Traveling Zen:::The Paperback Version is now Available!

Take me to AMAZON! 541E949B-10DF-4C91-810B-E2CFD159074D.jpeg

Awesome Travel in Your Own Backyard.

Sometimes we are so anxious to travel to new places, that we forget about the gems in our own backyard. I give you the Hotel Vandivort of Springfield, Missouri. An incredible boutique Hotel in the popular downtown area. Apparently, it’s a big deal to take your photograph in the lobby bathrooms, #vandivortbathroomselfie

Mattress Run? Um. Ok…

Are you serious?  It’s like a 5k run thing, right?  That is the usual response I get when I’m planning a Mattress Run.

So what is it?  I’ll dumb it down from the beginning.  This is partial example of the current IHG Acceleration Promotion:

I’m interested in the 5,600, the 20,400 and the 1,500 Stay once in August.  By staying at 2 Holiday Inn Hotels in the month of August, I should be eligible to earn 27,500 points + the normal points you earn for a paid room stay+the points you earn for using your IHG credit card.  Total possible; around 32,000 points.  (I had an earlier stay to help complete the “fill 3 out 4 categories, earn 20,400 points” which gave me even more points).

Next look around for inexpensive Holiday Inn Hotels. I found two nearby and booked the cheapest nights at each (different nights).  Total out of pocket $190.00.  Check in, go to the room, stay or don’t stay.  Earn 32,000 ish points.  A “Mattress Run” usually does not involve staying.  Anyways…

IHG points have a value ~.007 cents each.  31,000 x .007=$217.00.  You paid $190.00 (.00612 each).  Not bad…

Now what…let’s put that 32,000 points to work.  Let’s say the Napa Valley, California area in October.  You’re feeling like wine and Fall colors.  How about this:

King Deluxe room, 2 nights (15,000 points per night) or you can pay cash at $384.56. Remember you paid $190.00 with the Mattress Run, that’s half price.

There are excellent Hotel Promotions offered frequently.   This is one way of maximizing value and making friends and family feel like you’ve lost your mind.

SILVERCAR, A Review Worth Reading

If you’re not considering Silvercar, it’s time to start.  Renting a car is a pain in the backside for me.  I usually have to check to see who I have status, points to use or free days with.  I eliminate the agencies that are fussy and hard to work with.  I usually end up with Enterprise or Hertz and have wasted 30 minutes overthinking the whole process.  Then you have the lines at the airport, extra’s: yes or no, surprise fees and you end up with whatever they give you.

Then I tried Silvercar.  I initially thought it was going to be a big hassle and avoided them, I mean it’s an Audi A4!, but because I was stranded by another rental agency, I just forced myself to do it.  Ironically, Silvercar has been LESS expensive than it’s competition more often than not.  I use Full size for any comparison not Luxury.

Now, four Silvercar experiences later, I’m laying awake at night worrying that they may not have an agency in the city that I’m traveling to and how I’m going to emotionally deal with the thought of using the the other rental companies with all their b.s… That and I’m completely spoiled rotten and I want an Audi.  Yes, I’m being a princess, whatever, just keep reading…


Here is why I’m sold on Silvercar;

  1.   The App is easy to navigate and straight forward.  No Drama.
  2.   If you are a Visa Infinite card holder (Sapphire Reserve etc.) you get 30% off every rental (add VINFINITE in the Promo code section) and the card also provides Auto Rental Collision Damage (primary) Insurance up to $75,000.
  3.   You show up in town, open the app, hit a button and they PICK YOU UP.  You skip the mess at the Rental Counters, no extras required as it comes loaded (see below)..
  4.   It’s always a newer Silver Audi A4 (Wow).  I take out my phone, scan a bar code on the windshield, it beeps, I check a few boxes on the app and they hand me the keys. Another Audi picks up the driver and I drive off into the sunset.  Add my wife as a driver also?, sure, no charge…nice.
  5.   It comes with unlimited mileage and when I’m done, I just take it back to their location, give it a quick look-over and they take us to the airport in it.  I don’t even have to mess with the gas, for $5.00 and the cost of fuel, they take care of it.

So there you have it!  It’s the easiest part of my trip planning.  Currently Silvercar is in 17 Cities with plans to add more.  If I was Hertz, Avis, Enterprise or whomever, I would be worried.   Download the app and see if Silvercar works for you.

By the way, I received nothing from anyone to write this article.  I’m glad to do it! They are simply THAT awesome!

Happy Travels

Lilly is Right…

Some days you shouldn’t even get out of bed.  This is usually said in retrospect after something later in the day has gone wrong.   I didn’t even get that far and found myself in hot water.  I tried to hide under the covers but trouble arrived anyway.

It came in the form of a statement and a loaded question from a beautiful 5’09 brunette who basically rules my universe named Lilly.

“You’re not helping me at all!  You do the points and miles THING, write a blog and I’M the one in the Travel Business!”  I help you, a lot!  What are you going to do about it?  I’m pulling the sheet over my head now.  It’s Quid Pro Quo time… and rightfully so.

To me, Points and Miles are a semi-complicated hobby that helps to make the core parts of a trip less expensive or free.  It doesn’t plan tours or offer travel packages usually (Marriott’s program with points and miles) and if you don’t have the credit scores, patience or time to invest, it’s probably not for you.  Some just like the simplicity of a Travel Agent.

This is where Lilly comes in.  She is a Travel Agent of sorts with a popular company called World Ventures.  When she started, she bought a membership, which came with a website that was full of trip choices that were fantastic, inexpensive and required very little thinking to plan, you just showed up and enjoyed yourself.  It was explained in a Sam’s Club/Costco sorta-way.  You pay a monthly membership fee and the savings are passed on to you.  Apparently  a lot of companies don’t really make most of their money on product, it’s from the memberships.

Me:  How do I get Hotel points from this?  Lilly: You have a vacation and you relax and don’t worry about it.  Me: But!…  Lilly:  This is not complicated, it’s easy, they’ve done the work, you show up and RELAX!  Me:  I just don’t get it, no points?  Lilly:  Take a valium and go away…

So we go to Florida, three nights at the Gaylord Palms (Marriott on steroids).  We had to fly there, Hah! I used Airmiles.  We arrive and I sneak away from Lilly to check in.  You know I’m here on World Ventures, I say to the front desk clerk, but I’m also Gold with Marriott (I whisper and hand him my Marriott Elite #).  He says I really can’t upgrade you because you’re already there.  World Ventures?  yeah, ok.  Add my number anyways…and how much is our room normally I ask, $550 a night.  LILLY! What did this trip cost?  Don’t worry about it, but it was less than $500 TOTAL, sensing the panic in my eyes, she lists off the extra’s that were included in the price, Passes to Universal Studios,  I mean we are talking Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley and Hogwarts, breakfast(s), transportation to the parks and so on.  OK, I can live with that.  It was an awesome trip.  The hotel, the WHOLE hotel, was IN a dome, Incredible!  We’ve since been on a few more of these “Dream Trips” and the value has been excellent.

Also, I called Marriott when we got home and they gave me points for the hotel stay, by the rules, they probably shouldn’t have, but then they’re Marriott,  Awesome.

Points and Miles are effort, World Ventures is easy.  I’m learning that it’s nice too have both.