One of my favorite things to do is to plan our upcoming travel. Whether it’s looking at hotels, finding flights, researching restaurants, or discovering what to do where we’re traveling, I love every part of the process. Right now, besides unwinding travel plans that aren’t going to happen, I’m not making any bookings for our scheduled trips.
So what am I to do with all of the time I would have otherwise spent researching and making travel plans? Here are five things to do if you’re like me and suddenly have more free time than you expected on your schedule.
Make Sure You’ve Gotten Credit For Your Past Travel Expenses
Hopefully, you save all of your receipts and travel documents. I always go back and make sure that I got the miles and points I was supposed to. Airlines and hotels are pretty good about crediting your accounts, as long as you had your number on file. However, I don’t always credit my rental cars to my loyalty accounts. Now’s a good time to go through those receipts and submit them for credit to whichever program you want.
Digitize Those Old Pictures
I’m sure you have a box of old pictures (or slides) around the house. I have boxes with over 100 slide cubes and envelopes of pictures in my garage. I know that I’ll never have the time to convert them to digital myself, so I pay a company to do it for me.
For my photo and slide scanning needs, I use ScanMyPhotos.com
If you want to get their best prices, be sure to sign up for their email list. Once or twice a year, they offer slide conversions at 40 to 50% off, and that’s when I buy two or three boxes. They also offer specials on photo scanning, so be on the lookout.
You’ll thank me when you find a picture of you, wearing Mickey Ears, holding a pennant and a Mickey balloon, with your dad, outside of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.
Make Sure Your Data Is Backed Up
Now that all of our pictures, videos, and everything else is stored on our computers, there’s nothing worse than losing everything because of a hard drive failure. Sharon and I lost about a year’s worth of photos because I forgot to hook a new external drive up to our backup programs. I’m not making that mistake again.
We work on Macs, so I have a Time Machine drive hooked up to each computer. Just one backup isn’t enough these days. I use a cloud backup through Backblaze as a safety-net in case there’s a catastrophe at our home.
Backblaze subscriptions cost $6 per month per computer. You can buy one year for $60 or two years for $110. Backblaze has a referral program where you can get a free month by using our sign-up link. We get a free month for everyone who signs up.
Clean Up Your Credit Card Collection
Now’s a great time to through all of your credit cards. Look at what each one offers. Does it still make sense for you to hold on to them?
If you’re on the fence and your annual fee is coming due, it might make sense to call the bank about a retention offer. Banks had been getting less generous with these offers recently, but I have a feeling they’re going to change their minds on the value of keeping people as cardholders.
Get Ready For Your Next Trip
I have a list of the must-have travel items under $10. Do you have all of these items in your suitcase? If not, now’s the time to fix that.
What about the medicines you should bring with you when traveling? While all of these should be in your bag when traveling, it’s also not a bad idea just to make sure you have them around the house, just in case.
This way, when you feel like it’s time to get out and explore, you’ll be all ready for the trip.
While this doesn’t have anything to do with travel, why not take the time to catch up on something you’ve been putting off. Read that book you’ve had on the nightstand for the past year. Binge watch The Mandalorian on Disney+ or Stranger Things on Netflix (or whatever else interests you). Maybe you just want to clean up your office or garage. Now you’ll be able to put away those Christmas decorations that are still around the house, or maybe that’s just us. 🙂 (Note from Sharon: Shhhh! You weren’t supposed to tell them that!!! 😉 By the way, Joe, since you’ll have all this extra time, YOU could spend some time writing more articles for the blog. Just sayin’…)
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary