Travel

Top 10 Travel Destinations for Movie Geeks

There’s something quite magical about seeing filming locations with your very own eyes. The celebrities and cameras may have gone, but a story’s physical setting stays just where it is. You can consider it as a star in its own right.

Here are 10 travel destinations that should absolutely be on every film lover’s bucket list:

New Zealand

Starred in: The Lord of the Rings trilogy (1999–2001)

“A rite of passage” is how a visit to New Zealand is described in this interactive map of the world’s top filming locations.One of the most beautiful places on the planet, New Zealand is the Lord of the Rings’ main filming location. The trilogy made full use of the location’s gorgeous natural landscapes and rolling green hills which any fan can recognize.

London, UK

Starred in: Jason Bourne (2016)

The latest adventure of the titular spy-on-the-run brought plenty of white-knuckle, high-stakes thrills to the streets of the English capital. Eagle-eyed fans will quickly recognize the Woolwich Arsenal train station and its surroundings. These are the areas that were transformed into Athens in the film. They also wouldn’t miss the areas around Paddington Station and Paddington Basin, where Jason Bourne made a particularly tense phone call.

New York City, US

Starred in: Ghostbusters (1984)

We could have gone with any of the countless films shot in the Big Apple, but the original Ghostbusters is the one that truly captured New York City in its ’80s-glory heyday. Streets, plazas, skyscrapers, bridges- you name it.

Looking around as you walk through the city will instantly open up a floodgate of pure nostalgia and Bill Murray hero-worship. There are even guided tours available to match the location to the scene!

Toronto, Canada

Starred in: Suicide Squad (2016)

Toronto has ‘stood in’ for many other cities in movies, but Suicide Squad’s Midway City may be its best fictional incarnation yet. Visitors can check out the spots where some of the film’s most iconic scenes happened. Just by walking along Downtown Toronto’s main thoroughfares, you can check out Yonge Street, Front Street West and Bay Street.

Visitors can check out the spots where some of the film’s most iconic scenes happened…

This Website Lets You Travel Around The World If You Agree To Take Care Of Other People’s Pets

Imagine yourself getting to stay at the most amazing accommodations when travelling – from French farmhouses to Australian beach villas – all in exchange for looking after an adorable furbaby. A company called Trusted Housesitters allows you to do just that for around $100 a year.

The concept is simple, yet genius – it connects people wanting to travel the world, but feeling guilty about leaving their pets behind, with trustworthy, vetted travellers who would love to look after their house and pets in exchange for accommodation.

To secure the most breathtaking houses to stay at, you’ll need to build a good reputation. But that’s relatively easy to do if you’re willing to petsit in your town in exchange for reviews. Your chances of scoring that dream mansion getaway are higher if you also…

7 Important Things To Do To Travel Like A Local

travel like a local
travel like a local

For some people, traveling is about getting an authentic experience. It’s about learning genuine things about a place and its people.

While there are various ways to achieve that, every method provides a different level of exposure to people. Some prefer to go around a place in groups wearing matching outfits and led by a tourist guide with a flag. On the other hand, there are people who prefer to be low-key tourists when traveling.

Tourists must be at terms with the fact that they can never be locals when they are just visiting. This, however, doesn’t mean that they can’t experience a place as authentically as locals know it to be. To give you an idea, here are some tips to help you travel like a local.

Get to know the place in advance

It is handy for travelers to go to the library or use Google to research about the place they are planning to visit. Find blogs, reviews or comments from people who have been to the area and try to learn from their experiences. Knowing an area in advance is probably the most important preparation any traveler can do.

Don’t do a bus tour for the entire journey

If you really want to get more out of your trip, it’s best if you don’t fully rely on tours to take you everywhere that’s on your itinerary. Although bus tours are informative and entertaining, it will cause you to miss out on handling transactions on your own.

Some might think that’s a good thing since negotiating with other people and dealing with foreign currencies is intimidating and confusing. With package tours, a tourist will need not worry about itineraries, meals, tickets, transportation and stops. What they just need to do is join the tour.

Make friends with a local

It is common for travelers to visit a foreign…

Airline Credit Card or Flexible Rewards Card: What’s the Best Way to Earn a Free Flight?

When it comes to strategizing how to earn free airfare with travel rewards credit cards, there are two main schools of thought. On one hand, you can sign up for your favorite airline’s frequent flyer program and get their co-branded credit card to earn miles through regular spending and flying. Or, you can get a credit card that lets you earn flexible travel rewards good for any airline instead.

Both strategies can be advantageous depending on your travel style and goals. Still, earning a free flight becomes easier when you’re able to make an informed decision about what type of travel rewards card is right for you.

So, which should you choose? Airline miles or travel credit?

Airline frequent flyer programs

While each airline loyalty program works differently, they all follow a similar format. When you pay for a flight, you earn frequent flyer miles based on the cost of your paid airfare and/or the many miles you fly. You can get more points by using the airline’s credit card to pay for it.

The upside of earning airline miles is obvious; through regular flying, credit card spending, or a combination of the two, you can earn miles and redeem them for flights around the globe. With the American AAdvvantage program, a round-trip domestic flight costs as little as 25,000 miles while a round-trip flight to Europe can run as little as 45,000 miles. Since the average domestic flight costs around $400 and the average flight to Europe can cost $1,000 or more, you can score an exceptionally good value for your miles with this program (points are worth 1.6 cents and 2 cents respectively). (See also: Which Airline Loyalty Program Has the Best Value for Their Miles?)

