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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson

As Brian and I approach our 10 year anniversary this fall we keep thinking about where we should go/what we should do to celebrate. But sadly the idea of leaving the country without our kids, since they are so young is giving us both anxiety. Are we being babies? I know they’ll be FINE with his parents but I don’t know, we get so sad every time we think about it, so I think we aren’t going to pull the trigger. With that said, we might go somewhere in the states we’ve never been without the kids – New Orleans maybe? Or even recreate our honeymoon in Montreal potentially.

All of this got me thinking about the importance of traveling while you are young, before you have money, kids, or real responsibility. We’ve traveled since we have had kids but it’s different. It’s certainly not carefree, it’s not relaxing, it’s “fun” and “adventuresome”, and definitely inspiring, but “vacation” it is not.

I long for the days when Brian and I would literally land and say “What should we do, where should stay tonight?” Ugh. We were so cool. For example – this was us in Laos, staying in $7 huts, eating fish from the river. Just being young and cool and carefree.


But, before that, straight out of college Nicole (one of my best friends) and I saved all summer and went to Europe for two months. We did the usual trip around all the major western European countries (+ Poland), before hostels were $80 a night and when you could stay in a dorm with 12 other strangers (do they still have those?).


We were two 22 year old girls who had never left the country, before cell phones and it was right after 9/11, but we knew we wanted to get out and travel. I’m sure that my parents were TERRIFIED, but we survived. Actually, we did get attacked and stabbed in Spain but we lived (don’t worry it wasn’t as horrific as it sounds …). Can you imagine getting that phone call either as my parents or Brian?

HA. We kept on trecking and had an amazing time:


2001 really was the year of oversized boot-cut slacks and sneakers … OH, WAIT SO IS 2016. We had $3k each for the two months and we STRETCHED it. I think that I had to get money wired (Western Union, of course) to us after a while because I didn’t have enough. It was so long ago that we actually brought all that money in cash or cashiers checks as the ATM’s weren’t all connected to the US yet and there was no other way for us to get money. Crazy! Any way, the point is that saving, leaving, and traveling when you are young, broke and have no idea what your future is going to be is so important. I personally think that paying for it yourself (or at least a portion of it) is important as well. I think that we’ll have a deal with our kids when they are ready and wanting to travel, that we’ll match whatever they make and save for traveling. I don’t really want them sleeping in some of the disgusting hostels (dirty sheets, trash everywhere) that we had to in order to not run out of money. But hell, we lived and Nicole and I are both successful people in spite of the trash, in part because of the travel.



Then Brian and I moved to New York and we took some time off traveling for a while because New York feels like traveling every day. We went to The Dominican Republic once, but mostly just went to Coney Island and the Bronx – we travelled a lot within New York.

But when we moved to LA we both got pretty severely depressed – the writers strike happened, neither of us had work or friends. We had been sooo happy in New York and the abrupt shift was jarring. So after 3 months of crying every day, we decided on a Thursday that we wanted to go to Southeast Asia, and left on the following Monday, for 2 months where it was actually cheaper to live everyday there than it was to live in LA. Brian’s uncle was a pilot so he got us buddy-passes (which is basically 75% off the price of airline tickets). 

Needless to say it cured our depression and opened our eyes to the fact that our lives were so easy compared to others. I’m sure that things have changed rapidly but Vietnam and Laos are insanely fascinating, interesting and beautiful countries (as is Thailand).


We have such good memories, ones that make us feel both young and old now. I’m DYING for us to travel again, to go on an adventure just the two of us, to a country that maybe is harder to bring the kids, or maybe a country where’d we have so much more fun without them. We were going to go to Cuba for our 10 year anniversary but now that it’s approaching both of us feel nervous about leaving them. 

Emily_Henderson_South_East_Asia Emily_Henderson_Travel_Cheap

Besides, the sad truth is that if we were to go now, with or without the kids, we wouldn’t stay in those huts. We wouldn’t leave it up to luck and availability where we stayed. We would plan, stay in nicer hotels and have less of a cultural experience. We would still eat street food, but not as much. Doing it on the cheap is so rewarding. We spent NOTHING in 2 months, like $2500. Crazy. 

Travel_Cheaply Emily_Henderson_Vietnam

Man. I wish I had had my good iphone back then. We had a 2007 digital camera that barely took good photos – but seeing these makes me so nostalgic.
Scan 11

The point of all of this is that I wish I had travelled more. And I REALLY, REALLY regret not traveling abroad during college. I didn’t because I didn’t think I could afford it, but it’s something I really want our kids to do.

I think that people are intimidated by traveling thinking that it’s so expensive, but there are still so many countries that are so inexpensive to us and once you land you can live for so little, and experience so much.


So now that I’ve relived my past, and showed you my ethnic bell-bottoms (listen after you travel for a while you start wearing all this weird hippie stuff as if it’s your new wardrobe), where should we go for our anniversary?? And where would you guys want to travel or recommend pre-responsibility people to go? Maybe it doesn’t matter, JUST GO. If you have a sliver of wish in your head make it happen. We didn’t travel as much as I would have liked, but the trips we took shaped us as a couple and individually.

Is New Orleans too boring for our ten year???? Where else in the US feels culturally different that also has a fun nightlife in addition to beauty and plenty to see and do?? Any suggestions we need to know about?

  1. Love this! Did Brian go to Fordham?

  2. I totally get everything you’re saying and you are so right. People should definitely travel before they have kids! We are blessed with a nearby grandma who has watched the kids while we traveled multiple times – most recently to road trip in Southern Utah (be still my heart!) and to Japan for our 10-year anniversary. So I definitely wouldn’t rule out overseas travel if you have someone super reliable to watch the little ones. But I get feeling nervous about both of you being out of country and away from the kids. What about going to Quebec? It’s far enough away to feel like a different world, but close enough to get back pretty quickly. Alaska would be awesome. What about a cruise on Princess with the kids? I’m actually writing an article about cruises for Redbook right now and the Princess cruise to Alaska is great! Kids program is fun. As a family you can bond while watching a movie under the stars while snuggling on loungers and eating milk and cookies or splash around together in the pool. At night, go check out some shows just the two of you. Puerto Rico is another cultural experience that could be great as a couple or with kids. There’s the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort has a kids program (have to be four years old) and El Conquistador has a water park. You could explore Old Town, the forts, El Yunque rainforest, and the bioluminescent bay (glows in the dark!). Anyway, I should probably stop now. Wait, one more! Have you been to Savannah, GA? It’s a sensual, historic, romantic place with nightlife. Okay, really, I’m done now.

    1. These are all great recommendations but Elliot isn’t old enough to take advantage of any of them. ? That means Emily and Brian are still left without a vacation. I know because I have an 18 month old and the only way to relax is to not bring the baby. The children’s programs on site basically want nothing to do with your kid until after they’re potty trained…

      1. No kidding. So frustrating. I spent every moment of our cruise with my then 16 month old.

        1. I didn’t have that experience at all with Disney Cruises. My daughter just had her 3rd birthday and wasn’t potty trained, so she was in the little kids section and they do change diapers. My 5 year old was so busy we felt we should check in a couple of times and she barely acknowledged us from the front row seat she had drinking “tea” with Alice and the Mad Hatter. Many sections of their ships are kid-free (grandparents want a break too!), and the kids wear a bracelet that sends a signal to a pager you get, so are free to move around as well. I never worried. Kids wanted to go back, the next year was better, the two were like magpies following the leaders all over, playing dress up.

          That said, what’s the real problem? either you want a vacation (no kids, adults bonding, grandparents indulging), or you want a family trip with a couple of minutes to toast your anniversary. Why would you worry if you parents are up to the task of watching those adorable kids???

  3. Some of the best holidays I’ve had (and I’ve travelled all over the world including inter-railing round Eastern Europe, backpacking in Thailand and Vietnam, mountain biking in Japan, sailing in Australia, skiing in Austria, surfing in France and walking the Camino through Spain) have been at home in England!

    Every Easter we rent a holiday home somewhere special and just relax, take long walks and get to know the local area.

    There are some great places to stay now including lighthouses, National Trust properties and castles. Perhaps there are similar places in the States where you can just chill but still do it in a wonderful setting?

    Here’s a website that shows quirky places in England. There’s probably something similar for the States! http://www.quirkyaccom.com/

  4. You need to go do something special! My husband and I have traveled many times, starting when our youngest was less than a year and I have to say it has been so good for our relationship. It feels so good to reconnect and enjoy each other without having parenting responsibilities. We are fortunate to have wonderful parents and in-laws (who live out of state but make a special trip to our house to watch our kids) that have made these trips a reality and who also realize that we as a couple need this time to ourselves. Our children were no worse for the wear having us gone, and I feel they also benefit from being doted upon by their grandparents! I think it has strengthened their relationships with each other as well. My kids now have no issues with spending a week away from us at their grandparents homes, which they started doing as young as 4. I can’t say I didn’t worry leaving them, call home daily to check in, or leave a binder with every bit of information they would ever need, but this is what makes you a good parent, it’s normal! I say just do it! Everyone will survive and you will have a blast rediscovering yourselves!

  5. New Zealand! It’s much closer for you in California than it is for us in the UK and you could take the kids and do so many outdoor activities. People are sooo friendly and the variety of landscapes from North to south island are fantastic. You are never far from a beach either. We were lucky enough to spend 2 months there earlier this year (we are in our 40s). We kayaked, mountain biked, zip wired, walked, swam, boat trips, swam with seals, saw dolphins, kayaked at night to see glow worms….the list goes on. We stayed in airbnb most of the way to save on costs and you get to stay in some more interesting areas. Such a superb destination.

  6. Wow! What incredible experiences you have! I traveled for a month between semesters in college and it was the most rewarding experience. If I could do it again, I would have gone abroad for the entire semester. Such a once in a life time thing.

    Brittany | thechicette.com

  7. Oh, and just remembered, my friend took her 2 young kids and dog (and husband) and their caravan and went to Croatia for two months this year. Admittedly it’s a long way from California and you wouldn’t be able to take a caravan 😉 but it just shows that you can still do great travelling with children if you didn’t want to leave them. They had a blast and it really united them even more as a family.

  8. I also have these same travel regrets. Once you have children, your travel plans change. One area of travel within the US that’s on my bucket list is northern Michigan…there’s also Banff national park in Canada, which is practically like the US (at least the shows on HGTV make you think it is).


    1. I was coming here to recommend northern Michigan or Mackinac island as gorgeous destinations that are a little bit off the beaten path (at least for non-Michiganders). I understand the desire to at least stay in the country now that you have kids, and these are a great option. Another thought might be to bring a nanny on the trip with you if you have one who might be willing. Then you can all go and enjoy it together and you can have some time alone. Just a thought.

