Over at The SHU Box this week, Sarah posted about financial priorities in light of a bear market and inflation. The upside: traveling remains a priority; trying to retire slightly earlier is not. The post got a lot of comments, particularly about not waiting until a traditional retirement age to do things, and it got me thinking.
I love being in my own space. I sleep best in my own bed! But traveling is definitely still a priority for me. That’s true even though traveling with kids, particularly little ones, is not easy. Years ago, when I had three kids ages 4 and under, I told myself it was OK if I wasn’t traveling all that much because they would all be out of the house by the time I was 50. I could spend my 50s traveling like a young person, only I wouldn’t have to stay in hostels!
Then, of course, I proceeded to have two more babies, pushing that everyone-out-of-the-house moment close to 60. My husband will be 70! So yes, we’re beholden to the school schedule for a while. And while we both travel for work and have traveled some together, most likely a lot of our trips will involve young people. But while travel with kids may not be easy, it’s still doable. I realized that I don’t need to wait until they’re gone, nor do I particularly want to, since my oldest kids shouldn’t miss out on experiences just because they have a baby brother. And so I’ve been devising some ambitious travel plans for the next few years. Possibly Europe, Hawaii, another national park or two…
Alas, so has everyone else in this summer of “revenge travel.” Some of the places I’m looking for 2023 travel are already starting to book up! I’m a fan of planning ahead, but I’m not sure I like that everyone else is planning ahead if they have the same travel desires as me…
Anyway, I’m reminded of a quote from the first year of Best of Both Worlds, when travel expert Henley Vazquez talked about adventurous family travel. I asked if there was a way to make traveling with toddlers more pleasant and she basically said “I wish there was!” And yet she’s traveled with kids over and over again. The point is that it is going to be rough at times but it is worth it to see the world, and have your kids see the world.
To be sure, they won’t necessarily remember the world if they’re really little, which is one reason I have traveled with just the big kids to Paris, Yellowstone in the fall (and Disney! Which is honestly best for big kids, whatever impression people might have). But as my little guy crosses three this winter he might start to remember these adventures. And given that my oldest three will indeed all be gone by the time I’m 50, we don’t actually have that much more time to enjoy adventures with them. And hey, my husband has racked up a lot of frequent flyer miles that need to get used at some point…
What’s on your family travel bucket list?
In the not-travel category: We’ve been having fun watching the fireflies in our new yard. For some reason they seem far more numerous here than in the old yard!
I finally bought a new MacBook Pro. This one I’m typing on now made it six years, which I think is reasonable for heavy daily use. I wrote several books on this laptop — Off the Clock, Juliet’s School of Possibilities, Tranquility by Tuesday. I’m curious what I’ll write on the next one! I put this off for a long time. I’m cheap and I have a strong tendency to just make do. But a few of my frequent-use programs could no longer update on my current Mac and my machine didn’t have the capacity for upgrading to the current Mac operating systems (I mean, maybe with a lot of add-on memory? But that seems really inefficient). The good news is that since I bought a new machine this time BEFORE my current one died I will be able to slowly make the transition.
I have been making progress on another Summer Fun List item: morning runs. During much of the year my during-the-week runs happen in early-to-mid afternoon. In winter it’s warmer then. I tend to need a break, and we have childcare. Morning seems cold or dark and if we have to be moving at 6:30 a.m., it’s harder to get out and do anything. But! Summer changes all that. The camp schedule doesn’t require anyone to be up until 7:45 or so, and we’re definitely up by then anyway. On the days my husband is around I can set the alarm for 6:40, run from 6:55-7:35 or so. It’s a nice way to start the day. I don’t do it every day by any means, but I have been doing two weekdays per week and I’d like to get to three. Though my eldest has decreed that when he gets home from camp he wants to start running with me three times a week and he is not going to want to do it in the morning. So maybe I will be both a morning and an evening runner. We shall see…
I have two Medium columns up since the last time I posted about them. One is “Jealous of your kids’ camps? Make your own this summer” and then yesterday I posted “The best way to kick your screen time habit.”
