Travel Information, Dining Recs, Tips, & Tricks Mega Thread

Rambo

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This is going to be the more all-purpose travel thread for things like airport info, packing, luggage, etc.

I'd like someone to take over as thread starter, so if you're a frequent traveler and interested in contributing, let me know and I'll edit you in.
 

Betelgeuse

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I will leave this here in case someone travels to Mexico City.

When you need to use a Taxi, ask for the ones that are from "Sitio", never get in one from the street. The ones from the "Sitio" are completely legal and the "Central Office", to put a name, have all their information, so it's highly unlikely that they rob you.

This tip I even give it to my friends from other states when they come to visit or for work.
 

Rambo

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I will leave this here in case someone travels to Mexico City.

When you need to use a Taxi, ask for the ones that are from "Sitio", never get in one from the street. The ones from the "Sitio" are completely legal and the "Central Office", to put a name, have all their information, so it's highly unlikely that they rob you.

This tip I even give it to my friends from other states when they come to visit or for work.
Are the Sitio's the red cabs or the green cabs?
 

Betelgeuse

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Are the Sitio's the red cabs or the green cabs?

As far as I know the green cabs no longer exist. The official ones are the red ones. But the ones from the Sitio, most of them are white. If you are staying at a hotel, they should have a few numbers of different Sitios.
 

Rambo

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As far as I know the green cabs no longer exist. The official ones are the red ones. But the ones from the Sitio, most of them are white. If you are staying at a hotel, they should have a few numbers of different Sitios.
I saw a few green ones when I was there. The red and beige, and the white ones, were most common though.
 

Betelgeuse

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I saw a few green ones when I was there. The red and beige, and the white ones, were most common though.

Be careful with those green ones, those might be Pirate Cabs and if they don't rob you, they definitely will try to charge you a not fair amount.
 

Rambo

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I must admit this has made me miss New Orleans pre-2006. I have not been back since then. Has anyone visited? Is it still as bad as I hear?
Yeah, I was there in 2012 for NewYears. It was great. Yeah, there were reports of shittiness, but I didn't see anything even with newyears, a playoff football game, and a college bowl game.
 

Rambo

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http://lifehacker.com/use-foursquare-to-get-free-wi-fi-at-airports-that-charg-513121488

Foursquare users are a helpful lot, especially when it comes to travel. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being stuck at an airport without free Wi-Fi, just ask Foursquare for the insider access.
The travel blog foXnoMad points out you can track down a wireless password for an airport just by Googling something like "foursquare Ataturk Airport." Search for the words "wifi" or "wireless" and you should find tips on either where you can grab free Wi-Fi (e.g., inside some airport bar) or the wireless password. The article also points out two free apps specifically for filtering Foursquare Wi-Fi tips: 4sqwifi (iOS) and Venue Spot (Android).
It's a good trick to know if that URL hack or just asking for free Wi-Fi don't work. Foursquare also comes in handy for finding free Wi-Fi passwords anywhere else.
 

Rambo

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http://boardingarea.com/blogs/viewf...waway-ticketing-to-save-big-money-on-airfare/

