All posts in Hot Topics

Interview: The HoneyTrekkers Talk about Extreme Honeymooning

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Mike and Anne Howard, honeytrekkers

Honeytrekkers, Mike & Anne Howard

June is a big month for so many special events, like graduations and Father’s Day.  It also happens to be the biggest month for weddings — and honeymoons.  In keeping with our mission to help you explore the new and different, this month’s Hot Topic series features a two-part interview with intrepid honeymooners, Anne and Mike Howard.  Authors of the popular travel blog,, Anne and Mike took honeymooning to the extreme when they quit their jobs and decided to kick off their life together with a 675-day honeymoon around the world, including six continents, 33 countries and 302 places. You can follow Anne and Mike on their journey at and

What are some of the most unknown yet wonderful destinations for honeymooners and why?

Swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines

Swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines

The Philippines has over 7,000 islands and virtually no tourists. The islands have everything from pristine beaches to jungles to mountains to charming villages and incredibly friendly people wherever you go. El Nido with its karst coastline, Cebu for diving with whale sharks, Banaue for its cliff-cut rice terraces, and the journey from one island to the next holds endless possibilities for honeymooners. ( blogs on the Philippines coming soon!)

How do you handle conflicts on your honeymoon and compromising on differing desired itineraries?

If there is ever an issue when you are traveling together, you just have to address it and move on. There’s no time to let the petty stuff bother you on the road; if you do, you’ll miss out on the beauty right under your nose.  Then for all hiccups, you just learn to laugh about them and become stronger for it. For itineraries you will be going to so many amazing places that it is easy to mix it up and fulfill  both of your dreams.

Does an “exotic” or extended honeymoon always have to mean big bucks? What are your top tips for pulling off an extreme honeymoon on a standard budget?

Nepal, Himalayas

Nepal, Himalayas

Absolutely not. We did a three-day safari in the Serengeti for $245, stayed in beach-front bungalows for $10/night in the Philippines, and took an all-inclusive 10-day trek hike in the Himalayas, including food, lodging, permits and a guide for $200 per person. One of our favorite ways to get the best deals is to always book your activities when you arrive in a location. The prices and quality of what you get will always be better when you can compare options and bargain in person.  This may sound risky but we rarely booked anything in advance and never had a problem getting on a tour we wanted.

Next week, we’ll cover some of the most romantic destinations in the world – according to Mike and Anne.  Also, some advice for “old” married couples who want a second honeymoon.

Four Tips to Make Learning Spanish Easy before You Leave for Vacation

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Last week, top language blogger, Benny Lewis, gave us four of his favorite language cramming tips before you leave on an overseas holiday.  In part two of our language learning for travel series, Lorraine Way, head of The Language Way, an onsite Spanish language training service, is going to give us advice for learning a Romance language, so your vacation takes you to a whole new level of enjoyment.

Lorraine Way

Lorraine with group of students

My company does a lot of work with professionals in social work, human resources, law and law enforcement, who frequently deal with people whose first language is Spanish.

Our language immersion approach is unique and effective. Our clients, with only a beginner level, often achieve intermediate proficiency within a relatively short time period – about 6-9 months.

We use the same technique for clients who want to improve their Spanish in preparation for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country, like Mexico, Spain or various South American destinations.  Our recommendation is to plan a month in advance of your trip to spend three hours a week with us – that is two 90-minute classes per week for four weeks (plus homework).  By the time you are ready to leave, you will have mastered the ability to carry-on very basic conversations, like ordering in a restaurant; exchanging pleasantries – your name, where you live, and your interests.

Lorraine’s key advice for learning a Romance language:

  • Take advantage of cognates, which are words in another language that are easy to remember because they look and mean the same thing as a word you already know in English. Some examples: accident – accidente; restaurant – restaurante; minute – minuto.  There are hundreds, if not thousands, of cognates that will ease your vocabulary building. Here’s a useful site to help you get started:
  • Don’t be grammar focused; relax with it, and do the opposite of what you did in school. Interaction is most important.
  • Remember, the person you are trying to communicate with wants to talk to you as much as you want to talk to them, so enjoy it!
  • Get into the culture – music, dance, food, and people. Link your desire to learn the language with what you like. If it’s music, focus on that.

