Vacation planning is so much fun. It’s practically more fun than vacation itself, especially when you’re using points and miles to get there in style! I’ve received a lot of questions over the years as to how I determine my next trips and destinations. Actually, I find this process quite simple, especially if you are traveling with a partner or friends.
Before I give away my formula, I want to emphasize that I never suggest letting your points and miles portfolio dictate your destination. For my own purposes, I could care less if a sweet spot award chart can get me to my destination for 80K points instead of 110K when I am narrowing down my destination. Always pick where you truly want to go, and figure out how you will pay or “pay” for it later.
With that being said, here is my process:
- Grab your partner (or friends), a set of pens, and a couple sticky notes. If doing this remotely, just set up a Google Doc titled ‘vacation ideas’.
- Set a timer for 5 minutes.
- During this 5 minute time frame, jot down your top 5 destinations, in no specific order.
- Reconvene with your partner and perform the “reveal.” You’ll be surprised to find that some of the destinations will overlap. Chances are you’ve probably had some discussions about this topic already!
- Compare and match up places that are mentioned twice. If there are no duplicate destinations, I recommend taking a step back and picking a similar region of the world.
- If there are multiple duplicate destinations, start a discussion as to why you wanted to go, and list the top 2-3 activities you foresee taking part in (usually this helps one person push for an idea more, or back off).
- Choose your final destination, and then smile! This is the best part!
Obviously, if you have very strict time constraints as to when you can take a vacation, I would encourage that discussion to take place during step 6, since this could eliminate a lot of places. But if you are flexible, then you can just plan a bit more in advance.
As with most things in life, starting with the end in mind make things more clear, and you understand what you are striving towards. Choosing the destination for your next trip makes all the work of accruing points and miles less arduous and way more fun, since you know your end goal. I try to shy away from simply accruing points and miles for the sake of having points and miles. Just like money, there is no reason to blindly accrue more if you don’t have specific goals it will serve in your future.
If you follow these steps, I guarantee you will come to an agreement on a fantastic location for your next trip. You might feel overwhelmed by the number of possibilities, but don’t worry, it’s not a sprint, and I promise this will not be the last trip you ever take. There are always more vacations to be had and destinations to be explored!
How did this process go for you? Any stumbling blocks on picking your next destination?