Anyone else have overly ambitious travel plans for their kids? Am I nuts?
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 1/27/2013 by Yubon in NSBR Board
 

Yubon
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Posted: 1/27/2013 8:48:02 PM
DS is 5 1/2 and has already traveled quite a bit - 3 times to Orlando, twice to Chicago, twice to Texas, all over Michigan. He loves flying and traveling and looking at maps and my travel photos and books.

I'm saving for his college but will only save about half of what he needs. His Dad is saving for braces (I'm sure he'll need them based on family history LOL) and his first car.

I believe that travel is just as imporant as a college education. I have been holding off on a lot of international trips that I want to take so that he can come with me when he's older. I love traveling alone, but why not bring him with me? I've been saving the money forever, and I feel it's my duty to expose him to other countries/cultures/food/languages. I want to enhance his perspective on the world.

Our plans (that he and I are working on together already):
this year (age 6) - 2 more trips to Orlando (with family)
age 7 - Atlantis (Bahamas)
age 8 - London/Paris
age 9 - Ireland
age 10 - Scotland
age 11 - Norway/Sweden
age 12 - Denmark/Finland/Estonia
age 13 - Switzerland
age 14 - Italy
age 15 - Prague/Vienna/Budapest
age 16 - Iceland
age 17 - Spain/Portugal
age 18 - New Zealand

Obviously I'm a little biased towards Europe!

ex-DH thinks I'm nuts. But he also isn't much of a traveler. He thinks you can see all of the above places (plus the pyramids of Egypt!) in one trip to Vegas, LOL.

We also plan to take a small trip each year to somewhere in the U.S., so he'll see this country as well.

Anyone else with overly ambitious travel plans for their kids? Or you did travel extensively with your kids that are now grown? Any regrets or things you would do differently? I just can't wait to get started! Not that I want him to age any faster though, LOL.



Luvnlifelady
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Posted: 1/27/2013 8:53:53 PM
I think it's wonderful that he gets to have those kind of opportunities. However, I think it's rather rare that most families can afford to travel like that.

Your DS is one lucky kid! Hope you two enjoy your adventures together.



melanell
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:01:50 PM
I don't think there is such a thing as being "overly ambitious" with travel plans.

If you have the time, the funds, and the desire to go, then why not go?

And the same goes for children. If they have time to go (Without causing issues with schooling, sports, or other interests.) and they enjoy the traveling, then I see no reason not to take them as many places as possible.



jgpea
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:04:44 PM
both my husband and I grew up lower middle class in the Midwest...travel/family vacations were usually 1 or 2 days driving distance specifically to visit family...

as adults, we are better off than our parents were, but it's not much different
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Carey Ayn
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:05:35 PM
If I could afford it, I would travel with my kids like that.

The only thing I might do differently, at least after age ten or so, is discuss your destinations with your son. Let him be part of the planning process. He might take an interest in a certain location. EDITED:::: Sorry ignore. I missed that part in your OP. I was so blinded by your destinations lol.

I adore Europe and we plan on taking our boys at least once---probably only once. Since we are planning on Chinese immersion school, I hope we can get a discounted trip to China at some point too. Probably wishful thinking.

If I could so what you can do, I personally would plan for at least one more exotic location. South America, Africa, China? But that is a personal choice. Again, maybe your son will develop a passion for one of those places?



SockMonkey
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:07:02 PM
I think that's cool.

Though, I would say that as he gets older, maybe you could let HIM choose the destinations or help you choose, anyway. He might be really interested in the planning process and might have interests that would lead him to want to travel to a specific destination.

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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:12:27 PM
I totally would do that if I could!!!

You can learn so much!! My boys go to French immersion, and even the foreign culture there is amazing. And not just from France- morocco, Africa, Haiti. I'm hoping to get them to Quebec and Paris with school.

