Prev Next

Open Thread: Travel


Where are you going? Where do you want to go?

by Meg Keene, Editor-In-Chief

Open Thread: Travel | A Practical Wedding

Two years ago, I wrote a post about married travel. At the time, I was just getting back from a trip to Greece and Istanbul. What I knew then is that we were starting down the road to having kids, and I had no idea where that would lead. I spent much of the trip pawing through Caitlin Moran’s How to Be a Woman, trying to decide if having kids was a good idea in the first place (distressingly, I found the “Why You Shouldn’t Have Children” chapter much more compelling than the “Why You Should Have Children” chapter, though now I see myself in both of them). I spent another chunk of the trip wondering if we had kids, if we’d ever travel again.

What I know now is this: I’m so glad we took that trip to Greece and Turkey. (And the trip before that, and the trip before that, and the trip before that.) As much as we were stretching our financial resources at the time, the moment pictured above is a treasure. I remember my hair wet from a late afternoon shower, the light of the setting sun on my back, heading down into town via insane alleyways with my husband in tow, laughing as we drank ouzo on the back deck of a gay bar, and watching the sun set over the water. That’s a moment we’ll always have, and one we can’t quite go back to. Now, when we’re out alone, we know there is a third who’s not with us. And part of our heart is always with him. In many ways it’s better, but it’s also just different.

What I also know now is that we just got the baby’s passport in the mail. (And you have not seen adorable until you have seen an infant passport.) When it arrived, we handed it to him to let him have a celebratory chew, before tucking it away for safekeeping. I know now that the kid is usually great on flights. At nine months, he’s now taken ten of them, and unlike me he’s not fazed by them in the slightest. And while flights don’t bother him, I know that he often needs a little extra love during the disruption of travel, and that home is his favorite place in the world. I also don’t know how international travel with an exactly-one-year-old will be. But I know we’re hardly going to be the first people to take our baby on an international flight, and we’re committed to trying it.

Travel is important to me. It’s important because it’s something I thought I would never be able to do and I pulled off anyway. It’s important because when I was a kid, I didn’t know anyone with a passport, and now my passport is full of stamps. It’s important because even though I didn’t leave the state of California till I was fourteen, my kid left at eight weeks, and (God willing) will leave the country just before his first birthday. All of that is why I read 36 Hours, Europe while I endlessly nursed an infant—dreaming of trips to Berlin at the same time I wished for being able to sleep long enough to actually dream again.

So today, at the end of risk month, and right before Labor Day, I want to talk about travel. Travel has been the biggest risk of my adult life. But it’s also one of the most fun conversations to have. Two years ago, when I talked about why married travel was important to me, and the risks I’d taken to make it happen, one of the most-fun-ever threads broke out on APW, and after a zillion recommendations, I decided we had to go to Berlin one day soon.

Let’s talk. Are you traveling? Where? (Small trips and big trips, please. These days, my preferred kind of trip is a nap-in-the-car distance away.) What is your relationship to travel? Did you grow up doing it? Did you start as an adult? Are you working up the nerve to start now? Do you hate travel and love staying home? Has travel been part of your marriage? And who the hell is traveling with kids, and what tips do you have to swap?

Travel is something I’ll never take for granted, and never stop being grateful for. It’s one of the biggest risks I’ve taken (far scarier for me than owning my own business), and it’s something I’m hungry for other people’s perspectives on. Let’s dive in.

Photo from Meg’s personal collection

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. Her first book, A Practical Wedding: Creative Solutions for Planning a Beautiful, Affordable, and Meaningful Celebration, was published in January 2012, and has been a top three bestseller on the wedding bookshelf ever since. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com.

More in Open Thread Recent Posts Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Laura C

    Travel is going to be an ongoing question in my relationship. In addition to visiting family in India a lot, A’s family just traveled all the time. They spent a year living in France when he was a kid. He’s been everywhere. My international travel has been Canada, Mexico, England, Ireland, France, and Italy — tons by many people’s standards, but I haven’t left the country in five years of our relationship, while A’s been to China, Greece, France, and twice to India in that time. And in his life? He’s been to Madagascar, Kazakhstan, everywhere, seems like! We’ve traveled a fair bit in the US together, but that’s it.

    But now that we’re really explicitly talking about our life together, travel comes up as an issue. Money, time, desire … we’re not sure what the picture will look like. I’ll have to go to India sometime in the next couple years, which I am NOT looking forward to. We’d both love to go to Europe for our honeymoon, but we’ll be honeymooning in August, which is a famously terrible time to go to Europe, so maybe Hawaii is a better bet? Longer term, we’ll have to figure out how to strike a balance between him wanting to travel more than I do, but not wanting to spend all our vacation time apart obviously.

    Oh! And then, I currently have the prospect of an expenses paid trip to Sweden for work, and I’m like “meh, I don’t know, it’s so close to another work trip to California” and he’s going “are you CRAZY??? GO TO SWEDEN.” So, yeah, we come from different places.

    • http://acceptorchange.blogspot.com YetAnotherMegan

      I spent three days in northern Sweden for a wedding a few years ago (we rounded out the week in Denmark), and I vote go to Sweden if you can. Gorgeous country

    • meg

      August is a good time to go to the UK, which is Europe. Throwing that out there. It’s also a good time to go to some parts of Europe. It’s a TERRIBLE time to be in Rome, for example (never again), but a great time to be on the Italian coast, or in Venice.

      • Laura C

        That’s a thought! We just started seriously talking honeymoon, and I think we’d both assumed Paris and Rome, so we’re making the transition from having a kind of set thought to figuring out alternatives. UK and Italian coast could be a very nice honeymoon. Not that Hawaii would be exactly awful.

        • Peabody_bites

          Most important thing with the Italian coast in August is to avoid places like Rimini where the Italians go at weekends from the city as they will be extremely busy and expensive then. Sicily (particularly inland) is wonderful then and has fascinating Roman remains, great food and beautiful countryside. Plus, it is so small that you can hire a car and travel around very easily, so no need to stay by the sea – you can just day trip.

          If you like theatre / books, the Edinburgh festival is in August and great fun.

          • meg

            Ha! I’d suggest staying AWAY from the Edinburgh festival, myself, but to each their own ;)

            But yes. The Amalfi Coast is my favorite place we’ve ever been, and we went in August.

          • http://nzmuse.com NZ Muse

            We are currently in Italy (not ideal timing but that’s how it worked out). Amalfi was FABULOUS! Naples was TOO quiet (too many people on holiday, not enough things open, just the really touristy stuff). Rome was crowded and hot, but fine. We did Venice at the end of July and it was sweltering, but not smelly.

          • J

            For our August honeymoon two years ago, we went to Italy and Greece. Venice was fantastic, Florence was hot but worth it, Tuscany was amazing (a little hot to be climbing around in hill towns, but wear shorts and you’ll be fine), we were only in Athens for like 36 hours but didn’t have any heat problems, and the Greek Islands were perfect. I’d go back in August in a heartbeat.

        • Anna

          For the record, I’ve been in Paris the past two Augusts and I found the whole “Paris empties out and becomes Tourist-ville” narrative to be quite overstated. Sure, there are definitely some smaller shops and restaurants that are closed, but considering it’s a town of 14,000 restaurants, we never ran into any trouble getting fed (and I’m a celiac with very limited options!) and there were still plenty of charming specialty places to check out. And if you take the carousel entrance (or anything but the pyramid) into the Louvre, you’ll barely wait! I also find the pace of the city to be slower and a little more relaxed.

    • Sophia

      Come to Sweden! I have lived here for the past year and I am so very sad we will be leaving at the end of the year. it is a beautiful country, especially on your job’s dime. (Although I will be thrown into traveling with a very young babe, as we are leaving the country as three.)

    • Paranoid Libra

      A bit biased but if you like being able to just do things at your own pace but still in Europe, Iceland is highly recommended. Although I don’t think in August you will quite have the midnight sun hiking at 11 pm to a waterfall in a national park and being the only ones there asides a few stray goats was wonderful!

      • Jen

        Seconded- in fact, I’m getting married in Iceland next year!

      • http://everything.learackley.com Lea

        We’re going to Iceland for our honeymoon this winter! There will be very little daylight, but as I see it, that is IDEAL for a honeymoon ;)

    • K down under

      I’m with your A – GO TO SWEDEN! My dad worked there on and off while i was a kid, so I’ve lived 7-8 months there between when i was 4 and when I was 12. It is beautiful, the people are lovely, and I could gush about my time there a lot. I dream of taking my husband there one day (it’s a long way from Aus), and hoping that the beautiful little nooks and crannies from my childhood are still there and findable.

      Also, you could go Scandinavia for your honeymoon. Land of the midnight sun, fjords… Rent a car and explore. Just a suggestion :)

    • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

      Not judging, just curious, why aren’t you looking forward to going to India?

      • J

        I wondered the same – I had an amazing time when I traveled there a few years ago! I went with a school program, so it was a very managed trip, which I appreciated – it’s different enough from the places I’d been previously that I would have been a bit intimidated to be left to my own devices. (I can imagine a more adventurous traveler would have no such concerns – we were in major cities, and it wasn’t an especially hard place, just different.) It sounds like you’d be with people who know it really well, though, which sounds ideal. I really hope you have as fabulous an experience as I did!

      • Laura C

        I hate long plane flights to the point where I don’t really want to go to any place that’s more than about a 9 hour flight and frankly I haven’t done even that for years and years. And of the places I’d ruled out for that reason, India has just never been the one I was tempted by. So a long plane flight to a place I wasn’t especially interested in to basically visit with all the family members who are too old or otherwise unable to come to our wedding … is a thing I’ll do because I love A and his family is important to him.

    • CLAIREKFROMTHEUK

      a) go to Sweden (unless you want to let me go for you)
      b) Agree – August in the UK is gorgeous (it might rain but then again, it might rain at any time in the UK), especially Ireland (both bits!). France would also be lovely. I’ve done Greek coast in August and it was really nice (Athens was hot and dirty but not unbearable)

    • MDBethann

      One of my friends just took a solo 2 week trip to Paris & London in early August and had a wonderful time. From the pictures she took, the weather was fantastic & the crowds didn’t look awful. I second Meg’s suggestion to go to the UK (also, Buckingham Palace & Clarence House are open for tours in August since the Royal Family is in Scotland during that time).

    • Lia

      India is actually really awesome if you have family to visit there – I went to meet my partner’s extended family, and we had such a lovely time because we didn’t have to worry about where to stay or what to do – people had us over for food, and tea, and took us out to see the sights or go shopping. Not speaking the language was ok, because they all did, and they spoke enough english to make conversation. Basically, don’t be afraid of it – it seems scary and different and hot, but it’s so full of life! Hope you find ways to enjoy it!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Sweden is wonderful, and Norway is even better. :) (In my admittedly biased opinion…)

  • Emily

    I’ve been waiting for this thread ALL WEEK. I’m turning 30 at the end of 2015, and I’ve promised myself to visit 10 countries by then. So far I’ve got:

    1. England
    2. France
    3. Italy
    4. Switzerland
    5. Austria
    6. Germany
    7. Mexico
    8. Costa Rica

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      What a great list. I went to Costa Rica twice (a week each) on study tours, and LOVED it. The people there are so friendly and laid back. I’d go back again in a heartbeat. Pura Vida.

      • Jessica B

        This makes me super excited, Costa Rica is where we’re going on our honeymoon!

        • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

          Where in Costa Rica? We went there on our honeymoon and we loved it so much!

          • Jessica B

            Playa Santa Teresa, it’s on the Pacific Coast and the photos are amazing! The villa we’re staying in has staff to help organize day trips and stuff to do.

    • http://Brokensaucer.blogspot.com Sera

      Because you listed the, out like this, I had to count on my hand how many countries I’ve traveled to. And while I don’t feel we’ll travelled (maybe because its time again) I was surprised to reach 11! But really, I want to go back to New Zealand, spend more time in Italy, and France, finally see Spain… Sigh.

    • Julia Canuck

      You could very easily add the Netherlands to that list, since it is so close to France and Germany.Whether you’re into art, architecture, or just hanging out in a cozy cafe and people-watching, it’s worth the visit.

    • MDBethann

      I first traveled internationally (not counting Canada – when I was a kid, you didn’t need a passport to go there from the US) after college, and in the last 12 years I’ve racked up a decent number of countries:
      1. England
      2. Scotland
      3. Wales
      4. Spain
      5. Romania
      6. Hungary
      7. Slovakia
      8. Austria
      9. Greece
      10. Turkey
      11. Italy
      12. Canada

      Can’t wait to add 4 more this winter – we’re going to Germany, Switzerland, France, & the Netherlands on a Rhine River cruise in December. We’re in southern Germany for a few days before the cruise so I may try to head over to Liechtenstein so we can add another country to the list (oh, and Austria, since I’ve been there but my DH hasn’t crossed that border yet).

      We both like traveling and have our “bucket list” of places we want to see, with the leaders being locations that will likely either melt or flood in the next few decades. Our plan is to still take trips around our anniversary even once kiddos arrive – that’s what grandparents are for! When they get older, we’ll take them with us (but until then, we’ll probably just do US trips since flying is so expensive).

  • Anon

    Travel is something that is on top of my priority list – both international and domestic. Growing up in my family, we took trips every year. In the past five years, since graduating grad school my travel has been minimal. In fact, I now only travel to out of town weddings. I’m on a super tight budget, so often I have to save my extra money for these out of town weddings. I don’t know how to make travel a priority esp. given the limitations on my time and money.

    • meg

      I never really saw the upside of not having friends who got married often, till now ;)

    • SamanthaNichole

      I so feel you on this. Travel is a priority in my head but how to do I get my wallet and vacation time to line up. Well I guess the start is to change what we think of as travel right? My fiance and I are AirBnBing our honeymoon to Italy in 3 weeks!!! I cannot wait! Maybe next we’ll try hostels or cough surfing – other people seem to have success with these things. I just started a new job last month and am using most of my not-yet-accrued vacation time for the honeymoon. But in 2015 we have a family vaca with my in laws to Scotland in the works. For me I really need to create a hard budget – written down – with money for travel being budgeted in from the beginning… I think that would help.

    • jashshea

      *Jumps on soapbox*

      It doesn’t have to be expensive! I promise. I’ve spent more on attending/being in weddings in the US than I did on international 10-day trips (y’all, Portugal is amazing and crazy cheap by European standards). Hostels are awesome, AirBNB is awesome. Street food is generally safe and picnics are fun. American travel is still travel!

      *Jumps off soapbox*

      Time, however, I cannot help you out with. I lived the “2 weeks vacation and 4 out of town weddings in the summer” life for most of my 20s until I finally got more vacation time.

      Clearly I’m passionate/enthusiastic about travel. I understand it may not be a top priority for everyone.

      • Caroline

        Can I ask a question? I really want to travel more, to travel lots and lots. Now seems like a perfect time to travel, especially longer international trips (hello both being students meaning we get actual vacation time) but run into the it’s expensive block. I know lots of people who travel a lot who I don’t think have much more money than we do, but I don’t see how they get there! Once in a location, I think we can travel semi-cheaply/affordable, but it seems like two plane tickets almost anywhere international lands us at 1500+ just for the flights, putting the total trip above 2-3k.

        How do you manage to travel affordably internationally given the flights? Or is it just something we’ll have to wait until we have money to do? :( I have an airline credit card for the miles,but we spend so little money on anything that it won’t get us many miles fast (the wedding expenses should help with that some, but other than that, we spend so little). I always get stuck at “we can’t afford the plane flight”.

        • jashshea

          Airline flights are SO FREAKING EXPENSIVE right now. I feel you on that. I have to be pretty jazzed about a destination to pony up $1500+ for the two of us to fly there. *I think all flights should be $200*

          Our story is this: Up until 7 weeks ago, my husband and I were living in a 700 sq foot condo, constantly tripping over one another while we saved up for a house down payment. Prior to that, we lived there to save up for our honeymoon (1 month in Fiji/New Zealand). We just bought a house and the expectation is that our trips will be far less fantastical here on out.

          Don’t know where you live, but we live in a cheap area and have boring reliable jobs that pay decently. When we bought the house, we talked about moving somewhere more exciting but decided that we’d rather live in the cheaper area and spend the difference on going to more exciting places when we could.

          Long story short (I’m long winded today) – The flight is a huge barrier to entry, for sure, but if you can find a place where food/hotelling are cheap and go semi-offseason, you may not need to spend a ton once you’re there. Local food is really cheap in many countries/regions (think SE Asia, Lesser traveled Europe, South America).

          The US, Canada, & Central America are AWESOME, too and flights are cheaper.

          • http://www.madeinmorningside.blogspot.com Ashleigh

            We have just come back from 7 weeks in Central America for our honeymoon and I second that it is fantastic and really cheap. Especially compared to Europe, we had quite high flight costs to get there from Scotland but after that lived like Kings on very little money.

            My advice on the expensive airfares is pay on your credit card so you can split the repayment over 2 months (you have 5 weeks to pay off cc and if you time it right that covers 2 paychecks!) or sometimes STA have a deposit scheme where you pay back on a regular basis. xox

        • A

          Um, Mexico is cheap to get to. Check Mexican airlines like Volaris and Interjet.

          We live here and outside of Mexico City, you can do things cheaply if you’re smart.

          I couchsurfed through Brazil as a single female and never had a single problem. Private rooms at hostels are a great way to save money while traveling as a couple.

          • http://fourfeeteightpaws.blogspot.com/ Rowan

            We’ve done private rooms in hostels and it was great. I think it was $60 for a private room in Maui (so much cheaper than even a cheap hotel). I’ve done hostels with friends and learned to request the smaller rooms, or just buy up all the beds so you have a room to yourself.

  • http://www.therecoveringacademic.com jami

    I spent 5 months in India 6 years ago (too long ago) and during my travels I came across several families from all over with kids and little babies who were also travelling sometimes long term in India. People (probably largely from the US) have this idea that little kids (probably largely from the US) shouldn’t/can’t travel in places like India. But these families seemed to pull it off with ease (less ease some days than others, I’m sure).

    It inspired me to, if/when I have kids/nieces/money, to take them on international trips whenever possible especially to those big scary places like the “third world”. I’m working on my sister right now who has a 5 month old baby to see if I can take her on a trip in lieu of school one. I figure if I work on her for a decade, I might be able to by her 13th birthday. ;)

    • KC

      I think a lot of the ease depends on the kids and the family; some little kids roll with travel better than others (can sleep anywhere, don’t easily get overstimulated, are fine with new foods, etc.; some of this is nature, some is nurture, I think?), and some families are more able to be relaxed (and less self-blaming if minor-to-major things go awry).

      One challenge in certain countries would be avoiding food/water-borne illnesses and parasites, ’cause those things can suck and can haunt you for a looong time, and would be especially challenging to treat with kids who are not yet coherent in expressing what’s wrong (and it seems that catching this sort of thing would be more likely amongst the crowd who are mobile but still chewing on random things they get ahold of).

      • meg

        In our experience thus far, I think it’s a little of both. We’re (probably obviously?) a pretty low key family in the nurture department, and have a pretty low key kid. But he’s a BABY, so he still gets easily overstimulated, naps a lot, wants to sleep with us while traveling, etc. As a result, traveling with a baby is very DIFFERENT than traveling without a baby (and staying in one place in a vacation rental is pretty key for us right now), but we’ve found it very do-able. But you have to be able to roll with EVERYTHING, because ever day is an open question.

        We’re planning to take him to Mexico probably next year, which means watching for food and water-borne parasites, but if we can manage it for ourselves, we can manage it for him with a little more effort.

        So anyway: doable, mostly, if you want to put in the effort, I think. (And don’t have extenuating circumstances). And then there are times where it’s just not going to be worth the effort, which makes total sense.

        • KC

          One thing to watch with adorable little kids in some other countries is that people will give them things without asking you (because, no stranger-danger culture). Which they will then chew on.

          But otherwise, and other than toddling into places that are not hygenically ideal, yes, if you’re getting clean food and water for yourself you can do it for them, too. But some pathogens are a bit bigger of a deal for still-developing bodies, so travelers who are “eh, who cares if I get sick, we’ll fully experience the local food!” and who have the immune system of… something that has a really good immune system…? would probably want to adjust their standards when figuring out kid food. (I know some of these travelers, too. Some of whom stopped being quite as easy-going after getting particularly hard-to-kill-off parasites, some of whom are still doing totally fine despite drinking local water, etc., for dozens of trips.)

          • meg

            I feel like a lot of traveling with kids is just: relax, use common sense. Baby drinking tap water in Mexico? Bad idea. Bring disinfectant to rub over whatever gifts he’s given by random grannies. We pre-worry too much about this stuff, and it’s generally fine.

      • Amy

        Yup, we really can’t do plane travel outside of the US with our son due to severe dairy allergies. He really can’t eat any food we don’t prepare ourselves b/c frankly after seeing how cooks prepared my food when I was nursing and couldn’t eat dairy (ie ignored the fact that it wasn’t lactose intolerance, it was a serious allergy), there is no way I’m trusting restaurant food for him. We’re hoping that will change as he gets bigger and hopefully outgrows it, but packing diapers/baby gear plus food makes any trip that isn’t a car ride away unfeasible for now.

        • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

          Well actually, I think you’d have an easier time traveling in Asia, the Middle East, and parts of Africa and Latin America than the US or Europe, because dairy products aren’t widely consumed in much of the world.

  • http://writemeg.com Megan

    There is nothing I love more than traveling — and I’m usually planning my next vacation before I’ve even finished the current one. (I’m not so good at the whole “living in the moment” thing, but I’m working on it!)

    I traveled extensively with two adventure-loving parents growing up, and I’m only just now beginning to realize how fortunate I was to have seen so much of the country before my 18th birthday. Like all things, though, memories are often made more by the company and the sights . . . and many of my fondest memories aren’t necessarily of what I saw so much as who I saw it with (my parents, sister, my boyfriend/now-fiance).

