The Working Mom’s Travels turns 5 + a family trip giveaway!

“Your traveling days are over.”

Do you know how many times I heard that, or something similar, from people when they learned I was pregnant with my first child almost a decade ago? Family members, friends of friends, anyone who knew of my traveling ways, felt the need to chime in to let me know I wouldn’t be able to travel anymore because I was starting a family.

Thanks to those naysayers, The Working Mom’s Travels is celebrating its fifth anniversary. On January 12, 2011, I published the first post on my then-new blog. I’d been blogging for seven years by that time but decided to create a new outlet with a new focus. My only objective back in 2011 was to show that I didn’t have to stop traveling just because I was having kids. I set out to show that not only is traveling with children possible, it’s also enjoyable and enriching. At the time, it seemed that other family travel blogs I’d come across were run by stay-at-home moms or work-from-home moms. I was, and still am, neither. I work outside the home and have been in the same career field for almost twenty years. Not only did I want to prove that I could still travel after having kids, I felt it necessary to prove that I could also balance a career on top of it all. So, The Working Mom’s Travels was born.

Lucia & her Daddy at the Grand Canyon, one of her earliest trips

Lucia & her Daddy at the Grand Canyon, one of her earliest trips

Back then, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I just wanted to write about my travels with my small, young family. And then I learned that bloggers could go on something called a press trip, where they’re hosted by a destination or other organization, and then they write about the experience afterward. I was intrigued but didn’t pursue anything because – well, I was the new kid on the block. So I happily kept up my blog and almost two years later, trip invitations started coming in and partnerships were being proposed. It wasn’t my intent when I started the blog, to just travel for free, but I thought, “Well, if everyone else is doing it, why can’t I?”

I’ve been on my share of press trips, been treated to complimentary tours and experiences, and they all have helped get The Working Mom’s Travels to where it is today. The same can be said of my readers. If there was no one to read what I write, this whole endeavor would be one giant flop. So, as my 5th anniversary approached, I started thinking of ways to thank my readers and supporters, while also continuing partnerships with organizations I’ve previously collaborated.

Now, about this giveaway…

Visit Springfield (Illinois) came up big for me – again. If you’ve followed along at all within the last two years, you know that my daughter, Lucia, is head-over-heels in love with Abraham Lincoln. We traveled to Springfield in October of 2014 so Lucia could get her fill of all things Lincoln. She was over the moon! For this reason, Springfield will always be a special place for my family and me. A few months later, I connected again with Visit Springfield for the legendary Drinkin’ With Lincoln tour, for which I partnered with my longtime friend, historian, and beer aficionado, Liz Garibay, of History On Tap. And now, in honor of The Working Mom’s Travels 5th anniversary, Visit Springfield has offered an incredible prize package for one of my lucky readers: 2 nights at Candlewood Suites in Springfield and 4 passes to the incomparable Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum!

Candlewood Suites is part of the Intercontinental Hotel Group and is an excellent option for traveling families. All suites are equipped with a full kitchen, which is key when traveling with young children. It also helps you to save a few bucks on dining, since you can prepare your own meals as if you were at home. The Candlewood Suites Springfield property also features a free laundry room for guests, a fitness center, a business center, and the Candlewood Cupboard for provisions. As far the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, there is nothing else like it! I’ve visited twice now and will gladly return again and again. The museum is beautifully curated and laid out in such a way that visitors get to follow Lincoln’s life from his childhood days on the Indiana frontier to his funeral procession. The exhibits are so well done and appropriate for all age groups. When I visited with my family, my daughter was 5 and my son was 1, and they both were captivated. Plus, there is a special area just for children: Mrs. Lincoln’s Attic. Children are invited to dress up in period clothing; there are Lincoln Logs and a dollhouse-sized replica of the Lincoln family’s Springfield home; a frontier kitchen area; and books and items for children of all ages.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum | Springfield, IL

Lincoln family greets visitors in rotunda of Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum

HOW TO ENTER: Just follow the instructions on the widget below. Be sure to include a valid email address – one you actually check – because that’s what I will use to contact you if you win. One winner will be chosen at random and will receive vouchers for two complimentary nights at Candlewood Suites in Springfield, Illinois (expiration January 2017; subject to availability and black-out dates), along with 4 tickets for complimentary admission to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Entry period ends at 11:59pm CT on January 31, 2016.