  9. I’m going to chime in and recommend Savannah as well. I went with a group of girlfriends this spring to celebrate our birthdays. The architecture and history are rich, the city is easily navigable (the historic district is incredibly walkable), Tybee Island is a short drive away, and there is a ton of delicious food. One of my friends described it to me as a more genteel New Orleans! Of course, Charleston, SC is only a 2 hour drive away so it would be easy to do a southern coastal city tour

    1. Savannah is SO great. Emily would love all the gorgeous design. I wanna go back ASAP.

      Do the open air bus tour (yes, really. It’s good), then walk by everything you drove by for awesome pics of the houses, iron gates, parks. Watch Garden of Good and Evil before you go, or while you’re there.

      Warning! Do not attempt in summertime (not sure how soon your anniversary is) unless you are used to heat and humidity! Also, wear a hat and bring water.

    2. Savannah is essential. Emily would love all the gorgeous design. I wanna go back ASAP.

      Do the open air bus tour (yes, really. It’s good), then walk by everything you drove by for awesome pics of the houses, iron gates, parks. Watch Garden of Good and Evil before you go, or while you’re there.

      Warning! Do not attempt in summertime (not sure how soon your anniversary is) unless you are used to heat and humidity! Also, wear a hat and bring water.

      1. Self-invest and invest in your marriage with travel that you are passionate about. It will be the best thing you do for you, your husband AND your kids.

      2. I really feel like New Orleans is one of the world’s greatest treasures. In a time where social media/globalization means that a restaurant in Bangkok feels like it was ripped from Brooklyn (begone Edison bulbs!), it’s so utterly refreshing to be in a place where the food, the music, the design, feels so utterly OF that place. You will NOT be disappointed by New Orleans.

        However, I say rip the bandaid off and go abroad! Cuba and Belize (check out Ka’ana) are both easy to get to and feel a million worlds away (in Belize you can hike through a cave that feels like a cross between Indiana Jones and Goonies!). Or take advantage of all the recent Asia flight deals from LA. Sri Lanka for incredible Asian modernist design and amazing food. The Philippines for the food + beaches. Bali for beautiful textiles and furniture + beaches + food.

        Morocco for all the obvious design reasons and because it’s got that heady North African romance. Tanzania because safari is hands down the most romantic, life-altering trip that a human can take in my opinion. It will redefine your relationship with your environment and a week feels like months away.

        Ooh! Or Argentina! Buenos Aires feels like a South American answer to Paris and the glaciers in Patagonia redefined my understanding of the color blue. Peru has so many over the top experiences packed into one country–the romantic cobblestone streets and handicraft markets of Cusco, the i-totally-cried-its-so-beautiful majesty of Machu Picchu, the wild adventure of the Amazon.

        Man oh man. All of the places. What a big beautiful world!

        1. I second Belize!!!

  10. 1) It’s okay to travel in a different way now than you did then. Needs, means and goals are different.
    2) Your kids won’t be impacted negatively by you going to Cuba (or wherever), but you and Brian will be positively impacted. Take a break and feed your relationship, especially if you’ve got grandparent coverage.

    Travel and self-care are good. Guilt is bad. Enjoy!

  11. JUST GO! You will never be able to get over the self-imposed guilt if you don’t just go for it. You and Brian need to maintain a healthy relationship with each other without the children as much as with the children. Healthy and happy parents = healthy and happy family. My parents traveled extensively both with and without their 5 kids and we all are healthy, happy, well-adjusted adults, and they NEEDED those alone trips to maintain sanity. Mostly though, you need to cure yourself of the travel regret. Travel at any age and any stage of life is enriching and eye-opening. Go and enjoy Cuba, or wherever, as a couple, alone, and celebrate your 10 year anniversary. We’ll look forward to the photos and finds you discover. No judgments!

  12. Uggggh this post made me so nostalgic. I too travelled through Europe on like, less than nothing in college and it was so magical. I would love to have that freedom and carefree spirit again. Now with an 18 mo. old we’re talking about doing a trip to Ireland (we’re Boston based) before we start making moves for baby #2. Do the Cuba trip! Your kids will be just fine and get lots of grandparent lovin’, and you will have another wonderful trip to remember and dream about!

  13. If you plan on coming to Louisiana before late September/October, I wouldn’t. It’s so hot here, it would be too miserable to walk around and enjoy anything. Definitely go to Frenchman street rather than Burbon street if you come to NOLA. Hope you have a great anniversary.

    1. I second this.

  14. New Orleans is perfect! I’ve been all over the world and its my favorite u.s. City. You will have a wonderful time. It’s super different. Do a nice air bnb, don’t stay in the quarter. Don’t leave your little kids for a big long time, you’ll miss them too much and not enjoy yourself. Trust me, I’m a crazy traveler and mom. When they get a little older like 6 it’s more fun and feasable! Family travel also gets rad again! Chin up- it gets cool again 🙂

  15. I share so many of these sentiments about travel and have now gone down a rabbit hole of nostalgia, thanks to your post. My husband and I have traveled to nearly 40 countries, but most of that was already after we had gotten married. I too regret being so incredibly stupid in college in thinking that travel was too expensive/too dangerous/ whatever other lame excuse I used back then… Yet my baby sister recently turned 19 and has been out of the country 5 or 6 times, and somehow I’ve morphed into my parents, worrying about her when she’s traveling – and even, dare I say, possibly discouraging her from doing so. What is wrong with me?!

    As for where to go for your anniversary – we are planning a trip to Hawaii when (and if) we ever finish our full-house renovation, which is going on the 13th month. All I know is that we better finish it real quick, because I’ve already taken time off work and am THIS CLOSE to buying the tickets. Anyway, I’ve always preferred international travel over domestic, but due to some timing and visa issues, we’ll have to remain in the states. Once I got over my disappointment, I started researching Hawaii, and I’m blown away by the natural wonders the different islands have to offer. There are volcanoes, rain forests, bamboo forests, canyons, coral reefs, black sand, red sand, green sand – basically an entire continent of dramatic landforms squeezed into a few little islands. And I hear the luaus are quite fun. I truly hope it doesn’t disappoint, and I can’t wait to see where you decide to go! XO

  16. I traveled to SE Asia in college, but not for studying abroad, just to backpack! “backpacking” in SE Asia is so different now (my husband and I recently went back to Vietnam this past march). while we had an amazing time and seriously want to go back as soon as possible (plane tix were only $700/roundtrip from NYC!), it’s not as authentic as it used to be. I think we will go to the countryside the majority of the time next time!! I went to Laos in 2008, and I don’t hear of too many people going there (seems like everyone is talking about Thailand and Vietnam right now), so maybe we will hit up Laos and/or Cambodia on our next trip. SE Asia is such an amazing place with incredible food and the nicest most genuine people.

    reading about your cheap trip makes me so nostalgic about my similar adventures in 2008!! I wish I could take 2 months off of work now and not lose my job 🙁

  17. Have you thought about Glacier National Park. It extends into Canada. The National Park lodges are amazing. Hiking is great

  18. There is NOTHING boring about New Orleans! Great city. And this from a New Yorker!

  19. Oh boy – New Orleans is ANYTHING but boring! I’ve been all around the US and I felt like I was in another country in ‘Nawlins – plus food is unbelievable and it can be very ROMANTIC if you want it to be. Another good choice – Charleston – in the Fall is beyond perfect. After 25 years – I always tell my husband – “I’ll go anywhere – but let’s just GO!”

  20. Ha. I just went through the same analysis preparing for our anniversary trip away from our little one. We started with Hawaii. Now we are doing a trip in driving distance because we won’t be able to relax if there is an emergency. (We recently tried to spend a weekend away from the tot, and got a call that she was very sick. We were only 45 min away but it felt like eternity to get to her.)) We’re doing a Seattle-Vancouver-Whidby Island trip, and, based on our restaurant reservations alone, I’m very excited. That said, I love New Orleans. Charleston is great too. And I hear Savannah is lovely.

  21. I would suggest Costa Rica! Plane tickets there are cheap, and I was able to get 7 nights in various hotels/nice hostels for only $175!! There’s lots of adventurous stuff to do but you can also just chill on a beach–whatever floats your boat. I’m going in a week 🙂 Can’t wait!

  22. We talk about our early days of traveling all the time. It was such a freeing experience, especially in the days before smartphones. I will never for one minute regret those trips. Having a kid has definitely changed the way we travel. We went to Spain (Mallorca) and Italy (Positano) this summer and the quantity of stuff we brought still overwhelms me to think about. Next time we will definitely dial back our luggage!! I would suggest, if Cuba is off the table, somewhere like Costa Rica or Belize. Easy flights and lots of adventure to be had, but also an easy return if you need to! We took a child free trip for our 10th this year. I was nervous the first two days, but it was exactly what we needed.

  23. I can’t even tell you how perfect New Orleans is. We went there three years in a row, starting with our minimoon and I fell in love. It is easily one of my favorite cities in the world and I have been to almost every continent so I say that with experience. You can go for a week and still feel like you didn’t get to taste, see or hear enough of the culture. It is a magical place in the US. Some of my favorites are SoBou and Mat and Nadie’s. I recommend staying at a B&B in the Marigny.

  24. Florida is a fun place to visit if you haven’t been already. Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, St. Petersburg all have great things to do at night and interesting things to do during the day (i.e. Beaches, little coastal towns, museums, and tons of thift stores/antique shops with mid-century and palm beach style treasures)!

  25. As a 26 year old it’s hard to find the balance between saving money for my future and saving money for things like travel. I currently have a travel savings account in addition to my regular savings but I usually end up buying something home-related when the travel account gets over $1000! This post reminds me, though, that it’s important to travel while I can. Thanks, Emily!

  26. Go somewhere…anywhere. Non-kid trips are rejuvenating. What about a trip to the Pacific coast of Mexico, so that you are away, and its kinda “exotic” but close enough that you could get home quickly if need be?

  27. Thanks for sharing. Traveling just feeds the soul. My boyfriend and I are traveling to New Orleans on Friday. I’m really looking forward to it. That being said, I don’t think it would be too boring for a tenth anniversary. Food, music and history ! If you’re looking for an other option, I would love to suggest Québec City. It’s two hours away from Montréal. It’s absolutely beautiful. You feel like you’ve been transported to Europe. Why not stay at the Château Frontenac. The food and the scenery are fantastic.

  28. Maybe you guys could go to wine country in Northern California. Just drink and hang out. I’m not sure if you guys have already done that or not. Maybe explore parts of California you haven’t been too. Just an idea.

