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Family Travel Planning Made Easier

The Family Backpack Team’s Travel Bucket List

We asked members of The Family Backpack team to share one of their family travel bucket list destinations to kick off 2018 and how they will make it happen. Here’s our list:


Photo credit: Dave of

Backpacking around the base of Mt Hood, Oregon

Eileen A.

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

It’s on my list as a special place, my husband and I climbed it years ago, and it’s something we didn’t get to do before we moved back to the Midwest. I’d like to share this beautiful place and mountain with our children.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

I’m most excited to challenge ourselves physically and mentally for this trek and to spend time talking while on the trail, enjoying nature, cooking at the campfire, and falling asleep just us as a family under the stars.

When/How will You Make This Happen

My kids are still young (5, 3, and 1) so we’re at least ten years out. To make it happen means I just need to start my Bucket List with ideas, dates, and a budget and target for oh boy, 2028, the earliest.

Brink of Lower Yellowstone Falls in Yellowstone National Park

Road trip to Yellowstone National Park

Megan P.

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

Yellowstone is on our Bucket List for a few reasons. I have been lucky enough to travel the world, but I’ve never been to some of the most beautiful destinations in our own country! My husband also hasn’t been to Yellowstone, and it’s difficult to find a place that neither of us has been to. But another top reason is that we’re in this glorious travel “sweet spot” with our kids right now. They are 4 and 6 years old, and traveling has gotten so much easier all of a sudden! They can really hang in there for long drives. And more importantly, they still like us, so this kind of long, lazy trip, with a lot of family time in tight spaces, is still enjoyable for all of us. We want to take advantage of this before they get to the point where they don’t want to spend so much time with us (when a trip with more bells and whistles may be more appealing!).

What You are Most Excited To Do There

I’m most excited simply to slow down and spend time together. As I noted already, there will be a lot of family time on a trip like this without a lot of distractions. It sounds so blissful! I also love the idea that this is a new place for all of us. We spend so much time showing and telling stuff to our kids, but with a destination that none of us have ever been to, we’ll all get to experience something new together.

When/How will You Make This Happen

This is on our list for 2020. We like this year for a big trip like this because it will be our 10 year wedding anniversary and it feels like a great way to celebrate. Plus, the kids will be two years older (6 and 8 years old by then), so I think they’ll be able to do even longer hikes and more exploring in a day, but will still (hopefully) be excited to have so much time with their parents. We’ve recently decided to prioritize travel in our budget by taking our tax refund and putting it in a 12-month CD to fund our vacation the following year. The CD won’t earn us money; its real purpose is to force us to set aside that money and use it for vacations. My brother is getting married in 2018, so we’ll have lots of wedding-related travel that will limit our vacation traveling that year, and 2019 is the year of Disney for us. But this is the trip I’m really excited about, so let the countdown to 2020 begin!

African Safari

Deb A.

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

I’ve only been to one country in Africa, and I am fascinated by the continent.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

I want to see animals in the wild with my kids and reinforce a conservation ethic in them.

When/How will You Make This Happen

My oldest graduates from high school in a few years I would love to make this trip a last kids-at-home big hurrah. Plus I need a few YEARS to save up enough!

Paris, France — The famous cafe Les deux Magots located in Saint Germain des Pres area of Paris.It has been frequented by Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus, James Joyce.

Paris, France

Claire S.

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

It’s on my list as a special place everyone should aim to visit. I have been to remote Cuba, all over North America, most of Asia and the UK and Ireland, but never to mainland Europe. I think it would be magical in all seasons, even winter!  I do not like cold weather; it’s the Australian in me.  Also, we as a family love travel where the city/country is rich in art, culture, architecture, food, and history. Having written that sentence, I wonder why I have not gone yet.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

Wander and see iconic places, and then find a local cafe to sit at, where locals go and eat, drink and watch the world and people from everywhere go by.

When/How will You Make This Happen

We are working on getting travel points, and it is the only direct international flight from Cincinnati at this time (one to Germany starts next year), so the chances of this happening soon are really good. Also our 6 y.o. will be able to remember all of the adventures we would have.

