Let’s Start With Some Basics

My original idea for this post was to give you the latest in flight deals, but then I thought… How can I give you flight deals without going over some of the basics!?…

If your’re a frequent flyer and already familiar, this may not be the post for you (But don’t leave completely, browse some of the other articles).

The 24 Hr Rule

As long as you book a Non-refundable ticket 7 days prior to takeoff, airlines are required to do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Allow you to change/ cancel trip within 24 hrs / OR
  2. Hold the booking for 24 hrs at the price w/o payment (American Airlines; be sure to select the HOLD option)

So what does this mean????

If you find a good price that you can’t pass up, GET IT!!! Tell your friends about it…Then figure the rest out later. (Within 24 hours of course.)

Don’t Get Burned by Basic Economy

On a trip to New York for Jordan’s birthday one year, we found some really great airline tickets. I figured I would save even more money by packing the kids things in a carry-on instead of paying a checked bag fee.

As I went over the rules, I realized I had to pay for my carry on and the family was not sitting together…..UGHHHH…

The tickets we purchased were Basic Economy. Not that I mind basic economy, I just like to be prepared for things like that, especially when it involves “my coins”.

Oh… What is basic economy???

Basically, flights offered by Delta, United, and American Airlines that are cheaper and without those “extra special services”

Here’s the run down for each airline’s basic economy ticket:

United Airlines

  • Flight changes and refunds not allowed (after the 24 hr period)
  • Allowed ONLY 1 personal item (must be able to fit under the seat)
  • Seat assignment or upgrades not available
  • group seating not available unless seats are available
  • last to board

Click here for more details

Delta Airlines

  • Seats are not assigned until check-in
  • No flight changes or refund allowed (after the 24 hr period)
  • Group seating (families) my not be available (early check in is a must)
  • Upgrades not allowed
  • last to board

Click here for more details

American Airlines 

  • allowed 1 personal item; must fit under seat (no access to overhead bin)
  • not eligible for upgrades/ refunds
  • seat assignment at check in (Can pay 48 hrs in advance to have option to choose your seat)
  • last group to board

Click here for more details

So when shopping for airline tickets be sure to review all details. They’re really good about explaining the ticket types and the extra amenities available to you.

Wi-Fi

Another biggie seems to be WiFi. I mean, how can we survive without it??

Most airlines on most routes offer wi-fi for a small fee. However, don’t expect lightening fast speeds, technology have advanced, but we still have some time to go for that.

Delta now offers free messaging to keep in touch with those on the ground through iMessage, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Save the videos, pictures, and texts, unfortunately you won’t be able to send any of those

For the T-mobile customers (that’s me) you get to enjoy 1 Free Hour of Gogo In-Flight Wi-Fi on domestic flights (within the US) on top of the visual voicemail and  the unlimited text messages.

So next time somebody laughs at you because your T-mobile service doesn’t have the best signal. Text/ call them from the plane.

What better way then to start your 2018 off with a flight out of here???

As Always,

The Travel Outlier

Dream. Travel. Live. Repeat!!

“This is No Ordinary Love”

I’ve never been a fan of Sade’. I always thought the music was ummm a little depressing. My husband is a huge fan though. So today, for some reason as I was working, I decided to listen to the Best of Sade’.

Ok…

Who am I kidding? It’s the Lover’s Holiday.

So to keep up with the mood of today, I had my r&b radio station playing while I worked. Sade happened to come on, and instead of turning it, I gave it a try…. I’m A FAN NOW!!!

I have been singing “this is no ordinary love, no ordinary love” ALL DAY … that and those are the only words I know.

but it got me thinking 2 things:

Why do we even celebrate Valentine’s Day?

What is the rest of the world doing today?

If you’re curious about the 1st question.. Check out the History below. It’s pretty interesting.

Did you know?

Americans spend $20 Billion on Valentine’s Day. Sheesh

 

As I scrolled through Instagram for answers to the 2nd question, it made me think about my own plans.

(Don’t forget to follow me by the way @The_Travel_Outlier)

For us, it was a Netflix and Chill night. It sounds simple but things are not always as they appear, especially with a 2yr old.

Today, my dollar did not go towards the $20 Billion. (Only because we’re headed to Charleston with the kids this weekend) So after work, I did my usual routine which involves picking 2/3 kids up from school, J brings Zoe home.

All I could think is “this is no ordinary love, no ordinary love”, the lyrics seem to be following me.

And like any love scene, with the music in the background right on queue, in walks J holding gifts for all his girls (Me, Jordan, and Zoe).