Using Hidden City and Throwaway Ticketing to Save Big Money on Airfare

Back in January I explained how to use hidden city and throwaway ticketing to save big money on airfare.
Airlines often price tickets from one city to another through a hub cheaper than flights that terminate at the hub.
Flying United New York to Milwaukee through Chicago is often much cheaper than just flying New York to Chicago.
But if you get off the plane in Chicago and don’t board your connection to Milwaukee, you’ve potentially saved yourself a lot of money. This is called hidden city ticketing.
Most people think they’ve purchased two flights, New York to Chicago and Chicago to Milwaukee. They only take one, but the airlines still got paid for both.
The airlines don’t like it. And instead of seeing themselves as selling you a ticket from New York to Chicago to Milwaukee with you having purchased both flights, they see themselves as selling a ticket from New York to Milwaukee — and you’re using that fare to improperly fly New York to Chicago instead.
No great secrets being let out of the bag here by the way, this was written up by Nate Silver in the New York Times.
And it certainly isn’t illegal to buy a ticket and not fly all of the segments (although Silver recommends not actually lying about what you’re doing if caught since that could technically introduce a fraud element).
As I explained in January,
The practice violates the contract of carriage of most airlines (not Southwest, and up until a few years ago tossing the return portion of a trip and flying only one way wasn’t a violation of United’s but that’s been updated). And a travel agent who consistently sells tickets where final segments are unflown can get a debit memo and owe money, which they need to pay in order to continue selling tickets on the airline (and indeed not to jeopardize their access to the computer reservation system itself). But that’s a contractual and ongoing business issue between airline, reservation system, and agent..
The most that can happen to a passenger is likely that they could theoretically be banned from an airline. Most people don’t care because they aren’t loyal to an airline to begin with. The customer more likely could see consequences to their mileage account. This is something that could happen through repeated and frequent use of the technique, including your mileage number in the reservation. If you consistently buy one-way tickets through Chicago to Milwaukee and get off in Chicago (Milwaukee is often a much cheaper market), and give your United Mileage Plus number each time you do it, United might have a problem with you. United might send you a warning letter. They might threaten your miles. They could even close your account.
On the other hand, they’ll have a more difficult time penalizing your miles if you credit to partner airline programs. It will even be harder, though not impossible, to track. I don’t advise doing this every week. But I’ve never personally known anyone that’s done it only a few times a year per airline to have problems.​
If you’re not breaking the law, and the airline can’t reasonably ‘go after you’ for doing this especially for doing it infrequently, what are the real risks involved?
  • Do this only as the last segment of a reservation. Only throw away the final leg of a roundtrip. Or book two one-ways if you want to do a throwaway in each direction. Because when you miss a flight, the airline is likely to cancel the rest of your itinerary.
  • Don’t check luggage. Most airlines used to let you ‘short check’ baggage, or check it to an intermediate stop and not your final destination. This isn’t usually allowed any longer. United certainly stopped permitting the practice a couple of years ago. If you check bags, your bags will go to the final city on your ticket, you will not. So this only works with carryons (except for international flights arriving in the U.S. and a few other countries where you have to pick up your bags on arrival and walk them through customs and then drop them back off. If you’re checked to a domestic destination other than the one you arrive at in the U.S., you usually just won’t drop your bags back off.)
  • Don’t let yourself gate check luggage. For the same reason you don’t want to check a bag, you don’t want to board the plane and find no overhead space and a flight attendant telling you they’ll check your bag to your final destination. That’s not okay, since you aren’t going to your final destination. So these tickets work best if you have status or an upgrade, or at least can board in the middle of the pack and not be the last to board. But if you are last to board, there’s no overhead space, and they won’t let you hunt and peck for space, then you need an excuse why you either need to get the carryon on the plane or you need them only to check it to your intermediate destination. In the former case, tell them you’re connecting on a separate ticket to a carrier they’ve never heard of. In the latter, just tell them your final destination is where the aircraft is landing. And they’re more likely to check it to your planned arrival city rather than your reservation’s final destination.
  • There’s still a risk of irregular operations. If your flight cancels, the airline might offer to send you to your ‘final destination’ via some other connecting city. That obviously won’t work for you. I’d suggest saying that the connecting city is important, you’re meeting folks in the airline’s club lounge there. Add some color, maybe you’re having an affair there (and only need a 45 minute connection in one fo the conference rooms?). Agents are usually pretty accommodating during irregular operations and will give you an itinerary that works for you if anything is available that suits you. But you’ll need to be proactive about the rebooking.
So how do you go about finding the savings with this technique?
I search one-way using ITA Software Matrix, although novice users may prefer Hipmunk.
I specifying my real starting city, and then I let the system find fares to a variety of cities that I know to be generally cheap, and might connect through the city I actually want to go to. And I may tell the website to search for other airports within 300 miles of the one I’ve specified too, why not?
And I’ll even limit the search by specifying my connecting point as the city I want to go to.
Cheap cities on the East Coast might be Providence, Atlanta (as a connection, not on Delta), Orlando, Jacksonville (Florida), Charlotte, Raleigh, New York (various airports). In the Midwest Milwaukee is a good one. On the West Coast one often finds good fares to Tucson, Las Vegas, and Orange County.
The cities you’ll try depend on whet’s in the same general region of the country as where you’re actually going (and sometimes connecting through the Northeast to Florida works great, actually).
So here’s a real world example. Flying DC to Phoenix almost three months from now non-stop on US Airways without a Saturday night stay is pricing at $1574!

