10 hour flight to Tokyo - luggage Travelling to Japan With a Toddler

Travelling to Japan With a Toddler – The 10…

 

The day had finally arrived. After a sleepless night, during which I spent 8 hours pondering my own sanity for deciding to embark on such a ludicrous adventure, it was finally time to do the last-minute packing and prepare ourselves to leave. It was time to face our 10 hour flight to Tokyo.

 

The drive to the airport was remarkably quick for a Sydney weekday afternoon. We had given ourselves plenty of time, but with no traffic and an extremely fast check-in and security screening process (we had been warned that this part could take hours!), we found ourselves sitting in the transit lounge with a couple of hours to spare.

We had been told to arrive at the lounge early, as priority boarding would allow us on to the plane first. Perhaps they didn’t mean quite this early…

 

Empty departure lounge, Sydney Airport
Hello? Is anyone here? Are you sure this is the right place?

 

Boarding Time

At 8:30 pm we boarded the flight, a full hour later then Hannah’s usual bedtime.

ANA’s priority boarding policy meant that we were some of the first people aboard. This gave the vastly sleep deprived little girl an opportunity to survey her surroundings. She took in the new setting with surprising grace, especially for someone whose unflappable sleep routine had been so wildly disrupted.

Sleep, What is That?

I was already convinced that Hannah had abandoned the concept of sleep. She had happily made friends with a three year old in the departure lounge. The two of them had been drawn together by some magical force of the universe and they had torn through the departure lounge like two inseparable whirlwinds. At least Hannah would be worn out and ready to sleep on the plane (I told myself in a warm and fuzzy state of delusion).

I could see the worried look on the faces of the other passengers as they began to file on to the plane. An old lady shot a look in Hannah’s direction, then thoroughly examined her ticket, just to make sure she did in fact have the awful luck of a seat across the aisle from an excited-looking toddler. The scan of her ticket revealed the terrible truth, and so she decided upon shooting intermittent, filthy glares in Hannah’s direction as she settled into her seat.

 

Take-off

As the plane began to taxi, we coaxed Hannah up onto her seat and strapped her in ready for take-off. She was fairly happy to comply, so it wasn’t a difficult task. We had been blessed with perhaps the best possible seats in economy – the bulkhead row. On top of that, the most wonderful man in all of ANA had organised for the whole row of three seats to be ours, even though we had only booked two seats (Hannah was supposed to travel on one of our laps).

It was extremely kind of the man to organise this for us, as he had told us that there were only six spare seats on the whole flight.

 

 

Room to spare in bulkhead row on 10 hour flight to Japan
Room to spare, with three seats in the bulkhead row

This, to me was even more valuable than an upgrade to Business Class would have been. Hannah had a whole seat to herself. I really can’t imagine how her travelling on our laps would have played out, although it now sits in the back of my mind that that scenario will likely play out on our return journey.

Hannah handled take-off well, and soon enough she was happily sitting in her seat and listening to Spotify through her Puro Sound Labs headphones. Of course, I was insanely jealous when I eventually got round to putting on my own el-cheapo headphones after the dinner service. As it turn out, I didn’t get much of an opportunity to use them anyway…

 

 

Puro Sound Labs Headphones
Puro Sound Labs headphones and Spotify. A match made in heaven!

 

 

Food

Hannah was served her own special “baby” dinner before the full meal service began. She immediately rejected the miscellaneous pureed vegetable that was placed in front of her, then set about proving how personally affronted she was by its very existence. This was not overly surprising as she had already eaten a full dinner and a mandarin (two days earlier we had been convinced that she disliked mandarin, now it is her favourite fruit).

The adult meals were then served. Hannah’s distain for her own meal was quickly replaced by a burning desire to consume the best bits of her mother’s meal as soon as it arrived. Within seconds Hannah had located a fork and was chowing down on the salmon. She then gave a few longing glances in the direction of my marinara, but I was far more selfish than Emma and I ate all of my meal myself.

 

The Hilarity of a Delirious, Sleep-Deprived Toddler

It must have been 11pm by the time dinner was done, and Hannah was well and truly past it. I don’t blame her at all, I too was feeling like I wished it would all be done with. We placed Hannah in her Grobag, put on her Sleep Spotify playlist and waited for the miracle of sleep.

I too put my headphones on and began perusing the choices of movies. I am so far out of touch with movies these days that I didn’t even recognise most of the “New Release” titles. There were a few Pirates of the Caribbean movies, although my great sense of patriotism means I had to veto the movie due to our national outrage over the star of the movie’s canine shenanigans (not really, I just didn’t want to watch it).

Finally I settled on a Fast and the Furious movie. I had no idea these were still being made! All I can tell you about the movie is that in the first 30 seconds, someone mentions “Ford parts”. That’s it. That’s all I saw of the entire movie. Why..?

 

BECAUSE MIRACLES DON’T HAPPEN.

Hannah was definitely ready for sleep, but a drawback of her military-like sleep routine at home is that she is not accustomed to falling asleep in strange conditions. Hannah likes a nice firm mattress in an enclosed cot. It is what she has had her whole life. She can sleep in a car seat at a stretch, but the thought of sleeping anywhere else is entirely foreign to her.

The sleep playlist had done its job, but the toddler now faced the daunting task of putting sleep into action. She tried so hard to settle in her chair, but it was no good. She quickly squirmed her way out of her seatbelt (that filled me with confidence in its ability as a safety device) and decided instead to try the floor.

That also was too uncomfortable, so she instead decided that playing until she physically passed out was the only option left. However, walking around in a sleep bag is hard work, and so she soon became frustrated and she had one or two falls.

 

 

Grobag in lap
The Grobag is a must-have for helping with sleep on the flight

Eventually, Hannah chose her seat as the best option. After a quick (15 minute) game of The Chair is a Slide (a clever game Hannah made up, in which one uses a Grobag and an aeroplane seat as a makeshift slide) Hannah settled down to sleep. Until she pooped. 15 minutes later.

Emma and I decided that changing a delirious toddler at a slightly turbulent 3000 metres in a tiny capsule of a toilet was a two-person job, so the three of us headed off towards the rear of the airline in search of the change table. Fortunately the change was completed quickly and without further incident, and soon enough we were back in our seats.

By this time Hannah had gone full zombie – her eyes were open but there was nobody home. We zipped her up tight and after a little tossing and turning, she was finally asleep.

Emma and I entered a zone of not-asleep-but-not-really-awake. It is the kind of resting state that leaves you feeling like crap and completely unrested. Occasionally I fully dozed.

At various points during the night, Hannah became restless. She was unable to roll over, so there was a lot of shuffling about as she tried to get comfortable again. I was sure she was going to fully wake up at one point, but thankfully she found a way to get comfortable and settle in for a few more hours sleep. In total, Hannah probably managed about five hours of sleep, which I think is pretty good for a toddler on an overnight flight.

 

Time to land

About an hour out from Tokyo, the flight crew turned up the lights to allow everyone to wake up before landing. Hannah was quick to stir from her slumber, and just as quick to set about ensuring that everyone else on the plane was also awake. Despite the excellent five hours of sleep, Hannah was still less rested than usual, and she was not happy about it. For the first time on the flight she kicked up a loud fuss.

This of course drew a few disapproving looks from the equally grumpy old lady from across the aisle, but I didn’t really care. The poor little bub had kept it together for most of the flight and it was now time to wake up anyway.

Hannah was pretty unhappy right up until the point when we landed. We had strapped her into her seat ready for landing, which she had tolerated fairly well; however, a flight attendant came over and insisted she sit in Emma’s lap for the decent.

I had to wonder whether that was the safest option as I watched Emma desperately try to keep hold of the active toddler who was now trying her best to squirm out of her mother’s arms. A hard landing surprised Hannah into silence, and it gave Emma a chance to fully test her ability to stop a toddler from flying out of her arms and into the wall in front of her. Emma passed the test well!

 

Tokyo!

Finally, we had arrived! The journey was over and it had gone as well as could be expected. We had landed in Tokyo, ready to begin our Japan adventures!

 

Sign at Tokyo Airport
A sign at Tokyo Airport. Note the abundance of English writing

 

The process of clearing customs was fairly painless, although there was probably about another half hour of waiting in queues. Hannah handled that remarkably well too, she sat patiently in my arms and even insisted on being put town to stand patiently in the line at times. I could not be more proud of the way she handled herself.

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Spotify Premium Travelling to Japan With a Toddler

Spotify Premium: because music soothes even the savage toddler

Disclosure – Spotify provided Blog Of Dad with a Premium Spotify subscription for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with Spotify Premium.

