Beyond the Single Panel Canvas

by Toby Denise Concepcion

Art knows no limits regarding expression, breaking free from the constraints of a single canvas and embracing the exciting appeal of polyptychs, which use multiple panels to tell stories.

For the uninitiated, a diptych consists of two connected panels; a triptych has three panels; a quadriptych has four panels, and a polyptych has five or more panels.

These multi-panel artworks feature similar compositions or color schemes while portraying distinct scenes. They convey diverse narratives, offer varying perspectives, or illustrate the development of a subject.

The word “polyptychs” came from the Greek words poly, meaning many, ptychē, meaning fold. They offer a unique way of viewing art, with different scenes and viewpoints. This artistic form started in the early Renaissance, and polyptychs became well-known artworks depicting religious scenes. Polyptychs were frequently employed as altarpieces in Christian churches and cathedrals. It is believed that polyptychs originated in Italy during the early 14th century. 

A notable artist in this art form is Jan van Eyck (1390-1441), a Belgian painter who used oil paint to create realistic and detailed paintings. His work is renowned for its use of light and its ability to capture the textures of objects. His masterpiece, the “Ghent Altarpiece,” comprises 12 panels narrating the biblical story of Jesus Christ. This artwork depicts significant events, such as Christ’s sacrifice, crucifixion, and the symbolic importance of his life-giving blood. It also emphasizes Christ as the Lamb of God offering his blood.

Ghent Altarpiece
11 ft. x 15 ft. Oil on Wood

Image: Smarthistory

Today, the influence of polyptychs resonates throughout the art world, captivating viewers with the dynamic storytelling potential that transcends the boundaries of a single canvas.

Here are different multi-panel paintings featured on

28″ x 36″ x 2″ Acrylic on Canvas

“Temple Body Series”
36″ x 16″ x 1.8″ Mixed Media on Canvas

“Ship 57”
36″ x 24″ x 2″ Acrylic on Canvas

“Different Strokes”
24″ x 8″ x 1″ Mixed Media on Canvas

“Four Seasons”
10″ x 36″ x 1″ Acrylic on Canvas

“Soloist Dancers”
16″ x 20″ x 0.1″ Mixed Media on Canvas

The post Beyond the Single Panel Canvas appeared first on Filipino Art.

7 mistakes to avoid when booking holiday travel

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

We’re still several weeks away from turkeys appearing on supermarket shelves en masse and familiar holiday tunes playing on the loudspeakers in stores. However, now is the time to get serious about booking holiday travel — particularly when it comes to flights.

To avoid paying a premium for holiday travel, it’s key to lock in your holiday airfare sooner rather than later: Book Thanksgiving flights by the first couple weeks of October, and Christmas and New Year’s flights by the end of October, according to a seasonal forecast from booking app Hopper.

But how soon you book isn’t the only factor to consider as you solidify your end-of-year travel plans, whether you’re headed home for Thanksgiving or to the mountains for some late-December skiing.

The type of ticket you book, when you travel and even the credit card you use to lock in your travel plans can be critical pieces of your holiday travel experience.

Waiting too long to book is one common mistake. Here are seven other mistakes to avoid in booking 2023 holiday travel.


Mistake 1: Being inflexible with travel plans

Being inflexible with travel plans keeps you from being able to take advantage of the lowest possible airfare.

For those of us with full-time, in-person jobs, or family members with work or school requirements, flexibility is often easier said than done — particularly when it comes to the short Thanksgiving holiday period.

Anything you can do to open up your airfare search can help, though.

Let’s say I’m a college student or young professional in Washington, D.C., who needs to return home to Austin for Thanksgiving.

Based on my schedule, I may feel like I have to fly out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) — the closest airport to the city — no earlier than 4 p.m. on the Wednesday before the holiday and fly back on the Sunday after.

With all those parameters for my search, the cheapest airfare currently available goes for $645 on American Airlines, according to a quick search on Google Flights.


Watch what happens, though, if I rearrange my schedule and timing and search all of the Washington, D.C., region’s airports.

Here’s a $449 round-trip flight on Southwest Airlines departing from Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). It still departs on the Wednesday before, just earlier in the day; it also still returns on Sunday.


That’s a 30% savings just by removing a bit of rigidity from my plans.

Any other flexibility you can find in your plans can help, whether it’s departing on a different day or — for the ultraflexible travelers — flying from a different location where the fares are cheaper.

Mistake 2: Flying on the busiest days

In both 2021 and 2022, the single busiest day of the year for U.S. airports was the Sunday following Thanksgiving, according to Transportation Security Administration passenger data.

That’s not too surprising: Millions of travelers head home on that day.

With airfare dictated by supply and demand, you’ll frequently see the worst prices on the busiest days surrounding major holidays.

At Thanksgiving, Hopper suggests flying on the Monday before the holiday and returning on the Monday (or later) after, thus avoiding the peak days before and after Turkey Day.

Hopper likewise cautions against flying home Dec. 26, the day after Christmas. 

For example, let’s say I’m hoping to fly one of the ‘”Big Three”‘ airlines from Chicago to Miami at Christmas; ideally, I want to depart Dec. 22 (the Friday before the holiday weekend) and return Dec. 26. The cheapest round-trip option with nonstop flights on those dates we found: $477 on United Airlines.


However, if I can shift to some slightly less busy days, departing Dec. 21 and returning Dec. 27, I can save more than 30% with this $325 round trip.


Mistake 3: Forgetting to set an airfare alert

Booking or putting a hold on holiday flights soon is ideal. However, if your plans aren’t set in stone or you’re otherwise not ready to take the leap yet, the worst thing you can do is forget about booking and just “check back in a few weeks.”

Several sites have services that will alert you to price fluctuations in airfare.

Suppose I’m planning to book a flight from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Denver International Airport (DEN) for Christmas and am not prepared to pay for this $470 round-trip journey on United Airlines just yet. In that case, I’m going to use Google Flights’ “Track prices” option.


As soon as I do that, Google Flights will monitor any fluctuations in my itinerary and email me alerts for any changes.


Mistake 4: Using the wrong credit card

Another common mistake travelers can make is using the wrong credit card to book a flight, hotel or other trip element.

There are a couple of factors to consider when deciding which card to use. You might want to use a card that earns the most rewards for airline or hotel purchases or a card that might help put you over the top with elite status as the year winds down.

Most important, though, is selecting the card in your wallet with travel insurance benefits. Numerous cards will reimburse you for covered trip cancellations, trip interruptions or other issues. This can potentially save you hundreds of dollars if you get stranded somewhere and face an unexpected night in a hotel.

Often, cards with trip insurance benefits will pay for expenses even when a flight is canceled, for instance, due to weather — which airlines typically won’t cover.

In most cases, there’s a key stipulation: You generally have to book all aspects of the trip with that card in order to be eligible for an insurance claim.

On many occasions, we’ve heard stories from TPG readers who have made a trip insurance claim with their card issuer after a cancellation and unexpected hotel night. It was not until later that they realized they had booked their flight with a different card and were, therefore, not eligible for any reimbursement.

Mistake 5: Using too many miles or points

Here at TPG, we’ll be the first to say it: Using points and miles is a great way to reduce the out-of-pocket cost of travel.

However, treating your hard-earned points and miles like the currency they are is critical to avoid handing over too many at once.

With many airline and hotel loyalty programs now using dynamic award pricing models that are less predictable, you could end up paying way too much in points or miles for a flight during the pricey holiday season if you’re not careful.

