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Hey everyone! It’s Jenna Rainey here from Mon Voir, a design agency based in Southern California. I am an illustrator, designer and the recent author of the best selling how-to watercolor book, “Everyday Watercolor.” Before the release of my book on October 10th, I was planning the logistics of all my upcoming travels for my workshop and book tour: Picture seven cities in six weeks with 25–30 watercolor classes, plus book signings and a whole lot of planes, cars, hotels and the like. Busy!

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Now, I’m a seasoned traveler. I love going to new cities and finding the best coffee, hikes, and all the local haunts, but traveling can be expensive! So, before I started booking everything, I did my research and found that if I wanted to get the best deals, booking with Orbitz would have the best rewards, perks and savings—especially if you have Platinum status with their Orbitz Rewards program. All it takes to get all those Platinum perks and privileges is staying 12 hotel nights per year. Easy!

And traveling with Platinum status is the equivalent of traveling like a rockstar. Lines at the airport? No problem, I got TSA Pre✓ ® for free, so see ya later notoriously long O’Hare security lines! Oh and my flight out of SFO was delayed by over 3 hours, so I took advantage of having access to the Delta Sky Club Lounge…for free. Nothing makes you feel more VIP than an airport lounge, guys. I’ve always wondered what’s behind those protected doors, and now I know. They have showers! But I spent most of my time at the lounge bar getting work done and sippin’ some wine before my next flight. This is how my entire tour went, thanks to Orbitz Rewards.

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So, just a few short days after my book was officially released in October, I hit the road for the Pacific Northwest, starting with Portland, Oregon. Throughout my entire tour, I was traveling with some pretty valuable supplies. I had paint, paper, brushes, etc. for my classes and somehow had to travel with clothes for the six weeks I’d be away from home. Shipping these supplies would’ve been expensive, but with my Platinum status through Orbitz, I was able to receive two free checked bags! Major savings, especially with having to take new supplies with me to each city.

But, the perks and rockstar living didn’t stop at the airport. Every flight I took, every hotel I booked, I earned money back toward travel. Yes, you read that right. Not only did I get access to the nicest hotels in each city at a crazy deal, but every time I booked a hotel on the Orbitz Rewards “VIP Hotels” list, I earned extra little perks—sometimes that meant a room upgrade, sometimes it meant free breakfast or free Wi-Fi.

Each time I arrived in a new city and checked in to the hotel, my jaw hit the floor. In Chicago, I booked The Ace Hotel in the West Loop, a neighborhood bursting with the best bars and food scene in the city. When I’m traveling, that’s what I typically want to spend my time doing: eating good food and sharing beverages with old friends who now live in various cities. That’s how I truly got to know the city and its people! Along with every hotel I stayed at on my tour, The Ace was in the perfect location for this. We were within walking distance to The Allis Chicago, where I had one of the best negronis of my life at the bar upstairs.

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After catching up with friends over cocktails, coming back to The Ace was just perfect, though all of the hotels I stayed at over my tour were top notch! Picture velvet couches and marble lobbies, incredible views of the skyline from your room, oh, and about those upgrades… At check in, I’d sometimes get treated to a bigger and better room (*cough* *rockstar*) at no extra cost, just because I’ve got Platinum status. At The Ace, that translated into getting amazing views of Chicago’s famous skyline. Each book signing and class day was fully booked in every city, so the location and coming back “home” to a beautiful and comfortable room made all the difference.

With all of this money I was saving, I was able to put those extra dollars toward excellent food and the best coffee and really getting to see and experience each city. In Seattle, I took my extra bucks straight to The Walrus & The Carpenter restaurant in Ballard, a neighborhood crawling with amazing spots. It was at the Walrus that I had oysters for the first time in my life! We spent three hours at this place. Their menu is full of all kinds of different oysters, and thankfully we were with a local who was guiding me the entire way. Every single thing was so fresh, it was hard to stop ordering!

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Traveling on a book tour is, overall, quite exhausting. Once you get comfortable in one city, find the neighborhoods you like and put on successful classes and events, it’s time to pick up and leave again! Because each city was so packed and I wanted to make sure to spend my free time seeing the city and not just the inside of my hotel room, I would use the time I had on the plane to research the next city’s neighborhoods, look up restaurants and coffee shops to hit, etc. This made for a really packed tour with not much downtime, but I made so many memories! I met some incredible people at each stop and book event, and thankfully all of my supplies for classes and events made it safely and intact, so I didn’t have to spend any time worrying about that.

And thanks to my Platinum status with Orbitz Rewards, I didn’t have to spend any time penny pinching, or skipping out on a fabulous restaurant because the budget didn’t allow. Platinum status saved me money and made the VIP, rockstar experience happen. I’m currently getting ready to book out the rest of my spring tour and will definitely use the Orbucks earned toward my next round of travel, taking advantage of all my Platinum status perks along the way!

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Jenna Rainey

Jenna Rainey

Jenna is the founder and lead designer, illustrator and calligrapher behind Mon Voir. She started her small but mighty illustration and design agency out of a love for art that began when she was very little. With a passion for the arts and a background in psychology, she strives to bring out the creativity in each student in a workshop, and unique and elegant quality within every design and invitation.

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