Lastly, I send out a heartfelt thank you to all of you for continuing to read my blog, follow my family’s adventures, and for your overall support. Huge thanks, too, to Visit Springfield for providing this awesome family prize package. Here’s to another five years of The Working Mom’s Travels!

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35 Responses to The Working Mom’s Travels turns 5 + a family trip giveaway!

  1. Sarah Ebner January 17, 2016 at 2:27 pm #

    This is such a fab prize – and so personal to your family too! Wish we were nearer to the US so we could have a go, but I will share and am sure the winners will be delighted!
    Sarah Ebner recently posted…A day in beautiful Broadstairs, KentMy Profile

    • Francesca January 17, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

      Thanks so much, Sarah!

  2. Sarah Parisi January 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    Love your blog! Congrats on 5 years and thanks for the giveaway.

    • Francesca January 17, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

      Thank you, Sarah! Good luck!

  3. Robin January 17, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Congratulations on 5 years! That must feel so great! I know one year was a big deal to me. Well done!!
    Robin recently posted…Marimoto Asia Disney Springs and DessertMy Profile

  4. jadebuddha January 17, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

    Congrats on making it this long, totally a passion.

  5. Pola @jettingaround January 17, 2016 at 10:50 pm #

    Happy 5th! I’ve had people tell me the same thing and I always want to reply, “You wish!” If I ever have kids, they’ll travel with me, just like I did with my parents. Cheers, amiga!
    Pola @jettingaround recently posted…Event Recap – Meaningful Travel: What, Why, HowMy Profile

  6. Rachael Brown January 18, 2016 at 8:27 am #

    Such a fun giveaway! Congrats on five years!

  7. Mary Moore January 18, 2016 at 9:38 am #

    Congrats!! I’ve never been to Springfield, IL – but would LOVE to visit. 🙂

  8. Suzanne Bastien January 18, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    Congrats on 5 years! Huge accomplishment.

  9. Tonya January 18, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    Springfield has been on my list of places to visit for years!

    Congratulations on 5 years of blogging. I know what an accomplishment that is. 🙂
    Tonya recently posted…Download SnowCast and you’ll never need to Guess if Snow is on the Way AgainMy Profile

  10. Tamara @ We3Travel January 18, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    Happy Anniversary! I’ve enjoyed following along in the last couple of years. Great prize!!
    Tamara @ We3Travel recently posted…Tips for Visiting Monticello with KidsMy Profile

  11. Angela January 19, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    Congrats on 5 years! We’ve been blogging for 6 months now and know how much time and effort goes into keeping up a great blog! We drive from Chicago to St. Louis all the time and have yet to go to the museum but it is on our list so we would live for this opportunity.

  12. Colleen Lanin January 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    Congratulations on 5 years!

  13. Alisha @ FamilyTravelOnAShoestring January 19, 2016 at 8:42 pm #

    Congrats on 5 years! Thanks for the opportunity to win a trip!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Kirsten January 19, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    Congrats on 5 years! I can’t believe I’ve lived in Chicago for 10 years and have only driven through Springfield. I think it’s time for a visit!
    Kirsten recently posted…What Your Kids Will Love About a Travel and Adventure ShowMy Profile

  15. Ashley January 19, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

    Thanks for a great giveaway and congratulations on 5 years! I think a family trip to Springfield is a ridiculously fun idea.

  16. Julie Henning January 19, 2016 at 11:48 pm #

    Five years is huge! Way to go! And Springfield really rolls out the red carpet.

