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Air New Zealand's newest safety video featuring Bear Grylls and beautiful NZ views

Air New Zealand is at it again with their safety videos.  This time they maintain the expected humor, but also feature something New Zealand is famous for, the great outdoors.  I'm sort of indifferent to Bear Grylls, but still enjoyed the video.  Guess I'm a sucker for a Kiwi accent, although only the flight attendant with minimal lines sounds like a native New Zealander. 

New Zealand is absolutely one of my favorite destinations in the world.  The small ...

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A stay at the Grand Hyatt Kauai - Escape to Hawaii


After our stay at the Sheraton Maui, we made our way to the airport for the quick flight to Kauai.  We had 5 nights on the island, and ultimately decided to split our time between the Grand Hyatt on the south side and the St. Regis in Princeville. 

Our one previous stay on Kauai was at the Marriott near the Lihue airport.  We knew we wanted to spend some time on the north shore, but since the St. Regis Princeville is pretty pricey, and I didn't want to ...

Supporting my blog without credit card links

I didn't start this blog intending to leverage it into a source of income.  In almost 3 years, that is still true.  Would I like to just travel at my leisure and blog about it without having to work my 'day job'?  Sure, but I don't see that happening right now.  

I discuss my blog ethics in detail on my profile page.  I refuse to post credit card affiliate links; since I don't like the effect they have had on the content of so many miles/points blogs.  I ...

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United to Maui and the Sheraton Maui - Escape to Hawaii


Late in 2012, work was keeping me very busy, but thankfully we had planned a trip to Hawaii to relax before the holidays.  Hawaii is probably not be best place to go for an affordable beach location, but it holds a special place for my wife and I since that is where we had our honeymoon.

On this trip, we split our time on Maui and Kauai. Maui is probably our favorite island, and we wanted to give Kauai another shot after a rather lukewarm experience on our previous ...

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Upgraded to a Parlor Suite at the Hyatt Regency O'Hare



Despite the fact that I live less than 100 miles from O'Hare, I do occasionally stay in hotels near there, in the case of a very early flight or irregular operations.

I've had a few stays at the rather unique looking Hyatt Regency O'Hare recently.  In both cases I was upgraded to a Parlor Suite, which is located in the Executive building.  The hotel is a large convention center, that can lead to impersonal service, but my experiences at this property ...

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KLM iFly magazine


I would guess that most people that are on this site are here to read about travel.  Normally I would prefer you stay here and read the excellent blogs, but here I'd like to share another excellent online travel magazine.  IFly Magazine is published bimonthly by KLM.  


photo from KLM Pinterest page

The content of iFly reminds me of what you'd see in an in flight magazine, but its much more interactive, with ...

Take Care of Tourists - Photo Flashback




This is another photo from a past trip that has brought back memories of my experiences.  People with better foreign language skills than I posess might figure this one out quickly.





Where was this photo taken, what is this place called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?


This is part of a "photo flashback" series ...

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Trying Hyatt's new Shampoo - KenetMD


KenetMD products are finally available for sale online! Click here

I have discussed my aversion to Portico White Ginger bathroom amenities that used to be the standard at most Hyatt and Hyatt Place hotels.  As mentioned in my previous post, Hyatt has moved on to new brands, although the Portico may still be offered until stock is depleted.  Here is the new offering at many Hyatt properties, KenetMD

Yes, this is another post about hotel shampoo.  I ...

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Trip conclusion and giveaway - The Journey the Destination


It has now been months since I returned most recent 'big' trip.  Looking back, it was a such a great experience.  I got to fly on several new aircraft types, with my first flights on a 747-8i, an A380 and a 787 Dreamliner.  I had a great stay at the Park Hyatt Tokyo, and I visited 3 countries in a single day, in the Golden Triangle.  Thanks for following along as I reminisce about my journey.

Here are all the segments of the trip report:

Booking ...

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Lufthansa 747-400 old First Class from Frankfurt to Chicago - The Journey the Destination


I walked from the Sheraton over to the Lufthansa First Class Terminal, and despite being at one of the most relaxing places at any major airport, I was somewhat frustrated and concerned about my upcoming travel experience.  


