Natalie’s 1st Commercial | Stockholm, Sweden | How to Upgrade for Less on SAS

2 years ago

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This week: Stockholm for TBEX, my SAS trip report (including how to get upgraded for less), Natalie's SPGAmex commercial, Nice, and more.
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Where's Johnny Jet?

Greetings from Connecticut! If you're following me on FacebookInstagram and/or Twitter, you know I was in Sweden for a long weekend. Thanks to T-Mobile, I was able to Periscope and Facebook Live without Wi-Fi—since they're offering free 4G for the summer! It makes such a difference staying connected and sharing travels in real time.
Stockholm, Sweden
I was in Stockholm to attend the TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference and to try to figure out what the heck that Volvo commercial is all about. You have to love going to Scandinavia in the summer since the weather is typically ideal, the people are happy and the days are long. The sun sets around 11 pm and rises again around 3:30 am, so if/when you go, bring an eye mask just in case your hotel doesn’t have decent blackout curtains. Also, be sure to wear excellent walking shoes since it’s easy to get around on foot. I walked around 20,000 steps a day.
SAS’ new business class
The organizers booked me on SAS, which I hadn’t flown for several years (since 2010, actually). Now that I'm back on the ground, I've written a full trip report on the experience that includes how I figured out the cheapest way to get upgraded into their new business class. If you want to make your trip across the pond as easy as can be, you should seriously consider the options I list. The post also has my thoughts on the new Haymarket Hotel, which contributor Bruce Northam recently stayed in, too; his story is below in the contributor section.
Natalie’s SPGAmex commercial
Natalie wasn’t with me this trip since it was last-minute and because she was in Toronto for a baby shower her friends and family threw (she’s due in early October!). And in more exciting Natalie news: The commercial she filmed for the Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express just dropped. You can watch it here. I know I’m biased but I think she did an amazing job. You?
Turkey, Nice and America
As we were reminded this past week, the world is a crazy place. I don’t know if it’s always been this insane or if things have been amplified with the rise of smartphones and social media, but it seems like every day, there’s more horrible news. First, it was the horrific incident in Nice, France, and then it was the attempted coup in Turkey.
If you get my Daily Travel Tip newsletter, you know I just wrote a post titled “What To Do If You Have a Turkish Airlines Ticket." Now that the FAA has lifted the ban on flights from Istanbul into the US, you won’t get a refund on any Turkey-US flights, but if you have travel insurance (ahem, I work with Allianz) and bought a “cancel for any reason” policy, you can still cancel your ticket if you’re afraid to travel to or via Istanbul. I probably wouldn’t go to the touristy spots in Turkey for a while, but I would go to France. If you’re really worried about terrorism, go to Iceland as they have to be the safest of all. Plus they have amazing deals like this one.
I really hope you don’t let the bad guys scare you. In fact, the reason my trip to Sweden was so last-minute was that after the recent uptick in terrorism, I had many friends express their fears about going across the pond—and so I decided to travel more to Europe. I think the people of the (particularly western) world need to continue on with their daily lives, because the moment we stop doing what we normally do, they win.
Speaking of terrorism: My colleague Joe Brancatelli wrote an excellent article about how other governments view the United States. Did you know the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs warns their citizens traveling to the USA: "Mass shootings continue to occur in public places." The Bahamian government notes that we are plagued by "racial tensions" and "shootings of young black males by police officers." The French and German governments urge their citizens not to fight back if terrorized by someone with a firearm. Bahrain tells its travelers to avoid protests and crowded areas while the United Arab Emirates cautions its travelers to avoid traditional dress because one of its citizens was hospitalized when a hotel clerk accused him of terrorism and armed cops later roughed him up. 
So while many Americans are scared to leave American soil, many foreigners are afraid of traveling to the US. Something to think about. 
Scottevest: Great travel clothing, as usual
Be sure to check out our sponsor’s clothing line! I’m sure you (or your favorite traveler) will love their multiple hidden pockets, which not only keep valuables safe but can also act as an extra carry-on! I'm a huge fan and use their products every time I travel. Here’s the link to their innovative website.

Travel Deals

This week's deals include: 
-Roundtrip flights to Macau from six cities: $660-$790
-$69* & up: one-way fares from 47 US cities with Alaska Airlines
-$1199: Hawaii 10-night cruise
-Want to be the first to hear about these deals—and more? Sign up for our Travel Deals newsletter here!

Travel News

This week’s news includes: 
-Cruise lines cancel calls in Nice in wake of attack
-CT Scanners Could End the Liquid Ban, And They’re Coming to Phoenix This Year
-Luxury Cruise Ship 'Aqua Amazon' Sinks in Accident
-More news >>

Website of the Week

Unless you’re on top of email like a Wall Street assistant, it's hard to grab the good flight deals in time. That's why I signed up for alerts from Dealray.
More >>

Travel Style

Writer and photographer Yulia Denisyuk was born in Kazakhstan, grew up in Estonia and now lives in the US.
More >>

Tweeter of the Week

The world is going bananas over Pokemon Go. If you play, keep this in mind.
-Want once-daily tips in your inbox? Sign up for our Daily Travel Tip newsletter here!

Video of the Week

This video from Bangkok—filmed by a victim of theft, Eric Lau, a tourist from Hong Kong—shows just how quickly belongings can disappear.
More >>

Product of the Week

If you’re staying in a hotel, B&B or rental that doesn’t have air conditioning, and it's hot, you need to check out the ChiliPad. 
More >>

Instagram of the Week

Jack Morris is a 25-year-old Instagram influencer from Britain with over a million followers. If you want to get inspired or jealous, check out his feed.
More >>

App of the Week

Grabr is an on-demand app that promises to deliver hard-to-get international goods fast and direct by using trusted travelers as couriers.
More >>

Travel Contests

-Win a $5,000 trip for two to Monaco
-Win a family vacation
-Win a 4-night trip for two to Britain
-More contests >>

Webcam of the Week

Martha’s Vineyard is less than 30 miles away from Nantucket, one of my favorite summer destinations. It’s still as beautiful as it was when I was a kid.
More >>

Contributor stories

Travel Book of the Week

Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia has empowered millions to search for their best selves.

The Haymarket: Stockholm's Instant Classic

Sweden’s new Haymarket hotel—where I stayed this past weekend—is a multi-faceted destination in itself. Bruce Northam has his own take.
More >>

JJ on The Tech Guy

Miss me last Saturday? I'll be appearing on Leo Laporte's The Tech Guy—in my regular role as guest—this Saturday at 3:30 pm ET. You can tune in live here!

The Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina's $107 Million Renovation is Complete

The waterfront location and recent $107 million renovation at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina’s truly make the place one of a kind.
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Natalie's Corner

As noted above, Natalie has partnered with SPGAmex to share travel tips that help her make the most out of a business trip. Here's her post.
More >>

More Americans to Use Sharing Economy Services in Summer 2016

New research shows more Americans are becoming more trusting of non-traditional travel services like Airbnb, Uber and Lyft this summer.
More >>
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