Our Travel Secret

“How can you afford to travel so much?” a lot of our family and friends wonder.

Well….we have been flying for free, plus not paying for hotels, rental cars and other travel expenses.  Really!  An author friend’s son has educated us on the amazing world of points and miles.  Yes, yes…we had credit cards and frequent flyer accounts that gave us piddling points, but they were scattered hither and yon and never amounted to enough to do anything except a few magazine subscriptions or an upgrade.  But following Scott Keyes’s system has opened the world to us–literally.

In the past year alone we’ve flown for free to Boston 3 times, to Oregon from LA and back, all the way from Tampa to LA to Tahiti and back, upcoming trip to Italy (one way), and a forthcoming trip to South America.  We’ve used points for 4 hotel stays and a rental car or two.  We’ve also arranged free tickets for a round-trip from Oregon to Florida for Josh and Giulia for a Christmas present and still have a passel of points in the “bank.”

Yes, it requires planning, getting certain new cards, canceling other, renegotiating the fees (I got one waived this week), and learning how to maximize their use.  We have to keep “cheater notes” in our wallet to remember which credit card to use for what service (some have triple points for telephone bill or double points for restaurants or 20% back on points if you book travel through their service.)  It is work.  I also volunteer to pay big bills for friends on our credit card just to amass the points.  I am shameless!

Here is the “secret source.”

How to Fly for Free

http://www.amazon.com/How-Fly-Free-Practical-Airlines-ebook/dp/B009QSNKL8/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444772496&sr=1-3&keywords=scott+keyes

and How to Find Cheap Flights

http://www.amazon.com/How-Find-Cheap-Flights-Practical-ebook/dp/B00U4KUMEU/ref=pd_sim_351_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1E2WP4DV2MGK48MX57KP&dpID=51zspQbNq%2BL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_UX300_PJku-sticker-v3%2CTopRight%2C0%2C-44_AC_UL160_SR119%2C160_

You can also get on his list for amazing deals.  He posts airline mistake fares and some are unbelievable if you can jump on them.

Sign up here.

https://formcrafts.com/a/cheapflightspremium

There’s also something to be said about a savvy travel agent.  (Yes, they still exist, especially in the cruise world.)  Ours (Ann Morin at https://www.facebook.com/YourdreamVacationAnnMorin) finds us terrific deals and some are cheaper than staying home…well almost.

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Join the Baby Lottery and Win a Prize!

Packing the Prius Addendum 1:

The 2015 Prius is lacking in storage space in comparison to the 2004 Prius—smaller door pockets and no accessible extra cup holders. To deal with inadequacies, I’ve pimped the seats with 3 additions:

  1. Hooks that clip to the headrests. I can hang various things, including a garbage back that is readily accessible from the front http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004E4FJTU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  2. A swinging holder that pivots so I can have access to electronics, water bottles, books etc. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0096T72OI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  3. An organizer meant for children in the rear that holds a tissue box and has compartments for whatnots. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I111FO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Some of my readers have stated they like discussing packing (as I do), but others might be bored. I will attempt to enliven the proceedings with various tales. Here’s one few know:

Saw the documentary Citizenfour on HBO last night. I didn’t find any of it surprising. By mentioning hegira, Muslim, Jewish, and Prius, not to mention Code name Barkleigh on the first page of my blog, surely the NSA is following our every move. Instead of paranoia, this is a safety factor—sort of like VFR flight following when we were flying. Nice to having someone watching over us as we traverse mountains and desserts from Sea to Shining Sea. While I am just kidding, this might be the place to amuse you with an old family tale.

When we lived in Mt. Vernon, NY, my father traveled internationally for his heavy machinery and scrap business to Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Argentina, the Philippines, Central America, etc. Oddly enough, he was in some of these countries just before various wars began and he hobnobbed at high government levels. While mystery still surrounds the whys and wheres, he did attract the attention of the NSA/CIA/FBI or whatever. This was during the paranoid cold war and McCarthy era. My father’s lavish lifestyle was hardly communistic although his mother’s native language was Russian. We lived in a large home with 40 rooms that looked like a mini-White House and had multi-line phones throughout—quite unusual in those days. One was ostensibly his business phone and one was the house phone. (MO 8-2691) At some point a group of suited guys from the “phone company” arrived to install a more “up-to-date” control panel in the basement. The rule after that was that no important information was ever to be discussed over the phone. We were not allowed to say where my father was or when he was returning and often my mother, grandmother, or me were shushed when chatting idly about comings, goings, or business. Also, this modern phone system didn’t work too well. We often had annoying disconnects. When the “phone repair men” arrived—also in suits and not uniforms—my mother would say, “I know this is set up for eavesdropping, but all I want is the darn phones to work!” Then men would choke and cough and not look her in the eye.

