Archive for Something About Travel

US Airways Dividend Miles Grand Slam

So back in the fall, I decided to try and collect some bonus miles through US Airways’ Grand Slam promotion. After gratuitously spending money on various random items, I collected 13 “hits.” The breakdown is as follows:

US Airways Shopping Mall - Kohl’s (bought some things I was planning to buy)
Points.com (Exchanged my useless Hawaiian Airlines miles for US Airways miles at a dismal 6:1 ratio)
Biscoff.com - bought some peanut butter
Dividend Miles Dining - We dined at an overpriced Vietnamese restaurant for our anniversary!
FTD - bought some Mrs. Fields cookies (definitely got ripped off on the shipping)
Magazines for Miles - Subscribed to Sunset Magazine for 400 miles
ThanksAgain.com - bought a restaurant.com coupon (and used a coupon code)
NetFlix - paid for 1 month of NetFlix (these miles didn’t post yet. Grr…)
Officemax.com - bought some supplies for the office and got reimbursed!
Skymall - Bought something cheap for the house (but it’s actually kinda useful)
Trackitback.com - bought a digital id tag. Not sure if I will use it.
USA Today - signed up for a 4 week subscription.
Vinesse.com - bought some wine

So I ended up spending about $183 (although I bought some wine at another website where I didn’t get any points, so I’m adding that into the $183). Including all the bonus miles from the program, along with the miles you get for using the partners, I should end up with around 15,400. That makes the cost 1.2 cents per mile.

If you redeem 25,000 miles for an across the country round trip ticket valued at $350 (although these days it might be more or less), that comes out to 1.2 cents per mile. Not too bad I’d say.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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High School Musical First Wedding Dance

So back in January, I went to a wedding in Cancun, Mexico. The wedding was held on a beach at Dreams Resort, a nice little spot on hotel row. It was definitely a really fun time. What made it even more fun (or funny) was the HSM first dance routine where some of us friends participated in.

The first dance started off with Richard Marx’s version of “I Can’t Help Falling In Love”, followed by “We’re All In This Together” from the first High School Musical movie.

View the wedding dance video: www.scarfgirl.net/videos/hsm-firstdance.html

View the practice video: www.scarfgirl.net/videos/hsm-dance.html

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Direct Flights

So my friends and I are planning a Mediterranean cruise for the fall. Everything is pretty much set except we need flights. The weird thing I discovered is that you can’t book certain flights. For example:

I know that you can fly from Atlanta to Venice directly if you’re transferring. However, you can’t buy that ticket straight up. The only thing I can think of is that it is where people fly to in order to transfer to a flight that takes them to Venice.

So now, really the only city from the US that flies directly to Venice is New York JFK. The question now is, should I take a redeye the night before and play in NYC for 12 hours?

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Busily Settling In

Well, I’ve just about finished settling into our rental condo. Too bad we lost the weekend since we were away having fun in Vancouver. I think we’re just about done. We’ve got a bunch of empty boxes in our dining area to break down and shove into the garage.

I must say, going from 1350sf (3bd/3ba) to 996sf (2bd/2ba) wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. We just lost 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom. That just means no guests for the time being. The toughest thing to figure out is where to put everything. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that half of the tandem garage is being as a storage place.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Moving Along

Selling your place is kinda weird. Especially the escrow period (the time between when you accept someone’s offer and when you turn over the keys and move out). I mean, it’s not done till it’s done as things can happen partway through the process that can kill the deal.

Often you have a 30-day period where you start packing up and crossing your fingers that things work out. The thing is, you don’t really know if things will go thru until partway into the escrow period. You assume everything will work out, so you start packing and reminiscing all the fond memories of your home. Then, after 30 days (or whatever period of time), you hand over the keys and *poof* you’re gone.

Since we went for a shorter escrow period, we had to wait part of the time to make sure everything was going to happen, and then rush through with all the packing. Being organized is key I’d say. You know, versus haphazardly throwing things into a box. For us, we have to split up where we are putting our stuff, so it’s more important to plan ahead. We’re not going unpack everything, so we had to pack stuff that we won’t need for 3-6 months.

***

Amongst other things, we’ll be headed to Vancouver for some fun. I made myself a Google Map too. Can’t wait!

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No Jetlag?

So what do you consider jetlag? My impression of it is that upon returning from a trip outside your normal timezone, you find yourself feeling really sleepy during the day and having a hard time sleeping at night. Well, what if you’re slightly off your normal routine? You know, waking up a little earlier than normal?

