Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

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capitalhockey
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Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by capitalhockey » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 am

My wife and I are in our 30s with two kids under 3 years old. We used to travel a bunch (Peru, Italy, Thailand, etc) before kids. Things have slowed down a lot now. Traveling with kids is possible but difficult. My wife and I were talking about coming up with a long term travel strategy for our family. We want to factor in our kids age and slowly expand our travel radius.

Years 0 to 5 (baby to toddler years): 1) driving trip to beach; 2) short direct flights to visit family within US; 3) all-inclusive resorts in Caribbean islands...looking for low stress trips...family friendly destinations

Years 5 to 10 (no stroller, school schedule): 1) Disney trips; 2) longer flights with connections 3) European cities like Barcelona or London during spring break and summer time off....kids can walk good distance by themselves

Years 10 to 18 (tween to teens): 1) longer flights to Asia(Japan, Malaysia, Cambodia, etc) or South America (Brazil, Argentina, etc), 2) more exotic destinations (Amazon jungle, African Safari, Turkey, Morocco, etc), 3) more adventurous activities (ATV, hiking, water ski, etc)....kids are able body to enjoy more active trips

Empty nester with wife (adult kids): 1) check off remaining Bucket list destinations; 2) Stay in an overseas destination for 3+ months for slow traveling....move around different continents; 3) kids can join us for a trip here and there

Maybe we are daydreaming about the future. We have older friends who chose to only do driving beach trips from years 0 to 18 with their kids. They believe there is no value to spending any more money since kids don't appreciate traveling and have no memories of more exotic places. They save up those places for themselves when they are retired.

On a selfish note, my wife and I prefer not to wait until retirement age to start traveling again. We also hope to create family memories from our trips. We know we have a limited of time with our kids and want to make the most out of that time together. Maybe we can cultivate a love of travel for them as adults.

Anyone has done something similar? Is this too ambitious?

Pierre Delecto
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Pierre Delecto » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:39 am

Wow you guys are planners! Engineers?

My kids are late elementary school age. We have no travel plan.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:43 am

We traveled the world with our kids - not the same destination list (mostly around the US and Europe).
We averaged 1 - 3 flight trips per year since the kids were born.
When they were younger we did mostly US trips (National Parks, Fun cities/places throughout the US, etc.). As they grew older we added some European trips.
They do get a lot out of experiencing different cultures, etc.
Now that they are in college it feels weird doing some trips without them - still trying to adjust to just myself and spouse on these trips again.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:46 am

I should add - we never had a strategy - each year we would pick a couple of places to go and go for it.
We have bucket lists in our heads - never put them on paper yet (thinking of doing that now that I'm getting older :) ).

sailaway
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by sailaway » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:46 am

I am nearly 50 and I do not have fond memories of being that 5yo who could walk good distances on her own. YMMV, as I was a tiny five year old.

My nieces and nephews did not appreciate city tourism as tweens, and I imagine it would have been even less thrilling when they were younger.

All of which is to say, go ahead and plan, but plan out alternatives, such as including the children as they start to develop interests and start to have opinions about vacation.

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mhc
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by mhc » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:51 am

Kids have not impacted our travel style, but our travel is a little different than yours. We enjoy National Parks/Monuments, state capitals, beaches, quirky out of the way places, ....

We have carried our kids in backpacks, changed diapers in the woods, nursed in National Parks, ....

I guess you could say we have our kids just be a part of our natural lifestyle. Fortunately, most of what we like is very kid friendly.

I do agree that the kids do not appreciate expensive, exotic trips until they get older. Our oldest no longer wants to vacation with us.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by DaftInvestor » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:55 am

mhc wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:51 am
Our oldest no longer wants to vacation with us.
We have the opposite problem - when planning trips without the college aged kids we get "You are going to Italy without us??!!".

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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by TheEternalVortex » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:01 am

Wow, that’s very ambitious. Basically no travel with kids is “low stress” maybe until they are teens. Kids thrive on schedule so it’s never easy to upset that. They may have picky food choices and it can be hard to find what they eat I. The place you are going. Changing time zones is rough even a few hours difference. And you have to bring tons of stuff, it makes flying much more of a pain.

My kids are 5 and the best trips we’ve had have been driving. We’ve flown a few times with them and it’s basically not fun at all. YMMV but don’t expect much.

