Travel

Category Archives for Travel.

3 Days in Iceland: What You Should Know About Your Stopover Trip

It’s easier than ever to spend three days in Iceland:

  • WOW! Air frequently has $99 one-way sales to Iceland (and around $200 coming home)
  • Icelandair lets you add a free stopover – up to 7 days – on your way to mainland Europe
  • American, Delta, and United all fly there seasonally from their hubs

Of course, with all this competition, fares are rock bottom. I’ve seen them as low as $287 round-trip to visit the Land of Fire & Ice.

three days in iceland

Planning a visit to Iceland? You should – it’s easier than ever

I say Iceland deserves a full week to appreciate. The weather is unpredictable and if you hit a rainy patch, that’ll be unfortch. That said, if you’ve never been it’s beyond worthwhile to add a bonus side trip to Iceland. A friend asked what to do with 3 days in Iceland, to which I said…

Even three days in Iceland is expensive

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Koks Restaurant Review: Dining Experience of a Lifetime in the Faroe Islands

My first day in the Faroe Islands was packed:

  • Got to airport in Vagar at 11am
  • Checkin at Havgrim Hotel shortly after 12pm
  • New Norse-inspired tattoo at 4pm
  • And by 6pm, off to Koks for dinner at 6:30pm!

This was also the Summer Solstice in the Land of the Midnight Sun. I didn’t know what to expect from Koks. That I’d be there 4+ hours. And that it wouldn’t just be a (very decadent) meal – but truly the experience of a lifetime.

koks restaurant review

Koks is in an old turf house on an isolated bay in the Faroe Islands

Here’s my experience (the only word to describe it!) at Koks, complete with #foodporn pics of the 20+ courses served that night.

My Koks restaurant review

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Visit to the Faroe Islands: Rugged Cliffs, Endless Waterfalls, & Modern Refinement

I crossed off a huge bucket list item. Last week, I spent 4 days in the wild and rugged Faroe Islands.

The country is made of 18 islands. Of those, I got to visit 3. What I saw reminded me of the ruggedness of Iceland and the brilliant green cliffs of Ireland.

But the Faroe Islands are a unique place in the world. And, it’s challenging to get there.

Based on my short time, I can already say it’s one of my favorite places on earth. And can’t wait to go back.

visit faroe islands

The Faroe Islands were unlike any place I’ve been, and crazy gorgeous

Here’s more about my visit to the Faroe Islands. And photos of the stunning landscapes that make this place so deeply special.

Visit Faroe Islands – My experience

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Review: Icelandair Saga Lounge, Keflavik (KEF)

Hello from Iceland! Specifically, the Icelandair Saga Lounge in the center of Keflavik Airport.

One reason I wanted to fly in Business Class home (instead of inbound) was access to this lounge. It’s Icelandair’s single lounge – and the only lounge in Keflavik airport.

Icelandair Saga Lounge Review

Entrance to the Icelandair Saga Lounge in Keflavik

Sitting here now, it’s one of the most spacious and calm airport lounges I’ve ever been to.

You can’t buy day passes to this lounge. But I’ll share how you can get in!

My Icelandair Saga Lounge Review

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Why I’m Switching Spend to SPG Cards the Next 2 Months (And a Useful Tip!)

Welp, the Marriott-Starwood merger looms nigh. On August 1st, 2018, we’ll all wake up and have a new program – with excellent deals through the end of 2018.

Also on that day is an event I’ve dubbed in my mind as “The Triplin’” – because everyone’s Starwood balance will increase by 3X!

So now’s the time to earn as much as possible to take advantage of redemption opportunities later this year.

spg card spending

Marriott’s award chart as of August 1st

In 2019, the new program will be dead to me. I’ve never liked Marriott hotels, and occasionally stay with Starwood. At that point, I’ll go back into my Hilton/Hyatt hole for as long as the water’s nice.

Ah, to be a fairweather traveler free agent.

5 months of great deals – under 2 months to earn with SPG card spending!

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A $2,100 Trip to San Francisco and Portland for 30 Cents Out-of-Pocket!

This month’s marked with lots of travel. I just got back from a week in Japan. And tomorrow, I’m off to San Francisco and Portland!

I was tallying up my points totals and comparing what the retail costs would’ve been. This trip would’ve cost over $2,000 had I paid cash.

san francisco with points

I got 30 cents… will this be enough for 5 days in San Fran and Portland? :p

I should disclose ended up paying a little cash, in addition to my points. 30 whole cents. 😹

Here’s how I did it!

5 days on the West Coast for under a buck

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Review: American Airlines Business Class 777-200 Dallas to Tokyo-NRT

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The day finally came to travel to Japan. I love travel days. And this one was silky smooth.

