Happy 75th Birthday to the Empire State Building

75 years ago, on May 1st, 1931, the Empire State Building opened to the public. The idea for the skyscraper came from John J. Raskob, whose goal in the project was merely to outdo his former competitor, Walter Chrysler, and the Chrysler Building.  Raskob, and then Governor Al Smith, conspired to make sure that the new building would surpass the Chrysler building in its height, 103 floors, and its magnificent design.  Including the antenna on top, the Empire State Building stands 1,454 feet tall. Amazingly, this ambitious project only took 410 days to complete, an average of about four-and-a-half floors completed per week.  View the photo history of the building of the Empire State Building here. The building, Fifth Avenue at 34th, seems to float above the street, and the rest of its surroundings, when viewed from a distance.  It is one […]

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Check Your Hotel Bill

If you have extensive charges to your hotel bill, here is a suggestion to help you quickly review the items to make sure that there are no unauthorized charges: When signing for restaurant and room service charges, the most likely category of items to be mistakenly or fraudulently posted to your account, tip in an amount that will result in your bill adding up to a number consistently ending in the same digit. For example, leave a tip that will result in the total bill adding up to a number ending in six:  $30.16, $58.46, $71.96. When you find your hotel bill under your door, you can quickly scan the items for those that do not end in a six.  According to Travel Secrets, the odds of an accidental, but legitimate, item on your bill ending in six is 9:1 […]

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Why am I Writing About Travel?

I have been a Flight Attendant with a U.S. airline for more years than I care to admit.  It makes me feel too old to admit that this is the longest I’ve ever held one job. One of the things that happens when you’ve flown for awhile, is people starting asking you for information about traveling.  At first, it’s the passengers on your flight asking about where to stay, for restaurant suggestions, maybe a special shopping place, your favorite places to go, or which sights are really worth seeing. Then, your family and non-airline friends start calling.  In the beginning they ask about getting the lowest priced airline ticket, although they soon realize that because flight attendants fly for free, we rarely have a clue about what a ticket actually costs.  So then they just start asking what you did on your […]

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Welcome to the Flyaway Cafe

This was the very first blog post that I ever wrote.  It first published on March 17th, 2006, and announced the launch of my then travel blog, Flyaway Cafe.  Things may have changed in the years since then, and now you’ll find me here at Traveling with MJ, but one thing that hasn’t changed in my love for travel and sharing it with all my readers. — Welcome to the Flyaway Café, the place where everyone goes to talk about travel. In Casablanca, everyone went to Rick’s Cafe.  With Humphrey Bogart as the suave and debonair host, the place attracted those in the know, as well as those who wanted to be in the know. It was the place to go for drinks and gambling.  (Gambling in Casablanca?  I’m shocked!)  You went to Rick’s because everyone went there.  It was […]

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