But searching for DC through Phoenix to Long Beach, Orange County, Tucson, Oakland, San Jose, and Las Vegas I stumble upon the DC-Phoenix flight I want (combined with a Tucson flight I don’t) for $159.

And searching for Phoenix through DC to Charlotte, Raleigh, Orlando, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Providence, Boston, and New York LaGuardia I stumble upon the Phoenix – DC non-stop flight that I want (combined with a connecting flight to Providence or New York LaGuardia that I don’t) for $186.

We see that the $1574 itinerary can be purchased for $345.
My favorite version of this, sadly, doesn’t exist anymore. United used to have bus service from San Jose to San Francisco. Back then a cross country flight in and out of San Francisco without a Saturday stay was usually over $2000. But that same cross country flight through San Francisco to and from San Jose was about $600. The bus segment required a paper ticket, you yanked out the San Jose bus segments and checked in in San Francisco with no worries. (You would grab your bags from the bus and re-check in anyway, so you could have checked bags with this strategy even.) What’s more, you’d even earn the miles for the bus segment…
Throwaway ticketing is most commonly buying a roundtrip ticket instead of a one-way and ‘throwing away’ the return. It’s very rarely the case in the U.S. anymore that a roundtrip is cheaper than a one-way. but it’s still quite common in Europe — where one-ways will only price as full fare, with the major airlines you’ll often find it advantageous to book a roundtrip instead. Here the caveats about checked luggage don’t apply..
I’ll be interested to hear from folks that have done this and had success. And I’m always open to criticism from anyone who feels like these techniques aren’t things folks should do, or aren’t things I should share. What are your thoughts and experiences?
 

Rain Man

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I travel quite a bit for my gig in the Reserves. My unit always reserves a compact / economy car.

When I get to the rental counter, I hand the attendant my credit card and my driver's license with a $20 folded triple between and say, "I believe I'm eligible for an upgrade. Can you check?"

I was at Ft. Knox recently and spent two weeks tear-assing through Kentucky in a silver Camaro; the unit wanted to stick me in a fucking Toyota Yaris. God bless America.
 

Rambo

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I travel quite a bit for my gig in the Reserves. My unit always reserves a compact / economy car.

When I get to the rental counter, I hand the attendant my credit card and my driver's license with a $20 folded triple between and say, "I believe I'm eligible for an upgrade. Can you check?"

I was at Ft. Knox recently and spent two weeks tear-assing through Kentucky in a silver Camaro; the unit wanted to stick me in a fucking Toyota Yaris. God bless America.
How often would you say that works?
 

Rain Man

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How often would you say that works?
So far it has worked every time I've tried it. Probably ten times in the last four years. I typically get an upgrade to at least a full-size. Once I got a convertible, twice an SUV. And the Camaro. The sweet, sweet Camaro.

Once, the kid behind the counter asked, "Is this for me?" then quickly shut up and palmed it while I stared a hole through him. He gave me the convertible.

Once I didn't try it because there were two people working the counter and one was a manager.
 

