Why Don’t We Travel More?


If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile now, you’ll have noticed that I don’t have a huge travel focus in my posts.  The Travel category is in fact fairly sparsely populated with travel posts, and the last big travel post I did was a year ago.

What’s the big deal?  Many other financially independent bloggers are constantly traveling… So, why don’t we travel more?  Is it a money thing?  Do we hate traveling? Are we not actually financially independent?

Speculation on topics like this can run rampant if not addressed, so I thought I’d take today to address the not-so-large elephant in the room (it’s more of a mouse really).

 

It’s Not A Money Thing

First off, I’d like to say that it’s not a money thing.  Last year we spend about $2500 on travel, and this included a trip to Texas, camping trips in the summer, and various road trips throughout the year.  Almost half of that was airfare.

In 2017 we spent around $5,690 on our epic month long trip to Japan.  Around $3,000 of that was on airfare.  In 2016 we spent around $3,000 for a family trip to Hawaii.

Compared to what other FI bloggers spend on travel, we barely spent a drop in the bucket.  It really isn’t about the money though.

Compared to what we earn in dividends alone, travel spending accounts for less than 10% of our dividend income.  Clearly we have plenty of room to spend more… so why don’t we?

Really, it’s all about the kids…

 

Kids And Travel

If you don’t have kids right now, but plan to have kids someday, let me make this simple — Traveling with young kids is difficult.

Did I say difficult?  I meant ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL!

First you have to pack a ton of extra stuff for kids — car seats, strollers, bottles, baby food, baby formula, mountains of diapers, medicines, extra changes of clothes, snacks, toys and games, favorite blankets, and so on.  Then once you’ve managed to get all of that into a suitcase, you have to schlep this mountain of stuff through the airport… like some kind of crazy sherpa.

Ultimately you’ll need to get an extra big rental car just to carry it all (rental vans work great FYI).

I can say this without hesitation — It is a giant pain in the ass to travel anywhere because of all this extra stuff.  It’s not optional either.  The kids really do need it to be comfortable.  Car seats and booster seats in particular are required by law in many states and countries.

the bags
Last time we went to Hawaii, this entire large bag was dedicated to kids items.

Some people manage to travel quite decently when they have one child, but once you have two young kids (like we do) the mountain of stuff doesn’t just double — it seems to multiply by a factor of 4!

As ‘the Dad’, carrying around all this stuff typically falls on my shoulders (along with carrying all our other bags).  You’ve probably seen that Dad in the airport — The one struggling with 10 large bags, a screaming child, and he’s got that deer in the headlights look.  Yes, that was me.

Then you should consider what traveling a crabby child is like.  They’re out of their routine, eating weird food, and they don’t sleep well on the plane usually either.  It’s a recipe for crabby children with upset stomachs.  (I’ve been vomited on in an airplane more times than I care to admit.)  There’s also crying, screaming, occasional tantrums, and everything else you might expect from an emotionally under-developed human being.

passed out pockets
The little guys need their naps or they get super crabby. A stroller might sound optional until you realize it’s the perfect spot for them to nap while you travel.

Honestly, traveling with two children under the age of two is HELL.  If you think a vacations with a young family is all sunshine, smiles, and delicious food, you’re kidding yourself.  Staying at home instead of traveling, is often a easier and more pleasant experience.

Traveling with teenagers is a completely different story — they can usually carry their own bag, and don’t constantly soil themselves or vomit up their last meal on you.  Besides a little complaining and teenage angst, they’re fairly functional human beings.

Now that our kids are getting a little older (just turned 4 and 6 years old), we’re finally getting out of the “baby stage” and travel is getting a little easier.  For example — we got rid of our stroller last year (2018).  Both kids can now walk quite a long ways as long as we take frequent breaks.  That felt like a HUGE milestone.

We also no longer need to pack two sizes of diapers, baby food, a stroller, special blankets, and not nearly as many changes of clothes.  The kids can even carry a backpack with their own snacks, water bottle, and toys now!!

(We still have to pack a car seat and a booster seat for the kids though.)

Last year on our big family trip to Texas, the load felt so much lighter!  Dare I say it — traveling was actually a somewhat pleasant experience.  I think I only got puked-on once that entire trip!  (Small victories, right?)

After 4 years of “unpleasant” travel experiences, things are finally starting to look up for the Tako family…

 

School Days

Now that our oldest son (Tako Jr.) has reached school age, he is required by law to attend school.  This saves us over $1000 per month in daycare costs, but State law also requires kids in Washington state must attend 180 days of school.  Unless the child has a prior excused absence.

Getting an excused absence to travel during the school year is possible, but I’d much rather have Tako Jr. in school doing what he’s supposed to be doing — learning and keeping up with the school curriculum.

reading tako jr.
Keeping up with school and getting homework done is top of our priority list right now!  We are setting good habits for this future scholar.

The school calendar limits our family travel time to Christmas vacation, spring break, winter break, and summer vacation (July & August).

In the past we’ve traveled whenever it was cheap or convenient, but now we’re mostly constrained by the school calendar.  This probably means no more super cheap flights to Hawaii the week after school starts.  It’s unfortunate, but it’s also something we’re just going to have to get used to.  School is important, and good attendance has a huge correlation with a student’s long-term success.

While it is possible to home-school kids to get more time for travel, we decided this is NOT the best path for us (more on the topic in this post).  We’ve decided our kids are going to public school for now…

walking to school
Tako Jr. walking to public school. He loves school, and homeschooling isn’t in our plan going forward!

 

Up-Coming Summer Trips

With all of that said, we’re still going to be doing plenty of traveling this summer.  It’s finally getting easier for the kids to travel.  Mrs. Tako also has a ton vacation stored-up (a couple months worth), so that really isn’t a problem either.  We’re going to be doing more frequent family trips as a result! 🙂

Our summer 2019 travel plans include the following:

  • Summer trip to Texas.  Tickets for this trip have been travel-hacked and booked already! We had so much fun last spring, we decided to go back and check out the hot Texas summers this year.  It could be a possible move location for us.
  • A family camping trip to the San Juan islands.  Every year we try to go on a family camping trip.  The kids absolutely love camping and have been begging me to go for months.  The San Juan islands are really nice in the summer and great for camping.  I’d like to do 3-4 days in August.
  • Road trip to the Grandparent’s house (3-4 days).  We do several of these a year, and it makes for a nice long-weekend trip.
  • Washington / Oregon coast trip.  When forest fire season starts in Washington, it’s always nice to head to the coast to cool off and get some fresh air.  Maybe we’ll drive down highway 101 all the way down to Oregon, enjoying the coastal sites along the way.

If we managed to do all of these trips in 2019, that should fill-up our entire summer vacation.

 

Travel Bucket List

A travel schedule like the one I discussed above is going to be pretty typical in the years to come — One big trip in the summer, along with lots of smaller trips throughout the year.  It’s a cadence that seems to work for us.

But what about the locations?  Where are we going to travel?  Well, we keep a bucket-list of all the places we want to go:

Thailand — We’ve never been to Thailand and we’d love to go.  Hopefully soon.  Great food, warm weather and cheap prices (The holy trinity of good travel destinations) make Thailand the very top of our bucket list.  This would probably be one of our longer one-month trips.

Arizona — AZ frequently comes up in lists of places that are great for retirement, but other than a few business trips I’ve never really visited the state.  Low taxes, affordable housing, and plenty of sunshine are always sighted as big positives for AZ.  Towns like Flagstaff and Tuscon get high praise all the time for being excellent places to live and raise a family.  Is it true?  I’d like to spend at least a week checking out Arizona.

New Zealand — A few years back we spent the entire month of December in Australia.  It was a great trip, but we never managed to get over to New Zealand.  I’d like to rectify this little issue with a medium length trip to New Zealand.

Hokkaido — We’ve been to Japan at least a dozen times in the past and we’ve visited almost every major island, except Hokkaido.  This is something I’d like to rectify with a longer summer visit.  Apparently Hokkaido is bitter cold in the winter, but quite pleasant in the summer.  This fits quite nicely with the school schedule too!

