Dominican TreeHouse Village 3-night Package Special

One of our most popular posts with you who thirst for worldwide adventure was our outline of a unique experience that few have had the opportunity to enjoy – a week in the Dominican Tree House Village - a jungle wonderland where you can have the thrill of being deep in the rainforest without sacrificing cleanliness, comfort, or good food.

Now we’re excited to bring to you an offer that will get you prioritizing your vacation planning process and locking down some flights to the Dominican Republic as soon as possible.  Here it is, plain and simple: 3 nights for two in a private tree house cabana with breakfast and dinner included along with non-alcoholic drinks.  Also included is your choice of one of the standard tour activities for the two of you and a 40-minute couples massage. The standard price on this package is $800, but in this WorldWanderlusting exclusive we can offer it for only $600 (including all taxes and fees) when you put down your $100 deposit before November 15th. (This offer is subject to availability and dates will fill up fast). The remaining $500 will be paid on site.

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I just have to reiterate that the experience you’ll have here is really one of a kind.  The property itself is awe-inspiring and the setting is really unmatched.  The staff treats its guests with such class and courteousness, you’ll find yourself wondering if you’re at the Ritz Carlton.

How do we book it?

The good news is that you don’t have to have your dates selected right away – you can figure that out over the next couple of months – but you do need to put your $100 deposit down before November 15th. If you decide it’s not going to work for you, this deposit is refundable less the 4% PayPal fee, so you’re only putting $4 at risk by locking down this offer right now.

The only way to get this offer is to book it via WorldWanderlusting on this post, with this button, via PayPal.

DOMINICAN TREEHOUSE VILLAGE                                                         3-NIGHT, 2-PERSON PACKAGE FOR $600                                                                             $100 DEPOSIT, PAY $500 ON SITE

What else can we do while we’re there?

As I mentioned, your package includes one of these standard tour activities, and you’ll probably want to take in at least one other while you’re there.

Samana Zipline – Walk the plank from the shipwreck atop the hill to begin this awesome 14-platform zipline tour that takes you down the gorge above the village at speeds of up to 40 mph. Normally $75/pp

Dune Buggy Excursion – Climb onboard a dune buggy to see Samana in a most-adventuresome way. This tour will last 4 hours and take you to some of the area’s highlights. Normally $75/pp

Whale Watching/Sail Bay Snorkel Trip – Hopefully you’re here while the Humpback whales are and we can take you to get up close and personal with them. Afterward you’ll enjoy snorkeling the reef of Sail Bay. Normally $75/ppDR 6

Horseback Ride to El Limon Waterfall – One look at El Limon and you’ll be enthralled. This may be the waterfall highlight of the island if not the Caribbean and we’ll take you right to it. Normally $75/pp

Beyond these activities, there are so many things to do, much of which is free or very inexpensive.  El Valle beach is just a few minutes away and it’s the kind of gorgeous lonely beach you could spend an entire day on.

DR 5The village has an enormous eco-lodge, a yoga studio, social swings, and hanging beds for movies in the jungle. You could spend hours just touring the grounds themselves where there are an abundance of flowers, fruits, and so much plant and animal life.  In the heat of the afternoon, you can take a dip in the nearby waterfall, and swing on the rope swing if you’re feeling adventurous.

And it may not hurt to just spend some time reading in a hammock and enjoying the setting… the bottom line is you will not hurt for things to do.

What else should we see in the Dominican Republic?

Would you believe that we’ve posted about this before? Check out this post on what else to see in the DR.

Can you show us how to get our flights almost-free?

We were wondering when you’d ask.  We wouldn’t be WorldWanderlusting if we didn’t do that. You may remember that we’ve often promoted the The US Airways Premier World MasterCard® .  We’re being a little more aggressive in pushing this offer because there’s a sense that it won’t be around for long as US Airways is in the process of merging with American Airlines.

We love it because it’s not one of these offers that require you to spend a whole bunch of money on the card.  You actually qualify for your bonus miles after making the very first purchase… and they’re not shy with the bonus miles, either… they give you 40k of them!