As enticing as it may be to avoid paying for that Thanksgiving flight, using all your points for holiday travel will mean there’s nothing left for a vacation in the new year. This would be especially unfortunate if you had been saving up for a long-haul business-class seat or other redemption that could give you a little more value for your points.

When in doubt, consult TPG’s awards-versus-cash calculator, which will help you compare prices in dollars and points to decide how to book.


Mistake 6: Packing more than you need

Overpacking for any trip can cost you, but during the frantic and already-expensive holiday season, it can tip flight costs well beyond your budget. 

Proceed with caution when booking a basic economy ticket or a flight on an ultra-low-cost carrier. It can be an appealing way to save some money on the base fare, but it can end up costing you money for a small suitcase even if you didn’t plan to check a bag.

On budget airlines, luggage costs for both carry-on and checked bags can rise at the airport compared with online. The same applies to United Airlines and JetBlue, as both do not allow free, full-size carry-on bags on basic economy fares.

If you’re checking a bag, be mindful of your bag’s weight, particularly at Christmas, when you may be returning home with gifts in your luggage. Checking multiple bags or bringing a bag of more than 50 pounds typically incurs a significant expense.

That said, this is where the right travel or airline credit card can pay for itself: It can often provide multiple family members traveling on the same reservation with free checked bags.

Sunrise on the tarmac at LaGuardia Airport (LGA). SEAN CUDAHY/THE POINTS GUY

Mistake 7: Making reservations you can’t cancel or change

If the last couple of years have taught us anything, it’s the value of having an “out” with your travel plans.

That’s been especially true around the holidays. The COVID-19 pandemic upended travel three years ago, and the omicron surge threw a wrench in many travelers’ plans one year ago. Not to mention, bad weather plus Southwest Airlines’ meltdown also caused travel nightmares one year ago.

One of the best ways to be prepared for any wrench in your travel plans — before or during your trip — is to book reservations you can cancel for either a full refund or full trip credit.



For airlines, the three “legacy” carriers (American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines) will generally give you full trip credit if you cancel even a nonrefundable main cabin ticket. They also don’t charge change fees on regular economy fares.

However, on many airlines, basic economy tickets tend to be a lot more restrictive in terms of ticket changes (which typically aren’t allowed unless you pay) and getting money back (even trip credit).

Southwest Airlines will give you, at a minimum, full trip credit on all tickets as long as you cancel at least 10 minutes before departure.

Hotels and car rentals

Changing your plans is much more difficult when you’ve already invested prepaid, nonrefundable money in hotel reservations and car rentals.

Though choosing to “pay now” when booking these trip elements can be an enticing way to save some money, proceed with caution when prepaying.

Generally, most standard hotel reservations and car rentals will allow you to cancel, penalty-free, up until a day or two before your trip.

This allows you to both adapt to unexpected twists and turns and to cancel and rebook your stay if you later find a better price.

By the way, award flights or stays booked with points generally do not have the trappings of prepaid, nonrefundable reservations. If something comes up, you can typically cancel and get your points or miles back.

Related reading:

Key travel tips you need to know — whether you’re a beginner or expert traveler
The best travel credit cards
The 18 best places to travel in 2023
6 real-life strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed
8 of the best credit cards for general travel purchases
13 must-have items the TPG team can’t travel without

Quick Points: How first class can save you money

Sometimes, luxury travel — like flying domestic first class — can be more affordable than you think.

In fact, there are times when flying domestic first class can end up being cheaper overall than flying economy.

Here are some things to consider when booking your next domestic flight.

Price differences per cabin


The first thing to consider is the actual base price difference between economy and domestic first-class tickets. For example, this flight from Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD) to Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) costs $99 in economy and $149 in first class. The $50 price difference between economy and first class can be zeroed if you purchase extras for the flight.


Related: An easy weekday upgrade: A review of United Business on the A320 from Puerto Vallarta to Denver

Cost of extras

When comparing the costs of domestic economy and first-class tickets, it’s important to consider the additional expenses associated with economy travel, such as baggage fees.

For instance, on a flight from IAD to EWR, you would typically pay at least $70 to check two bags. However, when flying first class, two checked bags are included.

The difference becomes even more significant if you check bags that weigh between 51 and 70 pounds. In standard economy, you’d need to pay $280 ($135 for the first and $145 for the second) to check two overweight bags at the airport. In first class, you can check two bags that weigh up to 70 pounds each for free.

If you have United MileagePlus Premier status or an eligible United credit card, your checked luggage fees may be waived.

Related: United Airlines baggage fees and how to avoid paying them

Bottom line

Consider the possibility that booking a domestic first-class ticket might actually be more cost-effective than an economy ticket, especially when you take into account the added benefits of earning toward elite status. Take the time to explore first-class options, and weigh the potential savings and the experience of sitting at the front of the plane. Don’t hesitate to invest a few minutes in researching first-class tickets, as it can be a rewarding choice both financially and in terms of comfort.

4 things you should do now for holiday travel

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

Though fall has just begun, it’s not too early to start thinking about your holiday travel plans.

In preparation for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve and any other holiday travel, there are some timely to-do items, such as booking your flights and renewing your passport.

Book your flights by October

If you haven’t already, you should book your flights by next month at the very latest.

For the winter holidays, the best time to book your flights is typically in September and early October, per booking app Hopper, which says that flights could be at least $100 cheaper during that time.

According to an analysis of 11,000 travel itineraries examining the best months to book holiday flights, CheapAir notes that Thanksgiving airfares are up by 12% and Christmas flights are up 11%, compared to 2022 prices.

“While holiday travel days are more accommodating this year, airfare is still on the rise, so it is in travelers’ best interest to plan ahead and book early,” according to, which analyzes airfare data.

Similarly, Google’s 2023 flight booking trends report suggests that average flight prices around Christmas are lowest 71 days before departure.

Seeing as it’s late September, consider booking your flights now if you still need to do so.

Renew your passport


If you are venturing abroad this Thanksgiving or Christmas, or you’re cheers-ing to 2024 outside of the U.S., you have hopefully already ensured your passport is not about to expire.

Routine passport processing times are currently 10 to 13 weeks, with seven to nine weeks for expedited service plus an additional two weeks for processing and mailing.

Processing times have remained the same since July, and the State Department does not expect them to improve this year.

The State Department advises travelers to renew at least six months before planned travel, which is also important since most countries require visitors’ passports to be valid for six months at the time of travel. Be sure to check the requirements of each specific country since some require validity to be six months from the date of entry and some six months from the date of intended departure.

For urgent international travel, you can attempt to make a limited in-person appointment for two circumstances:

For emergency circumstances — such as a death — requiring travel within 72 hours or three business days, you must provide proof of a qualifying incident.
For non-emergency travel within 14 days, or if you need a foreign visa within 28 calendar days, you must provide proof of travel.

Monitor the State Department’s website with the latest passport processing times for travelers.

Enroll in an expedited security program

Whether or not you are flying for the holidays this year, you should enroll in TSA PreCheck and Clear, both of which help travelers speed through TSA security. TSA PreCheck allows users to pass through security using a dedicated line, in which they do not have to remove their shoes, laptop, liquids, belt or light jacket like passengers in the regular TSA line.

Like TSA PreCheck, Clear users also begin the security process in a Clear-only lane, where users are biometrically identified via fingerprint or iris scans, sparing them from showing their ID anytime during security screening. Users are then taken to the front of the line for the security screening machines — either the front of the PreCheck screening line for those with Clear and PreCheck or the front of the normal TSA screening line.

A third program to consider is Global Entry, which is most helpful for frequent international travelers as it allows preapproved, low-risk travelers expedited clearance upon arrival to the U.S. from abroad. Global Entry users can enter the country through automated kiosks at more than 50 airports.

Enrollment in the three programs costs money, including an annual fee for Clear. Memberships to TSA PreCheck and Global Entry last five years each.

While these programs may be worth their retail price tags in their own right, some credit cards, airline and hotel elite status levels and frequent flyer memberships offer these programs for free or at a discounted rate.

Ship your presents in advance

You can technically carry wrapped presents through security at airports. However, as TPG travel director Summer Hull wrote, it’s risky should the U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents decide to inspect what’s under the hours and hours of wrapping effort.

Instead, consider shipping your presents and other large items to your relatives’ homes or wherever you will be staying. Do so well before you leave in case of mailing delays.

Bottom line

Traveling during the holidays can be stressful, with family dynamics and larger-than-usual airport crowds, but you can take steps to make it a little more bearable.

Enrolling in helpful tools like expedited security programs, submitting your passport for renewal at least six months ahead of travel and booking your flights and shipping your presents well in advance can ease the holiday travel experience.

Related reading:

When is the best time to book flights for the cheapest airfare in 2023?
Travelers should expect passport processing wait times to remain the same for 2023
7 ways to get free or discounted TSA PreCheck, Global Entry and Clear
Best travel cards of 2023
This trick could help you bypass long waits for passport renewals


Sitio Remedios announced on 22 September 2023, Friday, that it will be sponsoring the graduation venue of the Search and Rescue Auxiliary Training program conducted by the Philippine Air Force TOG 1 in cooperation with 505th SAR, Philippine Air Force.

The trainees from the Local Government Units of Banna and Burgos, their respective police and fire protection units, some members of the 4th Marine Brigade, and other personnel from the Air Force will be graduating on 29 September after a rigorous 16-day training.

Arranged and conducted by the Philippine Air Force, the program is the first of its kind in the province and in the country and its culmination will be celebrated with a one-mile swim. The Philippine Air Force verified that trainees will be dropped from an air asset down to the waters of Currimao. From there, the trainees will swim to shore.

Dr. Joven Cuanang of Sitio Remedios and Pinto Art Museum has always been supportive of important government initiatives especially those that save lives.

“In these times where climate change has caused more frequent calamities , trained personnel will be crucial in ensuring the safety of our townsfolk. I am hoping that all towns of Ilocos Norte and the country at large will ensure that this training program will be conducted. If such is done, public safety will be assured,” Dr. Cuanang expressed during a short interview.

The neurologist and art connoisseur is known for his environmental advocacies and his programs for the Ilocano community. He also extended his congratulations to Col. John Paul Trajano of the Philippine Air Force TOG 1 who spearheaded the program, Col. Jose Johnson T. Grayda, the Deputy Tactical Operation Wing North Luzon Commander, and Ralph Atienza-Mckenzie, the liaison of the military sector in Ilocos Norte.

Sitio Remedios is just among the sponsors for the graduation ceremony and the training program itself. Other sponsors include the Office of the Congressman of the Second District headed by Hon. Angelo Marcos Barba, Northwestern University, the City Government of Laoag, and the Municipality of Vintar.

“Sitio Remedios is very happy to be a part of this because this is extremely beneficial to the Ilocano community. The personnel of both Banna and Burgos will now know what to do in any search and rescue-related eventuality,” Sigrid Salucop, Sitio Remedios’ Director of Marketing said in an email.

“Sitio Remedios would like to congratulate Hon. Mary Chrislyn Abadilla, MD of the Municipality of Banna and Hon. Crescente Garcia of the Municipality of Burgos for sending their personnel to participate in this program. We are also very thankful to the Air Force for their foresight,” she added.

It is noted by the Air Force that the same training program will be conducted in the coming months to make room for other Local Government Units in the Province of Ilocos Norte.

7 spooky destinations for a Halloween vacation

Editor’s note: This is a recurring post, regularly updated with new information and offers.

For many people around the world, the start of fall means one thing: Halloween.

Many believe this holiday can be traced back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, which means “summer’s end.” People dressed in costumes to celebrate the harvest season and ward off evil spirits (which they believed to be more prominent during this time of year).

Additionally, in A.D. 837, Pope Gregory IV officially declared Nov. 1 as All Saints’ Day, and many cultures began celebrating All Hallows’ Eve the night prior. Countries worldwide still observe these autumn events in their own ways, such as Teng Chieh in China and Dia de los Muertos in Mexico (and other Latin American countries).

There are plenty of places to celebrate Halloween, but some destinations go above and beyond.

From pumpkin-carving events and festivals to eerie forests and haunted houses, here are destinations in the U.S. and beyond that are teeming with Halloween spirit.

Salem, Massachusetts


The infamous witch trials of 1692 made Salem one of the world’s spookiest cities. On any given day of the year, visitors can tour haunted sites such as the Witch House, the House of the Seven Gables, Proctor’s Ledge and the Howard Street Cemetery.

However, each October, this New England destination celebrates its storied past with Halloween festivities that span the entire month. The event features parades (including a special pet parade), film nights, a costume ball, ghost tours, haunted houses, live music and theater performances. Visit Salem’s event website to see what activities will occur each day.

Just wandering the city’s historic streets and perusing spellbinding shops can be enough to inspire a Halloween mood. You can purchase some witchy products — such as herbs, crystals and spell kits — at Crow Haven Corner or HausWitch Home + Healing. Or, buy your own wand at Wynott Wands.

Where to stay

Stay in the heart of downtown Salem at the Hampton Inn Salem Boston for about $550 per night. Or, save your cash and use 70,000 Hilton Honors points per night for a standard room.

You can also book a room at the Boston Marriott Peabody, about a 15-minute drive from downtown Salem. In October, a stay here starts at around $260 or 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night for a standard room.

Related: Everything we know about Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 2023

New Orleans

Many people know New Orleans for its springtime Mardi Gras festivities. However, the city’s Halloween celebrations also draw massive crowds.

The Big Easy is known for having a haunted history. It has an abundance of above-ground cemeteries, where spirits are said to linger, and it has provided inspiration for vampire folklore.

Some of its most haunted spots include Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar, where guests have attested to seeing ghosts of pirates and of a woman in black, and St. Louis Cathedral, where the ghost of a 1700s pastor still reportedly roams.

Locals celebrate the city’s spookiness during its Halloween parade, zombie run and street parties. New Orleans Voodoo — a folk religion connected to nature and spirits, with roots in West Africa — is now a prominent part of the city’s culture. The area’s Voodoo stores sell niche goods that promise to help cleanse homes and keep spirits away.

For the full supernatural experience, take a ghost tour around the French Quarter to see haunted houses, then stop by one of the many costume shops to prepare for the parties. Most events occur from Oct. 19 to Oct. 31.

Where to stay

There are plenty of Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt outposts around the city for easy redemption opportunities.

Daring Omni Select Guest members can use free night certificates to cover the cost of a stay at the luxurious Omni Royal Orleans — one of the city’s many supposedly haunted hotels. (Some past guests have reported encounters with friendly ghosts while staying at the Omni.) Cash rates here start at about $200 per night.

