This past weekend I was able to put my travel knowledge into action to save hundreds of dollars! My neighbor was in a dilemma for booking flights on an upcoming international business trip. While his employer has no required airline carrier, he has a personal preference and wanted to surprise his wife with a ticket to join him. The flight prices were on a steady increase, ideal flight times were quickly diminishing and his preferred airline seemed impossible.
Here I come to save the day with my travel acumen and of course I am wearing a cape!
I encouraged him to try utilizing the travel search engine called momondo.com. Well within 2 hours he stopped by to tell me he booked the flights on his preferred carrier, with excellent departure times, and it was over $400 cheaper than he had seen anywhere else.
Momondo.com found the perfect flight and I enjoyed the victory lap as a dinner guest at the neighbor’s home.
I am so excited to share with you my latest travel gear purchase because I have never seen anything like this before! As you can imagine my travel gear collection is quite extensive which has a dedicated closet in my home. I have extremely stringent criteria for any new travel gear to ensure it will stand the test of time.
Without further ado let me introduce you to….my new travel gear item is The Grayl water filter. You may recall from previously posts that I am a strong advocate for always carrying a packable water bottle so that you can get drinking water anywhere and most importantly save your money for margaritas. Well that solution does not work in all countries especially where the tap water is not safe to drink. In most instances the locals are immune to the many issues associated to the water and it only affects us delicate travelers. You may be familar with a few terms “Montezuma’s revenge” or “Delhi belly” for common illness that many travelers endured from drinking water or food washed in the local tap water.
Alas, the Grayl water filter eliminates 99.9999% disease-causing bacteria, virus protection and protozoan cysts in addition it has been tested according to NSF/ANSI standards 42 + 53.
The water filter is extremely easy and quick to utilize transforming stream or tap water into pure drinking water in mere seconds. This avoids the countless trips to the local corner store then carrying heavy bottles of water back to the hotel. In addition you no longer have to continual monitor your remaining water supply. There have been numerous times I was ready to collapse into bed after a long day of travel only to realize that I don’t have any water left. Ugh another journey out to search for water! While the Grayl device is a little expensive I anticipate that after 3-4 trips it will have paid for itself and the luxury of convenience is worth every penny.
Well friends, I am guessing that most of us over the age of 25 have daily medications that you take even if that might only be vitamins. For many years I had been traveling with the 7 day pill organizer which worked perfect for short trips. However for longer trips I would load up the 7 day pill pack then carry extra medicine to refill at some point during the trip. UGH! Who wants to be spending precious vacation time in a hotel room reloading pill organizers?
So I got creative and got super organized! I now fill a teeny tiny plastic bag for each day with any pills that I need to take; which makes them very transportable to take anywhere including the airplane. You can even find teeny tiny plastic bags with different designs if you need to keep morning and evening medications separated. I previously carried a small bottle of aspirin, Alleve, Tylenol, etc when I travelled or even on a daily basis in my purse. I have even replaced that small bottle with these teeny tiny plastic bags to save space.
I have found that these teeny tiny plastic bags can be recycled to be utilized for many other purposes:
SD card or SIM card
little sea shells
Please remember that medications should always be packed in your carry-on luggage!
You can have the perfect European vacation without the long flight or expensive plane ticket right here in North America. It is true! Quebec City, Canada has a multitude of alluring options to entice all of your senses yet leave you wanting more.
See: Historic District of Old Quebec City was made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1985. The architecture is stunning and you will be instantly charmed by it’s beauty.
Touch: The “pitter patter” feeling while walking the old cobbled streets will have you reminiscing of any European vacation taken or future wish list.
Hear: Parlez-vous français? You can practice your French! Or at least be immersed in a world where French is the primary spoken language. Nobody panic…everyone is bilingual in French and English.
Taste: There are many restaurants where French influenced food is available. The most common is the classic French crepes with a little side of Canadian maple syrup to remind you that you are not in Paris.
Smell: There are several cafes and bakeries in Old Quebec City so the scent of fresh bread and baked goods seems to waft through the air in every direction. Pair that with a nice cafe au lait and you have yourself a true delight.
Quebec City is so quaint and charming that you simply want to embrace it!
You may recall that I don’t have a loyalty to any airline especially in today’s travel market place where achieving status from “butt in seat miles” takes a lot of time sitting on a plane. I have travelled on many airlines over the years including the “no thrills” to the highest rated in the industry; however I have a new favorite airline.
Are you ready? Drum roll please….it is Porter Airlines! Hmmm I know what most of you are thinking; how have I have never heard of this airline. Well, it is a small airline that is
headquartered in Toronto, Canada. Porter has flights to 15 destinations in Canada and 8 US destinations focused on the East coast and Midwest regions. It has been named “Top Small Airline in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler Readers Choice Award.
What I love about Porter Airlines:
The flight attendants had genuine smiles on their faces because they were enjoying their job.
Everyone is treated with respect. The boarding process is extremely simple allowing those who need extra time or assistance to go first followed by Porter Premium Access. We then commence with general boarding process. There is no song and dance about lining up in group numbers or boarding by what status level you are today. Easy and simple.
The seat configuration allows for a very generous 17 inch seat width and 32 seat pitch. This is the same legroom you pay extra for on most carriers.
There are no middle seats! All of the flights use a Bombardier Q400 which has a 2 – 2 configuration.
Everyone gets lounge access in Toronto! The lounge offers complimentary snacks, sodas, teas, coffee and espresso machines.
On every flight a selection of snacks is offered complimentary along with your choice of beverage including beer or wine. Your beverage is served; wait for it…in real glassware. Wow free upgrade to 1st class!
Amazing customer service from everyone you encounter associated to the airline. Even though I had to check my bag on the return flight due to a strict carryon weight limit; the agent was very kind to remind me that if I paid for the baggages fees online it would be $10 cheaper.
The airline has an adorable stylized raccoon character as their mascot named Mr. Porter. How fun is that!
What would I wish for?
I hope that Porter expands it’s routes and considers adding a hub in the US.
Given that Porter is currently a privately held wholly owned subsidiary I hope that as growth continues they don’t lose sight of their amazing brand for a little extra profit.
While Porter Airline’s tag line states “flying refined” it definitely captures their classy service and image. However I think that Porter Airlines exemplifies what airline travel should be; or perhaps it is a reminder of travel standards from the glory days of 1960’s. It is comforting to know there is at least one airline that treats you with dignity; regardless of your ticketed class.