The last time I made New Year’s travel resolutions was 2 years ago in 2016. Our family has changed a lot since then. We have moved solidly out of the toddler travel stage with my son. He’ll be 5 in September of this year, and I remember well how the 5th birthday was truly a travel turning point with my older child. My now 8 year old daughter is in a very different place as well. She’s able to do quite a few things independently when we travel together. As a result, we are ready to tackle new kinds of family travel adventures in 2018!
I decided it would be helpful to write a few of these resolutions down as we start our 2018 travel planning. Hopefully that will help us select the right trips, and also turn down ones that don’t really serve our 2018 purpose. What do we resolve to do in 2018? Here are a few of our travel hopes and goals – share yours in the comments!
2018 Travel Resolutions
1) Plan a Mother-Daughter Trip
The years are flying by too fast with my 8 year old daughter. In 2018, I’d really like to take a special mother-daughter trip with just her.
Her little brother too often holds us back when we travel. His earlier bedtime and his propensity for getting sick when we travel is still limiting. And any 8 year old gets a little weary of a pesky 4 year old always cramping her style. A mother-daughter trip will really allow me to get to spend one on one time with her and get to know her better at this stage of her life without the distractions of the little guy. Taking recommendations as to location!
2) Go Abroad
We have not traveled as much as we would have liked internationally these past few years. We got a little gun shy after our many sicknesses in Latin America in 2015. Plus, my husband’s work schedule was particularly challenging this past summer. And honestly – we just also had some great opportunities within the United States (Aulani! Maui! Zion & Bryce National Parks!) that filled our travel calendar first, leaving no space for other farther flung adventures.
We don’t have any definite plans for an international destination yet, but I think a Mexico or Caribbean adventure is a sure thing. We are always watching the cheap fares on low-cost carrier Norwegian airlines out of our home airport of Oakland, so Scandinavia or London could very well happen if we spot a deal!
3) Keep Exploring California
One of my major travel resolutions in 2016 was to explore more of my great home state of California. I’m happy to say that our family has made major strides towards achieving this goal the last two years.
In 2016, we took a major Southern California road trip for spring break to Palm Springs, visited the NorCal Redwoods for Labor Day, and hit Lassen Volcanic National Park and Redding in the fall.
The year 2017 brought even more California travel adventures – lots of skiing at Lake Tahoe thanks to my ambassadorship with Northstar California, a lovely weekend on the Mendocino coast, and a weekend jaunt to our state’s capital in Sacramento.
There is still so much of California to explore though. We have a trip booked for August to Yosemite and also hope to squeeze in day trips or weekend getaways to Santa Cruz, Monterey, Pinnacles National Park, and more.
4) Expand My Miles and Points Knowledge – Specifically Hotels
I’ve been a travel hacker for nearly a decade, leveraging frequent flyer miles and other loyalty points to save money on our travels. But the past few years have made me neglect anything other than the lowest hanging fruit in this hobby. I simply have not have the time.
Instead of trying to do it all in miles and points, I’m planning to focus in 2018 in learning more about new hotel loyalty programs. I’ve been focused almost exclusively on Marriott since that is the chain we use most often, with a bit of SPG and Hilton incidentally on the side. I need to learn to leverage others. I really fell in love with Hyatt after my stay this fall at the Hyatt Maui Ka’anapali Beach, so that is at the top of my list.
5) Focus on Travel Quality, Not Quantity
As a travel blogger, there’s definitely a bit of peer pressure to travel more. I see colleagues on a new adventure every week, and the competitive spirit sometime kicks in!
The reality is that my family is burdened by limitations that many others are not: younger kids, a husband with a very demanding job (that’s why I left the law – we both couldn’t work those hours), and kids who enjoy their hometown and don’t want to miss out on time with friends. We are never going to be digital nomads or even be a family that pulls our kids from school for more than a few days a year.
So, my resolution in 2018 is to do what works for my family. That may mean traveling a little less. We may have overloaded our kids at times this past year. We did too much for their ages and stages and that made us lose some travel motivation. We burned out. I want my kids to enjoy travel and not see it as a burden or obligation. So we are going to pick destinations that really get all of us excited and plan the family travel schedule more purposefully.
What are your travel resolutions in the new year? Share yours!
Friday 12th of January 2018
Longtime lurker here, but oh man, I relate to your fear about traveling with a child prone to sickness. Except mine is the child who gets violently motion sick. He LOVES traveling and is the best little adventurer once we land, but we have yet to take a single plane flight where he wasn't vomiting uncontrollably the entire time. Our 11 hour flight to Paris last year was especially fun, as you can imagine, and Hawaii was an equally grim 6 hours. Particularly since you must remain seated and can't often get up to use the restroom, flying is a nightmare for him. He's so brave and tough about it (we've used everything from dramamine to seabands to no avail) but seeing him in so much misery makes me gun shy about those longer trips. I know he would love to go to Vietnam or Japan or Bali (and so would we), but it's just so. much. flying... and there are not enough changes of clothes we could pack in a single suitcase. (For all of us.) I am really hoping he'll grow out of it one day so we can take those long trips eventually...
Sunday 7th of January 2018
What a wonderful blog post! I would totally suggest getting your kids to Europe. We have taken our young children from day one and what we found is that they are much more cooperative than the teens are! My daughter was 5 when she climbed all the steps to the Eiffel Tower. She was three when we went to Japan. She was 4 when we hiked through the hills of Ireland. Now she's turning nine and she has seen 6 countries ten states. Traveling is the greatest gift a parent can give.
Friday 5th of January 2018
Great list. I definitely need to renew my passport first. I live in Costa Mesa and your #3 resolution is the most viable option for me at the momoent LOL.
Tuesday 2nd of January 2018
We have many of the same goals for 2018. I completely understand your interest in traveling a little less and focusing on quality, not quantity. We didn't travel too much in 2017 (but still plenty!), and I think it was the right balance for our family. My kids complained when we went to Scotland, and I need to respect the fact that their needs and interests are different from an adult's. Looking forward to seeing where you go in CA this year!
Tuesday 2nd of January 2018
These sound like great goals! I can't wait to follow along.