Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

July 16, 2011


We made the plunge and bought an iPad this weekend. We also bought a nifty keyboard case for an additional $100, which basically turns our iPad into a $600 (+ tax) computer. That’s more expensive than the laptop I’m currently typing on, with less functionality, that we’ll only use occasionally. I think I’ve lost my marbles.

We decided to get the tablet for travel. Between the two of us, we travel a fair amount for work and visiting family. In a few weeks we’re off to China and Las Vegas, and the following month it’s off to the east coast for my family reunion. Confession time, I really don’t like the iPhone or android phones. I find the menus cluttered and it annoys me that I can’t find what I’m looking for. I guess in this respect I’m a bit of a phone luddite. I also don’t like the price. But with travel coming up, we couldn’t wait around for a good deal, and we wanted to go with the brand that already had an extensive collection of apps and games to keep us entertained on 10 hours plane flights.

I hate having to take the laptop out of the my carry-on. I’m always worried someone will walk off with it by mistake, or (more likely) I’ll leave it somewhere by mistake. It’s not like the laptop is expensive, but the data is irreplaceable. Photos from our honeymoon, the source files for flash videos, my research code – they are all irreplaceable. While I try to remember to back it up before ever trip, I’m inevitably running ten minutes late to catch my flight, pleading with the computer to finish the data transfer. I’m always pulling the plug and hoping I got all the important stuff. One of these days I’ll discover the hard way that the back up wasn’t complete.

The other reason we decided to go with the iPad as a travel device is for added internet security. A rouge wireless access point is an excellent place for a man-in-the middle attack. When traveling, we tend to plug into a many different wifi points, and it only takes one compromised point to put a virus on a computer. It’s not a bad idea to wipe a computer and give it a fresh install when returning home from travel. However, that’s much less practical if you haven’t backed up your hard drive. The iPad will never be a primary device, and so it will never have important data. We can wipe it before and after each trip without a second thought.

At least that’s how we justified the purchase. I still look at that price tag. Here’s hoping I still think it’s worth it in a month…

April 3, 2011

Missed it by this much

You know how I was waiting for ticket fares to increase with Southwest so I could get a free flight? Well I waited a little too long. Instead of underpaying by $30, I overpaid by twice that. Yikes! When I checked on Thursday the price of tickets had actually gone down, not up. I was thinking I was going to be $50 shy of my free flight. This, of course, that means I roughly paid $100 more than I would have had I bought the tickets two weeks ago when I first looked. Yes, I am kicking myself over that one (and probably will for some time). I hate it when I miss out on a deal.

I continue the Southwest love. I was not thinking this afternoon and made a mistake booking Domingo’s flight, booking it for the wrong time. I was worried about what it would cost me to change it. Yes, I have seen the “no change fee” commercials, but after paying more for the tickets than I wanted to, I was a tad price sensitive. I had visions of dollar signs floating away in my head. I tried calling customer service, but the wait was north of 40 minutes because of the recent Plane Issues. Luckily, their web interface was really nice. I just gave the confirmation number, selected which flight I wanted to change and picked a new time. Easy Peasy, problem solved.

I’m all settled in to my Seattle apartment, new employee orientation is tomorrow for my internship. I’m not exactly loving the apartment. The heater died sometime last night. It was definitely on Saturday afternoon, but hasn’t kicked on since despite the place getting cold. Than about an hour ago, the TV decided it too would die. Oh well, it’s not like I came to Seattle to watch TV! I’m looking forward to the heat being fixed, though. I’m wearing three sweaters! Sarah does not do well in the cold.

March 24, 2011

Very Un-Sarah Like

I’ve been doing something very un like myself… waiting for airline ticket prices to go up before booking. Usually I am the queen of the discount. I love a good sale, and the hunt for the good sale! Sometimes you gotta spend more in the short-term to save in the long-term.

Domingo and I generally fly Southwest domestically. We racked up a fair number of credits during my last summer internship at Microsoft. It’s just 2 hours away by plane, and if you book early, not too terribly expensive, making it easy.

Southwest recently changed over the point system. Before you received 1 credit per hop, regardless of how short it was. We are just 3 credits (1.5 trips) away from a free round trip ticket. This march, they changed their system. Now you are awarded points based on the cost of the ticket. You can convert points to credits, but even with the 5 hops we have planed (2.5 trips) before the credits expire, we still won’t qualify for a free ticket! We would be about $30 worth of points shy! We can’t have that. Especially because it would be another 3 or 4 additional hops to make up for those expired credits, which would put us right back to square one.

So for now I’m waiting, and watching like a hawk for a slight uptick, so we can nab the free flight.

BTW, the new point system? Love it! It’s basically a 10% discount (well, technically 9%). You earn 6 points for every dollar spent, and redeem at a rate of 60 points per dollar. (1 free trip out of 11 ~ 9%). The points don’t expire as long as you fly at least once within 2 years and with my family on the other side of the country, we have a built in excuse to fly. Last but not least, you get more points for spending more. If I don’t time my ticket purchases well, and the price jumps up a little, at least I get something for it.

March 13, 2011

Hawaiian Adventure

We’re back from our vacation to Hawaii. It was great! Warm weather, warm water beaches. Seriously why can’t California’s beaches ever get that warm? We returned to the same location as last time, even the same hotel since it was just a stone’s throw from the beach.

(Photos in our family album)

We were there for a week, flying back on Saturday. We got to the hotel early Thursday night (around 8ish). We wanted to get up early the next day to drive to the valley of the temples. Domingo had his Droid and was checking the news when I was putting together our final plans for our final day. Earthquake! A 9.0 had rocked Japan. We immediately turned on the news, which was already talking about a possible Tsunami for Hawaii. The watch turned into a warning, and we were instructed to stay put in the high rise hotel.

We had five hours to prepare. We knew we were safe in the hotel, the tsunami that hit Hawaii would be no where near the size of the one in Japan. The news had emphasized that the hotels in the popular tourist areas were we were were well equipped and preformed drills to prepare for Tsunami. Still, I think it would be foolish to stay Domingo and I weren’t at least a little nervous about the Tsunami. The video from Japan was heartbreaking, and the same geological event that caused their tsunami was sending another one towards on. The civilian defense sirens were going off every hour, and the police bull hard telling people to seek shelter were not exactly settling.

The Tsunami ended up bouncing between the islands, so even though the main wave was gone we weren’t aloud out of our hotel until about 7:40am, and not in the water until 11:56. Once the adrenaline had passed, we enjoyed a peaceful final day, even if it meant we didn’t get to visit the valley of the temples.

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