Bicoastal Disney Openings, Visiting Liverpool With A Beatle, A New Way To Search for Flights & More

And here it is, Sunday again. Hope y’all have had a good week! Here are some travel articles we’ve recently seen that we think you may enjoy.

  • Nick at Frequent Miler wrote about a new search function on one of my favorite websites, Google Flights. You’re now able to search for airfares that allow you to put a carry on bag in the overhead bin. So it’ll eliminate basic economy fares that don’t allow bin access and add the bag charge to flights that charge extra for the privilege (like Spirit and Frontier).
  • Caroline from Frugal Travel Guy wrote about the best places to stay in Cuba on points and miles. The hotels available for points redemption are slim if you are an American who can even visit under the current travel restrictions. Personally, I’d strongly suggest staying at a casa particular instead of a chain resort. You can go to any island in the Caribbean and stay at a resort. If you’re going to Cuba, spend some time with the people. You’ll never forget it.
sharon-and-joe-in-cuba
Sharon & Joe in Havana, March 2016

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How Disney Workers Feel About Their Jobs, Google’s Messing With Travel Software & More

It’s been a busy week in the world of travel and particularly in regards to points and miles. The Daily Getaways sales are happening, well daily. Hotels are launching their promos for the next few months and a huge announcement from Marriott and SPG about the future of their programs is imminent.

Here’s what else happened this week that caught my eye:

Continue reading “How Disney Workers Feel About Their Jobs, Google’s Messing With Travel Software & More”

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”

The Prices For Flights Drives Me Insane

I’ve booked a fair amount of airfare over the years and always try to get the best price for the flights I wanted. At first I used a program called Easy SAABRE (anybody else remember that one?), that linked into the same system used by travel agents to book flights. I remember the amazement in my travel agent’s voice when I would call her and feed her the flights I wanted to take and told her what the price should come out to be.

Alas, the days of IBM PC computers, 2400 baud modems and airlines changing fares once a week are long gone. Now prices can change from one second to the next, depending if there’s a change of any one of many factors that go into the formula the airline uses to set their price.

So how do you beat the system?

Continue reading “The Prices For Flights Drives Me Insane”

Five Reasons Why I Was Going to Book A Flight On Allegiant, & Five Reasons Why I Didn’t

I’ve flown on a bunch of different domestic airlines in my lifetime. Off the top of my head, I’ve flown on Delta, United, American, JetBlue, Virgin America, Southwest, Alaska, Hawaiian, Silver, Continental, US Airways, Eastern, America West, TWA, Northwest, People’s Express, TED, Song and Midwest Express (am I showing my age?). So when it came to booking a flight on Allegiant, why did I have second thoughts? Continue reading “Five Reasons Why I Was Going to Book A Flight On Allegiant, & Five Reasons Why I Didn’t”

How will we get to New York? Oh, hello companion ticket!

Sharon and I just finished a very quick trip to NYC. We left on a Friday morning and returned late Sunday night. We don’t usually take such short trips but we had snagged impossible-to-get ticket for the Broadway show Hamilton. I’ll break the trip up into segments because I think each one is interesting on its own merits. The one in boldface is the one I’m focusing on today.

Now that we had tickets to see Hamilton, it was time for me to book our plane tickets to New York. I have a great deal of freedom in making airline choices to New York, as at least 6 different airlines fly there from Orlando. I also do not have any status with any airline so I don’t have to worry about upgrades, segments or mileage earning. Our only real requirement is that we will not fly an ULCC (Ultra Low Cost Carrier) such as Spirit or Allegiant (I’ll discuss that in another post sometime in the future).

I usually start searching using Google Flights, as this gives me a really quick look at what prices are available. Just be aware that Southwest Airlines does not list their prices anywhere but on Southwest.com.

Quick Tip: you can type in airport code NYC and Google Flights will search all 3 major airports. (LaGuardia, Kennedy and Newark). If you aren’t renting a car (which is not necessary and very expensive if you are only going to stay in and around Manhattan), then you can even fly into one airport on one airline and home from a different airport/airline, depending on price. Unfortunately, the days of cheaper pricing for round trip tickets are long gone.

It is usually at this time when I’ll also do a quick search to see if there are there are any award tickets available to book with frequent flyer miles. Hint: It is possible to book a one way ticket from Orlando to New York for only 7,500 miles. I’ll cover this in a later post. 

Well, there was no award space available and tickets were more than I wanted to pay. In cases like this when I’m not in a rush to book tickets, I’ll just wait. Airfares go up and down all the time. Patience is a virtue. You can even use websites like Yapta or Hipmunk to track specific flights and notify you when the price drops.

Since I knew the most likely flights I’d book, I did a quick look every day or so. Then it happened – a flight to LaGuardia Airport on Delta showed up for $166 round trip. BINGO! That’s well under my acceptable price. IMPORTANT REMINDER: If you know you are taking a trip and see an airfare which is great for you, BOOK IT NOW! Prices can change in an instant. Feeling unsure? In most cases airlines will let you cancel within 24 hours with no penalty. Taking my own advice, I stopped what I was doing and booked the ticket.

Getting to the payment page, I saw there was a prompt for me to click on for coupons/vouchers. I didn’t remember having any but I clicked on it anyway. Delta then reminded me that I had a voucher for a free companion ticket from having the Platinum Delta SkyMiles American Express card. While this card does have a hefty $195 annual fee, I picked it up when I got a special offer for 75,000 Delta miles in the mail. I didn’t plan on keeping the card for much longer but why not use the Companion Ticket I had earned. Sharon’s ticket was suddenly free (I just had to pay the taxes which came to $28). The total we had to pay for both our plane tickets to New York was $194.

Step one of planning our trip was complete: we knew when and how we were going to get to New York City. Now for the next step: where were we going to stay?