Tag Archives | paris

Shhhh….Our Secrets to Discount VIP Travel

John and Yoko suite ams hilton

Image by 1000fights via Flickr

We thought we would let you in on a few of our VIP travel secrets…

Ask for the Moon

Have you ever asked for the Honeymoon Suite? It never hurts to ask.  Most hotel managers will tell you the premium suites are vacant most of the time. During shoulder seasons especially– just asking often opens the door to some really nice rooms. High inventory cities are also prone to willingness to upgrade you if it is an “off” weekend, or better yet a weekday.  “Large inventory” areas like Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, Paris, ect are an easy target.

Getting an upgrade at a discounted rate can be cheaper than a standard room due to the amenities that come with. Upgraded rooms often have access to free: wifi, bottled water, hospitality rooms, ect.  Don’t ever expect to get upgraded…Grandma’s rules apply: a little bit a honey goes a long way.

Another place to ask for the upgrade is at the rental car desk. We have friends that always book economy and play the upgrade game at the desk. This approach can be risky if the desk is swamped, they are out of cars, or if you find “Mr. NO!” behind the counter. Always ask about your options.  Negotiate a price.  Most rental car companies put a ton of miles on the economy and mid-size cars. They need to put some miles on those Cadillacs and Audis.  For those that are a little fearful to ask: just say…”what else do you have?”

Trust me, those counter agents get asked all the time.

Book Early or Late

If you are catching the train to the airport then you might be able to afford to go first class if you book yourself a ticket early enough. Train and air lines often have early bird deals on their website, it might take a little bit more planning as they often require you to book your ticket some time in advance but it can be worth it if you get a first class ticket for negligible extra cost.

An old Chinese Proverb goes: Empty seats make no money.  Again, during certain times of the year the best seats on trains and planes go empty.  There is a load of websites out there that offer great bargains on last minute travel.  This is certainly not for the faint at heart.  For crazy planners like Luci and I, this option would never work.  The fact remains there are deals to be had on last minute travel.  Give it a try.

Airline Perks

The three words that strike fear and loathing to avid travelers: LONG LAY OVER.   They are the bane of our exsisitence.  How can you travel VIP if you have to sit in an airport lounge for hours on end?  Enter the airline club rooms.  Worth every penny for long layovers.  Food?  Yep.  Newspaper and popular mags?  Yep.  Comfy chairs?  Yep.  A little privacy?  Yep.

Back to rule one, why not just ask the desk, tell them that you have a long layover and do they ever offer discounted entry?  If you happen to be female, entry barriers seem to be lessened if you find a bored gate attendant.  They are often eager to help (wink).

Valet Airport Parking

We have found the way you start and end your trip make all the difference.  If you are driving to the airport then you have a think about  Airport Parking the options that are open to you.  If you don’t want the bog standard park and ride service then you might be able to find a good deal on valet parking or even treat yourself to the most VIP option which is a chauffeur service.  Valet parking can really add a touch of class to your journey as your own driver will meet you at the airport when you arrive, all you need to do is hand over your vehicle and your keys and they will take your car to a secure place for the duration of your stay.

On your return they will meet you when your flight arrives and have your car waiting for you right outside departures.  It truly is how the other half travels.  Prices are surprisingly affordable.

We hope these tips and tricks are helpful.  Do you have any secrets to getting the VIP experience?  Leave a comment below.

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7 Questions with Kali & Christy of Technosyncratic

 

We are continuing our series of 7 questions with some of the coolest couples out there traveling.  This installment we highlight Christy and Kali of Technosycratic.com.  They are currently driving around the us in an RV!  We will look for some more great fights from them!
Blog:  Technosycratic.com
Twitter:  @Technosyncratic
Follow’em!
1) How many countries visited between the two of you?

Only six countries thus far (Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Canada, India), because most of our traveling has been around the United States in our motorhome.  There are just so many cool places to explore in our home country!  In another six months we’ll be moving abroad and traveling more extensively through other countries, though, so I imagine our number will increase quite a bit over the next two years.
2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?

Kali:  Any reasonably non-annoying person with an English and/or Australian accent.  I love accents, so listening to someone whine like a Brit would probably make whatever they were whining about infinitely easier to tolerate.

Christy:  I would totally travel with Wes from Johnny Vagabond for a bit; he’s hysterical and always manages to get himself into the most random situations.  I’ve never met him, though, so he’d probably be like “who the heck is this random person following me around?”

3) What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?

Kali:  India.  That’s a large “destination”, but we find the whole country captivating.  We visited Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra on an academic trip, and it was fascinating to meet with community leaders and develop a deeper understanding of the societal conditions we would have otherwise just seen in passing.

Christy:  I really loved Cinque Terre in Italy.  We visited with a friend of ours and the three of us hiked the entire way between the five villages.  I have never seen so many stairs in my life; for weeks after that I would have a panic attack whenever we came to stairs!  But aside from that little downside the area was beautiful and the gelato was abundant.

4) If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

Christy:  While wandering around the super sketchy part of Naples on our first backpacking expedition, we stumbled on a tiny little pizzeria where we had our first Italian margherita pizza and limoncello.  I thought the limoncello was lemonade, silly me, so I gulped it down and almost died.  But eating that pizza was like tasting the divine!  We vowed to return, but didn’t write down the name and then got lost on our way home.  For days afterwards we for searched and searched for that little Napolian pizzeria, to no avail.  I refuse to die before I’ve tasted that pizza again, so I’ll find it eventually.

