Category: Trip Reports

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.

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Asheville and Its Blue Ridge Parkway Might Have Converted Me…

Have you been to Asheville? You must go!

Growing up in Shanghai, I had always been a city person, fascinated by the prospect of visiting all the skyscrapers throughout the world. Unfortunately, I am married to someone who has no interest in visiting cities, and thus have been “forced” to often forgo the cities and drive to the places that offer the most “nature.”

Our quick cross-country Labor Day weekend trip was no exception. Even though neither of us had been to Charlotte before, we drove our Budget rental car straight away from the city upon landing around 11pm on a Saturday night.

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

Reader Reconnaissance #3 – Mini Round-the-world Trip with Miles & Points

For today’s Reader Reconnaissance post, we are pleased to introduce our celebrity reader Hilary, who runs a luxury travel booking company TravelSort and writes the TravelSort blog. Hilary wrote in to share her recent mini round-the-world trip experience with miles and points

Let me turn it over to Hilary.

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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.

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Reader Reconnaissance #2 – Using Miles & Points to Visit Tokyo for the First Time

In case you are new to the blog, we have recently introduced our “Reader Reconnaissance” series, a forum for all of YOU to share how you have successfully used miles and points to create unforgettable travel experiences.   

Reader RK kicked off our series with a report on his trip to Paris flying British Airways First Class and staying at the luxurious Park Hyatt Paris Vendome. We would like to remind you that no trip is too small for this series and you don’t have to wait for a similar trip to send us your report!  

Today, we are pleased to introduce our reader Ko, who goes by the Twitter handle @Kofucious.  Ko wrote in to share his recent trip experience visiting Tokyo, Japan with miles and points 

Let me turn it over to Ko.

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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.

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Using the Starwood Luxury Collection Resort, Tambo del Inka, as Your Base for Machu Picchu

This is part 7 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!

If you have been following this series, you probably already know that you need a few days to prepare yourself for possible altitude sickness. While many use Cusco as the base for a trip to Machu Picchu, TravelWhimsy and I believe that you should consider using your points to stay at the newest 5-star Starwood property, the Tambo del Inka (opened in 2010), for a fraction of the retail cost.

 

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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!

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Reader Reconnaissance #1 – British Airways First Class + Park Hyatt Paris Vendome

TravelWhimsy and I are excited to introduce our new Reader Reconnaissance series, a forum for YOU, our dear readers, to share YOUR travel experiences using miles and points. You can send us your trip reports in as many or few words as you’d like, along with pictures, and we’ll format them for publication on the blog.

As some of you might remember, reader RK recently asked about scoring the best (preferably free) hotel deals for his early June 2012 trip to Paris, and I suggested that he and his other half sign up for the Hyatt Card to possibly secure 4 FREE nights in a suite at Park Hyatt Paris.

RK just returned from his trip a few days ago, and sent me a thank-you email, which I will share at the end of this post. He was excited to share that miles & points had saved him over $30,000 for a first-class trip. I asked RK if he would be interested in kicking off the Reader Reconnaissance series and he graciously agreed, promptly sending back a trip report full of pictures.

Without further ado, I’d like to hand it over to RK.

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