For more information on The Language Way’s programs, visit the website:


Four proven ways to cram a language before your international journey

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

In many foreign countries, Americans have helped generate a stereotypical image, and it’s usually not very pretty – especially when we get called out on our loudness or chubby appearance.  Unfortunately, we are also known for our limited language skills.  Did you know that 53% of Europeans speak at least two languages, as compared to only 18% of Americans?  To help American travelers shake this dull distinction, this month’s Hot Topic series features expert advice from top linguists, so you may quickly attain simple conversational skills before traveling to non-English speaking geographies.

Benny Lewis

Benny Lewis, the Irish Polyglot

Benny Lewis, international language hacker and author of Fluent in 3 Months—the top language blog in the world, agreed to help us with this effort.  When we asked Benny why he thought foreign language skills were not pursued by more people, he said most folks don’t think they can do it or just don’t get around to it.  “I tell would-be language learners, there are seven days in a week and ‘someday’ is not one of them, so start learning and using a new language today.

Known for his take-no-prisoners approach to language learning, we got Benny to share some of his top tips for conquering the basics.  Obviously, Benny wrote a whole book on this, so summarizing an entire language learning process is tough in a few simple tips, but he does a pretty good job of it in this blog post chronicling his intensive experience with Polish – He was able to carry on a simple conversation in about two hours!

Benny’s top pre-trip language cramming tips:

  • Get a phrase book and cram the essentials in a couple of hours
  • Get on and set up a spoken exchange with a real native speaker, practice what you know immediately so you hit the ground running later
  • Make your learning process about making mistakes and not perfection. Practice communication, not perfect sentence structure. Tarzan-ese is absolutely acceptable
  • Use to cram vocabulary through clever mnemonics.

Next week, we’ll talk with Lorraine Way, president of The Language Way, an onsite language training service. The company specializes in helping professionals, like social workers, lawyers, HR workers and other professionals working with people, learn to do their jobs in Spanish.


53% of Europeans speak at least two languages, as compared to only 18% of Americans; Forbes, “America’s Foreign Language Deficit,”



Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown Shares Family Spring Break Tips

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics — Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

Last week, working with Bank of America and a recent survey they published on family Spring Break travel plans, we learned that nearly half of US families are getting away. This week, the Travel Channel’s Samantha Brown, shares tips for a smooth Spring Break trip.

samantha brown, travel channel• Rehearse the security line
Between taking off your shoes, unpacking our laptops and taking off coats, the security line can get a bit messy. Prepare your kids by practicing with the whole family the night before; pretend the kitchen island is the security table, a salad bowl a bin and a doorway the metal detector.

• Get the first flight out
While it’s hard to get the family up early, the first flight out is always cheaper and most likely leaves on time which is important when you have a connecting flight. For little ones, the TSA now allows children 12 years and younger to walk through airport security with shoes and a light jacket on.

• Never think you’re going to be fed on the plane
Don’t wait to eat at the airport, plan your food ahead of time. Whether you eat at the house or bring snacks it will save you time and money. Just be sure to check TSA regulations to see what is allowed through security.

• Let your rewards do the work
Use credit card rewards to offset the costs. The BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card gives you the flexibility to earn 1.5 points for every dollar spent on all purchases that be used for hotels, vacation packages, cruises, rental cars and more. You can also find the best value by booking a hotel where perks are included, such as a breakfast buffet. It makes the morning easier by being well fed and coffee’d up!

• Don’t get upset when things don’t go as planned
Travel is rifle with missed connections, wrong turns, long lines and unexpected closings. Put together a Plan A and Plan B list you can easily access to prepare for the unexpected. Always remember how you react is how your children will so have fun with it and put a smile on your face!

• It’s called Spring BREAK
So take one. Give your family a break around 3 or 4pm when everyone is naturally feeling a lull. Nap, read a book or magazine and kids can draw and color or write in a journal. Get the whole family involved in the travel planning process. Have each member choose and plan an activity so everyone is invested in the family vacation.

Survey says: Nearly half of American families are headed on a Spring Break vacation

ExpertFlyer Hot Topics – Where the Rubber Meets the Runway

According to a recent survey by Bank of America, nearly half of American families are headed on a spring vacation this year. So, what’s on their itinerary? Check out the infographic below and come back next week for some Family Spring Break Tips from Samantha Brown of the Travel Channel.

Families Head for Spring Break