Many people on this forum must travel A LOT. I wonder if the majority of this is business-related or if many of you actually have the luxury of travel for leisure? I don't travel often at all and have never been outside of the contiguous U.S. But I see many of you with tons of Travel cards with rewards structures and was hoping maybe you could offer some feedback on a topic I know nothing about.
Let's say I wanted to plan a vacation with my girlfriend, a 1-week couples retreat to....let's say....Hawaii, Bora Bora, Maldives....something like that. For those like us with modest incomes, this is a huge endeavor for us, maybe a once in a lifetime thing. And saving several thousand dollars for this kind of experience is very daunting and saving every dollar is important. So I'm looking for some education.
Where the heck do you start? When you Google these kinds of things you get absolutely inundated and saturated with travel sites....Trip Advisor, Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, etc etc. Then you have an absolute multitude of Hotel options and Airfare options that makes it feel impossible to make an educated decision. Is this a fair price, or am I getting ripped off? (How am I to know?) Is this the type of thing that's best to get an all-inclusive, paid-up-front trip through a vacation planning service so you don't have to worry about the minutiae of the details? Or is it always best to dig, search, scrape, and claw your way to the cheapest route....else you're getting ripped off?
So I see your siggy's with Travel cards ranging from:
Delta Skylines, Marriot Bonvoy, IHG, World of Hyatt, Southwest, Hilton Honors, Sapphire Reserve, Citi Premier, JetBlue, United Mileage, and on and on and on....
You guys have obviously seen your share of airlines and hotels. Do you have these cards because of an airline preference or hotel preference, or is it purely based on rewards...and the airline/hotel is irrelevant (they're all the same)? Because the few times I have ever been in hotels, honestly they all seem the same to me. But of course, I've also always been in budget rooms....and that generic musty staleness I've always experienced is NOT what you want when you are planning a tropical vacation.
But is there really a difference in airlines? Difference in hotels? And what is the best approach to planning the vacation of a lifetime, when you really have no prior experience....without being burned for a couple thousand extra, because I didn't know any better?
(And IDK....maybe the Travel cards are irrelevant to the conversation because I may not ever get enough use from them to bother)......but it's the experience that you guys have as card-owners who obviously do travel more than their share, that may be able to shed some light and direction for those of us who don't get to do this very often.