Italy / Spain — I’ve never been to the Mediterranean parts of Europe, but everyone says Italy and Spain are just the best.  Great food, plenty of sunshine, tons of cool buildings to look at, and of course great museums.  This would be a great trip and Mrs. Tako is just itching to go already!

 

That it for today!  Got any kid travel horror stories?  I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

[Image Credit: Flickr]

58 thoughts on “Why Don’t We Travel More?

  • March 30, 2019 at 4:51 AM
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    Don’t let people travel-shame you dude. Everyone has to set their own limits for getting puked on and that’s a very personal thing!

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    • April 1, 2019 at 8:58 AM
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      Indeed it is. I think I’ve reached my quota for a decade! 🙂

      Reply
  • March 30, 2019 at 7:41 AM
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    My first child didn’t like to be held and my second child was a screamer that didn’t want to be put down. We didn’t go ANYWHERE until the youngest was 5.—not even to restaurants. I have a tendency to be a bit judgy about people who subject others to screaming children. It is OK to do nothing but grandparents and beach trips until children are older. We eventually visited 46 states and 2 trips to Europe with the kids and we all loved it. I took each of my daughters on their own special trip to Europe as teenagers. Travel can wait—don’t torture yourself or the kids.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 8:59 AM
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      Thanks Evans! Wow, 46 states is a lot of traveling! 🙂

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    • April 1, 2019 at 2:52 PM
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      I also waited until our youngest was 5 years old before going on vacations. I did not think that having to take care of two young children would be a very relaxing vacation from my high pressure job for myself. Which kind of defeats the purpose of going on vacation in the first place.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 8:15 AM
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    Travel is much easier with our son now, 8. We don’t have to bring much kid stuff anymore and he can pull his own luggage. It’s great.
    I’m sure in a couple of years, it will be a lot easier for you too.
    Your summer looks pretty busy. Let me know when you’re coming down to OR. Maybe we can meet up at the beach or something.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:00 AM
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      Yeah, that might be fun! We haven’t locked down the dates yet on all of our summer trips, but I’ll let you know!

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  • March 30, 2019 at 8:24 AM
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    Wow I didn’t know in addition to the Retirement Police there’s also the Travel Police?! Say what? It’s your life, you’re free to travel as much or as little as you like. That’s the whole point of FI–to live the life you choose not someone else’s life.

    I quite enjoyed this post–it’s informative to see how much work goes into packing for travel with kids. I think this is why the World Schoolers tend to prefer renting a camper van and driving through Australia or staying in SE Asia longer and taking trains.

    I love travelling but that doesn’t that mean everyone else has to–and I can definitely see how much more challenging it is to do with young kids.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:04 AM
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      No problem. Trains or Car trips are WAY easier than airplanes. Kids don’t like being cooped up in a tiny little airplane seat for hours on end.

      With a car road trip, you can just pull over at any local park and let the kids get some air. With an airplane there’s no pulling over. So if they’re sick or not feeling well….

      Well, you just have to wear that vomit covered shirt for the duration and let the screaming continue. 😉

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  • March 30, 2019 at 8:30 AM
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    Oh this post brought back memories! We actually only had two kids because of taking Little ThreeYear to Chile when he was 18 months old. Absolute torture and we decided there was no way we could travel all that way with three kids! I love to travel but yes, traveling with young kids is often worse than staying at home. It should definitely wait til they’re older. At 11 and 8, mine are finally at good traveling ages and we’ve had some really fun trips! Have fun making summer traveling plans, Mr. Tako. The camping trip sounds really fun!

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:07 AM
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      Thanks Laurie! Summer camping trips are the kid’s favorite kind of travel right now. They love sleeping in the tent and being outdoors! Heck, one day they spent about 4 hours throwing stones into a river. 🙂

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  • March 30, 2019 at 9:26 AM
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    Nothing wrong with being FIRE and not travel as much as other FIRE bloggers. Each to their own right?

    Our kids are 1 year younger than yours respectively. When we went to Japan and Taiwan recently it was actually quite easy travel with them. The kids are really experienced with flying now. We also managed to pack all of our stuff in 1 large suitcase and didn’t bring a stroller. It made everything so much easier! It’s certainly easier now Baby T2. 0 doesn’t need diaper at night anymore. Although it was easier travelling with them, we had to tailor the activities to their needs. Taking too many trains to get to one place was not a good idea as we were quick to find out.

    I think you need to focus on slow travel when you have kids. The days of seeing tons of tourists attractions within a day is long gone.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:09 AM
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      Yep, slow travel with kids is the way to go. For us, the trouble is in the getting there. Neither one of our kids do well with plane travel — both of them got sick on our last trip!

      *sigh* 🙂

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  • March 30, 2019 at 10:37 AM
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    Wow, I am grateful not to have been vomitted on anywhere but the hospital we have taken four trips, now miracle baby (mb) is 2.5. The sleep situation is the most worrying for me, she did sleep on a mattress on the floor with a bed rail, but home is still in a crib -though after our recent March break trip (to join older school age cousins) she is hopping out of her crib. Agh! Tall nimble child. It helps that the March break trip was at a different time than the March break for our province, so no hell wait at the airport

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:10 AM
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      I hear you Tigermom! Kids hate waiting around! My boys especially! They want to be constantly doing something… and I just want to rest after having to carry all that luggage! 🙂

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  • March 30, 2019 at 12:11 PM
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    Whew, traveling with kids seems like traveling on hard mode. We don’t have kids, but we do have a dog – and we wouldn’t even think about bringing her on an airplane. Completely understand not wanting to go through all that stress.

    Are things different if you do a road trip instead? When I was a kid, my parents loved road trips. We drove from Florida to Seattle, from Maine to Mexico, and loved it (or at least I have memories of loving it. At the time I was probably bored to death).

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:11 AM
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      Road trips are definitely better. Being able to pull over if someone needs a bathroom or isn’t feeling well makes a huge difference! 🙂

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  • March 30, 2019 at 12:20 PM
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    First of all, why isn’t Panama on the travel bucket list?! 😉

    I remember all the fun you’re describing in traveling when kids are young. It gets so much easier with each year, I swear! My daughter’s almost 9 and it’s now not much different than traveling with a grown-up – not perfect, but much easier!

    When and where are you planning the Texas trip? We’ll be near the Austin area from the last couple of days in July through late August.

    — Jim

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:14 AM
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      Oh, Panama’s on the list I just had to keep the post reasonably short!

      We’ll be in Austin around August 4th or so. Maybe we can meet up! 🙂

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        • April 23, 2019 at 12:46 AM
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          Small revision to that date Jim — We’ll be in Austin from Wed July 31st until Sunday August 4th. A Thursday, Friday, or Saturday meetup might work out best! 😉

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  • March 30, 2019 at 12:33 PM
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    I remember fondly some projectile vomiting from a 1 y.o. at the very beginning of an 8 hour flight. I don’t miss those days 🙂 I think the younger Takos are on the cusp of being great travelers, and you’ll soon be able to leave some of the kit behind.

    I’ve only been to Hokkaido once but it was awesome – it is my favorite part of Japan. I’m going to try to convince the missus to include it in our retirement plans (a Texas / Hokkaido combination might be nice).

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:16 AM
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      OK, now you’ve got me wanting to visit Hokkaido even more! Everything I’ve heard makes it sound like a fantastic part of Japan. Can’t wait to check it out!