Kali:  On that same backpacking trip we also went to Marseille, where we found this little Tunisian restaurant that had phenomenal mediterannean stew and couscous.  We couldn’t finish it all, so we combined the couscous and stew and asked if they had a container for us to bring it home…. and they yelled at us!  We don’t speak any French so we couldn’t figure out why he was so angry… maybe because we mixed the dishes? He thought we hated it?  I don’t know, but he was really, really upset and he wouldn’t let us take our leftovers.  We left the restaurant empty-handed and traumatized, but (while it lasted) the food was spectacular!

We love cheap, hole-in-the-walls with authentic ethnic food, and hunting down the best local joints is an important part of our travel routine.  Other favorites include Il Vegeteranio in Florence, Dottie’s in San Francisco, and a little Ethiopian joint we never caught the name of near the train station in Rome.

5) How do you pick the places you visit?  Spontaneous vs. planned?

Kali:  Spontaneous

Christy:  Planned.  Wait a minute….

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

Kali:  People need to queue the eff up!  Seriously, people, lines are a brilliant invention, and they make everything go smoother (I’m looking particularly at you, over-the-hill French matriarchs who look down your noses at young backpackers’ naive attempts to form an orderly line when you waltz into train stations at the last minute and push your way aboard before those of us who’ve been waiting for hours, but who don’t speak enough French to dare question the goings-on around us, realize what’s happening!).  Ahem.  And world peace, of course.

Christy:  On a serious note, one of the most horrific things happening in the world right now is the ongoing trend violent gang rapes in the Congo.  The extent to which sexual violence is being used as a weapon of war is devastating, so I would use my theoretical powers to address this issue (and its underlying systemic roots).  But until that happens, you can make a difference now by donating to Doctors Without Borders, a great organization offering medical assistance and support to the women being affected.

7) You knew it was coming… what has been your greatest travel fight?

Kali:  It has to be our infamous brawl in the Paris subway.  We’re usually pretty tame when we argue, but this fight was fueled by exhaustion and frustration and mean Parisians who kept giving us the wrong directions while we lugged our heavy backpacks all over the city on our first day in Europe (combined with growing terror as time wore on and we realized there was NOWHERE to spend the night for under 300 euros).  We took all that out on each other in the subway while trying to figure out which line to take.  There was much screaming involved on our parts, and much disgusted eye-rolling involved by the people walking past us.

Christy:  It certainly wasn’t our finest moment!  We try to be nice to each other even when we’re fighting, but every civilized thing we’ve ever been taught just flew out the window.  At one point we were so angry we just sputtered and glared.  We find it quite entertaining to think about now, but at the time it was a hot mess.  We were pretty ridiculous.

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Travel Blogging Divas

As many of our followers know we recently held the Travel Blogging hottest Hubby and Travel Divas contest. Response was incredible! We had loads of fun, made some new friends, and shared some great travel blogs. We decided not to neglect our solo traveler friends.

Our intent is not to run a petty beauty contest…only to give you a look at some of the very best in independent travel blogging.  Blogs were nominated that focused on single travel.  There are some really, really great folks out there on the road that have insights to share.  So visit theses sites and vote early and often!  Voting ends Jan 5th 2011.

Femmes

Lillie

“My name is Lillie, and I am a 29 year old, six foot tall Boston native.  For six years, I taught high school English in the Boston Public Schools before flying out in August of 2009 to begin voyaging around the world!”   http://www.aroundtheworldl.com

Andi

“For most of my adult life I have led a dichotomous existence of both wanting to flutter my wings around the world AND to settle down and focus on my true calling in life, which is being a Chinese Medicine Doctor.” http://mybeautifuladventures.com

Leslie

“I am a twentysomething native Californian with an art history degree and love of adventure.  This is a blog of my travels and expeditions…it is reviews, tips, advice and observations.  It is a way for me to interact with other people like me who find the thrill of life in seeing new places.”  http://cgtravelsblog.com

Suzy

SuzyGuese.com showcases people and places from around the world not in the ordinary, travel guidebook sense. I am fascinated by the simple way a story can be told, usually with a little humor.”(Doesn’t she have amazing hair!!?)   http://suzyguese.com

Anna

After 8 hectic years of studying at UC Berkeley, University of Oxford, and earning a law degree in London (and a whole lot of letters after my name–BA, MPhil, GDL, LPC…), I couldn’t face starting work in a corporate law firm without first going out and reviving my battered and exhausted soul. So I moved to South Africa to undertake volunteer legal work at a human rights NGO instead.  http://www.nilikutashani.com

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The Winners of our Hot Travel Hubby and Travel Diva!

Congrats!

The votes have been counted!  Congrats to out 2010 Travel Diva

Katrina of Patick & Katrina Do the Globe

Patrick and Katrina feature trip reports and touring tips from two travel obsessed newlyweds.  They have   Check out their great adventures!

A huge thanks to all of our Travel Diva nominees!

Nicole—www.travelingcanucks.com

Lucie—www.thevagabondadventures.com

Mary—maryandseansadventuresabroad.blogspot.com

And our 2010 Hottest Travel Hubby is Greg from Follow our Footsteps.

Greg and Ash have traveled the globe and share their unique perspective of the sights and sounds of far reached locales.  Their blog is chock full of fun Youtube videos with interesting facts on locations.  Visit their blog at Follow our Footsteps.

A huge thanks to all of our Hot Hubby nominees!

Randy—www.beersandbeans.com

Craig—www.ytravelblog.com

Rhys—www.2nomads1narrative.com

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