As you can see from the US Airways mileage redemption chart, 40k should be able to get you to the Caribbean – especially considering that having the card gets you a 5k point discount on redemptions, so if both you and your spouse or your travel partner apply, you’ll be ready to go.  Now, here’s the catch… you do have to pay the $89 fee and for the taxes on your flight… so you may be into your flights about $150… now that’s not bad considering that they’d normally cost at least $600, but I just want you to be aware.

Apply for the The US Airways Premier World MasterCard® and start planning your trip right away.

DR 3

Posted in Barclays, Caribbean, Cheap Honeymoons, Island Vacations, US Airways | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

You catch a lot more flies with honey than you do with vinegar

In life it seems like it is so easy to grab someone by the throat and yell at them when they don’t tell you what you’d like to hear.  Frankly this is the best option in rare scenarios, but sometimes it takes a soft approach to get what you’d like.  Think about it, when your kids throw a fit are you more likely to help them, or do you want to leave them in Wal-Mart with the people of Wal-Mart to care for them?  I’ve been tempted to leave my son behind a few times….

Tonight I was faced with a peculiar circumstance.  A close friend called me up and explained that they weren’t going to be able to take an upcoming flight due to a medical circumstance.  The knee-jerk reaction was to call customer service, right? Wrong.  The scripted CSR replied that a change in itinerary would result in a $200 change fee.  OUCH!

How do they dare charge you $200 because you just got diagnosed with cancer?  I took it upon myself to contact the real Customer Service team (@deltaassist) on Twitter.  We’ve talked about this before and explained that the best Customer Service is found on Twitter.

What was the title of this post?

Sorry if you’re confused about the title of this post.  It just basically means that you’ll get much farther with being nice, sweet, and loving to the customer service reps than you will being a grump.  Just like your child from the beginning, remember?

My tweet mentioned that this person had been recently diagnosed with cancer and she was hoping to move the flight to another time later when she wasn’t in the middle of her treatments.

Her name is XXXXXX and the confirmation number is *********.  She recently had her thyroid removed & now is prepping for radiation treatment.  Can you please waive the change fees?

Boom.  It was done before I knew it.  She had dropped the ticket, and given a voucher that could be used for up to 8 months from today without even flinching.  A simple please and a soft approach did much more than a fist to the jugular.

That Was Easy

Already we were worlds ahead of the initial phone call to customer service that took 4 times as long.  Victory was ours and we had saved $200.

The idea behind a change fee does make sense.  It is tough to think that you’ve got a full flight when people are changing their flights at the last minute.  However, our circumstances were different.  An unforeseen medical condition had made travel extremely difficult.  Fortunately the CSR understood and was able to make a special adjustment for us.

Wait….There is More….

Somehow Delta scores extra points late in the game with their response to our next request.  We had this great idea that we could send her son on this vacation instead of putting the entire trip off to a later date.  We knew we were biting off more than we could chew.

Sheepishly I fired up my twitter account again to visit with the CSR about ANOTHER potential change.  I made sure to start off with something really appreciative showing that they had already made our day with their current decision.  It went something like this…

Thank you for all of your help tonight.  You’ve been most helpful.  Sally hasn’t been feeling well, and we appreciate you making the change.  This does present a different complication in that my wife was supposed to travel with Sally, who was going to help her with our two children.  They are ages 3 and 1.  Having someone go would be so helpful, is there any way that Sally’s son could take her place?

The response came back quickly and cold.

Unfortunately tickets can’t be changed to other people’s names.  I’m sorry.

I was stunned, but not knocked out.  I came back with a simple response:

Dang.  Is that some kind of law or a company policy?

Silence filled the airways for about 10 minutes.  I was about to waive the white flag of surrender when the response came back.

I’ll make an exception & change the ticket name, what is his name and date of birth?

This was a big victory for us.  My wife was going to have a helper on her trip, no change fees would be paid, and Delta filled the seat that they had already sold to Sally.  It seems like everyone was a winner at the end of the day.  Fortunately my patience and understanding paid off.

What did you learn today?

Basically we’ve covered the fact that being SUPER nice to the CSR’s on Twitter is definitely the way to handle a special circumstance like this.  Tell them that you appreciate them and how great they are.  When all was said and done I sent out a shout-out tweet to them like this:

@deltaassist is the bomb.  These guys really go above and beyond.  Thank you @delta!

It is the small things that can really happen if you’re nice to these people who have the power to help you.  Remember that you’ll catch a lot more flies with honey than you will with vinegar!

Posted in Delta, How to Wanderlust, Travel Tips, Travel Tricks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to get business travel for free (and still write it off)

First, I need to establish that I’m giving travel advice in this article, not tax advice.  I’m not qualified or licensed to give tax advice, and I’m treading a thin line in this article.  Even so, I want to share with you an idea that I think you’ll be pretty excited about because it takes an incredible travel reward bonus opportunity and makes it even better.

Many people I know tend to mix business and pleasure travel. It’s a beautiful thing – something I, too, indulge in.  In fact, this same time last week I was on the beach in St. Petersburg, paddleboarding in the swales of the Gulf Coast outside the beautiful Don Cesar Hotel. It was a business trip – an opportunity to hone my investment management skills – but I brought Nicole along, so we took advantage of some of the off time to enjoy the setting.

St Pete beach paddleboard

Nicole paddleboarding at the Don Cesar on St Pete beach

Before I go too much further, I need to say that you must stay at the Don Cesar Hotel in St. Petersburg at some point in your lifetime. If it were just a historic hotel it would be great.  If it were just a beautiful beachside resort, it would be great.  If it were just a Loews property with excellent staff and the plushest of beds, it would be great. But it really is all three of these things and more.  Coming from a guy who never spends money on hotels, I’d tell you that this is a hotel that it’s worth it to spend money on – particularly when it’s reimbursed and deductible. :)

Anyways, on this trip I also brought along my Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard® – what’s become my absolute favorite “bank points” card – a card that gives me cash reimbursement for travel expenses, and also one that accumulates at a rate of 2:1 and includes a 10% point kick-back when points are redeemed.  The net effect is 2.22% cash back for travel – hands down the best benefit out there when it comes to points that have maximum flexibility. There’s no complicated grid of hotel categories or airline ticket point scales, just easy points for cash redemption.

I brought it because I knew I’d be staying at the Don Cesar, a Loews Resort Hotel, and despite having an Awardwallet that’s brimming with points, I don’t have any free stays with the YouFirst program. Now, that actually works out for me, though, because where this is a work expense, I’d like to be able to write it off… and if I had hotel points that made it free, I wouldn’t have any record of having paid for it.

The way it worked out, though, is that my card was billed $400.  When I first got the card, the 40k bonus points I recieved for spending $3k in the first 3 months would have been enough to pay for all of our stay, but I had blown those long ago.  Even so, I’ve been able to spend a fair amount on the card over the last few months and accumulated about 20k points that allowed me to reimburse $200 of the $400 charge on my card.

As it stands, I still have a tax-deductible expense, and my savvy use of credit card travel rewards allows me to write it off and get it reimbursed.

Now on to the reason we even have this blog in the first place… you can do this, too! Particularly if you have a significant amount in monthly spending to put on this card, this is a way you can really maximize your free travel.

 Better than American Express Membership Rewards

Far too many business owners rack up tens of thousands and even hundreds of thousands of points in the American Express Membership Rewards program.  As a general rule, that program runs at a rate of 1 point per dollar spent… so right off the bat the Barclaycard Arrival takes the lead in offering 2 points per dollar, plus the 10%.

To look at an example, consider that if you spent $5k/month on an American Express which earns membership rewards, you’d rack up 60k/year.

If you spent the same amount on the Barclaycard Arrival Plus™ World Elite MasterCard®, you’d earn 120k/year and upon redeeming them, earn 12k more.  That’s a total of $1,320 in free travel.  If you use it on business travel but still reimburse yourself, consider that your expenses will also still be tax deductible. It’s a win/win/win.

Can I put business expenses on my personal card?

I do want to urge a little caution here because it is possible to get a little out of hand with this.  There are many reasons to keep business expenses on business cards and personal expenses on personal cards – for one, it makes accounting much much simpler.  Even so, you’re responsible for your accounting and so long as you have records of what you spent and why, that’s what is important.

The other factor is that any debt you accumulate on a personal card stays with you if the business defaults.  This shouldn’t be an issue for worldwanderlusters, though, because none of us are actually accumulating ongoing debt.  We use credit cards only as purchasing instruments, not as credit.

That said, again, what’s important is that you keep good records of all of your purchases and appropriately categorize them.

What’s the best way to keep track of my expenses?

One more time we’ll plug Mint.com.  I really could not do what I do with travel credit card rewards if it weren’t for Mint.com.  I have the app on my phone and login on my desktop at least once a week.  I can categorize every dollar of spending and gauge my budget in ways that was never before possible.  This is a tool that I think everyone should use… and they don’t pay me to say that… though I wish they did.  I’d love to get paid for what I want to say anyway.

What’s the catch?

As I tell people every day.  I’ve been doing this for 4 years and I and my family have traveled all over the world and stayed in dozens of hotels, and done much of it for free.  I guess if there is a catch with this card is that while the first year’s annual fee is waived, it is not waived in the later years, so unless you cancel the card you will have to pay the $89 annual fee, though in speaking with a customer service rep, you may be able to change over to a non-annual fee account that only accumulates points at a rate of 1:1.  But aside from that, I couldn’t really tell you.

Posted in Barclays, Florida | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

City Breaks: Traveling on a budget

We all dream of traveling to Europe for short-stay city breaks – reveling in the culturally rich capitals of major European cities such as Barcelona, Rome, London and Munich. But traveling to major cities comes at a cost, and even the most prudent of travelers need to research the areas comprehensively in order to be able to take in all the sights on a set budget.
Airplane-4
So, how do you save money on what can be a potentially expensive city break?
Be savvy when looking for budget airlines
Although it has been well documented that smaller airlines try and impose extra taxes on cheap short-haul flights, there are also plenty of good deals out there for flyers. If you research fully and make sure that you read all the details of any extra charges than you could possibly incur, then you could well bag yourself a bargain.
For a more in depth look at what you may encounter flying with budget airlines, check out The Economist’s article on
Utilizing short-stay parking options for efficient and cost effective travel
In all major airports today, you’ll find short-stay parking options that can be pre-booked at an affordable rate. These can be purchased on a day-by-day basis instead of having to fork out for a whole week like at the expensive independent travel services that will be on offer in the surrounding areas of airports. Parking4Less, a company based in the UK, says that at Heathrow airport in London, their short-stay parking also provides flyers with free shuttles to their terminals of choice.
Be sure to check the airport that you are departing from for further details on such services. Usually these free shuttles are in the form of either buses or trains.
If you want to extend your stay, look at rail tickets
For the people that want to travel to a multitude of cities in a short space of time, its worth purchasing rail tickets between countries as opposed to airfare. There are plenty of deals out there for the prudent traveler but websites such as Rail Europe are often used by the most experienced of European travelers.
Sign up to hotel mailing lists
Being on a multitude of hotels mailing lists will enable you to source out any cheap deals that are being offered and then you can effectively plan your trip around these bargain packages.
Travel in the off-season
Everyone knows the perils of flying during peak-season – with children off school, prices get bumped up. Traveling during the off-season gives you more of an opportunity to chance upon inexpensive travel options.
Avoid the expensive breakfasts
This is a rather trivial tip to say the least but it’s one we have all fallen foul of at some point of our lives. At most hotels around Europe adding breakfast to your room can cost you upwards of €15/$25. Seek out alternative and more affordable options. You can use that money to go to the theatre, watch live sporting events, or even visit a nice restaurant.
And lastly, avoid using cabs especially if you’re traveling to London
We all know how expensive cabs can be but the Telegraph recently published an article that says London has the most expensive cabs in the world. London’s black cabs are revered as one of the city’s most authentic means of travel, however they come at a price. Try and walk as much as you can while away, failing that utilize public transport as it is the most affordable means of travel you’re likely to come across.
This is a guest post about how to save money traveling in Europe. The words aren’t our own, but they are great tips and ones we’ve used ourselves. We don’t pretend to have a corner on all the ideas for inexpensive travel and just want to help connect you to resources that will always help you save money.
Posted in Europe, Guest Post, Travel Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chase Ink Plus 70k Offer

It’s not everyday you see an offer this tempting.  Hitting a bonus of 25,000 miles gives me a little high.  Then, moving up to 40,000 puts me really up there, but hitting a bonus of 70k is like the ultimate high.  Chase has temporarily upped the bonus on the Chase Ink Plus credit card to 70k miles for a limited time only.

The Chase Ink Plus 70k Offer:

Chase Ink 70k

The Offer

The Chase Ink Plus card is a business credit card offered by Chase Bank.

Normally you can get 50,000 bonus points after spending $5000 in the first 3 months of the account opening, but right now they have bumped the offer up an additional 20,000 miles, which makes the total 70,000 miles. This is one of the biggest bonuses I’ve ever seen in my years of following the points and miles world.

How Many Points Per Dollar Do I Earn?

chase ink card

These categories are awesome.  Unless you’re selling to primitive civilizations in Papua New Gunea, you’ll need a cell phone and internet for all businesses.  They’re going to reward you with 5 points per dollar on those expenditures.

Let’s assume that you pay $500 per month between cell phones for your employees, landlines, and internet, which isn’t that far of a stretch for many businesses with a few employees.  This will rake in 2500 points PER MONTH, or 30,000 points per year.  That is at least one flight within the USA every year for just those three categories.  As you can see, the points can really add up quickly.

How Do I Redeem the Points?

chase ink plus 70k

This is the best part about the Ultimate Rewards Program: Flexibility.  Your points can go on a 1:1 ratio to any one of these frequent flyer programs listed above.   My favorites are:

  • SouthWest (for domestic travel)–I just used this when going to Florida in May
  • United Airlines (for international travel)
  • British Airways (for short flights that are partners with the OneWorld alliance)
  • IHG Rewards (for PointBreaks)

But I don’t have a business…..

Are you sure?  A fellow blogger at MillionMileSecrets gives 3 Ways You May Qualify For a Business Credit Card.  Check them out to see if you may qualify for a business credit card somehow, because the offer on this card is SWEET.

Doesn’t it have tons of fees?

Touche.  The card does come with an annual fee of $95 that is NOT waived for the first year.  This is a bummer, but much lower than some American Express credit cards that come with massive annual fees.

If you plan on carrying a balance on the credit cards, consider an alternative method that doesn’t involve lots of interest.  The interest rate on this card is about 15% per year.  Ouch.

Will It Hurt My Credit?

You’ll find that banks are rather hesitant to offer credit cards to businesses, and you probably ask yourself “why”, right?  It turns out that business credit card do NOT show up on personal lines of credit.  However, you will still receive an inquiry on your personal score, so this will have a minimal affect on your score.

This should NOT make anyone think that they can rack up debt on a business credit card and get away without paying the money back.  Credit card companies are smarter and have more resources that you do.  They will get their money from you.  It simply means that the amounts owed won’t show up as a part of your overall personal credit history.

What Other Benefits Does the Card Offer?

ink plus

This car rental benefit is an awesome.  They will be PRIMARY.  This means that you don’t have to make a claim on your own personal car insurance first before the credit card company will actually pay anything.  You’ll find that most credit cards offer a benefit, but it is only SECONDARY to your own personal insurance.

 Will You Get the Chase Ink Plus 70k Offer?

Do you think this offer is worth your attention?  Remember that it is a limited time offer, so if you’re interested you better act soon.

Posted in British Airways, Chase, Chase Ultimate Reward Points, Credit Cards, Ultimate Rewards, United | Leave a comment

3 Easy Ways to Check Your Credit Score for Free

Checking you credit score historically has been tough.  Without paying $30/month for some lame subscription it used to be impossible.  Now there are 3 easy ways for you to check your credit score for free!

