Two to Travel (And Tango)

Travel Tips and Inspiration From Millennials, For Millennials

Category: Travel Tips (page 2 of 5)

Andaz Tokyo Review: Toranomon Hills

I’ll admit it, the last time we did Tokyo, we didn’t do it right. It was 2012, and we were storming through various parts of Asia. We stayed in a decent but ordinary and boring business hotel for what still felt like a handsome sum. The room was small, like only the bed fit in it kind of small. The bathroom was confusing, and a low point is when I thought the fancy remote control in the bathroom turned the shower on. Standing before the toilet, I hit the water button only to have one of Japan’s finest toilets point a bidet and spray me, full pressure, squarely in the face.

Sprayed in the face, remotely, by a toilet? Welcome to Tokyo!

Sprayed in the face, remotely, by a toilet? Welcome to Tokyo!

We never one drank real coffee, given the exorbitant cost we stuck to the cheap vending machine cans of coffee. And, I hate to confess this, but transparency is a must on this blog: We didn’t really eat sushi the way we should have. Sticker shock scared us off, and while that reality opened up the world of ramen to us, we missed out on sushi.

And so returning last November, we knew we had to correct a few things:

1. Eat sushi.

2. Stay closer to the parts of the city we wanted to be in.

3. Stay at the nicest hotels in Tokyo, and not pay a penny doing so.

When you think luxury hotel and Tokyo, you’re bound to think about the Park Hyatt Tokyo, made famous from the film Lost in Translation. Fear not dear friends, we stayed there and have a review on the way, but I want to talk to you about a hotel I didn’t realize I’d love so much. And so this is our review of The Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills: a 5 star boutique hotel located on the top 6 floors of a 52 story skyscraper in Tokyo! We’ve got a photo and video review below! Continue reading

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News You Can Use: Earn Starwood Points on Uber Rides, and What Countries Can You Stream House of Cards Friday?

Big news in the travel world. First, if you’re like Laura and I, you have a mild obsession with House of Cards. Season three drops on Friday, the same day we’re boarding a flight to Paris. So naturally we had to know, which countries will you be able to stream House of Cards through the Netflix app?

And though we have mixed feelings about Uber, a few things are obvious:

1. They’re convenient. We’ve hailed an Uber everywhere from LA to Joburg to Doha, and everytime have found it easier and more enjoyable than relying on taxis.

2. The app is easy to use. Simple enough.

3. As far as transportation options go, they’re a mile and points junkie’s dream come true. While traditional taxis still try to make me feel guilty about using a credit card, Uber created a cashless system that makes so much sense. I love the hassle free experience of Uber.

So when the news alert hit my desk early this morning, I was intrigued. Earn Starwood Points (my favorite hotel currency) for doing what I already do? You’ve got me intrigued, so I guess the two things we’ve got for you today are this: What countries can you watch House of Cards in come Friday, and how can you earn extra Starwood Points for doing something you probably already do anyway?
Continue reading

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Travel in first trimester: tips and tricks to stay healthy and enjoy your vacation

It was Thursday night at 9pm. We were standing in the middle of our living room, staring at the pregnancy test stick. A quick reference to the instructions on the box confirmed our suspicions–we were having a baby. We spent about 5 minutes jumping around the apartment, laughing and hugging it out, and then we got back to business…packing. After all, we had a 6am flight to Rome the next day.

Who needs hot baths, Italian wine, and sushi when you have gelato and crepes?

Who needs hot baths, Italian wine, and sushi when you have gelato and crepes?

Looking back on the epic “travel in first trimester” experience now, from the comforts of the second trimester, I have to say, we did a lot of stupid things. We only had 9 hours between when we found out we were pregnant and when our 10-day, around-the-world trip commenced, so we were blissfully ignorant of the dos and don’ts of travel in the first trimester. We googled the basics, and I was quickly disappointed to learn that my dreams of Italian wine at every meal, daily sushi in Tokyo and hot baths in Budapest were not highly recommended for expecting moms. But there was also a lot that we had to find out the hard way during that quick, 10-day trip around the world.

Here’s the thing: you can travel all you want up through 36 weeks of pregnancy (talk to your doctor, though, if you have any medical conditions). But there are some things that you can and should do in order to make sure that you’re taking care of both yourself and that little alien growing inside of you. Here are some quick tips for traveling in the first trimester. Continue reading

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Quick Tip: Keep Airline Miles From Expiring

A question I get with surprising frequency goes something along the lines of “Hey Pat, help! I’ve got 23,000 United miles but they’re about to expire. I don’t want to lose them, but I am not flying before they expire. What do I do?”

And the answer, depending on which frequent flyer program or hotel rewards program you are a part of is surprisingly simple: Do you have $0.99 to spare? If so, I can keep your miles from expiring for that and 5 minutes of your time.  Continue reading

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Tips When You Have to Visit an Emergency Room Abroad

If you follow our blog, you know I had the fortune to visit the Emergency Room in El Salvador recently. Fortune I say, because the life lesson learned ended up more profoundly impactful than any anxiety to visit an ER abroad. Vulernability, our willingness to collapse into our shared humanity with anyone willing to shoulder our troubles with us, is what got me through the experience.

Format Emergency Room by Thierry Geoffroy, February/March 2007.

But poetic life lessons aside, there are very practical things to consider if you’re abroad and in need of a visit to the doctor. What do you do? Where do you begin? How does insurance work? This guide is by no means exhaustive, but it is built on first hand experience having been to the ER myself or with others in multiple countries now. Lucky me, I know. So what should you consider when visiting the ER abroad? Continue reading

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Be Careful Where You Put Your Phone and iPad on American Airlines A321

For the most part, I like the American Airlines A321. It’s a pretty cool plane. If you’re lucky enough to snag an upgrade or award seat to find yourself in business or first class for the long haul flight, you’re pretty damn lucky. Free alcohol.

