I love Airline Amenity Kits. A Lufthansa First Class Amenity Kit made it’s way to me – after some issues on Austrian Airlines forced a flight change. Amenity Kits are really hit or miss nowadays. You’ve got airlines like EVA and Thai who still offer the beautiful Rimowa kits and then you’ve got United who will sometimes provide a tin. The sign of a good amenity kit for me is two fold: 1) The design itself and it’s reusability and 2) The contents and their immediate usefulness.
I love to reuse an amenity kit. Currently, I’m using a simple Lufthansa Business Class kit to house my various cables while traveling. It’s compact, sturdy and strong. The current First Class Amenity Kit is quite a bit larger and is in a strange quasi-heart shape. The two-toned color looks good at day one, but I’m sure with regular use, the light suede will really start to show the wear.
As you can see there is a folding snap in addition to the proper zip closure. The flap appears to be just decorative, which I don’t care for. It is just another piece to get in my way or get damaged. It does add a nice aesthetic though.
Like any good amenity kit – either in First Class or Business Class, I think you’ve got to have an eye mask, ear plugs and socks. Those are the absolute bare minimums, otherwise it’s just a complete waste. This kit included those items, of course, and they were quite nice. The eye mask included a velcro adjustable strap and the mask itself was quite broad, easily covering the area around my eyes. The earplugs were pretty standard, but they came in a great little carrying case. I think this case was pretty useless, but I thought it really upped the presentation. The socks were traditional thin airline socks, but they were much longer than normal – traditional sock size.
In addition to the minimum requirements, this kit also included a plastic shoe horn, a compact brush and la prairie moisturizing creams. The brush isn’t at all useful for me (have you see a recent picture??), but I love the shoe horn – I keep one in each of my suitcases, backpacks and briefcases. They are strong, compact and lightweight – you can always use a shoe horn. The moisturizing creams were pretty creamy and smelled fresh, but they took a while to properly absorb into your skin. I felt a little greasy. Nice effort – use these before you pull down your eye mask and take a nap.
The contents were spot on for in-flight use, but the kit itself missed the mark for reuse. It was a bit too big for what I would use it for, plus that extra flap just frustrated me. After a few weeks of traveling, I am confident that the light brown suede would look a bit dingy. So unbecoming of a lovely First Class Amenity Kit.
What do you think of this kit? Do you like to reuse the Amenity Kits you get whilst traveling or do you leave them behind? What other purposes do you task you kits with?
Do you get a flu shot? No, I’m going to get into the benefits of the flu shot or venture down the anti-vax rabbit hole, either. When I was younger, I would never get a flu shot. It wasn’t because I liked the flu, or that I thought vaccines were bad. I was young and healthy and never really caught the flu. Plus, I don’t like the idea of medication unless absolutely necessary.
That all changed in 2010. We were planning our trip to Africa and needed quite a few shots before we left. I visited, as I always do before exotic travel, the Northwestern Travel Clinic. I was talking with the nurse about all the vaccines and medications I must get: Typhoid, Yellow Fever and a Tetnus Booster. We also talked about the vaccines I could get: Malaria (not a vaccine, but you get the point) and Rabies. The doctor didn’t recommend the rabies vaccine as it wouldn’t prevent rabies, but just give you an additional 24 hours to find medical help. I decided to get the rabies vaccine as we’d be in rural Zimbabwe with very limited hospital and flight options. Easy enough.
Simple Question – No Answer
She then asked me about the annual flu vaccine. I told her I wasn’t interested in it at all. Struggling not to roll her eyes at me, she asked why. I explained that I’m not a fan of medication and the flu doesn’t really impact me. She then started spouting off stats on Americans getting rabies in Africa vs the flu at home or while traveling. She made a good point that I could not refute. If I’m afraid of a 1-in-300,000,000 chance of rabies vs a 1-in-5 chance of getting the flu. Logically it made sense to me.
It was from that moment on that I would get the flu shot each year. I have had no ill effects and have only caught the flu once in the past 8 years. With all the travel we do, anything that can keep the germs on airplanes, hotels and crowded spaces at bay is good in my book.
What are your thoughts on getting the flu shot? Do you think I was crazy for getting the rabies vaccines too?
Do you ever take a separate vacation from your spouse? I’ve only taken one proper vacation without my spouse. My job doesn’t afford me much travel options between Thanksgiving and March, but there is a sweet spot in January that I can get away for a long weekend. Years ago, my spouse had to be in Brazil during this sweet spot – and the airfare to Brazil was prohibitively expensive. I’m talking $5,000USD in economy for a long weekend. No way. That year, I decided to take a long weekend and visit Stockholm. I struggled on that trip.
