Vacation and travel hints

That trip was quite the success! So now I’m planning the next couple. Already been finding some good and some not so good places to stay. I always check with the local tourism commission to see what places they list, but also what is in the area of the places they list. So if I see a place with a really nice beach nearby but it’s out of my price range or they don’t have something small, I look to see where they are and then hunt down places nearby that maybe don’t have big advertising but if the location is right who cares?

Just as a general travel tip if one is ever inclined to go to Vegas for leisure and not work: I’ve had excellent luck getting ludicrously good deals on suites by booking travel on low volume weeks, like the first week of school after a break, and during non-peak times when there are no major conferences in town.

Like, “grab the $2000-per-nite crazy suite for $200 per night for two nights just because it was tuesday and the hotel is dead” kind of deals. Plus, at least with United and Southwest, off-season mid-week tickets to vegas are stupid cheap. If you’ve got the travel flexibility, it makes for an awesome nice quick surprise getaway!

(Yeah, I know, I might be crazy, but I love going to Vegas.)

It’s not my favorite but I agree that Vegas deals can be found for ridiculous prices. I still get emails from the MGM Grand after a trip a decade+ ago.

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Living near a major international airport helps with that. You can’t get anywhere easy/cheap from where I am.


That’s nice, but if you’re willing to pay a bit extra, it’s really nice flying out of a smaller, local airport. I’m going to be flying out of Santa Rosa rather than San Francisco for my trip. You don’t have to be there 2-3 hours early, security is a lot more relaxed, and it’s not nearly as crowded.


I don’t even have a smaller, local airport. The 3 closest airports (by drive time) are “international” but not hubs. Security isn’t terrible but it’s not great either, and many of the flights that hop through a hub to get to/from here (read: 90% of them) are either timed poorly, or have ridiculous layovers.

A month or two ago we booked flights for our May cruise and our best option for getting home ended up being 7 hours total (wheels-up in FLL to wheels-down in ROC) for what should be a at most 3-hour non-stop flight. There are some non-stop routes to/from FLL but they’re rare.

$Wife and I have discussed how we’re really spoiled by having three major airports in ‘possible’ distance for us:

  • BWI
  • Dulles
  • National

We almost always fly out of BWI, though. Last time I flew out of another one was for a work trip that specified it, I think.

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I have one of those near me. It’s an “international” airport that only really flies out to hubs, since you can’t get any bigger jets out of it.

Apparently the runway is JUST long enough to be able to land a C-130, but not long enough for it to be able to take off again :smiley:

Wow, that’s surprising, a C-130 can usually get in and out of dang near anywhere.

IND is an international airport, which is actually international for reals, and is consistently one of the top second tier airports in the US. It’s a pleasure to fly in and out of usually. And now direct to Paris if you don’t want to drive to Chicago and save $500.

Yeah, this is a podunk little airport in my neck of the woods. From what my father’s told me, the only reason it’s considered “international” is because some numbers were fudged and they flew in some cargo that belonged to someone overseas to be stored on-site in a warehouse.

In practice, it only provides either turboprop or small-jet flights to hubs. (The ones I know off the top of my head are Philly, Chicago, Atlanta, and Newark) but will probably do short-run smaller flights up to Boston and stuff like that too.

IND wasn’t a bad airport the last time I was there. Seemed relatively modern and sanely laid out as such things go.

Miami is the worst airport I’ve been to. I remember going up and down multiple floors to get from point A to point B, and growing more annoyed the entire time.

I know MCO (Orlando) pretty well now, surprisingly.

We flew in to Fort Meyers one time last year and were surprised at how fast it was. We thought they lost our luggage, but it had been put to the side because apparently it took us too long to walk from the gate to Baggage claim!

For anyone planning on going to Japan, a few handy hints…

  • The society is still pretty much cash-only (especially in smaller shops and places away from the big cities), so get lots of cash before you go

  • There is an 8% sales tax on everything you buy, food included. (This caught me out a few time, as our tax rates are included in the displayed prices.)

  • Tipping is a big no-no. Just don’t do it.

  • Get a JR (Japan Rail) travel pass. It effectively pays for itself after 1 or 2 big Shinkansen trips

  • If you are in Tokyo and need to change more cash, avoid the big banks or “Travalex” places because they will screw you over with the exchange rate[*]. Head to Akihabara and the “Ninja Money Exchange” ( I got a better exchange rate with them than we did with the best place back here in Oz. Be warned - Ninja’s a bit hard to find, if you want to visit their office.

[*] - For your elucidation, the exchange rates we found / used:
Exchange rate at home: 75 Yen / $
Exchange rate in Tokyo: 68 Yen / $
Ninja Exchange rate: 76.5 Yen / $

That’s pretty much stuff I already knew, but good to hear someone else say it. I’m getting my JR pass this weekend. 7Elevens are surprisingly convenient places to get cash out too.

Including, if necessary and properly equipped, a football stadium. (had they actually attempted the mission, it would have been epic)

I don’t understand how one can say that if they’ve ever set foot in EWR. That place is truly the ninth ring of hell.

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I’ve considered flying out of YYZ (Toronto) a few times. Unfortunately the drive, parking, and border hassle isn’t quite worth it.

Although the prospect of flying cross-continent non-stop is appealing. Maybe for when we take the kids to Seattle in 2020.

SFO is within a reasonable drive of me (less than 2 hours), and that’s where I’m flying home to, but it is far less hospitable than STS, which is only about 1/2 an hour drive away. Of course, when you’re talking airport, you don’t want to drive if you have a choice.

To/from SFO I take the Airporter. The last time I flew out of STS I parked at work and walked to the airport. This time I plan to take the train since I no longer work at the place that’s a couple blocks away.

Edit: I also wouldn’t drive since I’m coming home to a different airport than I’m flying out of. I originally planned to fly back in to STS, but they changed the flight so I’d have a 7 hour layover in SFO. That’s just silly since it would take me about 2 hours to get home from SFO via Airporter.

Wow. Never did I realize how spoiled I’ve been. Always lived within 3hrs of a major hub. 25 minutes now and that’s with traffic…:woman_shrugging:

The take off from the field by the training area on the Big Island was right up to the base of a mountain and I swear it was like 60 degrees.

Landing in Tinian was pretty crazy too, especially since I was standing in the back door. We were braking and turning within a couple hundred feet, and it felt like the whole plane was leaning on one set of wheels.

It’s damn near the perfect aircraft.

Oh, and to keep it on topic. Tinian has some neat stuff, the atomic bomb pits, the site of the largest ever air field, a nice view of Saipan, Banzai Cliff (Which is sad), and a lot of dead cows.

I have not had much trouble going to or through EWR, but I think I’ve been really lucky. Not a fan of DFW, though.