This post is in partnership with Hampton By Hilton. I am a member of their Real Travel Community, and I have been compensated for this post.
Anyone who knows me knows that I have spent a lot of my life traveling. As a kid, my parents moved us all around the country, living in different states – sometimes with family, sometimes out of hotels, but always together and happy. As an adult, my first real job was working as a Flight Attendant, which saw me flying in and out of different cities all across North America. At nineteen years old, I moved across the ocean to live in England, and I spent many years exploring what Europe had to offer.
For the last six years or so, since becoming parents, my husband and I have made sure our children are well-traveled, as well. My oldest son was only sixteen months old when we made the decision to forgo life in the UK to move to Florida, where we added a second child to our life. We spent a few happy years there, often times taking road trips from Florida to Pennsylvania to see my family. We stayed in crappy motels and drove hours and hours each day, trying to keep our young children happy as they were stuck in a hot car, strapped down in their car seats.
When we eventually moved across the country from Florida to Utah, we decided to drive the whole way. Two very young kids, a heavily pregnant mom and two big burly men (my husband and a friend who decided to come along to help) did not make for a very stress-free trip. But despite many hiccups along our route (including a 3 year old who had to pee on the side of the road and a seventeen month old who vomited all over the car), we saw some amazing sights and honestly enjoyed ourselves.
While my husband and I travel a lot for our jobs, we don’t get to travel much as a family anymore. Sometimes we take a jaunt down to a state park or go for a family vacation a few hours away. But mostly, our family travel is limited to our yearly trips back East to see my family. Last year I even managed to take a trip with just me and my oldest son, flying across the country so he could spend Halloween with his grandpa. That involved a ton of stress, as well, as it was the trip when we learned that my kid gets car sick! We arrived to my parents’ house with him covered in his own vomit. Not a lot of fun, if I’m honest.
The truth is, traveling with kids is what nightmares are made of. Constant whining, always needing the toilet, diaper blow-outs, and there is never enough food on hand to keep them happy. But I decided a long time ago to live by the mantra “Joy is a choice.” While I may hate how long it takes to get where we’re going, and I absolutely detest flying, I know that in the future, my kiddos will look back with fondness on the trips we’ve taken. They won’t remember that mom got frustrated and dad forgot to pack diapers. They will just remember the fun they had together.
Perhaps the very best part of traveling, though, is when you finally reach your destination. It’s when the vacation really starts. It’s when you get to check in to a nice hotel, lay down between crisp white sheets on a soft bed full of fluffy pillows and relax, knowing that the hard part is over. It’s looking forward to a delicious breakfast that you don’t have to cook. It’s finding your short-term home away from home.
Next week, we will be flying once again to Pennsylvania, our final trip as a family of five. By the end of the year, we’ll have added another member of the family, which is almost inconceivable! I’m so excited to announce that I have teamed up with the amazing folks at Hampton By Hilton to join their “Real Travel” campaign. Over the next few months, I’ll be bringing you some Real Travel stories to showcase what it’s really like to travel with kiddos.
As part of this campaign, I get to forgo sleeping on a blow up mattress in my parents’ house and instead I’ll be enjoying life in my hometown’s Hampton By Hilton hotel! This hotel did not even exist when I was growing up there. It was built only a few years ago, and I’m so excited to check it out in person. We’ll be taking advantage of the free, hot breakfasts (including fluffy waffles and hearty oatmeal!) that are available every day, though I’m kind of excited to try the Hampton’s On the Run™ Breakfast Bags you can get on weekday mornings. There’s also free Wi-Fi in every guestroom, as well as the lobby. They also have a 100% Hampton Guarantee that they will make sure you are 100% happy with your stay. Since I know my hometown is full of amazingly sweet and wonderful people, I’ve no doubt that the staff will be as warm, friendly and helpful as one can imagine.
I’d love to hear YOUR #RealTravel stories. What’s the longest road trip you’ve ever taken? Leave a comment and let me know!