Keith and I love to travel! We honeymooned in Iceland, and since then, have been to Paris, road tripped cross country three years ago, backpacked through Europe last spring, and have flown with Adeline to Wisconsin, Texas and soon L.A. Our goal as a family is to make at least one domestic trip annually and one international trip every other year. Since our last international trip was last spring, we're due for another one next year. And of course, I being the the planner in our household, I've already started brainstorming where we should take Adeline for her first cross-ocean trip.
Initially, we discussed traveling to Scotland next summer as Keith has never been (I studied abroad there and visited a friend there six years ago). We talked about possibly going around Edinburgh Fringe Festival, going to St. Andrew's Highland Games, and of course getting in a whiskey tour. Unfortunately, due to Keith's work schedule, it seems pretty likely he'll be on another editing job around that time. So, now that we know we'll be in Los Angeles from November - February, we're expecting Keith to be off work for at least part of March, all of April, and perhaps part of May. The best way to plan a trip is first know the time of year you'll be traveling. Once we established April/early May as free months, I proposed the idea of an international family trip. And Keith thankfully was on board with the idea.
There were several countries we cut out of our Europe backpacking trip, and so, I've been itching at the chance to plan a future visit ever since. Since we'd be flying over in late spring, I thought it would be best to be in more Southern Europe for nicer weather. So, in the past few days, we started discussing the idea of traveling to Portugal (edited, because initially I said Poland) and Spain next spring. I found a list of what one blogger considers the 10 most beautiful places in Portugal, and am absolutely enchanted with their description of Sintra. Of course, I'm also excitedly anticipating entire day's dedicated to wine tasting in each country. Keith is currently most excited to visit Barcelona as that's been on his bucket list for a long time.
We are hoping to spend two weeks exploring Portugal and Spain, most likely stay in a variety of Airbnb rentals, and try to visit a mix of both larger, better known cities and smaller, more local towns. Neither of us speak any Portuguese or Spanish, so over the next few months, I may try to start using the free Duolingo app in an attempt to pick up at least a few words and phrases. A friend told me about it a few months ago, and I was practicing my French every few nights, but in the past month or two, I haven't been as consistently keeping up with it. On our Europe trip last year, some of my favorite experiences were taking long walks and hikes, so I'll definitely be looking for areas where we have lots of walking options. We also both enjoy trying new foods, eating where the locals eat, and finding time to relax with some coffee/tea and pastries.
The next step in the travel process is an initial budget draft and determining how much we'd have to set aside over the next 6 - 7 months toward this trip. If the budget and monthly savings seem doable, then I'll start drafting an initial itinerary. That is, of course, always my favorite part. I'm very nervous about the idea of traveling internationally for up to two weeks with a (then) toddler and am still not 100% sure it's our best idea. Thankfully the blogger realm is making me feel a little more confident as a lot of people seem to have done this. For anyone reading this who's been to either of these countries, please share all your favorite cities and things to see/do! And for anyone who has flown cross-ocean with a toddler, please share all your tips. More details, as they unfold, coming soon!