This is the place where travel experts share their tips and expertise to make you the expert. It’s also a place to have fun, explore, learn, and just kick back.
I started this newsletter/website for fun. It all began when I e-mailed a few friends who traveled a lot, and wanted to earn as many miles as I did. We competed to see who could accrue more miles, and after kicking their butts (I learned a lot traveling 150,000 miles a year for the past 10 years), I decided to be nice and help my friends out. My first e-mails told them what numbers to call so they could earn double miles or points. Each week I got more creative, adding new features like tips, web cams and helpful travel websites. My list grew and grew. I got e-mails from people I didn’t even know, asking to be added to the distribution list. When my list reached 500 I decided to make a website. I felt there were many helpful, cool websites out in cyberspace, but not one of them had everything I needed. I had so many travel bookmarks and favorites that sometimes even I couldn’t find what I was looking for. So I laid them all out, organized them, and voila: The Hundredbacklinks Portal! The website was designed to point travelers to everything the web has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you travel five days a week, or once every five years. This site is for everyone! It has become the “first stop” for thousands of travelers. Those who contribute to Hundredbacklinks share my vision—and I share theirs. Together, all of us get the inside scoop on how to do travel—and how do it economically, comfortably, efficiently, and with plenty of style. Don’t forget to tell your family, friends and colleagues to sign up to our free Hundredbacklinks Travel News, Tips and Stories newsletter (here)—and to use our search engines when booking travel.
How It All Began (The Hundredbacklinks Backstory)
I was born in May of 1969, in Connecticut. I lived there until I was 21. I became fascinated with air travel at an early age, when I discovered I could leave behind freezing cold, dreary CT in January, and two hours later be in hot, sunny, beautiful Florida. Unfortunately, when I was 17 years old a doctor told me I had asthma, gave me way too much medication, and told me that I “might have a problem breathing on a plane because the cabin is pressurized.” I tried to get on a plane to Australia, but turned around at the gate. It was one of the worst days of my life. For 3.5 years I was afraid to fly.
Anxiety ridden and 21, I got off the medication, got back on a plane, and now seem to spend more time in airports and inside jets than anywhere else.
Having conquered my fear of flying I enrolled at Marymount College, a great private two-year school in Palos Verdes, CA. I remember that when I first started flying, even though I arrived at the airport very early I still had to stand in a seemingly endless line to check in, only to sit in the back of the plane, in a cramped middle seat, be fed lousy food, and have my bags come out last. I realized there had to be a better way. I had conquered my flying fears; now I had to conquer my dread of being reduced to sub-human level. (On a side note, I can help almost anyone with a fear of flying. I helped one man fly for the first time in 42 years!)
I didn’t know just how good flying could be until college, when I started dating a bona fide princess. Her parents lived in Hong Kong and Sydney, and she wouldn’t fly in economy because she was accustomed to flying Business Class. I had ONLY flown coach—and I had never been overseas. When she invited me to Hong Kong, I couldn’t let the opportunity slip by. Her parents bought her a business class ticket on their favorite airline, and I knew there was no way I could sit on a plane for 14.5 hours by myself. I (okay, my dad) bought the seat next to her from a consolidator. It cost $1,500, which was great; full-fare was $5,000. I picked the right time to have my first out-of-coach experience. WOW! What a difference! A nice phat seat with a leg rest, some hot towels, a little sorbet to clean the palate, non-stop food, beverages and movies. It was so good that I didn’t want to leave the plane.
When I returned to the US I felt like a new man. I finally got the monkey off my back; I knew I could now travel OVERSEAS! I prospered at Marymount, graduating as student body president. From there I went on to Loyola Marymount, and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in history and led the lacrosse league in scoring. That and a plane ticket would get me back to freezing CT, so I combined my love of travel, public speaking and assisting others, and returned to Palos Verdes where I took on a career as a college recruiter.
While traveling my 26-state territory for Marymount, I looked over at business travelers who showed up an hour before the flight, cruised through their no-wait check-in counter, waited in a private club room, sat in comfortable seats, ate gourmet dinners, claimed their bags first, and all the while accrued mega-miles. I was so frustrated, envious and determined that I decided to observe everything, and pose questions to everyone: travel agents, flight attendants, captains, any frequent flier I could approach. And guess what? I learned that flying is a game. And suddenly the rules of the game emerged. You just have to know someone who knows how to win.
I learned thousands of tricks of the trade. None, however, is more important than this one: Always be genuinely friendly to everyone. That means ticket agents on the phone, gate agents, supervisors, porters, security—even the guy driving the courtesy golf cart who almost runs you over every time.
I used to dread flying; now I can’t wait for my next trip. I started Hundredbacklinks.com for fun. Now I get tons of e-mails every day, and the site keeps growing. If you like the website design, thank Bojan and Kevin. They are two of the nicest and smartest guys you’ll ever meet.
I hope you find the information useful and fun. Don’t forget to tell a friend—or maybe your seatmate—on your next flight.
See you in the skies,
Want more Johnny? Check out my book .
Read a tribute to my mother here.
Jeanne H. DiScala
December 26, 1927 – October 14, 2000
“The best way to use your miles is to take your mom to Europe.”