    Before I go further, I should note I’m from Maryland and have lived just outside D.C. my whole life. My experiences and love of other places are no doubt skewed by having grown up on the East Coast and in the suburbs, but . . . that being said, the cities of my heart are London and San Francisco. I also fell in love <3 <3 <3 (three hearts type of love) with Yosemite last year, and I found Edinburgh, Scotland to be an absolutely enchanting place! In fact, I love the UK as a whole for its history, interesting people and beverages. :)

    My fiance and I have similar philosophies on travel — do it as much as possible — and are saving up to take our "real" honeymoon next summer. We're sticking close to home by going to the mountains of West Virginia after our November wedding, and I'm looking forward to just relaxing in the wilderness. We're still hashing out next summer's plans, but Iceland and the Isle of Skye in Scotland are at the top of our list!

    • Ella

      Hello, neighbor! Originally from NJ but now also work just outside DC, living halfway between DC and Baltimore. :)

      • http://writemeg.com Megan

        Well, howdy there, Ella! I’m in Southern Maryland but wind up in many corners of our fair state pretty often. :) I’ve only ever passed through New Jersey on the train bound for New York, but have high hopes of really visiting someday! Any favorite locales?

        • Ella

          Oh, NJ. How I love thee. I’m originally from South Jersey, so that’s where my heart is. South Jersey shore like Ocean City, NJ (where I’m getting married, actually) is excellent. I grew up in the Pine Barrens so lots of trees and hiking and river kayaking. It’s not the Garden State for nothing. :)

          • Meredith

            Oh NJ! The most love to hate state. I’m from NJ and it is really lovely. Really really lovely. I’m from northern NJ though, which is kind of like a different country compared to southern NJ.

      • MDBethann

        Hello neighbor – I live near BWI!

    • MDBethann

      Travel-wise you sound like me, growing up in Pennsylvania, we traveled pretty much the entire East Coast when I was a kid. I was, and still am, surprised by how many schoolmates I had who had never left PA until our band trip to Florida in high school – we only lived 1 hour from NJ and 1 1/2 hours from NYC, so it wasn’t like being in the middle of Texas & living a day’s drive from another state.

      Even though I love DC & all it has to offer, London and Edinburgh are two of my favorite cities & the UK is my favorite country (I can never understand all the complaints about the food – it’s delicious!!). I definitely want to go back and explore San Francisco more. I also LOVED Venice (honeymoon) & Vienna and thought Athens was pretty cool too.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      Oooh, the Isle of Skye! I loved it!!! Enjoy it, if you go…

  • LK

    Ahhhhh, travel!!

    When talking to my mom last weekend, she told me that one of the things she’s proudest of is instilling a love of travel in her three children. It was important to my parents, who never traveled as children and couldn’t afford it until they were young adults, to take us on adventures. Each summer, we went on a vacation: some roadtrips, some flights to visit family members in other states, two memorable vacations to Europe. Growing up, we never had cable TV, my parents drove cars into the ground, and clothes were patched and passed down. They saved their spare income for travel, and I’ll always be thankful for that.

    One of the things I was most nervous about when dating my now-husband was our very different ideas about travel. His parents own a small cottage in Canada a 6-hour drive from their home; it’s where they go on all of their vacations. He had never traveled to new places and saw it as an awful lot of money to spend for a short period of time (it is, but totally worth it). And now? He says that one of the things he’s most thankful for is that I encouraged him/us to travel. We’ve had cross-country roadtrips, a memorable honeymoon in Turkey, and a fantastic trip to Peru this summer. I planned the last two international adventures, so our next big trip (probably in a couple of years) is his choice: he’s leaning toward Russia.

    So many of my life goals are travel related: visit all 7 continents, go to every national park in the U.S., ride the Trans-Siberian Railway. Travel is magic, and I happily forego having a smartphone, eating out, having cable, and buying new clothes so I can afford it.

    • Meredith

      Also on my to do list: go to every national park and ride the Trans-Siberian Railway. Good luck!

      • LK

        Yay, another National Park lover! I just came back from Voyageurs NP in northern Minnesota last week. Slowly but surely I’m making my way through the list.

        • Cara

          Me too with the National Parks! Just did Acadia this summer. Gorgeous. Deciding between Glacier and Arches (plus the bazillion others in Utah) for next year …

          • Kiki D

            Glacier! It’s absolutely, stunningly beautiful. Great hiking. A little busy on the west side of the park during peak season, but the east side’s more relaxed (um, and also a bit empty, depending on your needs). If you can’t or don’t want to stay in the park, look for vacation rentals near Hungry Horse. That’ll put you between the park and Kalispell.

          • HC

            The National Parks is my husband’s goal for us! We just came back from Glacier a week ago. It was absolutely breathtaking, especially on the east side. I think Arches may be next up for us!

      • Meredith

        Ah Trans-Siberian RR. Been on my list for years. Someday. Hopefully soon.

        • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

          Same!

  • lady brett

    my first trip with kids was, quite literally, the worst days of my life (so, yes, i’ve had a good life. but also.)

    so, after that experience, when we decided to do the same trip again 4 months later with one more kid, my wife leaned in the car after everyone was nicely strapped in and, after some “what to expect” and rules-laying-out and making sure everyone had the stuff they wanted, said in exasperation, “and if y’all get there without *anyone* throwing *any* fits you can have a pony!”

    guess what they did? that’s right, we made the 8-hour trip in 8 1/2 hours with 3 kids and no fits. good goddamn thing our destination was, in fact, a farm. with a pony. on the way home we had the foresight to bribe them with a thing we could buy at a store (for cheap).

    • meg

      I love this comment.

  • http://www.meanestlook.com Sara

    At 18 I had never even been on a airplane before. So I bought a ticket and went from Denver to Prague. Go big, right? Now at 33, I’ve seen enough of the world to truly have my favorite places. My hubby hasn’t ever been out of the country. I’m working on that. And kiddo- well, I’m torn. There is this dialogue that happens with parents where you always want to provide more than you had. But one of the greatest gifts to me was never having been anywhere. So I truly defined my independence when I traveled. Especially when I landed in airports with signs I couldn’t read. Not sure what I’ll do yet.

    • Daisy6564

      I’m with you. I never traveled beyond the East Coast of the U.S. until I was 19 (we did visit my grandparents in Florida on school vacations and usually a long weekend in Maine each summer so it’s not like I had a totally deprived childhood).

      My mom talked constantly about her trips to Europe young adult but my parents were more concerned with financing college so we never went on faraway vacations. I got itchy feet as I grew up and have made it a priority to travel as an adult. That said, I have still only been to Western Europe, Canada, and Central America by way of international travel.

      I want to go everywhere! I want my kids to see the world, like I didn’t get to. My fiance has never left the country. He likes the comforts of home and travel doesn’t excite him the way it does me. I think part of my passion is the feeling that I have missed/am missing out. I want my kids to love it the way I do, but will they love it more if it is a novelty?

      I guess ultimately, I still have soooo many places I want to see that I’m going to tote my kids and husband around with me because I don’t want to wait.

      • Jenny

        My parents loved to travel and I was lucky enough to get to see many amazing places during my childhood. My parents always made it a point to involve me the the planning and I usually got to pick 1 or 2 big things to do (like visit the koala sanctuary-still one of my lifetime best choices and I was all of 9 years old). As a result I not only got to do things I wanted, I also got to experience the excitement of looking forward to doing something for a long time. Now as an adult I love traveling as well and my favorite parts are picking the destination and finding cool things to do. My husband never got to travel as a kid and loves it. He really like unplanned days and exploring, so now our vacations have a certain amount of that as well and I’ve started to look forward to all the things we’ll discover together while wandering around new places.

  • Meredith

    Next week I am marrying a commercial pilot. We met while I was a flight attendant for the same airline (yes, there is a reason it is cliche). Travel is a very big part of our lives, both individually and as a couple. We put together a photo album to serve as our guest book for our wedding and were surprised to see how much we really do travel. Even his proposal happened while we were traveling. We also both traveled extensively and lived abroad before we met. I can’t imagine us ever stopping. I’m not sure what we will do if and when we have kids. But even then my guy will still always be traveling for his work.

    It’s an interesting balance we have to find between individual travel and couple travel. He spends his life traveling and hanging out in airplanes and airports. He doesn’t really like to do it on his days off. So we take the train or travel by car to local places and save air travel to when we really want to go somewhere where there other travel options don’t work. He makes an effort to travel when I am going stir crazy since I now work a normal desk job; and I do my best not to resent it when he gets to travel in his off time and I am stuck in the office.

    Next trip: destination wedding to one of my favorite places on the Oregon Coast with the whole family. Then honeymooning in New Mexico, a place new to both of us that we really want to check out. Flying there, playing and exploring (negotiated some touring and some downtime reading in the sun), and then sleeper car all the way back to Seattle. I cannot wait. It will be full of awesome. :)

    • http://writemeg.com Megan

      Your honeymoon sounds awesome! My fiance visited New Mexico for work and fell in love with the Southwest vibe and all the green chiles. :) I was completely envious of his culinary adventures. I’m dying to get out to Albuquerque for the International Balloon Festival — we rode in a hot air balloon over Napa Valley last year and I’ve since become obsessed. Hope you have a wonderful time!

      • Marie

        Love to see the NM love here! Just moved to Santa Fe in the Spring and we are loving the chiles, the artsy southwest vibe, the SUN (lived in Washington state before this, so seeing the sun every day is a big deal), and the landscape. Meredith, if you’re going to be in the Santa Fe area, let me know if you need any recommendations!

        • Meredith

          Actually, we are spending most of the time in Santa Fe (five nights). We will have a car and were hoping to have some down time, explore Santa Fe, and day trips. Bring on the recommendations!

          As Washingtonians we totally get the sun thing.

          • Marie

            Okay, here are some of my favorite things to do around the area:
            – Visit the state capitol building (I know it sounds boring, but there is some incredible artwork and history there – it is basically like a free museum)
            – Awesome hiking trails and views if you head up Hyde Park Rd.
            – Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks (45 minutes outside of SFe, some of the craziest rock formations I’ve ever seen)
            – Farmer’s Market Tuesday & Saturday mornings
            – Walking around the plaza and up Canyon Road are two touristy things that are definitely worth the while.
            – My top 3 favorite restaurants are Jambo Cafe, La Choza, and Santa Fe Bite (best green chile cheeseburgers in town).

            Things I’ve heard are great but haven’t experienced: The Santuario de Chimayo, Sandia Tramway, Truth or Consequences, Ojo Caliente (last two are hot spring areas).

            Have fun and congrats on your wedding!!

        • MK

          Marie, if you ever need a road trip, go to Pie Town, NM. It’s a little speck of a town, literally just 5 buildings along a road (as far as we could see), but Pie Town. And yes, you can buy pie. Favorite pit stop of The Great Grand Canyon Adventure.

    • Zoe

      I LOVE that even after traveling all over the world you define the Oregon Coast as one of your favorite places. I am an Oregonian living in San Diego and just got married at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. It was amazing. Where on the coast are you getting married?

      I am more of a homebody than a wanderluster, but living far away has turned that on its head, since being home means traveling. I suppose that’s why we travel, when we suspect part of our heart is somewhere else.

      • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

        “I suppose that’s why we travel, when we suspect part of our heart is somewhere else.”

        WISDOM.

      • Meredith

        We are getting married on the beach just north of Lincoln City. I grew up in the Willamette Valley and spent many, many hours on this beach. It holds a special place in my heart.

        I love the Aquarium! I imagine your wedding was lovely! I’d have spent all of my time in front of the jelly fish and forget to say hi to my guests.

    • Laura C

      My best friend (whose sister in law is a reader here, apparently, so hi, K!) had a version of this when her husband was traveling a ton for work to all sorts of fabulous places while she was home, like, eating TV dinners and paying the bills. They took a while to really prioritize her getting to go places with him so that it didn’t feel like they were living two different class experiences. But for them as it sounds like for you, it was a tough balance to strike since travel was work for one of them but not the other.

      • Meredith

        It is a negotiation, but we are both pretty easy going and willing to let the other know if we need something. It helps immensely that I don’t want to be a flight attendant anymore, but I understand the life style since it was mine for a while. And I have no problems going out by myself if he is off working and I want to do something.

      • http://seasofgales.wordpress.com KH_Tas

        Wow, that comment made so much clear. The experience you describe has been my last year. Thanks for helping me put words to my feelings, now I can maybe do something about it…

    • Ashley

      As someone who lived in Albuquerque for 2.5 years I can say that you will LOVE New Mexico! My husband and I miss it all the time…

    • Rachel

      Eric and I have been discussing road tripping to NM at some point in the next couple of years! Your trip sounds awesome!

  • Jen

    Talking/reading about travel experiences makes my heart happy.

    Growing up with parents who are comfortable with traveling, whether to another country or to a B&B in wine country a few hours away, gave me so much confidence to pursue traveling as an adult. I have visited Europe twice (soso thankful for the ability to make those experiences happen), Mexico, and most recently, Thailand. And I have no plans to stop exploring the planet any time soon! Thankfully I have an amazing partner who grew up around the world and has many many travel plans for our future (Belgium to visit his dad’s family, Japan, Greece, Peru…).

    Since we are talking about having a family someday, I have been worried that we have to fit all these adventures in before having kids, because it just doesn’t seem possible (or desirable?) somehow to lug a wee person across the globe with us. So I will be watching this thread closely for the travel advice for the very brave folks who managed long-distance travel with little ones.

    • http://www.twitter.com/babyinabar Shotgun Shirley

      My husband and I took our then 22 month old to Japan in March (from LA) for two weeks and had a blast. I think having a baby/toddler with you is another kind of passport – people just naturally are nicer to you and want to make friends. We brought a few toys with us for H, like a sticker book and ton of stickers, something to draw with, a ball. We came home with many many more toys – gifts from our hosts, and also so many fun tchotchkes (sp?) because Japan loves cute.

      Logistics – we stayed airbnb (and 2 of our hosts included breakfast with the room), and watched out for cheap(ish) airline tickets, and ate at a lot of hole in the wall noodle places, nicer street food… good sushi is so cheap there!

  • http://namelessw0nder.blogspot.com Tasha

    My husband and I love travelling. We’re only recently married and our honeymoon would be a top priority if not for our debt.

    I’m curious how people deal with the desire for new spaces without having the funds to really travel? Driving up to Maine from Massachusetts is nice for a change of scenery, but even day trips are not as thrilling as when we can sleep in a new space and wander around a city with a tourist map or nothing at all. Even a motel overnight is out of the budget right now, unfortunately.

    • LK

      One of my favorite ways to travel inexpensively is to camp along the way. Obviously this doesn’t work for everyone, because camping is an acquired taste for many people :) But we’ve got a tent, sleeping bags, and cooking gear that we can throw into the car on a moment’s whim. At that point, it’s just a matter of gas money, camping-appropriate food that we prep beforehand, and campsite fees (state parks are pretty reasonable, and national forests are often free).

      Granted, the camping gear is an upfront investment, but we’ve taken several mini-vacations that are downright cheap. If we want to explore a city, we just find a nearby state park (there’s usually one within a reasonable distance) and go into the city to explore for the day.

      This approach satisfies my wanderlust for a time, although it definitely isn’t for everyone.

      Also? I check out travel books from the library just to scope out the possibilities. Planning trips is half the fun for me, even if I don’t get around to actually taking them (yet).

      • Gina

        Oh mygoodness, I was going to say this exact same thing! My fiance and I have seen a lot of the West just road-tripping and camping along the way. I think our 10-day trip two summers ago from CO to the Canadian border cost us a few hundred dollars, mostly in gas. We would go to local grocery stores and just grill dinner every night to keep costs similar to eating at home.

        Of course, we were trying to see National Parks and some more rural parts of Montana and Idaho, but I really believe you could make this work for a lot of trips!

        • HC

          We do a lot of camping too! It’s a great way to spend the night cheaply and then explore fun towns — in the Northeast, that’ll get you great weekends in VT, NH, and Maine – and you can easily do a day trip to Montreal or Quebec City depending on where you camp.

          I would also say just prioritizing saving for travel, even if that means cutting back significantly on day-to-day expenses. We postponed our honeymoon 2 years so that we could do the trip we wanted, and it was SO worth it.

    • TeaforTwo

      A few years ago when I was young and broke and travelling around Europe, I had good luck with couchsurfing.org. I have a few friends around here who host couchsurfers and have enjoyed meeting people that way. It may not be ideal for a honeymoon, but if you like to meet new people and are willing to invest some time online in getting to know folks so you know they’re a good fit, it can be a lot of fun. AirBnB can also be a lower-cost option, plus you’ll usually have a kitchen to cook from which can save you a lot of money on meals.

  • http://3upadventures.com Beth

    Travel has been a central part of our relationship from the beginning. Forrest took off to Mexico two weeks after we met not really knowing when he’d be back. We’ve driven across the country a ton. We had a destination wedding to celebrate our love of travel.

    We moved into a van together, just two months into our marriage. (Interestingly, I think our marriage is most stable when we’re traveling.)

    Married travel for Forrest is a whole lot like single travel: the world is open to him and us. I had a much more constrained idea of what was possible on a small budget before I met him. The world seems so much more open to travel possibilities to me now.

    I thought I had a lot to say about this topic but as I type this, I realize, that we’ve been so clear about adventure (travel being a huge part of that) as central to our lives and relationship that there’s actually not very much to say because it is just that: central.

  • californienne

    My now husband and I took a year off to travel the world after we got engaged. It was the most trying and most amazing thing either of us had ever done, alone or together. Now that we’re back, resettled into our routines and starting to think about expanding our family, the single most terrifying thing we face is what a growing family will mean for our love of travel. We were inspired by families we met on the road who were making similar global treks, kids in tow, but the farther we get from that (and the more surrounded we are by young families who struggle just to get to work or the grocery store let alone on a flight to a foreign country) the more we fear the possibility of never being able to travel abroad again.

    Traveling as a couple we’ve got down but traveling as a family? How do people do it? If we prioritized it before are we still going to be able to prioritize it with children?

    Meg, please let us know how it goes!

    • Sara W

      I’ve wondered about traveling with kids too. I want to ask people about why it is difficult. Not sarcastically, but practically. What are the challenges and how can you approach them to make things less challenging? What are the barriers that get thrown up? I know money, time, etc. but even for impromptu trips. We decided to go camping for July 4th at 8 am on July 3rd. How will that change when kidlets come along?

      • Kiki D

        If you train your kids to travel, it won’t be a big deal. Honestly, I know this sounds like I’m talking about dogs or something, but my parents were always taking us places–everything from day trips to month-long car trips around the country. It was our normal, and we just went.

        My brother’s wife, though, was not raised to travel and doesn’t handle it well, so their kids don’t travel as much. And I can definitely see that they get confused by the changes, sometimes. But kids are also resilient and take their cues from the people around them, a lot of the time. So when the kids travel with their Nana and Papa, they’re much more laid-back because the adults in charge are, too.

      • KC

        So, from traveling as a kid and from friends and relatives who travel with kids (or hate traveling with kids), the main variables seem to be:
        1. different kids respond to travel differently. (imagine a friend who hates camping and hates spontaneity, and think of hauling them along on your July 4 trip. Now imagine a friend who loves camping and loves spontaneity and think of hauling *them* along on your July 4 trip. Totally different, yes?) Some of this is nature, some nurture; introverts respond to certain kinds of travel differently; some kids are colicky or sick more than is average, etc.
        2. different ages are different. Traveling with non-mobile babies, you have to deal with potential screaming on planes (if their ears are plugged, ouch, for instance) and feeding and diaper changes, but they’re, to some degree, kind of a piece of luggage, which makes things harder to juggle, and schedules are harder (frequent feeding/diaper changes/naps), but is more “easy” in some ways. Once they’re mobile but before they’re good at following directions (some kids grasp the words Stop Running earlier than others do), you’re not carrying them, but you may be trying to run after them while encumbered by gobs of luggage, or they may be squirming out of their seatbelt or pushing pretty red buttons in elevators or whatever. Again, how the kids interact with their environment and how well they follow directions really makes this either horrible or easy.

        The constants are that you will be hauling along more stuff (extra changes of clothes, snacks, etc., depending on where you’re going), stopping for more breaks (potty and rest), and incorporating small extra, less-predictable, most likely less-rational additional people into your trip. (parades: terrifying or the most fun ever? Don’t know until you try! if recently potty-trained, will they randomly refuse to use a toilet shaped differently than the one at home?) And they haven’t learned the “oh, when I’m tired, I’m more grumpy, and we’re all tired right now, I should self-regulate and shut up and stop whining” or “when my blood sugar is low, bad things happen, I should eat something” or all the rest of those little life tricks; sometimes parents can anticipate this and fend it off with “I don’t care if you don’t think you’re hungry because you are so distracted with all the interesting people and luggage and colors, you are eating some crackers NOW” sorts of things, sometimes not. Time zones are also challenging; adults generally have the sense and consideration to at least attempt to not wake up everyone else in their group if it’s a time to be asleep but they’re awake; kids generally do not. You also have an additional member of your party who is more likely to get sick than an adult.

        So, you generally need to add a lot of margin to things; hold plans a bit loosely (but make even more sure than you normally would that you have a place to sleep and food to eat when it’ll be needed); get expert at spotting bathrooms and alternatives; and learn what works and what doesn’t work with your kid(s).

        This is all second-hand, so your mileage may vary, particularly! But it seems to be what has filtered down the most from the experiences of people I know.

      • meg

        I heard someone say that with kids, you don’t vacation, you just take the show on the road. And that’s about right. You’re still doing the same stuff: changing diapers, trying to get them to take naps, taking big breaks to play, waking up early… but you’re doing it in new places. Which most of the time, is enough for me.

        Difficulties: naps, building in routine (kids like routine), not being able to do as much in a day, not being able to do things that need babysitters (movies), changing your adult plans if you realize it’s making you child totally miserable, trying to get them not to cry on the plane.

        Joys: You’re traveling! And you have a baby! I particularly like both traveling AND my baby.

        More stuff: yes, and no. We don’t travel with a lot of stuff right now, usually. Stroller, diaper bag, clothes (which are tiny), toys (again, small). Some people travel with a ton of stuff. Also, you travel with different stuff at different ages.

        As for that particular question: we decided to go to a cabin for the 4th of July weekend at 5pm on that Friday. We had a great weekend. So, for us that hasn’t changed right this second.

