If you just found our little corner of the universe, you’ve probably noticed a multitude of trip reports showing fancy flights, luxurious hotels etc. Honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with those. I really don’t. It’s amazing to be able to enjoy things otherwise reserved for top 1 percent. Most people in America can afford a basic hotel, but overwater bungalow in Maldives? Not so much.
However, the truth is, many families in US can’t actually afford a basic hotel. More so, they can’t afford the gas to drive to the basic hotel when it’s free. That’s what I’ve recently discovered when I offered a PointBreaks getaway treat to a few of my relatives. PointBreaks program is a special promotion run by IHG chain where certain hotels cost only 5,000 points per night, an amazing bargain. See my post on the subject.
By definition, those relatives fall in the category of a typical American middle-class family. In both cases, I emailed and asked if they would be interested and was told they would get back to me after discussing it with their respective spouse.
Well, neither one could really swing it. Apparently, their budget is stretched to the limit. You know: kids, healthcare insurance, mortgage, car payment. So, even filling up gas tank and paying for some meals was too much.
I think many of us in this hobby take it for granted that we can just hop on a plane a few times per year and still be able to afford basic necessities. But many are not so lucky. Of course, I’m not writing this to send hobbyists on some sort of a guilt trip. Honestly, the post is more meant for me so I don’t forget just how fortunate my family is. I’ve mentioned before that I grew up poor, and we didn’t have even one single family vacation to speak of.
I think that became the driving force behind the blog. For me, it’s personal. I honestly enjoy helping families travel more, and this hobby can certainly open that door. That said, I would never want to make someone feel as if they are neglecting their kids if they don’t travel. Food and shelter are essential and very importantly, your time. I don’t want to come off as preachy, but kids need attention.
Several fabulous trips will not make up for a whole year’s worth of distracted “me first” parenting. Friends, I’m stepping on my own foot here, and it hurts. You can play with your children in the backyard or local park because you can’t afford to travel, and that’s OK. The best things in life are truly free, I absolutely believe it.
So, if you are that family who can’t afford gas to drive to a PointBreaks hotel, please, don’t feel bad. Keep reading mine as well as other family travel blogs to gain knowledge. One of the websites I consistently recommend is The Deal Mommy It’s an eclectic mix of deals/points/rants. But mostly deals, including travel. She recently confessed to readers that she wears Victoria’s Secret underwear while blogging. Fancy! Sorry, readers, I wear granny panties. Yes, it had to be said. No, I will not be including photos. But give me a few months at the gym, and who knows?
Anyway, Dia is a deal hunteress (a word?) and will help you stretch your dollar when using miles and points isn’t a very good option. We don’t always agree 100% on everything. And let’s face it, how boring it would be if we did, right? But we do agree on one thing: Setting realistic, achievable goals for a normal American family.
If you only feel comfortable earning rewards via everyday spending, try to pick the best match according to where you spend the most (see my 2-card combinations). Otherwise, you can look into cash back bonuses or those that offer travel credits. Then use the credit for those dirt cheap hotel stays I’ve mentioned above. You CAN cover a simple trip close to 100%. Almost free travel is possible as long as you keep reasonable expectations. Sorry, no Maldives for you!
Yes, there will be some expenses, but you can always pick up food at a grocery store or perhaps book a unit with a kitchen. Even at home you still have to eat, right? One thing I can say for certain: Kids aren’t picky. My daughter thinks that Holiday Inn is a fancy hotel chain because I told her so. I love it that children are so gullible.
Image courtesy of artur84 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.