Visiting the Statue of Liberty: Part 2 (Ellis Island)

View from the second story balcony of the main hall at Ellis Island. Over New Year’s weekend I traveled to New York and had an excellent weekend.  I watched the Times Square fireworks and toured both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  You pay a fairly small fee, about $21, to take a ferry to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  In a previous post, I discussed arriving at and touring the Statue of Liberty. One of the first things you notice when you arrive at Ellis Island is the view.  You can see the entire New York skyline that…


Visiting the Statue of Liberty: Part 1

  Statue of Liberty from a starboard seat on the ferry. Now that I’ve celebrated the Fourth of July in Washington DC and New Year’s Eve in New York, I can call myself a true American.  Accordingly, I felt it was time to visit the Statue of Liberty. Booking the tickets I was pleasantly surprised at the price of the ticket: ~$19.  Unlike my ~$30 ticket to tour the Palace of Westminster in London, my Statue of Liberty ticket included a boat ride.  Plus, the boat ride to Ellis Island comes with the ticket. You’ll want to book your tickets…


Cheap Airfare: $476 Flights to Brazil on American Airlines!!!

[Deals like this tend to expire quickly so this article may be out of date after February 6, 2016] Kudos to theflightdeal.com for finding this deal! American Airlines is offering an excellent deal where you can fly for under $500 from the US to Brazil.  American Airlines offers one of my favorite elite programs with perks that include complimentary first class upgrades and reasonable award flight redemption rates.  You can credit the flights below to American Airlines’s frequent flier program.  In addition, you’ll want to use a credit card–such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred, the Citi Prestige, or the Citi Advantage Preferred–that offers additional…


American Airlines Miles Sale – Should You Buy Miles?

If you have a frequent flier account with American Airlines (AAdvantage) you likely received an identical copy of the above promotion: you can buy American Airlines’s miles at a discount.  You may wonder whether this is a good deal.  No worries, so did I. In order for this deal to potentially be worthwhile, you should calculate the cost of the miles.  American normally charges 2.95 cents per miles, but the discount and bonus miles completely changes the equation.  I provided calculations below based on the base number of miles purchased (taxes included in the cost): 20,000 miles: you receive 27,000…


Redwood National and State Parks — Road Trip!!

My friend and I drove through the redwood forest after forest fires canceled our Yosemite Trip.  We rented this car. This summer, my Yosemite backpacking trip turned into a California road trip after a forest fire ended the backpacking trip before it even started.  Thankfully my good friend and I had a smart phone and a car so we could continue our week-long expedition.  Our first stop after Yosemite National Park was the Redwood National and State Parks. A converted DC-10 drops a red chemical onto the forest fire in Yosemite. This was my first trip to California and also…


Cheap airfare: ~$150 Between Major US Cities on American Airlines!!!

You can fly to Arizona and explore “Hole in the Rock.”  That’s of course its scientific name. [Deals like this tend to expire quickly so this article may be out of date after February 2, 2016] Kudos to theflightdeal.com for finding this deal! American Airlines is offering an excellent deal where you can fly for approximately $150 between major US cities.  American Airlines offers one of my favorite elite programs with perks that include complimentary first class upgrades and reasonable award flight redemption rates.  You can credit the flights below to either American Airlines’s or Alaska Airlines’s frequent flier programs.  In addition, you’ll want…


Chicago (ORD) Admirals Lounge (Christmas Eve.)

I did not expect to get intimately familiar with the ORD lounge but I ended up here two weekends in a row and closed it out on Christmas Eve.  It’s important to note that there are two Admirals Club lounges in ORD.  This review is for the larger of the two lounges, located between the H and K terminals.  I also walked through the smaller lounge but only hung out there for about five minutes.  It was smaller and the view wasn’t nearly as nice.  You need to ride in an elevator to reach the larger Admirals Club. Food: the…


New Hilton Brand Targets Millennials–Will it Work?

It’s no secret that millennials are traveling more and companies are starting to cater to the needs of our generation.  In this spirit, Hilton recently announced Tru by Hilton, a cost conscience hotel brand that targets millennials.  Hilton offers the following description of Tru by Hilton: Tru by Hilton is a category disrupter. It’s built from a belief that being cost conscious and having a great stay don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Tru focuses on what matters most to guests, with a hotel that is more than just a place to sleep, it’s a true travel experience. With lower…


Snowzilla Actually Got My Brother a Better Flight (and blizzard photos)

As I’m sure you all have heard, Snowzilla achieved blizzard status and dumped 20-40 inches of snow on DC (and a ton of other places).  Where I live in Arlington received about 24 inches of snow.  My pictures are below–you’ll be able to see gems like the pizza delivery guy sneaking between two plow trucks and construction equipment clearing the road.  Snowzilla affected my brother’s travel plans to DC–about 10,000 flights were ultimately canceled–but he actually received a much better flight.  I imagine not many folks were that lucky. My Brother For his graduation and Christmas gift, I booked my little brother a…


New Zealand for a Week: $999 Groupon (air and hotel included)!!

I hiked the Presidential Traverse in NH but would love to hike New Zealand. I’ve never been to New Zealand but it’s certainly on my list of places to visit.  Based on my valuation, this is an excellent deal but you’ll want to make sure you read the fine print before booking.  Click here to see the Groupon deal. What’s included For $999 (per person for a minimum of two people) you get: 7 days and 5 nights in Auckland, New Zealand Round-trip airfare on Hawaiian Airlines Stay at Auckland City Hotel, New President Auckland or similar hotel (2 to…