Friend-of-the-blog Lori Mihalich-Levin, who was a guest on Best of Both Worlds a few years ago, recently released two new guided meditations that are designed to be used while pumping: short version and long version. If that sounds like you, please check them out!
18 thoughts on “Traveling with the kids, summer morning runs, etc.”
I can’t fully delay travel until our kids are out of the house either since we will be in our upper 50s when they are both out of the house. We have taken 3 trips w/ the kids, but they have been low key beach trips and a trip to AZ to see my sister. The beach trips are ideal for young kid years for us since you don’t really need to do much to be entertained. Between the pool and the beach, we don’t seek much else out since those are such novelties, especially in the spring for us Minnesotans. We haven’t done much long-range planning, though. I would definitely like to take our kids to lots of National Parks. Besides that I don’t have a bucket list for trips with them. I did not travel as a child at all. My parents didn’t travel when they were growing up and then owning a business made it hard to get away. So our vacations were spent at the lakes in the area. I didn’t get on plane until I was 19 years old! So our kids lives will be really different from my childhood. My husband traveled more, but it was typically spring break trips to Florida.
@Lisa- the pool and the beach are always good – I know we have probably over-indexed on those over the years!
We just completed a big family roadtrip where we spent extended periods in both Toronto and New York City. It was great on many levels, and then not-so-great on some others. I’m glad we went, but we were thinking of doing a Europe trip this fall and suddenly wonder if our kids are quite the right ages (7 and 11) for getting the most out of the experience. While they loved Broadway and some amusement park rides, they were less enthused by the walking and crowds associated with city life. Quite honestly, they likely would have loved just staying at the hotel all day everyday and swimming in the pool.
So at this point I want to think about how everyone can most appreciate travel. I’m thinking a solo trip for my husband and I this winter, with more day trips locally (which our kids love). We did get down to South Carolina in May to see family, and that was a huge hit for the kids, so why not plan in another trip there for the same time next year? The weather is great in the South at that point in the year and my sister’s kids will soon fly the coop, so there is a ticking clock on time with cousins.
@Elisabeth – It is true that kids might not be into the same things as adults. In Paris we made sure to do some kid stuff (biking, Disney) and had plenty of downtime for iPad perusal as well. Then they put up with a few hours of museum type stuff…
Laura thanks so much for posting this. It seems we must all have travel on the brain, because my husband and I were just reviewing our travel goals too. We have family medical issues that require extra luggage and some logistical planning a couple months in advance, plus the baby is not even 1, so she has a luggage….SITUATION. Regardless, travel is important to us so we suck it up and make it happen. I love the suggestion of not traveling with everyone every time. And your age calculations help put in perspective that the time goes fast! We dusted off the 5 year travel plan after our last BOBW patreon meet up and it’s been cool to dream about where we will go.
It’s funny though because we have friends that will travel locally, spend $300/night on a hotel, and go back to the same place every year. I think it’s great they make a point to getaway, but the world is so big! I’d prefer to shift those dollars around, spend a bit on a flight, maybe save a bit on accommodations and explore somewhere new.
@Lori C – We go to the same beach for a week every summer, but other than that, yep, I like to try different places. I think going to the same place and only there would get tedious after a while…
I have a 3 year old and a 5 year old and my husband is from another country, and we have taken them to his home country multiple times. It is a transatlantic flight, and there have definitely been some rough moments. For example, when our then two year old projectile vomited on the plane. I find that the actual travel part is the toughest part and once we have actually arrived, things are generally pretty smooth. The kids are pros at traveling now because they’ve done it so much. But I would like to start branching out and going other places beside my husband’s home country. I think that will be our plan for next summer!
