Having patience can be so hard!!

The best way to plan a trip is with a lot of patience. The first option you find isn’t always the best, sometimes it’s the fifth, thirtieth or hundredth time that’s a charm. We’ve been very lucky in the past that we can hone that skill and ensure we get the best bang for our buck. We’ve been flexible in our dates, scoured the internet for the best deals and waited until the perfect time to pounce on our finds. Those times seem to be slipping away from us.

Our oldest son recently started kindergarten (gasp!! How can he be this old already??) which limits our traveling time. We are no longer able to pick and choose the best priced, low-travel season time to go. We have a school schedule and the various breaks that we now have to fit our family traveling into.

We found a great time in October, based on his schedule, to go visit friends in Germany. So far, it is not looking good. I’m trying to remind myself to be patient… the right deal will come along. It comes with determination, just the right timing and being a little flexible. I have been looking and looking… nothing… Well – don’t get me wrong – there are TONS of flights that will get us there, just nothing that I can justify spending just yet.

I have to be patient. If I look back on our previous trips that’s what finally got us the perfect combination of flights/times/friends/housing, etc… we were patient and diligent in our searching and everything worked out. This year gas prices seem to be against us but we will keep at it and eventually that patience will pay off. I just know it will!

Eating Like A Local

As I write this, we’re on our way back from our second week-long trip out of the last three weeks. We visited local hot spots and family in two very different corners of the US – eastern South Dakota and the greater Los Angeles area.

One thing we like to do when we travel with the kids is to pick food and restaurants that we can’t get back home. Sometimes we run into picky eating, but more often than not the kids are up for adventure. I think if you set the standard that travel is a time for new foods you’ll find your children are fairly adaptable. It makes sense that new places mean new food. (By the way, this goes for you too.)

There are so many ways to branch out with food. You can find a local restaurant, gaining bonus points for a local dive. Or you can find a regional chain. Even a quick fast food lunch can be completely different in another state or another country. You might find a new go-to option for that area of the world.

We encountered a few places I’d recommend if you find yourself in the area:

While staying in Platte, South Dakota we had lunch at Boom’s Drive In. It’s a local place that’s been around for about 70 years and is a little slice of Americana. I have fond memories of it from my childhood. The food isn’t exotic – I had my usual chili dog, and the kids had some corn dog bites – but it was something new for the family.

In California we have a few favorites. This time we stopped at a local taco joint called Snapper Jacks. They have a mashed potato taco that is great in a crispy shell. It’s in Camarillo.

We went to a greasy spoon breakfast place with Chuck Wagon in the name, in old town Camarillo. I had a great eggs benedict that used jalapeƱo bacon (I have a bacon obsession.) My wife had an eggs benedict that used corned beef hash. Awesome.

And we stopped at a Los Angeles institution – Pink’s Hot Dogs – for the first time and had a great chili dog. (I have hot dog obsession, especially chili dogs.) The boys really ate like champs here, and I felt good about feeding them hot dogs because of the fun location.

And then there are chains. On our way from South Dakota we stopped at a regional chain called Runza were they have these ground beef and onion pockets that are tasty and very midwestern. Fun if you are into that.

And of course while in California we made multiple stops at In-n-out Burger. A must for all of us.

None of this was overly fancy, expensive, or complicated. But it was different. It helps the trip feel more like travel and broadens your kids’ horizons a bit.

I could talk food all day, but I’ve gone on long enough for now. Similar principles apply wherever your travels take you around the world. I’ll share some more local faves over time. What gems have you discovered?