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.

Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini: Which Should You Get?

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.  It’s no surprise to anyone that I like tech gadgets.  For example, I reviewed an external flash drive solution so I won’t run out of space on my phone for taking pictures.  I hadn’t been as diligent on the home automation front, but I decided to invest in a smart (voice-activated) home speaker this week. When it comes to smart speakers, most people tend to think of the popular Amazon’s Alexa (or Amazon Echo), launched back in November 2014.  I didn’t have a need for it then.  Given my recent investment in smart plugs and other...

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Huge Phone Port-Out Scam: What You Should Do Now to Protect Your Account

News broke recently on a huge phone port-out scam.  If you don’t know what the scam is or if you’ve not yet taken action to protect your account, this post will get you up-to speed. Who’s Impacted?  Potentially, anyone who has a cell phone with any of the phone carriers.  Yes, this mostly likely includes you too.  This is not a carrier specific issue.  This is an industry-wide scam. What is the port-out scam?   When you switch a phone line from one carrier to another, the transfer process is called “phone porting”. Porting out a line is not...

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Does the new Amex Hilton Aspire comes with a free weekend night the first year?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the new Amex Hilton cards, including the Hilton Aspire card which comes with a $495 annual fee. Interestingly (and a HT to flyertalk), there were questions around whether a free weekend night is part of the card benefit.  When I login to my account, I see a summary of card benefits.  One of those benefits is the free weekend night.  The benefit summary merely mentions a weekend night reward upon renewal of the Hilton Honors card, with a tag to refer to the fine prints.     A Free Weekend Night in the...

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The Best Free Travel Tool for Any Trip Planning (Flight)

I am the travel planner in my family, so I get to do a lot of planning.  I’ll share a great free tool that I don’t do without when booking a flight. Obviously, one of the first things I consider before booking a flight is whether I could make use of frequent flier miles.  After all, that’s what they are for, though I try to maximize value and use them for long-haul flights.  In some cases — and especially when there is a fare sale — it simply makes more sense to pay for the tickets outright. There are plenty...

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How You Can Use Up Leftover Reward Points

Anyone who has ever redeemed for points and miles have run into the situation.  You’ve been accruing your points and you want to use them up.   After redeeming for your gift card or rewards, you still have an odd leftover balance of some 3,038 points. The problem? You can’t redeem them because the minimum redemption starts at 5,000 points — or some variations of it. You don’t want to throw the leftover points away because you accrued it, and depending on the program, it’s probably worth at least $30.38 if you valuate the points at 1 cent per point....

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Can You Keep Hotel Room Slippers?

You know how some people have a liking to hotel bath amenities, such as shampoos, conditioners, lotion, and bring them back for use later or donate it to charity? Well, I have a small confession to make: In the same way that some people are fond of bath amenities, I have a soft spot for hotel slippers.  Not all hotels offer it, so I always get a little giddy if a hotel offers it! Ridiculous, right? The irony is that I’m not even lacking in slippers.  I have a durable pair at home – I just never pack them...

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How Quickly Are You Upgraded to Hilton Diamond Status? (Amex Aspire Card)

Amex recently came out with new Hilton cards with 100,000 Hilton points offers. While the Hilton points aren’t worth as much due to devaluations, the Hilton Honors status is still quite valuable if you stay the Hilton properties often.  As a Gold member, you get complimentary breakfast at select Hilton properties. Complimentary breakfast?  Yes, please! The new premium American Express Aspire card comes (with the $450 annual fee) comes with a Hilton Diamond Status.  It confers you all the status of the Gold membership.  As a Diamond member, you also get guaranteed access to the executive lounge at select...

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New Amex Credit Cards: Which One Should You Get? (100,000 Hilton points offer)

Back in November 2017, there was news that the Citi Hilton cards will become Amex branded cards.   There were talks about new product offerings, but no one knew what – or if – there would be any associated signup offers. Well, we know now!   There is new newly branded mid-tier Ascend card, and the premium Aspire card.   I’ll share my thoughts on what I think about them.  Disclaimer:  I’m not using affiliate links here, so I am not trying to steer you towards a particular product. Why I Am Excited I am excited about the Hilton cards because...

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How Did You React to Ballistic Missile Alert in Hawaii?

Imagine you were going about your day when you suddenly get this alert:  “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.” That was the scenario that the people in Hawaii had to confront with, for about 38 minutes this past Saturday.  Given the heightened rhetoric between North Korea and United States in recent months, the possibility of a missile attack wasn’t out of the realm of reality.  By some estimates, a missile from North Korea “could reach Hawaii in 20 minutes.” Needless to say, the alert caused a lot of confusion (Is a...

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How to Buy a Japan Rail Pass Ticket

Previously, I wrote about my experience riding the Japan’s High Speed Bullet Train, the Shinkasen.   I purchased the Japan Rail Pass.  The process hadn’t changed much.  If you are wondering what the process is like, read on! Purchase the Japan Rail Pass BEFORE You Travel to Japan Generally speaking, you need to order your Japan Rail Pass BEFORE you travel to Japan. [As an aside, Japan Rail (JR) is running a sales trial period in which you can buy the Japan Rail Pass while in Japan, during 3/8/2018-3/31/2018 period] There are qualification requirements for the pass, but broadly...

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