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

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Dubrovnik: Day 1

We were in no hurry to start the day due to our prior evening late arrival.  In the later morning we were out the door for lunch and decided on one of our favorite, affordable stops: Presa

The menu is simple and straightforward - the burgers are out of this world and it's not uncommon to have more than you can finish.

After lunch we walked the main street and square stopping in at the Dubrovnik Cathedral:

We also walked by the eastern edge of the city near the water:

The old city has many levels to explore and there is plenty of walking and stairs:

We also decided to enjoy some time on the cliff overlooking the sea with many boats and kayakers by stopping in at Buza Bar - finding it can be a bit of a trick but it's worth it:

Where to go for dinner?  There are so many great choices and we decided on one near the main square called Buffet Kamenice. We followed up our meal with some dessert at Zuzori where I had to try the strawberry and apple pie:

Walking the streets in the evening is quite an experience - can't put it into words:

Monday, July 29, 2019

Dubrovnik/Tallinn Vacation: DBV Arrival

Vacation is here!

I've learned over the years that constructing trips on multiple tickets can be tricky, especially in the summertime.  Many people are traveling and flight options are not always uniformly available.  For this trip, since we decided to use points, I had the additional challenge of an itinerary with a middle transition flight.  I decided it was best to use points for that rather than try to match the entire thing. So our plan was EWR-FRA-DBV; followed by TLL-BRU-EWR.  To get from Dubrovnik to Tallinn we booked a separate award ticket using United miles via Istanbul on Turkish Airlines (new Star Alliance carrier!): DBV-IST-TLL.  This would also mean we would get to visit the brand new Istanbul Airport and lounges.  The map looks like this (you can click on all pictures to make them larger):

The Frankfurt to Dubrovnik segment included a 9+ hour layover in Frankfurt airport.  We took advantage of the Lufthansa lounge (food, drink, nap):

Arrival to Dubrovnik was in the evening.  Flying into smaller airports is certainly a plus since there are no wait times and passport control is quick.  This view was particularly nice:

We didn't have a bus option to get into the city given the late arrival time, so we decided on an Uber (which was really a taxi but requested through the app) for the 30 minute ride.  The Buza Gate was busy when we got into town, and our lodging, Rooms Megi, was only a 5 minute walk.  Time to crash.

Friday, July 12, 2019

New card in wallet: Barclays AA Aviator Red

Pretty excited to add a new card to my points earning wallet, that being the Barclays American Airlines Aviator Red card.  Normally I might hesitate to add a card for AA, though I couldn't pass this one up - the current offer on the card is 60,000 miles at sign up with no spending requirement, only one purchase within 90 days.  It's a bit of a no-brainer.

Additional card benefits:

- No foreign transaction fees
- 25% in-flight savings
- Anniversary Companion certificate
- $25 statement credit for inflight wifi
- 2x miles for AA flight purchases

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

How best to manage points accrual via credit card

It's no secret that much of the points/miles game is played by signing up for credit cards - the signing bonuses on many of the most popular cards (i.e. Sapphire Reserve, Amex Platinum, etc) are enough to get you started on planning for special trips pretty much anywhere.  But the caveat always is to make sure you manage your card spend wisely.  This article from Marketwatch is especially pertinent:

The numbers are a bit staggering.  $870 billion in debt is downright awful.  The best advice - pay off your card every month.  If you can't do that, then you probably shouldn't use one.  The only real way to get value out of the points you gain is to use cars for normal, everyday spend. If you were already going to the grocery store, then you might as well swipe to get the points.  And please don't use a debit card - they are notoriously bad for security and get you nothing but a live feed to your checking/savings account that could be compromised.  

If done properly the points/miles game from cards can be profitable and open the door to many trips - be smart and play the game the right way!

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Upcoming vacation: Dubrovnik and Tallinn!

July is here and I'm excited about travel planned later in the month.  Using a combination of points and dollars, we'll be heading back to Dubrovnik for a summer visit and also flying to Tallinn.  I'm looking forward to seeing Dubrovnik in the summertime, since our last visit occurred in the off-season when many places were closed.  Along the way we'll also get a chance to transit the new Istanbul airport which I suspect will be a bit grander than Ataturk. 

The countdown is on...