We Tried The New Robotic Coffee Place at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport – Here’s What We Thought

There’s a new coffee place that just opened adjacent to Gate 8 in Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA) and it sounded intriguing. It’s all robotic and can do just about  everything – take your order, charge you via credit card, make your coffee, and tell you when it’s ready – all potentially without human intervention. We were flying home from a short visit to the area and decided to try it out.

Continue reading “We Tried The New Robotic Coffee Place at Austin-Bergstrom Int’l Airport – Here’s What We Thought”

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YMMV Travel Deals: Thur., Aug. 16, 2018

When we see travel deals, we always want to spread the word. So as we see them, we make sure to let you know. They run the gamut from hotels to flights to points to miles to car rentals and even stuff you need while you’ll traveling, like equipment, Uber discounts, theme park tickets, food for when you’re on the road, etc.

Heads up that some of these deals might be really limited in time or amount, or some could go on for days or longer. Some deals might be good for some people and not so much for others. There may be better deals out there and we just don’t know about them. We take no responsibility for any transaction you may or may not do; we’re just telling you what’s we’ve seen that’s out there at that very moment and it’s up to you to decide if it’s something useful, beneficial and worth it for you, and if you can take advantage of it before it’s too late.

Here’s what’s out there today:

Continue reading “YMMV Travel Deals: Thur., Aug. 16, 2018”

Our Favorite Restaurants In Central Florida That Are Off Disney/Universal Property

We know that lots of theme park fans don’t like to go off theme park property when they vacation in Central Florida. We used to be like that, too. Eating at a theme park is usually faster than traveling off property to dine, it keeps you immersed in the theme park experience, etc. And we get it – there are indeed some really nice places “on property” that give you awesome food and/or theming, and you get to maximize your time in the parks. But if you limit yourself to just eating on property, you are denying yourself some incredibly good eats that usually cost a fraction of Disney’s and Universal’s prices and often taste even better than anything you can get in the parks or on property.

These are some of our most favorite “off property” restaurants. We’ve listed them in alphabetical order, since it would be almost impossible to put them in order of which is
best, second best, etc., and they run the gamut in terms of price point, food type, dress requirements and distance from the parks. Many offer meals throughout the day (i.e. breakfast, lunch, brunch, high tea), although we’re specifying our experiences with them for dinner. Most are places you can’t find anywhere else (or at least have only limited locations), they’re all “not to be missed” and some, we admit, are really just for adults (we’ve included level of “kid friendliness,” based on our observations, in each of the narratives). Continue reading “Our Favorite Restaurants In Central Florida That Are Off Disney/Universal Property”

Is It Worth The Extra Money To Book A Room Directly From The Hotel Website?

The hotel chains have spent a lot of money on marketing to try to get you to book a hotel room directly with them by using their website or app and have gone with the “carrot and stick” approach to achieve that goal. On one hand, they’ve gone out of their way to market special low “Member Exclusive Rates” that are only available to members of their loyalty program and “Best Rate Guarantees” that tell you if you find a cheaper rate after booking with them, they’ll match it and lower the rate even further. At the same time, the hotel chains penalize you for booking anywhere except directly with them. Some of these “sticks” are they don’t give you any recognition of your loyalty status or let you earn any points in their program when staying on externally booked stays. They’ll also only give perks like free Wi-Fi if you’ve booked directly with them.

When I say you need to book direct with the hotel, I mean you use the hotel’s website, the hotel chain’s website, the smartphone app for the hotel chain, or by calling the hotel to make a reservation.

When I mention using an “external” website, that is basically everything else. Websites like Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Priceline, Hotels Tonight, Hotwire and Booking.com are just some of them. If you’re completing the booking anywhere but with the hotel, it’s an external website.

Hotel search engines like Trivago, Kayak and TripAdvisor show you prices directly from the hotel as well as from external sites, so it’s best to use something like that to see who has the cheapest price.

So, should you only book your hotel rooms directly with the hotel even if an external site is less expensive?  Continue reading “Is It Worth The Extra Money To Book A Room Directly From The Hotel Website?”

YMMV Travel Deals: Wed., Aug. 15, 2018

When we see travel deals, we always want to spread the word. So as we see them, we make sure to let you know. They run the gamut from hotels to flights to points to miles to car rentals and even stuff you need while you’ll traveling, like equipment, Uber discounts, theme park tickets, food for when you’re on the road, etc.

Heads up that some of these deals might be really limited in time or amount, or some could go on for days or longer. Some deals might be good for some people and not so much for others. There may be better deals out there and we just don’t know about them. We take no responsibility for any transaction you may or may not do; we’re just telling you what’s we’ve seen that’s out there at that very moment and it’s up to you to decide if it’s something useful, beneficial and worth it for you, and if you can take advantage of it before it’s too late.

Here’s what’s out there today:

Continue reading “YMMV Travel Deals: Wed., Aug. 15, 2018”