We woke up on Monday to another day of beautifully clear skies. Our flight was scheduled to leave BWI at 10PM, so we had plenty of time to wander the city some more. We slowed down for the morning, and took our time with breakfast at the hotel and packing up our bags. Once we checked out, we left our bags in storage again, and hit the road.
Somewhere between reminders to “Be careful!” and short interrogation sessions – “Why would you even want to go there, what is there to do?” – we planned our visit to Baltimore over President’s Day Weekend.
We weren’t scared off. We didn’t feel scared at all, even walking through some of the trickier neighborhoods. I believe a little common sense goes a long way when travelling, and, let’s be honest, every city has its rough neighborhoods.
Despite all the warnings, we used the weekend to its fullest. Eating some great food, learning quite a bit of history, and enjoying one of the best weekend’s worth of weather I’ve ever seen during February! I mean, seriously, people acted like we were getting deployed into a war zone. I know Baltimore has had its fair share of troubles (recently and in the past) but we really enjoyed the city. It’s got character. It’s got a beautiful harbour. It’s got plenty of history and some great food. Each neighborhood has a different feel. I love cities like that. I want to walk from one end to the other, and see different people, different buildings, new food. That’s what make cites so great, you can find a little bit of everything.
We have a roughly annual trip to DC, usually in the fall. This is actually our third year heading down to visit some close family friends, and the 2nd year doing the trip over the long Columbus Day weekend. Check out the small report on last year’s trip!
I find October to be a particularly nice time of year in DC – not too hot, and not cold either. The long weekend itself is a bit busy, but you definitely don’t have the tourist traffic that DC sees during other times of year.
Usually we drive, but that was before travel hacking.
Now, we fly.
With all my Southwest flying coming up, I’ve had plenty of practice booking flights!
…and cancelling others.
Although the Southwest cancellation policy is fairly generous, there are two distinct categories of airfare: travel booked with points, and paid travel. Each of these comes with its own cancellation rules.
Just a quick note, I’ve officially earned the Southwest Companion Pass!
Lately, I luv Southwest. I’ve had great service recently and plenty of good experiences with the carrier. With my Companion Pass on the horizon, that is, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be flying them even more in the next two years.
Speaking of Companion Passes…I should have an update for you in the next week or two. Fingers crossed!
With all the practice I’m getting booking Southwest flights, I thought a little tutorial might be helpful. Southwest’s website is fairly user-friendly, in my opinion, but I hope this information is still helpful!
This post is especially timely, since Southwest is currently having a sale! Book by tomorrow (June 9th), and fly from most of September to December. If you don’t have time to book by then, don’t worry. Southwest runs these sales all the time. I try to wait until Southwest is having these “flash” sales to book domestic flights, as I know the next sale will be right around the corner. Want to know when the next sale is? Just sign up for Southwest’s emails, they’ll be more than happy to drop you a note!
Back to the travel hacking bit..
I’m still very much in the accumulation phase. As you read more about the game, you’ll see different types of folks. Earn & Burn type people rack up points and then jet off to somewhere far away as soon as they have the points for the trip. Some people get all their points through clever spending. Some just take a vacation once a year with their miles, and accumulate very steadily, over time.
I’m a bit of a hoarder at the moment. Now, eventually I’ll be able to get to see the world, but for now, I’m content to watch my frequent flyer accounts grow.
As you know, I was able to get down to North Carolina for a weekend recently. I love to crunch the numbers, and see how I did, what I could maximize, and how best to travel hack. By reviewing each trip, I’m able to improve and learn more about this hobby, and you know what they say: knowledge is travel.
Or power, or something like that..
Flying out of Charlotte, I had my second taste of the high life. Racing through security, I turned my attention to the Admirals Club in Concourse C at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
Similar to Boston, Charlotte actually has two Admirals Clubs, one an old US Airways Club. This time, I actually opted for the old US Airways option, rather than the original American Airlines lounge in Concourse B.
In addition to extra miles on American Airlines purchases, discounts on in-flight snacks, and World Elite MasterCard benefits, this card grants the user Admirals Club access. As long as the card is open, you can pop right in and enjoy the food, drinks, and comfy chairs.
Not only did I love pretending I was an important business traveler, but their gin & tonic wasn’t half bad…especially considering it was free!
Oh Delta Airlines. I’ve dealt with you more last week than I have ever in my life.
I have mixed opinions of Delta. You see, I’ve never really flown Delta. Maybe once or twice when I was younger, but they don’t really service the airports and cities I fly into or out of. Delta doesn’t have a big presence in Boston or Providence, and I don’t visit Detroit, Atlanta, or Minneapolis/St. Paul very often. I guess I just don’t know them very well, that’s all.
Still, I found myself having to navigate their website last week, since I was planning some flights for my brother. Since he had a $1,000 Delta flight voucher (from giving up his seat on an overbooked flight a few months back), he had a certain preference for Delta.