traveluso begins a small fee. we were free once.

For everything.

This is a personal note from Matt Impelluso, the founder of traveluso!

For two years, we’ve been at it booking flights and hotel rooms all around the country.  (And trains, buses, rent-a-cars, giving advice on cities – the works) When I started the company, it initially was word by mouth.  Not often do people stumble upon such a travel site. Since we are manual, we don’t do things normally. Algorithms couldn’t solve this problem no matter the expert. Unfortunately, my thinking pattern, arrogant as it sounds , is beyond a formula. The other engines aren’t built for that type of travel.

The biggest purpose of traveluso! was so you could conveniently pay for your flight, yet hold off the cost to the hotel with a card we supply. Upon arrival at the hotel, you received a code and transferred your account over to pay for the bill. Most websites don’t have this, and the ones that do are trickier to navigate because they are only for hotel rooms, not other forms of travel.

I’ve probably worked for free around….someone crunch the match, 5 hours a business day, using social media and the likes for the past two years, minus our server setback a while ago.

Monetary woes aren’t going to shut down the site, but we ask for the following small sums to pay for the job I am doing. We will still go word by mouth, but aggressively use this at fundraising to promote.

If you book via hotel, and flight, or no flight – it will be a 3% fee to the total of the order. The fee must be paid in 48 hours, considering it’s close to pennies $12 for a $400 stay, or else I’ll be forced to remove the reservation. We will do this using Square.

If you book via flight and no hotel, a 2.5% tax will go on immediately to the fare.

If i’m doing substantial research to your vacation (3 hours or more with all the trimmings), it will be a 5% tax for my work. If I’m working for 3 hours on one trip, you must be flying to Mars. I’ll try and get you there.

I don’t want to tax. I don’t want to ask for help. But, we do run on tips. Sadly, I am not doing well medically, insurance is destroying me, and I can barely advertise.

I hope that all of you who have asked for my help will understand.  My trip planning is unlike any other. While you can use Expedia all day long, I will crush that rate. if not, no tax! (Yeah, looking at Southwest yourself doesn’t count fellas)

Also, while we are having some car trouble, taxi service (my own taxi service, which is $50 cheaper than a car) will continue with water and other amenities,  including stops if you would like to get something to eat.

I will be re-writing the inquiry page tonight because honestly it looks like crap, and we will be ready to go as soon as May begins.

Once again, this small fee is still cheaper than wasting your money with bad travel companies, such as Expedia, Travelocity, the likes – and as always, prompt service will be given.

We hope we turned no one off by this, but it was a pretty nice trial.

Also, as a bonus, we will give 3% of the total fee to a recommended customer by one of your current customers.

We work independently from the IATA.

Thanks, and if you’d like to privately message me, you know where to go. @traveluso or facebook.com/traveluso. If we’re friends on FB, just direct message me.

P.S. If you’re reading this from a destination that is not Houston, I can find the costs in relatively seconds. We are based in Houston. These fares are all consistent with the week. They usually change 3 times for the weekend runs.

Jetblue is traveluso’s PREFERRED airline

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Ranked via Houston*

  1. jetBlue
  2. Southwest
  3. American Airlines
  4. Delta Airlines
  5.  Frontier Airlines
  6.  Spirit Airlines
  7.  United Airlines

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NOTE: Hawaiian, Virgin America, and Alaska are usually rated higher than Jetblue, but they constantly rank in the top 5. However, I haven’t had the opportunity to fly these airlines due to their destinations.

Since 2014 (maybe earlier, but definitely since), Jetblue Airways has been boarding from Gate 30 at Houston Hobby Airport. The odd jetway has no usual Southwest markings, (Southwest virtually controls the airport) – it pretty much looks like you’re in the northeast already.

Being from Houston, having a Houston football club in the AFC of the NFL that plays Jetblue’s official football team the Patriots, having the usual touristy trip to the northeast (mostly NYC, but BOS has easy connections!), Jetblue should be the northeast airline officially for Houston – but has insane competition with United and Southwest. This doesn’t mean United or Southwest are cheaper. On the contrary, it’s much more.

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JetBlue is the official airline of the Boston Red Sox….and we’ll just ignore any personal opinions about that.