In a related note I traveled a lot as a kid (2-3x a year to other countries). Until I was ~14 I basically got nothing out of the specific locations, it was more about being with family and friends. After that it was interesting to visit places I had a personal interest in (eg London and Paris in my case). Other places I didn’t care for and didn’t find very engaging. So I would suggest you incorporate your kids desires into your plans when they are older.

cs412a
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by cs412a » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:02 am

Just putting it out there:

I was at a high school event and ended up sitting at a table with a family I didn't know. They traveled as a family, but they also had an interesting "family tradition": in the year when each of their kids turned 10, one of the parents would travel with that child to a place of the child's choosing as a birthday present. The 11-year-old sitting next to me had chosen Paris, and I remember his face lit up when he was telling me about it.

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Riprap
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Riprap » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:03 am

We (spouse and I) think travel should be infrequent enough so that when we do travel, it's a very special treat. Delayed gratification.

Texanbybirth
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Texanbybirth » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:04 am

We've taken our kids a couple of places in the US. They're really good flying, but it's now wicked expensive with 3 of them. Plus that means we lug around car seats and have to rent a van. We'll be driving 18hrs @ Christmastide this year, and that's a big test of what we can do going forward.

I don't really have a Long Term...Strategy for anything with kiddos that are 5, 3, and 1. Mainly we just take it day by day and try to survive. It's a wild ride, but I wouldn't trade it for all the money in the world. :beer
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tjtv
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by tjtv » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:07 am

Planning is great and all. But what happens to your best laid plans when your kids are 10 and 8 years old and baby #3 makes its appearance?

Basis
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Basis » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:08 am

As your children age they will have more and more school performances and sports activities. Nightly practice for months leading to weekend games, etc... As teens, they may also acquire a significant other with his/her own agenda.

Your travel may be limited to holiday weeks. Across the world and back is a challenge over spring break.
You see what you know.

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midareff
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by midareff » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:11 am

I did and still do have a strategy... I started traveling internationally in 2006, life was somewhat complicated prior to that by x-wives, finances and so forth, I was mid 50's then. I decided I wanted to do the far stuff while I had the abilities needed for more complicated travel in Asia (China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and such) and North, Central and South Africa. One or two nights here or there and move on.. pack, haul and so forth even on organized tours.

Now, remarried and retired (I'm 72), we tour by cruise ship thanks to diligent savings, Jack, and a stock and bond market run for the ages. Last trip sandwiched Christmas and New Year in a 5 week cruise from Buenos Aires South, to the Falklands, then around Cape Horn and up the western coast of South America through the Beagle Channel & Glacier Alley, then Chile and Ecuador and through the Panama Canal into the Caribbean. Athens to Barcelona is scheduled for May and Oslo to Barcelona scheduled for September...... then the Seine in France, a few spots in Caribbean we have missed next December and I just received a pre-announcement brochure on a Galapagos trip that sounds enticing.

That's my strategy.. just keep going as long as I can maintain the ambulatory minimums for ground excursions from cruise ships.... hopefully I'll have enough time to get from my current 60 countries to >100. That's my plan.. unpack once and enjoy.

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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:21 am

From the time DW and I were married, we went to an island once a year. Hawaii (4 islands), St Martin, St Thomas, Aruba. Then my company sent me to grad school and we stopped.

My parents bought time shares in Aruba and we started going there as it was only flights and food. Once our kids came, from the time each of them was 1 and able to get a passport, we again went to Aruba about yearly. Coincidentally, this was when Treasury Direct would sell savings bonds online with a credit card and no fee, up to $30k per person that were redeemable in 6 months. We bought $120k worth a year, selling existing ones to pay the bill. This gave us enough American miles for us all to upgrade to first class.

At some point, school vacations did not line up with parent's weeks and we stopped. We've done a few small trips. Bush Gardens Williamsburg, a week in Ft Myers. Last summer, the wife and I went out to Niagara Falls (neither of us had ever been).

I'm close to retiring and would not have an issue with taking unpaid time off. I'd like to do some longer distance offroading trips but know the wife would have less than zero interest. Perhaps we'll just do car trips to the west. DW would love to do places in Europe. I'm not overly interested. Perhaps something like Hawaii again.

We don't have any solid plans. I traveled on airplanes for business long enough to get burned out. If I never stepped on another airplane again, that would be great.
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stan1
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by stan1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:31 am

One thing I've learned over the years is that planning for things that are likely to change isn't the best use of my time.

Instead I plan for flexibility.

