A Visit Into Iran

“Amricouri! Amricouri!” That was the yell across the terminal from the passport officer as I smilingly placed my passport on the passport control counter of the Shiraz airport in Iran. Everyone in the airport stared at the lone American (me) that had just flown in on the very late flight from Istanbul. It was 1:30AM and most people just wanted to clear immigration so they could get home or to their places for the night. The estimate is that only about 1,000 – 1,5000 Americans visit Iran each year, so it was surely a novelty to see one. One way to stand out! Another official came up to the counter and asked, “Farsi balideed?” It is amazing how well the language program drilled some of the core (tourist) words of Farsi into my head. I almost instinctively gave the Farsi reply that no, I only understand a little Farsi. But, fortunately my tongue was tied for a minute as it probably would have created more questions if I had answered that... ...

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Shoes That Tie Themselves

There is a Kickstarter that has been launched in an effort to bring a shoe to the market that laces itself. The technology looks pretty convincing and a shoe like this would certainly be of benefit to people that suffer from limitations that make tying laces difficult. The product is called the Powerlace Shoe. While the concept is interesting, I would not be buying in on this crowdfunded shoe. I know a shoe like this would provide assistance to many, but for a runner, this is not what I am interested in. It is true – laces coming untied are a big pain, especially during a race. The North Face makes a shoe that does not normal laces but laces controlled by a dial in the back. That is helpful because The North Face has experience making shoes for runners and they know what their customers are looking for in a shoe. Salomon has a very innovative lace system as well that works quite well for trail runners (no laces... ...

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Low Cost Airline To Brazil – $500 Business Class One-Way

Today, Azul airlines received their final permissions to begin flying to the US. Azul was founded by JetBlue’s founder and is now reaching into the same country as it’s older sibling. Azul will begin flying between the US and Brazil on December 2 (Fort Lauderdale to Sao Paulo) and then again on December 15 (Orlando to Sao Paulo). The cheap tickets are so far to Brazil – less than $200 in economy and $500 in business class. The airline is starting the service with their A330-200 aircraft which features 27 lie-flat business class seats. They will soon be using A350 aircraft on their US routes as well with a route to JFK coming in the middle of next year. The Sao Paulo airport being used is Campinas International Airport and is a launch point for destinations around Brazil. Azul Airlines reaches over 100 destinations around Brazil so now this gives an easy, cheap way to get down there. The business class fares of $480 are the same whether you end in Sao... ...

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Badwater is Back!

The Badwater 135 is billed as the “world’s toughest foot race” and it certainly is a tough one! Take running in Death Valley in July and combine it with running to the portals of the highest mountain in the continental US and that is a challenge. But when you put the distance of the race at 135 miles, that is beyond a challenge! Badwater is Back! I had the pleasure of crewing/pacing for a friend a few years ago. The race is amazing and Death Valley is incredible. It is one thing to drive through Death Valley, but to get to spend 26 hours in the desert on foot gives a really fantastic experience. Unfortunately, last year the Park Service ruled that races could no longer take place within the park limits because of safety concerns. This led the Badwater race committee to plan an alternate route that avoided Death Valley. To be honest, that was a real crush to me and I am sure to others. People train for... ...

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Cheap Business Class Tickets The Flip Side of Revenue Programs?

Over the last few weeks, we have seen some great deals for business class tickets. Some of them were ridiculously cheap – like $1,400 from the West Coast to Europe (roundtrip)! Not only that, they were valid for summer travel (which is normally a very expensive time to fly to Europe). These have come and gone and they have not been mistake fares. This lead me to wonder something – might we see more of these after the revenue-based earnings kick in for United and Delta in 2015?  Let’s take a look at a few things. Revenue Recap To recap what is happening in 2015, Delta and United will be moving to a revenue-based model for the earning of award miles. How elite qualifying miles are earned will stay the same, but the way award miles are earned will be drastically different. Instead of awarding miles based on the miles actually flown, miles will be awarded based on the cost of the ticket. That means that if you can fly from the Northeast to Singapore... ...

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Is Amazon Getting In The Travel Business?

It is always an interesting thing to see large corporations spreading their wings into other business arenas. Some are great fits while others may have made sense at one point but the implementation fell flat. One example is a large grocery store chain that planned to get into the laundromat business to create a real all-in-one shopping experience (it would be great – get your laundry done while you shop!). The problems that manifested included people taking their dirty clothes past the produce and putting those dirty clothes in the same shopping carts that were used for food transport. ...

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New Amex Offer For Photographers – $100 Back on $500 Spend

Photography is an important part of travel – it gives us the opportunity to capture places and memories in the incredible places we visit. Those photos are there to remind us of those times long after we have returned home. Being married to a photographer makes me even more keenly aware of that. New Amex Offer For Photographers $100 Back on $500 Spend Well, thankfully, there is a nice Amex offer waiting in our accounts for a place in Georgia called Showcase Photo and Video. While the selection is not huge, they do have several options for the photographer and videographer. They have everything from point and shoot cameras to serious professional camcorders and DSLR cameras. They also have accessories and audio equipment. The Amex offer for Showcase Photo and Video sits at $100 back on a purchase of $500 or more. That is a great deal – 20% back on photography equipment! From the look of the checkout page, it appears that you can stack gift certificates making the sky... ...

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Combine 16X AA Miles And $15 Back On $50 For A Great Deal

Generally speaking, it is not the best way to save money to buy flowers online. However, it can be an incredibly lucrative way to earn miles if you do plan to order flowers! In this case, we have a combo of AAdvantage’s shopping portal and their payout of 16 AA miles per dollar with an Amex offer that will give you $15 off purchases of $50 or more. Combine 16X AA Miles and $15 Back on $50 Spend To make this happen, you need to do two things – go through the AAdvantage shopping portal and have an Amex card that has the deal for 1800Flowers saved to it. One other thing to be aware of – you will receive an extra 350 miles for every $175 you spend (up 1,050 miles). Let’s build this and see what is possible and then look at an extremely lucrative twist (if it works!). Saving the Amex Offer for 1800Flowers Log in to your American Express account and click on any of the cards you have in... ...

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Targeted: 2,000 Southwest Points For Referrals

Earlier in the year, Southwest ran a promo for new customers to get 2,000 points for signing up for an account. This time, Southwest is back with another promo but for the person who refers new accounts. This is a quick and easy way to earn 2,000 points, which is worth about $36! 2,000 Southwest Points For Referrals This promo is targeted, so make sure you check your e-mail for the promotional e-mail! The subject line on my e-mail was Earn up to 2,000 bonus points for referring your friends. The details about the promo are: Earn 500 Rapid Reward points for each friend that enrolls via your referral Your friends must sign up on or before December 20, 2014 They must include your referral code (located in your e-mail) in the “Promotional Code” field at the bottom of the enrollment process page   ...

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