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Traveling with a big family to Mexico
So Many Places, So Little Time

Your help is requested!  Tell me, Dear Readers: Where should our big family travel next? Can you, our readers, make a suggestion or three? Some of the best trips we've ever had have been to destinations that were suggested by others. My friend (who was at least half-joking) suggested Switzerland when I said we wanted to see "snow in summer."  I was thinking Colorado. But he said, "Why don't you go to the Swiss Alps?" and, well, a few months later, we did!  So that's what I'm hoping for here - a great suggestion, whether you're serious or half-serious, then I'll do some research and take it from there....

Visiting the Alps in Europe with small children
Not long after my friend made the half-joking suggestion that we should visit the Swiss Alps, that's exactly where we went!

Several years ago we were looking to take a break from our usual "state park camping" trips and we asked several friends for destination suggestions. One of them was extremely vocal and enthusiastic, saying we definitely should go on a Caribbean cruise. She and her family had been on one and they loved it, and recommended it highly. Three days after her suggestion, we had our tickets in hand! We're like that, I guess. So just tell us where to go...please?

Traveling with a big family on a cruise
A friend told us to take our kids to Mexico on a we did

When you research trips as much as I do, it can be completely overwhelming just trying to narrow down the universe of possibilities to a single place. I'm definitely an over-shopper! I spent 9 months shopping for a vehicle purchase one time. I spent 15 months deciding on a roofing contractor. Making a decision between just two choices can often overwhelm me, as I think I have to analyze every possible angle, get the best deal, consider all possible outcomes...I just overthink it, to an extreme that is hard to overstate.

So when planning an epic journey for our big family, choosing that one destination airport, the end-point for a journey, is so, so hard! This is the airport from which you'll need to be able to reach all your other destinations. The place where you turn around. The place where you have to go twice, to get back in time to catch your return flight home. There are 17,000+ commercial airports in the world. Help?

So far the notions (not set in stone!) that I have for this next trip are:

  1. Start the last week of May, or thereabouts. If starting later, return by early August. Could also consider a December trip instead.
  2. About 3 weeks long (4 to 5 weeks at the most).
  3. There are 6 of us (2 adults, and 4 children in the elementary school to junior high school age range).
That's about it. I'm feeling very flexible, and open for anything. I've also done about 15 hours of searches for cheap plane tickets and amazing sale prices and haven't really gotten close to making a purchase yet. A few ideas and likes:

Ancient History
Great food
New/exotic fruits
Meet our hosts
Inexpensive if possible
Long airplane rides
Exciting cities

Where We've Been So Far
We've been to...

  • a few parts of the U.S. as a family (and I've traveled through 43 states, mostly camping, on several long cross-country road trips) 
  • Mexico (just a couple of cruise ship stops as a family; as a solo traveler I've been 3 times and visited Monterrey, Valladolid, Chichen Itza, Cancun, etc.), 
  • the Caribbean
  • Bolivia
  • Cambodia
  • Thailand
  • South Korea
  • Hong Kong 
  • the UK
  • Switzerland
  • Italy
  • Greece
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • France 
For more on prior trips, see this prior post. And many of those places were brief stopovers - we didn't have nearly enough time in South Korea, England, Italy, etc., and would like to return for a full trip focused on those places one day. But, where should we go next?

Getting off the cruise ship in Mexico with children
Our exhausted boy about 10 minutes before he
slept through an awesome meal in Mexico

Dream Destinations
I've read that one of the keys to accomplishing your goals is to write them down, so here for all the world to see, I'm going to write down some bucket list-type travel goals, in no particular order:

Paradise-like beauty, warm and easy-going people, exotic fruit, awesome markets, temples galore, awesome national parks, waterfalls, and beaches. We went there already, but we'd all love to go again, one day...

I don't know which parts yet, but Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman's epic motorcycle journey documentary Long Way Down made me really want to see several of the countries on his route - Kenya, Tanzania. Botswana - I don't know, I'll have to rewatch that to plan this trip. I'd like to see at least 3 or 4 places more or less on the eastern, middle part of the continent. Plus Egypt...

I had a 3-week epic cross-country trip planned for Egypt but that got derailed (3 out of 4 people for the trip got cold feet) and it got canceled at the last minute. This was supposed to be back in 2001. All these years later and I've still never been! I'd love to visit Dahshur, Kom Ombo, Edfo, and of course the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids of Giza. I'd make this a separate trip from the other parts of Africa.

A snow desert; the very end of the earth; something about this place has been appealing to me ever since I was a child. Other kids said "I want to go to the Moon," but I said "I want to go to the South Pole." Now, I don't think I'll ever really go to the South Pole, but a quick trip from southern Chile would be awesome.

My wife has got this thing about needing to go to Nebraska. I don't know why. We actually set out on a road trip to Nebraska a couple of summers ago, but then had car trouble and cut the trip short when we were still a good 8 hours away (each way) from Nebraska. So it's still an "Oh, maybe one day..." destination for now.

