Travel planning is one thing that all savvy travelers do, especially when flying for points and miles. It is most useful when you want to make sure you are making all the right decisions, getting the most reasonable and cheapest deals. Planning can take a lot of time; you can spend a lot days on it, which may turn out to be longer than your actual vacation. There are also a plethora of ways to earn and use points and miles.
If you enjoy doing that, fine. But when you don’t, try and focus on planning the most salient aspects of your travel. Ariana Arghandew suggests 6 Travel Planning Techniques Control Freaks Love for Frugal Travel Guy. These are visa requirements, airfare, hotels, transportation, activities, and organizing the wallet. She writes…
“Planning a trip on points and miles can be stressful. There are so many different components to think about: finding award space, figuring out which hotel to book, how long to stay, which activities to partake in, and doing this all at a reasonable cost.
Some people like to go with the flow when they’re on vacation. Other people like to plan everything ahead of time … – studies have shown that anticipating a vacation … can be just as exciting as the vacation itself … Here’s how to plan a trip like a control freak:
- Visa Requirements: It can take a long time before you can get a visa with the long list of requirements and queues. How do you deal get savvy with it? Know the requirements and the costs to factor in. You can avoid unnecessary stress by finding out first about the requirements to visit a place. “After all, what good is it that the most amazing airline in the world has opened up a ton of award space if you won’t be able to obtain a visa in time to catch the flight?”
- Start with Airfare: You can start figuring out the shortest route to where you want to go. Then, determine your home airport and the airlines that can fly you to your first stop on the itinerary. Repeat the process segment by segment, until you have filled up all segments. “Are you allowed a stopover, or will you need to book a separate award for one or more segments? For a short-haul flight, does it make more sense to book a low-cost carrier and redeem Arrival miles.”
- Finding Hotels: “To find the best options, search every major rewards program website for hotels in the city you’re interested in.” Remember, if it is an award stay you are booking, always take into consideration additional charges, unless you are an elite member. A good thing to consider is finding a hotel with free breakfast.
- Transportation: Deciding your routes and transport options may not at all be easy considering the interplay of a plethora of factors. Regardless of your budget, try and do advance research to have an easy time moving around in your destination. “… don’t forget to look into Airbnb rentals. The Barclay Arrival Plus World Elite MasterCard codes Airbnb bookings as travel purchases, allowing you to redeem Arrival Miles.”
- Activities: What do you plan on doing in the destination? You can do what you are most passionate about or you can go for those that offer unique experiences offered in the area. What about doing research and checking out the activities you can pursue in the given destination to know how best you can use or earn your points? Doing research can be very empowering as you learn your options and making early bookings can make choosing less stressful.
- Organize Your Wallet: A frequent traveler or those planning to earn bonus and reward points need to be have several credit cards. Choosing the ones that offer the best perks/rewards and doesn’t have foreign fees or charges are preferred. Bringing debit cards that reimburse ATM charges is also useful. Plan on these early for a less stressful holiday.
There are numerous ways to control your travel; planning will always be an important element to achieve a successful plan and travel, while smartly earning and using travel points and miles. With a world that is hankering to travel, you’ll find the opportunity to earn and use them everywhere. Be smart; plan which your need before taking advantage of the points and rewards.