Object lesson: Rei Bollozos
A man on the move offers travel tips — and a cautionary tale or two
Travel aficionado Rei Bollozos has visited more than 40 countries on six continents — a weekend hop to Australia for a wedding isn’t out of the ordinary for this Las Vegas native. It’s safe to say he’s pretty much a #BOSS when it comes to booking trips. So we sat down to talk abut his secrets to scoring a good deal, his favorite travel spots and his in-flight essentials.
What’s the best travel deal you ever scored?
A hotel in London was offering a promo to stay one night get the second night free. The room assigned to us was not ready so they offered to give us two rooms for the inconvenience. The hotel also comped a round of drinks, which was a nice gesture.
Name three in-flight necessities.
A good pair of earplugs or headphones to block out crying babies or a loud seatmate. A bottle of water to stay hydrated. Enough music and movies loaded on your electronic devices to keep you occupied for the entire flight.
What’s the best time to shop for a fare?
Traveling on Tuesday or Wednesday is generally less expensive. But airlines can drop prices anytime, so try to check at least once a day to find the best fare.
Some say travel agencies are a thing of the past. Your thoughts?
I personally have never used one, but know people who have. If you book through a virtuoso travel agent, they have access to special rates for hotels that might include late checkout, upgrades to a nicer room, resort credits or even a free breakfast.
What websites do you use to book travel?
I’ve started using Fareness.com. It has a streamlined approach, and you can search your travel dates and it will compare prices across similar places of interest, like beaches or Europe.
Any tips on getting freebies/upgrades/benefits?
Being nice goes a long way. Try to fly the same airline or stick with the same hotel brand to achieve elite status. Some co-branded airline and hotel credit cards offer you upgrades, including priority boarding, waived baggage fees and late checkout.
Tips for packing for an overseas trip?
Research the country you’re visiting ahead of time. Some cultures have different dress codes. You don’t want to show up in a foreign country and be the Ugly American.
Is it possible to go on a trip for two weeks with just a carry-on?
Yes, checking a bag is such a waste of time, and I know my bag will be there when I arrive.
What is your top destination of places you have visited?
Going on a safari in South Africa. There’s nothing like being 10 feet away from a pride of lions in the wild.
What is your biggest travel fumble?
While in Bali, my driver recommended an overpriced restaurant that was two to three times more expensive than the neighboring ones. I later found out he was getting a cut of my bill.
What is the worst piece of advice you’ve been given on your travels?
Everyone says to eat street food while in Thailand. I tried it for the first time in Bangkok and came down with some major food poisoning afterward.
Craziest food you have eaten and where.
I sampled horse meat in Japan, but wouldn’t order it again. In South Korea, I bought a live octopus at a fish market and took it to a restaurant to prepare. When it arrived at the table, the tentacles were still moving. It was excellent, even though it was a bit difficult to eat.
What is the next stop on your travel schedule?
Later this year, I’m going to India and plan to visit the Taj Mahal. I’ve never been and the country has so much to offer.
Seven things he doesn't leave home without
1. A selfie stick, so you don’t have to ask people to take your picture. Kikkerland Design Folding Selfie Stick, $15, available at Nordstrom Fashion Show
2. An umbrella. Kipling Umbrella, $29, available at Kipling Fashion Show
3. I always have a dopp kit ready to go with my travel-size toiletries. Original Penguin Dopp Kit, $48, available at Original Penguin Fashion Show ADD Travel toiletries
4. A power bank for my phone. If you’re sightseeing all day, it makes it easy to charge your phone on the go. BRAVEN BVR-Bank is the best of the best. It is water resistant, contains a battery size of 6000 mAh, and it’s the world’s first Bluetooth-enabled phone bank! It allows you to monitor and control remaining battery levels through an app. BRAVEN BVR-Bank, $99, available at Braven.com
5. A mobile phone with an international data plan. Sprint and T-Mobile have plans that offer it for free. Always make sure you have this feature on your mobile phone before going out of the country! It will save you tons!
6. I walk a lot when I travel. A comfortable pair of kicks is essential. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Andy Warhol Collection, $80-$85, available at Converse Retail locations and converse.com
7. I love the camera on my iPhone, but sometimes you need a digital camera. I’m obsessed with the new Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera. It has built-in Wi-Fi for easy sharing to smart devices and social-media sites, so you can post your travel photos on the go. Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR Camera, $749, available at Best Buy