I don't think your plan is too much at all. If you two can swing it and you enjoy each others company, go for it!
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:14:16 PM
While we are not financially able to manage overseas travel, the boys are excited about our new venture: to travel to each of the 50 states. This past few weeks, they are getting to travel a bit more than we have done in the past (I was able to get tickets to the inauguration, so they were able to visit DC for the first time, and I'm graduating from college next weekend, so we are traveling to Miami for the ceremony). But we're looking forward to making many memories on road trips and maybe even a few plane rides in the future!

finaledition
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:14:28 PM
I think it's awesome that you've planned for this international travel with your son.

We haven't traveled as a family to Europe since my youngest was born, but my older two have quite a few countries under there belt.

I like that you are planning to include more local travel as well. My son's fifth grade teacher used to shake his head that most of the students had been to Hawaii and very few had gone camping in Yosemite. And while my kids do appreciate some of the locations we've been to, when they were younger if you asked them their favorite trip, they'd also say June Lake where we stayed at a dive hotel and fished in a tiny boat.

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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:16:31 PM
I was traveling internationally with DS 1 by the time he was 3 months. DS2 was 8 weeks. DD didn't get to fly internationally until she was 1 year old. She is our late bloomer.

I do not think you are being overly ambitious at all. I think travel, and, especially international travel is one of the very best things you can do for your child's education, and, is also helpful in their development of coping skills.

I am lucky in that my kids started young, and are great travelers. They love to fly, and, they love adventure. Now that we are based in the US, they don't get to travel as much, but we took the two boys to China for 10 days about a year ago. They were 7 and 9 at the time. We had a blast!

We are taking all 3 to NYC this spring, and, I am hoping to take a hop over to London for a few days while we are relatively 'close.'

Traveling with kids is so much easier these days! With ipads and hand held games, it really is a breeze. My word, back in the 'old days,' I traveled with an entire suitcase of toys, coloring books, etc. To keep them occupied on long flights.

More than any other 'luxury,' I think international travel is truly one of the best gifts you can give to a child. It will influence their lives forever...

Go, and enjoy!

Erin

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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:19:39 PM
Sounds awesome, and it's nice that he's already older. My husband and I also love to travel and are looking forward to when they get a little bit older and we won't have to pack quite so much stuff. We did take our kids to St. Thomas for a week this past summer (son turned 2 the day we left, daughter was 2 weeks shy of 3). It was an adventure for sure, but they did surprisingly well with the flights and layovers. We were honestly shocked at how well they did-I was anticipating major meltdowns and tantrums, and we had none! They also did well with adjusting to the new environment and sleeping arrangements.

We will not hesitate to take them with us again when we travel, but we know that we have to be well prepared and that it has to be thoroughly planned out to work.

I think your schedule looks good though, and that your son will be a lucky little guy to travel that much before he's even out of high school!



pudgy_groundhog
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:28:23 PM
I think it's fantastic! My daughter is five and while most of our trips have been domestic (a lot of national parks for camping, backpacking, hiking), we did go to Italy when she was 3.75 and are tentatively going back this year (she's five). She had fun learning Italian words, trying the different food (okay, mostly the treats), and she was fascinated by the WWI artifacts (a lot of tunnels, ruins, and barb wire). Our most ambitious trip was a month long visit to Montana, Wyoming, and the Canadian Rockies when she was under two. People either thought we were crazy or awesome (a few small hiccups with sleep and a grizzly bear and cubs, but otherwise it was terrific!).

Anyway, I think if you can afford it, travel is fantastic (local, US, or international). I think the list looks great and it will be fun for him to help plan as he gets older. I think adding something in Central or South America would be a nice complement to the European destinations. Costa Rica is a fun one - lots of neat wildlife to see and activities to do (rafting, ziplines, etc) that he would probably like when he is a little older. The advantage of the southern hemisphere destinations is you can go over Thanksgiving (earlier in the prime season, but still doable - this is when we did Costa Rica) or Christmas (good time to plan a trip as the kids have a lot of time off in school). We did New Zealand over Christmas and used vacation time from two calendar years - so that's how we were able to swing a longer trip there (which you'll want if flying that far and spending that much $ on tickets!). Oh, the other advantage of Costa Rica is the time zone is central time zone - so you nice for travel - don't have to worry about adjusting to time difference.

