Despite what some skeptical folks may think, yes, I do sometimes pay to travel, and I have been to some really sweet spots that were worth every hard-earned dollar and then some, and I would gladly go back, and pay all over again. Remember, “It’s the VALUE that counts”. Pleasure has value and joy has value, and sometimes folks forget this.
Then again, savings have value, too. Here’s how: If I have 25,000 miles in one of my frequent flyer accounts, and I could use them for a free trip to Baltimore or for a flight to Los Angeles, and I’m departing from Boston, well, it makes sense to use those miles for the Los Angeles ticket, because usually that’s a more expensive flight than the Baltimore ticket, and so I should just pay out of pocket for the other flight.
Sometimes, though, sale fares are so good (for flights or hotel stays) that they decrease the value of the miles or points. so it pays to check out sales when you are shopping for a flight or a hotel.
For example, just because Boston to Los Angeles is a long domestic flight, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always the more expensive fare. I recently bought a BOS/LAX round-trip ticket for only $287 including all taxes and fees (on American, in 2017). That’s a phenomenally cheap price to pay for East Coast to West Coast direct non-stop on a good airline. I didn’t want to “waste” my miles on that free ticket, because its current value was only $287. It was more valuable for me to save the miles for later use, and purchase the ticket with money. Sometimes that fare will run $500-600, and I can use my miles then, when their value and my savings will have doubled. Or, even more fun, I can save them towards yet another trip to Latin America. Tango Argentina, anyone?
And by the way, you probably suspected it already, but, of course the $287 I spent on the LAX ticket, was reimbursed anyway, by my Barclays Travel Reward Card. It’s a pretty good deal, I must say, I love that card. It paid me back for my flight and it also reimbursed the cost of my rental car for the week, too. And you know as soon as I got there I drove that car right over to Jessica Koslow’s Sqirl LA, the best quality, tastiest breakfast and lunch place in LA, with the freshest ingredients most cleverly put together. Wow!
Here it is, Barclay Arrival Plus link in case you’d like to purchase airfare and rent a car, and have a great vacation, and have those costs reimbursed, too.
Shame on me. I meant to talk about non-freebie trips, but got sidetracked. Back on track now….
Here are some of my FAVORITE HOTELS, worth every penny!
I recommend the…
… Inn at Crystal Lake in Eaton, New Hampshire, a quintessential New England inn, is my favorite New England inn, and is on a pretty lake in the White Mountains area. During foliage, ski season, and summer, it’s a beautiful place to be, and to eat, with a terrific restaurant and pub.
… Auberge Saint Antoine, in Old Quebec, Canada, a Relais & Châteaux property, is luxuriously romantic, or is it romantically luxurious? I love it here, and it’s a favorite go-to getaway when I want to feel far away, but can only get away for a weekend. It’s a gem. Every cutie should be spoiled every now and then with a stay at this place.
Ventana Hotel, in Prague, the Czech Republic, central, with magical view at night, an incredibly gorgeous room in a fairytale-worthy very pretty city.
Armada Istanbul Old City Hotel in classic, sublime Istanbul, with comfy, spacious rooms, the best breakfast buffet and even Hagia Sophia and Bosphorus views. Across the street from the river, and less than a ten minute walk to the most precious sights.
La Halte Montaigne is a superb B&B in Bordeaux, France, in a practical but peaceful location, run by the most consummate hosts I’ve ever come across on this planet. A bonus- the hostess is a decadently wonderful pastry chef, with the best breakfast around, loaded with all manner of goodies, including fresh warm pear tart, homemade jams, and even the local Bordelais treats “cannelés” served fresh in the morning.
Belize, Honduras and Guatemala (visiting those countries was an adventure…and I have too much info for this page, so we’ll have to save those places for later. Send me any questions you might have in the meantime.)