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Should I Join a Frequent Flyer Program

Back in 2008, I joined my first frequent flier program. Despite having traveled around the world for close to two years, I never saw the value in signing up for one – I’d always been more concerned with price than brand loyalty, so I switched…

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Joining a frequent flyer program is important and very valuable if you fly often.  Saving you money, making booking easier and enjoying in all the perks related to frequent flyer programs, you will be a happier traveler for sure.

Back in 2010, I joined my first frequent flyer program. Despite having traveled around the world for close to two years, I never saw the value in signing up for one – I’d always been more concerned with price than brand loyalty, so I switched networks and carriers all the time. The lowest price always won.

Another reason I had never signed up before? All my favorite carriers are spread out over different alliances. Japan Airlines (JAL) is on the Oneworld network, while Singapore is on Star Alliance. Emirates Airline, the carrier that makes me salivate the most, isn’t on any of these networks.

Yet back in 2010 I realized that as I was going to fly around the world more, blogging as I went, it was probably a good idea to join an airline alliance – racking up miles, earning upgrades, and getting lounge access was probably a good idea for someone who was going to be in an airport every few weeks.

Over the years, I’ve been a member of all the alliances and my opinion about these programs has changed since I first wrote about them in 2008. Last year, I wrote about why people should not be members of frequent flier programs. Sure, you should always sign up for the program to get the points, but if you aren’t flying enough to hit elite flier status, then you should base your decisions on price. Go with the lowest price and when you do get miles, exchange them for a free flight.

But if you do think you are going to fly enough to make it worth it, you should totally join a frequent flyer program. The lowest tiers in the program, while not great, usually start at 20,000 flown miles.

You can read a lot of opinions on which program to join. Some people will say to join them all, others will tell you to join the ones with your favorite carriers, and others believe you should join the one with the major airline in your home town. I’m of the last opinion. The right alliance to join is the one on which you will most likely earn elite status.

This year I switched from Oneworld to Star Alliance. I did so because I was supposed to move to Europe and the major airline out of Stockholm is SAS, a Star Alliance member. But now that I’ve moved back to the States? I’ve switched back to American, a Oneworld carrier, because they have a hub at JFK and I like them better than United, who is part of Star Alliance.

I strongly recommend that if you are going to be traveling a lot, you stick to one alliance and earn elite flier status. Your status will last 14 months, so even if you don’t fly a lot the following year, you can still reap the benefits for a little while longer.

Because there is nothing like seeing the line for security check-in and realizing you can whiz right on past it or sit in a comfortable lounge with free drinks to make the flying experience infinitely times better.

 

 

 

Check out the full article over at NomadicMatt

Photos Courtesy of Baltia, dailyMail

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Travel

Costco Has A Travel Site… And It’s Pretty Great

Not many people may be aware of this, but Costco has a travel site. And it’s actually full of great deals!

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Not everyone has a Costco membership… but we all know Costco. We’ve all been to Costco, we all get Costco. It’s equally one of the greatest and weirdest places you’ll ever buy groceries. But there’s a lot more to Costco than just groceries! 

One thing about Costco that most people probably don’t know, is that with that membership you can also get great deals through their travel website. That’s right… Costco has a travel website! And it’s actually pretty amazing. Here are some of the awesome things you should know about it:

THE PACKAGES

The Costco travel website offers a bunch of great travel packages to places like Maui, The Dominican Republic, Vegas, and even Walt Disney World. The Walt Disney World package is especially great and includes tickets to the park, a room with a view of the park, and, of course, covers all fees and taxes. You can also add a FastPass to your package for not much more money to skip those crazy lines.

BARGAINS ABOUND

There are all sorts of crazy bargains to be found through the site, but one of the best ones is for the Villa del Palmar Flamingos resort in Mexico. It’s a gorgeous beachfront resort with a, get this, 17,000-square-foot spa. That’s huge! You can get four nights in a junior suite for only $259 per person. And that includes ground transportation!

CRUISES

The site is also a great source for deals on cruises on 12 different cruise lines (including Disney, of course). Cruise destinations include Europe, Australia and New Zealand, Asia, Alaska, the Mediterranean, the Caribbean, Bermuda, the Bahamas, the South Pacific, Mexico and South America, to name just a few.

GUIDED TOURS

You can also get set up with some great guided tour based vacations that are ideal for group vacations. This is also a Disney affiliated perk through their “Adventures by Disney” company. You can explore Costa Rica, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Peru, and Spain. I can only imagine how much fun a Disney-run tour of those places must be!

And those are just the most obvious benefits of the Costco travel site! There are plenty of other bargains and money saving tips to be found. So if you’re already a member you should definitely check it out. And if you’re not a member, what are you waiting for?! Get to it!

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Travel

The Best Holiday Gifts For The Traveling Man

If you’re having trouble finding a gift for the man in your life that loves to travel, look no further than these perfect suggestions!

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We all know at least one. The guy who seems to be traveling every few months. They just can’t help themselves! They need to see the world and they need to see it now. So, with the holidays right around the corner, we thought we’d help you out by giving you some great gift ideas for the men in your life that love to travel. Take our word for it, they will love every single one of these items!

YETI RAMBLER 30 OZ. TUMBLER

Nobody loves staying hydrated more than frequent travelers! Whether they want to keep their water cold or their coffee hot, Yeti has some of the best products and this particular tumbler is one of the best on the market. It can be used for week-long camping trips, way-too-long flights, tailgating, you name it. They also look pretty awesome if I do say so myself.

