Free New Zealand Lonely Planet ebook with booking number

Posted by: jason

book

Air New Zealand is offering a free Lonely Planet ebook on New Zealand simply by inputting your name, email address, and booking number. The fine print says

Promo codes are offered to Air New Zealand passengers who make a booking from North America to New Zealand at www.airnewzealand.com or www.airnewzealand.ca from 11 April 2014 thru 30 June 2014 or while supplies last.

Booking references for Air New Zealand will end in H: For bookings made online directly with Air New Zealand or through our Contact Centre, the Booking Reference can be found on your Electronic Ticket Itinerary and Receipt. The Booking Reference will have 6 letters / numbers, ending in the letter H, for example: MFB7EH.

Tip of the Hat to reader Sice

Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel

Posted by: jason

1. Trip Over
2. Sightseeing in Rome Day 1
3. Sightseeing in Rome Day 2
4. Sightseeing in Rome Day 3
5. Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome
6. Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center
7. Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel
8. Review of Holiday Inn Camden Lock
9. Food in London
10. Activities in London

The first thing you notice at the Rome Marriott Park Hotel is the sheer size. This place is massive. We had booked a normal room and were quite please with the quality of it.

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The bed

The bed

TV stand

TV stand

The door

The door

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Shower

Shower

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Sink

Sink

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The pool

The pool

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The pool is quite large with plenty of seating capacity. This hotel is quite far from any of the tourist destinations – however there is a shuttle to the town from the hotel for 10 Euro that runs a couple of times. A taxi is going to cost you 40 Euro easily.

In summary, the Rome Park is a huge Marriott property with big rooms and a nice pool. It’s not very close to any of the tourist destinations but is close to the airport.

Best ways to overcome jetlag

Posted by: jason

I’m just fresh off an international trip, and I’ve got jet lag pretty bad. Waking up at four in the morning is never a fun thing. I even tried to do all the things correctly, like staying up all the way to the night in order to get my body back on track. It just seems though that I’m just getting more more tired and getting less and less sleep. Usually I’ll try not to take a nap upon returning in the hope that I’ll get my body back on track quickly. However, this time nothing seems to be working and the prospect of waking up with only five hours of sleep each day is pretty brutal.

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I’ve read all the articles about adjusting your body ahead of time before you go, and eating meals a certain time, but I found that none of this really works for me. I don’t sleep on planes, mostly because I’m always traveling in economy and due my height I don’t really ever find a comfortable position.

So I usually just stay up the entire time, and try to muster the strength to make it all the way to the night at my destination. From there I go to sleep and that usually works pretty good for me.

For whatever reason though, this time it’s been pretty brutal.

You can certainly get a lot of things done early in the morning with everyone still asleep, lots of paperwork to do there’s always work and catching up on TV shows.

I suppose I could actually start doing some sort of exercise routine or doing other things that would be much more productive but I just end up watching TV or doing something else.

Which brings me to the question, what do you do in order to get rid of jet lag on your return from international trip? Other things that you have found successful that perhaps I’m missing? I love to hear your antidotes to getting rid of jet lag quickly.

Give your suggestions for the new Salt Lake City airport renovation

Posted by: jason

The Salt Lake City airport is going to be renovating the entire structure, or as they like to put it “redevelopment”.

Current Salt Lake City airport

Current Salt Lake City airport

The entire project will be in phases starting in 2014 and being completed in 2023 including a new rental car service facility, a new parking garage, a terminal roadway system, and a new terminal replacing the old terminal 1 and 2.

New Salt Lake City terminal

New Salt Lake City terminal

In 2013, the airport commissioned a public outreach study for what the public wanted. This was their feedback:

Reflect natural surroundings
-Bring the outdoors in
-Wood, red rock, granite
-Stone, glass, copper
Windows and natural light
-Views of the mountains
-Tall walls and huge windows
Color and light of Utah
-Bright,airy,light
-Warm colors
-Sage green,rust,sky blues
Technology
-Electric outlets
-USB ports
-Free Wi-fi
Convenience
-Rental cars accessible
-Close in parking
-Light rail access
-Efficient check in
More space and comfort
–Larger restroom stalls
–Large meet and greet areas
–Larger screening areas
-Wide moving walkways
–More concession options
–Variety of seating options
–Quiet seating areas

