The Deal Mommy

Thinking Beyond Miles and Points for Summer 2017

Canary Islands,

BlueBay Beach Club, Gran Canaria, where our two bedroom condo was $88/night.

The Deal Kids start school this week which means it’s time to dream about next summer (what, you don’t plan next summer before this one officially ends?). Since this year was Camp Mom Solo next year is full on Camp Mom.

For those of you new to the idea, Camp Mom is a plan I instituted 7 years ago where Deal Dad and I decided to keep the kids traveling as long as possible each summer, with the caveat that each day cost no more than summer camp.
So far Camp Mom has included Quebec, Austria, France, and England, Las Vegas, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and Hawaii among others. Many of these adventures have been significantly enhanced by miles and points.

For 2017 I’m attempting the next step in Camp Mom’s evolution: renting a house for an extended period of time in one location.  FT4RL 5 speaker Toni just successfully managed two months in Europe with 4 kids under 10 so a tween and teen should be a breeze, right?

While miles may still help us get there, the actual lodging part will have to be done without hotel points.  I’ve narrowed down my (ever expanding) list to the following:

  • Quebec (likely Provincial, maybe near the St. Laurence river?)
  • Panama (Playa Bonita or near Panama City most likely)
  • Northern Europe: (Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, northern Germany or Denmark)
  • British Isles: (Likely Scotland)
  • France: Brittany or Normandy, possibly Marseille

Some quick searching on AirBnB let me know that $100/night or $3K/month is a reasonable budget for most of these locations.  While three thousand dollars is a chunk of change, it is also what most people pay for a week at the NC Outer Banks the last week of August (which has a 1 in 4 chance of being hit by a major storm).   Long term rentals tend to even out with daily at about the fourteen day mark, which means those last two weeks are basically free.

Another option is to rent four weeks through EVR or similar which depending on the location could match or even beat a monthly rental if the deal’s good enough.  If I get really lucky I could find something on skyauction for $279/week.

My strategy going forward will be to earn convertible credit card points that I can use to help defray expenses or to fill in around the margins.  (Although I keep waffling on Hyatt Diamond, especially since my local hotel dropped to a category 1, which means $79 gets me 4 breakfasts and a stay credit).

I want to encourage you to think beyond miles and points when planning for next summer- especially if you’re traveling with a family. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of earning that we forget how it makes most sense to spend. You just might spend less by traveling more.

What’s on your Summer 2017 calendar?  I always love hearing what you’re up to!

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17 thoughts on “Thinking Beyond Miles and Points for Summer 2017

  1. Lisa K

    We are already booked for 2 weeks in South Africa. We will be going to Cape Town, Victoria Falls & Krueger National Park. I have always wanted to go to Africa & I’m thrilled to be able to take the kids.

  2. MickiSue

    Dia, are you, or is your daughter, an Anne of Green Gables fan? If you are already going to Quebec, PEI isn’t that far away. I’ve not been there, but a friend went in the 90’s, and loved it as much as she thought she would.

    BTW: my plans, at present, are to visit SIL and her family in Athens for a long w/e, then to a small town near Venice, staying in a two bedroom holiday home so Daughter and her family can stay with us for another few days, then to Daughter’s home.

    We’ll probably be going at the end of August or end of September, as Daughter and her family will be here, earlier in the summer.

    1. Erik

      The Canadian Atlantic provinces are on our radar for a future family trip. We’ve visited as a couple and had a great time exploring things. The seafood was outstanding and weather was great (typically in the low 80s). At that time, we were paying for everything and stayed mostly at traditional B&Bs. We selected Canada as our destination partially due to the exchange rate back then which was around $1 USD=$1.42CAD. After many years of being roughly 1:1, it’s now back to about $1.35CAD, so it’s a good time to go.

  3. Jamie

    We had been planning to do Hong Kong as our next big trip, but we all loved Japan so much that we may modify that to HK + Japan. Or just go back to Japan. I’d like to stay in a ryokan and onsen. Can’t wait to start planning. Not looking forward to trying to find 4 premium cabin seats across the pacific though.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      It wasn’t as bad as I thought, though I did have to use three programs and four accounts to cobble together the miles.

  4. Noway

    Having lived in PTY just be aware it is extremely hot and humid in the summer. I do not swim in the water at playa Bonita as its too dirty. The pools at the hotels are nice at the properties there The national
    Parks and Gamboa resort are great
    I also go every year to Canada. Love NS, NB, and PEI. Lots of great outdoor activities
    Enjoy it will it lasts as when they get into the 13 or 14 age they’d rather be with their friends When they get into the HS it really hits and parents are not cool LOL.

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Good points about PTY: I was there first week in July and it was low 80s, but humid. Beaches were definitely polluted.

      We are getting there with Deal Kid: he has already asked that Spring break be at home.

  5. icicle

    I lived in Rouen for 8 months so could help you brainstorm ideas for what to do in that area of Normandy.

    I do LOVE Quebec (went to St. Lawrence University; nearest city Ottawa, and 3 hours ish from Montreal). Fall, Winter, and Spring: plenty of skiing, hockey, and poutine! There’s ballet, and hiking, and concerts…love Quebec!

    1. thedealmommy Post author

      Thanks Icicle. Since I loved Marseille I can imagine that less traveled France would appeal to us as well. Francophone Canada is a nice option as well.

  6. Nancy

    I love the idea of renting a place for an entire month. My husband and I have talked before about doing this in the U.S. in a “someday” conversation, but seeing this post has made us think about possibly doing this for summer of 2018. Next summer, we are going on a Disney Cruise to Alaska.

  7. Pingback: Weird Travel Ideas I Get When I Mow the Lawn - Miles For Family

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