If you are looking for a shorter trip some time, Montreal or Quebec would be a good destination. Almost feels like Europe!



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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:40:39 PM
If you can afford and both enjoy it, I say go for it. My and my DH's philosophy is a little different than yours. We are paying for both of their college educations, but also felt it important that we travel some with them.

Most of their travels have been in the US - Florida (several times), California, Texas, Colorado, Washington DC (a road trip through middle America), East Coast Road trip - NYC, Boston, and Niagra Falls, Hawaii, and several closer by destinations - Mount Rushmore, northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Chicago,and Upper Michigan. Until they were in HS, we alternated a couple trip with a family trip. Then when they were in HS, we went somewhere every year.

We wanted to take them to Europe at least once and went in the Summer of 2011. Oldest DD stayed with a French family for a week while the rest of us went to Scotland and England. We met up in Paris and spent another week & half touring France.

We are encouraging our DDs to travel in college and will help them with funds. Our oldest went to Austria & Germany with her orchestra her last year of HS. She will have the an opportunity to travel with her college orchestra (last year they went to South Africa). They both want to study in Japan so we will help them with that.


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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:42:57 PM
I think this is wonderful and you are not nuts!

The only thing I would suggest is to keep an open mind with destinations. At age 5.5, anywhere may sound fun, but as he gets older and starts to learn about the world in school or gets involved in different types of activities, the places he may want to travel to may change.

As a middle schooler, my daughter has been testing out different languages and learning about different cultures and countries. I know for a fact she would want to combine the travel destination around what she has learned in school. Now, my son is an athlete and has found his sports niche (baseball & golf). An ideal vacation now for him would somehow combine one or both of those interests.


~Karen


babybeansmom

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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:49:36 PM
Not at all!

My DD is 8 and she has been to:

Lake Tahoe (6 weeks old)
Florida
San Diego (and we went into Mexico, too)
North Carolina
Florida again WDW
Belize
Costa Rica
Alaska
Australia

and over spring break we are going to Moscow

Have kid, will travel is our motto!

I don't know that I'd have my destinations "set". Things may come up. You may find other deals, have interests change. We never really planned to go to Costa Rica but got a great deal and wow, was it educational for DD. So many neat things we did learning about animals, the environment, and their culture. You may want to expand your thinking past Europe (though Europe is good, too).

I'm also excited now that she's getting older our trips may be more local - as in the US. Washington DC, some of the national parks, South Dakota, Grand Canyon.

Really, if you want to expose your kiddo to other cultures look at other areas like Central and South America. I also hope to take DD to Africa someday! (But if you insist on Europe, please go to Greece -- it is AMAZING and so full of history)

theshyone
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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:50:14 PM
Go for it.

I totally believe in living for the here and now. Tomorrow is not promised and may not come.

My kids have done more international travel than they have travel within their own country. I never travelled until I was an adult. I too have been to more countries than I have provinces.

My daughter is in French immersion. She will get to Quebec and France with that. Science club next year may take her to NASA. Travel teaches things that education never could.


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Posted: 1/27/2013 9:57:45 PM
It sounds pretty good, but I would revisit it after a while. As you DS gets older, if he is into sports, that much travel may or may not work with sports seasons. We have about 6 weeks total a year that DS is not in a sport and those aren't all together. I wouldn't want to do some of those trips too quickly and I know that DS would not be able to miss more than a week before there would be consequences in his play time.

So if any of those are more important than the others, I'd move them up the list.


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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:16:34 PM
While I don't think providing many travel experiences to be equivalent to the college experience, I do think it is very worthwile and admirable for you to desire to give your son many travel experiences. I highly suggest you consider allowing him to travel with a youth embasador program like People to People. I think he can travel, without you and your dh, as early as 5th grade, highly chaperoned, of course.

