Just Take the Trip

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As you have certainly noticed, things are a little nuts out there in the world at large. When things get this tense and unsettling in the real world it can be easy to look at travel as being superfluous and unimportant, or at least not as important as some other things. I actually think the opposite is true. I won’t even get into how travel can bring folks together and highlight similarities more than differences as that is a different concept for a different post, but instead I want to look at the importance of travel from a more micro level perspective.


For many of us travel is a motivator and we mark the passage of time with trips. It is three days until Boston, or two months until Disney, or eight months until Australia. We plan, we research, we look forward, we countdown, we love our lives at home, but we get really excited by our time away. I know I often feel and think in that manner, and that is why even if things are nuts out there, you should still take the trip.

For travelers, to not take the trip is to not live life to the fullest. To not plan the trip is to not have that anchor to look forward to. To not do what you love is to lose a big piece of yourself. Take the trip.

Like most of you, I have friends that are sick. I have friends who have passed away. I know kids fighting for their lives. I know families that look very different today than they did a year ago. The future isn’t guaranteed, so take the trip.

I don’t know very many people who have money falling out of their ears, and even if your income goes up in the future, expenses almost always do as well, so don’t be tricked into believing that you will have more to spend on that trip you really want “next year”. Use your miles, start saving, invest in an experience, take the trip.

Kids grow up and experience things in different ways as they get older. Some things may become less magical with age while other things become much more magical in different ways. Traveling logistics with older kids get easier, but schedules get tighter. Your kid will never experience travel with you in the same way tomorrow that they do today, so take the trip.

Friends have babies, get married, get divorced, get new jobs, lose their jobs, move, and sometimes move-on. Coordinating travel with others, especially non-family members, is rarely easy, but it can be so rewarding to have lots of bonding time and shared experiences together. Figure it out, get your friends on-board, make some sacrifices, and take the trip.

Days, weeks, and years can drag on at times, but in the end they go by in a blink. The monotony of making lunches, driving to practice, checking homework, doing laundry and slugging through bedtime can be hard to appreciate in the moment. However, that perfect day on the beach in Aruba, in the park in Paris, sharing shave ice in Hawaii, or hiking the mountain in Colorado doesn’t blur with the rest. Everyone in the family may remember the experience differently, but it will be remembered. Make the memory and take the trip.

The world can be scary and is ever-changing. A place that is calm today may be in turmoil tomorrow. A location that is pristine today may be gone or overrun in the future. People, places, and experiences invariably change over time, so what can be seen and done today may be completely gone or changed in a couple of years. Don’t just cross your fingers that you can still experience what your heart desires at some point down the road, take the trip.

Miles and points devalue and expire, programs change, rules change, and a million miles isn’t really worth anything until you put them to use. Take as much pride in cashing in your miles for tickets as you might looking at a healthy account balance and take the trip.

While we are so blessed compared to how things could be, life here isn’t always super easy. I get distracted, rundown, stressed, very tired, budgets are tight, and it would be easy to redirect the time, energy, and money invested in travel to more mundane activities, or simply skip it completely and just get through what is required each day to live. I’ve done that, I’m sure you’ve done that, but if travel is in your blood, it doesn’t work out well in the long run. I am a traveler and I need travel like a retriever needs a ball. I probably won’t die without it, but life won’t be as fun, exciting, or complete. I won’t be the best version of me without experiencing part of what makes me who I am.

I’ve had trips that didn’t go the way I hoped, that weren’t long enough, that weren’t at the optimal time, or that in one of a million other ways weren’t ‘perfect’. However, I’ve never regretted taking the trip, at least not in the long run once I’ve had time to catch up on sleep. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it and if you wait until the perfect time for the perfect trip, you will be forever waiting for the unicorn that never arrives. Just take the good with the bad and take the trip.