1. Check Your Credit Score With Credit Sesame

These guys are awesome.  I’ve subscribed to their service for about four years now.   Their phone app is how I usually access their site, but its services are limited.  With their website you can really unleash the power of this awesome site.  You can find it by clicking Get your free Credit Score and More.

This company gives you a very close estimate of  your Experian credit score.  If you subscribe to the free service, (Which is what I’m recommending.  When do I ever recommend that you pay for anything?) these are a few of the benefits that you’ll receive:

  • Free monthly credit report
  • Free monitoring of your credit report, plus they’ll send you any alerts
  • Free 50k worth of identity theft protection

They try to make money by recommending a refinance, new credit card, or upsell you on their “premium” service plans.  I just ignore all of that stuff and smile about how I’m seeing my score for free.

This site helps you keep track of your credit score, gives you free credit alerts, and a bit of identity theft protection.  It’s not a bad deal at all.  If you don’t subscribe to the service now, you probably will after checking it out.

2. Check Your Credit Score With Credit Karma

check your credit scoreI first learned about these guys after I had discovered CreditSesame.  I thought I had died and gone to Hugh Hefners House when I found Credit Sesame, but Credit Karma was another level.  The services and education offered by Credit Karma is far superior.

This is an imitation of your TransUnion credit score.  These guys give you a full blown report card that give you the answers to the test before you even begin.  This makes passing the test (or having a good credit score) as easy as can be.  It will help you to understand where your credit score comes from and how you can make it even better.  Check it out:

check credit score

Yay! No Derogatory Remarks

Bring a report card like this home to your spouse, and you might get some love!  You can see what it takes to score an A credit limit for each category upon which your credit score is based.  They break down your score into six categories:

  • Credit Card Utilization
  • Payment History
  • Derogatory Remarks
  • Age of Credit History
  • Total Accounts
  • Credit Inquiries

They also busted out a new feature when I logged in today that allows for you to see most of the information on your credit history so you don’t have to spend an hour requesting a fresh copy.

3.  Check Your Credit Score With Your BarclayCard

check your credit scoreWe posted about this a long time ago now that you can see your credit score with any Barclaycard credit card. A few of the Barclaycard credit cards that we really like are:

The US Airways Premier World MasterCard®
Barclaycard Arrival Plus World MasterCard®
The Choice Privileges® Visa® Card
The Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite MasterCard®
The Wyndham Rewards® Visa Signature® Card

This feature also mimics your TransUnion credit score as well.  They use an older method to calculate the estimated score, and becuase they are both estimates sometime you’ll see that they don’t match exactly, but they’re usually pretty close.

These guys don’t provide the report card, the basis for the score or basically anything other than the score itself, so this one probably isn’t the most useful service in the bunch.

Summary

Check out these 3 FREE services that allow you to check your credit score.  What do you think of these services?  Do you like them?  Do you know of other similar services?

Posted in Barclays, Credit Advice, Credit Cards, Credit Sesame | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

CityPass: The Best Way to See the Best of Atlanta

As our faithful readers will recall, I recently made a trip out to Atlanta with my seven year-old son to see Boise State take on Ole Miss in the Chick-Fil-A kickoff game. We had a great time and we took in far more than just the football game.  We were in town for three nights, so we wanted to see as much as we could while we were there.

Atlanta

Go Broncos!

In researching some of the activities, it became clear that two major highlights were the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca Cola. It also became clear that the most cost-effective way to do these things was to get the Altanta CityPass booklet, a combination ticket to some of Atlanta’s greatest tourist destinations. For something like $133 for an adult and a child pass, I could get access to something like 7 different locations for a total of double that value.

Georgia Aquarium

Our first stop was the Georgia Aquarium, which is one of those things that is so highly promoted we could only expect that actually going would be a let down, but it was far from it.  The CityPass also includes access to the dolphin show, which happened to be starting just as we walked in. Somehow they’ve masterfully combined broadway theatrics with Seaworld marine acrobatics in a show that really impressed us. In the middle of it, I had to FaceTime my wife (who, like most girls at one point in their lives, dreamed of being a marine biologist). We didn’t want it to end, but when it did, we found that the rest of the aquarium was just as intriguing.Georgia Aquarium

The second great attraction was the 6.3 million saltwater tank which you can see from every angle imaginable, including from inside a tube. There are no fewer than three whale sharks, some enormous manta rays, a variety of sharks, and various other creatures that captivated us for a solid hour.

