Recent Articles

When Online Threats Become Real. (It’s Not Just Trolling.)

(Note: this piece does not link to any of the shooter’s video or manifesto directly, but some of the news sites that I link to may do so. A few include screencaps of his 4-chan forum discussions. Please click with caution.)

49 people died yesterday, gunned down in two mosques in coordinated attacks across New Zealand. The intricacies of time zones and the international date line mean the date of their deaths was actually today, Friday the 15th. Waking up on this day here in the states with knowledge of what occurred feels strangely perverse, as though someone should have been able to stop the attacks through some sort of temporal witchcraft.

And in truth, it seems that someone should have been able to stop all of it. The shooter’s plans were laid out specifically on 4-chan. His manifesto (which I am not going to quote from directly, because he needs no more amplification and if you wish to read it, it is disturbingly easy to find – the UK’s Dail… Read More

Which Credit Card Should You Use for Rideshares?

A few years ago, my husband and I sold our second car. We decided it no longer made sense to maintain two vehicles since we both work from home — even though we have kids. Fortunately, this situation has worked rather well for us. I can only think of a few times we’ve needed to be somewhere different at the same time. During those rare occasions (usually when I am heading to the airport alone), I just pick up an Uber or Lyft.

And really, my husband and I use ridesharing a lot anyway. We frequently Uber to restaurants for dinner (and home) if we plan to have more than a few drinks. We also Uber or Lyft a lot when we travel in lieu of paying for a rental car.

So which credit card is the best option for Uber and Lyft? That really depends.

Uber Visa Card

While I don’t personally have the Uber Visa Card, I think there’s plenty of reason to get it. It doesn’t have an annual fee for starters, plus you get a $100 signup bonus after you spend just $500 within … Read More

This is Not Your Parents’ Colombia

This is Not Your Parents’ Colombia

The flag of Colombia blowing in the wid as it hangs from a building
Posted: 3/14/2019 | March 14th, 2019

Colombia’s troubled past – cartels, paramilitaries, poverty, petty crime — casts a long shadow that still reaches to today. The country is still viewed by many as a place where danger lurks around every corner.*

Having grown up hearing stories of Colombian drug lords, kidnappings, murders, and muggings, these ghosts haunted the back of my mind as prepared to visit the country.

Was the country going to be safe? Should I bring my electronics?

The stories and images we grow up with don’t leave us easily. They slide to the recesses of our mind and wait there, ready to jump back to the forefront and whisper fear into our ears.

Even though I knew otherwise, the old image of Colombia — born of decades of media bombardment — still circled around me as I touc… Read More

KLM Adding Wifi On 777s & A330s (And Improving Pricing)

I’m a big fan of KLM as an airline, though find that they’re a bit behind when it comes to the number of wifi equipped planes they have. This is a feature I greatly value, since it allows me to work efficiently while traveling.

The good news is that the airline is making significant progress on that front. The Flying Dutchboy has outlined KLM’s plans for installing wifi throughout their longhaul fleet.

Long story short, you can expect that by the end of 2021 KLM’s entire longhaul fleet will feature wifi. On top of that, KLM is improving their wifi pricing.

Let’s discuss the details.

An overview of KLM’s longhaul fleet

KLM’s longhaul fleet consists of the following aircraft, sorted by the number of each plane they have:

5 A330-300s
8 A330-200s
11 Boeing 747-400s
13 Boeing 787-9s
14 Boeing 777-300s
15 Boeing 777-200s

On top of that, the airline has eight 787-10s on order, which will be delivered to the ai… Read More

Bora Bora Vs. Maldives: Which Should You Visit?

Introduction: Dreamlining To Tahiti
Review: Air Tahiti Nui Business Class 787-9 Los Angeles To Papeete
Review: Air Tahiti ATR 72 Economy Papeete To Bora Bora
Review: St. Regis Bora Bora Reefside Garden Villa
Review: St. Regis Bora Bora Overwater Superior Villa
Review: St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Review: Conrad Bora Bora Overwater Villa
Review: Conrad Bora Bora Nui Resort
Review: Air Tahiti Nui Lounge Papeete Airport
Review: United Business Class 787-8 Papeete To San Francisco
Review: United Polaris Lounge San Francisco Airport
Bora Bora Vs. Maldives: Which Should You Visit?

As I finish up this trip report series, I figured I’d answer a question I’ve been getting quite a bit — do I prefer the Maldives or Bora Bora? These are two of the most popular “exotic” island vacation destinations, so I figured I’d chime in.

Before I do so, let me note that:

I’ve only be… Read More

The best swimming holes in Vermont

The best swimming holes in Vermont

In Vermont, a state with only about 600,000 people, the opportunities for a summertime respite abound in the state’s parks and high country. There’s no better release from the unrelenting heat of summer than a dip in a local swimming hole, and here you can find them under bridges, tucked behind barns, or on a several-mile hike through the woods — if you know where to look. With a bit of scouting and a little know-how, these four swimming holes are actually quite easy to find and are perfect for a plunge on a hot day.

1. East Middlebury Gorge — Middlebury

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A post shared by Isabel Bethencourt (@ibe… Read More

What’s the Hole in Your Plane’s Tail? It’s the Little Engine That Could: The APU

What’s the Hole in Your Plane’s Tail? It’s the Little Engine That Could: The APU

You may have noticed a strange phenomenon when looking at the rear of aircraft parked at the gate: they’re venting out exhaust from a little hole in the tail. Through that hole is the Auxiliary Power Unit — the little engine that could. As with everything in aviation, it’s primarily known by its acronym, the APU. Last week we explained how jet engines work, and this week we’ll talk about their little — but often indispensable — sibling at the back of the plane. 

I connected with Captain Dean Plumb, British Airways’ Chief Technical Pilot, to answer my questions about this hidden engine and its use.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner APU. Image via British Airways.Boeing 787 Dreamliner APU exhaust. Image courtesy of British Airways, modified by the author.
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How to Live and Travel Full-Time by RV

How to Live and Travel Full-Time by RV

marc and julie from RV Love
Posted: 3/7/2019 | March 7th, 2019

Over the past few years, there has been an explosion of people giving up the daily grind to live and travel in vans, RVs, and other nontraditional abodes. While traveling in an RV has been something people have been doing for decades, new sharing economy websites, better resources online, more modern vans, and a growing community that can provide support have made it easier for anyone to travel full-time in an RV.

What used to be traditionally and predominantly an activity for older, retired, or family travelers is now something people of all ages are trying to do.

One just has to look up #vanlife on social media to see!

(An aside: I hate the #vanlife movement. The faux Instagram movement does nothing for me. Just a bunch of millennials searching out that perfect sponsored photo and talking about how woke they are (for th… Read More