Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Instagram Update - and Wanderlust

I've been putting up a photo or two most days on Instagram. So much happens every day and I feel time slipping away and my kids growing up and I want so much to capture and cherish the good moments and the beauty. Instagram is just so much easier and more immediate than this good old blog when it comes to capturing moments and sights I don't want to forget.

Here's a quick collage of some of what I've posted on Instagram lately - click here for more.



But I'm determined to capture ideas, thoughts and feelings and Instagram isn't so good for that. So I'll keep writing here (and saving my more personal ramblings as "drafts" in the back end of this blog - there's sure a lot of stuff I need to write out but don't publish!).

My sister Shawni and her family are in China for a few months, having crazy-exciting adventures with school and food and culture there. Last weekend (in between volunteering for the National Cycling Championships downtown and painting our sad-looking porches), we sat down together and looked at the photos and information on her blog so we could live vicariously a bit and catch up with some of our favorite people. So interesting. We ended up talking a lot about Chinese culture and customs and looking some more stuff up. I love all that we get to learn through others' experiences.

But, being an Eyre (we have a legacy of wonderlust and a thirst for crazy-exciting new experiences), checking out Shawni's experiences made me yearn to get extra serious about a big trip for this summer. Summer before last, we did our big cross-country road trip, taking in Chicago, Boston, NYC, DC and lots of church history sites while visiting relatives and friends and putting on FIVE Power of Moms Retreat. It was wonderful. It was exhausting. This past summer, it felt great to stick with a few day trips and enjoy our fun neighborhood between family reunions and time at Bear Lake. But this next summer we're thinking that maybe it's time to head to England and France. We're saving up and trying to figure out if we can make it work. So much of of my growing up experiences were in England and Jared and I both have lots of English ancestry. I yearn for England sometimes. I can hardly believe my kids haven't experienced England - haven't been on a double decker bus or climbed on the lions at Trafalgar Square, haven't experienced the pastoral beauty of the Lake District or the ancient grandeur of my favorite castles and cathedrals.

And while we're in England, we really might as well do France. I've loved my travels there in the past and I think the kids would so enjoy it. Then, of course, we need to get to Italy where Jared served his mission and Bulgaria where I served mine and where we need to visit the orphanages we've been helping to support with our Children for Children concerts every Christmas. And we want to go to Switzerland where both Jared and I have lots of ancestry (Loosli is a swiss name) and where our dear sister-in-law is from. And actually all of Europe would be fabulous to visit. But we're thinking England and France will have to do it for now.

But wow, Europe is expensive! We've been setting aside money for years by foregoing eating out and doing stuff that costs money for entertainment (luckily hiking and biking are free and there are tons of free festivals and events near us all the time). We'll step up our earning and saving and I think we can make this happen! Anyone got any great tips on how to save money when traveling to Europe? We need to get the best airfare we can, figure out transportation once we're there, find inexpensive places to stay, etc.





14 comments:

Colleen said...

Hi Saren, I'm a longtime reader but first time commenter! For tips about Europe travel with kids, I would check out this blog: http://scenesfromthewild.net/

She and her family (of 6 kids) have been to Europe many times, and she once wrote a post about why it is very doable! She argues with the right planning, it can be just as cheap as a trip to Disneyland (including airfare of course). I couldn't seem to find that post, but you might try emailing her or searching her archives. She also has a lot of interesting posts about their time in Europe with great ideas for activities.
I would also for sure suggest airbnb or vrbo to find an apartment to stay at! It is SO much cheaper than a hotel, and you can fit more people in a small room, whereas the hotels don't let you do that ;) You can also cook at the apartment and save on food.
Also make sure you check the cheaper air carriers too (Ryan Air for example) instead of just Delta, United, etc. I'm pretty sure they may have cheaper airfares. See if you can you use credit card miles to buy a ticket or two (although I'm sure you've already thought of all of this!).

I hope it all comes together for you guys next summer! I'll keep my fingers crossed and best of luck!
Colleen

Emily said...

I think this is the post that Colleen mentioned. http://scenesfromthewild.net/2013/09/europe-with-kids.html

I'll be eager to hear what you find if we get to go a few years later.

