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Take the trip

Nov. 03, 2020
7 min read
Take the trip
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I first wrote this story in 2017, mostly in this current form and hadn't seen it in years until this week. While I can't remember what was happening when it was first written, it struck me as holding up. And while the world is vastly different today, and the variables at play have changed, the message is at least as true as it ever was. So with minimal tweaking to make the content a little more pandemic-era appropriate, here's why you should (when it is safe for you to do so), take the trip.


As you have most certainly noticed, things are a little nuts out there in the world at large.

When things get this tense and even unsettling in the real world, it can be easy to look at travel as being superfluous and unimportant -- or at least not as important as some of the other things. I actually think the opposite is true. I won't even get into how travel can bring folks together and highlight similarities more than differences as that is a different concept for a different story. Instead, I want to look at the importance of travel from a more micro-level perspective.

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For many of us, travel is a motivator and we mark the passage of time with trips.

It is three days until Utah, or two months until Disney or eight months until Australia. We plan, we research, we look forward, we count down. We love our lives at home, but we get really excited by our time away. I know I often feel and think in that manner, and that is why -- even if things are nuts out there -- you should still take the trip.

(Photo by Katie Genter/The Points Guy)

For travelers, to not take the trip is to not live life to the fullest. To not plan the trip is to not have that anchor to look forward to. To not do what you love is to lose a big piece of yourself. Take the trip.

Like many of you, I have friends that are sick. I have friends who have passed away. I know families that look very different today than they did a year ago. The future isn't ever guaranteed, so take the trip.

I don't know very many people who have money falling out of their ears. Even if your income goes up in the future, expenses almost always do, too. Don't be tricked into believing that you'll have more to spend on that trip you really want if you wait until "next year."

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Use your miles, your points, start saving, invest in an experience, find a way. Take the trip.

Kids grow up and experience things in different ways as they get older. Some things become less magical with age. Other things become much more magical and meaningful in different ways. Traveling logistics with older kids do get easier, but schedules get tighter.

Your kid will never experience travel with you in the same way tomorrow that they do today, so take the trip.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Friends have babies, get married, get divorced, lose their jobs, get new jobs, move and sometimes move-on.

Coordinating travel with others, especially non-family members is rarely easy, but it can be so rewarding to have shared experiences. Figure it out, get your friends on board, make some sacrifices, go where they are, take the trip.

Days, weeks and years can drag on at times but, in the end, they go by in a blink.

The monotony of packing lunches, driving to practice, checking homework, doing laundry and slugging through bedtime can be hard to appreciate in the moment. However, that perfect day on the beach in Aruba, the picnic in the park in Paris, sharing shave ice in Hawaii or hiking the mountain in Colorado doesn't blur with the rest.

Related: Our favorite family award trips

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Everyone in the family may remember the experience differently, but it will be remembered. Make the memory and take the trip.

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

The world can feel scary and is ever-changing. A place that is calm today may be in turmoil tomorrow. A location that is pristine today may be gone or overrun in the future. Borders close, passports gain or lose strength and things can irrevocably change on a dime

(Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

What can be seen and done today may be completely gone or forever altered in a couple of years, or faster. Don't just cross your fingers that you can still experience what your heart desires at some point down the road, take the trip.

Miles and points devalue and expire, programs change, rules change and a million miles aren't really worth anything until you put them to use. Take as much pride in cashing in your miles for tickets as you might looking at a healthy account balance and take the trip.

While we are so fortunate compared to how things could be, even a privileged life here isn't always super easy. I get distracted, rundown, stressed, very tired, budgets get tight and it would be easy to redirect the time, energy and money invested in travel to more mundane activities. I've done that, I'm sure you've done that, too. But if travel is in your blood, it doesn't work out well in the long run to put that part of who you are on the shelf.

(Photo by Melissa Ann Photography for The Points Guy)

I am a traveler and I need to travel like a retriever needs to fetch a ball. Without it, life isn't as fun, exciting or complete. I am not the best version of myself without experiencing part of what makes me who I am.

Sure, I've had trips that didn't go the way I hoped, that weren't really long enough or that didn't take place at the optimal time. However, I've never regretted taking the trip, at least not in the long run. It's not always easy, but it's always worth it. If you wait until the perfect time for the perfect trip, you will be forever waiting for the unicorn that never arrives.

I know how very hard it can be right now to get out of the day-to-day and make something "extra" a reality, but it can be done.

It doesn't have to be a huge trip across the world. Heck, in our current reality it probably won't be. A weekend road trip, a change of scenery, a breath of fresh air, however small, can still recharge your soul.

Pick the destination, pack your bag, pack your mask and just take the trip.

Featured image by Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy

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TPG featured card

Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site

Rewards

3 - 4X points
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
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Intro offer

60,000 bonus points
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Annual Fee

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Recommended Credit

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Excellent/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees