I want to share with you some encouraging thoughts. Today we have a snow day here in NH and my 11 year-old son and I were perusing the Marriott website looking at hotels in Ottawa and sights/attractions to be found there. What a teaching moment. He knows we prefer Marriotts and previously we had talked about why. So we had been thinking of using points for a stay there this summer, and were spurred on by a recent posting from jerrycoin to make this a reality. My son remarked that he had seen JC's name before on my computer, which led to a discussion of the variety of people who participate, what they write about, gleaning travel (and life) advice from peers who have more experience than you, etc. He saw some names and asked about the people who use those handles; I was able to give him some background on those I am familiar with. This is one of the most wonderful things about this Insiders community -- people with a wealth of knowledge reaching out to others with helpful travel tips, advice, and just plain fun & information. I have been an MRI member for just over a year and the experience has truly enhanced my life (just a few recent examples: interesting history writings, Ramblings, drooling over food photos, and everyone's, write-ups, pictures, videos and advice from their trips). Anyway, in our Ottawa planning today several things came up. First, his question of hotel category ratings. I explained the higher the number does not necessarily mean it's a hotel that will knock your socks off -- it may be highly rated due to a highly desirable location, may be in a city that has a lot of competition and that property may be full-service, etc. And a Category 4 may be perfectly suited to someone's needs when it's up to Marriott standards. Which in turn led to him commenting on a Residence Inn we stayed at which he said was sparkling clean, even the counters! He loved that property but I found out today that he remembers behind the tv it was dusty. So, then how do you know if it's worth it, he asked. We then went to hotel reviews on MRI and checked some out. Which brought up the point of hotels that get moved into a higher category and why. So I opened up a spreadsheet I had saved, "2013 Rewards Hotel Category File" which an Insider had kindly posted last year and I thought was great. It showed hotels that had changed categories, whether up or down. I had used this spreadsheet last year when planning our summer trip to Toronto before the required reward points went up. He then asked to see photos of a what a Cat 9 hotel is to make it so special, so we consulted the spreadsheet and chose the Long Wharf in Boston which is the closest Cat 9 to us. He loved what he saw and remarked about staying there sometime. So off we went to the Marriott booking page and we went through the process. We searched first with flexible dates and saw the pricing grids by month. Staying one night in February during school vacation for a regular room was $179. Then we clicked on using points and the grid changed. He commented that using 45,000 points for one night didn't seem as good a deal as paying $179 and saving the points for something else like Ottawa. He wondered if there would ever be a Cat 10. I told him a lot of Insiders also wondered that, and there was even a post talking about it. He asked how we earn points so I described the paid stay process and discussed the Marriott credit card (he kind of understood before this about credit but I was able to enhance his knowledge base). His next comment that planning travel was a lot of work to get the best deal but was worth it was the perfect opportunity to end our Marriott and life lesson. The entire process I just decribed to you, we adults would have finished in a few thinking moments (after coffee) and a few keystrokes. This morning's Marriott interlude probably taught my son more than he would have learned in school today. After reading a few recent posts this week about millenials and no loyalty, no savings accouts, and pulling teeth to have them join company 401(k) plans, I say there is hope for the generation after them. Let's all hope that the selfish me, me, me of the millenials (no offense to our MRI millenials, I'm just generalizing) starts circling back to the positive attitudes and hard working peole of previous generations. The younger kids (his classmates and teammates) for the most part seem practical, thrifty, willing to work and genuinely engaged in the future. Full disclosure: my kid does have a savings account, earns money (finds golf balls which he cleans and resells to pay for his summer camps), has good manners, asked his friends for a small donation to our favorite charity this weekened at his birthday party instead of gifts, and knows about sales tax and federal income tax. And if this random posting offends you, we all have a choice whether to read something here on not.
Encouraging indeed! But what's every bit as encouraging to me as your son's curiosity, obvious intellect, work ethic, and charitable instincts is a parent who takes the time to encourage exploration, coach good citizenship, and teach the value of thoughtful expenditure and charity. You're to be congratulated. He's a fortunate young man.
I would also like to invite your Son and you to visit Littleton, NH, and the largest coin business in the world, "Littleton Coin"! This is an amazing place, and the building is so large, it has it's own "Zip Code". They are also the largest employer in the state of NH!
My suggestion if you go, take your Son to the "Littleton diner" and stay a night at the Littleton Inn. You will be in for an "Old fashioned" experience! At the Inn, ask for room 17 (I think), it is larger than the others, but you can get at the same low price. There are no Marriott's nearby, except Concord.
Hope this is helpful, and NO, your ramblings are welcome anytime. That's what keeps me sane? Maybe!
