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In my little corner of the world there aren’t many better ways to spend a Sunday morning than at home with a blanket on the couch, drinking iced coffee, and working on travel plans while the kids are occupied with toys and cartoons. Such was my morning today, and with the catchy (and soul sucking) sounds of “Baby Shark do do do do do do” humming in the background, I worked on travel plans. With this summer already starting to wind down, I started with trying to firm up what we wanted to do next summer. I think that’s within the realm of normal planning parameters since next summer starts in less than 11 months and many airline schedules are already open into mid-June 2018. However, I didn’t stop there.
It is hard for me to know what works best for next summer without looking forward to seeing what else is waiting just over the horizon, especially since some of our trips are planned in conjunction with other family members. It helps me tremendously when selecting destinations and determining what types of miles and points to focus on earning when we can outline our bigger family trips not only for the near term, but for the next several few years. Sometimes those plans get scrapped and were never more than a line on a spreadsheet that gets erased, but sometimes the dominos fall in the right order, and what was once a line on a computer screen becomes a grand journey.
As an example, I love Hawaii. I think it is my favorite all-around destination. We didn’t go to Hawaii this summer, so my initial reaction is to say we should be sure to go next summer. However, while it would be doable, my youngest really still won’t the perfect age for that flight next year. Not only that, but we have loose plans with multiple family members to go to Hawaii at the same time in 2019. Knowing what we hope to do in 2019 frees up 2018 for other destinations that will be easy peasey to get to with a then three year old, such as Banff and Costa Rica. The world is big, the options are almost endless, so visiting places in an order that aligns in somewhat of a logical way with ages and abilities appeals to us.
If a really big, long, multi-island trip to Hawaii anchors the summer of 2019, as I hope that it does, what does that mean for 2020? Well, even though we are now solidly in crazy person territory in even penciling things in that far out, I think it means we take a big family trip to Europe. We will have a five and ten year old in the summer of 2020, and I think we could have a grand time together exploring Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, Norway, or who knows… Details aren’t important this far in advance, but having a rough idea of where we want to go not only helps me with the day to day, but it helps my mind have an order and purpose to travel related thoughts and activities.
For example, I have 90,000 ANA miles that I need book for something in the nine months or so as they will expire. I could use them for something easy like the Houston – Calgary round trip we are strongly considering for early next summer. However, ANA wants 30,000 miles per round trip within North America, which really isn’t a great deal, though it is infinitely better than having the miles expire. However, because I have our future trips penciled in, I know that we are eyeing a no-kids trip to Europe in late 2018. This means that in a few months I can use 88,000 ANA miles for a round trip to Europe in business class on United or another Star Alliance partner, which is a really great deal.
I’m enjoying where we are at the moment with a just turned two year old and incoming second grader. Things like the beach, Disney, swimming, and more are a perfect fit for our phase of life and travel at the moment. However, it is also pretty exciting to think about what times like the summer of 2020 might look like with a five and ten year old. I am sure the girls will be much bigger the next time we are in Europe than they were last summer!
So much more of the world will begin to (re)open to us once we reach that phase of our family’s journey, so it is pretty cool to think about family trips both in this current phase, and the next.
I’d love to hear how other families pencil in trips and how many years out do you look and dream?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.