Steve’s 11 great ways to use your smartphone camera when traveling –

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My iPhone camera is my best travel resource. I use my iPhone to take pictures of almost everything when I travel. For example, instead of keeping all those receipts for meals I simply pull out my iPhone and click a picture and send it to the accounting department rather than stick the receipt in my wallet. Here are some other ways you can use your smartphone when traveling:

1. Take a picture of your taxi cab number before you get into the cab (I always forget when I get out) – This is a safety valve in case I accidentally leave something in the taxi.

2. Take a picture of your car at the airport parking lot – This is an easy way to remember where your car was when you parked it.

3. Take a picture of your rental car – I rent so many cars that I can’t remember what type of car or even the color of the car I rented. I also walk around the car taking a video so I can prove that I did not add any dents during my rental.

4. Take a picture of your meeting agenda – Many meetings today have meeting apps, however, they still give you a binder full of agenda’s etc. I just take a picture of the agenda on my phone.

5. Take a picture of your luggage – If it is lost it is easy to show the airline rep what it looks like.

6. Take a picture of your hotel room number – This is an easy way to remember your room number.

7. Take a picture of your credit cards (front and back) – This is an easy way to have all the information if lost or stolen.

8. Take a picture of your passport – If you travel internationally often you have to fill out forms and this is an easy way to access your passport information without having to find it and pull it out.

9. Take a picture of the restaurant business card that you ate at – This will let you share with friends when they ask for a recommendation of a place to eat (or not to eat).

10. Take a picture of the wine bottle – If you find a great wine be sure to snap a picture and save it.

11. Take a picture of business cards – Many people use a business card app but I find that if I take a picture of the business card along a picture of the person, you can then add their picture to your address book. There are a lot of good Apps that you can use to easily add the business card information to your address book.

Please send me a list of additional ways you use your phone camera when traveling.

October and May are my favorite two months of the year to travel –

The weather is crisp and clear, the summer crowds have all gone home to school and work, and the prices are much lower as travel demand slows. Also if you travel using your airline miles this is a great time of the year to find seats to fly using your miles. If you are looking for some great vacation ideas and prices, please call one of our friendly travel advisors at 402-435-8888 and they would be happy to help.

Alaska Airline knows marketing – Offering “Wine Flies Free” –

The airline, which has extensive routes along the west coast, announced they were expanding their “Wine Flies Free” program to 29 cities. Basically, the program allows members of their frequent flyer program to check a case of wine at no cost. This is a big issue for many people visiting “wine country of Napa and Sonoma Valley”. It is nice to see at least one airline thinking of things that don’t have fees rather than all the other airlines who are trying to find even more ways to charge fees. CLICK HERE to read more.

Please attend our FREE Travel Night featuring Italy, Scotland, and Ireland! –

Please join our FREE and exciting Travel Night next week. On Tuesday, February 27th, at 6:30 PM at The Harbor Coffeehouse (1265 S Cotner Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68510), we will present two of our most exciting journeys this year; our custom tailored back-by-popular-demand tour to Italy, and our awesome combination of Scotland and Ireland, featuring the best of both destinations. Space is limited for this informative and free event, so make sure to RSVP by clicking HERE or call our friendly Group Department at 402-458-9845 to reserve your seat at The Harbor Coffeehouse next Tuesday! We are looking forward to seeing you!

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582

Marriott starts the annual process to devalue their Marriott Rewards points –

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SFGate recently reported that the travel blog “Frequent Miler” says big changes are coming in the annual hotel evaluations by Marriott Hotels that will result in it costing a lot more Marriott Rewards Points to redeem for free rooms. Basically, your Marriott Rewards points are worth a lot less starting March 6th than if you redeem them before March 6. “For every hotel that was downgraded to a less expensive category for point stays, more than four hotels have been moved up into a more expensive category. That’s a total of 247 hotels that are less expensive for point players, but whopping 1,082 that cost more,” according to Frequent Miler. The new point requirements for award stays take effect for bookings starting March 6. Here is Marriott’s FULL LIST of category changes for all affected hotels. The majority of the company’s properties – 74 percent of them – had no change in award category for 2018.

