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Travel back home for expats - what's typical?

  1. #1
    NewMommie is offline Registered User
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    Travel back home for expats - what's typical?

    Anyone have issues coordinating trips back home? My husband and I now have a young toddler and a baby, and we only manage to go back once a year. Due to his work schedule, that one trip could only be 2 weeks long, and because we have family in several locations, I would usually only get about a week with my family and friends, which isn't really enough since it falls during the week and people are all working then. With the kids now it's even more challenging.

    This year my work schedule will allow me to take an extra trip to the US and I'd like the bring the kids (in fact, that's the whole point - I want them to spend more time with their grandparents and uncle from my side). My husband is telling me I can't go back and take the kids for 2 weeks because he will miss them. While sweet, I don't really think that is reasonable, esp as he often travels for work and no guarantee that won't happen while I'm gone, which leaves the babies with no parents and only the helpers (something our family decided is a no-no).

    Just curious if you have some suggestions for this. If you have read my previous thread on this you know we have our issues with being in Asia and away from my family to begin with. What do other families do in terms of travel home? I always hear about moms going back for the whole summer with the kids, so I don't understand why my husband is so upset by this. Any dads have an opinion? Thanks!

  2. #2
    2010-NewDad is offline Registered User
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    We try to fly back to my home country twice a year and four times a year to my wifes (much closer, and my firm has an office there so I can go to work and not use up annual leave).

    Additionally, we have a standing invitation we'll fly either set of grandparents over here any time. Since it is the first grandchild for both of them they are understandably keen to spend as much time as possible with her.

    Is this something you could consider?

    As for your husband not wanting to miss his kids for two weeks - I can understand both sides of the argument. I do think he is being a little unreasonable though, it's just a fortnight and I think extra travel/inconvenience is a necessary side effect of being an expat that we just need to live with

  3. #3
    howardcoombs is offline Registered User
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    We have 3 kids and were in a very similar situation.
    We compromised with a plan where every year my wife took one of the kids away to be with her family exclusively. Next year is the next kid in line and so on. On 2 occasions, she took 2 at a time. This worked out quite well as going away with 1 child at a time develops some really good bonds.

    Some families are lucky to be able to go away for 6-10 weeks at a time, alas it seems your and mine are not that fortunate so we make due with what we can.

    On the flipside of the coin, I have also taken 1 kid at a time to "daddy trips" where we do some off the wall stuff that my wife doesnt really enjoy.

  4. #4
    thanka2 is offline Registered User
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    We rarely, rarely get a chance to travel back to the States. The last time I was in the States was 2008. I wasn't working full-time and I took my then 8-month-old son back while my husband stayed in Hong Kong. We were gone in total 3 months so I'm sure your husband can handle 2 weeks without you all. My husband did miss my son and I, but then again...we were gone for 12 weeks, not 2. The main reasons why we haven't been able to travel back to the States have been financial...and if not financial then schedules. When I have time off from work, it's peak season and we can't afford to travel as a family. When I don't have time off from work then the tickets are more affordable but it's impossible for us to leave. My mother has traveled to visit us twice since 2008 and my sister as well. So, that makes it more bearable. Yet, I haven't seen my father since 2008 and he hasn't seen my son since he was a toddler--he's now in his second year of kindergarten. Neither my father or brother have met my daughter and many of my extended family have not met my husband, son or daughter. So, when people say they get a chance to even go back to their home place once a year, I really envy them. If I could make it back twice a year, I would be giddy with excitement. Although, the travel to my home city in the States takes nearly 30 hours so it's not a picnic of a journey and the jetlag is horrible for children and for adults. So, staying two weeks only feels really futile to me because it takes a good 10 days for everyone to get over jetlag and start to feel/sleep normal (especially the kids) and then it's pretty much time to leave. Couple this with the high expense of flying it's almost depressing to think of going back--although I would love to see my family more often. I've given up on the thought that my children will be equally close with my side of the family as they are with my husband's who live in HK. I would love for that to be true but at this point it's impossible.
    “Many women have described their experiences of childbirth as being associated with a
    spiritual uplifting, the power of which they have never previously been aware …
    To such a woman childbirth is a monument of joy within her memory.
    She turns to it in thought to seek again an ecstasy which passed too soon.”

    ~ Grantly Dick-Read (Childbirth Without Fear)

    Mother of Two
    JMW, boy, born November 29, 2007, 9:43 pm, USA
    MJW, girl, born March 17, 2011, 4:14 pm, HK

  5. #5
    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    Our solution has been an annual trip home and this year as we are having our second, we will get a hotel in a central location and let family and friends come to us. We figure we fly halfway around the world, they can drive or fly a few hours at most if needed to come see us. It sounds harsh, but it really seems to be the best solution. We also make Skype dates and make a point to frequently post photos and videos on facebook. It's the best we can do, and it's just got to be enough.

    Edit to add: with just one, I've taken my daughter home twice without my husband and visited both sides of the family, but with 2 kids and one being an infant, that is out for a few years.
    Last edited by rebekah; 01-23-2012 at 10:55 PM.

  6. #6
    rebekah is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by thanka2 View Post
    the travel to my home city in the States takes nearly 30 hours
    Where on earth are you from?! or do you mean round trip? Our flight is 15 hours each way, plus driving time if we visit family, but 30 hours?!?!? wow.

  7. #7
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    carang is offline Registered User
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    it has taken me 36 hours to get back to my home in canada in the past...(but that includes sitting on the runway for 4 hours due to a blizzard in the city we were supposed to be flying to....)
    Last edited by carang; 01-23-2012 at 11:24 PM.

  8. #8
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    i have friends that have done one kid at a time, but personally, i would have a very hard time telling one of my kids that they couldn't see grandma this time, it was the other one's turn...

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