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bligh
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by bligh » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:43 am

What I currently do is plan the next 2-3 trips out. ie. While I am preparing for my summer trip, I am also deciding what the plan is for the winter holidays/winter break, toying with plans for the spring break the following year. By the time I return from the summer trip, I have concrete plans for the winter trip, have started planning my Spring break trip and toying with plans for the next years summer trip. Sort of like a pipeline in various stages of planning, booking and anticipation. That is long term enough for us, for now. :)

TLC1957
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by TLC1957 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:08 pm

We have visited all 50 states and most of Canada about 40 of the 50 states with our 2 daughters up until they were 21. Our plan was in January of each year from when the kids were about 7 years old we would as where do you want to go on summer vacation. This was key getting the buy in from the kids on where to go. When they were young they wanted Disney but as they got older and started learning history they wanted to see different parts of the USA! I can recall when they were about 10 asking do you want to go to Disney this year....nope ..Yellowstone National Park!!

So ask your kids and educate them on the world!! They will be so much more into the trip especially when they are teenagers when they have a say in where they want to go!

Be careful you will give them the travel bug and will want to travel the world.....not a bad thing!!

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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by TLC1957 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:08 pm

Sorry double post.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by ResearchMed » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:21 pm

capitalhockey wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 am
My wife and I are in our 30s with two kids under 3 years old. We used to travel a bunch (Peru, Italy, Thailand, etc) before kids. Things have slowed down a lot now. Traveling with kids is possible but difficult. My wife and I were talking about coming up with a long term travel strategy for our family. We want to factor in our kids age and slowly expand our travel radius.

Years 0 to 5 (baby to toddler years): 1) driving trip to beach; 2) short direct flights to visit family within US; 3) all-inclusive resorts in Caribbean islands...looking for low stress trips...family friendly destinations

Years 5 to 10 (no stroller, school schedule): 1) Disney trips; 2) longer flights with connections 3) European cities like Barcelona or London during spring break and summer time off....kids can walk good distance by themselves

Years 10 to 18 (tween to teens): 1) longer flights to Asia(Japan, Malaysia, Cambodia, etc) or South America (Brazil, Argentina, etc), 2) more exotic destinations (Amazon jungle, African Safari, Turkey, Morocco, etc), 3) more adventurous activities (ATV, hiking, water ski, etc)....kids are able body to enjoy more active trips

Empty nester with wife (adult kids): 1) check off remaining Bucket list destinations; 2) Stay in an overseas destination for 3+ months for slow traveling....move around different continents; 3) kids can join us for a trip here and there

Maybe we are daydreaming about the future. We have older friends who chose to only do driving beach trips from years 0 to 18 with their kids. They believe there is no value to spending any more money since kids don't appreciate traveling and have no memories of more exotic places. They save up those places for themselves when they are retired.

On a selfish note, my wife and I prefer not to wait until retirement age to start traveling again. We also hope to create family memories from our trips. We know we have a limited of time with our kids and want to make the most out of that time together. Maybe we can cultivate a love of travel for them as adults.

Anyone has done something similar? Is this too ambitious?
I'd suggest that you are pre-planning much too much fine tuning by children's ages.

Children can be very different from each other, and also different from themselves at different ages.
Also, in some cases younger children are easier. If you decide to go to X (or to eat pizza) then you all just go to X (or have pizza). When they are not too much older, there may be "Do we HAVE to go THERE?" or "But I want to see....!!" Let them help make at least some choices (or give them the appearance of that, perhaps by having them decide when to do A and when to do B).

You don't need to actually plan these trips this far in advance, right?
(I love planning trips far in advance, but... not *this* far! :shock: )

Why don't you see how the children (and also you with the children!) "do" on trips starting as soon as you make the next trip? What did everyone (children and adults) enjoy most, handle best? What was not so enjoyable?
And what have the children ever mentioned (like, "I want to see dinosaurs"... Natural History Museum, or "I want to swim!!!" ... some location with a pool or near a beach... etc.)?

They may surprise you and be much easier to travel with, e.g., sit nicely at a restaurant) at a very young age, but not want to sit there when a bit older... or the reverse...!

But if you get them used to traveling, it will all be easier in the future.

When I was doing extensive driving with a couple of very young children, we'd often stop for "road races".
This mean, some sort of park or grassy/play area, and Mom would toss two Frisbees, and the children would each, well, "play fetch" :D They got to race around, and Mom just got to sit around.
Then we'd make sandwiches with a big baguette (the longest driving trip was in France - amazing!), and then... they'd sleep for quite a while. Everyone was happy.

I *always" carried a very large purse/tote, and in it were some essentials (small roll of TP, a flashlight, a few key snacks... and I can't actually remember, but I needed a large-ish bag.
And sure enough, one day we were in a museum, and... the power went out! Out comes the flashlight! :happy

I just adjusted our travel targets/goals/plans by how the children were doing, by age and also by destination type.
The children became very good travelers, including later on their own as they got a bit older.

