About Tiffany

Tiffany Funk is a passionate traveler who splits her time between California and Italy (when she’s not traveling elsewhere!) Her posts offer a different perspective on earning miles, tricks for balancing multiple household accounts, and break down the basics of redeeming miles for aspirational travel -- whatever those aspirations may be!

More articles by Tiffany »

What Insurance Covers Checked Electronics?

Banned-electronics-1

Yesterday we learned about a new electronics ban for certain flights to the United States. Later in the day the United Kingdom announced a similar (yet very different) policy for flights to the UK.

While I’m not going to get into all the ramifications here, the gist of it is that travelers are going to have to choose between connecting elsewhere or risking damage and theft of their personal electronics.

Reader Mike summed it up nicely:

“My bet is there will be lots of $2,000 insurance claims for Apple laptops forced to endure the cargo experience. Whoever Chase, et al, use for travel insurance is going to get very busy.”

That’s a great point, but it’s much more complicated than that. Not all policies necessarily cover checked electronics, and many have strict dollar limits. So I figured it would help to go through the various options for insuring your gadgets when traveling.

Continue Reading »

WHOA: UK To Implement A DIFFERENT Electronics Ban

British-Airways-A380-Business-Class - 81

A few hours ago it was rumored that the UK was also considering an in-flight electronics ban.

As we’ve written about extensively, the U.S. has announced a ban on electronics for flights originating in the Middle East and Africa. The ban applies for flights originating in Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh. Passengers on nonstop flights originating from those cities to the U.S. need to check all electronics into the cargo hold, with the exception of cell phones and medical devices.

SkyNews is reporting that the UK government is indeed implementing new restrictions, though the details (and countries included) are rather different from the US directive.

Continue Reading »

New Details On Nonsensical Electronics Ban

Etihad-Wifi

To catch everyone up, yesterday Ben noted a Royal Jordanian announcement that electronic devices would be banned from passenger cabins on U.S.-bound flights effective March 21st. This was quickly followed by rumors that this wasn’t just Royal Jordanian acting on a whim, but rather a new directive being issued by U.S. authorities, though the details were still fuzzy.

Late last night the Associated Press reported the electronics ban will apply to flights from Amman, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Casablanca, Dubai, Doha, Istanbul, Jeddah, Kuwait City, and Riyadh. Those are nearly all the major airports in the Middle East and Northern Africa, and are hubs for the national airlines of each respective country. The impacted airlines are:

Continue Reading »

3500+ Flights Cancelled Due To Winter Storms

Snow-JFK-Airport

As the projected severity of the winter storm in the Northeast increases, most domestic airlines in the US have either cancelled flights, or issued waivers for travel over the next few days.

A bit of snow (much less a blizzard) can cause systemwide disruptions, so if you’re scheduled to travel in the coming days you’ll want to take precautions.

Delays are starting to pile up, and many airlines have preemptively canceled flights for tomorrow. At the time of this writing there are over 3,000 canceled flights, and many delayed flights between today and tomorrow. A few examples of pre-emptive cancelations for Tuesday:

Continue Reading »

Tips For Traveling To Jordan

Amman-02

Before I get into our flights home, I wanted to take some time to go over travel tips for Jordan. I really loved our trip to Jordan, and it’s a destination I’ve received many questions about.

While it takes some planning, I think Jordan is a pretty approachable country, with warm and welcoming people, so hopefully having extra details are helpful to some of you.

Jordan is a small country, with a rich and varied cultural landscape, that I think sometimes encourages overly-aggressive schedules. We packed as much as we could into our seven-day trip, but having another 3-4 days would have allowed us to break up the driving a bit more, have some down time, or see any of the other dozens of things we missed, like the Desert Castles, Jerash, and the Dead Sea.

Continue Reading »

Review: Grand Hyatt Amman Grand Suite

Grand-Hyatt-Amman-Suite-31

For our last two nights in Jordan, we chose to stay at the Grand Hyatt in Amman. Technically it was the last 1.5 nights, as our flight to Istanbul left at 3AM, but it seemed worthwhile to have the hotel for the full evening so we could at least get a few hours of sleep.

Our stay overlapped with Ben’s (which was super fun), so I won’t review the full hotel. I did, however, apply a Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade to the reservation, and I figure other people might be interested in knowing what the suites are like. We had breakfast in the Grand Club instead of the restaurant, so I’ll cover that as well.

We made several stops on the drive north from Petra, so it was about 4PM when we arrived at the Grand Hyatt. As Ben mentioned, security was tight, so the valet took the car at an outbuilding where we cleared security, before walking to the main hotel. It was a decently efficient system, and whenever we left the hotel the car was brought to the main entrance and the parking berms were lowered for us, which was nice.

Continue Reading »

Visiting Petra

Petra-Jordan-14

After a quick breakfast at the Marriott we jumped in the car and headed to Wadi Musa. The drive only took ~10 minutes, and we didn’t have any issue finding street parking across from the Movenpick.

To give you a sense of how the town and the historical site are oriented, here’s a picture taken from a hill above Petra, which I’ve added labels to.

It’s about 2 kilometers from the Petra Visitor’s Center to the Treasury, to give you a sense of the distances. The Treasury itself is only about halfway down the main road into Petra — you’ll go another 2 kilometers to the end of the main road where you can see some of the other key sites.

You’re looking at a minimum of 5 miles of walking if you stay on the main road and don’t explore any of the side trails, so keep that in mind when choosing your footwear!

Continue Reading »

Review: Petra Marriott Hotel

Marriott-Petra-Jordan-29

After a full day in Wadi Rum we headed north to the town of Wadi Musa, where Petra is located.

It was an easy drive along highways we’d traversed the day prior (how was it only a day?!), so even with a brief maintenance stop it only took ~90 minutes from leaving Wadi Rum to arriving at the Marriott.

As I mentioned in the introduction, I’d booked the Marriott Hotel Petra during the Black Friday sale. We paid $95 + tax for each of our two nights. This is a Category 4 hotel though, so you could also use:

• Anniversary certificates from the credit card
• 20,000 Marriott Rewards points (15,000 on PointSavers)
• 6,667 Starwood Preferred Guest points

Continue Reading »

Review: Glamping In Wadi Rum

Wadi-Rum-10

Now you’d think, given that we were just up the hill in Little Petra, that Petra itself would be our next stop. Instead, we stopped for lunch in Wadi Musa (and worked for a few hours, I couldn’t help it!), before continuing south to Wadi Rum.

We arrived in Wadi Rum as the sun was starting to set, which made for a beautiful drive in.

I’ve already detailed the adventures of getting walked from our previously-booked Airbnb in Wadi Rum, so won’t go into that here, but you’ll want to read it if you haven’t yet voiced your opinion on the scam/no scam question. Instead, I’ll review the camp we actually stayed at — the Teva Milky Way camp.

Continue Reading »

The Sharah Mountains & Little Petra

Little-Petra-Jordan-04

This will be a shorter post (“Thank goodness!” I can hear you saying, “We just read 3,000 words about a freezing cave masquerading as a hotel.”), but I wanted to highlight another of the drives we took in Jordan, and the site of “Little Petra,” which is less-visited than the larger complex just a few miles away.

As we were packing up to leave Feynan Ecolodge, one of the hosts asked where we were headed. We explained we were going to Wadi Rum, but hadn’t decided which road to take. His eyes lit up as he insisted “You must go via Wadi Namla! It is the most beautiful road in Jordan.”

That seemed like a great endorsement, so with a few more instructions “Google Maps knows the way” and “ignore the ‘road closed’ sign” we jumped in the car.

Continue Reading »

Review: Feynan Ecolodge

Feynan-Ecolodge-Jordan-Review-13

One of the things we wanted to do in Jordan was explore the natural landscapes. Jordan is a beautiful country, with several diverse protected areas. The largest is the Dana Biosphere Reserve, which has a variety of archaeological sites in addition to stunning landscapes.

Feynan Ecolodge is owned by the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature, but everything is run and managed through Ecohotels, with a very strong emphasis on sustainability. Nearly all the staff comes from the local Bedouin community in Dana, which makes for a unique experience, and a nice way to support people directly.

There are a few ways to get to the ecolodge. If you aren’t self-driving, a great choice would be to start in Dana Village to the East of the Reserve. You could even spend the night there (the Dana Guesthouse would be my recommendation), and then hike through Wadi Dana to Feynan. You can easily arrange for your luggage to be driven to Feynan by the locals, which makes this a convenient option.

Continue Reading »

Driving The King’s Highway In Jordan

Shoubak-10

There are three near-parallel highways running North > South in the central part of Jordan. The most-traveled skirts the shore of the Dead Sea, while the Desert Highway runs to the East. Either would take you from Amman to Aqaba (on the Red Sea), in about four hours of easy driving. Between these two highways lies the old “King’s Highway,” an ancient roadway that winds through mountain towns and around tiny villages.

If you have the time, this is the road to take.

We were starting our day in Madaba, not in Amman (and I recommend you do the same, or at least start at the Dead Sea), and would be ending in the Dana Biosphere Reserve. The more direct route along the Dead Sea would have taken about three hours of driving, our more circuitous route took all day, but was full of scenic vistas and ruins.

Continue Reading »

Review: Mosaic City Hotel Madaba Jordan

Madaba-Hotel-Review-18

If you look at a map of Jordan, it becomes immediately apparent that the airport isn’t particularly close to the hotels of central Amman, and that most of the things you’ll want to see are South of the airport anyway.

Based on that and some recommendations from others, we decided to save Amman for the end of our trip, and instead booked our first night in the town of Madaba.

Even in the middle of the night with poor directions the drive to Madaba took less time than driving into Amman, so I think this was a good choice. Similarly, if you are planning on going to the Dead Sea, I would also consider heading there immediately versus dallying in Amman.

Continue Reading »

Review: Emirates First Class 777-300ER Dubai To Amman

Emirates-777-first-class-28

Surprisingly, this was my first time actually transiting in Dubai. Like this one, my previous trips on Emirates had been booked through Alaska Mileage Plan, which allows free stopovers at partner hubs on award tickets.

A stopover wasn’t really a compelling option on this trip, given we’d already delayed our original departure, but we still considered an overnight. And then I looked at the flight schedules.

Emirates has two different aircraft types serving the Dubai > Amman route. They’re both Boeing 777s, but the configurations are different depending on the day and time.

It’s only a ~1,200 mile flight, so it doesn’t matter tremendously, but if your schedule allows you want to choose the 77W plane with this seat map:

Continue Reading »