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  • March 30, 2019 at 12:46 PM
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    Totally agree about not traveling when the kids are still very little. Grade school is a great time to take them to Japan. I have many wonderful memories when my parents took us when we were that age. It really creates a wonderful connection with your aunts, uncles and cousins.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:18 AM
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      We’ll probably try it again in a few years when they’re older. The last trip was really rough, but thankfully we stayed for an entire month… so I had time to recover with an onsen and some yummy food! 😉

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  • March 30, 2019 at 1:29 PM
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    Just get them grown and then travel with your spouse and send pictures to make them jealous! That is what we did, kids do not get an adult experience from travel, a five year old is never going to remember learning anything cultural or mind expanding. They’ll have more fun camping at the local lake. My kids can go anywhere they want if they can afford it now, and send me pictures, just like we do. It just doesn’t make much sense to drag kids on expensive and complicated overseas trips other than maybe to see grandparents if they live in another country. World travel is an expensive luxury and is absolutely not necessary to raise great kids. If you have the resources then, fine, if you want to go through that much work, go for it. But it will not handicap your kids to wait until they can fund their own trips as adults.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:22 AM
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      To some extent, I absolutely agree. The kids can definitely travel more when they’re grown up.

      But I missed out on travel when I was a kid, especially international travel. There’s something to be said for experiencing different cultures and languages at a reasonably young age though. As an adult, it took years of traveling before my single country biases started to fade away.

      I’d like my own kids to have a slightly broader perspective than I grew up with, so some international travel might be a good idea.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 1:33 PM
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    Uh oh. Expecting baby number two and am set on going to Asia when baby number 2 is 6 months… and toddler is 2 years. I was going to go to the Maldives and travel hack it but they don’t even allow more than one child in the room…

    Thanks for this reminder perhaps I have my head in the clouds.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 2:14 PM
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    I hear you loud and clear on this post! What we observed lines up closely with your experience. At age 2 travel was REALLY difficult, even with the older 2 kids helping out. We set out on a five week road trip and gave up after 2.5 weeks and drove back home 🙂 That was kind of a contingency we built into the trip so no big deal really.

    Age 3 – little dude was carrying his own bookbag and even carried his own diapers some (only necessary at night). Still a lot of unhappy 3 year old going on.

    Age 4 was much more pleasant although we took a shorter “only 3-4 week” road trip that summer.

    Age 5 = backpacking across Europe like a boss! No real problems at all and he was able to keep up (and outrun) all of us in general.

    We tend to take it pretty easy when we travel and not get too aggressive with our itinerary. A typical week: I program in 2 “do nothing days” every week, we sight-see for 4 days and then we travel the 7th day to a new city/country.

    Like you, we are constrained to summertime for the long trips. We make the most of it and generally have a good time. Prices aren’t the cheapest but with redeeming miles, the airfare isn’t too expensive during peak season.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:27 AM
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      Yup, slow travel definitely works a lot better with kids!

      Having older kids to help out must have been a godsend for you. I feel like a damn mule carrying around a dozen bags!

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  • March 30, 2019 at 3:21 PM
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    Every beach along the Oregon coast may have a different surface: black sand, larger pinks, coral rocks with holes drilled by critters, and bits of beeswax from a sunken tallship still wash up. Also rubber ducks, different story. Check out Sportsman’s Cannery, best boats and tuna ever. Unlike CA, Oregon beaches are all public, often state parks.

    Japan is amazing. Japanese and Europeans love children travelers, so helpful. Japan top to toe — regions are so distinct, different art and connections to nature, politics and business and history and religion, it’s all wonderful. Japan has strong communities with ready smiles. Just be sure to follow local expectations or feel the resistance.

    Age less than 9, kids’ memories will be from you creating family lore that gets repeated to them, such things do help them form identity.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 3:57 PM
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    Oh Mr. Tako, you brought back so many memories of trips that were supposed to be fun! The trip to Hawaii when our baby never slept. The trip to New Mexico where I got barfed on in front of a whole Southwest boarding group. I banned air travel for 3 years! Traveling is wayyyyy more fun with a middle schooler, thank goodness!!!

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:29 AM
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      Middle school is the sweet spot? OK! My oldest just started school and he’s still a puker. For some reason he seems to think Dad is the most target when he’s sick. Ugh!