      • Anon

        In my experience, it really helps to adjust your expectations. Don’t go imagining you’re going to get long lie-ins or be able to meander round monuments, cos your kidlet isn’t magically having a personality change when you get on the plane. But if you mentally prepare (no, we can’t climb Etna in the boiling sun but yes, we can spend a good few hours in the pool this afternoon) then there’s no reason you can’t have a great holiday. It’s just a different kind of holiday. We had a week in France when our daughter was one, and she woke up at 5.30 every day. We resigned ourselves to taking it in turns to take her out so the other one could sleep – she got to know the local bar pretty well and whoever stayed in bed got a lie-in!

    • meg

      Well, I can tell you that we’ve been on ten, count ‘em TEN, flights with our little nine month old, and it’s been fine. We’re training him to travel, and it’s not hugely hard. Sure, nothing is as easy, sure you don’t travel the same way, but it’s totally do-able, if you set your mind to doing it. (People all over the world travel with kids, even if it’s not really part of America’s culture.) Some times it will be more of a pain in the ass than it’s worth, but that’s cool too.

      I’m sure London will have it’s own challenges, but if we survived having a newborn, we can survive this, right?

      • K down under

        I think you’re right about training kids to fly. My parents took my from Brisbane to Perth when I was two, and to the US and Europe when I was four. And Europe again when I was 12. And thus I have never had issues flying, whether it be domestic 1hr flights or long-haul 24hr+ marathons. Having just re-read http://apracticalwedding.com/2012/05/on-overcoming-fear-of-flying/ again, I’m wondering if this helps with the fear thing too… Thoughts?

      • http://www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com alloallo

        We live in London with twin babies and it’s working out pretty well! I would say a very child/baby friendly city in most respects (other than sheer size) – pubs are in theory family living rooms where you can drink and eat food so good places to hang out with babies. Let me know if you need any recommendations Meg… or anyone else.

  • http://www.theplannery.com Katie

    Risk and travel. My husband and I had a near-death experience kayaking off of Fiji on our honeymoon. It’s one of the best moments of my life. We made it through together – worked together to make it a “tell your near-death experience story again!” type of moment, rather than a “holy shit what a tragic honeymoon” type of moment. The second we hit dry land, we ran back to our burre and drank ourselves silly on Fijian beer while eating fiji cheese puffs (amazingly tasty) and watching the first season on Dexter in bed on our ipad. And with afternoons filled of horseback riding, pools, snorkeling, and beach-front meals, that relief-filled afternoon in bed, reveling in our successful adventure, is one of my favorite memories – not only of our honeymoon, but of our life and marriage.

    I will also add as a footnote that I gave my husband an “Adventure Book” a la “Up” (cue tears) on the day of our wedding. He is the one who taught me to be brave enough to enjoy adventures – and I really do think that’s what marriage is all about. It doesn’t have to be off a Fijian island. Sometimes it’s a moment in your kitchen, an afternoon talk, a tough second of doing something brave for each other that really matters in marriage.

    • http://www.smittenchickens.com SarahHoppes

      “I really do think that’s what marriage is all about. It doesn’t have to be off a Fijian island. Sometimes it’s a moment in your kitchen, an afternoon talk, a tough second of doing something brave for each other that really matters in marriage.”

      That’s beautiful.

  • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

    I have to admit, I am not much for traveling. I am a homebody; I like my bed, my shower, my stuff. I didn’t travel much beyond going to FL to see my dad, or to Ohio to see some of my best friends. The first time I ever really traveled in a real way was in 2011 when I visited Israel, but that was without my (now) husband. I was terrified and I honestly almost canceled my trip. However, I remembered something that my Mom-Mom has told me before she passed away; you can be afraid, and you can do it anyway. It became my mantra, and I went to Israel with 40 people I didn’t know. I camped in the desert, I ate food I couldn’t identify, I kayaked down the Jordan River. It was AWESOME. I road a camel! It woke up a travel bug in me, and I knew I wanted to do more.

    My husband and I got married this past October and because he is a teacher and I had just started a new job, we couldn’t take our honeymoon just then. We just returned from a week long adventure to California, which isn’t exactly exotic, but we were so excited. We flew into SFO, spent two days in Napa (and had portraits shot by Allison Andres!), two days in San Francisco, a night in Monterey, and 2 nights with my family in Santa Clarita. We drove the Pacific Coast Highway, stopping along the way for photos and ice cream. We drove to the San Diego Zoo the day before we left, and even though we were exhausted when we were done, it was so much fun. We ate amazing food, drank delicious wine, and realized that NJ is REALLY flat and boring, haha. We’re already talking about our next trip, and I can’t wait!

    That being said, I was REALLY glad to be home, haha. I’m not much of an adventurer, but I do want to see the world…

    • A

      Yay! I’m from San Diego originally and my husband and I are finally doing a PCH vacation at the end of September/early October. So excited to go home and show off such a beautiful state.

  • Sara W

    I love to travel and luckily the hubs does too. We’re heading to the UK in less than 3 weeks(!) and I’m totally geeked. We seem to travel very well together, both domestically and internationally and it makes things awesome.
    BUT! We also like to travel separately. Our theory is “Why drag the other person along to something they don’t want to do”? I took myself on a day trip to Chicago from Michigan (a 4-hour trip driving+Amtrak) to see an exhibition at the Art Institute. The hubs didn’t want to go, so I didn’t force him and we each had a good day. The same was true when we were in France a couple years ago. We split up for a day in Paris and a day in Normandy so that each of us could do things we wanted without wasting the other person’s time. Traveling separately allows us space to be independent, to grow in confidence, and to have something to talk about at the end of the day.
    I’m excited to get my husband even more out of his comfort zone and go somewhere other than Europe. I’ve been to Honduras and Senegal for work, and while intense and stressful, those trips have been great experiences for me. I’m trying to get Peru or Costa Rica on our list for possible next big vacations.

    • Kiki D

      The splitting up idea is very cool!

      • Tuppet

        My parents travel completely independently (which isn’t to say we don’t do family holidays, but that even when they travel together they do things very differently). My mother is currently on a 7 week trip around Europe, while my father is in Thailand and Singapore for work this week. Her ideal holiday has jam packed days of art galleries and historic buildings, and he just wants to lie around a pool and sleep with the occasional serving of good food. Going together makes both of them angry (there aren’t many places to go where you can do both, though Greece and southern Italy have some reasonable overlap), but they are both happy to be on holiday on their own.

        Even when travelling together they would always split up for some days – that way they had something to tell each other about, and got to enjoy it that much more.

  • Lindsey d.

    Yay travel! I love love love taking lots of weekend trips plus one BIG trip every other year or so. For 2013, I’m at nine weekend trips (seven with the boyfriend/now-fiance and two solo) and one big trip — my first time to Washington DC (not too far from Louisiana, but expensive, so it counts as big). 2011 was Hawaii; 2009 was Key West, 2008 was Germany/France

    We’ll be honeymooning next year and whether we can go all out (Spain) or must stay closer to home (Austin or the Gulf Coast) depends on just how much this increasingly impractical wedding ends up costing.

    Some of our earliest conversations centered around travel: where we had been, where we were going and where we wanted to go. We are already planning to travel with kids (Washington DC and Williamsburg are high on the list). I got to introduce him to the joy of a do-nothing beach trip this summer, which he loved. I definitely see more beach weeks in our future (at just four hours to the Gulf Coast, it’s a perfect, kid and adult friendly trip).

    As a kid, most of my family’s trips were to see my grandparents, with just a handful of more exciting trips and even those were pretty geographically centered on the south. I really hope we can introduce our kids to a lot more traveling than I had the chance to do. His family did a lot more vacations to fun places and I hope we can follow that lead.

    • MDBethann

      My advise is to sit down with your fiance & prioritize – honeymoon in Spain or increasingly impractical wedding? If you prioritize the honeymoon, then plan & book your honeymoon trip to Spain awhile and then figure out what “impractical” and “unnecessary” parts of your “increasingly impractical wedding” you can do without and cut them so you can have the honeymoon you want. Though I understand if there’s a headcount/must invite everyone issue (or, the alternative is to keep the guest list under control by telling those who want to add to it that your budget allows for XXX people & that’s it).

  • ProjectWed

    Travel is a huge part of our relationship! Much of our “dating” occured while he was living overseas in northern Iraq. We were able to spend some lovely vacations together during his R&R– due to logistics, those were mostly in Europe because it is easy to access from the US.

    While he was working in Iraq, he gave a tour to an elderly man (in his 80s) who had traveled the world. This man had been to countries that no longer exist, like Rhodesia, but NEVER to Europe. The elderly man figured that he would visit Europe when he got “old.”

    Travel is important to us. (I finally got to see northern Iraq in March– it is amazing!) As we bravely go down the unknown road of pregnancy and children, we hope to continue to see the world. If a little old man can still go adventuring in dusty corners of the globe, then we can travel with children in tow!

    As for the next adventure, South America is so nice with no time zone changes…

  • http://www.smittenchickens.com SarahHoppes

    Travel has been important to me since I was a little kid in a tiny town, surrounded by corn fields and tractors. I never felt like the rural midwest was exactly where I belonged, and I joined all the clubs and extracurricular activities that offered trips to their participants. I was an annoying kid who wanted to do ALL the activities, but from third grade through high school, I got to go to a ton of places outside my town:

    4-H camp in a state park for 6 years as a camper and 4 as a counselor
    4-H camp in a(n allegedly) haunted cave
    FFA Dairy Judging (like Napolean Dynamite) in Boston and Wisconsin
    FFA camp in northern Ohio
    a 4-H trip to DC, followed by an FFA trip to DC
    Louisville, KY to show sheep and model wool outfits (It’s a real contest, it’s very popular, and it’s distinctly midwestern)
    Various cities in Ohio with a competitive creative writing team

    I remember telling my (very shy) younger cousin to join some of the groups I’d joined as a kid, because he’d get to leave home ALL THE TIME. He looked at me like I was insane.

    After leaving for college, I studied abroad for 3 months in Germany, spent 3 weeks in Thailand as a business consultant, traveled to a Hare Krishna commune in West Virginia, got a summer job at a surf shop in the Outer banks of North Carolina, and joined a competitive public speaking team that went to a different university basically every weekend school was in session.

    Two days after graduating college, I moved to New York, because I don’t know how to stop moving. In the 3 years since I’ve moved here, I became the designated driver for random road trips, and started traveling to comic conventions all over the east coast to promote my and my husband’s comic books. At one point, we drove 19 hours, from NYC to Memphis, to spend 2 days there!

    Right now, I’m being uncharacteristic, and being very still. His freelance assignment let him know the months to come are going to be crazy, and any vacations should be taken this week. So we took our first long summer vacation together and are staying at his parents’ house in New Hampshire for 6 days, and I don’t think I’ve gotten this much sleep in ages! We’ve spent our time with relatives, eating insane amounts of food, and sitting by the pool, and we took a day trip to Portland, Maine yesterday. It’s exactly what we needed to recharge our dying batteries.

    Long term travel plans include going around the country in pursuit of the place we’d like to live after we leave NYC, so we’ll be stopping by Seattle, Portland, WA, Austin, L.A, Memphis, and New Orleans, and probably stopping by Salem, MA and Portland, ME many more times, because those keep showing up on our where to live shortlist. We also want to go to go abroad together, but we haven’t started making the list of all the travel destinations we’d like to hit yet.

    • Ang

      Totally agree on organizations like 4-H and FFA to get you out of a small town while learning lots of valuable skills. I was in the same boat growing up.

      Say…that Ohio FFA Camp wouldn’t happen to be Camp Muskingum would it? I had a chance to attend as a workshop presenter one year and I loved it! Grated, the trip there is also my “worst travel experience” story… but good people made up for that by the time I left!

      • http://www.sarahhoppes.com SarahHoppes

        Small world! It WAS Camp Muskingum!

  • Lan

    My parents took us on camping trips growing up but we never had money to leave the state (except Mexico. That just made me more curious about the world so as soon as I was able, I’ve made travel a priority. TripAdvisor tells me I’ve been to 34 countries.

    I married my husband because we both love to travel. We got together because I was going to travel for 6 weeks in Eastern Europe by myself and he decided to come along for 4 weeks of it. That would have been a disaster if we hadn’t gotten along but it worked out well. We now travel internationally once a year–our deferred honeymoon will involve hiking the Inca Trail in Peru. It is affordable because we go wherever my work-accumulated frequent flyer miles can take us and we go cheap on accommodations in exchange for just being there. I’m worried about how kids will affect my ability to travel but we will make it work. We both promised each other a new destination every year.

  • Kara

    I traveled to a new destination with my family every summer growing up & studied abroad in college. My husband’s family went on vacations sparingly & always went to the same place. Nearly every new places he has traveled to has been with me. We went on a cruise to celebrate college graduation, but the next four years were filled with “next year let’s go to ____,” but never did.

    When we got married, I demanded a honeymoon. I told him we were absolutely going to Europe, prices be damned. He picked London, I picked Florence. & we both picked Rome. We spent two weeks in some shady (but inexpensive!) hotels, took flights in the middle of the night, drank way too much wine & stuffed ourselves with delicious food & gelato. We saw so many sights & turned some bad moments (near total shutdown of the London buses & metro on boxing day) into hilarious memories. Towards the end of our honeymoon he was already talking about where to go on our next trip.

    Over the past year we’ve bought two cars and a house. We don’t have much extra money laying around for travel, but our first anniversary trip is booked. We may not be taking a two week vacation, flying, or leaving the continent this time, but we’re set to go to Niagara Falls & Montreal to celebrate. I can’t wait for our trip & to plan our many trips in the future.

    • Ella

      Niagara sounds lovely! I’ve always wanted to go — that’s the first post-honeymoon trip we’ve planned. That, and Bar Harbor. So many amazing places to go to just in the continental US! :)

  • mira

    I like reading about positive travel experiences with little kids in tow – it gives me hope!

    I grew up between the US & UK and have also lived in Spain and Portugal, so travel is pretty natural to me. Heading off on our honeymoon to eastern Europe, in fact.

    I find visiting other countries to be very enriching. I hope I can share that with our future kiddos.

  • catherine

    I love travel, but it’s my fiance’s PASSION. The problem with me is I AM TERRIFIED OF FLYING. Ever part of it, I have panic attacks, I drive my partner insane, I cry…it’s bad. We are planning on going to italy for our honeymoon next summer and I determined to work on this fear big time. I found the course SOAR online and even though its expensive, I cant go on like this….I’m hoping it will help alot.

    • Meredith

      It’s totally okay to be afraid of flying. It sucks. I’m a former flight attendant who now gets panic attacks flying. There isn’t a rhyme or reason to it, but there it is. What has helped for me was talking to my nurse practitioner. She helped give me some coping techniques (deep breaths, stretching, some stuff to do in the days leading up to the flight) and anti anxiety pills just for the flight. I also spent time talking with a therapist. It helped.

      On the other hand, some of my favorite traveling vacations have not involved flying. Train travel is super fun. Get a sleeper car and you get meals, sleeping accommodations, and transportation all in one ticket. Or boats. We have lots of islands and ferries around here. It’s so much fun to walk or drive on to a ferry. Enjoy the water and discover a new city on the other side. Road trip. Choose a favorite book and read to each other while driving. Or get a new album or make a new playlist, get off the interstate and explore all the little spots that speed by normally.

      Good luck with the anxiety! I hope you are able to enjoy (or at least tolerate) your flight to Italy. It’s one of my favorite countries! And that you can explore other travel opportunities.

    • MDBethann

      Too bad we can’t travel on trans-Atlantic sailing ships like they did even into the mid-20th century. Unless you take a repositioning cruise, they are almost non-existant. Then again, why don’t you take a repositioning cruise? They can get you to Spain or Italy or something (granted, it takes a few days), are often cheaper than sightseeing cruises, and then you only have to fly one way. Of course, vacation days could be a limitation depending on your job, but just a thought.

  • soleil

    I was born in Spain to a navy mom working the tugboats. I spent my first two years living outside of the US, but my parents took me everywhere. I have all these baby pictures of myself in front of various landmarks, just me in the stroller. They kind of look like those gnome pictures. I moved around a lot growing up and we took lots of road trips so by the time I turned eighteen, I’d seen a good chunk of the country. Also, that was the same year I dived into international travels as an adult. I didn’t have a lot of money in college, but what I did have I saved for travel. During my spring breaks I’d take a weeklong venture abroad. After college I lived in France for a year. I was so used to traveling regularly that it was strange when I hit a period in my life that it just wasn’t feasible for various reasons.
    Married travel for me looks like me taking lots of domestic trips alone to visit friends and family. My husband accompanies me occasionally but only if the trip is longer than a weekend. I love love love flying on airplanes. My husband isn’t so fond of it so it isn’t worth it to him to endure it if we aren’t going to be at our destination for the better part of a week. We took our first international trip together in August 2011. I got to show him England, which is one of my favorite places. We discovered Scotland together. We have planned another international trip together in 2015. Also, I am planning my first solo married trip abroad for next spring, which I am really really excited about.
    In short, I <3 travel.

    • meg

      ” They kind of look like those gnome pictures.”

      LOVE. Maybe our baby’s album will look like this too.

  • Jessica

    I’m 26 and this is the first year I’ve really had the time off and funds to travel. I feel like I’ve been working my whole life, and while everyone I know has been to a bazillion envious places, I had never really gone anywhere. But finally I am employed and have time off!

    Earlier this year, my partner and I visited Taiwan–we have friends teaching there–and it was so beautiful and awesome. Seriously underrated and incredible.

    And this Thanksgiving we are going to Iceland! Looking forward to riding viking horses through lava fields, exploring caves, glacier hiking, snorkeling, and hopefully seeing Northern Lights.

    I have trouble regulating my emotions when it comes to travel…I want to go everywhere and see everything, all at once!

  • EC

    Ooooh travel! I would love to do more of it- preferably with my husband and not for work. However during the take-whatever-job-you-can-find-and-be-happy-about-it recession, we settled far away from our families. Carving out vacation time to actually travel and not visit just our families is hard. It never occurred to me until now that there are 2 major limitation to travel: money and time. Struggling with finding the time now…

  • moe

    I got the travel bug when I was about 15 and went to England. Two years before I met my husband I took a month to travel through Europe alone. Which was timely because when I got back I realized I need to break up with the very bad boyfriend I had.

    I’ve seen a good chunk of the US on both coasts but have yet to visit a wide strip down the middle like the Midwest, oh and the Grand Canyon too!

    Just before I met my husband I took a trip to Guatemala and worked in an orphanage. One of the young girls became attached to me and began calling me ‘mama’. It was one of those odd lightbulb kind of moments. If I was to ever hear anyone call me ‘mama’ again I needed to figure some things out! When I came home I began dating again and met my husband.

    Oh how I miss travel! My new husband has not yet travelled internationally and it’s something I want us to do together before/if we have a baby.

    Neither of us has been to Asia. I would love to visit Seoul and Tokoyo.

    • Lisha

      It’s funny how traveling can make your perspective change about relationships. In my mid twenties, I had just had my heart broken by my first boyfriend and was so down but decided that I needed to get away and ending up backpacking through the south of France and stopped off in Paris for a bit too. That trip changed my life! I realized that I was stronger than I gave myself credit for, was better off without him, that all guys arn’t jerks (yes, french men are incredibly romantic and sweet lol!) and I had a whole world out there to see so there was no use in being sad. I felt so refreshed coming back and re-entering the dating the scene. So yay for traveling in opening up the doors for stronger identities and stronger relationships! :)

      • http://www.xwebseries.com Cali

        It’s funny how traveling can make your perspective change about relationships.

        It *is* funny, isn’t it? When I was 23, I–pretty much on a whim–decided I wanted to go to grad school in Scotland. Looking back on it, it was my brain’s sneaky way of getting out of a really toxic live-in relationship. I couldn’t quite bring myself to admit the relationship was awful and I needed to move on, but I *could* justify moving to another country and “taking a break.” When I started having all these new experiences and meeting new people, it was suddenly like I could breathe normally again. The “break” never ended.

  • AN

    My fiance and I spent almost three weeks this summer exploring Scandinavia – we went to Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, and Finland. In the four years we’ve been together, every extra penny we have goes to travel – we are both graduate students with little cash, but it’s the most important thing to us. (Also, warning: Scandinavia, while one of the most user-friendly and breathtaking places we’ve ever been, is INSANELY expensive.) Travel usually brings out the absolute best parts of our relationship and reminds us how lucky we are to have this life and each other.

    While we won’t be married until next summer, we’re spending way more time planning the honeymoon than the wedding. (In fact, we are registering only for our honeymoon!) The plan is to rent a car in Bilbao and drive up the Northern Spanish coast through Monaco into France, explore Provence, and drive from there through Italy, ending up in Venice. There are worse ways to spend three weeks! We’re definitely trying to get as much travel in as we can before we have a kid, but I’m with Meg – I want that kid to have stamps on his or her passport early!

    • http://www.galiciamerican.com JESS

      Hey, why don’t you start in Galicia, on Spain’s northwest coast (where I live, so I’m biased!)? You can make it from here to Bilbao in about two days of relatively easy driving, and the scenery in Galicia, Asturias, and Cantabria should NOT be missed! :)

    • http://highdivingboard.wordpress.com Morgan

      Dude! I am leaving in a week to travel to Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Estonia, with my husband and 18 month old kid! Any tips? (We’re sticking to the cities, in part to reduce the amount of running around with a toddler…)

  • KC

    My life has tended to be “full” without travel; I could imagine potentially being in an understimulating environment where I wasn’t learning enough where I was, but I haven’t been. I’ve also had to travel for various reasons, sufficient to make me not really enthused (possibly like too much mint ice cream?). So I can travel, find new places interesting and enriching, and can navigate, but don’t really *like* it much, generally, except in spots. And I do like home, and also generally find home interesting and enriching, with exceptions for being dog-tired, etc. So, travel is more on the “meh” list for me; it has good points, but I’d rather host international students or try a new hobby or watch fireflies or… well, lots of things.

    (that said, to see some of our people, we have to travel, and I really like seeing our people, but I categorize that differently than tourist/to-see-or-be-in-a-place travel)

    • rys

      One of the things spending a year abroad in college taught me was that I like living in new places (and thus exploring them over time) much more than I like constant-on-the-move travel. I also prefer multiple trips from a home base to peripatetic, new-place-every-day, travel, even if the former is less efficient. All of which is to say, it might be the type/mode of travel more than travel itself that makes the difference.

