Traveling may not be for everyone, but for those of us who caught the travel bug, you’ll understand how much it can change your life. The world is your oyster, as they say, and wanderlusters like us know this to be true. While many of people know the names of the world’s most famous landmarks, there are lots of obscure facts that only a few have heard. So, let’s take a look and discover some fun facts about several destinations and attractions. [Read more…]
When I was younger, my family didn’t travel a lot. We didn’t have a lot of money, and travel wasn’t something that was a priority for us.
It’s not that we didn’t spend time together or go on vacation. We did. But our travels consisted mainly of heading to my grandparents lake cabin for a week or catching a game in the city. When we got a little older, traveling meant heading out-of-town for weekend sports tournaments. It was a wonderful childhood, and I’m very grateful for it.
I never flew on a plane or saw the ocean until I hit New York at age 20. I never made it to the beach until age 24. Until then, I didn’t even understand why somebody would want to travel…much less spend the money to allow myself to do so. But, those two trips totally changed my perspective. I’ve been hooked on traveling ever since.
Over the past 3 years alone, my wife and I have visited over 13 countries. We’ve also made close to a dozen trips throughout the U.S. as well. It’s been freakin’ awesome.
As a couple, we’ve made the decision that family travel is important to us. We’ve been fortunate to be able to bring our kids with us on a few of these adventures. While we’re desperately trying not to spoil them, we are lucky to be able to expose them to new places, people, and cultures when we can. It’s an incredible opportunity for them, and I hope they’ll look back someday and appreciate how unique it is.
While we truly believe travel is a way to break down barriers, providing a cultural experience for children isn’t the only reason to travel with family. There are some practical and emotional reasons as well. Here are 5 reasons we love to travel with family!
5 Reasons I Love to Travel with Family
#1) Spending Quality Time Together
Let’s face it. Life gets really busy, and sometimes we don’t always pay enough attention to the people who are most important to us. Traveling always helps our little family reconnect in a way that nothing else does. Instead of rushing to get ready for school or to get another project done, you can simply relax and enjoy being with each other. When we’re on the road, its like everybody in our family reverts back to the best versions of ourselves – our true selves are once again unleashed. It’s great to get in touch with that every few months and connect with each other on a level that doesn’t always happen at home.
#2) Making Memories
In addition to reconnecting, traveling is always a great way to make new memories. The memories you make while you’re traveling will bring you closer together in the moment plus form a stronger bond you’ll share down the road. I know our kids play the “Remember when…” game all the time. We’ll often sit and look at photos from our trips and reminisce about how much fun we had. Whether you’re wandering through ancient cities, climbing mountains, or just sitting by the pool, traveling with family is a great way to make memories that you can all share for a lifetime.
#3) Bond with Other Family
In addition to traveling with our kids, we’ve been very lucky to travel with both sets of our parents. This has allowed our kids to form bonds with their grandparents that they may not have otherwise been able to do. In the same way we are able to make new memories with the kids, they make new memories with their grandparents as well. That’s something you can’t put a dollar figure on.
Something you can put a dollar figure on is your lodging expenses. One of the best things about traveling with family is the ability to save money on lodging. On several occasions, we’ve rented condos and beach houses with my in-laws. By splitting the price of a condo, we’re able to save money on two fronts. Obviously, lodging is less. But, condos and beach houses also have kitchens. Instead of being forced to eat out for every meal, we save hundreds of dollars during the stay by cooking at home.
#5) Group Discounts
If you decide to travel with family and are staying at a resort, chances are you’re going to be needing more than one room. By booking several rooms at once, you have the leverage to ask for a discount. We’ve used this tactic several times, and it has worked extremely well. Why waste time and effort selling rooms to three separate families when you can sell three rooms at once to just one? Just ask, and you might be surprised what they’ll be willing to offer you. The worst they can say is “no.”
Enjoy Your Travels
Deciding to make family travel a priority in our lives is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Some of the best memories I have are of traveling with my family. What makes them even better is that we can share those memories together. Plus, when you add extended family to the list, it can even make your travels cheaper…and who doesn’t love that?!?
(Editor’s Note: While we are away at a blogging conference, please enjoy this encore post which originally appeared on June 20, 2014. Also, please make sure to enter for your chance to win a $100 gift card using the Rafflecopter widget following the post!)
At some point during the course of our childhood, every young boy dreams of going on a treasure hunt. We pretend to travel through caves and shipwrecks, mountains and jungles, solving clues and battling evil forces on our way to finding treasure chests stuffed with riches. Countless movies and stories have been made and told around just this premise (Indiana Jones and the Goonies, anybody?). But, as we grow up, we usually let go of these silly boyhood dreams, realizing that there are no hidden treasures to be found. Well, Forrest Fenn has given us all a chance to relive our boyhood fantasies and made a hidden treasure a reality.
For those of you who may not have heard, Forrest Fenn is the eccentric New Mexico art dealer and gajillionaire who decided to hide a treasure chest filled with approximately $2 million worth of rare coins, gold nuggets, gemstones, and jewelry somewhere in the mountains north of Santa Fe. After receiving a cancer diagnosis in 1988, Fenn came up with the idea to hide this bronze chest in the mountains and die along side of it. Mr. Fenn survived the illness and waited until he was about 80 years old to move forward with his plan to hide the treasure.
Our hunt for the Forrest Fenn treasure begins
Upon reading Forrest Fenn’s book The Thrill of the Chase a few years ago, my brother-in-law Brian became interested in the treasure. He told my wife Holly about it, and she interviewed him for a couple of different websites – after which, the two of them became friends. Brian decided that he was going to search for the treasure himself and asked me if I would come with him to New Mexico. Always up for an adventure, I happily obliged, and we started making plans. After weeks of studying poems, books, and maps, we determined our precise search area and hopped a plane to New Mexico. [Read more…]
Editors Note: Be sure not to miss your chance to win a $100 gift card at the end of this post!