At this point I was a garrulous teen. I’d rush home from school and start chatting with the girlfriends I had just left. I’d even figured out how to do “three-way calls” using the two lines and two phones so we could have a gab fest about boys, parties, and do homework together. In one obnoxious phase, we began cussing to each other, almost daring each other to drop f-bombs. Interestingly, my parents didn’t mind my long phone chats as long as I kept one line open when requested. This was because they believed that there were live listeners making notes on all our phone calls and listening to us talk about getting our “monthly friend” and which boy was the cutest was her idea of revenge. One snowy afternoon, one of my friends who shall remain nameless although she now a writer who is married to an Englishman and lives in a gorgeous French village, and I were discussing Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, existentialism, and women’s rights with what we thought was the right smattering of four-letter bi-lingual French/English words.

Our long and meandering conversation was rudely interrupted by a sonorous voice who said, “Young ladies, you should not be talking like that!” And he disconnected our call. I still feel sorry for the guys who had to listen to hundreds of hours of our adolescent chatter and who probably never got anything more interesting from my mother than her bakery and butcher orders, my grandmother’s family gossip in Yiddish, or my father’s truncated and slightly coded calls about meetings or longer discussions whether to have nylon or cotton sails made for his boat.

Also, as we travel, we will be staying with most interesting family and friends. Since people is the point of travel, we will—with permission—tell some tales of past and present with these delightful folks. Our first stop will be in Panama City Beach with cousin Barry—born and bred in Fiji and a member of one of the earliest British settler families. His wife, Ronna, will have just left for her post with a contractor in Baghdad, although we saw her last week.

And:

As honored Grandma to Be (G2B), I am in charge of the baby lottery.  This tradition started with Baby Robin and for some reason the winner always feels a special connection to the baby.   You may send guesses in all or some of the categories.  You will get points for coming closest and the person with the highest total number of points will get a Special Gift from the baby itself!  (Bronzed first diaper has been suggested, but vetoed.) Nobody knows the sex or name of the baby, not even the parents.

So, get your guesses in! Hints: Official Due Date: March 23. As asked by several: Giulia’s father’s name was Luigi or Gino. (This may or may not be pertinent.)

  1. Baby’s Sex
  2. Baby’s Date of Birth
  3. Time of birth
  4. Weight
  5. Length
  6. Wild guess as to name.  Hint: Name can be pronounced and known in both English and Italian  Funny guesses allowed
  7. Born with or without hair?
  8. Birth hair color

Are you in?

Here are the expectant parents on their way west a few months ago!

Featured image

About

Friends and Family please enjoy this blog.  It is copyrighted so please do not copy or repost anywhere without permission from the author.  All comments–funny, snide, and complimentary are welcome.  Please send typo and spelling corrections or suggestions for rewriting anything that might be construed as offensive.

Join the Baby Lottery and Win a Prize!

Packing the Prius Addendum 1:

The 2015 Prius is lacking in storage space in comparison to the 2004 Prius—smaller door pockets and no accessible extra cup holders. To deal with inadequacies, I’ve pimped the seats with 3 additions:

  1. Hooks that clip to the headrests. I can hang various things, including a garbage back that is readily accessible from the front http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004E4FJTU/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  2. A swinging holder that pivots so I can have access to electronics, water bottles, books etc. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0096T72OI/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  3. An organizer meant for children in the rear that holds a tissue box and has compartments for whatnots. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000I111FO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Some of my readers have stated they like discussing packing (as I do), but others might be bored. I will attempt to enliven the proceedings with various tales. Here’s one few know:

Saw the documentary Citizenfour on HBO last night. I didn’t find any of it surprising. By mentioning hegira, Muslim, Jewish, and Prius, not to mention Code name Barkleigh on the first page of my blog, surely the NSA is following our every move. Instead of paranoia, this is a safety factor—sort of like VFR flight following when we were flying. Nice to having someone watching over us as we traverse mountains and desserts from Sea to Shining Sea. While I am just kidding, this might be the place to amuse you with an old family tale.