Other than my quasi-bachelor party to Hong Kong, I have not taken another proper vacation without him. 2019 leads us to an opportunity where we will both be vacationing separately. He has always wanted to raft the Grand Canyon – the whole thing. This trip is more than two weeks long and is nearly one of the farthest from something I’d want to do. The idea of two weeks of camping, hiking and rafting just doesn’t appeal to me. I wouldn’t ever stop him from going, but wild dogs couldn’t drag me to this trip.
He booked his trip and now that means I’ve got a couple weeks of vacation that I need use without him. I’ve got a couple of ideas in mind, but wanted to see what you do? Do you regularly take vacations without your significant other? I’m not talking about work trips either – let’s keep it to proper vacations. Do you take a separate vacation from them? How do you decide where to go? Why do you not travel together? Is it a regular thing?
When visiting a new city, I love to hop on a bike tour. Seeing a city by bike is seeing it like a local. Living life like a local. You feel the pulse of the city and can truly experience the vibrancy. With only 68 hours on the ground a Singapore Bike Tour was in order. First off, I had to find a knowledgeable, local guide and jump on a bike. It was clear, after just a few searches, that Let’s Go Singapore was the right company to lead me around this City.
After sharing an awkward breakfast at the M Hotel, I hopped on the train and made my way to the Let’s Go Singapore offices. Arriving 30 minutes early for the tour, I sat outside and organized plan for the post tour afternoon. The tour was small, just me and two young German tourists. It can make for an amazing trip when you have a small group of fit tourees. I’ve had some overcrowded bike tours with people who haven’t ridden a bike in years (like our tour in Barcelona) and it just kills me.
After adjusting our bikes and getting a brief rundown of the plan, we headed out. Our guide was really excellent. First off, he told us the rules of the road in Singapore. Who has the right of way and how to interpret his directions throughout the ride. And we’re off.
We moved quickly throughout the City, visiting some major sites, plus places that normal tourists likely wouldn’t see. We visited places that tourists wouldn’t find on their own either.
The day we toured was a little overcast, with a constant threat of thunderstorms. You can see the cloudiness in the photos, they are not as crisp and clear as I’d like them to be. Midway through our tour, we had to stop and take refuge in a shopping mall. Shopping malls are ubiquitous in Singapore and we were thankful for that when it started to rain.
The tour lasted about four hours, plus a bit more because of the rain delay. This was an active tour, but not a strenuous effort. I really enjoyed every part of this tour and can’t recommend it enough. For S$80 ($58USD), I defy you to find a more knowledgeable guide and more fun tour.
No matter how much time you’ve got to spend in Singapore – but especially if it is only 68 hours – seek out Let’s Go Singapore and get to know the city. While I’m sure all the guides are great, Alfie was really phenomenal.
Do you take cycle tours when on vacation? What better ways do you have of getting to know a new city in such short order? What other tour would you recommend in Singapore? Have you used Let’s Go for a Singapore Bike Tour?
Changes to the MileagePlus program, most notably the United Premier 1K Status have been announced. MileagePlus offers six levels of status to frequent flyers: General Member, Premier Silver, Premier Gold, Premier Platinum, Premier 1K and Global Services. Basically, the more you fly the higher your status. I’ve been a Premier Platinum member for a few years now. To earn this status I must fly at least 75,000 miles annually, plus spend $9,000 with United.
Historically, United Premier 1K Status has been awarded to members who fly 100,000 miles annually and spend $12,000 with United. I’ve never flown enough paid miles (miles flown on award tickets don’t count in this tally) in a given year to earn 1K Status. I’m pretty content with my simple Premier Platinum too. Each year, I do the math and see if it makes sense to accelerate travel to earn 1K status. I never has, for me.
United just announced a change in the earning requirements for Premier 1K Status. In addition to flying 100,000 miles annually, you’ll have to spend $15,000 with United. That’s a 25% jump year over year. Now this is effective for status starting in 2020. Therefore, you’ll have to fly the same number of miles, but spend quite a bit more money just to keep (or earn) your Premier 1K Status.
United has been making some other changes recently too. In addition to the changes to their boarding process, they are also changing the earning bonus on one of their premium fares. You can check out their dedicated website for all the details.
Are you currently a Premier 1K? How does this change impact your travel plans for 2019? How easy will it be for you to requalify for this lucrative status.