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  • March 30, 2019 at 5:24 PM
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    I can imagine it’s very hard. Almost every parent I’ve seen with a crying kid on the airplane had an embarrassed look on their face. Don’t worry about comparing your travels with others. Once your kids grow up, I’m sure you’ll make up for all the travel time you’ve “lost”. Sounds like you guys drive and take the plane a lot (as the typical case). Have you tried the train? I’ve seen many kids love the train. It’s less stressful than checking into the airport and generally give you more space to walk/run around, which could be good for the little ones.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:31 AM
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      We’ve used the trains extensively in other countries, but not as much in the States. Some of the less crowded trains were quite good. The shinkansen in Japan was quite nice. They actually enjoyed that experience.

      One day I’d like to do a cross country train trip in the U.S. on Amtrack.

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  • March 30, 2019 at 6:54 PM
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    No traveling-with-children horror stories from me, although one time I got a frazzled new mom’s screaming baby to sleep about an hour into a 7-hour flight and got a standing ovation from the other passengers when we disembarked at our destination. Best day ever! (P.S. Give travelling parents and kids a break already! Travel is hard.)

    Anyway, just an open invitation to come to Arizona! Flag and Tucson are wonderful retirement spots, but don’t overlook the smaller towns like Prescott (charming and quaint), Sedona (beautiful red rocks), Oro Valley (perhaps still too small), and Eloy (an up-and-comer lately). Within the Valley of the Sun, there’s also Scottsdale, Anthem, Gilbert, and Queen Creek, if you like being closer to public and university libraries, museums, and other cultural interests. Come on down…we would love to have the Tako family as neighbors!

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:32 AM
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      Maybe we’ll come check it out next year! This summer is already pretty well booked!

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  • March 30, 2019 at 9:22 PM
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    It gets easier, man, I promise!

    We’ve traveled extensively with our boys since they were 7 & 9. We traveled with them before, but we’ve been doing 2-3 week trips regularly in the last couple of years and they do great with it. No naps, no diapers, no strollers, and no booster seats.

    You’ll be able to cross off those items on the bucket list, no problem. We spent two weeks in Arizona in February, and enjoyed the visit. Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson all had some admirable qualities, but the midwest will always be our home.

    Cheers!
    -PoF

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:33 AM
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      I can’t wait until traveling sounds like the breeze you describe. My memories are jaded with pain and incredibly terrible smells. 😉

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  • March 31, 2019 at 6:33 AM
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    When you travel by car, do you drive your own car or do you rent? I’ve met people who rent a car for long car travels to save on mileage and deferred auto expenses. TIA.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:37 AM
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      If we’re traveling within a thousand miles of home, we usually just take the family car. If we’re going a couple thousand miles away we’ll usually just rent a vehicle.

      I can understand why people might want to rent to ‘save’ on vehicle depreciation, but in most cases it’s a very small percentage of the overall trip cost.

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  • April 1, 2019 at 6:54 AM
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    You are spot on. Traveling with young kids is not a vacation. When my youngest was one, we flew to the Phoenix area to visit the in-laws as a vacation. on the way home while waiting for the delayed airplane, I was holding her and we had a diaper blowout that soaked my shirt. The carry-on was filled with kid clothes and toys for my 1 yr old and 5 yr old. Had to bathe in the bathroom and buy an airport shirt. As for road trips, I can remember doing a 9 hour trip when my youngest was 3yrs old and having to stop every 45 minutes to an hour because she was barely potty trained. Trip took forever. My children are 8yrs and 12yrs now, and traveling is a lot better.

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    • April 1, 2019 at 9:41 AM
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      Oh yes….I remember the blowouts. It’s not a fond memory, but they’re burned into my memory like a branding iron was used. Never going to forget some of those nightmare scenarios!

      Thanks for sharing Robbie. I hope travel gets easier soon!

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  • April 1, 2019 at 12:02 PM
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    Vacationing with kids before 5 years old or so it not beneficial for the kids. They don’t retain those memories. Plus they are more difficult to travel with. Crying babies are the worst. A more recent concern is travelling with kids before they get fully immunized.

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  • April 1, 2019 at 12:46 PM
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    Ugh, we are feeling pretty torn. My husband’s extended family all live a plane ride away, and well, aren’t getting any younger so our window for trips where they are healthy enough to enjoy the kids is closing. But our last trip had some hellish times, and we didn’t recover ourselves for months. Travelling with car seats is a special hell, we were “that” family with the screaming 15 month old and neither kid adjusted to the 3 hour time change (so one of us was getting up at 4 in the morning the entire time, well trying to keep the kids as quiet as possible until an acceptable hour for the rest of the household…not something a 3 year old and 15 month old are known to excel at). On top of it we all got a cold on the plane so were all coughing all night while staying in the same room. I think we were averaging 5 hours of broken sleep at best. Some special memories with family…but it was really tough.

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  • April 1, 2019 at 7:25 PM
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    Well yes, I can understand where you are coming to from. We have a small kid too.

    However, it makes sense to travel sometimes when they are below 2 years(tickets are free) plus they are mostly in prams and sleep for most time. Yes, around 2-6 years is probably the time when long travel vacations should be avoided as much as possible. Thanks for writing.

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  • April 1, 2019 at 7:57 PM
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    I have three young kids and my wife and I love to travel. How much space do you have for travel horror stories!?!? The reality for us is it doesn’t matter if my wife and I stay with them at home, bring them out to eat at a restaurant, take them to a museum or have them on a 12 hour flight, the experience will be partially stressful, tiring, and hard to manage. Therefore, we decided why not just do the things we love to do before kids like travel and continue to do them with our kids.

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  • April 2, 2019 at 9:29 AM
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    I was one of those kids who traveled a lot. My mother loves to travel, and would have gone bonkers confined in our little town with two kids. But the type of travel we did barely “counts”. We didn’t go to Paris or Australia. We went at least once a month (weekend) to visit grandparents 5 hrs drive away. At least one other weekend (sometimes two) per month we went camping at state parks, or visited historic sites and museums. We took longer summer trips but only a week here and there because my Dad was in the corporate world and they frowned on long vacations.

    But I think your point about traveling being disruptive to kids’ routines is a very good one. We were used to the weekend trips, which were just part of the routine, and from a young age knew what to expect. I was packing my own clothes and such by about age 5 or 6 (and my mother figured the suffering from forgetting important things like a hairbrush was good for me!). So it is possible to travel in a way that is more kid-friendly. My parents preferred very early morning departures, so that we would sleep. Longer trips were more of a challenge, and we did fewer of them until I was in junior high.

    Also, another thing to mention is that the things that kids remember from all these trips is way different than what adults are paying attention to. At two and four, what my brother and I remembered from our trip to Florida was the lizards that were everywhere around my great-grandparent’s house. Not something important to an adult, but we spent much of our free time attempting to catch them. We still remember that trip, and every time my brother and I see a lizard, it brings back the, “remember in FL. . . My parents don’t recall the lizards at all, except that they were memorable to us.

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  • April 3, 2019 at 8:30 AM
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    Not that it’s your situation, but who cares how much one travels. I feel like these days travel, or “experiences”, has gotten so mainstream and almost a form of keeping up with the joneses. Social media, bloggers, the internet, etc. has only fueled the problem. There’s certainly nothing wrong with seeing or experiencing new things, but only if you truly want to, not because someone else say you should or to feel better about yourself. I don’t have an extensive bucket list and have crossed out many items already. There are many places I have no interest in visiting, despite sometimes being the hot place to go, and some places I want to visit over and over again. Having said that, in Arizona, check out Sedona, not necessarily as a place to live but a beautiful area nonetheless.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 12:31 PM
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    I remember traveling with my 1 year old daughter to England (to visit my former in-laws). This was in 2006. We brought a lot of carry-on jars of baby food in case she got hungry.

    The stupid airport security made me open each and every jar and taste it in front of them even when I said that if I did that it would spoil and be useless for the trip and once we get there. I also had to drink some milk from her baby bottle too. Absolutely ridiculous.

    And you are right, the dad tends to be the pack mule in airports. Baby seats and strollers were a nightmare.

