Would you travel more/less children, or the reverse?

pickyshopperSeptember 4, 2012

My DD is recently married and they would like to start saving for a down payment on a house. Once they have a house, they hope to start planning for their first baby. DD and her hubby have enjoyed some travelling together, but there are a number of countries they really want to see. They are currently trying to decide if they should travel first, which would delay when they can afford to buy a house, (and start their family) by a few years, or buy their house as soon as possible in order to start their family, and hope they can afford to travel later.

Age isn't an issue yet, but one never knows if they will experience fertility problems until they start trying to have a baby, so they are struggling a bit with deciding their immediate future.

If you could go back in time, would you rather have travelled more and started your family a few years later, or started your family earlier, but had less opportunities or money to travel?

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Kids never held us back as we started camping when our son was 9 months old. Of course due to working we only took the shorter trips, but did do alot of weekend stuff. If you wait until your kids get older, and get into sports etc, you will never do it. As to a house, yes it is nice and feels good when you own your own place, but again waiting you may never travel. We were lucky because now both traveling, homes and living was much cheaper in the 60's and 70' and 80's . But I think with some careful planning and putting away cash gifts etc it can be done to begin with on a limited basis. Canada is always a fun country to visit and prices are not bad and the people are great!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:14PM
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If I had it to do over: NO kids. I love mine to the moon and back and would easily give my life in exchange. But I'd not do it again. I'm too selfish.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:20PM
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We don't have actual kids - just fur kids. My hubby and I go back and forth as to if we should have any but I've never wanted any of my own. We're both in our mid 30's so it's getting a bit late to change our minds now. We do think that maybe in a few years we might be foster parents or adopt an older child but we hear many horror stories so only time will tell. So to answer the OP's question, no kids but I wish I would've traveled a lot more when I was younger. Maybe lived in a few different states or another country. My advice to your kids would be to save up for a home before interest rates start to climb along with housing prices. If they get an FHA loan vs conventional, they wouldn't have to save much. As soon as they have the house, then they can take a few vacations and start a family. But what do they want?

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:35PM
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We traveled for a couple of years before we had kids but nothing extravagant and when the kids were little, we went camping and it was great. Nothing fancy and a lot of work for the most part but hearing the kids share camping memories, it was worth it.
After they left home, we have traveled.
We decided to spend the money and do it because our parents waited too long......my mom died at an early age after years of health problems and my in laws waited so long their heath was an impediment.
Now that we are older we travel less but have great memories.
It has to be the decision of your kids......only they know their priorities.
And it will all work out.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:48PM
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We had our daughter and restricted our travel mostly to shorter trips at places we could drive to when she was still at home, though we did do a couple of driving trips clear across the country. At the time, DH wasn't all that into travel anyway.
Now the house is nearly paid off, DD is living independently and we have a lot more disposable income, though we're not retired yet nor will be for some years to come. In the last six years we have travelled overseas six times, including six weeks in Europe, twice to Viet Nam, Hong Kong and two trips to Bali. We have also visited the other side of the country many times. (DH well and truly has the travel bug now :-)) and are planning another trip to Hong Kong at the end of the year and Europe next year.
I think now we're a little more "together" and able to cope with the potential for problems than we would have been when we were younger- experience has mellowed us.
That said, if we had been able to afford it when we were younger it would have been nice to have travelled more as my younger inlaws are doing at the moment with their two year old.
However, the corollary of that is that I would not have wanted to travel childless in my youth and then been still raising a child or paying off a house in my 50s, or up to and past retiring age.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:49PM
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We have kids because my DH wanted kids more than I didn't. (I'm the eldest of 6 and had already done my share of raising kids). We didn't marry until we were thirty and had kids at 34 and 36. But, what we did was balance our income with our desires. When we bought our second home - our forever home - we didn't buy to the maximum mortgage for which we qualified.

Instead of being held financially hostage by our house we had a little extra income for those ski trips, the big trip to the east coast, Europe and the Disneys. We're on the Canadian west coast and it's a long way to anywhere.

We would save our extra income and every 2-3 years we would do a big trip that we thought was age appropriate. e.g.We didn't take our kids to Europe until they were in grades 10 and 12 because they were only getting one of those out of us and we wanted them to remember it. Disneyland was grade 3 and 5 because we wanted to wait until the youngest was tall enough for all the rides (review - only getting one Disneyland trip out of us) and Disneyworld when they were older because of some extra things that we did.

It is really about weighing your choices and deciding how you feel about your future plans as a family.

A personal story - my parents had their kids when they were young and were able to retire when they were 55. It's a good thing that they did because 3 months after my dad turned 65 he died from a very quick cancer. Had they waited until they turned 65 to retire they wouldn't have had a retirement. It's just about making financial decisions that you think will work best for you.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:50PM
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I got married at 18. Had my first daughter at 20. Did the first trip back to Germany at 26 (without my husband) because of finances.

We didn't travel much, there really wasn't money for it.

I am now divorced, and 58. I still don't travel, or at least, not like what I think you mean with travel. Sure, I have done those awesome bicycle trips, but the price is much less for such.

No, I wouldn't wait... I was a young mom, and had the nerves and patience for kids.

Yes, I think I did it right.


    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:50PM
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I think If travel is important to them, they should not have children at this time. Traveling out of the country with a family is very expensive. My last trip out of the country cost $8,000., for me alone. Can you imagine the cost if you take children.

I think a house should be at the top of the priority list above all esle. Rent is money thrown away. Even if you just buy a starter home, you will get some equity to apply on another home one day. If they are not sure when to have kids, I think they should wait until they are very sure.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:17PM
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The countries will always be there. The opportunities for kids won't be. We traveled a fair amount before kids, and just decided it was time before it got too late to have them.

We took them traveling with us as they grew, which exposed them to a lot of differences among cultures and people. They developed an appreciation for the fact that the U.S. is not exceptional in every way, and that there are other places in the world that have advantages, at least in some regards. This made them much more tolerant and less judgmental.

Now that they have all left home we are taking some bigger trips that we didn't fit in when we were younger, and our children are adventurous world travelers because of what they were exposed to growing up.

This is not an either/or situation.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:23PM
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We married at 24, earned our graduated degrees, and traveled and worked with a plan to accumulate a certain net worth before the first child. By the time we had our 1st, we had traveled to Paris and London (during the very early pregnancy) and to the Bahamas a few times as well as areas of the USA. We were both working, bought a house, and then had 3 children in our 30s. I quit working to be at home with them and do not regret that. It worked out great for us. I was never that interested in travel.

Their age and their wants need to be taken into consideration, and only they know what they are willing to postpone or risk. Waiting too long to start a family can cause infertility problems that they may never have had otherwise, for example.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 11:35PM
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People Plan....God decides (or something like that). (deleted the rest of it.)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:13AM
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I think if they are discussing this with others then they probably should wait to start a family. If they are ready for children then they should know they are ready.

Children should be had because they are truly wanted and the parents are ready to invest all into them regardless of what comes their way. Life tends to throw curve balls. They are not just some milestone to be checked off and fitted into one's life plan.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:59AM
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DD was born when we were 23 and 24. DH was in his third year of dental school when she was born and I started law school when DD was 17 mo. Thank goodness my mother was always availabe to help in a crisis such as a big case of chicken pox breaking out the day before finals started. Grandma took care of all our physical needs and most of the time she took care of the baby, so all I had to do was study and to lend moral support. All I remember is eating my Mom's great cooking, playing with and comforting DD, and studying. I only left he house to take the tests and came right back. It worked for us, grandma bonded with DD, DD got to know her grandmother and I got to study and finished near the topnof my class. As DD got older, I would often take her to the law school when I had to pick up something or do something in the law review office. She was 4 when I graduated and mom helped again while I studied for the bar exam. After passing the bae, DD and I moved awatenor nine months so I could get my LLM at a different law school. I still remember my mil asking, " you do have her (DD) enrolled in the "New school". I was almost as happy that I could say yes to that question, as I was for having enrolled her in the first place. It was a great school!

