Road Tripping To Canada For a Month

For those following along with my early retirement monthly updates, you’ll know the Root of Good family is heading north to Canada for the summer.  At the end of June, we will pack our kids (age 2, 7, and 9) and a trunk full of gear into our trusty fourteen year old Honda Accord and set out on a 2,300 mile trek through the US and Canada for over a month.

After departing Raleigh, North Carolina, our route will take us through Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and New York City.  We will spend a few nights in Philly then a few more in New York City where we plan on catching the Fourth of July fireworks from the riverfront.  When we leave New York City, we head north to Canada for almost a month.  In order to break up the long driving segments, we will head to Montreal first, then proceed to Quebec City, Ottawa, and Toronto.  Upon leaving Toronto, we’ll stop for a two night stay in Niagara Falls for the trip’s grand finale before heading back to Raleigh in early August.

 

canada-route

 

How did we decide on Canada?

In the middle of winter, we tossed around a few ideas for a summer trip to celebrate our new found freedom from the working world.  Except Mrs. Root of Good is still working “full time”!  She requested a three month paid sabbatical from her employer but they denied her request.  Instead, they offered her five weeks off (fully paid), and she can take her sabbatical next summer (if she makes it that long).

When we first started discussing potential destinations for our big summer trip, we didn’t know if Mrs. RoG would have off the full three months or some lesser period of time.  We came up with locations literally all over the map.  Somewhere in Asia like Thailand or Cambodia was our top choice, followed by Central or South America (Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Belize, or Chile).  The least favorite choice at the time was driving north to Canada and stopping by a few US destinations on the way to and from our great neighbor to the north.

We were really excited about visiting Thailand and Cambodia.  Then we thought about the really long flights and our two year old on those long flights.  And the 90+ degree heat and high humidity.  And our two year old.  Sadly, we crossed Asia off the list for now, but hope to make it there sometime in the next few years.

Latin America was our next choice, and eventually we ruled it out as well.  It’s a lot easier to get there (a long drive to Miami then a short to medium length flight to Central or South America).  Some countries in Latin America have very favorable exchange rates right now.  At some point, the “what about our two year old?” questions became too frequent.  What if he gets sick?  What if we’re halfway up the volcano and he’s too tired to walk any further?  What if he overheats?  What if we can’t find a comfortable place to stay for the night and have to sleep in the bus station?  The overly cautious parental part of our brains overruled the otherwise rational parts of our brains that said “everything’s gonna be alright”.

Spain entered the list late in the game.  Jed at Bucking the Trend is headed to Spain with his wife and two kids for a year.  After reading Jed’s rave reviews and seeing other favorable footage of Spain, we figured it might be a nice place to stay for a couple months during the summer.  We were looking at locations in the south of Spain in Andalusia such as Granada or Seville (or both) with visits to other parts of Spain and Portugal.  For European countries, Spain is relatively affordable especially outside the largest cities.

Once we found out Mrs. RoG only had five weeks off this summer, we decided that wasn’t enough time to fully explore Spain and suffer through the long flights with a two year old in tow.  By process of elimination, our last choice of driving up the east coast into Canada became our first choice.

Not that it’s a bad choice at all!  I’ve always wanted to visit Philadelphia but it never made it to the top of our vacation list in years past.  Now that we are driving north through Philly, we’ll get to visit for a few days.  We will also visit New York City and Niagara Falls while driving to and from Canada.  The main attraction of the trip is of course Canada, but we’ll be able to visit or revisit a few cool places on the way to Canada.

Why Canada?  It offers a good mix of urban areas, forests, lakes, rivers, history, and culture.  With an average high temperature around 80 degrees in the hottest part of summer, we will also be escaping the sweltering heat and humidity of North Carolina in July.

Trip Budget

As part of our $32,000 annual early retirement budget, we included $5,300 for travel. This might not seem like a lot of money, but we are pretty good at stretching a budget and maximizing the fun units per dollar spent.  For our trip to Canada, I have assembled a budget that totals $4,266.  In reality, we’ll be shifting to our vacation budget some expenses normally incurred at home for things like groceries and entertainment, so the true cost will be less than $4,266 if we removed spending we would otherwise have at home.  For the sake of giving a complete picture of our costs, I’ll leave the groceries in the trip budget presented here.