      • KC

        Yeah, I’m not including “move overseas and to random places we’ve never been before we got there” as “travel”, but that has been awesome (and, of course, also occasionally awful, but sometimes awful is where you get the best stories, right?). It’s the travel-for-the-sake-of-travel hoppity-style that is just really not at all my thing (but which might be my thing if life was really boring otherwise? Possibly?). I’m definitely happier with a home base and “digging in” to a place (new alleyways! bookstores! farmer’s markets! meeting people! trying not just the #1 most famous food of the location, but a bunch of different things!) than with “okay we saw the Eiffel Tower, now the Berlin Wall stuff, next to see the Tower of London, fastest route between points on a checklist, all-as-fast-as-we-can”…

        But even spend-a-week-or-more-in-one-place travel doesn’t sound great to me right now. Things are enough, maybe more than enough, right here.

        • meg

          I don’t know if like or dislike of travel has to do with how happy you are at home. I find that the happier I am at home, the happier I am to travel. If I’m not super happy at home, knowing I have to come back to real life makes me sad. If I am really happy at home, the best part of the trip is coming through our door at the end of it all.

          That said, we travel in the way you describe “digging in” at home, not in the way you describe travel.

          • KC

            Definitely not linking travel to not-happy-at-home – more linking not-being-excited-about-travel as potentially already-overstimulated-thank-you-no-more. I’m sure this isn’t the same for everyone, though. (and, also, I know people who looooove the checklist-style travel and have gotten a lot out of it and get itchy if their travel future looks less occupied or if they don’t see everything, so not knocking it for others, although I don’t personally “get” how it’s enjoyable)

            I guess: when working at different jobs, I’ve needed different things in my “off” hours. Not an intellectually stimulating job? I’m more likely to have super-nerd projects/homegrown research going. Intellectually stimulating job? Projects at home are not going to be as brain-heavy. Working from home? I will be going out and seeing people (but still ended up needing less interpersonal interaction than more super-social friends did). Working somewhere I interact with gobs of people all day long? Preferred state at home can probably be described as “hermit crab”.

            So I kind of think that travel, for me, could potentially fill a niche that is currently just already full. But that niche might not be filled as easily for someone else, and other people might just function differently in terms of how they balance and what they can enjoy in unlimited quantities vs. what they enjoy provided it’s within a certain range of moderation. I can exist in Times Square at night for maybe 10 minutes before I really really really want to be out of there, and I don’t even *want* to be there for those 10 minutes [all. the. blinky. light. advertisements.], but I know many people who absolutely thrive off that energy. So, different approaches, different needs/balances, different life stages and whatnot?

            (but *definitely* not saying “well, if you like traveling, then home must be a Sad Place For You”, because that would be total bunk. I mean, probably someone somewhere likes travel for getting-away-from-unhappy-home purposes, but that’s not the majority of my travel-enjoying friends and relatives.)

          • KC

            Good heavens, correction:

            Definitely not *meaning* to link happiness at home with not really liking travel for people in general. Rereading my comments, I can totally see where that came from! Sorry, I apparently fail at communication today.

            I was *intending* much more of a I-don’t-personally-really-like-vinegar-but-maybe-if-my-diet-was-100%-potatoes-for-a-long-time-and-there-was-no-other-seasoning-agent-available-I-would-enjoy-vinegar, without trying to imply the reverse (that if you enjoy vinegar, your diet must be 100% potatoes with no other seasoning options).

            (actually, I really like vinegar.)(but hopefully that makes sense as an analogy anyway.)

          • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

            This happened to me, too. When I was unhappy in my office job after college and after China, I traveled a bit to try to liven up my life, but I’d always get sick when returning home.

            My boss said to me once, “you always seem to fall ill after you travel. Maybe you shouldn’t travel so much?” and I just viscerally reacted to that. I don’t think I clutched my passport and hissed “MY PRECIOUSSSSSSS!” at her, but I may have.

            What I realized was that travel wasn’t making me sick…coming home was.

        • rys

          love the phrase “hoppity-style”!!

          This also makes me think about the fact that I also tend to divvy up city travel from outdoorsy travel, but, when I think it through, I’d prefer to dig in to a place, no matter the locale. The “sight-seeing” is different in urban v. back-country spaces, but in both, I want to experience the place, rather than check must-see items off a list. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m a lazy traveler, since I’d rather linger over a good meal than hit another top-10 spot or see all the incredible overlooks, but I’m okay with what that’s allowed me to see and experience.

          • KC

            Barring excessive bug bites, I find outdoorsy travel less easily overwhelming than city travel, but yeah, I’d still generally rather dig in than keep moving along.

            I do the same thing at museums; yes, fine, I’ll go see the [famous thing at museum] but then I’ll go to just one room that I think is particularly cool and spend my time there, rather than blitzing through everything and not getting many of the details of anything. Both approaches have merit (if you spend all your time on one painting, you get to know that particular painting, but you don’t get to see a painter’s progression through their decades of painting or get a sense of what components go into their “style” or what was popular that century, etc.); I just absorb information and atmosphere better (and, um, get less grumpy) if I’m allowed to go slooow.

            On the other hand, I zoom through books like lightning, so approach to aspects of life is apparently not totally generalizable. I don’t know.

          • rys

            It took me a long time, like decades, to realize that I like museums, but I don’t necessarily love them. So sometimes I waltz through them nonchalantly and wait for something to catch my eye (holy shit, Michaelangelo’s David…I just stood there for a really really long time), and other times I take a more methodical approach (the Van Gogh museum made me want to look at all.the.paintings). It means I’m somewhat unpredictable and not the best museum-mate for most people, but again, you got to know your style.

            Also I blitz through books, for whatever that’s worth.

          • KC

            Hooray for book blitzers! :-)

            I once saw a museum with a random stranger, and it was actually really fun – we each got “caught” by different works of art, and then as we leapfrogged past each other, we’d stop and discuss what we liked about the thing the other person had been looking at.

            But yes, normally looking at museums stuck-like-glue to people is… not great for the browse-lightly-then-intensely-concentrate style. I like the “okay, let’s meet at the entrance in three hours” and then discuss things as you run into each other method better. :-)

    • Violet

      Ooo, me too, KC. If a trip comes up, I’m fine, and I manage to enjoy it well enough. But for me, nothing compares to home (wherever that is at the time). My favorite part of a trip is coming back home.
      Partially because I get homesick. My study abroad experience was one of the most pathetic things you’ve ever seen, with me crying on a near-daily basis for four months. When I miss my *home,* calling/emailing/Skyping with people doesn’t help.
      Also, I grew up in a “joint custody” arrangement, where I was shuttled from one house to the other every week (and very much against my will). Packing and unpacking and living out of a suitcase became associated with feelings of homelessness for me. So on trips where I’m forced to do those very things, I get emotionally unsettled very quickly.
      It sounds like we experience traveling somewhat differently, but you’re the only other person on here (so far!) who was less-than-enthused about travel, so I just wanted to chime in. I’m another one!

      • KC

        That is a really good reason to not like living out of a suitcase. Sorry you had to deal with that. :-(

      • MDBethann

        I have mixed feelings about cruising, but we went on an Eastern Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon and part of our December trip to Western Europe will be spent on a Viking River Cruise of the Rhine (the rest will be with friends in Germany).

        There are some definite pros to cruise travel that might suit you:
        -you are in a floating hotel & have a “home base” that moves with you
        -you unpack when you arrive & pack up at the end of the trip
        -you can explore different places every day & later decide where you want to return to for future in-depth exploration (Turkey is now high on our list because of our cruise)
        -not dragging luggage through snowy, cobble-stoned towns (hence the River cruise in December)

        That said, there are some things we don’t like about the big cruise ships & hope will be different with the river cruise:
        -Dinning rooms with “Americanized” food (we like local cuisine when we travel)
        -Limited control over exploration time (we are stuck seeing a mix of things we don’t care about – i.e. shops/tourist traps – that cut into our time at places we do want to explore – i.e. historic sites.
        -Nickel & diming for everything (the larger cruise lines do this; Viking is more of an “all inclusive” line so we’re hoping this part will be different)
        -Huge crowds (my husband is an introvert)
        -Commercialization – the big cruise lines are very “Americanized” and emphasize shopping & spending, which isn’t really us. But because we used the ship as a floating hotel, we could kind of ignore this.

        I don’t think we’re going to do a lot of cruising, but there are a few places, like China, the Baltic, the Galapagos, Antarctica, and maybe the Amazon where cruising will likely be our tourist mode of choice.

  • Kiki D

    Berlin! *squee* My fiancé and I are going for our honeymoon, and I can hardly wait! It’s his hometown and I’ll finally get to see the places he grew up.

    As for travel in general, I love it. My family traveled all over the US and parts of Canada while I was growing up (I’m very much looking forward to finally making it across the Atlantic) so as a former kid-of-travelers, let me say this: let them help pick the destinations and things to do. It’ll especially help when your kid/s reach the bored teenager phase.

    I’m so grateful for all that early travel. It taught me: to read maps; to navigate in unfamiliar places; to be comfortable meeting new people; to wait gracefully; and to take advantage of unexpected opportunities.

    • MDBethann

      Map reading is such an important skill! My dad taught me how to do that and once I got even better in my 7th grade geography class, I became the “navigator” on our family road trips (it also meant I got to ride in the front seat!).

      GPS can be handy, but it can’t always navigate you around traffic accidents/jams on major roads, so even though we have GPS in our newish car, we keep an atlas in the car too for traffic avoidance purposes. I fully intend to raise children who can read maps.

      I also second waiting gracefully – my parents made sure we each had a backpack of toys & games for the car, including interactive games for us to play together. My parents said that we rarely, if ever, asked “are we there yet?”, for which they were grateful (not that we were angels in the car, but we learned to make the journey part of the adventure, not just the destination). We also usually stopped along the way – a drive from PA to Myrtle Beach meant stops at historic sites in Virginia and North Carolina, for example.

  • moe

    Oh, and this weekend I’m supposed to make a quick turn around trip with my niece to go to a family event in Northern California. I want to see my family and I love my niece.

    BUT OMG I’M ALREADY SAD THAT I’LL BE WITHOUT MY HUSBAND OVERNIGHT. We haven’t been apart since we married.

    *dramatic*

  • Alison O

    Travel with babies is definitely doable. My first trip abroad was at 6 WEEKS old for my uncle’s wedding in Rome, in August. My parents also took me to France and Switzerland during the same trip. We have a picture of my mom laying in the sand on the French Riviera holding me up in the air. I was so glamorous in my infancy…..

    Actually, I was a colicky baby, but my mom’s never mentioned that with regard to this trip. Through her telling, all there’s to know is that I was beautiful and beloved by all, including the old Italian grannies on the street, who insisted my mom put a sweater on me even though it was 85+ degrees. I also got to sleep in a gorgeous white and lace bassinet in an ancient Roman villa. My life’s been all downhill from there, haha.

    I’m not sure what tips my mom would have, but I think she’s said before that she didn’t find it that hard because infants sleep a lot (even I, with my colic). I would also imagine since a lot of people love babies, it could actually help you score some favors or freebies or at least extra warmth and good conversation with the locals.

    • CW

      Yes to some of the extra love on little people while traveling! I’ve traveled with groups of people, including families with young children (under the age of 4) to Ukraine, and I knew some in Russia. While there may have been some unsolicited advice (always more layers), I also saw extra help, extra space, people going out of their way to help the families traveling with kids. And there is something super cute about a 2 year old that mixes English, Spanish, and Ukrainian by the end of week.

    • meg

      Our babies first trip was 8 weeks, and he was colicky! It was fine, actually. You’re right on all points :)

  • KINA

    Two things I’m willing to go into (some) debt for…travel and education. Lessons from both last forever!

    • Sara

      There was a guy that I met when I was studying abroad (he was backpacking) that said something similar. Its always stuck with me too – That if you’re going to go into debt, do it for travel or education because its something that people can’t take away from you.

  • stefanie

    i used to love travel: road trips, summers abroad, camping, you name it. but my current job has me on the road about a week a month and it has really slowed the wings of my travel bug. my love and i travel beautifully together, and i treasure the trips we’ve taken, but i tend to be the driver of making-it-happen and lately i can’t seem to motivate to pack for fun when i am already packing so often for work. anyone else’s work fading the sheen on your travel dreams? how do you polish it back up?

  • mimi

    We got married on 8/3 and are taking a delayed honeymoon in Europe in early October. My close friend is getting married in France, so we decided to take 10 days and explore since we were planning to go to the wedding anyway.

    We’ve been together for 3 years, and we have taken lots of roadtrips together, but this will actually be the first time we’ve flown anywhere together. It will also be the first time that either of us has been to Europe since we were teenagers (he went on a family trip, and I went on a French class trip and then on a choir trip).

    We are planning to start trying for babies next year sometime, so this could be our last international travel for a while, but who knows. We both want to visit lots of other countries, so hopefully we can find a way to make that happen. We are also inspired by my grandparents, who traveled on Elderhostel trips for many years after they retired and visited every continent except Antarctica.

  • mimi

    Oh also, does anyone have any travel recommendations for Dublin, London, Paris, or Tours (the city in France, not tours)?

    • MK

      TripAdvisor and/or Lonely Planet (depending on what kind of traveler you are) are your best friends!

      But if you like Sherlock Holmes even a little bit and are OK with some kitch, I recommend the Sherlock Holmes “museum” in London. It was hilarious and charming and oh-so odd.

      Food. Mostly I have food recommendations. Eat a Full English breakfast. And real fish & chips, from a shady-looking place. It’s worth it.

      • meg

        Achem. Fish and chips from a not too shady looking place, may I suggest. Like a nice pub. Coming from the person who spent her most recent night in London vomiting up her Fish and Chips from a shady place quite violently….

        Also, we always find our best food on Chow Hound.

        • MK

          Ok, MEDIUM shady is probably best. But not too fancy. My English host demanded I get a redo on Fish and Chips after my first was an upscale restaurant. Worlds different, getting it from a corner seaside shop in Bristol!

        • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

          Yes to Chowhound! It’s one of my first site visits when planning any trip. Seeing as how we basically plan trips around food and drinks.

    • MDBethann

      I’ve found that Insight Guides are good for city travel – good maps & pictures (at least for Budapest). Fodor’s was also good, at least for Venice, as it gave us some details on churches & art inside some sites so we didn’t have to spend extra for the auto guides or a tour.

      Of the cities you’ve mentioned, I’ve only been to London, which I LOVE. A good friend just returned from a 2 week solo trip to Paris & London & she had a fantastic time in both cities, with very cooperative weather. It was also her first trip overseas & gave her the traveling bug (the only reason she was glad to come home was for clean clothes!).

    • Hope

      My advice for London is to walk a lot. Walk through the many parks, walk along the South Bank of the River Thames, walk from Parliament past Downing Street through Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace.

      I use Rough Guides for my travel guides.

  • Jennie

    We’re leaving (in 4 weeks!) for our first international trip as a married couple, with my recently married brother and his wife and my mom. First family vacation as an adult – it should be interesting. We traveled a lot as a family when I was a kid, and my parents always took a week without us every year around the anniversary. I hope we’ll be able to do the same. As a couple, we’ve done lots of local-ish travel via car and a few longer trips that required flying.

    We don’t have kids yet, but one of the things that tipped the scale to sooner rather than later was the conversation when we decided that we can and will travel when we have kids (both with and without them).

    • MDBethann

      Having traveled with my parents & sister as an adult, both with and without my DH, my recommendation to you is to take time for yourselves on the trip. Trying to get 5 adults to agree on activities is tough, no matter how well they get along. It is okay for you and your husband & for your brother & his wife to go off and do things separately from each other. Or maybe the 3 ladies go one way and the 2 guys go another. There is no law that you have to spend every minute of every day together. We did that for much of our family trip to New Orleans this summer & I would say the most enjoyable day was the last one where we split up (my parents just don’t move as fast as my husband, sister, & I do).

  • drsmooch

    Oh my god. THIS!!!!!!!!

    I’m in the middle of prying our wallets to open a little for some travel to San Fran and Sonoma/Napa in October. I know it isn’t perfect timing only 6 months after the wedding, but I made a pre-baby bucket list that I’m *damned* determined to get through. My dad has joked that if I don’t use my passport once a year he expects me to cross the Canadian or Mexican border just to get my “fix.” I understand that we’ll still travel when we expand our family, but I also know there are certain places we want to see as a MINK couple or that I’ll be too cautious to visit with little ones, either alongside us or waiting at home. For those who are curious this is the travel part of our (honestly, mostly my) pre-baby bucket list. I keep it on my phone to look at often for inspiration and keep an eye on flights.

    Visit 6 continents (going to get #5 under my belt in November for work!)
    Road trip across US: stops in Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon
    US cities: Chicago, Seattle, Napa, Portland, Vegas
    Cities/countries abroad: Rome, Paris, Budapest, Greek Islands

  • http://www.marbleryephotography.com melissa

    Traveling is my jam. It’s my reason d’etre and it may just be the love of my life.

    I was watching this TED TALK last night, where Pico Iyer talks about traveling and about finding home. It’s fantastic.

    Where is Home?

    • http://www.marbleryephotography.com melissa

      RAISON. raison. d’etre. raison.

      • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

        These comments together made me giggle.

  • Sara

    I actually inspired my grandmother to fly for the first time when I was an infant. My parents had to move to CT from OH when I was six months old, and flew back and forth quite a bit. My grandma had a moment where she said ‘if my grandbaby can do it, so can I’. Which sparked her love of travel – her and my grandfather started going on cruises and to either us or Florida all the time.

    Because of my family’s distance to our extended family, we spent a lot of time in the car going back and forth to Cleveland. And my parents knew that the move to CT wasn’t permanent so we hit every state there in the 10 years we lived there. Once they moved to IL, we took our big trips over Spring Break. I know I get my travel bug from my parents – they eloped to Ireland and backpacked around for their honeymoon. And they’re going to Germany in week(!) with my dad’s bff from high school. I on the other hand studied abroad twice, lived in Egypt for a year to teach, took a week long detour home through Tokyo – not to mention yearly visits to Vegas, Phoenix, Nashville, Minneapolis and Cleveland to visit friends and family. I love being somewhere new, or somewhere old and discovering something new.

    My parents showed me that travel is so worth dragging three kids around in a mini-van for. I’m not married or have kids now but I know that’s something I’m definitely imprinting on those future babies as well.

  • Alexis

    Travel has always been a big part of my life. It was almost a given, considering my mom is an “army brat” who spent her childhood all over the U.S. and Germany, and my dad is a semi-nomad who still only has a semi-permanent home in the U.S. (a bedroom at my oldest brother’s and a fifth-wheeler he parks at an RV community). And my parents were divorced early on in my life and my dad moved away, so yeah, I spent several summers with him in various states, and then he worked for an airline so I got to see London! Paris! Italy! all before I graduated high school.

    My fiance and I have talked a lot about wanting to travel, and wanting that to be a part of our married life, but not really sure of how to make it happen considering the massive amounts of student debt we both have. As of now we’re getting married in April and not planning on taking a honeymoon. I know it’s so very worth it, and clearly it’s something we both want to do, but sometimes it feels hard to justify when you’re pinching pennies to pay the bills. We should just be like Meg, right, and go somewhere despite a sticky financial situation?

    • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

      Find something small you can do, even if it’s just taking a few days off to camping. You will feel so much better with time away – you really do get a wedding hangover.

    • mimi

      Definitely take some time off together after the wedding, even if it’s just staying at home or a nearby destination. You could do a Honeyfund registry for a trip too (assuming you’re not in need of more tangible things for your home).

      • HC

        I had a very small wedding and did not take time off for ourselves afterward…and really wish we did! We went straight from getting married to spending Christmas with all my in-laws — it was a bit too much.

        But we did take a honeymoon 2 years later, and by then we had saved enough to do it exactly the way we wanted. So, if you can, take a little mini-break for yourselves and then plan a “real” honeymoon for later.

  • Mary Jo

    My husband and I were gifted a travel voucher for our wedding, but it expired before we could use it because travel just seemed so unrealistic, so far from our everyday experience, that we could never get ourselves together enough to take advantage of it. So discouraging.

    So I have several questions for APWers, sorry if these are addressed up-thread.

    1. How much of your budget (by percentage) do you have to devote to travel before you can say “we make travel a priority”?
    2. When you live far from family and friends and you think visits are important to maintain those vital relationships, sometimes it seems like all your time off work and travel money goes to visiting them. But you want to See the World someday. How do you balance these competing interests?
    3. How do you make travel part of your life when it’s not something you grew up used to doing? How do you make it feel realistic and not just something other, more privileged people get to enjoy, and not you?

    • Laura C

      I’d cite this from the post: “(Small trips and big trips, please. These days, my preferred kind of trip is a nap-in-the-car distance away.)”

      Seeing the world doesn’t hafta mean giant lavish trips. While I do feel self-conscious that my fiance has been to so many more countries than I have, I also treasure the day trip to Mammoth Cave National Park while we were a couple hours away for a wedding. So there might be some of that you could do even at current budget and time levels.

      I also don’t feel like it’s right to assign a percentage of a budget as the key measure, because different budgets mean different things. Like when I was a grad student making less than $15,000 a year but with the expectation that I’d be making a few times that in a few years, that was obviously different than for a lot of people making the same amount of money. But if you want to See the World in a way that’s just currently not possible, you could start thinking about how that might happen — squirrel away even a couple dollars at a time, start researching places that would be exciting to go but maybe not as crazy expensive as some, research things like AirBnB etc. It can be a long-term plan, and one where research, or building up frequent flier miles through a credit card, pays off.

    • Erin E

      #2 – YES. I have the same conflict. I LOVE travel… but I also love my family in another state (and the hubby’s family is in yet a different state). Two weeks of company vacation is not enough to go around – it just isn’t. You’re always having to give up something (or someone). A few things that I’ve found that have been helpful are to encourage our families to come to us as much as we go to them (which sometimes doesn’t work, but when it does it saves us money that we can allocate to our own adventures). And I’ve tried to start taking trips with my family – a getaway weekend with my mom, for example… so that I’m getting to travel while seeing loved ones. This could work with friends too – instead of visiting each other, agree to meet someplace new for everyone. I definitely hear you, though… it’s a very delicate balance!

