For Newbies: Going Through X-Ray or TSA Pre✓® As Easily As Possible

We all know the process of getting through X-ray has become something of a time consuming organized chaos in the past several years. In fact, I’d put it up towards the top X-rayof the more stressful parts of air travel, up there with delays and the actual flight. Getting approved for TSA Pre® (which is currently available in more than 180 airports, with 37 participating airlines nationwide) or Global Entry does help tremendously, but even then, there are people who are not super familiar with the modern-day process of going through X-ray, with or without TSA Pre✓®, simply because they don’t fly very often, and sometimes that unfamiliarity can cause the line to snag even more. Here’s a list that might help:

Continue reading “For Newbies: Going Through X-Ray or TSA Pre✓® As Easily As Possible”

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What Medications Should You Bring With You When Flying?

Preparing for a airplane trip can be stressful. There are so many rules to follow when packing and now you’ve waited until the last minute and are scrambling around gathering clothes, electronic gadgets, tickets and whatever else you want to bring with you. To help keep me organized, I have a Microsoft Word document called “Packing List” that I print before my trips longer than a weekend (Sharon still laughs at me for doing this). (Note from Sharon – Well, yeah! I can’t believe that for as often as we travel, you still need a list?!?!?!) The first page is mostly clothes and things I’ll tend to forget like an umbrella and backpack. The second page is toiletries and medications. The last page is my final checklist for things I absolutely can’t forget. The final three items are:

Continue reading “What Medications Should You Bring With You When Flying?”

Chip & PIN cards and why you should have one

By now, I’m sure you have a credit card with a chip, or EMV chip to be specific, in your possession. It’s that thing on your card that makes the person at the checkout tell you, “You need to use your chip in the bottom thingie,” or makes them say when you try to insert your chip card, “We don’t use that chip thing yet, so you need to swipe your card.”

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That thing on the left side of the card is the “chip”

In the U.S.A., we like the think we lead the world in just about everything, but when it comes to credit card security we are decades behind the curve. EMV ( Europay, Mastercard and Visa) chip technology was introduced back in the 1990s and rolled out throughout Europe in the 2000s. The chip in the card is used to confirm the information instead of reading the information off the magnetic strip on the back. This technology is harder to counterfeit and, supposedly, cuts down on fraud. The banks in Europe rolled out this technology first because credit card fraud was, at the time, much more common there. When the chip cards were introduced and helped prevent fraud, the criminals went to the least protected market, the USA, so they could continue with the scamming. Lucky us.

Continue reading “Chip & PIN cards and why you should have one”

How To Not Fry Your Electronics When You Travel Out Of The Country

You’re finally going to do it! You’ve saved enough money, vacation time, frequent flyer miles and/or hotel points to take that once-on-a-lifetime trip to London, Tokyo Disneyland, South Africa, Niagara Falls, Paris or some other place you’ve always dreamed about. Your stuff is all packed and your itinerary is all ready. But here’s a question – are you prepared to charge your electronics there? Your phone, tablet, laptop, curling iron, electric toothbrush? Because not all electrical plugs around the world are the same.

Believe it or not, there are currently FIFTEEN different types of electrical outlets in use around the world and which one is used in the place(s) you’re visiting will vary from
country to country – there’s a list of them all, with photos, if you go to the website on

Continue reading “How To Not Fry Your Electronics When You Travel Out Of The Country”

Free Disney Cruises! Free Airline Flights! (And Other Travel Hoaxes)

Hoaxes and scams. If you’re on Facebook, you know you’ve seen then. You can win two free tickets on Southwest Airlines! Or on Delta Airlines! Or on JetBlue! Or you can get a free Disney Cruise! Or a free Celebrity Cruise! Or a free Princess Cruise! Or you can win an all-expenses-paid vacation! Or an RV! All you have to do is like this page! Or share this page! Or send it to 13 of your closest friends! Or reply to this message with any number between 1 and 100!

Hoaxes have been around for about as long as people have been buying and selling things. Whether it was a traveling salesman hawking a mysterious liquid guaranteed to stop everything that ailed you to a Nigerian woman who said she lost her husband,
needed a small loan, and would pay you tenfold after her inheritance comes in, scams have been preying on the hopeful, the kind-hearted and the naive for centuries. Nowadays the hoaxes have become more high-tech, received via email, robocalls and Continue reading “Free Disney Cruises! Free Airline Flights! (And Other Travel Hoaxes)”

Our Interview With Million Mile Secrets!