If you want to earn or redeem points while in New Orleans, consider staying at the JW Marriott New Orleans; in October, rooms start at about 55,000 Marriott Bonvoy points or $240 per night. Other solid options include The Higgins Hotel New Orleans, Curio Collection by Hilton for around 40,000 to 60,000 Hilton Honors points (or $200 to $300) per night or the Hotel Indigo New Orleans — French Quarter for as few as 18,000 IHG One Rewards points (or around $100) per night.

Related: The best hotels in New Orleans, from the French Quarter to the Garden District

Sleepy Hollow, New York


This town became well known thanks to Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” a famous story featuring the terrifying Headless Horseman. The eerie setting that once inspired Irving provides an ideal backdrop for many unique Halloween festivities throughout October.

On select days, visitors can participate in the Octagon House Myths and Mysteries Tour, which leads them through the supposedly haunted house mentioned in Irving’s book.

The main event is Hulda’s Night at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. Bring a lantern and venture deep into the woods with a guide for an evening of chilling tales and folklore. This year, the event will occur from Oct. 18-21 and between Oct. 25 and 28.

You can take a self-guided tour of Lyndhurst Mansion — a spooky Gothic Revival-style house where a multitude of scary movies have been filmed — on Oct. 21, 22, 28 and 29. Enjoy orange and black cookies, cider doughnuts and apple cider after you tour the house, which is adorned with Halloween decorations. Another highlight is the Tarrytown Halloween Parade, which features refreshments, live music and performances. It falls on Oct. 28.

Where to stay

Earn or redeem points during your Halloween adventure by staying at a local points-eligible hotel. The SpringHill Suites Tarrytown Westchester County is a good option at 32,000 Marriott Bonvoy points (or $200) per night; it’s about 2 miles from Sleepy Hollow.

Buena Park, California

Just a few miles from Disneyland, Buena Park is home to one of the state’s most popular amusement parks: Knott’s Berry Farm. Both of these parks offer prime Halloween celebrations for the whole family.

If you’re visiting Southern California with young children, consider celebrating Halloween at Disneyland. From Sept. 1 to Oct. 31, the theme park features seasonal events like fireworks displays, special performances and a pumpkin festival. There’s a spooky spin on many of your favorite rides, and Disneyland characters wear their best fall attire.

Every fall, Knott’s Berry Farm transforms into Knott’s Scary Farm. Special Halloween events feature more than 1,000 costumed cast members ready to startle and scare you. Guests can also explore haunted mazes and enjoy Halloween performances. It operates on select dates from Sept. 21 to Oct. 31. Keep in mind that this event isn’t ideal for children under 13 because of its scary nature.

Where to stay

During your visit, offset the amusement park entry fees by staying at one of the points-eligible hotels in the area. Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Buena Park for $192 or 45,000 Hilton Honors points per night. Or, reserve a room at the Fairfield Inn & Suites Anaheim North/Buena Park for $146 or 30,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: Where to stay at Disneyland: The best on- and off-property hotels


From Gothic churches and ancient castles to dim alleyways and historic streets, London‘s vibe lends itself well to Halloween festivities.

London hosts a wide array of events every year leading up to Halloween. This year, visitors can tour the city’s tombs, take a spooky river cruise or explore dungeons. Embrace your inner witch or wizard on The Making of “Harry Potter” tour at the Warner Bros. studio.

Looking for something spookier? Visit London’s haunted houses, including Hampton Court Palace, where the ghost of Henry VIII’s fifth wife supposedly still lingers. Additionally, there are plenty of Halloween parties at clubs around the city, so be sure to pack your best costume.

Where to stay

London brims with points-eligible hotels to offset the cost of your trip. Consider Residence Inn London Tower Bridge, with room rates from $255 or 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points a night. Or, splurge with a stay at the Conrad London St. James, where rooms start at about $500 or 200,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

Related: The best hotels in London

Derry, Northern Ireland


Also known as Londonderry, this city on the River Foyle is known for the intact 17th-century Derry’s Walls with seven gates. It also hosts Europe’s largest Halloween celebration.

Derry Halloween began in 1985 as a traditional Celtic Samhain festival. It has since grown into a massive event featuring art fairs, costume contests, parades, musical performances, storytelling presentations, haunted houses, food trucks and more.

The free event draws thousands of people each year. Although some events are scarier than others, the festival is family-friendly. This year, Derry Halloween runs from Oct. 28-31.

Where to stay

If you want to stay right near the action, consider using IHG One Rewards points to book a room at the Holiday Inn Express Derry — Londonderry for 45,000 points (or $179) per night. Or, stay on the outskirts of the downtown area by using Best Western Rewards points at the Best Western Plus White Horse Hotel; rates start at 28,000 points (or $155) per night.

Related: The ultimate guide to visiting Northern Ireland

Transylvania, Romania

Halloween in Transylvania is less about the parties and more about visiting the region’s historic and haunted landmarks.

Arguably, the biggest lure here is Bran Castle. This 14th-century structure built into a mountainside is believed to have housed Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration behind the legendary stories of Count Dracula.

The castle is open for tours year-round, and visitors can explore its many tunnels and spooky corners with a guide. If you want to visit the castle for the Halloween celebration (which takes place on Oct. 28 this year), you can book daytime or nighttime tickets here.

Combo tickets for the Halloween celebration include a special tour and a party with a DJ. You can also opt for The Count Special Guest ticket, which adds on a four-course dinner and wine at Queen Marie’s Tea House. On other days, you can buy tickets to the castle online or book a formal tour that leaves from the capital city of Bucharest.

If you’re traveling with children, the castle hosts a more child-friendly Halloween event on Oct. 29.

Other nerve-tingling attractions in Transylvania include Corvin Castle — one of Europe’s largest castles, where Vlad the Impaler is said to have been held prisoner for seven years — and Teleki Mansion, which is reportedly haunted by a ghost.

The haunted Hoia Baciu Forest, featured in an episode of “Ghost Adventures,” is another scary area attraction; it’s said that spirits linger in the crooked trees of this forest, so enter at your own risk. These sites are within a few hours’ drive of each other, so it’s beneficial to rent a car or book a guided tour to explore easily.

Where to stay

If you want to stay in Bucharest, consider redeeming Marriott Bonvoy points at The Marmorosch Bucharest, Autograph Collection for 26,000 points (or $150) per night; if you want to be in the Transylvania area, use Hilton Honors points at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sighisoara — Cavaler for 18,000 points (or $70) per night.

Related reading:

Key travel tips you need to know — whether you’re a beginner or an expert traveler
The best travel credit cards
The 18 best places to travel in 2023
6 real-life strategies you can use when your flight is canceled or delayed
8 of the best credit cards for general travel purchases
13 must-have items the TPG team can’t travel without

Best frequent flyer programs for US travelers

For frequent and infrequent air travelers alike, a reliable and rewarding frequent flyer program can truly enhance your travel experiences. Fortunately, all major U.S. carriers offer loyalty programs that let you earn miles on flights but also for various non-flight activities. These programs provide various benefits, including priority boarding, airport lounge access and complimentary upgrades, depending on the airline you choose (and how frequently you fly).

With numerous airline programs, it can be challenging to determine which frequent flyer program is truly the best fit for your travel needs.

Today, we’ll delve into the high-level details of each program, highlighting the opportunities to earn miles, enjoy exclusive perks and make the most of your loyalty. We’ll look at network coverage, partner airlines, award availability and the overall value provided by each program. We’ll share strategies for maximizing your miles, achieving elite status and capitalizing on program benefits to ensure you get the most out of your travels.

Whether you’re a frequent business traveler or a leisurely vacationer, this guide will provide valuable insights to help you select the best frequent flyer program for your needs.