My daughter is going to Japan this summer with People to People and I think it will be an incredible experience for her and it will look great on her college applications in a few years. I think your son would be great doing a program like this. The experience of giving him the world is such a gift, but please, consider programs that will allow him to go without you and dh when he is ready. We recently attended an informational meeting about the People to People student embasador program and I was so surprised at how many of the kids were repeat travelers. Many of them were four and five time travelers. These are expensive trips and I'm not sure how we will afford one, so I sat there boggled at how parents could afford trip after trip after trip. The kids, however seemed to be very positively effected by being able to be exposed to so many countries. I wish I could have sent both of my kids on trips like this, year after year. Other than college, that's definitely where I wish we could have put our money for them.







*maureen*
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:19:31 PM
As a child we did a ton of international travel because of my parents jobs. We had the greatest opportunities and took full advantage. If anything, I'd say all your destinations are kind of similar. When he gets into his teens throw in something not European. Egypt is an amazing country as is Israel. China is something everyone should see. Some of those countries are difficult with small children, but with teenagers who have a greater appreciation of world culture the non-European countries are something to behold. Looking at the pyramids is something that still touches me almost 30 years later.

We were going to take our son to Egypt, Israel and Jordan last spring but the political atmosphere was a little sketchy so we have put it off until 2014. Fingers crossed that things are a little calmer then, if not, then we are going to do a trip through Russia. I can't agree with you more about the importance of traveling with children. It really opens their eyes to the world.


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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:35:07 PM
I think it's awesome that you are planning to share travel experiences with him. You know your kid and if you think he's up to it I say go for it. I'd give anything to have been able to have traveled more with my kids (well, my older DS. younger one has autism and doesn't travel well.) I agree that travel is important and creates individuals who are better equipped to deal with people's differences.


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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:36:47 PM
I think travel is great! The only thing I would change is to add other countries in there (China, Russia, etc). My son is 8 years old and he's been to Greece, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Maldives, and we live in India. (Before moving to India, he had only been to Greece and few times along with some caribbean islands) He really wants to go to London, China and Russia. I think Europe is great but there's so many other countries with different experiences.

modie-may
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:41:47 PM
I think it's great. My kids are 5, 3 and 2. So far my 5yr old was born in the UK, been to France, around the UK, Canada, NYC, New Zealand 3times, Dubai ad now moved here to the USA.

I think so long as you know your kids limits and travelling with kids can be fun. There are loads of things for kids to do in all the places listed above. My kids hold dual citizenship between Britain and New Zealand and DH and I hope they take advantage it.
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:42:15 PM
I guess I figure we'll take trips with our kids when they're ready. Whatever we feel like at the time. Didn't really occur to me to plan it out, year by year. But then again, we have 2, and they're almost 5 years apart, so it kind of changes the options...have to wait for the youngest to be ready and all.



JenAllyson
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:47:12 PM
my friend and her husband travel internationally 2-4 times a year. They have a 3 year old and an 18 month old and take one or both of the kids on most of their trips. They love to travel and if having 2 small children hasn't stopped them, nothing will. I'm sure their children will be incredibly well traveled by the time they have graduated from HS. I think it's a wonderful way to spend time and money - having experiences your kids will remember forever and that will broaden their horizons and perspective of the world.



katiescott
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:48:10 PM
We have a family goal of seeing all 50 states before my 9 year old graduates from high school.

Other than Canada, Mexico & the Bahamas, we don't have any international travel for us & the kids. My dream retirement would be to live in several different countries in 3-4 month spurts so we get to feel local & can take our time discovering the countries.

I did a few semesters in Europe when I was in college & personally I loved being on my own over there - such an independent time for me. That said, I think it would be awesome to do a 2-3 week all around Europe trip when my kids are in their older teen years.

I also have a fantasy of getting an RV & driving all over North America & home schooling the kids - but my family doesn't share that particular fantasy with me - so for now we are ticking off the states & we'll be going to the 4 Corners this year!

Happy Trails to you


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TXMary
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Posted: 1/27/2013 10:54:51 PM
I think it's very important to show children the world around them. I don't have any children, but we do have two nephews that we are very close to. Their parents are divorced and DH and I traveled a great deal with the boys when they were younger. It was an amazing experience for all of us and I am very grateful to my brother and ex-SIL that they allowed us the chance to introduce their sons to new places and experiences. They are grown now and we don't travel anymore due to work schedules, etc, but we kid them a lot that now it's time for them to take us!! I wouldn't trade those memories for anything and I know it meant a lot to them too and gave them a love of travel also.



