If Cuba has been calling to you but the travel restriction held you back, read on to find out everything you need to know to travel to Cuba as a US citizen. The logistics and uncertainty of Cuba travel was actually a big part of the draw for me. I read that you can't visit from the US and you need to go through Mexico. I read the airport is a nightmare. I even read men aren't supposed to wear shorts. None of these turned out to be true. Don't worry, there are enough challenges to keep it interesting. This isn't a trip to Hawaii, embrace the adventure and you won't regret it. I will separate the fact from fiction and break down what you need to know before you go.
I think we all picture colorful vintage cars when we think of Cuba, but that is only a small part of why Cuba is truly an unspoiled step back in time. Initially, I was so overtaken with the cars, buildings, and people, that I didn't even notice what was missing...McDonalds, Starbucks, billboards, and hotel chains. Yes, there really is a place left that we haven't ruined...but don't worry, we will. Go before it's too late!
This is Part 5 of the Travel Hacking Series, so may be a bit confusing if you are not familiar with the points game. If you are still paying for flights and hotels, you may want to start with Travel Hacking: Is it Right for You?, or read on for inspiration. While I take advantage of award nights and status through a variety of hotel cards (Marriott, SPG, Hyatt, Hilton, and IHG), this post focuses on optimizing point usage with hotel bookings. Read on to find out how to use half the points of booking through a hotel portal.
I was doing my health and safety research for my upcoming trip to Cuba and thought you might find my process useful. I will share the steps I take to understand current health and safety conditions, what I bring with me, and some key practices I follow to mitigate risk. I suggest taking these steps for any international destination, but particularly if you like to travel off the beaten path. Put safety practices in place now to help ensure many more adventures to come.
We were rushing through Universal CityWalk to get to the entrance of Universal Studios Hollywood when we were stopped by a women in an American Express jacket saying something about free front of the line passes. I'm normally (always) a skeptic, but my friend had just mentioned their amazing experience with front of the line, so my ears perked up. I had looked into purchasing these passes, but found them to be cost prohibitive at ~$100 each...ouch! We listened to her pitch, and as it turns out, it really wasn't too good to be true.
I was on a business trip to Argentina a few years ago when I learned a travel hack that would change my life forever. A road warrior exec at my company taught me the secret of the "cone of silence." Add this life-changing hack to your repertoire and change your travel experience forever. I consider myself a master of this dark art, but barely overcame an attack on the cone recently. For the first time ever, the cone of silence secret will be revealed, as well as the counter-measures I deployed in defense of the cone.
San Diego is one of my favorite cities, with a laid-back beach feel combined with the amenities of a great city. The best way to get to know a city is by walking it, making sure to stop frequently to try the local faire. According to my girls, you are also supposed to check out the shops. We spent a wonderful day exploring downtown San Diego by walking a 6-mile loop starting at the Embarcadero, strolling through Seaport Village, eating authentic Italian in Little Italy, meandering through the Gaslamp Quarter, and finally back to where we started for a sunset dinner.
The above quote was what the very stressed out front desk clerk said to me when I again went to see if our room was ready. This was after nearly 2 hours of waiting and 6 hours after our supposed check-in time. If we weren't so tired, and it wasn't so late, the hotel's inefficiency would almost be comical. Keep reading for more great quotes and to understand your recourse in these situations.
AirBnB can truly change the way you travel and help move the dial from tourist to traveler. As mentioned in my Top 5 Reasons Why I Love AirBnB post, AirBnB offers unique properties, the chance to live like a local, save money, have a washer and dryer, and support the local community. With all these stated benefits, it is a bit trickier than booking a hotel, so I will share my tips to help you pick that perfect property and avoid potential mistakes.
Have you ever taken a roof top shower with majestic views of Mount Vesuvius? Have you stayed in a hermitage, on a small island, with a balcony view of magical sunsets over the Tyrrhenian Sea? These are just two of our priceless AirBnB experiences that were actually significantly cheaper than a standard hotel. AirBnB has been a game changer for our family travel.