Main thing, keep a sense of adventure and enjoyment, and make sure the children see that and feel it, too.
But be prepared for sudden changes, if necessary.
And then just go where you and/or they want to go!

And sometimes, we went places that were, as you put it, "exotic", and even if the children didn't "appreciate it" or remember much, *I* wanted to see those places. So... we went! :happy
(And it turned out they had some surprising, short memories many years later.)

Enjoy!

RM
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lthenderson
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by lthenderson » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:30 pm

capitalhockey wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 am
Anyone has done something similar? Is this too ambitious?
Mine are 7 and 13 and we continue to take them where ever we go and have since the oldest was a baby. They have even flown to the backside of the globe many times which generally is 24 hours of planes and airports in a row. I don't find the traveling with kids particular difficult though they do require more attention when they are younger. Usually it is the destination events that we modify depending on ages. When they were younger, we ended up being more stationary and trying to end up somewhere with a pool in the evenings. Now that they are older, we can do more roaming around, trying new things and if there is no pool at the days end, it isn't a problem. I don't think this will change much until after they have left the nest and then like you, we plan to do more extended trips that our kids schedules don't allow us to do now.

halfnine
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by halfnine » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:38 pm

cs412a wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:02 am
Just putting it out there:

I was at a high school event and ended up sitting at a table with a family I didn't know. They traveled as a family, but they also had an interesting "family tradition": in the year when each of their kids turned 10, one of the parents would travel with that child to a place of the child's choosing as a birthday present. The 11-year-old sitting next to me had chosen Paris, and I remember his face lit up when he was telling me about it.
This. My Kids (who are still in the single digits) choose it and plan it or it doesn't happen. They get much more out of it that way.

decapod10
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by decapod10 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 12:43 pm

I actually agree with your overall plan, though of course it depends heavily on the individual family of course.

I have friends who took their 2 year old on a safari in South Africa. They've been to Greece, Columbia, somewhere in the Middle East (can't remember exactly where at the moment), among other places, all with their little kids in tow. They are currently 8 and 5 now and are already seasoned world travelers. So it's certainly doable if you have the right disposition.

For my personal experience, we're not quite as adventurous. Our kids are currently 8 and 6. We went to Hawaii (about 5-6 hour flight) when our kids were about 1 and 2.5, it was miserable. Both the flight and the vacation itself. I would not do that again with kids that age. However, we all went to Bali for a wedding when they were 5 and 3, and actually it was great. Took a 12 hour flight to Taiwan, then transferred to another 5 hour flight to Bali, kids handled it like champs. And they had a good time, though I'm not sure how much they remember it now. I think the main thing for us, in terms of these big international vacations, is that if you're going to do it, understand that it's mainly for the parents. The kids will have fun but may or may not "appreciate" it per se. And that's ok too IMO. They've also been to Taiwan twice for a week or so at a time (about 12 hour flight), and again they did fine. They actually say they like going there and are excited to go, even though we don't do much there, so who knows. Also going back to Hawaii this summer, I think they are going to love it.

We would like to make a trip to Japan and probably several trips to Europe at some point. I would also like to go to Peru. We're probably going to wait until the kids are a little older, like OP, but I think it won't be too much longer. Even though I know they can do it, I'd like it if they had a bit more appreciation as to what they are seeing. But again, I don't think it's wrong just to go and not worry about the kids do or do not appreciate. As far as I can tell, kids will have fun on literally any vacation.

WS1
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by WS1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 1:48 pm

Just let your time and budget be the guide. How many of my kindergartners memories of a trip to Ireland on her 2nd birthday are authentic vs being planted by repeated discussions of the trip—beats me, but I know staying on a small farm for 2 days helped her grasp the purpose of farm animals

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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Flashes1 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:13 pm

A lot of your travel will depend on your kids' schedules. If they are good athletes on good teams they're going to be busy. Our trips revolve around their school and sports schedules. We rent a house in Hilton Head after baseball ends around July 4, direct flight to Florida for Thanksgiving, and I try to take my son to an IMG sports camp for a week after Christmas. We typically do a 4-5 day trip on Spring Break.

coalcracker
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by coalcracker » Fri Feb 21, 2020 4:47 pm

Love to see fellow family travelers on here :D

My wife and I traveled extensively and lived abroad before children. Now that we have a 6 and 2 year old, the travel is more tame but MUCH more than our friends and family with kids. When we are catching up with friends, they almost always ask where we are planning to go next.

I tell people that two types of destinations are great for young children (less than 5 or so): beaches and cities. We have done both: beaches on the East Coast, Hawaii, Costa Rica, and Mexico; and city trips to San Fran, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Barcelona, and Lisbon.