Sukkii
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Posted: 1/27/2013 11:15:23 PM
I think its a great idea, although as some of the other peas have mentioned perhaps other countries or same countries different order,
eg there may be something worthwhile seeing in Paris the year after you intend going to France so a switch-around might work.

My kids are almost 19 and 20, were born in Scotland. We moved to Singapore when the eldest was almost 2 and they have travelled extensively in Asia with us, the school and their judo club, they have been to Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Borneo, Vietnam, Nepal, Hong Kong, Macau and probably a couple of others I've forgotten

We have travelled to New Zealand, Australia twice, Egypt, France as a family. The one thing I do regret is not really having travelled much around the UK with them, I did that with my parents because when I was a kid overseas travel was for the rich, which we were not

They were always great travellers and the more they did it the easier it got, they soon learned what to pack in their carry-on and what to leave behind, so absolutely go for it

PghScrapper
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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:22:20 AM
I think it's important for kids to get the broadest possible experiences, and travel is a great way to accomplish that. We started traveling extensively with DS when he was 3 - mostly US stuff until he was 8 or 9, then internationally.

Someone else suggested that you get him involved in the destination and planning, and I strongly "ditto" that recommendation. Frequently, DS would be the one who suggested our summer vacation destinations and each of us (DS, DH and me) would each choose "one thing" that was a must see, and the rest of the plan would fill in from there. Made our vacations lots of fun, and no one could complain because we all participated in the planning!


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Posted: 1/28/2013 3:54:21 AM
Both my kids are experienced International travelers. DD had been on 108 flights by the time she turned 2, and DS had his first passport at 6 weeks old (he managed to looked like a baby criminal in his passport picture!!)

I'm surprised as to how much they both remember from some of those early trips, and they both ace tests in history and geography.

These days DS would just as soon stay home, but mention an airplane and DD starts packing, she doesn't care where, she just loves to go.

camanddanismom
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Posted: 1/28/2013 6:33:18 AM
I travelled extensively with my parents when I was young. Mostly the Caribbean and all over the US. We also did a trip to South America. We didn't do Europe until we were in high school.

We are planning a European trip with our kids in a couple if years. They will be 10 & 12.

I say if you have the means, go for it!! But at that age he might not remember much about the earlier trips when he is older...guess that is the point of memory keeping!! It will be fun if he keeps his own journals! Wish I had done that when I was young!


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Jodi_S
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Posted: 1/28/2013 6:53:39 AM
I feel the same way about travel. Though we will be a little late in the game, we are starting this year with our first big trip and I too, have each trip planned out for the next 10 years. My son is 8 now. This year we are going California. next year its the Maritimes.

We also have planned for the upcoming trips, New York, France, England, Italy, Japan, Australia, etc. I already have 2 years of college saved for my son and will continue to do so. But I also feel that travel is also a form of education, seeing first hand the different cultures and the history is extremely important. I don't think we will ever go on a holiday to a hot location to laze on the beach. We are too interested in the sight seeing aspect. I've worked our budget to be able to do all of our goals. We may not be driving new cars or live in a fancy house, like some of our friends, we decided we would rather travel instead.


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Maryland
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Posted: 1/28/2013 7:53:16 AM
My husband grew up going to Europe a couple times a year since he was a baby. They even lived in Spain for 6 months. His parents never had problem traveling with young children or teens!

I have to laugh about the travel part. My oldest was 10 days old for her first 5 hr. car trip. We would travel on about 5 five hour car trips a year from the time my kids were newborn. We would have a 2 month old, 3 yr. old and 5 yr. old in the car and it was just fine. But some people act like a 2 hr. car trip with a young child is such an ordeal, so they don't go on any family vacations until their kids are at least 6! Little do they know, traveling with babies is much easier for us than traveling with a 9, 13 and 15 yr. old! haha!

