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A Holiday Hidden Stash of Reward Points

holiday travel with points

With all the gloom and craziness going on in the world right now, I believe it helps to focus on the positive. For a Friday treat, I though I would share a story about my Mom’s hidden stash of reward points. As you may recall, my Dad retired recently and is still figuring out his place in a world without 12 hour work days. My Mom has been retired for some time and enjoys small town life. I guess you could say they never exactly caught the travel bug. You Can Take a Vacation When I’m Dead In fact, aside from a couple of road trip vacations when we were kids and two or three trips to visit us, my parents have never traveled. Their last trip to Colorado was over five years ago. Health problems have cropped up since then. Their chances of making it West of the Mississippi again seemed pretty unlikely. Instead, we try to visit them. Jim and I have spent the holidays with my family in Kentucky for 15 out of the past 16 years. The one year we missed was right after getting married in 2002. We chose to take a honeymoon to Jamaica ...

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Visiting Amsterdam With Children

canal ride in amsterdam

Amsterdam was the last stop on our summer European vacation. I’ve always been told that this is the city where one can legally consume or participate in all sorts of debauchery, but I also know that most cities wear far more than one hat. Heck, if you think all Coloradans sit around smoking weed all day, you aren’t really paying attention. I would advise parents not to worry about visiting Amsterdam with children. Despite some awful weather, we had a great time. If you missed other stops on our tour, feel free to catch up. Dublin Edinburgh and St. Andrews London Paris Double Tree Amsterdam Above and Beyond We arrived at Centraal Station by train from Paris. I thought it was strange how security was non-existent as we boarded the train. Sadly, an alleged terrorist attempted an attack on this very same train shortly after we arrived back home. I hope they have since put some stronger measures in place. Our train ride was thankfully uneventful. We chose the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station for our first two days because it was bookable at 60,000 Hilton Honors points per night, and it is right beside the train station. ...

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Booking an All Inclusive Resort in Mexico

all inclusive Thanksgiving trip

After discovering the amazing value of points and miles, my family has already experienced an incredible travel year with trips to both coasts in the U.S. and five European countries. With a husband who works in education and a 3rd grader, we can’t take advantage of off peak travel, but that’s just another reason to rely on points and miles! Thankfully, we’ve been able to book one last hurrah to an all inclusive resort in Mexico over Thanksgiving break. Be Flexible Traveling during the week of Thanksgiving can be challenging, so I wanted to book as early as possible. One tip I’ve learned is that most points reservations can be cancelled without penalty. That led me to make a speculative booking for the new Grand Hyatt Baha Mar in the Bahamas at the end of last year. Even though the property wasn’t finished, it looked amazing and should have opened well before Thanksgiving. We transferred points earned from a signup bonus and regular spending on the Chase Ink card to book four nights. Since our daughter has a companion pass with Southwest, we hoped to fly one of their new international routes to get to the Bahamas. Unfortunately, Baha Mar ...

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Visit to Sitka, Alaska

clouds in SE Alaska

  My week in Alaska is coming to a close and if all goes well, I’ll be back home in Colorado tomorrow. My visit to Sitka was just what I needed. It let me work in a different type environment than I’m used to and made me feel valued because the clinic really needed some help. Being rewarded for stepping outside your comfort zone is a nice thing. Remote Living is Not for the Faint of Heart! I am amazed at the things people who reside on islands have to do to live. You pretty much have to fly to another place if your kids compete in sports, you need new clothes, or have to have more than minor medical procedures. Several of the patients I saw this week were from a local boarding school. Many Native Alaskans live in villages so tiny and remote there aren’t enough people or resources for schools. The option is online classes or sending kids to boarding school. I will stop feeling sorry for kiddos who have to ride the bus for an hour to get to school! Folks here swear by Amazon Prime and think nothing of taking a flight to Seattle for ...

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Under Budget in Paris

Visiting Paris on a budget

As a part of our European adventure this past summer, we spent four days visiting Paris. I’ll admit that I was prepared to be underwhelmed. Paris is one of those cities often placed on a pedestal, but I’ve also heard crowded, rude, dirty, and expensive used to describe the City of Light. Happily, Paris exceeded my expectation and we even ended up under budget. If you missed any of the other posts from our trip, here are links to catch up. Dublin Edinburgh and St. Andrews London Getting to and Around Paris We arrived at Gare du Nord station after taking the Eurostar from London. Although our hotel was a bit off the beaten path in the 17th district, the metro made transportation easy. Since it didn’t seem worth it to get a metro pass, we instead bought a carnet or book of 10 subway tickets for 14,10€, which Jim and I split. Kids over age four pay full fares on the metro, but you can purchase a kid’s carnet for half price, making our transportation total just over 21€. Hyatt Regency Paris We chose the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile mainly because it was the only Hyatt in Paris that ...

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