When we lived in Mt. Vernon, NY, my father traveled internationally for his heavy machinery and scrap business to Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Argentina, the Philippines, Central America, etc. Oddly enough, he was in some of these countries just before various wars began and he hobnobbed at high government levels. While mystery still surrounds the whys and wheres, he did attract the attention of the NSA/CIA/FBI or whatever. This was during the paranoid cold war and McCarthy era. My father’s lavish lifestyle was hardly communistic although his mother’s native language was Russian. We lived in a large home with 40 rooms that looked like a mini-White House and had multi-line phones throughout—quite unusual in those days. One was ostensibly his business phone and one was the house phone. (MO 8-2691) At some point a group of suited guys from the “phone company” arrived to install a more “up-to-date” control panel in the basement. The rule after that was that no important information was ever to be discussed over the phone. We were not allowed to say where my father was or when he was returning and often my mother, grandmother, or me were shushed when chatting idly about comings, goings, or business. Also, this modern phone system didn’t work too well. We often had annoying disconnects. When the “phone repair men” arrived—also in suits and not uniforms—my mother would say, “I know this is set up for eavesdropping, but all I want is the darn phones to work!” Then men would choke and cough and not look her in the eye.

At this point I was a garrulous teen. I’d rush home from school and start chatting with the girlfriends I had just left. I’d even figured out how to do “three-way calls” using the two lines and two phones so we could have a gab fest about boys, parties, and do homework together. In one obnoxious phase, we began cussing to each other, almost daring each other to drop f-bombs. Interestingly, my parents didn’t mind my long phone chats as long as I kept one line open when requested. This was because they believed that there were live listeners making notes on all our phone calls and listening to us talk about getting our “monthly friend” and which boy was the cutest was her idea of revenge. One snowy afternoon, one of my friends who shall remain nameless although she now a writer who is married to an Englishman and lives in a gorgeous French village, and I were discussing Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, existentialism, and women’s rights with what we thought was the right smattering of four-letter bi-lingual French/English words.

Our long and meandering conversation was rudely interrupted by a sonorous voice who said, “Young ladies, you should not be talking like that!” And he disconnected our call. I still feel sorry for the guys who had to listen to hundreds of hours of our adolescent chatter and who probably never got anything more interesting from my mother than her bakery and butcher orders, my grandmother’s family gossip in Yiddish, or my father’s truncated and slightly coded calls about meetings or longer discussions whether to have nylon or cotton sails made for his boat.

Also, as we travel, we will be staying with most interesting family and friends. Since people is the point of travel, we will—with permission—tell some tales of past and present with these delightful folks. Our first stop will be in Panama City Beach with cousin Barry—born and bred in Fiji and a member of one of the earliest British settler families. His wife, Ronna, will have just left for her post with a contractor in Baghdad, although we saw her last week.

And:

As honored Grandma to Be (G2B), I am in charge of the baby lottery.  This tradition started with Baby Robin and for some reason the winner always feels a special connection to the baby.   You may send guesses in all or some of the categories.  You will get points for coming closest and the person with the highest total number of points will get a Special Gift from the baby itself!  (Bronzed first diaper has been suggested, but vetoed.) Nobody knows the sex or name of the baby, not even the parents.

So, get your guesses in! Hints: Official Due Date: March 23. As asked by several: Giulia’s father’s name was Luigi or Gino. (This may or may not be pertinent.)

  1. Baby’s Sex
  2. Baby’s Date of Birth
  3. Time of birth
  4. Weight
  5. Length
  6. Wild guess as to name.  Hint: Name can be pronounced and known in both English and Italian  Funny guesses allowed
  7. Born with or without hair?
  8. Birth hair color

Are you in?

Here are the expectant parents on their way west a few months ago!

Featured image