Our Family Bucket List + The Importance of Travel

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This post was created in collaboration with my friends at American Express Canada. 
All views, opinions, goals and bucket lists are my own.
Thank you for supporting our sponsors who make this blog possible XO 




Years ago, I was having a conversation with my best friends and this question came up.  Would you rather have a small home and travel often or a gorgeous massive home and travel less. For me the answer was easy.  Smaller home and more travel.

Annawithlove exists from travel - I’m a photographer because of travel so to say it’s important to me would be a massive understatement.  We want to make it a priority, even as we start a family. According to a recent study by American Express, more than 95% of Canadians think it’s important to share their love of travel with their kids.

Enter our sweet baby boy into our lives!

I had big plans.

We were going to be traveling ALL the time.

Ha-ha-no...





You blink and the time FLIES by (everyone says it, but you don't believe it till you live it) You want real talk? We were supposed to go to Charleston, SC in May.  We had this planned from the fall.  We were going to visit my Godmother then I was going to shoot a collection in Charleston for the shop. YAY. Happy Dance. It was happening. We had “lots” of time to plan it. 

We talked about it all the time.  I had locations saved, hotels pinned. 

What happened? All talk, no action. We didn’t actually book anything and then kinda forgot.  One week before we were “supposed” to go.  I looked up from my computer with a puzzled look on my face and said to Ko...”ummm, we were supposed to be going to Charleston - like - next week babe?” OOOOPS.

Total new parents FAIL.  (Nouna, aka Godmother, I’m SO sorry! Rain check in 6 months!) 

Life is moving at warp speed, when we’re all together we try to be present, play with J and record as much of his cuteness as possible.  We talked about our plans but we weren’t BOOKING our plans. 




That’s when we realized if we were actually going to kick-start our travel plans as a fam we had to get more organized and start booking.  We sat down and started making a list of all the places we wanted to travel, for family, for work, a getaway for just Ko + I.  Then we'd start slowly year by year slotting them in and knocking it off our bucket list one at a time!


OUR FAMILY BUCKET LIST
(TOP 10)

  1. Italy 
  2. Paris (again) + Provence
  3. Iceland
  4. Banff + Lake Louise
  5. Alaska Cruise
  6. California + Palm Springs
  7. Disneyland (!!!) Ko and I went on our honeymoon we can’t WAIT to go back as a family
  8. Germany (Specifically Neuschwanstein Castle)
  9. Safari + Giraffe Manor (Kenya) I pinned this years ago and lately it’s becoming more popular via the larger travel-grammers - it’s such a magical place
  10. Ireland



GREECE BUCKET LIST

I mean for obviously reasons (hello we’re Greek!) There are SO many gorgeous places we have yet to discover in our own homeland.  Here is a list of our top places we’d love to visit / visit again since we haven’t been since we were kids!

  1. Elafonisos (most beautiful beaches I haven't been since I was little)
  2. Meteora
  3. Zakynthos
  4. Paros
  5. Crete












Those tiny hands (I'm obsessed with)



We just booked our Greece trip like we do every other year to visit family, relax and yes snag up some new content for ze blog.  It's kind of crazy to think we really haven't "traveled" in two years?! Where does the time go!  We booked business class entirely on Kosta’s Amex Membership Rewards points. The thrill of getting the points and then booking travel through Amex’s Fixed Points for Travel Program makes me wonder why anyone would ever use debit or cash? Even if it’s a small purchase I’m 97% of the time using my card.

Back when we got married I had saved enough points from my American Express Card to fly our photographer from London to Paris and then from Vancouver to Toronto and we were able to pay for his hotel stays all on points!

When I see people not taking full advantage of (whatever) credit card’s point system they use - truly - I cringe.  Maybe it’s the Mama T in me (my mother) - who loves a bargain, and is obsessed with shopping for things the right way aka: as a deal or a perk.   I want to use all the Membership Rewards points I earn from the mundane - day to day - cost of living charges and transform it into travel.

Last year, on average, Canadians went on three family trips within the country and one international trip. That’s a lot of traveling. Clearly, it’s important for Canadians to travel and fortunately Amex makes it so easy to make your travel goals happen. Kosta and I are both very passionate about traveling, we often talk about what we hope to pass down to our children and the love of traveling is always high on our list.  We know just from talking to our friends that they feel the same way.   I am really looking forward to seeing Greece through J’s eyes for the first time in a few months! 

Because I clearly am so passionate about points (who knew?) that's why I wanted to team up and collaborate with Amex again to outline some benefits of their Gold Rewards Card

Let's break down the facts:
  • I love that you earn 2 points for every $1 you spend on groceries.  I thought we spent a lot on groceries before J came along.  Now it’s like a constant weekly haul of organic food (which adds up) 
  • Same applies to gas stations (Ko drives around all over for the GTA for work - the amount of money he spends on gas would be a starting salary in some industries which is bananas)
  • Travel Insurance! They got you covered. This is a big one and again, something I never thought about so much till J came around.
  • Upgrades + Freebies - Amex Gold Rewards Card brings you fantastic benefits at more than 330 participating hotels and resorts in more than 40 different countries. With the Hotel Collection you get a $75 USD hotel credit to use on amenities such as dining, spa or other leisure facilities when charged to the room and a one-category room upgrade at check-in. *eyes widen*


If you’re going to be spending money anyway - look into getting the most bang for your buck. I have the Platinum Amex Card, but I love the benefits of the Gold Rewards Card so much. It really is a great Card for anyone who loves travel! 

Life with littles moves so quickly and I totally can hear some of you saying how expensive it can get.  You're totally and completely right.  So...if you can transform your groceries, gas + drugstore bill into travel what are you waiting for?

I'm excited to start creating memories that we'll all be able to look back on years from now and smile.

Since we’ve only traveled to NYC with J I’ve been getting really inspired by families who travel with their littles.  I know it’s not easy, I know it’s not a relaxing vacation but I also know without a doubt it’s worth it! 


Got any tips for us? Comment below! Or share your own bucket list (I love seeing where others want to visit!)


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