Tag Archives: Free Stuff

Italian Vacation Part 2: Fishing Lab in Florence, Leaning Tower of Pisa & Wall Walking in Lucca

Are you taking advantage of Europe being on sale these days? I know many readers are heading over the pond. If Italy is in your plans, either now or sometime in the next year or so, be sure to read this post. After all, who doesn’t plan on visiting Italy sooner or later. I’ve got four Italian destinations for you, so let’s get started. In Part 1, I talked about Venice and Milan, what to see/do/eat and what not to eat in Venice! In this post I’ll share tips with you about Firenze, so let’s dig in.

FIRENZE (Florence, Italy)

Florence, Italy at night. Image source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/florence

When in Florence, I stay at Hotel La Scaletta. It went through a renovation a few years ago, so it’s much more modern than it was back in 2011 when I first discovered it. I like a lot of things about this place. First off, Silvia, Sara, and the rest of the front desk crew are absolutely the best. They are so Italian and warm and when you’re there, you’re family! The hotel is well-positioned in being on the side of the river AWAY from all the crowds and heavily-visited sites. Yet, it’s close enough that you could walk there from the train station and you can certainly get to any of the main sites from Hotel La Scaletta with an easy 15 minute walk.

The Hotel La Scaletta rooftop has tables and chairs where you can have meals or just hang out and enjoy the views. The rooms aren’t large, though, certainly clean and recently refurbished, but the WiFi was glitchy, so if you have a lot of work to do, it’s frustrating. Breakfast is an extra fee, so I’d suggest taking your breakfast out at one of the many cafes in the area. Hotel La Scaletta is very reasonably priced and if you use your Citi Prestige Credit Card 4th night free benefit, well, it’s even a better price!

Rooftop View from Hotel La Scaletta in Florence, Italy. Image source: http://www.hotellascaletta.it/?act=gallery

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How to Pool Hilton Honors Points into 1 Account

Good morning everyone, happy Monday!  I had a great time in Minneapolis this past weekend at Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Advanced.  I enjoyed catching up with old friends, meeting readers, and networking with fellow travel hackers.  If you missed FTU, the next travel conference I will be at (and speaking at) is Chicago Seminars, on October 20-22.

Last week, I wanted to book a 5 night Hilton stay, but I only had enough Hilton Honors Points to cover the first night.  I could have booked the first night and then racked up the remaining Hilton Honors Points over the next several months to book the rest of the nights, but I wanted to take advantage of Hilton’s 5th Night Free feature, where when you book a stay of 5 nights or longer, you do not need to pay points for the 5th night.  I reached out to my travel hacker friends on Facebook and Twitter and asked if someone would let me borrow 91,000 Hilton Honors Points so I could book the 5 night stay.  Luckily, 1 of my friends agreed to help me out and we were able to test out Hilton’s new point pooling feature. Here is how you can pool Hilton Honor Points into 1 Hilton account.

As you can see, I only had 69,365 Hilton Honors Points, but I was short 90,635 Hilton Honors Points needed to book a 5 night stay that cost 160,000 Hilton Honors Points.  Rates were 40,000 Hilton Honors Points per night, but since the 5th night was free, I only needed to pay 160,000 Hilton Honors Points (4 x 40,000 = 160,000). To get started pooling Hilton Honors Points, sign into your Hilton account and click on More Ways to Use Points under the My Points section on the left side on the page.

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Sacramento Travel Hackers Meetup @ In-N-Out Burger (Saturday June 17 from 12-2pm)

Good afternoon everyone, happy Friday.  I am writing this post from the KLM / Air France lounge at SFO (thanks to my Priority Pass card) on my way to Minneapolis for FTU Advanced this weekend.  I will be near Sacramento next weekend for a wedding, but I wanted to do a Sacramento Travel Hackers Meetup on Saturday afternoon.  If you are in town that day and want to talk about miles, points, travel, and enjoy a delicious double-double, come join me at In-N-Out Burger in Sacramento’s neighboring city, Rancho Cordova.

  • Where: In-N-Out Burger, 2475 Sunrise Blvd, Rancho Cordova, CA 95670 (Google Maps)
  • When: Saturday, June 17 @ 12-2pm

There is no need to RSVP, just show up with an appetite and an eagerness to talk about travel hacking.  I will have a reminder post next Friday afternoon as well.  I hope to see some of you there.  Have a great weekend everyone!

I’ll be in Minneapolis this Weekend for Frequent Traveler University – Come Say Hi!

Good morning everyone, happy Friday!  This weekend, I will be at Frequent Traveler University (FTU) Advanced in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  It will be a fun-filled weekend full of miles, points, travel stories, and hopefully sunshine (bye bye rainy San Francisco).  I’ll be flying from SFO to MSP on Sun Country, my first time flying Sun Country.  I will be arriving late Friday night, so I will miss the Friday happy hour, but I will be there all day Saturday and Sunday for the sessions.  If you are attending the event, please say hi.  I always appreciate meeting blog readers and talking face to face.

If this is your first travel conference, do your best to be social.  Travel hackers, in general, are pretty quiet and reserved, but when we start talking about miles and points, we get really excited.  Ask what city they traveled from, how they got to the conference, where is their next trip to, which blogs they read (if they don’t mention TWG, tell them that TWG is the best travel blog out there!), etc.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great weekend everyone!

P.S. If you are in San Francisco later this month, I will be at the SF Travel Hackers June Meetup on Tuesday, June 27 from 7-9pm at Hopwater Distribution.

P.P.S. I will be in Orange County for Fourth of July weekend and will do an OC Travel Hackers Meetup on Saturday, July 1 from 12-2pm at In-N-Out.

P.P.P.S. I will also be at the Chicago Seminars travel conference from October 20-22.

Quick Deal: $100 Lowe’s eGift Card for $90 from eGifter (DEAD)

Update 11am PT: Looks like the offer is dead already.  That was fast!

Good morning everyone, happy Wednesday.  I just got an email from eGifter about a great deal.  You can buy $100 Lowe’s egift cards on sale for $90.  These will probably sell out fast, so buy some if you are interested.  You can also use BeFrugal to earn 1% cash back from eGifter.com.  If you are not a BeFrugal member, sign up free today and get a $10 bonus.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day.