Meet Nicole from Suitcase and a Map
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Woohoo, it’s time for another travel interview. Welcome to another installment of my travel blogger interview series! Today, I’m happy to introduce you to Nicole from Suitcase and a Map.
My name is Nicole and I’m happily married to my husband, William. We have two amazing boys, Zach & Nate, as well as, two crazy dogs named Frank and Stella. Travel is something we love and feel it has added so much to our family. Whether it’s an epic road trip or a cross country flight, we’re up for it! Our blog, Suitcase and a Map, is a labor of love and we enjoy being able to share tips, hints and itineraries, as well as, showcasing that traveling with children is not only doable, but fun!
Interesting in keeping up with Nicole’s adventures? Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
How long have you been blogging for? Why’d you decide to start a travel blog?
I have been blogging for just over a year. I’ve thought about starting a blog for years but was a little scared to start. With the encouragement of my family and friends, I finally “went for it” and Suitcase and a Map was born.
Do you have any tips for new travel bloggers/aspiring travel bloggers?
My first tip would be to enjoy what you write about! My next tip would be to learn about SEO as it’s incredibly important if you want anyone to find and read your blog.
What’s one thing you wish you knew before you started traveling?
While we attempt to plan each day of our travels in full detail, we’ve learned that there are so many unique locations and experiences that may not be readily known when planning.
Some of the best experiences and stories come from unexpected detours.
Why do you love to travel?
I’m pretty sure I was born with wanderlust.
My Mom always tells the story that when I was 4 all I wanted for Christmas was a poster of Paris for my room. Now that I have a family, seeing the world through my children’s eyes has given me a whole new perspective on traveling and how impactful it can be.
What’s your best and worst travel experience?
Best: Our most recent road trip to explore several National Parks & Monuments which included Yellowstone and Grand Teton. We always love a great road trip, but this trip, in particular, showcased nature’s wonders in such an awe-inspiring way.
Worst: Thankfully, we’ve yet to have a poor travel experience.
Do you prefer solo travel or traveling with other people? Why?
I love traveling as a family. Our first big trip was when our oldest was 3 and I was pregnant with our second child. I truly cannot imagine it any other way.
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever been to? Why?
Such a tough choice, but I’m going to say Mackinac Island. I’ve dreamed of going there since I was 12 and we finally got to go there a few years ago.
Seeing the Grand Hotel in person didn’t disappoint. Mackinac Island is really a hidden gem and such a beautiful throwback in time.
Fun Fact: There are no cars allowed on the island!
What’s your biggest travel tip?
I’m a planner by nature, so I always encourage people to really think out their travel itinerary but do leave some room for spontaneity.
Also, several months before your trip get $5, $10, or $20 back whenever you go grocery shopping. Set that money aside and by the time you leave for your trip, you’ll have a pretty good amount to take with you to spend.
Is there one specific thing you like to do, see, or buy in every place that you visit?
We always buy a Christmas ornament and a coffee mug. We started our Family Travel Tree after our first big trip and each Christmas it’s so much fun to get out those ornaments and add the new ones from that year.
Every Christmas we make hot chocolate, put on Christmas music, and get our trees. Having a dedicated Travel Tree is such a fun way to preserve memories and reminisce about funny stories from our travels.
Is there one particular food that you’ve tried while traveling that you loved? What food was it and why do you love it so much?
As part of every trip, we always try and have one “nice” dinner which normally equates to steak. Across our travels, we’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the best steak houses in America.
Personal favorites which come to mind would be Keen’s in NYC, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse in Dallas, and Opus 9 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Plane or train? Plane
Hotel or hostel? Hotel
City or nature? This is a tough one, I’m going to say both city and nature
Popular site or off the beaten path? Another tough one, but off the beaten path is always fun
Suitcase or backpack? Suitcase of course
Fast travel or slow travel? Again, tough one. I’m going to say a mix of both
Professional camera or iPhone photography? iPhone all the way!
Warm or cold weather? Fall is my favorite time to travel, but the first part of Summer is a great time too
All photos used throughout this post are courtesy of Nicole.