Monday, May 31, 2010

San Francisco Photos

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The Bay Area


Saturday, May 29, 2010

College Graduates Earn 10000 United Mileage Plus Miles

United College Plus is the student's version of Mileage Plus, United's frequent flyer program. Celebrate your college graduation with 10000 Mileage Plus bonus miles. Send the following to the address below, and your bonus will be posted to your account within 4-6 weeks of receipt:

  • A copy of your final transcript showing that you did indeed graduate as a full-time student from a U.S. college or university
  • Your United College Plus/Mileage Plus account number
  • Your e-mail address

Mileage Plus, Inc.

P.O. Box 40

Rapid City, SD 57709

Attn: College Plus Graduation


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Austin Restaurants

The city offers and supports many local restaurants. I am listing a few of them along with the highlights.

Rudy’s BBQ. Brisket, jalapeƱo sausage, cream corn, and Rudy’s BBQ sauce.

Torchy’s Tacos. Brushfire taco.

Home Slice. Friday and Saturday late night pizza.

Kerbey Lane. Kerbey queso, blueberry pancakes.

Pluckers. Wings, fried pickles, fried Twinkies.

Juan in a Million. Don Juan, breakfast tacos.

Whole Foods. Headquarters in Downtown Austin. Good for lunch, dinner.

Amy’s Ice Cream. Mexican vanilla.

Thundercloud Subs. Sandwiches.

Austin Java. Good for lunch.

Flip Happy Crepes. Good for lunch, dessert.

Trudy’s. Known for Mexican martinis.

Hula Hut. Great place to eat, drink, and enjoy Lake Austin.

Oasis. Great place to watch the sunset over Lake Travis. Don't go there hungry.

Related Posts

Keep Austin Weird!

Things to Do in Austin


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Things to Do in Austin

University of Texas campus and sports. Tour the beautiful 40-acre campus and see the UT Tower, Main Mall and DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium. The athletics program and facilities is one of the best in the nation. Buy tickets and come early to a football, basketball, baseball, or volleyball game.

South Congress. Check out the local shops and food trailers. First Thursdays (of each month) tents line the street with showcasing local vendors and many business stay open late.

Greenbelt. Go hiking or mountain biking and explore the Greenbelt.

Townlake. Also known as Ladybird Lake. Located downtown, this is the perfect place for running, kayaking, rowing, paddle boarding, and taking your pets.

Tubing. During the summer, drive south to New Braunfels to float the river.

Lake Travis. Spend the day at the lake and go Devil’s cove to hang out with other boats.

Mt. Bonnell. Hike up the steps at Mt. Bonnell and enjoy the view

Bats. Watch bats fly out from under the Congress bridge during sunset.

Zilker Park. Home of Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Kite Festival, Trail of lights, and Botanical Gardens.

Sixth Street. Looking to go out for a night on the town? Go bar hopping on Sixth Street. All the bars are right next to each other and within walking distance. Other nearby areas includes the Warehouse district which is fancier and more upscale and West Sixth which is popular among young alums.

Barton Springs. Go swimming or lay out at Barton Springs.

Alamo Drafthouse. On a rainy day, watch a movie, order a beer, and have dinner all at Alamo Drafthouse. Mulitlple locations in the Austin area.

Related Posts

Keep Austin Weird!

Austin Restaurants


Earn 500 AAdvantage Bonus Miles

Download the AAdvantage eShopping Toolbar, and perform at least 1 toolbar search before June 30, 2010 to earn the 500 miles bonus. Bonus miles will post to your AAdvantage account within 8 to 10 weeks after the promotion end date. You will only earn the 500 mile toolbar download bonus the first time.

You can also received .3 miles per toolbar search up to 100 miles per month. This is great for extending your expiration date.

Download Now!


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Keep Austin Weird!

No. 3 Best Big City in "Best Places to Live" by Money magazine in 2009, No. 5 in safest city, No. 5 in leanest city by Men’s Health, the "Greenest City in America" by MSN, the “Best People” by Travel & Leisure Magazine, the least stressful large metro area by Forbes magazine, and No. 1 College Town by the Travel Channel.

“The Live Music Capital of the World", Austin is home to many musicians and live music venues such as Stubbs, Antone’s, Emo’s, and the Backyard. Residents campaign to preserve smaller local businesses and resist excessive corporatization. Take and drive down South Congress to visit local shops and restaurants.

Beyond the Austin city limits and Border States, you will not find a better place to visit except maybe New Orleans. The two biggest annual attractions are Austin City Limits (ACL) Music Festival and South by Southwest (SXSW).