What is the best US frequent flyer program?


As expected, selecting the best U.S. frequent flyer program depends heavily on individual preferences and personal travel patterns. However, there are some details you can consider to help you make a more informed decision.

American Airlines AAdvantage: Best for earning status without flying

Despite moving to dynamic pricing on American Airlines flights (instead of offering fixed, predictable award rates), AAdvantage continues to offer some of the best redemption rates on partner carriers. AAdvantage members can redeem miles to travel on highly coveted airlines like Japan Airlines, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. You earn miles and AAdvantage elite status by earning Loyalty Points. Some popular ways to earn miles and Loyalty Points include flying American and its Oneworld partners, spending on an American Airlines cobranded credit card, shopping through the AAdvantage shopping portal and linking your World of Hyatt-American AAdvantage accounts.

United MileagePlus: Best for long-haul upgrades

United Airlines has historically offered the most extensive route network of the U.S. carriers. Although United recently increased global award rates without notice, MileagePlus miles and United Premier status remain valuable for the airline’s patrons. The airline is a founding member of Star Alliance, the largest airline alliance. Members can earn miles through flights, credit card spending and partners. The airline’s top elite members receive PlusPoints, which you can use to confirm upgrades to premium cabins like Polaris business class.

Delta SkyMiles: Best for making your status count

Delta Air Lines shocked travelers when it announced major changes to Medallion status by removing flight-based metrics and shifting entirely to spending requirements. This has led to elite status requirements increasing by 75% for Diamond Medallion members, 50% for Platinum and Gold Medallion members and 100% for Silver Medallion members year over year. To earn top-tier Diamond Medallion status on Delta starting in 2024, you must earn at least 35,000 Medallion Qualification Dollars. If you earn your status solely on Delta-issued tickets, that’s roughly double the spending requirement of earning American and United’s top-tier statuses. That likely means there will be far fewer upper-tier Medallion elite members in the future, so you can hopefully expect more upgrades and better status recognition.

But there’s bad news for non-elite Delta SkyMiles members too. Delta SkyMiles ranked among the least valuable airline miles on our recent data-backed valuations. Members can earn miles through flights, credit card spending and partners — but the program has minimal opportunities to maximize your rewards.

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan: Best for Alaska travelers in the Pacific Northwest

Mileage Plan is best for frequent travelers who fly with Alaska Airlines or its partner airlines. With an extensive partner network and a generous (but increasingly devalued) partner award chart, it offers great value for the airline’s loyal flyers. The airline also offers traveler-friendly policies such as free stopovers on award tickets. Its Mileage Plan elite status offers perks like complimentary upgrades on Alaska and some American Airlines-operated flights, lounge access on select international itineraries and priority boarding. You can earn Alaska miles on transactions like flying, spending on the Alaska Airlines Visa® card or initiating online purchases on the Mileage Plan shopping portal.

JetBlue TrueBlue and Southwest Rapid Rewards: Best for simplicity

JetBlue TrueBlue and Southwest Rapid Rewards are the best simple options due to their straightforward and user-friendly programs. These loyalty programs stand out for their uncomplicated earning and redemption processes.

TrueBlue members earn points based on the cost of their flights, and there are no blackout dates for award travel. It overhauled its elite status program earlier this year, adding a variety of new tiers and benefits. It also launched long-haul international service, with flights from both Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) and London Gatwick Airport (LGW). It also flies nonstop from JFK to Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG).

Southwest Rapid Rewards also offers a simple points-based system, with no blackout dates and the ability to earn the buy one, get one free Companion Pass. It serves a variety of destinations in the Caribbean and Central America along with frequent flights from the West Coast to Hawaii.

These programs prioritize transparency, lack complex rules and provide clear benefits, making them ideal choices for travelers seeking straightforward loyalty programs.

Related: What exactly are airline miles, anyway?

How do you choose a frequent flyer program?

The best frequent flyer program for you largely depends on where you fly. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Here are some factors to consider when selecting a frequent flyer program.

Hub cities and where you fly

Airline hubs play a crucial role in connecting flights across the U.S. If you live in a hub city, choosing your hometown carrier for more nonstop options may be the way to go. When selecting a frequent flyer program, consider the proximity of airports near you, as this can impact your decision.

Here’s a look at the major airlines and their hubs:

Alaska Airlines: Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Portland International Airport (PDX), San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
American Airlines: Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), LAX, Miami International Airport (MIA), JFK, New York’s LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)
Delta Air Lines: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), BOS, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW), Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), JFK, LGA, Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and SEA
JetBlue: BOS, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), LAX, JFK, LGA, Orlando International Airport (MCO) and San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU)
Southwest Airlines: ATL, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), Chicago’s Midway International Airport (MDW), Dallas Love Field (DAL), Denver International Airport (DEN), FLL, Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), Harry Reid International Airport (LAS), LAX, Nashville International Airport (BNA), MCO and PHX
United Airlines: ORD, DEN, Guam’s Antonio B. Won Pat International Airport (GUM), Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), LAX, Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), SFO and Washington, D.C.’s Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Beyond that, consider whether you have any frequent travel spots. If you’re traveling the same route for work at least once a month, or if you’re flying to see your parents or grandkids in the same city multiple times per year, you should pick an airline that serves those destinations.

Is it easy to earn your airline miles?

Earning airline miles can vary in ease depending on various factors. Carefully consider your priorities. If it’s important for you to hold top-tier status and have a credit card with no annual fee, you can spend $200,000 annually on everyday purchases on the American Airlines AAdvantage® MileUp® card and subsequently earn 200,000 Loyalty Points without any flight activity. Lower annual spend amounts unlock lower tiers in the AAdvantage elite program (i.e., $40,000 for AAdvantage Gold, $75,000 for AAdvantage Platinum and $125,000 for AAdvantage Platinum Pro members).

Similarly, if you spend $350,000 annually on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card, you’ll earn the 35,000 MQDs required for top-tier Diamond Medallion status without any flight activity. Like AAdvantage, lower spend amounts unlock lower tiers in the Medallion elite program (i.e., $60,000 for Silver Medallion, $120,000 for Gold Medallion and $180,000 for Platinum Medallion).

But if you go with these elite-status-centric options, you’ll sacrifice the value of your redeemable rewards. For example, all purchases (outside of Delta) on the Delta SkyMiles® Reserve American Express Card earn just 1 mile per dollar, a marginal 1.2% return based on TPG’s latest valuations. Meanwhile, all purchases on the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card earn at least 2 Capital One miles per dollar, which is a 3.7% return based on our valuations (or at least a 2% return if you use your miles to cover travel purchases).

And by carrying multiple credit cards and spending on whichever earns the most, the difference can be even more significant.

For example, the American Express® Gold Card earns 4 Amex points per dollar spent at restaurants worldwide, plus 4 points per dollar spent at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 in spending each calendar year), both of which represent an impressive 8% return at our valuations.

You might also consider airlines with transfer partners so you can transfer credit card points to airline miles. You can transfer Bilt Rewards points from the Bilt Mastercard® (see rates and fees) to programs like American AAdvantage and United MileagePlus. For Delta SkyMiles, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards from cards like the American Express® Gold Card and The Platinum Card® from American Express at a 1:1 ratio. Note that a transfer excise tax applies.

Is it easy to use your airline miles?

While earning airline miles can be relatively straightforward, redeeming them can sometimes be challenging. It’s important to carefully review an airline’s policies, restrictions and fees when redeeming miles for flights. While many airlines have eliminated blackout dates, they have implemented dynamic pricing, which means the number of miles required to book flights during peak travel periods or holidays can be significantly higher.