Well, I just came back from my trip the other day and was able to wake up at 7am and go to work the next day. In fact, I woke up about 10 minutes before my alarm sounded. I seemed fine yesterday and today too. Does that mean I managed to escape the dreaded jetlag completely?

How did I manage to get so lucky? Well, my return flight from Hong Kong left at 8pm HK time. We had to stop in Taipei and change planes, and that flight left Taipei at 11pm. Our flight was due to land in SFO at 8pm that same day.

Since my flight was basically a really long redeye flight, I knew that I couldn’t stay awake the entire time, so I hoped that I would just sleep a little bit at the beginning of the flight so that when I got home, I could stay up to around my usual bedtime.

Of course, you never know how you’re going to be on a flight, so I ended up taking a few short naps throughout the entire flight and was fortunate enough to still be able to fall asleep around midnight that night.

I guess the moral of the story is, if you want to avoid some jetlag, try to plan your sleeping time for your flight so that you will still be able to sleep at a regular time when you get home. The alternative is to force yourself to stay awake/sleep upon returning home to try and regain your normal sleeping routine.
Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Slow Vacation

So I’m just kinda chilling out in my small room at the guesthouse of our inn. It’s a small seaside town that is very quiet and quaint. This afternoon, a bunch of us headed to a local winery that uses apples and berries to make wine. We got a free tasting and ended up buying 2 bottles of it. I hope I can transport them safely back home!

While some others went on a short walk along a trail through the trees, J and I hung out under a tree and stayed cool in the shade. It was extremely quiet and peaceful. I wondered if I could do the “quiet life” like this. Every time I go on a vacation, it’s go go go from one tourist site to another.

I think it’s just in me to always be on the go, so slowing down and not having an itinerary was new and somewhat refreshing. My only concern with not having any solid plans is being bored and “wasting” my vacation.

I must say that so far, this “doing whatever” thing has been nice. Maybe it’s a sign that I should slow down and not necessarily have to plan so many things. A vacation is meant to be relaxing, and I suppose scheduling things can be not so relaxing at times. Tomorrow is our friend’s wedding, so it’s scheduled, but since it’s not until 6, we have all day to hang out and do nothing. Oh wait, I think we’re going to do some tea tasting with some fellow guests.
Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Bandwagon Baggage

I read recently that now United Airlines has jumped on the nickel-and-diming bandwagon that American has started. What am I referring to? Well, they’re going to start charging you for the first bag that you check in.

Also, I was reading that some airlines are considering (or will put into action… I forget exactly the details), charging you to book a specific seat in advanced (window, middle or aisle). Oh, I was reading they might even charge for any beverages they give out. Are they SERIOUS?
I’m waiting for the coin-operated lavatories or the barf bag vending machine. Oh, I know, they should totally charge you for carrying on any luggage. Afterall, it does add extra weight to the plane, which means that the plane will use more gas.

At the rate they’re going, people would be better off shipping their clothes to their hotel if they start charging you for carry-on luggage. Then you can have your liquid containers in excess of 3 ounces. You also get to skip baggage claim, which could take up to 40-60 minutes.
Someone needs to build a high-speed rail train line in the US. Look at Japan and their bullet trains. They’re freakin awesome, efficient, and gets you from point A to point B in a timely manner.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Destination Weddings

So I recently received two invitations for destination weddings in Hawaii for next year. The funny thing is, both couples are having their events at the very same hotel. What are the odds of that? The two events are just 6 weeks apart. Normally, I would be excited about going to Hawaii, but since the trips are so close together and to the same place, not as much.

However, both couples are very fun people and I’ll probably have a great time at both. The question is, how can I minimize the hit my wallet is going to take from going to Hawaii twice? Time to cash in some of those frequent flier miles. Too bad I don’t have any hotel points.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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Back From My Trip

I’ve finally returned from my 2-week adventure to Asia. I hit up Hong Kong and Japan, but made side trips to China and Macau.

Pretty much from the get go, I was on my feet walking from day to night. boy my feet have never felt so tired before. Also, it seemed that we were constantly eating something. I haven’t been back to HK in 10 years, since my study abroad during college, and things felt very different.

Some things don’t change, like the quick pace of people’s footsteps and the faster moving escalators. The skyline view seems to be cramped with a few more skyscrapers and there are now more lines of transportation. It actually seems a bit cleaner than I remember, but it’s not quite the same as it is here.

I’m glad to be back home and sleeping in my own bed, and I’m sure my feet are thanking me too. Ah… now to sift through all those gigabytes of photos.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

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