Category Archives: Trip Reports


Trip Planning and Award Booking for South America: Bogota, Buenos Aires & Iguazu Falls

Good morning and buenos dias amigos!  This weekend, I will be heading to South America for a week.  First stop is Bogota, Colombia, then down to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and then onto Iguazu Falls (on the border of Argentina and Brazil).  Here is how we planned the trip (Great Circle Mapper):

  • SFO-DFW-BOG in economy on American Airlines using 20,000 AA miles + $26.20 taxes/fees
  • BOG-EZE-IGR in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas using 25,000 KLM miles
  • IGR-EZE in economy on Aerolineas Argentinas for $140.70
  • EZE-MIA in business + MIA-ORD-SFO in first on American Airlines for 57,500 AA miles + $93.46 taxes/fees


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Got any Questions for a Professional Uber & Lyft Driver? Ask them Here!

Are you an Uber fan? Or maybe you’re Uber’s biggest critic? Or maybe you’ve had mixed experience with the ride-sharing economy. I’d put myself in this last category.

A buddy of mine is a ride-sharing expert, who not only drives for Uber and Lyft, but he also teaches courses to other drivers, helping them navigate the business aspects of ride-sharing.

I’ve got an interview set up with him, but I wanted to get your input on what questions YOU would like answered. I’ll be asking him questions about:

  • His driving experience (the good, the bad & especially the ugly)
  • The driver rating and tipping systems
  • The dreaded surge pricing (boo!)
  • Is Uber/Lyft a viable business for drivers?

If you were the one talking with a ride-sharing expert, what questions would you ask him? Let me know in the comments below!  I will summarize his answers and share the results in a future blog post.  Stay tuned and buckle up!


Shelli’s World Coffee Tour – First Stop, San Diego

People sometimes think I’m strange. And sometimes I’m sure I give them reason! But often my “strangeness” leads to great ideas. Or at least what I hope will be great ideas :)

Like for instance, this series of blog posts I’m writing for TWG.

The idea started a few days ago. Alexander from The Points of Life wrote, Stumptown Coffee NYC: What A Wait and I immediately emailed him to tell him about a great place for espresso in Philadelphia. After all, he was in NYC and Philly is close by!

Then over at Points with a Crew, Ian wrote, “May I charge my phone from your laptop?”  Sure, sure, he’s writing about his dilemma and whether or not to allow a stranger to use his laptop to charge a phone, but all I could think of was……….WHAT ARE YOU DOING AT STARBUCKS?

So I emailed Ian and told him if he wanted to know 3 great coffee houses within minutes of the Hyatt Regency Vancouver BC, to let me know.

I guess it’s time for a true confession. I’m a coffee snob. And when I travel, I have a passion for supporting local roasters and coffee houses. Let’s just say I’ve BEAN Around the World and I’m feeling like now is the time to start sharing the love…..and caffeine.

Grant introduced me to his readers as a woman who embodies “healthy traveling,” and I’m sure by now you’ve heard that coffee is a health food. So let’s create the TWG Cafe Society and talk coffee. Every so often, I’ll even throw in a few of the best places to enjoy chai! Continue reading


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

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

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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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

London Marriott Hotel Maida Vale. Photo from

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