...constantly searching to find the best travel deals and places to visit. A never-ending quest for adventure!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

American's AAdvantage program staying (mostly) the same for 2015

It's been making its way around all the blogs today, but I'm happy to share that American's frequent flyer program is staying (mostly) the same for 2015. And I say "mostly", since there are a few tweaks here and there with combining the US Airways accounts into AAdvantage. 

You can read more about the changes here.

I'm excited to see that the upgrade process is getting a bit more streamlined, and the ability to combine miles across accounts will happen in the second quarter of 2015. 

In the end, I think it's smart to focus on the merger for now - will be curious to see what changes will be ahead once its complete.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

2014 ILA Global Conference in San Diego this weekend!


I'll be doing some travel this weekend, but only to downtown as part of the ILA Global Conference being hosted by the University of San Diego at the Hilton Bayfront.  I'm also excited to be presenting as part of a panel on Sunday morning, along with colleagues from Temple University and Alvernia University.  Our panel will be looking at the following topic: Making an Impact: Leadership Development and the Branch Campus Model Worldwide.  We'll be joined by friends from Gonzaga to discuss this topic and leadership implications.

If you have a chance and are interested in leadership and professional development around leadership, feel free to stop down and register onsite!

You can find more information here.

A quick press link about our presentation was written here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Quick jaunt home

This weekend I'm making a quick jaunt home - I'll be visiting O'hare long with La Crosse Municipal while I go via American, so I don't have too many worries about the journey.  Weather should be excellent - mid 60's during the day, 40's at night.  If only San Diego could give me that!

I'll be reporting back if I run into any difficulties enroute, but I expect a smooth travel weekend.

Monday, October 20, 2014

10 things I never leave behind during international travel

I have a good routine in place for when I take a jaunt overseas.  In fact, I've been able to pack rather sparingly and only travel with one smaller-ish suitcase and a backpack for trips that end up being a week or longer.  For shorter trips, one bag is usually my preference.

My family members often ask me about how I end up preparing for these trips...I think they are curious how I could go so far and not bring more things. Light and nimble = always best in my book.

Here are my top ten things I typically don't leave home without (bringing or doing):

1. Bose Headphones - really helps for the loud children that sit near my seat and scream

2. Passport (and electronic copy) - necessary. And a backup via online portal just in case.

3. One debit card - I've had good success getting local currency at an airport ATM when arriving, and usually the exchange rate is better than what I'd get from ordering somewhere.  But I typically don't use much cash in-country...swiping a CC is safer and comes with buyer protection.

4. Travel clothes ala ExOfficio - why pack 10 when you can pack 2 and wash on the go?  Definitely saves space.

5. Earplugs - for sleeping on the way over

6. Intl Power adapters - helps in hotels/hostels and charges up my phone and iPad.

7. US wall plug adapter - I can't tell you how many times I end up needing to convert something from 3-prong to 2-prong...Apple power cords are near the top of the list!

8. Prepare my CC's - I make it a ritual to call my banks to let them know I'm traveling - I'd prefer not to be denied when I get in-country.  Don't forget to use a card with no foreign transaction fees!

9. Register - It never hurts to visit and register with the State Department STEP when traveling, just in case something happens. 

10. Camera - I don't always feel comfortable brandishing my iPhone, so my Sanyo 10MP camera still is a fave.  Got me pictures like this in Gimmelwald!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A fourth airline alliance? Etihad Partners

I received an email recently about a new program being put together by Etihad, called Etihad Airways Partners. From the looks of it, you could deduce that Etihad might be wanting to create its own special airline "alliance" based out of the Middle East.

You can read more about it here.

I'm not that opposed to such a notion - in fact, with American Airlines being an Etihad partner, there might be a future option to make use of a variety of different airline partners should they join in.  Making connections to Doha or even the Maldives is appealing for my travel options, and I imagine others would find similar synergies.

Can't wait to see how this is received - and if other airlines join!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

My next travel adventure: Uber!

I know it's not a glamorous flight or hotel, but I'm pretty stoked to have been recently approved to be an Uber driver!  My travel will be local to San Diego, and I'm excited to see how it works from the other "side".  I've used Uber for my own travel needs in the past and I know it's completely different when you are in the drivers seat.  Plus, I'm curious about the revenue aspects of this whole thing - I'm hopeful that my driving will earn me enough to plan some fantastic trips in the future!

Stay tuned for more info - I'll be posting about my first experiences once I have the hardware and am ready to go.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Planning my next trip: Zurich!

I make no attempt to hide the fact that I love visiting Zurich - it would be a dream for me to get a job and work in Zurich (maybe at the University!) down the road.  So I'm always planning for my next trip over - and if I'm lucky, I can squeeze in a side trip to Gimmelwald while I'm at it.

The trick is to find a good time to go.  Summer flights are typically so expensive that the only good option is to redeem miles if you can find the flights.  Also, summer in Gimmelwald is very busy, and finding a place to stay can be tricky.  I usually prefer to stay at the Mountain Hostel to save $, but they sell out quickly.  Another good option is Esther's Guesthouse - book early!  Jimmy tried to get me to hike the Schilthorn the last time we were there...begin your training early if you want to make the trek all the way up.

Miles/points options are plentiful for European travel.  Star Alliance seems to have the best choice, so using United.com to find availability is a great option.  OneWorld might also be possible, but watch out for fuel surcharges across the carriers.

For stays in Zurich proper, I try to use my Hyatt points at the Park Hyatt Zurich.  I also enjoy the Hotel Sunnehus, which is a bit off the trail but a quiet stay.  And breakfast is amazing.

But if you're looking for other options, I also like the IHG properties (you can use points if you get their credit card), located in and around the city center.  They occasionally run sales - for pre-flight departures, the Zurich Airport Holiday Inn is close.  For stays next to the main train station, there is a Crowne Plaza nearby.