Would we do this again? Right now I’m not sure.

I don’t know about you, but most of the trip reports I read follow pretty much the same format. They chronicle the events of the day(s), detail the features of the room(s), meal(s), and flight(s), and extol the wonders of points and miles. Far be it from me to dismiss, disparage, or detract from anyone’s fabulous vacation (in fact, I applaud and appreciate every trip – hooray!), but I have to say: my trips usually don’t play out in the same way. So I can’t always relate to the reports I read.

In my family, a lot of craziness goes down, things never go as planned, and there is always some yelling and at least one tantrum per day. Since this is such a big trip for us (we’re spending five weeks traveling through Japan, France, and Spain), it only makes sense that the action is starting now.

So…this is the first post of my many-part trip report. It’s the report I wish I could have read before I started this trip; a series titled, “Would We Do This Again?”

Right now, the answer is a big MAYBE.

(Note that the post below was written before the intro, when I was still mad, sad, and acting bad).

It’s 10:21 pm. I just spent the last two hours watching Orange Is The New Black while Josh folded laundry and the kids did the dishes, then got themselves into bed.

That might sound decadent or fabulous until you hear the first part of the story, which is that this all happened after a gigantic family fight…which happened after I got up from the dinner table and locked myself in the bathroom, then got in the car and drove to a nearby park and played Words With Friends while I gathered my sanity.

So it actually wasn’t such a great evening.

What the hell is going on over here? Well, we’re leaving on this huge trip in a few days, I just started a big new job, Josh is trying to get everything settled at his job while he takes off for five weeks, we’re renovating an apartment (long story), we’re prepping our house for house-sitters, and a few more things, just for fun.

Or not.

So…right now I’m not so sure that this was a great decision. I know everything will just have to happen, and that it will be fine (or even – dare to dream – great!) but right now I’m staring into the void of an empty suitcase and wondering why.



  1. Ha ha! Before almost every trip there is a moment when we are getting ready that we say “let’s just not go” or something along those lines. When day to day life is already crazy, getting ready for a family trip on top of it is hard. It’s so much more involved with a family than just packing for yourself…as you know. Getting your family away from the day to day crazy may be exactly what you need. My heart goes out to you.

    The only “advice” I have on top of it is just to really go with the flow on your trip and have downtime. Such a big trip will inherently have its own version of crazy so taking the “easy” way out along the way might really help (sometimes get uber instead of figuring out public transport, have a lazy day, splurge on a room service meal and just veg together soaking it all in, etc.)

    Make a list of what HAS to get done w/assignments to get ready and breathe deep. Good luck mama!

    • Points Pixie says:

      Mommy Points – Always love reading your comments because I know you live this life as well! It’s funny, because I have actually thought of a few of your posts as I’ve been moving through this process. Thanks for the sanity check. I know you will be cheering us on from afar 😉

    • I couldn’t agree with you more about downtime. We just got back from a 2-week vacation (our longest so far) with our family of 4. We visited 3 states and 3 national parks. Oh and 2 days before we were flying home, our older son (10 years old) ended up in the hospital with appendicitis and had his appendix out. But I digress. I made a comment to my husband during the trip that one of the most stressful parts of vacation is you don’t have downtime. Because you’re someplace you haven’t been before (and may never go again), you feel like you have to fill up every day to make the most of it. I told him that when we’re at home, we don’t fill out our days like that. We need some time to just sit around and relax. The next day we did that and it made a huge difference with our kids! We had been running them ragged. The kids’ attitude was complete different after a day of rest. So I also encourage you to take some time to just relax in your room. Have a great trip! I’m sure you’re going to be happy you did it!

  2. HeavenlyJane says:

    It’s better to have those fights before you leave and not during. Years ago we took a dream family vacation to an ecolodge in remote Costa Rice; unfortunately the prevailing memory is of my teenage daughters fighting so viciously that we had to put them in time-out together for entire afternoon. The entire small lodge heard me screaming at them because I was so upset at their trite shenanigans.

