TravelWhimsy and I took advantage of the Presidents’ Day long weekend and spent 3 delightful winter days in the City of Light.
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.
It is often debatable whether collecting miles and points is even worth our time and effort, given the existence of 2% cash back credit cards. TravelWhimsy and I just returned from a whirlwind long-weekend trip to Kaua’i, HI, with our moms. The entire trip was conceived and booked on a whim – 7 days prior to departure, to be exact. A last-minute trip like ours seems to indicate that miles and points could trump cash back, and we will let you be the judge.
As a recently-converted nature lover, I am proud to report that TravelWhimsy and I have survived the self-imposed mission of visiting 5 national parks in 4 consecutive weekends. Our “National Park Extravaganza” was made possible by:
TravelWhimsy’s continued ability to secretly influence/convert a city lover and tireless willingness to play along with a crazy wacky maximizer;
No time was taken off work. We would usually leave home on Friday nights or Saturday mornings and return on Sunday nights. In short, our 4 whirlwind weekends came at an effective total cost of $496 for two people (see the following table for details).
Southwest Airlines just announced the 40%-off Big Winter Sale today, so I’d like to take this opportunity to go over a few reasons why I LUV Southwest (as promised) and how you could start to do so as well. To thank you for your loyalty and continued support, TravelWhimsy and I also would like to give away 8 Southwest drink coupons (beer, wine, cocktail). Check out the giveaway details at the end of this post.
A bit of background before I start. We are both fairly new to Southwest. Prior to our South America trip, we had only flown Southwest once or twice (many many years ago). We don’t travel for business, but will both have achieved United Airlines’ Premier Platinum status at the end of the year with over 75,000 actual miles flown on United just for leisure weekend travel (more on this in a separate post – another promise). I’m afraid that my loyalty to United (started on August 13, 1998) is waning…
Even though both TravelWhimsy and I have mentioned our weekend trip to Seattle, neither of us told you about a hiccup that occurred the night before our scheduled return flight.
After almost a week, I am still in shock that I let the unimaginable happen because I am usually a very careful traveler. Yes, I am ashamed to admit that for the first time I lost my driver license, the only form of government-issued picture ID I had with me during the trip! But I am not embarrassed to share the experience with you, because it could help you be better prepared and less stressed should this ever happen to you.
I currently don’t have my own affiliate links for any credit cards worthy of your attention or credit inquiry hits. However, please allow me to share a bit more information on a new card I just added to my wallet over the past weekend.
Unfortunately, the annual fee cannot be waived in most cases, but I believe that many of you will benefit greatly from having the card.
Maybe we did too much walking during our adventures throughout Peru and Chile, so fate wanted us to continue running until the last minute.
A 2-hour minimum connection time is typically required even for same-airline international-domestic transfers, given the uncertainty of immigration and security re-check. In our case, we would have to factor in 15 extra minutes for the walk between the international terminal andSouthwest Airlines’ Terminal 1 at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).
How much time did we really end up having for our LAN-Southwest connection? A mere 33 minutes!
Travel can be very expensive, even with the help of miles and points. Many of us play the miles and points game for the thrill of getting the best possible deals, but the reality of it is that most families don’t have the luxury of an unlimited amount of time and/or money to devote to travel.
TravelWhimsy and I always share the true out-of-pocket all-in cost (including food, sightseeing, and incidentals) for all our trips, because we want to show everyone that a weekend cross-country getaway or an annual vacation abroad does not have to exceed your travel budget.
Let me use the actual expenses from this South America trip to explain.
Throughout the series, both TravelWhimsy and I briefly touched on the topic of airport lounges and LAN’s international business class product. I’d like to take this opportunity to share our experiences with the various lounges we used during the trip, and to also throw in my two cents on whether it was necessary to fly business class or not.