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Bye Bye Boston & Blogger Goes on Break

For those of you who know me personally you've been wondering how it is that I've lived in Boston my whole life. A lover of sunshine and warmth I've wondered the same thing and I've always thought I was born in the wrong place because those brutally cold Boston winters never get any easier despite my 30+ years of experience. So I am proud and excited and scared all at the same time to announce that I am finally relocating to a warmer climate! Yes, you've read that right. I am packing up and headed west to La La Land, a.k.a. Los Angeles. <<cue the O.C. theme song>>

Having never really spent much time in California and always being the crazy planner that I am you can imagine the thoughts and emotions I'm experiencing at the moment. Excited to experience something new. Scared of the unknown. Curious of what lies ahead. Confused that I will not need a puffy down coat in winter or big clunky snow boots (just confused about wardrobe in general....). Thankful to be young and able and to have the opportunity to do something like this. Sad to leave behind friends and family and the support system I've built over so many years. Overwhelmed to find a home, all new healthcare providers, hair stylists, therapists, fitness instructors. Worried how a quiet little New England girl will fit in with all the cool cats of LA. But most importantly, I'm HAPPY to be doing this with my number 1 by my side.

So this Friday I say goodbye to Boston, throw our belongings in storage and hit the road, literally. No planes for us, my husband and I are driving so we can get our car out there, which from what I understand we will be needing a lot more than we've ever needed a car here. We will be taking a (minor) detour to Florida to spend a couple of weeks with my parents and from there we will be making our way west stopping along the way in states that I've never seen. Yay, checking items off the bucket list!

I am also letting my readers know that my blog posts will be temporarily on hold while I take on life on the road but I encourage you to follow me on Instagram @jetsettingwithjess as I road trip across country. Once I'm settled I will pick back up right where I left off, promise!

Oh and one last thing. The invite to LA will always be open! Come on, you know you want to visit us ;)

Save on SPG Hotels

I admit, I'm a little late for posting about Cyber Monday deals but this one is not over yet. Starwood hotels are on sale-- up to 25% off-- for travel through September 2016. So if you're planning a trip for next year (as you should be) this is an excellent chance to get a quality stay for less. What's even better is Starwood Preferred Guest members get an additional 5% off!

Incase you are not familiar with Starwood, this family of hotels includes St. Regis, Westin, Sheraton and many more including the Luxury Collection of unique boutique hotels.

Book now until December 6th to take advantage of these amazing deals.

westin_lagunamar

 

Is Global Entry Worth It?

Short answer: absolutely. However, we are all in different boats and the answer may not be as clear-cut for some. Before we figure out if it's worth it for you, let's get educated on what Global Entry is especially for those of you that don't know. It is a U.S. Customs and Borders Protection program that low-risk traveling individuals can enroll in to expedite the customs process upon arriving back in the States after an international trip. Members don't need to wait in the long customs lines, fill out any declaration forms and get to use special kiosks designated only for Global Entry members. Just scan your passport, take a picture, get your fingerprints scanned and you're good to go. Members go through a rigorous background check in addition to having an in-person interview at the local Customs office which is usually at the airport. Global Entry costs $100* to apply and is good for 5 years. As an added bonus, Global Entry includes enrollment in TSA pre-check, which is the program that allows you to by-pass the long security lines for a much shorter one that doesn't make you take off your shoes or remove anything from your bags. With an expedited customs process and special security lines, it's no question that Global Entry takes some of the pain out of traveling. But is it really worth the $100? You should definitely ask yourself how much you see yourself traveling over the next few years. There's no set rule, but I think if you take at least 1 international trip per year, the benefits will outweigh the costs. If you're traveling internationally several times in the next year but don't know about years 2-5, I still think it's worth it. And if you've got domestic travel sprinkled in there in addition to the international trips, then you've got even more reason to do it. One other thing -- this program requires you to have a pristine record so if you've been arrested, frequent jet setter or not, that's a no-go.

If you're still not sure, I can say from experience that I was incredibly pleased in just the first time using my Global Entry. When I arrived back in Boston from my European honeymoon, our flight from Paris landed at the same time as many other international flights and the line for customs was as long as ever. There was no wait to use the designated kiosk and then it only took a minute or two to scan our passport and fingerprints. We were on our way to baggage claim in record time, so quickly that the first suitcase wasn't even on the carousel. We actually had to WAIT for our luggage, which is rare for an international arrival. We fetched our bags before the non-Global Entry folks had made it through customs so the taxi line was non-existent. Door to door, from stepping off the plane to arriving in my downtown Boston apartment, was 30 minutes! The process was easy, painless and quick. Three words that you otherwise would never associate with air travel.

If you're interested in applying for global entry, visit the website here. Happy traveling :)

*The fee is waived if you're an American Express Business Card holder. Awesome!

Cheap Rates at the Chatham Bars Inn

Chatham Lighthouse Beach
Chatham Lighthouse Beach

For those of you who have always wanted to experience the luxurious Chatham Bars Inn on Cape Cod, but couldn't afford its pricey room rates, you're in luck! I got an email yesterday that rooms at the iconic 4-star hotel are on sale for as low as $199/nt November through March and include membership to the Leaders Club which apparently gets you free breakfast and some other nice perks. BTW, these rooms normally go for no less than $500 during the summer and the Leaders Club membership would normally cost you $150! Many of you might not think of Cape Cod as THE destination for anything that isn't summer, but I urge you to give it a shot if you're looking for a cozy weekend getaway. Here's why:

  1. The tourists are gone, YAY! So you won't hit any Cape traffic.
  2. Chatham's quaint town has many shops and restaurants that remain open in the off-season, which you'll have to yourself.
  3. Christmastime in particular is lovely with the hotel beautifully decorated.
  4. Curling up by the CBI's fire with a good book and hot chocolate is one thing you'll never get to do in July. Cat naps encouraged.
  5. And lastly, if you're there on a Thursday, the Squire hosts a fun trivia night which is a great way to hang with the locals.

Book directly through the CBI website to get the rates, no code needed. Pay attention to whether or not your room is at the main inn or in one of the cottages, which are scattered throughout the property and require you to take a short walk outside to get to the main inn. The main inn is where you will find the restaurant, lounge, and bar so it is definitely convenient to stay in one of those rooms, especially during the winter when it's cold outside. The cottages are beautiful, however, and give you more privacy as if you were in your own home. Regardless of what type of room you choose, this is a great deal and a perfect weekend getaway. Enjoy!

Note: In my search, the $199/nt rate seemed to be for weeknights but weekends were not that much more (~$250/nt). Still a deal in my opinion.

Chatham Lighthouse selfie

Chatham Lighthouse selfie