Planning

Category Archives for Planning.

SPG Advance Reservations Booking Date Frozen or Just Stuck?

As a big time advance planner I love that the Starwood Preferred Guest booking window has traditionally allowed for award bookings 18 months in advance. Many, many, many times I have taken advantage of this 18 month advanced booking window to lock in some great resorts during peak travel periods when standard rooms are still readily available to secure with points. These sort of reservations are usually refundable or changeable until much closer to the travel date, so it is a…

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A Budget Family Trip to Westerly, Rhode Island

My daughters only have two first cousins, and they happen to live many states away in Connecticut. While they have several second cousins that we absolutely adore and we sort of pretend are first cousins, at the end of the day, we make it a priority our girls together with their two Connecticut cousins at least twice a year. Our girls also happen to be their only first cousins, so that helps keep this gathering high on the priority list for…

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Traveling to the Total Solar Eclipse for Just $100 + Points

A couple years ago I started to hear about some happenings on August 21, 2017. By now you have probably heard of that date yourself as it is the date of the “Great American Eclipse” where many cities along a path across the country will get to experience 2+ minutes of a total solar eclipse. A couple years ago some friends of mine in the travel world were already starting to try and secure hotels on points in obscure sounding…

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Using Up All My Delta SkyMiles and Transferring in More!

Since the Delta Amex Cards upped their sign-up bonuses temporarily through July 5th, I have gotten a few inquires as to how we actually use our SkyMiles and whether the cards are really worth getting. That offer is now expired. Now, there was absolutely a period of time a few years ago that I didn’t really pay attention to Delta miles or their co-branded cards. There were better offers for my needs, SkyMiles were commonly referred to as ‘SkyPesos’, and…

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Three Things to Bring When Traveling With a Baby

Yesterday we took our first flight as a family of four in a few months, and while packing I realized I have three things I must bring when traveling with a baby or toddler that go well beyond the obvious choices like diapers, an extra kid outfit, snacks, toys, and iPads. I’m going to assume for the moment you have that obvious packing list covered, but there are three things you need to bring when traveling with a baby or younger kid…

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What To Do if You Aren’t Using Your Miles

Let’s pretend for a moment you have 62,000 United miles, 103,000 American AAdvantage miles, 80,000 Ultimate Reward points, 105,000 Membership Reward points, 55,000 Delta SkyMiles, and maybe a splattering of other miles and points spread across a few more accounts. Despite having those miles you find yourself continuing to spend cash for your travels while simultaneously wondering why you are doing that when wasn’t the purpose of earning your miles and points to stop spending as much cash on travel as possible?…

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The Battle of Stuff vs. Experiences

I’m not a true minimalist who needs bare shelves and just a handful of things hanging in my closet to feel at peace, but too much ‘stuff” stresses me the heck out, and while I am firmly one who often values experiences over things, the ‘things’ seem to keep multiplying. This ‘stuff’ problem wasn’t a real issue before kids came along, but now that I have an elementary aged daughter who brings home projects, papers, books, artwork, and more on…

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Three Slightly More Affordable Disney VIP Tours and Experiences

In trying to come up with fun and kid-friendly replacement ideas for a ‘big’ summer trip that seems to be crumbling out from under us, Disney World bubbled to the top of the list. Compared to other destinations, summer flights to Orlando are pretty reasonable, and while I’m not a total Mouse Fanatic (not that there is anything wrong with that), it’s been a couple of years since we have been to Disney World, and I’m starting to get ‘the itch’.…

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How We Pick Our Travel Destinations

School is now wrapping up for the year, and that means a few months of summer freedom are upon us. Of course for working parents (and perhaps all parents), summer freedom is met at least with an equal mix of excitement and dread since trying to fill the kids’ days with activities consisting more than using an iPad or eating crackers in the backyard without going broke in the process can be a challenge. Still, the upside of summer is that you…

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Planning a Trip to Bodie Ghost Town, Spirit Of The Frontier Or Frontier Spirit?

This is a guest post from my dad, Grandpa Points. He and my mom are in their mid-60’s, are (mostly) retired, and are ticking off “bucket list” destinations quicker than they ever thought possible thanks to miles, points, and travel deals. They have an intense love of this country, of its National Parks and treasures, and have no problem with a clean budget hotel room and an economy airline seat on a budget airline as long as it gets them…

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