Day 1 – Flight to Pittsburgh

As promised, I’m going to try to keep up with all the blogging instead of writing giant chunks of texts 🙂 You can count this as my official first post about travel! Technically, it’s Day 2 as I write this but Pittsburgh is 3 hours ahead of California time, and I still haven’t adjusted. That, and it’s a bad habit of mine to stay up until the wee hours of the morning. So Day 1 it is 🙂

There’s not too much to tell you guys today, since I spent most of my day flying. I flew from the West Coast to the East Coast, so I had to deal with the time change. The three hours makes a huge difference in when you arrive at your destination. My flight from San Jose to Pittsburgh totaled about 6 hrs of fly time, but when you factor in the time differences, it can take up your whole day. I left at 1230PM PDT and arrived at 11PM EDT. Normally, I would have a different fly schedule but I was flying out of a different airport (SJC vs SFO), and I’m still pretty pooped from packing and moving all of my stuff so I needed the later flight. Here are some tips on things I normally do to make the most out of my flights:

  • If you’re someone that likes to settle in before they explore, book a morning or midday flight so you arrive in the afternoon or evening. That will give you time to settle into the place you’re staying before you head out to explore the next day.
  • If you’re someone that likes to jump into exploring ASAP, book a red eye flight, if possible. If not, book something super early. Red eye flights from the West Coast going to the East Coast means you’ll probably land sometime in the morning between 7AM-10AM, which gives you plenty of time to enjoy a full day at your destination.
  • Check up on the reliability of the airlines. If they’re less reliable (late, cancelled flights, etc) but are just a tad bit cheaper than a more reliable airline, just fork over a little more cash to save yourself the trouble.
  • Use multiple search engines to research and find the best deals, and set up alerts to notify you of price drops/rises. I tend to use Kayak (domestic) and Skyscanner (international)
  • Check to see if the times make sense. If the flight is cheaper but makes you sit in a 5-hour layover, that might not be the best use of your time.

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Personally, my favorite airlines are Virgin America and Southwest due to the comfort, reliability, and good scheduling. However, even though I have favorites, I always make sure to check multiple sources. Unless you fly pretty frequently and absolutely must fly on a certain airline, researching multiple sources to find good flight deals is important. I often check both Kayak AND Virgin and Southwest to compare prices (since budget airlines aren’t listed on Kayak, except Frontier). I love Southwest and Virgin but sometimes they can be much pricier than what’s listed on Kayak. It’s always a good thing to compare and shop around instead of relying solely on one airline for a good deal. For instance, my flight to Pittsburgh was through Delta because they had a slightly better deal, and the schedule worked better for me.

My flight was pretty uneventful. Everything was on time, the stewardesses were very nice, and the flights were smooth. I had a slight freakout when I woke up from a nap and forgot where I was (lol that’s what exhaustion can do to you), but other than that, everything was lovely. I will say that there were some gorgeous views outside the window on our way to Minneapolis, MN for the layover. Random side note: St. Paul International in Minneapolis only gives you 45 minutes of free wifi.

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I believe this was over Utah due to my photo’s geo tags.

Pittsburgh International Airport is a decently sized airport that’s pretty easy to navigate and has plenty of stores and restaurants for you to check out in case you get stuck there for a couple of hours. Like most airports, PIT has interesting pieces of art strewn throughout its terminals. Much of the art advertises various museums in the city like the Andy Warhol Museum and the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and they’re all definitely interesting enough to catch your eye.

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If it wasn’t so late, I would’ve love to just walk around and see all the different things there. Fun fact—apparently the airport used to be a farm! I learned that by staring at a bunch of banners hung above the moving walkways on my way to baggage claim.

Last bit of knowledge to share! If you’re riding with Lyft or Uber, you’ll need to go to Door 4 to be picked up, which is close by to baggage claims. Both apps will tell you that you need to go to that specific passenger pickup zone or you won’t be picked up.

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The signs will be pretty clear, but just in case, it looks like that!

Pittsburgh International is actually a bit away from the actual city (because it was a farm, remember? 😀 ), so it’ll probably take you about 30 minutes to reach where you’re staying. I’d suggest comparing prices on both Lyft and Uber since the quotes had a $15-20 difference ($35 for Uber, $50-60 for Lyft). Lyft was on surge pricing (while Uber was not), so that might be why it was much more expensive. If you’re a planner, you can also check out Super Shuttle as an alternative. I used to use Super Shuttle a lot when I traveled to LA and it was pretty inexpensive. I’m not sure how much it would be for Pittsburgh. The caveat with Super Shuttle though, is that you share a van with multiple people so it may take you some time to reach your destination.

Well, the sleepiness has started to kick in. I leave you with a picture of the lovely place I’m staying in (via Airbnb). Tomorrow will bring more adventure, so I’ll have much more interesting stories to tell 🙂 If you have questions, comments, or anything, be sure to post it below for me!

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