 

CategoryNotesCost
Restaurant Meals$35/day - lunch and sometimes dinner$1,200
Groceries~$18/day$600
Gas 3000 miles @ $0.20/mile$600
Parking$20/day for half the days$350
Tollstotal guess$100
Transit10 days at $25/day$250
Sheration / Four PointsPhilly, Toronto, Niagara Falls (8 nts)31,000 pts
NYC Hotel2 nts, incl. $50 off coupon @ Expedia$192
AirBnB Apartment - Montreal8 nights$471
AirBnB Apartment - Quebec City8 nights; incl. $25 discount$446
AirBnB Apartment - Ottawa7 nights, staying in Gatineau$357
Barclay Arrival Plus bonus$500 travel bonus for signing up-$500
TOTAL LODGING34 days/33 nights$966
Entertainment/Admission Fees$20/day for 10 days$200
Souvenirswho buys those things?0
TOTAL TRIP BUDGET34 days$4,266

 

The total budget of $4,266 for 34 days works out to $125 per day, or $25 per person per day.  That puts us squarely in the “shoestring budget travel” category by many metrics.  Our friends Jeremy and Winnie at Go Curry Cracker! spent an average of $92/day traveling the world in 2013.  That’s just for the two of them, but they do “live it up” a bit more than we will.  The Go Curry Cracker folks also stay in one place longer than we will.  It’s cheaper to rent a place by the month than it is by the week or by the night.

 

Food

Our biggest expense on the trip will be food.  At $1,800 for restaurants and groceries for the whole trip, we will eat well.  We plan on dining out for lunches almost every day and the occasional dinner out.  I used $25 per meal as a guess of what we might spend on average for meals.  Lunch tends to be cheaper than dinner, which will push the average lower.  We might grab take out some days and save a few bucks on tip.  We’ll probably end up at cheap restaurants pretty often, but definitely want to try a variety of cuisines on this trip.  Some may be kid friendly, others not so much.

I’m hoping to find something like Groupon or Livingsocial for restaurant deals in the cities we visit in Canada.  Taking 50% off the price of a low to moderately priced restaurant will go a long way toward keeping us within the $25/meal range.

We allocated $600 for groceries, which is about what we spend at home on groceries for a month.  I did a little digging and found a few low cost grocery chains like No Frills, Maxi, and Super C which are convenient to our apartments in Canada.  We won’t be able to optimize our grocery spending as much as we can at home, but buying groceries should be a lot cheaper and easier (and healthier!) than dining out for every meal.  I have heard great reviews of markets like the Jean-Talon in Montreal that offer a lot of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses.  There shouldn’t be a paucity of places that will accept our loonies (it’s what they call bucks in Canada) for good eats!

We’re also packing our incredible rice cooker and some kitchen essentials like a really sharp knife, a cutting board, and some spices to make basic cooking a little easier.  For some meals, we will get some form of takeout meat for part of the meal and compliment it with fresh cooked rice and some veggies from the market.

 

Transportation

Since we will be setting out on a 2,300 mile road trip and plan on driving around most of the cities we visit (for another 700 miles), we plan on spending a decent amount on gas.  Gas is also more expensive in Canada than in the US.  3,000 miles at $0.20 per mile adds up to $600 on gas alone.

Driving around cities means parking somewhere.  On-street parking is occasionally free, but we expect to pay for parking pretty often.  I’ve allowed $20 per day for half the days of our trip, or $350 total (I rounded up).  Some roads have tolls, so I stuck another $100 in the budget to cover whatever tolls we have to pay.  We won’t be driving everywhere, so I allowed $25 per day for ten days for transit.  New York City is one place we won’t be driving, so we will drop some cash on transit in the Big Apple for sure.

In the big Canadian cities we are visiting, the transit service seemed to be expensive at $3-4 per ride, while parking wasn’t as expensive as a city like NYC.  The plan is to drive and pay for parking when it makes sense, and take transit when that option makes sense.  With two adults and three kids, the cost of transit tickets can add up quickly and dwarf the cost of gas and parking.  We are staying near the middle of downtown for all of our week-long stays in Canada, so we can walk to some destinations and take a short drive to other destinations.  We also have the flexibility to time our trips for periods when traffic is light and parking is cheap or free (nights and weekends).

One remaining item on the to-do list is finding a GPS app for my phone that works in off-line mode.  Ideally I could download the GPS data to my smartphone from our hotel or apartment and work off-line during the day when I won’t have constant internet access.  Right now I’m investigating Sygic and Maverick GPS apps (both are free on Android) to see whether either one will work.

