Today, I’m going to offer the single best piece of advice yet in my Points & Miles 101 series and it has absolutely nothing to do with points and miles! Additionally, I’m giving my readers some homework or at least permission to take a few minutes out of their day to think about the following:
I want everyone reading this to construct a travel bucket list – that is a list of at least 5 places you want to visit in your lifetime (feel free to share yours in the comments below!).
Sounds simple enough but I know you’re thinking why – what does this have to do with points & miles? Before we get to that, let’s take a look at some sample bucket list items, including some of mine.
- African Safaris in Namibia, South Africa and Zambia
- Over-water bungalows in the Maldives or Bora Bora
- Two weeks in Italy – hitting everything from Rome to the Amalfi Coast to Tuscany
- An adventure Down Under – Several weeks in Australia and New Zealand
- The Beaches of Southeast Asia – Bali and Thailand
These all sound great with one major problem – all of these places are really freaking expensive!! I would love to scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef just as much as anyone but between flights and hotels alone it could easily cost $2,000 to $3,000 a person just to get there! I’m not made of that kind of money but I do have an easy solution – points and miles (c’mon you all saw that coming!)
Points and miles can allow you to experience trips that would otherwise be impossible for most people. The reason I think this is the most important piece of advice I’ve given yet is by writing down or creating your travel goals, it’s going to make you more interested and inclined to partake in the points and miles game. If I told you 150,000 miles and 100,000 hotel points later you could travel somewhere, that sounds fine and all but without a set goal in mind, you might not appreciate the value of those points and miles.
But if I told you two years and several credit cards later, you could be on your way to Bali, that sounds a hell of a lot better. In fact, I’d be willing to bet your going to work harder and become more involved in this game to take advantage of not only earning miles for that trip but all your future travel goals. And trust me once you get that one big free trip, you’re going to want more.
There is a reason most people consider some of these “bucket list trips” as once in a lifetime – they really are expensive and most people would be lucky to do this once in a lifetime. However, points and miles could allow you to do most, if not all of these trips for almost nothing!
P.S. Even if your travel bucket list doesn’t have crazy, exotic goals on them, it doesn’t mean points and miles can’t help you. If your bucket list includes going to Disney or driving the Pacific Coast Highway, let points and miles take care of the flights and hotels for you!