For this installment of our “Love of Travel” series, we wanted to introduce you to Lance from www.tripsbylance.com. As luck would have it, we ran into Lance at our hostel in Toronto and decided to stop off for some drinks on our way to a TBEX event. We had a great time getting to know him and chatting about our shared love of travel over some tasty brews. Take a moment to get to know Lance, and be sure to visit his website for more stories & family travel tips!
PoP: What got you into traveling?
Growing up in a small city in central Arkansas, we didn’t travel much beyond weekend getaways to the Ozark Mountains. But there was a special trip when I was in the first grade. We drove two days to get to my uncle’s house in Miami, where we spent a week exploring his avocado and lime orchards, swimming in his massive pool and driving down to Key West. We also spent a week visiting the amusement parks of central Florida. That trip hooked me on travel. It also hooked me on the idea of trip planning. I began collecting travel brochures on that trip, and had a large box full of them in my bedroom closet that I would look through from time to time, dreaming of my next trip.
PoP: What got you into travel writing?
Well, I’m a journalist, although my newspaper editing job doesn’t involve travel writing. I began my blog as a travel-planning business a couple of years ago, but realized my training in writing enabled me to take Trips By Lance much further than I could planning trips for others. So in February 2013 I switched the business to a travel blog focused on family travel.
PoP: Who do you travel with?
I almost always travel with my wife of 14 years, Stacey. Over the past few years we’ve started taking our now 7-year-old son on more of our travels so we can expose him to all of the great experiences we have. I do from time to time go on sports trips with my friends. We try to pick a random college football or Major League Baseball game to focus a weekend of beer drinking on.
PoP: What do you look for in a destination when planning a trip?
I guess it depends on who is going on the trip, but in general we always look for local experiences, great local food, a good vintage or thrift shop or two, and local breweries or wineries if possible. My wife loves art, I love history and we both love great food. And as our son gets older, we try to find things he would be interested in, although we don’t visit amusement parks and traditional children’s destinations. I’m sure that will begin to change, but he somewhat enjoys visiting art museums as long as he and I get to play outside too. That’s especially true when Mom is shopping. On a recent trip to Indianapolis, for example, he and I chased a cat in the parking lot of a vintage shop while my wife was inside shopping. She did a good job; as I type this, I’m noticing that I’m wearing a shirt she bought for me there. And he’s developing into quite the sports fan. Something tells me when we take him to New York it will include some sort of game.
PoP: You have worked with several travel boards, recently New Mexico. What were some of your highlights about this relatively unknown state?
Where to begin … how about the food? New Mexico seriously is a great foodie destination. We visited so many fantastic restaurants in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Taos. And not just traditional New Mexican cuisine. We discovered great pizza and fabulous restaurants serving creative dishes that didn’t rely on the green and red chile peppers of the region. There is also great beer brewed in New Mexico, and we had some really good locally made wine, too. New Mexico is great for outdoors enthusiasts, history buffs, art lovers and shoppers. We are all those things, and had a great time exploring. If I go back I’d like to do more hiking. I’d really like to get up into the mountains next time. My son and I stuck to some easier trails, although we were still 7,000 feet up doing a four-mile hike.
PoP: Do you have any recommendations for families to consider when planning a trip?
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you have to only visit amusement parks or the beach. Yes, we try to take our son to the beach annually. We cherish the relaxed vibe of a getaway to the U.S. Gulf Coast. The whole Jimmy Buffett lifestyle? We believe in that. But if we’re going to take him to the beach every year, we like to mix it up where we can. For example, a couple of years ago we spent a few days in a little community on Lake Erie in Ohio. Lots of wineries and covered bridges in addition to the calm and cool water of the lake. In 2014 we’re hoping to visit the Lake Michigan community of Traverse City, Mich. We are big proponents of exposing our son to local food, art museums and history. But while dragging them through the Louvre or MoMA, remember that children need a playground or something else that’s fun too.
PoP: What are you looking forward to in the new year or years to come?
I don’t have a travel bucket list, or even a wish list. I’ve been told I should. Maybe I should jot down all the dream destinations I have floating around in my head. My family loves to travel as much as we can, although with a son who loves playing every sport he can, we find ourselves trying to schedule things around his activities. We are planning an NBA road trip this winter and spring. My son loves the NBA, so we are going to visit a handful of NBA cities to watch a game and explore the city over a three-day weekend. We’re still working out the details, but looking at Atlanta, New Orleans and Chicago with a few other possibilities like Dallas and New York. Over the next few weeks as my wife and I sit and drink our favorite winter cocktails, we’ll begin planning the year of travel. But it could include Alaska, New York and Greece. We travel from our home in Memphis to Nashville a lot, and Chicago will be on the agenda too. And we’re always dreaming of a temporary move to England in the next few years. My wife’s family lives there, so it’s always an option.
** All photos were kindly provided by Trips By Lance.
We would like to thank Lance (and his family) of “Trips By Lance” for sharing their love of travel with all of us. Be sure to check out Lance’s website for more great travel tales and useful family travel tips: www.tripsbylance.com. We with Lance and his family all the best and look forward to following their upcoming travel adventures together.
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