$10 Off Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Expo & Signature Tickets (Chicago November 17-19)

Good morning everyone.  Today, tickets to the Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Travel Expo and FTU Signature go on sale.  Some of your/my favorite travel bloggers will be in Chicago in mid November to share their travel knowledge, photography, and stories from the road.  I was just at FTU Advanced in Minneapolis a few weekends ago and I had a great time.  I might even speak at this coming FTU conference about hacking Southwest Airlines, hacking US Bank FlexPoints, or my credit card retention/reconsideration strategies. Stay tuned…

FTU Travel Expo – Marriott O’Hare Hotel, Chicago – Saturday, November 18, 2017

FTU Travel Expo will comprise of 36,000 sq ft of exhibition space and 4 simultaneous educational stages. Upwards of 3,000 travelers are expected to attend. With sponsors such as Marriott and Norwegian Airlines, we will have travelers of all experience levels. Confirmed speakers include FTU regulars plus guest speakers Rudy Maxa, Nomadic Matt, Chris Guillebeau, Chris McGinnis & Johnny Jet, and more.

Tickets are $39, but if you purchase by July 31, you can save $10 with promo code FTUEARLY (link)

I spy a Travel with Grant blogger in attendance

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Trip Report: Hyatt Ziva in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (All-Inclusive Resort)

The Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful resort.  I went at the end of August and booked a club room – I don’t have Hyatt Diamond status.  I greatly enjoyed my stay and I believe it being slow season, made it even more enjoyable. The all-inclusive resort costs 20,000 Hyatt points per night (for 2 adults) and an extra 10,000 Hyatt points per night for each additional person.

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World of Hyatt Glitch: Anniversary Free Night Certificate Showing for Category 5-7 Properties (But Not Bookable)

YOU CANNOT BOOK CATEGORY 5-7 HYATT HOTELS WITH THE ANNIVERSARY FREE NIGHT CERTIFICATE – SORRY FOR THE CONFUSION AND CLICKBAIT-SOUNDING TITLE

(Hat Tip to the Travel Hacking 101 Facebook Group)

Good morning everyone.  Yesterday, I was in my World of Hyatt account and I wanted to see when my Chase Hyatt Credit Card Anniversary Free Night Certificate was set to expire.  To see when you certificate will expire, log into your Hyatt account, click the My Account header, and click on My Awards.  My certificate will expire on November 9, 2017, and I have to complete my stay by that date. While I was looking for hotels to use my certificate at, I discovered a glitch where the certificate will show up as a payment option when it is not supposed to.

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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!

A Penny for your Thoughts: Tips for Getting the Best Currency Exchange

Last week. I wrote about My Simple Currency Exchange Rate Philosophy and helping my nervous friend find a more relaxed approach to spending money when he travels. Reader Danny wrote: “I think it might be an interesting topic for how people get better rates for getting currency exchanged similar to your Disneyland best practices (read The Ultimate Disneyland Playbook (Full of TWG Reader Tips!)). I always do the ATM, but I’d be curious to see if there are any other good ways.” Danny had a good idea, and indeed many of you replied with your ideas about getting the best exchange rate possible. I still think this topic is worth fleshing out a bit more, so let’s begin.

Image source: http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/A-brief-history-of-money-11059182.php

I’ll go first, as I’ve had many varied experiences over the years, and I think some of it has to do with the varied locations of my travels. For instance, when I was in Bali, cash was king. My lodgings did take credit cards, but otherwise, the local merchants wanted cash. The owner of the small family-run place I stayed at didn’t want me going to any money changer, bank, or ATM on my own. I was traveling alone and he was the personal friend of friends of mine, so he felt very protective of me. He took me for a twenty minute ride on the back of his scooter into Ubud where he escorted me to his money changer and handled the transaction for me. Later, when talking to other travelers, I learned that I got a really good exchange rate, but of course, a scenario like this is POSSIBLE, but not the norm. Continue reading