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.

Has the Dalai Lama Stayed at your Home Hotel? He Stayed at Mine!

Have you ever wondered which hotels famous people, dignitaries, or important international figures choose to stay in? I don’t usually ponder these questions, but recently, I had an experience that DID get me wondering. I hope you’ll enjoy this story about His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, staying at MY home hotel.

I’ve seen the Dalai Lama in person twice. Once was 20 years ago when he gave a talk in NYC. Then I saw him again 6 years ago when he gave a talk at the University of Hawaii. Earlier this year, the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) reached out to the Dalai Lama and asked if he’d give the commencement speech at graduation, and much to everyone’s surprise and delight, he accepted this invitation. So in mid-June, the Dalai Lama was in San Diego.

Image source: http://commencement.ucsd.edu/

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How to Avoid Common Mistakes when Booking Airline Tickets

Recently, my aunt sent me an article she saw online about mistakes people make when booking flights. The article was geared towards people who use cash for flights, though it did mention award tickets as well. Even though I prefer and mostly use miles and points for flights, I took a look at the article to see what it had to offer. And I also was curious to see if any valuable advice in that article was already offered here at TWG! It was, but they also left out one important piece of advice, geared to us miles/points folks.

The article talked about using the ITA Matrix Tool, which is a search engine tool for checking ticket prices. Grant did an extensive write-up and it’s a great tool to familiarize yourself with, whether or not you pay cash or use miles/points for tickets. The article warned people to always search multiple area airports when booking a ticket to see if fares change. That’s good to remember, whether using miles/points or paying cash. After all, New York has six airports! Positioning for a flight when you do use out of area airports is a topic I’ve talked about too.

The article encourages people to be flexible when booking both award and paid tickets. It says to use the calendar search function on the different airline websites and to try and catch some spontaneous travel deals as well. The last mistake the article talks about is making silly errors. We’ve all heard about people who mistakenly booked a flight to Portland, Maine, (PWM), when they meant to book a flight to Portland, Oregon, (PDX). Another mistake that’s easy to make is to not pay attention when a flight departs. We want to see 1pm when we make the flight choice, but it actually says 1am :(

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Hawaiian Airlines Adds 3 New Routes: PDX-OGG, OAK-LIH & LAX-KOA (Departing Early 2018)

Who doesn’t like hearing about MORE flights being added to Hawaii? And on top of that good news, Hawaiian Airlines has introductory price deals on these offers! What’s also nice is that these added flights are to Maui, Kona, and Lihue so you can try some of the other islands if you’ve already been to Oahu. My favorite island has always been Maui, and now that Hyatt opened up the Andaz Maui, it seems to be a lot of people’s favorite island too :)

Image source: https://www.hawaiianairlines.com/

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AutoSlash Newsletter: Is your Rental Car Company Spying on You?

I don’t know about you, but I would say on a scale of one to ten, I’m probably a ten when it comes to protecting my privacy. I like to know who is gathering information about me, what information they are gathering, and how they are using it. Even if you’re not very high on the privacy scale, this article by AutoSlash (Is Your Rental Car Spying on You? The Story of Connected Rental Cars) is a great read. I like many of the articles that appear on the AutoSlash newsletters because the AutoSlash team is insiders while not actually being a rental car company themselves. I think they do an excellent job of educating consumers, like you and me, on a wide variety of topics related to renting cars.

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PSA: Free Checked Bags on Alaska Airlines by Linking BofA Credit Card to Mileage Plan Number

Do you fly Alaska Airlines? Do you have the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card? Do you ever pay to check your bag when you fly Alaska Airlines? Something strange happened to me recently when I flew Alaska Airlines, and I just figured out what happened! For years I flew on Alaska Airlines, and if I checked a bag, I was charged a checked bag fee and paid for it. Then for a few years, I had Alaska Airlines MVP Gold elite status and got used to not paying for checked bags. That was nice! After those status days ended, I had a few flights where I got charged for checked bags and paid the fee. However, for my last five flights where I’ve needed to check a bag, I wasn’t charged a fee. I had no idea why, and I almost didn’t want to know :)

But recently, I put the pieces of the puzzle together and I want to make sure you’re in the know too! You see, I’ve also had the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card for years, and because everyone focuses on the Companion Fare benefit, it’s easy to forget, as I did, that the card also comes with one FREE checked bag for you and up to six other passengers on your reservation.

Somehow I completely forgot about the free checked bag benefit

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