Monday, April 30, 2012

Picking The Right Airline Seat

Ever end up with a seat in the row in front of the emergency exit row -- and then find out the seat doesn't recline? Ditto with the seats in the last row in an economy cabin.

Do you have an overnight flight and don't want to be near the galley or the bathrooms?

Several websites can come to your rescue and help you pick the best seats or simply avoid the worst ones.

The sites are Seat Guru, Seat Expert and Airline Quality.

Seat Guru has really improved since I first started using it. Previously, a bit of research had to be done, finding the equipment that was going to be used on my flight. Now Seat Guru, like Seat Expert, asks for your flight information and finds the equipment for you. Airline Quality goes even further by providing airline and airport reviews.

All of these sites are a wealth of information. For instance, on Seat Guru, when you click your airline, a page comes up with detailed airline information including equipment, contact information, and in-flight amenity information. Tabs along the top provide additional information about baggage and check-in requirements.

Ever wonder if you should spring for the extra bucks to get an upgraded economy class seat? United calls them "Long-haul Premium Economy Class." The chart on the Seat Guru site shows that generally, the premium seat provides 3 to 4 inches of additional leg room. If you have a long haul flight, the cost of that premium seat might just be worth every penny.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Searching For Travel Discounts

Looking for a quick getaway? Check out Groupon. Visiting a city in the U.S. or Canada and want to save on restaurants? Yup ..... check out Groupon.

Groupon can not only provide you with discounted getaways and restaurants but also sporting events, shows, amusement parks and much more.

If you are not already a member, you can sign up at this Groupon link.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Laundering Money

Well, not exactly laundering money. Ironing, maybe.

There are many countries, particularly in Latin America, that will accept U.S. currency in addition to their own. However, the bills must be clean, unmarked and in very good to excellent condition. So if I was heading to Latin America, I would start putting aside $1s, $5s, $10s and $20s that meet these standards so I have what I need when I'm ready to take off.

Sometimes, though, I'll end up with a bill that looks good but is a bit on the crushed/wrinkly side. And those I iron. I set my iron on med-high and give the bill a quick once over.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

What is Hipmunk?

Hipmunk is a new tool for finding flights and hotels.

I played around with it for a while. For flights it is really easy to use and I really like the way the flight prices and times are displayed in a grid. Makes it easy to see what is available by several criteria including price and departing time.

I tried the hotel search tool also. That worked fine until I tried to use the Heatmap tool. There is a little introductory video that I watched but I still don't understand how to "read" the Heatmap. Might have to play around with it a bit more.

When I look for airfare I typically start with Kayak but Hipmunk might be worth checking out.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Where in the world is Ibiza?

Ever hear of the island of Ibiza? Me neither until I was surfing around the Internet. That’s where I learned that it is an island off the coast of Spain, in the Mediterranean Sea. Then I had to take it step further because I love islands and the beaches and the warm blue waters.

I discovered that it is an island known for summer club parties. It attracts a large number of tourists because of the parties but I also learned that the Spanish Tourist Office is working on making tourism on the island more family-oriented. I started to take a peak at the kind of accommodations available on the island and came across villas in Ibiza to rent.

Luxury villas to rent on Ibiza are specifically picked for their unique charm, character and location. There is a wide range luxury villas Ibiza, from rustic to contemporary and a whole selection in between. While it is possible to rent a country estate, I know for a fact that if I were to do this, I would rent a beachfront villa. What a wonderful way to spend a holiday, relaxing in a luxury villa on an island in the Mediterranean. Anyone with me?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Faster Image Upload

My camera takes 8 megapixel images. My husband's camera takes 18 megapixel images. If I used the images straight from our cameras, the loading of this blog would slow to a crawl. While we want that high resolution for any pictures we print, such high res images are not necessary for my online display.

So how do I reduce the size? I use Photobucket. The size of the images uploaded to Photobucket are reduced to about 115 kb, a significant reduction. I then upload the pictures back to my computer.

Here is how to do it:
Upload the images you want to resize to Photobucket (I created a special album called Resized)
Click Download this Album on the right sidebar
Enter the Captcha information and click Zip Files
Copy the images in the Zip folder back to your computer - Be careful not to overwrite your original pictures - I use a sub-Folder for resized images.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Cabs and Credit Cards

You arrive in a new city and plan on taking a taxi cab from the airport or from your hotel. And you plan on paying by credit card. While most taxis in major cities can accept credit cards, a lot of the drivers don't like taking them and will tell you, at your destination, that you have to pay cash.

So, if you really want to use that credit card tell the driver how you'll be paying BEFORE you get into the cab. If the driver tells you that you'll need to pay in cash, grab another cab.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The penny-pincher’s guide to taking a holiday

A wonderful holiday can happen without spending a fortune. Even though the cost of living is higher today, an individual can still get away and enjoy a break from their daily routine. With a few tips, a holiday will not be too expensive.

The economy has people searching for new and cheaper ways to travel to take a holiday.
Cheap flights can help a penny-pincher find an economical flight to travel to almost any destination, or someone can choose to holiday closer to home making travel expenses cost even less. Day trips to nearby attractions can save on lodging and fuel. The trip will still give someone a chance to get away from daily life for a short time. However, if someone decides to make it a longer holiday, he or she can seek inexpensive lodging to stay on a budget.

Food is one of the most expensive items on a holiday, but there are ways to save and still enjoy the food. If the lodging offers a way to prepare meals, then buy some food and cook it there. Eat out for some of the meals and cook the rest. Some lodgings will have refrigerators to store the food. Sandwiches are great picnic food items to take to a beach or hike instead of dining out.

Another expense is the entertainment or activities. Find deals for the attractions or choose places to visit that are free such as some museums or parks. Taking hikes, going fishing, swimming at a beach or a pool are all activities that can be done for very little cost. Entertainment does not have to be expensive to be fun.

Holidays can be cheaper at certain times of the year. Save by going during the slow season to get discounts on flights, lodging and entertainment.