I read a couple of blogging friends posts last week on the subject of setting family travel goals (see links below) and it inspired me to think about our goals. We have all sorts of long term plans but we find it hard to set any specific goals for a couple of reasons. First, our lives are very unpredictable which means for the most part our travel plans are made very last minute. Secondly, whenever we come up with something that might be a goal it quickly becomes too ambitious (see case in point below under Medium Family Travel Goals).
However, I am a planner. I love planning and having family travel goals gives me something to get my teeth into, even if those plans never come to fruition. With that in mind I have set three sets of family travel goals.
Easy Family Travel Goals
This isn’t actually that easy by it is achievable in a shorter time-frame as the places I plan to visit are local. I really enjoyed putting together my A-Z of Cambridge with Kids recently. Once that was published (after a few weeks intense work) I started scanning round for our next big project. We wrote out a few A-Z lists and the one that looks the most promising is an A-Z of Suffolk. This has given us 26 family travel goals that can be ticked off in days trips and short overnight stays in the next few months. Expect a lot of Suffolk content on the blog between now and September, it’s going to be a lot of fun.
Medium Family Travel Goals
This is the one that started out as over-ambitious. David and I started looking at our family travel goals last September and I suggested I would like to visit all of the National Parks in the UK. We got a bit carried away and hashed out a plan to visit all fifteen in 2019. After the initial excitement died down we realised that rushing around all 15 perhaps wouldn’t be the best use of our time and money.
However, it’s still a major goal. David and I have visited at least 6 of the 15 but the kids have only visited 2. I have plans to tick off a few more this year and I’m hoping to complete this goal in two and a half years, before Miss May starts school at the latest.
Big Family Travel Goals
The big one. I took inspiration from this one from the many families I follow on Instagram who’s goal is to visit all 50 states in the US. I would love to make this a goal but if you don’t live in the US it’s a lot more costly and time consuming to achieve so this one is on the back-burner. Instead I started thinking whether there was a European equivalent and guess what, there are 51 countries in Europe.
I proposed the idea of visiting every country in Europe to David and he immediately got excited and carried away. He suggested a time limit of four years or approximately one a month. We’ve already ticked a few off this list. I have visited 16 European countries (including Monaco and the Vatican where I only spent a few hours). David has visited 12, Ted has visited 5 and Miss May just 3. With a couple of road trips four years would be an acceptable time frame for all four of us to reach 51.
However, I wouldn’t be happy with just driving through without experiencing a country’s individuality. This became apparent when I started planning. I decided to pick one, starting with the top of the list alphabetically which was Albania. I thought a weekend trip to Tirana could tick this one of but when I started reading blogs I was inspired. It turns out nothing less than a four week road trip along the stunning coastline will do.
Leave this one with me while I firm up the details.
Long-Term (AKA Vague) Family Travel Goals
There are so many more things we would love to do as a family. I would love us to travel further afield and I am sure we will one day. Extended trips to Asia, North and South America and the rest are all on the table. Even within Europe there are many countries we would like to return to time again. I could plan four big trips to Italy without a second thought.
Back home, we’ve talked a lot recently about all the things we would like to do in London. We have done a lot of day trips but there’s only so much you can fit into a day with young children with the travel as well so I’ve been looking at house-sits and longer term AirBNBs. I think we’ll do another day trip soon and maybe take Ted on the London Eye but we will see.
Tips for Setting Family Travel Goals
I couldn’t end this post without adding in my tips:
- Split into local (days out and overnight trips), national (short trips) and international (longer trips). It will help you when planning to pick from a list to suit the time you have available.
- Be ambitious but not too ambitious. It’s a tricky line to walk but goals should be achievable.
- Set realistic timescales. This feeds into number two, if your timescale is too tight then you are setting yourself up to fail. Really think about how long it will take you to complete your goals in a way that you will get the most out of it. There’s no point in just ticking goals off your list without truly experiencing them.
- Pick things you will all enjoy. Make your list about family adventures, there will be time for the other stuff when they leave home!
Do you have any other good tips for setting family travel goals?