 

First things first. Please excuse the paraphrase in the title, of The Offspring’s lyrics from Time to Relax. Of course, that in its self is a misquote of William Congreve, who coined the far more elegant phrase:

 

Music has charms to soothe the savage breast

 

Breast, beast or toddler, the point remains. Music has the capacity to soothe. The right music at the right time can make all the difference between the calm and the raging storm. A playlist of soft, slow lullabies can coax a stubborn toddler to a state of relaxation, even eventual sleep. A playlist of happy, upbeat nursery rhymes can entertain an awake toddler for precious tens-of-minutes at a time.

Yes, music is important, and never has it been so important for our little family as it will be during the ten hours on a plane between Sydney and Tokyo.

 

Spotify Premium

Enter Spotify Premium.

The music streaming services of Spotify have been well used in our house for many years. After all, Spotify is a class act – all of my favourite music available in one spot, to listen to on demand and in whatever way I please. The trade-off? An advertisement every now and then, and the need for a constant internet connection. It seems pretty fair to me.

However great the standard Spotify service has been, we needed something more for our Japan adventures. This is because of two main reasons: 1 – We need to be able to play music without an internet connection, 2 – Hannah dislikes ads.

 

Offline Play – Spotify Premium

One of the greatest assets of a Spotify Premium account is the ability to play music offline. It means that we don’t have to rely on stable internet connections to provide Hannah with a constant source of her favourite tunes at any time throughout the trip.

We simply make a playlist before we go and download it onto one of our phones or the tablet. Downloading is ridiculously easy, just make the playlist, then flick the Download button and wait for the process to complete. Easy!

 

Spotify playlist

 

I plan to make at least four playlists before we go. The two vital ones – music for Hannah to listen to while awake and music to help her sleep. On top of that, I’m curating a list of my absolute favourite songs. Emma is doing the same (because we deserve some luxury too!).

 

 

One thing to remember is that downloaded tunes take up storage space on your device. For that reason I think the download function of Spotify Premium is most desirable during travel, when internet access can be patchy, or downright unavailable.

The good news is that if your phone or tablet has expandable storage, a micro sd card can provide you with more than enough space for all your playlists. I picked up a 64gb micro SD card for under $30 (AUD), so it’s not expensive to gain that extra space.

 

No Advertisements – Spotify Premium

I really don’t have too much against advertising. As long as it isn’t too obtrusive, I can handle the fact that I have access to free music or shows or content, in exchange for a few seconds of my time. It’s a model that has worked successfully on television for years.

One of the things that I have truly loved about my standard Spotify account over the years has been the access to the vast catalogue of music, due to these ads. I have been able to listen to whatever I want, whenever I want. I have rediscovered old favourites and found new tunes – neither of which I would have done without the ad-supported account (Liam Gallagher still makes music – who knew?).

Having said that, there is one person in our family who DOES NOT like the ads – Hannah. She sees the interruption to her listening pleasure as a personal affront. When her regular soundtrack is cut through by an unfamiliar voice spruiking a product she has never heard of (that is most products, she’s 18 months old after all), she throws her hands up and makes a sound that could easily be mistaken for “what gives?”

Hannah doesn’t understand advertisements. She doesn’t care for the mutually beneficial arrangement between consumer and content provider. It’s been that way since she was mere weeks old. I still have distinct memories of singing my way through the entire Presidents of The United States of America first album, with her in my arms. Every few songs we were interrupted by the most annoying of ads (one that relentlessly declared that prices are down, for any Australians playing along at home). This made Hannah mad. Every time. Fortunately, Back Porch would then come on and I could lull her back to calmness with my excellent singing…

If we have managed with advertisements to this point, why is ad-free listening so important now?

Picture a toddler, on a plane, happily bopping along to the tunes on her headphones. Picture a loud complaint from said toddler, every five minutes when an ad comes on. I’m sure those in the seats surrounding ours will be extremely pleased that we have Spotify Premium for this trip.

I will admit that since we have had Spotify Premium for little over a week, I’ve quickly grown accustomed to the smooth, add-free transition from one song to the next. While the ads never really bothered me before, I don’t know that I would be willing to go back. I have been spoilt and I love it!

 

High Quality Streaming – Spotify Premium

Hannah is highly unlikely to appreciate this part of Spotify Premium at all. But I do.

