Moral Travel: What does your dollar support?

I recently watched a horrifying yet compelling documentary, Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia (available on HBO).  It chronicles the rising tide of assaults on LGBTQ people by both fellow Russians and the government.

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Copyright HBO, Hunted: The War Against Gays in Russia

While I would love to see Russia, I do not think I could travel there at this time in good conscience.  I do not want my money to go to a regime that openly discriminates and scape goats a minority population of its own citizens.  As consumers (which includes tourism), we vote with our dollars (or Euros, or Pounds or…) whether intentional or not.

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First Mileage Run: From Seattle to DC

first mileage runMileage run.  This is a term that travel hobbyists use frequently that I did not know the full definition of until last week.  I know can count myself a member of the elite (or crazy…) who partake in the infamous mileage run!  This is the account of my first mileage run.

A mileage run (or MR if you are hip to the lingo) is when you book a flight just for the loyalty points you earn with the airline (or hotel for that matter).  Usually this is done when you find an extremely low fare on an airline you like to earn status with.

Living in Seattle, my airline of choice is Alaska.  I have been MVP for the past few years, but this year I am aiming for MVP Gold.  The benefits of MVP Gold are extensive; most important to me are upgrades to first class and ability to change a flight with no penalty.  You must earn 40,000 “elite qualifying miles” (or EQMs), which usually means actual miles flown.  Miles you earn through using your Alaska Airlines Visa Card, for example, do not count towards elite status.

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Expedia Disaster: Why I don’t use OTAs

expedia disaster

This is the story of my Expedia disaster.  I always try to book my travel directly through the airline/hotel/rental car company.  This way I know that if there are any issues, they will be the one to fix it.  Also, many companies offer you added benefits when booking direct (best fare guaranteed, loyalty points, etc).

However, every once in a while I find a deal that makes going through a booking site like Expedia or Orbitz worthwhile.

A friend and I (okay, confession time, I don’t always travel alone) are planning a free cruise that we got through mLife on Royal Caribbean.  As the cruise leaves from Florida, we thought we would spend a few days at Disney World to compliment the time on the cruise.  Plus, Disney World!

In many of the blogs and deal sites I check out I found a code for $100 off a three night hotel stay if booked through Expedia.  So I found the hotel, entered my credit card info and the coupon code, and voila!  My room was booked!

No error message, no “coupon is not valid”.  It just worked.  Credit card accepted.  Room booked.  Or so I thought…

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Mirage Las Vegas – Hotel Review

mirage las vegas
The pool at Mirage, notice the waterfall to the left.

The Mirage Las Vegas is the quintessential Vegas resort. It is the original mega-resort that started it all. National Lampoons Vegas Vacation. Siegfried and Roy. Steven Wynn. The Volcano. Lots of reasons to stay here.

The property is amazing and you can tell that Steve Wynn really left his finger prints all over this property. Beautiful grounds. Recognizable architecture. Sprawling pool. Over the top volcano in the front. Indoor jungle with huge glass dome. However, I do feel that some of the original magic created by Wynn is gone now to be replaced by the safe corporate decisions of MGM.

What I imagine was once a standout property has become a bit bland. Nothing stands out about the casino, restaurants, clubs or rooms. They are all fine, but thats about all you can say.

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