Category Archives: Trip Reports

Trip Report: ANA 787 Business Class MEX-NRT

I had a work trip to Hong Kong in June, and I asked the people booking my ticket to put me on the new ANA nonstop from Mexico City to Tokyo-Narita. This flight launched earlier this year with ANA’s 787 Dreamliner, and is one of the only options to get to Asia from Mexico City without transiting the US (which requires early departures and long layovers). Luckily, the ticket got booked into a fare class that’s eligible for mileage upgrades, so I was able to use 28,000 ANA miles (transferred from Membership Rewards) to upgrade from Economy to Business.

I flew the reverse in economy in May coming back from Tokyo, so I was excited to see what business class would be like on this flight. The flight departs Mexico City at 2:20AM and arrives in Tokyo around 6:30AM the next day.

At the MEX Airport

I wasn’t able to print a boarding pass online for this flight. I arrived at MEX just before the cutoff time for checked bags, so there was no line at the ticket counter (but even if there had been, there was a separate checkin line for Business Class and Star Alliance Gold customers). Checkin was fast and efficient, and I was on my way to security in just a couple of minutes.

Since both of the Star Alliance lounges at MEX (Avianca and United) were closed at this hour, my boarding pass indicated that I could access the Grand Lounge Elite, a 24-hour Priority Pass lounge. The lounge was so far away from the gate though that by the time I went through security and had my immigration paperwork processed, it wasn’t worth trekking down to the lounge before the flight started boarding. I bought a big bottle of water (since there’s nowhere to fill a reusable bottle with drinkable water) and waited for boarding to start. Continue reading

Best Places to Eat on Oahu: Part 1

On my most recent trip to Hawaii, I was curious to see if there had been any additions or changes to the local coffee scene. After all, it has been a while since I wrote about the best places for coffee in Hawaii. There are no newcomers to the coffee scene worth mentioning, however, it is worth noting that Honolulu Coffee Company, which is my favorite, has expanded. They have taken over two spots at the Sheraton in Waikiki that were previously used by Peet’s Coffee. Strange but true, Peet’s Coffee did not make it in Hawaii.

So instead of writing about coffee in Hawaii, I decided to ask some local friends on Oahu what their favorite restaurants were. I’ve lived in Hawaii, so I have a few of my own to mention, but let’s start with their recommendations first. They did know that I’d be writing about their suggestions, so I asked them to keep in mind that many tourists don’t rent cars if they stay in Waikiki. We took this into account. Let’s start with the restaurants that are easily accessible if you stay in Waikiki.

Diamond Head Grill is for sure a local favorite. There’s not much space to sit and eat there. It’s best to take your food down to the beach or as a picnic in the park. Everyone, including me, loves their plate lunch. And their baked goods are good, too!

Diamond Head Market Grill lunch plate. Image source:

Continue reading

OC Travel Meetup Saturday, September 23 @ 12pm at Tustin District In-N-Out

Good afternoon everyone.  I am visiting my parents this weekend in Orange County, so I decided to do a miles and points meetup on Saturday afternoon.  If you are free this Saturday, I would love to meet you and talk travel, miles and points, MS, and blogging.

  • Where: 2895 Park Ave, Tustin, CA 92782 (Google Maps)
  • When: Saturday, September 23 @ 12-2PM

In-N-Out Tustin District Map

There is no need to RSVP to the OC Meetup, just show up at 12pm and be ready to talk talk travel.  I will do a reminder post later this week.  I hope to see some of you there!

Win a Free Trip to Italy from Blick Art Supply Store

Who doesn’t love an EASY opportunity to win a trip to Italy? Everyone who has been to Italy including me, wants to return. And everyone who hasn’t yet been, usually has Italy at the top of their bucket list.

Last week I was in my favorite art supply store, Blick, and saw this sweepstakes. Usually I don’t notice these things, but this one was for ITALY!

You can enter ONLINE or in the store. No purchase necessary. Contest ends October 1, 2017. And here’s the best part! The winner gets not just airfare for themselves and a guest, but also $4,000 to spend on whatever they’d like in the way of hotels and other travel expenses.

Besides DickBlick being an amazing and wonderful art supply store, this is a fantastic contest. So enter the sweepstakes now and promise me if you win, I’ll be your guest and if I win I’ll take you!

Good luck, everyone, and have a great day!

Review: SkyRoam Solis Global WiFi Hotspot & USB Power Bank

Full Disclosure: SkyRoam contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I would be willing to try out their new SkyRoam Solis Global WiFi Hotspot. SkyRoam also included 15 free WiFi day passes. I get to keep the device and all remaining day passes. The following review and photos are mine and have not been approved or solicited by SkyRoam.

Good morning everyone, happy Friday. Last week, I was in Iceland and had the opportunity to test out the new SkyRoam Solis Global WiFi Hotspot (referral link and coupon code at the bottom of this post). I used the SkyRoam Solis during my 5 day roadtrip around Iceland and at 4 different Airbnbs. I fully charged the SkyRoam Solis before the first day of use so I had a full day of battery. One of the really cool features of the SkyRoam Solis is that in addition to being a hotspot, it doubles as a USB power bank, that can charge phones, cameras, tablets, and other USB devices. Caution: If you use the SkyRoam Solis as a USB power bank, you will deplete the battery used to power the hotspot, so keep that in mind. Luckily, I was able to charge my iPhone in the car and use the SkyRoam Solis as a hotspot only.

SkyRoam Solis Features

I will go over the features of the SkyRoam Solis and show an unboxing of the hotspot, but here are the highlights from their website.  The USB power bank has a 6,000 mAh battery which can fully charge several devices before running out of battery.  The hotspot works in 100+ countries and piggy backs on the local 4G / 3G / 2G data networks.  Once you create the hotspot, you can connect up to 5 devices (I only tested 2 at a time, but I am fairly confident you can connect more than 5 devices if you are not consuming a lot of data).  Last but not least, a fully charged hotspot has enough battery to run for 16+ hours (you can also turn off the device and hotspot when not in use to conserve battery).

Continue reading