I asked Gary Leff of the View from the Wing blog last year for his suggestions on the renovation. His suggestions were:

*As quick as possible from front of the terminal to gate. IAD is awful. DFW is pretty good. Basically gates right behind checkin/security. You can do that even with a big airport when you have lots of land…
*Design with plenty of space for security, lots of space for checkpoints, plenty of space for baggage screening behind checkin so that customers don’t have to check bags and then schlepp them over to TSA. Don’t turn TSA into a major choke point like at MIA.
*A must is the ability to connect airside between all gates. Ok, except for international arrivals.. Singapore does that best (probably followed by BKK and maybe then ICN) but US government rules won’t allow anything like it.
*Don’t require too much walking. HKG arrivals are the worst. I’ve had some terribly long walks with ORD international arrivals. MIA can be ludicrous with international arrivals.
*Food: Import Beauvedin wine bar from MIA (yes, SLC does need a wine bar…), Dickey’s barbecue from DFW, Tortas Fronteras from ORD.
*Don’t do shared shuttles. Don’t do a rental car center. I know they won’t listen to me on this, but I’ll say it anyway. Let me add that anything landside that requires a train is a very bad idea.
*Walkable parking.
*Hotel connected to terminal like DFW, DTW (and not as convenient but ORD). Even YYZ’s Sheraton works, an I guess so does the Pittsburgh Hyatt.
*I say all of these things without reference to the SLC market. Perhaps the airport won’t support a wine bar. ;) Perhaps they just aren’t going to support a ton of airport overnights, there’s not that much international traffic there although I suspect there’s plenty of long drives to/from. So if nothing else I have one final suggestion – regardless of market conditions — that any airport would benefit from: Go visit JFK. Then do everything the opposite.

So I have to ask, dear readers, what should the Salt Lake City renovation include based on your travels?

My interview by Delta Points

Posted by: jason

Recently I “sat down” with Rene from Delta Points and did a fireside chat. I had a chance to meet Rene in person at the inaugural BAcon (Boarding Area convention) in Colorado Springs. I’ve always been a fan of his and he’s just as nice in person.

If you hadn’t had a chance, head on over to his site to read the interview.

Rick Steves Europe Through the Backdoor 2014 ebook on sale

Posted by: jason

I’m always thought that Rick Steves has the world’s best job of traveling through Europe and giving viewers tips on what do do and what to see. In fact, the last trip I made to Rome, we used his travel book quite a lot that helped cram a lot of sights into a single day.

Right now, his 2014 Ebook Europe Through the Backdoor Kindle edition is on sale for only $1.99. It includes over 800 pages of good information for trips to Europe. I highly recommend spending the $2 for a very good reference book.

Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center

Posted by: jason

1. Trip Over
2. Sightseeing in Rome Day 1
3. Sightseeing in Rome Day 2
4. Sightseeing in Rome Day 3
5. Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome
6. Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center
7. Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel
8. Review of Holiday Inn Camden Lock
9. Food in London
10. Activities in London

Having burned through the small amount of Marriott points I had at the Boscolo, we moved to the Sheraton Roma Hotel. The rate was quite reasonable and as this was more of a sightseeing trip than anything, we weren’t going to be spending a ton of time in our room anyways.

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The bed

The bed

Our room was quite spacious and the bed was perfect for our weary jet lagged bodies.

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The in room fridge

[caption id="attachment_3224" align="aligncenter" width="550"]The TV The TV

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Without any hotel status here, we skipped the breakfast and opted for local fare instead. The Sheraton Roma met our expectations for a nice, clean comfortable stay while in Rome.

Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome

Posted by: jason

1. Trip Over
2. Sightseeing in Rome Day 1
3. Sightseeing in Rome Day 2
4. Sightseeing in Rome Day 3
5. Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome
6. Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center
7. Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel
8. Review of Holiday Inn Camden Lock
9. Food in London
10. Activities in London

Our trip to Rome was in September and we were looking to book a hotel using points. I had some orphan Marriott points as I don’t stay at those hotels anymore and so we decided it would be a good value to burn some points at the Boscolo. The Boscolo Palace Roma is located right by the US Embassy, the Hard Rock Cafe, and several metro stations. We had a simple room as I have no status with Marriott.

TV on the wall

TV on the wall

The toilet

The toilet

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The Boscolo Hotel has everything that you would need with superb service, great location and modern rooms. It was perfectly situated for our needs of being close to the sites. Due to not having status, we opted to eat outside the hotel, even for breakfast.

