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Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Lesson 16 of 32

Where to Stay - Hotels

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

Make Your Dream Trip a Reality

Chris Guillebeau, Stephanie Zito

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Lesson Info

16. Where to Stay - Hotels

Lesson Info

Where to Stay - Hotels

When we started we talked all about making a strategy and choosing your dream destination and identifying your travel profile doing everything you need to do to get things going then we had a whole week focused on earning points in miles earning lots of big mileage bonuses also earning miles why you sleep so passive strategies all kinds of crazy stuff you should have a lot of miles now because you've been sleeping for like every night for two weeks since we started going on tell us how many miles you're in where you slept last night awesome uh last week we talked about how to book your flight look at lots of different options for that award bookings simple word bookings complicated or bookings we did a hot seat torrey did a role play exercise we get around the world you know itinerary I think we took jin who do we take june and casey or kendrick took somebody kendrick kendrick all around the world just one lesson okay so much so this way you choose the dream destination hotel that's ri...

ght identify your travel hacking style take stock of your current points in miles and we're gonna help you just set your hotel strategy that's what we're really going to do to help you sell your hotel strategy today starting with less than fifteen where to stay great so here and book your hotels we are on page thirty nine in the workbook amazing and every lesson has three goals so today's goals are to explore options for accommodation make hotel chains work for you and choose your dream trip hotel okay, so as we're getting started here love to ask the audience a couple of questions where do you normally stay when you travel and when you think about your dream destination of your dream trip is that something different or is that the same as what you normally do would love to hear from a couple people if you raise your hand where do you normally stay? And is it different when you think about your dream destination? Previously I guess used to just try and stay in the cheapest what it was the cheapest and then now we're kind of maurin toe like china swindle deal's changed my profile two swindlers aspiring swindle aspiring that swindler so I think it's I guess that's the bath hacking thing so like kind of move your way up and try and get into some really fancy places for less. So I think for my dream trip I would love to try and do a bit of both like slum it out and then like get the bath and swindling and slumming hashtag swindle something that is wrong with the slum mentality but usually it's just you know any local hostel or local hotel whatever is the quickest, easiest thing in the book but I think when referencing like the dream trip trying to plan out my dream trip um definitely think of luxury definitely a luxury so, um if you're gonna do the trip, he might as well go all the way to the top so absolutely sounds good anybody else everyone more theater, the cheapest place, but I had one opportunity once where I stayed at this really luxurious place where I felt like I don't belong here, but ideally a ford ideal trip. I don't mind, you know, kind of what they said about slumming, but at least how I have one of those days in the real nice place that's great. So I was thinking about going into this week, I was thinking, gosh, I've only ever really thought about using a miles and such for flights and not so much about hotels because I don't like to spend a lot of money personally on hotels, I just figure I could use that money for other ways, but I love staying in a nice hotel, so I'm really excited to think more about how to get hotel points absolutely well, that's a lot of what we're talking about, so for me I also stayed in all kinds of different hotels stayed in hospitals guesthouses think we'll show some pictures of that, but I also appreciate nice hotels and the more I travel we got fortunate a few times kind of looked into some things that I learned about miles and points on. Then I began realizing this actually could be a really fun, important part of the whole travel experience. So this is a picture of my favorite hotel in the world park hyatt sydney actually stayed there many times was just there a few weeks ago. Actually, I try to go back several times a year whenever possible. Beautiful view of the opera house this is a hotel that normally cost nine hundred dollars a night. I probably say they're almost ten times have never spent nine hundred dollars a night always a hundred percent of the time been there with miles and points. So just an example of what miles and points could do for you. I used in this case I used chase ultimate rewards points that I transfer to hyatt two book I think I usually books some of them strictly with points and some of them with points in cash, which we'll talk about all this week just a reminder of the profiles that we started with way back and listen to on we continued to use throughout the course we talked about travel hacking approaches and also traveler styles so traveler styles from backpackers backpacker vacation, isto, jetsetter each profile has different preferences and needs. There is no one size fits all it can also be different for different trips it can also change along the way I talked about hostiles and guesthouses this is our local hostel and important oregon great place it's fine, you know upstate and hospitals like far, far worse than this state and lots of mid range stuff to budget budget stuff you know? And stephanie and I we tend to be backpackers when we think about that profile we can stay in all kinds of different places she's travelled for twenty years and going all over the world I've gone all over the world, but we also appreciate nice hotels maybe the question that we answer just a little bit before it is you know, if you're out there watching your planning your dream destination, your