 

 

After eating, washing clothes, getting the kids (3) ready for the next day, and 3 unsuccessful attempts to put Zoe to sleep before she crashed on her own…

I ended up watching Netflix alone, with the smooth sounds of snoring in my ear from the mister.

My movie of choice was a new Chris Rock comedy special Tamborine. Definitely worth watching!!

About half way through, the tone started to get serious as he discussed his divorce. He advised the only thing a married couple should be doing is …..

having sex and traveling or Cumming and Going as he put it!!!

But it was real and it was honest!!

I took it as a sign to pull out the laptop and start typing. As I  look over at my honey and  I heard….

“This is no ordinary love, no ordinary love”

and started to smile. Nope we’re not ordinary at all!!!

WE ARE OUTLIERS!!!!

 

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to my Outliers!!!

As always,

The Travel… Outlier

Dream. Travel. Live. Repeat

Memorial Day Getaway!!

Memorial Day

A day we honor those that have died serving in our armed forces.

We salute you for your Bravery and Courage!

Now… Let’s celebrate!

For most of us, that means family and friends, cook-outs, barbecues, music, and for my crew… SPADES at the table!

But the icing on the cake, if you do have the luxury, is being off on Monday.

It’s OK…You can be honest. You look forward to it too!!!

And for my 9 to 5’ers :

Take advantage of those Monday holidays when requesting your vacation. Less time used!!

Last year AAA predicted over 39 million people to hit the road, air, or tracks Memorial Day weekend, a steady increase over the past 3 years.

So one would imagine to see an increase 2018.

What are we doing?

I actually haven’t thought about it until this post. I have a pretty busy 2018 lined up…

But… if YOU are looking for something FUN… I actually have an idea….

I would imagine the roads would be packed, as that’s usually the go to transportation.

Become an Outlier!!

Do what “they” are not….

Hop on the plane to Puerto Plato, Dominican Republic with your passport of course; Don’t have one check out the fees and Get One!!)

(Oh…Where is Puerto Plato, Dominican Republic?)

and go to the

11th Annual Memorial Day Getaway (MDG)

May 24-29, 2018

with NON STOP ENTERTAINMENT!! I’m talking: Tigger, Uncle Luke (Yesssss!) DJs, Day Parties, Comedy shows… You Name It!!!

The website alone will have you packing your bags!! Check it out for yourself

Hosted by the

5 STAR Lifestyle Holidays Vacation Resorts.

This all-inclusive resort does not plan to disappoint!!

(Yes! Food and alcohol included)

And with the itinerary laid out for both on and offsite, this will be a vacation to go down in the books!

The MDG have several accommodation types for your dollar.

Offering up to 7,  ranging from Standard Hotel Rooms to 3 Bedroom Private Villas. (sounds like a girls trip to me or a kickback with your fellas)

Check out the packages on their website

“The MDG was developed for Professionals who are looking to getaway, relax, network, or party non-stop on the sexiest and most tourist friendly island in the Caribbean.”

– MDG Staff

The event is the perfect beginning to becoming

The Travel…Outlier.

What are you waiting for??

Just do me a favor and let them know you’re an Outlier!

As always,

Dream. Travel. Live. Repeat!!

 

Disclaimer: I am not in any affiliation with the Memorial Day Getaway. I just support travel, especially as a Culture!

 

 

Do you remember your 1st flight?

Welcome…Welcome!  

I have one question for you….

Do you remember your first flight.. or even vacation?? Well…

I equate flying to those memorable moments like: first riding a bike or driving your first car; you never forget your first flight and where you went.

For me, my first flight I remember (assuming you’ve read About Me) was to the Bahamas!

I was 22 years old.

 

I had been to the island before, on a day to cruise as a kid. The family nicknamed it the “Bruise cruise”, it was that terrible!

So the experience was not the same, memorable, but not the same.

On the flight, I can remember being scared, nervous, excited, so many emotions. Luckily, I was traveling with “The Girls” (3/5 of best friends since grade school).

I think everyone’s first thought is…

I read somewhere your odds are 1 in 11 million if that makes you feel better. Anywho…

The youngest out of the group was getting married. So the rest of us were bridesmaids (That’s me in the middle) The trip was a life changing experience, and I wasn’t the one getting married. The irony!

2009 The Travel…Outliers

I decided Traveling would become a Priority, and it was!

 

By this time I had already had Jacari and Jordan, I knew I wanted them to have the same experiences. They will appreciate it more once they become part of “travel conversations.” 

We try to make room for several trips throughout the year, rather it is…

Ship, plane, or car, we are always on the go!

So how am I a Travel Outlier???

Me?…Are you ready??

