The 6 best gaming chairs of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good gaming chair will support you and provide adjustable comfort for long gaming sessions.
  • We researched the best gaming chairs to suit different people, environments, and budgets.
  • The Secretlab Titan is our top pick for its comfort, adjustability, and durability.

A gaming chair used to be whatever you happened to use for gaming, but nowadays there’s a whole category of purpose-built seats for playing video games. The best gaming chairs are solidly built, durable, and capable of withstanding occasional soda spills. They are also supremely comfortable and adjustable to accommodate your body and provide proper support as you shift positions.

We researched and tested to find the best gaming chairs and found options to suit different budgets and rooms, as well as choices to accommodate kids and big and tall gamers.

Here are our top picks for the best gaming chairs

The best gaming chair overall

bast gaming chair SecretLab titan

Offering supreme adjustable comfort, real durability, and a classy look, the Secretlab Titan has everything you need in a gaming chair. 

Pros: Comfortable, durable, adjustable, 5-year warranty

Cons: The seat and back can get warm, assembly required

Secretlab makes ergonomic gaming chairs that combine affordability, comfort, and quality construction. With black polyurethane leather and golden logos, the Secretlab Titan is unmistakably a gaming chair, but the design is classy enough that it can blend into a home office. 

Comfort is a priority, so there’s generous padding beneath the durable PU leather. A knob on the side of the Secretlab Titan provides adjustable lumbar support, instead of a cushion. The armrests are fully adjustable, so you can angle them to suit your position. The top of each armrest is padded and concave, which helps to keep your elbows in the right place. There’s also a velour-covered memory foam pillow with a layer of cooling gel for your neck and head. 

The Secretlab Titan can also tilt and fully recline, with a lever to lock it in place, and the pneumatics enable easy height adjustment. The PU-coated wheels allow for smooth movement across different floors. 

You can customize many design elements, opting for fabric or leather, with different color combinations. There are special editions linked to esports, specific games, or even houses from “Game of Thrones.”

All these features will be appreciated by gamers, but it’s the $419 price that makes the Secretlab Titan so compelling. Secretlab keeps prices down by selling direct to consumers. While a fabric finish bumps the price to $449 and real leather makes it $699, these are still very competitive prices for what you get. 

We previously reviewed the Secretlab Omega and loved it, but the Titan offers some improvements and is designed to accommodate taller and heavier gamers. It’s not suited for anyone under 5’9″, but the Omega comes in a smaller size. An XL version of the Titan is rated for up to 6’10” and 390 pounds. 

This is a durable and thoughtfully designed gaming chair, and Secretlab offers a five-year warranty. 

Overall, the Secretlab Titan strikes the right balance between comfort, style, adjustability, durability, and price. This is the best gaming chair for most people.

Read our Secretlab Titan review

The best budget gaming chair

best budget gaming chair GT Racing chair

The GT Racing gaming chair offers padded comfort, adjustable support, and a colorful design without breaking the bank.

Pros: Affordable, some adjustable support

Cons: Can get uncomfortable after a while, prone to faults

If you need a seat that can carry you through hours of gaming but your budget is limited, then the GT Racing gaming chair could be ideal. With bucket style seats, covered in polyurethane leather, extra cushions, and logos all over, this gaming chair certainly looks the part. 

There’s padding over the metal frame, so this is a reasonably comfortable chair to sit in for a few hours. More padding would be nice, and the raised sides and metal frame can make this chair uncomfortable after a couple of hours, especially for larger folks. While the height of the armrests and the seat can be adjusted, the armrests don’t go as high as we’d like.

There’s a removable headrest pillow, and you’ll find a lumbar cushion on the back that you can slide up and down. A lever at the side enables you to recline the chair all the way back to a 170-degree angle. This chair also spins 360 degrees, and the wheels roll freely and quietly on hard floors or carpet.

The GT Racing chair starts from just $169.99, which makes it the cheapest option on our list by a distance. You can get red and black, blue and black, or plain black in the polyurethane covering. While it wipes clean easily, it can also get sweaty, and it’s not something you want against your skin, so you may prefer to pay a little more for a fabric finish. 

While this chair feels reasonably sturdy and does a good job of emulating more expensive gaming chairs, you can feel the difference when you sit in it. This is a budget gaming chair, and the quality reflects that. We can’t speak to longevity either. Online research reveals reports about different faults and parts of this chair breaking. Customer service looks to be good, but we have some concerns about long-term durability. Ultimately, although there are better gaming chairs, we can’t find a superior option at this price.

The best office chair for gaming

best gaming chair for your office Steelcase V2

The Steelcase Leap V2 eschews loud design in favor of functionality, so this is a fully adjustable chair that will blend in seamlessly with your office.

Pros: Fully adjustable, very durable, understated style

Cons: The seat and back can get warm, expensive

Most gaming chairs have a certain style, and it usually involves bucket seats designed to emulate sports cars. Vibrant patches of color and prominent logos are also common. If you’re hunting for a great gaming chair that has to pull double duty as an office chair, then you probably don’t want a garish seat that will catch people’s eyes during video calls.

Our pick, which served as my office chair for more than a year, is the Steelcase Leap V2. It has a well-deserved place in our best office chairs guide. What sets it apart from the competition there and makes it especially suitable for gaming is the padding and adjustability. This is a chair that’s comfortable enough to sit in all day for work and then sit in all night for gaming. Trust me; I do it far too often. 

The Steelcase Leap V2 is fully adjustable. It’s designed to support your body whether you’re leaning forward, sitting upright, slouching down, or reclining back with your feet up on the desk. There’s fully adjustable lumbar support. You can tweak the resistance of the back, change the height and seat depth, and adjust the height and orientation of the armrests. It also spins through 360 degrees, and the wheels roll easily across carpeted or hard floors.

You can get the Steelcase Leap in a wide range of fabric or leather finishes in various colors, with or without the arms and headrest. You can get just the right look for your office, though some combinations are very pricey. 

It’s a relatively expensive chair to buy new. If you buy directly from Steelcase, prices start at $880, though it does offer a lifetime warranty. On the other hand, this is a chair that’s built to last, and if you shop around, you can find heavily discounted refurbished chairs with plenty of life left in them.

Read our full Steelcase Leap V2 review.

The best immersive gaming chair

best immersive gaming chair X Rocker chair

With built-in sound and vibration, the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 fully immerses you in your chosen game world. 

Pros: Affordable, built-in sound and vibration, sturdy

Cons: Not suitable for taller gamers, needs to be plugged in, limited comfort

For those looking for a purpose-built gaming chair, there’s the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1. This curved, black, PU leather gaming chair offers reasonable comfort and support, but it’s the built-in sound that sets it apart.

The X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 features a pedestal for stability, enabling you to tilt and swivel. There’s a cushioned headrest, lumbar support, and armrests, but this is not an adjustable chair. It’s not the most comfortable gaming chair either, especially for taller or heavier gamers. We think this chair will work best for kids, teens, and smaller adults.

The built-in sound support is an unusual extra. It has two forward-facing speakers and a subwoofer inside, along with vibration motors that make for an immersive sound experience you can feel. It can also pair with devices via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, this does mean it needs to be plugged into an outlet. The sound should work wirelessly, but as it relies on RCA technology to connect to your system, it may require extra accessories, such as an HDMI Audio Extractor.

The X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 delivers surprisingly decent sound, and the vibrations add an extra layer of experience to gaming sessions and movies. A panel on the right-hand side houses controls and various wired connections. Assembly is required, and you’ll want help to do so. Once it’s put together, the chair feels pretty sturdy. 

User reviews are mostly positive, with people praising the audio features, but there are also some negative reviews from taller and heavier gamers. If you’re 5’10” and up, this gaming chair is definitely not for you. There’s also a positive review at Lifewire.

Ultimately, the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 has a lot to offer for $250, but if you don’t care about the sound features, you should check out a more comfortable, adjustable chair.

The best gaming chair for kids

best gaming chair for kids Arozzi Junior

The Arozzi Verona Junior offers classic gaming chair looks with adjustable support, but in a smaller package that’s suitable for kids and smaller gamers.

Pros: Designed for kids and shorter gamers, adjustable, comfortable

Cons: 132-pound weight limit

If you’re below a certain height, some gaming chairs are just never going to work for you. The Arozzi Verona Junior is built for kids and shorter gamers, offering comfort, adjustability, and durability in a typical racing seat style. The chair comes in a choice of four colors, and it’s finished in PU leather that’s very easy to wipe clean. 

It comes with foam padding and cushions for your head, as well as an adjustable lumbar support cushion. The armrests can also be moved up and down and rotated to different angles. You can set the chair to have some tilt if you want a rocking motion, and it reclines up to 165 degrees. The wheels allow for smooth travel across the floor.

There’s a positive review of the Arozzi Verona Junior at PC Gamer. Choices for kids and shorter gamers are very limited, so the Arozzi Verona Junior fills a niche. Arozzi suggests a maximum height of 5’2″ and a maximum weight of 130 pounds. It’s a shame that the weight limit is so low, because this gaming chair would probably suit a lot of shorter, adult gamers.

The best wide gaming chair

best wide gaming chair Corsair Gaming Chair

The adjustable Corsair T2 Road Warrior is tall and wide for larger gamers or anyone who prefers a roomy seat.

Pros: Comfortable, durable, adjustable, smooth wheels

Cons: Quite firm, armrests can be wobbly

Known for its headsets, keyboards, cooling fans, and other essential gaming gear, Corsair also makes gaming chairs. The Corsair T2 Road Warrior caters to big and tall gamers, so it has a high seat back and a strong, steel frame that allows for a maximum weight of up to 300 pounds.

This is a classy-looking seat that comes in plain black or options that combine black with red, blue, yellow, or white highlights. It’s shaped exactly like a car seat and is finished in perforated PU leather. While it is clearly a gaming chair, it won’t look out of place in most home offices.

There are microfiber cushions for neck support and adjustable lumbar support. The armrests are also fully adjustable, so you can raise or lower them, slide them left or right, and swivel them for the angle that suits you best. Internal pneumatics afford easy height adjustment, and the chair reclines through 170 degrees. The rollerblade wheels finish off a smart design with the ability to coast smoothly across different floor types, though they’re best suited to hard floors.