Enjoy your trips! Sounds like fun!




BrinaG
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:01:19 AM
I don't have a list like that, but we do plan a lot of travel and have taken our kids to a number of places, domestic and international.

In 2008, with a 5-year-old and 8-year-old twins, we visited China. We went to the olympics in Beijing and toured most of the famous sites. We then visited my dd's home province, Guangjo and Hong Kong.

In 2011 we went to England, France and The Netherlands.

We were supposed to be in Belize at Christmas last month, but a lost passport caused us to reschedule to spring break.

Around these three international trips we have traveled domestically. We have done Disney - both Land and World. We have spent time on California and east coast beaches. We have gone to a dude ranch and to Washington DC and NYC.

We all love to travel.

Captain K
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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:07:01 AM
I think traveling with children is a wonderful gift to give them! I think you just have to pace your trips to allow to go at a child's pace, but other than that, I don't think any particular area is off limits.

I also think making sure your children get through college without any debt is an even more amazing gift if it is possible. You said you will be saving half. Is the plan for him to get scholarships or work to fund the other part?

Our bias would be to save the full amount for college, assuming there are enough funds, even if it meant putting travel on the back burner a bit (a trip every 2 -3 years intead of every year). If the child doesn't need the money, great - but we don't want our kids starting out their adult lives in debt.

I think your son is young enough that you probably can do both - make sure he doesn't have to go into debt for college AND have great travel experiences.

JamieH
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:10:49 AM
Sounds wonderful and please make a scrapbook for him for every trip. Also,this is good advice:

[The only thing I would suggest is to keep an open mind with destinations. At age 5.5, anywhere may sound fun, but as he gets older and starts to learn about the world in school or gets involved in different types of activities, the places he may want to travel to may change.]

Happy travels,
JamieH







JamieH






TREZmom
Lost and Found in Pea-land

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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:11:11 AM
If we could afford it, my kids would be world travelers. As it is, we can only afford road trips and even those are far and few, because of my DH's crazy schedule. Although we're a military family, we've had almost no travel opportunities (been living in the same place for the last decade). We have big plans to travel when DH retires in about ten years, but for now we have other priorities (saving for college, retirement, etc). Hopefully, our kids will still want to tag along with us at that point.

melissa
O-pea-gyn

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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:28:28 AM
I think it is a fabulous plan, but I would not do so at the expense of saving for college. You have the capability to save more for college and still take some absolutely fabulous trips to see the world. While I have no idea what to cut and ideas on several countries to add to your list, I would make slightly less ambitious plans and save more for college and the future. If I were in this situation, I'd probably want to plan for a fabulous trip every other year, knowing that plans are always subject to change.



ePEAcenter
BucketHead

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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:46:18 AM
We have lived full-time or part-time in various overseas locations for 24 years. We've made 8 international moves and take family vacations to various other countries and cities every year. Of our 3 children, 1 was born in Texas while we lived in Dubai, 1 born in Switzerland, and 1 in China. As an expatriate or expatriate brat can tell you, they have a fundamentally different world view. From my observation and that of their teachers, they are simply more engaged, more rational, more worldly than their counterparts who have not travelled extensively. It is an investment that reaps huge rewards in developing well educated young adults.

Good for you and your ambitions.

I would approach each destination with forethought, through reading of major authors of the locations or critical periods and learning about art and cultural norms and major historical events in advance. Effective tourism begins years in advance, not when you get on the plane with a $9.00 guide book.


KC

website: The Gilded Image
facebook: GildedImage

anmolhai
AncestralPea

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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:51:45 AM
I don't think you are over ambitious. If you have the funds then why not
dd is 12 & have been to
New Zealand
Australia
Thailand
Japan
Singapore
Malaysia
Several places in US
France
Switzerland
Holland
Bali


Live life !

gorgeouskid
You gots to access your uncrazy side.

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Posted: 1/28/2013 8:53:53 AM
If you can handle this financially, that is awesome. I wouldn't sacrifice college for these trips, though. If you can do both- go for it!

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