Category Archives: Trip Reports

I Need Restaurant / Activity Recommendations for Santa Cruz

Good afternoon everyone.  This coming Monday is Columbus Day and I am taking my girlfriend to Santa Cruz for the long weekend.  I’ve been to Santa Cruz a handful of times, but not in the last couple of years, and not with my girlfriend. I did some research on hotel options in Santa Cruz, but there are not a ton of great options.  There are a handful of Marriott properties charging 35K Marriott points / night, but I decided to stay at the Hyatt Place Santa Cruz instead. Paid rates are $300+ as of today (they were a little cheaper a week ago), but the points rate is a bargain, by comparison.

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Reverse Safari Adventure for Eric the Rhino

How long did it take you when you went to Africa to start your safari adventure? I’ll bet it didn’t take you as long to get there as it took Eric the rhino. When I went to Africa to go on safari, between the traveling, transiting through Dubai, and the time zones, I arrived two days later. Eric’s trip from San Diego took 68 hours, two trucks, three different airplanes, and five countries. And now he calls the Serengeti home. Enjoy the full story of Eric’s journey!

Are Travel Mistakes Avoidable? Maybe! (Part 3)

We’ve all made them, though I don’t think we’ll ever avoid all of them. But more often than not, there are ways around the travel mistakes we make.  Sure, it might be way more fun to talk about all the room upgrades we score, the elite status benefits we enjoy, or the deal for flights that DIDN’T get away, but let’s face it, we’ve all made a bunch of mistakes. So let’s air them and have some fun laughing at ourselves and commiserating with each other. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.

The Most Common Mistakes

No matter how much we plan or how well we assume we’ll carry out those plans, there’s always a lot that’s not under our control. I started asking around and found that some travel mistakes are more common than others. And some people agree on how best to avoid those mistakes, but not always. Based on my own experience as well as that of many other frequent travelers, here are the mistakes and how to avoid them. There are so many of them I’ve actually made this a 3 part series!

Passport issues

This one surfaced for a friend of mine just last month. Passports have an expiration date, that’s obvious. And in general, they are valid up until the day they expire. But not always and not everywhere. Some destinations require at least 3-6 months remaining on your passport in order to travel. If you need a visa for your trip, these remaining months are essential. It’s good to have a beginning of the year checklist for travel. Or maybe start your checklist on your birthday so it coincides with your passport. In either case, do put checking your passport dates on that travel to-do list.

Image source: https://www.rushmypassport.com/passport-renewal-faq.html

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Tarom Airlines Schedule Change? Email Reservations Department to Fix

Good morning everyone.  A few months ago, I booked a flight on Tarom Airlines (SkyTeam airline based in Romania) to fly from Chisinau, Moldova (KIV) to Bucharest, Romania (OTP) to Sofia, Bulgaria (SOF) with a 7 hour layover in Bucharest to explore the city.  I booked the flight directly on the Tarom Airlines website and all was good until I received an email from Tarom with the subject line “Schedule Change.”  If you get a similar email from Tarom Airlines regarding a schedule change, I will show you exactly what to do.  Since the whole email was in Romanian, and my Romanian is a little rusty, I used Google Translate to understand the email.

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You’ve Never Seen Anything Like This Superpod of Dolphins!

When I lived in the Bay Area the Monterey Peninsula was my favorite get-away spot. Hiking, kayaking, walking along the coast in Pacific Grove, enjoying the Monarch butterfly migrations, the local movie house and coffee shops and one of the best bagel places, ever……..the Monterey area had it all. I’ve spent countless hours gazing at the ocean watching and enjoying the marine life, but never ever did I see anything like what this lucky guy who works for the Monterey Aquarium captured last week on video. You have to see this. Be prepared to be awed and to view this over and over again!