The 50 State Challenge


Our family is on a quest to visit all 50 states before the kids reach high school. Why did we start this crazy bucket list? It was all because of a gift…

You see, before our kids were born, my husband and I traveled every chance we could. I had only been to a few places outside of Florida, so he was determined to show me the world. We traveled to London, Paris, Rome, and took a week-long Mediterranean Cruise in our first year of marriage. Then, we went domestic and hit the big cities of New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

When the kids were born, our vacations changed to beaches and Disney World. While we loved being annual pass holders and taking trips to Disney several times a year, we also wanted to go back to our traveling lifestyle. So, he bought me a blank travel photo map for Mother’s Day and challenged me to fill it up. 

travel photo map

This blank state map kept staring me in the face, and I just knew I had to figure out a way to make this happen on our educator’s salaries. I started searching through pictures of our family in different states and within two weeks I printed the pictures and filled up only eight states! I was determined to fill up the map and with a goal in mind, I began to research the whole credit card rewards game to see if we could travel more for less. 

After hours of reading through credit card blogs, I came up with a plan to get us free airline miles and hotel stays. With strategic signup bonuses on various cards between both my husband and I, we managed a system where our family could vacation during school breaks for much less than I thought. 

Since 2016, I have made sure that our family trips include visits to multiple states. Before moving to Fairfield County, we lived in Florida, and it took about six hours just to get out of the state! Once my youngest turned 5, we embarked on our first multi-state road trip and drove to four new states. In order to tackle more states at a time, we decided to fly to a destination and then, go road tripping. travel photo map 3

Some of our favorite trips have been these adventures in the car and visiting a new city or state each day. Since that first multi-state Southeast road trip, we have visited 45/50 states and have set plans to complete them all by 2021 (when my son is in 8th grade). Barring any major health issues or family emergencies, we are on track with our family bucket list goal. I have to admit that it has been a whirlwind, but these adventures have created countless memories. We feel blessed to be able to give our kids these experiences, and grateful that it all started because of a gift.

travel photo map 2

Do you have any bucket list travel goals? How are you working on completing them?

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Margie works from home as a freelance writer and just moved to Fairfield in 2018. Born and raised in Miami, FL, Margie is excited to call the Northeast her new home. Her husband Tommy, and two kids Branden (2008) and Ema (2010) have also embraced this new community. Margie loves to travel, shop on Amazon, try new restaurants. She also loves to binge watch TV shows, and enjoys reading a good book.


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