Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
More great travel tips from Lydie over at www.travelismorefunwithkids.com
Most of the museums have a free monthly entrance day or sponsored entrance days (Target Day for example). By planning and visiting their websites, you can take advantage of these opportunities. Bank of America card holders get free entrance at 70 museums across the nation the first Sunday of the month. Check the list to see if some are nearby.
Parks are wonderful places to discover with children. If you visit them on the week-ends, you will most likely see street performers and will be able to enjoy nice performances for free. (although I would always encourage people to tip).
Churches (although you have to pay to visit St Paul and Westminster Abbey in London) are full of treasures that one can enjoy for free.
Pick a destination known for their free museums entrances: Washington DC or London. Most of the London museums are free and what a pleasure to be able to take our children to the Natural History Museum twice in a week without thinking of the price.
Do a home swap: here is a big saving. And if you are lucky, people may even agree to let you borrow their car too, helping you save on car rentals (www.homeexchange.com or www.1sthomeexchange.com).
Use your credit card rewards points: my husband flew twice to France without spending a dime. And because I pay my credit card balance at the end of every month, that card does not cost me anything.
My last piece of advice for the travelers would be to register to newsletter or blogs specialized in traveling. For the San Francisco Bay Area, you have my blog www.travelismorefunwithkids.com, www.friscokids.net or www.inflightout.com that track good deals or free opportunities. By doing this, travelers will always know where to go without spending much or anything at all. For example, in December, I wrote about what to do in the Bay Area for free. People could entertain their families for the holidays almost every day without spending a dime.
Education is the key and registering to newsletters from blogs or websites that do the work for you is the best way to save on your trips or staycations.
Friday, March 27, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Bonus: The Air France fare permits a stopover in each direction at no additional charge. Care to spend a few days in Paris perhaps? Visit Travelocity and search using the "flexible dates" option.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
If you are not currently a member of Continental's frequent flyer program, click here to sign up for free.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
As a frequent beneficiary of this service, I have mixed feelings of the recent change. From a business perspective, few companies let you purchase a product then return it at any point up to a year later should the price go down, which is effectively what United was allowing customers to do. It was a generous benefit indeed! But I question how many people even knew about this policy - it was certainly never anything United marketed itself on. From a travelers perspective, Southwest Airlines again stands apart from United and many other airlines which charge for refaring, in that they do not charge to reprice an airline ticket if the fare drops. So if you were going to purchase a ticket between San Francisco and Orlando, for example, and the cheapest tickets were $300 on Southwest and $275 on United, you could have confidence in your Southwest ticket purchase that if the airline decided to have a sale, you could reap the benefits of the lower price. On United, you are stuck with that higher fare (unless you pay the new $150 fee), even if they drop their prices at a lower date.
Don't get me wrong, there are many great reasons to fly United Airlines. But based on this recent policy change, there is now one less reason to consider them a preferred carrier.
Friday, March 20, 2009
When you travel outside the U.S, some people recommend you keep a copy of your passport in a separate location, such as your luggage or wallet. This way, if your passport is ever lost or stolen, you have a copy to provide officials. Instead, or in addition to, consider scanning a copy of your passport and saving into your email box or other online file server. A scanned copy is crisp, clean and colorful, and looks pretty legitimate (although it is still just a copy). Plus, you have a copy of your passport anywhere in the world you may be, provided there is Internet access to retrieve it.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
Registration is required prior to travel.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
American Airlines is offering a double elite-qualifying miles promotion for travel between March 18 and June 15, 2009. Simply register* your American AAdvantage account for this promotion, then fly any American Airlines, American Eagle or American Connect flight during the promo period to earn your bonus.
Elite-qualifying miles are used to calculate various elite levels within the AAdvantage program.
For example, if you flew 12,500 qualifying air miles during this promotion, those would convert to 25,000 elite miles, earning you a Gold-level status with the airline.