In all seriousness – Jetblue could be the best mile high club on Earth. 36 channels on the A320, 100 on the A321 of DirecTV, 100 Sirius XM channels, the best legroom in coach domestically (We’ve looked around the world too – it’s very hard to beat for economy)

Southwest offers 2 free** bags (but think -$50 if you only have a carry on, which should determine your fare) and United is rated worst domestically and personally, our least favorite airline.

Jetblue is traveluso! number one airline – as they’ve been transferring my family to the Northeast for years. My (CEO) last trip was in January. Besides TWA in 1994, this is the only airline every member of the immediate family used. Funny enough, Jetblue now runs out of the old TWA terminal at JFK, so when we moved to Texas, any time coming back to JFK is bittersweet. (More bitter for me)

Via JFK – easy access to Manhattan, Long Island, etc

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Via BOS – use the Silver Line for connections via bus or train at South Station. VERY EASY TO USE FOR FIRST TIME COMMUTERS

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Thanks for getting my mom back home, Jetblue. Thanks to my brother for helping too.

**Houston based airlines

Personal story about my family and I:

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! and now a travel story how we’re hereIn the summer of 1994, 4 born and bred New Yorkers, 3 from…

Posted by Matt Impelluso on Thursday, February 25, 2016

Amtrak saves me AGAIN from a Winter Storm

FOR LONG DISTANCE AMTRAK TRAIN RIDES, SEE BOTTOM OF ARTICLE

It’s quite apparent that Amtrak, no matter in what types of crazy blizzards, can still operate and take passengers where they need to go in times of crazy-ness and winter weather.

In 2014, immediately upon landing in Pittsburgh (it was -2 degrees when I landed), I received an email from Megabus. Because of the detoriating road conditions between Pittsburgh and New York, they gave me two options: One, to reschedule completely, or two, get my money back. When I went on Amtrak’s website and did the math, I would only be paying $60 for the Amtrak trip to Newark, NJ – and it was an eight hour trip through Pennsylvania, and one hour up the Northeast Corridor.

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Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian in Pennsylvania

Amtrak saved me because of certain obligations I had to attend in the northeast. If I lived in the northeast full time, I wouldn’t have minded rescheduling for a day, but all my events were important. The nine hour trip, which sounds daunting without a Sleeper car (look at videos below) was absolutely fantastic, and is one of the most scenic routes Amtrak has during the winter months.

On January 22, 2016, the NOAA advised the entire Northeast coast to brace for Winterstorm Jonas. The storm was set to drop about 10-12 inches in the New York area by early morning. By late Friday night, it moved to 18 inches. By Saturday morning, in white out conditions, 10 more inches were added on, and by only a small decimal point, Winterstorm Jonas was the 2nd worst blizzard in NYC history.

John F. Kennedy International Airport, La Guardia Aiport, and Newark International Airport began cancelling flights immediately. However, my whole plan was to go through Boston on the way home – which was incredibly smart on my behalf, even though I couldn’t see into the future – but Boston barely got hit by Jonas.

After speaking with a couple of airline professionals and looking at all my options, and with Greyhound cancelling all routes till Monday morning (my flight departed Boston Logan at 6:55 AM), I had to bite the bullet and book an Amtrak ticket via Acela. I waited two hours too long and had to pay $137, when two hours previous it was $73. Obviously, people were in a panic.

While Amtrak slashed service on the Northeast Corridor, especially that south of New York Penn, they only cancelled or delayed half their service up to Boston. Because of an obligation to be back in Houston by 1:45 PM central time, I had to book this fare.

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Acela was a beautiful way of traveling up to Boston, but it was nothing to glorious or special compared to the regular NER trains that run the line. While the lowest form of travel is in business, you don’t really receive any benefits. In first class, the spacing is a little better, and you might get a free meal, but that’s about it.

After arriving early in Boston, and hitting 152 mph for a couple of minutes in Rhode Island, I don’t have the words to thank Amtrak enough for being punctual and getting those snow plows working.

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The following are some videos if you would enjoy cross country journeys on Amtrak. I’ve never been on one, so you might enjoy this. Also , Amtrak played a major role in my “blind SoCal trip” which one of my customers described as “the most fun part of his trip.” He visited Disney.

