How We Roll Part. 2

We never go somewhere to stay there. By that I mean, when we arrive at our destination, our hotel room to us is merely a bed and place to put our suitcases and then we are out the door to see what we came to see.
Occasionally we'll make it back in time to visit the pool if they have one, but most of the time we aren't traveling for the nice hotels!

{bonus of traveling with Dad, Hilton in Dallas}

{they had a beautiful Asian art collection, so kids got Art Appreciation lessons while we were there!}

 {hot water with honey and lemon in the in-room coffee service cups is a favorite}

{we try and bring activities that are open ended, lots of books, card games, etc.}

{this hotel was enormous, so we took advantage and walked all over while Dad was working}

 That having been said, we do try and find the safest, cleanest rooms possible (of course!) but really don't care if the hotel has extra amenities or has been newly updated and looks fresh and modern. We've gotten hotel rooms as low as $60 a night that have been perfectly clean and adequate.
We seem to have the best luck with Best W*stern hotels, and very occasionally a H*liday Inn Expr*ss.

Normally we will book one or two nights ahead of time, but about half the time we just drive and get a room as we stop. Often that also lends to a discount, if we are arriving at midnight and the hotel is not very full, they want to sell rooms. We have AAA, and use that discount regularly, too.

Another thing we do is travel as a family when Marvin has a business trip. We stay in the hotel with him, thus getting an all expense paid couple nights, and usually it is a VERY nice hotel. If we add on a couple days in front and in back of that business trip, we've got ourselves a great vacation to a place we wouldn't have necessarily traveled otherwise, at a fraction of the price.

We drive. Of course! We own our van (no car payments!). It has a lot of miles on it, but it's a very reliable make and we plan on driving it until it just won't drive any more. We always check it out at the shop before we go, changing oil, tires, etc. as needed. We do have a car-top storage carrier that we use on occasion, if we are going to a place where we've rented a cottage and need to bring extras like bedding.

 {this trip was over Ava's birthday, so we found a local dive for her birthday dinner in Dallas}

{she enjoyed getting a present at different stops along the way on her special day}

{she even got a present at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere!}

{and a present in a restaurant}

{she didn't miss being at home for her birthday at all!}

{we did NOT stop here, but enjoy making jokes about various silly billboards each time we travel}
{brief note on bringing birthday presents: we very carefully chose things that would pack well, and not take a lot of space up in the car, and that she would enjoy playing with as we traveled}

The kids actually love these long road trips and have been known to ask, "When can we get in the car? Is it time to go yet?" When they were smaller, I made them each a "goodie bag" (a fabric pouch with a zipper) and filled them with individually packaged (by me) snacks so they weren't yelling up front that they were hungry every five minutes. We don't need to do that any more, now they are each in charge of packing ONE backpack for themselves. That's all they are allowed to bring (except a pillow) in the car. We've found that actually having LESS stuff makes them more content. They typically bring a blank notebook or sketch book, some Leg*s or Playm*bil figures, a coloring book and crayons, and maybe a flashlight, or other small gadgets.

We also listen to a lot of audio adventures. It keeps the kids AND adults entertained for hours! Some of our favorites are The Chronicles of Narnia, Johnathan Park, and Lamplighter Theater. We try and limit electronics, but the boys have mini tablets (a No*k Color and a Kindl* Fire) and I have an iP*d. A trip towards the end of the year like our last one is unfortunately spend largely driving in the dark. So...we do let them play when it gets dark, or in the daylight as a LAST resort.

1 readers took time to leave a thought:

A Joyful Chaos April 17, 2013 at 1:23 PM  

That hotel looks great! We also love roadtrips. When our oldest was only learning to talk he used to call hotels sleep stores. I confess I was a little sad when he started calling them hotels.


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