dream trip would you choose the same accommodation if price wasn't a factor like you, you know you may be comfortable staying in hostels and guest houses that's great that's wonderful you know, I think everyone should you could have wonderful experiences that way, but would you make the same choice if price wasn't fat after? Maybe you can also have a great, authentic, even local travel experience while still being comfortable and staying in a really amazing place because there could be a lot of amazing things about that too that's why we want to kind of challenge you with as we begin this whole week and we're going to talk about how we make that happen how we make all these bookings how to stay for free how to become a v I p and so on so let's begin by talking about hotel groups well, first I'm gonna go back to this great picture if I can go back this is actually marvin and josephine who you guys are going to meet um in our next week in lesson twenty one they're going to teach you about lounges but they can also teach you some maybe about hotel accommodation because they stayed for free in this hotel this was in borneo at a star would hotel and so when I say star would hotel how many of you guys have any idea what I'm talking about? Okay, a few of you okay? So we're gonna talk a lot about hotel groups we are going to talk tomorrow a little bit about how to find good deals when you're you know I want to pay for your stays because sometimes you'll have to pay for your stays you know if you are living we also mention that we're going to talk to a couple who lives full time in hotels if you're living full time in hotels, you can't stay every night for free, so if you're a long term backpacker, you know you might want to use this some of these strategies a little bit but if you are, um, if you're living every night and hotels, you might have to pay for them, so we're gonna talk about that tomorrow. And so the purpose for today's lesson is we really want to look at some of these big hotel groups like starwood, and I think a lot of times people think, oh, hotel chains, you know, they're so lame, I don't want to fly all the way around the world to somewhere beautiful, and then stay in a chain hotel I want to, like, be in the world and explore it, and, you know, I want to live like a local. Well, there's, lots of opportunities to do that, and we want to talk about we want to start out by talking about the hotel groups because they aren't always the bad guys. And in the world of travel hacking, there is a lot of ways that you can benefit from them. So this is actually another star would hotel in costa mui and thailand. It's very beautiful. I think one of our production assistance here, creative live, wants to go to thailand highly, recommend this hotel s o global hotel groups. There are a lot of them there are more than I probably even know of, because there's a lot of big global ones and then there's a lot of regional ones so if you're not watching this from north america there might be some that you're familiar with that I'm not familiar with the most important thing is to know which ones you have access to um how many of you guys are familiar with more than five of these on this list? Quite a few of you guys. Okay, so there's a core carlson fairmont fairmont probably a lot of the canadians now it's a canadian based chain hilton it's really a big global chain hyatt another big global chain one of my favorite h g a lot of the creative live people know it because there's a ny h g hotel across the street from the studio here in seattle kimpton another great train which I think is actually just was acquired by eiichi marriott my dad's favorite I told you about my dad a couple times in the course his favorite and starwood which is another one of my favorite. So for those of you who aren't familiar with hotel groups, basically a hotel group is basically a large corporate conglomerate and under that there's a lot of different hotel brands or properties. So for starwood, for example, there are nine brands if you're not familiar with star would you might be familiar with one of these brands so their brands are limerick ian w hotels a loft aloft stars like other some greater loss that are usually near airports or in around cities sheraton's four points by sheraton st regis which is their nicest brand usually the western the luxury collection and element and you might say like I don't wanna stay in a chain hotel I like sing in boutique hotels will some of these some of these brands actually are boutique hotels like the luxury collection is just a whole group of boutique hotels so even within ah hotel group there's all different kinds of properties where it's possible for you to stay so having some of that knowledge we want to use that to think about how we're going to pick our dream trip hotel and I'm going to explain a little bit more about the hotel properties kind of through the lens of my dream trip to bora bora so how do you pick your dream from hotel when you're picking any hotel what do you guys normally do? What your search process check out the pool check out the pool aside from the pool probably the number of stars number of stars okay. And how do you guys learn these things where you searching to find hotels? Uh, trip advisor you know um hotels dot com okay trip advisor hotels dot com great kenna reading people's reviews reading people's work whatever the site iss fantastic anybody else? How are you guys searching jen, you find out the size of the room, find out the size of them, okay, so and I think trip advisor is really great, and I think one of the really great things about trip advisor is that it shows you what hotels are available where you're going it's kind of like the first step to find out what hotels are available where you're going, and then you can look at that list and kind of think, okay, which hotel do I want to stay at? So I'm gonna tell you a little bit about my process? I used trip advisor, but I also like to do a lot of research on kayak as I told you guys before. And so when I was thinking about going to bora bora, I checked kayak, I could check trip advisor because I want to know what my options are, right? Until