Yellowstone National Park in the Winter

Helena L.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

Cross-country skiing with the kids, seeing the geysers in the snow, avoiding the crowds.

When/How will You Make This Happen

Our 5-year-old is a pretty good skier, but I’m guessing waiting at least another year or so would be helpful. Hoping for an earlier than usual spring break, or else may have to take the kids out of school for a few days.


Sarah W.

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

As I currently travel around Europe with my family, I’ve realized that my bucket list grows constantly! From new places I read about, where friends travel, places I want to take my girls – every year it grows and grows. We have never been to Hawaii – with or without kids – I love that it’s the US but exotic…and maybe when we go we can tag on some other bucket list places like Japan and Bangkok, lol.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

Explore the culture through food and activity, attend a Luau, visit the beautiful beaches and especially continue to show my girl’s different cultures around the world.

When/How will You Make This Happen

My in-laws are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in Hawaii in 2019 – so we’re budgeting and saving airline miles to take our whole crew and, yes, hopefully, add some destinations in the far east as well.

Big Ben, Westminster Palace, London, England


Andrea Z. 

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

Travelling from the US to London is an easy first trip to Europe alone with my son who’s in grade school. The language is English so we will not have a language barrier. Since it will be just the two of us, this will make a great first trip abroad. My son has been to Europe with his father, and I have been several times before he was born, so we both will travel with an understanding of what it takes.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

It will be fun to see the typical sites. However, we plan to see the Roald Dahl Museum in Great Missenden as this is my son’s very favorite author and he has read many of his books. After Roald Dahl became his favorite author, my son’s baby step-sister was born. She has hydrocephalus. As it turned out, Dahl’s son had hydrocephalus as well and Dahl co-developed a cerebral shunt. This shunt has evolved, and my son’s step-sister is using one to treat her condition. For my son, this is a very special tie-in with his favorite author, so seeing the Roald Dahl Museum is a must.

When/How will You Make This Happen

It’s difficult to save when you’re a single mom while also trying to save to buy a house. However, we both have started savings accounts (mutual funds), and my son has learned that 1/2 to 2/3 of every financial gift he receives (including his allowance and any other money he’s earned) needs to go into this special account. I think it will be fun for him to watch the money grow and grow and grow!


Brysa Hill Ruins of ancient Carthage thought to have been built around 813 BC


Andrea K.

Why It’s on Your Bucket List

This country offers a lot: history, culture, beach, and desert.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

Our oldest loves history so we will spend some time going to the Roman ruins. The middle two kiddos will enjoy trying to climb olive trees as well as beach time. My husband and I have never been to the Sahara desert so it would be quite magical to spend a night camping out in the desert under the stars and have that memory as a family.

When/How will You Make This Happen

We are saving up miles and doing a 365 savings challenge so hopefully, we can pull it off in the next couple of years.

It is said that the elves live in this small Icelandic park just outside Reykjavik. Gorgeous staircases look like they are out of a fantasy story.


Molly S.

Why it’s on Your Bucket List 

Years ago, I read in a credible news source that more than half of the Icelandic population believes in invisible elves living in the many craggy rocks in the country, I immediately knew I had to go there someday. I also am a huge fan of Björk and have closely followed her wonderfully strange and magical music since her first album which came out when I was in college. Also, my (legal) last name has an umlaut in it, and it has been frustrating that it’s a punctuation that’s never recognized in United States documentation. I say this only half joking: I think I would feel a sense of belonging and solidarity being around all of those umlauted words.

What You are Most Excited To Do There

I would love to wander the countryside in search of invisible elves with my sons. Taking a dip in one of their warm lagoons and seeing Björk perform in her hometown would also top my list.

When/How Will You Make This Happen

I don’t know when this can happen. I am a single mom with a limited travel budget and, right now, any travel I do revolves around my sons’ interests. I will get there someday, though! Those elves are calling me.

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