Airline Boarding Groups: The Master List

When you check in for a flight, either by printing a boarding pass on your computer or by using a mobile device, you’re provided with a boarding group. This lets you know when you’ll be getting on the plane. Getting  group 3 on one airline might be great but could be terrible for another airline.

Regardless of that number, just know you’re not getting on the plane when the boarding process starts unless you’re a super elite frequent flyer or a disabled passenger in a wheelchair. The passengers with some sort of loyalty with the airline or one of their partners and the passengers who paid for first class will go next. Why not stay seated until your group (or at least the one right before it is called) cause you’re gonna have a long wait just to have your ticket scanned and all you’re going to is stand on the jet bridge for a while before getting on the plane.

Just be patient and don’t be like the people in this video from JetBlue



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A Quick Lesson In How To NOT Videotape Your Vacation ;-)

Unless you’re of the generation that has been raised with computers, smart phones, etc., there can sometimes be a learning curve when you have a new piece of electronics. For some it might be as simple as a glance at the instructions just to learn one specific thing. For others, well, maybe they need to take a class or two. Such was the case of this poor chap…

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How Much Time Should You Spend Picking Out A Hotel?

I’ve read about something called the Law of Diminishing Returns. In short, it says that every extra minute you spend on something will get you less in return than the minute before.

Take, for instance, booking a hotel room. For every question you answer, there will always be two new questions  How are the ratings of the hotels in the area? Are there any promotions going on right now that might apply?  Should you use points or cash? Could you book with AAA, Costco or book a package to save money? Which card should you use to pay? The amount of things to consider are dizzying. Don’t even get me started when you also have to consider using hotel points.

princess bride gif

Here are some hints to keep you from spending more time planning your trip than you spend ON your trip 🙂

  • Use technology to your advantage. I love to look at Oyster for pictures of the hotels which aren’t doctored by the marketing departments.  I also use TripAdvisor or Trivago to find a place in my price range, even if Trivago’s ads can be a bit creepy.
  • Try to narrow your search and broaden as needed. If you start looking at 100 hotels, it’ll take forever. Pick a specific neighborhood or hotel chain or price range and start there.
  • Learn that there is no “perfect.” The faster you learn this, the happier you will be. Stop trying to find the perfect hotel. If you’re choosing between the #1 and #2 hotel in the area, you’ll most likely be happy at either one of them.
  • Know what is important to YOU. Do you need internet access in the room? Do you need a gym? What about a refrigerator or even a kitchen? Do you need a hotel with room service? Laundry? Airport Shuttle? Nearby access to Starbucks? All of these are important to some people, but maybe not to you. Use these things to help you choose.
  • If using points, I look to Hotel Hustle to show me which chains have points hotels in the area. It also shows the value per point based on going rates. It’s a quick way to see if using points for a room is worth looking into.
  • Know what you have to work with. If you have any free nights from credit cards (Marriott, IHG, Hyatt) don’t let them go to waste. Same goes for hotel points or gift cards. It’s always better to spend someone else’s money.
  • Think really hard before making a non-refundable reservation. Will those few extra dollars be worth it if you need to change your trip? What if a really good price comes up at that other hotel you were looking at? It’s always good to leave your options open.

I’ve spent many an hour in front of the computer, trying to decide which hotel to stay at. It shouldn’t be that hard of a decision. You should spend more time on your vacation than figuring out where to stay during it.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


You’re Going To WDW For The First Time – How Do You Even Start To Plan?! Here Are Some Tips

With over 20,000,000 visitors in 2017 alone, Walt Disney World (WDW) is the undisputed leader in theme park attendance. It’s a huge complex, with four major theme parks, over 140 restaurants, over twenty five hotels, three 18-hole golf courses, two full-sized water parks, a miniature golf course, a shopping district, special events galore, and dozens of other options packed into a resort that encompasses nearly 25,000 acres or just shy 40 square miles.

For those who visit WDW on a regular or even semi-regular basis, they learn how to negotiate everything that the resort has to offer. But for newbies who have never been before, or who haven’t gone in decades, planning their WDW vacation can be a daunting and even overwhelming task.

Here are some things to make things easier and hopefully give you the lay of the land…

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Understanding Hotel Taxes, Resort Fees & Deposits For Incidentals

When you find a hotel rate, especially in the United States, you will rarely, if ever pay just that amount. Just like when you purchase an item in the U.S., unless it says that tax is included, chances are good that you’ll have to pay tax on top of the advertised price; that’s just how we charge for things in the U.S. The same goes for hotels. Unless an advertised price explicitly says that taxes & fees are included, you can bet that something(s) is/are going to be added on to make your final price. And in recent years, some hotels have added on something sneaky called a “resort fee,” too. Plus you often have to put down a deposit for incidentals. But let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start):

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