There are positive reviews of the Corsair T2 Road Warrior at IGN and KitGuru. While this is a roomy chair that feels very durable, it’s also on the firm side, so not everyone will find it comfortable. It does also require some assembly, and Corsair offers a two-year warranty for the chair.

At $399.99, the Corsair T2 Road Warrior is a good choice for taller gamers or anyone seeking a wider seat. The racing style does mean this is firm and curves in at the sides to hug your body. If you need something really roomy and capable of supporting weights of up to 390 pounds, then we suggest you look at the $480 Secretlab Titan XL instead.

What we’re looking forward to testing

Respawn chair

As a fast-growing product category, new gaming chairs come onto the market all the time. These are the gaming chairs we hope to test over the next few months.

  • Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair, from $1,495: A dream partnership between popular gaming peripheral manufacturer Logitech and office chair king Herman Miller is something to get excited about. The Embody Gaming Chair promises a research-based ergonomic design specifically for gamers. Extra thick seat padding and a layer of cooling foam in the back set this apart from your average gaming chair, but it is very expensive.
  • AndaSeat Fnatic Edition Gaming Chair, from $419.99: With a range of gaming chairs featuring a typical racing-seat style, AndaSeat is a popular choice for many gamers. Building on its reputation for affordable gaming chairs, AndaSeat is beginning to turn out a range of higher quality seats with price tags to match. The Fnatic appears to offer a good balance between adjustability and price.
  • Razer Iskur, from $499: One of the top gaming brands on the planet, Razer has created a gaming chair for the first time, the Iskur. This synthetic black leather beauty has Razer’s signature green branding in the stitching with a prominent logo. The ergonomic design boasts an interesting, fully adjustable lumbar support system, thick foam padding, customizable armrests, and a memory foam cushion for your head. Sadly, it’s currently out of stock. 

How to choose a gaming chair

With such a wide and growing choice of gaming chairs, it can be tricky to pick the perfect one. Here are a few of the important factors to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a gaming chair.

Size: It’s vital to find a gaming chair that’s suited to your height and weight. You’ll generally find a suggested range or maximum height and weight in the specs of each chair. Bear in mind that the ideal height and weight for a chair will likely be in the middle of the stated range. This is especially important if the chair isn’t adjustable or has limited adjustability. Make sure you read reviews and see what people are saying about the sizing. If you can, it’s always a good idea to try before you buy.

Adjustability: A good gaming chair will be fully adjustable, allowing you to tailor the chair to your body. Ideally, you should be able to adjust the seat height and the armrests and tilt and recline in the chair. The best chairs will also offer adjustable lumbar support and extras like seat depth adjustments, but these are often lacking in cheaper chairs. Bear in mind that you can always add a cushion for lumbar support, but make sure that you get one that can be strapped into the correct position. 

Material: The majority of gaming chairs are finished in polyurethane (PU) leather, but you can also find fabric finishes and real leather chairs, though they will be more expensive. Fake or real leather has the advantage of being easy to wipe clean but can lead to an uncomfortably sweaty back. Fabric tends to be more breathable but may stain more easily.

Style: You can get gaming chairs emblazoned with esports logos or styled after videogame characters, but if you’re buying something for the home office it’s a good idea to consider what the chair will look like during a business video call. Some options bridge the gap between traditional office chair and gaming chair. 

Our office chair guide also includes expert advice on the best way to sit and how to set up an ergonomic space.

Testing methodology

My gaming addiction stretches back nearly four decades to the days of the Atari 2600. I also spent eight years working in the game industry. I have a lot of experience playing games into the night, and I spent most of them in unsuitable chairs, as my back problems will attest. Nowadays, I take comfort and support more seriously, and I’ve tested out a lot of different gaming chairs over the years. 

For this guide, I gathered recommendations from game developers and hardcore gamers, pored over authoritative reviews, and read countless user reviews and forum discussions to identify the best gaming chairs. 

I tested our top pick, the Secretlab Titan, for several weeks to ensure it measures up to its reputation. I used the Steelcase Leap, picked as the best gaming chair for the office, for many months and it also features prominently in our best office chairs guide. I have also briefly tested our budget pick, the GT Racing gaming chair.

Read the original article on Business Insider

The top 10 emerging destinations in the US for 2021, according to Vrbo – plus the best rentals to book for each

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

trending destinations for 2021, according to Vrbo

  • Vrbo released its up-and-coming destination report for 2021 based on a survey of 8,000 participants.
  • Pandemic habits are continuing, with most travelers planning domestic road trips to outdoorsy locations.
  • Many of the top emerging destinations for 2021 are located in the South and Midwest.

According to a recent travel trend report released by Vrbo, many of the top travel habits of travelers in 2020 will be continuing throughout 2021. Travelers are continuing to take their own transportation, such as rental cars, to their destinations, with 59% saying they’ll drive instead of fly for their next trip.

Travelers are also continuing to seek out more remote destinations with easy access to nature, with 61% planning to visit an outdoor destination to fish, camp, hike, or explore instead of heading to an urban vacation. The top travel destinations reflect this, with almost all of the top 10 options located in the South and Midwest where there’s plenty of space for social distancing. In fact, of the top up-and-coming destinations on Vrbo’s list, only one is in a coastal area.

According to Melanie Fish, Vrbo travel expert, “Vrbo’s newest top emerging destinations align with shifts in travel behavior due to the pandemic.” She adds, “Booking a Vrbo in these off-the-beaten-path locales means travelers can enjoy the privacy and comforts of home while reaping the mental health benefits of being in a new environment and spend quality time exploring places they may have otherwise overlooked.”

The top 10 emerging destinations according to Vrbo are:

  1.     Emory, Texas
  2.     Smithville, Missouri
  3.     Slade, Kentucky
  4.     Outer Banks, North Carolina
  5.     Mannford, Oklahoma
  6.     Lafayette, Indiana
  7.     Water Valley, Mississippi
  8.     Fredericktown, Missouri
  9.     New Roads, Lousiana
  10.     Junction, Texas

Below, we detail these popular up-and-coming destinations among Vrbo users, as well as our top vacation rental picks to book in each region, all selected based on being well-located to the above emerging destinations, as well as well-reviewed listings with near-perfect 5.0 ratings from reviewers.

We also identified current COVID-19 cleaning policies for each property so you can rest easier, but be sure to check for up-to-date cancellation policies, too.

As always, bear in mind that even in more remote locales there’s never a guarantee of safety right now. Always follow guidelines from the CDC, practice social distancing, wear masks in public areas, and wash hands frequently. Before booking, check for travel advisories and restrictions in your vacation destination, too. 

Here are Vrbo’s top 10 emerging destinations, plus the best vacation rental to book for each.

Waterfront home in Emory, Texas, $364

trending destinations for 2021, according to Vrbo

Book this waterfront home starting from $364 a night

About a 90 minute drive straight west from the bustling urban center of Dallas brings you to the bucolic town of Emory, where you’ll find stables, wineries, verdant state parks, and Lake Fork, a peaceful fishing, birding, and boating destination. 

Dive into the waterside setting at this Waterfront home with a private pool for an ideal lakeside getaway. The three-bedroom vacation rental is right on Lake Fork and offers a private fishing dock where you can angle for largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish. If you’re not up for a dip in the lake, you can spend a sunny afternoon relaxing at the private pool. At the end of the day, enjoy the peaceful evening under the stars by the secluded outdoor fire pit. Or if there’s a lakeside chill, head indoors to the spacious living room to get cozy around the indoor fireplace. 

Rating: 4.9

COVID safety: No policies are stated, but it’s managed by Evolve, a rental property company with high cleanliness standards and 24/7 guest services.

See more of the best vacation rentals with private pools

Historic farmhouse in Smithville, Missouri, $268

Remodeled Historic Farmhouse vrbo in missouri

Book this historic farmhouse starting from $268 a night

Located just 30 minutes north of Kansas City is the quiet town of Smithville and its eponymous lake popular for fishing, boating, and swimming. Surrounding the lake are scenic hiking trails as well as two 18-hole courses that comprise the Paradise Point Golf Complex. 

Stay overnight at a remodeled farmhouse in the nearby historic town of Liberty. The updated home has four bedrooms and an expansive outdoor area including a spacious yard, a deck with a charcoal grill, and as a unique touch, access to the on-site working horse farm and barn. Within a mile of the home are Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary, Liberty Jail Church Historic Site, and the Jesse James Bank Museum.

Rating: 5

COVID-19 Safety: No policies stated, but it’s managed by Evolve, a rental property company with high cleanliness standards and 24/7 guest services.  

See more of the best farm stay vacations in the US

Large family log cabin in Slade, Kentucky, $244

log cabin vrbo in kentucky

Book this family log cabin starting from $244 per night

Even if you’ve never heard of Slade before, you’ll quickly see why it would be a popular emerging destination for a nature getaway. The Kentucky town is considered the gateway to the beautiful Red River Gorge, popular for kayaking and canoeing as well as some of the most notable rock climbing in the world. The Slade area is also home to one of the most popular state parks in Kentucky, Natural Bridge State Resort Park and its namesake sandstone arch. 

If you’ve ever wanted to stay in a real log cabin in the woods, your wilderness dreams can come true at this large family fun log cabin. The house is ideally situated to enjoy the natural setting, with an outdoor hot tub with incredible forest views, a swing and rockers on the spacious covered front porch, and a wood fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs where you can watch the stars come out at night. Inside, rustic meets modern with lots of open wood architecture along with a well-equipped kitchen and plenty of space to spread out.  

Rating: 4.8

COVID-19 safety: The listing notes that the property is cleaned with disinfectants and that there is contact-free check-in and check-out.

Spacious home close to the beach in Outer Banks, North Carolina, $300

beach house vrbo in north carolina

Book this spacious beach home starting from $300 per night

While lakes get most of the love on the emerging destinations list, there is one spot that’s a coastal delight for beach lovers: The Outer Banks. A 100-mile string of barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina, this area is the ultimate in serene social distancing beach vacations, with long stretches of sand known for for being crowd-free because of their remote location. 

