Book Now. Save Later- “Travel Hints”

8 09 2010

This is a fairly simple travel hint.  The idea of booking your fall and winter travel seems like a wise idea until you review your funds.  End of summer, start of football season, good weather outside=more drinking than usual, and for some of you school starting up means you don’t have excess funds at the moment, unless your parents buy your plane tickets home in which case you do.  Bottom line of this hint- travel gets very expensive during the holidays.  A flight that would normally cost you $200 dollars round-trip will more than likely DOUBLE.  Planning on cashing in those frequent flyer miles? Forget about it.  The majority of airlines already have dates blacked out during the holidays.  I suppose you could spend $20,000 on a chase credit card to earn enough points to  “avoid those black out dates.”  If you plan on flying home for the holidays or staying at a hotel while you are away from your over-priced condo/apartment I suggest you book by the end of this month or in October.  Once the end of October hits moving into November the malls have setup shop with Santa which means Americans are “ready to spend money”.  

Here are some ways to avoid the travel blues during the holidays:

1) Take advantage of offers through travel vendor websites.  For example an airline might offer- “Book now and fly roung trip for $100 or less during the month of November” Take them up on the offer.  They are trying to drive sales hard now so they can increase the rates based on supply and demand.

2) Explore your transportation options.  Could you rent a car or take the train? I would not suggest renting a car if you are traveling more than 200-250 miles each way.  However rental car companies offer lower rates during the holidays if you book far in advance (3-4 weeks prior). 

3) Stay with the family.  Hotels are a waist of money unless you are: a) on business b) legitimate vacation c) college road trip in which case you will be staying at a Best Western or Comfort Inn…which is dirt cheap anyways.

4) Be weary of the days RIGHT BEFORE or RIGHT AFTER the actual holiday.  In most cases people will not travel on Christmas eve…it reminds people of a nightmare situation similar to that in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (excellent movie however).  What that means is Thursday December 23rd, 2010 will be a very tough day for travel.

5) Plan flights that are not during “High-Times” such as 9-11am and 4-8pm.  If you can plan a flight at 1:00pm in the afternoon or 9:30pm at night you will be golden when it comes to long lines at the parking shuttle, security gates, etc.  

6) MOST IMPORTANTLY- Even though I mentioned this before, make a reservation for everything.  By the time the holidays roll around you should have a reservation/confirmation # for every single aspect of your travel.  No exceptions.  The travel company’s favorite customer is someone who does not have a reservation during the holidays…say goodbye to those savings.  

I’m sure I’ll see you at the bar when a group of flight attendants don’t show up for that flight you paid an arm and leg for.





Ted’s Hot Dogs- Buffalo 1 of 3- “On the Road”

8 09 2010

 

Ted’s was the first of three stops recommended by a Buffalo, NY Native.  When I did my pre-research on Ted’s before trying it myself I heard only great words about this Buffalo institution.  Ted’s differs from the majority of my stops in that it is a chain establishment.    There are multiple Ted’s located in the greater Buffalo area.   I would compare the inside to something similar to a mid-range fast food restaurant.  It was walk-up order, wait for food, then sit down.  I must say with a lunch crowd on a Monday I was very impressed with the speed when you consider HOW they cook your hotdog.  Where most restaurants would pull your hotdog out of steamer or microwave (mom style..)  Ted’s is much different.  Ted’s is a charcoal broiled hotdog and is made fresh to order.   Charcoal fast food style..tits.  I made two crucial mistakes- I did not get the onion rings or a milkshake.  I did however order a side of cheese fries (see below).   Reviews raved on the onion rings and milkshakes so I will have to wait until Buffalo to experience those parts of the meal.  It appeared that most people eating at Ted’s were locals (something much different than Anchor Bar).  The staff was extremeley friendly.  Typically when visiting “famous eateries” you run across attitude problems, cash only, long lines, and seating issues.  I had NONE of those problems with Ted’s and they offered a kethup pump vs. the packets…huge.  There is no mis-understanding to why these people have been rocking since 1927.  Also if the idea of a “footlong” intimidates you…which it shouldn’t…it is a pretty easy deal to accomplish.  Best of travels in NY.

Price: $7-10 US

*If you go: I would order the hotdog, onion rings (cause they looked amazing), and a milkshake.  However I am not the least dissapointed with my meal selection. 

What are others saying about Ted’s?

WIKIPEDIA LINK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted%27s_Hot_Dogs

Ted’s Website: http://www.tedsonline.com/

COMING SOON: 1)Anchor Bar- Home of the Buffalo Wing 2) Beef on Weck Wonderland.