For example, you can book flights on United from SFO to the Big Island’s Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA) from just 9,800 United miles. However, during peak dates, these economy-class award rates can increase to 90,000 miles one-way.

If you don’t have the time, flexibility or interest in dealing with airline saver award space, you might be better off applying your credit card points toward the cash price of an airline ticket. Cardholders with a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Venture X can reimburse themselves for eligible travel purchases made within the last 90 days at a fixed 1 cent per Capital One mile rate (i.e., a $100 reimbursement costs 10,000 miles.). Book your flight with the airline, pay with your Capital One card and follow these steps to reimburse yourself.

Alternatively, Chase Sapphire Reserve cardholders can redeem their points at 1.5 cents apiece in the Chase travel portal. A $450 flight would cost 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.

Although this isn’t the best use of Capital One miles or Chase points, you’ll generally still earn frequent flyer miles and work toward elite status since airlines recognize these purchases as paid tickets.

Consider how easy it is to redeem airline miles with your travel patterns, especially if you travel during busy travel times.

Related: 5 reasons I pursued elite status with a foreign airline

Are airline frequent flyer programs worth it?

Delta SkyMiles members can use their miles on Air France. KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY

Even if elite status is out of reach, you should earn miles on all your eligible tickets. These programs offer benefits like earning miles through flights, credit card spending and partner activities. Depending on the program, you can redeem your hard-earned miles for award flights, upgrades and other perks. Additionally, many popular currencies — including Delta SkyMiles, JetBlue TrueBlue points, Southwest Rapid Rewards points and United MileagePlus miles — never expire. Even if it takes you years to earn enough miles to book anything meaningful with them, there’s no risk to joining.

Frequent flyer programs often provide perks such as priority boarding, complimentary upgrades and enhanced customer service for elite members as well. For frequent travelers or those who can strategically maximize their mileage earnings and redemptions, these programs can provide significant value and enhance the overall travel experience. However, it’s important to consider your travel habits and preferences to determine if the benefits outweigh the cost of elite status.

Related: The best airlines in the US for 2023

Bottom line

If you’re ready to select the best airline program, consider your home airport, targeted destinations and which airline(s) best meet your needs. Additionally, consider the ease of earning and redeeming miles when evaluating an airline rewards program. 

Regardless of the airline loyalty program you select, it might make sense to hold your carrier’s cobranded credit card to supercharge your mileage balance with a welcome bonus. Airline cobranded credit cards often include benefits like a free checked bag and no foreign transaction fees, which can be cost-saving tools when you travel.

American AAdvantage offers excellent partner airlines and award rates, while United MileagePlus provides valuable long-haul upgrades. Delta SkyMiles focuses on making elite status count (especially in 2024), and the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is ideal for travelers in the Pacific Northwest. JetBlue TrueBlue and Southwest Rapid Rewards offer user-friendly programs with clear benefits for those seeking simplicity.

Selecting the right program will enhance your travel experiences and reward your loyalty — but why stop there? Joining all of these programs is completely free, so you have nothing to lose by signing up.

See Bilt Mastercard rates and fees here.
See Bilt Mastercard rewards and benefits here.

Here’s why airlines weigh passengers

Stepping on the scale can be stressful. So can air travel. Now imagine needing to weigh yourself before you can board your next flight.

That’s what Korean Air travelers flying domestically through Seoul’s Gimpo International Airport (GMP) and Incheon International Airport (ICN) were set to experience after the airline announced it would weigh passengers with their carry-ons to measure the average weight of passengers.

But Korean Air faced such swift backlash that it ultimately took down a notice related to weighing passengers on its website just days after the announcement, according to CNBC.

Air New Zealand also made headlines in May for weighing its passengers departing from Auckland Airport (AKL) for international flights.

The practice — although controversial to many travelers — is actually fairly standard within the airline industry.

And there’s good news for those who may not be thrilled about having to see the scale: The airlines aren’t paying attention to each passenger’s individual weight, at least on most commercial jetliners. Instead, they’re looking for a real-world average so that they can better plan things like fuel use and cargo capacity.

Related: Korean Air becomes latest carrier to stop selling most first-class seats

Airlines may also occasionally weigh passengers so they can recalibrate the weight distribution of their aircraft in order for them to safely take off and land, according to Blaise Waguespack, a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University who specializes in airline marketing and operations.

“If you don’t have the right weight balance profile, a wrong gust of wind — boom, you’ll drag the tail,” he said.

Knowing how much weight an aircraft can handle can be important in situations where an aircraft is operating in an area with sweltering temperatures, for example.

Bob Thomas, an Embry-Riddle professor at the university’s aeronautical science department, said in areas that can get extremely hot, airlines may need to reduce the weight on their aircraft in order to take off.

“Most people don’t realize that the weight just doesn’t affect your actual take-off distance, but it also affects making sure that you can climb over obstacles afterwards,” Thomas said.

Related: Air New Zealand announces pricing for new in-flight sleep pods

Weighing passengers is especially common for airlines that operate smaller aircraft, where the individual weight of each passenger is actually more important.

“The issue of weighing passengers is that every airplane has a weight and balance program, whether you’re a small airplane or a big airplane,” Michael Suckow, a professor at Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, said.

Suckow said airlines that fly planes like the smaller Bombardiers and Embraers might tend to weigh passengers more since the weight of passengers — along with fuel and equipment — can heavily affect the balance of the plane.

Related: The best airline credit cards

However, for larger airlines that operate aircraft like a Boeing or an Airbus, weighing passengers isn’t all that common. Instead, most airlines rely on surveys of a certain sample — like the samples that Korean Air and Air New Zealand obtained recently — to determine the average weight of passengers, according to Thomas.

In the U.S., airlines can also determine the weight distribution of planes from surveys conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey, known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, weighs a sample of U.S. residents, which airlines can then use to determine the average weight of a passenger.

Related: When is the best time to book flights for the cheapest airfare?

Even though U.S. airlines have other means to determine the average passenger weight, an advisory circular from the Federal Aviation Administration said airlines are allowed to weigh travelers at any given time.

It’s ultimately up to the carrier’s governmental airline regulators to determine how airlines figure out weight distribution.

So, some countries may require their carriers to have passengers step on a scale.

In the cases of Korean Air and Air New Zealand, they are following mandates from their respective countries that require them to periodically update their calculations for average passenger weight.

A Korean Air spokesperson said the carrier, along with other Korean airlines, was weighing passengers and their carry-ons to provide data to the country’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport for its “Aircraft Weight and Balance Management Standards,” which are updated every five years.

Maximize your airfare: The best credit cards for booking flights

“This is a government mandate and is necessary for the safety of flight operations,” the spokesperson said.

Air New Zealand also reiterated that its weight surveys were a mandate from New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority.

“Our passenger weight survey was a mandatory Civil Aviation Authority requirement, participation was voluntary, and all data was completely anonymous, even to airline staff,” an Air New Zealand spokesperson said.

Read more: Expensive airfare and increasing gas prices: Here’s how you can save on holiday travel

And even if the practice may seem invasive, the weights of each individual passenger and their carry-on are typically kept anonymous — only the airline sees the total weight, and each passenger’s data is anonymized. Plus, passengers have the option to decline to participate in any weight surveys: Both Korean Air and Air New Zealand emphasized that travelers could opt out of their respective weight surveys.

It can feel unpleasant if an airline asks for your weight, but know that it is a customary practice.