      • CW

        For me, Thanksgiving and Christmas are important family holidays, so I make an effort to be with family for those (one within driving/train distance, one is a flight). And then, other vacations are up to me, which usually means one to three trips a year of 5-10 days. If my family wants to see me more often then that, then they can come visit me.

        It’s not so much a money percentage that determines priority, it’s a what do I do with my money after essentials. Would I cut down on eating out to save for a trip- yes. Do I only shop clothing sales so I can use that “extra” money for travel- yes. So that’s how travel looks as a priority to me.

        I’m working my way to visiting all 50 states (14 to go!), and have a long list of new countries to visit (Thailand, Peru, Uzbekistan) and places to return (Iceland, Russia), so I’m constantly saving and planning for whatever the next opportunity to arise may be.

        • HC

          I agree it is challenging to balance trips to visit family vs. other travel. My parents live across the country and I don’t see them that often. Thanksgiving is especially challenging because of the cost of traveling for a short trip on a busy weekend. But I was able to take my mom on a trip to London this year, so we both got to do something fun, and I’ll see them again at Christmas.

          • Rebecca

            We live across the country from family and we just don’t do thanksgiving. It’s too much of an incredible pain in the ass to travel that weekend- plus, there aren’t any leftovers when you get home.

            We alternate years for Christmas with his parents and my mom (and sister and her husband, most years), and try to visit/ be visited by everyone else at more sensible times of year. So we’d go see my dad during tomato season (their garden is incredible), or try to visit during a birthday or something. We usually manage to see everyone at least once a year, but as long as everyone is so spread out there’s only so much we can do and keep some quantity of vacation time available for our own travel.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      1. Prioritizing comes in a lot of forms, and there are many ways to travel on many budgets. Some might spend small percentages of their (otherwise large) budget on nice digs, while others may spend large percentages of their (otherwise small) budget on quality camping supplies. You can say “we make travel a priority” if it’s important to you and you act on it, whether that action is roadtripping every weekend, or diligently squirrelling away spare change.

      2. Visit the World WITH your family and friends. Meet them halfway, go someplace they’ve been dying to visit, too.

      3. You just book the trip. Practice makes perfect, after all :-)

    • CII

      I am with you…I tend to think of travel (especially int’l travel, not so much car trip travel) as something that other people do. Growing up, vacations were always by car, and always to the same two places (and they aren’t the kind of nostalgia summer cabin places that I wish they had been). So especially as to No. 3, and No. 2 as it relates to seeing the world, I freaking wish I could figure out how it is done, too:

      Here’s the baby steps my SO and I have taken, though:
      – We go on a weekend getaway once or twice a year to a small town w/in two hours of our home. We have all these unique routines and inside jokes associated with this trip that it brings us so much joy now, but it’s built on several years of memories. We started going during the middle of the week to save money, and now we are part of a frequent guest program that will reduce the per-trip cost.

      – Before we decide to go on a trip, I ruthlessly budget, and we “pre-pay” for major expenses. What I mean by this is that, if we’ve booked a flight in advance, we pay for it before we leave. If we know we will have to pay for a hotel and rental car, I pay our frequent miles credit card down by that amount before we go.

      – Hotels and pet sitters are expensive, I only have so much time off of work, and I like my own bed. So we are more likely to take several long weekends than a big trip, and sometimes we affirmatively look for cost-saving measures (stay with family, add a day onto the end of traveling for work, etc.)

      – We don’t eat a lot of fancy meals out, instead we’ll bring food with us for road trips or buy at the grocery store, indulge in the fast food we don’t ordinarily eat, or seek out delicious dives of our favorite kinds of ethnic food. That means our food costs while on vacation ordinarily don’t exceed our day-to-day food costs by that much. Often we’ll set aside one or two pre-planned “splurge meals”

      That said, we’re currently planning our first big international trip together, and I’m terrified. So. much. money.

    • KAT

      We love to travel (we actually met abroad!), and I’m fortunate that I’ve been able to travel a lot for pleasure and for work. But we moved across the country a few years ago, leaving our family on the East coast so now a lot of our “big” trips are going back home. So I feel you there. It’s expensive and uses up vacation time

      For us though, the Southwest (where we live) is also new for our families. So when they come out, we always plan road trips with them. It’s been great. I’m always scouring for new campgrounds/cabins/hostels to take them to near towns and attractions none of us have been to yet. We all pile in the car, split gas, and lodging. My family isn’t that well off, so I love making the most of those trips and being able to take my dad to places hes always dreamed of visiting but couldn’t afford. Since we didn’t have a lot of money growing up, we always traveled via road trip, usually slept in the car, and sometimes splurged on a campground. So that set up works for us.

      So for us, international travel has dwindled. It’s a bummer, but we’re also making the most of where we are. Camping is our savoir, really, since there’s always new places to check out and its cheap. That keeps our travel bug under control, while also allowing us to save up for bigger trips down the road. I flew on an airplane one time before I turned 18, but still feel like I grew up “Travelling”. We just hopped in the car and went off. I saw so much that way!

    • Hope

      Travel is a priority for us.

      1. This year we will spend well over 10% of our joint income on travel/vacations. We live cheaply to be able to do this. I saw one reader talk about prepaying travel expenses and I try to do that so the travel, accommodation, tours, etc are paid before we go.
      However it’s not only in finances that we make travel a priority. When my husband got his current job we negotiated and were willing to give up salary for more vacation time.
      2. My family lives in the UK so when we visit them we add on some time to take a trip nearby, whether a day trip to Paris or this year a week in India! Or we encourage them to meet us at a third location so everyone is on vacation and we get to see new places.
      I haven’t spent Christmas with my family in several years as it makes more sense for us to visit them in the summer when I have a longer break from work.

  • http://www.stitch-witch.net Christina McPants

    Looking at this whole thread is bittersweet to me. We bought a house this year, I’m in grad school, we just adopted a dog and other financial commitments means that our finances are shot and any travel involving planes or trains is off the table for a couple of years. We haven’t done any serious travel aside from family since our honeymoon. Hell, my little brother just came home from two years of living in Paris and we never made it out to visit him (it was supposed to be three and we were going to go right around now, which made that news extra hard). I miss time away and exploring, but I also love my home and the sensible investments we’ve made and the hardcore nesting we’ve been doing.

    The other elephant in the room (for me, anyway) is the physical discomfort of travel. I’m a 16-18 and I fit into an airplane seat, but not comfortably and I spend the entire flight trying not to intrude on the space of the person next to me. I dread flights now in a way I didn’t because of it.

    • lady brett

      yes. i’m not totally sure how i feel about travel right now because i’m never totally convinced it’s the best use of my resources (though my recent vacation was really wonderful). obviously money, but at this point for me, it’s time and energy more so (my recent vacation was wonderful, but i took a whole week off work and i’m still *so far behind* on everything at home).

  • Jessica B

    I think one of the best things my parents did together was to take a 2 week trip to Australia to visit some families my mom knew WITHOUT us kids. It was a few years after my dad had a kidney transplant, and they just arranged for grandma to come stay with us and went off to have adventures without two kids who traded off being high-maintenance and low-key. They would try to take us camping, and every few years we would do a “big” trip in the country. When I was in high school they made sacrifices so I could go to Belize for 10 days and Curacao for 10 days, then both my brother and I were able to study abroad with their full blessing in college.

    My FH has been to almost every state in the US, and has seen many state parks and long, beautiful highways. Through the military he has traveled to Norway on an exchange, but other than that has not done any “for fun” international travel. We’re going to Costa Rica for the honeymoon, and hopefully will do a trip to New Zealand before kids. We were also thinking a big trip to Scandinavia eventually.

    I’m the sort of person who likes to have a “home base” of sorts when traveling–moving beds frequently truly stresses me out and makes me no fun to travel with. I like spending 10+ days in any city, exploring it or doing day trips out to nearby sites. This limits the number of places we can go in the future, but I think the quality of the trip is better this way (at least for my own experience and stress levels).

    • rys

      Most of my family vacations as a kid were week-long trips to the beach. But my parents also went away by themselves — often connecting a trip to a conference my dad was attending. Occasionally, when we were older, they invited us along. Now they travel much more and have been able to take some of the big trips they dreamed of (Australia, Italy, etc) as well as trips prompted by the travel my siblings and I have done. They don’t travel in the same way I do, but they’ve always made clear that they value experiences over things. Overall, I think it’s awesome that they a) modeled taking family trips and taking trips alone, and b) they talked about their dream travel and have found ways to make it happen.

  • http://www.xwebseries.com Cali

    Oh man. I *love* traveling, but almost always manage to convince myself that it’s not practical. I’m reasonably well-traveled (I went to grad school in Scotland five years ago, and did a *lot* of country hopping while I was there), but if I had my druthers I’d go on a big-ass trip every single year, at least. But there’s that whole money issue and feeling like I need to be a responsible grownup.

    My husband and I talk about the places we want to go, but the trip is always at some nebulous point in the future “when we have more money.” Honestly, we *could* swing a big trip in the next year if we really, really wanted to… we’d just be scraping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak. Then, recently, I realized that we’re thinking of starting to try for a baby next year… and I don’t want to be sad that we didn’t take advantage of all our opportunities for awesome, couple-y travel while we could. So I just randomly said, “You know what? We should do a big trip next year. Let’s pick somewhere big and start planning.”

    Currently we’re thinking Italy and possibly Greece. Or maybe Peru. ;-) It’s still tentative, but I’m determined to make it happen even if it’s a bit of a stretch. Because I suspect I’d be way more likely to look back and think, “Wow, I sure wish we’d just dropped down and gone on that awesome trip,” than look back and think, “I wish we’d skipped that international trip and saved money.”

    • MDBethann

      Greece is wonderful, and there is so much more to the country than islands and beaches. We did 2 trips to Greece in the last few years – a mainland bus tour in 2011 (we got engaged on that trip) and a honeymoon cruise in 2012 with various ports of call in Greece (Corfu = stunning!, Olympia = meh, Athens = awesome, Mykonos = ok though Delos was better, Santorini = amazing & stunning). I have special places in my heart for Meteora (where we got engaged) & Delphi (day after our engagement & 1st day of sunshine on the Feb. 2011 trip), places you’re only going to see on a tour of the mainland, though you could do them as a reasonable side trip from Athens. Though we were on tours both times, I didn’t think the prices I saw throughout Greece were unreasonable and even when wandering Athens on our own, we never felt unsafe. I highly, highly recommend travel to Greece. The people there are nice, the food is amazing, and because of the economic problems, prices are reasonable (for Europe). Just plan trips to historic sites carefully – they are government owned and not open every day (or with long hours) due to the financial crisis.

  • Anon

    Risk and Travel. Yes! Last year I left ‘my dream job’ that I’d held for five years. It was exactly what I said I wanted to do when I graduated from college and I was good at it. But something inside me wouldn’t let me turn down the job opportunity that listed “extensive global travel required”.

    Today, I have a new dream job. This job has all the same things I was looking for, just on a global perspective. I have visas in my passport! I’ve hiked the Great Wall and stood on the edge of a steaming volcano. This has been the most exciting year of my life!

    Taking this job resulted in the end of a long-term relationship (although he said he supported me taking the new job, he didn’t ultimately like the idea of me traveling all the time). I’ve since found somebody that loves hearing about my travels and looks forward to the chance to travel with me.

    I’d say that taking a risk for the sake of travel has made some pretty significant changes in my life!

  • Rose in SA

    My husband and I agreed long ago that the only reality show we could ever participate in was the Anazing Race – we both love to travel, travel well together, are great at reading maps, figuring things out in strange places etc. Travel has been a real source of joy in our relationship.

    Right now we’re busy planning a trip to Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert in Namibia to see some amazing sand dunes. Can’t wait!

    • EC

      Sossusvlei is amazing! Have a great time!

  • http://poppiesandicecream.blogspot.nl/ Amanda

    Travel is very important for us… it might be one of the things we love doing together the most, and we make it a priority. We did not meet on the airplane, while traveling, for nothing I guess :)
    Then we spent the first year of our relationship long-distance and meeting for weekends in mid-places like Paris or Basel.
    We love trips short and long, sometimes we just get on the car and go to the next city. And when we have kids we plan on taking them along right from the start (sure it will be different, but we will make those changes work). After all my parents took me from the UK where I was born to Mexico where I grew up, at only 40 days old, so it is doable. Growing up there were all kinds of trips mostly local, camping or road trips, with the exception of some big trips (to the US or to visit my dad’s family in Switzerland).
    BTW I got the 36 Hours Europe book for Christmas and I absolutely love it :)

    • MDBethann

      Any must-sees in Basel? Or recommended lodging? That’s where we board our river cruise in December & we’re going to get there a day before the ship boards in case of travel glitches (we’ll be taking the train from Garmisch). Thank you!!

  • Amber Baur

    Do it! Kids (especially babies) flexible. Arlo traveled all around Southeast Asia for a month and he was the happiest traveler. There was definitely moments when traveling with a baby was tough, but overall, so worth it. I’d recommend giving yourself lots of time and a loose agenda. It won’t be a relaxing vacation but I promise you will have those moments on the road where you feel so lucky to be in such a special place with your little family. There are few things you can bring to make the trip easier with kids but I’d highly recommend tracking lightly with an adventurous spirit. It won’t be a relaxing vacation but it will be an amazing experience. People always ask me why we take these exotic trips before the baby can even remember it. The thing is, I don’t travel solely for my children. It’s something I need to do for myself. And I think it’s really good for them too.

    All that said, I’d pick an a country/region of the world that is know for being family and kid friendly. Traveling o Southeast Asia was amazing because it really felt like Arlo was welcome everywhere we went. People loved him, took him around restaurants, pinched his cheeks and generally just loved on him. In some ways, it was easier than having a baby here in SF.

    • meg

      Amber knows all about kids and international travel, y’all! We’re starting to be domestic pros, but come here on the thread to ask Amber your international travel questions :)

      Also, this, “It won’t be a relaxing vacation but it will be an amazing experience. People always ask me why we take these exotic trips before the baby can even remember it. The thing is, I don’t travel solely for my children. It’s something I need to do for myself. And I think it’s really good for them too.”

      • http://www.weekendreader.wordpress.com Anna

        Totally agree Amber! We had exactly the same questions about trips we took with our child – but the thing is, it’s my life too, & if I want to do a trip now, that’s okay. I don’t have to wait until she is old enough to remember! We went to South Africa & Swaziland for 6 weeks when she was 14 months – very easy places to visit with a small child, & we still talk longingly about the restaurants where she would disappear into the kitchen with the waiters & we would eat our meal in peace! She remembers nothing, of course. We did 3 months in Nepal & India when she was 2.6 years, & that had challenges – I wouldn’t fancy it with a crawling child, nor one in nappies. But it was fantastic, & she even has some vague memories of it.

        • californienne

          Thanks for sharing! I posted above about being a fairly well-seasoned/adventurous traveler with my husband but I’m nervous that once we have kids we’ll stop. Like terrified nervous.

          Where in Nepal and India did you go with your little one? We saw a family on part of the Annapurna Circuit (a porter just to carry one of the kids!)

        • Amber Baur

          Those are definitely on our list for our next trip! We have our second baby due in October and are planning for another epic trip next year. Another thing I forgot to mention is the financial impact involved in traveling with kids. My partner and I work in fairly flexible jobs we love that allow us to take long periods of time off but they definitely don’t allow for us to have a lot of extra money.

          But travel is a priority for both of us and we make it work by renting our place out while we are gone, reducing our childcare expenses by alternating our schedules, sharing a car, not going out to eat much, ect.

          One of the primary reasons I wasn’t sure about having kids was this idea that you have to give up your sense of self and change your priorities for the best of the child. I agree that naturally your priorities may shift but I take issue with the fact that you can’t continue too pursue your own interests and desires. In many cases, your children may benefit more from you following some of your own passions.

          I second the thought that a key element is surrounding yourself with like minded people. We are still trying to do that….

          • rys

            “I take issue with the fact that you can’t continue too pursue your own interests and desires. In many cases, your children may benefit more from you following some of your own passions.” Love this.

    • californienne

      Thanks for this! If one more person says “Travel now because once you have kids you’ll never get to go anywhere” to me, I’m going to scream. I need more adventurous young parents in my life.

    • californienne

      Thanks for sharing! I posted above about being a fairly well-seasoned/adventurous traveler with my husband but I’m nervous that once we have kids we’ll stop. Like terrified nervous.

      Where in Nepal and India did you go with your little one? We saw a family on part of the Annapurna Circuit (a porter just to carry one of the kids!)

  • Erin E

    I’d be interested to hear more from the couples who came together despite differences in their travel preferences. I love travel with big ‘ole sloppy kiss of passion. Travel has defined me and been a friend to me – especially in my young adult and single girl years. I two months I’ll marry a man who has barely left the country. He wants to travel, and we have planned a European honeymoon together that I hope he’ll love (and I hope will infect him with the same travel bug I have)… but what if it doesn’t? Since we’ve spent all the time and money we’ve had in our time together thus far visiting our families, we haven’t had a chance to take big trips together.

    I’m with this man because we’re compatible in most other ways in life and I have high hopes for his coming to love travel… if not as much as I do, at least in a way that lets us compromise on some trips (shorter? stateside?) together. But I do worry about how travel incompatibility could impact us (and our time/money decisions) down the road.

    • MK

      My fiance is…less interested in travel than I am. He’s still interested, but he’s much more of a homebody and can get stressed out by crowds and new places, and plane trips literally make him deaf. We’ve been on a big trip a year since we got together, but not internationally, just all over the US.
      It can be done. You’ve just both got to be sort of flexible about it. I know he needs some defined downtime/unscheduled time, and most of the time I let him tell me when he wants to go “home” to our hotel. But he also lets me do things even if he’s not interested, and will stay a little longer than he wants to because he knows its important to me.

      It can help to make a point to include your Other in the planning process. Show ideas of what you could do and have you each pick one that really matters.

    • Lindsey

      My husband is not big on travel either, specifically internationally. He grew up in Seattle and we now live in Chicago, so we do make the cross country trip a couple times a year, but he had never been out of North America before we started dating.

      His biggest barrier was not knowing the language in another country, but it took me a long time to get that out of him. Once I knew that was the issue, I was able to open up a conversation about why, what we could do to lessen his anxiety, and what would help him. Finally we went to Amsterdam and Cologne last year, and he loved it once he got there and realized it was nowhere near as scary as he made it out to be in his mind.

      This year we went to Hawaii, which was somewhere that he had been but I had not. Next we are planning on either a UK/Ireland trip or Prague/Budapest. I think the second one will still be a barrier but I plan on having him speak to friends who have been to that area and voice his fears ahead of time so we can plan around them.

      • http://nzmuse.com NZ Muse

        We are currently on a six month RTW trip (doubling as our honeymoon). I have the travel bug bad; he’s more just along for the ride, though has definitely enjoyed the experience. Our incompatibilities are mainly to do with weather. I can’t handle cold, he can’t handle heat. So we’ve had to slow things down, take a lot of rest days (European summer is WAY hotter than an NZ summer) and I”ve had to put up with a lot of grumping from him. And next time we travel, it’ll be somewhere cold, I guess. I do my best to make sure we do stuff that both of us will enjoy (his favourite thing was a canyoning trip – I skipped it, he went alone).

      • Rose in SA

        We did Budapest last year – one of my all time favouritie cities now. We spoke not one single word of Hungarian when we arrived (and when we left, although we tried to learn ‘thank you’ and ‘beer’). It was not a problem at all. Everywhere we went we found people could speak enough English to get by, and there were enough English signs etc. for us to figure things out.

      • MDBethann

        I’ve been to Budapest & not Prague, so I can only speak for the one city, but I don’t know Hungarian and didn’t find it a problem to navigate, either with my friends or on my own. Many things (signs/prices) there are in Hungarian (which really has no related language anyway), German, and English because it is a popular destination, especially for British stag & hen weekends (so I’m told). There are fantastic spas there that are very reasonably priced and extremely relaxing. It is a gorgeous city and the food is delicious too..

        A nearby city that often gets overlooked for Prague is Bratislava, Slovakia. It’s much smaller, but it was a few hours train ride from Budapest (an hourish from Vienna) & very easy to navigate. It has a gorgeous, pedestrian-only historic district and even though people didn’t know as much English there as they did in other European cities, they often seemed intrigued by an American visitor to their city (and really got excited when they learned my great-grandparents were from Slovakia). Again, Bratislava is a popular destination (or so I’m told) for stag & hen parties out of the UK, so they are used to English speakers there. I also stayed in a “boatel” in the Danube, which was really awesome.

    • LK

      I was in a similar situation — I am passionate about travel, while my husband’s family vacationed in the same spot when he was growing up. After several roadtrips and two international trips together, he’s firmly in the “I love travel” camp. So it can happen! Some things that I think helped:

      1) For our first international trip, I had a pretty firm itinerary with transportation arrangements, lodging, etc. booked beforehand. I think this reduced some of the stress associated with traveling. Now that he’s more comfortable with travel, we can plan more unstructured trips where we see if we like a place or move on if it’s been too long.

      2) What is your husband passionate about? Mine studied ancient languages and archaeology in school, so getting to see the ruins of Troy in person was something that sold him on Turkey. I’m the primary planner of our trips, but I ask my husband what he’s interested in doing. If he’s really invested in part of the trip or a specific site, it makes him that much more passionate about traveling.

      3) Building in relaxation days. Growing up, my family tended to be very go-go-go on vacations. As I’ve planned my own, I try to incorporate a few relaxing days without any major sites to see. I think this gave my husband a chance to recharge, take things in, and not feel like travel was a big stressor.

  • Kirsten

    Oh, travel. I’ve done my fair share and love it – 47 states plus Mexico and Canada, as well as studying abroad for a semester in college and some additional travel in Europe – but have had a really rough work situation involving unemployment and then making just enough to pay the bills for the last 2+ years. I recently found out that I was rejected from a job that should have been a shoe-in (the supervisor called me to ask me to apply, but HR had other ideas) and would have had allowed me to attend the world conference for my profession in Vienna next summer, but without that salary there’s no way it’s feasible. By contrast, my significant other travels four days a week for work, goes on multiple international trips a year for fun, and has ample vacation time. We’re still discussing how travel will look in our future since he expects to travel far and often, but I will likely not have the capability to do that while still being able to do other things that are important to me, like going home to see our families for the holidays. On the one hand, I don’t want to restrict him from things he loves to do, but on the other hand, it can be miserable sitting at home knowing that he’s off on the other side of the world having fantastic adventures without me.