Slow and Steady Reserves the Room- Weekly Travel Hints

17 06 2010

Earlier I brought you “Top Five Travel Hints of the Week” Well frankly five is a bit too many on a weekly basis.  Instead I will be bringing you a Weekly Travel Hint and provide an ample amount of input and advice.  If you are an aggressive traveler you reap benefits rather quickly.  However for many of us out there we travel frequenty and ask ourselves “Hey wheres that free round trip flight?”  The answer may be in your decision making.  Our readers typically range from mid 30’s and 20’s working professionals  to young soon to be college kids.   However you will find that over your lifetime (especially in your early 20’s when your friends are getting married and/or you’ve got extra cash to travel with) you will start to use different travel vendors.  I hope you find this week’s advice as useful as I did once I was informed.

What do Hilton Hotels, Motel 8, Southwest Airlines, AirTran, Hertz Rental Car and several other vendors all have in common? ALL of them have a preferred customer program.  Any company in the travel industry REGARDLESS of the specific sector all have programs that reward their frequent customers.  We see this often with our parents getting free flights to Hawaii or in movies like Up in the Air.  Both your parents and George Clooney do one thing: They stick to one networkPlease allow me to explain.  If you want to earn free hotel nights, free flights to vegas to rock out with old friends, or park for free at your local airport you have to follow the golden rule of traveling: Use the same network repeatedly.  Do you know what four flights on four different airlines gets you? Four complimentary soft drinks and maybe some peanuts. When you decide to stay in the same network in all aspects of your travel you will see those glorious emails enter your inbox reading “Congratulations You’ve earned..”  I will provide a few examples;

Hotels: Each Hotel is more than likely in a network with several others.  Check out: www.hhonors.com That is the website for the Hilton Network including hotels such as; Hilton, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Inn, Doubletree, etc…  If you stay at a hotel in the network you accumulate points for use in any hotel within the network.  Ex) You stay at Hampton Inn a few times you earn a free night at a Hilton Hotel of your choice.  Sound easy? It is.  Just make sure to enroll in the program.  All programs are free and they last a lifetime.  Even if you are a casual traveler you should be contributing to your account.  Hilton is NOT the only one who does this.  There are also great programs such as Marriot Rewards and Priority Club that cover several hotels.  **Also hotels will frequently run promotions such as “Stay with us 4 nights this month and earn a free night!”  That is always something to keep an eye for.**  Marriot has a nice line-up of hotels and Priority Club is Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza (Knoxville Tits), etc.  Also each network has a credit card of such that usually doubles points for qualifying stays.

Airlines: Very similar to the hotel structure, but there are not networks EXCEPT: Star Alliance (which is dominating the airline industry).  Now you can use the same frequent flyer number for several airlines: US Airways, United, and Continental, check out all of them: http://www.staralliance.com/en/about/airlines/.  The key to airline programs: Do your research. You need to find out what airline has the major presence at your local airport. Ex) In Nashville, TN Southwest Airlines is very predominant.  In Charlotte it is US Airways BIG TIME.  Join the network best for you and start earning free round trips.  Don’t get discouraged if it takes a few trips.  Also airlines process points in TWO WAYS: 1) Miles (the amount of miles you fly gets put into a bank and 25k miles may equal a roundtrip flight) 2) Segment points (Southwest uses this and you receive points for flights…this may be the best option if you travel short distances such as 400-700 miles).   Like hotels, Airlines have credit cards usually offering a free round trip after first purchase but BEWARE they are usually backed with high interest rates.  Free trips are also subject to black-out dates, be sure to refer to the airlines website regarding that information.

Rental Cars: Probably the biggest flop in the travel industry.  Each company offers a preferred program.  Several companies including National and Hertz offer free rental after so many paid rental days.  These are harded to build, but it is still a good option to join-up. Quick rental car tip: If you make a reservation, they owe you a car.  If they “Lost your reservation” or “We are out of cars” then you better make sure you don’t pay.

Final pieces of importance: 1) Stay with the same program.  Make sure to truly look at the price difference before making a decision.  Ex) If you are a American Airlines member and their flight is $20.00 more than the competitor, choose AA to accumulate the miles.  Choosing the same travel vendor will pay dividends. 2) Do your research.  Where you live and often travel to dictate which program is the best for you. 

Happy trails.





