Thanks For Following Along! Win a $100 Amazon Gift Card

It’s been about 2 years since I dove back into blogging on a regular basis, focusing largely on travel.  I’ve always really enjoyed writing but I never really found a medium where I could be successful.  Since diving back in I’m really enjoying writing on a daily basis.  More importantly, I’m really enjoying helping folks travel places they might not otherwise be able to.

I was excited to be approached by friend and fellow travel blogger Daraius of Million Mile Secrets to conduct an interview about my little corner of the internet.  That interview went live just a short time ago, and I had a lot of fun thinking about my answers to his questions.

He asked me some great questions, including what my readers would be surprised to learn about me.  I thought I came up with good answers, but my mind kept racing after we were done, coming up with all kinds of quirky things.  Like the fact that I’ve never missed a single episode of Survivor.  And, that at least once a year, I show up at an airport or hotel without the reservation I thought I had.

I used to enjoy acting and singing in a choir.  And, nowadays, one of my favorite activities to relieve stress is to break out my chain saw and ax and chop wood for the winter.  Apparently, after marrying a sweet country girl, I turned into a less-sweet country guy!

As a side note, if you’re enjoying my blog (or just got here) and want to follow along, you can sign up for daily updates by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right-hand side labeled “Feed Me Pizza”.  You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter to catch up on great travel deals and helpful hints.  You can also e-mail me at ed -at- milepoint dot com if you have questions I can help with.

I wanted to have some fun thanking my readers today, so I’ll be giving away some Amazon gift cards.

I’ll give away (1) $100 Amazon gift card to a reader randomly selected from all entries.  I’ll also give away (2) $25 Amazon gift cards to two entries I enjoy reading.  It’s a win-win.  A few lucky readers get Amazon gift cards and I get the Ultimate Rewards points for buying them at an office supply store!

I’m asking folks to leave a comment here with one of two things:

1.  Your best travel tip.  Anything you’ve learned to make travel easier, cheaper, more fun, you name it.

2.  Something you’d like to see me cover as part of my blog posts.

You can enter once a day.  Please do me a favor and don’t make me have to disqualify folks for trying to cram the ballot box.

You have until 11:59 pm on Monday, January 13th to enter.  I’ll announce winners after that.

Thanks again for hanging out in my little sliver of the “World Wide Web”.  If nobody stopped by to read, this wouldn’t be very much fun!

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165 Comments

    1. Yvonne, that’s just me being a blockhead in getting the post up. I was hoping to win that gift card but I’ll have to disqualify myself. I’ll take solace in the fact that I get the Ultimate Rewards points for buying the gift cards at an office supply store.

  1. For airfares, my best tip is to use the ITA Matrix and check daily. Good fares (or mistakes) come and disappear quickly. Also if you’re looking for a specific airline, check fares out of competitor hubs (especially if you live close to one), since they attack each other often.

  2. Best Travel Tip? Read through reviews on Trip Advisor and Flyertalk/Milepoint. Without a doubt, on every trip I’ve learned a small key detail to have a better experience. For example, at a hotel to request the odd number rooms on floors 5 or higher for best views or to choose one airlines over another if it meant a more comfort seat/in flight experience.

    I would like to see more about using points & miles to book trips you are taking or highlighting some of the great uses of points in each of the programs you have significant point balances.

  3. I’d love to see you cover your travel experiences with your family. I travel with a two year old son and it is always useful to hear of people’s specific experiences. What the flight to X a disaster? Did you vow never to step foot on a plane with a child again? Or what did you do to make it work for you? Great blog, keep it coming.

  4. Use a travel agent whenever possible. My favorite tip though is start with what you want to experience and how you want to experience it. From there, the method of travel, class, time, destination, etc will all come out during the process. If you don’t know the what and how of your experience, the rest won’t matter.

  5. Use the Send to Kindle app to upload Wikipedia and other travel articles to your Kindle. No need to buy bulky guidebooks.

  6. My best tip is to have a “plan b.” Seriously! You have your heart set on going to a particular landmark (or whatever it is) and then when you get there discover due to some unforeseen event it is closed. It’s a terrible feeling but if you have an alternative to fall back on you can still have an awesome time!

    1. Gena, great suggestion. I find myself wanting to schedule the perfect itinerary anywhere I go. I’m always upset when something inevitably doesn’t happen the way it was supposed to.

  7. When visiting a new place the approach that has worked for me best is research by looking at real reviews and pictures.

    Go on TripAdvisor and look at pictures that people post of the place. Go on YouTube and look at vacation videos — there are always some — and make sure they’re frequent and from actual people and not the property.

    In this day and age of social media chances are that you’ll find quite a lot of information about destinations from complete strangers that are quite happy to overshare (for your benefit) 🙂

    When we first booked the new NCL ship last year we did this and found videos of people that had walked the entire ship. By the time we got onboard we knew where every restaurant was and how the rooms really looked like, where there was additional storage, etc.

    Nothing pays better than proper research when you’re visiting a new place.

  8. It’s great to find someone who love luxury travel with their kid! Sometimes, I feel like I’m the only one mixing points, luxury and a kid in the same mix.

    My tip, learn to slow down and experience the place. Most places have a list of must see attractions and if that is all you do on a trip to a place who you’ll end up meeting is other tourists and you really won’t visit a spot. Especially since we’ve had a DS, we try to hit a must see or two, but what we focus on is getting to know the city. Playing with the locals in a fountain, joining a small festival, or just hanging out in a cafe while our DS plays in the square. That’s how we really experience that place. Of course, the down side is you have to explain to people who don’t understand how you didn’t visit one museum or church on the last European trip!

    1. Robin, thanks and welcome to my blog! I concur with your suggestion. When our daughter was about 3 we took her to Italy. While in Naples, we walked from our hotel to a local park and our daughter played and jumped on some carnival rides with a little girl about her age. The girl spoke no English (nor did her father), and our daughter spoke no Italian. That didn’t stop them from having a great time together.

  9. My best travel tip is getting the Southwest Airline Cards and qualifying for the companion pass. We are a family of 6 and have traveled on so many free flights just from this credit card promotion alone. Highlights of Southwest are bags travel for free, the companion pass is a HUGE money saver and I love that you can cancel or change flights without penalty. I can book flights ways out and watch the price. If it drops later I can rebook at the lower rate and save the refunded points for future flights. I also often book two different return dates when I travel to see family / friends and then I can decide when I am there if I want to come back early or not. This has been very useful to me several times when I was happy I could change my mind and stay another day somewhere I love! Southwest Airlines really is my best travel friend!

    1. Katey, the companion pass is a great benefit for those traveling around the US. To your suggestion I would add trying to buy Southwest gift cards through Staples.com with a Chase Ink card to earn 5 extra points per dollar.

  10. My travel tip is to take screenshots on your phone of destinations that you’re trying to reach, especially if you cannot read or speak the language of the country you’re going to, this includes pictures of it on map apps in case a taxi needs to find it and doesn’t have GPS.

    1. Justin, you bring up a really good point. I used to be very demanding when something went wrong during my travels. While I can’t say I’m perfect Iv’ve sure found that folks would rather take care of someone who’s pleasant to deal with.

  11. With hotels, always look for a best price match guarantee. Use one of the meta-aggregators (or whatever they’re called) like hotelscombined.com!

  12. My new thing is saving “screen shots” of my itineraries, reservations, subway maps / schedules, flights details, on my IPad. I do so, so as I can review them regardless where I am (rather than worry if I will be in a wifi hot spot) without worry. It has proved useful. I would love to see a free / deals on museums around the globe. I.E. Many of NYC museums (Metropolitan, Museum of NY, NYPD Museum, 9/11 WTC tour) are free or suggested admission, although when traveling abroad I notice the deals are plentiful for UE passport holder only .

    1. Greg, thanks for stopping by! Traveling with a large family is certainly tough. I’ll add this to my list of things to work on!

  13. Travel tip: pack plastic bags(leftover grocery bags and ziplock) handy in keeping anything you can imagine. If you get your shoes muddy, wet swimsuits, dirty laundry, etc.
    pack a tote bag like those reusable bags
    My fave is a ginormous one that’s only 1.99 from Marshall’s
    When I obviously bought too much stuff I dump that into a tote and carry it on.

    1. Anita, good tip. Ziploc makes some ginormous bags that you can use for this that are easy to pick up from your grocery store as well. They come in 2 gallon, 3 gallon, XXL and XXXL sizes.

  14. Always do your currency exchange before you go on your trip, I have learned a very expensive lesson on my last international trip.

    1. LTabi, I agree on doing currency exchanges before you travel. I’d go a step further and make sure you don’t do them at your airport prior to departing. You may also want to check with your bank. Mine (Citibank) offers a service called World Wallet. It’s free for Citigold customers, but pretty reasonably priced for everyone else. They’ll Fedex you the currency or deliver it to a local branch. I know Chase has a program as well, but I’m not as familiar with the details.

  15. Always carry pure essential oils! They help you stay healthy and are easy to take along. We prevent or ease headaches, upset tummies, sore throats, ear aches, etc!

    I would love to see more about the places you choose to eat. Do you try new places or stick with what the kiddos will eat? Let me know!

    1. Christy, we mix in a bit of both for dining when we travel. Plus, we tend to pack some comfort snacks for the kids (apple sauce pouches, fruit strips, granola bars) that they can snack on if we want to try something new that they’re not into. Then, we feed them something before or after that meal that’s more in their groove.

  16. I take pictures of all my travel related items on a trip, including credit cards..in case they get lost or stolen.

    I like the idea of premium travel with families-I have two young children to bring along with me now!

    1. JJ Got Points, good tip on the pictures. I keep pics of the passports but credit cards is a good one as well. Premium travel with kids is much more enjoyable than budget travel with kids, IMO. Both can be fun, just like the same without kids. But, a little comfort goes a long way.

  17. When you sign up for a travel rewards credit card. Take a screen shot of the landing page and the T&Cs so you can verify you received the deal up signed up for.

    1. MSPpete, invaluable advice. Can’t count how many times I’ve heard someone complain about not getting the miles they were promised due to a sign-up glitch.

  18. When traveling, I always take free samples of moisturizers, shampoo, etc that I’ve gotten when shopping at Sephora, etc, so that I don’t have to worry about distilling liquids and gels into smaller bottles. At security, I keep all my liquids in my purse to they are easy to pull out and then once I get through, I pack them in my carry one. I also always take a few protein bars with me, because no matter where you go, you might find yourself in a pinch.

  19. My best advice is to get to the airport early so you can be relaxed. I hate the stress associated with running late. In that vein, having TSA Pre-check helps and some find airport lounge access useful and relaxing.

    As for the blog, I’d like to see more entries on off the beaten track travel locations. And please … no overwater bungalows. Not my idea of aspirational travel…

  20. Do your research ahead of time and then relax and enjoy your trip. Don’t miss the trip by being stressed out over every little detail. After all enjoy the journey!

  21. I’d like to see more coverage on how to reduce the cost of things not covered by miles/points. Things like tours, tickets to events and themeparks, charter transportation……

  22. Travel tip – Always look to get the best miles/rewards/travel bonuses from credit cards and loyalty programs that make sense to how you want to travel. My wife and I now have hundreds of thousands of mileage points and Companion Passes for our kids and hotel points – so we can go (and stay) whenever the kids have their school breaks. They’re not getting any younger – and either are we!!!

  23. Well, a tip…
    I am new to this, so all I am trying to do right now is adjust the way I spend to make sure I get 2 pts/miles for every dollar spent. Ie – I used to buy a lot of things w/cash – no more. Not a big change, just different and miles oriented.

    As for a focus, I also try to find the down side of a card, etc. Ie – on the surface, the Southwest 50,000 looks great. However, they fly out from airports 3 hrs away – so not so easy for me. I think that is also important when analyzing deals.

    Thanks for your blog – I am about to delve right in.

  24. My travel tip is towards the “older” crowd, ahem. If your kids are grown and you miss that wonderful time you had together on family vacations, reach out to the grandkids. When we were raising kids camping was the only vacation we could afford. Now that we’re retired we actually have a few more bucks in our wallets. Our 13 year old grandson has been to Hawaii with us, the Grand Canyon and this year we’re using points and a companion pass to get us to the Bahamas. His four year old sister is in the bullpen and warming up with very short trips. It’s a blast!

  25. (1) Pack as you normally would for a trip but bring along a few Travelon compression bags. This way, after picking up a few souvenirs during your travels, you can use the compression bags on the return flight and still fit your goodies.

    (2) I’d like to see more light shed on the sweet spots of various award charts — how can we get the most value for our points and miles? Thanks!

  26. If you are booking award travel, using something like Travel Tools by the Wandering Aramean or AwardNexus is a great (and free) way to search every day for open seats without having to do the work yourself or subscribe to a service. I’ve had the alerts on for six weeks and today saw two business class seats became available and we got them! By the way–I really enjoyed your interview with Daraius.

  27. I like looking for cheap stays at places on Sky Auction. Really cheap for some nice places if you pay attention.

    I enjoy articles on domestic travel. Even mundane places. How about fun things to do in the middle of nowhere articles?

  28. Travel tips: 1. Pack light. 2. Use the post office to offload acquired stuff and/or dirty laundry so you don’t need to carry it throughout your trip.

  29. I’ve learned to relax and have fun! I’ve been on trips where everything didn’t work out as planned and I freaked out (like getting on a train in Italy the wrong way and having a meltdown over it). My husband has taught me to just take a deep breath and it’ll be ok. So my advice would be to not panic!

  30. I like looking at Tripadvisor’s hotel reviews because it lets users submit real life photos of their hotel room – it really helps!

  31. My tip is to use “award mapper” when considering which hotel to book, either cash or point in a given area.
    My request is could you please write some more posts with recommendations on family travel?

  32. Make sure when traveling internationally that you check to see if your credit card has no foreign transaction fees. Those can really bust your travel budget.

  33. 1. Travel tip – If traveling with others, put all travel location wishes for the year out on the table so that you can review which ones are possible ahead of time.
    2. Blog posts – Please cover great deals you come across in your searches but are not going to pursue. Thanks for all your posts!!!

  34. My best travel tip is get Global Entry, even for kids. Even if you don’t travel internationally it almost guarantees you pre-check. Also, if you live in a Canadian border city (I’m in Detroit), then Nexus (which includes Global Entry) for everyone is a must. There’s nothing like driving across the border in either direction, seeing a long line of cars, and then seeing the Nexus lane empty (or almost empty).

  35. My tip is: Do It Your Way.

    It is easy to be seduced by the stories about flat bed first class and the best ever use of award miles. Blogs are full of how someone got 20X through some scheme and how another only stays at hotels using Best Rate Guarantees. But the point of this hobby is to travel, to have adventures, to get to see family, to show your children the world. You do not have to stay in the fanciest hotel suite or achieve the top elite status. People do travel without lounge access! And don’t be cowed by others whose personal or business lives facilitate the top perks. Have aspirations, but what works for others may not be the right recipe for all of us.

    Use those miles and points, even if it just means a trip to Grandma’s in coach!

  36. My best tip would be to just relax when on vacation. Life is too short and we need to apprecaite the great opportunity that we all have to travel the world for cheap due to miles and points. People get too caught up every little detail and just need to look at the bigger picture.

  37. I would like to see an article on how to use our almost-worthless DL miles. I live in the Mountain West and can never find Saver/Low level seats in BusFirst to HI or Europe. I wish AS flew to Europe.

  38. My favorite tip is to not check anything at the airport. I cram everything I need into a carry on sized back pack and enjoy the quick trip through the airport at my destination. The last thing I want to do when I arrive at a new place is to wait for my luggage to arrive!

  39. TIP: Always have a “Plan B” as a backup. I love the blog, and would love to hear even more unusual personal travel stories in the future.

  40. Best Travel Tip: Have a flexible schedule when traveling in the midwest during the winter months.

    Future Cover: A post on the ‘best’ or most economical points options for staying in hotels in popular travel destinations throughout the USA. This caters more to the traveler looking for more nights, and not more luxury.

  41. Best Travel Tip: If you’re going somewhere that you’ll be walking a lot, like Europe, pick a street that goes uphill a bit and run up the block the whole way with your luggage loaded approximately like you plan to pack. This is practice for trying to catch public transportation you’re about to miss. If you can’t make it all the way up the block without walking, repack with less stuff! (Credit to Mr. Nickels, my high school teacher who took me on my first foreign trip. Yup, he made us do this.)