ACL is a 3-day event held in early October in Zilker Park. The festival brings together more than 130 bands on eight stages, including rock, country, folk, indie, Americana, hip-hop, reggae, and bluegrass, and attracts a crowd of more than 65,000 visitors each day.

SXSW is a set of interactive, film, and music festivals and conferences that take place during every spring during college Spring Break. Centered on the downtown Austin Convention Center, each of the three parts runs relatively independently, with different start and end dates.

If you are visiting during the fall, I suggest checking the University of Texas Football schedule for home games at Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Single-game tickets go on sale in August. Also, participate in tailgate festivities all day on gameday in campus and state lots around the stadium.

Check back later for updates on Austin restaurants and things to do.

Related Posts

Things to Do in Austin

Austin Restaurants


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Airport Travel Tips

“Never get behind old people. Their bodies are littered with hidden metal and they never seem to appreciate how little time they have left. Bingo, Asians. They pack light, travel efficiently, and they have a thing for slip on shoes. Gotta love 'em.” - Ryan Bingham from Up In The Air on getting through airport security

The more you travel, the more time you want to save from door to gate. Getting through security is only one of the factors. Most travelers today avoid baggage fees and bring rolling luggage onboard. Ideally you want to arrive at the gate 30 minutes prior to departure for priority boarding.

Before getting to the airport, check-in online and print your boarding passes. If you are parking at the airport, always park in the same area or note the parking spot in your phone. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken the shuttle back to my car and someone does not remember where they parked.

Getting through airport security, I recommend selecting a line that does not share a scanner with another line. Also if you place your items through the conveyor belt in specific order, then you can pick up your belongings faster on the other side and move away from the chaos. I put my roller bag first, laptop bag second, laptop third, and everything else last. Try it.

For business travelers working multiple weeks or months in the same city, avoid the hassle of traveling with liquids by leaving it at the hotel bag check. Most hotels are willing to accommodate your needs.

Early bird travelers, follow these tips and spend more time sleeping.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Best Frequent Flier Airline Program

During February and March this year, the consulting firm IdeaWorks made 6160 queries across 22 frequent flier programs to assess reward seat availability for travel in June through October. Southwest ranked highest with 99.3% availability. US Airways and Delta were in the bottom two at 10.7% and 12.9%.

Most frequent flier programs award you a free domestic roundtrip ticket when you receive 25000 miles. They expire where there is no account activity over a period of time usually 1 year. Travelers can go many years without redeeming awards if they fly the same airline once a year.

Southwest operates differently. Refer to Why Fly Southwest Airlines. Instead of miles, they award 1 credit for each one-way flight. You are awarded 2 one-way flights when you reach 16 credits within 24 consecutive months. If you are unable to use your award within 12 months, your award expires unless you pay $50 to reissue the award.

You may consider the Southwest expiration policies as negatives but you can always rely on them for last minute flights with many connection options. It is also easy to give away the award to another person.

When frequent flyers redeem awards at a constant rate, availability is more manageable. When awards do not expire, you may go through periods of high supply or high demand.

Other notable airlines

  • American - 57.9%
  • Continental - 71.4%
  • United - 68.6%
Survey Results


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Top 5 Free Travel Mobile Apps and Sites

1. Google Maps. The best mobile app features GPS navigation and directions by car, public transit, or walking. Google maps tells you the nearest locations of what you are searching for and how to get there. I got around Boston just fine with my phone and no map. Available on any smartphone and

2. Yelp. Looking for places to eat? Yelp offers user reviews and recommendations of top restaurants, shopping, nightlight, and entertainment in all major cities. Available on iPhone, Blackberry, Android, Palm Pre, and

3. TripCase. Travel management apps are becoming popular to frequent flyers tracking air, hotel, and car confirmations. TripCase gives you updated flight status, gate changes, and alternate flights if delayed or you miss your flight. Available on iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Android

4. WeatherBug. Knowing the weather is important wherever you are, day and night. WeatherBug provides a solid mobile app featuring 7-day and hourly forecasts. Available on any smartphone and

5. Airport Maps Mobile. Before you get on the plane or while you are still in the air, you can find your connecting gate. Airport Maps gives you what you need to quickly find how far your gate is, a place to eat, and your favority airline lounge. Available on iPhone and Android.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Boston Photos

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Starwood Preferred Guests (SPG) Free Weekends

Earn free weekend nights with Starwood Hotels through July 31, 2010. For every 3 stays at SPG properties between May 1 and July 31, 2010, you'll earn a Free Weekend Night Award redeemable through December 19, 2010.