I am a:

black woman, who was a teenage mom, a college dropout, who married young (24; we’re still kicking it) had 3 children, became a football mom, a cheer-leading mom, who somehow went back to school, got a degree, while working full time… who used travel to grow!!

See!!

The Travel…Outlier 

So…… TAKE A VACATION!!!!

I’m sure you could use one!

Excuse Me… I’m Looking for Lady Luck?!

Booking: Delta Vacations: (Hotel + Flight) = $742

When: Jan 13-16, 2018

Hotel: The Mirage ($36 daily resort fee)

Flight: Delta Main Cabin flight

Occasion: Kia’s 21st Birthday

In preparation 

Because I’m a mother of 3, getting the children ready while my husband and I vacation, is a task in itself. They usually get split up. My oldest 2 fight constantly, so I try not to overload anyone.

I figure it’s the least I can do, right?

It takes a village!

This time, Jacari went off with my mom. Jordan went with her Aunt. While Zoe went with her cousin/Aunt (you know; the cousins who are much older so you just adopt them as your aunt). Yes, my village is amazing! Even knowing the plan weeks leading up, I still managed to wait until the last minute to pack for ALL OF US.

Tip:

Before your flight be sure to check in 24 hrs in advanced. There’s usually an App for your airline so check- in is pretty straightforward. This can be a real time saver! 

Time for TAKE OFF 

 

We had an early morning flight from Atlanta at 11 am. The drive takes a little over 2 hours from Greenville, SC, so we hit the road around 6 am.

We usually fly from Atlanta because our local airport GSP, ONLY offers Non- Stop flights to 14 destinations and Las Vegas was not one of them.

 Click here for the Full List 

(I’m not a fan of layovers, unless the deal is right)

FYI:

Atlanta airport is currently going through construction depending on your flight and airline there may be some delay. Be sure to minimize as much of it as possible. A missed flight is the worst. 

Money Saver

Sign up with your airline’s frequent flyer program to start racking up on skymiles. The savings and perks are definitely worth it. I cashed my SkyMiles in with Delta for $79.29 (not too bad)

Day 1 Finally… Vegas Baby !!

Welcome to Las Vegas

As soon as you walk off the plane, BOOM…slot machines. That‘s crazy!

(Oh I guess I should have mentioned this was our first time in Las Vegas.)

The Strip is about 10-20 mins. away from the airport, depending on traffic, so finding a ride to your hotel should not be a problem. Unless your hotel includes airport transfers. Ask!

We settled for SuperShuttle at $40 (round-trip transportation for 2)

Tip:

If you don’t have any, I suggest you make plans for return. I find it one less hassle to deal with, especially if you have an early flight out 

The Mirage was amazing and the rooms were very nice. We stayed on the 15th floor with a view of Caesars Palace.

 

The mini fridge was filled with snacks, beer, wine etc..Do Not Fall For it. I’m not exactly sure how much it cost, but I didn’t want to find out.

Tip:

Call the hotel in advance to get information on resort fees, special taxes, and incidental holds. Always be prepared!

 

To kill time until the other half of our group got there, we grabbed some pizza from the strip. Then we hit the slots!! I am not a gambler, but the lights and the sounds of winning caught me.

 

Luckily for me though, I know when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em. I walked away with about $120 playing the Penny Slots.

Did you know?

The carpets in the casinos are designed to look awful to keep your eyes off the floor and on the machines. Crazy right! So next time you’re there and you want to keep your $$ Look Down!

Time to hit the strip

 

The other half stayed at Treasure Island, which is next door to The Mirage. There is stram between the two, which made it a lot easier.

They came prepared, so after shots, we were ready VEGAS STYLE.

When in Rome… Do as the Romans!!

There were a couple of people in our group who preferred “a more herbal approach to life” and being that Las Vegas has now legalized “the herb” for both medical and recreational uses, we had to find a dispensary, right?

After walking for what seem like an eternity, we found the Reef Dispensaries.

Here you’ll find your Khalifa Kush, waxes, edibles, you name it. Just don’t forget your ID and Cash!!

If you’re celebrating a birthday, you get a “special gift” you must show ID of course.

Tip:

Although weed is legal in Las Vegas, there are still a lot of places that will NOT allow you to smoke (not even on the strip). Be Careful !!

 

The “24 Hr Pact”

When  J and I got to Vegas we made a pact, the first night WE’RE GOING INNN…. 24hrs!!

So when the others decided to call it quits and head back to the room, we hit Drai‘s.

Tip:

If you’re plan on hitting the town and know where you are going…Check the websites Event Calendar. 

Best decision we had that day! When I say, LIT (Under 25 word, ). The DJ was on POINT, with a live band. I danced the entire night!