A new start for 2016

After a year of medical problems with the CEO, traveluso! is back and slowly adding columns (price check! new!)  and developing pages on the daily. traveluso! has been in business since 2014, with the goal of bringing travelers on a budget to their destination without breaking the bank. After those two years, it seems less than 15% of all those making bookings were incredibly interested in traveling harder for cheaper – much like how the CEO, Matt Impelluso, travels.

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With that said, traveluso! is now using three methods of travel.

THE PACKAGES

“The Moneysaver” is our budget category. This category gives you the cheapest airfare. Using this category might involve one or two bus/train connections because your host city might be extraordinary more expensive than a city three hours away. For example, one of our favorite airports to utilize is Dallas Fort Worth. Their gate prices are low, therefore allowing airlines to keep costs down. Since every airline serves DFW, the low fare carriers push other route prices down. Spirit Airlines is sometimes more expensive than American Airlines.

“Standard,” which is close to economy as possible with potential upgrades, is the newest category. This includes more comfort on the plane, possible club access, and direct routes through the airport closest to you. (With cities that have multiple airports, we’ll give both prices so you can decide whether a longer drive is worth the cost savings)

The more upscale category, “Premier,” is for those with preferences on airlines, clubs at the airport, non-stop or connecting flights, chosen cities for hubs, etc – would be finding travel accommodations for these individuals based on more critique by the planner.

Not much has changed for the inquiry process, but hub to hub travel with bus or train connections isn’t preferable to the majority of our clients unless they are arriving at the destination they set to depart back towards home. Standard usually doesn’t include a train/bus transfer. Premier does however, because we include the most comfortable options, usually by train, that would be out of price for budget travelers.

Happy tourists couple holding map
Happy tourists couple holding map

THE “HUBS”

While we are located in Houston, many of our travelers live all around North America, and a good bit in Western Europe, mainly the United Kingdom. Since Houston and New York JFK and Newark are huge international destinations with hub connections up the wazoo, you can save costs by jumping from city to city, and possibly enjoy a two day layover.

The new traveluso! will begin including routes at major hubs such as Miami, Atlanta, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle. The Hill Country (Austin and San Antonio) will be included in the new searches for those living in Texas.

The major cities has changed little, but with the growth of the Austin – San Antonio metropolitan area, we have included them in the mix. Also, once Dallas was a hub city, but the transit connections are absolutely superb and virtually anyone in Texas and get to the Metroplex by bus or train. sanantonioaustin

Areas of focus will be introduced, once part of the top navigational bar, but now more specific: Plant tourism, the old name, really doesn’t make much sense. Instead, Denver Delights will offer more to what Denver has to offer, besides their incredible legalization of marijuana, which has put hundreds of millions in tax reserves since 2014. Denver has excellent food choices, and starting in April of 2016, it will be one of the most best connected transit cities in America, with a brand new commuter rail spur from their airport many quote as being “in the middle of the desert.”

Amtrak will have a dedicated section like the last page, but since Amtrak is a monopoly and only have codeshares via United, there is no purpose on describing more to the video than intercity travel – rather than interstate. There’s nothing we can really do to lower Amtrak costs for long distance travel. For short distance, it just depends on the day you travel if it’s to make an airport – city connection.

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New York will be the most through section, as it is the CEO’s hometown. Info on how to save money but not skimp on your hotel experience will greatly enhance your trip.

New-York-Skyline

North Mexico, replacing a former blog post, is now a separate page where the CEO describes the harsh realities of long bus travel to the heavily populated areas, which much advice on how to stay safe. traveluso! does not agree with the travel warnings set by the United States. for those who say “better safe than sorry,” you’re incorrect. There are travel warnings every day.

Mexico has an extensive bus system. This year, we will travel further into Mexico. In 2015, we traveled to Monterrey by bus, and that will probably be one of the first articles on the page.

More on Mexico and the rest of the changes to the site by 5/2/16. 

Another small change regarding Mexico is that I once sent travellers to an acquaintance of mine in the same industry. Once I realized most of this acquaintances’ clients were married couples or honeymoons, I pinpointed their location. A country I frequent over 115 times, Mexico, should not be a difficult task to bear. Also, if anything, this same person probably thought they could beat my fares for the airlines. No more outside help. Apologies.

HOTEL AND CAR RENTAL INQUIRIES

We never supplied a section on the page to list preferences for the hotel, or car rental inquiries. The current inquiry page has nothing of the sort. We will plan that after your initial plans to your arrival location.

 

The 2015 Thanksgiving Travel Report

[P.S. The blog portion of the website is under construction. Links around the article may either be dead or incomplete]

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Whether traveling by car or plane, this year’s Thanksgiving will vary differently from others in the past couple of years, especially last year. This is mostly due to low gas prices affecting 49 out of the 50 states. Unfortunately, Hawaii can’t get a break, but it’s obvious why petrol costs considerably more there.

Low petrol prices at the pump also help the airlines hoard more gas than usual, and this year has been a great one to take advantage. After looking at the most popular travel destinations by Conde Nast, Thanksgiving travel, whether to an old hometown (further than a 4 hour drive) for a family dinner or a tourist vacation, airfares are considerably pretty low, minus the most dreaded travel day of the year, the day before Thanksgiving.

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As we’re about 4 weeks away, there might be speculation to why I am optimistic gas prices won’t affect the consumer’s wallet. Here’s why: Last year, on Thanksgiving, the average US gallon of gas was over $2.50/gallon – at 100% of gas stations. On Sunday, I read a statistic that only 13% of all stations in the United States are higher than $2.50/gallon. Furthermore, one of the highest jumps for a month in gas are about 50 cents per gallon (unless for a freak accident like a hurricane or a petrol plant problem) In Texas, gas has dropped to an average of $1.99/gallon, as of December 21.

Even if the worst were to happen, and tomorrow gas prices started rising, it would have to be the single largest increase since the 70’s and 80’s oil crises. When the economy was in recession, you would see steady increases. but never a huge jump day by day.

The gas prices don’t affect airline costs for short-term travel. Airlines hoard gas and store it in tanks at major airports, so any sudden spike can keep prices down via this method.

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The airlines for Thanksgiving week are running specials through the roof, but obviously not on best travel days. While college kids and people who designate the week off can take advantage, last minute travelers for far distances would honestly have to get lucky, because the airlines will dump fares on some routes if the planes aren’t full. Discount airlines do this the most, and now major carriers are competing directly with discount airlines more than ever before.

Last minute travelers refer to those who have to work up to Wednesday. Monday and Tuesday’s airfares are collectively the cheapest. Thanksgiving day also is cheap for some markets, because not many people want to fly Thanksgiving day and then sit down to dinner. Also, area traffic on Thanksgiving day is almost a light rush hour in some cities.

As a travel agent, my recommendations are always to book one month in advance. Well, that day has come, and here are the most popular routes from Houston, Dallas, and New York

Airfares for Thanksgiving

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As a comparison to help you understand the dramatic difference in airfare price, I’ve listed the cheapest date available the week before, the cheapest day available on Thanksgiving week, and the cheapest available for the day before Thanksgiving.

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Since I’m lazy and it takes forever, here are fares from New York, and then Dallas.

Las Vegas – $142 [WB] / $151 [BO] / $252 [DB]

Denver – $124 [WB] / $156 [BO] / $272 [DB]

Houston – $128 [WB] / $145 [BO] / $200+ [DB]

Chicago – $41 [WB] / $51 [BO] / $191 [DB]

Los Angeles – $136 [WB] / $139 [BO] / $244 [DB]

San Fransisco – $139 [WB] / $142 [BO] / $239 [DB]

London – $287 [WB] / $291 [BO] / $371 [DB]

Orlando – $32 (via Trenton) [WB] / $99 [BO] /  $212 [DB]

Miami – $49 [WB] / $84 [BO] /  ] $179 [DB]

Kansas City – $105 [WB] / $106 [BO] / $202 [DB]

DALLAS

Las Vegas – $41 [WB] / $107 [BO] / $169 [DB]

Denver – $32 [WB] / $59 [BO] / $79 [DB]

Chicago – $41 [WB] / $41 [BO] / $59 [DB]

Los Angeles – $41 [WB] / $79 [BO] / $109 [DB]

San Fransisco – $69[WB] / $79 [BO] / $79 [DB]

Orlando – $41  [WB] / $109 [BO] /  $139 [DB]

Miami – $40 [WB] / $49 [BO] /  ] $79 [DB]

Kansas City – $41 [WB] / $41 [BO] / $135 [DB]

Toronto – $132 [WB] / $132 [BO] / $132 [DB]

For travel inquiries, please use the inquiry page located here

personal travel consultants