Independent Travel Planning

Affordable custom vacation itineraries and unique travel experiences

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NYC + DC Trip: How ITP Did New York City in 48 hours, pt. 2

Staten Island Ferry + NYC Skyline

After having covered lots of Midtown Manhattan on our first day in New York, we focused most of our efforts on Lower Manhattan for the beginning of our second day in the city. However, since it was convenient to the subway line we would be taking down to Lower Manhattan, we first decide to check out the famed Central Park. Here’s what we found: Continue reading

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NYC + DC Trip: How ITP Did New York City in 48 hours, pt. 1

New York City Public Library from Bryant Park

New York Public Library from Bryant Park

When I first looked to plan a spring trip to the East Coast, I was focused on getting Mrs. ITP and myself to Washington, D.C. during that small window of time when the cherry blossoms are in bloom and the springtime warmth banishes the snow flurries and icy winter air. I started by adding a “free one-way” onto our summer round-trip flight to Croatia (see this post for an explanation), but we still had to get from Southern California to Washington. That’s where United’s award availability got scarce and New York got added to the itinerary.

By flying to the United hub city of Newark, we were able to get to the East Coast on award miles and then utilize one of the many inexpensive yet comfortable private bus companies to get to DC. Between landing in Newark and heading to DC though, we went on a 48-hour whirlwind tour of New York City. Continue reading

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NYC + DC in a Week: A Trip Overview

New York City from the Empire State Building ITP Travel Report Overview

We’ve just returned from our week-long trip to the East Coast and that means a wealth of new tips, tricks, and travel reports are headed your way!

In this travel report series, among other things, you’ll learn:

  • How we got the most out of a short stay in New York City
  • Taking on the Capital City in a variety of weather conditions
  • Utilizing various forms of public transit and navigating the big city
  • How to see and do a ton without spending a weighty sum
  • Dining and Drinking in NYC + DC
  • The benefits and drawbacks of aspirational hotel award redemption bookings
  • An essay on the transient nature of umbrellas

As always, you can utilize the Travel Reports page on the main menu of to access all of ITP’s travel reports, which include: US travel reports, international travel reports, and bicycle touring travel reports!


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Travel to the End of the World for Free*: How I’ll be Getting to Patagonia and Back on Airline Miles, pt. 2

Delta SkyMiles Redemption in Southern South America Great Value

In part 1, I showed you how we’ll be getting from Los Angeles to the South American hub city of Santiago, Chile. We managed to save nearly $4,000 on those tickets! In part 2, I’ll examine how we used Delta Skymiles to get from Santiago to several spots in Patagonia, including the lake district beauty of Bariloche and the wilds of El Calafate and Southern Patagonia. Continue reading

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Travel to the End of the World for Free*: How I’ll be Getting to Patagonia and Back on Airline Miles, pt. 1

LAN Airplane

A while back, a good friend of mine expressed the desire to see the summer solstice from the ends of  both the northern and southern hemispheres. I said I’d like to be a part of such a cool concept, and agreed to head to the southern hemisphere for a December 21st date with the longest day of the year. Nearly a year on, and still 300 days from our departure, I’m happy to say our tickets are booked and we’re going to Patagonia!

Getting to the southern tip of Argentina and Chile, I’ve learned, is an adventure all by itself, and required me to dig deep into my award miles playbook to come up with a way to get us there on the cheap. As it turns out, three strategic credit-card signups is all we needed to get the job done. This post will show how we used two of those cards to get to Santiago, the capital of Chile, one of two major gateway cities for those seeking flights into the wilds of Patagonia. Continue reading


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