Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Big USA Pilgrimage

The time rolls around each year when the Handsome Australian and I prepare ourselves and the little people for our pilgrimage to the USA. Since I've been living in Australia (for the better part of 10 years) I've averaged about 1 trip to the USA each year. In the beginning, our trips generally lasted for 2 to 3 weeks. The Handsome Australian and I both had busy work schedules and this was pretty much the maximum amount of time we could afford to take off in one hit. Packing for those trips was easy as we typically traveled over the Christmas period and we confidently loaded our bags with jeans and jumpers and off we went.

Now that we've had two children, our trips to the USA have become a completely different endeavour, as you might imagine. Firstly, we've changed the time of year that we travel. While being with my family during Christmas would be lovely, we've found that airfares to the USA are nearly double during the Christmas period. Airports are crowded and the weather can be uncooperative. Who wants to be stuck in an airport with over-tired toddlers after a 14 hr flight waiting for 6 hours because your connection has been delayed or canceled? Certainly not I. We've found some of the best fares to be had are generally during the North American Spring and Fall. Typically February, March and April are good travel months as well as October and early November.

We've chosen to travel during March/April for the past four years. This has meant we've spent Easter with my family each time. Since we are unable to be in the USA for Christmas, it's been lovely to share another significant holiday and its traditions with my family. Our children look forward to the colouring of eggs, the big Easter egg hunt and all the play time they get with their many American cousins. It's a tradition and while I'd love my kids to have the opportunity to spend Christmas with their cousins as well, I appreciate that life as an expat has its limitations. Many times this lifestyle requires compromise and thinking outside the box. So instead of being homesick and sad about missing Christmas, we've endeavoured to create a new set of customs that fit our schedule and don't bust our budget.

How long do we normally visit for now? What do we pack? Stay tuned for a new series of posts where I will endeavour to share what I've learned over the years about making this big journey. Thanks for stopping by!

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