Another to-do item is requesting a Canadian insurance card from my insurance company.  These are free to obtain with most (all?) US-based auto liability insurance policies.  Apparently it’s important if you get pulled by the cops to have insurance that’s valid in Canada.

Lodging

All hotel rooms and apartment rentals have been booked at this point, so the costs are fixed at $966 barring any unexpected last minute cancellations or changes outside of our control.  We booked a nice two bedroom apartment in a quiet neighborhood for eight nights each in Montreal and Quebec City.  In Ottawa, we booked a one bedroom apartment just across the river from downtown Ottawa in Gatineau, Quebec.  The one bedroom rental was slightly cheaper than the two bedroom apartments.  On average, we are paying $55 per night for the apartment rentals, which compares very favorably to the $100+ we would expect to pay at hotels that could accommodate a family of five.  Not only are the apartment rentals cheaper, we will also have a full kitchen and living room so we can spread out, relax and enjoy real meals at home.

I used AirBnB.com for all the apartment bookings.  They had the widest selection of properties available and they have a map-based search tool that makes it easy to find inexpensive (but nice) rentals in good locations around all the cities I looked at.  If you want to check them out for your next trip, you can use my Airbnb referral link to get $25 off your first reservation.  Using that discount, I saved $25 on my rental in Quebec City.

We saved another $500 on lodging costs by using the $400 bonus offer for the Barclay Arrival Plus card.  After meeting the minimum spending requirement (currently $3,000), we received another $60 to use toward travel expenses, and each time you redeem travel rewards, you get a 10% rebate of the points expended.  All together, we received $500 worth of travel redemptions between the sign up bonus and rewards for meeting the minimum spending requirement.  The $500 redeemed toward lodging brings the total lodging expense down to $966.

In addition to the 23 nights of lodging booked through Airbnb, we also booked ten nights in hotels.  We only paid for two hotel nights ($192) in New York City (booked with a $50 off coupon code on Expedia.com) where there weren’t any good Starwood/Sheration hotel redemption options.  The other eight nights in a hotel were free courtesy of our Starwood Preferred Guest points that we received as a bonus for signing up for a Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card.  The eight free hotel nights include three nights at a Four Points by Sheraton in Philadelphia, three nights at a Four Points by Sheraton in Toronto, and two nights at the Sheraton in Niagara Falls, New York.

Those hotels average $200+ per night normally, so we saved $1,600 by signing up for just one credit card.  Add that to the $500 saved from the Barclay’s Arrival Plus card and we did pretty well on the travel hacking front with just two credit card sign up bonuses!

 

Other expenses

Rounding out our trip budget is $200 for entertainment and admission fees.  So many things we want to do and see are free, but occasionally we’ll want to get into a park or museum that wants some of our hard earned money.

I didn’t include a “miscellaneous” expense category because I figure small incidental expenses like bug spray or suntan lotion will get lumped into the “grocery” category.  We might have to spend a few bucks on laundry if we can’t wait until we get to one of the apartment rentals that comes with washer and dryer.  Otherwise, I’ve included all the costs that I can foresee.

 

Edited September, 2014: We’re back home!. If you want to see how our summer trip to Canada went, check out the first five posts in the series:

 

Have you ever traveled on a shoestring budget?  Ever taken a long road trip?

 

 

43 comments

  • Sounds like an exciting vacation! You probably are aware of it already, but in case you weren’t, I wanted to bring up the Toronto CityPass.

    We used it on a trip there once, and it was a significant savings (If, of course, you are planning to go to at least 2 or 3 of the attractions anyway. Otherwise, probably not worth it.)

    For Transit in Toronto, you can buy a Day Pass for about $11, and get unlimited rides that day, which is much cheaper than paying per-ride.

    Hope you enjoy your trip! 🙂

    • I’ve seen those citypass deals for other cities and they seem like a great way to knock 15-20% off of the tourist attractions. I’m not sure that we’ll do many of the traditional tourist attractions though. Toronto is our last stop in Canada, and we don’t have a lot planned yet for that city.

      The tricky part about transit is $11 times 4 or 5 (to cover the whole family) covers a lot of gas and parking, so we might come out ahead to drive. I haven’t looked that closely at parking in all the cities, but from a quick check it seemed like driving and parking everywhere was cheaper than taking transit. Unless I’m missing the kids ride free programs for all the transit agencies.

