Recent Articles

How I Pay for Last-Minute Hotel Bookings

A few days ago, I was working on the itinerary for our upcoming trip to Northern Europe when I realized I had overlooked an important detail. We won’t arrive in Chicago until almost 11:00 p.m. on the day we fly home from Copenhagen, Denmark, and we still have three hours to drive home after we land.

We were going to need a hotel — and fast — since the trip was fast approaching and I know my husband won’t want to drive overnight. (Side note: I am definitely not driving overnight) Fortunately, I have a stash of points I always use for surprise hotel stays just like this one.

Yes, I’m talking about Chase Ultimate Rewards. In this case, I wound up booking a free night at the Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O’Hare Airport hotel with free breakfast for 12,840 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. That’s actually more than I wanted to pay for an airport hotel, but we’ve stayed here a few times so I like the fact that I know what I’m getting.

Here’s why I … Read More

You Can Use Your Citi ThankYou Points Towards Your Student Loans

If you have credit cards that earn points in the Citi ThankYou program, you probably already know just how versatile these rewards can be. You can use points from cards like the Citi Premier and Citi Prestige to book travel through the Citi portal, redeem for gift cards, cash in for statement credits, or shop for merchandise. Most importantly though, you can transfer your points to airline partners like Air France/Flying Blue.

If you dive into the Citi ThankYou program handbook, however, there are actually more ways to redeem your points than you might expect. Some of the redemptions that caught my eye include:

Payments Toward Student Loans

According to Citi’s terms and conditions, you can “redeem points for a check to pay your student loans” in denominations of $25, $50, $75, $100, $250, $500, $750 and $1000.

Checks are payable to your financial lending institution, and they’re valid for 180 days.

Payments Toward Mortgage Loans

You can also a… Read More

Review: Amanemu Resort


• Introduction: Falling In Love With Japan
• Review: ANA First Class 777-300ER Chicago To Tokyo
• Review: ANA Arrivals Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport
• Review: ANA Premium Class 737 Tokyo To Nagoya
• Review: Marriott Nagoya Associa Hotel
• Review: Amanemu Resort
• Review: Ritz-Carlton Tokyo
• Review: Aman Tokyo
• Review: ANA First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport
• Review: ANA First Class 777 Tokyo To Chicago

Historically Amans have been my favorite hotels in the world. I used to find that the group consistently delivered unparalleled experiences, and I’ve gone out of my way to stay at their hotels, and even plan trips around them.

Unfortunately my opinion of Amans is slowly changing. I still like them, but as a brand I can no longer rely on them consistently offering amazing experiences. In other words, I actually need to do my ho… Read More

Where to find dinosaur bones

Where to find dinosaur bones

While the kings of the Mesozoic era are long gone, the remains of dinosaurs can still be found all over the globe. If you want to get up close and personal with the real deal, there are plenty of options. Whether you’re planning a trip to observe unearthed bones in museums or you’re ready to dig for fossils yourself, consider these dinosaur hotspots.

1. South Africa
Golden Gate Highlands National Park in South Africa

Photo: Sara Winter/Shutterstock

There are few better spots in the world to see evidence of dinosaurs than the Austral tip of the African continent. According to Professor Jonah Choin… Read More

40 Things For His 40th Birthday

My husband turned 40 at the beginning of July. I wanted a Bacchanalian celebration, cake and lights and streamers and swarms of people, forgetting entirely that this milestone wasn’t about me. The realization would hit me eventually, before too much planning had occurred: he didn’t want a big to-do. Nor did he want, he insisted, anything in particular for his birthday – his wishlist was entirely blank.

I nodded, but had been planning a gift for him anyway – something unexpected and fun, but not so expensive or over-the-top that I couldn’t squeeze something else in should he suddenly decide (as he occasionally did) that there was something he wanted. Predictably, a few days before his birthday, he excitedly told me he’d figured out what I could get him for a present.

“For my fortieth birthday,” he said, with a slight dramatic pause, “I would like you to give away forty things.”

I grabbed my chest like so… Read More

Apple releasing the new Apple Card

Apple releasing the new Apple Card

Late this summer, Apple will drop a major bomb on the credit card landscape. CEO Tim Cook announced via the company’s quarterly earnings call that the tech company will release its first credit card, aptly titled the Apple Card, this August. Apple enters the credit card space with the mantra that this is a card “created by Apple, not a bank.” The card’s features and shiny aesthetics are certain to appeal to the modern spender. (Note that you can use the physical card or pay via your iPhone), but is it worth having it in your wallet if you’re a travel-credit-card enthusiast? Here’s everything you need to know to be prepared on release day.

The basics

In true Apple fashion, the Apple Card looks as though it will work seamlessly with other Apple products and horribly with everything else. Similar to Apple Pay, iPhone users will be able to store card details … Read More

Tips For Renting A Gondola In Venice (Plus Some History)

Tips For Renting A Gondola In Venice (Plus Some History)

Venice Gondola Ride TipsHow to Rent a Gondola in Venice
Venice, Italy

Evocative of the beauty and romance of Venice’s waterways, riding a traditional Venice gondola is sure to be on most people’s bucket list. Here are tips to have a great time!

With a rich history spanning as far back as the 11th century, the gondolas of Venice are a thing of beauty. It was the activity Anna & I were most looking forward to.

Gliding down Venice’s narrow canals, admiring the beautiful architecture, and relaxing to the sound of a classic Venetian song. It doesn’t get much better!

Renting a gondola is one of the top things to do in Venice while visiting Italy.

In this guide, I’ll share tips to get the most from your gondola experience.

<img src="ht… Read More

We Need to Stop Telling Women They’ll Get Assaulted If They Travel Solo

We Need to Stop Telling Women They’ll Get Assaulted If They Travel Solo

Kristin Addis walking across sand dunes in the desert
Posted: 7/25/2019 | July 25th, 2019

Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse writes our semi-regular column on solo female travel. In this column, she goes deep into the shaming culture surrounding solo female travel and how women are often told it’s not safe to travel (while men are told no such thing). It’s not an easy topic but one that’s very pertinent and needs to be discussed.

Many of us solo travelers receive pushback. Depending on what other people think we should be doing with our lives instead, the pressure can range from mild guilting to quite disturbing warnings.

“You’ll never get another job, never find a partner, never have children (or settle down in time to have them), and never have financial security,” they say.

“You’ll be an easier victim, get robbed, or be killed.” … Read More