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Travel Like A Boss

Just last week I told someone that it's always best to arrive to the airport early. In fact I arrive 2 hours early anyways so I never have a problem! The only way I'm missing a flight is if the flight is canceled.

Well, the universe heard me bragging and decided to test my skills. Let's just say I handled it like a Boss!!! As I was running like a madwoman to catch my return flight from Detroit after a weekend training seminar I was counting my lucky stars for my skills.

Here are a few of my tips for traveling like a Boss!

Step 1: Travel Lightly- This was a weekend trip! 3 days in which I knew I wouldn't hit the beach or pool nor walk miles visiting the city, so I kept it light. I grabbed my Ciao bag and packed it with the essentials, i.e. 2-3 outfits which were mix and match, PJs, my laptop, pens and toiletries. 

I avoided paying Jetblue's $25 baggage fee as this carryon fits nice and neat either under my seat or in the overhead bin. I chose the overhead bins so I could give myself some extra legroom, short people need legroom too people!

This carryon helped me cut down on time that I didn't have on my return to check a bag in. 

My SHERO Ciao Bag!! It was $20 bucks at Costco or BJ's ( I can't remember)

My SHERO Ciao Bag!! It was $20 bucks at Costco or BJ's ( I can't remember)

Step 2: Get Rewarded- It was my first time going to Detroit. The destination wasn't on my bucket list but I knew I didn't want to pay a premium price for my hotel as this was more of a business trip and less of a splurge trip. It didn't help that there was a convention in town causing a near sold out situation at the closest hotels. If the hotel wasn't sold out it was selling at a premium.

Thankfully I'm a rewards point hoarder and tend to not use my Hilton Honor reward points; I usually collect them because they roll up to my JetBlue True Blue points. I used the cash and points option and booked a room coming in at $77 a night plus tax and still earn points for future stays. 

Did I mention that my flight to Detroit was $5? Thanks to the JetBlue True Blue rewards points I got there for just the tax. 

Step 3: Be Consistent- This step pertains to you constant business travelers! If you travel to the same town often stay at the same hotel. Why you ask? 

Well consider this; if you're traveling all the time don't you want some of your planning automated? Automation makes things easier for you! When I checked into my hotel Hilton already knew I liked to be on a high floor and near the elevator.  Additionally, since I want my rewards points I knew that I only had three hotel brands from which to choose from, cutting down my research time. 

Besides, automation; the more you stay at the hotel the more likely the staff will know your likes and dislikes.

Imagine having to wake up early for a meeting and wanting a good night's sleep but you're next to the room with a crying baby. Had you visited the same hotel over and over again they would know your routine and not place you near that room. This of course only applies to those who are nice to the hotel staff. If you're a curmudgeon the odds are not in your favor. 

Step 4-Get The Apps!

  • Jetblue- My total life safer was the JetBlue App. I downloaded it as I was in the car to the airport, checked in and opted for the mobile pass. In the past I had read that you need to get a mobile pass an hour before take off. Well, I had 15 minutes before that cut off time. Thankfully I got it and screenshotted the boarding pass just in case it was hard to pull it up in the security line. To my surprise, it was easy to pull it up on the app and did not need to screenshot it at all.

  • Award Wallet- Yes I use this nifty app to keep track of my points. I had used others in the past they were ok but this one works best until you tell me otherwise. I am able to see all my rewards for hotels, car rentals, restaurants and more. They even offer occasional articles on the best loyalty programs. This makes it easy to see all my reward points in one area and make a decision on what I will use.

Step 5-Get TSA Precheck or Global EntryThis is probably my biggest downfall. 

Don't be like me waiting in a long security line, wondering if you're going to make it to the gate on time, watching the TSA precheck line moving full speed ahead.  I'm now a believer! Pay the fee and get one of these options for all the times you are running late for your flight. 

Thankfully my line moved and I was able to make that 6am flight and catch the morning sun

Heading East to Boston

Heading East to Boston

There are of course caveats to all of the tips above.

Hotel Networks:  Get rewards for a couple of hotel networks. You want networks that are large, have several different brands and provide you with the best bang for your buck.

I have SPG (before it became Marriott), Marriott and Hilton. I probably use my SPG more, Hilton second and have never used my Marriott. On the ultra-luxury boutique front, I use GHA Discovery. Each program works differently and if they roll up to your airline and usual car rental location great!

Airline Networks:  I travel mostly on the East Coast and Colombia so Jet Blue is my preferred network, followed by United Mileage Plus and American Airlines last.

I chose Jet Blue because you have a good chance of being able to redeem your points especially on Wednesdays when they have sales on flights. Honestly, what's the point of a program that doesn't allow you to reward yourself frequently?  Secondly, they have partnerships with other airlines that you can't find on other networks, such as Emirates. I once flew Emirates to Ethiopia, came back to the states and flew out to Boston on Jetblue using those same points in the same day.

United is great because of its extensive network with Star Alliance, so while I don't fly United much I usually earn reward miles because I fly with a network partnerp. 

Credit Cards: Most reward networks offer credit cards to earn points. I say if you know that you will only travel to that hotel or on that airline it's best to grab it and stick to it!

Shoes:  Last but not least I need to thank my flexible flats for doing their job! You can't run across an entire airport garage, airport terminal and security in heels ladies. You can but that floor is slippery, it will be a pain and you have to lug some luggage around. My flats were flexible and had the rubber soles and made it easy to jet across the airport. 

And if all else fails grab a drink and hopefully there's another flight for you to catch!

Do you have some boss travel tips of your own? Share your tips in the comments section!

Until then Happy Travels!!

 

 

Hotel Review: Phoenix Park Hotel

Many years ago I moved to the Washington DC area. I had visited DC a few times before, even interning there for a bit during college. That internship helped me fall in love with the city. Like New York there is always a hustle and bustle about town, but on a calmer scale. There is also this pristine sense of awe that envelopes this town that I can't capture in words. You have to be there to understand it. 

Of course when you make a city your home you never get to experience it the way a tourist does. On my recent trip there as a tourist I did a little bit of both. I stayed at the Phoenix Park Hotel. As a Washingtonian I quite literally have passed this hotel numerous times on my way to catch the D Street tunnel to Virginia and never once paid attention. Stupid me!

When you stop to smell the roses you find this historic hotel across the street from Union Station and the Smithsonian's Postal Museum. Not to mention the great view it has of the Capitol Building. 

From the moment you cross the hotel's threshold you step into a luxurious modern lobby with comfortable seating and check in area. High above you is the chandelier that's been in the lobby since the hotel opened. It's also good to mention that unlike many other historic hotels in the city, this hotel has always been a hotel. This means you don't have former apartments that were converted to hotel rooms in the weirdest way possible. 

Additionally you have an expansive selection of rooms from the standard rooms to the suites. I stayed in the King Deluxe because it had a desk and a larger sofa for me to lounge about on.

Not to mention my awesome view of the Postal Museum and Union Station. Check out that view!! 

The hotel also has a great restaurant located on it's ground floor called the Dubliner. While I may not have paid much attention to the hotel as a Washingtonian l I actually remembered the restaurant because it was one of the first restaurants I visited on a trip to DC, way back in 2004.

That was the year of the Cicada's, we were going to the Dubliner for lunch and to take a respite from the Cicadas buzzing around town. I'm surprised I made DC my home after that experience! Still I remember the food being good at the time and this time I got a chance to try breakfast. It did not disappoint.

I thought the yogurt was not going to be filling so I ordered eggs and a danish. Boy was I wrong! The yogurt came out in a heaping dish topped with my favorite toppings of berries and granola. It sufficed, but of course I love dessert (any time of day) and had to have the danish. 

 

Why you should stay here:

Convenient: You can't be any more convenient than this. The hotel is right across Union Station on the Red Line. It's your gateway to Chinatown, Dupont Circle and more. Not to mention the station has a food court, shops and numerous restaurants. Additionally this is a major stop for tours.

More Convenience: It's close to all your major site near the National Mall. Your first Smithsonian is right outside your door. Not to mention your proximity to clubs on H Street NE and accessibility to the Capitol Hill neighborhood, giving you access to Eastern Market. 

Basics Covered: If you hate convenience then have your basics covered. Comfortable beds, spacious rooms and updated showers will help you feel right at home. Not to mention free coffee in their coffee station area. 

Only in town for work: Great!  Here's hoping you don't have to visit them but the SEC, Bureau of Labor and Supreme Court is in the vicinity if you need them. The hotel is 2 minutes away from the I-395 south D street tunnel to Virginia. Your Acela train pulls right into Union Station. Not to mention at night when all the surrounding office workers have dashed off to their homes in the suburbs this area is quiet, making it easier to sleep. 

Best room in the house: Go for a suite or anything in a King Superior or above. If you're looking something cozy book the Queen Superior but I highly recommend King Superior and above or a Suite. 

Tips:  Need to catch the Metro without going inside the halls of Union Station, enter through the side street across from Bureau of Labor and Statistics

Happy Travels!