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How often to you go 'home'?

(46 Posts)
ivesufferedenoughfools Sun 16-Sep-12 22:09:16

Hi - have been in the US for 10 weeks now and starting to plan trips back to the UK. We are here indefinitely as DH's job is permanent.

So - just wondered what others do re visits back to the UK (or elsewhere) seeing grandparents, Xmas etc. And how do you balance trips home to see relatives/friends with trips in the country you're in now - don't want to spend the next few years using every holiday to trek around every UK-based relative and not having a real holiday ourselves.

If it makes any difference, our parents are retired so have trips planned (ILs have already been but that's another thread...) and siblings also have plans to come and visit over the next twelve months.

At the moment I think we'll have a couple of trips to the UK each year but with a large, scattered family I don't know how relaxing the trips will be!

Thanks for any insight and ideas!

chloeb2002 Mon 17-Sep-12 04:41:28

i guess it depends how far the journey is and how much spare cash you have... and if you want to go back! We have been in aus for 6 years nearly now. dh went back in January with work. otherwise we haven't been back and have no plans to yet. I figure we can offer great holidays to people for just an air fare so if they chose not to come that's their choice! i have a friend in contrast who flys back twice a year, either herself or her dh to accompany a grandparent over for holidays!

Labootin Mon 17-Sep-12 04:56:11

I fly back every 3 times a year Christmas, Easter and 8 weeks of the (very hot Dubai) Summer.

Labootin Mon 17-Sep-12 04:58:21

But tbh it's not a relaxing holiday it's a living out of a suitcase and staying with friends/ relatives a couple of days here and there, so I also have "proper" holidays a couple of times a year as well

(spoilt lady wot lunches)

YellowRiver Mon 17-Sep-12 05:09:05

Our family is spread throughout the UK and my DP and I live in China. When we first moved out here, we didn't go home for a year, mostly due to money issues, but also we wanted some time to settle in.

Our first trip back was in July this year, but we are now planning to go back for Christmas as well. My expat friend has a good rule of never missing more than one Christmas 'at home' in a row. This gives her the freedom to have alternate Christmas holidays wherever she wants, because her family understand they'll have her next year.

Be prepared for your trips back to be an exhausting schedule, particularly the first one as everyone will want a piece of you! It's lovely but also very tiring. Most seasoned expats I know arrange family get-togethers so everyone travels to meet up in one place at the same time, saving hours spent on motorways visiting people one-by-one, and to avoid sleeping in a different spare room every night...

nooka Mon 17-Sep-12 05:19:40

I've been back to the UK twice since we moved to Canada four years ago. Both times paid for by my parents - we wouldn't have gone otherwise. My parents have visited us once here, and my nephew came over during his year out. I don't feel any particular pull towards the UK at the moment (much as I love my family) plus it's a 9 hour plus flight and very expensive.

When we lived in NYC we had more visitors and we would probably have gone over to Europe more too, but it was half the cost, and probably half the time too.

The other reason not to visit is that I don't have so much holiday and where we live is very beautiful. I'd love for my family to be able to visit us out here though.

HaveringGold Mon 17-Sep-12 05:21:52

We go once a year - two weeks in the summer. Having done the suitcase hell, we now rent a big old house and stay put. Well actually one year we rent in France near DHs family and my lot plus UK friends fly out, the next year we do the same in the UK and the French fly out and UK friends travel to us.
Everyone is welcome, meals are huge and often we're changing sheets midday but it works for us. If people make the effort to visit then chances are they are the kind of people to muck in.

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 17-Sep-12 05:40:55

We've been in USA since February.

May - my DP visited for 2.5weeks
July - we went home (DH for 6days, DC and I for a month)
Oct - 2 sets of friends and DP visiting
Nov - DB visiting for 3 weeks
Dec - we go home (DH for 1 week over Christmas, DC and I will stay throughout Jan)

Plans for next year are several friends have booked at various points, DP coming again beginning of June, DC and I plan to go home for a month again towards the end of the summer. We're staying here for Christmas 2013 and DP will probably come over again.

We've been lucky that DH's work paid for 2 round trips in his first year (none after) so we haven't had to fork out yet. I can't legally work and DC are under school age so it's easier to go home for a decent length of time out of expensive seasons. A month was good, any longer living out of a suitcase is miserable, any shorter and it would have felt very rushed.

I promised my mum when we left the children and I would be back 1-2times a year...

GirlWithTheMouseyHair Mon 17-Sep-12 05:41:10

DP - I mean Parents!

Cadmum Mon 17-Sep-12 05:45:31

We have lived overseas for 11 years (in various countries). Initially, we went home once a year. Now we go every other year. It is often more stressful than relaxing or rewarding so we have learned to go for longer than 2 weeks and spend at least some of that time on our own.

We have had family visit us most places and a few friends as well. It comes down to doing what is best for you and your family. Only one of our dcs truly likes going 'home'. The rest of us do it out of obligations but tend to enjoy parts of the experience.

londalion Mon 17-Sep-12 05:58:28

We fly home every summer,both sets of grandparents visit in the winter.
It is expensive and means trips elsewhere are fewer and shorter, but I believe it's vital for the kids to build relationships with family and to know where they're from. We stay at least 3 weeks to get the kids over the dreadful jet lag.
They think the UK is heaven on earth, but then they've never visited in Winter!

Alligatorpie Mon 17-Sep-12 14:37:35

We go home at least once a year, but my home is Canada, dh's is England, so we are always going somewhere.
Next year we are moving to Asia and I think we do one or the other as it is expensive and takes a lot of holiday time.
we also have a new baby and I feel a lot of guilt about this baby not having regular contact with grandparents, like her sister did.
Luckily family has been to visit us a lot.

ivesufferedenoughfools Mon 17-Sep-12 14:51:27

Thanks for all your replies. I guess we'll just have to see how it goes. I think I feel a bit guilty as DD is nearly one and hasn't seen her GPs as much as she would have done in the UK. Still, they are able to visit so it's not like they won't have seen her at all.
I am worried about everyone wanting a piece of us when we do go back! We have the added pressure that despite not growing up in London, London was home for the past six years and where DD was born, where most of our friends are etc so going home to me is going to our old haunts there. DH's family are 3 hours from there, mine are five hours from there and in opposite directions...
There's a part of me that just wants to nip back to London for a week this Autumn but all four GPs would hate to know we were in the country but not see us.
Awful awful question coming up - have you ever gone home and not told people you'll be there? It is very tempting!

steppemum Mon 17-Sep-12 20:38:28

when we were overseas we came home once every 2 years (and then it was to have a baby each time!)
my parents came out twice. The longest they went without seeing grandkids was 18 months. dh's parents never came, and it was 2 years for them.
We didn't go more often as 1. money and 2. holiday time, we didn't want to use it all up flying home. When we went we spent longer in UK.

I think that if you make the choice to live overseas then one of the consequences is that your kids will have a different relationship with gp than they would if you lived in uk. Not necessarily worse, because when they come and visit they get concentrated time for 2-3 weeks. But definitely different. And more distant relatives (aunts and uncles) tend to become more distant. Photos become very important.

steppemum Mon 17-Sep-12 20:41:12

as to your awful question:
we once went home at short notice for 2 weeks, stayed with my parents, didn't tell anyone else. Long story, needed to see a doctor. Was a great holiday, no pressure!

I have american friends who did the same, I think Grandma was sick, they flew back for 2 weeks, and didn't see anyone except Grandma and whichever parents it was.

would be hard to do and not see parents though

We've been in Germany 5 years, I've been back to the UK 5 times, but 2 were brief trips during which I didn't visit a single family member (lovely) the duty trips to visit family are less fun (I'm not supposed to say that am I?)

DD and I went to London (my parents live up north, 2 hours drive from any airport and 5-6 hours drive from the London airports which are cheapest to get to by far) on a special sightseeing trip this summer, I didn't intend to tell my parents but DD did (oops). About 3 years ago I flew back on my own for a get together, also much more conveniently located near London, and just stayed one night.

The kids and I have been to my parents and done the rounds of family twice, and once we all drove over (13 hours plus overnight ferry) with DH too and got a holiday caravan half an hour from my parents on the beach, to make it into a holiday not just a visit - they are very different things to me.

My DH's family are in the country we now live in, and are also much more hands on with the kids than mine would be even if we lived close to them, plus I haven't lived less than a 3 hour drive from my parents in 20 years, so once a year is enough for me, and they also visit us twice a year (but as part of a holiday during which they also go to Italy, they are retired and like to travel).

Halbanoo Thu 20-Sep-12 12:52:37

Since DS has started school, we've not managed trips back home to the US (from UK) more than twice a year. We usually go at Eastertime and then for a couple weeks in the summer.

I absolutely hate flying around Christmastime (weather in US is too risky) so although DS gets a nice break that time of year, I'm staying put!

It's not worth the journey (imo) if we can't stay for more than 2 weeks at a time. With the school schedule that only leaves a couple opportunities a year.

Mellower Thu 20-Sep-12 12:53:51

Once or twice per week. Usually once for Sunday roast.

Labootin Thu 20-Sep-12 13:11:46

Very impressive Mellower you must have a lot of air miles

Mellower Thu 20-Sep-12 15:18:38

Oh sorry they only live 4 streets away blush I was reading and rushing earlier.... no airmiles, just walking!!

LadyMargolotta Thu 20-Sep-12 15:20:20

grin at Mellower!

although you have just made a lot of expats very homesick - I wish I could go home for sunday lunch every week sad

Mellower Thu 20-Sep-12 15:24:05

Oh I'm sorry!!

When I did live away (60 miles) sometimes it was several months.

I am not helping here am I? sorry! blush

FunnysInLaJardin Thu 20-Sep-12 15:30:18

we live an hours flight from home and I go home twice a year, once with each child. My mum comes here about twice a year as do my sisters. But we have now stopped going for a week at a time and doing a tour of the UK to see all family. DH never see's his family and I just visit mine. Much less stress.

purplefairies Thu 20-Sep-12 15:32:25

I go back 3-4 times a year (but I'm short-haul, 4 or so hours) and realise I'm lucky financially in this respect.

I'm also lucky in that my family love to travel and often come to visit. As someone else suggested, we also try to meet up somewhere neutral once a year so that it's a proper "holiday" for everyone.

To answer the awful question: yes, I've done this a few times. Both times were short trips (long weekends) and there was no way I could have fitted everyone in without offending someone by not staying long enough, not "popping in" again before I go.

Longdistance Thu 20-Sep-12 15:33:43

Hey, We live in Oz, been here 10 months, and already been home with my dd's. Went on my own, as dh didn't have enough holiday leave. I intend to go back every year, as my parents are not well. My db will come visit every year we're here, as he came in May, and he's planning his next trip, next year. Oh to be single again ;)

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