To get a taste of everything the area has to offer, check out this beautiful house just steps from the beach. The four-bedroom home offers views of both the ocean and the Wright Brother National Monument and has an open floor plan with ample space for great family gatherings in addition to a separate game room with a pool table. Outside there’s a refreshing private pool if you’re not up for the short walk to the Atlantic. 

Rating: 4.8

COVID-19 safety: This listing follows industry health association SafeStay (AHLA – USA) recommendations.

See more of the best Outer Banks vacation rentals

Lakehouse in Mannford, Oklahoma, $225

Keystone Lake vrbo in oklahoma

Book this lakehouse starting from $225 per night

Located bout 30 minutes west of Tulsa, is Mannford, which sits along the banks of 26,000-acre Keystone Lake, known as the “Striped Bass Capital of the World”. You don’t have to fish to enjoy lake life here, since there’s plenty of room to boat and swim if you’re not an angler. 

The lake is also a relaxing spot to just watch the water, and for that peaceful activity, it’s hard to beat this 20-acre, three-bedroom home. The waterfront listing boasts panoramic views of the lake. Inside, the great room is a highlight of the house, with a two-story vaulted ceiling and a wood-burning fireplace. Outside, a private nature trail decorated with colorful art installations leads around the property and down to the water.

Rating: 5

COVID-19 policy: No policies stated, but managed by Evolve, a rental property company with high cleanliness standards and 24/7 guest services.  

Rustic luxury estate, Lafayette, Indiana, $500

Rustic Luxury Estate On Lake Freeman vrbo indiana

Book this rustic luxury estate starting from $500 per night

Nestled on the Wabash River across from Purdue University, Lafayette, in Tippecanoe County, is located 63 miles northwest of Indianapolis and 105 miles southeast of Chicago, making it an ideal getaway from the city. Although Lafayette made the Vrbo list, the majority of rental houses are located a bit north in the lakefront community of Lake Freeman, popular for swimming and water sports, especially water skiing. The town also offers old-school fun such as drive-in movies, miniature golf, and the Indiana Beach Amusement Park. 

One standout option here is this rustic luxury estate, a spectacular and expansive five-bedroom home nestled in a quiet cove on the waterfront of Lake Freeman. Though it’s on the higher end of price, it sleeps up to 15 guests, making it an excellent value option for larger families or pods of friends traveling and quarantining together.

This is a home made for entertaining, with a great room with a floor-to-ceiling Wisconsin River Rock walled fireplace that opens to a 1,000 sq foot outdoor wrap-around deck that enables guests to easily relax, entertain and/or dine in both spaces simultaneously. The home also has a Leisure Kraft pontoon boat available to rent by the day to get out and explore the peaceful lake. 

Rating: 5

COVID-19 safety: There are no specific protocols noted, but reviews note that the home is “very clean.”

Modern home on a private lake in Water Valley, Mississippi, $625

Luxury Home on Private Lake vrbo mississippi

Book this modern home on a private lake starting from $625 per night

Tucked into the hills of north Mississippi, south of the university town of Oxford, Water Valley is an artsy enclave filled with boutique shops, galleries, and historic buildings with an old-fashioned charm that makes it a relaxing weekend retreat. It’s also near quiet, family-family Lake Enid. 

Base yourself in the heart of the area at this serene and modern home in the Splinter Creek neighborhood. With privacy and remote locations being the ultimate luxury right now, this home earns its higher price point by boasting a private lake you’ll have all to yourself.

The modern, three-bedroom lakefront house has a large screened-in porch and an outdoor kitchen. The house is located on a 10-acre lot, which is part of a larger 650-acre agri-hood development with hiking trails, and three private, stocked lakes that offer swimming, boating, and fishing just for the homes in the surrounding area.

Rating: 5

COVID-19 policies: This home follows industry health association SafeStay (AHLA – USA).

Log home in Fredericktown, Missouri, $260

log home vrbo in missouri

Book this log home starting from $260 per night

Tucked into the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Fredericktown is surrounded on three sides by the Mark Twain National Forest and sits at the base of the St Francois Mountains, making it a magnet for nature lovers, especially city dwellers from St. Louis, located about 75 miles north.  

The area also is home to a number of small wineries, and this gorgeous, five-bedroom log home is just one mile from the popular Chaumette Winery. The private and secluded log home is great for families who want plenty of space to spread out, especially if parents plan to work remotely and want dedicated workspace. A highlight of the house is the wrap-around porch that offers wide views of the surrounding landscape. Inside, the house boasts a plethora of thoughtful touches, such as fresh-picked flowers, handmade doorknobs, and exposed wood beams.

Rating: 4.9

COVID-19 policies: No policies noted, but reviews note that the property is “super clean.”

River home with dock in New Roads, Louisiana, $270

false river louisiana vrbo

Book this river home with dock starting from $270 per night

New Roads calls itself “the prettiest city on the water.” What water is that? Well, it’s tucked between the Mississippi Bayou and the False River, but that “false” river is really a 15-mile oxbow lake. No matter what you call the water, though, the historic town is certainly scenic and is a popular getaway from Baton Rouge, just 26 miles downstream. 

This river home is a peaceful retreat on the False River just south of New Roads in Oscar. The four-bedroom vacation rental offers access to a shared pier and dock just feet away from the patio, ideal for anglers and water lovers alike, along with a modern and airy 2,600-square-foot interior, complete with a fireplace, leather couches, and other cozy details. 

Rating: 4.9

COVID-19 policy: No policies stated, but it’s managed by Evolve Vacation Rental, a premier host with high cleanliness standards.  

Charming ranch house in Junction, Texas, $109

Country Farmhouse vrbo in junction, texas

Book this ranch house starting from $109 per night

In Texas Hill Country northwest of San Antonio, Junction offers a spot where the wildflowers bring carpets of color to the ground every spring, and year-round you can kayak, canoe, paddleboard, and tube along the South Llano River. 

This L&L River Haus is a charming farmhouse that has a historic designation as a Texas Century Ranch, meaning the property has been in the same family for at least 100 years. The interior is updated and comfortable, but there are charming touches to its roots all around, such as a wood stove, a tin-roof porch, and an outdoor water pump. Some more modern additions include a billiards table inside and a fire pit outside. The ranch is still active, and you’ll be able to see horses and other wildlife around, enjoy spacious outdoor areas, and relax by the river.

Rating: 5

COVID-19 policy: The listing notes multiple disinfecting protocols, as well as contactless check-in and check-out.

Read the original article on Business Insider

30 companies that give back all year long – not just around the holidays

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

companies that give back cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation.

  • Giving back is woven into the business and operations of these 30 companies. 
  • If you shop from the following brands, you’re also supporting several charitable initiatives. 
  • Need more gift ideas? Check out our ultimate gift guide.

Aside from volunteering with or sending direct donations to nonprofits that make our world a better place, one way you can do your part throughout the year is to support businesses that give back. During these tumultuous times, giving back to those in need has never felt more urgent and necessary.

If you’re gifting your loved ones, it’ll only benefit more parties if you buy from companies with a social and environmental conscience. 

When you buy a gift from these 30 companies, you’re also helping to plant a tree, improve livelihoods in underserved areas, save an animal, and more.

Shop at these 30 brands that give back all year long:

Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold  coffee

Shop gifts from Blk & Bold

Blk & Bold, a newly certified B-corporation, prides itself on prioritizing giving back as much as making a profit. The company donates 5% of its profits to supporting at-risk youth and works with over ten organizations with various missions to improve the lives of kids across the country.

Learn more about the initiative here.

Uncommon Goods

Uncommon Goods can flannel

Shop gifts from Uncommon Goods

Combine unique and fun finds with giving back through Uncommon Goods’ Better to Give program. Not only are you supporting small businesses by shopping with Uncommon Goods, but once you select a Better to Give partner, you’ll also be supporting the causes most important to you. Uncommon Goods currently works with organizations that focus on issues including forest conservation, supporting those whose lives have been impacted by conflict and natural disasters, and more. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


The Vanishing Half 1200x900

Shop gifts from Bookshop

Bookshop allows customers to support local bookstores from afar by allowing readers to purchase books directly from their favorite bookstores. If you would like to support a specific bookstore, use Bookshop’s store locator and your pick will receive 100% of the profit from the sale. Bookshop’s mission is to support independent bookstores by connecting them with potential customers. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back everlane

Shop gifts from The 100% Human Collection at Everlane

Everlane donates 10% from every purchase in this collection of tees, sweatshirts, face masks, and tote bags to the ACLU and has raised over $1 million to date. 

Learn more about the initiative on each individual product page in the collection


companies that give back bombas

Shop gifts from Bombas

Whether you’d like to gift athletic socks, hiking socks, or dress socks, Bombas has you — and the feet of someone in need — covered. For every pair purchased, it donates a specially-designed pair to a homeless shelter. It has donated more than 43 million pairs to more than 3,000 giving partners in the US. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back state bags

Shop gifts from STATE Bags

When you buy a STATE bag, the company fills another with school supplies and gives it to a local student in need at a “Bag Drop” rally. It also shines a light on issues like mass incarceration, the Flint water crisis, and Black Lives Matter through its #WhatDoWeTellTheKids initiatives. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


leesa foam

Shop gifts from Leesa

Leesa donates one mattress to a nonprofit for every 10 sold and has donated more than 37,000 mattresses so far. The gift of a better night’s sleep for your recipient (plus someone in need) comes in the form of four different mattresses

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back aurate

Shop gifts from AUrate

Fine jewelry startup AUrate finds beauty in honestly priced, ethically sourced gold jewelry — as well as the power of reading. Every year, it donates thousands of books to students in need in the US. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back cotopaxi
Cotopaxi is a B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation.

Shop gifts from Cotopaxi

For colorful outdoor and travel gear they’ll be proud to carry, shop at Cotopaxi, the B Corp that puts 1% of its yearly revenue toward grants to nonprofits making sustainable changes in poverty alleviation. So far, it has awarded 42 grants in six countries. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back cuyana

Shop gifts from Cuyana

In line with its “Fewer, Better” philosophy, Cuyana encourages shoppers to clean out their closets by providing shipping labels to thredUP. Send in a box of high-quality apparel they no longer need, and they’ll receive a credit to shop at Cuyana. When that credit is spent, Cuyana donates 5% of the profit to H.E.A.R.T. (Helping Ease Abuse Related Trauma). 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back skylar

Shop gifts from Skylar

Skylar is a natural, eco-friendly fragrance company that makes candles and perfume perfect for gifting. It donates a portion of proceeds and time to Step Up, a nonprofit dedicated to mentorship for girls. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Thrive Market

Thrive Market

Shop gift memberships from Thrive Market

Thrive Market, a place to shop natural and organic products for less, offers a one-for-one membership program. That means that every paid membership gives a free one to someone in need, like a low-income family, student, teacher, veteran, or first responder. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back parachute

Shop gifts from Parachute

For every Venice percale bedding set sold at Parachute, it donates one malaria-prevention bed net in partnership with the UN Foundation’s Nothing But Nets campaign. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back causebox

Gift a subscription from Causebox

Causebox stands out among the bevy of beauty and accessories subscription boxes by only featuring socially conscious products and companies that give back. Its main areas of impact are women’s empowerment, supporting disadvantaged producers, education and skill development, and poverty alleviation. The company itself also helps various charity partners raise funds and awareness. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back wildfangjpg

Shop gifts from Wildfang

Wildfang, a female-founded and women-run clothing and accessories brand, donates a percentage of profits from full-price goods to a rotating monthly charity. Charities have included Planned Parenthood, Black Girls Code, and Girls Inc.

Learn more about the initiative here.


judy emergency kit review

Shop gifts from JUDY

Judy’s bright and expert-informed emergency preparedness kits empower you to get your safety plan in place. It just launched earlier in 2020 but plans on donating 1% of sales annually to the Los Angeles Fire Department Foundation, which provides essential equipment and training to supplement city resources. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Love With Food by SnackNation

companies that give back love with food

Gift a subscription from Love With Food by SnackNation

Better-for-you snack subscription service Love With Food by SnackNation nourishes both stomach and soul by donating at least one meal to a family in need — through Feeding America — for every snack box purchased. Thanks to its subscribers’ healthy appetites for organic and all-natural snacks, it has donated over 1 million meals. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back thirdlove

Shop gifts from ThirdLove

ThirdLove partners with Good360, I Support the Girls, and more organizations to donate its comfortable bras to women in need. It has donated more than $40 million of bras to date, and in the past, it has also donated a bra to a California wildfire victim for every bra purchased. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Warby Parker

companies that give back warby parker

Shop gifts from Warby Parker

If this were like any other year, Warby Parker would distribute a pair of glasses for every pair sold in two different ways. The first helps train adults to administer basic eye exams and sell glasses for affordable prices, while the second gives vision care and glasses to students in need. Its partners include VisionSpring, the Department of Education in New York, and the Department of Health in Baltimore

Instead, Warby Parker has temporarily suspended glasses distribution due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, it’s providing PPE and preventative health supplies to healthcare workers and communities in need for each pair of glasses purchased. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back allbirds

Shop gifts from Allbirds

Lightly used shoes from this popular startup known for its use of unique materials are sent to Soles4Souls, a nonprofit that donates shoes to people who have been affected by disasters. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

United by Blue

companies that give back united by blue

Shop gifts from United By Blue

The conservation-minded outdoor brand pledges to remove one pound of trash from the planet’s oceans and waterways for every product sold. It has removed more than 3.5 million pounds of trash through organized cleanups, while also using more responsible materials like recycled polyester in its products. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back ethique

Shop gifts from Ethique

Gone are the days of wasteful plastic haircare and skincare bottles. Ethique packs the essential ingredients into a concentrated bar that’s equivalent to three bottles of liquid shampoo, then donates 20% of profits to conservation, animal welfare, and environmental groups and “adopts” animals to pay for their care. It has worked with over 170 organizations worldwide and has ongoing partnerships with Rainforest Trust and HUHA, among others. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Avocado Mattress

companies that give back avocado mattress

Shop gifts from Avocado Mattress

These eco-friendly mattresses are made from materials like natural latex harvested from sustainable tree-tapped sources and organic cotton. The company donates 1% of revenue to environmental nonprofits like Plastic Oceans International and Big Green

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back tatcha

Shop gifts from Tatcha

Every purchase from this Japanese beauty-inspired brand helps fund girls’ education. Tatcha’s Beautiful Faces, Beautiful Future program with nonprofit Room to Read has funded more than 4.6 million days of school for girls in Asia and Africa.

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back patagonia

Shop gifts from Patagonia

Since 1985, Patagonia has donated $89 million to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups. It also donates to nonprofits through its Employee Charity Match program, invests in socially and environmentally minded companies through its own venture capital fund, and donates new and used clothing. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back yoobi

Shop gifts from Yoobi

Yoobi partners with the Kids In Need Foundation to donate a school supply to a classroom every time you buy one of its products. We’re fans of its sturdy notebooks and weekly calendar planner pads. So far, it’s donated supplies to more than 4 million students.  

Learn more about the initiative here.


kitnipbox $74.97, 3 months

Gift a subscription from KitNipBox

Each month, this cat toy and treat subscription service donates a portion of proceeds and products to shelters, rescues, and other feline welfare causes. It supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back barkbox

Gift a subscription from BarkBox

BarkBox has thousands of rescue and shelter partners that benefit from each subscription purchased. Be on the lookout for custom codes from your favorite organization. When you use the code, BarkBox donates $25 to that rescue or shelter. 

Learn more about the initiative here.

Sand Cloud

companies that give back sand cloud

Shop gifts from Sand Cloud

Anyone who loves spending time at the beach should be more invested in protecting marine life. Sand Cloud, which makes Turkish cotton beach towels, donates 10% of profits to organizations that protect and preserve beaches and oceans. 

Learn more about the initiative here.


companies that give back natori

Shop gifts from Natori

Natori’s giving program is unique in that it’s customizable and gives you the power to support a cause you care about. When you add one of its bras or lounge products to your cart, you can choose the nonprofit org that will receive 1% of your purchase. There’s a whole directory of organizations but some featured ones include The Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Equal Justice Initiative

Learn more about the initiative here.


Read the original article on Business Insider

The best online sales happening now, including J.Crew Factory and Backcountry

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Best Online Sales Deals

We rounded up the best sales and deals happening online today, including savings at J.Crew Factory and Backcountry.

Deals in this story are subject to change throughout the day. The prices listed reflect the deal at the time of publication. For even more deals and savings across the web, check out Business Insider Coupons.

The best deals available right now

MX Master 3 (medium, Preferred: Staples)75-inch H6510G (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)HERO8 (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)AirPods Pro (Refurbished) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Nest Audio (medium, Preferred: Adorama)

The best sales and discounts happening right now

Get up to 50% off sitewide from J.Crew Factory

j.crew factory facebook

Shop the J.Crew Factory sale now.

The same great styles but at a lower price, J.Crew Factory is the place to go for fashion without breaking the bank. Right now, the retailer is holding a sale offering up to 50% off sitewide, plus an extra 50% off clearance with promo code HELLODEALS. Shopping the sale is going to be far from the J.Crew private shopping session we tried out last year, but it’s still an excellent chance to fill your wardrobe with high-quality threads for less. The sale ends February 27.


Get an extra 20% off select apparel at Backcountry

backcountry winter yard snowboarder sale

Shop the Backcountry Winter Yard sale now.

Now through Thursday, February 25, you can get an extra 20% off winter gear and apparel from Backcountry. Tons of cold-weather apparel, gear, and accessories are discounted, including jackets, pants,  skis, and bags. Most of the discounted items are from Backcountry’s own apparel brand, but you can also find some great pieces from Stoic included in the sale.

Get 15% off sitewide at Melissa & Doug

melissa & doug blog kids puzzle

Shop the Melissa & Doug Sitewide Savings sale now.

Now through the end of February, Melissa & Doug shoppers can get 15% off sitewide with promo code EXPLORE15. The brand makes great toys and storage for the little ones in your life — we know after testing and reviewing them over the years. Some of our favorites include the Melissa & Doug wooden toy box and dollhouse

Get 25% off sitewide at Speck

speck phone case new years

Shop the Speck sitewide sale now.

For the remainder of February, you can get 25% off sitewide from Speck with promo code SPECK02. We recommend Speck phone cases if you like a grippier case; they’re also available for a ton of different phone models in a variety of colors. Since the whole site is discounted with the code, you can even find gear for your Macbook or iPad, 25% off. The sale ends February 28.

Get $500 off a Carol bike

CAROL ai stationary bike

Shop the Carol bike sale now.

It’s pricey for sure, but the AI-powered Carol bike will customize each session you have to be as effective as possible. Right now you can get $500 off your own Carol bike plus a free chest belt and a one-year subscription with promo code CAROL2021. It’s a huge discount and includes some great freebies to get you started on your fitness goals. The code will work through February 28.

Get up to 15% off at Saatchi Art

saatchi art bestsellers

Shop the Saatchi Art sale now.

Now through the end of February, Saatchi Art is having a rare sale. You can get 15% off original pieces of $2,000 or more with promo code PAINT15 or, if you’re aiming a little cheaper, 10% off originals of $500 or more with promo code CANVAS10. You’ll have to spend a bit more than you would elsewhere, but Saatchi Art is a great place to find original paintings, photography, sculptures, and more. 

Get 40% off at Sunski

guys summer sunski

Shop the Full Send Special at Sunski now.

A rare sale on some already-affordable glasses, right now you can snag 40% off select Sunski styles. The sale includes 5 styles: the Andiamo, Portola, Original, Mattina, and Olema. We like Sunski for being stylish yet affordable, and right now is a great chance to snag a pair for even less. Sales from Sunski are rare, and we don’t expect this one to last too long.

Get up to 30% off from Stio

stio winter gear

Shop the Stio annual Winter Sale now.

If you’re planning to brave the cold or need a gift for someone who will, Stio is having a great sale right now with some great discounted gear. Styles for men and women including snow and ski jackets, pants, and more are all up to 30% off right now. Though Stio didn’t make it into our top picks, it was in the running (and performed well) in our guide to the best men’s overshirts.