Win List American Airlines A321

Then there’s the subpar food but hey, at least it’s FREE subpar food!

American Airlines Breakfast A321 LAX JFK

You have a HUGE 15 inch monitor to enjoy a ton of movies and TV shows. Oh yeah, and your seat turns into a skybed, my favorite reason to ever fly in business or first class and something that until recently, wasn’t really much of a thing for any sort of domestic flight.

Those are my legs, stretched out under the TV in front of me. Life is good in business class.

Those are my legs, stretched out under the TV in front of me. Life is good in business class.

But the plane, as I found last week, has it’s drawbacks. The economy is subpar, and not just because they offer little to no free programming on the TVs they placed in their seats. I mean really, $6-$8 for a movie, and the only free programming is that stupid NBC Universal loop.

Economy A321

American, catch up to Delta (hard words to utter) and offer more free programming. But the biggest reason I’m no fan of the A321 is this: In the course of two flights, I lost my iPad and almost lost my iPhone. But is this really the fault of the plane? As is often the case in life, yes and no.  Continue reading

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REI Co-Op Jacket Review

Full disclosure: REI provided two jackets for us to complete this REI Co-Op Jacket Review. 

In Southern California, we just don’t do winter weather. It’s pouring rain outside as I write my first draft of this, and navigating the streets of LA during a rainstorm you’d think we got Buffalo proportions of snow or something. And so as Laura and I prepared for a recent whirlwind around the world trip that included, amongst many great things, freezing cold weather with wind, rain, and a possibility of snow, we were at a loss. I must have stood in front of our “coat closet” for a good five minutes hoping I could will one of my hoodies or windbreakers into a legitimate winter coat, but alas no such luck.

A few hours later, I’d exhausted my search online as well as at a few department stores, faced with an even more troubling dilemma: We wanted to have our cake and eat it too. Here’s what I wanted in a winter jacket:

 

1. Weather resistant. No wind nor water falling from the sky should impede upon my travels.

2. Stylish yet functional. I want to wear it in a variety of settings, from trekking to dinner.

3. Affordable. Turns out this winter weather gear can cost A LOT of money.

4. Heavy on the warmth, lightweight on the baggage. Laura and I pride ourselves on flying carry on, ALL THE TIME. So I wanted a jacket warm enough for temps in the low 30’s, and yet one that could be packed quickly and easily when hopping on a plane.

I called a friend from this mythical land called the east coast, and he laughed. “Dude, you’ve got to sacrifice somewhere, you won’t be able to find all of that, at least not for under $200.”

But he was wrong, as wrong as I was warm in the jackets we chose. Want to learn how to travel in style, do it affordably, and do it in a jacket as light as the snow that falls around you?  Continue reading

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Understanding the Best Credit Card Perks

I cringe whenever I see a debit card used. It’s probably the biggest tell tale sign that I’m a miles and points snob. But, it’s also more than that: The security breach at Target taught us that using credit instead of debit is actually safer.

We’ve spoken at length about credit card perks here on the blog. We’ve gushed and gushed about our American Express Platinum, a credit card that offers us $200 airline credits (hello gift cards), a waiver to apply for Global Entry (hello short lines at airports), as well as elite status in car programs and hotels (thanks for the free upgrade), and access to airport lounges around the world (nothing beats a shower in a connecting city after a long flight). T

Laura enjoying some free food in a lounge. Between our credit cards and elite status, we get access to free showers, food and more almost anywhere we travel!

Laura enjoying some free food in a lounge. Between our credit cards and elite status, we get access to free showers, food and more almost anywhere we travel!

hese benefits are the cream of the crop by most travelers standards, but there’s more hidden deep in terms and details of our credit card.

The same could be said of our Chase Sapphire Preferred. We love double points at restaurants and on travel. Since we’re practically abroad as much as we are at home, we can’t get enough of it’s no foreign transaction fees. But again, there’s more. Because believe it or not, some of the best credit card perks are ones often not raved about when we talk solely miles, points, and cash back benefits.  Continue reading

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10 Best Travel Websites You Should Be Using (And Probably Aren’t)

How many travel websites do you visit before you book a vacation? It may surprise you to find out the average according to a 2013 study by Expedia is 38. The average person will visit 38 travel websites in preparing for a vacation. What?!?! At that rate, people might spend more time planning their trip than actually experiencing their trip. That’s gotta change. A few months ago, we wrote what has become one of our most popular blog posts: The Best Travel Apps for your phone.

Want to find some of the most helpful travel websites you probably don’t know about? Skip right past TripAdvisor (please, so overrated) and throw away whatever outdated Rick Steves guide you have (if you actually read Rick Steves and read this blog- we need to talk) and let us reveal our 10 travel websites you need to know about in order to might make planning your next trip easier, more affordable, and hopefully, more fun!  Continue reading

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Global Entry Superstar- My Application and Interview Experience

After several years of watching Patrick leave me in the security lane as he glided effortlessly through TSA Pre-Check, I finally decided that it was time. It was time to get TSA Pre. Because of his continued elite status with American Airlines, Patrick had been selected to test out TSA Pre for free as they rolled it out initially. I hadn’t thought that the ability to walk through security without taking of your jacket or shoes would be worth paying for it…until it took me 45 minutes to get through security on one recent trip, while it took him a mere three minutes. I am a competitive person, after all, and that was just not cool.

But as I looked further into the process, I realized that there was only one way to go about this: to go big or go home. With our American Express Platinum card, each cardholder gets the application fee waived for TSA Pre or Global Entry, so I could justify the expense. And, since Global Entry automatically qualifies you for TSA Pre, it made sense (particularly with our upcoming international travel) to apply for Global Entry. Continue reading

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