@CZ – I bet your kids are now sophisticated enough to handle a trip somewhere else, and you guys are tough enough to take them far afield 🙂
We have traveled to Europe several times with kids. We were just looking to get a bit further afield when the pandemic hit. We will definitely be traveling with kids. My husband will be 68 when my youngest graduates from high school. But rather than wanting to wait until they are all gone, we have trips we really WANT to do as a family of 6 and we are down to a few short years to do that. On the family bucket list are the western national parks and Africa.
@Gillian – Africa would be great! One of my kids at least is hoping to get to Australia and another to Japan. We shall see!
@Laura My husband and I spent a month in Australia for our honeymoon (he was between jobs and I was about to start med school). Our takeaway was we were glad we went, but really have no desire to go back. Culturally, if feels quite similar to the US and the landscape reminds me of Arizona where I grew up. And even in first class flying through LA the flight from the East Coast is LONG!!! If one of our kids really wanted to go I think one of us would take them but I don’t see all six of us making the trek. So far we’ve had more mundane requests like the UK, Italy and France (some of my kids have been to these places and some have not). Although my 6 yo soccer fanatic really wants to go to Argentina–a place my husband and I went before kids and loved.
We did our big 10 week Ireland and England trip in 2017 when our kids were 10 and 7 which was absolutely fantastic. It’s a great age for travel with kids. Now they’re older, a summer job and travel baseball are controlling our schedule. I’d like to get us back to Europe before our daughter graduates (in 2 years, yikes!) but who knows. We still travel occasionally with my parents so just because the kids are out of the house doesn’t mean we can’t go back to Hawaii with them. Adult children can be very amenable to a vacation when parents are paying 😉
@Calee – very true that older kids may not have time to travel, but yep, young adult kids might like free trips!
I have an 18 month old and an almost 5 year old. I’ve observed that I very much dislike traveling with kids younger than 3. I feel like at 3 they are more flexible with their sleeping (can sleep in the bed with you, aren’t waking up to nurse 10x a night, etc.) I’ve realized from the many trips we’ve taken this summer (and a few last) that I just need to wait to do any big trips until my youngest is 3. We do take our almost 5 year old on mommy and daddy trips as he loves to travel and loves the one-on-one time (we try for 1 per year). And my husband and I are going away for the first time on our own in a few weeks for a much needed vacation (camping! In my very favorite place on earth). I’m not completely delaying travel, just big travel with the entire family until the youngest is over 3.
@Diana – I think it’s that my youngest is 2.5 that travel is feeling more reasonable! It is true that 3 is different from 1.5 by a lot.
We did overseas trips after each of our 4 children finished school. Travelling from NZ one always has the option of stopovers on the way so we have done Aus, US, Hong Kong and Canada on way to Europe and Africa. Our now adult children and grandchildren are still interested in family holidays especially as we have decided they are worth the financial investment. Such precious shared memories!
We’ve travelled a lot with our kids. My husband travels for work so often that means I’ve flown by myself with the three kids and met him in our destination. At 10,8 and 6 I flew with the three of them Melbourne (Australia) to San Francisco via Sydney. Then we road tripped for 4 weeks. San Francisco, Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, San Diego, Disneyland then LA. Fantastic trip. Your National Parks are amazing for kids. Two years later I flew Melboune-Brisbane-LA- Vancouver with the three kids by myself for skiing and then the year later Melboune-Hong Kong-Vancouver, for that trip we also travelled in China on our way back home. We’ve also done a big road trip through Central Australia. I’ve got some awful stories from some of those flights but the trips were fabulous and are just great family time for bonding. I would say don’t be turned off from travelling, the good will generally far out weigh the bad.
Travel with little kids is certainly not easy but it really does allow us precious family time and memories. I know babies require a lot of gear but I found travel before my second was on the move (around 1) to be great. Yes, she woke up in the middle of the night but what a treat to watch the waves in Puerto Rico rather than sitting at home. I’m going to lose sleep either way. Also as an older parent and a child of older parents, I’m grateful my parents traveled with me as a kid because they haven’t been healthy enough to do so in retirement.