I just I look at it, and I do some research, just like if I was gonna pay for the hotel, and I figure out, where could I stay? And so I'm looking for a few things when I'm going to bora bora, I'm flying all the way to bora bora, I really want to stay in a bungalow over the water so I can wake up and takes ten steps and be in the ocean, and so I did a little search and these are some of the things that came up there's a hilton in bora bora there's, an independent resort and spa there's a four seasons there's, an intercontinental there's, a sofa tell, and so I was looking there, and I'm thinking, those those different hotels, some of them belong to some of those big property groups, and when I'm thinking about using points and miles, the easiest way is to find a hotel that I really like that belongs to one of those property groups and then figure out how I could get a free night there. So I was looking at that, and then I thought, you know, I don't always like to stay in places like this. I also really love airbnb there's a lot of options like airbnb, I know airbnb home away the r b o those air really good options, especially for families, too, because you can cook your own food and you've lots oftime. So I checked airbnb to when I was like, I wonder, really like, could I stayed an airbnb in bora bora? I don't know, so I searched and there's a couple options, they're actually pretty cheap accommodations for bora bora, you know, if I wanted to stay a few nights in over the water bungalow and then stay for the rest of the week I might stay in this place for eighty bucks a night that's really great but it doesn't really meet my dream destination you know my dream destination is the bed where I can look down and see fish and so this is good put it in the back of my mind and I was researching here and I thought you know I'm going to check these out and see which ones I like and then break it down into a few options and so I did that I broke it down into a few options amended a little bit of research of like well which ones could I possibly stand for points and basically I narrowed it down and figured out at the intercontinental hotel there's two of them in bora bora I could possibly stay at one of those so I went to the edge g site and I searched bora bora and these are the two hotels that it came up with so I did my research externally then I went to the property group's hotel site and I figured out what I could dio and I thought oh that's the one I want to stay at right so I'm going to do some research there and so I looked it up and I looked up how much it would cost and how much it would be in points and it's about eight hundred twenty six dollars a night if I pay for it right remember, I'm a humanitarian worker, I don't make a whole lot of money, but I want to go here and so it's eight hundred twenty six dollars a night or it's fifty thousand points per night that's still, you know, it's still a little pricey, but this is my dream trip, you know? And then there's this other option that we're going to talk a lot more about this week where it says cash in points so it's forty five thousand points plus forty dollars if I pay cash and points or forty thousand points in seventy dollars if I'm willing to, you know, put a little bit of money in which, you know, seventy dollars is still cheaper than there are still about the same price is that airbnb, which the pool's not nearly as nice? So then I did a little bit of research, how could I get this for free? Right? And so I could earn some I h g points, but how do you get h d points? So I did the same activity that we did back when we talked about credit cards. I thought I'm going to go look and see if there's any credit cards that I can transfer to a I g can I transfer my chase, can you transfer chaste? Can I transfer my membership rewards? I didn't do it a little bit of research, but I found this card and it's ah credit card from chase that's co branded with I h d, and they have a ah bonus of seventy thousand points for a sign up seventy thousand points is almost two nights right or one night or almost two nights if I pay for it and then I also read about it, and it says new car dealer earned seventy thousand bonus points after you spend a thousand dollars and get a free night of get a free night for every year of card membership. So I'm getting a free night at n e I g hotel when I sign up, plus, I'm getting enough points for almost two nights, right? And not only that I'm getting automatic platinum status for the year as well, and so it's going to cost me forty nine dollars to sign up, but I'm going to get almost three hotel night out of it, and I think, okay, well, maybe this is a pretty good deal, right? And so I want to walk one of you guys through that process because that's, how I'm thinking about my dream trip, I'm gonna identify a place I want to go. Gonna find a place I want to stay and then I'm gonna figure out how I'm gonna pay for it it's not always gonna be that easy but there's always a way to figure it out so I'm gonna ask lin to come out of the way have a seat you want toe thing out over there yeah that's great cool how's it going in this highlight scene so I'm not offer with the ht just one of many make sure people understand like it's it's a really incredible thing like depending on when you're watching it the bonus maybe fifty thousand points or sixty thousand right now it's actually a seventy thousand they stay that way for a while so if you did the kachin points thing you need eighty thousand points just eat ten thousand more you've got two nights covered you know this is for your eight hundred dollar hotel plus you're free night when you right so actually is no annual fee for the first year it's actually free the first right and then well once in a while I just want to break in there too and say, you know you probably are going to pour more alone and so get the card and then get whoever's going with you two get the card and then you don't just get two nights you're getting four nights this's a little preview of what's to come but that point about how every year you get another certificate for a free night eso later we're going to talk about stay here play here