The past five weeks have been trying ones as I have had to make the switch from on-the-go traveling mom to stay-in-bed-look-at-the-world-outside-my-window mom. I’m certainly not used to being physically restricted and I can’t remember the last time I went for two weeks without even leaving the house! But like every experience, my recovery from surgery one had a silver lining: I was able to make some plans for our future travel, including our European trip in the summer of 2012.
Matt and I have been back and forth on this trip for some time. Originally, we thought we might go to Norway, the land of his ancestors and a place that intrigues us both. But after looking at how astronomically expensive it is to visit we decided to wait a couple of years until Teddy is old enough to really do some more serious hiking. We’d like our vacation there to be a very outdoorsy one both to save money and because the scenery there is worthy of it.
Next we set our sights on Italy, which we haven’t visited since Tommy was a baby. But since we also wanted to fit in a trip to Paris, it started to feel like we didn’t have the time to do everything there we wanted. We really need about three weeks in Rome and Tuscany to give us adequate time for the kind of slow travel that we like, and if we’re also going to make our annual three-week pilgrimage to Vermont, we don’t have a full month to spend in Europe.
And so after much deliberation, we finally made our choice for the summer of 2012. At the end of June/beginning of July we will spend a little over two weeks exploring Switzerland and France. We’ll start in Lausanne and then go to Bordeaux (new locations for all for members of the family). We’re fortunate to have friends we can stay with kids in both places, which will save us some money and be fun for the boys. Finally we will head to Paris, where we hope to rent “our” apartment near the beloved Place Monge for a week.
Now, we travel quite a bit; before we leave to go on this adventure we have trips to Vermont, California, Colorado, New York City, and Arizona planned over the course of the winter and spring. But even though we may be a bit more committed to travel than the average family, like everyone else, we have to make choices based on time and cost. So just how did we come to our final decision? I mocked up different itineraries, including dates and locations, and used the Internet to figure out travel and lodging costs. Once we had a rough estimate for each itinerary we were able to make an informed decision about just how much time and money we wanted to spend.
I definitely recommend using this approach before you make big family travel decisions. It may take a bit of time, but ultimately it is worth it. In fact, I couldn’t be happier with the outcome! I can’t wait to share our adventures with you once again.
And while we’re talking about trips to France, I wanted to share another project I worked on while I was laid up – an article about five kid-friendly attractions in Paris at Why Go Paris (a resource I know I’ll be using a lot over the coming months). Writing this and revisiting the stories of our 2008 trip there got me even more excited for next summer.
How do you plan your family travel? Have you started to work on your 2012 plans?
Photo of Norway courtesy of AdneD via Flickr.