The rest of the aquarium includes a pair of beluga whales, some stunning jellyfish, seahorses, eels, and countless other unique wildlife. This was an experience you just wouldn’t expect to find in a city so far inland, but it was a treat and Miles and I would have been satisfied even if that were our only destination.

The World of Coca Cola

There are few who indulge in the marvelous creation that is the carbonated beverage as much as I do. And while Coke isn’t usually my particular attraction, I am one who can appreciate each and every concoction for what it is. But even if I weren’t, the story that is told at the World of Coca Cola is one that anyone will enjoy.atlanta citypass

The entire museum is centered around the idea that Pemberton’s original secret is the best-kept secret in the history of the world, and it’s housed right there in a vault that visitors can see but not touch.

Atlanta City Pass

The vault where the recipe for Coca Cola is safely stored

You learn all about the history of the beverage, including its incredible marketing over the years, which is probably unmatched by any other brand. You see the bottling process in action. And finally, you have a chance to taste an incomparable variety of carbonated beverages which Coke distributes all over the world.

Miles and I spent at least an hour sampling dozens of sweet syrups from every region of the world… and as it happened, my favorite and my least favorite were right next to each other on the European dispenser.  The Mezzo Mix is distributed in Germany, and tastes divine, while the Beverly is distributed in Italy and tastes downright rotten.

When you leave the museum, you’re given a bottle of the very same Coca Cola Classic you had just watched beingmixed, poured, and capped – a tasty souvenier.

The Atlanta History Center

Atlanta is replete with history, from being a major center if not the birthplace of modern golf, to being an integral part of the civil rights movement, you’ll see it all at the Atlanta History Center. We enjoyed the display on the Atlanta Summer Olympics, as well as the Smith Family Farm, which depicted life in the 1800s, but neither was as intriguing as the Swan House, which belonged to a cotton magnate who moved out of the city after the Great Depression, and built a spectacular home.Atlanta History Center

You may recognize the fascade from the movie “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” as it was illuminated with bright colors to be the home of President Snow, and the office which served as exactly that in the movie. Every corner of this home was impressive to look at and we really felt like we were living in the 1930s as we went from room to room.

(Note that with the CityPass, you could also swap this out for Zoo Atlanta).

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Once we had our fill of Atlanta’s more modern history, we went to the Fernbank Museum, which is really a combination of a cultural, science, and natural history.  We started with the IMAX movie (which was also a perk included with the CityPass).  The movie was about Lemurs and kept us captivated for every moment with the story of the lemurs in Madagascar.Atlanta

Once we finished there, we entered the foyer where a pair of massive dinosaur skeletons rise far above visitors heads. Through many other rooms we learned about everything from local geology to mysteries of science, and even participated in a number of hands-on activities like a plasma nebula ball.

CNN Studio Tour

For all my coaxing and manipulation, I couldn’t convince my seven year old to get excited about the idea of touring a news studio. I couldn’t really blame him, so we didn’t make this happen, but we did hear many others offer rave reviews about the experience.

These tours are scheduled, so you do have to call or at least have a plan for getting there when a tour takes place, which is generally on the hour.  You get to see the news channel in full operation and get a much better understanding of how producing these shows works.

Where Else Can You Use CityPass?

We’ve used the CityPass in San Francisco as well, and visited some of the sights on the Boston, Southern California, and Toronto passes, but there are many cities where you can take advantage of the great value and pre-programed itinerary of the CityPass:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Houston
  • New York
  • Philadelphia
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Southern California
  • Tampa Bay
  • Toronto

For more details you can visit http://www.citypass.com/ – This is not a sponsored post and we are only sharing this because it suits our objective of providing ways that you can travel more for less.

Where have you used CityPass? What was your experience like?  We’d love to have you share your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

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