  29. I don’t have kids so can’t speak to the traveling with/without them aspect of your dilemma, but I DID just move from Mpls to NOLA, and I’d highly recommend it. Nothing boring at ALL!! Be prepared for the weather – it’s insane right now – whenever you go, and know that it IS a bit like traveling to a different land. Whoa. Magical, historical, weird, gritty, wonderful. You’ll eat and drink well, and see some incredible homes/neighborhoods. I’ll second that Bourbon Street is not what it’s all about but see it, and the Quarter, and then keep on moving. SO much to experience here. (Oh, and don’t say “Nawlins” – tourist identifier x 1000. Everyone just says New Orleans.)

    Keep us posted!

  30. Love this post! I am so fortunate to have done so much travel already and I agree that my favorite trips are the ones I did for so cheap, leaving a lot up to luck and “going with the flow”!

    xo Bree

    1. My husband and I both traveled extensively on the cheap before meeting each other and then did 1.5 years of traveling after we got married (that is why we still don’t own a house in our late 30s!). We have a 16-month-old now so I get your hesitation. Of all the countries we have been, Mexico is still one of our favorites. Have you heard of Todos Santos which is about an hour north of Cabo? It is an artist community with amazing B&Bs and restaurants. Great place for a 4 day trip. There is also a beautiful hotel a bit outside of town called Rancho Pescadero which has amazing design elements that I’m sure you would appreciate! I’ve been to the area a few times and loved it, but there is not much in the way of nightlife. It’s a great option though since it is such a quick, easy trip from L.A., closer than most of the U.S. If you are worried about Zika, there hadn’t been any reported cases in Baja when I was down there in July, but of course that can change.

    2. Woops! Didn’t mean to post this as a reply to Bree’s comment.

  31. You should absolutely go to the Rocky Mountains in Canada, stay in a cabin in the woods. With the canadian dollar being so low, and it’s so gorgeous….

    The culture is similar enough that you don’t feel a world away from children and healthcare, but there’s something fun about canadian bacon, maple syrup and the “good” iced tea! Or perhaps hit up Sparkling Hill resort in Vernon BC and travel the Okanagan Valley. Wineries, boating, biking, to name a few.

  32. Go to Quebec City!!

    Montreal is like your cool older cousin you want to be like. Quebec City is like your eccentric old Aunt who has new adventure stories every time you see here. Cool is an understatement. She’s 70 and still goes down hill skiing… Get it? She rocks! Quebec City is unlike any place in the US and Canada.

  33. We did a road trip to New Orleans, spending one night each in Chattanooga, Nashville, Memphis and Natchez before arriving on NOLA. Or, just go straight to the big easy. Garden district and amazing antique shops, plus all the food, drink and music you can handle! Happy anniversary. Have fun!

  34. Hawaii! Pick an island and a special resort and celebrate your 10th in style. Take part in a few of the less-toddler friendly activities, whether it be a helicopter tour, surf lessons or even a coffee plantation tour (I know my 3-year old would be bored after five minutes on a coffee plantation!).

    Flight is only 5 hours from LA so you can get back fairly quickly and the flight isn’t that much longer than New Orleans from LA. Perhaps you have already traveled to Hawaii, but if you have, you know it is worth returning to once again!

  35. I am new about this…. But I like to read your post…

  36. I have to say, this post really resonated with me for a couple of reasons–I’m in my mid-twenties, and have been fortunate enough to travel extensively, sometimes doing things the “nice” way, but mostly living on the cheap and staying in hostels. It’s given me a deep appreciation for how other cultures and people live, something that I think is particularly valuable in our increasingly fearful world. Also, I think it’s so great that you’re travelling with your kids internationally–it’s less of a vacation with your kids, I get that, but my parents took my siblings and I (there are 4 of us) abroad throughout my childhood and it was instrumental in my development as a person. It made me brave, flexible, and curious. Don’t give up travelling with your kids if you can help it, especially as they get a little older! It’s one of the most rewarding things out there I think.

  37. Love the article, I did same 30 years ago and it is the best advice to travel when young, pre-children!
    Go to New Orleans….you won’t be disappointed! It is NOT boring!
    Its like another world!

  38. I would LOVE a follow up post describing your decision making process. I am actually going through the exact same thing right now. My husband and I never got a honeymoon, and I unfortunately didn’t have the opportunity to travel in college. We have agreed to go somewhere for my 30th birthday next spring, but I am nervous about traveling abroad away from our babies. We have considered Quebec and Puerto Rico…but I can’t decide! I want the biggest bang for our buck. I can’t wait to hear what you ultimately decide!

  39. In your words…JUST GO! We would plan a trip for all our milestone anniversaries and left the kids with our parents. Its hard not to feel guilty but everyone wins! Once you arrive at your destination you both will be relaxed and excited about the time together. You can call and check on the kids (which you will find will be less and less as the trip goes on) and you will find that they are doing just fine! 10 years is a special anniversary and its time to celebrate!

  40. Are you sick of Pacific Northwest or would you consider Tofino/Clayoquot Sound BC? or Fogo Island for a Maritimes/East Coast retreat? Both fairly remote (ahem – goop just went to Fogo Island Inn) but still North American so might feel slightly more accessible. Both would be unpredictable weather wise I think but also pretty magical in any season.

    I’m still thinking about your new house. It’s going to be absolutely brilliant.

    1. just seeing all the other comments – of course you should also totally go to Cuba and completely guilt-free, everything will be fine and you will have an incredible time and well-deserved break!! as a Canadian fan just couldn’t resist putting those options out there!!

  41. Do NOT go to New Orleans?? You have to be kidding. no way, no way. I live in Florida (closer to New Orleans than Cali) & it is not a popular “vacation” spot. It’s boring, kinda dirty, and way over rated! Go out and see the world! Your travel pics are giving me major wanderlust.

    1. Hope you give New Orleans another chance sometime!

    2. New Orleans is the number 2 tourist destination in the nation, so yes, it is a popular “vacation” spot, as well is should be! It is brimming with beauty, charm, character and culture. As a resident for the past 9 years, I can guarantee that there is more than enough to keep you busy for a long weekend, and if you’re interested in exploring the (quickly disappearing) bayou, even longer. DON’T LET THE WEATHER SCARE YOU. It’s really not as bad as people say. Just sip a daiquiri and chill on a balcony, you’ll be fine.

  42. Go with Brian to Cuba! I was scared to leave our two kids for a week this summer (they are the same age as yours) but my husband and I went to France for our anniversary and it was incredible. In the chaos of kids/life/work/etc it’s easy to forget how funny/charming/amazing/handsome your spouse is sometimes 🙂 Besides the kids will have a blast with their grandparents!

  43. New Orleans is not boring at all. It’s visually stunning and there’s tons to see. Savannah is also great. Stay downtown and you won’t need a car at all. I don’t know when your anniversary is, but do NOT go to New Orleans or Savannah from June-September. It’s miserably hot. I’ve been to New Orleans in March and October and Savannah in December, and the weather was perfect.

    If you want to stay in the States, I recommend Alaska or the National Parks in Utah.

    I second what everyone else says about traveling without your kids. It will bring you and Brian so much closer. You may not want to hear this, but your kids will have a blast without you. As a kid, I adored staying with my grandmother and I wish I could have done it more! Children find their grandparents a lot more fun than their parents.

  44. Aw Emily, I could have written this post (minus the cool trip to Asia). We have a 19 month old and I FEEL you. We took a last minute trip to Hilton Head and Savannah Georgia this summer (ie super family friendly), but it’s not nearly as fun as our honeymoon in Greece and Turkey, or my time abroad in college. I would love to do a fun vacation abroad, and I am not hesitant about leaving my daughter, but work obligations and wanting to save my vacation days for a future maternity leave make it difficult. Hopefully, we will get the guts to just GO at some point, but it is much harder in your 30s with responsibilities than in your 20s.

  45. Just go! It really doesn’t matter where. Its all about checking back in with each other and reminding yourselves that you once began this journey just the two of you. No kids, no real jobs, no real responsibilities.

    The kids will be fine. Getting spoiled by grandparents is part of the fun of being little. If you really can’t stand the idea of not taking the children, then bring the grandparents with you. Everyone gets a vacation.

  46. ALASKA!!!!

    I went with my family on a trip to Alaska, and it was absolutely incredible. Obviously nightlife isn’t something that they’ll have, but it will blow your mind. I’m dying to go back with my husband since he’s never been.

    New Orleans is fun. Also, I adore Savannah, Georgia — a humble, laid-back little sister to Charleston but just as beautiful.

  47. I agree with everyone that says you should just go and enjoy your time with Brian and feed your relationship. Your kids will be better for it.

    Tulum, Mexico is one my favorite places I’ve visited. It has good “high class” food + amazing street food, beautiful beach, tons of fun outdoorsy and cultural things to do (cenotes, monkeys,jungle, snorkeling, Mayan ruins). You can stay on the beach, which is a bit more upscale with nice resorts (or ecofriendly resorts), nice restaurants, and cool shops, but the village is a few miles away with all the Mexican shops and super cheap tacos, etc. Plus, its a pretty romantic place.

  48. For what it’s worth, I think you’re just in a brief family-travel hiatus – it will become increasingly easy and fun to travel the 4 of you as the kids get older. We took a break from big trips when our kids were young because it just wasn’t fun (dealing with naps, entertaining kids, etc), but we got back into the swing of it when my youngest was 5, and I have to say I now love traveling with kids. It changes the types of things you might choose to do…but that can be freeing. Fewer museums and guided tours – more exploring, doing fewer things in a day but taking your time with what you do, more treats (a pastry as a “good hiker reward”!, etc), the excitement of trying something completely new. I love seeing the world through their eyes. Of course, it is more expensive and takes more planning, but it’s so worth it. So hang in there…it will feel like vacation again soon!

  49. I have wanted to go to Iceland for years now and made it happen as a 30th birthday present to myself. I’m visiting Norway and Iceland at the end of the month with a friend and I couldn’t be more pumped! It’s not the cheapest but I gotta make it happen while I can, even if it means a little credit card debt. I’m still young! I can live off of their famous hot dogs and ice cream!

    I recently also traveled with my mom to Budapest, Vienna and Prague for her 60th and it was magical. Loved Budapest and Prague the most and would love to go back and explore more.

    Next on my dream list are probably New Zealand, Greece and Portugal.

    In the States, I’d have to say that Montana (and especially Glacier National Park area) is the most beautiful place I’ve been yet. Still need to see the Grand Canyon but driving and hiking through those mountains was a breathtaking experience. Since I’ve moved to Oregon, I’ve gone back twice for long weekends because I love it so much.

  50. I live in New Orleans (and LOVE it), so feel free to drop me an email if you decide to come down and I’ll send you some recommendations. Having said that, I’ve also been to Havana, albeit a good while ago, and it was one of the most memorable trips I’ve ever taken. I can’t wait to go back with my husband. Another option – spend a long weekend in New Orleans and then fly to Cuba from here. A few days in each city, that would be my ideal. But GO! Everyone will be just fine. (I echo the sentiments about weather, however. Both New Orleans and Havana are best enjoyed with lots of walking. You think it gets hot in California, but it’s the humidity that really gets you. Fall should be lovely, though.)

    1. I feel ya on the anxiety of leaving your kids. And of course THEY will be fine, but you might not enjoy your exotic (longer) vacation if part of your heart is left with them and your mind is occupied worrying/missing them. Pick somewhere in the 5 hour flight pocket, keep the trip fairly short, and it should be wonderful. I know *everyone goes to Hawaii, but really, it is relaxation incarnate and so so lovely without kids. Maine, Banff, Glacier, Southern Utah…all sound great as well.

  51. Pangulasian Island in the Philippines — http://www.elnidoresorts.com/pangulasian-island/

  52. I feel like I could talk about this for HOURS with you (or the you that lives in my computer/in my head…is that weird??? yikes!)

    Growing up in Charleston, SC we weren’t able to travel a lot, but my grandparents went EVERYWHERE…3 months in Europe twice, Vietnam/Cambodia, Japan, China, Galapgos, Thailand, Morocco, Turkey, Safari, Egypt, Peru/Bolivia, the list goes on! I think that’s where my wanderlust comes from and I was determined to study abroad in London. I did it and it was SO FUN. I did a little travelling during the semester and loved it. I highly recommend it to anyone who is on the fence. I loved reading about your travels and now I have the itch to head to Asia! My fiancee has been to Hong Kong several times because of his family there and we might need to put that on our list.

    In terms of a domestic 10 year anniversary trip, you should definitely consider Charleston! You could even do a few days downtown and then a few days at the beach. I would love to help out with suggestions and my brother actually works at a gorgeous boutique hotel there. Feel free to email me! Can’t wait to see what you decide!! PS-No trip together is lame! It’s just important that you go somewhere to celebrate together!

  53. I know I’m just echoing what many others are already saying, but here goes:

    JUST GO.

    Your children will never remember (or care) that you left on vacation for a week or two, but you will always have those memories. You don’t have to disappear to Asia to have a cultural experience and live like locals. There are quick flights all the time to the Caribbean, Canada, oouu — or Iceland!

    And as a LOOOOOOOOOOONG time reader, I can tell you this: I know how important it is to you, as a designer and blogger, to create “beautiful” content and take high quality, styled photos and do “blog worthy” adventures, etc., but truthfully? This post, with these decade-old, carefree photos (which remind me of when I used to take pictures in high school and college without a single care in the world about how pretty they looked) is one of the most interesting VISUAL posts you’ve done in a while because it’s so easy to identify with. I love the personal touch. I love how unapologetic and honest your story is.

    If you decide to take a trip, maybe challenge yourself to reconnect with your early-20’s selves. Just take your iPhones for pictures — no digital cameras. Stay in simple accommodations and focus on having the best time ever — together!

  54. If you feel nervous about leaving the kids while you go to another country then definitely don’t do it. You won’t enjoy it. I know this from experience. Have you thought of a road trip through the south? You could go to Austin, New Orleans, Charleston… So many great places. And could just stay where ever strikes you that night. If you get the chance to go to White Sands National Park on the way you should take it!

  55. Couldn’t agree more, thank you for sharing!


  56. When I was in my 20s, a couple of years after graduating college, I felt like travel was so out of reach. I was making so little money. I met a really cool woman who been everywhere, thanks to the Peace Corps. I applied, was accepted, and had the best experience of my life. When I got out, I was poorer than ever monetarily, but very rich in experience.

  57. Really enjoyed this post Emily. I’m 25 and broke as hell (heyyy student loans) but at the beginning of the year I decided I really wanted to see NYC (never been) and told my boyfriend I was inviting a friend and going this year. Even if I had to go alone, I was going to make it happen. So in two months I’m going for 5 days with a friend. It’s not a huge trip but its SOMETHING and it’s been giving me life all year knowing its coming up! Sure, its a bit pricey, but so worth it. We live in Portland so we spend a lot of time exploring the state and camping which is a great way to itch the travel bug too!

  58. Hop down to Mexico City!! There’s so much to do, it’s a quick flight and the food is amazing! You can rent an AirBnB for next to nothing or splurge and rent a fancy one (for less than you’d still pay at a mid priced hotel in New Orleans). Stay in the Condesa or Roma neighborhoods and just wander. And you can climb the pyramids at Teotihuacan.

    Our other favorite was Guatemala. Again, a quick enough trip from Cali that you won’t feel to far from the kids. Go to Antigua or Lake Atitlan. Talk about romantic!! And cheap!!! In Antigua, you can sit on a rooftop, sipping a cheap beer while watching lava flow down a volcano. The cobblestone streets and the architecture are amazing. And Lake Atitlan is the most gorgeous place I’ve ever been. You can rent a villa in one of the little villages then take a boat to the other little villages. We loved it. I’d like to retire there.

    Both places are close enough to home that you won’t feel like you have to travel all day to get home in case of a kiddo emergency. Especially Mexico City. Just go!! Your parents raised you into adulthood, right?? They can handle the grandkids. 😉

    1. I totally second Mexico City! It’s amazing, and it’s closer than NYC.

  59. Such a beautiful story and life path! Thank you Emily, once more you gave us a beautiful insight and inspiration. Wherever you two go, have the best time of your (young) lives! 😀

  60. Definitely go to Southeast Asia because it is relatively safe and really cheap to stay. The food is great and people are really friendly.

    My dream trip would be South America though. But I really really wish to go back to Japan and travel the whole country. Maybe for my 10 year anniversary!

    Thanks for sharing these, Emily! I have the same regrets and young people should just go out there and travel while they don’t have kids yet.

    1. I was born and lived in Honolulu for my first 12 years, so it is my favorite. If you haven’t been -it is wonderful, beautiful, and really nice people. Visit the different islands and go island.

      Also, Santa Fe is culturally different and plenty to do.

      Whatever – just have fun. Your babies will be fine with your parents. You will be better parents for the time away and rest.

    2. Go to Belize! (I know, I know, it’s out of the country.) BUT, it really is a short flight away– I think it took us a couple of two hour flights from San Diego. Belizeans are just lovely people, as is their beautiful country–if you ever go, definitely split your time between the jungle AND at the beach. We went there on our honeymoon and it is on our to-do list to go back for our 10 year anniversary. We have littles, too, so I know the thought of leaving the country without them can be agonizing. (So far, we have left our two-year-old for all of 2 nights, 2 hours away–so I won’t pretend to be a pro at this.) They will be a bit older by that time, but still little. Knowing how easy/quick of a flight it is (granted, we live in the PNW, now), I think I could still get on the plane and do it… and be able to enjoy myself :). Regardless of where you choose–have an amazing time and congrats on 10 years!

  61. Cuba. Drop the kiddos off in OR on the way so they can stay w/ Grandparents and have their own vacation. Then you and Brian get your bad selves to Cuba stat!

  62. I concur with Charleston (Savannah felt “seedy” to me). Also Todos Santos in Baja. One of my favorites though has to be Santa Fe. Art, food, scenery, people. It really is its own kind of place. As others have mentioned, you & your dude need time without the kiddies. They will be more than fine with doting grandparents. It will strengthen your relationship which in turn makes you better parents. Win win : )

  63. With kids: Grand Hotel Mackinac Island (upper Michigan) – if you haven’t seen photos of this place, google it now – the interior design of the hotel makes the rest of the world feel dull by comparison. You wouldn’t think of Michigan as culturally different, but the experience of staying there is a little bit like going back in time to a different culture, and the families with kids there were having so much fun.

    Without kids: I am loath to even write this because it still feels like a bit of a secret to the tourism world, but Oaxaca Mexico. It would be a fast flight for you and I can’t speak highly enough of the culture having lived there for 5 months in college. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and to this day is one of my favorite places on earth. If you go don’t miss Hierve El Agua and Monte Alban.

  64. I’m from Northern California, and have also lived in Manhattan, and rural Pennsylvania (!). In my experience, which does *not* include the general South except Florida BTW, Louisiana is the most culturally unique part of the USA available. It does feel like a foreign country. That said, I’d try to get beyond New Orleans proper a little bit, and venture to the neighboring parishes too.

  65. Also I’d feel no need whatsoever to leave the country if it makes you nervous now. It will cease to make you nervous, eventually, if only when THEY leave the country and you follow their travels on a blog;).

  66. Great post, Emily! I’d encourage you to read it again but try to read it as though you’re reading someone else’s writing, and then consider taking your own advice and just go! Cuba sounds amazing, by the way! And it’s really not much more of a haul than it would be to head to New Orleans or Montreal. Your concerns about not going are totally valid, but your kids will probably have a great time with their grandparents, and you’ll come back refreshed and more in love with them than ever!

    My husband and I are headed to New Zealand soon. I’d been pregnant this spring and we were really regretting that we didn’t ever go before we had kids. Well, I miscarried, so we booked our flights about 3 days later. It’s been a huge bright spot and has really helped me recover from the disappointment of the miscarriage. I also think every day about how lucky I am to be able to take such an amazing trip! We leave in a couple month, and I’m so excited!!

    1. Go with your original choice. Isn’t that what they say. Your initial plan was Cuba but you’re talking yourself out of it. So go with your first choice and follow your instincts. I included a link to a dude sailing around the world on a catamaran (The Nomad Trip) who recently left Cuba and his insights are very in-depth and real and I’d think you’d get a good sense of it’s too much to take. He’s a smart guy and way better than anything from Trip Advisor. Congratulations on the house. It’s gorgeous.


    2. I tried to post earlier but I don’t think it worked. Sorry in advance if this a double post.
      Did you ever read “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell? His book talks about how our instincts tell us everything we need to know in the first 5 seconds but we start arguing with them and don’t follow our first impression. Your initial choice was Cuba but now you’re talking yourself out of it. Go with your gut.

      I included a link to a really interesting view of Cuba from a really smart guy who spent time there. It really gives you a sense of what to expect down there.


    3. So sorry for your loss. New Zealand sounds amazing, have the best time!

  67. I’ve lived in New Orleans all of my life and still find so much about this city that I love. I can’t recommend it enough. Please reach out if you need recommendations. I’d wait until October when the temperatures are more manageable. We’re currently dealing with 95 degree heat and 90% humidity.

  68. We are celebrating our 10 year anniversary on the same day as you both this year! We also have 2 small kiddo (3, 6) and my sister was supposed to watch them so we could revisit Santorini where we honeymooned, however she got knocked up (the nerve) and is actually past due now. So we were going to push our big trip out a year, but decided we would regret that decision so the kids are coming with us on a short vaca. We live in the Bay Area so we wanted a short flight to somewhere we can get an umbrella drink at a pool, so Scottsdale it is. Man will it be hot, but we should have a blast!

    Gotta make the best of it! 🙂

  69. As a Mother of 3 kids and hitting on her 15th wedding anniversary, I can tell you, to go somewhere to celebrate you two. Kids will be ok, and they will think its a vacation themselves being spoiled by the Grandparents. You can Face Time them.

    Girl, go to Cuba. Go, go now. Do it for you and Brian, do it for your readers who wont be able to experience it and do it for your kids who need Grandparents time.

    My kids don’t have Grandparents, and they would love to have had memories (pictures) of staying at Nona and Pop Pops home.

    Go, Girl.

  70. I highly recommend Charlston, Savannah and Santa Fe. All great cities that are still close but not so far. They have all so much to offer. On my bucket list is also Asheville, great music scene and restaurants. And you can always come to Maine!!! The way life should be!!! Lots to do, great restaurants all the lobster you can eat. I am always available for suggestions!!!

  71. New Orleans is a really cool place to visit (we’ve been a couple of times) but to me it doesn’t fit super well for a 10 year anniversary trip. It would definitely be better than not going anywhere, and I’m sure you’d have a great time, so it could be a decent option.

    We are eager to go to Cuba before it changes too much. The appeal of a place essentially stuck in time…so fascinating. But there are still restrictions that could impact flexibility/anniversary fun 🙁 What about Miami or another Florida destination? You’d miss that cultural piece of being in Cuba, but you’d stay in the States and also get to enjoy the climate and beach.

  72. We just celebrated our 5 year anniversary in Venice, and it was wonderful! My 2 year old daughter stayed with my parents for the week, and we were nervous that she would be upset and we wouldn’t enjoy ourselves without her, but it was completely the opposite. We still missed her, but we facetimed and/or talked with her each night, and she was SO excited to tell us all the fun she was having with grandma and grandpa that it let us enjoy ourselves more and she had her own mini vacation with my parents. I would definitely recommend it to anyone that can. It was so nice to recharge and it’s definitely a different vacation with just the two of you. Do it!

  73. Not sure how special it would be, but Key West is really cool. It’s the most tropical you can get in the US. Laid back, amazing nightlife with incredible local musical talent, playing in open air bars and restaurants. They’ve got some really great food. It’s easy to get around. The island is like 4 miles by 6 miles I think. They aren’t know for their beaches, but they’re not very busy. There’s tons to do. Parasailing, day trips to the Totunga’s (I think that’s how you spell it) They have the 3rd largest reef not far off the island, with boat tours and snorkeling. The only downside is, it can be kind of crowed, but it’s never bothered me. One thing I definitely suggest doing, is the tour of Ernest Hemingway’s home. So incredible to stand in the very office he wrote some of the most iconic books of all time, and yes the cats you see are direct descendants of the 5 toed cat he had. If nothing else you can visit the southern most point on the island which is only 90 miles from Cuba, so you can say you almost made it there….LOL Happy traveling, and HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!

  74. Such good advice! My husband and I are big travel supporters and always tell people that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get out and see something new.

    For your anniversary trip location, New Orleans is one of my favorite places I’ve visited within the US. Not sure when you’re planning to travel but we did a fall colors driving tour of the New England states and that was gorgeous! And relaxing. 🙂

  75. Oaxaca, Mexico!! You can drive to San Diego (or better yet, take the scenic Pacific Surfrider train to SD and a short Uber to the border), walk across the pedestrian Cross Bridge CRX directly into the Tijuana airport and catch a flight to Oaxaca. It is a place so rich in culture, crafts, art, and has amazing cuisine and tequila manufacturers. As a designer I think you will love it and its got the authenticity you seem to be craving. That part of Mexico is totally safe and there are some pretty cool looking airbnb’s you should look into. Better visit our neighbors before the wall goes up. 😉

  76. I love St.Augustine, Florida and the beaches nearby. It has history, culture, shops, walk ability and trolley train tours with as-long-as-you-like stops wherever and pick up later. Jacksonville airport is close too. The waterways and bridges along with this being the oldest city in the U.S, inspires me. I feel the souls that have left their energy. Enjoy.

  77. My husband and I just spent my 40th (kid free…it was a little eek but we quickly got over it). Stayed in a great, well located VRBO and soaked in the music, food and culture (I say that because we very much feel like it’s the one place in the states that doesn’t feel like the states…sometimespecially doesn’t even feel like the same planet. 🙂
    Suffice to say, there’s nothing boring about New Orleans and you won’t regret it…plus, the unlimited architecture eye candy is the cherry on top. P.S. – Hit up Frenchman St for local music. Can’t beat it…GO! 🙂

  78. I wouldn’t consider it to be culturally different, however, St. Augustine, FL has a lot of history and plenty of bars. You could rent a nice place directly on the beach near to downtown, or stay in a historic bed and breakfast downtown. (I’ve not read through all the comments, please forgive me if St. Augustine has been mentioned previously.)

  79. I’m a mom of a 16 year old and my husband and I are able to travel again, with and without our son. I would stay close to home and try New Orelans. Your kids are only little once, and you’ll worry and miss them when you are gone. They’ll be older soon and you’ll be able to to have experiences with them.

  80. Just my quick 2 cents- there are tons of amazing vacation worthy spots in the U.S., but if you really want to see Cuba, go to the Cuba. Now. Trust me as a parent of 3 teenagers: it’s really much easier to leave young kids than older ones. Young kids don’t have their own schedules, cars, friends ect. And it doesn’t get any easier emotionally as a mom to leave teens- there is always SOMETHING you’d miss, making it not the right time to go. With babies, you don’t have to worry about where they are, what they’re really doing and who they’re with while your gone, or traveling only during school breaks when eveything is more crowded and expensive. Your kids will be super busy before you know. My husband travels to Asia and Europe all the time for business and I used to go, but now making the various schedules, arrangements, carpools ect in order to leave has become, for me, not worth it. I’ll wait til the youngest is in college before taking another long trip sans kids.

  81. I work in study abroad for a private university in the USA, and over half of the programs we offer are less expensive than staying on campus, and financial aid and scholarships go with the students! Going outside of what is familiar can make some great gains in personal and professional future experiences, along with the ones you get in the present. And sometimes, the worst things that can happen abroad can make the best stories to tell later! Thank you for promoting travel to your tribe.

    Is New Orleans ever boring? DO IT! Happy 10th!

  82. You should go to Costa Rica! Close enough that it might feel the same as some domestic trips- the perfect place to relax or adventure, can do cheaply or luxuriously! The people are amazingly nice, food and drinks are cheap and DELICIOUS, weather is perfect. Literally the best place.

  83. Montreal is my favorite city, and we honeymooned in New Orleans two years ago — I highly recommend it! The food is insane, the architecture is beautiful, and you can walk everywhere. Neither of us had ever been to the southern US though (I’m from VT, he’s from NJ, and we live in OH), so for us it was really interesting culturally. Plus, we took a cooking class one afternoon and now my husband makes amazing gumbo 😀

  84. Come to Maine! It’s not exotic and it sure as h isn’t Vietnam but I it’s romantic, moody and very beautiful in it’s own right. We’d love to have you visit Portland East 🙂

  85. first, New Orleans is a great place to go without kids. it’s architecturally interesting, loaded with history and the food is out of this world.

    second, i didn’t enjoy traveling without my babies when they were little. always took me about 24 hours to adjust. and then i enjoyed it. you will be fine.

    three, keep traveling with your kids, too. we’ve taken our two girls all over the US and they are such great travelers and love seeing new places. i think it’s a major part of what they’ll remember about their childhoods. they are now 13 and 15 and we know our time with them under our roof is getting shorter. so keep traveling!

    1. Beignets . . .don’t forget the delicious beignets!

  86. I live in Charleston, SC, and think it is the perfect place to travel. The historic downtown is just gorgeous, there are several beaches, lots of fun night life and even more amazing restaurants. The food scene is huge down here!

  87. Oh Emily, go. Don’t make departure a big deal, try to leave when the littles are asleep. Grandparents are good at keeping the kids entertained – everything is new! You and Brian deserve the recharge and the romance. I traveled, and now I’m the Grandma babysitting so obviously everyone made it through unscathed:)

    If you read other blogs, check Emily Schulman at Cupcakes and Cashmere. She and her husband recently left their 2 year old with her parents and went to Paris for their anniversary. All was well. GO!

    1. Hmm. I totally wouldn’t go when the littles are asleep. I have a horror of bait-and-switch, would rather tell them right up front what is happening, and spend some time letting them know that we always come back.

  88. CUBA! Maybe it’s because one of my guilty pleasures is watching “Dirty Dancing, Havana Nights” ( it sounds even more em embarrassing as I type) but Cuba is my number one travel destination and has been for some time. I think the appeal for Cuba is that it has been untouched by America for so long that I imagine it’s like stepping back in time!
    Emily, I feel like I could’ve written this article word for word as I truly feel your longing to travel alone againwith the hubs but also your desire to create new memories with the sweet babes. We just back from a week at the beach with my 14 month and soon to be four year old. Needless to say, I get like I needed a vacation from the vacation, cliche, but oh so true!
    My sister has taken her kids who are both under the age of eight to St. John every year since her youngest was two. She loves it and always comes home looking incredible and feeling refreshed. Maybe it’s the island life? Just a thought.
    Good luck! I’m sure there will be ups and downs either way but I have no doubt you’ll make the most of it!!

  89. There is no place as relaxing as Hawaii. The Big Island and Maui are the most beautiful places I’ve ever been too. I cannot recommend Hawaii enough. Book a flight on Hawaiian air, get yourself a lava flow and go! 🙂

  90. You began this post by telling your younger self to travel more. So imagine that I am your older self–“Travel more!” You have the blessing of willing grandparents. You need to have fun and adventure now. And often. Someday your children will grow up and leave you. You and your husband will need to have spent enough time together as a couple that you remember how to enjoy life as a couple. Go!

    It is also great for your kids and parents to enjoy time without your involvement. My kids have a much closer relationship with their grandparents because of the time they spent together while my husband and I were out of the country over the years.

  91. Oaxaca or Puerto Escondido in Mexico are beautiful relaxing and vibrant and super close for you. We live in South Africa so that was very different for us but we loved Cuba too (outside of the resorts).

  92. I suggest a week in Iceland! I did that for my spring break, it’s stunning. It’s not as vastly different as Cuba or Laos, but it’s definitely different than LA and so incredibly beautiful.

    I’m a 20 year old design student, so I really appreciate this post on traveling while you’re young. My parents traveled with me a lot, but my brother is 9 years older than me so he remembers all of our trips, whereas I was 2, 4, and 6 when we went to Europe, so I don’t remember them at all (luckily i’ve gone at 16, 17, and 20, but I went alone and it’d have been nice to remember my family trips too)

    I don’t know anything about raising kids, but I would suggest traveling just the two of you until Elliot is about 10, then they’ll both definitely remember the trips and it’ll be worth it, and you and Brian will get 9 more years of solo trips until then.

  93. I can’t recommend New Orleans highly enough. Just so cool, interesting, delicious, beautiful. I would recommend New Orleans, Charleston and Savannah…in that order. Just visited Savannah this year and really enjoyed it but not nearly as much as New Orleans. That being said, I’d love to see Cuba before the tourist trade transforms it.

  94. I’m sure when you were in college, that feeling that you couldn’t afford to travel felt very real and prohibitive. Now, though, in hindsight you know better and “really, really regret” not having shaken off that feeling. I understand being nervous about leaving your kids to go out of the country feels very real and prohibitive right now, but in ten years, how will you look back on the decision to forgo Cuba? Will you also regret it and wish that you had managed to push through those feelings.

    If you have trusted and willing care givers for your kids, take advantage of that and just go! Sure there is the chance that you won’t enjoy it as much if you are feeling nervous, or guilty. I don’t have kids (so grain of salt), but all of my friends do. From what I can tell, they have the same feelings and leaving is super hard, but they do fade…surprisingly fast! And also consider the possibility that if you give up Cuba for a Plan B that you’re not as truly, equally enthusiastic about, you might not enjoy that vacation as much because you’ll be pestered by a lingering feeling of disappointment that you’re not doing what you really wanted, and technically could have done. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you can come up with a plan that actually works to scratch your travel itch!

  95. As a senior, divorced woman, I too urge you to just go. As newlyweds, we bought our first house within 6 months of getting married and were house poor for the rest of our 17 year marriage. Plus, all the grandparents were out of state. Even though we didn’t have children for the first 9 years of marriage, the most exploring we did was a 30 day train trip along the Atlantic coastal states. Back then, you could get on and off the train for a few days in multiple places. Amtrak scheduled the trains at the most scenic times — Pacific coast at sunset, Las Vegas after dark, Rocky Mountains during daylight on switchbacks, etc. — plus, local food like trout. Our only mistake was not getting a sleeping car for the final 48 hour leg of the trip. It was brutal and we got home exhausted.

    I would also recommend an Alaska cruise. Alaska is gorgeous! But they stop cruising there before Labor Day. Lots of fun stuff to see though — glaciers calving, lots and lots of eagles and eagles scooping up salmon out of rivers, eagles nests, bears, and going right to glaciers, and much, much more.

    Whatever you choose, just go and thank your lucky stars that the grandparents can watch the kiddos. The best thing you can do for your marriage is couple time, what better way than to celebrate 10 years together!

  96. this was great and really resonated with me. i ended up studying abroad in budapest – both because it was cheaper than other more popular places in europe or australia (i feel like everyone wanted to go to australia?) and because i sucked at speaking a foreign language so it kind of ruled out any of the western european countries (that weren’t english-speaking, obviously). while i was incredibly stupid in other ways in college – 10 years later i’m really proud of how much i travelled (and for cheap) while i was there. Places like romania, slovakia, etc. that taught me SO much about the world and myself but realistically and honestly – i won’t be going back to any time soon and if i did – as you said – wouldn’t stay in the same type of places that taught me so much.

  97. Tulum or Charleston SC! 🙂 Both are fun but Tulum is incredible. Very jungle chic!

  98. Hi Emily! Your blog is my ultimate favorite thing and lifesaver. My husband and I are renovating our 100 year old home and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had no idea what I’m doing and come to your blog to search for advice. Your posts are so helpful!

    We’ve had the good fortune of being able to travel all of the world, both independently and together, but one of our all time favorite trips was 2 years ago when we spent a week in Alaska (tacking on extra time to a wedding we were attending). It was one of the most beautiful, coolest places I have ever been and I’ve been singing its praises ever since. It also is not that far from LA and moderately priced as well. We flew into Anchorage and spent a day there before spending 2 days in Seward and driving through to Whittier to do a day glacier cruise, then on to the Matanuska glacier and driving through the Denali highway (INCREDIBLE) to get to Denali and on to Fairbanks and back down to Anchorage to fly out. We did spend a good amount of time driving, but we loved being able to get out and stop at so many awesome places along the way.

    1. Ooh, I think Alaska is a GREAT idea! Haven’t ever been there, but, as a West Coaster, same time zone is a benefit when you are coming home to littles. Also, I assume it really is a different culture and I know it’s a different landscape.

  99. Hi Emily! We’re in a very similar boat as you (two babes- 3 and 21 months) and we’re approaching our 7 year anniversary this Fall! Congrats to you and Brian! I’m an Ohio girl, but my parents have a place in Asheville, North Carolina and I can’t recommend it enough. There is SO much to do. Hiking, Nightlife, Flea markets/Thrift shops, Music, Culture… the town is just oozing with creativity, love, and good vibes. It is VERY kid friendly (if you bring the kiddos), but also a blast if you want to rock out with your hubby. I could go on forever about it… recommendations on specific hikes (where Hunger Games & Last of the Mohicans was filmed), hotels, restaurants, shops, a drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway and all the best spots to visit. Love your attitude on travel, your blog, your style (and everything!) Happy planning!

  100. I so enjoyed your photos! I recall reading that when Richard Nixon was once asked what advice he would give young people, he said he would tell them to travel, even if they had to borrow the money. By the way, I really miss your show on HGTV.

  101. I honestly don’t get the guilt on leaving the kids to go on a well-deserved trip. Its not like you are leaving them with strangers or horrible people. It is their grandparents. If they did a decent job raising you or Brian, then will do the same with the kids. 20 years ago, we lived in Phoenix and wanted to go on a Greek Isle cruise. So we flew to Chicago, drove to Iowa and dropped our 18-mo old daughter off at my in-laws who had only seen her once before. 8 days later, we flew back from Europe and when we exited customs in Chicago, they were waiting for us. 2 hours later we were on a flight home. It was no big deal. Kids are adpatable and the trip was so relaxing that I came home pregnant. :-)!
    Go to Cuba! Enjoy!!!

  102. I think New Orleans, Miami or Key West (if you haven’t already seen those) might be good places to go without children and still stay in the U.S. So much evening activity (music and great food) in New Orleans and Miami, and boating excursions, diving, etc., off Key West. You could also take a day trip to the Bahamas from Florida.

  103. I totally agree! I backpacked for two years out of college and saw over 80 countries and while I remember being stressed that I was hanging out in a hostel in Egypt while my friends were applying to grad and law school, now I wouldn’t have traded that time for anything in the world. I don’t think it had to stop with kids, my son is almost 3 and we’ve done 12 countries with him. I just think it takes more planning and staying in one city for more than a few days…but children are incredibly resilient and it turns out that ours loves street food and will sleep in that pack and play even if it’s in a crummy hostel room!

    New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston are great in the U.S. But I’d totally go to Cuba or Iceland if you guys are going to go somewhere with the kids! They love children and there’s plenty for them to do there! If it’s going to be a childless vacation you should think about what you guys would like to do that would be really hard with them (ie lay on a beach and read a book without being dragged up every five minutes)

    1. Kate, I’m so curious, did you take your son to Cuba? If so, I’d love to know what you thought, how easy/difficult it was, and any other insight you want to throw my way. My husband and I are looking at doing a trip there in the spring and were wondering if we should take our two boys who will be 3 and 16 months by then.

  104. I definitely need to take the leap and travel a lot more while I can!

  105. Honestly, just go to Cuba. Your kids are young enough that they won’t remember you leaving them for a week or two, and technology is such that you can still see them (and they can see you) several times a day (skype/facetime/etc). Ten years of wedded bliss is a big achievement, worthy of a big celebration.

  106. Currently, I am reading this on my 10 year anniversary trip in Maui, where my husband and I honeymooned. Also, we decided to bring the kids! Yes, it is so much easier to not bring them, but my husband and I have always loved to travel so we made a deal to not let having kids stop us. My husband, children, now ages 9 years and 7 years, and I continue to make travel a priority. We have been traveling with them since they were only a few months old. It has been as simple as a weekend getaway an hour’s drive away, to several international trips to Asia and Europe. We also travel cheaply, yet comfortably, by using Airbnb instead of hotels, for example, and having access to a kitchen to prepare simple meals. You will not get to see everything on your personal wish list, and you have to make a few adjustments depending on their age. You will, however, be rewarded with unexpected memories you would not have had otherwise, by slowing down and experiencing everything from your children’s point of view.

  107. NOLA is amazing, but really best on a three day weekend in a rented shot gun house. I’ve had the best time on girlfriend weekends because we all like to poke around old book stores, antique shops, and drink Pimm’s Cups.

  108. go to cuba NOW before they turn it into epcot havana. this will happen any second and the mosst beautiful, haunting, 500 year old moorish spanish city in the world will cease to be. really. get it while you can. it will be gone in 5 years.

  109. Santa Fe, NM and Taos. Lots of culture, interesting architecture, great food, and good for grown ups! Visit ten thousand waves and/Ojo Caliente for great local relaxation.

  110. I just read an article on HuffPo that summed up how I now feel traveling with an almost 3 year old, unless the children are at home you are on a trip, NOT a vacation. Once I read that I was like, oh yes that’s why Kauai was nice but not like I remembered, ie a vacation.

    Having said that, New Orleans is like nothing you have ever seen in the U.S. It’s got an European vibe + spring break, which is fun and well fun. I was 33ish when my husband and I went, pre kid, and if you have a sense of humor about what you are seeing it’s super fun and the food is amazing. Also, Magazine Street is supposed to have great antiques and art, I didn’t get that tip until the trip was over. And you can see one of Napoleans death masks and other items he owned. I loved it.