  17. Anu Murthy January 20, 2016 at 1:12 am #

    Francesca you are truly awesome, hats off 🙂
    Some people just quit their plans / careers after having a child or quit their interest, but you totally proved that you are a true travel lover, yes yes you have already mentioned that you don’t want to prove it but after having a child the conditions turn a bit worse as we all understand, but seriously travelling with the family makes the trip extra ordinary and always a special one.
    and yeah a hearty congratulations on 5 years.
    keep on with the travelling.
    Cheers 😉
    Anu Murthy recently posted…15 Super Romantic Restaurants in Dubai to visit this Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  18. Traveling Ted January 20, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

    I almost feel like entering just to have a beer at Rolling Meadows, but since I won a previous contest, I will let someone else win this one. Happy five years to the Working Mom’s Travels!!!!
    Traveling Ted recently posted…Forest Glen backpacking adventureMy Profile

    • Francesca January 20, 2016 at 8:59 pm #

      True gentleman you are, Tedward. Having a beer at Rolling Meadows Brewery is well worth the trip down to Springfield! Perhaps we should road trip…

  19. Erin Marie January 22, 2016 at 1:47 pm #

    Little Lucia!! Oh my goodness! Seriously, I love that you are out there proving people wrong. Forever, and I’m nowhere near ready to have kids, people have been telling me, “Do it now! You won’t be able to when you’re tied down with a husband and kids.” DUMB! I just show them all the amazing travel bloggers out there kicking butt and showing their kids the world. Thanks for being one of those kick butt bloggers and my friend. <3 Happy blog birthday!
    Erin Marie recently posted…Yoga Teacher Training at Rishikesh Yog DhamMy Profile

  20. Charles McCool January 22, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Kudos on 5 years. Great accomplishment.
    Charles McCool recently posted…How to Flip Your Trip to Save Big MoneyMy Profile

  21. Raul (@ilivetotravel) January 22, 2016 at 4:50 pm #

    You definitely prove the point that whatever we set our mind to, we can achieve! And you are teaching your little ones to explore the world around them! Congrats!
    Raul (@ilivetotravel) recently posted…Happy 2016!My Profile

  22. Christy January 23, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

    Love this! So glad I found your blog!

  23. the lazy travelers January 24, 2016 at 10:41 am #

    happy blogaversary, friend!

  24. Crystal Ward January 25, 2016 at 2:12 am #

    Congrats on 5 years! I’ve never been to the Springfield area, but you’ve definitely sparked my interest!

  25. Amanda O. January 25, 2016 at 11:37 pm #

    Congrats on the 5-year anniversary…and thanks for the great giveaway!!!

  26. lola January 26, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

    Congrats on your 5 years of blogging here! What an amazing contest. Never stop traveling, my favorite traveling mama!
    lola recently posted…My Favorite Finds in Pretty Porto, PortugalMy Profile

  27. Lisa Trudell January 26, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

    Congrats on 5 years of blogging! We will be celebrating 5 years as well in September. What a great prize! We absolutely love the Lincoln Presidential Museum. We know that we have more to check out in Springfield and this would be great!

  28. Craig Zabransky January 27, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    Awesome 5 years… Glad to know you and learn through your adventures… Look forward to a reunion soon… And keep on Lincoln Drinking…. Love it.

  29. shivansh January 29, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    Happy Anniversary, fellow travel blogger!

    Hyper Gypsy

  30. Jessica Bernabei January 30, 2016 at 8:44 am #

    Congratulations on 5 years, never stop traveling! Thanks for offering a great contest.

  31. Michelle February 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    Stumbled upon your blog for the very first time today and I LOVE it!!! And I realize your giveaway is over, but just wanted to say that my family and I JUST hit up Springfield this past summer. What a FUN town! And the Lincoln museum was phenomenal.

    If you’re ever back in IL and looking for something fun and random (and FREE) to do, we went to Pontiac and checked out all the Route 66 Museum offerings. It was a great stop on a longer road trip (we are passionate about family travel as well).

    Glad I found your blog!

  32. Lance | Trips By Lance February 4, 2016 at 1:05 am #

    Congrats! Publishing a successful blog is so HARD. I admire your consistency and always quality content. I’m looking up to you on this journey. We need to plan a group trip. Seems like we talked about that a couple of years ago.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted…‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder’ Brings Comedy to MemphisMy Profile

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