Travel: Visiting All 50 United States

travelU.S. Travel

What's on your bucket list?

If yours is anything like mine, it includes a lot of items related to travel: road trips, beach vacations, exotic destinations, and locations perfect for family fun. Am I right?

Mississippi travel, visiting all 50 states on a united states road trip

Travel-Related Items on Your Bucket List

Of all those that were on my list, nothing was higher than visiting the 50 United States.

I followed in my parents' footsteps with this particular bucket list item. They both had the goal to visit all 50 states, so we would often focus our family vacations around a state one or both of them hadn't been to. Let's take Alaska, for example.

We were coming home from a family trip to San Francisco one time and the flight was overbooked. The gate agent asked if anyone would like to take a later flight in exchange for a ticket to any U.S. destination. My mom jumped at the chance to get a free trip to Alaska for our entire family. We got seven free tickets and the next summer, we flew to Anchorage, road tripped to Fairbanks and back, enjoying a completely sunny 4th of July all while celebrating my mom's accomplishment of visiting her 50th state.

From the time I was little, I knew I, too, had to visit all 50 states. The rule was simple: I had to step ground in each state. Airports didn't count.

How Marriage Can Help You Accomplish Your Travel-Related Bucket List Items

When I got married, I was up to about 30 states. To add a little fun to the mix, my husband, Troy, and I started a friendly competition to see who could visit all 50 states first. We did this more as a way to add fun to our marriage as well as to encourage each other to visit more and more states. Road trips is one of our favorite past times. (Here the whole family is road tripping on the way home from picking up the kids at summer camp in Colorado. We made a little stop at Arches National Park and had a fabulous afternoon exploring.)

But back to my story...

Troy and I had been neck in neck for years. I travel a lot for work, which helped me check off a state at a time on a regular basis. Troy took a different approach by going on long road trips—one that got him 30 states in one fell swoop. The sneaky part about that? I didn't even know he was road tripping and wouldn't have had I not learned all about it on Twitter.

Crossing Off the 50th State

In November, I was on a business trip to Chicago and added multi destinations to it to cross off North Dakota on my way home. Since my brother just moved there, I figured it'd be a great way to say hi all while crossing off my 49th state.

But, while in Minnesota visiting my friend and cousin, I learned that the Iowa border was only an hour and 45 minutes away. No time like the present to cross off an additional state, right?

This made North Dakota the perfect wrap to a life-long bucket list project.

My Favorite State

The first thing people ask when they find out that I've visited all 50 states is: "Which one is your favorite?" And not to disappoint, but I can't tell you.

I love the mountains and water combo in Seattle. I love the energy of New York City. I love the cattle ranch country of Texas. I love the palm trees and humidity of Florida. I love how San Diego brings back a gazillion childhood memories from spending every summer there vacationing with my family. And I love how New England reminds me of eating Chinese food for Thanksgiving. What?

Each and every state brings back a flood of positive memories. I found that while going to beautiful, fun places is exciting, that nothing is as much fun as the people you are with and the memories you make together when you are there. Here are some links to posts that have captured some of my favorite trips:


What's on your bucket list? Any travel related items?

PS: If you, too, have the goal to visit all 50 United States, I learned that there is a club you can join that even gives you, for a nominal fee, a certificate when you've crossed this item off your bucket list. Visit All Fifty Club to learn more.

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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