Category Archives: Trip Reports

My 5 New Year’s Travel Resolutions for 2020

Good afternoon everyone, I hope you all had a great New Years!  With the beginning of the new year, I wanted to make a few travel resolutions for the coming year.  Here are my 5 New Year’s travel resolutions for 2020.  Feel free to share your own travel resolutions in the comments section.

1. Travel Somewhere Every Month

For the last several years, this has been my only travel resolution.  It could be a short weekend trip, a road trip, a cross country trip, or a long international trip.  I love to travel and take advantage of the 52 weekends every year (it helps that I work in San Francisco and can easily get to SFO or OAK in less than an hour).  I’ve got the first 3 months of the year covered:

  • January: Laura and I will do a short road trip down to Carmel / Monterey for a long weekend and use our Hyatt Free Night Certificates.
  • February: I will fly down to Orange County for Super Bowl Weekend with my family and then we will make a second trip to Orange County for my cousin’s wedding.
  • March: Laura and I are flying to Ireland for her Spring Break (she is an assistant principal).  Check out my post How to Book Aer Lingus Award Tickets with British Airways Avios (Call BA to Save $100+ on Taxes & Fees).

There are a few other trips planned the rest of the year, so my first travel resolution should be accomplished.  Here are the 4 other travel resolutions I have in mind for 2020:

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What was your Favorite Trip of 2019?

Good morning everyone, happy New Year’s Eve!  Since today is the last day of the year, I thought it would be fun to share my favorite trip of 2019 and ask my readers to share their favorite trips too.  Laura and I got married at the end of July 2019 and we couldn’t do a honeymoon afterward (work & school obligations), so we decided to do a pre-honeymoon to Tahiti and Moorea in June 2019.

I wanted to go to Bora Bora, but the ~$500 round trip flight per person from Tahiti to Bora Bora was a deal breaker.  We settled on Moorea (I call it the poor man’s Bora Bora) since it was easy to get to via a 45 minute car/passenger ferry from Tahiti.  We had a rental car, so we drove from the Faa’a International Airport in Tahiti (PPT), to the ferry, and then to the beautiful InterContinental Moorea.  There was no award nights available for the overwater bungalows, so I emailed the hotel to ask how much the overwater bungalows cost.  The hotel said that since I was an IHG Platinum Elite Member (now I am an IHG Spire Elite Member), they would upgrade me 1 hotel room level.  I paid for the standard overwater bungalow and when we checked in, we were upgraded to a premium overwater bungalow (same bungalows, just a better location and view).

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Have You Read My Top 10 Blog Posts from 2019?

Good morning everyone, long time no blog.  I hope you all had a great holiday season and have exciting plans for New Years.  Quick update from me: Laura and I drove down to Orange County from the Bay Area for Christmas and then we *tried* to drive back up to the Bay Area on December 26, but since the Grapevine (on the 5 Freeway) was closed due to snow, we only made it half way up on the 101 Freeway.  We stopped in Santa Maria (near San Luis Obispo) for 1 night (shout out to the Holiday Inn Express Santa Maria for 20K IHG Points) and then we drove up the rest of the way on December 27 for a second Christmas with Laura’s family.  Then on Saturday morning, we flew to Las Vegas to visit my new niece (born on December 21).  On Sunday night, after a nice relaxing dinner at the LAS Centurion Lounge, we had a minor weather delay on our return flight to SFO, followed by sitting on our United flight for 90 minutes as we waited for an open gate (half of SFO is United, so there should be an open gate…).  We are glad to be back home and I have a few blog posts in the pipeline.

For today’s post, I will list my top 10 most read blog posts written in 2019 along with the top 10 posts of the year (regardless of the year they were written).  By the way, here are the most popular posts from 2018, 2017, and 2016. Continue reading

EverlyWell: At Home Blood Tests & Why I Love Their Food Sensitivity Test for Travel

You may have been putting off getting common blood work done, or maybe you just can’t prioritize a trip to the lab when you’re experiencing a lapse in insurance. Or, it could be that you haven’t had time to consider your own health over your busy agenda. Whatever the reason, EverlyWell can help get you back on track to prioritizing your health and wellness and even give you some extra information that will come in handy when you’re traveling.

Based in Austin, TX, EverlyWell is a health and wellness company that aims to provide a variety of accessible at-home health tests. Whether you are curious about your food sensitivity or you want to check your vitamin levels, EverlyWell is an inexpensive and verified alternative to expensive lab tests. EverlyWell provides over 30 at-home tests to help you monitor your own wellbeing, on your own time, from the comfort of your own home.

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Hotel Review: Sweet Upgrade to the Presidential Suite at Historic San Diego Courtyard Marriott

Good afternoon everyone.  After our short Alaska Airlines flight from Santa Rosa / Sonoma County to San Diego, we took an Uber to the Courtyard San Diego Downtown Hotel.  I picked this hotel because the “hotel is in the former San Diego Trust and Savings Bank building, and the old vault has been converted into a one-of-a-kind meeting space that your colleagues will be talking about for years to come.”  I love staying in old, historic, charming hotels, like my Amazing Stay at DoubleTree Arctic Club Hotel in Seattle (Historic Building Built in 1917).

This hotel costs 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points per night, so I used my Free Night Certificate from the Chase Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card to book the first night and then I used 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points for the second night.  Somehow, I received 5 free Suite Night Upgrades in my Marriott Bonvoy account (probably from combining my SPG & Marriott Rewards accounts and from having several Marriott credit cards with elite nights stacking).  I decided to use my last 2 Suite Night Upgrades at this hotel because they were going to expire on December 31, 2019, and I don’t have any other Marriott stays booked or planned for the rest of the year.  This turned out to be a great use of my Suite Night Upgrades…

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