Once the kids are older and can walk distances without whining or being carried, we plan on more adventurous trips (longer distance hikes, safari, train trips, raft trips, etc).

As others have said, this may depend on you kids' dispositions. But you'll never know how they will respond if you never try.

MathWizard
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by MathWizard » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:05 pm

We did national parks with the kids, but we like nature much better than crowded cities.

We just did a trip with the kids (post college). Trying to meet the requests of multiple adults
was stressful. The kids didn't want to plan and just "go with the flow", while the parents need
to know where we will be sleeping that night, and how to get from point A to B without
being drug out the next day.

J295
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by J295 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:44 pm

OP. This sounds awesome!

You might consider doing something special or unique in each location and documenting it. In our case, we had a goal to visit all 50 states before the youngest graduated from high school. We kept a notebook of fun or funny events in each place we visited as a family, and also took pictures in every state we visited. The pictures are mounted on a 4‘ x 8‘ map at out home with the pictures cut out in the shape of each state, and the vacation notebooks provide good trivia for our get togethers.

We had no objective other than enjoying each other and creating memories, but it seems like a side benefit was that everyone became very comfortable traveling and creating adventures. Our family of five grew up in middle America but now the children live in California, Texas, and Singapore — after going away to college and living in multiple locations inside and outside of the United States.

Anyway… Go for it! Sounds super exciting.

almostretired1965
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by almostretired1965 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 5:50 pm

I think this is a situation where you need to be flexible and will depend a great deal on your kids' temperament and interests as they age. I can tell you that I would have gotten next to nothing from traveling before I turned 18. Truth of the matter is to this day I don't get much from it; I do it mainly to humor my wife though I always have a good time during our various excursions.

There are plenty of people who say that international travel provided great experiences for their kids. No doubt that can be true, but my own observation among my friends and colleagues is that most kids don't really appreciate it. Not that this was an issue for me growing up since my parents couldn't really afford anything other than car trips to visit and stay with relatives in exotic locations like Cleveland, Ohio (though that was actually a memorable trip since I learned how to ride a bike). But if they had the money to spare, I would have preferred that they saved it for their own retirement, rather than a misguided attempt to "expand my horizon".

GAAP
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by GAAP » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:49 pm

We tried something like that when the kids were young -- but life had a way of screwing that up pretty quickly. I would put those ideas down as aspirational goals, trying to meet some of them as you can.
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Plano
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Plano » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:01 pm

Our son has traveled all over the world because we consider it part of his education. We started this at age 5. He would learn a bit of the language, read up on the history (age appropriate levels of course), and see different cultures first-hand. Nothing teaches humility and empathy to privileged kids like the experience of being the outsider who needs translation. He's still spoiled as heck, but at least he appreciates how spoiled he is.

Starting around age 7, we let the kid plan a day or two out of each trip. This is how we ended up at all the various Disneylands (FYI, none are as good as Anaheim), and at the top of a variety of towers like Taipei 101, CN Tower, Tokyo Skytree, etc (all totally worth it). He has a folder of all his favorite travel pictures and videos, so remembering is not an issue.

Unless your kids are particularly sensitive (i.e., certain disabilities), international travel is not terribly difficult or even expensive. The pros far outweigh the cons.

MarkRoulo
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by MarkRoulo » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:38 pm

capitalhockey wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 am
My wife and I are in our 30s with two kids under 3 years old. We used to travel a bunch (Peru, Italy, Thailand, etc) before kids. Things have slowed down a lot now. Traveling with kids is possible but difficult. My wife and I were talking about coming up with a long term travel strategy for our family. We want to factor in our kids age and slowly expand our travel radius.

...

On a selfish note, my wife and I prefer not to wait until retirement age to start traveling again. We also hope to create family memories from our trips. We know we have a limited of time with our kids and want to make the most out of that time together. Maybe we can cultivate a love of travel for them as adults.

Anyone has done something similar? Is this too ambitious?
Yes, my wife and I did.

Part one was to get the physically challenging trips out of the way when young and single. So [humble brag] Egypt and Antarctica we did when in our 20s and childless. I lost 15 pounds in 22 days on the antarctic trip and got to see the inside of the Scott Base hospital, so doing this in my 20s was probably a good plan.

With our (only) child, part two of our plan was to start gradually with short (1 hour) airplane trips. We live in Northern California, so it is about 1 hour by plane to Disneyland. If that went poorly ... well, we're only on the plane for an hour.

Then, with a 2 1/2 year old child, I got sent to England for two weeks. Before we had gotten around to that Disneyland trip.

