Hey everyone, we are back from our 2 week road trip to California. I drove down with RB40Jr and Mrs. RB40 flew down to join us for the drive back. This trip was great. I caught up with my college friends and met my 8 month old nephew. It was nice to see old friends doing well in life. My nephew is awesome too. He is super cute and is such an easy going baby. I had fun hanging out with him for a bit. RB40Jr was much fussier when he was young. Being an uncle is much easier than being a dad. I could hand him off whenever he needed a diaper change. The trip didn’t cost that much either because we mostly stayed with my brother. We spent about $800 on this CA road trip, including food, gas, attractions, and lodging. That’s very cheap compared to our 2 week Iceland vacation ($7,000)!
There are incredible sights to see in Iceland, but you can say the same about California. They have gorgeous beaches, huge redwoods, stark deserts, high mountains, and a bunch of urban attractions. Mrs. RB40 and I grew up in California, but there are still a ton of places we haven’t visited yet. It really is an amazing state. Anyway, I want to share my theory about travel today. This is just for fun so feel free to disagree and let me know what you think. Read on for my recommended travel destinations by age.
I have been pondering this topic since we came back from Iceland. We enjoyed the trip tremendously, but it was so expensive. A comparable vacation in California costs almost 10 times less. Well, we saved a lot on lodging, but you get my point. It’s a lot cheaper to travel to some destinations than others. That’s why I’m cutting out expensive destinations for a while. Next year, we’ll visit a cheaper locale like Argentina or Vietnam.
That idea got me thinking about where to travel in the future. We are at a point in our lives where we don’t want to rough it anymore. We could have done Iceland for half the price when we were younger. I would have rented a camping van and lived the #vanlife for 2 weeks. It would have been fun in our 20s. In fact, I did that in New Zealand in 2003. However, that kind of travel isn’t that appealing anymore. Yes, we got softer over the years. Now, we need a little more space and a comfortable bed to sleep in.
Money shouldn’t be a huge factor when you’re travel planning, but we need to take it into consideration. No matter how frugal you are, you’ll spend a lot of money in Iceland*. For me, it’s better to go earlier or later. Earlier because you can rough it and be frugal or later because you won’t care about money as much when you’re older. Okay, let’s get to it. Travel is a very personal thing so take this with a grain of salt and keep your good humor up.
*Of course, you can try travel hacking to reduce your travel expenses. This is a great way to save a ton of money. We did a good job in 2016 with travel hacking, but 2017 didn’t work out quite as well.
Age 0 to 10: local attractions
This happens to be RB40Jr’s age group. At this point, you really can’t control much. You just go where your parents take you. At this age, I think local attractions are best. The kids can get to know their own city and state. We’ve been to many local attractions in Oregon and we enjoyed them tremendously. There are endless things to do. On the way back from California, we visited a few beaches in Oregon that were new to us and hunted for rocks and fossils. RB40Jr just got interested in them and it’s a fun activity for the whole family.
Age 11 to 20: other states
Now, they’re getting older and have more opinions. At this point, I still think it’s best to visit other states in the US. This is a great time to take road trips and explore famous sites. I’m planning to take longer road trips when RB40Jr is a bit older. We’ll visit Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, and other national parks in the western states. It’ll be a ton of fun because we haven’t been to some of these either.
I also think it’s good to expose the kids to international trips at this age too. They can see how other people live and how privileged we are.
Age 21-30: international travel
Ahh… this is the perfect age to travel and see the world. You’re young, open-minded, want to make friends, and can rough it. This is when you go backpacking and sleep in crappy $10/night hostel beds. I think any international destination is good at this age. You can visit Iceland and live out of a van or lug a backpack through SE Asia.
I got a slow start with traveling in my 20s because my family didn’t travel internationally when I was young. I was hesitant to travel out of the US. Instead of exploring the world, I went to safe destinations like Hawaii and Jamaica. Those were fun too, but I should have pushed the boundary more. Eventually, I embraced backpacking in my late 20s and visited the Cook Islands, China, New Zealand, and other less familiar locations.
Age 31-40: More international travel
This was a good age for us because we didn’t have a kid until our late 30s. We got more comfortable with traveling internationally and visited many locations around the world. Most people have kids at this age and they have to take that into consideration. I think a lot people upgrade their travel lifestyle around this age too. Instead of sleeping in hostels, they start going to luxury resorts. I guess that’s okay if you can afford it, but you really should minimize lifestyle inflation as much as possible. I find the hostel experience much more authentic than the all-inclusive resort.
At this age, I recommend sticking with backpacking and exploring more exotic international locations.
Age 41-50: Visit cheaper countries
This is where we are now. I’m turning 45 later this year. At this point, we’re pretty much over backpacking and hostels. Now, we prefer comfortable hotels with occasional stays in luxury resorts. This makes a vacation a lot more expensive in pricey countries like Iceland. My new strategy is to visit cheaper countries so we can enjoy the luxurious amenities at a Motel 6 price point. Two years ago, we visited Siem Reap and it was fantastic. A luxury hotel there cost about half as much as a cramped cabin in Iceland. It’s pretty insane.
There are many destinations I want to visit in cheaper countries. Why not see those first and put off the expensive countries until later? We can visit Scotland and Norway when we’re old and rich. Those countries aren’t going to change much in 20 years. The cheaper countries will.
Age 51-60: More cheap countries
For me, I think this will be more of the same. We’ll take luxurious vacations in cheaper countries and maybe visit an expensive one occasionally.
Age 61-70: Go all out
Once we turn 60, I’ll pull off all the stops. We’ll visit expensive countries and just deal with the prices. At that point, we’ll be rich so money won’t matter that much anymore. At this age, our health should still be good enough to travel extensively.
Age 70+: ???
I think most people slow down a lot once they hit 70. Traveling isn’t much fun for my mom and other older relatives anymore. They prefer to stay home in a familiar environment. I’m not sure how we’ll feel when we’re 70. If we’re healthy, we’ll keep traveling. However, it’ll probably be with tours and cruises mostly. I don’t see myself traveling a lot in my 70s, but you never know.
Okay, here is the summary and some recommendations.
Age 0-10: Local attractions.
Age 11-20: Famous sites in the US and Canada.
Age 21-40: Any international locations where there is an established backpacking route.
- Europe and Asia.
Age 41-60: Affordable locations.
- Eastern Europe
- SE Asian – Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines.
- South and Central America – Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, etc…
Age 61-70: Expensive countries and cities.
- New York
- The British Isles
Age 70+: ???
- Alaska cruise to see the northern lights
- Mediterranian cruise
What do you think? How do you prioritize your travel? There are so many places to see and things to do. The world is pretty awesome, isn’t it?