    • R

      My partner also travels significantly for work (and has significantly more dollars and vacation time). We’ve been able to leverage the frequent flier miles and hotel points that he earns for his work travel into great benefits for our personal vacations — using points on a holiday weekend (when I’m able to travel) where a hotel would otherwise be way more expensive, for example. I’m also able to view the bright side of his being gone during the week, when I know that I’ll eventually get to take advantage of the benefits of his travel. I really recommend you and SO looking into how you can get the most out of those flights/hotel nights.

      • Kirsten

        Thanks. His company is nice and will fly me out to visit him at his site on weekends or will let him fly to my city rather than home to his (as long as the price is comparable), which has actually been really helpful since we have been long-distance since way back when we started dating. And like you pointed out, there are definite advantages to his job causing him to rack up the hotel/airline points. I guess it’s just a matter of us figuring out how it will work for us in the long run, and I’m trying to think positively about the opportunities that his job will give us, rather than about the challenges!

        • R

          I’m not sure if this will work for you, but one opportunity that arose for us was the ability to relocate. Since my partner’s job is mostly based on being at the client location, it wasn’t critical for him to be near the “home” office. He was able to keep his job and move with me when I got a job in a new location. He now works remotely when he’s not commuting to clients (or the occasional meeting at HQ). Could that be a possibility, somewhere down the line?

          Good luck with everything, I know it’s tough. On the bright side, we are so, so good at communicating while we’re separated, thanks to the years of work we’ve put into it. (Right now, we’re better at it while apart than while we’re together….)

          • Kirsten

            Yes to the communication! It’s amazing how that works when you can’t just spend your free time cuddling (or whatever). ;) Although I will fully admit that there are many, many times when I wished it wasn’t so much work…

  • SamanthaNichole

    Can we talk about travel methodology? I would love love love any dirty little secrets/ tricks on traveling on a budget from you all. What airline credit cards to sign up for for the best frequent flier miles. I don’t even know what to ask, but literally all of your best tricks! Please, share.

    • MK

      Unless you’re really really loyal to one particular airline or are certain that they go all the places you want to go, I don’t like the airline-branded cards. You can get great travel-points credit cards that can work with SEVERAL airlines (mine also works with restaurants! And trains!) and that really seems like the way to go, for me.

      I love Lonely Planet for more camping/outdoorsy information and TripAdvisor for city/restaurant information.

      If you’re going abroad, buy those tickets well in advance–much cheaper!

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com/ kyley

      Not a huge secret or an unusual opinion, but I think Rick Steve’s has the best travel guidebooks when it comes to Europe.

      Also, a trick from my grandfather who was always either planning a trip or on a trip: Say you buy a guide book for “Italy” and then go to Rome, Venice, and Naples. Pull out the pages in your book that relate only to the specific city you are in, and carry them around with you. Saves space in your purse/day-pack and can even help make you look less like a tourist.

    • Beth

      Check out Travel Hacking Cartel (http://travelhacking.org/)! My husband and I earned enough free miles through various deals we found on there to get free flights to Argentina (business class!), Alaska (for our honeymoon!) and free flights to Michigan for Christmas last year. I think currently, one of the best cards is the Chase Sapphire card. I’m not sure what mileage deals they have at the moment, but I think when we signed up it was like 25000 or 50000? Something awesome. You can use your points with tons of airlines. Also, it’s good to check out things like Star Alliance and the various airline partnerships, because you can almost always use miles from one to book flights on another airline that may go more places for less.

    • jashshea

      Capital One Signature rewards w/ Purchase eraser. No international transaction fees and purchase eraser lets you use the points you earn to scrub travel purchases (or use the points to pay for flights/hotels).

      Read everything Nomadic Matt has ever written about budget travel.

      Most major US banks have “deals” with foreign banks and you can use them w/o paying an ATM fee.

      Fly into one city and out of another (Example: Fly into Madrid, take trains around the country to Barcelona, stopping along the way and fly out of Barcelona). Alternatively (but specific to European travel), fly into the cheapest location that’s anywhere near your destination and either train/bus or cheap flight it to your real destination.

      Avoid restaurants near touristy sites and look a few blocks back instead. You’ll probably have a better meal for much cheaper. Picnic for lunch or breakfast. Or have a fancy lunch out, rather than fancy dinner.

      It’s not really a trick, I guess, but I’m willing to pay more for experiences and less for hotels/food – I’m willing to have a semi-shitty night’s sleep in a hostel if it’s $10 or to eat a $2 pretzel for breakfast b/c it’s cheap, fast, and I can grab it on the way to the train and spend way too much money on a helicopter ride or something. Other people think I’m crazy.

      I traveled a few years ago with my now husband and two other friends to Germany, Austria, & Amsterdam for 21 nights or something. We spent $700/per person on hotels total, inclusive of 2 nights in hostels and 2 nights in a Hilton scored with hotel points.

      • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

        I’ll pay more for food because food is an experience to me – sometimes I travel to a place just because it’s famous for a food I love (see: why I went to Udupi…for masala dosa). But otherwise I agree. Go cheap on hotels and expensive on experiences.

      • SamanthaNichole

        Nomadic Matt is awesome! thank you so much for the recommendation! I already have so many ideas in my head now about things to do in the future, including WWOOFing! thank you!

    • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

      1.) If you really want to travel but you really don’t have a lot of money, and you think you’d be reasonably good at teaching, take a CELTA course (4 weeks, $2000 US or so) and then go abroad to teach English. You can stay in one place and travel from there, or just hop countries every year and have a new expat experience every year along with that.

      2.) Forget frequent flier miles – the way that’s structured now it’s basically a high-input-low-benefit scam to get your loyalty while giving as little in return as possible. There are cards that work with several airlines, but I stopped trying years ago, as they always have weird restrictions: FF miles on any trip *except* between the USA and Heathrow, when that’s exactly the trip I’m taking? FF miles only if you book through their website or their agents, not with a travel agent? FF miles only if you book a certain kind of seat? And then fees to use FF miles, or restrictions on when, how or whether you can use them? Yeeeeaaahhh NO THANKS. I am really disillusioned by the whole scam.

      Instead, I compare what I’d get flying budget to what I’d get flying a major carrier. If I’m hopping around Asia I’ll take Tiger, Scoot, Jetstar etc. because I don’t need good service for short flights (I live in Taiwan). If I’m flying to the US I use a travel agent and try to weekend somewhere on my way back.

      Same for hotel loyalty cards. I thought we’d get a great deal, signing up for Marriott points when we married and getting the benefit of all the points of our guests staying at the Marriott for our wedding (if you ask nicely they have a special deal where any person’s stay in your block, if that person doesn’t use Marriott points or use the stay to accumulate points, you can get the points). That came out to 20+ nights on our account. YAY! Then we planned a vacation and I looked into what we could get at the Marriott with that, and it wouldn’t even cover one night! F* that. I threw my Marriott card in a drawer and haven’t looked at it since.

      3.) If a multi-leg trip is very expensive, then try to book each leg separately and see how the price works out. Taiwan-Singapore-Bangalore-Cairo-New York-Taiwan as one trip is about $4000. But by booking Tiger Airways to Bangalore via Singapore, then Egypt Air from Bangalore to Cairo and then separately to New York, and then Cathay Pacific back to Taiwan, we paid $1700 per ticket. Or Beijing-Bangkok-Madras-Heathrow-Dublin-New York…about $3000 in 2003 (more now). By booking China Southern Beijing-Kunming, going overland to Bangkok via Laos, flying Royal Thai to Chennai, going overland to Bombay and flying Air India to Heathrow and then (I think) United to the USA, and Ryanair between Heathrow and Dublin, the entire ticket was about $1050.

      4.) Lonely Planet and Rough Guide, but for hotels only use their recs for the first night. After that find a cheaper, local, not-famous-with-travelers hotel.

      5.) Open Jaw tickets are your friend. We saved so much by flying into Panama City and out of Guatemala City rather than flying in and out of one place. It may be cheaper to buy each ticket separately.

      6.) Always pick a hotel for the first night that offers some kind of airport pickup, either free or reduced rate. Airport-to-city is one of the most expensive trips you’ll take on vacation so it makes sense to take care of this with your hotel. You won’t know the area well so trying to get to your hotel on an airport bus is usually a bad idea (I did OK in Prague though), and airport taxis in many countries are the prime places where foreigners get fleeced – esp. India, Cairo, Manila etc.. Exceptions are airports right on the metro lines like Hong Kong, London, Tokyo Narita and Singapore. I can’t remember if Istanbul’s airport is connected by metro but I think it is. We arrived VERY early and were VERY tired.

      7.) Try for overnight transport if you are a good sleeper. Overnight buses, trains, ferries and flights are great for saving money on hotels if you can sleep under those conditions (watch your belongings in some countries – I got pickpocketed on an overnight bus in Turkey).

      I could think of more but that’ll do.

      • SamanthaNichole

        Incredible. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this all out! I can’t wait to check out your suggestions!

    • SamanthaNichole

      Wow!! Thank you all sooooo much for your advice. I really really appreciate it. There’s lots of stuff here that I didn’t know about so I will be looking into all of this more closely!

    • Hope

      For accommodation I have tried many things to save money for travel in Europe, Australia and the US.

      Hostels are a good place to meet fellow travellers and they’re often available and cheap in expensive cities. I don’t stay in hostels anymore as I’m willing to pay a little more money to not share a room with strangers.

      Couchsurfing is fantastic but is much more about the experience than just a free place to stay. You need to be willing to engage with your host which is sometimes too much for introverted me. I had a great time doing this as I was specific in my search requirement for who I would stay with – no 20 year olds living in college dorms! I stayed with families, retired people, professionals and I took my retired dad along with me on one trip.

      Airbnb works best for me if I’m going to an expensive place and will be staying a few days or longer. My husband is also willing to use this method.

      Home Exchanges worked great for our family. There is a lot of trust involved but you get benefits such as age appropriate toys for kids, bikes, etc. These are often in more suburban locations so you feel part of the local community.

  • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

    Man, reading everybody’s thoughts on travel gets me So Jazzed. My partner and I travel well together, which we’ve discovered through one spring break vacation (7 hrs by car), a couple flights from our current city back to visit family, and perhaps most importantly, driving a 17 ft U-Haul with a full car trailer 21 hrs to move, with subsequent 21 hr car trips made to visit family over the past two years. I’m always so grateful that we can travel really well together. In fact, the biggest problem we have is that he’s too restless in planes for me to sleep on his shoulder.

    We both want travel to be a bigger part of our lives, but right now we’re figuring out what that means and what we need to do to build such a life. We daydream about trips a lot. He gets to travel to conferences regularly for school, but without paid vacation, I really don’t get to take long trips much. I had a long trip to Cali planned for the fall, but then I got a new job and that plan didn’t work anymore. My new job gives me limited paid vacation, but I think it will make me FEEL more free to take trips (like accompany him on conferences), even unpaid.

    Actually, as I’ve been reading, this is another big reason for the two of us to get a solid financial plan going. It always seems like one or the other of us can go, but as a team, I think we could travel together more often. Going abroad is intimidating to me– to date, I’ve only been abroad with a study group or with a good friend at my destination– and I’m much more confident exploring when I have a buddy.

    Plus, I love when we can get out of our regular routines and just be ourselves together. No other responsibilities, roles, or “shoulds” to take care of, no one else watching.

  • kim

    Berlin!! It is frickin’ awesome (also with kids, extraordinarily kid-friendly and relaxed), you will love it. I came here 3 years ago…for a 1 year working holiday…still here and not leaving anytime soon.

    Travel was never on the table growing up with non-traveller parents in Australia. I took my first trip solo to Japan at 18 and was hooked. I make it a priority in many ways and it is integral to my marriage – travelling is like a reminder of how well we work together as a team, which is a huge boost to my perception of the ‘health’ of our marriage. We left Australia 2 weeks after we got married, spent 7 weeks camping, couch surfing and hotelling across the States before landing in Berlin without jobs, contacts or any idea how to have a conversation. That first 6 months was way intense. But it was also incredibly beneficial to our communication and knowing that we could rely upon each other. Also, to our stash of travel stories :-)

    Travelling with my husband made me aware of how true the old cliche is – home really is wherever we both are, whether that’s at a backyard cricket match in Australia, a campground in Montana or our kitchen in Berlin.

  • Rachel

    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized travel just isn’t that important to me anymore. I studied abroad and LOVED IT but I also feel like that satisfied me for a while. Also, the physical discomfort/anxiety of air travel has really started to get to me. It’s not super important to Eric either, so that’s good. But we do really, really love road trips. We may even do a road trip honeymoon because it’s kinda becoming our thang.

    We’re flying to MI for a wedding next week and trying something new…flying with our dogs. (Cheaper than boarding them, isn’t that nuts?!) I really hope they do okay!! Any tips from other pet owners with dogs who are frequent fliers?

    • Shelly

      Ok, I don’t have a dog (and thus have never traveled with one), but my boss moved her dog internationally once, and one of the tips she received seemed really interesting to me. Someone recommended that she decorate the dog’s cage with a cute little poster that says something like “Hi, my name is Scrappy! I like a nice scratch behind the ears” I think this really pertained to dogs that fly separate from the passenger compartment, since there are different people who will handle the pet at each airport. Knowing a name/personality helps them connect with the dog, and can ease the process for the pooch.

      Good luck!

    • http://www.galiciamerican.com JESS

      We did a road trip for our honeymoon (Utah, Nevada, Arizona, & Colorado) and it was awesome! We did a lot of awesome things (like ride in a hot air balloon), but we also really loved the in-between driving days where we just looked at beautiful scenery, listened to music, and plotted what we wanted to eat next.

      You can read about it in excrutiating detail if you’d like, here:
      http://www.galiciamerican.com/2013/07/wild-west-adventure-part-3.html

  • Amy March

    My first big travel experience was at 3 years 11 months. After a flight from Sydney to LA in economy, my family was upgraded to business class for the LA to Boston red eye. I have no memory of the flight, but my mother assures me I spent the entire time naked and screaming. I’m always charitable to kids on flights because I figure most of them aren’t nearly as bad as I was!

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    I have a love/hate relationship with travel. I love being in new places and having new experiences. I hate packing, missing things that happen while I’m out of town, and how expensive things can get. but generally, I love travel.

    I’d assumed that travel would be a thing for us, since travel was how we got together. I traveled to Boston, where we met. The two of us road-tripped to Nova Scotia, were we got together. The years after that involved much back and forth to visit each other (and then to visit his people back home when he moved to me) and other interesting trips.

    However, when I brought up the idea of places we would travel when we were married, he revealed that he isn’t actually a fan of travel. Generally for the same reasons in my love/hate. He is perfectly content to settle in at home playing a computer game or just hanging out with friends.

    Fortunately, some of his very good friends are also fans of travel, so I may be able to keep him at it, having them as co-conspirators.

  • Pamela

    I’m not sure how I feel about travel. I went to Russia and Ukraine fifteen years ago, when I was seventeen, and while that trip was life changing (for a variety of reasons), it was not fun (also for a variety of reasons). I had massive culture shock and homesickness, and did I mention I don’t speak Russian? So I felt very isolated. Though, I mean, St. Basil’s Cathedral was pretty awesome, though much smaller than I imagined it would be, and the Kiev Caves Lavra was amazing – somewhat creepy, perhaps, but amazing.

    Just a couple of months ago, my husband and I went to Scotland, and that was gorgeous! It is sooo beautiful there – just riding the bus or whatever was an adventure. At the same time, I found it emotionally difficult – perhaps we tried to do too much? I just felt very unsettled. I really really like routine and predictability, so it was hard to be flexible and adapt. We both learned things about ourselves, and we had a great time, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t easy. Although I did learn to like scotch after touring Laphroaig, so that was pretty great (though now my husband has to share his stash!!)

    Our vacations usually involve a drive to the coast or the mountains (woo hoo for CA!) and wine tasting and lots of relaxing with books and things. I think that international travel will be something that we do every 10 years or so, but it won’t be the bulk of our vacations.

    • Beth

      I totally get the difficulty of traveling. That’s actually one of things I like about it – it really pushes me out of my comfort zone, but I’m usually rewarded by seeing awesome things. I think I’ve had difficult moments on every trip I’ve been on, really.

      Have you considered doing some sort of guided tour? It’s not for everyone, but it can be great for countries where you don’t speak the language because you’ll have a guide with you to do the hard work and point you in the right direction. There is less flexibility, but you have a schedule to follow, so it may help you to feel like you have a bit of a routine or plan each day.

  • Beth

    Growing up, both my parents were teachers during a recession, so our travel was mostly car/camping trips. We took at least one car trip every summer (usually to one national park or another) and usually flew across the country once a year to see our grandparents. It really instilled a love of simple travel in me and for that, I’m grateful.

    I had the opportunity to go to Peru when I was 15 and that expanded my love of travel to international destinations. I’ve been lucky enough to do a good amount of international travel now, but time off has been the biggest obstacle. Lately, most trips are weekend trips. Luckily the Bay Area has a wealth of amazing locations within a half-day’s drive, so it has kept my husband and I pretty busy.

    Other than traveling to see family during the holidays and weekend trips, we’ve only taken two big trips together – both made possible by free flights via airline miles (yay for travel hacking!). One was to Argentina and one was to Alaska for our honeymoon. Our trip to Argentina confirmed for me that we have a good partnership. I think the way people travel together tells a lot about their compatibility and I was very happy to find that we did a pretty good job of it! I previously dated someone who did not deal well with being in a non-English speaking country and we almost broke up outside a bar in Barcelona.

    I don’t know what will happen when we have kids. I know people who travel all the time with their babies and I know people who have never left the Bay Area – but I think it just depends on your priorities. If travel is a priority, you’ll make it happen. For my friend who hasn’t left the area, she grew up in the East Bay, but had never even been over the Golden Gate until she was in college. She uses her child as an excuse for why they don’t go anywhere, but I think, really, travel is just not a priority. I hope I am able to make it happen, even with a child, but I’m hoping we’ll get to take one more big trip before we get to that point.

  • http://handstandwalking.wordpress.com Meredith

    This is…timely. These last few days Craigslist and I have become BFF as I rid myself of 90% of my possessions in preparation for a 12-ish month trip around the world. 12 months. 18 months. Forever. Who knows. A while. I guess you could say travel is important to me. I leave the US in exactly 7 days. I saved my money, quit my job and now everyday is Saturday!

    It wasn’t always like that though. Most of my childhood vacations were spent camping in or around national parks. In my mid to late teens I left the country 2 times, but I never craved traveling. I studied abroad in Argentina for 5 months and even then, traveling still wasn’t my thing. I spent 2 months in Southeast Asia after college graduation and while it was fun, it still didn’t instill the travel bug in me. I liked traveling but it wasn’t something I dreamed about or felt strongly about.

    Once I started working full time though, I thought about it all the time. I planned trips left and right. I went to Berlin for 11 days in early 2011, then later that year I went to Mexico for 4 days by myself. It was the Mexico trip that the idea of traveling long term and frequently came to me.

    Shortly after the Mexico trip I started brainstorming ways I could work for 9 months/ year and then travel for 3 months. As I was pondering this, I just thought “well why don’t I just travel for a whole year or so and then not worry about it.” It was like a moment of clarity and it became something I had to do.

    Since then, the idea of long term travel had always been in the back of my mind. Last summer I went to France for 10 days and the whole time I thought about packing up my life and traveling. I didn’t do it though.

    In May of this year I went to Belize and it was that trip that convinced me I needed to do it Right. Now. 4 days after I got back I bought my one way ticket to New Zealand.

    Now here I am, sitting in a nearly empty apartment after giving away almost everything I have, packing up everything else and shipping it to my parents house. All I have left is my 50L backpack, my passport and my freedom.

    • Catherine McK

      Holy cow lady! Have an amazing adventure! Hope you check back in!

    • Beth

      Wow, I don’t know if I could do a full year of travel, but I’m still jealous! Have a fantastic voyage!

  • Riah

    Ooh. I love me some travel (says the girl who’s lived on four continents). My fiancé and I are currently living in Tanzania, where we met, so that makes the idea of travel seem different. Right now we’re at my parent’s in Wisconsin, which while kind of home is also definitely a vacation. I’m also getting weirdly excited about our Delaware honeymoon next month. Maybe not the most exciting, but it should be a nice change of pace and it gives us a chance to be alone together and to enjoy America in our month back home. Then we might take a nice trip for a weekend when we’re back in Tanzania. And then after that we’re taking a belated honeymoon/anniversary trip to Southeast Asia sometime during the first year of our marriage. I’m super excited about it. The one big trip we’ve taken together so far (to Morocco, with a stop on the way in Istanbul) was incredible, and I’m really looking forward to a lifetime of travelling together.

  • K

    Used to travel. We tried with our son, but it wasn’t enjoyable enough to justify the cost. Being inside or in a car is boring for him, and airplanes and trains are far too exciting to sleep. That leaves us with … outside! He loves to be outside, and we decided that, other than visiting family, we will only go camping. We found a county park 40 minutes away that has toilets(!), trails, a river, and a playground. There are also restaurants within walking distance that meet our vegan, gluten-free dietary needs. I pack a cold breakfast, drinks, and snacks, but otherwise we get food in town. In October, we’re splurging ($50/night) on a furnished, heated yurt!

  • april

    One of my favorite things to do is take my fiance places I’ve been before. It gives me a whole new perspective on them — like I’m seeing them through his eyes.

  • Jacquelyn

    Travel, the most expensive hobby I have but the most fulfilling. FH and I just booked a last minute trip to Albuquerque, NM just 3 months shy of our wedding. Probably not the best for our budget but we plan on making it an amazing trip despite that. Risk, sure, but the reward is there too :)

  • Remy

    Traveling: just not my bag, baby. I much prefer to stay home — for me, having time off work (and maybe having no housework at the same time) is a vacation in itself! Although I am very excited about a road trip along the coast (SF – Seattle – Vancouver) that we’re taking next spring, and have been planning for more than a year already. Kind of a deferred honeymoon.

