All posts in One-on-One

Revolutionary Putnam County, New York

New York-Tri-state area residents are always on the hunt for a “hop, skip and a jump” getaway. Putnam County, NY, is not only a short hour+ drive from Manhattan, it’s also steeped in revolutionary war history and unusual attractions that one might not anticipate.  We asked Frank Smith, director of Tourism for Putnam County, NY, to join us in a One-on-One interview to talk about some of the fun and historical attractions, including super spots for enjoying the fall foliage season.

WATCH our interview with Putnam County Tourism director, Frank Smith

Q: Putnam has caught the attention of “The Fireball Run,” a nationally streamed, internationally televised, adventure travel series. I understand they are making a pitstop in the county.  Tell us about that?

The Fireball Run is in its 10th season of production, and Putnam County could not be happier that we are a pit stop along the journey. Live filming is set to take place on Route 6N in Mahopac on the afternoon of Friday, September 30th and the morning of Saturday, October 1st, in conjunction with the Italian American Club of Mahopac’s Columbus Day Parade, as well as the Greater Mahopac-Carmel Chamber of Commerce’ annual Mahopac Street Fair.

Q: What are some of the unique and historical attractions that make Putnam County stand out as a draw for day-trippers?

Although small in geographic area, Putnam is filled with history and culture. There are a few “must-see” destinations in this category.

The Boscobel House and Gardens in Garrison is a great example of Federal Style architecture, and home to the famed Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

There’s Manitoga, the home and studio of Mid-century designer Russel Wright.

The Chuang Yen Buddhist Monastery, home to the Western Hemisphere’s largest Buddha Statute.

The grave and route of Revolutionary War heroine Sybil Ludington.

The Putnam History Museum is home to a West Point Foundry Built Parrot Gun in their newest exhibit, which is walking distance from the Metro North railroad stop in Cold Spring. Continue reading →

Americans waste 1.8 million years worth of vacation time

When it comes to frequent travel, ExpertFlyer subscribers are among the top tier, whether it’s for business or leisure travel.  In fact, a recent survey of more than 1,500 of our Seat Alerts subscribers indicated that 87% of those polled take a minimum of two vacations each year and 28% said they took four or more vacations per year.  Since vacations are worth their weight in stress relief, increased productivity, exposure to beauty, culture and new people – and more, we thought we’d talk to time-off expert, Katie Denis, senior director of Project: Time Off, to see how the rest of the world is using — or not using — their vacation time.

WATCH: ExpertFlyer’s One-on-One Interview with Katie Denis of Project: Time Off

Katie Denis: Generally, most Americans are not taking all their vacation time. 55% of them left time on the table last year to the tune of 658 million unused days. That’s 1.8 million years if you want to break it down. Continue reading →

Leveraging Loyalty for Travel Perks with Jason Steele of The Points Guy

According to a recent survey of more than 1,200 ExpertFlyer Seat Alerts subscribers, 65% of air travelers were able to redeem awards points towards upgrades and free travel in the past 12 months. That’s a good thing, but the survey also suggests that while the majority of travelers say they have been able to redeem points, 50% also said their ability to cash in declined over the past year. We asked travel reward and credit card expert, Jason Steele, to weigh in on this and more in a One-on-One interview.

“Less than 30 percent of respondents were able to redeem awards at the ‘saver level,’ underscoring the difficulty in redeeming award points at this level. The fact that 65% were able to redeem their miles, but 50 percent said their success rate declined tells me that they are simply using more miles to obtain awards and upgrades while others are holding out for saver-level deals, but can’t find them.”

– Jason Steele, Senior Points and Miles Contributor for The Points Guy, an expert in award travel and credit cards


2nd Annual Summer Travel Survey Reveals Thoughts About Travel Safety, Rewards Programs, and How Airlines Can Keep Customers

Travel experts weigh in on results adding commentary about purchasing habits, security / privacy issues and Facebook’s edge as the preferred way for travelers to share their travel experiences

With families in the thick of planning their summer vacations, is releasing results from its second annual travel survey. The data reveals, not surprisingly, that the majority (81%) of travelers believe taking a vacation is very important, citing exposure to beauty, culture and new people as the biggest benefit, followed by increased energy, excitement and stress relief.  The survey also discovered that despite vast technological leaps and the convenience of online search and booking, planning a vacation is still a time-consuming proposition with 51% of those polled saying they spend a minimum of 2-3 hours over multiple days hunting down airfare deals and nearly a one-third spending in excess of 4 hours over multiple days. The overwhelming majority (79%) also said they would relinquish some privacy issues to expedite security checkpoints and voiced what they want airlines to do to maintain their loyalty.

