I think it comes down to numbers. To fly from point A to point B, there are only so many airlines you can fly on. When you get to your destination, there are only a limited number of rental car companies to choose from. When it comes to hotels, the options can seem endless.
There was a time when I had taken Spanish in school for 8 years and could have negotiated my way through a Spanish-speaking country with relative ease. And the first time I went to Japan, in 1994, I studied the basics from a book (Japanese in 10 Minutes A Day – it’s still in print!) for about 6 months before we went so I could converse a little bit. When we went to France back in the day, a friend of ours had a “point to the photo” communication tool that, when not in actual use, we used to play with to make bizarre sentences like, “There is a lobster eating soap in my toilet.” I’ve also been known to bring a small translation book, for excruciating word-by-word translation in the event of an emergency. But that was all back in the 80s and 90s and the electronic age has opened a whole new world in terms of communication in a foreign language. If you’re going to a country where they generally don’t speak English, here are some of the options that are currently available:
As you can tell, I like to travel (usually with Sharon). However for all of my advance planning and packing lists, there is one thing that I forget to bring almost every time. I’m not talking about a razor (like I forgot to bring on this last trip to Chicago) but something you always need at one point or another during a trip. Continue reading “One Important Thing To Bring When Traveling (In The U.S.)”
Keeping track of travel reservations can be quite a chore. You’ll have an email box clogged full of airlines, hotels, car rentals, trains, meetings, appointments, tickets and whatever else you’re planning for your trip. Back in the day, I used to keep a folder with printouts of all this information and brought it with me wherever we traveled. I also needed to bring a backpack full of maps and travel books. Now I’ve traded in that folder for a website and phone app that keep all of this information organized for me.
It’s been almost TWENTY YEARS (I can’t believe it) since I visited the city of Chicago and 13 years since Sharon did. We have a whole day on Saturday to sightsee and really have no idea what to do. Ed Debevics, Sharon’s favorite Chicago food spot, is closed. The one thing I wanted to do isn’t happening because the Chicago Cubs don’t plan their home game schedule around my trips. How dare they! 😉
I admit I was either an early or late adopter of Uber, depending on who you talk to. I had been aware of the service for quite a while, and requested my first ride back in 2014 (the car got caught in Manhattan traffic and we ended up taking a taxi instead). Out first actual “Uber” ride was in Australia and the Uber was in a taxi because in Australia that’s all they would allow Uber to book at the time.
Since then, Uber has pushed the boundaries and has rattled some entrenched monopolies in the process, including the Mears Taxi and Van service in our hometown of Orlando. I’m a huge fan of Uber (and Lyft) if for no other reason than the taxi monopolies needed to have some competition in order to raise the low service levels they were providing to customers. So when I found out I could earn valuable Starpoints good for the Preferred Guest program just for riding with Uber, I was thrilled. In a comment on Facebook, one of our readers also said something about how they like to earn Starpoints when using Uber, so I thought this tip might be helpful to other readers. Continue reading “Earning Starpoints When Riding With Uber”