5 Traveling Lessons & A Hotel Stay Giveaway

5 Traveling Lessons
We have successfully visited at least one new place every month for the first 7 months of 2016, and we are set to visit another 5 more before the end of the year. With so many plane rides, miles on the car, and hotel stays, I have learned a few things. Dave and I are constantly learning about each other on these trips, and learning about our traveling styles in general.

There is nothing wrong with an evolving list of wants and needs as you experience new things, and we are taking things as we go. You also shouldn’t force yourself to try and enjoy something, somewhere, if you aren’t in the right mindset. There were somethings I would have given up to be able to see more, or spend less, but these 5 traveling lessons have changed the way we get around.

ps. Stick around until the end for your chance to win a 2-night stay at any Comfort Inn & Suites in America or Canada and find out why they are my favorite hotel destinations this summer!

Getting up early is more than worth it. This is something I just realized on our most recent vacation, and I wish I would have a long time ago. I made sure I was up by 7am everyday, and I am so glad I was. I loved having time to walk around the resort without any other guests around. It was so nice being able to take photos without anyone in the pool, standing in the shoot, and with the perfect golden hour lighting. If I would have realized this during one of our trips to Europe, I think it could have been a game changer. I napped twice during our trip, and that felt great. I was refreshed for dinner and ready to go past 10pm.

You don’t always need a full schedule. I am a planner. I can’t help wanting to schedule things for everyday of the month, especially when we are somewhere new, but things are changing. I am realizing that not everything needs to have a plan, even if we are in a new location. We can have loose plans throughout the trip, and things will still work out fine.

5 Traveling Lessons

You don’t need to pack the kitchen sink. This one has taken me a very long time to understand. I used to pack a large suitcase for every trip, no matter where we were going or how long we were spending there. I just thought that if I could take the biggest bag possible, why wouldn’t I? I am now learning that it is much more convenient to walk into the airport, go straight to security, and not have a ton of stuff to lug around. Less is more when it comes to most trips. I don’t have a capsule wardrobe at home, but it doesn’t hurt to have one on trips.

The best experiences don’t need a price tag. With the constant traveling we are doing this year, we are also trying to do it on a budget, which is totally possible. I do a lot of research before we go somewhere new, from locations to experiences, and the prices that go along with them. I like to look for free activities like concerts, festivals, etc. and find something to give us a great experience while also working with our budget.

5 Traveling Lessons

A comfortable place to stay makes all the difference. There have been countless times where I have booked a cheap hotel room just to save money, but ended up with a bad taste in my mouth from not having the comfort of a nice room. This can be a determining factor in a vacation, even if you don’t spend much time in the room itself. If you are on a whirlwind trip and have one night in a new city, you will likely pack your day with a lot of things to do. Ending your day in a sketchy hotel room is not going to be something to look forward too. There are endless affordable options out there, and it’s worth spending a little more money to feel safe and relaxed. It’s also awesome to have free wi-fi, breakfast and a friendly environment, which all adds to the comfort level. Country Inns & Suites By Carlson hotels provide all of this and more. It’s also convenient when hotels supply luxury bath amenities, such as the ones made by lifestyle brand Beekman 1802.

I love being able to stay in a hotel that has all of the amenities that we need, as well as a modern feel in a good location. Thankfully, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson has over 470 midscale hotels across the country, making it easily accessible from almost anywhere we visit. Next time you are deciding where to vacation, I highly suggest keeping these five things in mind, and looking for a Country Inn & Suites hotel. For example, the Asheville Westgate, North Carolina location provides a outdoor veranda, fire pit, breakfast and much more.

5 Traveling Lessons
The new Asheville location is full of character and will provide everything you need for a comfortable stay. If you would like to enter to win a 2-night stay at any Country Inns & Suites By Carlson location, leave a comment below with your favorite amenity (besides the free breakfast) provided by the Carlson Hotels.


  • http://BurkeDoes.com Emilie from BurkeDoes.com

    When traveling abroad, I always try to look into staying at hostels! I think they’re affordable and they can be really great!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I have looked into hostels before but most of the time we are traveling with friends, so it’s easier/cheaper for us to share a hotel or Airbnb. I have heard great things though.

  • http://apaperarrow.blogspot.com Kayla Whitter

    I love that their complimentary breakfast has a wide selection of choices. It’s not your basic “continental breakfast” aka crappy donuts. I know that sounds silly, but the breakfast is actually pretty legit.
    Our one-year anniversary is coming up and Asheville was a location we were looking at staying at, so we’ll be sure to consider the new Country Inn.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Having an actual breakfast provided at a hotel is one of the top things on my list when I am looking for a place to stay. It can get so expensive to eat out all meals of the day.
      Asheville would be a great anniversary trip!

  • http://brunetteinabun.blogspot.com/ Daryl

    I love having free Wi-Fi, it’s nice to have plenty of time to browse on the internet for last minute trip planning when you’re resting for the night!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I agree! It’s great to have access to wifi, especially on trips.

  • http://www.christineeveryday.com Christine Everyday

    I totally agree about all of these! Especially about not packing your schedule…a lot of the time the spontaneous activities are the most fun!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      It has been a huge lesson for me, but I am really glad that we have been going with the flow for most of our trips lately. It makes the experience much better.

  • http://ohhey-ilikethat.com Lauren

    Omg I have stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Asheville! My favorite amenities were the gym and the chocolate chip cookies at the front desk! I would love to stay at a Country Inn and Suites again!

  • Jen

    Yes to the first two!!! It really is amazing how good getting up early can be while traveling.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I seriously wish I would have thought about getting up early, sooner. Especially in Europe! I hope we are at least able to go back to Paris again so I can attempt to be up at sunrise when most of the city is asleep.

  • http://dashofherbs.com Kristyn | Dash of Herbs

    We usually stay in Airbnb’s when we travel, but I do love a nice hotel. I think a firepit and hot breakfast are some of my favorite amenities that hotels offer.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I love the fire pit at this hotel, it seems like such a cool extra amenity.

  • Kim Pincombe-Cole

    I love the little extras like complimentary cookies, luxury bath products & even the free breakfast!

    ~ Kim Pincombe Cole

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Those cookies are delicious!

  • Megan

    We are going to Savannah next month and have been looking at the Country Inn Hotel there! They have a pool which is important since Savannah is SUPER HOT and a complimentary breakfast since we’re traveling on a budget!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I have heard really great things about Savannah, I can’t wait to hear about your trip! I always try and find a hotel with free breakfast, it can really save a lot of money depending on location.

  • Ashley Bree Perez

    I love their pool areas! I really hope to win. I could use a mini getaway at a nice hotel(: Thanks for the opportunity. I have entered. :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • KV

    I like the complimentary breakfast.

  • http://facebook.com/trabajardd shaunie

    I would have to say the swimming pools most definitely.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I agree, the swimming pools are really nice!

  • http://seasaltsecrets.com Shane Prather

    Love these tips! An outdoor area to get out and relax beyond the hotel room is always nice :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I agree! It’s so nice to find a hotel with a nice outside space to come back to and relax, instead of having to stay in your room.

  • http://www.thelowcountrymama.com Jacquelyn @ Lowcountry Mama

    I always love free breakfast! Great tips- I love waking up early on vacation too =)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I seriously don’t know why I didn’t think about getting up earlier on vacation. I always looked at it like I can’t sleep in when I am home and working, so I need to do it now. I regret that a lot.

  • Shawna Hannon

    I love the swimming pools! One of the best things about these Hotels :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Thats what I think as well!

  • Krista Miller

    When travelling with kids especially, I think Carlson is really thinking about what families need with their new Read It & Return Lending Library program! Such an innovative idea!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I love the family amenities they provide, I can imagine how much easier it makes traveling as a family.

