Sunday, 29 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #27 - Unlocked Phones (part 1)

This hack is kind of a no-brainer for most people but having an unlocked GSM Quad band phone while traveling overseas saves you a small fortune in cell phone roaming charges. You arrive at your international destination and purchase a local pre-paid SIM card for ~$5 and top it with some credit and pop it into your phone and you’re calling local destinations at the local rate and friends and family can call you (via Skype etc) even when you are out of Wi-Fi range!


In the USA a lot of people are on the CDMA phone system (Verizon, Sprint) so those phones won’t work overseas. Your best bet is to go to eBay and search for an ‘Unlocked GSM Quad band phone’ which range from $20 used to $900+ for the newer latest models. Go with a $100- $200 model and you should be fine for email, web browsing and calls.  If you just want calls you can get away with a $50 phone.  I am with AT&T who like to tempt you with a 2 year contract with high tech smart phones (iPhone and Android etc) but restrict you by locking the phone so you can’t use it at home or overseas on another network without extortionate roaming fees.


As a long time Apple fan boy, I just upgraded from an AT&T iPhone 4 (which is difficult but not impossible to unlock – more on that in another post) to the new Samsung Galaxy S3 4G Android Phone and bought an unlock code from eBay for $25 which worked like a charm so now when I go overseas I can just pop any SIM card I want into the phone.  The phone is a state of the art high tech smart phone and it’s like carrying around a mini computer so I can surf the web, watch tv/movies, check email, and make/receive calls worldwide without roaming charges.


What’s your solution to international phone service while traveling? 

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.. .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #27 - Unlocked Phones (part 1)..
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Thursday, 26 July 2012

Weekly Photo - NYC

This photo was from the top floor of one of the office buildings I work in. It has an outdoor balcony where the wind was gale force despite the blue sky.

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Sunday, 15 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #26 - Award Mileage Mistakes - Act FAST!

Update: Snooze ya lose - Deal is now Dead :-(


I previously mentioned price errors which you have to avail of ASAP that gave me $20 per day Hertz rentals in NYC for 9 months.  Today there is a bargain due to a computer glitch at United for a Business Class flight to/from USA - Hong Kong / China for just 4 miles + $30 tax - Get it while you can because it won't last long.  More details from Gary here.






Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here..
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #5 - Award Mileage Mistakes..
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Friday, 13 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #25 – Club Carlson - Country Inn - Success!

UPDATE:  Following up from here - Very happy to report that a phanthom 'no show' booking just posted (took 3 days and I was sweating) for Country Inns for 44K points +4K bonus for being a silver member = 48K Carlson for $90 in Florida location - YMMV - am sure there are cheaper options.


This little hack = ~1 night in Top Tier Europe  / Asia Carlson Hotel for up to $500+ per night aka BARGAIN!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: .Travel Hacking - Tip #25 – Club Carlson - Country Inn - Success!..
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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #24 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 2 - sshhhH!

Following up from Part 1 – I was on the lookout for a better location that wouldn’t break the bank but would impress Mrs Paddy in BA and still score another 50K points.  The Radisson website was limited to a ‘petite room’ for $138 incl tax for their midtown Lexington Ave location with no options for a larger room or free perks like parking etc. 


The Radisson website also required a 2 night stay to secure a weekend e.g. Sat/Sunday.  A quick search on google showed this location specific website with a better deal at $156 incl tax for a standard room (although it was still small) including free parking (which we wanted since we were arriving by car and NY parking is $$$$).  Same day booking for same day stay on July 4th after the fireworks – spur of the moment romantic etc. 

Late checkout requested and granted until 1pm by simply asking and smiling and another 50K points have posted to my wifes account. (tip: always sign up a family member / your partner so you can double dip the bonus promos) – so far we now have 100K points from this promo and 100K points from the November 2011 promo = 4 nights at top tier $500+ per night hotels when we visit Europe later this year!  - WINNING!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here .  .

Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #24 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 2 - sshhhH!..
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Sunday, 8 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #23 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 1 - sshhhH!

I think I may have discovered a little loophole to allow anyone to get the bonus points without even checking in (assuming you register at the links here first).  The T&C say “no shows” don’t qualify but my recent experience says otherwise.
A few weeks ago, I availed of a 30% promo and booked a stay at the cheapest Radisson I could find near where I live.  I did this so I could collect 50K Carlson points which is enough to redeem 5 nights in their lower category hotels or 1 night at any of their top tier properties worldwide which go for $500+.  


The hotel I booked was this one in Carteret, New Jersey which despite the good reviews on TripAdvisor is in the middle of an industrial zone with plumes of smoke coming from nearby factories.  Long story short, having driven past the hotel earlier in the day I decided to cancel but I forgot to do so by the 6pm deadline. I called at 7pm and I explained my plans had changed due to flight issues and assumed that was that. 


This week a charge showed up on my credit card for $90 (bummer) but almost instantly 50K showed up in my Club Carlson account (hell yeah!)  I am not going to fight the charge because I was just going to stay there as a mattress run to get the promo 50K bonus so I’m more than happy to pay $90 for 50K points which can be redeemed for a $500 top tier hotel in Europe / Asia.  I don't know if calling to cancel gives you a better chance than a pure 'no show' - as always  YMMV - UPDATE: After more research I realized the original cancellation was honoured and no charge was issued: I had booked another reservation online and did not cancel so was charged for the 'no show' i.e. 'no show counted for the bonus points and no need to call to cancel!

Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here .
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #23 – Club Carlson Bonus Promo Loophole - Part 1 - sshhhH! ..
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Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Travel Hacking - Tip #22 - 3 More AMEX giveaways

1.) American Express are giving away more FREE money ($30) here for syncing your AMEX card(s) and making a total of $150 in purchases at 3 locations in Washington D.C. before 07/31 (for those not in DC - online purchases at some of these merchants on this list will count e.g. call to purchase a gift card at a restaurant for a future visit)






2.) Buy an Amex prepaid Gift card here and load $50 before 07/31 and they will give you a $10 gift card free


3.) See details on how to Sync your AMEX card(s) with Twitter here and get $5 credit on $25 purchase at Shell by 07/31


Long live the AMEX promos and enjoy your July 4th celebrations wherever you may be!


Check out the rest of my travel hacking tips here.
Tags: ..Travel Hacking - Tip #22 - More AMEX giveaways..
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