Premium sounds great over my living room and computer room speakers. When I tried it over Hannah’s Puro Sound Labs headphones, I fell in love. If it wasn’t so critical for Hannah’s enjoyment of the long flight, I would be tempted to claim her headphones as my own. (who am I kidding, there’s no way she would let me get away with that!)

The standard version of Spotify is perfectly acceptable, easy to use and thoroughly enjoyable. But, once one has been spoilt by the higher quality sound of Premium, one may find it hard to go back.

 

Now I need your help…

Tell me what songs need to be on my playlists (Hannah’s or mine). I’ve found loads of great tracks so far, but there are always plenty of gems hidden away in the depths of Spotify’s vast catalogues. What songs would you include on your essential travel playlists?

DIY Daddy
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Booking flights Travelling to Japan With a Toddler

Five Key Points to Booking Flights – Travelling to…

Booking flights can be one of the most daunting tasks when you first decide to attempt an overseas adventure. When I first started looking, it all seemed a little overwhelming. There are so many websites, airlines and options to choose from. Each website presents the information in slightly different ways, which further adds to the complexity.

Prices fluctuate wildly, often for no apparent reason (I’m sure there are complex systems behind these fluctuations, but to the end user it can be bamboozling). Sometimes the airline that appears to present the best deal at first glance can end up being al less-than-ideal choice.

However, get it right and you can jet off on your holiday in the knowledge that you are travelling with a reliable airline, and that you are doing so at the best possible price! I know that I would rather spend my hard-earned on sushi and souvenirs than on a seat on a plane.

The following are the tips that I have learnt from booking our tickets to Japan. They worked for us and we ended up saving a decent amount of money. Hopefully they work for you too!

 

1 – Research – Booking Flights

We began researching as soon as we decided to travel to Japan. The goal was to have as much information as possible, in order to make an informed decision. We found out who the main carriers were and who offered direct flights. We compared total travel times and quickly ruled out any flights with stopovers. Our rationale was that any small savings would be completely nullified by the stress of the extra travel. Keep it simple quickly became our mantra.

Through some of the large booking sites, we found that we had three main options for carriers that fly directly from Sydney to Tokyo – QANTAS, Japan Airlines (JAL) and All Nippon Airways (ANA). Each of these carriers are well-respected and, frankly, we would have been happy to travel with any one of them. While there are differences between them (fly into different airports and different times etc.), they were not enough to be the differentiating factor.

The number one criteria that we were interested in, now that we had established that there were three good options, was the price.      

A note on research – the more time you give yourself, the more prepared you will be and the better the results you will potentially achieve. This trip had been in the pipeline for months before we decided to pull the trigger and confirm it.

 

2 – Play the waiting game – Booking Flights

Ah, the waiting game. Frustrating for some, pure anxiety-inducing for others. But for some strange souls (like yours truly), exhilarating! Why? Because finding a good bargain takes me to my happy place. I know the value of my dollar and I know how bloody hard I’ve had to work to earn it. If there’s a dollar to be saved somewhere, you can be sure I’ll be close by, sniffing around.

It became a daily habit to jump online and check the latest airfares. It was really interesting to see just how much prices can change from day to day. Had we rushed in, or needed to book in a hurry, the difference to what we finally paid could have been in the thousands of dollars. That is a significant amount of money – money that could be far better spend on food, accommodation and experiences.

When an attractive price finally appeared, we were ready to jump on it. By midday the same day we had confirmed our leave with our employers and booked our tickets. The price stayed the same for a couple of days after, but soon enough it was on its merry voyage back up. I have continued to watch the price every week or so, just out of interest, and I am yet to see a better price than the one we secured.

It is worth remembering that some credit card companies offer a “price guarantee” policy on their card, which means that you can claim a refund of the difference if you find a lower price, so it may be particularly worthwhile to you to monitor prices after you have purchased your tickets (they have plenty of terms and conditions, so make sure you are aware of these before wasting your time).

…just don’t wait too long. At some point, the prices may start to go up. Even worse, they may sell out completely. If there are only a few months left until you intend to travel, you may be better off just booking whatever is available.

 

3 – Check carrier websites, as well as the aggregators and online booking agents – Booking Flights

When we first started looking, we spent most of our time on a couple of trusted booking-agent sites. It appeared to be the best use of our time – access to several airlines at the same time and promises of low prices. While those websites certainly are useful (we have booked through them before), they may not always be the best way to get a good deal.