      • In montreal, kids under 6 travel for free if their parents have a ticket and for those 6-11 years the fare is reduced. You can also get three day or weekly passes. Check out the stm.info website for more information.
        Also I agree, sometimes it is cheaper on a per person basis to pay for parking. It really depends how much of the city you are planning to visit in one day.
        Also to keep in mind, that in my opinion anyway, traffic around peak times makes driving in montreal painful.

        • Looks like I can buy a 10 trip set of passes and it would work out to about $8/trip for all the family’s tickets. Unfortunately our kids are 7 and 9, so they will be reduced fare, and only the 2 year old will be free. Parking seems to be relatively cheap at $10-20 per day downtown (hopefully some reasonable hourly rates can be found too). It’s hard to forecast what we’ll be doing on any given day, but I can imagine heading out for a few hours in the morning, grabbing lunch, then heading to the apartment for a rest. Then maybe heading out in the afternoon or evening again.

  • Awesome! I’m sure you will have a great time. Also, I realize you don’t have much time in NYC, but IF you find some free time, let me know. I’d love to meet up!

    • Thanks Dave! We will have almost two full days in NYC, but with a 2 year old, he might dictate our schedule and demand a return to the hotel at some point.

  • Looks like a fun trip! Are you taking the Maids of the Mist boat ride at Niagra? I did that a few years ago when I was working a job in NY, totally worth the extra $20 or whatever it was, just keep a good handle on the little ones, There were a couple free range kids on the boat making me nervous when I was there.

    • John, we don’t have any plans for Niagara Falls yet. Mrs. RoG and I visited almost 15 years ago and skipped the boat tour. We’ll see if the kids are up for it, but they might get freaked out being that close, and they get seasick easily (as does Mrs. RoG).

      We’ll probably see the falls from the US and Canadian sides. Our hotel is a couple blocks from the falls, so we can walk out to the island between the falls and get some good views. The overlook for the big whirlpool just downstream from the falls was cool, too.

  • Your trip sounds amazing! When I was in my early 20’s, I backpacked from Toronto down to Washington D.C (travelling on Greyhound buses) and had a brilliant time. Toronto is a beautiful city and I would love to go back someday.

    I think I do tend to overlook whats in my backyard when booking holidays as I always want to go overseas and see different countries and end up neglecting my own. I live in the UK and I must admit that there is a lot of it I haven’t seen. I think I need to start appreciating the UK for holidays as it would be far cheaper for me to explore my own country than somebodies else’s.

    • Maybe we can house swap one day? 🙂 We have always wanted to visit Europe (including London and the rest of England), but haven’t done so yet. So much rich history, and I love the “old world” architecture.

      It is easy to overlook what you have right around you when considering vacation destinations. We are lucky to have mountains and beaches withing two to four hours of where we live in North Carolina. A day trip to the beach is free (other than $30 for a tank of gas) for us, but we rarely partake of that particular local luxury (since we’ve been dozens of times).

      I’m glad we ended up settling on destinations closer to home this time around, even though we are traveling 2300 miles round trip. It’s definitely easier and cheaper to stay relatively close to home. We will be driving our own car, for example, so we will save hundreds or thousands on car rentals, and we don’t have to buy plane tickets. And since we are traveling solely in the US and Canada, there was no extra auto insurance coverage required and we don’t have to pay any taxes or fill out paperwork to import a car.

  • Sounds like you’ve got everything pretty well planned down the the gnat’s eyelash. Well done! You are going to have a great time – don’t forget to try the poutine. Safe travels.

    • Thanks Jed! I’ll still be a little jealous of your time in Spain, but we’ll get there some day!

      I’d say if our trip was a sculpture, it’s in rough-hewn form right now. We know where we are going and where we are staying, and have a general idea of things we might do, but no specific plans for anything. We have enough time to figure out most of this on the fly, so that might be about as much planning as we do.

  • Not sure what you’re doing for cell phone / data coverage while you’re in Canada. Here’s a link to the T-Mobile “Simple Choice” plan that includes unlimited roamin data. I have a friend who recently used them while travelling into Canada and much of Western Europe, and he said it worked great. He got about 1gb “normal” speed and then everything else was rate-limited… but still unlimited amounts. (ie: He couldn’t stream Netflix to his phone, but it worked perfectly for normal usage. He even tethered his laptop to his phone…)

    http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/roaming.html

    I hope that helps. Offline GPs is probably ok, too. 🙂

    • Hey, Henri, thanks for the tip! We have one T-mobile phone already but it is a dumb phone. It’s prepaid so I’ll have to check and see what the rate/plan is and whether we can use it for urgent calls in Canada. And it looks like I can get a $40/month unlimited “starter” plan from T-mobile and cancel any time. Hopefully I can also buy a used T-mobile phone or tablet off ebay too and bring it to T-mobile on the starter plan. That would be very nice to have mobile data while in Canada for a buck or two per day!

