This post was sponsored by Tripbound, a vacation rental company. All opinions are my own and based on my family's experience.
I am a Midwest girl.
I was born and raised in Illinois and seeing flat and slightly rolling lands is the norm. Acres upon acres of fields, barns old and new and a corn fed deer running across the road is what I am used to. Not being able to travel much growing up due to tough financial times, I haven't seen much of the USA. I went to Michigan as a child, even into Canada, but being 3 years old certainly doesn't allow for much memory of the event. We had gone to St. Louis a few times to visit Six Flags and the Meramec Caverns. That was about the extent of my traveling.
This was last year, 2015. They have grown up so much in a year!
So when I got married, I wanted to travel. My husband and I fell in love early on with Gulf Shores, Alabama. It is where we took our honeymoon and it is the beach. (Enough said, right?) Well, over the years, we knew we wanted to try something new, yet the white sand beaches and salty ocean smell called our name. Apparently it called our name a little too much and Ryan (our oldest) insisted we try something new this year and see new things. We knew he was right and I remembered my pledge to travel this great country.
Having never seen the east or west (we had only gone north and south), I started looking into traveling out east. We started to look into visiting Washington DC but we figured our 3 year old couldn't handle (or be interested in) all the sights of our Nation's Capital. I started to look a little more south and found Williamsburg, Va.
Now, let me be clear, we weren't sure about Williamsburg. I hadn't heard of many people exploring Williamsburg since from our neck of the woods it is a far (14 hour) drive. I hadn't really heard of anyone visiting Virginia either, besides Arlington National Cemetery.
Overlook on the way to Williamsburg. Beautiful scenery and tired travelers!
After doing some research on the state of Virginia, I realized what a perfect family friendly state it was. It has beach on one side, mountains on the other and our nation's history in the middle. As stated before, we gotta see the beach at least once on a vacation. We really do.
Being a stay at home mom, finding ways to make vacation affordable is crucial to vacation success for us. We are a family of six and finding affordable lodging is not only nice but a necessity. Most of the expense is in the lodging. Saving money on family vacations is important for many families who want to explore new areas.
So when I started looking for condos in the Williamsburg area, I went to the site I usually turn to, VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner). We have found staying in a condo is not only more cost effective but gives us the privacy and space we need as a family as opposed to a hotel. We found the condo we were interested in and contacted the owner. Which in this case, was the company Tripbound.
A Family Friendly Solution
Tripbound is a vacation rental company who specialize in affordable vacation lodging. In Williamsburg, we stayed at the Wyndham Kingsgate. We had two bedrooms and two bathrooms that fit our family of 6 quite nicely. It features an indoor and outdoor pool, adults only pool, hot tub, miniature golf, tennis courts, movie theater and game room. Yes, our children had a blast.
Outside of the condo we stayed at
As far as my husband and I are concerned, we aren't too picky when it comes to where we stay, but we do have some must haves:
:: It must be clean
:: It must be like the pictures showed when we booked it.
Tripbound was 100% accurate in pictures and we have never, ever stayed in a cleaner condo. The condo had a dining room which was perfect for our family of six to spread out a little and the master bedroom was large enough for Caleb (3) to sleep at the foot of our bed in a sleeping bag. Being 3, he likes to stick close to his mom and dad in a strange place. There is a pull out couch, but he settled in with us. :-)
The kitchen was well stocked as well. Every time I opened a drawer to get a bowl or utensil I needed, I was sure they wouldn't have it. They had it, though. Every time. Even the pizza cutter, which my sister and I joke is the one thing that is NEVER in condos and you would think would be!! (I mean, a family on vacation. Pizza. Pizza cutter. Just makes sense, right?!?!)
The only downside to the Wyndham Kingsgate resort (if you could call it a downside, my husband and I were amused by it, actually) was when I was checking in and went to pay cash for the minimal daily resort fee ($6 a day), they didn't know what to do with it. Literally. :-) A Wyndham employee said they never get cash and stood there holding it for about 1 minute. I rescued him and said I would pay with a card. Just a note to those who like to pay with cash. Bring a card. :-)
The Tripbound associates I dealt with were professional, the reservations were made easily and we couldn't have asked for a more pleasant experience. I did a little digging into their website, Tripbound.com and found they have access to condos all over the US including Hawaii. They also have some in the Caribbean. The rates are affordable (I thought the rates were fabulous for a family of 6) and the website is easy to navigate. The condo rates were much cheaper than our hotel room going back home. With a full kitchen, dining room, living room, two bedrooms and two bathrooms, the studio hotel room paled in comparison to the condo.
If you are interested in signing up for their newsletter to hear the latest deals and rates, you can sign up here (scroll to the bottom of the page). You will receive 10% off your first reservation.
I am going to share our experiences with Williamsburg (and Virginia!) as a family friendly vacation destination in my next post. I am also going to share some great vacation recipes you can make for your family without spending your vacation cooking in the kitchen. The recipes are frugal and will save your family money verses eating out!