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On when to book airline tickets:
http://www.farecompare.com/travel-advice/when-to-buy-travel-advice/
Want to win the airfare game? Want to find cheap flights every time you shop? FareCompare is here to help.
Start right now with our number one tip, and see why our motto is “never overpay for airfare again.” Rick Seaney, FareCompare CEO, shares his Top 5 Tips to Save on Every Flight.
Rick’s Top 5 Tips to Save on Every Flight

Tip #1: Shop for domestic airfare Tuesdays at 3pm eastern
According to FareCompare’s database of current and historical airfares (one of the world’s largest), airfare pricing trends show the best day to shop is Tuesday. Here’s why:
An airline will typically kick off an airfare sale late Monday.
  • Other airlines join in to stay competitive
  • Price matching is usually complete by early Tuesday afternoon
  • Newly discounted airfares hit reservation systems by 3pm eastern
However, deals can and do pop up at other times; how can you find them without chaining yourself to your computer? Easy; let FareCompare do the work for you.
Tip #2: Sign up for FareCompare real-time airfare alerts
The simple action of signing up for our airfare alerts means you’ll be notified, instantly of any price drops on trips you want to take. With real-time alerts, you’ll know the moment the cheapest flights are available, and being first in line to get the best deals is how you win the airfare game.
Tip #3: Don’t buy airline tickets earlier than 3 ½ months before departure
Airlines don’t begin actively “managing” prices until three or four months before departure, and if you buy any earlier than that, chances are good you’ll pay too much.
Did you know? Airlines typically have as many as 10 different prices points on a single plane. Knowing when to buy and when not to buy is key to getting cheap plane tickets.
Don’t buy too early, but don’t buy too late, either.
Tip #4: Airfare prices can rise dramatically within 14 days of departure
When it comes to most legacy carriers (which include American, Delta, United and US Airways), airfare prices can rise dramatically inside the 14-day before departure window; with discount or low cost airlines, that window is usually 7 to 10 days before departure. This is to take advantage of the last minute business traveler who often doesn’t know his/her travel schedule much in advance and is willing to pay higher prices.
Shop for airfare and buy it before this two week window, and save.
Tip #5: The cheapest days to fly are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday
Most people want to squeeze as much time out of a vacation as possible which is why flights on Fridays and Sunday are so popular. However, the airlines know this and they usually charge more for flights on those days.
The cheapest days to travel are the least popular days to fly: Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday. Fly these days and you’ll almost always save on airfare.
http://www.mainstreet.com/article/lifestyle/travel/study-shows-best-time-buy-airline-tickets
Study Shows the Best Time To Buy Airline Tickets

By S.Z. Berg
Popular belief says that the best days to purchase airline tickets are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, but according to researchers at Texas A&M University, there's no systematic analysis to back that up, at least not any that they could find.

Steven Puller, an associate professor of economics at Texas A&M, who specializes in industrial organization, along with Lisa Taylor, a former Texas A&M graduate student, looked at how the same airline on the same route set its fares based on the day of the week that the ticket was purchased and found that regardless of the day of the week that the tickets were for, tickets that were purchased on Saturdays and Sundays averaged a 5% savings over similar tickets purchased during the work week for routes where both business and leisure travelers fly, such as the Dallas to Denver route. They attribute this finding to the assumption that business travelers primarily purchased their tickets on weekdays, and price-conscious leisure travelers purchased their tickets on weekends.

The researchers did not find much of this type of discount for leisure destinations, such as Orlando and Las Vegas.
The study was conducted by examining an archive of 145,000 round-trip airline ticket purchases for nonstop flights to popular U.S. routes (excluding first-class travel and flights around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's) and comparing prices of similar tickets in terms of days of the week the flights were on, whether or not the tickets were refundable, how many days in advance the ticket was purchased, and how full the flights were, among other factors. The study, "Price Discrimination By Day-Of-Week Of Purchase: Evidence From The U.S. Airline Industry," was published recently in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Puller thinks that these findings may apply to other travel industries that have the ability to change prices daily, such as cruises, car rentals, and hotels.

Puller notes that the study findings don't apply to travelers who are looking for the cheapest price possible.
 

Zé Ferreira

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I only have a few:

In packing, roll your stuff (shirts, pants, etc). It eliminates a lot of post-packing ironing. Pack ties/socks/etc inside of shoes.

Also, being from Las Vegas I offer myself for tips and meetups.
 

