With only a month to go until we jet off to Paris and Vendee for our family Summer Holiday, our thoughts have been very much turned to travel, holidays and wanderlust goals! (FYI we are actually ferrying it to France next month, but that didn’t sound quite as fluent as “jetting off”!).
There are so many amazing places in the world that we want to explore and visit, that at times it almost becomes a consuming sense of urgency to me to go to them. I think that that feeling has a lot to do with 3 significant bereavements over the last 5 years, that each one causes you to pause and reflect on life. We have often chatted about how it makes you analyse where you are in relation to what you want to accomplish, as well as what you hope to see and do with the time that you have here in this world. That isn’t meant to sound morbid, but as far as travel and seeing the world goes, it is up there as something we very much want to do together and talk about – a lot! And because travelling is such a joyful shared passion, we want to ensure that we make the most of our time together and the time we have with the kids to make memories. We want to grab the opportunities and embrace the adventure – whatever our budget, we have always made sure there is room and time for an adventure together as we work our way through ever changing wanderlust lists!
I usually always have a list of my top places I want to see, which I have started to limit to only “my top 5” (currently Cuba, Poland, Croatia, New York and Pompeii) whilst these are my top destinations, I am also completely open to opportunities to see other places before I can get to those, or see places that are cheaper in the meantime if we don’t have enough saved for those top 5 places. I just try not to let my mind wander beyond these 5 otherwise I might explode! But despite having this list, the most important thing we have decided is that we are travelling together and ticking off adventures and amazing places in the world along the way.
When planning a trip we try to consider these top 5 as a guide, as well as the places Nathan wants to explore, but ultimately it is determined by what we can currently afford and the season we are in and we always have a fabulous time where ever that means we end up!
It is often really obvious where we want to go as we have spent so much time talking about it, and we will then work within our budget to make it happen (always happy to eat from Lidl and stay in Airbnbs when travelling in Europe to cut the cost!). This years travel plans, which are all budget friendly, are enabling us to see more of the UK and a couple more places in Europe. The funniest part of this list as that none of them are actually on my top 5 right now, but I am excited to see them all the same and embrace the adventures and memories that await us in each of them!
Paris – We have talked about Paris for the longest time – Nathan is so passionate about wanting to go! Since the kids have gotten a bit older and taken more of an interest in famous places and facts, it has become a topic of conversation for them too. After seeing both Ratatouille and Ballerina, it was a done deal – they wanted to see the Eiffel tower! And so next month, the first leg of our holiday will be exploring Paris (as well as the war graves at Normandy and a long weekend in Vendee on the west coast of France).
Istanbul or Krakow – In October we will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary (where does time go?). And I have resigned to the fact that it was incredibly naive of us to assume we could afford a week on a caribbean cruise, a week in Dubai or another trip to Mexico on our 10 year wedding anniversary! And so we have been looking at lovely places closer to home and focussing on those others for 15 years (realistic right?).
I hoped that perhaps I might finally see Pompeii (a childhood dream) but as we looked into it, I felt this overwhelming sense of wanting to take Ethan and Megan with us too, and as we want a kid free anniversary trip – that ain’t happening this year! Instead we have decided to go to either Istanbul or Krakow! We initially thought about Lisbon, especially because one of my US friends will be there in October too, but the prices have rocketed and we’re not so sure now. It’s a cool place for a family holiday and as we started planning we concluded that we also want to go somewhere that we wouldn’t naturally take the kids in the next couple of years and is a bit unique for a 10 year Anniversary Trip – we feel either Istanbul or Krakow tick all these boxes as well as being affordable.
Hamburg – you may (or not) remember that Nathan I had a fab trip a couple of years ago to Hamburg in Germany and instantly knew we wanted to return with the kids. The Christmas market and festive lights are beautiful and the railway and chocolate museum were super interesting and amazing. We plan to go right before Christmas as our something to share gift/daddy’s bday this year. The kids don’t know yet and we don’t plan on telling them until the day before when Santa drops off an early gift! Hamburg/Germany is cheap in the Winter time and very very pretty, but this also might just be a pipe dream and one we tick off next year!
On our UK Travel list this year is a camping trip with friends to the Yorkshire dales in July (we can’t wait for the mayhem to ensue) and maybe a weekend together in Cromer. I have been talking recently about another weekend in Edinburgh too as I would like to catch some of the fringe festival this year, but that is a massive maybe and unlikely.
We love the Yorkshire Dales and I am excited to go with friends – as are the kids. Camping is an excellent way to get away on a budget and just like last year when we had a night away in the Peak District so we could visit Bakewell and Chatsworth, it is such a fun adventure and way to see places you might otherwise not be able to afford. With our village friends camping trip, we are already planning our activities and who is cooking (which is apparently me – every night!) and it is very exciting to think about all of the fun we will have in a tent for 4 days for £100!
I think we will also opt for Camping when we go to Cromer (Norfolk) – another place I cannot wait to see. I have loved the look of Cromer since seeing it several times on instagram and when I showed Nathan the pretty houses and pier, he agreed it would be a lovely place to go for a mini break this Summer and so we have it down on our Summer plans. If not this year, then definitely next!
Next year we are already talking about the possibility of New York, lake Garda again or croatia and Poland (if we don’t go this year), but for now we are looking forward to camping with pals, exploring Paris, Normandy and being in France for the first time, as well as maybe Hamburg and a couples break somewhere quirky!
I have always been a dreamer and despite our current lack of finances, I wholeheartedly believe with continued budgeting (and probably me picking up a part time job by now too), we can totally make all of these adventures a reality this year and others going forward! We love to travel so much and it means so much to us, that it really is the area that most of our surplus cash goes. We don’t drink, have expensive taste or anything (we couldn’t afford to right now anyway) and so our leisure/travel fund is a big priority for us – to enable us to do the things that bring us the most joy and excitement.
I am so excited for a holiday next month and to see the kids faces when we go on a ferry, see the Eiffel tower, the glass pyramids that make up the Louvre and then possibly Hamburg later in the year! These our budget friendly travel plans this year – what are yours?