Compares Award Costs for Your Trip

UPDATE: See a comparison of 4 similar award-travel-selector websites.

If you have frequent-flyer miles from several different airlines, FlyerMiler will tell you which are the most economical to use for a trip you are planning.

For example, a proposed one-way trip from Austin, Texas to Durango, Colorado in Coach would cost 12,000 BA Avios points, 12,500 American/Alaska/United miles, and a jaw-dropping 30,000 Cathay AsiaMiles (using one of Cathay’s applicable award charts).

Delta Airlines, Southwest, JetBlue are not shown.

The website lets you select different classes, like First, Business, Premium Economy and Economy.

Map of Hilton Hotel Properties by Category

Hilton categorizes its properties into ten groups. A night in a Category 1 hotel requires 5000 points, a night in a Category 10 hotel requires 70,000 to 95,000 points.

Here is an interactive map that shows you just the Cat 1 or Cat 2 properties, or all of Hilton’s properties.

Double-click anywhere on the map to zoom in. Drag your mouse to scroll around. I haven’t figured out how to zoom out.

Slot Canyons, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon

Three natural attractions of great beauty are located relatively close: the Slot Canyons, Monument Valley, and the south rim of the Grand Canyon. They are all on my bucket list.

You can read about the slot canyons here:

Monument Valley. Photo by Airwolfhound / Flickr

The closest large airports are Phoenix SkyHarbor and Las Vegas McCarran.

Taking Your Amazon Fire Phone or Tablet on Vacation? Better Think Twice…

UPDATE 3/5/2016: Amazon has changed its mind, decided to return the option for full-disk encryption to the Fire (in a couple of weeks). Amazon says the about-face was not related to the outcry on social media.

ORIGINAL POST: In total secrecy, Amazon has removed the ability of its Fire tablets to encrypt their stored data.

That means that, if you lose your Amazon Fire while traveling, all your data on it will be available to whomever finds it.

This is a very curious move on Amazon’s part, and they are not explaining why they have made the change.

How to Get Hotel Upgrades

It’s a lot easier to get a hotel-room upgrade than an airline-seat upgrade. This blog post tells you how.

How to Get an Upgrade on Your Next Hotel Stay

Hotel desk clerks have a lot of leeway. If you irritate them, you may get a room with a clear close-up view of the dumpster that is emptied every morning at 5 A.M.

On the other hand, politeness and the methods in the blog post can get you a nice suite on the executive floor.

Sheraton Hotel

You will definitely want to read to the end of the post, which tells what some cash at check-in can do in Las Vegas (and other large cities).

How to Travel Together and (in spite of everything) Stay Together

This blog post was written by a lady who persuaded her stay-at-home BF to travel the world for a year. More remarkably, they are still together!

One of her tips is to Establish a Routine. Every morning he sat and had his coffee and read the New York Times on his iPad. She was ready to get going, but she recognized that her BF needed that slow start in the morning in order to be able to sightsee the rest of the day.

The article is very good reading, even if you and your partner don’t intend to be gone for 12 months at a time.

A Happy Couple. Photo by Thomas Hawk / Flickr
A Happy Couple. Photo by Thomas Haek / FlickrThomas Hawk via / CC BY-NC
A Happy Couple. Photo by Thomas Haek / FlickrThomas Hawk via / CC BY-NC

Coming to Austin for SXSW? So is Obama. Grid-pocalypse Awaits.

Traffic in Austin, Texas, is always pretty bad. During South By Southwest it’s even worse. Add a sitting U.S. President to the mix, and Austinites will do best by staying home that day.

Unless, of course, you have paid hundreds for a SXSW wristband or thousands to be invited to the President’s fundraiser.

Traffic Jam. Photo by Saf\' / Flickr