Hi everyone! To start today’s blog entry, we’d like to give a big shout out to our friends at Million Mile Secrets! That is a “points and miles”-centric website written by Darius and Emily and their team, who, as per their web presence, “have earned millions of airline miles and hotel points to travel the world for free,” and are, “now blogging to help more people to the same!” Why the shout out? Well, if you are already familiar with Your Mileage May Vary, you already know a little bit about us. But if you’d like to learn even a little bit more, take a peek at this page of Million Mile Secrets, which is a question and answer session they recently had with us, as part of their ongoing Interview Series. In that series, their readers who have blogs (like us!), “share how they book trips with miles and points to get big travel with small money.” And they interviewed us! You know what that means, right? We’re FAMOUS, y’all!

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Sharon (L) and Joe (R) (because we know you really needed us to specify who was who) at the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge at sunset, October 2014

If you are visiting us for the first timeWELCOME! We are Joe and Sharon and we’re a married couple, originally from the northeast (he’s from NJ, she’s originally from Brooklyn, and then Staten Island, NY) but now living in Orlando, Florida. Joe is the one who is majorly into the points and miles and he writes most of our articles that have to do with miles, points, credit cards, airlines, hotels, tricks of the trade, etc. Sharon is the proofreader and tends to write the more diverse entries in the blog.

To give you a feel for us and what we write, here are examples of some of our posts from the past few months:

Miles & Points
 How not to be fooled by false point valuations
 The ways that miles and points are NOT equal.

Credit Cards
 Joe’s review of the Citi Prestige credit card.
 An explanation of why we have a Disney Rewards Visa card but hardly ever use it.

Hotels
 A comparison of using points vs. a credit card offer for our upcoming trip to Disneyland.
• When we stayed in the Towers of the Waldorf=Astoria in Manhattan before they closed for 3 years for renovations.
 Joe’s search for a hotel for our upcoming trip to Las Vegas, while negotiation resort fees, parking fees and taxes.

Airlines
 How we haven’t paid for a flight on Southwest Airlines since 2015.
 Joe’s excitement when he managed to get us flights to Charlotte for $25.

Theme Parks
Sharon’s report of where to look (and where not to look!) for discount tickets to Walt Disney World.
A #TBT, going back to April 2005, when we visited Nara Dreamland, a knock-off of Disneyland, which was operational in Japan from 1961 to 2006.
 The time when we got to throw beads from a Mardi Gras float at Universal Studios Florida.

Our Travels and Experiences (an eclectic mix of places we’ve seen and things we’ve done that we find interesting – they’re oftentimes a little bit unusual or off the beaten path)
 When Joe got to go to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiere screening and after-party for their new season.
 How thrilled we were when we managed to get a reservation for the Pan Am Experience.
• A #TBT, looking back at September 2002, when we got to eat dinner inside the Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World.

Info for Newbies and Those Who Don’t Travel Often
• What to bring on a trip and what to leave home.
 Hacks for managing hotel room thermostats.
 What Sharon did when an airline broke something in her luggage.

So yeah, that’s us. We’d love if you would decide to hang around and click the button on the top of this page to follow our blog and get emailed notifications of when we post. We’ve got some cool topics planned in the next few weeks, which run the gamut from which credit card we recommend to use outside of the U.S., to our visit to Salzburg Austria to see places where they filmed “The Sound of Music,” to some interesting summer hotel promotions we’ve seen, to a lighthearted look at Sharon’s “Photobombs Around the World” series of pictures, to a discussion of when is the best time to buy airfare. Whether you’ve read our posts before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!

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We were able to get on a special queue for this photo op at Walt Disney World a couple of years ago because of having our Disney Visa card. Perks like that are one of the reasons why we keep it.

For Newbies: When An Airline Breaks Something In Your Luggage

I went to New York with a friend not long ago, just for a couple of days, to see a bunch of Broadway shows. We were only going to be out of town from Tuesday to Friday morning, for about 70 hours total, so we were able to get away with just using carry-on luggage, thereby saving us the time of having to pick up our luggage from baggage claim, as well as the worry of them losing our bags or breaking something in them.

Since I grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island, whenever I’m in Manhattan, the times when we’re not in shows are generally dedicated to food – either the yummy things, like Continue reading “For Newbies: When An Airline Breaks Something In Your Luggage”