and how to use your points and certificates in the best possible way. So why is this huge global network? You know, as we mentioned there's a holiday inn express right across from the creative live studio here in seattle there are these amazing bungalows in bora bora, beautiful hotels in paris where ken is going, so I'm just a huge range of different properties. So what do you think the best idea is if you get a free certificate that's valid for any property in the whole group like, do you want to use it for the holiday inn express? Where do you want to use it for like four bora a lot of people actually use it for the holiday inn express not a good idea usually right? Like why not just pay the hundred dollars a night or whatever it is for those things and save those certificates of those points for this incredible experience, whatever it is. So so make sure people don't miss that it's a huge valuable thing we'll talk about some more so sorry so sorry to interrupt the hotseat processes are comfortable very comfortable I see this is a lot more comfortable than my seat I sat in for fifteen hours on my last trip. Okay, wait. Last week we talked about flights and I can get you more comfortable seat, you know, on your return trip to to east africa. So you mentioned you wanted to go back to tens and the specifically is that right? Yes. And any idea where in tanzania? Well, we know that we'll go to dar salaam because we have friends there. But when we were there before, we just got a little taste of wildlife safari and it was so cool, we stayed in one of those luxury ten things, and it was like way only have one night here way just didn't have time in our trip because of the other things we're doing, so we really want to go back. We'll still visit those friends so we can fly into dar russia, but we want to do wildlife way. Uh, I want to probably go back to zanzibar and we just had two days there. It was kind of, uh, last minute thing. We just went to steve's place. Tio yeah, get some. You get some rest and some sunshine after jumping around and over. He did this so going to east africa like often the city's air not the nicest you know experience there you go the city maybe you got some business to do space tourist trap but there's a lot of time so you get out, you have a safari experience and then you might go to this beautiful island zanzibar it's a wonderful place there actually are some hotels there so I think we're gonna talk about where she might stay so there are actually a hole in dar es salaam is probably some hotel change but you're staying with your friend rooms on the safari the safaris will probably have to be booked through that's a whole separate whole separate thing. So we're gonna focus on getting you a great place to stay zanzibar earlier so I did the same process here I didn't look up trip advisor because you guys are smarter than me but I looked up some some kind of to see what we had available here on kayak berlin and I actually found that there some hotel group property so there's a possibility we might be able to get lonesome some free night so there's a doubletree by hilton in zanzibar it's actually not very pricey seven ninety four dollars there's some these are some independent hotels just we're going to talk a little bit about cash back cards at the inn and weak six but if there's ah independent hotel that you're dying to stay at that's a one way you can put your cash back cards to use because you aren't gonna be able to pay for an into any kind of independent hotel through any of these strategies were telling you about now um a few serena that's ah african middle eastern chain there's another doubletree by hilton um this one really caught my attention the park hyatt zanzibar the park hyatt is the highest luxury train chain in are the highest lecture brandon hi it's group when we started this lesson I mentioned the park hyatt sydney it's my favorite hotel in the world and a lot of other park heights are also just really great places to go so just looking at this off end you know without knowing a lot of other information I would say like I want to go there that looks great to me twenty thing about the park hyatt I think would you like to spend a day or two there chris do you have any good strategies for lin on how she gets some nights are so lame right now do you have any high points at all? I believe my husband has some but I don't know how many ok got some okay interesting there's a couple of things that we would do we would go and look well first we'll look and see how many points do we need you know, we won't do all of that now, but I think actually this park hyatt is a much lower category than the park hyatt city you know where I like to stay at the park hyatt city it's a great place but it is actually the highest category it takes a lot of points I need a lot. I believe this is a much lower category so it's a more obtainable goal to do three nights there eso hiatt points we can get through credit card there's a I think we have that coming up or it's coming up in the next lesson there's a there's a chase planes yeah also chase points that's what I was going to mention do you have chase points? Yeah, not a lot right now I think we've maybe got forty thousand forty thousands actually forty thousands actually great. So you know, we should look up the specific details but I actually believe that if you were to transfer those forty thousand points too high it that would be enough for atleast two nights you know at this place and if you want to, you know, save an arm or something, we could do the cash and points thing where you save some of those points and they I believe, will be about seventy five dollars a night or something so that's my first thought and there's also a chase also does have a hyatt credit card specifically. And with that, you get two nights when you sign up. Now, if this is really about two hundred dollars, and that you might if you guys were traveling a lot, you might be able to put those two better you somewhere. And like a hotel that costs like seven or eight hundred dollars a night. Market bondo in paris, candace candace dream destination that's. Another eight or nine hundred dollars