Last year I went to 6 countries (France, Honduras, Belize, Mexico, Canada, Grand Cayman). This year I have 6 countries already booked. Some people may think these trips, coupled with my domestic travel to places like Miami, Puerto Rico or LA, would seem excessive for someone with a full time job, a husband, and a child. Not me. I like to travel. Travel is a passion of mine. I make it a priority along with other things in my life.
I am absolutely crazy about time management. There is essentially nothing else that can explain my ability to do everything I want to do in my life in the short time we have to live. I have a sense of urgency about most things, which can be exhausting. However, I am not willing to compromise on the things I’m passionate about just because of the perception of lack of time. I move fairly quickly at most things.
Paid Time Off and Holidays
I work for an organization that observes 11 Federal holidays, 12 paid vacation days, and is usually closed for at least 1 full week from Christmas to New Years. That’s 28 days. And because there will be no differentiation between sick days and vacation days, we will have an additional 5 days to add. That’s a total of 33 weekdays.
Flexible Work Schedule
I have a very demanding job. A job that requires me to manage upwards of 40 people at once working in high need communities. The beauty of that is, I can work 15 hours in one day with no lunch, and the next day I could work far less. And because I am a director, I manage my own workflow. Time management is key. If I know I have a 4PM flight to catch, I may work 40 hours from Monday through Thursday.
Choosing Domestic Locations Carefully
When it comes down to domestic travelling, I usually go to warm places in the winter and drive somewhere close on the weekends. For example, I will pay to fly to Florida or California in December. I won’t pay to fly to Texas. Ever. I would rather go out of the country. This matters because, you can exhaust a lot of money on places that are much more similar to other states you’ve visited when you could be exploring somewhere new. Also, my job has very little travel involved but when it does it may be to places like California, which allow me to explore cities like LA, San Francisco, San Diego that I already love.
I live in New York City
Sometimes when I post things on Instagram, people think I’m somewhere far and I’m really just on the Upper West Side. The beauty of living here is your home is a tourist attraction. Also, direct flights to domestic locations and international locations are par for the course. On a summer’s day, I can drive to the Hamptons, the Jersey Shore, Atlantic City, Montreal in Canada, Washington, DC or to explore the coast of Maine.
When people use their kids’ school schedule as their sole excuse for their inability to travel I am deeply puzzled. School is more out than in. They are out for every single major holiday, including Jewish high holidays in New York City. They are out for winter break, spring break, mid-winter break, and over two months in the summer. Not to mention the time school gets out. For example, if a holiday lands on a Friday, you could book a flight at 6PM on Thursday evening and your whole family could enjoy a nice getaway to Puerto Rico (3 hour direct flight from JFK via JetBlue).
Knowing how to book a flight
For domestic flights, I always book direct. There is no reason for me to be in Kansas City for 4 hours. There is just no way I have any time for that. For international flights, booking a red eye is great if you can stand it because the husband and child will be sleep, and you can wake up in your location fresh off the plane. Booking a ‘stopover’ or layover in a place you might not otherwise visit is also a good idea. For example, on my way to London, I will be stopping in Iceland. I want to check out Iceland but I don’t necessarily want to spend a week there.
Turning One Vacation into Three
Using the above math you could reasonably take 5 one-week long trips a year. One week in Paris is more than enough time especially if you’ve already been. You can take a day trip to London on the Eurostar for $120 round trip without incurring the extra cost of a hotel bill. You could easily get to Brussels, Amsterdam, etc. as well. You can drive to Niagara Falls from New York City in 6 hours and then go to Toronto the next day. Also, every place doesn’t warrant all of your time. For example, if you’ve already been to Paris for a week, and you want to go again, taking a train for one day during your London trip is more feasible. If you are going to visit a Caribbean country, it doesn’t take more than a day if you’re visiting a high tourist area since they are primarily oversaturated with American comforts. Go deeper into the country or visit multiple islands at once.
This is the big one. And honestly I can’t answer this one. I’m at a different place in my career than mostly everyone in my age group and demographic. Even with a child, this allows me the privilege to spend more on travel than others. With that being said, I too woke up in the middle of the night to buy the $200 Etihad Airline tickets during the fare glitch. I’ve also utilized travel bundle deals on Expedia, Orbitz, CheapOAir, JetBlue Getaways. I am more concerned about affordability rather than convenience. Many friends will say “well, that wasn’t in line with my travel dates” or “I’m trying to go to Cape Town and that deal was to Johannesburg.” No, you need to be flexible or you will be waiting your whole life until the trip is affordable enough for you.
Booking a trip with a child
I’ve been traveling with my 8 year old since she was a baby. Her first flight was when she was 6 months old. She is accustomed to traveling and going to places with foreign language barriers. I don’t succumb to any accusations on people’s ability based on their parenthood status. Simple as that. Since I believe travel is a priority and a tool for quality parenting, if you have the means, take your child.