Category Archives: Hacks

HGF Travel Tip Of The Day!

Thinking of going to the Bahamas, or skiing in the Swiss Alps? Think of leveraging your frequent flier miles as a means to get there without ever having to step foot on a plane! Find a credit card that offers bonus miles for every dollar you spend. You’re going to spend the money anyway, so why not leverage your dollar for the maximum benefit. Word of caution: you must exercise responsible credit practices. Meaning paying off your debt in full every month. If you can’t do that then you may want to stick to alternative means.

Healthy Travels,
-E

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I Booked a Business Class Round Trip to Prague For Less Than $200

I’m such a good wife. I am. I hate to toot my own horn, but…toot toot! My husband wanted to take an all boys travel trip to Prague for the BRNO Moto GP race this weekend and like the good wife that I am, I planned his first class travel and coordinated with his buds. While he’s sitting in first class and sipping his expressochino in some fancy lounge, I am here spilling the beans on how you too can accomplish this.

Disclosure: It’s for the trip, not how to be the best wife ever FYI.

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Delta One Dessert Selection
Delta One Flight DTW – PRG

I have to break this down into parts since this makes it much easier for me to explain my thought process. First and foremost, just to get this out of the way, we paid with frequent flyer miles. So unless you find some hardcore mistake fare that gives you business class under $200, then this is the only way to do it (for now).

A few months ago, Ryan and I were looking for a new credit card that was on the market. I’ve always wanted to get a card that offered benefits, since all the cards I had were helping us build our credit for the purchase of our second home. We looked at what the best deals were and at the time and Delta was offering Ryan 60,000 Skymiles if we spent like $3,000 in 3 months (or something like that) on their American Express Delta Gold Card.

After planning and budgeting for 3 months we were able to obtain those 60,000 Skymiles on Delta, to which we used (along with some miles he earned awhile ago from work) to purchase his Delta One Business Class flight from DTW (Detroit Wayne Airport) – PRG (Prague, Czech Republic). All we needed to pay, were the taxes, which came out to roughly ~$90 and 62,500 Skymiles. Keep in mind this is ONE WAY, so going to Prague will get you there for less than $100.

So how is he getting back home?

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Business Class Seat on Asiana
Lufthansa Business Class VIE – DTW 

Don’t worry! I still want my husband back and it’s actually relatively cheaper to get him back home. I still have yet to experience Lufthansa’s Business Class or any International Senators Lounges, but my husband won’t have to fret because that’s where he will be tomorrow! He’s flying out of Vienna (since that’s where he’s ended up) on Lufthansa using United Miles, to get home to Detroit. Last year Ryan applied for the American Express SPG Credit Card, which gave him 35,000 points. He then transferred the points to his United Milage Plus account and married that with the miles earned from his work travels. Alternatively, if you don’t have mileage accrued from work travels, you can apply for the United Mileage Plus Explorer Credit card with the 30,000 mile bonus and still achieve this for your routing home. This trip to go back? ~$80 in taxes one way and 57,500 United Miles. BUT if you don’t feel like screwing with your credit with a million credit cards and paying a ton in annual fees just for one trip, you can do it the old fashioned way and earn miles for all your everyday purchases.

Are there other credit cards to apply for?

cards for travel

If you’re looking for a travel card, I’m going to link a friend’s site that specializes in this kinda thing. It’s no use for me to try to explain thoroughly the ins and outs of every credit card that’s out there when someone else has already done it. So check out Cards For Travel, because they do a pretty good analysis of each card out there that’s worth using for travel redemptions.

Things to keep in mind.

  1. So one thing to notice that I probably hear in your heads after you read the first segment is…do I have to fly out of Detroit?! The short answer is, no. Typically award travel deals are priced by region, so the deal that I got when booking Ryan’s flight was from North America to Europe. So you can fly out of LA and get the same deal as if you were flying out of New York.
  2. Ryan and I try really hard to fly business class. Why? Because we’re terribly spoiled. lol. No not really, but once you pop your business class cherry, you never want go back. If you don’t mind going in economy, more power to you! You probably will be able to go more places that way to be honest. But we made a rule, if it’s domestic, we always take what’s cheaper. If it’s international, we go for business class.
  3. We chose the carriers Delta and United for a reason. Ryan is going to Europe, and we have a ton of American Airlines miles, so why make it difficult and fly 2 separate carriers? Because we are undoubtedly cheap. Taxes going to Europe on American Airlines One World partners are incredibly steep. There are very few routes into Europe on an American Airlines Aircraft to get to Prague without routing through London Heathrow (LHR). Flying Delta and United is one way to dodge that headache.
  4. He’s flying out of Vienna, Austria, and that doesn’t affect the taxes tremendously. Generally the cost in taxes are relatively the same based out of the region. We also avoided flying out/ through LHR for said reason above. Also, looking at the website now compared to the time we booked the ticket, taxes have doubled. Don’t ask me why, they just have. So timing also plays a role in booking your flights because the taxes will fluctuate in price.

Overall if you’re thinking about airfare, and if you use this method to plan ahead for next year, you’re looking at a relatively cheap ticket. Which gives you some extra spending cash for stuff to do out there, like VIP tickets to the Moto GP race in BRNO that my husband attended. Or some fancy dinners and extra sight seeing tours.