The family and I went together. Child was fine-ish on the flight. He threw up on me twice before the plane left the ground, slept through the flight and then threw up on me again when we arrived in London. And had a slightly urpy tummy during the whole trip. But, on balance, things went well. My wife just planned activities around his abilities and interests (train museum, Hyde park, changing of the guards, ...) during the day and we did more adult-ish activities on the weekends. It was fine.

We went back a year later and had a good time again.

And did a number of US trips in the years that followed. I went to Georgia Tech to do some recruiting. Son got lost for an hour at the Phoenix zoo. Son got mislaid in the middle of Manhatten once (he knew where he was ...). And we did get down to Disneyland (twice) and Legoland.

He flew by himself for the first time when he was about ... 10? To see my sister, in Greece, for a week.

So ... basic message: They can travel pretty early. Don't overthink it. No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. Have fun!

gator15
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by gator15 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:40 pm

I’m not sure if it’s a strategy but over the last 4 or 5 years, we’ve tried to take our kid to a place we knew he would love for spring break including Disney World and the Caribbean. We then take a trip to a national park and camp there the week after he gets out of school. We think he is too young to appreciate European or other vacations we love to take so my wife and I take those alone. The wife and I will generally take two trips alone. We also take multiple camping trips with my kid throughout the year which he loves. This approach works well for everyone so we will continue to do it. We really look forward to the April-Sept timeframe because we know it is travel season in our household.

Hillview
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Hillview » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:31 pm

our kids are 12 and 14 and have traveled from east coast to Europe since birth annually. We are travelers. We are moving to the west coast and hope to travel more to Asia with the kids (and check out Hawaii).That said your general plan looks like a good one. We did more Disney when they were younger.

GeoffD
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by GeoffD » Sat Feb 22, 2020 5:41 am

I absolutely do not have a long term travel strategy. I did the international road warrior thing so I’ve seen most of the first world. I ski. I took several trips every year for decades including New Zealand and South America trips. At the moment, we’re doing a couple of Europe leisure trips per year. 2020 is planned and booked. I normally have a 1 year planning horizon.

fasteddie911
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by fasteddie911 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:22 am

We too think about our future travel w/ kids now in the picture, though not quite as detailed as you have. We knocked out a lot of our bucket list prior to kids. So travel for now will be just to get away, family trips, etc. Definitely now when they're little it's not worth the effort for us to do many long trips (distance and time), maybe once a year family trips but otherwise stay somewhat close to home. Probably do disney a few times when they're younger. We'll probably avoid "cultural" or sightseeing trips for a long while, which I feel like our kids would find boring (me and my spouse did as kids) despite our interest in them. Instead though we hope to do something like an annual ski trip or something fun. I did that growing up and look back on those times fondly.

Poorman
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Poorman » Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:29 am

Why always travel out of country when you haven't seen all of the U.S. State Parks, National Parks, camping, hiking, snow sport trips, etc.

awval999
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by awval999 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:32 am

30's with one child now. Will try for 2nd child later this year.
We've already taken him to Florida and Aruba. Scheduled to travel with him to Arizona, Toronto and NYC this year.
We take one adult vacation once a year and leave him with grandparents for a week+. This year it's to Spain.
Travelling with children is very doable. My thoughts at this age is make sure you're in a walkable area to avoid the whole traveling with car seats around town. Beach cities or resorts are nice because you have something to do during the day and can go out to eat at night.
The main thing is start young, that means going out to restaurants early so they learn how to behave. Have emergency weapons -- tablet, snacks, etc.

We use miles/points and credit card hacking to make all of this affordable.

I agree with some of the posters above that when the kids get of age to let them make some decisions. I still do remember wanting to go to Washington DC as a kid and we did.

In regards to teens and travelling sports. That is a family choice whether to let sports become a priority in a child or teen's life, and frankly I have very strong opinions about it, and because of that it will be very unlikely that that would be an issue in our family. I understand other families make very different decisions.

gips
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by gips » Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:34 am

Our travel plan included living abroad with the kids. We decided to do it before they entered school. It was a great experience for my wife and I, the kids don’t recall it at all which is fine as we travelled extensively with them through college.

Carson
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Carson » Sat Feb 22, 2020 9:52 am

I would say our travel strategy roughly mirrors yours, although we didn't plan it.

Definitely need to consider school and sports as they develop. Our school district really frowns upon days out of school, as they get incentives for attendance %s. And it's fine and good to say you don't need to make it to every game/practice, but then you realize that impacts your outcome as a team.