      Any experience with T-mobile and their data plans on tablets? I don’t really care too much about having cellular voice service.

  • Thanks for sharing all your trip details. I look forward to hearing your report when you get back on how well you were able to manage within this budget (especially as we see gas pricing rising this week). Please share more travel tips for traveling with a toddler too! Mr. Breeze and I are looking forward to long trips in the near future, but have to deal with a bunch of short weekend this summer.

    • I hope to post trip reports roughly weekly while on the road. We’ll probably manage close to the budget, and might come in under budget. We’re pretty good at economizing on the fly, and stumbling on good deals.

      I will definitely provide any tips on traveling with a toddler that I might come up with. We are a little worried about traveling with him, but we have the advantage of time on our side. We may be stopping every hour or two to walk the two year old, but that’s okay. We could all use a stretch occasionally. On the way up, our longest driving segment is only 6 hours, so not too bad. It just might take 10 hours. 🙂

      My advice with toddler travel is to skip the shorter weekend trips if you can. Those would drive me crazy trying to pack and unpack a 2 year old and all of his stuff and try to hurry and meet a schedule.

  • Sounds like a fun road trip. My son will be 1 in like a month…we have friends who travel internationally with a little one but I’m not sure I can handle the stress. We plan on driving up to Boston to visit family and maybe up to Buffalo/Niagara Falls. Canada isn’t too far for us and would be fun. The subway and just walking is fine in NYC…though if for some reason you have to drive in and park…check out bestparking.com. (There’s an app too). It’s crazy how big a difference different parking lots charge. Street parking might not be too bad on Sunday mornings in the city…plus no meter on Sundays. Have fun!

    • We’ll probably take the hotel shuttle into Times Square (at $2/ride) and then figure it out from there. I’m fairly familiar with the NYC subways and that’ll be a fun experience for the kids (they’ve done the DC and Chicago subways already!). And I think we will head down to the Staten Island ferries to get a free harbor tour and quickie Statue of Liberty viewing.

      I don’t know how some folks travel with really young kids. It seems stressful to me unless you are able to take it really slow and don’t have deadlines. We travel pretty light, but will still have car seats, a stroller, and a diaper bag for the little guy.

  • Your plan looks great. Montreal is a blast in the summer. A few notes
    – Food and gas is more expensive in Canada so be expected to pay out a bit more

    Also your lodging plan looks great. Hopefully all works out with the airBnB plan. I have never used them before but I really like the concept of it especially at those prices!

    Have fun in my Country and please dont fondle any of our moose!

    • I’ll make sure to keep my hands off any moose (do they have those around Quebec and Ontario??).

      Yeah, we are prepped for the higher grocery and gas bills, although the gas doesn’t seem too much higher. Definitely not European high. Looks like a buck or so higher than in the US when adjusted for exchange rate.

      I hope the AirBnB experiences are positive. The places look nice enough from the pics and reviews, and even if they aren’t as clean as a hotel, they will be more spacious and allow more relaxation.

  • It sounds like a great trip and thanks for sharing your budget for it! We’re also going to Canada and America this summer, but as we’re coming from the UK, our budget is higher to include the flight costs which were high. We can’t wait though 🙂

  • This is my favorite post of yours I’ve read! I feel like I’m coming with you!

    And big props for you doing this in your (barely old at all) 14-year-old car! Awesome post.

  • Have a great trip! I think oversea trips can wait until next year. We’ll go to Thailand for a couple of months next year too so maybe we can meet up over there. 🙂
    Mrs. RB40 can’t take that much time off so she’ll probably head back first. It’s great that your wife’s employer let her take that much vacation. Is she going to quit working soon too?

    • Thanks, Joe! We are looking forward to the trip. And we’ll see about overseas next year. I’ll still be hesitant even though the little guy will be 3. Those flights to Thailand are loooong (and +5 hours from the east coast versus west coast!).

