also help keep your skin healthier by keeping it away from the sharp blade of a razor.

Beards are Beautiful

Of course, if none of these health benefits have convinced you to grow a beard, the most powerful reason is simply that beards are beautiful. Regardless of why you have decided to grow a beard of your own, know that you have made a choice that will have lasting positive benefits for as long as you keep that beautiful beard growing.

The Invisible Mess: Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

For many people, poor air quality in the home severely hampers their quality of life. You may not even realize it, but the air indoors can be more polluted than outdoor air. The air in your home carries all kinds of filth, including smoke, space heaters, stoves, and cleaning products. Other pollutants are inadvertently leaked, tracked, or carried into your house on furniture or mattresses. Microscopic dust mites, pet dander, and mold are also floating around and contributing to the invisible mess you breathe in every day.

If you or someone you love suffers from allergies, asthma, or other symptoms, you know how gloomy it can get when you don’t feel comfortable breathing. Children and seniors are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution, but some effects may not appear until many years later due to prolonged exposure to air pollutants inside the home. As a result of a largely sedentary lifestyle, people tend to spend more time indoors than ever before, inside airtight modern homes that don’t allow the irritants to escape easily.

By removing these toxins, you can drastically improve the air quality of your indoor area and you can be breathing easy in no time. Here are two options that will help you clear the air – the dehumidifier and the HEPA filter.

1. Dehumidifier

What Is It?

A dehumidifier is a simple electronic device that is designed to discharge the amount of moisture in the air of a given area. High corresponding humidity is uncomfortable to most and can be troublesome to your immune system. A dehumidifier helps to create a more comfortable indoor environment for you and your family by reducing, relieving, and controlling allergic reactions to pollutants in the air. This is especially vital if you or your suffering loved one can be hard to live with. The dehumidifier can help you remedy the moisture problems and may be the simple solution you are seeking. Check out the reviews at Dehumidifier Web to determine which model best suits your needs.

Improving Your Home

Investing in a dehumidifier is great air treatment for enclosed spaces of all sizes and can protect in many ways by keeping the air in your home healthy and clean. In many cases, this handy device relieves allergies and improves respiratory health problems, leaving you with a good feeling of comfortably controlling the moisture level in your home. With good air quality, you will ensure that your home is more comfortable overall and your family can continue to live a happier, healthier life. In terms of noise pollution, dehumidifiers are not at all disturbing to your daily routine, as they run so quietly that you won’t even notice it.

Where Do You Put It?

Dehumidifiers should be nestled in living areas where excess moisture is found. They are often placed in basements, closets, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and indoor pool areas since these areas usually experience moisture problems. However, dehumidifiers can be placed anywhere from single rooms to workshops. Once you have decided the area that needs dehumidifying, it’s time to limit the specific area where the unit will be placed. Appropriate placement of your dehumidifier is necessary for achieving optimal performance. The unit should be placed at least six inches away from furniture, walls, and other surfaces.

How Does It Work?

Most allergy symptoms in the home are due to excess moisture. Too much moisture in your indoor environment creates a breeding ground for mold, dust mites, mildew, and even bacteria. These pollutants lead to annoying allergies, skin irritations such as itchy skin and eyes, respiratory problems, and many other uncomfortable symptoms. Using a working dehumidifier reduces the amount of irritants entering your respiratory system, allowing you to breathe easier and feel more content. A dehumidifier also limits the dust in your home, which means you won’t have to dust as often.

Follow Your Nose

Less moisture in the air means that you have reduced the potential for future mold development on your household belongings such as clothing, bedding, and curtains. Unpleasant smells are limited, as the dehumidifier not only removes the humidity, but also eliminates damp, musty odors caused by mold and mildew. You will enjoy a fresher, cleaner, and healthier environment overall.

Other Household Benefits

A less humid environment means that groceries last longer and stay fresher. Breads and cereals will remain fresh for a longer period of time before getting stale. Going from damp to dry also means that the clothing in your laundry dries faster. It transfers the level of humidity by absorbing the excess moisture like a sponge, taking you back to a dry, comfy home. Health is wealth.

2. HEPA Filter

What Is It?

The high efficiency particulate air – or HEPA – filter is a mechanical air filter that uses a fine mesh to trap harmful particles and allergens like pollen, pet dander, and smoke. By eliminating these airborne irritants, you can improve your indoor air quality.

How Do You Use It?

While HEPA filters are included in most portable air purifiers, these units are often designed to work for single rooms. Your best bet is to buy a vacuum cleaner equipped with rotating brushes, powerful suction, and a HEPA filter. Not only do these vacuums reduce allergens, lead concentration, chemicals, and other toxins from the air in your home, they emit less dust and dirt than their traditional counterparts. Vacuuming at least twice a week and cleaning the filter regularly should do the trick.