One thing about destinations - last year we went to Copenhagen with our kids age 6 and 9. Our now 7-year old talks about it frequently. I'm not sure how much longer he'll remember it, however it was really amazing to experience that with him in the moment. Sometimes travel is not necessarily about what your kids remember, but what you remember doing with them.

I also think that if you want to raise savvy travellers, it really helps to show them the ropes early on. We've had trips fraught with delays and extreme circumstances out of our control. We've even said to the kids, hey we don't know what the right answer is, but we're figuring it out together. I *think* it's given them some appreciation for the basic necessities and what it means to be safe.

Last thing to consider that I just recently found out - some places you travel are difficult travelling as a foursome. We discovered this when we booked a trip to Beijing, finding a room to accommodate us was a bit more challenging than I expected. So when you find great flight deals somewhere, definitely take a minute to consider what all your costs might be. Air B&B is an amazing solution, but doesn't operate everwhere.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

MarkRoulo
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by MarkRoulo » Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:52 am

Poorman wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:29 am
Why always travel out of country when you haven't seen all of the U.S. State Parks, National Parks, camping, hiking, snow sport trips, etc.
Some folks have friends or family out of country. It is nice to see them.

It may be easier to do foreign travel when young and healthy and US travel when older. As I age I become less willing to take long plane trips.

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WWJBDo
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by WWJBDo » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:29 am

A few reflections:
1. While the kids are still in grade school, don't worry about taking them out of school to travel- the travel is worth more to their education and well-being than school and they won't be disadvantaged by being out at that age.
2. Our first international trips with the kids were to London and Australia- they were excellent 'bridge' trips where the kids saw a society that worked differently, but the language was still English.
3. AirBNB or other similar lodging is far superior to a hotel with kids- both in terms of cost and the experience. With a rental unit, people can wake at different times, breakfast is a lot easier to do and there is enough space. As the kids get older, the space gradually, imperceptibly becomes an issue regarding everyone's happiness traveling. Our last trip staying in one room with 2 boys was at Yosemite (one room was all that was available)- and it was awful.
4. Our kids are in their late 20's and they still make time for an annual family international trip. A recent trip had a driver for a week in Ireland. The kids were anxious about using a driver for that trip, until they met our "driver" - a 28 year old woman who owns the company. It was a fantastic experience.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair

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LilyFleur
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by LilyFleur » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:05 pm

MarkRoulo wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 10:52 am
Poorman wrote:
Sat Feb 22, 2020 7:29 am
Why always travel out of country when you haven't seen all of the U.S. State Parks, National Parks, camping, hiking, snow sport trips, etc.
Some folks have friends or family out of country. It is nice to see them.

It may be easier to do foreign travel when young and healthy and US travel when older. As I age I become less willing to take long plane trips.
That is my strategy. Thanks to an inheritance, for two years in a row, I was able to send both children to study abroad (college-level), and we piggybacked on those experiences with family international travel since one person was already in Europe.
I'm single, and mostly it is up to me to help the children. However, this year I began to think about: what do I want to do? I already created the travel bug for my children! Their father was not ever going to do that for them.
This year, I may have decided to stay home and take a rather expensive, intriguing painting course. And perhaps one trip with my boyfriend. It was quite expensive to travel while paying for three people, even on Norwegian Airlines :mrgreen:
Last edited by LilyFleur on Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

theplayer11
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 3:14 pm

never took kids on longer vacations and have no regrets. Enjoy traveling with just my wife exploring other parts if the world.

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Watty
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by Watty » Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:02 pm

capitalhockey wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 am
My wife and I are in our 30s with two kids under 3 years old.
One thing that you may not really appreciate is how much having to follow a school schedule may limit your options. Someone mentioned just taking the kids out of school to travel but doing that a lot is not realistic and many schools really discourage that since it makes a lot of extra work for the teachers and some parents will tend to do that just to save money since travel may be less expensive when school is in session. Once the kids get into things like sports, plays, and other activities the kids will also not want to take vacations during the school year.

Depending on your jobs scheduling vacations during school holidays may also be more difficult to do since lots of other people also want to take time off at the same time.
capitalhockey wrote:
Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:33 am
Years 5 to 10 (no stroller, school schedule): 1) Disney trips; .....
Keep an open mind about not committing to doing the Disney trips.