Taste of Brooklyn,NY- On the Road

16 06 2010

My recent excursion to Brooklyn, NY was quite an adventure.   One thing you will eventually figure out is that some of my motivation for picking certain eateries is due to time spent watching Man VS Food.  Overall Adam is a pretty solid dude and definitely has a tits job getting to try food all over the country.  However I will often side with other recommendations away from greasy-ass/un-healthy meals and will venture outside of the hood unlike south philly.  Brooklyn is certainly not “the hood”.   However, be aware there is a healthy amount of riff-raff walking around aimlessly.  Don’t you ever wonder what these people do? I’ll cover that later.  Let’s discuss Brennan and Carr Hot Beef.  This spot was covered in an episode of Man VS Food but my experience was slightly different from Adam’s. Probably due to the fact that I am not a celebrity and it was a random Tuesday afternoon.  I happened to be one of three people in the whole joint.  Surprise…CASH ONLY.  So once again I make the credit card walk of shame and end of paying an extra $3.25 to partake in the experience.  It was worth it.  As I sit down I am approached by what appeared to be the head chef because he was wearing a full cook outfit/hat.  He was actually the waiter and a very respectful one at that.  One issue I have to bring up: Because I was one of the only customers he stood about 3-4 feet away from my table in a militant stance waiting for an opportunity to fill my water-glass, provide additional ranch dressing, answer stupid tourist questions, and fetch more napkins. I APPRECIATE good service, and a have a great eye for it.  This was a bit aggressive. 

The menu:

I forgot to take a photo for your viewing pleasures.  It basically consisted of; Burgers, Roast Beef Sandwiches, Salad, Onion Rings, Fries (cheese optional), and then the Man vs Food item: Gargiulo Burger-A cheeseburger topped by famous Roast Beef and submerged in beef broth.  The waiter suggested it, I complied.  (see pictures below).

As you can see, its not a HUGE, NASTY BIG ASS BURGER.  Man VS Food gave off the impression that it was. It’s a decent sized burger topped with a few slices of Roast Beef.  Meaty.  I did enjoy it and would absolutely suggest it to anyone living in NYC or planning to visit in the future.  The burger itself was juicy.  I would compare it’s flavor to that of a typical burger at a college hole-in-the-wall.  The roast beef/broth is what makes this a unique experience. 

I have never tasted roast beef like this before, and I am well versed in Arby’s selections.  The broth was also delicious and is probably the component that sends the meal into tits in my face status.  It would also be short-sided to not give the onion rings a shout-out, they were the best I have ever had.  Perfectly breaded, perfectly cooked.

You will find the staff is very friendly, but hit the ATM first.  It completely blew my cover that I was a tourist, but I guess so would the fact I was wearing a collared shirt.  Hints of advice: Lock your car, don’t eat prior to engaging, it’s another pepsi joint, try to go during normal lunch hours to avoid aggressive service, my hunch says avoid dinner.  It might be where the mob grubs on roast beef.

Good times Brennan and Carr.

*Details*

Price: $10-15.00

Address: 3432 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11229

Next up this week: Pittsburgh’s Legendary Sandwiches.





Heaven in South Philly- On the Road

2 06 2010

The work agenda this week brought me to the grungy city of Philadelphia.  It is very similar to the incredible show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  I decided it was time to step up to the plate and play the south philly challenge “Geno’s Steaks VS. Pat’s King of Steaks to experience the  two proclaimed “Best Philadelphia Cheesesteaks in the World”  Both walk-up style eateries have been featured on several Food Network segments and have frequent television and political visitors.   Even on a Wednesday afternoon both locations were slammed.  So instead of doing extensive internet research (as I normally do before consuming any valuable meal) I decided to ask a local.  Unfortunately the local told me to “Get Lost”.   The line was longer at Pat’s King of Steaks (make sure to check-out the links below) so I decided to give it a whirl.  It is hard to describe my current emotions for the cheesesteak I consumed today.  I am sure the picture of my order- LARGE PHILLY, EXTRA WHIZ, ONIONS, MUSHROOMS, AND PEPPERS will make your imagination run wild.   I could have been a pussy but what the hell I’m only in philly once every other month.   Here is the breakdown of the experience;

-Amazing from the first bite.  I was hesistant about the cheez whiz (mainly because of the word whiz which reminded me of the can of cheese we all knew and loved in 6th-15th grade).  But it felt right, and it was.  The steak was slightly peppered, and juicy.  All the additives only increased the amazingness.  Overall the staff was very aggressive and yelled at me because I didn’t know it was CASH ONLY and “lonny ya gonna have to put this one on the side he didn’t know about the cash!”  At which point “Lonny” yelled some sort of garbage about me.  No big deal it all adds to the experience.  Classic Northeastern behavior.  They only served pepsi products which was a pretty big party foul but I didn’t go for soda.   Seating was outdoor and I waited about 5-7 minutes for a table to open up.  It wouldn’t have bothered me except a homeless guy was sleeping on one of the tables while I held that mammoth sandwich standing in the sunlight.

All and all great trip to Downtown Philadelphia to experience a legendary deal.  Next time around I will more than likely give Geno’s a try to announce the winner.