a night hotel hotel. And if you have this, these two certificates with these two free nights, you can use it there. Yeah. Can you repeat that? We'll talk later. Savor it. So that's, that's, my that's. My thinking is like this with this would be the greatest option. They're transferred through chase points. I feel I feel great about that. I would probably if you knew you were going to do this and knew you were going to do something with that with the hyatt credit card later, you might want to sign up for the height credit card before you do this. Because that high credit card also gives you the I p status in high its program at platinum, which is a pretty decent level of status there and we're gonna talk all about the status of the end of this week so good that when you get a nice room and you can check out plates and preferential treatment and I'm just looking at the pictures here and it looks like there's a nice ah beach and a pool and don't you want to go there after you spent ten days in a land rover way walked we walking asked a lot of very nice yeah there but yes, unless they have this cold beach kind of shut off so you can't go on that part of the beaches of them this will be your beach now, so take it, thank you great so every lesson has now we have a work like activity every lesson has a workbook activity and a challenge and every lessons got all kinds of stuff and give away cool, so you got to work out what page we're on. We're on page thirty nine page thirty nine whether you're in studio or following along online uh today's workbook activity is toe list, the hotel brands you know or like and which hotel group they belong to you there's a lot of different brands and looks as we talked about you don't have to memorize all this stuff again that the general concept is to be familiar, that there are these big hotel groups there are lots of brands within them. And as we master points in miles, we have more lessons coming upon hotels. This is definitely gonna help you. Uh, any questions from our in studio audience? Yes, I have one. If if you sign up for one of these cards that gives you one or two free nights, is that good for them that year? Like, do they expire on certificates? Doing certificates do expire. They're usually going to be valid for at least one year. In some cases, it could be a bit longer, but it won't be any less than a year. Usually they're valid for a year. And then on the anniversary, if you still have that card, usually get a new one sort of likely companions here. Because I want, like, the companion thirty. I valid for one year or when a new one comes in. Nobody goes out, so make sure you use it before the years. Okay, so, stephanie, you said that you really like the's starwood, the spg amex card. I do like that card is that. Have you found that? Want to be the best value in terms of getting a variety of hotel rooms around? Well, I have found there's a lot of variety, and it does work a lot in very diff. Places I've spent a lot of time living in asia and there's a lot of really great starwood hotels in asia that our three categories fairly low, but the standard of service is so high and a lot of my starwood stays a lot of them I do cash in points because they have a lot of really good value with their cash in points, which we're going to talk about later this week, but I think another reason I really love the starwood card is not on ly because I'm getting the hotel points, but as we talked about in a couple of lessons ago, the starwood points actually transferred airlines as well, so they're really super flexible so there's great value for them in the starwood program. But if you aren't staying out a whole lot of starwood hotels there's also great value for them outside and there's other benefits that we're going to talk about in the v I p e lesson, but they'll help you too. I'm starwood gives you some nights and stays credit with that card, which helped to fast track your status in star would and I have starred with status so I'm always looking for the gives you a little boost kind of today saying that many nights and there's there's a personal and a business card actually and you can get both of them which gives you a further use for that other questions casey talked about like the hotel groups like the partners is there like in in alaskan airlines of hotel groups that kind of merged with like different hotel chains or you actually are a couple of them I didn't include any of them in here but that's a great question maybe one we can take into the facebook group because it's not something we're going to cover in the actual presentation but it's a great one that I know people would want to discuss yes, some are really big like star wars they have this huge portfolio of hotels all around the world we talked a little bit about hyatt I like hyatt, but they don't have as many properties as starwood, so it depends on the footprint kimpton is a great chain but it's only a few properties in the u s fairmont is a great shame but it's mostly in canada in a few places in asia pacific so it all depends on your needs you know what's best for you what's best for your plan thank you love to know what's the most important thing that you learn today travel certificates near points for the really expensive teo absolutely super important yeah um the whole points in cash thing to me was always like oh, come on like if I don't have to pay money, then why would I but then you see, once in the grand scheme of things, you see that, like, you actually save five thousand points for only like, forty bucks like that's, something I never even considered as a good deal of destruction. It's. A lot like annual fees for credit cards. You know, once you start thinking about the value that you might get out of it, you might realise it's totally worth it for you or you might not. It depends on your situation. I just really appreciate it. A stephanie that step by step, you know, your destination. Now I'm going to go search on kayak for the hotel that I want. Now I'm going to go look, if what group that's in, and then I'm going to look how to get those that was really clear in a short lesson, so thank you, thank you, thank you for that.