“Hey girls. It’s time to wake up,” I whispered as I gently nudged my five and three-year-old girls awake.
“Daddy, why are we getting up so early?”
“We’re going on a trip!” I said.
“We are?!? Where are we going?”
“I can’t tell you. It is a surprise,” I said with a smile.
And so it started. Both girls jumped out of their beds, grinning from ear to ear, excited to see where this surprise journey would take them. Holly and I were excited too, not just because this would be the girls’ first time on an airplane. This would be our first time on a cruise, as we headed on a short weekend trip to Nassau, Bahamas aboard the Carnival Sensation.
Having never cruised before, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Our recent vacations have pretty much included us plopping our backsides down on a beach chair, sipping on tropical drinks, and eating entirely too much at all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean. How would we like cruising? Would there be plenty to do? What would the room be like? We were all excitement and a little bit worried as we headed out the door, figuring that – even if we didn’t like it – we’d only be gone for three days. How bad could it be? [Read more…]
The following is a guest post and part of our “Reader Stories” series from our friend Kassandra Dasent. Kassandra is a self-employed wife and step-mom striving to live life beyond what money can buy. She writes about a variety of topics and personal experiences that all intersect with money. You can communicate directly with Kassandra at More Than Just Money.
When traveling to Switzerland, you may immediately call to mind cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Bern and Basel. Undoubtedly these cities are ones you would not want to miss as each have their unique allure. The Montreux Riviera, however, is a gem all by itself.
Nestled on a bay in the Lake Geneva Region, Montreux lays claim to the backdrop of the majestically snow-covered Swiss Alps. Montreux enjoys a very mild climate and averages a comfortable 75 degrees Fahrenheit in July and August, the warmest months of the year.
Upon landing at the Geneva Cointrin International Airport, instead of renting a car, you can travel to Montreux in under an hour by direct railway service connected to the airport. Montreux is a predominantly French-speaking city, but the local merchants are able to serve visitors in English for the most part. It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with some key French words and phrases.
From its vista, you may envision that the Montreux Riviera is a quietly picturesque township, yet it is a vibrant city and home to a number of attractions and events that are world-renowned. [Read more…]
I worked for a cruise line for five years, and while it always a lot of fun, it was also a lot of work. I usually only got a few hours off in port every couple of days, but one day was different.
On May 16, 2010 Eyjafjallajökull, a volcano in Iceland, erupted and really messed with European air travel. Our ship decided to stay docked an extra day, and I experienced my only day off ever on a cruise ship. I didn’t waste a single second of that day, and it still remains one of my favorite days ever. We were docked in Civitavecchia, about an hour train ride from Rome, so my friends and I got up at 6 AM and headed out. We were in Rome by 8 AM and managed to squeeze a LOT into one day. [Read more…]
The following is a guest post and part of our “Reader Stories” series from our friend Ben Luthi. Ben is a personal finance blogger and freelance writer who is spends half of his time thinking about saving money and the other half thinking of vacations to spend it on. He spent two years living in Germany and would love to freelance full-time in order to become a nomad. He writes regularly at The Wealth Gospel.
June 10, 2009 – I was about to board a plane alone for the first time in my life. I was excited to reach the final destination, Tavua, Fiji, but I was also nervous to fly for hours across the Pacific Ocean. Across from me, an attractive girl was talking on her cell phone about her trip to Fiji. I had gone to some pre-summer meetings but I hadn’t met her. I thought about talking to her, but I was still terrified of girls, so I just kept to myself. Luckily for me, I was about to face my fears. Over the next 6 weeks I lived in a small house with two guys and fifteen girls.
Yeah. I know. Should be heaven, right? In some ways it was fun, but in a lot of ways, opposite sex overload is never really a good thing in the long run.
The 10-hour flight from LAX was horrible, with a lot of turbulence and about a half hour of sleep. The next 6 weeks, though, were nothing less than a dream. [Read more…]
Our Danube River cruise was one of the coolest things we did on this Budapest trip. We had visited the city about four months ago and were only there for 4 nights which were just not enough time to enjoy this beautiful city. We ended up going back for 10 lovely days.
Don’t take taxis, rent a car
Renting a car and driving in St. Maarten is a great and inexpensive way to see the island. Taxis in Sint Maarten are relatively expensive compared to renting your own car. A taxi trip to the other side of the island will set you back in the neighborhood of $40, with surcharges for luggage on top. Alternatively, a rental car will run you $30-40 per day and give you unlimited access to the island. Though there are larger vehicles, like Jeeps, available, most rental cars are tiny sub-compacts which fit on the narrow roads quite well. Additionally, they do not burn through very much gasoline, keeping your transportation costs minimal.
When you arrive in the airport, there are many rental car booths jostling for your attention, calling to you and offering to undercut each others’ prices. Negotiate for what you would like, especially if [Read more…]
If you are looking to find cheap snorkeling in St. Maarten, the first thing you should consider is to bring your own gear with you. All of the beaches are public, so if you can find your way onto a beach, you can go snorkeling, for free! That said, not all of us travel with our own gear, and rates can get rather exorbitant quite quickly. At Orient Beach, one rental outfit was charging $25 per hour for a snorkel setup.
Enter Divi Little Bay, next to Fort Amersterdam on the Dutch side of Sint Maarten. To get there, drive toward Fort Amsterdam, which is the point just to the south end of Philipsburgh. Park just before the security hut for Divi Little Bay Resort, in the parking spots along the sea wall. From there, you can walk down through the resort to the beach. [Read more…]