When we visited the ANA website, we realised that it had the option to search for flights in a seven day grid. Straight away we could see that by adjusting our search dates, we could save a fair chink of money. This was not so immediately apparent on the booking website.

We ended up booking our tickets directly through the ANA website. It was easy to do, and a massive rush to realise that we had taken the first massive step of our Japan adventures!

 

4 – Be flexible with dates – Booking Flights

As I mentioned in the previous point, flexibility with dates can save you a large amount of money. Of course, some people have no choice but to travel on certain dates or within particular windows. If, however, you have a degree of freedom in your travel plans, then I highly recommend thoroughly checking a range of dates and booking accordingly.

The below screenshot provides an example of the savings that can be made by slightly adjusting travel dates (prices based a search for two adults and 1 under-two years old, with the toddler travelling on a parent’s lap). When we booked our tickets, those differences were even greater.

 

Booking flights on the ANA website

 

If you can extend your holiday for an extra day or two, or alternatively shift the intended dates of travel, there are most definitely savings to be found. Even if you have to pay for an extra night’s accommodation, it can still end up cheaper, plus you get a whole extra day of holiday – who could argue with that

 

5 – Cheapest isn’t always best – Booking Flights

In the research phase of our flight booking, we quickly narrowed our choices down to the three mentioned carriers. There are other options out there, and some of them are cheaper. They may be a viable option for you, and if so, great! Just make sure you are aware of all the fine print that can make the difference to your experience. Is checked baggage extra? What about meals? Or entertainment? What is their cancellation policy like? How do they treat their customers when there are delays or cancelled flights? Is the flight direct, or does it involve a few hours of waiting around in a third airport? Can you choose seats to ensure you sit together, or does that cost extra?

All of these things matter. They matter even more once you throw an active toddler into the mix. A flight may initially appear to be more expensive, but once you factor in time spent and inclusions in the ticket price, you may just come out on top (mentally and financially).

 

These are my five key points to booking flights. If you have had your own experiences, drop them in the comments so that everyone can benefit from them.

Remember, these are the things that worked for me on this particular occasion. There is always an element of luck when it comes to such endeavours, and I may well not be so fortunate next time it comes to booking an airfare. Neither may you. Even though we chose to fly with ANA on this particular occasion, this post does not constitute an endorsement of them over any other carrier. I have no affiliation with any of the airlines mentioned in this post. I will provide my honest recount of our experience with ANA once we have completed our flights. Stay tuned.

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Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones Blog

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Headphones – First Impressions

The more I talk to people about travelling with a toddler, the more one thing becomes apparent. The flight from Sydney to Tokyo has the potential to make or break the whole adventure.

That is pretty high stakes! It’s no small sum of money that we have invested in airfare and accommodation, not to mention the annual leave that we have both taken. When I think that the first ten hours have the potential to set the tone for the next 23 days, I start to look at it pretty seriously.

So how do we go about ensuring a smooth flight? I posed that question on Twitter and the results were conclusive – snacks and entertainment (for the toddler, not me). And a key part of that entertainment? Headphones.

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones… The Box

Why is it that so much of the quality of a technology-based product is reflected in the cardboard packaging in which it arrives? The box for these Puro Labs BT2200 headphones headphones oozed class – it felt sturdier and longer lasting than some of the actual headphones that I’ve owned in the past! The glossy, white cardboard opened invitingly after a small amount of pressure released the magnetic clasps.

 

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones
The box

 

I felt like a kid at Christmas as I opened it up to reveal a solid black carry-case. The carry case feels as if it is built to last. It is the perfect accessory to include with a set of headphones like these, as it offers great protection for the valuable equipment inside and an easy way of keeping the three important components together.

 

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones protective case
The protective case

 

The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Headphones – First Look

I unzipped the carry case and opened it to find a brilliant white pair of headphones. A brief wave of jealousy washed over me as I realised that my 18-month old child was now the proud owner of a far better pair of headphones than I had ever had the luxury of owning. However, that jealousy soon turned to joy. If these are a key piece in the puzzle of a successful ten hour flight, then let her have it… (okay, I may have gone straight back to the Puro Sound Labs website and eyed off an adult version for myself).

