Author Archives: Shelli

About Shelli

Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to Travel with Grant, you can find her at Joy in Movement.

My Cold Brew Favorites from the Coffee Lover’s Kitchen

My Bean Around The World series is offering up some Coffee Lover’s Kitchen recipes today! Not only has cold brew coffee become popular, but it’s the summer season here in the northern hemisphere and many people turn to cold coffee drinks to cool them down. First off, let’s not confuse cold brew coffee with ice coffee – they are not the same. Ice coffee is simply putting ice in your coffee beverage. Cold brew is different and easy to make, so it’s fun to try at home. By using cold or tepid water (not hot) to brew your coffee, that causes the beans to extract different oils and compounds. So you’ll have different tastes from the same beans if all you change is the temperature of the water!

All you need is a mason jar and a metal strainer or French press pot to make your basic cold brew concentrate. In the old days, this was called Toddy coffee. Anyone out there remember this? Use 1 part coffee to 5 parts water. Coarsely grind the coffee and mix it with cold (preferably filtered) water and put it in a jar or French press. Let it sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours and then strain it. Keep it in the fridge and use within 2 weeks time. You can dilute the concentrate 1:2 parts with water or any other liquid such as milk. Of course, adjust this to your personal preference.

Cold Brew Coffee. Image source: http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/cooking/a33597/how-to-make-cold-brew-coffee/

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My 2 Favorite Hotels for Chase Hyatt Credit Card Anniversary Free Night Certificates

Last month, Ben at One Mile At A Time wrote a post about his choices for the best uses of your Chase Hyatt Credit Card anniversary free night certificates. But I think he left out two great choices in the states and one of them is a hotel I’ll be using mine at this year. As a reminder, each year Hyatt gives its cardholders an anniversary free night certificate. It can be used at any Hyatt category 1-4 hotel. There are some exclusions, but as Ben pointed out, there are still plenty of awesome choices all over the world. He did list the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, which is one of my favorite hotels in Vancouver, BC.

King room at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.
Image source: https://vancouver.regency.hyatt.com/en/hotel/our-hotel.html

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PSA: Southwest Airlines Travel Funds can Only be Used by the Passenger Named on the Ticket

Grant is the Southwest Airlines maven around here, so you’d think I would know better. But I just had an epic fail with Southwest Airlines and want to save you from making the same mistake and losing money. In my defense, and really there is no defense for letting this happen, I must at least let you know that I rarely fly Southwest Airlines. A while ago, I bought a ticket for a Southwest Airlines flight which I ended up cancelling. That part was easy and the dollar amount was put into a Southwest Airlines travel fund (read How to Cancel Southwest Airlines Flights (Paid or Points) & View Travel Funds).

But these funds do expire, so I was keeping track of the expiration date. I was super close to having the travel funds expire and voila, I had a Southwest Airlines flight I needed to book that I could use my Southwest Airlines travel funds for. But my epic fail was not remembering that the funds can ONLY be used for the individual named on the ticket. That was me! So when I went to book a flight, I wanted to get two tickets (for my 2 friends) and it wouldn’t go through. I couldn’t figure out what the issue was, but Grant knew the answer. Continue reading

What do I do When I’m Stumped Booking an Award Ticket?

Do you ever get frustrated when you’re booking an award ticket? Or trying to use points for hotel rooms? Or are those the stupidest questions ever? Of course you do. I do, we all do.  Even Grant gets his knickers in a twist every now and again when booking his travels!

A few months ago, Jennifer at Jetsetter’s Homestead wrote about what to do when your seat assignment sucks, as well as other travel mistakes she’s made. I like her writing style because she’s honest about when things go wrong and when she forgets to use her own best practices, but she’s also proactive about fixing situations as best she can. She talks about screwing up seat assignments, having to sometimes switch flights, and other costly mistakes she has made, and it got me thinking about the cost of travel, especially travel using miles and points, that goes beyond the fees we pay that are tacked onto award tickets or hotels booked with points. There’s a cost to the time we spend researching and actually booking our flights. The cost time ratio is one we all have to figure out.

I’m busy, both professionally and personally, as I’m sure you are too. And while I take enormous pleasure in the awesome privilege of traveling, it’s the travel and the planning of what to see and explore that actually brings me pleasure, not booking the trips. I know for some, it’s the game of accruing miles and points that’s the most fun. And for others, it’s the hunt for the perfect award space or crazy routing that’s possible on award trips. But I’m in neither of those camps. My camp is called Camp Get Me There In Business Class With A Lie Flat Seat. I have a feeling (due to the lack of business class award seats), that my camp is full of people just like me :)

Lufthansa A380 Lie Flat First Class Seat.
Image source: https://www.businesstraveller.com/news/2015/01/11/lufthansa-a380-what-you-need-to-know/

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The Real Story Behind the Siesta Culture

When you’re in certain European countries, thanks to the concept of a midday siesta, conducting business or even going out for a meal can be a challenge. Recently, when I was in Florence, I needed to go to a travel agency to see about purchasing a train ticket. The staff at the hotel told me they better call ahead because at this hour (it was about 1pm) the agency would likely be closed for the long siesta midday lunch. Sure enough, the agency was closed and I was told to go there much later in the day. I wasn’t really sure if the siesta idea was followed outside of the smaller towns and cities, but judging from my most recent trip to Europe, it’s definitely still being honored.

But this article explains it all: the history of the siesta concept, as well as its current status. Did you know it didn’t even originate in Spain? It was imported from Italy! How those Italians can take a midday nap after all that espresso is beyond me :)

Anyway, I think this article is a fun read and hope you will too!