Thank you, jerrycoin! Another great offer from you -- how can we pass this up? Littleton isn't too far from our house. A great saying in these parts is, "It's just down the road a bit." For us, it's 75 miles so definitely a day trip. But that might change with your excellent suggestion! And I think my son would love to visit Littleton Coin. Have you been to Bishop's for ice cream? It's outstanding -- homemade and a nice, old-fashioned feel to their ice cream parlor. I highly recommend it! And Chutter's has the world's longest candy counter right there in Littleton. These are two places we visit frequently. Sounds like you and Mrs. Coin need to come visit back east sometime soon if you haven't been in a while!
What is sane, exactly? The definition varies by person and personality. We like you just the way you are! Happy Friday.
Here is an interesting article I ran across today.
They make some excellent points and some that I for one did not think of until reading this piece.
Thanks for sharing this article, IAH! I enjoyed reading the part about how millenials walked off the job at a car manufacturer because they thought the work was too hard. Yes, I agree that some of these things are primarily due to inexperience. Don't be mad at me for saying this, but IMHO most of these kids did not learn good financial management skills because their parents didn't teach them. And the mention of dressing appropriately for work? That comes from parents as well. Everyone learns something every day, millenials and 51-year-olds like me. That's what I keep hoping will make this world a better place!
that certainly sums it up in a nutshell Sledchick. Everything in some manner comes from the parents at some point in a child's life and if they are not taught those values, morals, responsibilities, respect, etc... they will not know how to apply them. I am thankful that there are still a few if not alot of people like you who still try to instill those traits in their children. Everything will not stick but it sure gets a running start on things if you as a parent at least try. We need to get out of the spoiled and thinking of everything SHOULD be ours into working for things we want in life. Kudos to you and all who are at least trying to upload family values, morals, ethics, virtue, etc. into children
Thanks IAHFLYR for posting this article. Very interesting indeed.
Mad at you, are you kidding? I completely agree about financial things and appropriate dress, even though I love my flip flops, shorts and tee shirts!! Teaching my son about financial things was a long hard road, he just spent money like it was a plentiful as ocean water. Then one day it all took hold and earlier this month they closed on their first house which made me so proud of them.
Good article IAHFLYR! And may I defend my generation by saying that we are not all equal! I was financially responsible... until someone wanted a wedding that we couldn't afford...
But was a great learning experience (I hope) for that someone and we're on our way to recovery (I hope).
On the other hand, I have a friend that's a year older than me (and a part time Marriott associate at the JW Ihilani) that bought a house a few years back and in that time bought and paid off 2 Lexus GS's totaling about $80,000! But beyond his excellent financial planning, he also works incredibly hard at both his normal job where they take major advantage of him and at Ihilani, his "fun" job.
I can go on and on about how a bunch of my friends and I finished our MBAs in 1-1.5 years, etc. or how some of our friends never made it through college, but I'm sure all generations have these in common.
As for me, I believe I work hard and have scaled the ladder quickly at work (a credit union). However, my employer is notorious for paying as little as possible, which frustrates me because I feel I'm underpaid for the level of responsibility and performance expected. Am I willing to work as hard as my friend mentioned above? No. Work-life balance is also important to me.
Work life balance is huge and you keep that in perspective. Even though I have no more work to balance out with life I still am so thankful that I never had to bring work home (that would have been fun huh ) so the balance for me was simple. Wish it was that simple for everyone and that ring you bought was well worth it as you know!!!!!
As a cat mother (or her pet), she loves it when I bring work home and hates it when I go out for work whether to teach or (as now) on a research trip. I'm now in Boston (after a horribly drenching drive in rain to find sunny skies here) en route to AMS-ATH-Crete, where I'll be staying at a hotel within walking distance of the 3800 yr old Palace of Knossos and the Archaeological Museum.
But I do feel like a Mom to some of my students. I have often found my Maine students, especially the first ones in their family to go to college are the most hard working, curious and ultimately successful. We have more and more international students, which can be a challenge for teaching but also a great reward in getting to know people from completely different parts of the world than where I travel.
While there are always some slackards, the students I teach give me great hope for the future in that so many of them want to give back.
More from Crete (if I can get a hotel connection to Marriott -- usually impossible unlike everywhere else, like here in the SkyClub).
Cheers to new and recent graduates!
I'm a first-born, profchiara, and was the first in our extended family to go to college, so I think I, too, am similar to your Maine students. I wish you a wonderful trip and easy travels this time out. Keep us updated if you can!
happily at the amazing Galaxy hotel in Heraklion, Crete, i have access to Marriott Rewards Insiders -- I think this is a first aside from Marriott properties. The hotel is fabulous -- a little over 100 euros a night for an executive room with breakfast, wifi that really works, a balcony, pool, and when I arrived I found a bottle of red Cretan wine, a bottle of water, and two appetizers and dessert waiting for me -- and I'm not 'anything' here. I booked on hotels.com
Back to the original point, I too was the first in my family to go to college, and maybe still the only (it was never a large family). Since I had to start when I was 24, I knew what I wanted to do by then and got the most of it!
Sounds like you are settling in quite nicely there! I have not been to Greece but it's on my list... The Galaxy sounds nice -- red wine in your room, yay! And see what your college experience got you, besides a degree -- travel and more travel whether for research or pleasure, it's all good. Enjoy your trip!
Please apologize off on caps --i'm using my tablet and the keyboard needed charging. You must get to Greece! I taught ancient Greece way back in 1989 (a whole course) and teach small portions of it now, but I first got to Greece about 5 yrs ago and have now been 8-9 times --largely FF miles and low cost cruises. But I have comē to love the country, and no problems ever except Marriott taking away the Ledra.
Everything is very inexpensive here, even on the islands (except Santorini). My everything included late lunch after the Archaeological Museum comprised a Greek salad, tsatsiki, moussaka, Greek meatballs, grape leaves, stuffed tomato, and a half liter of wine and bottle of water for 20euros.
Since it's cool and cloudy today, when I walked back after the port, I went to the tub with whirlpool rather than the pool. My only other whirlpool experience was part of an entirely disastrous experience in Hawaii --most of which was my knees giving out on the jetway and crashing into walls, people, and suitcases. I tried to walk in Honolul but was one big bruise with a sprained ankle too. Noe of that was Delta or Marriott's fault, but the hotel's whirlpool was--it was clogged and flooded the bathroom.
The one here is brand new and gave a great foot massage, though I hope after visiting the Palace of Knossos tomorrow I Can go straight to the pool.
Do come to Greece, but stay in Athens only long enough to see the sites then head to the islanss or the mountains,esp Delphi.
Knossos was amazing now that I had plenty of time to explore it (you only got about 1-1/2 hours excursion on a Louis Cruise. Plus in May few people are in Crete yet it is the best month weather-wise to be here. Tomorrow I'm going to walk all around the Venetian walls of Heraklion that go out from the port.
PS -- I am sure people could find expensive meals on Crete if they tried hard enough, but I have had amazing full meals, real Greek meals, for no more than 20 euros, everything included.
PPS -- I could easily plan someone's trip to Greece, so let me know when you're ready. A Louis cruise is a good start -- it's very inexpensive and stops at Mykonos, Patmos, Rhodes, Santorini, Crete and another island I've forgotten in five days. But while inexpensive, I was very pleased with on-board services and comfort level. And you get a sense of where you want to spend more time. I spent a week in Mykonos after the first cruise, and this is my first week on Crete. I'm thinking about Santorini for fall break when prices are down. And then there is the mainland -- Delphi, Epidaurus, Mycenae, Corinth, Sparta -- it's amazing, as are the Greek people.
PPPS (however many Ps): Greece is definitely coming back from the brink, with a lot of help from the EU. They seem to have made great decisions about all year tourism (what better place? it was always inexplicable to me that everything closed between Oct-Apr), having museums and sites open 12 hours a day, 7 days per week, etc.
I just spent about 20 minutes writing a long reply...and it disappeared. I will try writing when I get home. It's been amazing and the last thought I wrote was that when I retire the two places I need my frequent flyer miles to take me to are Venice and Greece. I can live without everywhere else, but without them, life is missing a great deal for me. Hopefully retirement will be 8 years off if I last it out till 70. Off to Athens tomorrow and home on Friday.
profchiara -- Thank you SO much for this info! Now I REALLY want to go! So May sounds like a good month to go. I'll have to wait a few years for when my kid will finish up school in May vs. June but I'm certainly a planner so this works out well. I'm going to count on you and other to help me with the details when that time comes!
P.S. I'm going to have to admit something here: I love to travel but dislike cruises. And boats. For the mere reason that I get incredibly seasick, even on longer-trip ferries, sailboats, etc. The only good boat is one on a small lake. I bit the bullet once for a week-long cruise and the weather was perfect, calm seas, but I was sick most of the time and looked forward to a day on land. Meds don't help, sea-bands don't help, patches don't help. So we've got to find a work-around here for Greece!
P.P.S. It's nice to hear positive things about the country; I was beginning to wonder how they would fare after all the negative news reports in the last few years.
