Travel Gadget Reviews

An IT professional by day, this HappyFlyer is a self-proclaimed tech enthusiast with a passion for travel. Hailing from the East Coast, she will be writing about her interest in travel gadgets and sharing her best travel tips and unique perspective on travel experiences.

Freddies Awards Voting is Open and Why I Vote

I first came across the Freddie Awards when I was checking in at a hotel some years ago.  A sign was placed near the check-in counter to promote that the hotel brand is a winner of the award.  I’ve since learned that it’s an award to “recognize world’s most outstanding frequent travel programs, after namesake of Sir Freddy“. Why I Vote Over the years, I became familiar with many of the hotel and airline programs.   If you are like most people, you probably have a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to voting. You may be nonchalant about...

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Pick-Pocket Proof Clothing: Do They Work?

Pick-Pocket Proof Clothing I recently came across a good read on what to do if you get pick-pocketed in Athens.  Anyone can be a victim.  While I have been scammed (over waffles, no less), I have been fortunate to not have been a victim of petty theft during my travels.  Interestingly, it was also during my planning phase to Athens some years ago that I looked into possible solutions.  At the time, I decided to buy my first-ever pick-pocket proof pants.  The pants are pricey, but I figured they would make a good long-term investment. I also figured that...

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How Long Does it Take to Transfer Virgin Atlantic Miles to Hotel Partners?

I recently wanted to top up an account with a transfer from my Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club program) to a hotel partner. The request must be done by calling customer service.  One of the terms and conditions caught my attention: Why Does a Transfer Take So Long? I can’t think of a good reason why a transfer request would take up to 30 days.  Since Virgin Atlantic has partnerships with the participating hotels, it’s safe to assume that there is some internal process to handle transfer requests.  I figured the “up to 30 days” is buffer language, just in...

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Why You Should Never Just Look at the Hotel Base Rates

I’ve been looking into booking a hotel for an upcoming trip.  My requirements are straightforward: I need a standard room at a flexible rate for 3 guests (with a roll-away bed request) near a specific location.  For my desired dates, I found a hotel that matched my criteria on Expedia.  It has a base rate of $225 per night (or $900 for 4 nights) plus taxes and fees. I called Citi’s concierge to take advantage of the 4th night free benefit. Base Rate Was an Illusion The call didn’t quite pan out as expected.  The rep couldn’t find the...

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Intercontinental Confirmed Data Breach at these 12 Properties

Data Breach I came across a report late last year that Intercontinental Hotel Group (IHG) — the parent company of Holiday Inn — had a data breach.  There wasn’t a lot of details then, but new details are emerging.  Since I often stay at IHG properties, I had some concerns that my data may have been compromised. There are some good and bad news.  The good news is that the data breach appears to have only affected bars and restaurants at 12 IHG managed properties.  The bad news?  The number of affected properties could rise, as investigations are still...

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A Strange Question from a Non-Frequent Flyer

When you travel often enough, you are bound to come across some interesting encounters at airports.  I’ve had some interesting encounters, though one of the most recent ones was quite puzzling. An Encounter with an Infrequent Flyer I had just gone through security at the NRT airport.  I was waiting around for the rest of my family to finish up at the checkpoint, when a neatly dressed lady came up to me and asked, “Hi. Can you tell me if I still have time to go shopping?” I was massively confused, thinking to myself, “Wait, did I hear her...

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Sprint’s Got You Covered with $5 add-on When Traveling to Japan

I have written extensively about my switch to T-Mobile from Sprint. I’ve mostly been a happy Sprint customer and may not have switched had it not been for the fact that Sprint no longer offers 2 year contracts.  Meanwhile, T-Mobile kept upping its offerings and I finally switched with its 4 lines for $120 promotion.   T-Mobile and Sprint are alike in many ways, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up merging down the line. They both offer unlimited plans.  While T-Mobile excels at its marketing of its unlimited data and texting plan at over 140+ countries, people...

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Paradise at Marriott Wailea Beach Resort, Maui

During my first visit to Hawaii, my family and I visited Oahu and Maui.  We planned for an active trip in Oahu, so I was looking for a more relaxing wind down in Maui.   It didn’t take us long to decide on a stay at Marriott’s Wailea Beach Resort in Maui.  I was sold on booking a stay there, given how beautiful the resort looked in pictures.  I also had been long fascinated by infinity pools and the resort conveniently has one! The Rooms The hotel has gone through a room refresh recently, though the room was fine to...

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4 Tips to a Better Travel Experience

I am considered the travel planner in the family.  Having planned a number of trips, I find that a good portion of travel planning is making sure that everyone is on-board with the selected destination(s), and that there is something about the trip that everyone is truly excited about.  After all, half the fun is the anticipation of the trip — knowing that you’ll soon be heading off to an adventure can do wonders to brighten your day! 1.  Be Open-Minded It’s important to be open-minded when you travel. For example, my brother read about Mannequin Pis in a...

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5 Practical Ways to Save on Hotel Costs

Travel is expensive, with airfare and lodging often being the two largest expenses.  They add up even more quickly when you are traveling with family.  When it comes to airfare, there are limited options when you have fixed plans.  Fortunately, there are far more choices when it comes to lodging. Since I love traveling with my family, I often have to budget for 2 rooms whenever we travel together.  As a result, I’m always on the lookout for ways to save on hotel costs. 1. Book with Points or “Free Nights” (Cheapest) Assuming you have hotel points or free...

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