Chiropractors do a secret deal with Southwest Airlines to build more customers? –

I flew from Washington D.C. to Omaha Sunday night on Southwest Airlines trying to take advantage of a direct flight that saved me 3 hours of flight time. Boy was that a mistake! Southwest has added so many seats and squished their seats together so much that I literally experienced pain the whole trip sitting in the seat. I am a man of big girth (I prefer to say a man of stature) and am also very tall at 6’4”. My knees literally were driven into the seat in front of me for 3 hours to the point I could barely walk when getting off the plane. This is an embarrassment for a company to treat their passengers this way. This morning I searched the internet to see if I can find the press release where Southwest and the Chiropractors Association have entered a deal that helps the friendly chiropractor by providing referrals of all Southwest passengers. I could not find it, but I will keep looking.

As many as 10 million self-driving cars will be on the road in the next 3 years –

I know you think I have watched too many George Jetson cartoons when I tell you that self-driving cars are happening faster than a speeding bullet. This past week I presented a speech to a large group of travel professionals in Minneapolis that identified 7 disruptive technologies that will dramatically impact the travel industry. One of the most obvious is autonomous vehicles (self-driving cars and trucks). The amazing thing about the exponential growth of self-driving cars is that it will actually change the dynamic of car ownership as more and more people will not own cars but use driverless car services. CLICK HERE to read an amazing article on about self-driving cars.

Take a look at our newsletter for travelers called “Travel Week in Review” –

Each Tuesday at 10:30 am I send out over 65,000 weekly travel alert emails with my observations and editorials on hot issues in the travel industry to customers, friends, industry experts and the press. Many of our customers have asked us to supplement the Weekly Travel Alert with a traveler focus. Last year we launched “Travel Week in Review” which is a summary of industry news from the prior week. CLICK HERE to take a look at our new publication and let us know if you want to sign up to receive it every Friday.

Reminder! TSA is reducing the numbers of passengers who receive free TSA PreCheck screening –

This is a reminder of a previous notice that we continue to receive a lot of questions about. For years the TSA has provided many of the airlines’ best customers with free access to the TSA PreCheck expedited security lane at airports. Last year the government agency significantly reduced the number of freebies they hand out. The agency wants people to pay the $85 fee for the 5-year pass so they are cutting off offering free passes to this expedited service in hopes those people will pay the $85 fee. The TSA PreCheck is one of the best services for people who fly a lot. Not only do you get the express lane for security screening but you also don’t need to remove coats, belts, and laptops from your carryon. CLICK HERE for more info on TSA Precheck.

Attend our FREE Travel Night this Thursday, featuring the Nordic Countries & Alaska! –

Please join our FREE and exciting Travel Night on Thursday, February 15th at 6:30 PM at The Harbor Coffeehouse (1265 S Cotner Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68510). We will feature two of our most exciting journeys this year; the Nordic countries – Iceland, Norway, Sweden – and an amazing cruise to Alaska with a Denali National Park extension! Space is limited for this fun and free event, so make sure to RSVP by CLICKING HERE or call 402-458-9845 to reserve your seat at The Harbor Coffeehouse on Thursday! We are looking forward to seeing you!

