What’s the Point: Clips From a Successful Bucket List Trip

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My parents are in the middle of a ten day bucket list trip through California that will end in Las Vegas. I wrote about helping them plan this trip by utilizing some points here. As the trip got a bit closer, I helped them look at the various promotions that were available so that they could maximize their trip even further. Maximizing point redemptions and earnings is super important (at least to me), but what is even more important is actually having a great time on your trip. If you don’t enjoy the trip, then what was the point of any of it in the first place?

Right before the trip my mom got an iPhone 4s, and it appears she has been putting it to good use with the number of picture and video updates I have been receiving from the road. I want to share a sampling of these updates with you today as a reminder of how happy travel, points, and miles can really make someone. I have yet to receive a video clip that doesn’t include a laugh or a smile……well, I did receive a phone call or two without laughs when their Las Vegas to Fresno segment was cancelled on Untied and they had to add an extra four hours of driving to their trip, but that is a story for another day.

Without further delay, here is happiness, brought to you by “bucket list” travel.

This was one of the first video updates they sent me and I could tell immediately that they were having a great time just by the giggling in the video.  Hearing three traveling 60 year olds giggling in the foggy forest was cute.  😉


My parents kept commenting that they expected Ewoks (from Return of the Jedi) to pop out from behind the gigantic trees.  Now that would be cool!

My dad used my favorite phrase of all time in this clip – “Holy Squat Poopy”.  In his language, that translate to “Mother of All Awesomeness” or “Holy $hi&”!


I remember in the “Soarin’ Over California” ride at Disney flying over the orange fields – I guess this is even better than the ride!

These elephant seals were particularly impressive to my folks.  We don’t get that sort of ocean excitement in Houston except on the Discovery Channel.


My dad is a huge huge golf fan, so he was excited to check out Pebble Beach.  He is also a huge Notre Dame fan, so I find this picture to be a perfect combination of his two loves.



My mom is the one more into castles, so I’m betting the Hearst Castle stop was for her.  🙂


This picture was taken from Big Sur.  Do they look like they are enjoying their trip to you??

Miles and points aren’t just there so you can stare at huge balances with airline and hotel partners on your computer screen.  They are there so you can make life long memories traveling to places you have always wanted to see.  My parents are doing just that as we speak, and I am thrilled for them.  They are very good about setting a goal with their miles and points and then earning toward that goal.  I think that is one of the best tips for those getting started in the miles and points world.  This trip is also a reminder that international travel is fantastic and exciting, but there are some really great sites to see here within the US – just in case your family prefers to stay closer to home on their journeys.  I hope that many of you have “bucket list” trips of your own planned!  If so, I would love to hear about them!

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  1. CU, I second that!
    My sis and bro-in-law are having their 25th anniversary this month and wanted desperately to go on an Alaska cruise, but it was just too pricey when adding on hotel and airfare, so they were going to just go to Conroe, TX instead. I told them heck no and gave them airline tickets and got their hotel. They are now booked and ready to cruise next week and cannot be more excited. My bro-in-law has only been out of TX once (and that was only to Missouri), so this is a once in a lifetime experience for them.
    You are right that the points are there to make lifelong memories… even for the ones we love 🙂

  2. So, so, so Adorable! I love that they are wandering around California like some college kids. Thanks for sharing, I really enjoy reading how other people redeem their points.

  3. We have been married 37 years and I am planning a trip to Rome and possibly Paris next spring with points. We were able to take advantage of the Daily Getaway for Choice Privileges points so I have enough points for Rome. I am planning to save Radisson points in case we can add Paris. I some Amex Starwood points and am now trying to figure out the best airline to take from Atlanta. I want space so I am holding out for business class.

  4. @CU, aw I will let her know you said that! 😉
    @M, thanks! Not sure exactly where they were then – I’ll ask my mom to come and post where they were.
    @carwag25, I use some of my points that way as well. Well done!
    @marilyn, so glad you enjoyed it!
    @Diane, sounds like a fantastic use of points!
    @CCORD, she will love these comments! She has been an Estee Lauder fan for a long time, but other than that I’m not sure what her secret is. 😉

  5. From the road in California….We found the elephant seals basking on the beach at San Simeon. That was our overnight stay when we visited the Hearst Castle. They are all up and down the beaches there and provide great entertainment Fortunately, for us tourists, there are wonderful wooden walkways providing safe viewing and informative signs explaining their behaviors. We found more seals today at Monterey Bay near Pebble Beach. You could not get as close to this set as they congregated on Bird Rock which sits out in the water. As to youthful appearance, everyone looks great when photographed with the Pacific Ocean in the background!

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