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One of the great parts of being a miles and points “travel hacker” is the ability to take more (and longer!) vacations together as a family. Before getting into miles and points, we sometimes struggled to find the money to take family vacations. But later this summer, my family and I are headed off on a 11-state summer vacation extravaganza through the western United States!
- Introduction: Big heads, Trains and Bears, oh my!
- My (free) $6500 family train vacation on Amtrak
- Holy Toledo! The lunacy in trying to book this Ohio hotel
- Why you want to transfer Amtrak points to Choice Hotels
- How I spent 350,401 miles and points
- You can book unlimited Choice Hotel award nights?
- Checking historical Amtrak delays
- Amtrak Union Station Toledo parking
- 4 reasons my Amtrak trip was a blast…
- … but I’ll probably never take another Amtrak trip
- 4 laundry hacks when you're doing long term travel
- Amtrak Union Station Chicago Metropolitan Lounge
- Boiling River Yellowstone
- Do you take hotel toiletries, pens and other amenities?
- Finding the REAL geographic center of the United States
- How to get compensation for Amtrak delays
- Amtrak tips: Tipping on Amtrak
- Ranking the 8 hotels we stayed at on our vacation
- Updating my travel map with new visited places
- How I spent 350,401 points
- Why I didn’t spend $9,144.92 on my vacation
Crossing things off of my travel bucket list
My travel bucket list has about 50 items on it, and this trip will cross 3 of those off the list!
- #9 in “See the sights” – See Old Faithful
- #16 in “See the sights” – See Mt. Rushmore
- #5 in “Vendomy-style travel goals”: Take an overnight train trip
I’m also picking up 3 new states (Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota), bringing my total up to 48, and visiting 66 new counties, bringing my total up to 1493 (out of 3143)
You can see the grey line(s) – that is the path that we’ll be taking. We’re taking an Amtrak train from Ohio out to Denver, then renting a car (actually TWO cars!) and going up to Yellowstone, over to Mt. Rushmore, then back to Denver before heading back on a train.
I’m hopeful that it’s going to be a lot of fun, but I’m a little nervous about the behavior of all the kids on the train. I mean we have had several instances in the news lately of families having trouble with other passengers (and flight crew?). The stereotype of Amtrak travel is that it’s filled with college kids and old people, neither of which are usually super excited to see a ton of kids. I like to say that “old people” sometimes like kids, but they very rarely like SIX kids, all at once 😀
We have actually been practicing “train manners” in preparation for the trip. Everyone is excited so wish us luck as we’re heading off!
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I am planning a similar trip with my family and have found ways to use points for our train, hotels and one way airline tickets but don’t know how to use points for our car rental. I don’t think I have ever seen a rewards card for rental cars. How do you do it?
Great question – I’m actually in the middle of writing a post about that exact topic! Basically you are correct – the only way to do it is with things like the Barclay Arrival card or other cash back type cards
I thought so. I will look forward to your post. Thank you.
I’m renting a car with orphaned airline miles. We’re taking two trips, one with AA miles from my account, and one with my husband’s. We have the CC, so we get 10% of the miles back and now have odd amounts in the accounts–just about enough for the rental cars plus a little cash.
Looking forward to our Amtrak trip later this summer. Headed to Glacier National Park. Question: what tool are you using to create the counties map? I might be interested in doing something similar.
The best website for tracking counties visited is http://www.mob-rule.com/