Sunday, May 24, 2009
Finding inexpensive airfare can be a hassle! Before purchasing my ticket I weighed the pros and cons on a few different options:
1. I could combine my minuscule 9,000 points with with my mom's 35,000 on American Airlines and purchase a few thousand more to earn enough for an international flight;
2. Pay a visit to my new friend Grayce at Maupin Travel down the street from me;
3. See if Kayak.com could provide a good deal with a little flexibility on my part: leaving out of anywhere in NC, Atlanta, DC, or NYC and flying into Bordeaux or Paris (which would require a three hour train ride with lots of luggage for my extended stay);
4. Or call STA Travel to see what kind of student rate I could get with my newly acquired status.
I looked into all 4 with hopes of spending under $1,000. My costly dilemma is that I'm leaving during high season (summer travel isn't cheap), staying for more than three months, and returning right as the Christmas season gets started. Basically, if I'd waited any longer my chances would be slim to none for finding something in my price range.
I did some inside research on my own a few different times knocking out options 1 & 3 to see if prices had changed. Then I looked into option 2 - ask an expert! I met Grayce when I was feeling ambitious one day. I was walking home from the nearby shopping area of Cameron Village, and saw a sign for TRAVEL. "I think that sign has my name on it" I said to myself, and walked right in. Grayce has been working at Maupin for a lot of years and knows what she's doing. She told me that it would cost me nothing - ziltch - nada to find a flight that would accommodate my needs (no service fee). She looked into it, but the price was still tooooooo high!
Last resort: option 4. I called STA Travel a few days ago to inquire. STA arranges tickets for students under 26 yrs old as well as teachers. They hooked me up with a pretty good deal that takes me out of Dulles (DC, where I have family) to London Heathrow where I switch to London Gatwick via a 24/7 shuttle service, then straight into Bordeaux where my handsome boyfriend Phillip will be picking me up - Phil, would you mind picking me up at the airport on Aug 4th? My return flight is less complicated and leaves out of Nice, France which is a mere hop skip & a jump from the city of Aix.
STA Travel was awesome and hooked me up for $856, the lowest price I found, including taxes and fees. They also found all of my flights within the time frame I was looking for. If you're a student looking for international fares, or you want to come visit me!, STA Travel might be a perfect fit!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
See for yourself:
No. 1: Raleigh, N.C.
(Raleigh-Cary metro area)
2008 Population: 1,088,765
2007-2008 Change: 4.29%
Raleigh, which ranked first on Forbes' 2008 list of best places for business and careers, has done well with its hospitals, universities and more than 170 research and development companies. However, the unemployment rate for January 2009 was 7.9%, just 0.2% below the national rate.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
5. Travel is Difficult – I think we all know that! Writer Scott McCartney recommends knowing this in advance and being prepared to be flexible and assertive.
4. Book Smartly – Build itineraries with delays in mind. You can check on-time performance of any airline at sites like FlightStats.com or look up the history of fare prices at FareCast.com & FareCompare.com.
3. Enjoy Perks that Pay – By using an airline associated credit card to book hotel stays and flights, you can consolidate and earn points towards your next trip!
2. Learn Something – If you’re in a city for a short business trip, extend your time a few hours and leave your bags with the hotel concierge in order to enjoy the city you’re in. McCartney mentions how impressive is when business travelers can share what they’ve learned about a city with their city dwelling clients. This could help you build a better relationship with clients and give you something to talk about other than work!
And my personal contribution: Packing Light can be easy…depending on the season of course because obviously wool sweaters take up more room in a suitcase than do bathing suits! But, if you’re traveling from city to city in a matter of days its easy to repeat outfits thanks to Laundromats!! I was in a Laundromat in Aviemore, Scotland last summer, reading a book and using up my spare change. In fact, I’m currently in a Laundromat in Raleigh, North Carolina writing this entry!
Inspired by The Wall Street Journal “10 Rules of the Road for Air Travel”, by Scott McCartney
Thursday, May 14, 2009
If you're in the Carolina area and want to enjoy a peaceful and relaxing weekend at the beach, try the Duck & Corolla Beaches which are only a 4 hour drive from the State Capitol of Raleigh, and a half hour North of Nags Head in the Outter Banks!
I explored this region for the first time last weekend and had a blast! Dappled with crafty shops and sound-side restaurants run by the locals, this little haven is a perfect place for a short getaway!
$ We got our North Carolina Bar-B-Que fix at The Corolla Village Bar-B-Que shack right next to the Corolla Lighthouse. This made for a great afternoon lunch and was nestled in between a hand full of quaint shops filled with decorative finds!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
The OECD also studied the amount of time spent eating by each industrialized nation. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that the French win in this category as well spending nearly 2.25 hours eating daily! Baguette anyone? They are closely followed by the Kiwi’s who enjoy munching for 2.20 hours per day. The United States ranked third to last with only 1 hour, 14 minutes devoted to meals daily. Fast food anyone?
It isn’t hard to believe that the French exceed nearly every other nation in the amount of time spent eating and sleeping because they also lead in the amount of time off from work, receiving 30 annual days of mandatory paid leave = get out of the office and live life! Next to follow is the UK with 20 annual days of paid leave.
Stats taken from The Wall Street Journal, by David Gauthier-Villars [May 5, 2009]
Friday, May 1, 2009
So my question is: What should one get for the mother in their life when that mother is probably sufficiently satisfied with everything she already has and is sick of collecting junk?