here we go again!

Last year our newly minted family of five went to Copenhagen and Amsterdam during my husband's paternity leave. We paid for the four flights completely with air miles points and stayed in AirBNB apartments and cooked our own meals. It wasn't a completely free vacation, but it was comparable to a trip to Florida, not a trip to Europe. My husband has blogged about how to amass air miles points quick enough to fly with our family for free, and I strongly encourage you to check it out! Use his links provided because there are bonus points if you're referred!

We loved last year's trip so much but didn't think we'd be able to do it again this year. Even with his craftiness, it does take time to collect enough air miles for FOUR flights to Europe (thank goodness, Chloe is still under two so she's free again!). But as the adage goes, where there's a will, there's a way.

We had just enough points for another round of free flights for our family, so we are off again! This time we're going to Sweden and Italy. Copenhagen really won our hearts to Scandinavian cities, so Stockholm was our top choice this year. There's going to be a Royal Wedding while we're there! Dream come true!! For our second stop, we needed something really family friendly and cheap so we settled on Florence, Italy. The town we're staying in doesn't even allow cars! It's known for kids running in the streets and people dining outside, and is incredibly affordable. Basically heaven on earth.

I'll be blogging sporadically but mostly sharing on Instagram, so follow along if you like!


  1. Hey em, I think it's fantastic you can do this. I would say though that travelling isn't as adorable as you might think. For example, our passports are expired and we can't afford to renew this because it would cost hundreds of dollars. Beyond that, most men don't get a paternity leave. So we just have a couple weeks, which I guess we COULD use for a vacation but Daniel is so exhausted he needs that week to just chill. Also we dont own a home yet so we can apply for a ton of credit cards and mess up our credit rating. One day we will travel, when our kids are older. But I just wanted to say Unfortunately it really isn't possible for everyone to travel.

    1. Hi Brianna, thanks for your comment.

      I want to start out by agreeing with you, that no not everyone can travel as we have and do. In my post I compare our European travels cost-wise to a trip to Florida. If a trip to Florida ($2-4k) is out of budget, then absolutely these travels would be too. There were definitely years we wouldn't have been able to afford a trip to florida and I know that type of travel is out of reach for many people, but I think it's an easy comparison as many families do head south to Florida and it's a very common trip (and generally seen as affordable for even lower income families).

      Secondly, you have to remember that Brad And I are much further along in life than you and your husband, so you can't really compare. Brad is in his mid thirties and has worked in ministry for 10 years. So while I don't know your household income, it is probably safe to say he might earn a bit more and also have a week or two more of vacation time each year. Compared to our peers in our age range and education (B has his masters), we earn a lot less and have less vacation, so that's why I feel comfortable saying a trip like this is attainable for many.

      As far as vacation time and how we spend it, everyone is different. Brad is nothing like your husband in how he rests! This year we have no paternity leave to play with so we are strictly here on Brad's vacation time. He gets 4 weeks per year, and we are using 3 for this trip. The other week will be spent at Christmas. He would go insane just hanging around the house for his precious time off! Especially as lead pastor of our church, our home is a place of work. W do premarital counseling here, he writes his sermons here, teaches and disciples here, plus we often have people from church coming by unannounced. We love this, but it certainly makes it hard for home to be a place of vacation for him. That's why we often leave home for a big part of his vacation each year, no matter where we go, we have to get away. Brad would say he is recharged by adventure and new places, not by being at home. I am more able to rest at home, but that's not how God made him, and I'm ok with that. Buy that would explain why it's a good option for us to go away even though his vacation time is limited.

      Lastly, I really wanted to clear up some misinformation about credit cards. This is a post in and of itself for another day, but credit history is much shorter than you think! Granted, we have never been in credit card debt and never had a line of credit from the bank, our student loans are paid off, and we have no financing on our vehicles (our SUV was $3,000 on kijiji, and as a rule we wouldn't spend more than that on a car nor would we buy on a payment plan because interest is killer and we don't care if our car is the newest model). But all of that said, this year alone we have had 13 credit cards I think, to make this trip possible, and within six months of a canceling each card (which we do once we have earned the points given), our credit history was already back to perfect. I forget what the scale is, but I think it's a ranking out of 8, and we were an 8. If it's out of 4 or 10, I can't recall, but the point is, ours was perfect. Paying your bills in full and on it more is the key. Having several credit cards won't affect your credit history much and only for a very short time. It's a myth that having several cards will ruin your credit history! W own a home and won't be buying another one for a while so we weren't concerned even if the credit history lasted longer after cancelling our cards, but were happy to see that after a few months, our history was perfect. Something to consider!

  2. Whoops not adorable .. Affordable!