  111. My husband and I just spent a week traveling to Charleston, Asheville, and Savannah. It was wonderful! I highly recommend Savannah. We stayed at The Marshall House. It’s historic, beautiful, inexpensive, haunted….absolutely wonderful! We can’t wait to go back. Good luck and happy anniversary! I’m sure you will have a marvelous time wherever you land.

  112. I am 21, the exact target of this advice – however I cannot take it!
    Just due to the layout of my university program, and the master’s program I chose, as well as the 0 dollars in my bank account, a big long international travel experience was not an option for me during school and I don’t see it happening in the near future. I feel like there are so many articles and posts online from people where the message I get is “travel young or your life will be ruined” and that stresses me out a lot, though I have been trying to get over it. So, if anyone else is in the same situation, just wanted to put it out there that IT IS OK if you don’t have an amazing international backpacking experience for months and months- you can still have a full life and grow as a person. Don’t feel travel guilt. Don’t compare yourself to other people, their life is not your life. I hope to be able to get to a few places I am passionate about in Europe for a week or two, in 2-5 years – I think that type of travel rather than hostel and backpacking will suit me better, and I don’t think that makes me a bad person! (Or you either if you identify with this or the opposite or anything). 🙂

  113. Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. Not for nightlife, but for beauty, bike rides, beach walks and tranquility that follows the summer season. There is a glass museum in Sandwich, and there are many other places places you can bike to fairly easily.

  114. Travel is amazing at any age and stage! The logistics change, but throwing yourself into another culture and being curious and adventurous and open is still exciting! You are still you and you will have those same feelings again! I have two young kids too and have travelled all over the world before they were born. My advice for travelling in this stage is to park it in a really interesting city (or countryside, whatever you to see when you travel), and renting (or swapping) a house, and trying out life as a local. Going to the farmers market, visiting shops, meeting other families at the park, trying to communicate in a new language. It sounds a lot like life at home, but it’s not because everything is new. You will inevitably find hidden gems and interesting events, that bring the spontaneity that you miss, without any drama or risk 🙂 I recommend Berlin, Copenhagen, Tyrol Austria, or the south of France. Happy travels! Enjoy your anniversary whatever you decide!

  115. There are amazing flight deals to Costa Rica right now. I would also recommend Vancouver Island’s west coast for something that feels kind of wild. We went last Oct. and *loved* it.

    For the US, Acadia Nat’l Park in Maine, South Carolina’s coast, or Savannah GA would all feel a bit like an escape. If you want something more urban, New Orleans seems like it would work too. Yay for travel!

  116. You should definitely go to New Orleans!!! I just went for a girls trip this July and absolutely LOVED it! I am in my early thirties and I DID NOT think it was boring AT ALL. The nightlife basically never closes, like Vegas. My favorite thing about the city is the energy there, it has such a cool, relaxed, colorful, positive vibe. There is also SO MUCH culture there, which would be great for you since you don’t want to leave the country. Lastly, the live music and food are insane. Go out on Frenchmen Street, eat fried chicken at Willie Maes, and have brunch at Mother’s. I have traveled to many places, aboard and domestic, and New Orleans is one of my favorite. You won’t be disappointed!

    1. You also must go to Ace Hotel while in New Orleans. It has a really cool rooftop bar with a pool and beautiful views of downtown. It is all 1960’s decor and music, and they serve AMAZING frozen Blue Hawaiians!

  117. If you are sure you need to stay in the States, I’d give Key West a try! Maybe a Southern Florida road trip? Stay in Mid-Beach Miami at a boutique hotel like the Confidante or the Faena, then rent a car and drive to the Keys. I heard that soon there will be ferries to Cuba from Key West….

  118. Just as 20 somethings should travel before they have kids, so too should 30 somethings with little kids travel before the grandparents get too old. This is important!! Our parents had the kids for a few days here and there a few years ago, but they’re getting on a bit and can’t manage the kids any more. So do it now while you can!!!

    And just to add, I had to go on a work trip to Hong Kong and Macau (awesome places!) for 5 days and then DH came to join me for an extra 3 days, when my daughter was 2. I was slightly freaking out that my relationship with her would never be the same again (haha) but of course it is. The morning I left was awful, I kept tearing up, but as soon as I got on the plane I was happy, and we had an absolutely wonderful time.

    The great thing about little kids is they have a terrible sense of time – they won’t really realise how long you’re gone, so you should take advantage of that! 😀

  119. I read your all blog and so excited to learn more…

  120. I think if you were going to stay in the U.S., New Orleans is your best bet. Great city, plus you can take a side trip to the bayou. That said, flying to Costa Rica, Mexico or Belize would be easy too and you wouldn’t be too far from the kids.

  121. Nice article. Think so new form of features have included in your article. Waiting for your next article. keep posting

  122. Traveling with kids as little as yours is hard and totaling not relaxing. BUT, it’s a short window. Our 4 kids are 3-12 and its already a different ballgame. We’ve taken the under 3s to India, Europe, but it’s stressful. In just a few years your travel experience will be very different. Take an amazing trip with just Brian. Hard to leave for sure, but horizons for your marriage and sanity!!!

  123. Just got back from a 10 yr anniversary trip from Crete, Greece. It’s was stunning, relaxing and good chance to look at each other across the table at dinner and have fantastic conversations. And it was CHEAP!!! We have 2 BIG kids, not babies, but at take-off we both got really nervous. But we realized, showing both our boys we as a couple are important! Working and focusing on us, benefits our whole family. I say go for it, enjoy each other and all your accomplishments as a couple!!!!

  124. don’t give up cuba!

  125. If you haven’t been to Sayulita, Mexico. Definitely consider it for your anniversary trip without the kiddos. It’s a very short flight from CA, has amazing design, shopping, and food. Rent a house (North end is more quiet but a quick walk to the center of town. Stuff up the hill can be gorgeous but too many stairs and hills if you bring the kids). You don’t need a car and there is so much to do! You’d love it. If you decide to bring the kiddos, I can recommend a great sitter (and former NYer), who is also an amazing children’s photographer, so you and Brian and get some alone time too.

    You also could consider San Miguel de Allende. It’s a gorgeous UNESCO site in the mountains of Mexico with more amazing food and design. Take the red eye into Mexico City to maximize your time there and have Bill & Heidi at Casa de La Cuesta arrange a car to pick you up at the airport. Sleep in the car and arrive to an amazing brunch spread. Their B&B is amazingly tranquil and beautiful and VERY affordable.

    Your kiddos are too young now, but mine are 4 and 5 and as we speak we are at a rented apartment in NY (we live in CA) just cruising the city for two weeks while the kiddos are in camp. They are having the best time and so are we 🙂

  126. Try Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal or Quebec City or Halifax – all lively Canadian towns with lots to see and do plus easy and accessible. Lots of history, restaurants, night life, scenery and shopping. Added PLUS – the Canadian dollar is at $0.75 US so your wish for a cheap vacation is easily attainable

  127. I’m from New Orleans and it’s such a great place to go and chill out. You can see the whole city (it’s so small!) in 3 days. But what about a roadtrip? I did the Mississippi Blues Trail with a former boyfriend and it is one of the best memories I have. There’s the Blue Ridge mountains roadtrip too which is beautiful. It’s adventurous, can be really spontaneous and it’s all about the journey rather than the destination.

  128. As a 25 year old about to venture out on my first solo trip (Ireland!) in just two weeks, thank you for giving me that little push to just GO and LIVE it to the full! I didn’t travel abroad during college either (biggest regret of my life) and have spent every vacation day that I can making up for that. 5 trips abroad in 3 years.

    I did do a lot of US travel with my family. I’ve never been to New Orleans but for places that feel culturally different and beautiful, NOLA wouldn’t top the list for me. I’d head to Savannah, GA, Charleston, SC or Asheville, NC. That said, you might regret not taking the leap with a more exotic country despite your fears. Really, what is the difference between being somewhere in the US versus somewhere else in the world? You can find wifi, a phone line, or an earlier plane ticket home from just about anywhere. Best of luck on your decision and happy 10 years!

  129. Savannah is lovely, historic, charming, has great restaurants and BnBs, is walkable, and has a lively art scene (check out SCAD). Just don’t go in the summer. We adored the huge plazas and parks and live oaks dripping with moss. You could combine it with a visit to Charleston (to the north) or go a bit south and explore St. Simons and Jekyll Islands.

  130. GO! Give your kids a break from you and routine and let them have a great time with their grandparents. Your going sends them healthy messages, like your time together is important, they will be fine with their g-parents, it’s OK to miss folks and travel is for EVERYONE. I’d say go to Cuba. You might decide to take the kids to New Orleans but I can’t imagine taking kids to Cuba now. My sister just went with her choral group last month and LOVED it. They traveled all over and met lots of wonderful folks.

    Go have an adventure and then come back and tell us all about it!


  131. For our 5 th anniversary my husband and I are going to Rome for 10 days. We have a 1 and 3 year old who are staying home with grandma and grandpa. So looking forward to going out for a nice dinner and drinking wine. It will be so freeing not to worry about naps and bedtime.

  132. I was a gutless wimp and didn’t travel at all in my 20s; well, one month in Mexico with $5 rooms on the beach. But I made up for it later. Before I got married at age 35,I got my first passport and went to Italy with two girlfriends … three in a room sharing one mirror. Came back and told my fiance he had to get a passport because we were going to travel. In the beginning it was every few years (had to save up $$$ and vacation time). And we kept on traveling. I think we’re up to 90 countries and every continent except Antarctica.
    I’m in my 60s and husband is in his late 70s and we’re still traveling. We’ve done some exceptionally cheap trips with cringe-inducing hotel bathrooms and some quite nice trips. Both gave us wonderful memories.

  133. My friends took a 365 day honeymoon and travelled all over. Now they “settled” in a gorgeous island in the Philippines and are building a hotel. She is an interior designer. Check it out – https://www.facebook.com/thebirdhouseelnido/

  134. I have two kids now who are 9 and 10. When they were little like yours I had such a hard time leaving them for a night or two. I totally get that! I could not enjoy myself very much at all if I was over an ocean! I don’t think it would be worth it to go out of state and spend so much money if you will be worried or missing your kids so much. In my opinion go somewhere in the US like Savannah and then for your 15 year anniversary live it up! (:

  135. Asheville, NC is beautiful in the fall. It has a very communal, hippie feel and excellent food and breweries. While I haven’t visited myself, I’ve been itching to visit Santa Fe. It looks magical in photos.

  136. Aww… This got me all nostalgic for my own past travels through southeast Asia!
    I think you should consider Oaxaca, Mexico. Beautiful art and awesome food. Chapulines anyone? Once you’re tired of being inland you can go to Puerto Escondido and surrounding areas. Still possible to find low key beaches.