While Greeks are still hurting, they are incredibly hospitable. And whenever you see demonstrations on TV think of a TV camera honing in on about 30 college students in Athens or Thessaloniki with nothing better to do. I can think of only one case where a 'riot' actually did result in violence a couple of years ago. They are specific to certain places, and more and more sporadic. The islands have had no violence in recent years and a plane flight to any of them that have airports (Crete is farthest -- 35 min; Santorini, Naxos, Mykonos, Rhodes, etc) is very quick from Athens. And despite having to change to Aegean Air, each time I've done it it has gone without a hitch. So unless you want to see Patmos (well worth it but no airport), you should be all set.
LOL! Why can I imagine you guiding planes in while grilling and taking medicine?
You bet ya though! I've always told the Mrs... while it's good to have money, a balanced life is far more important... we just have to reach the point where we can have a balanced life and lived comfortable
I am beginning to think Millenials are on to something. They watched their parents work long hours and dedicate their lives to large corporations only to lose jobs to mergers or corporate downsizing. Having gone through several job moves due to mergers, I know my family had to suffer some consequences even though I always found another job quickly. Many of us put the extra effort to lead to the success of our companies, but that made no difference in these situations.
My father was a urologist and I saw the emotional toll he had to deal with when he couldn't save his seriously ill patients, especially young children. This led me to choose a different profession.
Awesome! Though I must say... to me a hotel category means absolutely nothing! Take a look at the Courtyard by Marriott Waikiki Beach... that place is, well, not even close to being a high-class property. It's just that demand for rooms in Hawaii, Honolulu in particular, is great enough that it pushed this crummy little hotel into a higher category than it should be... just my 2 cents
But again, awesome story about you and your son! Truly a great read
Thanks, kharada! Yes, I know what you mean about demand for rooms in just so-so properties in a desirable location. We have that here on the east coast as well. Last night I cancelled two reservations (at two different properties) I had for Newport, RI for this Thursday night. I'm rethinking my overnight trip as what they think the rooms are worth and what I'm willing to pay are not even close. Have you ever done that?
Sledchick, I have! I actually booked a 2 night stay at the JW Ihilani in Ko Olina for my anniv, but for some reason, their rates are SKY HIGH! Like $500/night for the base grade view... at a kama'aina (locals) rate! Seriously?! I ended up booking a 4 night trip to Maui for a little more including airfare and car rental... granted I'm redeeming certs for 2 nights, but still!
hey kharada46 you do what you have to do right???? Ko Olina JW is the best IMHO but I guess I could settle for 4 nights in Maui...Seriously?????? You lucky dog
That's right madmax! i do love the JW, but for that price?... no thanks! The positive is I do get to visit Maui again, which admittedly, I haven't seen in 10-15 years...
The irony of living in Hawaii is it often makes more sense to travel out of state as you'll be getting better value than if you were to remain in state. But I hope to change that now and explore my home state now that I'm independent and can do things that the family never thought to do when I was younger.
I never forget how lucky I am to be here... but, it does have it's draw backs as you know! Especially when it comes to cost of living and travel out of state!
Well sometimes it IS about getting more bang for the buck. Value is important to me, and it sounds like it is to you, too, kharada46. That sounds like a wonderful anniversary trip and I wish you and Mrs. K. a wonderful celebration!
While I am not a millennial, there is definitely a lot of slight distaste to anger on this site towards them. I imagine millennials probably feel likewise to older generations--I am just not privy to the site where that conversation takes place.
I was sitting at a restaurant bar next to a millennial today and he definitely fit the bad overgeneralization of that generation, but (to be honest) there are a great deal of obnoxious people in every generation. I was also at this nice spot in New York where this mid-twenties woman was texting on her phone the whole dinner while her date/boyfriend/fiancé/husband sat in silence the whole time with his arm around her (he was in his mid-fifties). I am sure the guy likes having a younger significant other, but the generation gap must bother him on occasion (he was talking about, mostly to himself, some nice concierge lounge in an Asian JW Marriott so who knows...maybe he is on this site). If you have a significant other half your age, please feel free to chime in. I am personally fine with it, but to me, people (for the most case) can be so different if they are 15-30 years different in age.
Happily my significant other is my cat, so I get to see mostly the best of millenials (my college students), although there are a few of the not-so-good in that mix. They don't seem quite so technologically addicted as their non-college counterparts in the local area (maybe because professors like me have told them in no uncertain terms to shut the things off in class). I do think many of them are facing challenges that go beyond what many of us did in earlier generations with regard to jobs. (I speak as someone from a lower middle class family who only 'made it' through education.)
I will NEVER understand relationships between people who are 20, 30, 40 or more years apart (and I suspect most of the older part of those relationships are men -- sorry, most of my friends are men, including my best friend, and most have told me the same thing). Even if I were not a hermit, the idea of going out with someone decades younger than me would be appalling. But each to his or her own!