Wiz Khalifa was a guest performer and brought out Ty$ for their song Something New (My Jamzzz by the way!!). It wasn’t until around 4 am when we made it back to the room.

Day 2 Fight Back!!

After day one of drinking and walking, we decided to get a rental car.

My sister in law found a really good deal through Expedia for a 7 passenger van. Yep, we were mobbing in a van!

For breakfast or more like brunch, after all of the spending we did the first day, we figured IHOP was the way to go.

I called it our “fight back” meal.

$10 Tattoos

 

We drove around for a bit until we saw a sign for “$10 Tattoos.” How could anyone resist?… Why not?

Turns out the tattoos were NOT $10. In hindsight though, who really wants a $10?!… YIKES 

The Owner Jesse James at All-N-Tattoo was cool about it though (It wasn’t his sign). So instead he hooked us up with a nice little group deal.

The Fellas enjoyed his smoke shop section and played a couple of games pool. While the ladies got tat tat tatted up.

 

Fremont Experience

After tattoos, we headed to “The Fremont Experience”, a huge outdoor shopping mall Downtown Las Vegas.

Once again, Vegas hits you! At the entrance, there’s a huge LED canopy, the SlotZilla Zip Line, more casinos, restaurants, bars, street performers, you name it. So of course WE HAD A BALL!!

I was a able to grab some souvenirs for the family. Then some of us grabbed a couple of slices of pizza from Pizza Rock.. THE BOMB!!.

Yes, pizza again!! I’m not a foodie (too picky) but I do LOVE ME SOME PIZZA…. but don’t eat cheese. That’s another topic for another day.

As the night went on you could tell the time started to wear us down. So we headed back to our rooms.

Day 3 Last Day.. Make it Count

Apparently, we all felt the pain from last night partying, because we didn’t hit the strip until the afternoon.

This time we really got a chance to see some of the the places we didn’t the first time.

In front of the Bellagio... we watched the Water and Light Show dance to Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean. At night, the view is AMAZING!

 

I grabbed a turkey burger and fries from Bobby’s Burger Palace. I am a huge fan of Bobby Flay.

IT DID NOT DISAPPOINT!!

 

We even saw the Eiffel Tower in… Vegas, how dope is that?

I mean every little step counts, right? This time Vegas, next time Europe.

 

The Big Apple

Further up the strip was the New York New York and their Big Apple Coaster. The other half decided to ride. As I write this, I’m a little upset I didn’t ride either. Definitely next time!

While J posted at the bar to watch some game, I took my drink to go and sat down at the “Penny Slots”. I won $92 bucks too, and then I lost $40 (I had to let it go).

Did you know?

One of the biggest wins in Las Vegas history was in 2003. A 25-year-old software engineer won 39.7 million after $100 bet in a Megabucks Slot Machine at the Excalibur Hotel

 

After the gambling and roller-coaster we headed to Fat Burger for some food, then back to our rooms. We had intentions on one last run of the town, but it seems our bodies had other plans.

 

Last Day Goodbye Vegas…We made it out 

Them in the line VS Me… Forever The Travel…Outlier

 

It was an early morning for us because our flight left out at 11 am. The others had a later flight. We ate breakfast at one of The Mirage’s restaurants “Pantry”.

The vanilla waffle and turkey bacon was the icing to a GREAT WEEKEND!

There we waited until the SuperShuttle text letting us know our ride was waiting!

Thoughts to myself like….


Las Vegas was everything I intended it to be and definitely one for the books.

Everyone came out alive, maybe with a little less money, but still alive.

So if you’re looking for that “Big Win” maybe you should visit Las Vegas and try to get a date with Lady Luck herself.

Just be careful, she can play dirty. She’s known for taking your wallet and leaving a note on the nightstand.

The Travel…Outlier

And as always….

Dream. Travel. Live. Repeat!!

Danger… Drive with Caution!

Imagine… It’s Chicago 1949, you and your family have survived World War II, rather it was from military duty or at home dealing with LIFE’s ups, downs, twists, and turns.

I’ll let you decide.

But…With all things considered, you’re doing pretty well for yourself.

So well, you decide to purchase a car for the family and hit the open road the 1st day of summer.

Most of your friends have traveled out west in search of better opportunity. So, finding somewhere to stay while you’re out there would not be a problem.

The family is so excited that they’ve been packed for weeks by the time summer comes. You all head out early morning, packed with all the necessities. After all, its going to be a long journey from Chicago to California.

You hit the road on Route 66, the Mother Road. You have been driving for hours and it is getting pretty late, so you decide to take a stop.

You reach in your glove compartment….

(heart drops)

Nothing…It’s not there!! 

Continue reading “Danger… Drive with Caution!”