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We’ve all been wearing them on our feet since our very first day in the world. Although many of us have spent decades kicking them off, fending off the sock monster while searching for their other half in the dryer, trying to put them over our little ones’ wiggly toes, or mismatching them on purpose to make a fashion statement – at some point in life, most of us have worn a pair of socks.

Whether we believe it or not, travel socks are in a  different category than those fuzzy ones with grippers on the bottom, the over the knee ones with awesome pictures of jellyfish, the ones we wear to the gym, the ones only made to grip our yoga mat or those toe-socks that take longer to put on than any other piece of clothing. Travel socks are in a category all their own.

There is more than one type of sock out there for each pair of feet. Beyond the options of ankle, knee or toe, these socks, produced by dozens of companies, come in a plethora of styles and all with their own sort of something-special weaved into the fabric. Some are designed as liners but people wear them on their own. Some are infused with insect-repellant. Made of cotton, wool or synthetic fibers, they each feel different on our feet. One size does not fit all. It can be a bit overwhelming at first – but at the end of the day, choose the one that feels best on your feet in the color that makes your heart smile most.

Expert Advice

An REI staff member (who wished to remain anonymous) spent time talking with me in their hefty travel sock section. He showed me the difference between the merino wool of today’s socks that were far less itchy than the ones I remember from yesteryear.

He explained the sweat-free benefits of the CoolMax® synthetic fiber used today for many liners and socks. He shared the made in America nature of the Farm to Feet® brand and how the ones in their ‘No Fly Zone’ have the bug spray built in to the material. He explained that the greater the thickness of the sock the fewer blisters you might develop (depending of course on the fit of your shoes).

And, he shared his favorite (liners made of CoolMax® fabric which he wears as stand alone socks) along with this advice – “If you’re looking to be able to wash and dry your socks quickly, the thinner sock is better for that purpose.”

Different Types of Travel Socks

Socks are no longer only made from cotton. Today, ‘technical socks’ are available in all materials and with many extra attributes. Although we’re all looking for comfort, blister-free and stink-free feet, each of us might need something a little extra.
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If you’re reading this, you’re already a smart, incredible, motivated, amazing person. I’m proud of you. Just googling “how to live in New Zealand” makes you an interesting person. But the best part about moving to New Zealand is that it’s easier than you think. I should know, I lived in a van in New Zealand for a year.

Here are just a few reasons why you should live in New Zealand (especially if you’re American):

  • If you’re between 18-30 years old, you can get a working holiday visa
  • New Zealand is predominantly English speaking (and you’re reading this, so you’ll be fine)
  • Kiwis are friendly as hell (for the most part)
  • New Zealand is so pretty it was the setting for a mythical fantasy land of rolling green hills, crystal blue lakes, and ice-capped majestic mountain landscapes (LOTR 4 LIFE)
  • New Zealand wants you to move there (more on that later)
  • Seasonal work is easy to find (but tough to do!)
  • It’s not creepy to live in a van down by the river (not really)

Moving to New Zealand: Visas & Paperwork

Ok, you’re excited to move to New Zealand, and you don’t need any more encouragement. Now it’s time to get down to the red tape and paperwork for living in New Zealand, even short term. If you want to live in New Zealand you have to:

  1. Sort out a working holiday visa
  2. Find Accommodation
  3. Buy transportation (optional, but recommended)
  4. Get a job (again, optional, but highly recommended)
  5. Register for a bank account, a tax ID number, and all that other boring stuff
  6. Get comfortable saying stuff like “sort out”

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Last fall, United Airlines announced a new, ultra budget, barebones fare. Included in the many add-on fees, was one that would charge passengers $25 for stowing their bags in the overhead compartments. While many travelers were outraged at the idea, I took it as a challenge.

“I challenge you to pack everything you need for any trip in a bag small enough to fit under your seat.”
Challenge accepted.

In the past, I’ve managed to pack for an entire weekend trip using just a daybag. Why not pack for longer trips in a slightly larger (but still small enough to fit under your seat) duffle bag? To test it out, I packed the Outbreaker duffle for three different trips of varying lengths and across different climates — with great results.

Are you interested in learning how to pack a duffle as your only piece of luggage? Read on for tips, photos, and sample packing lists to help you rebel against United’s new fee and pack lightly enough to avoid it. Click to continue…