      Mrs. RoG should be able to take a full 3 months paid time off sometime next year for her formal sabbatical. If she’s still working by then! She doesn’t have a “last day of work” in mind right now so it really depends on how much her BS bucket fills up at work.

  • Have fun! Been following your blog for a while in the background but my first comment. Your trip sounds great. It’s nice to see that you are getting to have some fun with that job shaken. As fellow Raleigh-ites, we’ll be holding down the fort in the Oak City while you are gone. I’m on the way to FI, but not free to roam just yet.

  • Mr. ROG:

    You — and the kids — will love Jean Talon market. It’s fun to visit on any day, but if you like crowds, go on a Saturday. Or if Mr. ROG Jr. is a little sleepy, maybe stay away from JT on the weekend! Anyway, you’ll love Montreal. And Quebec City. If you have the chance, drive 10-15 miles north to Montmorency (I think that’s it … ) Falls, and then cross the bridge to Ile d’Orleans. Fantastic place right across the river, very quiet, pretty and rural, with many stands (maybe seasonal?) selling syrop d’erable — good ol’ Canadian maple syrup.

    Enjoy!

    Enjoy!

    • We don’t like crowds at all so we might head to the JT market some other day besides Saturday.

      We have the Montmorency falls (or however it’s spelled) on our list. That will definitely be a day trip from Quebec. And we’ll drive through the Ile d’Orleans while we are up that way. Thanks for the reminder.

  • “I love it when a plan comes together!!!” You’ve got everything planned out and are ready to rock and roll. Have fun!!! And if you could take a picture of you doing the Rocky thing, that would be awesome!

    • Thanks, hopefully it will be a blast. We’ll take a ton of pics and I hope to get some good travel updates posted while on the road.

      Which Rocky thing are you talking about? Like posing with fist in air at the top of Niagara Falls?

  • Posing next to the Rocky stature in Philly, and the cheesy running up the steps like he did, then the fist in the air..lol

    • Ok, I didn’t realize that the movie took place in Philly. The first Rocky movie came out 4 years before I was born 🙂 I vaguely recall the scene though.

      I just read about the Rocky Steps and apparently it offers an amazing view of the Philly skyline too.

  • Hah! Oh yeah! The movie came out years before l was born too!!! Hah hah. I’ve never seen the whole original movie, but everyone who goes to Philly takes that picture, so you gotta, and if there’s a nice view too…well then! I liked the last Rocky, or was it Rambo…it was so awful, but l love quoting from it..cracks me up every time ..Live for nothing or die for something….etc..;0)

  • Be sure to check out the New York Metropolitan Museum.

    The first time I went, the woman at admission said to me, “The recommended admission price is $25 per adult.”

    Recommended? What if I only wanted to pay $1?

    She said that was fine. So I gave her $2. She handed back to me 2 tickets and $1. It was worth every penny

    • I think we did the same thing (slipped a few bucks in the donation slot) or just walked in (can’t recall). I want to say they used to have 1 day per week that was free (which means the “suggested donation” wasn’t suggested at all I guess).

  • Hi there ROG
    I just discovered your blog — you are a fabulous writer. The personal experiences make the difference. So many blogs are just giving the same generic advice without the personal touch.

    I am looking for Part 2 and Part 3 of the trip to Argentina and Uruguay. I am heading down there and would appreciate some tips. Perhaps I somehow missed these posts but I looked under Travel and didn’t see them.
    Have fun in Canada.

    • Unfortunately the Part 2 and 3 Argentina posts are still mostly in my head and not published yet. 🙂

      Thanks for the well wishes in Canada. We’re having a good time so far!

  • “Somewhere in Asia like Thailand or Cambodia was our top choice, followed by Central or South America (Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Belize, or Chile). The least favorite choice at the time was driving north to Canada.”

    Yay, Canada wins by elimination! Woohoo! *insert sad trombone noise*

    HA HA, I don’t blame you. SE Asia and Central or South America definitely seems more exotic by comparison. You know my obsession with Thailand so I’m glad that was at the top of your list. Maybe when Julian gets a bit older…then we can have #Thailand2018 after #Mexico2017!

    • Ha ha, yes, Canada. The least favorite choice. 🙂 We came back a second time so I guess that tells you something about our experience. 🙂 I’m still hoping we can make SE Asia happen while our kids are still kids but THE HEAT. THE HEAT. Our kids and heat don’t mix well (see: past 3 summers traveling to much cooler climates).

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