Not much traveling during the law school days, but right before i started my new job, DH and I went to Jamaica and not long afterwards we went on a rafting trip in the grand canyon. We also went skiing without DD when she was five, but realized that we wanted her there with us. From then on at age 6 she went on many ski trips with us. Ultimately, after she graduated university she moved to our favorite ski town and held various
types of restaurant jobs, she landed a managerial job with the resort. Great job and I am very proud of her,

The bulk of our traveling during the time DD was in elementary school through high school was ski trips (co., Utah, Wyoming, California,) gymnastics meets (some out of state) football games, occasional short excursions such as to the olympics in Atlanta, and trips to the Smoky mountains for whiewater paddling. We pretty much took DD along on
most of these trips. The few trips we didn't take her on, her grandmother keto her and she had two of the finest, most loving grandmothers around.

Once the empty nest hit us we were into whiewater kayaking and still young enough to learn and enjoy. We were able to put DD through university using current earnings and we paid off our house when we were 43. In 1998 we went on a two week kayaking trip to the French alps. In 2000 DH went trough the training to become a swift water rescue instructor and in 2001, we both were certified as level 4 whitewater kayak instructors. In 2002' 2003 and 2004 we we lucky enough to be invited to
8 day self contained wilderness trips trips down the class III and IV middle fork of the salmon river in idaho. Since then we've been priorly staying local with our kayakin, making day or week end trips locally. It was nice to still be young enough to teach your future SIL to kayak. If I had to do it over again, I would do it the same way. Start young and stay active. As much as I enjoyed my child, I enjoy my adult daughter so much more. I just got back from a quick visit to see her and she will be coming home in a few days. We've all sorts of plans together. I have some contemporaries who started later in life who still have teenagers! They are great parents and are enjoying life just as we did at that stage, but boy am I glad that we're past the teenage years. We have the freedom, and for the most part, the health to do whatever we want. However, we're also at the stage that we are beginning to have to take more responsibility for my elderly mother. She is still independent, but is legally blind and requires more checking in on than in the past. Because DD is old enough to be fully independent, we're at least not Having to take care of the older generation and the younger one at the same time.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 3:07AM
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Well, of course, this is a situation each couple has to decide for themselves.

In our case, we got married at age 23--opted for a small wedding so we could afford the downpayment on a house. In the early years, we travelled a lot--mostly car trips, but we covered a fair amount of ground and really enjoyed the fact that we could be sitting around Thursday, and one of us would say, "Let's go to ______ for the weekend" and we'd take off the next afternoon once we were home from work.

But then, once we had our daughter--8 years later--we did more extensive travelling--as in taking 2 week, 'flying' vacations all over the country. Having a child never kept us chained to the house and it was so wonderfully educational for her to be seeing so many different places. We, of course, did a lot of cultural, historical, etc things when we travelled so she learned so much.

Just one person's opinion, of course, but to me, having a house is a definite priority, and should come first--but after that? Travel and children can mix quite nicely. I've even taken others children (many times) on vacation with us.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:57AM
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Children or not it would not have changed the way we traveled. With the first 3 we traveled about in the travel trailer. When the fourth came we sold the trailer and did not travel much at all. I never did like traveling and still don't.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:06AM
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Travel now! It's a totally different experience than traveling with kids or traveling when you are older. You can travel on the cheap and be spontaneous. Traveling with kids is fun in its own way, but you have to be organized and move at the pace of the youngest child, and go places that the kids enjoy (not the Louvre). I went on a trip to Brazil with the family and a one year old. I might as well have stayed home. Everything was about him and his needs.

It is a great regret of mine that I did not travel when young.

Of course, I don't know their ages. If they are in their 30's they better get going on that family.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:57AM
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We married young and had our kids (5) while we were young and traveled, a lot.....I remember packing up the kids and my mother and taking off for the beach and thought nothing of it.....Every Friday, we'd pick up hubby at work and head for the mountains....I'm so glad we did what we did when they were growing up and they'll often say, "Do you remember the time we went...."Now the kids are grown and we're "old"(82 and 75) but I still do a lot of traveling....In fact, my daughter is leaving on Friday for a week in Reno and I'm thinking of going with her...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:11AM
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From my experience, I'd say travel first, then "settle down" and have kids. My husband and I traveled to Europe twice, it would have been miserable with kids along. We took long train rides,walked everyehere, saw all the sights and have wonderful memories. When our daughters came along, we did excursions to Disney and Hershey Park and things more family oriented. Wouldn't trade my past for anything!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:38AM
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We loved to travel and it ended when we had a child. For so many reasons. I agree with jannie. I love having him along when we travel, but it's a very different experience for so many reasons.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:09AM
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I say travel first, then settle down and have children. I never cared much about traveling overseas and didn't have the money to do it anyhow. If you are taking children traveling with you, it will be a different experience and will have to revolve more around the child.

You say there are a number of countries they really want to see... I say they go now or it will probably never happen.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:15AM
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It depends on their ages, I guess. I was married for 15 years before I had a baby....smartest thing I ever did.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 11:30AM
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You can choose some things, at some times. You can decide some 'hows' and 'whens', but I think people make big miscalculations when they try to 'manage' Mother Nature. Just because some women can and do bear children after age 38 doesn't mean it's optimum -- for them, for their partners, for the resulting babies, or for society. It's foolish to discount the many reasons women (and men) are naturally most fit to have babies -- and raise them -- when we are young.

We married in our early 20's. We traveled quite a lot -- to England, the Continent, within the US. However, it was somewhat by default: I didn't get pregnant! I was 30 when we were fortunate enough to adopt our DS. He traveled with us, from about age three. Had we had more children, we might not have traveled as much. I know I would have happily traveled less.

I can't admire some American dreams: Get a college degree; get some more degrees; get married; get a dog; buy a house; travel; have children...someday. Is life about acquiring degrees, dogs, real estate, and...children?

You can want to become a parent and raise a family. The timing...not so much as some people have thought!

My vote is to give your children some young parents. Owning real estate isn't essential. Travel isn't essential. The last two can be postponed with fewer negative consequences.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:25PM
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I agree with Wildchild, people should only have children if they truly want them. Too many couples allow themselves to be pressured into pro-creating because the parents want grandchildren or because everyone constantly asks them when they are going to have kids. And once you have them, there is no turning back.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:56PM
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I feel the same as Chloecat who said, "If I had it to do over: NO kids. I love mine to the moon and back and would easily give my life in exchange. But I'd not do it again. I'm too selfish."

And I'll add too bad I didn't give myself a chance to mature so I could realize this about myself.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:04PM
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When DH and I got married 31 years ago, we saved to buy a house instead of traveling. We did quick trips here and there, but nothing big. None of our friends or family did either. Maybe it was just the time period, but travel wasn't a priority or must do. When we had kids a few years later, our vacations centered around them. It wasn't until they graduated from college and settled in their lives, that DH and I started to travel abroad and such. It would have been too difficult and stressful to take them as small children or grumpy teenagers. When DH and I were traveling through Europe we noted how haggered and exhausted parents looked traveling with their kids.

Our boys are married now and are opting to travel extensively before they have kids. One just bought a house and other is looking to buy.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:41PM
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Thank you for all your responses! I think I may have confused some people with how I worded my post. My DD and her hubby absolutely adore kids and hope to be able to have 3 or 4 children, eventually. They both were raised going on many 'driving' vacations within Canada and the U.S. with a few 'flying' vacations in between, which is how they plan to raise their children.