  42. Stick with an airline or chain if you’re serious about getting status. You may have to suck it up in a few places, and if your travel changes dramatically, go for a status match and move on.

  43. Do your homework. I thoroughly read airline and hotel websites, and then reviews, both professional and travelers. It is amazing how many tips you find that save you time, money and stress. I always have a very realistic picture of what is to come.

  44. My travel tip would be to make use of the United Airlines or American Airlines free one-ways when booking an international award flight. During the xmas and New Year’s holiday, my wife & I went from Los Angeles to Singapore (my stopover) and spent 5 days there with family, then on to Maldives where we spent another 5 days, and then back to Los Angeles. So that was like 2 vacations for the price of one!

    Also, post-vacation, learn to be a pro-complainer, not an annoying complainer, but a patient, logical, polite complainer. If anything goes wrong on your flight, complain about it! On the return flight back to Los Angeles last week from Singapore, the entertainment system in my and my wife’s seat and 8 rows ahead of us broke, it froze for 3/4 of the flight home. Didn’t really matter to me as it was a red-eye flight and I wanted to sleep anyway, but I came back and complained about it. I got $200 United voucher for EACH of us. Sweet, my trip was already free with miles, and now I just scored $400 for 5 minutes of polite complaining. The entertainment system went out for 2 hours on another trip 2 years ago when we were flying back from Beijing, and they gave me 10000 Advantage points each after I complained! Last year, United changed the time of our flight from Chicago to LAX 3 hours sooner, I complained then too about how we were going to miss a family event since I had to go home 3 hours sooner, they gave us $150 United voucher each. I have many more complaint stories, but seems to pay to complain! Not only does it make your travel cheaper, you can actually ‘earn’ money/points complaining! =)

  45. When travelling to different time zones, especially overseas, when you’re on the plane and in transit at the airports, set your watch to the time of your destination and try to sleep during that time zone’s night time to avoid getting jet lag. Jet lag can put a bummer on your vacation when you’re trying to overcome it for 2 days, it’s such a waste. So, while you’re in transit, if you find yourself getting sleeping because it’s your time zone’s night time, sleep for an hour or two (set your alarm) and consider it a nap, then when it becomes night time at the destination’s time zone, you’ll be able to sleep and not have jet lag the next day! Works for me every time!

  46. Tip I learned : Use BA Avios for short and direct flights others for long hauls or more 1+ connections.
    I would like you to cover hotel loyalty and ways to maximise them.

  47. For the very FFer…. buy a good bag. Kate loves the B&R bag you kindly sent my way last year and I swear by my Rimowa IATA roller. Knowing that your bag will fit in any bin, any time makes things so much lower stress. Not the first one on? Who cares, no shoving is going to be required, it’ll just drop right in.

  48. I would love to see more articles about the free stuff you might not know about. For example; in Las Vegas they have the MGM lions, Treasure Island Shows, Lake of Dreams at the Wynn. I would love to learn more about really cool free things you can do in a city!

  49. My tip would be to form a connection with the place you’re traveling to before you go. Sometimes this can be researching a specific site you want to see or particular activity you want to do, other times it can be reaching out to a random local resident on social media. We can get caught up in the stress of traveling to a new or far destination, but having something in mind to look forward to will keep you hyped up for the trip. Once you can form an image of how you’ll connect with the town/city/country, it will make definitely make your travel experience worthwhile before you even get there.

  50. i am sorry i don’t have any best tips.. i am sort of new to this.. have been lurking for 1 1/2 years but still slow to pull the trigger on things.

  51. Take language lessons. I’ve taken Portuguese before going to Brazil and French before heading to France. Always be sure to find out what mispronunciation will get you in trouble..

    1. Smitty06, I took Italian lessons (Rosetta Stone) before both of my Italy trips. I found the local folks very patient with my wayward attempts at fluent Italian.

  52. my favorite tip is to screenshot my boarding pass when using a mobile barding pass. that way, when you get to the front of the security line and you lose cell service (as luck inevitably has it), you don’t hold up the line.

    1. KNS, that’s why I love Passbook on an iPhone. It also geo and time tags your BP to show it on the lock screen at the right time and place.

  53. My best travel advice to others is to go ahead and sign up anyway even if you don’t think you are a frequent traveler. Because, well, you never know… If you are staying at a hotel, find out if it is part of a frequent stayer program. If it is, sign up. The worst that could happen is that you will earn a few orphan points that you might not use. But maybe you’ll get free Internet or an upgrade OR maybe you’ll start to frequent that hotel brand and earn free night awards or elite status. Sign up for the promotions when you read about them, so you don’t forget to later on OR if you have an unexpected stay. Because, hey, you never know!!!

    1. Jackie, you’re preaching one of my best tips. Always sign up! Always. You just never know when plans will change.

  54. When traveling overseas, always carry a photocopy of your passport in a different pocket from the one where you carry your passport.

    1. Ted, I had a United agent tell me last night on the phone that hang up and call again was a good strategy to get around bad United agents. Even the employees recommend it!

  55. Really enjoyed your interview with MMS today! I’ve only been reading your blog for about a year, but sincerely appreciate the fact that you don’t blog to sell credit cards. This comes through in the quality of your blog, so thanks!

    Travel tip – subscribe to FT RSS feeds from HotelDeals and Mileage Run Deals.

    1. NcSam, good tip to subscribe to those feeds. To be clear, I do have some credit card referrals (actually had a post today) but it’s not really my main objective. I also generally don’t recommend anything that’s not in my wallet (or something that I’ve had in the past). If I’m going to recommend it (and potentially make money off of it), I’d like to know I can answer relevant questions about the product. Credit card referrals, IMO, are a good thing in small doses. Too much is not necessarily a better thing!

  56. My travel tip is to get global entry and enjoy the benefits. You’ll save a lot of time and it’ll be a lot easier to get through security!

  57. When visiting a foreign currency, make sure to change a minimal amount of money at the airport – enough to get you to your destination (if you can’t pay with a CC) and for your immediate peace of mind. Then exchange whatever else you need at a local exchange house and (usually) get a much better rate!

    1. Naina, thanks for the comment. I usually exchange with my bank before leaving the country. How do you identify which is a good or bad local exchange house without a bunch of trial and error?

  58. Tip: Park in the same place/area at the airport each time. This is almost mandatory at an airport like DFW that has parking at each terminal…and you usually don’t arrive at the same terminal from which you left!

  59. My very best tip is don’t forget to rest. I have been on trips where I was on the go all the time, running from one thing to another. But I discovered that if I go back to my room and just rest or even nap for an hour or so I’m ready to get back to it and it’s much more fun

    1. Gena, I don’t practice your tip but I can sure appreciate it. I never get enough rest because I want to cram so much into each day.

  60. You can download a city section of google maps to your smartphone for use later w/o wifi, but with GPS. The street names are there and your location shows. You don’t get all the other location data, but better than nothing.

  61. My request is to answer the following question about travel-reward cards versus cash back cards. Try as I might, I can’t seem to find a travel-reward card that is worth more than the two cash back cards we use: the Barclay Arrival MasterCard and the Fidelity Amex. Both give 2% cash back, Fidelity to one’s Fidelity Money Market Account and Barclay as a credit (Barclay’s credit rises to 2.2% when the credit is applied to travel purchases, which they define rather narrowly — for instance, restaurant purchases while on a trip don’t count). All the other cards seem so complicated and depend crucially on there being no further substantial devaluation; but these cards give 2% (or 2.2%) back on everything, immediately. [We also have a Chase Freedom Card for 5% on their quarterly items, and an Amex Blue card for 6% on groceries, a huge plus.]. Anyway, thanks for your blog and I look forward to your answer.

  62. My advice: remember that your vacation is supposed to be enjoyable! My husband and I were driving along Highway 1 in California, and I was frustrated because it was getting late and we hadn’t made it to our hotel yet. Against my wishes, he stopped to park the car at a lookout vista, and made me get out with him to watch the sunset. I’m so glad he did! It was a beautiful moment, and it made me refocus on the purpose of the trip.

  63. Use ziplock bags of varying sizes to organize all your stuff when packing it and save space. Useful for carrying laundry too. I also always carry spare ones when traveling.

  64. If NOT a member of an airline club but a member of that airlines frequent flyer program, head near their front door to still receive free wireless! Sit outside their entry door and usually you can still get the free signal!