  • No Limit to number of free weekend nights you can earn
  • Redeem any Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights with no blackouts
  • Redeem awards at 920 Category 1-6 properties worldwide
  • Combine awards and use them on the same weekend

Register for the promotion now through June 30, 2010.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO)

Tens of thousands of vacation home owners rent their properties each year to family, friends, and vacation travelers. This is ideal for groups looking to stay in cabins or condos during ski season and beach houses during summer. Vacation Rentals by Owner (VRBO) is the largest vacation rental website specializing in private homes and by owner vacation rentals.

Vacation rentals can accommodate guests from 2 to 30 plus and save you up to 40% compared to hotel rooms. Most come with a fully equipped kitchen to help save money on dining. Some amenities may include free Wi-Fi, private hot tub, outdoor grill, and washer and dryer. The calendar of available dates is fairly up to date and you are able to contact and work directly with the owner.

I booked a condo in Whistler, B.C. using VRBO for $225 per night. The 3 bedroom/2 bath ski-in and ski-out condo is located in Creekside and accommodates 8-10 people. For 4 nights, the average is $110 per person.

VRBO is recommended for large groups or extended-stays. Book in the fall before ski season starts.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Useful Contacts

Air Reservations Rewards Mobile Site
American 800-433-7300 800-882-8880
Continental 800-523-3273 713-952-1630
Delta 800-221-1212 800-323-2323
Southwest 800-I-FLY-SWA 800-445-5764
United 800-United-1 800-421-4655
Hotel Reservations Rewards
Hilton 800-HILTONS 800-548-8690
Marriott 888-236-2427 801-468-4033
Starwood 914-640-8100 888-625-4988
Car Reservations Rewards
Avis 800-331-1212 800-352-7900
Hertz 800-654-3131 800-CAR-GOLD


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Best Seats in the Air

How do you select your seat? The casual flyer likely will not care as long as they get an aisle or window seat. For the frequent flyer, seat selection means everything. From the front of the airplane to the back, Seatguru helps identify the superior and substandard seats besides in first class.

A good seat is a recliner and bulkhead type with extra legroom and power outlets. A poor seat is one with limited recline and reduced width, usually the first row in front of the exit row and the last row of the airplane.

When I travel with elite status, I prefer the first window seat behind first class because I have extra legroom and I am away from aisle traffic. If unavailable, I search for an aisle seat near the front. The closer your seat is to the front, the faster you get off the plane and the farther you are away from engine noise.

If I do not have status and traveling with carry-on luggage, I favor seats near the middle so I am able to board earlier and guarantee myself space in the overhead compartments. Otherwise, you take the risk of the crew checking in your bag.

Short flights are probably not as important as long flights. If traveling coast to coast or international, I highly recommend finding your airplane on Seatguru before you making your seat selection.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Technorati Claim Token

Claim Token: NXVGUQQJEN49

This is not an actual post. This is to verify our claim token with Technorati so that you can find us on Technorati. Thanks.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Continental and United Merging

Continental and United airlines have agreed to merge that will create the world's largest airline.

What this means? The new carrier will be based in Chicago and take on the United brand. Continental shareholders get 1.05 United shares for each Continental share they own. Jobs will be cut by attrition (probably in administration and reservations), retirement, and voluntary programs. Experts believe the deal will lead to higher price fares for travelers. Frequent flyers could benefit from combining mileage rewards from both carriers.

The merger is expected to close by year's end, pending shareholder and regulatory approval.


Why Fly Southwest Airlines

The 3 things I love about Southwest: Bags Fly Free, low fares, and cancellation policy. You probably have seen many commercials about Bags Fly Free. SWA is the only carrier that does not charge fees for checking bags. Passengers can save up to $100.

Looking for a summer or winter vacation? SWA offers direct flights to Las Vegas, Denver, and Chicago. They offer lower fares because of access to mid-major airports and having many connecting flight options. Also, you can install and configure a SWA tool on your pc which prompts you about Ding fare notifications, more deals.

When flights are booked in advance, plans change and unexpected events may occur. In January, I tore my MCL a week before my snowboard trip. Southwest allows passengers to cancel flights anytime and receive credit towards a future reservation within the year.

Two tips I would pass on. You should always book one-way fares. Roundtrip fares are the same price but one-way fares allow you to rebook the same flight(s) easier if a better deal comes up later. Also, you should always check-in 24 hours in advance to receive priority seating and not get stuck with middle seats.