Traditions and things

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As the winter months start to settle in, my family and I start planning at least one big trip for the incoming year. I think the reason we initially started taking our annual excursions was because after our very first cross-country 2009 road trip with little ones, we returned feeling like there was nothing we couldn’t do. We still don’t know where we will be venturing to in 2017. The list is long, we’re still figuring out the budget, and with the boys getting older, their input on how and where we travel has become more valuable.

Planning our annual trips is a tradition we hold dear. Whether it’s a three-week road trip in Europe or a weekend road trip in search of our Christmas tree. We’ve crafted them over the years to fit our family and our life, both of which seem to constantly be growing and changing. What I also hope these traditions are teaching my kids is the wonderful opportunities for learning with each trip.

Though I have tried to teach them better, there could come a time when my children will take trips in the same way a college kid drinks cheap beer; quickly, messy, without much commitment, and only to get drunk quickly and brag about it the next day. But I hope over time that the memories and influences that have resulted from the traditions we have built over their life time will guide them on a better path. One that teaches them to value and appreciate the gift of travel. One that encourages them to do so with attention to detail and respect for people and places. Where they understand that the number of stamps on their passport doesn’t define the worth of their experiences. Where they can appreciate the silence, solitude, and disconnect over the noise and constant pressure to impress. I hope that my children will learn to love to travel slowly, to the beat of their own drum. I even hope that the demands of my job, which often calls for so much public cataloging of our journeys, has motivated them to do the complete opposite, and travel with intimacy.

So as we plan our travels to new destinations, we still find the places and things that where we can celebrate a tradition or two. Whether it is finding that perfect hiking spot, or the perfect town that allows us to walk around and mingle with locals, or that one hotel brand that we trust and have grown to rely on for comfort, services, and amenities.


Christmas tree huntingYears pass but some travel traditions, whether near or far, remain the same.

I am excited for all the #prettygreat things this new year will bring and as you plan you own travels, don’t forget to make room the traditions, both old and new. And stay tuned for the adventures to come! If you need ideas for planning your own family road trip, check out Inside planning a summer road trip.


In partnership with Embassy Suites. All opinions are my own. Find more travel tips from experts and other parents by visiting or follow the conversation on Twitter and Instagram using #prettygreat.

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Carol Cain

Carol is her happiest when on an adventure, either close to home or farther away. She's the mom to three fun boys and wife to a handsome Irish/Scot. She lives in New Jersey with her happy crew, but will always be a girl from Brooklyn. You can read her full profile here.

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2 Responses to Traditions and things

  1. Nikki Thao says:

    Im inspired by your writings. I am still relatively new to your blog but I am grateful for it. I am a mother of 2 teenage boys and a wife myself, and this year, I’m going to be going solo on a 6 month journey to SE Asia. No kids, no husband. I received a few negative remarks about neglecting my duties, etc (I come from a still pretty traditional hierarchical community and women are supposed to “stay home”). I find solace in knowing that I’m not the only mother and wife who wants to travel on her own without the husband and kids in my journey of self-discovery. I also plan on having them meet me for a portion of my trip because I know they would love it.

    • caincarol says:

      How awesome!! There will always be people ready to judge and express what they feel is the appropriate thing to do with your time, family, relationship, and life, but that decision is between you and yours and you don\’t owe anyone an explanation. I hope you have the best adventure and so much fun. And I agree, I think it will be fun for them too when they get to join along. Safe travels!

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