“It’s definitely an awkward situation, an awkward conversation, an awkward request,” Suckow said. “But it is something that the carriers have to figure out how to do if asked by [regulatory authorities] to validate their program.”

5 Myths About Booking a Flight that You Need to Ignore

Last Updated: 8/28/23 | August 28th, 2023

Let’s talk about cheap flights. We all know airlines are out to screw us over — and no one wants to be the person who gets stuck paying the highest fare. That’s why we spend hours upon hours researching articles on airfare, trying to game the system like we’re attempting to outsmart a used car salesman.

I’ve written about finding a cheap flight before — and even my process for booking a flight — but today I want to talk about some persistent and inaccurate myths about booking a flight that have stuck around through simple inertia and lazy journalism.

There are a lot of articles out there that list “secret hacks” claiming to save you thousands. “If you book a flight on a Tuesday during a blood moon while standing on one leg, you’ll get the cheapest flight possible!”

Ok, that’s an exaggeration. But I read so many articles that are straight-up inaccurate and outdated that, today, I want to explain which “rules” are straight-up lies so you don’t follow them, save hours of time, and still end up with a cheap flight!

MYTH #1: You Should Search Incognito

This is the worst and most pervasive myth of them all. It makes sense. We all know that every company in the world uses cookies to track our online habits. So why wouldn’t airlines track us? There’s a belief that airlines are watching our browsing habits and then raising ticket prices when they see us looking at the same route(s) over and over again.

Lots of websites tell you to use a browser’s “incognito mode” to avoid this. Turn cookies off, stop being tracked, and trick the system, right?

Except this is not true at all.

There’s no evidence that airlines behave that way. Numerous studies by booking companies have shown that there is no variance in pricing when you use incognito mode.

And, typically, when you abandon your cart, businesses discount prices to get you to complete your purchase not raise them higher.

According to Scott of Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights), one of the most popular bargain-flight websites,

“There’s no evidence that airlines are showing you a different price based on your cookies. We are mistaking airfare volatility for a Truman Show–esque interpretation that the airlines are out to raise fares on us. Airfare is constantly changing, often by the hour if not by the minute these days. When a flight you’re looking at goes up in price, there’s a temptation to think that it’s because of your cookies, but Occam’s razor is that the price went up because airfare is constantly changing.”

They searched the same Denver to London flight 100 times in a row, and on the first search and the hundredth search, the price stayed exactly the same. If cookies affected flight searches, websites like Going, where they search thousands of airfare searches each day to find their members the best deals, wouldn’t exist.

Airfare simply changes all the time. A study by CheapAir found that average economy fare can change up to 3 times each day and 49 times total on average. Airlines use sophisticated software to change prices based on a variety of factors.

Additionally, they put their inventory not just on their own website but also on hundreds of third-party websites so millions of people are looking at the same flights at any given moment. The system is constantly updating itself based on ticket sales and demand. If you’re searching for a flight and come back an hour later, only to see that the price has jumped, it’s easy to think that it’s because the airline was tracking your cookies. But the reality is that there was likely only one ticket left at that price, and it just sold. That’s it!

After all, there are only so many seats on a plane. You just can’t add more!

That’s why prices change.

Searching in incognito mode is simply not going to help you find a cheaper flight.

MYTH #2: It’s Better to Book on a Tuesday

Back in the day, most airlines used to drop flight deals on Tuesdays and that would lead to other airlines following suit. Thus the old adage to book on Tuesdays.

These days, as I mentioned above, airlines use dynamic pricing and artificial intelligence to constantly change their pricing. The algorithms consider a variety of factors: historical and current demand, seasons, itinerary, level of competition from other airlines, fare class, timing, fuel prices, demand, etc.

According to Scott,

“Some websites still claim there is a single predictable time each week when fares are cheapest. When airfare was first sold online, airlines and online travel agencies would often load their fares just once a week, say, Tuesday at 2pm. There were a limited number of the cheapest fares available, and so if you were one of the first people to book right after the new fares were loaded, you really could get a great deal. Nowadays airfare changes by the minute, driven less by humans plugging in fares each week and more by complex computer algorithms.”

CheapAir found the same thing each year in their Annual Airfare Study, which analyzes almost 1 billion airfares to help travelers determine the best times to book. This (and other) studies do find that while the day you book on doesn’t matter, the day that you fly on does: Wednesday is the cheapest while Sunday is the most expensive day on which to fly. Unsurprisingly, the time of year that you fly also matters. January and February are the cheapest months for airfare, while July and December are the most expensive months.

So book your flight on whatever day you want, but if you can, fly mid-week and off-season.

Myth #3: There is a Perfect Time to Book

Just like there’s no perfect day of the week on which to buy a flight, there’s no one-size-fits-all time frame for booking. Since airfare prices are so volatile, the best time to book depends on a variety of factors including seasonality, destination (especially international vs domestic), and your own booking needs (if you want the most choices in terms of seating, type of ticket, etc.).

On average though, CheapAir’s study found that the “best” day to book a domestic flight is 70 days from departure. For an international flight, the ideal window is about 1.5-5 months ahead. Going and Google also found the same in their studies.

This makes sense as most people book 2-3 months before they go away. If you’re a family going on vacation, you don’t just do it on a whim. You take time off work and plan months in advance.

On the flip side, business travelers book much closer to the date of travel, and care less about pricing (because their company is footing the bill). Airlines are well aware of the needs and habits of both of these travelers, and adjust their pricing accordingly. That’s why you’ll see flights start to skyrocket 21 days before departure. Most leisure travelers have booked their trips by now, and airlines want to take advantage of the last-minute business travelers that are willing to pay more for their ticket. (So never book less than 21 days before leaving!)

Bottom line: the perfect time to book is when you find a price that you’re happy with. There are a lot of tools out there to help you with this, from price alerts on flight search engines to cheap flight membership websites like Going.

Remember that, no matter what, you have 24 hours to cancel if you find a cheaper ticket. I usually set a reminder for 23 hours, check the prices again, and then move on with my life if nothing better has popped up. Google’s new Price Guarantee feature can also provide peace of mind in knowing that if a better deal comes up, you’ll be paid the difference (available only on select routes departing from the U.S.).

MYTH #4: Websites Can Predict Prices

Websites that predict prices are just taking an educated guess based on historical pricing. Don’t put too much stock in these predictions. The past is not prologue and a spike in demand like a concert or other event can change the price of a ticket outside its historical range.

I like the price meter on Google Flights because it lets me know the general historic price range of this fare. But any website that says “wait to book because prices are going to go down” is full of shit.

Airfare is incredibly volatile. There are a limited number of seats on planes and dozens of variables — from overall economic conditions to the price of oil to competition from new budget airlines to the difficulty of predicting travel interest for a specific flight 11 months from now. No one knows what the future holds. The recent pandemic is proof that modeling the future doesn’t work.

These websites have no idea what future airfare will be and are just guessing.

As Scott echoes:

“It’s important to distinguish between when is cheapest to travel and when is cheapest to book. We know a lot about when it’s typically cheapest to travel: January through March and September through November. That’s not to say there are never cheap flights in June. Think of it like an NBA game: just because one team is favored doesn’t mean there’s never an upset. This is all to say that anyone who claims to have cracked the code and be able to predict with certainty whether a flight six months from now will go up or down in price is doing you a disservice.”