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582

Airbnb Warning! – Companies that allow travelers to use Airbnb could be open to lawsuits –

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Many companies today have put their heads in the sand and are ignoring how the sharing economy in the form of Airbnb has been creeping steadily into the corporate travel management world. At first blush, many people would casually ask, “What’s the big deal? Many vacation travelers love Airbnb so why not use it for business travelers? Are you crazy! Companies by law are responsible for the safety and security of their travelers when they are traveling for business. Think of the dozens of ways that using Airbnb could compromise the safety of corporate travelers. In a recent article by Asher and Lyric titled, “Is Airbnb Safe?” they reviewed 1021 horror stories to identify some of the major problems with renting Airbnb. The first thing they listed sent a shiver up my spine. Do you realize that “Airbnb doesn’t require any ID other than an email address and phone number? Basically, anyone could be your host. They don’t even require real names or profile photos.” This means your company travelers could end up staying with a convicted felon, a registered sex offender, a thief, or a conniving scam artist. WOW! Can you imagine the liability a company has if they allow their travelers to be exposed to this possible danger? CLICK HERE to read more about the Airbnb horror stories. I am not a lawyer, and can’t give you legal advice, but common sense says if you are responsible for the safety and security of your employees while they travel you should consider prohibiting them from using Airbnb for any company travel.

Unlimited Economy Plus annual subscriptions may be the best deal of the year for United flyers –

The United Airlines subscription program has a great feature that allows an annual subscription for you to receive upgrades to Economy Plus seating. Economy Plus provides up to 5 inches of extra seating and can be a lifesaver on long flights and especially international flights. The best deal is for an annual global subscription for $699 for one traveler, $899 for a traveler and a companion and $1099 for a traveler and up to 8 companions. If you take your family on one international flight you will save a lot of money compared to purchasing the upgrades on each leg of the trip. The domestic subscription is also reasonable for only $499. CLICK HERE to find out more.

United also offers monthly and annual subscription for Wi-Fi –

United Airlines is offering a pretty cool option for frequent travelers that want to take advantage of Wi-Fi to work while they are flying. The subscriptions come in the form of monthly or annual timelines. The cost for a monthly global pass is $69 while the annual global pass is $689. If you are a frequent traveler that flies 2 times a month on connecting flights you will be in 8 separate flights paying about $12 for each flight to connect up to Wi-Fi. That is about $98 compared to a $69 monthly subscription. More importantly, imagine having 8 to 16 hours of connection time in the sky and how much more work you can get done. P.S. You can also pay for the Wi-Fi subscription using United MileagePlus miles but it is not a good deal. CLICK HERE to read more.

Where can business travelers find the best hotel rates? –

Executive Travel took on the myth that Expedia offers the lowest hotel rates to see if Executive Travel negotiated hotel rates were competitive. Executive Travel compared hotel rates in 106 random cities and discovered that Executive Travel negotiated rates were lower than Expedia rates in 94 of the 106 cities by an average of $47.02. Finding the best prices for hotels for your next business trip is easy. Simply book your hotels with Executive Travel, the very best at negotiating hotel rates. CLICK HERE to see a short 60-second video with the results.

Most people will never fly enough to earn free airline tickets from an airline –

But, using the right credit cards can let most people fly free each year – A year ago I signed up for a very limited time offer for a Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card and earned 100,000 free miles that I can transfer to United or British Airways. That’s good for 2 or 4 domestic round-trip tickets or if I add another 25,000 miles to my United account I can have 125,000 miles which are enough for 2 free international coach ticket to Europe or 1 free business class ticket if I am flexible.

This Chase Sapphire Reserve Visa Card costs $450 annually but with it comes $300 in travel credit, free airport lounge access, free Global Entry or TSA PreCheck, and 50,000 miles. Today most travelers won’t earn enough airline miles to earn a free ticket every 5 years. Credit card points are where the action is today.

Attend our FREE Travel Night featuring the Nordic Countries and Alaska! –

Please join our FREE and exciting Travel Night next week. On Thursday, February 15th, at 6:30 PM, at The Harbor Coffeehouse (1265 S Cotner Blvd, Lincoln, NE 68510), we will feature two our most exciting journeys this year; the Nordic countries – Iceland, Norway, Sweden – and an amazing cruise to Alaska with a Denali National Park extension! Space is limited for this fun and free event, so make sure to RSVP by CLICKING HERE or call our friendly Group Department at 402-435-8888 to reserve your seat at The Harbor Coffeehouse next Thursday! We are looking forward to seeing you!

