Impressed journey resolutions for 2021
When the pandemic started, our travel plans were postponed for a few weeks. That seems so curious and optimistic now. We did not understand at the time that the whole term “making plans” had to be thrown out the window. It took several more iterations of booking and rebooking trips before it really sank: Our travel plans were dashed.
We can’t wait to travel again when it’s safe, but instead of going back like nothing has changed, we hope that with our travel resolutions for 2021 we can book and start trips that we didn’t have before and a new perspective.
Be more thoughtful about travel choices
In the past few years, I hadn’t thought much about why I booked my trips. I only consider myself a “traveler” and almost unconsciously had my flight schedule filled with flights.
Now that I have plenty of time to breathe and think, I see that my trip planning was arbitrary and red. I enjoy finding great deals and redemptions for killer rewards so much that I let that guide my strategy. I didn’t think about when and how I traveled.
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Part of my thinking in 2020 was about CO2 emissions and how I can reconcile frequent travel with climate protection. I am still struggling with this dilemma, but I want to pay more care and attention to how much I travel.
My seasoned nomad friends always told me that I was a “fast nomad” because instead of staying in one place for a few months, I would move every month or every few weeks. I think my wanderlust was too strong to hold me back.
When the pandemic started I had no choice but to slow down and to be honest, I kind of like it. When I have more time in one place, I can get into the routine and find my favorite ClassPass studios, hair salon, coworking space and my local hidden gems. Also, I felt better about our reduced carbon footprint in relation to our planet.
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Don’t get me wrong: I long to drink champagne in first grade, travel to beautiful destinations, and keep thinking about where I’m going to spend the winter, but I do it with a newfound appreciation for staying longer stay in one place.
I used to subconsciously believe that the more difficult a goal is to achieve, the better it is. I preferred international travel and unusual places.
Before COVID-19, I would never have thought about a stay or even a road trip. But I’ve now realized that any trip can be wonderful – even if it isn’t the great trip you imagined.
I haven’t actually spent much time traveling outside of the US. It was too expensive for my large family of six growing up and I felt like there was so much to see in the US anyway.
The cost of international flights will be much lower in 2021 as I’ve earned points and miles at home for most of that year. It took a pandemic before I realized what a privilege it is to be able to travel the world. With my travel credit card rewards, I will ensure that once the restrictions and quarantine rules are lifted, costs are no longer an obstacle to international travel.
Embrace the journey, stay in the moment
I came into the world of points and miles because it’s fun. Finding hidden gem redemptions, sipping champagne in first class, and earning points with obscure double-dip promotional offers is a great thing (if you’re of a certain type).
However, for the past several years, travel rewards has also been my job, which means that maximizing my own points can bring that unsavory taste of work with it too. Sometimes I want to be the last to spend more knee-deep on the award charts after logging off from work.
Next year, I’ll be doing my best to keep my rewards game fun by focusing on redemptions that really matter to me, not just the ones that “maximize” my points and miles.
When I sit in a prime seat or live in a beautiful beachfront villa, I promise myself that I will document more of these experiences. While I recall the most amazing redemptions over the years, most of those experiences are hidden in my memory. I realize that I hardly have any photos or videos of the comfortable seats, the first-class food, the beautiful airplane cabin, the huge pool with a view of the ocean or the luxurious details of the hotel room.
In 2021 I will record more of my travel experiences so that as I look at my photos I can more vividly feel the joy these miles and points have brought me.
Maybe it was a minute too long for coronavirus doomsurfing or reading another daunting Instagram post, but I deleted Instagram for a good part of 2020, including time spent on a road trip to southern Utah.
Suddenly I stopped rushing through my hike just to see Delicate Arch at sunset for the perfect Instagram pic. I didn’t just order the most photo-worthy sundae for my Snapchat story. I hiked when and where I wanted to. I ate what I really longed for. I didn’t go back to my hotel every night and rack my brain trying to get a fun or inspirational caption for my photo.
I found I lived in the moment, and I lived for myself – not for what would get me more Instagram likes.
Back when airlines were charging exorbitant change and cancellation fees, I didn’t book trips unless I was absolutely sure. Due to the pandemic, those pesky fees are mostly gone and it’s pretty straightforward to cancel and rebook.
With the new flexibility of the airlines, I’m all in favor of booking this trip without having to iron out all the details. I’m no longer afraid of the hassle or cost of changing plans.
Adaptability was the name of the game in 2020 and my 2021 resolution is to become a master in the ambitious and strategic planning that sometimes works and leads to incredible journeys.
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Elina Geller writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @elina_geller.
Meghan Coyle writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @inkwaves.
Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SAFmedia.
Sam Kemmis writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @samsambutdif.