About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Does this happen to you?

Murphy’s Law for Travelers 1. No flight ever leaves on time unless you are running late and need the delay to make the flight. 2. If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate within the terminal. 3. If you arrive very early for a flight, it will inevitably be delayed. 4. Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world except countries where there is only one gate. 5. If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper. 6. If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just look for the two fattest passengers. 7.…

Continue Reading »

Dealing with Jet Lag

Lynne Kiesling was suffering jet lag last week. Lynne, and everyone else, here are some basic tips on avoiding jet lag. Don’t fly coach. That alone makes a huge difference, both in ability to sleep and in general relaxation/stress mitigation level. Many folks report good success taking No Jet-Lag pills. It may be a placebo, but anecdotally they seem to work. Drink alot of water. Avoid alcohol especially on overnight flights. Try to adjust to the new time zone the day before flying out. Continue to adjust to the local time by sleeping or forcing yourself to stay awake during the flight. Upon arrival at your destination, take a shower and change clothes. Then stay up until bedtime in that location, no matter how tired. A quick nap is OK, but that’s it. If it’s…

Continue Reading »

Choo Choo … and wait.

Joe Brancatelli reminds us that for all the romance of trains, and for seeming cost/hassle advantages, Amtrak is just plain ‘ol unreliable — especially outside the Northeast corridor.

Continue Reading »

Some nice off-season deals at San Juan’s Wyndham El Conquistador

A friend of mine is getting married this summer and work constraints are going to keep him and his wife relatively close to home. They’re likely going to travel to the Carribean (they had been considering Thailand and Indonesia when they expected to have more time). So I was looking at deals at some of the nicer properties around, especially in Puerto Rico. Last month I stayed at the Wyndham El Conquistador in Fajardo, Puerto Rico (about 30 miles from San Juan). It’s a bit of a controversial hotel in the eyes of many. It’s a huge resort — 900 or so rooms. My general take is most complaints stem from room choice or being surprised at the price of food. A little careful planning, combined with realizing the food at resorts are expensive (think…

Continue Reading »

Never in a million years…

CNN journalist Richard Quest did a Star Alliance Round-the-World trip in economy and lived to tell the tale. Of course, if his journey had started off in Cairo he could have done business class the whole way for the same price…

Continue Reading »

Changes at Hampton Inn

Chris Barnett rhapsodizes about improvements chain-wide at Hampton Inn. Some of the changes you’ll soon see at a Hampton near you are cosmetic: red-carpet welcome mats and planter gardens at the entrance; black-and-white photography in the lobby reflecting local city scenes; piped-in traveling music; and a stylish front desk with nicely designed signs. Other changes are substantive: free high-speed Internet access in guestrooms and wireless Internet access in the lobby and meeting rooms. The new guestrooms look far more residential than a road soldier’s barracks. Beds are skirted, raised 28 inches off the floor and outfitted with a handsome headboard, better sheets and four pillows fluffed up and displayed at an angle, Ritz-Carlton style. The bedspread has been replaced by a “coverlet” with some designer touches. The mattress seemed pretty firm to me. The room…

Continue Reading »

Budget Hawaii

Frommer’s has 55 tips for planning an affordable vacation to Hawaii. Though somewhat obvious, many of them are much more widely applicable than just Hawaii excursions.

Continue Reading »

Public Transit Systems

Lynne Kiesling passes along a piece on public goods and transportation which wisely concludes These two cases indicate something very important for city planners. First, if a city demands mass transit, private enterprise will supply it. Second, if a city does not demand mass transit, building it anyway (publicly, since private enterprise does not supply what is not demanded) will result in a system so poor that few people want to ride it and that can only survive on continuous 11th-hour rescues with tax dollars. Either way, we will get from point A to point B without you.

Continue Reading »

What’s in YOUR luggage?

A biology professor faces charges for packing the severed head of a harbor seal in his luggage without a permit. [H]e found a dead seal on Revere Beach and cut off its head so he could use it for educational purposes. He was catching a flight to Denver from Boston on Friday, Massachusetts Port Authority spokesman Phil Orlandella told The Boston Globe. Federal wildlife laws make it illegal to disrupt or remove body parts from a dead mammal, or to transport any illegal fish or wildlife product.

Continue Reading »

Avoiding Dirty Hotel Rooms

Peter Greenberg has some tips on avoiding bacteria and making sure your room is properly cleaned. Q: What’s the most surprising hotel secret you’ve learned? A: The high level of bacteria on the TV remote control unit. I advise taking anti-bacterial wipes for the remote, the phone and the clock radio. … Q: So how clean is the average hotel room? A: I assume the worst and take a proactive role. First, I take the bedspread off. Most hotels clean them at most three times a year. If you stay in a hotel that claims to change the sheets daily, pull back the top sheet and blanket and put a match on top of the bottom sheet near the foot of the bed. If the match is still there when you come back, they didn’t…

Continue Reading »