    Growing up, my family took vacations now and again — hours of car travel was the usual, and flights were considered normal although less frequent. We went car camping; we drove through Death Valley and visited the Grand Canyon; we went to Hawaii for most of a week. Two weeks in Germany once, to visit relatives. My mom dragged us through a tour of some of the Ivies, or from home (Bay Area) to Cabo San Lucas. Actually, it was my mom dragging me/us everywhere that I mostly objected to. *She* has a love of travel. I was not a fan. (And, yeah, I get that I was spoiled… but I would much rather have let someone else take the trip in my place while I stayed home and lounged around reading.)

    In college I took the Greyhound for a 12-hour trip home from college. It was simply transportation, not leisure. I expect I’ll take my future kids places because family members (one set of grandparents, for example) are spread out. I wouldn’t mind going camping when they’re old enough to pull their own weight. Someday I’d like to take a cruise (probably without little ones). But most travel options just don’t speak to me.

  • http://www.ronmphoto.com Ron

    Married travel is the best. There’s a line where too much can be too much, but it’s worth it! Nothing better to keep things fun, fresh and exciting!

  • Caroline

    I really want to travel more. I grew up traveling some, but it was usually fairly luxury (by our current standards). My dad and I went to New York every six months, and stayed with my Great-Aunt and -Uncle, we lived in Amsterdam for 7 weeks (it was supposed to be a year but my parents marriage was falling apart and that was too much pressure for a breaking marriage), we went to Hawaii a lot and my mom and I went to France together. We also did a little travel more locally, to LA, Yosemite, Arizona, I guess you could say we traveled a lot.

    One thing I’ve found about travel is that sometimes the hardest travel feels like the best in hindsight. Amsterdam? That was a hard, ugly, messy trip. My mom was hitting the alcohol harder and harder (she went to rehab shortly after we got back), my parents weren’t getting along (they separated a year or two later), and I think mostly my parents remember it as being pretty crummy. I think it kind of was at the time, but my memories of it are great: I drank coke at midnight in a cafe on the sidewalk in Paris with my sister and the kids of a business partner’s of my dad we ran into, we went to carnival in a park in Paris and played on this giant trampoline thing, we saw this cool park which was miniatures of buildings throughout the Netherlands, my sister and I tried to convey that we wanted a diet coke for my dad to the lady selling snacks on the snack boat at this series of mini islands (she kept giving us chips!), and I just have so many memories of the trip.

    I took a trip to Israel last year which was amazing. I always wanted to travel solo, and I got to spend 5 days on my own at the end of a tour in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It was so hard but I had a great time and felt so accomplished. More solo travel is absolutely on my to-do list. Regular solo travel. Solo travel hint: I think it would have been better to travel solo then meet up with other people rather than travel solo after.

    I also really want my fiancé and I to travel together, before kids, and with kids. It’s hard to prioritize, because we have so little money, but I think I’m going to start earmarking a dollar here and there for travel, even if we don’t have a much. I really want to see the world, and show him the world, and I want to get in the habit of travel before kids so it is easier with kids.

  • http://lowehousecreative.com Elizabeth

    Another one of those “not at all driven by travel” people, but, maybe hilariously, my sister and I were the poster children for “you can definitely travel with your kids!” I took my first international flight when I was three months old, and we lived overseas on and off until I was thirteen (and traveled a ton while doing it.) I like traveling just fine, but for the most part I chose to spend my money, time, and energy on other things. I have whatever the opposite of fear of flying is (in that… I find it mostly boring? but sometimes kind of enjoyable downtime? and mainly an excuse to take a really long nap?) It’s probably worth noting that I travel domestically a lot, but tend to go to the same places (New York, Chicago, LA, all of which are places I have very close friends or family) and so don’t really “count” that as travel (or vacation, since I usually just work remotely while I’m doing it.)

    I’ve long suspected that part of my lack of drive around travel may be that, because I grew up traveling SO very much, it’s never seemed at all inaccessible to me (I totally realize that travel is not actually universally accessible, but also spent my life seeing that if you really, really make it a priority, like my parents did, starting when they were students putting themselves through school, then you can figure out how to do it). To me travel is just one of many things you can do, and while it can be really interesting and fun, there are downsides to it as well – when I started high school it was my fourth school and third continent in four years. That’s a crap load of big transition to learn to deal with, although there were some obvious great things that came from it too. And yes, clearly traveling and actually living overseas are super tied for me. :) So, travel’s not a priority for me right now, but it may become one again in the future, and, regardless, I don’t feel like I’m ever going to run out of time to do it – my parents are definitely traveling more now that my dad’s retired than they did for the 10 years before that.

  • Ali S

    I’ve really enjoyed reading this thread, but I don’t think I’ve found an answer to my question, so here goes!

    I’ve never been off the East Coast (US), and while my fiance has been a little further, he’s never been out of the continental US. All I’ve ever wanted to do was travel but I’ve never gotten a chance. So what is a good destination for first-timers?? Honeymoon recommendations, or places to just go whenever we get a chance? I can’t wait to start planning!!

    • KAT

      So many options, so hard to list just a few! I’m excited to see other responses to inspire my next trip!

      I’ve traveled mostly in central & south america, and western europe. but cinque terre, italy and the italian region of switzerland have special places in my heart. just beautiful. prague was also just oh-so-fun. i also really enjoyed ecuador, and it’s small and fairly easy to navigate around.

      in the US, do a southwest road trip! utah, arizona, new mexico, and colorado. such awesome variations in scenery, from the desert to high elevation pine forest.

      or maybe pick one of the big national parks out West (zion, grand canyon, glacier, etc) and set up a tent (or rent a room/cabin) for a week and explore it. the bigger ones have bus systems, dining halls, grocery stores, ranger exhibits, etc. so you have everything you need right there. and they’re just so stunningly beautiful.

      oh, and new zealand! i’ve never been. but its at the top of my list, so may as well mention it!

    • A

      How do you do around foreign languages? Make sure you can handle that. Also, do you want a beach or history, etc.?

    • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

      Well, my first major trip was India. Not sure I recommend that for first timers though!

      I’d start with something fairly easy but still enough of a challenge to make you feel like you can take on something bigger. Italy perhaps? Spain? Portugal? Prague? Greece? Istanbul is a good first-time trip, actually Turkey in general if you stay in Istanbul, on the west/south coast and Cappadocia (maybe save the no-English-speakers-and-more-crime eastern parts for later. We did it, but we’re seasoned travelers so landing in Sanliurfa and realizing there was quite literally not one other English speaker seemingly in the entire town was not a problem for us. Might freak you out).

      Actually, I can’t recommend Cappadocia enough! Spend a week in Istanbul and a week in Goreme. Magic.

    • april

      South Africa — Cape Town and the Garden Route.

      First, Cape Town is not what you’d expect. It’s an amazingly cosmopolitan city with a very European feel (except way more affordable), a lot of great history (visit the slave museum and Robben Island, where Mandela was imprisoned), and a really interesting mix of cultures (did you know that aside from native tribes and Eurpoeans, many South Africans are of Indian or Malaysian descent? true fact!). But then, there’s also a giant mountain in the middle for all your hiking and outside adventuring needs! A couple miles from the city there are beautiful winelands (and ostrich farms!) to tour, and a breathtaking coastline with excellent surfing. It’s really just the most fascinating, romantic, place I can think of. Bonus- everyone speaks English.

    • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

      I liked that my first trip to another country was an English-speaking one (I studied abroad in Ireland). It helped calm some of my anxiety about how different it would be. So maybe take that into consideration for a first out-of-country trip if you aren’t good with other languages?

    • Erin E

      I have some friends that went on one of those mediterranean cruises for their first trip abroad. I know opinions on cruises vary and it may not be for you, but since my friends felt a little overwhelmed at the idea of even booking travel in a foreign country for the first time, a cruise was kinda perfect – structured and easy with day trips to cities in Italy, Spain… beautiful places. They enjoyed it and now feel more comfortable with the idea of traveling on their own. It sounded like a good starter option!

    • MDBethann

      I would recommend the UK or Ireland. Both are relatively close from the East Coast, about 5 hours or so by plane, and they are beautiful (though I haven’t been to Ireland myself). It gives you a chance to experience another country and get used to foreign travel without having to worry about language barriers (though British English is a bit different than American English). My first overseas trip was to England & Wales to visit my sister, who was studying in London at the time.

      Trip #2 was a church mission trip to Romania – that was a bit of a culture shock, but at least I had a foreign trip under my belt before and was with a group of much more experienced travelers.

      If you want a little more exotic, I would say Greece would be a good location as well. The Brits travel there a lot so they are used to English speakers and we didn’t have any problems communicating while we were there. The food is amazing and prices are fairly reasonable. You have the options of mainland Greece or the islands, but I will warn you that the roads are narrow & drivers are a bit less cautious there, so we were very grateful to be on buses during our travels there.

    • MDBethann

      We also did a Mediterranean cruise for our honeymoon – Venice-Dubrovnik-Greece-Turkey-Rome. We wanted to see a bunch of things without having to change hotels, so the convenience was nice, though we had to give up control of our itinerary & we didn’t get to indulge in local cuisines as much as we wanted to. But it was a great way to sample things and pick out places for future, in-depth trips.

      Venice itself was lovely & we spent a few days there before the cruise. I didn’t find it difficult to navigate, since it can all be done on foot & boats to outer islands are pretty easy to find.

    • Q

      Well, there’s an awful lot to see just in the U.S, not to mention the entire world. If either of you has anxiety about crowds/ pickpocketing/ food safety/ language/ public transit/ whatever, it might make sense to pick a place that only poses one or two of those challenges. If you’re good at navigating cities, most major international cities won’t pose too great of a challenge.

      Almost anywhere in Scandinavia would make a great starter trip- clean and easy to get around, but still “foreign.” Also expensive, though.

      I also highly recommend getting to Alaska to see the glaciers before they’re all gone. And the puffins! If you’re big museum and/or theater people, Dallas is worth a trip- the Kimbell is an amazing building, and the Aando designed museum next door is also spectacular. Plus Texas barbecue!

      I’m rooting for Istanbul or Buenos Aires for our next international trip, but I think my husband needs to work up to it (he’s only been to Canada and Amsterdam for international travel), so we’re probably looking at somewhere in Italy for our next round.

      We’ve got a big cross-country move coming up, so I”m trying to pick some cool destinations along the way. Arches National Park is definitely on the list. So many national parks to go see!

    • Ali S

      Oh my gosh thank you all for so many fun and exciting responses! I’m even more excited to jump in now!!

  • http://megandryan.wordpress.com Meg A-J

    My husband grew up in a family that didn’t travel and I grew up in a family that traveled a lot. I think the fact that I had traveled is actually one of the reasons we initially got together, back in college. We had both signed up for the same study abroad program and he was really nervous about it, as he had never been out of the country. Meanwhile, I had just spent 6 months in said country the year before, among other international trips for vacation.

    Since that study abroad experience more than 8 years ago, we have taken trips big and small together. Most have been jaunts to various US cities, mostly for weddings, but this past year we quit our jobs and spent the entire school year in Ayacucho, Peru, volunteering at Kids at the Crossroads, an educational program founded and run by my husband’s aunt.

    Though it was a challenging experience in many ways, I can honestly say that our marriage, our relationship, our connection, our shared history, has never felt stronger or deeper. We’re back in the US now, starting new jobs (and completely new careers in my husband’s case) and it is a time of great stress in many ways. I am so happy and grateful that we had this last year to spend practically every moment together. I know that’s not every couples cup of tea but for us it was a really amazing time that strengthened our relationship.

    As for children, we don’t have any yet. This trip to Peru and getting my Master’s in Spanish were two pre-child goals that I had, and accomplished in this past year. For me, the Master’s would have been very difficult to complete if kids were in the picture. However, having done it, I think it will be relatively easy for us to travel, or even live abroad, with children. We are actually talking about spending another year in Peru when our future kids are old enough to go to school there and I don’t think that’s something my husband would have thought possible prior to this year.

    I’m rambling now, but to sum it all up, for me, travel shows me what is possible and what I can do. I was just telling my mom the other day that I feel my most confident and that I’m my best self when I’m traveling and I can’t imagine that not being a part of my relationship.

  • http://www.superfantastic.blogs.com Superfantastic

    Berlin! I was not very excited about the Berlin part of my European backpacking trip with girlfriends several years ago and it turned out to be one of my very favorite places. I’d love to make it back someday.

    Love of travel is one of the things that brought Raj and me together. Both of our families did lots of road trips when we were kids and he’d been to India a few times to visit family. When we met, he was in his third year of med school, doing rotations in a different place every month. We met on his first rotation and almost every month after that, I traveled to meet up with him wherever he was and we’d explore together. I was a little nervous when I moved to DC and we’d live in the same place to see whether our relationship worked when we weren’t sort of on vacation. Fortunately, it does. We’ve taken tons of trips together, everything from camping to tea at the Plaza. For our honeymoon, we went to Burma en route to our new home in Okinawa. The biggest reason we wanted to get stationed here was so we could travel all over Asia. My next trip will be to meet his ship when they pull in to Hong Kong next month. I’ll likely spend a few days alone there since I booked a whole week and he’ll probably only be there for a few of those days (with the uncertainty on dates, it seemed safer to make sure we’d overlap as much as possible.) I was going to say that exploring in a foreign country would be a new thing for me, but then I remembered that I live in Japan and do things on my own frequently. We’re also going to Barcelona in November for a conference my husband is attending and I’ll be entertaining myself during the days.

    When we first moved here, a lot of the people we met with kids were telling us to get our travel in now because once we had kids, it would be over. But since then, we’ve met more people who just take the kids along and tell us that, while travel is different with kids, it’s still completely worthwhile. Which is a big load off both of our minds, because the idea of having to give up travel was a huge fear for both of us. I can’t tell you how reassuring it is to see so many of you here say that you’ve been able to travel with kids.

  • emma

    An earlier comment alluded to traveling differences with your partner. We both like travel and prioritize one vacation a year (he has a very limited window for time off). BUT we just have entirely different APPROACHES to travel. For him it’s relaxation, no plans, whatever happens, happens. For me I plan the flights, hotels, stalk Trip advisor, have a list of go-to restaurants I want to try, vaguely sketch daily plans etc. Almost every trip we’ve taken there’s friction b/c I want to find the.best.restaurant.possible (I’m not even a foodie, but we don’t eat out often so I want our money to be worth it!). I try to hold back planning with him but struggle, mostly because I know he won’t plan and I want our trip to be “worth it”. It’s as if I’m not content just being with my husband and too focused on creating moments. When traveling with friends I actually find it easy to take a back seat because another friend is usually doing the planning. I guess I just need to know someone is planning…but my husband is never going to be that person.

    Any one dealt with this/have any advise? We usually do one vacation a year and I’d like it to be enjoyable, for both of us, not stressful because one person feels there’s too much/too little planning.

    • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

      I am the super planner and don’t feel comfortable going somewhere without knowledge of the area, whereas planning stresses my husband out. BUT, he loves to travel and has seen first hand how much better the trips are when we have a more specific plan: we don’t end up wasting time figuring out what to do, don’t miss something awesome, don’t get stuck eating at mediocre places, etc..

      Luckily he is A-OK with my doing all the planning, then sending him an itinerary where he gets veto power.; I get all my joy out of the research (you know, they’ve found that part of the enjoyment of travel is the planning and anticipation!) and he doesn’t have to be as involved.

      I’ve found that having a plan with flexibility built in works best for both of us. I tend to pick one firm activity to do each day to make sure we hit our priorities/the highlights, with some “optional” things if we are up for it/have time, have a list of restaurants we’d like to seek out (definitely a foodie over here!), and build in time for just wandering. If we decide to just chill at the apt/hotel part of the day instead, or discover where I want to eat is too far out of the way, or stumble across something that looks fun or yummy, I have learned to just go with it, knowing our trip will be more enjoyable for both of us if we leave room for spontaneity, and that because of the plan, I will have seen/eaten at many of the places I most wanted, just maybe not all.

      So I guess my advice is: see if he is OK with you mostly planning, then leave room for flexibility and changing plans, and really be OK when that happens.

      • Rebecca

        We also have a “one thing a day” rule. That is, one big planned thing a day. The rest of the day is planned/ not planned on the fly. Or you go back to the hotel and take a nap/ veg out for a little.

        I also like having a restaurant short list, if only because I’m incapable of making decisions when I’m really, really hungry. But some of the best meals I’ve had while traveling have been spontaneous unresearched choices. So I try to find a balance.

        My husband is also stressed by planning. I enjoy planning, but I’m not necessarily a vacation optimizer- I trust that whatever choice I make will probably turn out fine, so I try to to stress to much about making the “best” choice.

    • Beth

      Yes yes yes. While my husband and I travel well together, this is the one area that I have a hard time with because while I am not a huge fan of doing all the planning, I know I’m going to want some kind of schedule once we’re actually there. He’s much more laid back, but he hasn’t done as much traveling as I have and there have been too many times where I’ve ended up missing out on seeing things I really wanted to see because I didn’t plan in advance. I’m definitely the type that wants to squeeze as much into my travel days as possible and he’s more of the type that wants to sleep in until 9am or 10am. I’ve just kind of learned that if I want to do something earlier in the day, I just need to tell him that’s what I want to do, and he can either come along with me or I’ll meet him later. He always comes along. :) And he’s helped me slow down a bit and take breaks throughout the days. This helps keep me from getting hangry and also keeps my feet from falling off.

  • Lisa

    Like you, Meg, married travel has recently taken on a whole new meaning for me as I look across the room at my two-month-old son peacefully sleeping (for now) in his bouncy chair. But as an American expat living in Australia, travel must remain a priority, firstly because we love it (that’s part of what spurred the whole move to the other side of the planet thing) and secondly because we have to get this kid home to meet his extended family.

    We’re glad we used our homebase here in Australia as a jumping off point for trips all around Asia over the last four-plus years. But for now, getting back to the States in November is at the top of the agenda. Curious for any tips people have for travelling with young (five-month-old) babies? My husband and I are travelling together on the way out, but I’ll be bringing our son home solo on the way back since my husband has to get back to work a few weeks earlier than we will return.

    • Amy March

      Book on an airline that can get you bulkhead seats with a bassinet for baby. And book now! Flights between Australia and the US fill up around the holidays.

      • http://www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com alloallo

        In the same situation (from the US, living in UK, so will definitely be doing international travel to take my babies home to meet family). What I recently unhappily learned is that they don’t guarantee the bulkhead bassinets at the time of booking! What horrible madness will be unleashed on travellers from London to San Francisco this coming december if the babies don’t have someplace to sleep, but fingers crossed they take pity on us as beleaguered twin parents :)

  • http://meaghantothemax.wordpress.com Meaghan

    What an interesting thread! In a lot of ways, my family does take travel for granted – not that we don’t appreciate it (most of my extended family has insane wanderlust) but that it’s always been such a fundamental part of life.

    Growing up, my relatives were usually posted abroad somewhere for work. In my single-parent household, we rented a tiny apartment and my mom drove a 1989 ford fiesta, but we somehow managed to always scrape together enough cash for a flight to see my family and explore a new country. Now I’ve taken up the torch and live/work overseas, as do some of my cousins.

    My husband and I have also made travel a big part of our life (besides, obviously, making him uproot and move around the world for my job).

  • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

    Travel is pretty much my life.

    When I was young, we never traveled. We pretty much never had the money. I was an accident: my parents had me one year after marriage, and had planned on waiting several more…but, well, HELLO! As a result, they had a kid when they were still in grad school, couldn’t afford to raise me and stay in school both time-and-money wise, so first my Dad quit to get a job, then Mom because she wasn’t able to raise me (I was a crier) and work on a thesis, and Dad’s salary was not enough. (Neither of them ever did finish). Because of this, they were always playing financial catch-up: I didn’t grow up comfortably middle class like my husband (we were middle class too, but we were always in danger of falling off the poorer edge of it. His family wasn’t). His family, incidentally, waited over a decade to have kids, after his dad was assured of getting his PhD and landing a tenure track po. So, when people say “don’t worry if you don’t feel you have enough money to raise kids now, you’ll make it work”, I kind of twist my lips. Whatever others do is fine, but my own experience causes me to disagree with that statement. Because making it work was REALLY hard for us, and life was a lot easier for them. They weren’t rich but they were ready. They never did settle into upwardly mobile careers – mom bounced around as a journalist, editor and economic development specialist. Dad worked in retail management and later, insurance adjusting.

    But what does that have to do with travel? Well, we never had a lot of money. We weren’t poor, not at all. But it meant we never really traveled. Until junior high I never left my “area” (New York/Connecticut/New Jersey/Eastern PA/Massachussetts – I think I went to Maine once as a kid), which is not that different from not having left California until one is 14 (considering how small those east coast states are). Our vacations, when we had them, were to Cape Cod, but we couldn’t afford to stay near the ocean – we always stayed a bit far from it and then drove to it to save money. Occasionally we went to the Jersey shore and stayed with my uncle.

    By high school I was determined to travel. My parents thought that was fine, but they figured I’d stick with ‘safe’ countries (i.e. “Western” countries, to them, and maybe Japan). I signed up for French Club and Tree Society trips to Canada (our school wasn’t wealthy enough to have a French Club trip to France, but Quebec is lovely). I signed up for a Youth Group housebuilding trip to the US Virgin Islands (I wasn’t religious then either, but I was made to go to church, so I figured I should make the most of it). I cajoled my parents into RSVPing “yes” for my uncle’s wedding in England. It cost them a lot of money, but we did go. ANYTHING to travel – the one thing I never got to do as a kid. I fretted about it often, because it seemed so *expensive* and so *infeasible* from my childhood experience.

    (My husband, on the other hand, was born in Canada, traveled a bit as a kid, and his parents traveled too, for work or fun. He grew up assured that travel was something he could do if he wanted to, and it wouldn’t be that hard to make it happen).

    I was so intent on traveling that I majored in International Affairs with the idea that I’d join the foreign service, and stuck with that idea long after it became evident that the foreign service was not the right fit for me (I can’t work to support foreign policies I don’t agree with, and I prefer to choose for myself where to go and how long to stay…and I don’t handle bureaucracy well. I’m also, shall we say, not very diplomatic).

