This is a sponsored post on behalf of Choice Hotels
We love to travel.
We don’t love road trips.
I’m sure it’s me.
As people are when their parents subject them to things that turn out to be horrific.
And by horrific I mean seriously uncomfortable and humiliating because generally my parents were pretty good at not being horrific.
But, everyone has their fails.
And one of theirs came when I was in 6th grade. My dad got a new job requiring us to move from California to Kansas.
First of all, why on earth would you leave sunny Southern California to move to middle-of-nowhere-nice Kansas?
Still baffles me to this day. Clearly, they realized the general unawesome of that choice almost as quickly as I did since we left for Europe barely a year later.
But it wasn’t the leaving my home and my friends or even the living in Kansas where it snowed up to your thighs and you had to drive 45 minutes to get to a mall, or even school, for a year that scarred me –it was the getting there.
They decided that it would be so much fun if we drove from Cali to Kansas.
In my dad’s pickup truck.
Sure it had a king cab, but in 1990 that meant there was a hidey hole behind the front seat where people who didn’t have actual legs could sit.
My parents, noting the crampy conditions this would make for an 11 year old and a 5 year old decided to up the luxe on the entire experience by pimping out the truck.
My dad carpeted the back of the pickup bed and put a camper shell over it so that we could “comfortably” ride halfway across the country, sans seat belts, while basically laying side by side on our backs, as I attempted to tamp down the need to vomit that constantly plagued me in the car.
They actually did a decent job of hyping up this experience for us and I remember being mildly excited for the journey.
But, because the universe is oft evil and this road trip was doomed to fail, my body decided that somewhere around Colorado would be the perfect place and time to also take the plunge into womanhood. So, as icing on this cake of awesome, Aunt Flow joined us for the ride.
In the back of a pickup truck.
In the winter.
With my entire family there to watch.
So, forgive me if I don’t have joyful family road trip memories in my history.
Fast forward more years than I care to count and they are a necessity.
As much as I hate being in the car for hours with my children who’ve inherited my barfy tendencies, when you’re a family of five hopping on a plane can be pretty cost prohibitive for those of us in the budget travel life lane.
So, I suck it up, ignore the flashbacks to my youth that keep me awake at night when we are in road trip planning mode, pack Xanax snacks, charge the iPads, and get a bunch of mini garbage cans lined with bags so we can roll around the East Coast as much as possible.
Because it builds character.
The only thing that really gets in the way is finding a quality, comfortable, affordable place to stay.
As a larger family with a teenage boy in the mix, we can’t often cram ourselves into a standard double room comfortably. No one wants to spoon their 14 year old at night and shoving three kids of varying man sizes into one bed together is probably considered a form of torture.
So we have to upgrade, to a suite or a second room or something that creeps the price right out of the budget travel realm quite quickly.
Fortunately, the new Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Program makes family travel more accessible to families that really just want to add some adventure and education to their lives.
It offers a ton of perks and is the perfect answer for families like mine who enjoy multiple getaways a year.
Budget Travel: 5 Things Traveling Families Need to Know About the Choice Hotels Choice Privileges Program
1. You can rack up points and free nights pretty quickly. Each dollar earns you 10 points so a $99 stay will leave you with 990 points! Free nights begin at just 6,000 points and your points don’t expire which means your summer vacation this year can easily rollover into a cheaper summer vacation next year! And, with no blackout dates, you can take advantage of those free nights whenever you want.
2. There are a ton of hotels, from all different price points, to choose from. In fact there are over 6,300 different locations that you may choose to redeem points at.
3. They’re international! You can redeem your points for stays at many destinations outside of the United Sates. In fact, 12 countries have properties that accept points for stays. So yes, you can go to Mexico and lay on the beach with your Mai Tai after and just leave your kids at home with their grandma.
4. It’s about more than free nights. Your Extras allow you to also earn other valuable rewards, like gift cards, fuel points, airline miles and more. There are so many options to help you save on future travel.
5. The system is easy to use. I hate it when websites or apps are so complicated that figuring out how to keep track of my points or take advantage of my rewards is like a part time job. I like that the website is seamless and the app makes using the digital gift cards you can convert your rewards to super easy.
Now, can someone please tell us where to go this summer? Boston, Philly, and Charleston are top of my list right now!
Disclosure: This post has been brought to you by Choice Hotels and the letter C. For cash. Which is what you will be saving. I received compensation in exchange for sharing it with all of you.