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I am a goal-oriented person. I wasn’t always this way. My husband is the original goal-setter of the family and has definitely rubbed off on me.

We, as a family, are currently chasing after a big goal: to get the two big kids to all 50 states. Sorry, third child. You’ll have to see them on your own. 🙂

This goal started four years ago when our at the time family of four moved from Queensland, Australia to Texas.

Before we ended up settling in Texas, we had six months to travel and enjoy our extended family (all of our extended family on both sides live in the States).

OUR FIRST ROAD TRIP

At the time, our bigs were 5 and 3.

I found out on Day 1 of our road trip, as we were literally packing up the car and saying goodbye to my mom and step-dad, that I was pregnant with baby number three. We had just moved from Australia with only suitcases. We’d sold and given away every baby item from strollers to car seat to high chair to all the other bajillion things you need for the child’s first few years of life. We were jobless and homeless.

Looking back, God’s timing was comical. At the time it wasn’t funny.

We had to make the decision to call the whole trip off or to deal with life on the road with two littles, combined with my awful first-trimester sickness & fatigue.

Let me be the first to tell you – a road trip with littles while in your first trimester of pregnancy is NOT an ideal time to travel. I was so stubborn though and knew we might not get several months off to travel. It was “now or never” to go on this trip that I’d worked so hard to plan.

So we set off in August – for three months, in a pop-up camper, with no toilet or shower. Doesn’t this sound like a dream vacay?!? Ha.

We drove clockwise around the States, stopping in several cities to see the Cubs play as it was towards the end of baseball season. Cubs fans – we believe us being back in the States contributed to them winning the World Series that year for the first time in 108 years.

That trip we covered 11,261 miles. I’m pretty sure I only drove about 200 of those miles. My husband is the best ever.

We explored 68 cities. We visited 31 states. We visited 11 national parks. We went to 6 MLB stadiums. We spent 6 glorious nights in a hotel. Those were my favorite nights on our trip. 🙂 And we survived one hurricane (Hurricane Matthew).

We were able to see some parts of the USA that we will never see again. I know the kids won’t even remember a fraction of what we saw. I won’t either! It was a trip more about experiences and traveling than having something to remember. I took LOTS of pictures from our trip and the kids still love flipping though photo albums from our trip.

I’m SO happy we ended up going on that road trip!

OUR SECOND ROAD TRIP

This past summer, we went on our second, but much smaller road trip. The bigs were 9 and 7.

This trip was in August, right before school started back for our bigs. At this point we’d been on Spring Break for eleventy billion weeks. (*22) They were tired of their three year old sister. Well, everyone was tired of everyone at this point.

I wanted to be able to take them to do “big kid” things, so their Nana offered to watch the toddler.

I was REALLY looking forward to not being pregnant on this trip and to sleep in hotels/apartments each night! Mattresses thicker than 2.5 inches (thickness of the mattress in the pop-up from the last trip) are wonderful.

In 10 days, we covered around 2,100 miles. Again, I think I only drove 200 of those. We visited 3 states. We went to 2 theme parks and road all the big kid rides. We went to 1 national park and 1 state park.

I loved *most* of this trip! I definitely prefer kid-free trips with just my husband, but it was nice to have some special time with the bigs.

FUTURE TRAVEL PLANS

To reach our goal of taking the bigs to all 50 states, I think we will need 3 more road trips.

I have tentatively planned those trips and would love to take at least one in a camper (with a toilet and shower!). For the other two I’d love to stay in hotels along the way.

Tentative road trip #3 – Drive from Texas to Kansas –> Nebraska –> North Dakota

Tentative road trip #4 – Fly from Texas to Washington State and drive to Montana –> Idaho –> Oregon

Tentative road trip #5 – Fly from Texas to Maine and drive to New Hampshire –> Vermont –> Rhode Island –> New Jersey –> Delaware –> West Virginia

Then, flying to Alaska & Wisconsin for separate trips will get them to all 50 states!

I’m hoping to get this completed before our oldest graduates high school. Our littlest will most likely go on all future trips with us. She will have to make up for states #1-34 on her own though.

Please tell me in the comments your favorite things to do, restaurants to dine at, and places to stay for the States listed above!

UPDATE

Our Third Road Trip

Since this blog has been published, we’ve completed a third road trip (as of July 2021). We got FOUR new states crossed off the list for the bigs! We hit Wisconsin –> North Dakota –> Nebraska –> Kansas. See the post below for more information from that trip!

Do you have a travel goal you are currently pursuing?

Related post:

A Day in Fargo, North Dakota

How to Travel Overseas with an Infant

Our Bucket List!

Mandi

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About the Author

Hey there & welcome! I’m Mandi – wifey to my college sweetheart, mom to three crazy cute kiddos, and we are an American/Australian dual citizen family.  You’re in the right place of the blogging world if you love your kids, but also want to be encouraged to travel kid-free once in a while. I share about our luxury travels (kid-free & family), our love for healthy foods, and how we stay mentally/physically/emotionally well.

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