Price: $10-15.00

BE SURE TO CHECK-OUT further reading on Pat’s King of Steaks and check-out some famous diners.

http://www.patskingofsteaks.com/

WIKIPEDIA-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pat’s_King_of_Steaks





Your “Top Five Travel Hints” of the Week

19 05 2010

May I interest you in any warm cookies?

Greetings from East Brunswick, NJ!  Hopefully that location tells you how exciting my destination is. New Jersey sucks.  Northern New Jersey, that is.  Southern New Jersey, around PA, is actually quiet nice and is the part that earned the state the nickname “Garden State”.  From what I can tell, there isn’t a garden within 10 f***ing miles of where I am sitting.

I am here to bring you the “Top Five Travel Hints” for this week but I will make local suggestions throughout these articles. I am also developing quite the list on UrbanSpoon (a website and favorite iPhone application) where I write reviews from various eateries.

Local suggestion: The Frog and Peach.
Located right in the heart of Downtown New Brunswick, this place is a pretty good spot.  I could especially see this being a date spot…too bad I couldn’t convince a girl to come to New Brunswick with me during the work week.  Pretty expensive but they do have a “Frugal Farmer” section where you get a 3 course meal for around $30. The chicken meatballs were all sorts of tits.  They also had a featured item – “Macaroni and Cheese with Aged Gouda”.  This wasn’t mom’s Kraft mac and cheese with hotdogs…but it’ll do.

Here are your TOP FIVE TRAVEL HINTS for this week:

1.)  Ask for an upgrade – More than likely it will be “unavailable”.  However, I have found that rarely you actually find someone who doesn’t hate their life and they will give you the hook up. The important thing here is; If you don’t ask, you will not receive. Last week, I asked and they hooked me up with a handicapped room with a super-badass bathroom and a shower so big I could have fit a lazy-boy in there.  A big bathroom is always a party plus.

2.)  Arrive to your lodging between 4:30-6ish – During this time the majority of hotels offer complimentary warm cookies. Enough said.

3.)  Ask your selected hotel if they have a “manager’s reception/happy hour” – Many hotels do not advertise this feature but you can find out with a quick phone call.  This is a period of time between 5-7pm where the hotel offers free beer/wine/appetizers for guests of the hotel.  Even if your not a guest, I would suggest going if you’re dressed business casual or more. Quick hint for Nashvillians: The Embassy Suites near Opry Mills has an exceptional ‘manager’s reception’ that includes liquor.

4.)  Ask the receptionist if the hotel partners with a local gym – This is easy enough. Most of the time hotels will have sub-par workout facilities and will partner with LA Fitness for free sessions if staying at the hotel. Great way to get out.

5.) Always check your AC unit AS SOON AS you enter your hotel room – If for some reason the AC in your room is f***ed up,  you will suffer greatly. Get that sort of issue resolved quickly.

~Any suggestions or travel hints of your own?  Please post!~





Tales From Truckers

16 05 2010

The next tale I would like to share with our readers involves being on the road for too long and eating a spicy Subway sandwich.  A deadly combination.

Alabama

It’s been a long 13 hours on the road and you’re hungry.  Pull over at the next truck stop and get a wholesome Subway sandwich.  While you’re at it load up with all the spicy stuff.  That will hold you over.

That was the mindset of the trucker that lived this story and it went a little something like this.

So I stopped at a truck stop in Alabama to get me a Subway sandwich.  Let me deviate from the story for just a minute to explain to our readers that we at Tennessee Before Daylight no way endorse the state of Alabama.  It is terrible.  Especially the school.  I digress.  I was feeling some spicy shit so I loaded it up with the works.  Mayo, mustard, oil, vinegar, jalapeños, and peppers.  All of the peppers.   I ate that somabitch, got back in the truck, and took off.  I’m cruising along and about ten miles down the road it hits me like an atom bomb.  I’m about to drop a load in the truck.  Since I have to sleep in here, that’s not gonna fly.  So, I’m pinching my corn hole, trying to make it to the next truck stop, and all of a sudden, it subsides.  A gift from God. One of the better feelings in life.  I decide to pull over to take care of business.  I don’t want that sneaking up on me again.  Well, I get to the truck stop, take one step out of the truck, and BOOM, out it comes.  This ain’t no rabbit shit either.  I’m talking full blown shit, right in my pants.  Praying that no one sees me and that another wave doesn’t hit me, I start waddling towards the bathroom.  My speed has diminished greatly due to the load in my pants.  I realize there’s no way I’m gonna make it.   So I cut hard towards the nearest dumpster, drop my drawls, and let loose.  And it just keeps coming and coming.  And I quote, “I shit ALL over Alabama.

Needless to say, this trucker doesn’t eat at Subway anymore.