Cool Tools : Summer Travel Edition

Rated: PM – for people on the move!

I am leaving soon on a trip to explore where to live next! After spending many hours on the computer, comparing plane fares, looking at mileages from here to there and back again, and what hotels are available, I have the trip blocked out. Isn’t this an amazing time? I was just saying to Peter that years ago I would have had to go to a travel agent, or I would have set off with AAA guide books and maps and hoped for the best! Wow. On this first trip, I am checking out the “Villes”, because I am looking at Nashville, Asheville and Knoxville!

Here are some house hunting and travel aides:

Loaded on my iPad :

  • Trulia This is quite an interesting site, which I found out about in some where to retire book. It looks at houses for sale and areas in an interesting way. It shows lots of demographics and the iPad app has map views which show amenities like restaurants and schools.
  • Zillow You probably all know about this site. I like their map view so you can see the property sizes and whether a place might have the privacy you want. However I hate looking at what they think our house is worth.  :- {
  • Open Table I have used this a lot to find restaurants when we go into Chicago. It’s great to see a map view of where you are going (say the ballet) and what restaurants might be close. The restaurants have their websites listed and menus, and there are good reviews too.

Reference books: Some of these have been helpful and some not so much. The where to retire books and the magazine profile lots of places, but of course we all have places that we don’t want to live. For us it’s probably places with extreme temperatures or states where we have already lived. The economy is going to be a factor for us as well. Our taxes in Illinois are dreadfully high!


The Container Store is a great place to get travel items. They feature them this time of year and have demos and sales. I stopped by the other day for some ideas. I am taking a road trip -but- I am flying to Nashville first and then getting a rental car. A road trip is usually so easy because you can throw everything you think you might need into your car at home. With the baggage fees, I am limiting myself to our biggest suitcase and a backpack, so I have to think carefully about what to bring. Here are some good ideas.

Do you worry about losing your phone? I don’t think I could travel without my iPhone anymore – the GPS, Open Table, texting Peter to keep in touch – it’s amazing. When I first had a cell phone I lost it. I had no idea where it was and Peter (who was at home) called and called until someone answered! Luckily it was at the place where I’d eaten dinner, a block away from my hotel. But imagine leaving it at a rest stop 75 miles away….. I love this idea; a bungee for my phone! It’s called “my Bunjee”.

I love to eat in the car {sigh}, my favorite being a bag of Smart Food (cheese popcorn) and a bottle of soda. This trip I am going to try to not do that sort of thing. I found this Spork which seems to have every eating tool I will need designed into it! Then I can buy a container of yogurt at a convenience store and be sensible.

I also found a water bottle that filters the water as you drink. If I’m going to try not to drink so much soda and coffee, I need water that tastes good and often in motels, it doesn’t.

I “stage” and gather items for trips on the kitchen floor. Gizmo tried to decide which purse I should take and then declared himself exhausted!

I know I am being a bit anal here, but I consider this to be a business trip for me and I want to be prepared for anything! Talk to you soon – – –

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