At the beginning of the year, my husband and I made a promise to travel more this year. From that decisive goal-setting moment, we set our sights on a summer trip to Europe (Vienna and London) and possibly a road trip to North Carolina during the holidays to spend Thanksgiving in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It had been years since our family jet set days or even traveled out of state together. This year our dream of traveling became a simple reality with a single swipe of a credit card.
Our goal to travel became much more attainable and feasible once my husband began traveling more related to his job. With traveling for business, my husband needed a dedicated credit card for all his travel purchases and business expenses and after reviewing the credit card choices out there, he selected the Capital One – Venture Card.
The Capital One – Venture Card is a travel rewards credit card offering double miles on every purchase – anywhere, anytime, and without the restrictions commonly found in rewards programs. Plus, Venture Card enables consumers to travel their way, without being tied to a single airline and without the hassle of advance booking and inconvenient flight times.
Cardholders decide when, where and how they want to use their miles. They’re redeemable on any travel-related expense – from flights to hotel stays, cruises and Uber rides. And all of the redeemable rewards came in handy and helped us keep our promise to travel more! Between our airline rewards and our Capital One Venture Card rewards, we paid for our flights to England this summer.
And of course, this summer while we were trekking about through the UK, we earned even more miles with every purchase made on our Capital One – The Venture Card. That meant more Uber rides, GETT Black Cab Rides, hops on the Tube and flights.
Then, once we returned home from our incredible month long tour in England, a trip to the Thanksgiving road trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains peaked our interests. Thanks to all the rewards we earned on our purchases through the summer, we earned more miles for flights.
All our gas purchases, food items between grocery shopping and dining out and even our cabin were all purchased with our Capital One – The Venture Card earning us more rewards just in time for Christmas and all the holiday spending associated with it.
Almost 100 million Americans travel each holiday season, and it’s no surprise that it doesn’t always bring good cheer – from high prices to bad weather and crowded airports. On top of this, booking holiday trips with travel rewards cards can be difficult due to inflexible flight times, low availability or hard-to-get seats.
With traveling more this year and becoming quite the jet setter, I picked up a few travel tips that make traveling more much simpler and enjoyable, especially for traveling with a large family overseas.
Eight Travel Tips That Make Holiday Travel Rewarding
This holiday season, AAA anticipates a record number of cars on the highway. Therefore, try to avoid peak travel days and times. With traveling for Thanksgiving, it was a bit trickier for my family and I to avoid the “peak days”
We made the mistake of traveling on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, the busiest travel weekend of the year. The highway was bumper to bumper. If traveling a peak day is unavoidable, remember to travel safely and take multiple breaks to escape the congestion. The travel time may take longer, but arriving safely is more important than making good time.
Expect to wait.
Arrive early at the airport and expect longer wait times. Rather traveling by car, my sister booked a flight and joined us a day later and left a day earlier than we did. She timed it perfectly for air travel and avoided the busiest days at the airport.
Do your research.
Shop around for the best deal on airline tickets or hotels and check coupon sites for deals or consider redeeming credit card miles. Regular travelers like my husband will tell you Tuesday is the best day to find the best rates for hotels and airline tickets.
Download the latest smartphone apps to help make travel more stress-free. Check weather apps for updated weather information. Use airline apps to stay on top of flight delays. To avoid traffic times, use real-time updates from apps like Waze (my husband swears by) which provide alternate routes.
For best hotel prices, I highly recommend Hotels.com app which finds the best prices in a pinch. For dining options, Yelp is my go to when deciding the best restaurants in a new place.
Plan for the unexpected.
Think about worst-case scenarios and have a backup plan. If next year’s Thanksgiving travel is as bad as it was this year, our backup plan is to find a hotel somewhere along the highway.
For a family of five living in London for a month, packing light with few bags was critical and it was amazing how little we needed. Our vacation rental had a washer and dryer and we basically wore the same 4-5 outfits over and over.
Be smart about what to pack and think ahead. Check the weather before you pack and pack outfits that can be worn again to save space. If you can fit everything into a carryon, you can avoid paying for the extra baggage fees and save time without having to wait at baggage claim. And remember to make sure everything is TSA compliant with your carryon!
Consider travel insurance.
Travel insurance can help protect that trip investment — but also be an extra resource. Some providers offer assistance with rebooking flights or booking hotel stays in the event of a long travel delay.
Expect to pay more.
For last minute flights and hotel rooms at popular holiday destinations, plan to pay more. With that being said, make sure you’re leveraging your travel rewards to maximize your travel spending. For instance, Venture Card from Capital One enables cardholders to redeem their miles on any travel-related expense, which can be crucial for curbing those outrageous, last minute, unforeseen costs.
Whether you’re going back home, traveling to a new and interesting place, or simply escaping the winter weather, Venture Card from Capital One can help simplify your travel this holiday season and beyond.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.