Brooke said...

No ideas for making it happen but just a note of encouragement- you CAN make this happen! And know you, you WILL make it happen. It will be wonderful for your family and I'll be taking notes for my own experience.

Oh, wait- one tip. airbnb.com has flats that you can rent in most major European cities for WAY cheaper than hotels. There's some pretty great ones in Paris. They have a phone app too so you can check that out.

Ana Carolina said...

Hello! I'm also a long time reader, but I never comment. I am in Switzerland right now and it's incredible! Airbnb is a great way to save money because Geneva (Europe in general) sure is a expensive place to visit!! As for airfare, I suggest using mileage if you have any or getting affiliated to some mileage program now so you can enjoy it later! I always use skyscanner.com to track down good prices as well. Also, try to buy open jaw tickets so you don't have to go back to the same country you arrived
Getting around: bikes, bikes, bikes! There are several rental places that give you the first hour for free - it's great! Or you can get the monthly pass for public transportation as well which always come in handy.
Have you considered going on another season? Europe during the summer is crazy expensive.
Well, nothing new I guess..but I hope you can make this work!

sbu said...

As far as renting a place in London, you might check with your neighbor, Thomas Moore with the London Connection. I am not certain what they charge, but it might be cheaper than hotels and you can do your meals.

Ana Carolina said...

oh yeah, one more thing: Ryan air, Easy jet and other airlines are cheap, BUT they are really (REALLY) strict on luggage policy and traveling with a big family can be a nightmare. try to buy train tickets, they are more expensive, but they are worth their weight in luggage =P

Kathryn said...

Hi Saren,

My best tip for London would be to do some kind of home exchange if you can. We did that when our kids were just a little older than yours and it was really fun and economical. It does mean you'll focus on one city rather than doing the grand European tour, but if your sights are set on London there's plenty to do there for multiple weeks. Best of luck!
Kathryn

Shumway Family said...

Saren - My dear old friend. I love reading your blog. I would love to touch base. I also have the wanderlust bug - you know my trip we took 5 years ago. We're gearing up for another one this summer but have an interesting plot twist that might be happening too - think Shawni's 'new' neck of the woods. Anyway, I'd love to swap stories and ideas with you.

You are, as always, inspiring.

Maureen

maureenshumway@gmail.com

kms said...

Too much pressure.

Margo said...

Hello, you don't know me at all but I'm a long time reader. I work in the Houses of Parliament and would be more than happy to give you a tour if you end up in London! :) Margo.

Eyrealm said...

This is August right? We need you in July but will do everything we can to launch you in August. You are a Brit at heart!

ChristineP said...

Hi Saren,
I am a long-time reader from Denmark. I totally agree with the other comments: book a flat through airbnb or wimdu. You can fint the most amazing flats and rent them for a short amount of time, often at half the cost of a hotel room. I've booked in London, Berlin and Nice previously, and all flats were great! You can save a lot of money on food by cooking your own meals and packing lunches.
Most train companies in Europe provide family tickes; the parents pay and bring their children for free. You might need to book through deutsche bahn (bahn.de - German Railways), but you can book trips in UK and France through this website, too. Done this a lot, and it always saved med some money.
If you want to go to museums, it is often advisable to buy a pass that allows access to several museums over a period of two-three days, so much cheaper than paying the regular fare.

Hope you make it work, Europe is awesome!
Christine

Saren Loosli said...

Thanks so much for the great ideas and suggestions, everyone! I've been looking into home swaps (found a place that helps you swap your home and even your car with another family so both families can enjoy a lot cheaper vacation and a nice home and vehicle during their stay abroad) plus the great rentals many of your suggested. Lots of great options. We're thinking we'll go in May, maybe a couple weeks before school gets out here and before the summer season really hits in Europe. Keep any ideas coming our way!

Tiffany said...

Haven't read blogs in months...but thought I'd check yours out after our lunch and conversations the other day. Glad your England trip is planned before ours in 2016...that way you'll have some great tips and ideas for my family of 7.

I absolutely have to show my children where I lived for the first 14 years of my life. And the summer between Megan's junior and senior year seems the best timing for us. But oh the expense and the details...

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