  65. Go “off-season.” My husband and I first starting doing this many years ago, because we couldn’t afford our trips otherwise. Even though our budget is bigger now, this remains one of our key travel strategies. “Off-Season” means lower prices, smaller crowds, and better availability, especially when booking with miles and points. For us, it has also meant more attention from hotel and restaurant staff and increased opportunities to talk with local people. Of course, this tactic isn’t for everyone. Our very first “off-season” sojourn was a package trip to Doha, Qatar which included travel on the award-wining Qatar Airways and 5 star accomodation at the Doha Intercontinental Hotel. The price was unbelievable – and so was the weather. We nearly died just trying to cross the street. Despite the 130 degree heat, though, we really did have a good time. We had to adjust our activities accordingly and do a fair amount of sight-seeing and shopping after dark but it well worth it. We got to visit an amazing place we never would have seen otherwise. We’ve since been to a number of places in the Middle East, Europe and Latin America this way, all off-season and all for less! We have found it a great way to travel.

  66. Pack light! Spending 2 months abroad taught me that I really don’t need to be lugging around so much stuff. Plus, an emptier backpack means more room for souvenirs!

  67. One travel tip I have and something I really do is I never travel with my actual money that I have available. I only carry my discover credit card or prepaid credit cards that you can get anywhere. I do this because in the terrible event that I get my credit card stolen on vacation there is a limit to what they can do. My credit card can be canceled and easily track what they bought and my actual money in my bank that I use for bills and such is not in danger. Just a little safety net

  68. When traveling (especially overseas), always carry credit cards from 2 or 3 different issuers — preferably in different pockets. Some businesses do not accept Amex cards. Some cards do not offer zero foreign exchange fees. And, if a hacker (or some other problem) causes your account with one issuer to be frozen, you will always have a fallback card — or 2 fallback cards.

  69. Read your blog every day you post!

    My best travel tip….. Download the Viber app for staying in touch. Works over 3G, 4G, and wifi. I like it much better than the other one (Whatsapp). Easier to use.

  70. Don’t overpack! Lighter luggage is much easier for relaxing travel. Do a trial run by taking your packed luggage to a nearby mall and walking around for just a few minutes.

  71. When on an overnight flight in Y, wear a white pair of socks. Especially if in an aisle / exit seat. Other folk are more likely to see your feet overhanging / protruding / where ever, & not step on them. Especially handy for a Flight Attendant pushing a cart to see feet up ahead.. In J or F, still handy for some of these reasons, plus let’s you see your own feet when the hospitality has been really good.

  72. leave plenty of time for delays. If you are traveling to something time dependent assume that the flights will get delayed, there is bad weather, and heavy traffic. Cutting it too close can really ruin your trip if something comes up

  73. Always meet the GM of the hotel. I place the contact info and use it to personally let him know I am returning. It has afforded me upgrades to the club/lounge or sweet upgrades every time.

  74. I use plastic bags for keys, coins, wallet etc going through security. Makes it quicker and less likely you’ll forget something.

  75. Organize parts of your trip in see through plastic folders for quick access. One for air, car rental, hotels, local maps, restaurants, etc.

  76. For reading material on an outbound flight, I always bring along magazines or professional journals I haven’t had time to look at yet in my carry-on. After reading them on the plane, I then place them in airport recycling or leave them in the gate seating area for someone else (minus the tab with my name and address). This lightens my carry-on on landing and leaves plenty of room in it for souvenirs on the trip home.

  77. Always keep back-up paper copies of all critical reservations. You never know when batteries might run out or internet connections are down.

  78. Don’t forget the basics when you experience a problem.

    We found ourselves along with a huge planeload of others needing to be rebooked by Turkish Airlines in Istanbul. It was a mess – TK was clearly not used to doing this and did it very poorly. There were tons of staff walking around doing little but few computers and fewer staff who could really work them for the benefit of the customers. The TK staff would take our boarding passes, disappear into a semi-private space we could only see into but not enter, and research alternative bookings. Just to give you an idea of the mess, I heard a lone voice saying “Aren’t elites given some priority?” but unless they could phone in, it was a huge free-for-all. The English skills of the staff were also not as good as one might hope and frantic passengers were speaking fast and/or shouting, making it even harder.