  • manda

    I love the breakfast!

  • http://kaizenfashionproject.blogspot.com/ Heather S

    Their swimming pools hands down is my favorite amenity! Thanks for hosting such a FUN & generous giveaway! :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Their pools are really nice! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Cynthia Gaarder

    Swimming pools and free breakfast :)

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Yes to both! Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://www.thefreeandwildblog.com Annie

    I love free parking at hotels, as well as an on-site restaurant or snack bar! (: A hot tub doesn’t hurt either!

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Free parking and free breakfast are two of the first things I look for in a hotel. Hot tubs are a close second 😉

  • Abbie Katrina

    I love having a breakfast ready in the morning! It saves time, leaving more room on the itinerary for sightseeing!


    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I agree! It saves so much time and money, and a nice breakfast really makes the difference in the day.

  • cezovski

    The one I would like to stay at in San Bernardino, CA, has a free hot breakfast which I like!
    Digicats {at} Sbcglobal {dot} Net

  • http://neverenoughnovels.com Rachel @ Never Enough Novels

    Free breakfast is the best feature for me!

  • Leigh Anne Borders

    I love hotels that offer free breakfasts for the family and that they have a pool for the kids to enjoy (and adults). laborders2000@yahoo.com

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/SoliloquyShoppe Jasanna

    Love their breakfast! When is the deadline for the giveaway?

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Me too! The giveaway ends on August 1st.

  • latanya t

    I like the free breakfast

    dlatany at gmail dot com

  • 1froglegs

    I like the free hot breakfast. Our kids would argue the pool is the best amenity. asotv@aol.com

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I think the free breakfast is great! My husband would probably say the pool as well 😉

  • Elena

    I love the free breakfast
    elena150980 at yahoo dot com

  • Julie Rod.

    i’m loving the free breakfast

    showstopper474 at gmail dot com

  • Livivua Chandler

    I would love the free breakfast
    email: yes.4eva.r(at gmail dot com)

  • Julie (julimi)

    I haven’t tried Country Inn & Suites before but they seem like a great place to stay. I’d love to stay at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Myrtle Beach, SC. I also love that they have free Wifi!!

    julimi at aol dot com

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      I really like Country Inn & Suites hotels, they have so many extra amenities that really make traveling a breeze. Thanks for stopping by!

  • MaryAnn

    I like that they have free airport shuttle service

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      That is such a big help with your are traveling without a car!

  • mail4rosey

    The big breakfast in the morning is my favorite ammenity! Thanks for hosting. We’d stay in Orlando if we won.

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      The breakfast is so helpful when you have a busy day! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Erin Bolivar

    Complimentary wi-fi and breakfast are always great perks!

  • BreanneT

    I like the breakfast.

  • cyndi br

    I like the laundry room and fitness room

  • Kat

    Kids 18 and under stay free.

  • Prasert

    Myrtle Beach south carolina is my favorite vacay spot! Free wifi and breakfast are awesome!

    pruamthong at aol dot com

  • http://openwidetheworld.com/ OpenWideTheWorld

    Besides the free breakfast? Free Wi-Fi is a great second favorite!

  • Ruya Norton

    The wifi!

  • Donna

    I’ve stayed at the Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Orlando, FL and we loved it. They had an amazing (complimentary) breakfast.

    Linjumimom at aol dot com

  • neiddy

    Free Internet Access is my favorite amenity. Thanks for the chance to win

  • Angela saver

    My favorite amenity at Country Inns & Suites is the Free High-Speed Internet Access! Free internet is a good value! Thanks for an awesome giveaway!


  • usnamom2014

    My favorite amenity is that wifi is free.

  • https://www.etsy.com/shop/SoliloquyShoppe Jasanna

    Has a winner been chosen?

    • http://totravelandbeyond.com/ Macy Volpe

      Yes, the winner was chosen on August 3rd and emailed. Thanks for entering!

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