Last week, I got a 65″ Hisense H8F television for $255 – 64% off retail price. I’ve often waited a few days on Amazon and gotten the item I was shopping for at half the price. In 2014, I flew cross country from Seattle to New York for £52.69 (about $88 USD at the time) – and the return flight was in business class. I made more back in frequent flyer miles than the cost of the flight. How do I find these sorts of deals? Deal alerts. You can too!  Creating Deal Alerts There are a few sites out there that make looking forRead More →

I lived downtown in Seattle for a year and a half and loved it. Amazing food, laid back vibe, plenty of live music venues, and incredible mountains and parks right on its doorstep. Yet most of what I heard before (and after) moving there was “ugh, isn’t it cloudy and rainy there all the time?”. I really believe Seattle is underrated as a destination city, despite a lot of increased growth in the past five years that seems to indicate more people are realizing how great it can be. What follows here is my short list of favorites around the Emerald City. Quick Observations BeforeRead More →

Just now getting back to writing after spending almost a month and a half on the go. Where was I? A visual probably works best: Most of my travel is about the people I see, but I got to visit some fun locations too – Marco Island in Florida has a beautiful white sand beach, and Sedona has striking landscapes even in winter. Traveling on Points I fielded a lot of questions on how my sabbatical is going, but I also got some questions about how I plan travel, and specifically using points for free travel, that I thought I’d walk through here. I doRead More →

When I quit my job, I decided to take the time to do a couple of the long road trips I’d always wanted to take. Like my Northern CA drive, a trip south along the coastal highway was a must. The Route: Bay Area to Hearst Castle, Solvang, Newport Beach, San Diego Side Note: Don’t skip Big Sur I’d driven from the Bay Area down to Big Sur several times before and stayed at a cabin there once, the drive along the ocean in that particular stretch is gorgeous. If you haven’t spent time in Big Sur, I’d suggest taking at least an overnight andRead More →

I’ve always wanted to take driving tours away from the Bay Area to see more of California, especially along the coastal roads. This June, I did long tours of both Northern and Southern California, and had a great time in each location. In this post I’ll give maps, a few details on things to do, and cover budget for the Northern trip.  Northern CA: Bay Area to Mount Shasta, west to the coast, Avenue of the Giants, Ft. Bragg/Mendocino  I found the northern portion of California beautiful. Once clear of the city and the weekend Napa/Sonoma traffic, Route 5 clears right out and it’s smoothRead More →

I’ve been watching the Netflix documentary Fyre this week like everyone else, and find it totally fascinating. I remember reading the news at the time the music festival crashed and burned back in April 2017, but I didn’t appreciate just what a disaster it really was. How could the pilot who learned how to fly a plane by playing video games be the smartest guy in the room? As most have seen from watching, Fyre Festival was a train wreck of overpromising and underdelivering at an epic scale. When they lost access to Norman’s Cay, the private island experience that most people were buying intoRead More →

2019 just rolled around, and I’ve been looking into the #vanlife and #rvlife movements. I’ve always been intrigued by the tiny house movement (though existing “accessory dwelling unit” [ADU] laws mean that most people have to mooch off friends/family or break the law to do it, unfortunately) and have been considering, if I took a gap year or more from full-time work, how I’d spend it. In addition to international travel, writing, and possibly some sweat equity on an investment property, I’d like to do some road travel. Bringing my retired parents along would really make that a fun way to spend time with family,Read More →

Learned something new yesterday while looking at options for rental car bookings: Chase Travel does not allow you to do one-way rentals. American Express Travel does allow one-way rentals, but does not allow you to originate from any location that isn’t an airport. Strange restrictions, but good to know. Instead of paying ~$650, more than three times the cost of my transcon plane ticket, I opted to take Amtrak from Philadelphia airport to Lancaster where I’m staying overnight with friends ($17 ticket and as fast as driving). I’ll be using 1350 Hertz points for a one-way car rental in Lancaster to visit other friends near Harrisburg before driving toRead More →

Although I’ve been a member of Turo (formerly RelayRides) for a long time, next week is my first time using them. Turo is like the AirBnb of cars. When you’re not using your vehicle, you can rent it out through their platform to make extra cash. They help you locate drivers, provide valet lots at major airports like SFO where you can leave your car to get rented out for extended periods, and cover you with insurance. The last bit is the interesting part: insurance. While they provide a $1M liability policy to owners, damage coverage starts to get confusing. It’s taken me a couple ofRead More →