    Those days fortunately are long gone as my daughter is 13 now and a much better travel companion.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 2:16 PM
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    Spain is beautiful. I went for a work conference and stayed a bit after.
    I only travel with a dog, and his 4 things still add to the load. I can’t imagine traveling with kids.
    I love visiting new places, but really hate travelling and suffer from all vehicle motion sickness (careful, not everyone grows out of throwing up on a plane!), so I need to build a recovery period to start the trip, and when I return or things get crazy.

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  • April 4, 2019 at 4:13 PM
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    Just catching up on your blog- oh, I totally understand. I also HATE being in the airplane. It’s so weird smelling, and the seats are crowded. When I get FIRE….I aint travelling that much! (I live in Hawaii, so there goes the “Hawaii for 3 weeks” plan).
    Plus travelling with little ones….no pleasant. Nor is travelling preggos (which I am doing for work every month HNL-DCA. Every. Single. Month). So why waste your money on stuff that’s not pleasant or you’d appreciate?
    I’m going to Hokkaido in May- first time up there- looking forward to the onsen! Good choices on bucket list!

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  • April 5, 2019 at 8:17 AM
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    I fully agree with your choices Mr. Tako. When our kids were little, we travelled very similarly to your family. It was always within the US and Canada, and no flight was longer than 6 hours (to Hawaii).

    Our first trip “across the pond” was to Japan last year, and our kids were 9 and 12 at the time.

    I don’t think everyone needs to wait as long as we did. But for our family, we felt we’d get more out of a big, expensive trip when the kids were older… and it turned out to be the right decision.

    There was very little whining about the 15-20+ km we walked everyday. Each of us was capable of carrying our own backpack and carry-on luggage (no heavy, bulky check-ins—so freeing!) And there were no meltdowns or tantrums.

    For us, it’s been a joy travelling with older kids. So you’ll get no judgements from us! (And kudos to you and others who’ve managed bigger trips at younger ages than we did!)

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  • April 7, 2019 at 9:01 PM
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    My wife and I used to travel extensively prior to kids… then NOPE! We had 3 dry years of traveling, with the exception of a couple of road trips. We didn’t want to deal with our babies on a plane and be “those parents”. We certainly feel for “those parents” now, but we didn’t even want to place ourselves into that situation. Thankfully, the kids are older and can handle themselves on long trips. Thus we’ve resumed our traveling the past couple of years and are quite enjoying it. Fingers crossed Southwest releases their direct San Diego to Hawaii flights so we can capitalize on our 2 companion passes!

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  • May 2, 2019 at 10:41 AM
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    All these stories bring back all kinds of memories of crazy things that would happen.
    I was the oldest child of seven with parents that liked to do a big vacation every year. I have to respect my parents for their bravery to take us all on plane rides or car rides. When I got to age 14, I realized that the crazy spiced the vacation up and made it extra exciting, so I started carrying a small pad of paper around with me each vacation and wrote down all the things we saw, what we did, funny things my family said, silly interactions, bits of irony, and of course, the vomit and blow-outs, and the almost-left-one-sibling-at-a-campsite-in-Idaho, and had-to-get-a-new-van, and all that.
    Those vacation logs are so precious now.

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  • May 5, 2019 at 12:38 AM
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    Hi Mr. Tako,

    Yes, I have kids of similar age and I have to say that travel with them is very exhausting, due to the extra stuff that we have to care. Besides this, there is a limitation on activities (museums, churches, etc) that they can join due to age and behaviour. The eldest is our partner on walking around, while the youngest is very lazy and just want the troller.

    One bad experience that we had in Italy back in 2014, when my kid was 3 y.o. He fell from about 1m high and beat the forehead in a sharp iron table leg. He instantly had the hugest forehead protuberance that I saw in my life. We do not speak Italian and there are not many people that speak English, besides the fact that we had no clue about hospitals. Fortunately, we found someone who called a taxi that took us to the Children’s Hospital.

    The lesson learned from the above episode is that nowadays we always check for children hospital wherever we travel to. In the case of some emergency, we are aware of how to proceed.

    From the bucket list, I have been to Italy (Central and North) and Spain (Central). The food is really great and you can have nice landscapes. Thailand must also be nice!

    All the best.

    Cheers!

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