Everyone seems to be heading to Hawaii this year

Everyone seems to be heading to Hawaii this year

We had a meeting of all our vacation agents on Monday and we went around the room asking each agent what was the most popular destination this month that they were researching for their customers. Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaii were the first words out of their mouths. It seems like all the bad press of gang shootings and drug lords in Mexico is pushing some people that normally might want to travel to the sun and fun destination of Mexico to the tropical paradise of Hawaii. While Hawaii is one of my favorite destinations to travel to that does not need a passport, some people may be shocked at the prices in paradise. That $10 cheeseburger at Applebee’s on the mainland can be as high as $20 to $25 on the islands. Even with the higher food cost, I would rather go to Hawaii than to our neighbors in the south.

Chicago’s O’Hare airport is becoming much more traveler-friendly – I just returned home from a business meeting in Chicago last week and noticed that Chicago’s O’Hare airport, specifically the United terminals, are getting much more traveler friendly. Specifically, they have removed those 30-year-old chairs and replaced them with almost 3 times more seating at each gate. They also have added workstation desks with electric plugs that allow business travelers to work while they wait for their flights. The newly remodeled United Club on the C Concourse of terminal 1 offers amazing food and drink and seating and suddenly you have a very enhanced traveler experience while waiting for your connecting flight. Three cheers for United Airlines.

Using the CLEAR lane at Chicago’s airports also allows you to speed through security – If you’re surprised to see the long lines at the TSA Precheck lines in major airports like Chicago you may want to consider subscribing to the CLEAR security program. One Sunday I saw hundreds of people in line for TSA Precheck but only two people in line for the CLEAR lane. Part of my credit card membership provides me with complimentary CLEAR membership. This is how it works. Once you enter the CLEAR Lane you step up to the pod and scan your boarding pass. You’ll be prompted to verify you are you with your eyes. Once verified, a CLEAR ambassador will escort you to the front of the physical screening line. If you want to know more about CLEAR membership CLICK HERE.

Even though Chicago O’Hare is one of the largest airports in the world it still falls way behind other international airports – I recently was transferring flights at Istanbul’s new airport and it almost took my breath away for its beauty and amazing shopping and restaurants. You can buy almost any luxury item in the world and enjoy the best of food and drink without ever leaving the airport. This airport is so amazing I would almost recommend that you increase the time between connecting flights to 4-6 hours to be able to enjoy the whole experience. Even though I bragged about the new United Club lounge in Chicago it pales in size to the world’s largest business class lounge of Turkish Airlines in Istanbul. There you can get a shoeshine, a massage, and seven different cuisines of food to enjoy.

Uber is getting a lot more expensive – One thing that I continue to see when traveling is that the price for a taxi cab is becoming a lot less expensive than taking an Uber from the airport. My ride from O’Hare to the convention center was $10 higher using an Uber than a cab. A few years ago, it was the other way around. The one advantage I think Uber continues to have is that I can have the ride charged to my business account so I don’t have to mess with paying by cash or pulling out a credit card. One new Uber service I tried for the first time was making an advance reservation to pick me up at my hotel and take me to the airport. I set a pickup time for 6:35 am and the driver arrived at 6:34 am. The Uber app said it would take 25 minutes to get to the airport and 24 minutes later I pulled up to the door. I will for sure use Uber reservations in the future even if it costs a few dollars more.

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