a needle in a haystack

Yesterday I researched airfare for some travel we have planned this year. Nothing exotic, romantic, or crazy…just trips to visit family in Colorado and New York. It has been over 2 years since we visited either place, so it is about time we get our butts on an airplane and fly!

I have been fearful of flying with both kids since I had an uncomfortable experience flying back from Colorado alone with the little guy almost 2 years ago. The little guy was sick, cried almost the entire flight, and we had an asshole in the seat behind us. Needless to say, both the little guy and I were crying by the end of the flight. So, the thought of getting on an airplane with two kids has had me paralyzed.

I had a conversation with a dear friends mom on Christmas Eve, and she doesn’t let 6 weeks go by without seeing her grandchildren!  She either travels to them, or they travel to her. I don’t want our kids to miss out on experiences with their grandparents and extended family, so I need to start traveling. We have chosen to live away from family, which makes it more difficult to foster those relationships, but this year I am going to try my best.

Colorado is pretty easy. 2-1/2 hour flight. Fares that don’t change much from month to month. In fact, I may fly there over spring break…just me and the kids (gotta bite the bullet)!  We need to work with family schedules (like we had thought we would visit Colorado over Memorial Day Weekend, but found out that my parents are going to Hawaii for their 40th anniversary…I guess they deserve that trip), and I may travel alone with the kids (which is very scary to me), but it’s a lot easier to get there. No matter when I look at fares (from March through October) they are within a few dollars of each other and a direct flight is easy to do with two kiddos (with or without my hubby). I just have to get over my fear and fly!

New York is a different story. It’s a full day of travel. Timing is everything. Meaning, we need to base our flight selection on duration and time of day. We used to fly a redeye to New York on occasion. Not anymore. No way am I going to take a chance that my kids do not sleep overnight and get to New York with overtired, cranky kiddos. Like visiting Colorado, we have to work with other family members schedules (travel, school, work, etc.) and Ryan’s work schedule. Of course, the ONE week that seems to work for the majority of us is the week that the airfare is 2x as expensive as any other time during the summer! Of course, we could use the millions of miles that Ryan has with Alaska…if they flew to Rochester. Yikes!  I am just hoping that the airlines decide to have a fare war before the summer. We will make this happen!

I’m also trying to space our travel and visits out through the year. Travel to Colorado in March, in-laws visiting in May, my parents visiting in July, New York in July or August, and travel to Colorado in October (for the Ducks vs Colorado game).  Not to mention, we would like to get to Central Oregon to ski in February, March or April, and possibly take a trip to Eastern Oregon or Idaho in September.  Then the holidays hit and we STAY PUT!  If you want to see us in November or December…come visit us in Oregon!

If you live away from family how do you plan your visits?  How often do you visit?  How often does family visit you? Any tips for traveling with two young kids?

home is…finding a needle in a haystack.

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