Month: October 2016

Admirals Club, BOS Terminal B (near Gate B30)

This is the last lounge post for a while, I promise.  I just had to check all the overdue posts off my list !

Up until a few weeks ago, I only had the opportunity to stop by the Admirals Club near Gate B4.  Due to the recent US Airways merger, American Airlines finds themselves with not just one, but two Admirals Clubs in Terminal B at Boston Logan!

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Air France Lounge, BOS Terminal E

A few weeks ago I found myself in Terminal E at Boston Logan International Airport, grabbing a drink at the Air France Lounge.

But I wasn’t flying out of Terminal E.

In fact, wasn’t even there for a flight.

On a regular evening, I found myself catching the Silver Line out of South Station to Boston Logan for my Global Entry interview.  I thought it would be an excellent chance to use my Priority Pass, and check out a new lounge.  The Global Entry interview office is in Terminal E at BOS.  Coincidentally, Terminal E also houses most of Boston’s international flights, as well as the Air France lounge.  I stopped in for a bite to eat, and to wait out the worst of rush hour downtown.

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Mera Business Lounge, CUN Terminal 2

On the way back from Mexico, I had the opportunity to test drive yet another lounge!

Part of the Priority Pass Lounge Network, the Mera Business Lounges found at Cancun International Airport offer travelers some space away from the hustle of the typical airport experience.  In Cancun, this is even more important than your typical airport.  The concourses are simply massive, open rooms.  There’s no quiet corner to sit back and relax, no table along the outskirts to hunker down and get some work done.

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Admirals Club, ATL Terminal T

On my Mexico trip, we flew through Atlanta on the way there and back.

For anyone that hasn’t flown out of Atlanta…

It’s huge.  Atlanta sees nearly triple the passengers Boston does, and it shows.  There’s twice as many terminals, and a train that runs between them.  Southwest calls Terminal C its home, and American happens to fly out of Terminal T, which means .  With over 2 hours in Atlanta on both the way to Cancun and back home to Boston, I slipped my Citi AAdvantage Executive card back into my wallet before we left.

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After a Year of Travel Hacking…

First off, this post is a bit late!  I’ve been running around a lot September and October, and haven’t had the time to get this post together until today.

I consider the day I applied for the Barclaycard Arrival+ to be the true beginning of my travel hacking journey.  That means as of September 24th, 2016, I’ve been addicted for exactly one year.  So, this post is a month overdue.

It just so happens that I’m wrapping up my year of travel hacking coming from last weekend at the Chicago Seminars.  I’ll write up a bit more about this event soon, but it’s basically a conference for travel hacking, run by some great FlyerTalk folks.  What better way to commemorate one year in the game?

If you remember, I was spurred into this new hobby by my trip to Peru last year.  It was nothing short of eye-opening.  I knew I wanted to travel more.

I had caught the travel bug.

I also knew I didn’t want to pay big money for travel, like everyone else seems to think you have to.  Travel hacking enabled me to meet both of those goals:  travel and frugality.  Using the miles gained from the sign up bonus on that first card, and a bit more everyday spending, I cashed in those Arrival+ miles for $500 towards flights to Florida to see some of the family, and enjoy a few days at Disney World.

Let’s see where I’m at now, shall we?

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Mexico: The Details

If you’ve been following along thus far, you know we had a great time exploring the Yucatan Peninsula a few weeks ago.  True to form, I couldn’t just have fun…I had to get home and analyze the entire trip.  But let’s be honest, this is part of the fun for me anyway. (more…)

Mexico: Isla Mujeres

Our last real stop in Mexico was the lovely island of women, Isla Mujeres.  There’s a few theories on the name, but I’ll leave that to your research.

Isla Mujeres is a 4 mile stretch of land just a few miles off the coast of the Yucatan.

The island is much more laid-back than Cancun, and it’s a common day trip for folks staying in the hotel zone.

Getting There

The day before we planned to go, I asked the concierge at the Westin for some information on getting to the island.  She kindly handed me the UltraMar flyer, and pointed out all the stops throughout the hotel zone.  $19 US round trip.

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Mexico: Cancun

It was time to move onto the next phase of our trip:  from hiking through ruins and swimming in ancient cenotes, to relaxing on the beaches of Cancun.  Normally, I’m a very busy traveler.

Can’t stop, won’t stop, right?

However, we planned the last few nights at the Westin in Cancun’s hotel zone to take advantage of the resort scene, even if it’s not my usual cup of tea.  Plus, I had all those SPG points to burn anyway.  I have to say, my son and girlfriend liked being pampered for a bit, even though I was completely out of my league.  And the Westin isn’t even top-notch, compared to some of the spots around here…

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Mexico: Ek Balam & Cenote X’Canche

Before going to Mexico, we were trying to get a game plan for what we’d do while there.  For archaeological sites, we had decided on Chichen Itza (of course), Tulum (we were staying there anyway), Coba (for the bikes), and Muyil (to see the Sian Ka’an).  Four ruins, eight days, that seemed to make sense to us.

We decided had room for one more though, and added Ek Balam to the list after reading about the astounding stucco frieze at the site.

From Valladolid, drive north on 295 out of the city, and continue for maybe 20 minutes.  You’ll see signs for Ek Balam, turn right, and simply follow those signs.  If you’re expecting the crowds and parking lots of Tulum and Chichen Itza, you might feel like you took a wrong turn.  Don’t worry, you’re on the right track.  Ek Balam is just a little more low key than the others.

Trust me, they’re missing out.

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Mexico: Valladolid

You know, I think we did a pretty good job with Mexico.  We got to see a lot, and had a decent amount of time exploring.  If there was one thing I’d change though, I would have made room for an extra day in Valladolid.  It’s a great little city, and the colonial architecture reminded us so much of Arequipa.  All those good memories of our Peru trip came flooding back, and even though we only had a little time there, we had a lot of fun.

We managed two nights in Valladolid.  With the short stay, it really became simply a launch pad for Chichen Itza and Ek Balam.  An evening walk down Calzada de los Frailes was a highlight of the trip, complete with sampling some traditional Mayan chocolate and dinner in an old Spanish hacienda.

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