I know it can be hard to get out of the day to do day and make something “extra” a reality, but it can be done. Even if it isn’t a huge trip across the world, but rather a weekend road trip away, that’s okay. A change of scenery however small can still recharge your soul. Pick the destination, pack your bag, and just take the trip.

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  1. Spending most of the summer in London for work. Wife and kids will join me here next month. Not much I can do but pray eveything will be all right.

    • Really all any of us can do in many situations. London has had it rough recently. Hopefully its turn is up for a bit. We loved our time there last summer!

  2. The biggest complaint I hear from people is that they don’t have the money. When I suggested to one friend to apply for a hotel credit card she showed no interest and said she didn’t need it. Some are just not driven to take the trip.

    • I know, oh boy do I know. Some people just don’t have travel as a driver. Others do, and those folks find a way.

  3. This is so true. To many eyebrows raised from family members, my husband and I decided to take a long planned trip to visit friends in Chicago just days after I suffered a miscarriage (we had the total blessing of medical professionals). This trip could not have been better time, even though to many it looked like the worst. We were hugged and cried with sweet friends. We laughed and lounged and just got our bearings back. Take the trip, it can be the best medicine.

  4. There is ALWAYS a way.

    Example: A friend of mine really wanted to join us at a baseball tournament in Omaha. But when he looked at the paid rates for the hotel he needed to stay at for four nights, he saw $449 a night. For the same hotel, I saw 8000 points a night. He and his son arrive tomorrow.

  5. Very well put!

    There is always a reason not to, but…a few moments/days/years from now, will you not even recall that…meeting/work function/afternoon at home/trip to Costco…

    However…a few moments/days/years from now will you will treasure that sublime toast in the Carribean/joy in seeing your loved one stand up surfing for the first time/seeing your kids explore someplace amazing, you know, I could go on a long time…

    Go now!

    Please remember that every day above ground is a good one!

  6. Wow. This is the best post I’ve read from anyone all year. My kids are 13 and 19 (summer after first year in college), and we just returned from a great trip on points to Greece and London. The incident in London happened two days before we were scheduled to depart. Much of what you say is the logic we used to decide to go ahead and take the trip. We have realized that our time taking trips together as a family of four is very limited as the kids go in their own directions.


  7. Thanks!! I really needed this today – just had a health scare (40 this year and a woman and all that entails) and strangely my two biggest concerns were that I have a trip to Disney World this summer and a trip to New York to see Hamilton planned. Luckily all is well and I get to do those things after all!!!!! Travel is in my blood too … I’d camp in order to go somewhere if I had to and did just that when I was younger. My brain is jut not wired to stay home year after year — as long as I’m healthy I’ll be going somewhere, anywhere …..

  8. Summer – so refreshing to read a heartfelt post about life and travel. So much politics being injected into travel blogs today takes away from what’s really important. My wife and I got into miles and points about 4 years ago and it has changed our lives. We love the ocean, beaches and warm weather, something we don’t see a lot of in Wisconsin. We are not wealthy by any means, but some may make that assumption because we travel to places like hawaii and the carribean 3 – 4 times a year. I’ve also tried to encourage friends and family into miles and points – but pretty much a waste of time except for a few. Your post was so spot on in many areas, work ,play, family, and even the realization that everybody’s time will come someday – so take that trip.

  9. What a great post! I cannot agree more to “take the trip”…you are so right. We took our one of our daughters out of high school for a week for a much anticipated Disneyworld trip at Christmas. We had family saying that was not real responsible, blah blah but we did it anyway, It was an awesome trip that our whole family still talks about, and that “high schooler” just graduated from college last month. Do I think for one second that one week out of school really mattered in the big picture??? Gosh no, but the memories of that trip FAR surpass whatever she missed in that one week of school (which, of course, the work was made up). And I would do it all over again for our youngest without a second thought. I am one parent who has no problem taking my child out of school on the few occasions to “take the trip!” I have taken all four of them out at one time or another. I guess my point is that there are so many parents that hesitate to do this, so for the ones out there, think about it! I promise, you will not regret it.