We arrived to the airport in 20 minutes flat, cleared PreCheck in I swear to gods 90 seconds, and headed to the Centurion Lounge. There was time for breakfast, a cocktail, and a free manicure. And, our departure gate was right across from the lounge.

(Perfect!)

I was relaxed and happy when boarding began. And used 54,000 American miles for this flight.

The actual cost is 60,000 American miles. But I got a 10% mileage rebate upon booking – so 6,000 miles were instantly redeposited into my account. This perk comes with most American co-branded cards (with both Citi and Barclays). It’s worth the annual fee for this alone.

american-airlines-business-class-777-200-review

Ready to fly over the Pacific (and nearly halfway around the world!) in Business Class for 54,000 American miles

Last time I flew this route in this plane was in First Class.  So I was curious to see how the new retro-fitted Business Class seats would look and feel. And off we go!

American Airlines Business Class 777-200 review

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Review: JAL Business Class Sky Suite 787-8 NRT-DFW

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Last week, before my flight from Tokyo to Dallas, I checked if seats were open on JAL. I originally booked my way home with 50,000 Alaska miles for an American Airlines Business Class ticket. But I was totally willing to pay 10,000 more miles to fly back on JAL. Especially when the cash rate was $7,300+!

JAL Business Class Sky Suite

JAL Business Class cabin

Seats were available! I called Alaska Airlines to make the switch. A few minutes and 10,000 miles later, I was booked into a JAL Sky Suite seat back home to Dallas.

I’d always wanted to fly a Japanese airline. Both times I’ve flown were with American. So I did a happy dance I was able to score this seat.

Even better, the new flight time was within 5 minutes of my old one. So I didn’t have to change any plans, other than fly home in a better seat on a new (to me) airline!

JAL Business Class Sky Suite review

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Hotel Review: Hyatt Place Colorado Springs – Garden of the Gods

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If you’ve never been to Colorado Springs, a little over an hour south of Denver, you’re missing craft breweries and the city’s centerpiece – the gorgeous Garden of the Gods.

hyatt garden of the gods

Garden of the Gods took my breath away

I stopped here during my road trip to Denver. And chose the Hyatt Place Garden of the Gods as our stopover hotel. Here’s how it went!

Hyatt Garden of the Gods Review

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7 Easy Tricks to Use 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards Points for Cheap Travel

Right now, a few Chase cards have sign-up bonuses with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Ultimate Rewards points or more. These are by far my favorite kind of points. And the ones I focus on collecting above all others.

The Sapphire Preferred, Sapphire Reserve, and Ink Business Cash all offer a 50,000 point sign-up bonus after meeting minimum spending requirements. That got me thinking how I’ve used Chase points in the past.

use chase rewards

I’ve used Chase points to spend time in Austin via British Airways, Hyatt, and Southwest

Here’s more about each card, as they all have different fees and earning rates. And ideas for how to spend those bonus points!

3 Great Chase Offers

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Electric Tokyo: A $15,000 Week in Japan for $58 (With Business Class Flights and Free Hotels!)

Oh my purness, I cannot wait to get back to Japan right meow. 😻

I’ll be back in early April – just in time to catch the end of cherry blossom season (!) according to the forecast.

I went during the same time 2 years ago and fell completely in love with Tokyo (and Osaka). But this trip will be a whole week in Tokyo.

I’ll fly there and back in American Airlines Business Class, Dallas nonstop to Tokyo. (I reviewed the First Class cabin last time).

I’ll be at the Hilton Tokyo again for 3 nights (here’s my review). And at the ANA InterContinental Tokyo for 4. Was hoping to stay at the Conrad Tokyo for at least 2 nights. But demand was too crazy, obvi.

tokyo with points 2018

I also used 54,000 American miles, 50,000 Alaska miles, 180,000 Hilton points, and 200,000 IHG points

Still, I paid ~$58 out-of-pocket for a trip that retails for nearly $15,000. My only expenses when I get there will be train fares, food food food, and admission to art museums.

Here’s how I booked it!

To Tokyo with points, 2018 edition

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12 Ways to Save Money (And Have Fun!) on Your Next Road Trip

I recently took a road trip from Dallas to Albuquerque to Colorado Springs to Denver – and back to Dallas. It was 1,925 miles and 29 hours of pure asphalt that took us through plains, mountains, and prairies.

I spent time preparing for the week-long journey. And figured how to save cash and have fun on the way. Because that’s a lot of time in a car!

If you don’t plan it right (or at all), you’ll likely spend too much, miss cool opportunities, or generally have a miserable time. And no one wants that. 😾

ways to save on road trips

A little planning = big savings and fun on your road trip

Here are tips to make your next road trip smooth as asphalt.

12 Ways to Save on Road Trips

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