Travel Gadget Reviews

An IT professional by day, this HappyFlyer is a self-proclaimed tech enthusiast with a passion for travel. Hailing from the East Coast, she will be writing about her interest in travel gadgets and sharing her best travel tips and unique perspective on travel experiences.

Review: Hainan Airlines Business Class on Dreamliner 787-9!

I recently flew Hainan Airlines Business Class on Dreamliner 787-9 from Shanghai (PVG) to Boston (BOS).  This was actually my first flight with Hainan Airlines, and it was a long 14-hours international flight at that.  I’m happy to share that it was a fantastic flight.  Hainan Airlines blew my expectations out of the water! Booking At the time of booking, I was looking for a stopover city.  I was considering either a city in Japan or Shanghai.  Since I visited Japan a few years ago and I had never visited Shanghai, it was an easy decision.  I decided to...

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Airport Security: Do you chug or throw away your beverage at the airport?

Most of us know that we can’t bring liquids through airport security.  This includes bottles of water and other beverages.  In those cases, your best bet is to buy them at the airport after the security checkpoint.  You can also bring in an empty or reusable water bottle and fill it at a water refilling station. But, what if you got to the airport and realized you still have beverages with you? Do You Throw Them Away or Chug Them All? On my recent transit through the Shanghai Pudong International Airport, a “bag screening” was required at the airport...

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Can I Take My Power Bank or Portable Charger in My Carry-On?

I had a reliable battery pack that I’ve used for years.  I passed it on to my sister for use and it was recently confiscated by airport security in China.  The reason?  The power bank doesn’t have any marking “stating the power bank capacity”.  I had no idea it was a requirement. What Are The Rules for Power Banks? You should always check with your airline for the most up-to-date information. Power bank generally falls under the “batteries” category. I included the basics for some of the major airlines below. (Note: Items in bold are mine) American Airlines Link...

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Is Agoda a legitimate booking engine? (Buyer Beware)

Two years ago, I tried to use the  travel booking engine, Agoda.  I had such a poor experience that it prompted me to write a piece on “Why I Would Not Book with Agoda Booking Engine Again“.  It turned out that others had related experiences and shared them in the comments section.  Their customer service is virtually non-existent when you run into problems. Is Agoda a legitimate company? My first consideration when I decided to use Agoda was whether it is a legitimate company.  Since Priceline acquired Agoda back 2007 and Priceline is relatively well-known, Agoda is legitimate by...

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Lounge Review: Plaza Premium Lounge in Hong Kong, Terminal 1

I was recently at the Hong Kong Airport and visited the Plaza Premium Lounge near Gate 1. There are two Plaza Premium Lounge in Terminal 1, one near Gate 1 and the other near Gate 40.  Note that you will pass by a Plaza Premium First lounge when you visit the lounge near Gate 1.  As a Priority Pass member, you do not have access to this lounge.   To get to the Plaza Premium Lounge at Gate 1, just walk a little bit further past the First lounge. It’s a popular lounge.  During my visit, a short queue...

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T-Mobile $5 International Pass: Is the Pass Worth Buying When Traveling Abroad?

I had long raved about T-Mobile’s free international roaming plan, which offers unlimited texting and “data at up to 2G speeds in 210+ countries”.  This is a great perk if you travel abroad and don’t feel like dealing with SIM cards. The per minute calling rate jumped to $.25 USD/min (from .20/minute) earlier this year. Is T-Mobile Throttling Data? When I first started out with T-Mobile, I thought the data speed was good enough and I was able to pick up better than 2G speed. In my more recent travels, the data is throttled to 2G.  Rendering a simple...

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Hotel Chains Apologize After Hidden Video Exposed Room “Cleaning” at Luxury Hotels

A blogger in China revealed a 11-minute video from a hidden camera of cleaning practices at 14 luxury hotels in China. At least four major international hotel chains have apologized, including Hilton and Marriott.  These include: Le Royal Méridien Shanghai Shangri-La Hotel in Fuzhou Park Hyatt in Beijing The Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai Sheraton in Guiyang city Mandarin Oriental Pudong Bulgari Hotel Shanghai Four Seasons Shanghai Ritz-Carlton Shanghai The PuLi Hotel and Spa Aman Summer Palace Luxury Resort At least 7 of the luxury hotels named in the video are in Shanghai. The city’s health inspection agency are investigating. How...

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Using Miles and Points: 4 Tips When Planning Award Travel

Some people say that booking award using miles and points can be complicated.  Blackout dates. Program rules.  Lack of availability.  While it can be time-consuming to understand some of the nuances, award travel can open up a lot of options.  When you are looking to book travel using miles and points, there are four tips that I think is helpful to keep in mind: 1. BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT YOUR TRAVEL DATES Have flexibility around your travel dates. Plan ahead.  If desired dates are not available, see if you can work with other dates. Award availability can also open up...

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Why Airline Seat Selection Fees Are a Sham

Earlier this week, I was looking into booking an international flight on American Airlines.  I was quite dismayed when I got to the seat selection process.  Why? Because the seat availability option looks like this:     Do You See A Problem? The problem isn’t that there aren’t any seats. The problem is that the only seats I can potentially pick are all middle seats.  Any aisle or window seats will cost more. You could make a case that Main Cabin Extra seats should cost more because those seats at least offer a tangible difference.  Those come with “extra...

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The Best Earplugs for Sleeping

Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links. A couple of years ago, I had the unfortunate experience of living a floor below someone who was heavy-footed. I expected some standard level of noise in an apartment/condo style of living, but he really took things to another level. It was like giant elephant feet meets the pounding force of a gorilla. I called him a “stomp-er”. I know he didn’t do it intentionally, but oh my lord, the incessant stomp, stomp, stomp became grating over time.  I might have developed sound sensitivity as a result of his stomping.  I am...

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