Life, as I know it, is about to change. Alright, that was a little over-dramatic, but my life is about to change. In my previous (and first) post, I talked about how my wife and I were expecting our first child. We learned some lessons about traveling while pregnant that we’ll never forget. Now, as we’re about 1 week from our due date, I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about our 2017 travel plans. Our life to this point, has revolved around travel. It’s been a centerpiece in everything that we do. We try to take at least 2-3 international trips per year and several domestic trips in between. In about a week, that’s all going to change. We’re very happy with the reason for the change and I think I have a plan to keep our “travel lives” in place.

Travel Plan 1: Staying closer to home while still hitting goals 

We have a goal to visit all 50 states and 60 countries together before we turn 60. We still have a lot of progress to make. Without losing any progress, we’ve decided that this year we’re going to try and get to 2 new countries and 2 new states.We’re still trying to finalize our list, but I’m excited about some of our options. Non-stop flights are going to take priority.  There will not be any long international flights in our foreseeable future, but there will be some hops to the Caribbean or Canada. Previous trips have taken us to cities over beaches, but I think we’ll be seeing a lot more relaxation in our future the remainder of 2017!

Wherever we go, we’ll enjoy it – and have a new companion!

Travel Plan 2: 3 fly for the price of 1

If you’re in any way involved with credit card and travel rewards, you’re probably familiar with the Southwest Companion Pass. For those of you unfamiliar with the Southwest Companion Pass, here’s a brief overview: After earning 110,000 Southwest points within a calendar year, a designated guest can fly for free with you on any paid or award flight. You hold the Pass for the remaining of the year earned and the following calendar year. If timed right and earned at the beginning of a calendar year, which we did, you can get the Companion Pass for 2 full years. Since our travel plans are going to be taking us to places closer to home this year and next, this was a no brainer for us. Especially with a child under 2 (who will fly for free), we’ll make full use of the Companion Pass!

The sweet, sweet feeling of “free” travel!

Travel Plan 3: Credit Card Application Strategy

Credit card reward points are a huge part of our travel plans. Most everything we spend revolves around earning points towards our travel plans. 2017 brings some new challenges. Within the first month, we’ve made a decision to pass up the Chase Fairmont card, which has since been retired. This card came with 2 free nights at any Fairmont property, but they must be used within the first year of earning them. This would have been tough to do since we’re not going to have as much flexibility as we’ve had in the past. Instead, I opened my first “cash-back” travel card, the Barclay Arrival Plus, because of the flexibility to use the points. We then opened a few more for a total of 4. Overall, my strategy this year is earning points that will either A) go towards an international trip in 2018 or B) give us flexible points to use on domestic trips. So far, so good. In January alone, we opened four cards which will give us 300,000 points spread over three different programs.

 

If you’re going through similar situations and trying to “reset” your life after a huge event, I hope this post helps. There are some exciting times ahead of us and I’m looking forward to becoming a “real” member of the Traveling Dad community in a week or so. With this major life change, we’ve reset our travel plans, which have been a priority of ours, but that’s ok. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

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