A Reminder to Count Your Blessings. Today it hit me hard. As I opened up Facebook there was a post with an article about a 35 year old mom and travel blogger who had passed from Covid. This poor woman and her family. Such a tragedy. Very relatable for me and I just felt devastated. But her story reminded me to count my blessings. She shared her passion for family adventure and experiences with the world. As I try to do as well and if not for nothing my children will have some documentation of our adventures together along with some amazing memories.
I have been struggling with everything going on. When you suffer from anxiety it’s hard to be in situations where you have no control and watch as people do not follow rules and recommendations. Count Your Blessings. My husband is thankfully here to remind me to focus on what we have and how lucky we are.
Count Your Blessings: Lucky to have Traveled so Much the past 2 years
Mike and I have constantly been mentioning things to each other. We took a once in a life time trip to South Africa, as the endemic started, in February. At the time it was only in China but had started to show up in Italy. I remember asking should we not go? South Africa has no cases. I was being paranoid. So we went and honestly my concerns were gone the entire time we enjoyed out trip. It was truly a trip of a life time and we spent over half our full year vacation budget on it.
It was the most expensive trip we had ever been on with the kids and I had wondered if we should have spent so much. During and after the trip we knew it was and that was even before we knew how bad it would be here in the US. We almost went to South Africa in the summer 2020 but changed it to February 2020 after our trip to Japan when we realized how important downtime was when traveling with kids and wanted warm weather so we could swim. We obviously wouldn’t have made it if we hadn’t changed our dates.
Count Your Blessings: South West Companion Pass
We had traveled so much. 2 years ago we had earned southwest companion pass through the sign on bonuses of 2 southwest credit cards each. You can learn about southwest companion pass here. The points accumulated to over 110,000 miles each and the companion passes were bonuses on top of that. We used our 2 companion passes to cover the kids flights on 7.5 trips and the miles covering 6.5 round trip flights for us. Our family traveled more than we had every over that 18 month period averaging 1 trip a month.
We were able to Utilize companion pass for the full period we had it.
Our companion passes ended December 31, 2019. I was sad thinking we would not be able to afford to travel as much but I had also said to Mike I know we need to slow down. We had even started to plan a few less trips this year. Here’s our 2019 summary of travel. We earned our companion pass June 2018. It was the middle of the year. I was worried to wait till the following January which is usually recommended so that you get a full 2 years from it (or close enough). We knew February we usually take a big international trip anyway and earning the pass mid year meant we were able to take 2 trips in January.
We added a last minute trip in January 2020 instead of April
Southwest lets you adjust your flight when there is a price reduction. The one flight I had to purchase for us had a price drop and we were awarded a voucher. The flight had been booked in August so thats when the vouchers expire. WRONG. when I went to book a trip to Arizona for April break I got the message the credit expired sooner.
When I looked into it further, I realized I had used a $25 voucher that expired Feb 2020 which meant the expiration date was applied to the voucher I received from that flight. I was pretty upset about the silly rule because I used a $25 voucher on a $400 or more flight and the refund was not the full airfare. Technically the $25 voucher was used on the remaining cost of the flight. But I got no where with southwest . So I booked a last minute trip over Martin Luther King Jr weekend to Florida to stay at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point. It was a resort on my points bucket list and ended up being the cheapest trip we have every taken as a family. Imagine if southwest had let us use the credit for April 2020?
Count Your Blessings: Ceaser’s Status Match for Free Nights at Atlantis, Bahamas
We stayed at Atlantis in Bahamas for free Twice in 2019. Combing the 4 free nights earned through Ceasers status match with southwest companion pass meant we could travel for 5 days for around $1,000 total not including the animal experiences we splurged on. I call my husband the upgrader because he’s the one that always gets frugal me to spurge. I am so glad we did.
Count Your Blessings: We will have to cancel a Trip
We only have one other trip booked this year and likely won’t be taking. A cruise from Stockholm, Sweden at the end of June. It was a big trip for me as I would be hitting my 40th (official UN) country before my 40th birthday. I know when the trip is officially canceled I will be really sad but when I put it in perspective I will be ok. I am thankful for the adventures we did have and I am hopefully there will be more to come.
We also were hoping for more travel that we hadn’t booked. Our Family had hoped to make it back to Jamaica for a long weekend. We aren’t going to book anything until the end of all of this is in sight.
Enjoy Time at Home & Get Ready for When we can Travel Again
In the meantime, I am going to be ready for when I can travel again. I am going to enjoy the time I have with my family. Also continue to try to live each day to its fullest. Mike and I have house projects and organization we are working hard to get done. We are playing baseball and other out door games with the kids. We are enjoying some time in our hot tub- a treat for the kids.
Exploring From Home
We are also doing themes weekly in a series called Exploring from Home. We enjoy Food, Activities including cooking, Books , movies and more each week based around a certain destination or theme.
Preparing for Future Travel
I am going to start planning our large Australian trip whenever it may be so I am ready when the time comes. I am going through my travel toiletries and restocking and packing them away like I said I would do after each trip.
Here’s some tips of things to do
- Its the perfect time to establish a household budget, track expenses and save for future goals. If you are out of work even more reason to budget. When things open up and your back to work you may have extra to put toward financial goals
- Make a Travel bucket list and prioritize it.
- look into Travel Hacking and decide if it’s right for you. Right now is a great time to accumulate points. Hopefully when things open up you may have enough points for a free trip or more. Check out 10xtravel.com for more information and read their ebook.
- Start planning your First after quarantine trip. I wouldn’t recommend actually booking anything. You could put together a full itinerary so when the time comes you can immediately book everything.
- Check out some of the Exploring From Home Series and get your family excited to explore the world.
I am so thankful for my family at home or traveling the world the only place I want to be is with my family.
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