I guess the question I meant to ask was "Would you rather have done more travelling to exotic places as a young couple and been older parents once you started your family, or started your family younger and travelled to the exotic places as empty nesters or retirees, after the kids are adults? The responses indicate pretty much a mix, as some would rather travel first and others would rather be younger as opposed to older parents.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 4:55PM
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My niece has an interesting concept when it comes to travel. She is engaged and and is 31. She decided to go on all the "hard" trips(Asia) now. She feels that she can do Europe easily when she is old.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 5:33PM
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If you wish to have children, its best to have them when you are younger, not older. Besides the biological clock ticking away, there are other pratical considerations. Suppose you are 25 yrs old when the first baby arrives; you'll be 43 when this child is a senior in high school. If you have 2 children 2 years apart, you'll be 45 when the last one is a senior. If you delay the first child for 10 more years, you'll begin the family when you are 35 and will be 55 when the second one is finishing high school. This is unconfortable too close to the retirement years.

The second consideration is physical activity. When you are younger, the parents are better able to participate in sports with their children: For example: teaching to catch a ball, bike riding a trail, dancing, and swiming. From my own experience, my dad was 40 yrs old when I was born and he was "an old man" to me while I grew up. Due to normal wear and tear on the body with age and stiff joints, he found it difficult to play catch, etc. We did do many things side-by-side, but it was all work related.

The advice about buying a house now is good. Home interest rates will never be lower, and there is an abundance of homes on the market right now. You can have a house and babies too, but it will take planning and adjusting your sights. You may find that you will need to begin with a "starter" house with hopes to later on, graduate to a larger house. You will have to adjust your travel budget. And finally, take a long hard look at your potential earning power over your lifetime to decide, can I afford a child? For the guys, do not dwell on this too much or you'll never be comfortable with the idea of a child in your life. Your income will grow in unexpected ways and sweat equity can lower the cost of owning a home. Learing to do home maintence can lower the cost of ownership and enhance your abilities.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 5:34PM
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Picky -- Are we talking about a couple over 30? What kind of 'travel' are we discussing? (Within 'civilization' or some remote countries where you need a hundred shots and your will made out before you go? LOL)

Jemdandy -- Nicely put. If we want children, don't we think they deserve the best we can give them -- including being *alive* for them? DH's adoptive father wanted a son, but was dead before that son was ten; his mother was severely cripled by RA soon after.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 6:31PM
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None of us have any guarantee of a promise of tomorrow. My SIL died at 35 leaving twin 5 yr old girls.

My beloved niece died in a car accident at 32 leaving 4 boys for her husband to raise.

Planning can be overrated.

I had 2 kids in my 20s and twins in my 40s. It's not ideal but I've made lemonade out of it. I am old and I am tired, lol. Thankfully, I don't love travel since I will probably not be doing much!

I like to think my boys get a lot of wisdom and patience in exchange for the creaky joints and tired body.

When my boys get married I will have to go up the aisle in a scooter, lol.
But, I wouldn't trade them for the world.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I agree with WildChild.

Also with redlover! lol

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:48PM
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We traveled just as much with the kids as without, I have found we travel less now with just us. Of course, I am doing cross country pick ups with one grandchild several times a year, those plane tickets get expensive back and forth for she and myself! When ours were growing up we took them everywhere, they loved traveling. We always made a point to get a Christmas ornament from every destination, our tree is very global!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:56PM
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My mother was 42 when I was born. It was her job to be my mother, not my friend. I didn't need someone to ride roller coasters with me....although I had my daughter in my 30's and rode them with her. I think many people rush into having children. It is nice to know you can live with your spouse and provide a stable home before you add another person to the mix.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 12:07PM
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"My mother was 42 when I was born. It was her job to be my mother, not my friend. I didn't need someone to ride roller coasters with me..."

Marilyn..how nice to read this. You made my day.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2012 at 4:28PM
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