Author: OneWorldTwoExplorers

Welcome to the Philippines

Wow. I thought we may never make it here. We’re off to a rough start to the trip but WE’RE HERE! Long story short, we got stuck overnight in Phoenix as our departing flight from Atlanta was delayed. Originally they didn’t have any availability on any AM flights that would get us to LAX in time to make our flight to Tokyo. With the American Airlines One World Explorer awards tickets that we have, we’re allowed to make changes to our itinerary but only if award seats are available on a given flight. There were plenty of seats on daily flights between LAX and Tokyo but NO seats for the next week from Tokyo to Manila which would have thrown off our whole trip by at least a week. Luckily with a few tears, some patience, and persistent begging, the gate agent finally found us the last two seats on the 6:00am flight. I have a feeling this may become a recipe for success during our trip. After passing through Tokyo for an extended 24 hour layover and eating sushi, visiting a fish market, and mastering the …

Here we go…

It’s official. We’re unemployed, packed, and ready to hit the road. ATL>PHX>LAX>TYO>MNL>PPS here we come. Thank God this is the longest leg of our trip.   Our official itinerary through American Airlines is basically as follows though we plan to make adjustments and deviations along the way. Los Angeles, CA Tokyo, Japan Manila, Philippines: gateway to El Nido, Philippines Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: gateway to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar  Mumbai, India Doha, Qata: glorified layover Nairobi, Kenya: gateway to the Serengeti  in Northern Tanzania Dubai, UAE: glorified layover Amman, Jordan: gateway to Israel New York, New York: homeward bound! Bon voyage!

American Airlines Discontinues OneWorld Explorer Awards

My initial instinct was that the American Airlines distance based OneWorld Explorer Awards were too good to be true and it turns out that this will be the case for many. As of April 7, 2014 American Airlines has discontinued OneWorld Explorer Awards with zero advanced notification to customers. When attempting to access the former awards chart, customers are greeted with this friendly message from AA: The former awards chart below was one of the best values available for rewards travel. I posted just one day prior to the discontinuation about How to Travel the World for $250 using this fare. The distance based fare allowed you to fly any One World Alliance airline up to 16 segments around the world in a single direction. With the US Airways merger, I expect that this is simply the first of many changes that will be coming down from American Airlines. Luckily we booked our trip prior to April 7, 2014 and our itinerary will still be honored but I’m sure there are many others out there …

OneWorld Explorer Awards: Traveling the World for Under $250 USD

When I first started researching options for round-the-world travel and came across the OneWorld alliance Explorer Award chart, I thought it was too good to be true. Up until the minute that I saw our status turn to ‘ticketed’ online, I still didn’t have 100% faith that everything would work out. In the end, it did! We traded in 120,000 miles and just under $250 each for approximatly 25,000 miles through OneWorld partner airlines. We are now just a few short weeks away from hoping on a plane for a three month round-the-world journey. There are many great resources online (some of our favorites are listed below) giving the details of these complicated fares. Despite our endless research, there were still 5 things that we didn’t have advance knowledge of that in hindsight would have been very helpful. 1. You may start and end your trip in different cities, BUT this is considered an open jaw. An open jaw is any leg of your flight where you are arriving and departing from different cities (i.e. you …

Bali, Indonesia: 5 Things NOT to do

While we absolutely loved our time in Bali, Indonesia, here are the things that looking back we wish we had done differently. 1. Don’t go to Bali solely for the beaches There are so many beautiful things to see in Bali that it would be a waste to spend all of your time on the beach. And honestly, the beaches are not the most impressive in the world. We didn’t make it to the southern portion of the island which I hear has much nicer beaches, but even still I think that if you’re looking for a beach vacation then Bali is not the right designation for you. 2. Don’t go to the Monkey Forest A lot of people may disagree with this one (including Jake), but this place was NOT for me. The monkeys in Bali are Macaques which are not known to be the friendliest species of monkey. They are extremely aggressive and will not hesitate to jump on you, attempt to steal your camera, sunglasses, water bottle, etc., or even worse bite you. …

Bali, Indonesia: 5 Things You Must Do

Bali is one of the most incredible, unique and diverse destinations in the world. Though extensive tourism has caused some areas to lose their magic, there are still plenty of off the beaten path destinations worthy of exploration on this Island of the Gods. 1. Soak in the Balinese Hindu Culture While Indonesia is primarily an Islamic country (~88% of the country is Muslim), 93% of the population on the island of Bali is Hindu. The Balinese Hindu culture is peaceful and beautiful and the people you’ll meet here are some of the nicest and most trustworthy to be found. One thing in particular that shocked us was their trustworthy nature. Our driver for example didn’t even attempt to collect any payment for our full day tours and airport transfers until dropping us off at the airport on the last day. He simply trusted that we would return each day and pay in full in the end. I was also shocked at how safe I felt as I arrived and spent the first two days as …

Morocco: 5 Things NOT to do

During our Morocco trip, there were definitely some things that we learned and looking back we wish we had done differently. 1. Don’t book a medina tour in Fes or accept the help or guidance of anyone you’re not willing to pay The touts in Fes are absolutely relentless. Anyone who is offering to help show you where <insert Fes attraction here> is located is expecting you to pay. Yes, even if they state clearly otherwise. Yes, even the 7 year old boy. Yes, they will lie to you and tell you you’re going the wrong way even when you aren’t. Don’t fall for it. Plus, getting lost and exploring is all part of the fun. Remember, you’ll always be able to find your way if you follow tip number two. 2. Don’t book hotels in advance There are so many hotels, riads, B&B’s and hostels in Morocco that it feels impossible to select just a few for your trip. We reserved 2 of our 4 stays in advance and secured the others after arrival. …

Morocco: 5 Things You Must Do

Looking back on our trip to Morocco, there are so many things that I wish I had known prior to our trip. Here are our must do’s. 1. Make the trip to Merzouga Yes, I know it’s an excruciatingly long drive and yes, I know it’s out of the way of virtually everything in Morocco. When you fall asleep under the starts and wake up and see the sunrise over the dunes of the Sahara, you’ll thank yourself. We booked our camel trip the same day through Mohaventura and could not have been happier. I highly recommend booking through Moha. They also have an auberge called Le Petit Prince that can be booked either before or after your trip. While we did not stay here, the others who did seem to really enjoy the experience and hospitality offered by Moha and his family. 2. Invest in a SIM card upon arrival Make this your first purchase in Morocco. We were hesitant on this initially thinking we would be fine without it, but it saved us …