Be prepared to have to search a bit for a good restaurant around the hotel. There are a lot of the restaurants surrounding the hotel were highly priced and served frozen food. It’s an easy way to make some money because most tourists aren’t going to know the difference. How can you tell that they serve frozen food? By law, they’re required to notate it on their menu. If you see an asterik – it usually means that the food is frozen, or as they say in Italian surgelati or congelati. By looking at the bottom the menu, it will have a statement in Italian next to the asterik in very small type. Avoid these type of places at all costs.

A very helpful app was Katie Parla’s App. She is a food blogger in Rome and has tasted all of the bad food so that you don’t have to. Her app is sortable by price and by location. It also works offline. I highly recommended it to eat well while in Rome.

Rome, Italy and London, England Sightseeing in Rome Day 3

Posted by: jason

1. Trip Over
2. Sightseeing in Rome Day 1
3. Sightseeing in Rome Day 2
4. Sightseeing in Rome Day 3
5. Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome
6. Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center
7. Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel
8. Review of Holiday Inn Camden Lock
9. Food in London
10. Activities in London

Next on the list of sight seeing activites was the largest Catholic Marian church, Santa Maria Maggiore.

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The next stop was the Basilica.

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For dinner that night, we ate at a little place called Ristorante da Diovanni that was recommended by Rick Steeves. Say what you will about Rick Steves – he has perhaps the best job in all of the world, traveling around Europe and reporting on it. His shows can sometimes be really cheesy and I do wish there was at least one episode where he runs afoul of the law and is taken into custody. I can just see the cameras following him into the interrogation room as they are trying to extract information from him but Rick is pouring on the sugary sweet attitude and telling them how pleasant the weather is and if they can exchange some American dollars into their local currency.

Ristorante da Giovanni

Ristorante da Giovanni

Rick Steves approved

Rick Steves approved

It was a very quaint and quiet dining room. Our waiter was very attentive the entire time. We enjoyed a meal of Spaghetti alla Carbonara exquisitely prepared.

Trip Report Rome, Italy and London, England – Sightseeing in Rome Day 2 Borghese Museum

Posted by: jason

1. Trip Over
2. Sightseeing in Rome Day 1
3. Sightseeing in Rome Day 2
4. Sightseeing in Rome Day 3
5. Review of Boscolo Palace Roma in Rome
6. Review of Sheraton Roma Hotel & Conference Center
7. Review of Rome Marriott Park Hotel
8. Review of Holiday Inn Camden Lock
9. Food in London
10. Activities in London

We decided ahead of time to go to the Borghese Gallery. I’m really not that much of a fan of museums. I guess in some ways I’m a bit uncultured but this particular museum seemed to be a can’t miss.

You have to reserve a time ahead of time as they only let a certain amount of people in every thirty minutes. Book your ticket at www.tosc.it at least a week in advance. They have an English option for languages on the website.

Galleria Borghese

Galleria Borghese

The Borghese museum was within walking distance of the Boscolo hotel and so we walked into a light downpour to the museum. We had picked the first entry time of the day knowing that we would already be wide awake due to jetlag. They finally let us in the door and we were required to check all jackets and bags.

Unfortunately, they don’t allow photography in the museum so I am unable to show any pictures of these magnificent works of art. In the second room, was a sculpture called David by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. As I stared at this gigantic sculpture, I couldn’t help but think how long it must have taken to do this. The amount of detail was truly wonderful.

In regards to paintings, the painting by Raphael called Deposition depicting Jesus being taken from the cross was one of my favorite. The huge canvas was intrically painted with an amazing amount of detail.

We spent about and hour and a half total in the museum and I’m glad that I went.

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We then headed down to the area around the Pantheon.

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We had come by the Pantheon the previous day but they had been closed. There were hundreds of people gathered around. This place has so much history, so much architecture.

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Moving to the next structure, it was the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran or the San Giovanni in Lateran. .

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The next stop across the street was the Holy Stairs, consisting of 28 white marble steps.

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Holy Stairs Rome

Holy Stairs Rome

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Traveling and neck pillows

Posted by: jason

I had to share this picture that reader Sice passed along.

Neck Pillow

Neck Pillow

Do any of you frequent fliers travel with a neck pillow?

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