Get 20% off sitewide from AeroGarden

AeroGarden Harvest Elite 360, Stainless Steel

Shop the AeroGarden Valentine’s Day sale now.

The maker of our top indoor herb garden pick, AeroGarden, is holding a sale right now. With promo code GROWLOVE, you can get up to 40% off your very own indoor herb garden, including our pick, the Harvest. It’s a low-mess unit that requires no potting soil, making it a great addition for any countertop. The sale ends February 28.

Read the original article on Business Insider

9 essentials for staying healthy while traveling, from a sterilizer wand to a muscle stimulator to improve circulation

  • Taking proper precautions while traveling is vital in helping prevent contracting a virus like COVID-19. 
  • Innovative tech like portable water filters or wand sterilizers can help make any trip a much safe experience.  
  • Below, we’ve rounded up 9 essentials everyone should pack in their suitcase or carry-on for healthy travel.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Travel isn’t what it used to be. Not only has the pandemic severely restricted what has become the world’s favorite pastime, but it’s also changed the way we do it. 

How fast COVID-19 spread across the world has completely opened our eyes to how easily we can catch deadly viruses. Now, the mere thought of sitting on an airplane, rubbing elbows with 50 other people in a small space, or talking to a maskless stranger up close is the surest way to experience some heavy travel anxiety. 

Luckily for jet setters like you and I, we have this wonderful, ever-evolving thing called technology – and there are some brilliant innovations designed to allow us to adapt to this new normal. Thanks to new gadgets that are just as portable as they are effective, there are more ways than ever to protect ourselves and stay healthy while traveling

With the world partly opening back up and people starting to travel again, even though COVID-19 is still very much alive and kicking, these gadgets are more important than ever. Whether you need to hop on a plane for work, go home for the holidays, or take a quick yet much-needed vacation in one of the very few countries that welcome Americans at the moment, they are now essential additions to your packing list.

And although the following collection of gear works well for trying to keep healthy during the pandemic, they’re not only intended for that purpose. Gadgets like LifeStraw’s water filter, the PowerDot Duo 2.0, or even portable humidifiers are essential items that any traveler can benefit from packing along, whether COVID-19 still poses a risk or not.

Here are our picks best healthy travel essentials:

Best sterilizer

Monos UV wand

The Monos CleanPod UVC Wand Sterilizer allows you to effectively disinfect public spaces so you can stop using wipes that are bad for the environment.

Pros: Uses UV-C light, very lightweight, very portable, no warming up time, USB to USB-C charging, sleek design

Cons: More expensive than other wands, it takes time (at least 30 seconds) to sanitize

These days, sterilizing your airline seat area or table at a restaurant yourself feels like a necessity, and many have resorted to packing disinfectant wipes. The problem is, they’re not exactly good for the environment. Most wipes block our sewage systems and pollute our oceans, and those eco-friendly alternatives could still increase your carbon footprint.

That’s why sterilizing wands have become so popular as they’re intended to be a more sustainable alternative to disinfecting. The problem is, many UV wands are either fake or ineffective because they don’t produce the right type of UV light.

The Monos CleanPod UVC Wand Sterilizer, on the other hand, utilizes UV-C (ultraviolet C) wavelength, the type of UV light that has been proven effective in destroying viruses and bacteria

Obviously, I don’t have the resources nor the experience to test just how effective it is. But, Monos released its own lab test result showing it kills 99% of Salmonella Typhimurium in just one minute. This wand is also very portable and lightweight – it almost feels like a toy when I hold it – as well as elegant-looking with a clean white chassis and gold-colored power switch. 

I found it a no-brainer to use as well. You only need to charge it, which takes about 2.5 hours, switch it on, then press the button to light up the LEDs and start sweeping. Best of all, there’s no warm-up time, which means no waiting time.

Best portable humidifier

Hey Dewy Humidifier

With a spill-proof water compartment, an angular spout, and quiet operation, the Hey Dewy Humidifier is the best portable humidifier out there.

Pros: Portable, container is spill-proof, angular nozzle, up to 10 hours of water capacity, has a night light, two spray modes, comes in three different colors

Cons: No battery, no hot steamer mode that would have been nice in cold weather situations

Humidifiers help reduce the risk of catching the flu – not only do many viruses and bacteria thrive in low humidity, but the cilia that help rid our sinuses of harmful pathogens aren’t as efficient when they dry out. A humidifier solves both of these problems, keeping the air around you and your nasal passages moist. Plus, they’re a godsend on long-haul flights and during winter when humidity drops to bothersome levels.

Unfortunately, most offerings aren’t exactly suitcase-ready. Fortunately, more portable humidifiers are starting to become available, giving travelers more on-the-go options. 

I’ve tested quite a few of these, being a regular globetrotter myself. None of them, however, measure up to the Hey Dewy Humidifier. Light, portable, and available in three colors (including blush for the fun factor), there are a few things I love about it.

The spill-proof water compartment is certainly a major plus. I’ve used this slouched on the sofa or lying in bed. I even turned it upside down to see if the nozzle would drip, and I haven’t experienced it spilling once. It’s probably not completely spill-free, but the fact that I have yet to get wet while using it is a great sign. 

The angular nozzle, which directs the mist towards you, is also a terrific detail, as is the up to 10 continuous hours of water capacity. The night light and two spray modes are nifty little extras next to those.

It isn’t battery-powered so you have to plug it in via USB, which is kind of inconvenient. However, with so many people owning power banks these days, and most planes, trains, and airports with easy access to power outlets, this isn’t such a deal-breaker.

Best travel air purifier

CleanLight Air

CleanLight Air keeps your air purified by using UV-C rays and a medical grade filter to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria. 

Pros: Uses medical grade H13 HEPA filter, uses UV-C light, covers 161 square feet, light and thin, portable enough to fit in a purse, has a USB charger for your phone

Cons: More than $100, can be loud even at low setting, not battery-powered

Air purifiers help minimize pollutants by removing harmful particles in the air like fungal spores, mold, bacteria, and viruses. Unfortunately, most air purifiers out there are too big to fit inside a suitcase. 

Luckily, there’s KeySmart’s CleanLight Air, which takes up a tiny space in your suitcase. It’s smaller and lighter than most water bottles out there. In fact, it’s smaller than the Hey Dewy Humidifier in diameter, and only about half an inch taller.

CleanLight Air uses a 360-degree H13 HEPA filter, which is considered medical grade, to trap 99.95% of particles that are 0.1 microns or bigger in diameter. It then sanitizes that filtered air with UV-C rays before it expels it back out into your space, eliminating any remaining pathogens. For something this light and small, that’s impressive. 

This FCC-certified air purifier is supposed to be powerful enough to purify up to 161 square feet of space. To put that into perspective, the average US hotel room today is still 330 square feet, which means it can certainly purify a sizable amount of immediate space you’re occupying.

Unfortunately, itI isn’t battery-powered, but I just plug it into my smartphone power bank and it works every time. There’s also the added perk that I can easily carry it around, whether I’m at the airport or, more likely these days, at the grocery store.

Just be forewarned, it’s loud enough that I keep thinking it’s my laptop that’s making the sound, even at the low setting. Those who like white noise might appreciate it, but it’s certainly bothered me enough to turn the device off when I know I’m about to fall asleep.

Best water-purifying bottle

LARQ Self Cleaning Bottle

The world’s first water purification system in a bottle, the LARQ Bottle Self-Cleaning Water Bottle reduces your use of single-use plastics while ensuring that the water you’re drinking is free of harmful contaminants.

Pros: Uses UV-C light, two purifying modes, up to 1 month of battery life, smart auto-purification, waterproof USB port, comes in five colors and two sizes, gorgeous design

Cons: Not going to be cheap, insulation could be better, not the lightest water bottle out there

People use a lot of single-use plastics when traveling. Unfortunately, not only are these disposable plastic containers one of the biggest enemies of marine animals and the environment, but a lot of bottled water sold in stores aren’t purified. This means you could be drinking contaminated water, anyway. And, that’s without mentioning the plastic particles you’ll find in a lot of them.

The easy solution is reusable water bottles, but you can’t always find clean water for consumption, especially when you’re traveling around other countries. And, these water bottles themselves can be a breeding ground for bacteria if not properly washed.

That’s why the LARQ Bottle Self-Cleaning Water Bottle is such an ingenious idea, and I cannot recommend it enough to fellow long-term travelers. Sleek and gorgeous-looking, they come in an attractive package. They even come in five different colors and two sizes. And, like most insulated water bottles out there, it can keep your water’s temperature – for up to 24 hours when chilled, up to 12 hours when hot.

The best part about them is that they purify your water at a press of a button and every 2 hours. It uses UV-C LED technology, the same type of UV wavelength that the CleanLight Air and CleanPod UVC Wand Sterilizer use, to purify the water inside, ensuring that you have clean drinking water anytime you need a swig.

It also has an Adventure Mode with extra purification power (killing up to 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses). So, when you run out of clean water while hiking, you can fill it up with water from a stream or a river, and it’ll be safe to drink within minutes – more specifically, three minutes on Adventure Mode and only one on Normal.

Another nice feature here is its battery life, which lasts up to a month so you don’t have to keep charging. I was worried at first about its micro USB port on the bottle cap where the UV-C LED  and battery are, but as it turns out, it’s thoughtfully waterproof so you can wash the outside without worrying about damaging it.

Best apparel with built-in filtration

G95 Bio gear

The innovative G95 Bio gear keeps you warm while warding off pollution, allergens, and bacteria at the same time.

Pros: Have filtration protection built-in, surprisingly affordable for their multi-functionality, minimalist and stylish, cold weather options are comfy and warm

Cons: Neutral shades might disappoint color lovers, BioScarf might take a bit of wrangling to put on right the first few times

The best apparel these days are the ones that clothe you, protect you, and make you look good at the same time. Masks, for example, have gone from being those blue and white disposable options to something reusable that comes in a variety of different colors and patterns.

Meanwhile, the folks at G95 have taken this idea to an entirely new level. What’s better than warm winter gear that protects you from the elements? G95’s line of Bio gear, that’s what. Each piece of clothing from this line has the company’s proprietary particulate filtration protection — essentially, three layers of filtration material that work together to keep out 99% of all airborne contaminants 0.1 microns and larger — built-in.

