What it’s like to go on Good Morning America with Jeff Kinney

The Good Morning America Times Square lights during our segment. Photo screenshot from GMA airing.
The Good Morning America Times Square lights during our segment. Photo screenshot from GMA airing.

We thought we had our 15 minutes of fame when we were on Good Morning America in 2011. But I am now on their email list, when they’re looking for families to feature for other segments. So when I got an email from a producer last week saying  they needed 10 kids to appear on Good Morning America with Jeff Kinney about his 10th book Old School, it took me about one minute to respond. My son was at the tail end of their cut-off age, so I signed him up. He’d only miss 2.5 hours of school (granted, that meant we had to wake up at 5:15 to get into the city – and no they didn’t send a car for us, but that would have been nice), but it was a live studio segment. I put out a call for others on Facebook, and one friend made it in before they filled the quota two hours later. Turns out people came in from further afield – like Massachusetts and Maine. I’m glad I didn’t have to travel that far for the four minute segment! Continue reading “What it’s like to go on Good Morning America with Jeff Kinney”

Orlando for Nearly Free – find out how

Before kids, I used to get lots of free airplane tickets for getting bumped. I traveled off season, which was cheaper. Now that I have kids, paying for travel for four is tough, especially since my husband doesn’t like getting bumped (“I want to get home NOW!”) and we travel during school breaks. Given how expensive travel is, especially to the Orlando parks, I’m excited to welcome Summer Hull to Jersey Kids today. She is launching an ebook called Frequent Flyer Toolkits, including one called Orlando for Nearly Free. She has been running MommyPoints.com, a popular blog that helps travelers navigate the frequent flyer type point programs to make travel more affordable.

Tell me a bit about you and your travel-for-free background.orlando-for-nearly-free

I first dabbled in the miles-and-points hobby as a cash-strapped grad student at New York University. I racked up frequent flyer miles flying back and forth to visit friends and family in Houston. Then, after graduation, while my friends could only muster up the money for a drive to the shore, I was able to use miles and points to take my boyfriend at the time to Hawaii. After that, I was hooked. I didn’t have as much travel occur naturally after grad school, so I had to find ways to earn miles outside of flying.

I kept learning more about how to earn and leverage loyalty currency and eventually my husband got sick of hearing me talk about it all the time! He encouraged me to start a blog and that’s how MommyPoints.com was born in 2011. Since that time I’ve shared tons of tips and strategies that can help just about anyone earn miles they can redeem for a nearly free flight (you still pay tax on award flights) and hotel stay.

What kind of freebies do you talk about in your ebook in terms of traveling for free?

The books teach you how to use frequent flyer miles, hotel points, and bank points. The fact is, using loyalty currency can drastically reduce your costs on all sorts of travel-related expenses. Frequent flyer miles can be redeemed for nearly free flights. All you’ll pay for, in the case of a ticket to Orlando, is the tax (which is $5.60 per flight segment per person). Continue reading “Orlando for Nearly Free – find out how”

Review: Not for Parents – New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

If there’s one way to get a kid to read a book, label it “Not for Parents.” That will attract their interest. As a travel writer, I collect guidebooks from the places we go, and try to get kid-friendly ones so my kids will take an interest. Usually they don’t. They were interested, however, in this Not For Parents: New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know. But of course I had to sneak away and read it too.

Though it’s published by Lonely Planet, it’s not actually a guidebook, but a great way to get to know a city we visit often. As expected, it’s quite colorful with cute illustrations from a number of artists. Inside it tells the story of everything from street food, to the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, to wild animals in the city (yes, rats are included).

Continue reading “Review: Not for Parents – New York City – Everything You Ever Wanted to Know”