Keep in mind that, on top of your miles, you’ll need to pay government-mandated taxes and fees. These fees are usually $5.60 per leg for domestic flights, but can range in the hundreds of dollars for flights abroad. The fees also differ with airlines. Do your research before you settle on the airline program to pursue miles with. Other factors include where they fly and their partner airlines that you’d be able to get use miles for. Also, blackout dates and award seat availability are factors, too.

How to spot a frequent flyer program

These are the things you should look for when considering a frequent flyer program to join.

No blackout dates or seat limitations

The best programs allow you to redeem your miles for any seat on any flight as long as they haven’t been sold. Some programs designate a specific number of award seats per flight (or on select flights), or they impose blackout dates when you can’t use miles at all. Unless you are a solo traveler with very flexible plans on when and even where to go, you’ll end up very frustrated at your options and may see a lot of your points go unused due to the lack of availability. (See also: 10 Ways to Get Free — or Almost Free — Flights)

Multiple ways to earn miles

Being able to earn miles through other ways than flying with that airline makes racking up miles easier and faster, which means free flights faster. Airline credit cards will often give points for all spending, and maybe even bonus points for additional categories.

Travel…

10 Items You Will Never Regret Bringing on a Trip

Getting ready for an upcoming trip is exciting. But when you make your packing list, stick to the essentials. There’s no need to blow money on heavy, bulky gear you’ll never use. Paring down your packing can also save you the expense and inconvenience of an overweight bag. Here are 10 necessities I’ve never regretted bringing on a trip.

1. Earplugs

Sleeping poorly can wreck your mood and put a serious damper on your travel fun or the business meetings you have to get to. I always make sure I have several pairs of earplugs to help me get the shut-eye I need, whether I’m on a plane, a bus, or in an unexpectedly loud hotel room. When it comes to sleeping well, you’re always better off being prepared, especially if you’re a light sleeper. (See also: Packing Light? Don’t Forget These 5 Must-Haves)

2. Passport photocopy

You don’t even have to purchase this item. All it takes is a little preparation before you leave and you can save yourself from a potential major hassle while you’re away. Make a couple of photocopies of your passport’s main page (the one with your picture on it), and any other pages that might be relevant — for example, if you’ve had to get a visa in advance, make a copy of that page, too.

Leave one copy with a friend or relative — whoever is most likely to not lose it. You’ll want to have a copy for yourself, too. Some hotels require you to leave a passport at the front desk during your stay, but if they’ll allow it, leave a photocopy instead so that you don’t ever lose possession of your original document. As a backup, upload a digital copy of the passport to a secure cloud storage app such as Google Drive. For extra security, you can password protect any file on Google Drive. Upload a photo of your passport on your smartphone, too, in case you need to access it offline. Just be sure to lock your phone.

Consider also making a photocopy of your driver’s license, credit, and debit cards. For security reasons you may not want to upload all of the information to the internet, but you can keep a paper copy in a secure place away from your wallet. Lock it in your room safe if one is available. At the very least, note the international and local bank customer service numbers for your card accounts, so that you can easily call them if a card gets blocked, lost, or stolen. (See also: What to Do if You Don’t Have Your ID at the Airport)

3. Plug adapters

Most countries outside North America use electrical outlets featuring different kinds of plug inputs. If you’re traveling often to different countries, it’s worth investing in one or two universal plug adapters that can be used in multiple countries. That way, you’ll never…

Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?

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If your goal is earning free hotel stays, it’s hard to know which type of rewards card to get. While co-branded hotel credit cards are an obvious pick, general-purpose travel credit cards that let you redeem points for different kinds of travel rewards can work well for free hotel stays, too.

Which card is best? It depends on your travel style and vacation goals. Let’s dig into both types of cards to see how they work, whom they’re best for, and where they fall flat.

Co-Branded Hotel Credit Cards

Each major hotel chain — Hyatt, Carlson, Marriott, IHG, Hilton, and the like — offers a unique set of options. Where IHG only has one co-branded hotel credit card, Hilton has several. Some hotel brands offer co-branded business cards, too, giving you even more ways to rack up points.

These co-branded cards have several benefits and drawbacks, compared to more flexible travel rewards cards.

Focused Strategy Generally Nets Extra Points and Perks

Hotel credit cards can offer great value if you’re an enthusiast for a specific chain. If your family always stays at Hiltons, for example, getting the Citi Hilton HHonors might be smart. Not only do you get automatic Gold status just for being a cardholder, but you can quickly earn points on stays for free nights. Co-branded cards generally offer very high bonus points for stays at its properties. They also often feature generous sign-up bonuses that can cover free stays for a few nights. (See also: Tips for Using Hotel Reward Points to Get the Most Value)

You’re Stuck With One Chain

The downside with hotel credit cards is that they aren’t as flexible as general travel credit cards. With a co-branded hotel credit card, you can only book free nights at a hotel within that chain. So, if your travel plans change or you want to try a different hotel brand, you might be out of luck.

Award Availability May Be Limited

Another downside with hotel credit cards is that even though most major hotel brands advertise “no blackout dates” for award nights, they still may limit award availability. So, even if you have the points to burn, you may not be able to use them for the exact dates you…