That makes them much more effective than most masks other clothing companies are selling right now. Incidentally, it does have masks, aptly called BioShield, which I really like because they’re light and spacious enough to let you breathe easier while still keeping you protected. They’re also made with a nice weaved top layer that looks premium and classy.

However, for staying toasty in cold weather situations, I absolutely love its scarves and gaiters, christened BioScarf and BioGaiter respectively. Both have the particulate filtration protection built-in so they already serve as your face protection when you’re in public places like airports and tourist areas, but the microfleece ones have kept me gloriously nice and comfy when it’s nippy outside.

The scarves are excellent if you want to be able to take them off easily at a moment’s notice, while the gaiters are a bit trickier to take off, especially if you want to keep your hair and make-up pristine. However, I do love how I can just put a BioGaiter on and not have to worry about adjusting it. And, it’s super easy to pull it off your face when face protection isn’t necessary and put it back on when it is.

Best yet, every single item in the G95 Bio line will look good on you. It even has a hoodie and a pullover with built-in face protections that minimalists will adore.

Best muscle stimulator for improved blood flow

PowerDot Duo

Whether it’s to speed up muscle recovery or get you through long-haul flights, the PowerDot 2.0 Duo is the perfect companion for helping your body feel its best.

Pros: Extremely portable, app is super easy to use, they really work, comes with a host of applications, fast and easy to set up, replacement pads are cheap

Cons: not cheap, you might need a mirror to set some programs up, pads need to be replaced after 25 uses

Deep vein thrombosis is real, and it can occur especially during long-haul flights when people are immobile for hours on end. People like me with a family history of blood clots are even more susceptible, which is why I always make it a point to stretch my legs every couple of hours when I’m on an 8-hour or more flight. And, that’s on top of the fact that I also have poor circulation, and not ambulating makes my legs feel tingly and extremely uncomfortable.

This is why when someone introduced the PowerDot 2.0 Duo to me, I immediately jumped at the chance to see what it can do. This smart muscle recovery and performance tool is actually designed to help your muscles warm up pre-workout, recover faster post-workout, and increase their strength and endurance. However, it also comes with a host of other benefits.

I’ve used this awesome little kit not only when I’m sore from a particularly tough workout session, but also to get rid of shoulder knots after a long day of hunching over my laptop. More importantly for frequent flyers out there, it can be used to improve blood circulation and get you through long-haul flights. In fact, it even has a “Long Haul Flight” option in the app, which you use to guide you through and control its electric muscle stimulation programs.

If you don’t know it already, better circulation leads to a healthier body and a more robust immune system, which in turn helps you fight off viruses and avoid potential diseases. Not to say, of course, that you shouldn’t ambulate, work out, and eat healthy, but this muscle stimulator takes over when you can’t – like when you’re stuck in an uncomfortable seat on an airplane for a 12-hour flight, for example.

Plus, it’ll get you ready for another exciting day of traveling. Put these on after a long day of exploring a city, and your legs, feet, and lower back will be back in tip-top shape the next day.

Best filtered mask you can sterilize

GIR Mask

Silicone kitchen tools master GIR is making masks, and their Reusable Face Mask 2.0 is tested to 99.7% BFE and 95% PFE, keeping most pathogens out better than most cloth masks.

Pros: Dishwasher, oven and microwave safe, filters are 99.7% BFE and 95% PFE, comes in different colors, comes in three sizes, adjustable with included clip, comfortable and breathable, cheaper than other stylish cloth masks

Cons: Silicon on your face might cause you to breakout if you’re super sensitive

During a pandemic, cloth masks are fine when you’re not in close proximity with other people. However, when you’re at the airport or worse, on an airplane with 50 other people for several hours, they’re not enough to keep the more harmful pathogens away. This is why so many people have upgraded their cloth masks to more robust, filtered ones. 

I’ve tested quite a few masks in the recent months, from cloth ones and cloth masks with filters to silicon masks. I even have a couple of silicon maks that are designed in a way where they have this suction effect to keep them in place on your face. 

However, it’s GIR’s Reusable Face Mask 2.0 that’s proven to be both comfortable and effective. If you’re like me who has a bit of a harder time breathing under face protection, you’ll appreciate the space this mask affords your nose and mouth. And, it comes in several different colors so you can buy a few, and mix and match with your wardrobe.

More importantly, however, this breathable mask is made of medical-grade, FDA- and LFGB-approved silicone that comes with a replaceable filter, which in turn is tested to be 99.7% and 95% effective in filtering out bacteria and particles respectively. That’s certainly much more effective than any leopard mask you’ve purchased at Anthropologie.

This mask can be sterilized in a dishwasher, oven, or microwave for convenience. And, since it’s made by GIR, you can count on these masks to not only last you a lifetime, but also be hypoallergenic as well as BPA and BPS free.

Best heating alternative

MightyBliss heated blanket

The Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad offers a quick heating solution in places where heating isn’t as effective.

Pros: auto shutoff, large size, cheap, made of plush material, has several heat settings, rollable for packing

Cons: required a power outlet, not battery operated

Although we’re used to central heating here in the US, space heaters are still the norm in other countries. I found this to be the case in places like New Zealand, as well as some areas in Europe. 

When staying in modern hotels, heating is certainly not going to be a problem. However, if you’re staying in AirBnbs, older hotels, and hostels, you’ll certainly run into a few that won’t heat up the rooms enough to be comfortable. You’re just expected to bundle up and hunker down, especially at night.

This type of situation might make you more susceptible to illnesses. Not only are some viruses more likely to spread during cold weather, but your immune system might not be as robust when your body temperature is lowered

Be ready with a portable heating pad if you’re traipsing around colder places in the winter months. Something like the Mighty Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad will not just keep you warm and toasty when you’re staying at a place where heating isn’t on hand. It’ll also soothe your tired muscles after you’ve been walking around all day. 

I use this particular one myself, and there are a few things I love about it. It’s got three heat levels to choose from, and a nifty auto shutoff that comes in handy when you’ve fallen asleep before turning it off. It’s also bigger than other regular heating pads, so it can cover more of your body. And, it has a soft, plush covering that’s nice to touch. 

Sadly, this isn’t dual voltage, so you can’t use it in Europe, but something like the MaxKare Heat Pad is a terrific 220V option.

Best water filter


Simply put, the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter is a life-saving measure, and travelers shouldn’t go without one.

Pros: Cheap, lasts a few years, no moving parts, no batteries required, extremely portable, super long shelf life when stored properly

Cons: It’s a straw, not a water container, shorter shelf life in super warm regions

Backpackers and long-distance hikers swear by the LifeStraw Personal Water Filter, so while it may not come with “smart” features and a fun little app, it deserves a place on this list just for being a life-saver. Indeed, this is your lifeline when there’s no clean drinking water anywhere, and your only option is to lap up that murky water from a nearby pond.

This nifty tool is said to remove 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria and 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites – not to mention, it filters particles 0.2 microns and larger. I’ve watched testers on YouTube fill it up with muddy water, and show how it delivers beautifully clear water on the other end, filtering out all the gunk and particles. That’s without using any type of electric-powered technology – just a simple microfiltration membrane.

You won’t even need to be out in the wilderness to use it. Even when you’re traveling in many parts of South America and Africa where clean drinking water is harder to come by, this is one emergency tool you shouldn’t go without. And, it’s extremely portable – several times thinner and lighter than most water bottles out there with a filtration system – so you can just quickly slide it in your backpack pocket or wear it around your neck.

What’s more, it won’t cost you more than $20 and filters up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters), which is much, MUCH more than what an average person drinks in a year, so you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your money.

Read our full review of the LifeStraw filter

Read the original article on Business Insider

British Airways has reportedly sent its most iconic jet since the Concorde to be scrapped. See inside the plane that shuttled VIP flyers between New York and London.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

  • British Airways is scrapping the all-business class jet that only served the London-New York route.
  • The Airbus A318 stretched only eight rows and was fitted with luxurious lie-flat seats. 
  • The flight used London’s smaller City Airport to directly connect the Big Apple with London’s financial district. 
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

British Airways just dealt a blow to its premium customers as the airline is scrapping the all-business class aircraft formerly offered on the billion-dollar London-New York flagship route, Aviation Week reported.

The VIP-configured Airbus A318 aircraft was the only one of its kind in the British Airways fleet when its retirement was announced in July. The service boasted enhanced convenience and luxury to the business travelers that frequented the route and, with capacity for only 32 passengers, it was among the closest to a private jet in the airline world. 

British Airways used the service to solidify its place as the route’s go-to premium carrier, replacing the Concorde as the crown jewel of the airline’s transatlantic offering. The smaller and more exclusive A318 service catered to the airline’s top spenders with a direct link between New York City and London’s financial district. 

It was also a bucket list flight for many aviation enthusiasts since the A318 was already itself a rare aircraft on which to fly, let alone on a transatlantic journey and in an all-business class configuration. But the aircraft is no longer in British Airways’ fleet after being sent to be dismantled in the Netherlands, according to Aviation Week.

Take a look inside the most exclusive aircraft to connect New York and London since the Concorde.

Most people traveling between New York and London on British Airways before the pandemic found themselves either flying on a Boeing 747-400…

British Airways Boeing 747
A British Airways Boeing 747-400 at JFK Airport.

Or Boeing 777-200.

British Airways Boeing 777
A British Airways Boeing 777.

The two make up the majority of flights flying the $1 billion route between the two economic hubs but most don’t know about the third aircraft that flew British Airways’ top clients: the Airbus A318.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Read More: These 10 global flight routes are where airlines made the most money in 2018 and 2019

The smallest member of the Airbus A320 family, the A318 was a commercial flop for Airbus that only saw a handful of customers, mostly in Europe.

Airbus A318
An Airbus A318 aircraft in house colors.

The aircraft is out of production and though British Airways was among the last and smallest operators of the type, it made the aircraft an icon in transatlantic aviation by flying it between New York and London.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

While the thought of flying on a short-haul aircraft across the Atlantic may seem unappealing, there’s a catch to this aircraft in that it’s configured in an all-business class configuration.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Only 32 seats make up that sole premium cabin that’s spread out across eight rows.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

And though small in size, this A318 had no shortage of comfort as all rows featured business class seats with fully lie-flat capabilities. These seats are not found on similar aircraft.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Amenities and features at each seat standard for business class included a plush pillow and blanket kit from The White Company….

