My Travel Tips with American Express

One of our favourite things to do is travel together as a family!  We have been blessed with many new travel opportunities over the last year and we are always quick to jump at the chance to take a trip together.   Travelling is exciting but it does require lots of planning and comes with some challenges.    Travelling solo with no one to look after but yourself is fairly carefree.  Adding kids into the mix definitely changes the dynamics of traveling. Kids are unpredictable.  When they get overtired in the airport, they go into meltdown mode and you suddenly become the spectacle of every person in the terminal. They always have to use the bathroom once you are all settled in your seat and you can pretty much count on them being hungry when there is no food in sight. Regardless of it all, travelling with the ones you love and carving out memories forever is always worth it, no matter the obstacles.

Along the way, I’ve compiled tips that make for my best travel.  One of the things I have learned is that American Express understands the ups and downs and the twists and turns of travelling with a family, and can always be relied on to make your trip easy, fun and memorable.  Being an American Express Cardmember in the past year has completely changed the way I travel and I have now become all about that #amexlife!

Travel Tip 1 – See Through a Different Lens

Seeing and experiencing an area for the first time is always amazing but seeing it through my daughters eyes is unmatched, nothing compares to that.   At the age of 3 she is already on an incredible journey of discovery and watching that discovery turn into excitement over what she is seeing or learning for the first time is so rewarding as a parent.   I love looking through her lens. Don’t ever get stale in the way you view things but rather keep your eyes wide open, always discovering everything as if you were discovering it for the first time! The American Express Gold Rewards Card allows me to earn points faster which opens up more opportunities for more discovery and adventure with my family!   

Travel Tip 2 – Be Prepared for Mishaps!

While the discovery of travel is so rewarding, it certainly isn’t always as glamorous as the end result photo or as easy as it looks, especially when travelling as a family.   Long lines, delays, and long days with a full schedule can result in a tired, hungry, grumpy child! …. And let’s be honest, sometimes the same goes for mom and dad!!  Ultimately you have to try and stay as resilient as possible.  Mishaps will happen but as long as they don’t become the focus of your trip or derail your happiness, the trip will still be a success.

Travel Tip 3 – Take Detours

An itinerary is fundamental to the success of any trip.  Map out what sites, landmarks or attractions you want to see and plan out your itinerary based on experiential components that will give your trip logistical flow.  For example, do you want to see Lake Louise at sunrise or sunset?   In saying that don’t get so stuck on your timeline that you miss out on those beautifully unplanned moments; the ones that happen unexpectedly when you take a detour.   Maybe the detour is an impromptu choice you make to veer from the plan.  Sometimes a last minute recommendation from a local will cause you to change your plans, and the recommendation is often worth it because locals typically know best!  Or maybe it’s accidental, one of those mishaps that happens.  In one trip we took earlier this year with Amex, a wrong turn led us to a completely different area of the Fjord in Quebec. We didn’t make it to the area we had intended to see but rather than being discouraged by the mistake we made, we appreciated that we saw some incredible sights in an area we likely would have never seen otherwise. Don’t get so stuck on your timeline that you miss out on the spectacular!  With Amex, you can earn points on everyday costs, so be sure to gas up to prepare for those last minute detours that can lead you to places unknown! Having the American Express Gold Rewards Card in your back pocket will not only fuel your adventure but will give you the freedom you need to discover on your own timeline.

Tip 4 – Don’t be Afraid to Get Messy!

It’s all about good boots!  Boots that have you looking good and feeling good!  Boots that will get you to the places you need to get to and keep you going when you’re tired.   However, don’t be afraid to get those stylish boots a little dirty.  Boots can always be cleaned but the opportunity to jump in muddy puddles with your child won’t last forever.   Some of the best memories you will make are the ones when you put caution to the wind and get a little dirty!  Boots come and go but the memory of those muddy puddles will last forever.          

Tip 5 – Embrace the Cold!

Ok, I’ll admit it, Canada can get a little chilly.  BUT when you step outside your cozy cabin and see those mountain views it is all worth it.  Am I right?!  People from all over the globe have our winter wonderlands on the top of their travel bucket lists, so rather than trying to escape the cold once winter hits, I say embrace it.  Winter brings about activities in the snow that you loved as a child from ice skating, sledding and skiing.  You just need to gear up properly to enjoy it.  You are going to need to grab winter essentials to make this possible so why not earn rewards by using your American Express Gold Rewards Card to purchase these items! Not only will it keep you warm but also will earn points you can use towards your next Winter Adventure. This way you get to explore the beauty of The Great White North while staying warm and gearing up for more winter explorations!

Tip 6 – Time Matters!

The most valuable gift we can give each other is time.   In a world of convenience and tools that allow us to remove personal connection, nothing can ever replace the value of time spent together.  The most valuable gift we have in life is our family and friends and spending time with the ones you love is what matters most.  No matter how busy life is or how rapid the pace of our day-to-day is, carving out time together is incredibly important.   When travelling sometimes the pace matches or even increases your day-to-day norms as you work to see and experience all aspects of your travel itinerary.  It can be exhausting!  The one thing we value most is the time we have together to do the things we love. The American Express Gold Card is a time saver allowing us to use points to book flights so easily with their new Fixed Points Travel Program. The point redemption for flights is the same rate every day for each of the destination categories, so when we want to book flights we don’t have to spend the time researching how much it’s going to cost or worrying about surprise fees or seat restrictions. This gives us more time to do the things we love together.

Travel Tip 7 – Share your Passion!

I was 20 years old when I took my very first plane ride.  I think about my daughter who is 3 and has flown nearly 20 times already! I love to carve out opportunities for my daughter by doing what I’m passionate about, travelling to and photographing beautiful places.   Some trips require me to travel without my family, particularly if the pace of the itinerary and early morning call times isn’t suitable.  Yet whenever I can I love to bring my family with me.  Yes, travelling with children takes more work and planning, but taking your children along for the ride and sharing your passion with them will inspire them to discover their own passion and not be shy about chasing their dreams.  Exposing your child to the world that is out there and all of the opportunities that are in reach, and creating the best memories along the way.  

What we have learned as a family is that travelling definitely presents ups and downs.  It can be downright exhausting at times but all of the work that goes into it is so worth it.   The memories we make while discovering new things as a family gain more and more equity over time.  Time moves quickly. Life changes fast and your children grow up in an instant. The one thing we have that will last a lifetime are the memories we make along the way with the ones we love. 

If you want to make travelling with the family a priority this year, the Amex Gold Rewards Card will help you get there faster!

This post was sponsored by American Express, however the opinions and travel tips are my own.

An entrepreneur, creator, father & husband from Calgary, Scott Bakken is inspiring a generation of creatives to live their best life.