MYTH #5: There is One Best Booking Website

Why do you see prices vary from website to website? Third-party OTAs (online travel agencies) like Expedia often buy tickets in bulk and the prices depend a lot on what booking class they’ve purchased (usually they buy the cheapest and most restrictive fares which is why those flights are always unchangeable). Plus, again, thousands of people could be booking at once and so as the cheaper seats go, the prices go up!

That’s why, while I love Skyscanner and Google Flights, I check lots of other websites before I actually book.

But, while I love them, remember: there is no single best website out there for flights.

Prices vary among all these platforms. That’s why you have to search multiple websites and meta-search engines.

There’s no single best booking website, only the best one at the time of booking.


Any article that claims to show you the “secret” to cheap airfare is probably too good to be true — because if it worked so well, airlines would have put an end to it a long time ago. You can’t outsmart the airlines. You can only bend the system to your advantage.

There’s simply no magic bullet to finding cheap airfare.

As much as we all want there to be one.

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner. It’s my favorite search engine because it searches websites and airlines around the globe so you always know no stone is being left unturned.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use as it consistently returns the cheapest rates for guesthouses and hotels.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:

SafetyWing (best for everyone)
Insure My Trip (for those 70 and over)
Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)

Want to Travel for Free?
Travel credit cards allow you to earn points that can be redeemed for free flights and accommodation — all without any extra spending. Check out my guide to picking the right card and my current favorites to get started and see the latest best deals.

Ready to Book Your Trip?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use when I travel. They are the best in class and you can’t go wrong using them on your trip.

The post 5 Myths About Booking a Flight that You Need to Ignore appeared first on Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

Gender-based violence is a big concern in hospitality

Gender-based violence is a big concern in hospitality – and women bear the brunt of managing it

Julia Coffey, University of Newcastle; David Farrugia, Deakin University; Lena Molnar, University of Newcastle; Megan Sharp, The University of Melbourne, and Steven Threadgold, University of Newcastle

Gender-based violence, particularly sexual harassment, is a serious and persistent problem across the workforce.

But our new research paints a concerning picture of the extent of the problem in the hospitality industry.

We interviewed 124 hospitality workers in Melbourne and Newcastle from a range of different bars, restaurants and cafes.

We found young women, queer and gender diverse workers are on the front line in responding to and managing the threat of gender-based violence in their venues.

Women bar workers were also routinely seen as “better suited” to manage the threat of violence.

‘The line is clear’

Gendered dynamics are particularly stark in service labour.

Enduring sexual harassment was described as a routine “part of the job” for young people, particularly in women in bar work.

Workers insisted the line between friendliness and harassment from patrons in bar work is “very clear”. Karen*, a bar worker from Melbourne, said

The line is very clear. I think it’s as soon as you feel unsafe in a situation, it’s like ‘don’t say to me, anything explicit about what you want to do with me’. That’s obviously, deeply inappropriate. I’m serving you a drink.

Ben, a barista in Newcastle, wanted management to clearly designate “the line” for what is “acceptable” or “unacceptable” behaviour, rather than placing responsibility on the individual to “speak out”.

Why is it not standardised across venues? I feel like that line [calling out bad behaviour] is dictated by your superiors.

Workers like Ben, whose managers didn’t have processes for protecting staff, meant risks had to be assessed and navigated by workers on their own. Learning how to manage harassing or abusive customers was considered a normal and essential part of the job, particularly impacting women, gender diverse and queer workers.

Women routinely expected to manage violence

In our study, women bar workers were regularly called upon to defuse violent or aggressive patrons. Women were expected to be “calmer” and “kinder”, creating significant risk of harm for them.

Felicity, a Melbourne bar worker, said:

If a guy is in for a bit of argie [looking to fight], the absolute worst thing you can do is send a male bar member to deal with it […] Women can deescalate that situation far better, nine times out of ten.

A pub worker from Newcastle, Stan, said:

Some guys just want to kick off and will start a fight over anything […] It doesn’t matter what you do in those situations, you’re pretty much fucked. Unless you’re a female [staff member], to be honest.

This expectation to manage violence is an unrecognised extra form of gendered labour which women are primarily expected to undertake.

Women, queer and gender diverse workers also described instances of being spat at, followed home, and threats of physical and sexual violence.

Given the scale and breadth of gendered violence against women, the normalised position that women are “better suited” to manage violence is risky and exploitative.

Five recommendations to change the industry

We suggest five recommendations targeting employers, policy and resourcing to create change in the industry.

  1. new policies for addressing sexual harassment in front-of-house service labour are needed. This includes processes for registering and resolving complaints, investigations and outcomes, which should be developed by government and industry in consultation with workers

  2. the hospitality industry should develop tailored approaches, in line with the new positive duty under the Sex Discrimination Act, to support businesses and venues to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. This should address key areas such as effective education and training. It should also focus on recording all instances of gender-based violence so the true scale of the problem can be better understood and monitored over time

  3. hospitality management strategies should implement a “zero tolerance” approach to account for, and reduce the risk of, sexual and gender-based harassment. Behavioural expectations between workers, and workers and employers, should be discussed and agreed upon

  4. hospitality venues must continue to improve gender equity across all staffing positions to support developing skills and the value of diverse experience in hospitality

  5. increased state and federal funding is needed for local organisations to deliver training, resources and campaigning tailored for hospitality workers based on their experiences. This will lead to better outcomes in the industry.

These changes can create safer and more respectful workplaces for all.

*All names attributed to quotes from participants in this study are pseudonyms.The Conversation

Julia Coffey, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, University of Newcastle; David Farrugia, ARC Future Fellow, School of Education, Deakin University; Lena Molnar, Research Fellow, Newcastle Youth Studies Centre, University of Newcastle; Megan Sharp, Lecturer in Sociology, The University of Melbourne, and Steven Threadgold, Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Newcastle

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Experience the Many Hues of Currimao’s Sunsets

by Sigrid Salucop

Mesmerizing and awe-inspiring, the sunsets at Sitio Remedios have been photographed a thousand times -and each of these photos showcase different hues.

Currimao is blessed with beautiful sunsets and Kathrine D. Lagustan, the Director of Sales at Sitio Remedios, has been inspired by these sunsets since her girlhood. Now a mother to two beautiful boys, Lagustan spends her free time taking photos of Sitio’s sunsets.

Some of these photos are shown at the official Facebook page of the hotel but according to Sitio’s Luna Gallery, Ms. Lagustan will launch her Sitio Sunset Diaries exhibit on 31 October 2023.

Cozy Dinners at Sitio

by Sigrid Salucop

With just the calming sound of the waves crashing on Currimao’s shores and the tantalizing menu offered by the heritage village’s kitchen, dinners at Sitio Remedios always have room for banter and meaningful conversations.

Sitio is known for its tranquility and the many stories attached to its history. Its old houses lend an old-world charm to travelers who want to experience distinctively Ilocano surroundings.

Sitio Remedios is reminiscent of the province’s rich heritage. It also tells the story of Remedios Racpan Cuanang, the Ilocana that the village is named after.

Warm yellow lights greet guests as soon as they enter the dining hall, and if they opt for traditional Ilocano cuisine, the smell of pinakbet (mixed vegetables cooked in tomatoes and fish paste) will be wafting from Sitio’s small kitchen.

During the often sweltering Ilocano summer nights, when no clouds are in sight, guests can ask the staff to set up tables right in the middle of Plaza Manzanilla. Dining under the moonlight does not only spell romance but inspires those who booked a room to think of happier pursuits. Dinners at Sitio are always memorable and the quaintness of it all often leaves a beautiful mark on those who have experienced it.

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