We’re the Lee family of FAMILEE Travel. Jess, Steve, Elden (4 years old) and Orlo (2 years old).
We just passed our one year mark of living in Southern California but are originally from Connecticut/New York. We’ve moved and traveled a bunch, more and more as kids came rather than less and less that some people expect. We’re passionate about travel and want to inspire other families to get out there and explore further. We are on a mission to show our kids the world, expose them to all different places, people and experiences. Our kids are some of the most mixed kids you will meet. They’re an ethnically diverse mix of over 10 countries! We want to show them that even though there may not be people that look exactly like them, and maybe they cannot align with a single ethnic group of people, there are so many different wonderful people all over the world and being a part of so many different groups is really special. We hope to represent the increasing group of mixed and ‘other’ ethnicities out there traveling the world.
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How did you get into traveling?
Jess grew up traveling to various US destinations and Mexico with her family and was always dreaming of going further. Steve grew up traveling the US and Asia with frequent trips back to his extended family in Taiwan. Our personal passion and drive to travel was ignited after we studied abroad together – a summer in Shanghai and a semester in Hong Kong. After that we tried to travel more and more each year.
How do you afford traveling?
We were committed to traveling so early in our lives and relationship that it was always a part of us and a financial priority. I don’t know the last time we bought each other gifts, we would rather put our money toward travel experiences. Steve also used to travel a lot for work so we got into various travel loyalty programs and used those benefits (points/miles) wherever we could. Jess obsesses over flights and is a master at finding great flight deals.
Do you work as you travel?
Sometimes Steve will work remotely as we travel, but this is an exception. Usually he works a regular M-F in an office. Jess is home with the kids.
Travel plans 2020-2021
We have several trips planned back to the east coast (where we grew up) for various family and friend events, and are going skiing soon in Utah. Otherwise we’re trying to map out plans for a European adventure at the end of summer, and anything else is tbd.
7 Fun Facts about your family
Steve is only 12 days older than Jess.
Elden and Orlo were both born in January.
We’ve lived in 9 different US states.
Jess and Steve started dating right at the start of college.
We all visited 6 continents in 7 weeks on a quick lap around the globe.
Elden and Orlo are learning Mandarin Chinese.
We’ve made it to 48 countries and 35 US states.
How do you handle school and medical issues while traveling
We started traveling together while in college, we took advantage of our study abroad location in Hong Kong and took trips to other Southeast Asian destinations from there. We continued to travel even when Jess was in grad school, taking advantage of any time off, and likewise through work. We learned early on how to maximize vacation days. Our kids are still young, and we only have to manage preschool right now. We’re okay taking Elden out to travel however much we like at this point, but soon we’ll have to figure out how to best manage an acceptable balance that satisfies our travel hearts and doesn’t upset the school requirements.
There are SO many great destinations out there, we always struggle to pick favorites. Different places are great for different reasons, but these are some that top the charts for us: Japan, Peru, Thailand, Turkey, Greece, Maldives, Kauai, and Oman.
We want to help parents realize they can start traveling early with a baby and don’t need to wait until the kids are older. You can travel with a baby, a toddler, a preschooler – you can travel with kids at any age. There will be various challenges and you have to adjust your expectations accordingly, but traveling with kids is the best kind of travel we’ve experienced and hope others can experience it too.