My husband and I love to travel. We grew up traveling with our families a lot. I tagged along on some of my dad’s work trips and have fond memories of visiting National Parks, Disney World and even Australia. My husband's mom was a part-time travel agent and was able to find them some great deals all over the U.S.
Before we had kids, my husband and I traveled continuously. Thanks to a never-ending supply of frequent flier miles from all of my husband's work travels and my hobby out of finding great deals on amazing trips (I know exactly how and when to maximize our airline and hotel points and get a thrill out of doing just that), we would often be gone two weekends a month.
Now that we have kids, we want to expose them to as much travel as possible. And we've done a pretty good job of it. Our kids have been on countless flights and have spent time overseas as well.
But we have a problem now. Our oldest is now in school.
So all of my tricks and tips for saving money and using points are thrown out the window. Traveling at peak times around Christmas, spring break or summer break means more money and less availability to use our precious miles. So we’ve decided while our kids are still young we are going to take them out of school occasionally to go on vacation.
I know a time will come when the schoolwork is too much to miss or when activities require attendance. At that point, we won’t be able to do what we’re currently doing.
In the meantime, though, we are maxing ourselves out.
Thanks in large part to deals we’ve found, we’ve taken the kids on four trips since the first of the year. We planned all of the trips around school breaks and never planned to take our kindergartner out for more than two days in a week.
We view these family trips as invaluable. She completed all her schoolwork while we are gone and got exposed to a new culture, mass transit and skiing. It also gave her time to be just a kid and go to the park, go swimming and play with her friends since we traveled with another family for two of the trips.
We are lucky that her teacher supports us and agrees there is a lot to learn outside the classroom as well. We are also lucky that schoolwork, at this point, comes easily to her. This allows her to miss a day or two without falling behind, which is very important.
Our oldest has been asking to go see the Statue of Liberty and it makes my heart smile that she loves to go see new places and new things as much as her dad and I do.
I hope we have many more years and many more opportunities to go on these trips — both as a family and with friends. I know, looking back, I’ll never regret going but I would regret not going.