When my wife and I decided to put our travel site up, we were already fairly regular travelers. We would road trip and take flights all over the US. We were always looking to find new locations, while still occasionally coming back to some old favorites. But then we started having kids. Would that hold back our love to travel? Luckily…no.
First some background on us. I grew up in a family that didn’t travel too much. We would usually take an annual trip from the Chicago burbs up to the Northwoods of Wisconsin. Being a small business owner, it was often tough for my dad to get away. Wisconsin was close. And we loved it. Fishing, boating, beaches, fireflies at night. It was relaxing. But it was all I knew. After college, I got a great job with good money and good time off. I started traveling on my own. I was HOOKED.
My wife’s situation was quite different. They traveled all over. Mostly road trips. But they got to see large expanses of this great country from an early age. For her, travel was the norm. So as she headed into adulthood and the working world, she wanted to build upon what she already saw and experience MORE.
As I mentioned before, my travel started out with me traveling solo. I just wanted to explore! I would often pack a suitcase and just hit the highways with no real plan in place. I would drive until something caught my eye or until I would be ready to sleep.
For me, some of my first destinations will always be memorable, even though they weren’t the “traditional” vacation spots. My very first destination was Baltimore, Maryland. It was a raw, gritty, pretty run down city. But I loved it. Because it was DIFFERENT. New foods. New cultures. Different language accents. New sights.
Asheville, North Carolina was another one of my early travel destinations. It was this trip that I am pretty sure I knew I would eventually end up in the South. I loved the slower pace. Southern cooking. Real BBQ. Part of this trip also led me to Charlotte and eventually on to the Outer Banks. Discovering things I had learned in school such as The Lost Colony of Roanoke and visiting where the Wright Brothers flew their first airplane were amazing to me.
Along the way, I stumbled upon New Orleans. My first visit wasn’t the best. It was March. It was cold. It was rainy. But there was something magical about that city. Little did I know, it was a place I would return to DOZENS of times over the next 20 years.
My Favorite Travel Partner
I met my wife in 2006. I had moved from Chicago to Milwaukee, WI after college. My wife moved to MIlwaukee from central Wisconsin after college. It didn’t take long for us both to realize how much we both enjoyed traveling. At first it was just road trips and weekend trips to Chicago.
Then the road trips got longer. LIke…Milwaukee to Myrtle Beach, SC longer. That trip will ALWAYS be memorable. The engine in my car blew at midnight on a Sunday while in the mountains of North Carolina. It continued to run…but barely. It got us to our first stop in Myrtle Beach. From there, we headed toward the Washington, DC area for an auto race with camping. The car kept going. But it was HOT and HUMID and neither of us liked camping. LOL! Oh, and it thunderstormed. Believe it or not, the car made it all the way back to Milwaukee with a blown cylinder. One reason why we have always bought Subarus since then!
Trips to Nashville. Trips to Memphis. Trips to New Orleans. Trips to Chicago. Then we moved to Texas. A whole new world of places to see and things to do were now before us. Taking in the cultures, the sights, the cuisines, and the experiences. We would use every bit of PTO to just go and EXPLORE.
Then Came Children
It wasn’t long after our older boy was born to start taking trips. Mostly to see family, but also to visit the beach and other places. Then two and a half years later, our second boy was born. The traveling continued. Was traveling with two very young kids hard? It sure was. Is traveling with young kids worth it? Absolutely.
The amount of preparation and planning and extra packing is crazy. Planning the best route to accommodate stops. Picking flights that work with nap and eating schedules. Reading reviews of hotels to see ones that lots of people complaining about noise and thin walls. All that pre-work helps make the trips go more smoothly. Are there hiccups and curveballs? Of course. But proper planning helps putting Plan B into play so much easier.
I like to joke that our boys have been to more places in their first seven years than I did in my first 40! As a family we have been to Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Tennessee, Louisiana, and of course all over Texas.
Why Do We Love To Travel?
It is more than just time off and vacation to us. Our family vacations are rarely relaxing. In reality, they are actually a lot of hard work and stress. But…our boys love it. We know they appreciate seeing new places and doing new things. Despite their young ages, they absolutely remember many of the things we have done (sometimes better than we do).
Travel broadens the mind. Exposes you to different cultures, different foods, different sights. The sight on our boys’ faces when we drove through the mountains was priceless. Their minds were blown when we told them there were tunnels that went through mountains. The excitement when they saw their first bear (it was actually my first time too). Their amazement when a fisherman caught a shark just 50 feet away from where we were on the beach. I could go on and on. None of those things would have ever happened if we stayed in our bubble.
Travel doesn’t always have to mean $300 plane tickets and expensive resorts. Our weekend trips to Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Galveston have created just as many memories. Each of those locations have things we don’t have at home. It is something new. Something special. Having lunch at a local restaurant on the shore of Lake Austin. Finding some really cool park in Katy, Texas. Hoping on the water taxi in San Antonio. To us, these things are little. To our boys, they mean the world.
So Why Do We Have This Website?
When we decided to create this website and the accompanying Facebook page, our goals were two-fold. We love to travel and we wanted to inspire others to love to travel as well. We hope to inspire others to make that leap and plan a trip. To show people who may also have younger kids to realize that it CAN be done.
The other goal was to try to make it as easy for our readers to plan their trip as possible. Picking lodging can be tough. We are pretty picky where we stay. But at the same time, we aren’t exactly a 4-Star hotel family. You can absolutely find quality, clean, and comfortable 2 and 3-Star hotels. We do that work for you. Before I add a hotel to our list of recommended places to stay, I look at the guest rating and read the most recent reviews. If it all checks out, I will add it.
Same goes for recommended activities. The vast majority of recommended activities are things we ACTUALLY did on that trip. We will link to the place or activity to make it easy for you to purchase. We try to find discounts and when available will link to the cheaper place to book.
If you have been a follower of the page for any amount of time, you know we love to eat. I have a knack for finding restaurants that have great food yet are also super kid friendly. That may either mean a great kids menu or some kid friendly activities, etc.
Travel is good for the soul. Whether it’s a cabin in the woods or a high rise hotel with city views. Whether it’s a home on the beach or a mountainside villa. Regardless of what to love, just do it. Experience it. Trust us, your children will appreciate it.
In case you haven’t seen our travel pages before, you can see them HERE.