The original routing to get home was to fly from Frankfurt to Toronto on Lufthansa, then United to Chicago.  That was the best option I could find when I made the final changes to my ticket before travel.  The nonstop ...

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Help me choose my stopover: Singapore, Malaysia or somewhere else?

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I was fortunate to book a trip in Singapore First Class during the short window in July 2012 when it was available to United Mileage Plus members.  I didn't have any trips already planned, but I didn't want to pass up this rare opportunity.  I eventually decided to book a trip to the Maldives for my wife and I, so I added the flights in regional Business Class from Singapore later.  Lots of people took advantage of this, and including fellow Upgrd bloggers, Daniel and ...

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Thai Airways Royal First Class between Bangkok and Frankfurt - The Journey the Destination


An 11 hour flight in a private suite with doors(!), with only one other passenger in the cabin made for an amazing flight experience.  

I've been working on the trip report for my trip to Japan and Thailand for some time now.  The end is in sight, with only a few segments to go.  The flight between Bangkok and Frankfurt was the longest flight of the trip.  This is now my 3rd flight on this product, and the 2rd time on Thai, but this is my first flight ...

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Organizing foreign currency


I've recently reorganized my system for keeping track of various currencies from international travel.  My new system is not perfect, but its much better than my old way of putting remaining coins in an envelope, then stashing it in a drawer to likely forget.



I always try to use a points earning credit card for as much spend as possible everywhere I go, but outside of the US, carrying cash is almost always a necessity.  When I ...

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Lighthouse - Photo Flashback



This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.  This location is much closer to home than some of the others I have posted.  This photo was taken from a boat, but this site is easily visible from land.   


Where was this photo taken, what is this place called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?


This is ...

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Thai Airways Royal First on the ground in Bangkok - The Journey The Destination


A pre-flight 60 minute massage, a private room with a TV, couch and desk with full meal service.  These are some of the features of departing from Bangkok in Thai Airways Royal First Class.


Along with the Lufthansa First Class Terminal in Frankfurt, the Thai Airways lounge and spa (review of a past visit) in Bangkok are the best airport ground services I have experienced.  I have enjoyed this  before, and anytime I am on an First Class ...

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The big church - Photo Flashback


This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.



Where was this photo taken, what is this place called, and what is the story behind this unique location?

Have you visited there?

This is part of a "photo flashback" series of photos I'm sharing from my travels through the years. I hope readers will enjoy the 'tour' as much as I have enjoyed reminiscing about the trip where I took ...

A roundup of my 2012 travels

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As the new year approaches, it is time again to reflect on the past year, and look ahead to plans for 2013.

Here is my route map for 2012.

2012 was a pretty busy year for travel for me, I had some great experiences with new aircraft and new destinations on my award trips.  My business travel was a predictable array of routine domestic flights, with some interesting experiences mixed in.  I had just over 130,000 miles totaland 143 ...

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Virgin Atlantic - Flying in the Face of Ordinary

Born to be flight crew?  This new commercial from Virgin Atlantic follows an X-Men-like theme of how their crew are born with special talents that are utilized to be superhero flight crew.

I enjoy airline commercials, and occasionally post some of my favorites here.  This one has all the hallmarks of a Virgin family advert; flight crew that look like models, and a scene with slow motion walking.  



My favorite moments ...

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Executive Suite at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Bangkok - The Journey the Destination


Beatles cover band?  Huge suite upgrade with river views?  Excellent club lounge?  My stay at the Sheraton was very brief, but it was pretty memorable.

I've read mixed reviews of the Royal Orchid Sheraton, but I enjoyed my stay.  There are multiple Starwood properties to choose from in Bangkok, from Four Points and Aloft to St. Regis and W.  I was traveling alone on this trip, so I didn't need to spend extravagantly, and this ...

Shark!!! - Photo Flashback



This photo is another from a past trip that has brought back a flood of memories of my experiences.

This isn't as unique as some other photos I have posted, but its certainly not something one would expect to see when visiting this location.  The water surrounding this photo is an iconic part of the city where it is located.  It is an incredible place to visit, although this photo really doesn't do it justice. ...