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Each year I like to set travel objectives for the new year to help me focus my travel planning. I achieved most of mine in both 2015 and again in 2016. The clock has turned and it is now time to set goals for 2017 travel.
- Maximize my actual travel time – Whether it is choosing the airline most likely to have reliable internet connectivity or taking Uber to the airport so I can use the time to catch up on emails, I am all about finding ways to make the many hours count that I spend on planes, trains, and automobiles each week.
- Maintain only necessary status – In past years, I’ve carefully outlined all of the various airline, hotel, and other program statuses I’ve wanted to achieve or maintain. I’m less concerned about that with my 2017 travel. Upgrades are harder to come by based on status alone and many programs are making it more difficult to achieve the tiers with the most benefits. For some, that will push the drive to achieve even further. For me, it is a demotivating factor. I have lifetime hotel status with one program that (at present) benefits me in most locations and earned status at two others. I have lifetime status with one major airline, comped reciprocal status with another, and earned status with a third. The baseline for me is what will get me what I actually need – the ability to choose my seat in advance, waived baggage fees, and free hotel internet. Other benefits may be less important.
- Figure out what I need and then pay for it – The other benefits I mention as less important are the ones I wouldn’t pay for (free breakfast, for example). It is often better to figure out what I need and then find the best place to achieve it for the price I’m willing to pay. I’d rather stay in an independent hotel and have a boutique experience, for example, then achieve a stay credit in a less comfortable chain property. I’m willing to pay up to have first class if the price point is reasonable to me to avoid playing upgrade roulette.
- Monitor my points and miles credit cards more carefully – Just because I have chosen not to monetize my site with credit card offers does not mean I’ve ignored that as a way to earn miles. I’m notoriously bad about churning cards, however. I’ve been sitting on the same Chase card for a decade. Yes, go ahead and mourn the half-million miles I’ve probably missed out on, but I’ve had other priorities that have made me want to avoid the hard inquiries or high open credit unnecessarily. In 2017, I plan to better keep track of how I’m rotating out my card spend through the year and yes, finally churning my United card.
- Spend quality time at home – This may be the travel goal I am most passionate about. Planning my time at home carefully will ultimately make my 2017 travel easier. This means taking more back-to-back or multi-city trips, tacking personal travel onto business trips, and making more efficient use of my time spent idle on the road.
- Stop collecting destinations – I’ve chased destinations for many years and have no regrets at doing so. I’ve traveled extensively across five continents and visited close to 60 countries. My 2017 travel will be more deliberate as I focus on the “why” of my trips and not just the “where”.
- Leverage technology – I’m admittedly less tech-savvy than I should be and I’m rarely the early adopter for anything new. That doesn’t stop me from having multiple drawers of obsolete tech devices, less used items (multiple cameras, a GoPro with numerous accessories, a plethora of headphones, and seemingly dozens of obsolete chargers) I thought I needed at some point. In 2017, it is more important that I cut down to the apps and equipment that will help me travel more efficiently.
This year, my goals are radically different in that I’ve named no specific cities or countries, I’ve found no carrots to chase, and I’ve picked no unattainable objectives. Nonetheless, it may require laser focus to be sure I stay on target and move closer to the travel-life balance I’ve endlessly pursued.
What are your 2017 travel goals? Are you picking destinations or experiences? Are you focusing on attainment of statuses? Or have you too turned to the intangible parts of travel?