Author Archives: Tonei Glavinic

About Tonei Glavinic

Tonei Glavinic is an Alaskan travel expert, educator, social justice advocate, and digital nomad currently based in Mexico City. Find them on Twitter @tonei.

around-the-world-in-24-days

Around the World in 14 Days (Business Class Mistake Fares, Airbnbs & a Cooking Class)

Buenas dias everyone!

I’m a bit late on this, but I wanted to let you know that we started a round-the-world trip earlier this week and will be sharing some updates along the way.

After spending the weekend with some friends in Austin, we took off for Madrid in business class on an American 787-9 – booked with Citi Thank You Points and upgraded with AA System Wide Upgrades. (Four other friends were on our same flight, but we left them behind in Premium Economy…and then they left us behind at the Madrid airport!)

AA business class on the 787 Dreamliner. Photo from aa.com

AA business class on the 787 Dreamliner. Image from aa.com

We immediately hopped on a train to Valencia to visit a friend of my partner’s, crashing at an Airbnb for two nights, and are now on our way to spend two nights at the Holiday Inn Express Barcelona City 22@. Two other members of the group got to Barcelona yesterday, so tomorrow we’re doing the same EatWith cooking class that Whitney wrote about last week. On Friday, we’ll be taking a short flight to Algeria on Air Algerie, then hopping on a Qatar business class mistake fare to Hong Kong via Doha. (Two other friends will be on the ALG-DOH flight, and we’ll meet up with the other four in Doha and fly the rest of the way together). Continue reading

mexican-pesos-long-logo

How to Request Mexico Tourism Tax Refunds for Mexican Citizens, Residents & Transiting Visitors

Buenos dias!

If you or someone you know has a Mexican passport or resident card, they might be leaving money on the table when they purchase airline tickets to/from/through Mexico.

When you purchase a plane ticket to Mexico, the fare has a tourism tax built in – similar to US customs and immigration fees.  This fee goes toward the cost of immigration processing and the arrival / departure card required for foreign visitors. The fee is 390 Mexican Pesos, which is roughly $20 USD.

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax

Screenshot from ITA Matrix showing the Mexico tourism tax – exchange rate as of December 18, 2016.

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planes-trains-and-more-planes

Trip Report: Holiday Inn Express Heathrow T5

After spending a few days at the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale (trip report), we spent our last night in the UK at the Holiday Inn Express London – Heathrow T5, mostly to avoid an additional night of central London hotel prices.

Lobby of the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T5. Photo from ihg.com

Lobby of the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T5. Photo from ihg.com

Location: This hotel is located in Slough, a town just west of Heathrow Airport. It was a bit of a trek from our hotel in London – we had to take the Underground to Paddington Station, then paid £9.20 each to go one stop to Slough on a Great Western Railway train, then took a double decker bus about 20 minutes from the Slough railway station to this hotel. It’s located just off the M5 highway next to a water reservoir (not exactly an exciting location), and about 5 miles from the western edge of Heathrow airport.

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planes-trains-and-more-planes

Trip Report: London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale

After leaving Paris (read Trip Report: Holiday Inn Gare de l’Est, Paris and Trip Report: Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile), we headed to London as our next stop on our big winter trip.  We spent 3 nights at the London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale, a Category 7 hotel which I booked using 105,000 Marriott Rewards points (I transferred 35,000 points from my Starwood Preferred Guest account).

London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale. Photo from marriott.com

London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale. Photo from marriott.com

Location: The hotel is located in Northwest London, a short walk from the Kilburn Park Underground and Kilburn High Road Overground stations and about a 20-30 minute trip to central London via bus or train. It’s not far from Regents Park, the London Zoo, and Paddington Station. Continue reading

planes-trains-and-more-planes

Trip Report: Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile

We spent the second half of our time in Paris with four nights at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, the hotel whose mistake rate was the impetus for this entire trip.

Location: The Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile is a 950-room hotel located in the Palais des Congrès shopping and convention center in Paris’ 17th arrondissement, right on top of the Porte Maillot Metro/RER station within walking distance of the Arc de Triomphe and about a 15 minute train ride from central Paris. The hotel is currently undergoing a major renovation, which means a bit of extra walking to access the hotel through elevators and corridors that would normally be used for emergency exits or convention access, but the hotel has done a decent job of ensuring clear signage to help people navigate the spaces. We did get lost a few times when walking through the shopping center though – there are signs and floor markings to guide you from the hotel’s (currently closed) main entrance to the elevators that take you to the temporary lobby, but if you come in from a different entrance or are on the wrong level of the shopping center it can be tricky to find the right elevator.

Directional signs and arrows on the floor direct guests from the hotel's main entrance to the back elevators. Photo by the author.

Directional signs and arrows on the floor direct guests from the hotel’s main entrance to the back elevators. Photo by the author.

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