    The memory is all the worse because they are very close friends ordinarily.

    • Points Pixie says:

      HeavenlyJane – Agree 100%! I’m hoping that the effects of this blow-out last for at least a couple of weeks.

  3. Rebecca says:

    you could always send Josh & the kids along to Asia and take your own trip to Hawaii! Imagine 5 weeks of peace, quiet, serenity! 😉

  4. Getting out the door is always the most stressful part of the trip for me, so I feel your pain! I do all the packing, and that makes me grumpy that I’m doing “it all” with no help when I have a full time job too. (But if I let someone else do the packing, we’ll forget half of what we need.) My husband always starts his packing late, which means we are both up until 1 or 2 am the night before some early flight and are sleep deprived going into the trip. We inevitably fight. It isn’t pretty sometimes.

    Don’t judge your trip by this moment. I promise – it will only get better from here. And when you get home, having seen some awesome sights and built some great family travel memories, you will look back on the epic fights and even laugh a little. And then do it all again next time!

  5. You have to remember the reality of family life is definitely not like it is in the movies and on situational TV where all works out beautifully in 30 or 90 minutes. It is uneven and a lifetime journey.

    People you don’t know well sometimes try to convince you that their life is smooth as silk and it makes you doubt yours. Don’t believe them.

    It “is” particularly aggravating when real life pops up its head in the middle of a really expensive and long planned trip. But it pretty much happens to everyone. I sometimes say that both my middle aged sons middle names are “ungrateful.” It’s just life.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Anne – What a coincidence! We’ve got some interesting middle names in our family as well!!

      Thanks for the reassurance. Always a balm.

  6. Marilyn B says:

    Hi Kendra,
    While I don’t have kids, I have a husband who is a very reluctant traveler. When we first started traveling after we got married, we had a huge fight before every trip. He always threatened not to go. Back in 1991, I had planned a dream trip to Italy. I’d secured free coach tickets on Pan Am, and had to travel from the suburbs into NYC to get the paper tickets issued. I’d done all the planning from printed guidebooks, and secured lovely small hotels via letters sent overseas. Such was life pre-internet. Then the day before we were to leave, my husband finally announced (although he knew he was going to tell me this) that he wasn’t going. That was it – no negotiating. Not going, period. Thoroughly crushed and distraught, I had to start the cancellation process. It wasn’t fun (major understatement) but we got through it. Eventually, I re-did this trip for 1993 and it was a turning point in our marriage. My husband still doesn’t like to travel, but he’s a bit better about it. But the pre-trip stress, and sometimes an argument, never goes completely away.

    I hope this trip will go well for you, and that you get those weeks of reprieve post this blow-out. I do think it will help you refine your family travel style. I know for us, that we’ve learned to focus on less moving around, and more time in one location, mixing up “sightseeing” with exploring.
    When I see the blog trip reports that go to multi-cities on awards for incredible redemptions, I am glad it works for them, but I know it won’t work for us.

    All the best and I sincerely hope that you have a wonderful trip.

    • Points Pixie says:

      Marilyn B – Wow, what a testament to your marriage that you guys worked that out! I’m impressed. Thanks for the honest and supportive comment – I appreciate it.

  7. My thought is just to remember that this trip is for you and your family to enjoy. If this is the trip your family wants, then by all means go for it. But if circumstances are such now that this particular trip is not the right fit for you and your family, consider not going and doing something else. Best of luck whatever you decide!

  8. Christine says:

    You’re probably already gone but I had to add my two cents. Back when my kids were growing up (they’re now 29 and 30!), we would take a trip out west to ski for several days at least once a year. One year we took DVDs with us just because and then, in my humble opinion, actually spent more time watching tv than skiing. I was peeved because we had spent all this money and only “watched tv.” Guess which trip everyone remembers? The time we watched whatever season of 24 we had taken with us! Schedule downtime – its refreshing.

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