I've already been but my wife would love to see it; on that note, she loves anything rural, bucolic, scenic, grassy, woodsy, sheepy, etc. Plus I was only there about 2 or 3 days, and would like to see more than Dublin and the route to the ferry that goes to Wales. My memory is that Dublin has the most beautiful people in the world - no offense to Greece/Spain/U.S./a million other places.

We'd all love to visit Japan for at least a couple of weeks. We'd like to see Tokyo, plus a rural area and a mountainous area, and Okinawa.

Mountains, palaces, cities and countryside. I haven't researched China as a destination yet so I don't have a list of places, but my wife and I have been talking about going on a long trip to China for at least 15 years. Our Chinese phrasebook continues to gather dust a few feet from where I'm writing this.

Machu Picchu to La Paz - to repeat a trip we had when we were younger, and this time we'll have the kids along. Salar de Uyuni for the first time. Santa Cruz.

Jungle, beaches, cities, a language I can read but not speak; Sao Paolo, Rio, and the Amazon.

Bears, people tough as bears, wilderness, National Parks

Another place I've found fascinating since I was a kid. Siberia. Road of Bones. Endless taiga.

Beaches, Gorgeous People, Accents, Deserts, Wildlife, Sense of Humor

Gers, horses, falconry, amazing people, Chinggis Khan history and world's largest equestrian statute, mountains, steppes

I'm already shocked at how long this list has become - when I started typing, I actually thought I'd run out of places after maybe the first three! So I'll stop now but I'm sure there are at least a dozen other dream destinations that I could add. But also: Petra! And Jerusalem! (Maybe that's one trip?) Okay, for real, this list is getting pretty long.

UPDATE:  Adding TURKEY to this list
Due to a reader suggestion, I'm now intrigued at visiting Istanbul, the Aya Sofya, the Roman ruins of Hierapolis (and Ephesus, and Aspendos), Cappadocia, and Mount Nemrut...This place looks awesome!

Make Each Trip Count
It's been eye-opening to commit this list to paper ( pixels) because I've spent quite a bit of time recently checking flight prices and reading up on two destinations that aren't even on this list! So, what was I thinking?

When I sat down today and wrote out 10 or 15 places that I or we want to go one day, neither of those countries I've been checking even made the top 15!  So...what I'm thinking now is, we only get a certain number of days in our lives, and certain amount of money, and a certain number of journeys. So if I've got a bucket list 15 places long, I'd better make each trip count!

Any further recommendations are welcome, and will be strongly considered for future trips.  However, at this point it's over 2 months since I posted this, and we've chosen our next destination. It's unfortunately not one of our Dream Destinations above, due to the cost of flights for 6, but on the bright side, it is somewhere else that I've wanted to go ever since I was a child, and, it's a country famous for its philosophy and novel approaches to common problems. 

As with our prior big family trips, we picked this place by spinning the globe on a flight pricing app, looking for flights that were far under the going market rate.  We got a great deal on the flights (a very important factor, when traveling with 6 people), then worked everything else out after that. We could have just as easily ended up in Mongolia - except I don't think those flights would've ever been this cheap!  

At this point I've booked the flights and all the lodging for the various stops (using a combination of three different rental websites), and I've just booked the ground transportation this week.  Now I've got to figure out the activities, the locations of nearby quality-but-not-exorbitantly-priced eateries, and where to get groceries...traveling takes work! We'll fill you in on the details soon...

But if anyone reading this has ideas for the next trip after that, drop me a line using the Contact Form at the bottom of this page. Thanks!

More Soon!
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What About You?
Where would you suggest? Make a good suggestion, and there's a very good chance we'll actually go there. I'm highly susceptible to trip suggestions! Two ways to respond:

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Traveling with young children in Switzerland
Another friend told us to go to we did!
What will you do with this awesome power?


  1. Here's a thought: Turkey. If you can get past the "state of emergency" status, it's a great destination. Here's some highlights: Turkey has beautiful landscapes; historic sites; exotic feel; delicious food; and it is relatively affordable...."Turkey literally has everything; sophisticated cities, beaches and mountains, a great climate along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, wonderful people and great food, culture, fantastic arts and crafts.
    Turkey has played critical roles in the histories of Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religions such as Zoroastrianism. It has dozens of cultural influences from the ancient Greeks to the Laz, a mysterious group of people who live in the northeast.
    When you think of Roman and Greek ruins, the best ones are actually in Turkey."

    1. Whoa, that does look awesome! I know very little about Turkey and its history but that link you provided has several very intriguing destinations! Adding that to my wish list. Thanks!


Ideas? Suggestions? Tips? Let us know! Thanks for reading! (If you'd like a reply by email, please include an email address, or use the Contact Form at the bottom of this page - thanks!)