WATCH: ExpertFlyer Co-founder and President Chris Lopinto comments on trends emerging from latest survey

ExpertFlyer conducted the survey with more than 1,200* consumer-based travelers subscribing to its free Seat Alerts app to determine their favorite destinations, airlines and award programs, how they pay for travel, and how they communicate with the world while on vacation and more.  The illuminating results are illustrated in the survey’s infographic. Continue reading →

Editor of L.A. Travel Magazine Recommends Unique Experiences in the City of Angels

This month’s One-on-One features an insider’s guide to all that’s great in Los Angeles. We caught up with the editor-in-chief of L.A. Travel Magazine, Jennifer McLaughlin, to get her short list of places to visit for celeb sightings, luxury getaways, art, culture and more.

Tell us about L.A. Travel and what’s coming up in your next issue? Los Angeles Travel Magazine is a quarterly publication the focuses on the travel and lifestyle. Our tagline is “Inspiring Angelenos to Travel Near and Far”. Our next issue is Endless Summer debuting in July. We will be focusing on health and wellness, food and wine and our ever popular Staycation Guide.

Los Angeles is known first and foremost for its abundance of A-list celebrities.  How do starry-eyed visitors get their celebrity fix? The Hollywood area is a pretty safe bet for celebrity spotting. There are more specific locations like the Ivy, the W Hollywood, and the 4 Seasons that are a pretty safe bet for a run in. The TMZ tour if you are looking for a guided route to celebrity hotspots.

Even the typical residents of L.A. offer an eyeful – where are the best places to go for interesting people-watching opportunities? Restaurants like Pump and Sur by Lisa Vanderpump, The Grove and the Beverly Center always offer great people watching. Santa Monica and Malibu are also great options.

For art and culture enthusiasts, what do you consider an ideal mix of attractions? We have amazing art museums but I suggest getting out to the different neighborhoods and trying the different food, Visit our resident Concierge, Sarah Dandashy from she is the top concierge in LA and works out of the London West Hollywood. She is a great resource for all attractions, culture and hotspots in the city. Our website also offers the latest and greatest in our LA City Guide section.

For visitors that have never been to L.A., what are the not-to-be-missed sights and experiences in your city? There are so many it is hard to pick just a few but here goes! The Malibu Wine Safari, Melrose Avenue, Universal City Walk, West Hollywood, Venice Beach, Marina Del Rey and the Sunset Strip. A few things not to miss: Dinner at PUMP Restaurant, Cocktails at The Nice Guy, for nightlife visit Le Jardin or The Abbey.

If cost is no consequence, what should the ultimate luxury vacation in L.A. be comprised of? Rent a private estate in Beverly Hills or the Hollywood Hills, Dine at Barton G. where every dish is comprised of a crazy presentation, shop on Rodeo and mingle with the who’s who at Hotel Bel-Air.

Many of our readers are business travelers. Do you recommend any short-trips or attractions that business travelers with limited time can partake of? Vegas is always a good idea for a quick trip, especially because the average time here should be no more than three days. Other quick destinations we love from LA include Napa, Carmel, San Diego, Laguna Beach and internationally speaking when we have limited time one of our favorite quick getaways is the Four Seasons Punta Mita. It is a short flight away and 3-4 days is plenty of time to revitalize and refresh.

Any interesting events or celebrations coming up throughout the year that folks should know about or plan to check out? We actually have our Taste of the World event coming up on June 26th. This is an event where food and wine connoisseurs come together for a worldly chef competition. It is an afternoon of internationally inspired food from Southern California’s most prominent chefs. Guests sample all of their creative dishes and then vote for their favorite at the end of the evening. While all the sampling is going on live International performances take place from Brazilian Samba to Flamenco and more! For more info on the event visit