Rambo

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Re-Book Your Hotel Before You Check In to Save Cash on Vacation

Booking a hotel room in advance can get you a great rate, but you could save even more by checking back at the hotel's available rates closer to your vacation. If there are cancellations or rooms open up late, they're often available at steep discounts, and rebooking will put that money back in your pocket.
Frequent travelers probably know this trick already, but Forbes explains it works just as well for summer getaways or convention-goers as well. Keep checking your preferred hotel as your arrival date gets closer—sometimes you may even have to call up the hotel and see if there have been any cancellations. If there have been, the rooms are usually available at a discount so the hotel can fill them up quickly—in many cases up to 30%. All you have to do is cancel your original reservation and rebook the new, cheaper room, and you're good to go.

There are some caveats though—first, be aware of the hotel's cancellation policy so you don't incur fees for cancelling that first reservation. Also, if you book through a third party discount service like Hotwire or Priceline, your room may not be refundable in the first place, so check the fine print. They suggest (as do we) you book well in advance and then check back for a better rate so your bases are covered. Alternatively, you could use a service like AirBnb to rent out someone's apartment or home instead of a hotel room—recent studies have shown it's a great way to save money too.
 

doghouse

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This is going to be the more all-purpose travel thread for things like airport info, packing, luggage, etc.

I'd like someone to take over as thread starter, so if you're a frequent traveler and interested in contributing, let me know and I'll edit you in.
I knock down a quarer million miles a year, you can put me as the thread starter if you wish. Of course now I'm just noticing the thread a year late, so maybe not.
 

ter1413

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Anyone have any SE Asia travel recs?
I have been to Thailand many times. LOVE that country. Cathay(the only airline I fly) is having a sale right now. Thinking of pulling the trigger for the 2nd week in Jan. Thailand and then?
 

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Anyone have any SE Asia travel recs?
I have been to Thailand many times. LOVE that country. Cathay(the only airline I fly) is having a sale right now. Thinking of pulling the trigger for the 2nd week in Jan. Thailand and then?
Well the Hong Kong protests are over, so could do a long layover in HKG. Other good idea would be Vietnam, fucking gorgeous. And cheap.
 

ter1413

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Vietnam was my first choice. I have a travel book/guide from a few years ago when I wanted to couple it with a Thailand trip. Not really concerned with protests. I was in Bangkok this past Jan during Bangkok Shutdown. No problems.

Vietnam may be what's up.
 

doghouse

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Vietnam was my first choice. I have a travel book/guide from a few years ago when I wanted to couple it with a Thailand trip. Not really concerned with protests. I was in Bangkok this past Jan during Bangkok Shutdown. No problems.

Vietnam may be what's up.
Word. Post a trip report.

Cambodia

Nepal

Indonesia

Philippines. acidboy could give you recs
Nepal is great, but it's a hike to get to. And rally, unless you want to trek or climb, Kathmandu is kind of a dump.

Indo is great for surf.

Cambodia is intriguing.
 

Rambo

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Word. Post a trip report.



Nepal is great, but it's a hike to get to. And rally, unless you want to trek or climb, Kathmandu is kind of a dump.

Indo is great for surf.

Cambodia is intriguing.
A lot of travelers I keep up with have been raving about Nepal just for hanging out. Some of them trek to the summit and not al the way up. Say it's still worthwhile.

Angkor Wat is worth the trip.
 

ter1413

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I bumped into an Australian couple in a bar in Bangkok a few years ago, They said Vietnam was the "new" Bangkok.
I could go to Thailand/Bangkok every year...that is how much I love it. I have been 3 times this year(Jan/April-free with points/May.)

Cathay had a sale back around Oct and I didn't pull the trigger. This recent sale is tempting me.
 

doghouse

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About Bangkok or where I plan to go?
About Vietnam if you go. I have only passed through.

A lot of travelers I keep up with have been raving about Nepal just for hanging out. Some of them trek to the summit and not al the way up. Say it's still worthwhile.

Angkor Wat is worth the trip.
Interdasting.

I wouldn't want to hang out there, but that's just my two beans. For trekking/climbing though, hell yeah.
 
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