Category: Ground Transportation

3 Useful Free Mobile Apps for Paris (and Many Other Major Cities) + Free WiFi in Paris

Heading to Paris (or another major European city) soon and have an iPod Touch, iPad, iPhone, or Android device? Then you might want to test out the following few FREE apps, all of which work offline and can make your visit more enjoyable and efficient. In addition, you will also find out how and where to get free WiFi in Paris at the end of the post.

Continue reading

A 5-Minute Practical Guide for First-time Travelers to Paris, France

TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the Presidents’ Day long weekend and spent 3 delightful winter days in the City of Light.

Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
Three Winter Days in the City of Light (February 2013)

This post, listing things not present or emphasized in Rick Steves’ Paris Guide, is meant to help those of you planning your first trip to Paris save some time and money (and maybe points). For our readers who are Paris veterans, feel free to add your tips and suggestions in the comment section.

Continue reading

Pura Vida – A Few Travel Tips for Costa Rica

TravelWhimsy and I took her parents to the amazing country of Costa Rica during Thanksgiving week. Two of our dearest friends, M & P, who had recently retired there, hosted us at their new home. M & P expertly planned almost every single aspect of our trip, so this is not going to be my typical trip report involving much about miles and points strategy. Instead, I will share a few notes I jotted down along the way that could help you better plan your future trips to Costa Rica. If you have never experienced PURA VIDA, don’t wait too long. It only takes 30-35,000 miles per person, and you won’t regret it!

Beautiful “Bluebird” (Yes, Pun Intended for You Mile/Point Junkies!) in Costa Rican Rainforest

Continue reading

Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile

This is part 12 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

As many of you already know, Mrs. TravelByPoints is not so fond of cities. I, however, would not let an opportunity to visit the Chilean capital easily slip out of my hand, given that we did not have to use any extra miles or pay the $160-per-person visa fee flying directly from Easter Island.

In this post, I’d like to highlight three aspects of our pit stop that saved us time and money:

  1. Staying at the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport;
  2. Taking the airport bus;
  3. Joining the 4-hour free walking tour of Santiago.

Continue reading

A Tale of Three Guides #3 – Sergio for Our One-day Tour of Easter Island, Chile

Sign Up for a Free USAA Membership to Save on Car Rentals (and Underage Fees)

Until about two weeks ago, I had been watching rental car prices for an upcoming two-day trip during Labor Day weekend. Unfortunately, my usually trusty Hertz was not giving me the bargains I’d normally get; instead it was telling me that I had to settle for an all inclusive rate of ~$120 for two days.

A quick look on carrentals.com showed me that Budget was offering an all-in rate of ~$80; a quick Google search for Budget coupons led me to a random working discount code marked for “25% off.” I had no idea what that coupon was for, but it gave me an all-in rate of $42.22 (base rate of $12/day)! I could also cancel the booking any time, should Hertz decide to redeem itself.

The Budget confirmation email came, and I realized that the discount code was for USAA members. I have never rented a car from Budget before; do I have to show proof of a USAA membership? Instead of letting myself feel a bit uneasy and hoping for the best, I went on the official USAA website. The short and quick conclusion is that you DON’T have to be associated with the military to become a USAA member. Getting a membership can be done online for free in just a few minutes!

Continue reading

Alert – Opportunity to Buy AAdvantage Miles for Less Than a Penny Each via Avis Car Rental (Before 8/31/2012)

Usually, you can earn 50 airline miles a day for your car rentals. Occasionally, you can also earn 500-1,500 bonus miles for a rental of 3+ days. I normally rent from Hertz for ~$10-15/day with taxes and fees included, and credit a short weekend rental to Southwest Airlines (600 points = ~$10, or $20 if you have the companion pass).

Two of our dear friends are flying to Niagara Falls for their 3rd wedding anniversary today. As loyal Avis and AA fans, they casually mentioned that they were getting 500 AA miles for their 3-day Avis rental. Unable to convert them over to Hertz with a $30 discount, I set out to see if I could find them a better deal with Avis. A quick Google search led me to a current promotion that almost sounded too good to be true!

Continue reading

A Tale of Three Guides #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru

This is part 9 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

While researching what to do in Peru, TravelWhimsy decided that we should visit Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. Given that we only had one night and three quarters of a day, going with a tour company became the natural choice.

Continue reading

A Tale of Three Guides #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru

This is part 8 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

We usually find ourselves renting a car or relying on public transportation for a domestic US destination or a metropolitan area in Europe or Asia. While fully aware that we could still take advantage of local public transportation options, we ultimately decided to use local tour companies to save time and to ensure that our 60th-birthday-celebrating mom would not have to experience any unnecessary hassle or hardship.

Continue reading

How to Create Your Own One-day “Inca Trail” Experience at Machu Picchu

This is part 6 of a series of posts devoted to our whirlwind tour of Peru & Chile.

  1. Less than $1,000 per person all-in for our 11-day tour in Peru & Chile
  2. How you can use <75,000 points to replicate our itinerary to visit Machu Picchu, Easter Island, and more
  3. How to prepare for altitude sickness in Machu Picchu & Lake Titicaca
  4. What to bring for your trip to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and/or Easter Island
  5. How many different sets of tickets do you have to buy for that one-day visit to Machu Picchu?
  6. How to Create Your Own Machu Picchu “Inka Trail” Experience in One Day
  7. Using the Tambo del Inka, a Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, as Your Base for Your Visit to Machu Picchu
  8. Tour Guide #1 – Sabino for Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu, Peru
  9. Tour Guide #2 – Silvia for Puno, Lake Titicaca, Sillustani, Peru
  10. How We Did Lima, Peru in One Day
  11. Tour Guide #3 – Sergio for Easter Island, Chile
  12. Taking Advantage of an Airport Hotel for Our Walking Tour of Santiago, Chile
  13. Airport Lounge Access + LAN International Business vs. Economy
  14. Budgeting for Your Next Big Dream Vacation
  15. You Won’t Believe What Happened on Our Way Home!

Most of us don’t have the luxury of time to do the 4-day 3-night Inca Trail when visiting Machu Picchu, but can we create our own one-day “Inka Trail” experience? You bet!

Continue reading