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  140. I live in Minneapolis, and love it, so I’ll always plug my city. And I have to say that it’s quite serendipitous that the NYTimes came out with a 36 Hours in Minneapolis, the very day you posted this! I think they did a wonderful job with the article, though I would call out a few more places in the North Loop that I think you’d like–Grethen House (high-end women’s clothing), Spoon and Stable (better than Bachelor Farmer in my opinion), and Wilson and Willy’s (home goods). Shop Mille in south Mpls would be to your liking, as would the Room and Board Outlet (always fun looking) in Golden Valley. So many more places to mention, but I’ll leave it to that!


  141. Great post. We actually just got home from a 2 week vacation to Kenya, with our 3 kiddos! We weren’t comfortable being away from them for that long, so we decided we would make it a family vacation. It was great. Both my husband and I traveled a lot before we met, after we met, after we were married, but before kids. Once we had kids, we did plenty of ‘safe’ traveling, but nothing that fulfilled the adventurous bug. Our youngest is 7 but our oldest is 14 so we felt we couldn’t wait any longer, and took the plunge. I am so glad we did. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever been on, and I’m so glad our children were with us, it made it that much more special. Kenya was amazing, probably too far for a quick 10 year anniversary trip, but once your youngest is old enough, go, go somewhere exciting and adventurous, it will feed your soul and opening the world for you children.

  142. Iceland – #1 on my bucket list. I have to get to that blue lagoon and there are so many fascinating things to see. Plus, who doesn’t want the Sasa Clock? Although, seeing the Northern Lights would be the highlight of the trip so going in winter would be a key requirement for me personally to try and make that happen. Cuba is my #2. I think you should just do it. You need time to connect with your spouse and a 10 year anniversary is very special. I’m approaching 20 with my husband. Your babies will be fine with the Brian’s parents. Don’t let this time pass you by, as so many couples do. You both deserve to get away and celebrate your marriage. And if going away too far is a concern, and you need to stay close by, the islands of Hawaii aren’t too far from you. My husband and I went to Savannah at Christmas and it was beautiful and we can’t wait to get back, plus the islands in the area are wonderful to visit. Charleston is gorgeous, Napa Valley is a romantic visit. You should take the time for the two of you though:)

  143. Loved this post! My husband and I met when we were both living in Indonesia. I completely relate to the love of travel (the frugal way) and totally missing it now that we are blessedly encumbered with little children and responsibilities. We are coming up on our 10th anniversary this fall as well and have had similar discussions – resulting in not being willing to leave our babies too far either. I am ALL ears for the suggestions you garner!
    Congratulations and here’s to 10 more wonderful years ahead!

  144. New Orleans is great. Especially for the food! I would also recommend Savannah. It’s a beautiful southern town with a lot of art and design. Charleston is also along the same accord. Another neat place these days is Ashville, SC. You can go to the Biltmore (and actually you can stay there in one of the cottages). It’s the perfect fall/winter place on the east coast 🙂

    1. Ashville is in North Carolina, whoops!

  145. You’re preaching to the choir sister. I’m mid-30’s and have 2 under 2, and love traveling. My cousin just turned 20 and I told him to travel as much as possible and be free in his 20’s. Because it’s just not the same (or even close) traveling with little ones. My favourite trips have been Spain, Portugal and South of France. However, I always come home and am reminded the most beautiful place in the world is the West Coast of BC here in Canada. Victoria is a beautiful, romantic city with an awesome restaurant scene, cool shops, amazing parks and historical sites and of course the ocean. There’s also Tofino– breathtakingly beautiful, remote and serine and still good restaurants. If you’re looking for a trip with kiddos, both of these spots are great in the summer (there’s not much in the winter in Tofino) but renting a cabin on a BC gulf island is ideal. It’s low-key, surrounded by beauty and always a great vibe. Hornby Island is the best, in my opinion. You would never regret it. Vancouver Island (where Victoria and Tofino are on, and the gulf islands are just off of) has tons to offer for family holidays.

  146. New Orleans is amazing! I live in Houston and my husband and I go all time for work. The food is amazing and the shopping is fantastic. Plus it has this great gothic antebellum vibe that you just can’t get anywhere else. Skip cafe du mound me but do go to coquette for dinner and central grocery for muffalettas (it’s tourist but the sandwiches are so good). Also oak alley is a fun plantation. The house tour is meh, but the trees are amazing. Just go and eat all the food. You will be so happy.

  147. Hi Emily,

    I think you and Brian should go big and leave the country for your anniversary trip. I say this because of the role model I’ve had growing up, my parents. They’ve been married 47 years, and as my mom would say, they’ve always put each other first. Even before their lovely children 🙂 Your kids will be okay with their grandparents, and you will get precious time away with the man who helped you become a parent. Celebrate that love together, and know your kids will be better for it – because they’ll see you loving each other in the best way possible. It’s scary, but go for it!

  148. THANK YOU so much for this post! I love that it wasn’t a typical, cliché “advice to my younger self”… I see those too often. I am only 22 and I love traveling – but it’s so important for me to remember to keep it up, just really go for it, while I’m this young.

    Also, GO TO CUBA!!! It is so beautiful and exciting there. Your kids will be fine, they’ll be in good hands! You deserve a break – 10 years is huge.
    Keep us posted on where you decide to travel!

  149. Key West is my favorite US spot!

    The Waldorf Astoria Casa Marina there will not disappoint! Amazing excursions like paddle boarding, you see so many sea turtles! And boating dolphin encounters, and surprisingly enough incredible restaurants from top chefs if you ask the right people where to find them!

  150. Go go go! Travel is the most rejuvenating thing you can do for yourself. Nearby I would recommend Quebec City (a perfect weekend getaway), Guatemala (incredible in every way!), Costa Rica (adventure and relaxing all in one)- or go big and head to Europe. Travelling the various countries at an older age is completely different. Experience a city vs. Just hit up the main sights. Enjoy your trip!

  151. I know it isn’t in the States but in Quebec, Canada you will feel like you are (almost) in Europe!

  152. New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans!!

    That is all.

  153. I didn’t coin this, but its SO true: before kids, it’s a vacation. After kids, it’s a trip. HA! Congratulations on ten years! x

  154. Wow that photo of you and your friend in London in front of that pub is literally right next to where I now work! How crazy!

  155. We had exactly the same dilemma for our 10th anniversary while living in SoCal…kids were older, but so hard to get back from exotic places in an emergency. We left them with my Dad and went to Napa…it was fab.

  156. I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.. great post .

  157. So if you didn’t have kids and could go anywhere in the world – I would recommend BALI!! We went last year for our “belated” honeymoon and it was absolutely fabulous. We stayed in Seminyak area for half the trip (beach-side, definitely more westernized but still amazing) and the other half in the rainforest area of Ubud. We went for two weeks and felt like that wasn’t even enough time to do some of the things we wanted. Highly, highly recommend.

    And for a fun place in the US – I would recommend Asheville, Charleston, Savannah, St Augustine, New Orleans or Nashville. They are all super fun cities with lots of character and places to explore. 🙂

  158. My husband and I went to Argentina (BA and Patagonia) in January for 9 days, leaving my 15 month old with the grandparents. I was definitely panicking at the thought of leaving her and being so far away, but I am so glad we did it! It reminded me that we used to be fun and interesting and whole people apart from being parents. If you can’t be so far away though I would recommend the Seattle/Vancouver area- lot’s of fun things to do outdoors and so beautiful.

  159. My husband and I have been married for almost four years. We travel frequently, no kids yet, so we’ve been crossing lots of places off our bucket list before the craziness of kids starts up with us. We live in Tulsa but we flew, or flew and then drove a few hours, to almost all of these locations. Here are some of the not-so-typical places we’ve vacationed/enjoyed/ate/drank/shopped/relaxed – I’d definitely recommend them all:
    – Santa Fe, NM
    – Albuquerque, NM
    – Austin, TX
    – Eureka Springs, AR
    – Kansas City, MO
    – Marfa, TX
    – Sedona, AZ
    – Detroit, MI
    – San Juan, PR (this was for our honeymoon and we’ll be going back for our 5-year anniversary)
    We’ve got Savannah, Charleston, Miami and New Orleans on our to-visit list. Have fun figuring everything out!

  160. Great post!! I’m just wondering what holds you back from traveling with your children?? My husband and I traveled a lot pre-kids and we continued traveling after kids. At first we thought the kids would not adapt, but really, they love the one-on-one time with both their parents and couldn’t care less where we are in the world. We continue to take overnight trains, stay in bamboo huts and have exciting adventures. Of course, we have adapted our pace of travel and the accommodation needs have changed slightly, but with advent of options like Airbnb, we find ever more options for traveling families. We’re now in the process of saving up and researching for a 1 year break with our kids who are now 6 and 9. Our kids won’t remember the bamboo longhouse (five months old!) but we are setting them up for a life-long love of inspirational travel. There are lots of amazing families traveling with young children and documenting their journeys. A current favourite is courtneyadamo on Instagram. We spent three weeks traveling across Turkey when our children were the same ages as yours and it was the best family holiday we have ever taken. You should give it a try!!

  161. Travel with them I manage. I wrote a really good guide for Paris with under 5s give it a look see

  162. I also highly recommend Charleston! It’s cultural and fun and young and you can experience the city and the beach. My favorite vacation in the states is Nantucket. I know that’s really far for you, but so worth it if you go for a week. Go after Labor Day, when the tourist season has died down. There is so much to do, such amazing history and it’s beautiful.

  163. My husband and I live in North Cali and have gone through this over and over. We fell the same about going abroad. Our kids are five and seven yrs old. We just got back a month ago from eight days in Miami with a quick three days in the Bahamas. We went to celebrate our nine years anniversary. Miami was great!!! Fun night life, enough culture, and of course, South Beach and Calle Ocho. I REALLY want to go back! At least I have some great pics to look at for the next nine years!

  164. Vancouver ?? Out of the country but accessible?
    My favorite US places: Glacier National Park (stay in east glacier), Charleston, SC, Rosemary Beach, FL, Crested Butte, CO (not so much night life, but so pleasant and gorgeous it doesn’t matter- go star gazing), and we live in Denver, so I think it’s awesome 😉
    My husband and I celebrate a decade of marriage this year as well, and have younger children. We decided to rent a vintage VW camper in Costa Mesa this Fall and drive to Big Sur- planning enough, but leaving room for spontaneity along the way. Pumped for our trip!! And felt so good when we finally made up our minds and booked it! HAVE FUN and go for it!!

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