72-HOUR MERINO TEE BY HUCKBERRY

Huckleberry is one of the lesser-known men’s wear brands out there, but that should really change. Especially when it comes to gear designed for travel. Take, for example, this amazing merino tee. It was specifically designed so it can be worn 3 days in a row! How perfect is that for those long travel days where you sometimes go well over 24 hours without access to a shower.

And get this… it’s also available in a long-sleeve version!

GOPRO HERO

GoPro’s almost seem like a thing of the past these days as we don’t hear about them all that much anymore. But make no mistake, they are still very cool. And they’ve only gotten better over the years. Their latest version, the GoPro HERO is truly amazing. It’s waterproof, comes with voice control, and features jaw-dropping stability regardless of whatever rocky terrain you may be traveling on while documenting.

So if your travel dude loves to livestream his adventures or recap them in videos after the fact, this is the perfect holiday gift for them.

RENEW LIGHTWEIGHT HOODED PUFFER JACKET BY EVERLANE

A good, durable jacket can be a literal lifesaver in some climates. But it can also be so hard to find the right one! Well, look no further than this perfect puffer jacket from Everlane. It’s reversible, surprisingly lightweight, and can be zipped into it’s own travel pouch, making it extremely easy to pack. This really is a must-have for any serious traveller.

LUMINA 5200 MAH ULTRA COMPACT PORTABLE CHARGER

It doesn’t matter how much we fight it, we simply can’t survive without our devices any more. We need them! Even if it’s just to play games to pass the time. But traveling is one of the easiest ways to accidentally let your battery run out.

That’s why a portable charger like this one from Lumina is vital to any successful travel experience. It’s one of the more affordable portable chargers out there and it comes with a lifetime warranty. It’s also available on Amazon so it couldn’t be easier to buy.

COMRAD COMPRESSION SOCKS

For whatever reason, foot comfort is one of the often overlooked elements of successful and enjoyable travel experiences. I don’t know why so many of us forget to take of our feet. We do use them to walk everywhere! But so many of us still do.

That’s why these compression socks from Comrad make such a simple yet perfect gift for the traveling man. They provide comfort, warmth, support, circulation, and can even prevent swelling. These really are a must-have.

HERSCHEL SUPPLY CO. BAGS

These Herschel Supply Co. bags most easily found at Nordstrom are the most affordable and durable bags out there. The duffel bag is ideal because it’s has all the room he’ll need but is still small enough to be a carry on. And the travel kit bag makes organizing easy by providing multiple pockets to make it easy for him find whatever toiletry or grooming accessory he needs in a flash.

I’ve actually used both of these bags and I really love them.

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Travel

The Best Games To Bring Along On Your Next Vacation

Check out this short list of games that a great for any vacation.

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Those of us with kids know how important keeping our kids happy and occupied is. Sometimes we’ll do just about anything to avoid a tantrum and save our sanity. And this is especially true during a vacation! That’s why bringing along a game or two is always a good idea. So check out this short list of games that a great for any vacation.

BANANAGRAMS

Bananagrams is just a great game. Kind of like a kid-friendly Scrabble. You similarly create your own crossword puzzle as you go, but you’re not constricted to a boring old board. And it comes in a perfect little travel bag that you can practically fit in your pocket.

 

PASS THE PIGS

I’ve played this one and, trust me, it’s a blast! And like many other games on this list, it’s small and easy to pack. It’s a bit like Yahtzee as you literally “roll” two miniature pigs as if they were dice, and based on how they land you’re given points. First to 100 wins!

MAGNETIC GO! CHECKERS

If the picture and the name weren’t clear enough, this is basically just an easily collapsible and magnetic checkers board. So it can be busted out and enjoyed under just about any conditions. In the car, on a plane, or in the hotel. Checkers is still a great game and this is a great travel-friendly version.

FUNNYBONES

Funnybones is kind of like Jacks (does anyone even remember jacks anymore?!). But as old as jacks may seem, Funnybones was created years and years ago in Greece! It eventually spread around the world and has seen many iterations – all of them involving varies challenges of dexterity. But most importantly, it’s small and easy to pack!

CONNECT 4 GRAB AND GO

We all remember Connect 4. It’s a classic, simple, great game. This is just a compact version that can easily fit in a carry on bag. Great for delayed flights or rainy days in the hotel.

RACE ACROSS THE U.S.A.

What better game for a road trip than one about a race across the country?! What’s really fun about this board game is that you can get it customized! There’s a banner in the top left corner that you can have your family’s name put on. You can even personalize the player pieces to look like you and your family members! It’s also a simple and fun game that teaches kids a few things about this great country.

KURIO WATCH 2.0+

When it comes to distracting your kids and giving yourself a little peace and quiet it doesn’t get much better than the Kurio Watch 2.0+. It’s similar to your average smartwatch, but it has games on it! Some of them are even two-player games and watches can sync up if you want to get in on the fun. Plus they’re waterproof!

PROSECCO PONG

Ok, this one isn’t exactly kid-friendly. This game is definitely best suited for a girls trip! If you haven’t guessed by now, it’s exactly like beer pong but it involves 12 plastic recyclable champagne glasses and three pink ping pong balls. And, obviously, using Prosecco instead of beer is encouraged!

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