 

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones in case

 

My immediate impression when I pulled the headphones out of their carry case was that they are built to last. For a journey like this, I wasn’t prepared to gamble on a cheap plastic pair that ran the risk of falling apart half way through. I can just imagine how enraged the little one could become, should she be denied The Grand Old Duke of York for the 31st time at 30,000 feet. The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are light-weight, but still feel very sturdy – perfect for long periods of time on a toddler’s head.

The padding around the ear is soft and comfortable, and the headband is also padded. Again, these elements should make for longer periods of comfortable wear.

The left earpiece houses all of the controls – on/off, Bluetooth and volume control. It also has a micro USB port for charging, and an auxiliary input for wired connections.

 

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones connections

 

Charging

The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones charge via a standard USB to Micro USB cable. It is the same type of cable that is used by my phone, so that is quite useful. It took about 1 1/2 hours to fully charge the first time, when plugged into a USB port on my PC. An indicator light turns from red to blue, to let the user know that the headphones are charged and ready to go.

 

Connecting to a Device

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones are wireless. They use Bluetooth to pair with compatible devices and my experience was that it worked well. I paired the headphones with a Nokia 1020 Windows phone, a Moto G3 Android phone, an iPhone 7, a Windows 10 PC and a Windows 10 tablet. Each time the headphones were discovered by the device and paired on the first attempt. The connection was never lost during the time that I tested the headphones, even when I walked to the next room.

 

 

While Bluetooth connectivity is handy to have, it may not always be practical. Many home stereo systems, for example, don’t use a Bluetooth connection. Also, when flying there can be certain limitations to the types and times when a broadcasting device can be used. Some parents may also worry about using a transmitting device close to their child’s head for extended periods.

 

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones bluetooth
Buttons for Bluetooth connection and on/off

 

Puro Sound Labs have thought of all this and they have included the ability to use the headphones with a wired connection. Simply plug in the auxiliary cable, turn the switch to “off” and you have a premium pair of corded headphones! It’s simple things like that, that make the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones such an attractive option for parents of toddlers.

A final advantage of the auxiliary cable is that even if I forget to charge the headphones, they are always usable. We will never be without music (unless I forget to charge the devices…).

 

Sound Quality

Forget all the other features, there’s not much point in spending money on a set of headphones if they don’t sound any good. I tried these out before I put them anywhere near my daughter’s ears (yes, they do just fit my head) and I liked what I heard.

Even on the standard Spotify stream, the songs came across clearly. I’m no audiophile, so don’t expect me to wax lyrical about the finer points of music listening, but I was suitably impressed. Keep in mind that these are volume-limited headphones, so don’t expect to be blown away by big sound. This, of course, is an excellent feature for tiny, sensitive ears.

 

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones

 

I listened through a few of my favourite songs with these headphones. Alicia Keys‘ voice in Fallin‘ was as stunning as ever, and each instrument was clear. Bob Dylan’s Duquesne Whistle was a pleasure to listen to. Every intricate quirk of Bob’s (love it or hate it) voice came through in a way that reminded me of the last time I saw him in concert. My amateur ears were pretty impressed with what they heard, and it left my finger hovering ever closer to the ‘buy’ button on an adult pair of Puro Sound Labs headphones!

 

Safety

Protecting children’s hearing is obviously something the people over at Puro Sound Labs take very seriously. As I mentioned above, these headphones are volume limited. This is an extremely important feature for tiny, sensitive ears and frankly, I wouldn’t buy a set of headphones for my little one that didn’t offer such protection. Hearing is a precious gift and it can be too easy to lose.

The Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones manual states that “85 dBA of sound can be listened to for up to 20 hours at a time without the risk of hearing loss”. This certainly helps to provide me with some peace-of-mind if Hannah decides that she wants to listen to a lot of music on our flight.

When I first started looking for a pair of headphones for this trip, I read some parents complaining about 85dBA limited headphones as being too soft to hear. At the time I found it strange that parents would opt for potential hearing damage over a safety feature, but I guess the point is valid. What is the purpose of headphones if the user can’t hear the sound? Once again, the technicians at Puro Sound Labs have thought of this, and they designed the headphones to block out 82% of background noise (according to their website). What is even more impressive is that they have achieved that passively, without the need for battery-draining, active noise cancelling.

