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5 Places On My Bucket List and How I'll Get There With Points & Miles

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you I’m never happy unless I’m planning our next family adventure. My full bucket list of destinations is too long to put into one blog post. Instead, I’m going to share with you the next 5 destinations I plan to check off my bucket list. 

I love daydreaming about destinations and planning itineraries in my head. There are some people who love to travel spontaneously, but that’s not me. That’s probably not most parents either. I think one of the best ways to be successful in traveling for (nearly) free with points and miles is to plan your vacations well in advance. If you know where you want to go, you can easily figure out which credit cards you should have and how many points and miles you need to get there. As I explained here, it should be the final step before opening your first travel credit card.

Here are a few of the trips I’m currently planning and how points and miles will help me get there.

1. Seattle and the San Juan Islands

Seattle isn’t far from California so it will be a good destination for a weekend getaway. Reese is a huge fan of wildlife so we’re hoping to visit the San Juan Islands during Orca season. I’d be content to just walk around the city and take in the culture. And the food. And the drinks.

Points and miles will easily make this trip (nearly) free. With my Hyatt Credit Card, I have ample World of Hyatt points to book a free hotel in the Seattle area. With the annual companion pass from my Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Card, we’ll be able to buy a companion ticket for just $99 plus fees.

2. 48 States RV Trip

This trip is my current obsession. I’ve spent a lot of time driving around the country with my parents, on my own, and with my husband. In college and graduate school, one of my favorite hobbies was to take a drive to parts unknown. Okay, those drives were usually to visit great places to eat. I’ve driven across the country from California to Washington, D.C. twice. I’ve driven half-way across the country and back from California to Oklahoma more times than I can even remember. But I haven’t managed to hit all 48 states yet.

When I had my son is 2015, I spent my maternity leave staring at my “Accessible Beige” walls and losing my mind. Next time I have that much leave, I want to use it to do something fun for the whole family. Something that I will probably never have time to do again.

Points and miles probably won’t play much of a role in this trip, but they will come in handy when we’re sick of living in an RV and want to enjoy some extra space in a hotel.

3. Disney Cruise

Cruising has quickly become one of my favorite ways to travel. It’s definitely my favorite way to travel with a group because there is very little planning involved and everyone can do their own thing. When I think about a future in which I have two kids, I can’t think of a better way to make everyone happy than a Disney Cruise. Since we live in California, Disneyland is one of our favorite destinations, especially for the holidays, so of course we want to see what a Disney Cruise has to offer. Plus, Disney Cruise ships have a nursery and visit Castaway Cay! 

Points and miles will definitely allow us to fly to Orlando and stay in hotels before and after our cruise for (nearly) free.

4. Iceland

I’ve already been to Iceland as a teenager. That was way back before it was such a trendy place to go. My best friend, Anne, loves to travel every year for her birthday. She suggested Iceland for 2017’s trip but traveling to Iceland is expensive so we have postponed this trip until 2019.

Points and miles might get us a flight to Iceland, but with WoWAir offering such low fares, we might be better off paying for the flights with my Chase Sapphire Reserve on which I earn 3x the points on travel purchases. We’ll probably spend this trip staying at AirBnB and Home Away lodging so points and miles won’t be helpful there either.


5. Ireland

I’ve also been to Ireland before, but Reese has not. I’d like to go as a family and drive around the whole island. I think this would be an amazing place to update our family photos in a few years. Again, this is really a trip to just soak in the culture. I love the thought of taking my little red-head to a place where he’ll blend right in with the locals. Cities I’d like to visit along the way include Belfast, Donegal, Galway, Killarney, Dingle, Cork, Ardmore, and Dublin.

Points and Miles will play a big role in this trip. Aer Lingus flights can be booked with British Airways points which is a Chase Ultimate Rewards travel partner. Hopefully, we’ll be able to book all of our flights by transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards points to British Airways. I haven’t done a lot of research yet about what hotels are available in the cities we want to visit, but I’ll share any great points and miles deal that I find.

What’s on your bucket list?