Author: billyfreeze

Going to Vegas on the Cheap

I just did a trip to Vegas for $250. I didn’t go to any time share meetings and didn’t stay with anyone’s family. I didn’t drive there and I didn’t sleep under a bridge. I flew there, watched two great shows and stayed in an amazing hotel. Let me tell you how I did it. I’m a travel addict. I somehow have managed to squeeze in trips in whenever there’s a lull in my schedule. Even if it’s a quick trip to Austin or San Antonio from my home town of Houston, I’ll take to the highway for dinner on the Riverwalk or to watch the bats fly off under the Congress bridge for their nightly feeding. I’ve stayed everywhere and done everything to the point that traveling to these places has started to feel a little like being at home. Being at home is not what I’m looking for, unless of course, I’m at home. Two weeks ago I took a 48 hour trip to Vegas. It didn’t cost very much more than a San Antonio trip and it took about the same amount of time to get there. When I mentioned that I was going to Vegas for just 2 days many of my friends were surprised. I suppose that a lot of people look at Vegas as a “real vacation” or a place to get married...

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Hack Your Travel : Part 1- Getting on a Plane

I travel a lot. I sometimes feel like I’ve been on more planes than Edward Norton in Fight Club. After so many departure lounges and security checks, I started realizing that I had started evolving into a different kind of traveler.  I was doing things different than most of the other passengers. They looked crazed and panicky; I was chilled and relaxed. I decide to write a list for you that can make your travel less stressful. If you do these things, you will become instantly cooler and feel happier at the airport. You have my word as a gentleman….yeah, right. 1. Security– No one likes security checks at airports. Seemingly normal people turn into idiots as soon as they get to the conveyor belt. Don’t want to spend unnecessary time on the wrong side of the checkpoint. Wear flip flops or shoes that slip on and off easily. Don’t wear a belt with metal in it. Put your phone, keys, wallet and change inside your bag before you even get to the belt. You will be 3 times faster than everyone else and the smartest person in the room. 2. Be last– As soon as the plane starts boarding, people start lining up like a wildebeest migration. They stand in line for  20-something minutes worried that they won’t have room for their luggage or someone will take their...

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Why Fall is a Great Time to Visit Europe

(Christmas Market in Jena, Germany Every year around September I start seeing the deals. The kids are back in school, the traveling hordes of Americans slows to a crawl and Europe goes on sale. The cruise ships don’t stick around for long. As soon as it gets a little chilly, they start “repositioning” and heading for warmer waters. Hotels that were  turning away tourists in July start selling their rooms with package tours, airlines drop prices and that’s when the fun begins. When I tell my friends that I’m going to Europe in November, they immediately show this look of concern and ask me “isn’t it cold over there”? I explain that they need to understand that  Europe is not exactly the North Pole (unless you’re in Northern Finland; but that’s a whole different story we’ll get into later) and the people who live in Europe every day don’t exactly seem to be dropping dead of hypothermia. The truth is, I love Europe in the fall and it’s one of the best times to go. Prices are low, crowds are low and the people that live there are a little happier to have you there. Just remember to bring a jacket. I’ve seen airline prices drop by half and even to a 3rd of ordinary summer prices when November rolls around.  I paid $1400 to travel from Houston...

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A Strange Ride in Laos

It was a warm night in the town of  Luang Prabang. My traveling companions and I had just polished off some amazing Laotian barbecue and thought we’d have a little fun at one of the night clubs down the street from our hotel.I had forgotten my phone at the hotel and told Jeff and Kerry I’d meet them at the club in a few minutes. It was a good 10 minute walk to the hotel. I hurried so I wouldn’t miss out on anything. I got to the room, grabbed my stuff and walked out to the front of the hotel. That’s when I saw her. It’s not uncommon to see a girl on a motorcycle in Asia. A lot of people ride bikes, many of them women, but they are usually covered with a helmet or face mask. This girl was not. She had long flowing raven hair like some sort of shampoo ad. I felt like I was watching one of those slow motion commercials as she drove past me. She was dressed to the nines. I couldn’t help staring at her. She commanded the street. She looked at me. I looked at her. Then she stopped. There wasn’t much talking. She motioned me to get on the bike. I was agog. Did she really want to give me a ride? Was I dreaming? “Why not?” I...

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What? You Haven’t Been to Bruges?

I was drinking a beer at a local bar the other night and as some of the regular patrons started chatting with me about things they would never remember later, we somehow started talking about Belgium. Let me rephrase that. There was Belgian ale on tap. They served it in a Bud light glass and that’s how it all got started. There are infinite segues that will get me started talking about travel and that was the only cue I needed. Belgium is like no other country I have ever been to when it comes to beer….and chocolate….and waffles…and mussels. The more I think about it, the more delicious things come to mind when I talk about Belgium. Oops! I forgot about french fries! Belgium invented them. Bruges is one of my favorite places in Europe. The town is charming with it’s old belfry tower and square, Venicesque waterways and cute little shops. It’s a town where you can just sit, watch people go by and not get bored. When I first saw the Colin Farrel movie “In Bruges”, I knew I needed to go there. I was not disappointed. I’ve found myself going back countless times and have inspired others to add it to their travel itineraries. If you’re reading this, and you are….add it to your list. It’s also a UNESCO world heritage site if you need...

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