    I have no idea why it became so important for me to travel when nobody else I knew was really into it: always wanting what you don’t think you can have? Dunno. But in college I signed up for a semester in India, paid for by the university. My parents were aghast (neither has ever been to a developing country and they tend to see the world as a bit dangerous, despite being otherwise worldly and educated people. Don’t know why), but figured “she won’t like it much and will come home early, or will finish off the semester never wanting to do something like that again”. Well, I LOVED INDIA SO VERY MUCH and they were aghast all over again when my first e-mail home – back before Internet was as commonplace as it is now – was all about how GREAT India was and how I NEVER wanted to leave and how ridiculously fascinating and enlivening it was to have the chance to go there.

    So after graduation I turned down a full-time offer at the place I was working part time (financial planning firm) and went to China for a year to teach English. I loved some things about China – traveling there was great – but didn’t love living there – so after a year I hit the road and backpacked home through Korea, SE Asia, India (again), Bangladesh, England and Ireland.

    At this point my family was happy that I was happy, but also a bit afraid – I had a taste for places they thought of as “exotic” and “dangerous” (I found them to be eye-opening and fascinating) and travel habits are expensive. How was I ever going to achieve what they never could: a stable, upwardly mobile ‘white collar’ job, the kind with promotions and corner offices and dress codes and expense accounts?

    After China, I tried working in finance again (easy to get a job as that was my college work experience) but I was restless and my performance suffered. I tried traveling on annual leave – went back to India, went to Prague, did a Houston-DC road trip with a friend. But something wasn’t right, and 13 days of use-it-or-lose-it annual leave, however generous, was just not going to work for me. Which meant the entire corporate lifestyle was not going to work for me. Not a good sign, according to others.

    So I took a second job to save money (teaching English to immigrants in the DC area), realized I actually liked teaching more than finance or really any office job, picked up and moved to Taiwan and got a teaching certification so I could teach without feeling like an impostor (even though I was always good at it, the training helps and I intend to continue).

    I’ve been traveling ever since. Since I moved here in 2006, and I’ve/we’ve been (in order) to Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Macau, India (again!), Egypt, Turkey, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Shanghai (back to China, briefly – Taiwan is not the same as China, so…) and Sri Lanka. Next year we’re going to Myanmar!

    By traveling, I not only discovered a career – teaching – but also a lifestyle. I’d much rather spend a few thousand on a trip to Myanmar than buy a designer bag. I’d rather spend several weeks in Turkey than do a custom redecoration on our apartment. I’d rather live in Taiwan than the USA (we also have nationalized health insurance. Sorry Americans). And of course I got married along the way to my best friend from college, who also loves travel but never saw it as this unattainable utopian ideal the way I did. Before him, I actually broke up with a guy I really cared for because his life outlook vis-a-vis travel was so vastly different from mine that it was just not going to work.

    And now – we don’t have kids, and don’t want them. Part of it is just that we don’t want them, and that’s all. Part of it is that I know this: while we have the money to travel together, with a kid we’d be traveling a lot less. The money just wouldn’t be there, not after the expenses of child-rearing and the additional expenses of traveling with a child. We make it happen for us but the budget won’t stretch any further. Of course this is not our #1 reason for not having kids – if we wanted them we’d have them anyway – but it is pertinent.

    I know this has been a very long post, but really, travel has been such a big part of my life: from wanting it without even knowing what it entailed, to making it happen even when I had no money of my own, to watching my yen for it literally change my career and my life (beyond marriage and work, travel has also been the reason why I now speak Chinese more-or-less fluently, and it has affected my friendships back home. It’s also changed me personally as I’ve adjusted to life in a very different culture).

    So it’s not just travel – it’s really everything, and travel is at the center of it all. That’s how important it is to me.

    • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

      Heh. “tenure track po” should be “position”.

  • http://laorencha.blogspot.com channamasala

    Also, I can’t speak for traveling with/without kids, but I can speak for traveling solo or coupled, especially as a woman (we get treated quite differently abroad than men, in countries with more ‘traditional’ outlooks, and quite differently depending on whether we’re alone, with a man or with other women).

    I wrote a blog post on it: http://laorencha.blogspot.tw/2011/08/on-traveling-solo-or-coupled.html

    This isn’t to try to publicize my blog – really. I just think it’s quite relevant.

  • http://agirlandhertravels.com Polly

    This is a great topic, and I’m excited it surfaced so soon after starting to read this blog! I’m getting hitched in December to a Russian (I’m American) and we’ve already found the limitations on a multi-passport, pro-travel couple. (Europe and the States are not big on Russians, even when married to a national!)

    Anyone else struggled with a similar situation?

    I’m someone who doesn’t want to have kids — precisely because of the limitations it places. Who knows, maybe it will change at some point.

  • js

    Travel is extremely important to me. My family never went anywhere but camping so the first time I hopped on a plane I was 21. I swore that would not be the case with my kiddo. She was four the first time we took a 7+ hour flight to California from Michigan. Not a baby, but certainly a young traveler. The key for us is comfort and entertainment. This has changed over the years, obviously, but we always pack a bag for the car (plane, train, whatever) full of the things she loves from home, things to keep her busy and snacks. My sister-in-law takes two kids under the age of two back and forth from Wisconsin to California and while it’s certainly an adventure, it’s also totally worth it for the kids to regularly see Grandma and Grandpa. Also, I feel that a person who is well-traveled is getting an invaluable education, not just in different culture but in how to be a more well-rounded individual. Plus, I love the feeling I get when I know I’m going somewhere, the thrill I get being in an airport for pleasure, the lurch my heart gives every time we ascend. I simply love it and my girl does, too.

  • Kestrel

    Man, all of these people who travel so much….

    I grew up in the Midwest in a family of 4 with a stay-at-home mom and a breadwinner dad who was paid perfectly adequately, but that was about it. We never had to worry where our next meal was coming from, but we didn’t have a lot of extra money lying around. We did go on some road trips when I was younger, but that mainly just consisted of going to see the Great Lakes and the Upper Peninsula (which I LOVE) as we lived in Michigan.

    I did get to go to Atlanta a couple times as well as Florida and Houston once for robotics competitions when I was in middle and high school. But that wasn’t really travel as you didn’t have the time to see more than the area where it was held.

    While I have been out of the country (Canada – I grew up in Detroit. Soooo doesn’t count, Windsor’s just the next city over) I don’t have a passport and I’ve never really even been west of the Mississippi. I wanted to study abroad in college, but couldn’t because I had to work (my parents were not well off enough to help pay much for school as my dad had taken early retirement (auto industry collapse), but too well off for any financial help)

    Something I’m really excited about though is to eventually travel with my SO. Both of us happen to be engineers and come from relatively humble backgrounds, so we have a low expectation for lifestyle (like, if we can have a dishwasher AND a washer and dryer, we’ll be thrilled). Theoretically, if we keep the modest lifestyle we can manage to travel quite a bit, if we get enough vacation.

    • Kestrel

      Whoops, and by family of 4, I mean 4 kids, so family of 6

    • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com emily alt

      I’m a huge believer that travel within the state of Michigan is the BEST travel there is! I grew up in Michigan too and just moved back after 7 years in Chicago. I think I love Michigan more than any place in the world–where are you from?

  • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

    First, a little jumping up and down and squealing that I leave THIS SUNDAY for 2 weeks in Germany! Munich and hiking in the alps, some down time in the Mosel wine and castle country, and Berlin!

    Travel is super, super important to me. My family couldn’t afford to do much traveling, other than driving to see extended family and the occasional camping trip in surrounding states. I was in junior high the first time I flew and in college before I ever left the country, to study abroad in Ireland, and I was hooked.

    My husband also likes to travel. We are compatible travel companions in that I get great joy out of the dreaming/researching/planning phase (I may or may not start Google docs for future destinations that I then dump into anything I want to remember when I ACTUALLY get to plan a trip there (blog and magazine story links, recs, etc.), and he is happy to just show up for the trip. We both love doing the same things – destinations are often chosen around the food and drink, with hiking, pretty scenery, and historical/cultural sites coming in behind that. We both like a good balance of go-go-go with some down time to relax and recuperate.

    One of the reasons (not the main reason, of course, but a reason, for sure) we’ve decided not to have kids is to travel more. I know a lot of people travel with kids, but this way, we have more resources and time and flexibility to do so. We aim for 1 big vacation and a few long weekend trips a year, in addition to the family and friend travel for holidays/weddings/etc.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      I’m totally stealing that Google Docs idea- so smart!

      • http://breadandcheeseplease.com Charise

        It is the BEST! It speaks to the type A and wanderlust in me.

        I mean, I know we want to go to Scotland and England in a couple years. But, I won’t remember that this one travel blog post last year had good lesser-known tourist stops, or that one of my food mags included a few awesome sounding restaurants a couple months are. Or maybe I just got bored at work and started searching tripadvisor, chowhound, and the travel guide sites. ;)

  • http://www.emilyaltphotography.com emily alt

    I feel like my entire relationship with my husband is built around travel–and we were just talking about this last night when we met up with a fellow APWer in Michigan (super fun, highly recommended!).

    When we first started dating we went on a pretty uneventful 2 week long road trip in a tiny Jetta. That was cool. Then, after we had dated for about 3 years, we took a 1200 mile bike ride from Seattle to San Diego in November. LOTS of rain. LOTS of meth houses. LOTS of dogs chasing us. LOTS of tears on my part. After that we went to Southeast Asia for 2 months. This was probably the trip that sealed it all for us. When we were there Ian almost died.

    Like really, not like he got a bad stomach bug–like, he has this kidney condition called Renal Tubular Acidosis which is a fancy way of saying his kidneys don’t work correctly. So one more, at 5am, he sat down on the bed next to me in a tiny, remote beach town in the South of Thailand and told me that if he didn’t get to a hospital in the next couple of hours, he was going to die. Which was a really rad way of waking up. So I got a water taxi, put him on my back and CARRIED him to the taxi (since he couldn’t walk because the condition moves rapidly through one’s body and prevents a person from using their arms and legs properly, eventually shutting down your heart)–got him to a airport. Booked 2 tickets to Bangkok (an hour flight), called his mom from a pay phone and told her what was happening, which of course caused her to break down into tears, got him on the plane, got him off the plane, got him into a taxi, in gridlocked Bangkok afternoon traffic, and, several hours later, watched as a cab driver carried him into the ER at Bumrangrad Hospital in downtown Bangkok.

    He stayed in the ICU for 3 days, totally unable to move, yet aware of everything. After 3 days, he could finally start to move his muscles again as the potassium drip took effect. Shortly after he could walk, we booked ourselves on the next flight back to the US.
    Now, thankfully, this all happened in Thailand, because we didn’t have health insurance (I know, I know!) and his total bill for 5 days of ICU care and life saving procedures was…wait for it….$2300. YES, I know.

    So after that travel experience we stayed home for a bit. But we’re back out there traveling as much as possible–getting the Airstream ready for the 3 month roadtrip around the US this winter–and we are definitely known among our group of friends as the nomads who can’t stay in one place for too long.

  • http://www.thequestionnowbecomes.blogspot.com alloallo

    this has been inspiring. so much so that we’ve just decided that yes, we can manage to take our to-be 4 month old twins on a trip to portugal. partly its the stuff needed for two non-breastfeeding babies that’s put us off but we found a reputable website for baby-friendly self-catering properties that we’re going to try: http://totstotravel.co.uk/
    have sterilisers and travel cribs etc so that makes it all a lot easier. oh god, the stuff. but it hasn’t put us off yet (away for several weekend trips even with two very tiny babies, a lot of work but well worth it as travel has always been a big priority for us as a couple and now as parents).

    • Bethany

      Crazy awesome. Hard to imagine traveling with our 1 yo twins!

  • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

    You know, it’s funny how our road to having children is so entwined with travel. We got engaged on a trip to Brussels in 2009. We honeymooned in Montreal in 2010. We went to England in the spring of 2011 and decided that it was then that we’d officially start trying to have a baby. It was exciting and wonderful and the trip felt like a jumping-off point…and it was: into the uncertain land of infertility, eventually. In 2012 we didn’t take any big trips abroad like we would have liked because we had to spend money on the RE. Well, not had to, but wanted to. This year…we’re suddenly getting ready to travel to Brno in the Czech Republic for IVF (because it turns out IVF costs 2k over there instead of 10k here).

    Every trip abroad or outside the US we’ve taken has been at some crucial/important life-jumping-off-point for us. I can hope luck will be on our side in 2013 and that I’ll take at least one fertilized egg home with me as a, uh, carry-on.

    Travel, it seems, is part of Our Story, whether we want it to be or not.

    • MDBethann

      I’m intrigued by traveling to the Czech Republic for less expensive IVF. We may have to head down that road ourselves in the next year or so. Are there websites or journals to check out that provide info on safe places like that to have those procedures done? We were thinking we’d have to give up or curtail our travel if we go the IUI or IVF route, but apparently maybe not….

      • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

        A relative referred us to the Reprofit clinic in Brno and so we are going based on family experience :)

        • MDBethann

          Thanks and best wishes!

  • http://ksbooks.wordpress.com Keisha

    I don’t cry at most of the post here, but this one got me. I’m 24 and still haven’t been out of the country. I was 16 before I left my home state (a road trip with family to visit family in a neighboring state) and 18 before I flew. Until I started dating my then boyfriend/now husband I didn’t know anyone with a passport and didn’t even see one until this month when my sister-in-law remembered to bring hers home to show me!

    International travel both terrifies me (go go mini-panic attacks when I even start thinking about all the logistics of planning a trip) and inspires me more than anything. Husband traveled internationally once in high school to Italy & Greece, and doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to go back. His sister works for months at a time in Africa and specifically schedules her flights for long layovers in new countries, and she’s honestly my hero for traveling so much.

    • MDBethann

      I think you should try a fairly simple overseas trip, like a city in the UK or Ireland, or maybe even South Africa (an earlier commenter said it’s gorgeous & less expensive than Europe). Perhaps your sister-in-law can meet you there and explore with you, to help lessen your anxiety. And if you pick a city, like London or Edinburgh or Dublin, there will be plenty of things to do and see without having to plan much outside of a hotel or B&B (B&Bs are great there b/c they usually include a full breakfast, so you can get away with a very light lunch). The cities have great public transit so you don’t have to worry about a car & you can’t go wrong with food in any city in the British Isles.

      In terms of flying, Dublin & London are huge transit hubs, so you can usually get direct flights from East Coast or Midwest US hubs to either city, further reducing the logistics. Once there, you wander around and see what you can see. There’s no way to see everything in London in one trip, but as other posters suggested, pick the things that intrigue you the most and then otherwise see whatever else you can in your remaining time (i.e. plan 1 thing a day & be spontaneous about the rest).

      Good luck!

  • Rebecca

    I’m not sure why family road trips don’t count as travel for so many commenters. My family did some killer road trips when I was a kid. One was a trip east to see “real fall colors”- we went through a whole bunch of states, saw Mammoth Caves (totally awesome, must see), a random parade in some small town, all sorts of stuff. We also did a week around our state, which is an awesome thing to do- it’s amazing how easy it is to skip all the awesome stuff there is to see right around you. Eg. I’ve lived in Seattle for three years and haven’t been to Mt. Rainier. Ahem. I saw Mesa Verde, Dinosaur National Park, rode on the Silverton railroad- all sorts of stuff. Those are still some of my favorite trips I’ve ever taken. I didn’t set foot out of the country until I was 21, but I never felt like I didn’t get to travel as a kid. I can’t even imagine how much more expensive flying would have been. Given that a shocking number of people I run into on a day to day basis are totally unfamiliar with the midwest and farming, I also count visiting my grandparents on their farm as a highly educational repeat travel experience.

    My mom didn’t take her first international trip until I was a teenager (she made up for it with her first major trip- three weeks on a cruise up the coast of South America. I did not get to go along). . My grandparents would pack up all five kids in the camper and drag them to whatever national park struck my grandpa’s fancy. I still haven’t seen half as much of the country as my mom has. Travel- you don’t have to get on a plane to do it!

  • Bethany

    Travel is important to my husband and I but having one year old twins, a reduced income from going part-time and a husband who is a little scared of flying (it’s gotten worse in the six years we’ve been together) has put a damper on our traveling. That said I want to do some significant vacation next year as we both turn 40. Any suggestions for a good place to go with two year olds? I like the ocean, he likes the mountains, we both enjoy nature and cities. Pre-babies we spoke about South America but that seems like a stretch now. Maybe the Yucatan peninsula? I saw people talk about Costa Rica– any idea of whether it is doable with kids? (I don’t even know what cities they have there!)

    Great thread! Very inspiring. Meg I love the travel you’ve done with baby. Before our guys were born my husband made me promise we wouldn’t take them on the plane until after they’re one. :/ So mid-September will be our first plane trip with babies, OAK-> ORD. Fingers crossed it goes smoothly!

  • Katie

    “Now more than ever do I realize that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere.” Isabelle Eberhardt

    Travel has permeated my life so much that pieces of my heart are scattered around the globe. It is a blessing and a curse to be happy everywhere yet to know that there are a thousand other places of happiness, which lead to a longing to be elsewhere. I often find myself imagining my life in different places I have lived, picturing what my life would be like at this or that point in time if I would have continued to live there. I am satisfied with my choices but feel torn apart by having ‘families’ everywhere, and not enough time to visit them and also meet the new friends I know are awaiting me in places I have yet to visit or call home.

    I don’t think I will ever lose the love to travel. However, after marrying last year, and starting a new job in March that involves a lot of travel (based in DC but currently writing from Uganda), I feel differently about being away from home. I am not a natural nester. My parents have moved a number of times and I have uprooted myself many times as well. When I got married, all of my possessions fit in my small car. Before getting married, I would have been satisfied with being away from home for months at a time. Now, I am on a 3 week trip and it is hard to be away from my husband. I think, of the two of us, he has the raw deal because I am busy and in an interesting place. It is challenging to tackle these new challenges on our relationship but I am so grateful for a partner who supports me in my work and is happy for me to have rich experiences.

    We travel exceedingly well together on road trips, international trips, etc. I intend to travel with children when we have them. Having been in the Peace Corps, and continuing to work in international development, it is extremely important to me to expose my children to developing countries from a young age to see how blessed we are in the U.S. My parents involved me in volunteering from the time I was young and I can’t imagine raising children any other way after working and living with the poor.

    I would love to live abroad again. It is my passion and working in development from the home office feels so far removed from getting your hands dirty in a project. I have no qualms about raising children outside the U.S.- indeed, it can be very affordable to hire help in the developing world that is not feasible in the U.S. Though Jared is supportive of this and we both decided that we’d be willing to live abroad, I worry about career satisfaction. If he were to move abroad for my career, what would he do? Would he be happy if he couldn’t find satisfying work, and vice versa if he were the one to find a role abroad? I suppose this is veering off topic but I think of travel and my thoughts naturally wonder to living abroad again.

    I would encourage anyone that’s spent time traveling in Europe yet had the inclination to be more adventurous to go beyond the norm. In addition to tourist trips, there are a lot of “volunteer vacations” or off the beaten path things to do. In Uganda, I went kayaking on the Nile (the Nile!) this past Sunday. It was amazing! I can’t wait to go to our Kenya office and go on a safari as well. You can see a lot in the developing world on a shoe string.

    • Amanda

      It’s probably way too late to enter this discussion, but I’m an RPCV too. Where did you serve? I was in Southern Africa, and am going to marry a man I met on my COS trip.

      • Katie

        That’s why reply emails are handy! I was in the Dominican Republic. Congrats on your upcoming nuptials! Isn’t there something thrilling about finding love through Peace Corps, whether a volunteer, local, or someone you met along the way? I had a BF in the DR for 3 years. We broke up, but many friends of mine married Dominicans and a volunteer couple that met during training are getting married next month. I love it! So many unique shared experiences meeting that way- either you have the PC, or a common ground understanding the country if your future spouse is a local.

  • April

    I live to travel…and travel to live. The itch to wander, see and explore as many places and countries I can has been with me since I cracked open a library copy of a world atlas at age 7. Growing up in Seattle, WA and being 3 hours from Canada meant lots of trips there. My nomad mother was forever scheming and dreaming of ways to expose us to the world of travel. But my first big trip abroad (PARIS!) came much later – at age 25 – and it changed my life.

    Now, travel is vital for me and my husband. People who have no interest to see the world confuse and annoy me. A few of my friends have never left their home state and have no desire to. Seems very small minded to me. My husband and I have lived in Spain and we’re currently living in Japan. I’m on my second passport. The list of countries we’ve explored makes some cringe, shake their heads in disbelief and others envious.

    My most favorite place in the world? Lake Bled, Slovenia. Jewel green lake and snow capped mountains and tiny villages…It looks as though its been taken right out of a fairy tale book!

    • Amanda

      I’m coming late to this discussion, but Lake Bled (and Slovenia in general) is one of the best lesser-know tourist destinations I’ve been to. I was only in Slovenia briefly, but I have so many good memories.

  • Amanda

    I’m so sad that I missed this thread.

    Travel is huge in our relationship. We met when I was traveling in his country, we bonded over our mutual love of travel and we fell in love when we traveled together in Europe. We plan to start out in the US (although we are open to moving to Europe and one of the big draws is the ability to travel more freely) and once we have kids, we will bring them to his home country at least once a year.

    Since my study abroad days, I always preferred travel by myself as opposed to with others. I liked being able to do what I want, when I want, and not have less adventurous people bringing me down. But with my BF all that changed. We are so compatible and have so much fun together and I realized that it’s all about finding the RIGHT person to travel with. With travel, we shared very small spaces and spent every waking moment together very early on in our relationship. I loved every second of it-which is huge for me because I’m an introvert. Because of traveling together, I knew much earlier that he was the man I wanted to marry than I would have if we had begun dating my traditionally.

    I will be reading this thread with great interest.

  • SteffanyF

    I value travel enormously but my husband is constantly anxious about our ability to afford it. This is partly why we moved to Berlin when he got a job offer there! He’s been here in Berlin for 3 months and I just arrived (kitty cat in tow!) last week.
    What totally sold me on living in Berlin was the vast opportunities for CHEAP travel! Yay! My parents are visiting at the end of December and we are going to go to Prague and Bavaria. I’m already dreaming of Scotland and London.
    Also, if you visit Berlin while I’m still living here, I’d love to take you out for coffee or beer. :)