Class Description

Who wouldn’t love to know how to earn enough miles and points for two airline tickets and three hotel nights? In Make Your Dream Trip a Reality, Chris Guillebeau and Stephanie Zito can show you how it's done. 

Travel feeds our creative spirits, allows us to discover new viewpoints, and fuels our work. In this class, you’ll find out how you can make your dream of journeying to the world’s most far-flung places a practical and affordable reality.

Chris and Stephanie have made it their life's mission to help others experience all the thrill and adventure that world travel can offer. In Make Your Dream Trip a Reality. 

Chris and Stephanie will help you: 

  • Master the system of Frequent Flier miles and hotel points
  • Set up a personal points-earning strategy – even if you don’t fly
  • Upgrade your dream vacation experience at no cost to you

In short, daily lessons, Chris and Stephanie will cover all aspects of how to plan your vacation including financing your trip. You’ll learn how to set your savings and point-earning strategy so you are armed with everything you need to relax and enjoy your vacation once you depart. They’ll teach you how to book flights and hotels so you get the very best experience at the absolute best rate. You’ll also get insider tips from professional globetrotters on traveling solo and as a family.

By the end of this course you’ll learn everything you need to know to save money, minimize hassle, and make the most of your travel experience.

Your dream destination, and a life of regular traveling, is now available to you – no matter your budget. 

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

40 Ways to Use Ultimate Rewards Points

Dream Trip Workbook

7 Habits of Highly Effective Travel Hacking Couples

Dream Trip Credit Card Tracker

Upgrade Unlocked Sneak Peak

10 Tips for Travel Hacking Families

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

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Highly recommended! This is one of the best CreativeLive courses I've ever taken and a great value. There's a lot of excellent information here, presented in a fun and accessible way. The CL "boot camp" approach was perfect for this topic because it dispenses the material in bite size pieces with very doable action steps along the way. The corresponding Facebook group adds even more value and camaraderie. It's a great place to clear up any questions or confusion that may come up. What an amazing resource! By the end of the course, not only will you have learned a tremendous amount, you will actually have something tangible to show for it!

a Creativelive Student

This is a fabulous course. Stephanie and Chris are both so knowledgeable, helpful, and easy going. They clearly love and practice what they're teaching. And they're open to learning from the students too. The course is packed with information, delivered in an immediately useful way. In fact, they emphasize again and again that the point is to USE the information to REALLY take your "Dream Trip" soon! The Facebook group is the best I've ever experienced with an online course. Stephanie and Chris are remarkably present, responsive, understanding, and generous with their knowledge and experience. I highly recommend this course.