Archive for June, 2013

Tonight at 9|8c, on an all-new episode of Burger Land, George Motz visits the birthplace of the hamburger: Connecticut. The oldest hamburger restaurant in America, Louis’ Lunch has been serving hamburgers since 1900 when Louis Lassen created the American staple by putting ground steak scraps between 2 pieces of bread. Today, people (like George!) make the pilgrimage to Louis’ Lunch for a taste of this historic burger.

Then after the episode, at 9:30|8:30c, chat live on TravelChannel.com with George! Now is your chance to ask him all of your burning burger questions: How does George make his own burgers? How did he become a burger expert? Join the chat tonight to learn all this and more when George talks burgers with YOU!

Photography by Getty Images

“There is something bad here that’s not human.” – Amy Allan

In an all-new episode of The Dead Files, Steve and Amy head to Fort Wayne, IN, to investigate numerous reports of abusive paranormal activity at a family home.

Their client, Mark, bought his home in hopes that he and his family could grow old there — until frightening unexplained occurrences made him quickly realize that they weren’t welcome in their once quaint fixer-upper.

During Steve’s factual investigation, he discovers that the property was once the site of a terrible domestic dispute that brought a man’s life to a tragic end, while Amy encounters a ferocious male entity that she believes is torturing the living.  Steve and Amy’s disturbing findings are finally exposed to their clients during this case’s gut-wrenching conclusion.

Will the shocking reveal force Mark and his family to move from their home? Find out on an all-new episode, tonight @ 10|9c.

Then, head over to TravelChannel.com after the episode premieres to chat live with Steve and Amy at 11|10c.

Plus, don’t miss these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from tonight’s harrowing investigation.

Barcelona

Barcelona is Spain’s coolest and most modern city. Tourists pour from every corner of the world to experience the town’s vibrant nightlife, excellent cuisine, beautiful Gothic and one-of-a-kind Modernist architecture, and cutting-edge design scene. This — and the great Mediterranean climate — means you might find crowds wherever you go, but it’ll be worth it for sites like the bizarre Sagrada Familia cathedral, world-class MACBA museum, hopping Barri Gotic neighborhood, and unusual Parc Guell. Plus, the Catalonia capital is arguably one of the top party destinations in Spain (along with Madrid and Ibiza Island).

The luxurious Majestic Hotel & Spa has a prime location, steps from designer shops and Gaudi monuments. All rooms are spacious with modern bathrooms; suites offer views over Passeig de Gracia, and some have private terraces and 24-hour personalized service. Another luxury option, which nonetheless offers a solid value, is Hotel Icaria Barcelona. It doesn’t boast the location of the Majestic Hotel, but it offers a large, sunny fitness center, a rooftop pool, and stylish rooms. Acevi Villarroel, which also often offers reasonable rates, has family-friendly features such as family-size suites, a breakfast buffet, and a quiet location in a residential neighborhood.

Photography by Getty Images

Bob Hope, Cary Grant and the Trapp Family Singers all passed through the gates of Ellis Island, the immigration inspection station in Upper New York Bay that welcomed millions of immigrants to the United States from 1892 to 1954. More »

Getty Images

Golf fans, rejoice, it’s that time of year again! The US Open starts tomorrow and for the first time in 32 years it will return to the legendary Merion Golf Club, a private golf club located just outside Philadelphia in Ardmore, PA. Designed by golf course architect Hugh Wilson, this club’s courses have hosted the US Open 5 times, with the last in 1981 when David Graham won.

Other things to know about this year’s Open? Merion will be the shortest US Open course in the past 9 years. Also, it has been 5 years since Tiger Woods has won a major; he won his 14th major in the 2008 US Open at Torrey Pines. Even though Woods returned to No. 1 this year, the world is waiting to see if he will stay on top at this year’s Open.

If you don’t have tickets to this year’s Open, plan your next golf getaway with our picks for the World’s Best Golf Courses, from Scotland to Dubai. Don’t want to leave the country to tee off? Check out our Best US Golf Courses.

And don’t forget about this Sunday… if Dad’s a golf fanatic, there’s nothing he’d like more than a little Father’s Day bonding on the green.

 

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“$5000. Take it or leave it.”

“I can’t go above $3500.”

“Split the difference, and make it an even $4000.”

“Deal!”

On an all-new Toy Hunter, Jordan and his amateur toy collecting pal, Travis, head to Massachusetts in search of big ticket items to sell at one of the biggest pop culture events in the country: Chicago’s C2E2.

During his journey in New England, Jordan comes away with a bunch of classic toys he thinks will sell at C2E2, but no toy is more crucial then the GI USS Flagg Aircraft Carrier he picks up for $4,000 while haggling with Rob. In order to reach his goal of selling $20,000 in toys, Jordan must sell the USS Flagg for nearly double what he paid for it.

Will Jordan find someone to take the GI Joe aircraft carrier off his hands? Will he reach his lofty goal of making $20,000? Find out on an all-new episode, tonight at 9|8c.

Plus, don’t forget to check out Jordan’s thoughts on the episode with these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos of “Toy Tycoon.”

Dig Wars

Tonight at 10|9c, catch back-to-back premieres of Travel Channel’s all-new series Dig Wars, where 3 teams of America’s best relic hunters compete head-to-head to find the most valuable artifacts at different historic locations across the country. Once on site, the teams have from sun-up to sundown to apply all of their knowledge, resources and hustle to ensure a victory.

First, the relic hunters head to Louisiana to explore Fort Saint Phillip — an abandoned military outpost that has been closed to visitors since Hurricane Katrina. Will they find artifacts uncovered by the disastrous storm?

Then at 10:30|9:30c the teams head to Eastover Plantation in southeastern Virginia — land that was settled in the mid-1600s — in an attempt to find relics that predate the United States.

What will the 3 teams find, and how much will it be worth? Find out tonight on Dig Wars!

Over the last 2 months I’ve managed a couple of fun vacation runs — a variation of a mileage run that involves actually leaving the airport and exploring a city — to Moscow, Paris and Johannesburg. My trip to Moscow was a weeklong vacation, while my runs to Paris and Johannesburg were just extended weekends. A little crazy, I know, but the experiences and sights were well worth the expense and travel time. And besides, or perhaps most importantly, I earned a LOT of miles, ate caviar and saw elephants.

Total Elite Qualifying Miles (EQM): 29,043
Total Redeemable Miles (RDM): 58,086
Flying Time to/from Moscow: 23h 13m
Flying Time to/from Paris and Johannesburg: 37h 40m

Saint Basil's Cathedral

Photography by Arthur Hsu

This year, I’m hoping to earn 150,000 SkyMiles in order to book a round-trip business-class award ticket to Australia — a ticket that would normally cost approximately $16,000 (yes, you read right). I was inspired to book both of my recent “vacation runs” after I saw posts about cheap tickets on FlyerTalk. Another great site to follow is The Flight Deal, which gathers airfare deals that make the most of your miles and money.

When booking mileage runs, be sure to check your fare class.  Some fare classes don’t earn miles or only earn a reduced number of miles. For my trips, I flew Delta T class and KLM/Air France R class, both of which earn full Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQM). Both trips also had a low cost per mile (CPM), which is important for a great mileage run. Typically, you want the CPM to be under 5 cents per mile.

Moscow Cost per Mile: $0.0347
Johannesburg Cost per Mile: $0.0420

A mileage run is a trip solely for earning EQM, so oftentimes you never even leave the airport. But in this case, I turned them into vacations.

My trip to Moscow was the first time I used Global Entry, a Customs and Border Patrol program that expedites the immigration process when returning to America, which I was approved for the week before leaving for Russia. Thanks to this program, it literally takes less than 1 minute to clear customs. If you don’t have it, I recommend you apply since it also includes TSA Pre-Check, which gets you through security quicker and with fewer hassles.

Overall, Moscow is a beautiful city with many activities, but in my experience, it is also very expensive. I stayed at the Hotel National, where Lenin stayed while the Kremlin was under construction. It’s also a Starwood property, with which I have Gold elite status, and so I earned 8,852 SPG points thanks to my stay.

Hotel National, Moscow

Photography by Arthur Hsu

While in Moscow, I enjoyed the various sites such as Saint Basil’s Cathedral and a day trip outside the city to Troitse-Sergiev Monastery. If you find yourself in Moscow, be sure to explore the metro system — the various stations are truly beautiful, each with a different design. I also enjoyed proper meals, including a 10-course omakase meal at Nobu Moscow. Don’t worry, I also sampled iconic Russian cuisine such as caviar and borscht.

Komsomolskaya Metro Station, Moscow

Photography by Arthur Hsu

My trip to Johannesburg was a much shorter and farther excursion, with a 12-hour layover in Paris and about 37 hours in Johannesburg. With such a short amount of time in Paris, I made my way into the city and used a hop-on/hop-off tour bus to see the major sites before I returned to CDG and grabbed some food and Scotch whisky in the Air France Salon to await my flight to Johannesburg.

Once in Johannesburg, I took the Gautrain, Africa’s first rapid rail system, to the Radisson Blu Gautrain hotel, and shortly after, my guide arrived to take me on a tour of Joburg. I liked the sound of Cashan Private Day Tours, which offered custom city tours, and I was able to book a half-day tour with Penny Cashan. Our first stop — and most surprising and enjoyable element of the tour –  was the Market on Main, which occurs every Sunday at the Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct, with great food and various art galleries. I had no idea that Joburg has such a thriving art community.

The next and last day in Joburg, I booked a 1-day safari with Felleng Tours to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. This turned out to be a great experience, since we were able to take the time to find 2 of the Big Five– the white rhino and the African elephant — along with many other amazing animals and sights. Fortunately, the daytime temperatures were low, so the animals weren’t hiding in the shade.

Elephant in Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Photography by Arthur Hsu

Back at O.R. Tambo Airport, I headed to the Air France Salon before deciding to check out other lounges in the airport thanks to my Priority Pass membership, which gives me access to lounges around the world where I do not have elite status. Properly hydrated and nourished, I headed to the gate to catch 2 flights home — just short of 22 hours with a connection in Amsterdam. Now I need to start thinking about my next mileage run.

Watch Mommy Points‘ tips to earn airline elite status.

Photography by Villas de Trancoso

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