It has been a long time since I have been there but from what people have posted it sounds like it has gotten even more crowded, expensive, and unpleasant even in the off season. If you go on a busy day the a ticket alone can cost over $200 and you could still wait in very long lines. There are of course ways that you can reduce the daily cost and use fastpasses with the right strategic planning but everyone else will be trying to do that to. It may be to the point where it is not worth the money and the hassle.

flaccidsteele
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by flaccidsteele » Sat Feb 22, 2020 4:14 pm

0-6 years old: Royal Caribbean family cruises

7+ years old: anywhere except Disney (kid doesn’t like Disney)
The US market always recovers. It’s never different this time. Retired in my 40s. Investing is a simple game of rinse and repeat

ellink
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by ellink » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:19 pm

We didn't have a strategy but my husband and I enjoy travel so we became a family that travels. We saw people who waited but by then their kids were gone -- we didn't want to do that. My son said his name for the first time in the restaurant in the Eiffel Tower. Does he remember -- no -- but we do. It is a cherished memory. Since then, we have been all over Europe and to Hawaii, Alaska, Mexico, Canada and lots of national parks. This is part of his identity -- a person who has traveled and has an awareness of the world, not just his backyard. His knowledge has been gained from experience and not just youtube :happy

retire14
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by retire14 » Sat Feb 22, 2020 6:26 pm

One thing we learned when we retired. We thought that we would travel the world for 2-3 months at a time, taking it slow and visiting several countries at once. After a couple of trips like that, we learned that we did not like long trips away from home, so now we adjusted and Planned multiple trips, each lasting no more than 2or 3 weeks.

rm
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by rm » Sat Feb 22, 2020 11:44 pm

One thing which really worked for us
- Do all inclusive vacations when kids were small. To mexico mainly. We went to cancun (twice), peurto vellarta(twice), cabo (once). Kids can enjoy in pool etc. and no issues in deciding on food, restaurants etc. In the meantime we both get to enjoy our own activities.
- As kids got older we went to more national parks which they enjoyed more. We could do hiking and rugged stuff. They started getting into photography as well so I think take it as the kids interests develop as well.

Enjoy travel. Its one of the happiest things to do in your life :-)

vinhodoporto
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Re: Do You Have a Long Term Travel Strategy?

Post by vinhodoporto » Sun Feb 23, 2020 10:13 am

We didn't have a strategy until a few years ago, but our experiences mirrored some of what the OP describes.

We got married and started our family in our early to mid 20s so didn't do a lot of pre-kids travel as a couple. I was in the military at the time and did a lot of travel, some of it to very cool places and some of it to um "less desirable" locales.

Ages 0-2 travel was a nightmare and something we only did when we needed to visit family etc.

We took our oldest to Disney the first time when they were 3. Car trips to see local sights or family/friends became a lot more tolerable once we got a mini-van with a DVD player and room to haul all their stuff.

When our kids were 2 to 6 through 10 to 14 we did annual trips to the parks in Florida (winter) and to a rented beach house (summer). We also took them to visit family and on short trips to major cities like DC, New York, Boston, and Chicago, usually in connection with one of my business trips. We would sometimes pull them out of school for a few days, which didn't seem to hurt their academics.

When our youngest was 11 and our oldest was 15, we switched the winter trip to international, using the points I accumulated from business travel. Since then we've taken them to Australia, Thailand, Japan, South Africa, Chile, Peru, Panama, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Germany. On our trips we do a mix of activities that we choose and that they choose. We tend to do a mix of active and sightseeing activities. But even the sightseeing involves a lot of walking. This travel, and the experiences that come with has been the most amazing thing for their personal growth, and has created wonderful memories for our family.

In terms of choosing where to go each year, we have a list of places we are considering, but it usually comes down to where we can get the best deal for the flights with our miles / points.

We also still do short trips when we can. In the last year, we've done two long weekend trips to Chicago (wedding / family / sightseeing), two to Miami (work / beach / SCUBA), Thanksgiving with family, and a long weekend beach /work trip where we also met up with some family members. One of our kids also traveled for camps.

As they've gotten older, scheduling has gotten a lot more difficult. The only time my spouse and I can get two weeks off at the same time when the kids are not in school is over the holidays, which means we always do our international trip then. Our kids activities are lighter than a lot of their friends but we still have something, often multiple things, every weekend and most weeknights. And it's harder to pull them out of school in high school with AP classes, labs, big group projects, sports, activities, performances etc.

As a high school graduation present, we do a trip to a location, within reason, that the graduate selects. This seems pretty common in our friend / neighbor group.

Going forward, our strategy is to continue the family international trips for as long as we can continue to afford them and the kids are able to attend. We would also like to introduce more domestic trips out west, especially to some of the national parks. My spouse and I also have a long, and growing, list of trips we would like to take. Some with the kids and some without. We don't usually plan specific locations more than a year our since you can't buy tickets or make other reservations that far out anyway, and interests and priorities change.

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