How We Travel
While we feel that our particular outlook on travel helps us make the most of our experiences, not everyone prefers to travel the same way. While we try to provide information about travel in the Northeast that's helpful for everyone, we have a specific outlook that works for us.
One of us has a full time job, and the other works harder to keep our family organized and on track, but we're almost constantly planning something. We're always looking forward to our next trip, and we make travel a priority.
We do look to take a few bigger vacations every year, but the bulk of our travel consists of day trips and weekend getaways within easy reach of our home. No matter where we live, we make a point to get out somewhere almost every weekend, and in many cases those "small" experiences have been more rewarding than the trips further afield.
While I wouldn't say that we travel "on a shoestring", we are always conscious of our costs for one primary reason: we want to be able to keep traveling.
Our style of travel would never be described as luxurious, but we've always been comfortable. For the most part, we don't eat expensive meals or stay at fancy hotels (more on these later), and we scour the internet for airfare deals. We keep expenses down where we can, but we tend to spend more freely on experiences like historical sights and theme parks.
While we are not averse to taking trains or planes at times, we prefer to travel by car when it makes sense. For one thing, it's bit easier to keep our three children under 6 restrained and comfortable in a car, but we also feel that we're able to get a better feel for the surrounding countryside when we can pick our own route and go at our own pace.
From Europe and South America to places closer to home, some of our best travel experiences have come from places that would not have been convenient if we didn't have a car. This is especially true of natural wonders that can sometimes be very difficult to access via mass transit.
As our family has grown, we have become.increasing fond of staying in vacation rentals (i.e. Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). We find them to be more spacious and practical when traveling with extended family. The are usually better appointed (the rentals we book almost always have kitchens) and closer to the action than a similarly priced hotel, and best of all, we never need to camp out in the bathroom while trying to put kids to bed.
We will still stay in hotels on occasion for shorter stays, but on the whole we prefer the comforts of a vacation rental.
We love food, but we are not fine diners. Of course there is a cost component to this (see above), but sanity is the bigger motivating factor. Some families seem comfortable eating at a nice restaurant with kids, but this is not a skill that we have mastered.
We will enjoy a nice restaurant when it's just to two of us, but when the kids are involved, you'll more often find us eating outside or in a more informal environment. We like to grab food on the street, and we're not above raiding the supermarket for a picnic, but markets are our true passion. If there's a good market somewhere we travel, you can rest assured we'll stop there at least once during our stay.
Our love of travel extends back before we had kids, but since 2010, we've always had at least one child along for the ride. We've found trips with children to require a bit more preparation, but seeing our kids enjoying our "adventures" is so rewarding.
Thankfully, our kids love to travel. We will plan activities that they enjoy and try to make sure that they can get some exercise. That said, we're also not above using snacks and "screen time" to keep them smiling while we're on the road.
If you find us on the road, you'll generally find us moving at a pretty fast pace as we like to see and experience as much as we can as we travel. We do enjoy "down time" on the road, but we generally have to schedule it if we have specific needs.
If we err on a multi-destination trip, we're usually trying to see too much. Our philosophy generally works great for us, but we acknowledge that it's occasionally crazy and may not be for everyone.