I met up with my friend and fellow blogger Kendra a few months ago and at one point she asked me about my travel plans for the summer. I told her I was likely not going anywhere and her plans were the same. Two years ago, she took a pretty big trip to Japan and France with her husband and two kids. She explained that the trip left her pretty beat and that nowadays, she’s happy with fairly local trips and no-stress vacations like her recent stay at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta. This made me realize I’m pretty much in the same boat.
Maybe it’s an embarrassment of riches, but these epic luxury trips just don’t appeal to me. It takes a lot of time, planning, and miles. Sure, it’s worth it to explore a new place and get as far away from home as possible sometimes, but it’s also nice to take a domestic trip to a city you haven’t been to before, even if it’s just for 36 hours. A weekend stay at a nearby hotel like the Grand Hyatt San Francisco is also a good use of points until that next big trip comes together.
As of right now, I plan on going back to Calais either this year or next, for an extended period of time. I’m going to New York in early September and the Chicago Seminars in October. I am planning one big family trip for next Spring. After the terrific stay at the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos, I’d love to check out the Hyatt Ziva Cancun. My older sister has been wanting to visit Dubai for years, so I want to surprise her with a trip to several Gulf states next year. I’ve also been ignoring South America, so I do want to make it out there at some point.
All of this, of course, will require me to get off my current cash back kick and focus on collecting hotel points and frequent flyer miles again. My younger sister recently expressed a willingness to help out with gift card liquidation, so despite the trouble I’ve been having with gift card liquidation lately, I’ll probably take her up on that to expedite things a little bit.
I used to be pretty stringent when it came to redeeming points and miles. I always redeem miles for family members if they need to, say, fly someplace for a weeding or to visit relatives. However, other than that I was pretty set on saving for a big trip. Nowadays, I realize that if you’re not spending miles regularly, earning them can feel kind of tedious and pointless. It’s kind of like that with money too – if you’re just stashing your earnings away and not occasionally treating yourself to something nice, you’ll resent the hard work you put into your job because you’re not reaping any of the benefits. At least not until you buy a house or whatever it is you’re saving for long-term.
So don’t forget to treat yourself every once in a while. Redeem miles for a staycation, consider a road trip, or even an alternate mode of transportation (cruises, trains – there’s more than one way to travel). These relatively smaller trips can be just as satisfying as a luxury trip to Asia and they’ll tide you over until your next big award redemption. At least, that’s my opinion.
I’d love your feedback: What are you saving and using your points and miles for these days?
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