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Spending $$$ for far-off leisure travels for few days

Spending $$$ for far-off leisure travels for few days

Old Aug 6, 17, 1:36 pm
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Spending $$$ for far-off leisure travels for few days

I read so many posts on FT about folks doing leisure trips to far-off places for just a few days. (for example, there's currently this BA thread: What's the furthest you've flown for the shortest amount of time on leisure?) Not talking about MR.

I want to get some perspectives as to how folks justify spending so much and traveling so far only for a couple days at the destination. Our family is reaching the point where we may need to start doing the same. Like a 5-day trip to Jpn from NAmerica. But then I'm having difficult time justifying it in my mind.

All of my leisure travels are with wife and 2 kids. We've been traveling to Asia 3-4x a year, and trips have usually ranged from 1 week to 3 weeks. On top of that, we do a bit of US domestic travels. But what really floats our boat is traveling to Asia. I don't rack up tons of miles like a lot of you (maybe ~150k miles per year, mostly from credit card), so I pay for most of our travels, miles are as precious as $ to me, and we have to travel almost exclusively in Y.

Taking a certain Jpn destination as an example, this is the way I look at it:
-- 5-day trip: total of 35-40hrs door-to-door roundtrip travel time with 65hr at the destination, meaning 35% of vacation is spent traveling, while spending $3000~$4500 for family of four.
-- 10-day trip: same travel time as above with 115hr at the destination, meaning 25% of vacation is spent traveling, while spending same airfare as above plus additional ~$2000 for misc costs of vacationing 5 extra days.

Before I got married with kids, I myself used to travel to Jpn/HKG on ultra-short trips. But with 3 dependents, airfare is a lot more and so a big part of it is that I feel like we need to get more out of a trip if we're spending lots of $. With our changing family/job situations, our choices are either take less trips or resign ourselves to shortening at least a couple of our Asia trips each year. But traveling is what keeps us going.

To those who go to far-off places for a short leisure trips, can you provide some thoughts/perspectives that might help me rethink things and feel better about doing the same?
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Old Aug 6, 17, 1:44 pm
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For me travelling is part of the fun. The holiday doesn't start when I arrive at my destination but when I leave my house.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 1:56 pm
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With limited time off, spending 2-3 whole days flying makes much less sense, especially with kids.

The US/Canada/Mexico has a lot to see and do with much more reasonable travel times so you're not wasting much of your time off sitting in a metal tube.

If I were you, I'd probably focus on shorter distance trips, with maybe one longer (1-2week) trip to Asia a year.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 1:58 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
For me travelling is part of the fun. The holiday doesn't start when I arrive at my destination but when I leave my house.
I've reached the point where air travel is something to be endured, as enjoying it is no longer possible. Perhaps it depends on where you sit on the plane, but between the TSA, cramped seating, ridiculous fees for everything you can imagine, well, I remember what it used to be like...

Over the past 2 years we've done a lot of our shorter trips by rail, in both the US and UK. With the exception of one trip on Virgin Rail, we find rail travel now to be 10x better than going near the airport.

To the OP: I'm one who would not do the long travel time/short trip/high $$$ combo as the pay-off, being where I want to be, is not the worth cost of enduring the travel time. I understand Asia is your first choice destination, but for 5 days and that many time zones, I'd find somewhere I like closer to home.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
For me travelling is part of the fun. The holiday doesn't start when I arrive at my destination but when I leave my house.
Do you usually fly coach or in premium cabin? For me, the only part of traveling I enjoy is the airport lounge. Otherwise I'm with CDTraveler. The flights, boarding, customs and all that are all things I endure rather than enjoy. I can't wait to get to my destination when I'm traveling.


Originally Posted by CDTraveler View Post
To the OP: I'm one who would not do the long travel time/short trip/high $$$ combo as the pay-off, being where I want to be, is not the worth cost of enduring the travel time. I understand Asia is your first choice destination, but for 5 days and that many time zones, I'd find somewhere I like closer to home.
Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
With limited time off, spending 2-3 whole days flying makes much less sense, especially with kids.

The US/Canada/Mexico has a lot to see and do with much more reasonable travel times so you're not wasting much of your time off sitting in a metal tube.

If I were you, I'd probably focus on shorter distance trips, with maybe one longer (1-2week) trip to Asia a year.
I think these would be the sentiments of the general population and is along the lines of what I was feeling myself. Just wanted to see if i'd get different perspective on this on FT and be convinced otherwise.

Btw, my kids would do very well on this type of itinerary. I'd be worn out more than the kids. They're small so they don't find Y seats to be uncomfortable, they don't have to pack, and they're so used to international travels that they don't even experience much jet lag anymore.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 5:39 pm
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Wondering if there're folks who go by specific parameters when it comes to this question... such as a vacation is only worth it if no more than x % of the time is spent on traveling, etc.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Wondering if there're folks who go by specific parameters when it comes to this question... such as a vacation is only worth it if no more than x % of the time is spent on traveling, etc.
It is quality of time not quantity of time. This year we had a trip to Israel to celebrate Passover with relatives. The visit involved 2 days of travel and 5 days of wonderful time spent with relatives. I have gone to Hawaii for a long weekend multiple times (irrespective of class of service and easy from Ca.
I will spend 20 hours to go to my favorite destination in Europe every year as I know I am looking forward to a 10 day visit which I will enjoy. I have also gone there for 4 days.
IMHO, it is about the destination unless one is on a Mileage Run.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 8:15 pm
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Part of the travel experience is getting through the airport, looking at planes, etc. However, lately, it's more boring because most planes are the 737 and A320. Gone are the days where there are plenty of other planes, like the F100, MD-80, 737, A320, CRJ, ERJ145, ERJ135, 757, etc.

Increasing the percentage of time at the destination is an important factor. Maybe consider the continental US and Canada, such as

YVR
SEA
PDX
SFO
Monterey, CA
Solvang, CA
Yosemite
LAX
SAN
San Luis Obispo
YVJ
PSP
That's 12 for one time zone. Multiply that by 4 and you have nearly 50 potential trips.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 8:55 pm
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OK, here's a parameter.

I won't go somewhere where there will be substantial jet lag if the trip is less than a week.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 9:17 pm
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Originally Posted by Annalisa12 View Post
For me travelling is part of the fun. The holiday doesn't start when I arrive at my destination but when I leave my house.
You fly only business class, don't you?

Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
I won't go somewhere where there will be substantial jet lag if the trip is less than a week.
Same for my wife. She needs two days on each direction to recover if time difference is more than 6 hours. As a result, any trip with this or more time change needs to be at least 10 days excluding travel time.
I personally handle jet lag much better.

To the topic starter - do you guys enjoy outdoors/nature? If so, have you visited every National Park within 2h-3h flight time from your home?

Last edited by invisible; Aug 6, 17 at 9:24 pm
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Old Aug 6, 17, 10:54 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Btw, my kids would do very well on this type of itinerary. I'd be worn out more than the kids. They're small so they don't find Y seats to be uncomfortable, they don't have to pack, and they're so used to international travels that they don't even experience much jet lag anymore.
Here's a secret too many parents never hear: family travel is supposed to fun for everybody.

That means if a trip leaves you jet lagged, exhausted and miserable, even if the kids were happy, it was a bad idea.

That meant when my kid was little, anything more than 3 hour time difference had to be at least a week, more than 6 hours, 10 day minimum. Some of the best trips we had when he was between 5 and 8 were when we camped in a national park for a week - that gave us time to really change our pace and outlook, and time enough for him to gain perspective on the great outdoors.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 11:10 pm
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I like outdoor stuff and I try to get my family into it. But they're not keen, except we all love the beach. I myself have been to most of the national parks in the West, and I've taken my family to some of them but they don't get excited. When we go to Canadian Rockies, they just want to spend all the time at the Fairmont (which is unbelievably expensive up there btw). I've lived in many places in the US including up and down CA. I've taken my family to various places domestically. But at the end of the day, they're really just into beach, Japanese things, and lounging at nice hotels (plus my kids like amusement parks of course). They don't like long road trips. So domestically (inc Canada), we've evolved into now just doing Hawaii, LA and Vancouver/Whistler over and over. They love going to Jpn and would go there every month if they could.


Originally Posted by Doc Savage View Post
OK, here's a parameter.

I won't go somewhere where there will be substantial jet lag if the trip is less than a week.
That's a nice, straightforward policy that makes total sense.

Keep'em coming. I'd also like to hear the other side... those who're prone to taking short international leisure trips.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 11:15 pm
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My mother believed that it was better to have a short trip and stay in good hotels, eat in good restaurants than a longer trip that was less pleasant. I've "inherited" that attitude.
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Old Aug 6, 17, 11:30 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
Keep'em coming. I'd also like to hear the other side... those who're prone to taking short international leisure trips.
Not prone, but taking a trip HAM-MRU. Traveltime ~11h each way, leaving some 3+days at the beach. Since it's only +/-2h timeshift, the jetlag will be bearable or none at all.

Why? Will have a very busy August so need a break and cannot stay longer because a conference trip to Paris is following .

Other people do gardening.. I see new places.
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Old Aug 7, 17, 12:58 am
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
I like outdoor stuff and I try to get my family into it. But they're not keen, except we all love the beach. I myself have been to most of the national parks in the West, and I've taken my family to some of them but they don't get excited. When we go to Canadian Rockies, they just want to spend all the time at the Fairmont (which is unbelievably expensive up there btw). I've lived in many places in the US including up and down CA. I've taken my family to various places domestically. But at the end of the day, they're really just into beach, Japanese things, and lounging at nice hotels (plus my kids like amusement parks of course). They don't like long road trips. So domestically (inc Canada), we've evolved into now just doing Hawaii, LA and Vancouver/Whistler over and over. They love going to Jpn and would go there every month if they could.
Hmm, biting tongue as much as possible.

It takes patience and time to teach kids to appreciate any kind of experience. You've taught them to enjoy $$$$ hotels (I've been in the Banff Fairmont) and Japan. If you want them to appreciate the great outdoors, invest the time in teaching them about it, and I don't mean 20 minutes in the visitor center and then back to the hotel. Advance research by them, guided educational experiences, hands-on learning - same thing you'd do to teach them about anything new/alien/different.

And one parent to another, maybe re-read what you've written about your kids and think ahead 20 years.
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