Travel is nowhere nearly as glamorous as it used to be. In some ways, we’re seeing the golden age of cheap fares. Along with that come a host of fees, rules and other “unpleasantries”. So, how do you go about navigating today’s travel landscape?
8 Ways To Make Flights Better
A recent article in the New York Times arms you with some tools to help you travel better. It’s written by Stephanie Rosenbl0om who also just released her first book, deftly covering the topic of solo travel. Among other things, the article covers some of my favorite travel tips:
Summer Hull, the founder of the travel blog Mommy Points (its new home is at The Points Guy) said the best deal in family travel nowadays is the Southwest Airlines Companion Pass. It allows someone to fly with you for free (excluding taxes and fees) when you purchase or redeem points for a flight. If you earn the pass early in a given year, Ms. Hull explained, you can use it for the rest of that year — as well as the entire following calendar year. To get the pass, you must fly 100 qualifying one-way flights or earn 110,000 qualifying points in a calendar year. The points from Southwest’s Rapid Rewards credit cards count toward that, making it achievable even for travelers who don’t have a lot of paid trips on Southwest.
The Southwest Airlines Companion Pass maintains the title of gold standard for travel perks right now (at least the ones us mere mortals can obtain). I wish I had been able to use my Companion Pass more. Alas, mine has come and gone. I’ll hope to score it again at some point in the future. You’ll even find yours truly quoted in the article:
On some airlines, upgrading an award ticket to the next class of service doesn’t cost many more miles. Edward Pizzarello, the founder of the travel blog Pizza in Motion and the podcast Miles to Go, said that a business class award ticket on Lufthansa (a United Airlines partner) requires 70,000 United MileagePlus miles one-way, but for an additional 40,000 miles, you can have a first class seat on Lufthansa, which he described as “a truly unbelievable experience.”
Summer and I weigh on some travel tech tips at the end as well:
Unless you’re flying an airline with individual entertainment screens throughout coach, Ms. Hull recommends having a tablet for the kids with entertainment options downloaded. They need not be iPads, she said; Amazon Fire Tablets are less costly.
She also likes children’s headphones with volume limiters, like Kidz Gear KidzControl Volume Limit Wired Headphones (about $18).
Grown-ups with a bigger allowance may want to try Mr. Pizzarello’s pick: Bose QuietComfort20 Acoustic Noise Canceling headphones (about $250). He said they can go for 16 hours before needing a charge. And, perhaps more important to some travelers, “they shut out the entire world.”
The Final Two Pennies
As long as I roam this earth, it will never get old seeing my name in the New York Times. Let’s hope it’s always for good things. I’m still thankful to Stephanie for an incredible experience touring the NYT newsroom a couple of years ago. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through all 8 tips in the article. If you need me, I’ll busy trying to find a place to store the handful of copies of this Sunday’s New York Times where the print version of this article was featured.
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