Soaking up Sun in Palm Springs

So after getting my fill of snow in Utah, it was time to head off to the dessert in California.  I usually try to not waste a lot of time at the airport and end up cutting it fairly close when it comes to checking in, but this time I surprised even myself.  After scheduling the 5am shuttle from my hotel, we actually ended up leaving at 5:05am, at which point I was starting to get a little worried as my flight was at 6am. A slightly stressful drive over to the airport went smoothly and I went straight to the counter to drop of my bags (thank you priority check-in!) and walked over to security.  As I was heading through the security check I got a notification that my flight was boarding, so I picked up my bags on the other side, walked to the gate, and straight on to the plane.  From the time I left the hotel to the time I was sitting in my seat on the plane was a mere 20 min!  I think that will be my personal best for quite a while. Continue reading

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Points

I get asked often how I travel so much, but really there’s no simple answer to that.  It’s a combination of many things: keeping an eye on flight deals, searching message boards, taking crazy routings, and last but certainly not least, using points.  Points tickets have allowed me to make some spectacular trips, but I do spend a great deal of time trying to optimize them.

For many years I was a loyal Aeroplan customer, part of the Star Alliance network.  However, after continued devaluations of the program, and the fact that United was the partner in the US, I made the jump over to Alaska Airline’s Mileage Program.  Although the program is not part of an alliance, they have many great partners you can redeem on.  I feel that this program is the best for me in terms of point redemption opportunities, but everyone is different. Continue reading

Flashback Friday: Reykjavik

November 2014

One of the biggest tourist booms in the last few years has happened in Iceland.  No doubt thanks to the free stopover (via Icelandair) and the new discount airlines (like WOW air), almost everyone I talk to is planning, or has just gotten back from Iceland.

I first went to Iceland in 2014, thanks to a super cheap Groupon deal with Icelandair.  Icelandair does have really good deals on their website, but the Groupon basically took that deal and made it irresistible.  So after finding an unsuspecting co-worker to go with me, we were off on an adventure!

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Out and About in Stockholm

While planning my visit with my friend, we had discussed what there was to do around Stockholm and had compiled a decent list. Of course I was a bit wary of spending a whole week in one place, so I started looking for super cheap flights that we could take… long story short (details to come) we ended up heading to Finland in the middle of my stay.

But first, there was Stockholm!  For those unfamiliar, Swedes love taking coffee breaks with friends in the afternoon.  They actually have made up a term for sitting and chatting with friends while having a coffee and perhaps a snack: Fika.  So of course, after meeting up with my friend at the train station and dropping of my bags, it was time for fika.  We ended up heading to a nearby mall, as they just outside of the centre of town.  We did a bit of wandering through the mall, grabbed some necessities (like some food and wine… and some more wine) and had a quiet evening at home with some board games. Continue reading

Heading to Stockholm

So if you remember from one of my previous posts (Stockholm for a Whole Week!) I had a trip planned to visit my friend in Stockholm; well I’ve finally gotten around to typing up our adventures!

Firstly, the trip over went fairly well.  I made all my connections, got to check out a number of lounges and made it to Stockholm just under 24 hours later 🙂  My voyage started bright and early (well not really that bright) in Vancouver as I had booked a separate ticket down to SFO to start my international trip.  Luckily I was upgraded on my SEA-SFO flight (thanks Alaska!) and got a few other surprise things (free Starbucks card!) which made this a great start to my trip.

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The long road home… via Japan.

My original plan was to fly home from Melbourne via LAX.  I was very excited because I’d manage to score a first class ticket on Qantas!  Unfortunately, with my change in plans, I ended up having to cancel the ticket 😦  So instead, my flight home ended up taking me back through Japan on Japan Airlines (known as JAL), luckily in Business Class.  the best part about it is that you get to skip the lines at the airport! Continue reading