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582

American and Delta agree to kiss and make up – New pact offers great protection for travelers –

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A little over two years ago the two giant airlines had a fight and decided they would no longer agree to help each other out when they had stranded travelers (from weather cancellations, etc). This last week the two airlines decided to kiss and make-up and announced a new ticketing and baggage agreement that allows both airlines to re-accommodate customers during irregular operations, like winter storms. This is fantastic news for travelers as if you have a ticket on Delta and your flight is canceled by a storm, Delta is able to rebook you on American (if American has space) and vice versa. Prior to this announcement, United Airlines was the only airline able to rebook their customers on AA and DL. Now all three airlines can rebook on each other. Hip Hip Hooray!

Don’t fly Frontier, Spirit, or Allegiant or risk being stranded for 4 days or more –

After reading the above article about how DL, AA and UA are all able to re-accommodate passengers during irregular operations (snow storms, etc.), you now understand my warning about flying low-cost airlines during the winter months and busy holiday travel seasons. Simply put, it is just not smart as a simple weather event, cancelation or mechanical problem can leave you stranded for days. During holiday travel windows (one week around each holiday) the planes are all 100% full. This means that if a low-cost airline has a weather or mechanical problem there is no alternative flight to put you on as these airlines do not reciprocate with other airlines to provide alternate flights for stranded passengers. I for one will do everything I can to avoid these low-cost airlines as I refuse to accept the liability that comes with saving $20.

Airlines will try to raise fares this spring to deal with rising fuel prices –

The airlines have been swimming in money the last two years as fuel prices fell from $150 a barrel to $30 a barrel. Well, this last year fuel prices have risen from $30 to $70 and the airline stocks have fallen like a rock as the big 3 airlines (AA, DL, UA) will each have to pay over a billion dollars more for fuel costs this year. The good news for the airlines is that the economy is riding a rocket ship upward that will keep businesses and vacation travelers traveling. If the airlines are to maintain their profits they will try really hard this spring to raise prices. My advice? Buy your tickets early this year as prices only have one way to go and that is UP!

Luxury travel is now for the middle class –

The difference between staying at a 4 or 5-star luxury hotel/resort versus a 3-star run-of-the-mill hotel is now only about a $100 – $200 a night. Most vacation travelers take only one major vacation a year. People are now realizing that if they are going to travel they are going to do it up right and go, first class. This is one area that will set the whole tone of how much you enjoy your vacation. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Move up to a luxury hotel on your next vacation.

Three weeks ago I predicted that airlines would start charging a $10 service fee for using a credit card –

Just last week it was announced that more and more airlines in Europe are charging fees for purchasing a ticket on a credit card. With the airlines in the U.S. under a lot of financial pressure, I think they will follow their brethren in Europe very soon and launch a new credit card fee. Once one airline does it they will all follow like dominos. I expect Frontier or Allegiant to try it first and then “Katie bar the door” as all the other airlines will then have a reason to play “follow the leader.” Credit card fees are the next big pot of gold the airlines can attack to move profits back in a positive direction. Charging a fee to pay for tickets is not a question of “if” but a question of “when”. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I hope I am wrong.

Pick a destination, even an Unknown! –

We have the greatest escorted tours taking off this year. Choose between 13 destinations – including an UNKNOWN. Win a FREE TRIP by trying to guess the country we are traveling to! Nothing gets more exciting than this! Make sure to give our friendly Group Department a call or send an email to sign up; 402-435-8888/ We continue our “small tour”-concept success, allowing no more than 20-25 travelers on our tours. Take a look at all the exciting destinations, CLICK HERE and do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Need information on any of the above?
Call our friendly travel advisors….
Lincoln – 402-435-8888 Toll-free 800-737-0582