A few months ago, I wrote about how my husband and I are finally ready to consider taking our kids on a big overseas trip. We have two places we are strongly considering, so we are currently debating the merits of Paris vs. New Zealand for the big trip.
My husband and I honeymooned in Paris, and I have desired to return there for years. There are sites we didn’t see and sites we would like to repeat.
New Zealand is my husband’s idea. He knows people who traveled there recently, and the beauty of the country is hard to ignore.
To be clear, this trip isn’t about what is best for our kids. There are many places that would be better suited for them and for us as a family.
This trip is for the adults, and the kids will be coming with us. Since our extended family seems to run for the hills whenever we bring up the topic of watching our kids for an adults-only trip, we’ve decided we should travel where we want to go while we are still young with our kids in tow.
We are really torn on Paris vs. New Zealand. The itineraries would be so different, and each destination has its pros and cons.
Potential Paris Itinerary
Lodging and Transportation: We would rent a condo for the week and rely on public transportation.
Day 1: Explore the area around our condo rental. Visit the Eiffel Tower and bring a picnic dinner to Champ de Mars.
Day 2: Visit the Louvre, Notre Dame and/or Arc de Triomphe.
Day 3: Explore the many nooks and crannies of Sacre Coeur.
Day 4: See the Catacombs.
Days 5 & 6: Disneyland!! No surprise we would visit, right?!?!
Day 7: Take a day trip outside of Paris to one of these locations.
Pros and Cons of Visiting Paris
Sentimental Meaning. Paris brings up great memories for us. We wanted to go back on our 10-year anniversary, but we couldn’t find anyone to watch our kids for that long. This trip would roughly coincide with our 15th anniversary.
Easy Flights. Direct flights from DFW to CDG are only ~9 hours, which isn’t much longer than it takes for us to fly to Hawaii. I can totally picture us being ok for that long in coach.
Paris would also be fairly easy to get to using miles and/or cheap flights on a discount airline like WOW or Norwegian Air.
Convenient Location and Lodging. We could easily fill an entire week in and around Paris, so there’s no need to pack up and stay in different cities. Since we would be staying at a condo for the whole week, we could pack light and wash clothes as needed. We could also purchase food and have meals in our condo, which would satisfy my picky eaters.
Language Barrier. My husband and I learned a little French before our honeymoon, but we’ve forgotten most of it. We would need to re-learn it and teach some words and phrases to our kids. Learning a new language would be good for all of us, so this isn’t a big con in my eyes.
Terrorism. The reality is that Europe has more terrorism than other locations. I won’t let it stop me from traveling, but it’s something to be aware of.
Been there, done that. The biggest downside to visiting Paris in my husband’s eyes is that we’ve already been there, so our adventure will not be new to us (but still new to our kids).
New Zealand Itinerary
I’ve poured all over travel sites on New Zealand, and I admit that picking an itinerary is overwhelming. There is just so much to see and do!
But, since my husband really wants to visit Hobbiton movie set, we would focus on the north island.
Lodging and Transportation: We would need to stay in multiple hotels in at least 4 different locations. We would have to rent a car (and remember to drive on the left side!)
Days 3: Drive to Hobbiton (2 hours). Stay overnight somewhere close.
Day 4: Drive to Waitomo Glowworm Caves (1.5 hours from Hobbitron area). These worms are only found in New Zealand!
Days 5 & 6: Visit Rotorua (2 hour drive from Waitomo). Check out the geothermal wonders and learn about Maori culture.
Day 8: Drive back to Auckland for flight home.
Pros and Cons of Visiting New Zealand
Scenery. From everything I see in movies and photos, New Zealand is absolutely spectacular. Breathtaking. Awe-inspiring.
Same Language. We wouldn’t have to learn a new language, and maybe that would make the trip easier on all of us.
Safe Animals. My husband insists this is a major benefit of visiting New Zealand. There’s nothing in New Zealand that can kill you! There are no poisonous snakes or crocodiles in New Zealand (unlike its neighbor, Australia).
New Adventure. None of us have been to New Zealand, and the places we would visit are definitely adventurous! My husband, who never seems to care about having input on our trips, is really passionate about visiting New Zealand.
Long, Expensive Flights. Flight time is at least double the time it takes to fly to Paris. We’re talking about at least 16 hours of butt-in-seat time in coach class on an airplane. Also, tickets using miles and cash are more expensive than tickets to Europe. Many award routings stop in Australia, which adds even more hours to butt-in-seat time. Oy!
Multiple Cities and Hotels. I don’t see us going to New Zealand and staying in a condo in one location for the entire week. We would be switching cites and hotels several times during the week. This will be much more taxing on all of us. And it seems like schlepping around, which is not my favorite.
Driving on Left Side. This may be minor, but to get around, we would need to traverse mountain roads on the left side of the highway. Yikes! And, almost every day we would be driving 2-3 hours to get to our next destination. We are not a good road trip family!
Getting Our Ducks in a Row
We need to figure out Paris vs. New Zealand within the next few months if we hope to go in early 2019. It seems like a long time away, but we would need to have all the necessary miles to book flights at 11 months out.
We don’t have enough miles for five round-trip tickets to New Zealand at this time, so we would need to steer our credit card strategy in that direction now so that we have the miles available in a few months.
Hopefully, we will make it to both of these destinations eventually. It’s just a matter of which one comes first. At any rate, we don’t want to wait until we’re too old to enjoy them or physically unable to travel.
Have you been to Paris or New Zealand? What are the primary factors you weigh when deciding the location of a big trip?
If you’ve found this content beneficial, please look at Support the Site page for ways you can help keep the blog running. Also, subscribe to receive free updates through email and recommend the site to your family and friends. You can follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, like us on Facebook and download free e-book.
Nancy is a contributing writer for Miles For Family. She enjoys traveling to the beach and is a big fan of Disney. Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids.