Travel has changed considerably over the last year and extended stay hotels like Home2 Suites by Hilton, which offer spacious accommodations and value-added amenities to cost-conscious guests and their pets, continue to be popular among travelers who are filling up their tanks and hitting the road for weekend getaways.
According to a survey by Hilton, 88% of travelers believe road trips are a great way to make travel memories right now. Lifestyle blogger Mary Lauren, who runs the blog HeadedSomewhere.com, has partnered with Hilton to experience the benefits of a one tank road trip from South Carolina with her family to Home2 Suites by Hilton Richmond Hill Savannah I-95. Mary Lauren is a recent transplant to The Palmetto State and is a lover of all things travel, wellness and DIY. When she’s not taking her three kids on the road, you can find her and her husband renovating their Southern lake house.
We had the pleasure of chatting with Mary Lauren, as she and her family gear up for their first road trip to Savannah, Georgia to learn more about the must-haves when taking a weekend getaway with her family.
Hilton: What excites you most about road trips?
ML: My husband and I grew up on the west coast, but we recently moved to South Carolina, and we haven’t experienced much on the east coast. We’re excited to visit new destinations that are within a few hours’ drive. In the past we did lots of long-distance travel to other countries. I love experiencing new cultures and immersing ourselves in a new country, but right now we are loving quick road trips—especially with a new baby, the short trips are so much easier and more manageable.
Hilton: What are you most looking forward to about experiencing Savannah and Home2 Suites?
ML: I’ve never been to Savannah before, so I am totally excited for Home2 Suites to be our home base to experience everything Savannah has to offer. I’m so excited to visit Forsyth Park, a majestic 30-acre park that has Savannah’s most famous fountain, and see the city’s amazing 19th century architecture while strolling Jones Street. I also can’t wait to experience the Spanish moss in full bloom and try all of the delicious Southern cuisine. However, one of my favorite parts of any trip is the hotel stay: putting the kids to bed, popping popcorn, climbing into those soft hotel sheets, and putting on a good movie. It’s basically the best ever!
Hilton: What are your must-haves when staying in a hotel with your family?
ML: Going out to eat can get pricy and it’s not always the easiest option with little ones (especially babies), so an in-suite kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker is a must! I love that each Home2 Suites is equipped with a fully accessorized kitchen because I’m able to cook meals and snacks for the kids without having to go to a restaurant for every meal.
It’s also really nice when we can have separate living and sleeping areas so we can put the littlest ones down for a nap without being interrupted–it honestly makes such a big difference in our trip if they’re napping well. We’ve stayed at Home2 Suites previously with our family, and we were able to put our baby down for naps and still enjoy our time in the suite as a family. I also love that we have the option to bring our pup, Sophia! Dog sitters can be expensive and hard to find, especially for last-minute getaways. She loves to be on the go just as much as we do and the kids love traveling with her too.
Hilton: What advice or tips would you give to other families who are traveling or considering traveling in the months ahead?
ML: When traveling with kids, keep things simple. Don’t set your expectations too high and don’t overextend your time. Being flexible is so important! Explain this to your kids, too, to prevent disappointment (and future meltdowns). Plans may change, places may be closed, some activities won’t be able to happen—and that’s okay. We’re flexible and we will have a good time, even if we need to tweak our plans.
I also encourage parents to get creative when on vacation with their children. Turn your hotel suite into a movie theatre—build a fort and have a movie night in your suite. I also urge parents to bring hand sanitizer because those little hands touch everything! As an added bonus, having the peace of mind knowing Hilton has created programs like Hilton CleanStay, an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection, is so reassuring.
Hilton: Home2 Suites is quickly approaching 500 open locations across the U.S. and Canada. After your visit to Savannah, where will your Home2 Suites stay be?
ML: I would love to visit Nashville! It’s a quick five-to-six-hour drive from us and a place I’ve always dreamed of visiting.
Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 22 world-class brands comprising nearly 7,400 properties and more than 1.1 million rooms, in 124 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its founding vision to fill the earth with the light and warmth of hospitality, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list and been recognized as a global leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for six consecutive years. Hilton has introduced several industry-leading technology enhancements to improve the guest experience, including Digital Key Share, automated complimentary room upgrades and the ability to book confirmed connecting rooms. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 173 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can't buy. With the free Hilton Honors app, guests can book their stay, select their room, check in, unlock their door with a Digital Key and check out, all from their smartphone. Visit stories.hilton.com for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.
About Home2 Suites by Hilton
Home2 Suites by Hilton, one of the fastest growing brands in Hilton’s history, is a mid-tier, all-suite, award-winning extended-stay hotel concept designed to offer stylish accommodations with flexible guest room configurations and home-like amenities for cost-conscious guests and their pets. With a commitment to environmentally friendly products and hotel operations, Home2 Suites by Hilton offers complimentary hot breakfast, innovative and customizable guest room designs, laundry and fitness areas, free Wi-Fi, multiple outdoor spaces, 24-hour business centers, expansive community spaces and pet-friendly environments. Home2 Suites by Hilton has more than 630 open hotels with more than 700 in development. Experience a positive stay at Home2 Suites by Hilton by booking at home2suites.com or through the industry-leading Hilton Honors app. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. Learn more about Home2 Suites by Hilton at stories.hilton.com/home2suites, and follow the brand on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.