Summer Solstice: A Family Travel Adventure

I can’t remember the last vacation I took where I didn’t dip into email daily. If I’m being totally honest, I can’t recall that many weekends either. That’s on me. While I certainly had a demanding job, I never mastered how to disconnect.

Since living in Seattle, I am surround by the best summer climate I’ve ever experienced plus the stunning beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Having spent my childhood in the scorching summers of Phoenix (100 days above 100 degrees was just a thing) and then 15 years of humidity in Chicago, moving to Seattle was like winning the weather lottery. Every year, I have good intentions of enjoying it fully but it skips by so fast while my head was buried in technology.

Summer is usually about squeezing in vacation between work trips, putting the kids in week-after-week of camps, and enjoying the lingering sunshine on the drive home from work or with a laptop on my, well, lap. So when I had the idea for a summer sabbatical, I wanted travel to play a big role.

Over the years, I have collected passport stamps and frequent flier miles all while Skyping with my family back home. Now we’re about to get marinated in family togetherness. Tomorrow, after months of planning and overthinking, we’re heading to Europe for a month. 5 countries, 5 flights, 4 weeks, 3 trains, 2 kids, and 1 cruise. Here’s what that looks like:


And just to add to the adventure, we’ve committed to one carry-on suitcase for each person to try to avoid any lost or delayed luggage. To do this, I have spent far too much time at Target, Macy’s, Nordstrom and ExOfficio. But with family gear all set, the packing debates begin (a Seahawks jersey and neon shorts in Paris? Non, monsieur).

Tomorrow is the last day of school for the kids and then we head up to Vancouver for an evening flight. My pal Kristy recommended Cranky Concierge to help with our flight planning and they were amazing. They sorted through loads of flight options and told us how leaving from Vancouver vs. Seattle would save us $1,000 a ticket. Because of their amazing research, we are able to fly business class to and from Europe. I highly recommend them and they also do mileage redemption research as well. We aren’t staying at a single hotel. We’re either in an Airbnb rental, with our fabulous friends in Ireland, or on a cruise ship.

We don’t have every excursion accounted for but, as my mom reminded me today, people have longed traveled to Europe without apps, advance tickets, and private tour guides. Thanks to tips and input from friends, I know which ruins are worth seeing, can’t-miss places to eat in Rome, and the direct tube lines needed in London. My friend Andy gave the kids their own travel journals to collect mementoes and memories. And then he gave me this travel-with-kids kit:


Looks like I’m good to go…

If you wanna track our adventures, there is a “Follow” box at the end of this post that will send you email alerts with new posts.


4 thoughts on “Summer Solstice: A Family Travel Adventure

  1. Pingback: Mediterranean Globetrotters: American Travel Nerds, Part 6 | A Year of Life

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  3. Pingback: A Reason, a Season, or a Lifetime: The Cycle of Connections | A Year of Life

  4. Pingback: The Draw of Disney: The Moments Where Memories Are Made | A Year of Life

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