Last year was a fun one on the travel front. All the focus was on the trips I took late last year that I had little time to think about our 2020 family travel plans. I enjoyed multiple trips with my older kids, visiting some cool new countries such as Uruguay and Taiwan. I also had a chance to see two new European cities, Helsinki and Barcelona,on lighting-fast solo trips last fall. Overall, I added four new countries to my tally last year and got to explore a couple new U.S. states with the kids as well.
Now that 2020 is underway, I’ve been starting to fill out our schedule for this year. There were already a couple trips planned, but at this point, I think I have 90% of what we plan (or hope) to do penciled in. Here are our 2020 family travel plans:
February and April – SF Bay Area Dance Competitions
My daughter is participating on the competition team for our local dance academy, and the big events are finally here! We head down to San Francisco this week for the NYCDA classes and competition. The second event is in Santa Clara in late April. She is a bit nervous (this is her first time), but I know that they will do great. For a small, local dance studio, they often do fairly well.
Both events are at Hyatt hotels, and I’m using World of Hyatt points to cover our stays. In both cases I’m also applying a confirmed suite upgrade, knowing that we’ll need the extra space for our family of five. These are within driving distance from home, so flights aren’t an issue. Knowing both of these were on the agenda is one reason I pushed so hard last year to earn Hyatt Globalist status. Free breakfast and dinner in the lounge, the suite upgrades, and free parking on the award stays will cut down so much cost on these trips.
March- Solo Trip to Copenhagen
Between the two San Francisco dance trips is a solo trip to Danish capital. It’s no more than a long weekend; I’ll only be there just three full days. But that will be more than enough, and I typically try not to be gone more than 4-5 days on these solo excursions.
This trip was booked as part of an open-jaw return itinerary for my flight home from Barcelona. The round-trip price departing Europe was simply too good to pass up (plus, the British Airways return is on a Boeing 747!). I delayed booking my return from Copenhagen for months, finally stumbling onto an excellent business class ticket that has me flying Air New Zealand for the first time! It’ll also be my first fifth freedom flight. So stoked.
May – Domestic U.S. Dad-Daughter Trip
Last year I took each of my older kids on at least one trip to have some one-on-one time with them. We have a pretty busy schedule through the year, and my favorite times are when we I can leave behind the daily routine and simply focus on enjoying some time together in a new place. My favorite trip with my son was our quick blast to Taiwan last May, while the best one with my daughter was when we visited South America.
I’ve not yet made plans for a dad-daughter trip this year, but I do have a few ideas in mind. While my son is game for fast-paced adventures in a new city (or at least has little issue keeping up with me), my daughter prefers something a little more relaxing. She enjoyed our time in Buenos Aires last year, but I could tell that the nearly two full days spent in Miami enjoying the beach and pool were a highlight as well. Ultimately, I plan to use my Delta companion certificate obtained from my Delta Platinum Amex last year before it expires in May for this trip.
May – Solo Trip to NYC for my Wife
As long as she decides to stick with the plan, my wife will be headed to NYC for a couple nights to see a Broadway show. I’ve wanted her to get away a bit more, but the fact of the matter is that she really doesn’t like being away from the kids for very long. A couple nights at most is all she has been up for thus far, and New York is a pretty good distance from home. Still, I hope she is able to get away for the weekend.
June – Denver Miles to Memories Meetup
The meetup this month in New Orleans was a smashing success, and I’m looking forward to the next! It’s planned over my birthday in June, and I can’t wait to get together with everyone again. This one is only open to members of the Miles to Memories Diamond Lounge, which is now closed to new members. Keep a close eye on their blog in case space reopens in the future!
July – Family Vacation By Car
While midsummer plans are often crazy with camps for the kids, I’m hoping to carve out either a week or a long weekend to enjoy a family vacation within driving distance from our home. I’ve looked at a few different places in the northern half of California as well as southern Oregon. As with pretty much all trips, I’ll be hoarding my hotel point currencies to make sure I can find the best possible option for our family of five.
August – Visit Friends in Belfast!
During our trip to Buenos Aires and Uruguay, my daughter and I made friends with a northern Irish family from Belfast. We were all staying at the Hilton Buenos Aires and hit it off during our time there, spending Sunday together touring the San Telmo Street Fair.
Ireland is pretty far away from California, but we’re hoping to make it there this year. This really depends on whether we can match our August schedules while their three boys are out of school and my kids have no commitments. Dates are definitely not set.
On the award travel front, I hope to use Avios to book Aer Lingus nonstop for one of the directions. We have enough for the three of us. I might also consider hopping back to Boston for a couple days on the tail end (fewer Avios) before using Turkish Miles & Smiles for domestic United tickets to get us home. As you can see, I’ve already done a lot of award planning in my head. 😉
September – Solo Trip to Seoul and Shanghai
Late last year I booked a ticket to Seoul with Delta and Korean Airlines. It is an odd one, as I am flying 6 hours out of my way just to experience a Korean 747-8i. But this is part of the experience for me. It’ll be a whirlwind trip, with roughly a day and a half in Seoul and the same in Shanghai. Delta will return me to California, and I’ll be flying their Premium Select product for the first time.
With the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, I’ll be staying tuned into the news over the next several months. If things are still looking bad, this trip might get canned.
November – Father-Son Trip to Denver
Last year I took my older son to Chicago for a couple days before heading to Detroit to meet Mark Ostermann of Miles to Memories. We’d been corresponding for quite a while at that point, and it was great to finally meet him and his kids. We enjoyed touring around Detroit, enjoying places such as Greenfield Village, the Henry Ford Museum, and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan.
Well, we’ve already set plans in motion for a “dads and dudes” meetup this year. Denver is tentatively identified as the ideal city, and we’re hoping to pencil this in during early November. Hopefully we can make this happen!
Final Thoughts on Our 2020 Family Travel Plans
We already kicked off the year with a bang when I took my older two to London for most of a week. It had been years since I’d visited, and we caught such a fantastic deal that I couldn’t pass it up. Sure, it was chilly visiting England in January, but we still had a blast.
We’ll see if all the trips still in the “idea” stage make it firmly onto the calendar. And who knows…maybe we’ll be able to cram in a couple more as well! I’ve been itching to get back up to Tahoe, and this might make an excellent long weekend family trip!
What are your 2020 family travel plans?