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Amenity kit from The White Company…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Foldable tray table…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Personal reading lamp…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Literature holder…

British Airways A318 Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

110v AC power outlet…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Coat hangar…

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

And adjustable headrest.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Apple iPads were also distributed in lieu of seat-back entertainment screens.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Each row also had multiple windows for better views of the crossing during the day.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

Though the standard in business class is now enclosed private suites which the A318 didn’t offer, a small divider separated the paired seats for an additional morsel of privacy.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour

Only three flight attendants serviced the passengers, providing a full business class meal service and drinks for the 3,000-nautical mile journey.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

The seats were controlled via the armrest, with numerous customizable positions.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour

The lie-flat capability of the seats was ideal for the evening red-eye flight from New York to London, allowing business travelers to get a comfortable full night’s rest and head straight to work or meetings the next morning.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

British Airways frequently saw passengers arriving in New York and London only to return within the next 24 hours, with the near downtown-to-downtown service allowing for a quick and luxurious in-and-out of the world’s top business centers.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

While not the most modern business class product, the service as a whole made the Airbus A318 the aircraft of choice for those who could afford it when flying between London and New York.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour

And with only eight rows and 32 seats, the aircraft felt more like a private jet than a commercial airliner. Case in point, the flight before my visit in March 2020 only had five passengers on board.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Inside a British Airways Airbus A318.

As the aircraft couldn’t make it from London to New York nonstop – even with the reduced passenger load – it made a stop in Shannon, Ireland for fuel, where it also cleared US Customs and Border Protection.

US Customs and Border Patrol immigration terrorism refugees
A US Customs and Border Protection agent.

Upon landing in New York, passengers onboard BA1 arrived in the terminal as they would if it were a domestic flight, with no further passport checks required.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
Terminal 7 at JFK International Airport.

British Airways only had one A318 in its fleet, G-EUNA, which solely flew this route.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Designed with business travelers in mind, the aircraft flew every day of the week except Saturdays.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

It was intended to fill the gap left by the Concorde in 2003, with the A318’s first flight occurring in 2009.

A British Airways Concorde aircraft.

G-EUNA flew the flag on British Airways’ flagship route wearing either the flight number BA1 or BA2 – depending on which direction it was flying – for 11 years before the coronavirus pandemic ended its tenure permanently in July.

British Airways Airbus A318 JFK Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Though not as fast as Concorde, the service was nearly every bit as exclusive, earning the nickname “Concorde’s baby sister.”

British Airways Airbus A318 Tour
A British Airways Airbus A318 aircraft.

Read the original article on Business Insider

14 unique University of Michigan courses you can take for online for free, from Storytelling for Social Change to The Science of Success

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Free University of Michigan courses 4x3
  • The University of Michigan ranks as one of the top colleges in the world.
  • Through e-learning platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn, you can take UMich classes online completely for free (or earn a paid certificate of completion).
  • Below are 14 standout classes, in subjects from coding and data analysis to ethics and public health.

With the advancement of online learning, many top universities like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Stanford, and MIT offer free online classes and remote certificate programs that can be more cost-effective than traditional degrees. 

Joining them is the University of Michigan (#17 of the world’s best colleges, according to US News) which offers free online courses through e-learning platforms like edX, Coursera, and FutureLearn. All of the classes offer optional (paid) certificates of completion to add to your resume or LinkedIn profile. 

Additionally, UMich has longer multi-course professional certificate programs such as an edX MicroMasters in Leading Educational Innovation and Improvement ($940.50) or a Coursera MasterTrack in Social Work ($2,000). For a comparison of edX’s MicroMasters and Coursera’s MasterTrack programs, you can read more here.

Below are a few of UMich’s free online offerings, in subjects ranging from programming and data science to history, ethics, and public health.

14 free online courses from the University of Michigan:

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)

python book 1181671

Length: 7 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Python is one of the most popular programming languages used today, and this beginner course is a great way to test out if you like Python — or coding at all — before committing to a longer program or bootcamp.

Programming for Everybody (button)
Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change

computer work woman freelance wfh

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Part of Coursera’s Social Work MasterTrack program, this course zooms in on social workers and how they can create change for individuals, families, and communities. Topics covered include the history of social work and current challenges in the profession.

Social Work Practice: Advocating Social Justice and Change (button)
Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers

Hand typing on laptop on table outside

Length: 6 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

If you’re a manager or own your own business, understanding data analytics can make an enormous difference in your success. This course is designed for those who want to learn the basics but don’t have any background in data science or analysis.

Introduction to Data Analytics for Managers (button)
Data Science Ethics

How to learn Java person holding code sticky note

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Whether you’re a data scientist or not, exploring the ethics behind data sharing, privacy, and algorithms is vital in a society that’s becoming increasingly more digital. This course covers who owns data, how to get informed consent, and how to use data in a fairer, more ethical way.

Data Science Ethics (button)
Resilient Teaching Through Times of Crisis and Change

Person waving to and typing on laptop

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

For educators who’ve had to rethink their teaching strategy during the pandemic, this course can help build resiliency and connection through reprioritizing goals; utilizing new technology and tools, and drawing inspiration from examples of success.

Resilient Teaching Through Times of Crisis and Change (button)
Storytelling for Social Change

Person video chatting on computer with mask on

Length: 5 weeks 

Certificate cost: $49 

Strong public speaking skills and the ability to tell impactful stories can inspire momentous change through collective action. In this class, students learn how sharing compelling personal stories can help sway a skeptical audience if they can relate to the protagonist.

Storytelling for Social Change (button)
Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making

Person at desk with phone, calculator, and notebook looking at computer

Length: 6 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Using real-world, relatable examples, this course is for anyone who wants to enrich their understanding of their finances and make more informed choices around money. Topics discussed include an overview of the financial world and decision-making frameworks.

Finance for Everyone: Smart Tools for Decision-Making (button)
The Science of Success

woman e-learning

Length: 7 weeks

Certificate cost: $59

This course answers the questions “What predicts success in life? And how can you achieve the success you desire?” with research-backed solutions to help students form an action plan to gain more career success and happiness in life.

The Science of Success: What Researchers Know that You Should Know (button)
Community Awareness: Police Brutality in the US

Police and protestors behind barricades at city protest

Length: 5 weeks 

Certificate cost: No certificate available

Launched in July 2020, this course examines the history of police violence (including the recent deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor) and is led by experts from all over the US who specialize in subjects like activism, social work, law, government, and higher education.

Community Awareness: Police Brutality in the U.S. (button)
Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts

Stack of newspapers

Length: 1 week

Certificate cost: $25

As more and more inaccurate information is shared and amplified across social media through highly partisan news outlets, this course is perhaps more important than ever in understanding how false or misleading stories undermine our democracy.

Fake News, Facts, and Alternative Facts (button)
Preventing Sleep Deprivation

Person sitting on couch in front of laptop drinking coffee

Length: 2 weeks

Certificate cost: No certificate available

Sleep deprivation is a huge, hidden global health problem, exacerbated by screens. This teach-out covers the importance of sleep in curbing depression and heart failure, as well as how to actually ensure you get enough hours of sleep every night.

Sleep Deprivation: Habits, Solutions and Strategies Teach-Out (button)
Impacting the Opioid Crisis: Prevention, Education, and Practice for Non-Prescribing Providers

Person on video call with another person in mask on laptop

Length: 6 weeks

Certificate cost: $49

Intended for those who work in non-prescribing health care or social work, this course walks students through the opioid epidemic along with research-backed solutions for prevention, treatment, education, and even policy.

Impacting the Opioid Crisis: Prevention, Education, and Practice for Non-Prescribing Providers (button)
Democratic to Authoritarian Rule

Laptop on floor with book and mug

Length: 1 week

Certificate cost: $25

Bringing global experts and UMich staff together, this teach-out discusses challenges to democracy, the gradual steps towards authoritarianism, and how others can work together to create policy and change to better protect democracy.

*This course is archived but you can still access the learning materials for free

Democratic to Authoritarian Rule (button)
Inspiring and Motivating Individuals

Person speaking with laptop outside

Length: 4 weeks

Certificate cost: $74

Even if all your meetings are over Zoom right now, being able to share your vision for growth with your team is crucial for reaching your goals. This course teaches you how to effectively communicate with and motivate your team as a leader.

*This course is currently unavailable, but FutureLearn will email prospective students when available again.

Inspiring and Motivating Individuals (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

11 Johns Hopkins online courses you can take for free, including a COVID-19 contact tracing class with an automatic certificate

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Johns Hopkins classes 4x3
  • Like Harvard, MIT, and Columbia, Johns Hopkins University offers many free online courses, with free or paid certificates.
  • Johns Hopkins also has longer programs and multi-course specializations to earn certificates of completion to show future employers.
  • Below are 11 free online courses offered through Coursera and FutureLearn, in subjects ranging from public health to web programming.

Ranked as the 10th best college in the world, Johns Hopkins University is famous for its top-notch programs in research, medicine, and engineering. Whether you’re interested in science, health, or coding, there are probably many classes at JHU that could be helpful to your career growth or personal development. 

Luckily, through platforms like Coursera and FutureLearn, a good number of courses are available completely for free online, with optional certificates ($0-$79) to add to your LinkedIn or resume. 

There are also paid programs and specializations (multiple courses bundled together) offered by Johns Hopkins, such as Data Science or Foundations of Global Health, that cost a fraction of what a master’s degree would and also offer certification upon completion.

11 online Johns Hopkins courses you can take for free:

COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Woman holding a phone in the street using the contact tracing app

Length: 7 hours

Certificate cost: Free

For those interested in contact tracing jobs, this introductory course covers the science of SARS-CoV-2, how contact tracing works, the ethical implications of tracking COVID-19 cases, and some of the most common contact tracing obstacles. As part of a special promotion, the fee for the certificate is waived, meaning you will automatically receive a certificate of completion.

at John Hopkins University on Coursera (button)
Measuring and Maximizing Impact of COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Shot of a group of people wearing masks in the city with circles around them indicating Covid-19 tracing and transmission

Length: 3 hours

Certificate cost: Free

Intended for managers and developers of contact tracing programs, this course provides helpful metrics and strategies to improve contact tracing efforts through Contact Tracing Evaluation and Strategic Support Application (ConTESSA). Like the COVID-19 contact tracing course, this one also provides automatic certification.

at Johns Hopkins University on Coursera (button)
COVID-19: Effective Nursing in Times of Crisis

Nursing students wearing protective face masks attending class

Length: 2 weeks (2 hours per week)

Certificate cost: Free

This course covers the current challenges nurses are facing during the pandemic and shares tips on how to provide the best care possible to COVID-19 patients in low-resource environments and crisis settings. Like the contact tracing courses, this one also provides certification upon completion, free of charge.

at Johns Hopkins University on FutureLearn (button)
Psychological First Aid

Man having a cognitive behavioral therapy video call with mental health professional

Length: 6 hours

Certificate cost: $49

Using the RAPID model (Reflective listening, Assessment of needs, Prioritization, Intervention, and Disposition), students learn how to help those dealing with mental trauma and injuries, whether at school, work, home, church, the military, or anywhere else.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for Web Developers

GettyImages 1171809405

Length: 5 weeks (40 hours total)

Certificate cost: $79

Aspiring web developers and programmers go through the beginning steps of learning HTML and CSS before moving on to more advanced coding and building web applications in JavaScript.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Chemicals and Health

Cropped shot of a female scientist drawing up a molecule

Length: 11 hours

Certificate cost: $49

This course explores how chemicals in our environment impact our health, including how our bodies get exposed to them, what to do when they get there, how to measure them, and the bigger picture of what they mean for our collective and individual health.

at Johns Hopkins at Coursera (button)
Design and Interpretation of Clinical Trials

Student learning during isolation period

Length: 12 hours

Certificate cost: $49

Clinical trials evaluate new treatments for diseases, and how they’re constructed makes a crucial difference in their effectiveness. This course covers the basic design and mechanical principles of randomized clinical trials, as well as how they’re analyzed and reported. 

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
An Introduction to the US Food System: Perspectives from Public Health

woman working on laptop with headphones

Length: 6 weeks (24 hours total)

Certificate cost: $49

Led by staff from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, this course covers how food in the US intersects with equity, public health, and the environment. Students learn the politics and history behind how food is consumed and distributed throughout the country.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Reducing Gun Violence in America: Evidence for Change

learning from doctor online

Length: 6 weeks (18 hours total)

Certificate cost: $49

This course covers the scope of gun violence in the US, individual state standards for gun ownership, evidence-based gun violence reduction programs, and how public opinion differs on gun control and how to best reduce shootings in America.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Introduction to the Biology of Cancer

Teenage girl with face protective mask having online school class at home

Length: 8 hours

Certificate cost: $49

Meant for anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of cancer, this course goes over the molecular biology of cancer, the risks factors of major types of cancers worldwide, and how different cancers are screened and treated.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)
Foundations of Health Equity Research

Girl cooperating with her clients while working from her home office

Length: 5 weeks (15 hours total)

Certificate cost: $49

For anyone interested in health equity research, this course covers the core fundamentals, along with insights on where health inequalities occur as well as how to engage community stakeholders to push for change.

at Johns Hopkins on Coursera (button)

Read the original article on Business Insider

The best deals from Amazon’s week-long Samsung sale include discounts on the Galaxy S21, 4K TVs, and more

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Samsung Q90T 4K TV

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your entertainment center or mobile device, there are several compelling Samsung deals available on Amazon. 

That’s because Samsung has launched a special week-long sales event on Amazon called  “Samsung Week” that runs from February 22 – 28 and includes discounts on a wide variety of Samsung gadgets.  

The promotion heavily discounts TVs as well as mobile devices, tablets, earbuds, soundbars, and other devices. In addition to the ongoing deals, Samsung will add new “Deal of the Day” listings throughout the week. You can find a full list of all the Samsung deals on Amazon here

Although there are several worthwhile TV deals below, it’s worth noting that these discounts apply to Samsung’s 2020 TV models. The company’s 2021 TV lineup will be launching in the coming weeks, so those who don’t mind spending more to get the latest tech might want to wait. 

We’ve looked through all of the deals and rounded up the best ones here:


Samsung Q70T 4K TV

85-inch QLED Q80T 4K Smart TV (medium)55-inch QLED Q80T 4K Smart TV (medium)75-inch Q800T QLED 8K Smart TV (medium)65-inch QLED Q800T 8K TV (medium)
Smartphones, tablets, and wearables

galaxy s20 ultra

Galaxy S21 (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S21 Plus (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy S21 Ultra (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Galaxy Tab A7 (medium)
Earbuds and soundbars

Samsung Galaxy Buds+

Galaxy Buds Live (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Q900T Soundbar (medium)Q70T Soundbar (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Read the original article on Business Insider

Buying refurbished electronics can save you a lot of money – here’s what to look for, plus 13 expert-vetted deals

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

microsoft store surface laptop tablets
Microsoft is one of the many manufacturers to offer refurbished tech at discounted prices.

  • Buying refurbished doesn’t have to be a risky endeavor, so long as you know what to look for.
  • Below is a checklist of what to look for when buying these items, along with the most common products you can find reliably refurbished. 

It can be scary to buy refurbished items, but with certain products, from certain manufacturers, it’s as good as buying brand new. 

Refurbished items are generally returns, faulty open-box products, or brand new units with minor cosmetic flaws that have been returned to “like new” quality by the manufacturer. We’re a fan of them here at Insider Reviews – we’ve even written reviews of our personal refurb purchases from Apple and Nintendo.

Buying refurbished has its benefits. For most shoppers, the most convincing benefit is the lower cost. Depending on the item and the manufacturer, a refurbished item can cost you up to 50% less than a brand new one. Another perk is that it’s a bit more environmentally friendly: you’re essentially buying a recycled item.  In the end, both refurbished and new items will ideally deliver the same user experience, likely with some differences in packaging and cosmetics, so long as you do your research before adding to cart.

When determining a refurb’s worthiness, it comes down to two major factors to make the judgment call: who refurbished the item and who is selling it?

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The best refurb deals available right now

When shopping refurb deals, we keep an eye out for items that are discounted compared to typical refurb pricing, which is generally much less than brand new. Therefore, original prices noted are considerably less than that of items in new condition.

AirPods Pro (Refurbished) (medium, Preferred: Best Buy)Refurbished 13-Inch MacBook Pro (Apple M1 processor, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage) (medium, Preferred: Apple)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Sonos)Product Card (medium, Preferred: Sonos)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)Product Card (medium)
Who should I trust to refurbish an item?

When it comes to buying an item refurbished, there is no source more reliable than the manufacturer. Year-round, manufacturers like Dyson, Nintendo, and Apple offer refurbished goods for considerably less money than in new condition. I, personally, bought a refurbished Dyson V6 cordless stick vacuum 3 years ago during Black Friday, and not only did the item arrive looking new, but it also still performs well despite daily use. 

Manufacturer refurbs can also come with pretty hefty warranties. Dyson, for example, provides a 6- or 12-month warranty with every order, along with expert support and the promise of genuine Dyson parts in your item.

If you’re a frequent online shopper, you’ve surely come across a few items marked as “seller-refurbished.” Our advice: outside of a few exceptions, don’t risk it. While you don’t necessarily need to limit yourself to only buying from manufacturer storefronts, buying an item refurbished by anyone other than the manufacturer is dubious. Certain special cases like Geek Squad Certified Refurbished and Amazon Renewed are worth considering, but these have less specialized support and notably shorter warranty coverage (typically, only 90 days). 

Where can I buy refurbs from?

The easiest, most reliable places to find refurbished items for sale are from the manufacturer’s storefronts. Here are a few brands that sell certified refurbs directly from their sites:

  • Acer Recertified: Laptops, tablets, PCS, displays, and more
  • Apple: iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches, Macs, and more
  • Dell Refurbished: Laptops, PCs, workstations, monitors, and more
  • Dyson Outlet: Cordless stick vacuums, upright vacuums, and other home appliances
  • Jabra Outlet: Headphones, earbuds, and more
  • Kitchenaid: Stand mixers, blenders, and more countertop appliances
  • Lenovo Outlet: Laptops
  • Microsoft: Laptops, tablets, PCs, and more
  • Nintendo: Nintendo consoles, controllers, and more
  • Sony: Professional broadcast, production, corporate, and educational products

In addition to buying straight from the maker, many big-box retailers are also trustworthy sources to get refurbs from. Sellers like Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, and Newegg have the goods, year-round. Some manufacturers even have storefronts elsewhere, like the Jabra and Dyson storefronts on eBay. 

We also highly recommend making the purchase with a credit card, no matter where you’re buying it from — there are often routes to getting extended purchase protection. Depending on your card, you can get up to a year of additional coverage on items that come with a manufacturer’s warranty.

What items are usually good to buy refurbished?

Tech dominates the refurb market, but if you keep a lookout, you can often find small home appliances reliably refurbished. Vacuums (both cordless and upright), fans, heaters, stand mixers, blenders, and the like are pretty dependable refurbished, and they arrive in like-new condition.

Laptops, computers, smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and accessories are typical to find refurbished, and they’re often worth considering. Check out our buying guides to find the best option for you.

What refurbs should I avoid?

As mentioned above, don’t bother with refurbs done by anyone who isn’t the manufacturer. The warranties never last as long, it doesn’t guarantee the use of genuine parts, and the product support you receive will never be as good — if you get any at all. 

Much older generation tech is also not worth buying refurbished. It’s 2020: buying a refurbished iPhone 7 is a moot investment in an item nearing obsoletion.

Finally, don’t bother with anything that can’t have its battery replaced, like truly wireless earbuds and headphones. It’s a mixed bag getting these in any condition other than new; you’ll never know the battery’s remaining lifespan. With tech like tablets, smartphones, and computers, you can always bring them into a store for a battery replacement.

Read the original article on Business Insider