    After two hours of this, we were finally rebooked and in the stressful shuffle, I neglected to make sure we had ticket numbers for all the new flights. We learned – at the gate the following day – that we were missing one. Luckily, by then we were in the states and a United agent, determined to help us get on the last leg of our flight, finally realized that TK had made two reservations for my husband under slightly different names and the second one had a ticket number.

    So, don’t forget the basics. One of the first lessons I learned – you don’t have a proper reservation if there is no ticket number – will be one I won’t forget the next time all goes haywire with a canceled flight!

  79. Would love to see more pizza reviews on your blog. I mean really isn’t that what its all about? Seriously, I love pizza and maybe you could point out some secret (or just out-of-the-way) places to eat, preferably for not-too-much.

  80. When traveling (and in life), repeat “it’ll all work out” and, it always will.

    I’ve encountered many a challenge during trips and it seems there are always more options available to me when I believe it will all work out.

  81. I would love to see more articles or maybe one location where people have great success in getting free perks. For example, they almost always give a free room upgrade or certain amenities, etc. That would be useful info!

  82. scan and then email to your gmail account copies of your passport, drivers license, and phone numbers to all of your credit card companies in case your passport or wallet are ever stolen.

  83. travel tip: always sign up for seasonal promotions as soon as receive notice since many of them have deadlines or limits of the number of people who can sign up. This way, if you sign up for a promotion even if you don’t think you have a stay and then you end up booking a stay, you will won’t have to worry about signing up for promotions later!

  84. My biggest tip or thing I’ve learned over the past year of getting into the points and miles game is to never discount an offer at first glance based on an annual fee. When I got a targeted offer for 100K membership rewards from Amex platinum, I almost tossed it because of the high annual fee, but after doing my homework, I learned that much of that is offset by travel credits. As a result of that card, I’ve gotten a first class upgrade, upgraded status at SPG, and access to a Centurion lounge, things I would have never dreamed of a few years ago!

  85. My best trip is to stay organized. I make lists of things I want to do, as well as distance from other attractions and opening/closing times so I don’t miss out on something I have been looking forward to!

  86. Take full advantage of carry-on policy. With a combination of carry-on luggage, a very large purse, and multi-pocketed cargo pants I have not checked luggage in years

  87. Regardless of whether you have a child, pack a small toy or trinket or even crayons. Distressed helpless parents and other passengers will thank you when the kid is screaming and crying. I recently got stuck in business class with twin toddlers who screamed 13 out of 14 hours we were in flight. I didn’t pack anything because what babies fly premium elite class let alone twins right? Therefore I did not bring toys or anything. Big mistake. It was a miserable flight for all especially our honeymoon. Ear plugs and headphones did not work. The flight attendants did their best to bounce them up and down as well as coo at them.

  88. I love to research before I travel. It’s almost as fun as travelling itself. One of the things I always make a point of doing is to look into the local customs and dress of where I am travelling to. It may not always be possible, but it’s nice to blend in to the local population and bypass the stigma of being a tourist at times. One of the best complements as I travel is when locals stop and ask me questions as if I belong there. By making making sure my clothing is appropriate and on par with local trends I feel I can get a more authentic travel experience.

  89. 1) Always pack a spare set of clothes in your carry-on, just incase of the unforeseen lost baggage possibility.

    2) Writing on earning status with airlines other than BIS time.

  90. We just had our second kid. Would love to read more tips and tricks for gathering those extra miles / points needed for family travel and the best ways to use them! Thanks!

  91. Travel reimbursement cards like CapitalOne VentureOne and the Barclay Arrival and are excellent for when you travel outside of major hotel chains/airports. When I went to Thailand my CapitalOne card payed for trains, ferries, boutique hotels and r/t airfare from BKK to CNX!

  92. 1. Keep checking both rental cars and hotels for price drops.
    2. Opinion on why car rental agencies have yet to go to a hotel or airline model that penalizes not showing.

  93. Call and tell your credit card/bank where and when you are going to be traveling. They monitor this stuff and one time I got my credit card declined because they saw purchases in 3 states in 1 day. I had to call them and get it fixed immediately because I was trying to pay for my room at the time!

  94. When traveling, WEAR A WATCH! I’ve lost count of how many times my cell phone died and I wasn’t wearing a watch and had to either ask people nearby or hunt down a wall clock.

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