Image courtesy of Viking Cruises
The tides, they are a-turning. Score a new victory for adults-only travel thanks to the latest news from Viking Cruises. As of August 1, 2018, nobody under 18 can cruise on a Viking River Cruise. Those young ones already booked before August 1, of course, won't be affected. But if you've been waiting for a good reason to give a Viking River Cruise a try, I can't imagine a more perfect time. Bon voyage—and leave the kids at home!
I always say that no matter what I forget to pack, it doesn't really matter as long as I have my passport and my phone when heading to another country. Anything else can be purchased when I get there. Yet on a trip to Mexico City this summer, I discovered an app that forever increased my ability to communicate with others and navigate all the many Spanish words not in my mostly food-related vocabulary.
Google Translate has been a valuable internet tool for years now, but I never knew there was an app—even though they've been around since 2010 for Android devices and 2011 for Apple iOS. But the updates keep getting better and better and the space-age technology is truly amazing. Currently, you can use the app to translate more than 100 languages, 37 of which can be doing via photo, 32 by your own voice (or someone who's speaking to you), as well as 27 languages in real-time augmented video. This is the mode that really blew my mind.
In augmented video mode, you simply point your camera at a sign, menu or almost anything, really, that has clean, block lettering. The app instantly translates and changes what you see on the screen. So cool!
As you should expect, it's not 100% accurate, but pretty darn close. And unlike expensive designated translation devices hitting the market, this one's 100% free.
Or as they say in Mexico, gratis.
Google Translate for Android: Download here.
Google Translate for Apple iOS: Download here.
I always just assume everyone who's a member of an airline rewards program obsesses over ways to maximize earning the way I do. But apparently, I'm an insatiable miles whore. I always want more, more, more.
Of course, the traditional way is to simply earn air miles for flying your favorite airline, but racking up enough miles to get a free trip can take forever if you're not a frequent traveler. If you want to really see your miles explode, a credit card dedicated to your rewards program will get you free trips lightning fast. But one of my favorite ways to earn rewards is through Rewards Network restaurant programs. Simply choose your preferred airline program (American, Southwest, Delta, Jet Blue, Spirit, Alaska or United) then register every credit or debit card you have. Yep, even the non-airline ones.
A huge list of participating restaurants offers you points simply for dining. Dine often enough and get VIP status, which gets you even more points per dollar spent. For example, I have the American Airlines program and I earn five miles per dollar at every restaurant (even my favorite yogurt shop). To date this year, I've accumulated an extra 3,000 AAdvantage miles for dining out—something I would've done anyway. What's even better, I often get an alert that I earned hundreds of miles at a restaurant I didn't even realize was part of the program, often in a city I was visiting on vacation. If you're strategic and only seek out restaurants that offer miles when head out to eat, you could easily earn enough for a free round-trip in less than a year.
It's easy, delicious, and—unlike the free flight you're trying to earn—you don't have to get stuck in a middle seat.