Flying Domestically? Get Ready For Tighter TSA Screening Procedures

Traveling domestically by plane in the near future? Well, get ready to possibly spend a whole lot more time in the X-ray line because the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is going to be introducing new U.S. airport screening procedures for carry-on bags on domestic flights in order to better focus on possible threats to passenger safety.
Continue reading “Flying Domestically? Get Ready For Tighter TSA Screening Procedures”


Credit Card Review: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express

One of the first cards I applied for when I started collecting miles and points seriously was the Starwood Preferred Guest Card from American Express (let’s agree to call it the SPG AMEX from here on out, OK?). At the time, I read several websites saying how valuable Starpoints were and one of the only ways to earn them was by getting and using this card.

Here are some of the benefits of the card and why, despite the lack of bonus categories and benefits, I’ve kept it, year after year. Hint: Starpoints are still really valuable!

Continue reading “Credit Card Review: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Cards from American Express”

Imagine…Floating In A Canal…In Your Own Hot Tub (yes, really!)

Just think of it – a wood-fired hot tub that’s actually a boat that can be sailed or powered by an engine. Sounds cool, huh? Believe it or not, it’s already happening! Travel fans, let us introduce you to the Hot Tug!
Continue reading “Imagine…Floating In A Canal…In Your Own Hot Tub (yes, really!)”

ROAD TRIP! Easy Ways To Find Out What’s At The Next Exit

Years ago, before smart phones were a thing, you were fairly limited in finding out what was coming up next on those long highways. Oh sure, you’d see the blue highway signs that would tell you the next rest stop was in 27 miles, or there was an amusement park, a KOA Campground and a Wawa at exit 7A. Your AAA triptych would give you some idea of what was on the way, too, but overall you were pretty limited when it came to details, especially if you were further out than just a couple of miles away.

Back in the 90s, Joe and I, along with our friend Steve, used to do a lot of road trips. We all lived in the NY/NJ/Philadelphia area at the time and visited Niagara Falls, Williamsburg VA, Cape May NJ, Cedar Point, a Disney convention in MA, and a bunch of other places. Steve had a book called The Next Exit, which had a listing of everything at, you guessed it, the next exit. Food, gas, lodging, camping, shopping, you name it. Let me tell you, that book was super important to us when we did road trips, because it had listings for every exit of every U.S. Interstate Highway in the contiguous United States, so we could know specifically where to find a Wendy’s or Holiday Inn Express (Joe may have already been doing the “points” thing), or if the next gas station was a name brand or not.

It wasn’t until the advent of smart phones that this information was at your fingertips, and even now, if you’re in a remote area without much signal and no way to become your own hot spot, you might still be out of luck. Plus, of course, you have to know where to look – I mean, if you’re on the I-90 in Anystate USA, have a picky eater in the car and want to know what restaurants are at a rest stop 2 hours ahead of you so you can plan lunch, where do you look to find out? Well, as the (not so) old saying goes, “There’s an app for that!” (and sometimes a book, too!)
Continue reading “ROAD TRIP! Easy Ways To Find Out What’s At The Next Exit”

How To Find Cheap Airfare

We’ve seen several people who have mentioned looking for advice to find cheap airfare, so we knew it was a topic we needed to address. Not knowing exactly how to start this post, I did what most people would do when asking the question, “How do I find cheap airfare?” I asked the interwebs.

The first few hits were from Online Travel Agencies like Expedia and Kayak. Not exactly what I was looking for. The next few hits were articles, so I checked out what they had to say and I found the same tips on several of these websites:

  • Be flexible with your travel dates
  • Be flexible about where you want to go
  • Fly budget airlines

Nope, nope and nope. So much for that approach.

Continue reading “How To Find Cheap Airfare”

What’s The Strangest Thing You’ve Seen In A Hotel Room?

Most hotel stays are uneventful and that’s a good thing. Occasionally you’ll have a memorable stay at a really nice place and other times you’ll endure a night somewhere that “did not live up to expectations” and that’s life.

Sometimes you win and find a hotel like Chambers Park Place in Leeds, UK
Other times you end up staying at the Holiday Inn Kensington Forum in London, UK – just look at that modern telly, the spacious beds and the 12″ of space between the two. At least the TV worked during our second stay. Yes, we stayed there more than once. Totally not our fault – it was part of a package arrangement when we sang at the Royal Albert Hall.

However, there can also be that hotel you remember for that ONE thing that made it, different or unique or just flat out weird. I’m not talking about cultural differences like a bidet or tea kettle. I’m talking about things you’ve never seen before.

With some contributions from our friend Steve, here are some of the things we’ve found in hotel rooms that to this day make us scratch our heads in bewilderment.

Continue reading “What’s The Strangest Thing You’ve Seen In A Hotel Room?”

How To Avoid Crazy Toll Charges When Renting A Car in Orlando

When you rent a car, there are almost always costs not included in the advertised price. Sales tax. Vehicle license recovery fee. Customer facility charge. Concession recovery fee. Parking surcharge. Insurance charge. An added fee if you’re under 25 years old. An added fee for additional drivers. Upcharges for satellite radio and car seats. Stuff like that. In Orlando, as is the case in other cities, the cost of a toll transponder is often quietly added on, as well. And folks, it ain’t cheap!
Continue reading “How To Avoid Crazy Toll Charges When Renting A Car in Orlando”