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Traveling, oh traveling. It is something that has always been very important to us. We live 12 hours away from family, so to us, traveling means packing those bags and reuniting for holidays, weddings and special events with family. But there is also the other side of traveling – exploring, discovering and savoring new places – which we love just as much. And yes, we even love everything that goes into putting trips together!
But how exactly do we travel? And what does putting together trips look like for us? It’s those travel philosophies and what works for us that what we want to dive in and share with you today.
Constantly Searching for Flight + Accommodation Deals
I am always on the lookout for flight and accommodation deals. We have a running list of places we would like to visit, so when I spy deals or affordable travel options, I am immediately thinking about how we can make this work or that fit. Last year, we went on a trip to Ireland that came together because I noticed British Airways was having a point sale on a couple cities out of the U.S., and I happened to have some British Airways Avios points that weren’t attached to any other travel plans. I knew that Ireland was on our list (and what Sarah dreams about every night), so I checked some dates, made some calls and all of a sudden we were going to Ireland!
Splitting Up Responsibilities
One of the things that really works for us is how we split up the travel responsibilities. I am the flights, accommodations, and transportation person – the deal guy – who is in charge of getting us where we need to go and putting a roof over our head, all for the lowest price possible. I love playing with dates, times and deals trying to get us the best and most affordable trip possible.
Sarah, on the other hand, gets her joy from planning what we will be doing – and I’ll be honest, I have no talent in that. Once the actual trip is framed out, she goes and fills in the cracks, taking us from A to B to C and having any number of detours for us to go on based on how we are feeling or what the weather is like. Once she finishes with her outline, we get together and I give her the hotel or Airbnb options that work best, and we go from there.
This tends to work really well for us – Sarah gets overwhelmed thinking and planning travel, and I get overwhelmed trying to narrow down things we should do from the endless Yelp, Instagram and blog tips. In this way, I stick to my strengths and her to her strengths, which makes traveling much easier and more enjoyable for both of us.
Balancing Spontaneity and Planning
Now, a quick note on how we travel and what that looks like. We tend to go into trips with a solid amount of options and knowledge in our pocket about things to do in any given area. Sarah does a really good job of collecting all of the available info to give us a good idea of what our options are. So we clearly go in well-prepared. Now, that being said, we try to be intentional about not getting too tied up in a “schedule”. Instead, we try to focus on being prepared and knowing what is going on, but being willing and open to circumstances changing things. Basically, we both dig spontaneity.
This philosophy has allowed us to experience some really neat things and can come into play at any stage of the trip. For example, our Ireland trip was actually supposed to be a Hawaii trip. Yeah, that’s a little different! But I knew Ireland was on our list, and with the British Airways sale, we were both fine with planning towards a different trip, instead.
Spending Our Budget On Doing Instead of Getting
Ultimately, our travel focus is getting somewhere and staying as cheaply as possible so we can spend our money on doing instead of getting. We will take coach for half the points all day over first class because those points we save represent another trip to us. We can’t afford to take trips without the use of points, so we will choose experiences outside of planes and hotels over luxury accommodations every day. And those things are perfectly fine, if that’s what you enjoy – for us, though, our focus is stretching our points as far as possible.
The Simple Summary
At the end of the day, our philosophy is what works for us, and what we enjoy. My advice is to figure out what you enjoy and then travel-plan towards that goal. If you want to fly in a first-class studio suite with a shower and a private butler, set that goal and go for it! There are no wrong answers here. No two travel philosophies need to look the same – do what works for you!