*Note, as of 11:30 PM Monday evening, the promotion was not yet open for registration. You may need to wait until the start of the promo period to register.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Overbooking flights is a business practice in which a company sells more of a product than what is on hand. In the airline industry, that means selling more seats on a flight than physically available. There are many reasons why airlines do this, but the bottom line is not everyone is able to keep their original reservation thereby freeing up seats. Using historical records of past flights, the airline forecasts roughly how many people they can oversell a flight, knowing that an equivalent number will not show up. In a perfect world, the two balance each other out and flights leave 100% of capacity. Often this doesn't happen and the plane either leaves less than full, or the gate agent asks for volunteers to surrender their seat in exchange for compensation.
If you don’t like the concept of overbooking, try JetBlue or Virgin America, two airlines who reportedly do not oversell their flights. But even the airlines that do oversell, rarely does it involuntarily disrupt regular travelers who are intent on arriving at their destination – without delay. In the rare instance an airline is unable to find volunteers for a flight, only then does the airline involuntarily deny boarding to one or more unlucky folks. This latter scenario automatically gets reported to the federal government, who tracks the frequency airlines involuntarily disrupt travelers confirmed itineraries, to ensure they remain a relatively rare event.
Friday, March 13, 2009
From Lydie over at the wonderful travel is more fun with kids blog comes some useful tips for those planning a summer vacation. Lydie has crafted 9 points to start considering now, in preparation for this summer's big voyage.
It is always exciting to book tickets to visit another country. My family is always looking forward to discovering new monuments, new food, new parks, new people, etc. But there are some not-so-much fun paperwork that has sometimes to be taken care of. So if you have booked your tickets, here are 9 things that you need to do right now.
Check the expiration date of all your passports. Some countries, like
Make a copy of your passports and give a copy to a family member who won’t be on the road with you. If your passports get stolen or lost, it will be easier to have them replaced if you have a copy of your information. You can also email yourself the passport numbers and date of issuance so you can easily retrieve the information, just in case.
Inquire for visas. Do not assume you do not need a visa even if you are visiting for a day. Check that information with the appropriate consulate. If you booked your travel through a travel agent, he or she should take care of the paperwork for you.
Check the immunization records of the whole family and make sure that no specific immunizations are needed. The CDC www.cdc.gov/travel has an extensive list of recommended vaccinations and shots on a country by country basis. Be sure to consult your doctor as well.
Call your medical insurance company to understand how you are covered abroad. Check if your credit card provides any travel health insurance. If not, you might consider buying travel medical insurance.
If you are planning on driving, make sure you do not need an international driving license and if you need one, apply for one. If you are renting a car abroad, be aware that you will most likely get a stick shift car, so be prepared!
Be aware of the difference in electrical plugs and voltage in some countries like
Ideally, have some cash from the country you are visiting with you in case you need to take the taxi when you arrive or buy something right away. It will make your life simpler instead of looking for an ATM or currency exchange kiosks just after landing with tired and jet-lagged kids in tow.
Call your credit card company to let them know that you will be traveling abroad. If they see activities on your bank account abroad, they may deny the charges and cancel your credit card if they can not confirm the purchases with you. Always bring several cards with you when traveling in case one does not work. Be aware, that if you are using your ATM card, certain countries like
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Registration is required online or by calling 1-800-307-5000 (option 2), using registration code 31609.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This development comes after Hilton successfully recruited two former Starwood Execs who help build the companies boutique brand - W Hotels.
Although Hilton did not give specifics on where the first Denizen's will debut, negotiations are going on worldwide including Abu Dhabi, Austin, Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Buenos Aires, Cancun, Istanbul, Jerusalem, Las Vegas, London, Los Cabos, Miami, Montreal, Mumbai, New York City, Panama City and Washington D.C.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 9, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
San Francisco Tower and NorCal approach are two local channels available. During inclement weather, i've heard some interesting conversations between pilots and air traffic control. Beyond the Bay Area, you can monitor airport frequencies throughout the United States and world. Looks like Botswana was recently added. Visit LiveATC.net and their Top 30 list.
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Participating car rental companies are: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Fox, Hertz, National and Thrify. Click here for more information.
Follow in the Roaming Gnome's footsteps and enter for a chance to win your very own road trip in New York State. You and a friend could embark on your own getaway and enjoy the free round-trip airfare to New York, 3 nights hotel accommodations, and a $200 rental car gift certificate. Entries must be received by March 31, 2009. Click here to register.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Monday, March 2, 2009
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