  10. I love this! It is so true. I had a good friend (who sadly passed away 18 months ago at the young age of 53) who said “Either you’re a traveler or you’re not. If you are, you will always figure out a way to travel.” That is so true. I grew up traveling with my military family. Even when I was completely broke, I figured out a way to travel within my limited budget. I was into points and miles before it was vogue–that helped me a lot. Now, my husband and I are fortunate to travel about half the time. Friends joke that they don’t know why we even have a house. We love our home, but we love to travel as well! Our grown children also love to travel. Thank you for this post.

  11. Agree 100% Summer. Well written. We’ve taken our girls out of school a bit and the work always gets done and the trip always provides memories far beyond said work.
    The most important piece of advice you mention is not waiting until the timing is perfect. It will never be. We’re taking our longest vacation of our collective lives next month: 13 days. I know to some that’s a long weekend, but to us it’s going to be a brand new experience in a new place.
    Use points, use cash, use vacation. But go and go often.

  12. Love love love this post! We just made reservations to go to Cabo San Lucas a day after reading a story about 18 bodies found in a mass grave near that popular tourist spot. Scary but we decided to take the trip!! Life is too short. It’s in my blood too!

  13. What a wonderful post! We lived by this mantra while our children were growing up, and it happens much too quickly. The anticipation of our trips was always half of the fun. We could get 9 months of joy out of a trip to Disneyworld instead of just the week we were there. Because we had 4 children, we stayed at places where breakfast was included, and took advantage of suite hotels so that we only booked one room when they were young. It’s amazing how many young adults have never been to Yosemite or The Grand Canyon…….New York or New Orleans……we always tried to make the most of what we have right here in America. Luckily, my husband recorded all of these excursions, and we now watch them when everyone is home for a visit. Our youngest just graduated from college on Monday, and we spent the weekend relishing each other’s company and reminiscing through our videos (which my husband just transferred to hard drives for each of the kids). I recently read (perhaps on this blog) that experiences make people much happier than “stuff”, and I couldn’t agree more. We don’t regret one trip we’ve taken even if we could barely afford it at the time. As our children begin their own families, we see how difficult it is to corral them all, but the effort is always worth it………and grandchildren make it even more fun! We managed to get everyone to Mardi Gras this year, and I must say, it will go down as one of the most spectacular family trips ever. Life is too short and family time too precious………..yes, take the trip!! 🙂

  14. Last day on the job and I will be in the plane with the family two days later as we embark on our second, month-long summer cross country trip as a family in as many years. Travel is one of my ‘happy places’, and this trip could not have come at a better time.

  15. Great collection of photos. It looks like you’re making amazing memories with your family. So awesome! I totally agree that you just have to go. Few times in life will you regret a vacation… as long as you didn’t go into debt to afford it.

  16. Summer–been forwarding this all over….such a post touches so many lives. I talked with my godfather/uncle for years about visiting “the old country” with him. He had grown up in northern Italy prior to immigrating to California and his stories of our family history captured my imagination….I always wanted to walk those same streets with him and see where these stories actually took place. There was always a reason we didn’t go. We had the money/miles, but were “too busy” or “we’ll do it next spring”…..sadly, he was diagnosed with cancer and died within a year. We never took the trip. As he was fighting cancer he told me the most powerful emotion you will fight as you age…..regret. I couldn’t agree more.
    I vowed never to delay another trip with our family. Since then we’ve been around the world and haven’t regretted a single moment….it’s money and time well spent–regardless of the hassles of travel, expense or juggled schedules. Thanks for encouraging more people to “take the trip.”
    Do it now. Don’t delay. You may never get another chance to be with those you love. TAKE THE TRIP.

    • Oh my thank you so much for the nice words and so sorry to hear about your uncle, but I am so glad to hear you learned so much from him and put that into action. I totally agree to just take the trip.

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