If you have any questions please feel free to comment below, or if you have any suggestions on other routings that you’d like to share please feel free to do so!

 

Safe Travels,

 

-E

Holiday TRAVEL Guide

For those of you who are going to be traveling this holiday season, or any holiday season for that matter, I’ve compiled a nice little checklist for you to prep you for the madness that is to follow at the airport.

Pre-Flight

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Print Your Boarding Passes At Home

For those of you who have apps on your phone with the boarding passes on them, SUPER. But I’ve had to, on numerous occasions, go back to the airline kiosk because their phone scanners didn’t work. Print it and have it ready as a back up.

Preset Your House

I get anxiety knowing that the house may not be in the same shape as it is when you get back home. But not only should you be making sure that the oven isn’t on, but you should make sure to double check your heater or trash is taken out. These little oversights can be costly, later on if they aren’t dealt with right away. I don’t know about you, but I love to come home to a clean house, so if you have a moment to try to not thrash your clothes around while packing it will feel much better when you arrive!

SECURITY

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Get In The Right Line For Security

If you are TSA Pre Check/Global Entry make sure you ask and find the right line. Also if you have airline status go into the premium line. Typically if you have certain credit cards, they automatically will upgrade your boarding pass to have that privilege. So be sure to check your boarding pass before you leave.

Arrive at the airport 2.5 hours early

This is for domestic travel. If you are flying internationally I would tack on an additional hour. Why? Because everyone MUST check into the service desk to verify passports, visas, etc. Also, some airlines have regulations as to the weight your carryon bags have and will force you to check your bag regardless. So plan for that extra hour to be used up.

But if you are flying domestically, do not put it past the TSA to shut the security check point down if there’s a breech in security. I’ve had that happen and thankfully I had an extra hour to spare and this wasn’t during the holiday season. It’s better to have a buffer than to miss your flight. Chances of you & your family getting on the next flight out is very unlikely.

Pack/ Dress Accordingly

I would like to say I am a PRO when it comes to the security check screening. I pack my backpack, carryon, and wear the easiest of outfits that I need to get in and out of security. So here’s some simple do’s and don’ts.

DO– Pack laptops, travel sized gels/liquids ziplock to be easily accessible when going through security. The worst is having to unzip your carry on bag to pull this stuff out especially when the line needs to move. So I have them in my backpack to pull out quickly and keep the line moving.

DON’T – Wear your super lace up intricate boots to the airport. You will hate yourself when you have to take them off and put them back on again. Try some slip-ons instead. Once your stuff shoots out the other end of the x-ray machine, you’ll be all over the place trying to put on your boots and scooping your stuff back up.

DO – Stack your bins. If you are one of those people who (God forbid) needs 8 bins to put each of your electronics into, whatever man, but don’t hog the whole table with your shit. Stack them up, then move them on to the conveyor belt one at a time.

Boarding Area

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If you’ve made it through to the terminal and you have ample time to relax before your flight here are some things to make your waiting time a bit bearable.

Find a Power Outlet

To coat tail on that thought, I HIGHLY recommend packing a surge protector. Not only to prevent your devices from frying if there’s a surge in power, but to also open up multiple sockets. If you happen to find a plug that is occupado, then it would be much more convincing to plug your surge in there to share the wealth. It’s always best to keep your devices charged for as long as possible, especially if you plan on having a long flight with no in flight entertainment.

If all else fails, make sure you pack a power bank in the least. The worst is to have a dead phone when you arrive and you have no way of calling your ride.

Grab Some Essentials

If you happen to be taking any red-eye’s pack some snacks or grab some food/ drinks now before you lose your chance. Nothing’s worse then arriving at an airport when everything is closed and you’re starving. Solid foods are great to pack for your trip there, but unfortunately drinks will not be allowed through security. So do yourself favor and pack an empty water bottle and fill it up at one of the water fountains, or even at a restaurant.

IN-FLIGHT

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I’ve already made a handy guide to some Airport Essentials that I cannot live without. But also, here are a few hacks to keep you comfortable for the duration of the flight.

Hack the Wifi

Until it’s been fixed noticed there are several ways to beat the expensiveness of the on board wifi. You can always pre-pay the fees online, or you can simply: hack it. If there’s Gogo inflight onboard, connect to the service then check out one of the free movies, as you are in the app store to download the app to watch it, you are automatically connected. Some wifi services aren’t available, such as streaming video, but it still gives you a free 10 min window to surf on Safari.

Earplugs/Headphones

If you are traveling during the holidays, you’ll see a higher volume of children traveling. I have nothing against kids, but I wouldn’t want to be caught trying to sleep next to an infant who’s ears are infected. So do yourself a favor and try to find some noise reduction, noise cancelling headphones or earplugs to ease your drums and give you some needed woosah for your journey.

Wipe Up

I would like to say first and foremost that airplanes are a cesspool of diseases. Kinda like a daycare but for adults from all different countries. I know for a fact, that those tray tables, hardly ever get cleaned. So before you lay your sandwich on there, do a little whiperooski! It never hurts to have a 3 pack from Target to keep you that much farther away from catching the flu, or cleaning up baby puke.

Safe Travels!

Last thing I am going to leave with, is travel SAFE! Make sure you get home safe to your loved ones and report anything you feel is suspicious while it’s happening. I really meant it! If you see something, say something!

Happy Holidays!

 

Stay Healthy,

 

-E