That means that 85dBA is just fine for listening to music, even in a potentially noisy environment like a plane or transit lounge.

 

Stay Tuned…

That’s it for now. The Puro Sound Labs BT2200’s will be given a proper work-out on our travels to Japan. I’ll let you know how they perform out in the real world…

 

Disclosure – Puro Sound Labs provided Blog Of Dad with these headphones free of charge, for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the Puro Sound Labs BT2200 headphones. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase Blog

Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase – First Impressions

Being a stay at home dad is sometimes a funny experience. One moment, you are playing Doctors with your little girl, the next minute you are answering the door to an actual grown-up, whose job it is to deliver an Antler Prism Embossed suitcase to Blog Of Dad for review.

If you are terribly unlucky, it will have been your turn to wear the ‘glasses’, just before you open the door. And in your haste to transition from infant’s play-mate to functional adult, you may just have forgotten to take off the lens-less, blue plastic eyewear.

Let’s just say that today, I was a little unlucky.

However, my embarrassment quickly gave way to excitement. There, on my doorstep, was a key piece in the puzzle of international travel puzzle – the Antler Prism Embossed suitcase.

 

Travel Light – Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase

Even in its protective cardboard box, the package felt light. A quick scan of the labels revealed that the cardboard had added an extra 2kg to the total weight, so I was already pretty excited about what I would inside. When I took the suitcase out of the box, I was impressed. In its empty state, the suitcase is large and light.

Naturally, It will be heavy once it’s filled with toddler travel paraphernalia, but crucially that weight will mostly belong to the contents of the large suitcase. The maths is pretty simple – less of the allocated weight spent on suitcase = more weight for items. And that’s a good thing, because this 3.8kg suitcase is cavernous inside.

 

Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase

 

Did I mention that it’s big? – Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase

Big, massive, gigantic, huge… pick your adjective to describe it. It’s about as large as a suitcase can get, and still be within the requirements of All Nippon Airways – our carrier for our journey to Japan. But it doesn’t feel overwhelmingly huge, and I think that’s probably down to the light weight and hard shell.

Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase
Big enough to fit a portable cot, and still have room for plenty of other baby gear.

Quality – Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase

With a product like a suitcase, the quality reveals itself over time. I’m afraid you will have to wait for the full review – once I’ve let the airport baggage handlers do their worst, to find out what I really think about the quality. That being said, my initial impressions are that this suitcase is built to a very high standard.

All shiny new things look good, but the key is in the detail. A company that takes pride in producing quality product carefully considers even the small details. There are plenty of those on the Antler Prism Embossed suitcase.

 

Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase Zipper
This kind of detail makes me happy!

 

Everything feels sturdy. The wheels are smooth and glide over hard surfaces, the handle slides up and down easily and it locks in place with a satisfying click. The zip feels strong enough to keep working for many years to come.

Antler are pretty confident in the quality of their product. They include a 10 year international warranty. If that’s not a sign that they back themselves, I don’t know what is!

 

Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase wheels
These wheels provide a smooth ride

 

Security – Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase

The Antler Prism Embossed suitcase has a built-in lock. It feels robust and an adequate deterrent from tampering. It is a TSA Certified locking mechanism, which I understand is important for any travel in the USA.

 

Antler Prism Embossed Suitcase security lock
Yes, the combination is 000. Yes, I will change it before I use it.

 

But wait… that’s not all…

 

An excellent suitcase lock doesn’t do you any good if some opportunistic person decides to take off with the entire thing. Or, equally as likely in Japan, a tired dad leaves the suitcase sitting by the side of the road in his haste to load a taxi.

The considerate crew over at The Cache Group of Companies took care of that for me, with an innovative little device that they call the Luggage Leash. This tiny Bluetooth device provides my Antler Prism Embossed suitcase with an added layer of protection, should the worst happen.

 

Stay Tuned…

That’s it for now. The real test will come when I hand this shiny, new suitcase over to the baggage handlers of Kingsford Smith Airport. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m quietly confident that the Antler Prism Embossed suitcase is more than up for the challenge.

 

Disclosure – The Cache Group of Companies provided Blog Of Dad with this suitcase free of charge, for the purpose of review during our Japan adventure. The views expressed in this post are entirely my own views, based on my experiences with the Antler Prism Embossed suitcase. For further information, please visit my disclosure page.

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