Tag Archives: Free Stuff

Airport Shuttles are the Bane of my Existence (Warning: Rant Ahead)

Good evening everyone, please prepare yourself for a mega rant here.  They don’t call me G-rant for nothing (ok, no one calls me that). All nonexistent nicknames aside, let’s talk about airport shuttles (or are they called hotel shuttles?).  Like the title says, airport shuttles are the bane of my existence.  But what does “bane” even mean?  According to the always reliable, never duplicatable Vocabulary.com, bane means:

The noun bane refers to anything that is a cause of harm, ruin, or death. But we often use it for things that aren’t that bad, just feel like it. You might say mosquitoes are the bane of your existence.

The source of this word is Middle and Old English bana, meaning “destroyer, murderer.” The now obsolete meaning of “deadly poison” is seen in the names of poisonous plants such as wolfsbane and henbane. Although “bane of my existence” is a commonly heard phrase, there’s something deliciously archaic about the word bane. It conjures up villages preyed upon by dragons, or witches adding one bane or another to a steaming kettle.

If an airport shuttle ran over you (like the holiday classic, “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”), you could literally say “airport shuttles are the bane of my existence” because the airport shuttle caused bodily “harm”, “ruin”-ed your day, and was your cause of “death.”  Normally, that is not the case with airport shuttles.  And before I get too deep into my rant, let me clarify that I don’t have a problem with all airport shuttles, just the specific airport shuttle I am waiting for.  For whatever reason, my airport shuttle is the only airport shuttle that takes the longest time to arrive, or forgets where the airport is located, or some other lame excuse.  I’m not sure why my airport shuttle can’t be like all the other airport shuttles I see – arriving at the airport on time, with plenty of open seats, and with a safety-minded shuttle driver behind the wheel.

Airport shuttle = bane of my existence. Image source: http://www.airportshuttleneworleans.com/airport-locations.html

Continue reading

Shelli’s World Coffee Tour – Coffee Houses in Vancouver, Canada

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, one city at a time. Recently, I had a fantastic week in Vancouver, Canada. And while I did touch on a few coffee places when I wrote See, Eat & Drink: The Perfect Long Weekend in Vancouver, Canada, I knew I needed to dig much deeper into the Vancouver coffee scene to really give you the full SCOOP! So during my recent trip to Vancouver, I drank plenty of coffee, talked with baristas, and I’ve got lots to share with you. Let’s open the TWG cafe society doors and talk coffee, Vancouver style.

When I travel, I only review and like to support coffee houses that roast their own beans or use locally roasted beans. This leads me to an interesting story about Vancouver. When I asked locals in Vancouver about the coffee scene and told them that I would be writing about it, the very first suggestion I received was, “You should try 49th Parallel.” I replied that I don’t care for 49th Parallel coffee. Surprisingly, they then tell me they don’t really like 49th Parallel coffee either! It’s odd and seems like people feel the need to tell me to try it because it’s local but it’s not really their first choice either. However, 49th Parallel coffee is carried by MANY cafes in Vancouver, so that eliminated many places that I didn’t need to review. I’m telling you this because you may want to try it for yourself and see what you think, and also so you’ll know none of the places I’m reviewing use 49th Parallel beans.

Another important point is that although many of the small roasters I’m reviewing do have more than one location, these days the hub for coffee is the Gastown area, with a few outliers in Chinatown and some just over the east side border of Vancouver.

I started by talking with Mark Neuman from Timbertrain Coffee. We talked and drank coffee for a long time. In general, I have somewhat of an idea of the places I want to check out, but often I’ll let the conversations I have with one manager or barista set the tone and flow to the next cafe, and that’s what happened in Vancouver.

Timbertrain Coffee Roasters sign in Vancouver, Canada

Continue reading

View Legroom on Google Flights by Adding Legrooms Extension

Good morning everyone, I hope you had a great weekend.  I was in freezing Chicago over the weekend for the FTU Travel Expo / Signature travel conference.  I arrived late Saturday afternoon because I took a $500 bump from United Airlines, stayed the night at an SFO airport hotel and got on a Saturday morning flight to Chicago.  When I finally arrived, I picked up a few travel tips from the sessions and one on one conversations.  I will try to cover some of the public travel tips I learned this week.  Don’t worry, your secrets are safe with me.

Question… wouldn’t it be cool if you could see legroom for different flights on different airlines in Google Flights?  Yes, it is possible.  All you need to do is install the Legrooms extension to your Google Chrome browser.  I will walk you through all the steps the 1 step.  Also, while researching this post, I realized this was covered months ago by several travel blogs, but somehow I missed all those blog posts, so maybe this helps a few people like me.  Here is the basic Google Flights view:

Continue reading

Come Say Hi to Grant this Weekend at FTU Travel Expo / Signature in Chicago

Good morning everyone, happy Friday. I hope you all have excited weekend plans. If your weekend plans involve going to Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Travel Expo or Signature in Chicago, come say hi to me. I will be walking around the FTU Travel Expo for a few hours on Saturday (11/18) and attending the FTU Signature presentations on Saturday and Sunday (11/18-11/19).

Continue reading

Wednesday Wakeup: How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep in Hotels

Do you sleep well in hotels? Maybe that’s even too broad a question to be asking, or maybe you have a simple yes or no answer. Friends, knowing I spend a lot of nights each year in hotels, often ask if I sleep well in hotels and if I have any tips for them. It turns out, when I started talking with other travelers about this, many people don’t sleep well in hotels! That being the case, I thought I’d offer up some ideas and tips. As we all know, sleeping well, and especially when we travel, really is essential to functioning well and enjoying our travels. Hotels are unfamiliar territory and often offer us obstacles to sleeping well, so we have to be strategic and creative in order to get a good night’s sleep.

Tip #1

Many of us are hotel loyalists. And with each hotel chain, comes a certain bed type and mattress brand. Chances are you’re nodding your head and thinking about how you sleep better at a Westin on their bed versus at a Hyatt on their bed. It does take our bodies time to get accustomed to mattresses, so take this into account when looking at and booking your hotel options. You can also ask the hotel what their mattresses are made of. If you’ve ever slept on foam, for instance, you’ll know that these mattresses don’t breathe well. No matter how high you turn up your air conditioning, it’s likely you’ll still sweat and heat up. Cotton mattresses do tend to keep you cooler and this often leads to a better night’s sleep.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/alone-bed-bedroom-blur-271897/

Continue reading