Travel credit cards.

Travel credit cards.

There are many different travel cards available, so it is essential to know how they differ and whether they work for you and your travel style.  Here are my five takes on travel credit cards and why you may consider using them.

1.Travel cards usually earn points or miles every time you use them.  Therefore, it means that even though you are not traveling, your simple everyday purchases could be working on getting you to your next travel destination. Some cards even offer double points for using the card at certain establishments or even during specific periods. These points can then convert to discounted hotel stays, airfare, and seat upgrades, to name a few.

2. If travel perks are one of the main reasons you choose a travel card, then it’s essential to read the fine print and understand how you can earn rewards with the card and redeem the rewards. If the card you chose only accrues perks on travel-related spending and you are not a frequent traveler, then consider another card. A card that allows you to earn points on everyday expenditures might work better for saving towards a trip.

3.If you travel consistently on a specific airline, then a specific airline-branded travel card might be worthwhile. Usual perks might include a free checked bag, priority check-in and boarding, a seat upgrade, and the ability to earn elite status with the airline. You are also allowed some perks when using airlines associated with the airline-specific card, such as lounge access.

4.It’s imperative that you join the airline loyalty program and have your travel card linked to that account. As a rule, you should join the frequent flyer program of every airline you fly on as it’s free, and sometimes extra points are given just for signing up.  Also, note that you usually have to join within 24 hours of travel to get credit for the flight taken.

5. Many non-airline branded credit cards have travel perks attached. However, travelers should research what card best suits them and their needs.  Some cards advertise lounge access, but only if you are traveling first-class or internationally. Others allow access but only to the cardholder and one guest. While some only allow lounge access during a specific time before or after a flight. If you happen to be traveling with a family or stuck at the airport for an extended time, having a travel card with perks you can’t use can be frustrating.

Overall, I strongly believe in frequent flyer programs, branded and non-branded travel cards.  As a person who travels often, I choose my travel itinerary based on what best works for me and what card I hold. How about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.

5 must have items that stay in my carry-on.

As an avid world traveler who has done this both professionally and personally, my carry-on is always semi-packed. Here are my tips and advice on the 5 items I consider must-haves and should always be in my carry on.

1. A lingerie organizer bag (details on another blog post). The one I use has two sides, one for clean underwear and the other for dirty. You never want to get them confused!

2. An electronic organizer bag (blog post coming). With people being so connected it is so inconvenient to lose connectivity and most hotels do not provide enough power outlets for the technology we use in our daily lives.

3. A toothbrush which in my opinion is even more needed than the electronic organizer. Many people pack this in their suitcase but with the chances of your luggage being lost, I like to always have this at hand.

4. A medicine bag with items like Tums, ibuprofen, cold medicine, etc. I tend to also have eye masks, face masks, prescription medications, band-aids, Neosporin, alcohol pads, and such (more on another post).

5. Finally I always have a small makeup bag with the basics like mascara, lip moisturizer, lipstick, makeup remover cloths, toner, and face moisturizer. These are always found at beauty supply stores and pharmacies in travel sizes.

You make have other priorities for your carry-on. If so, what are they? I’d love to find out.

Assumptions, travel bias, and micro-aggression.

Assumptions, travel bias, and micro-aggression.

I spent twenty-three years in the airline industry as a flight attendant. Many of those first years I was often the only person of color on the crew. Therefore, my experiences in being looked at differently have been more than eye-opening.

My career started in the late ’80s and people of color travelers were not as prevalent as they now are. As a flight attendant, I had the privilege of standby travel, which meant I flew somewhat free, but that meant I got any seat not taken by a paying passenger (more on another blog post). Often it was the dreaded middle seat, the least desired seat near the restroom, or even on a flight attendant jumpseat, which is often right next to the restroom. I traveled plenty but not often comfortably.

As I began to travel more for pleasure than work, I often chose to fly in premium cabins. I had often heard the refrain “you get there at the same time so why does it matter?” My choice had a lot to do with the fact that in a premium cabin I could expect the type of service I paid for, or in some cases demand it. I say demand because often while traveling as a person of color, there appear to be assumptions that people of color don’t deserve service, much less premium service.

There were many times when the announcement was made for premium cabin boarding, and I would be almost pushed out of the way or looked over by others who did not expect me to be in a premium cabin. Gate agents would often look at me and reiterate the boarding announcement as if I was hard of hearing. Flight attendants would demand to see my boarding card if I paused in the premium cabin to put my bags away. The many acts of travel bias and microaggression often left me with a less than pleasant travel experience.

Have you had similar experiences? If not a person of color, have you ever noticed it? I’d love to hear about your experiences and your thoughts.

Choosing the right travel partner brings treasured memories.

Choosing the right travel partner brings treasured memories.

As I end this most recent trip without my travel partner of the past thirteen years, I reflect on my feelings about this travel experience. One of the most important aspects of having a wonderful travel experience is the consideration of your travel partners.

There are many different types of travelers. This includes budget travelers who want to make the most from their trip with the least expense. Another type is carefree travelers who often give no care or consideration to the footprint they leave behind, whether it be a trashed hotel room or negative impressions.

Needless to say, I fit none of those categories. After years of professional and personal travel, I try to leave behind a very minute footprint and I have no problem budgeting and paying for the type of accommodations and experiences I expect. That being said a hotel room with no bathrobe or slippers is subpar for me as my feet touching the floor gives an instant gag reflex (more on another blog post).

When considering travel companions, choose wisely! An incompatible travel partner can leave less than treasured memories. Those minute frustrations that arise can play havoc with the inner travel experience you will have. Often you will hold back on voicing your opinions to not create friction while traveling. Subconsciously, however, this takes away from the enjoyment of the travel experience. I would suggest you think long and hard about choosing the right travel partner.

Have you ever planned a wonderful trip then regretted it before it ended? Share your thoughts, I’d love to hear about them.

Thankful for the memories

Thankful for the memories

2020 has definitely been a year of great emotions with many highs and lows. My last blog post discussed the angst of Covid travel during Thanksgiving. This post I’d like to dedicate to the joy of going back home.

My life has significantly changed since I left home so many years ago to make my mark on the world. I have traveled extensively both for work and for pleasure. Pulling up to my mom’s home reminded me not only of how much I have made inner travel, as much as I have made the physical travels.

My mom has lived in the same apartment for over forty years. In comparison, I live in a five- bedroom home with plenty of hosting spaces, inside and out, as well as an apartment in Singapore that I also call home.

Despite those differences, this thanksgiving was one of the happiest and memorable ever. Chairs had to be brought in for seating, the floor became a seating space, and laps became temporary dining spaces. However, the laughter flowed and happiness permeated the room.

In our travels, it’s not always the destination, but how we get to the destination that matters. I invite you to take an inner journey and reflect on the travel you have made to reach the destination you’re currently at. I encourage you to be thankful for the memories. It could have been better or it could have been worse, but give thanks for the journey you’ve traveled keep looking forward to the ones ahead. We are not all as blessed.

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