Travel for Families: An Interview with Summer Hull from Mommy Points

Travel for Families: An Interview with Summer Hull from Mommy Points

Travel for Families: An Interview with Summer Hull from Mommy Points

Explore the world of family travel with help from Summer Hull, a travel expert and mom of two! With a background in social work and a penchant for exploration, she effortlessly blends the art of parenting with a passion for discovering new horizons. In this interview, Summer shares her journey into becoming a travel expert, along with invaluable insights into packing tips and family-friendly destinations. Plus, discover how Meems, adds an extra layer of comfort and style to kids globetrotting escapades. Read on as we delve into the intersection of family, travel, and fashion in this engaging interview.

Can you tell us about yourself and your family? 

Surely! I’m a mom of two busy and hilarious show-tune-loving kiddos – ages 8 and 14 – and we live in a Houston suburb. We love dogs, Disney, laying on the couch, watching shows and exploring the world.
How did you become a travel expert? 

I’m lucky to have grown up in a family that really valued travel. We didn’t do it in any fancy or hyper-frequent way, but we did what we could, which usually meant yearly trips driving to the mountains in Colorado and a few other key trips as kids that imprinted on me.
My first career was in social work, and I found myself with big travel dreams and a small cash budget (with a loooooot of student loans to boot), so learning how to leverage points, miles and credit cards to unlock my dreams without a bunch of cash changed my travel life – and ultimately my whole life as I was fortunate enough to turn that into a career writing about those topics.
Where can our followers get all your expert advice?

I had my own site, Mommy Points, for seven years, but in 2018 it was bought by the company that owns The Points Guy and I help run content and our daily newsletter over there now, though I do still also run the Instagram account @mommypoints.

Questions on What to Pack for Kids:

For families looking to maximize a weekend getaway, what are the must-pack essentials for both comfort and practicality?

Obviously, this depends on the age of the kids, but I think if what you are doing is a weekend away, you’re already on the right track before doing a bigger adventure, as it’s better to start small and work your way up.

But when my kids were younger, some clutch items were things like their blanket, their stuffy, their sippies – we even brought their whole crib noise machine one time when sleep was at an ultra-premium.

I’d also say that if you are flying, always, always have a quick change of clothes for you and them at the ready, along with a thin towel and a plastic sack to hold …. Whatever might happen. 


Tips for balancing packing for different conditions and activities when traveling with kids?

Packing cubes make everything better – especially if you can pack by day, not by person. For example, but all the things you need for Saturday at the beach for the whole family in one cube. Then, put Sunday’s outfit when you’re going out to eat and to the park in another cube. That helps reduce over-packing and keeps you so much more organized when traveling with little kids.


Compact and travel-friendly baby essentials for parents with infants and toddlers? 

I’ll admit I haven’t had a little little in a while now, but try and replicate that must-have clutch items you have at home on the road as much as you can when they are really small. It may mean you’re checking a bag or filling the trunk, but in those first few years, that’s totally OK and better than being without something you really wish you had.


Recommendations for entertainment and comfort items for long-haul flights with kids?

Airplanes and airports are where normal rules go to die – both for adults and kids. But for littles, what worked for me was lots of screen time, hitting up Target or the Dollar Store for a seemingly endless supply of ‘new to them’ gadgets and gizmos to unwrap and play with. Additionally, the drawing pads you can get on Amazon for about $12 are just about the best thing you can give a toddler or preschool on a plane – next to an iPad.


Incorporating educational elements into travel is becoming more popular. What are some innovative and compact educational tools or games parents can pack to make the journey a learning experience for kids?

I can’t say this is something we employed a lot on our trips in a formal way as we were either using the trip to be a good break from school (hello, Disney World!) or if it was something with an educational component, we embraced it on its own. For example, making time in NYC to go to the Museum of Natural History, which is just inherently educational or taking a tour of Buckingham Palace while in London. 

Your kids are learning as you go, even if you don’t end up getting any specific tool or game.


What are a few items from Meems you’d love to pack for your kids when traveling? 

There are so many adorable patterns and soft materials that are perfect for travel. 

If you have an upcoming ski trip, absolutely the comfy looking ski patch sweatsuit. For those not yet old enough to hit the slopes (but def perfect for a cute snow pic), the Navy Ski Sweater is a great choice.

If you’re heading somewhere warm or beachy, the Nissi Dress is perfect to quickly make the swap from pool to snack and the two-tone Aviator sunglasses with the trucker hat can help out in the sun.

Something like the baby surf suit that limits the surface area you need to get sunscreen on is a godsend and you can never have too many swim goggles, especially super cute ones.


Questions on Top Family-Friendly Destinations:

Current top picks for family-friendly destinations balancing safety, adventure, and cultural experiences?

Once the kids are a little bigger, Costa Rica is a great spot for exploring and experiencing landscapes and culture that is different than much of the U.S. – but not so far away or so different that it feels unachievable.

I’d also say that it’s hard to beat an Alaska Cruise – or any trip to Alaska, really. You see gorgeous glaciers, go to historic mining towns, do dog sledding, and then still get back on the ship and see a show or movie that night.


Destinations catering well to diverse age groups, offering enjoyment for both young children and teenagers?

OK, I already used cruising, but I’m going to use it again because it’s really the best multi-generation trip I’ve found. On most ships, little kids and teens have access to their own unique spaces and are often able to meet their own friends their ages, which makes everyone have more fun.
But I’ll also add skiing as another great family trip, as it provides a built-in focus activity where everyone can have a shared experience, but those who are older and ready for more adventure have that at their fingertips, too.


Recommendations for destinations blending work and leisure with family-friendly activities and amenities?

If you’ve gotta work from the road and the kids are little, there are two good ways to do this: go somewhere with a fun kids club or bring hands-on grandparents or other family members who are 100% onboard with you paying to bring them in exchange for some childcare while you work.

Resorts are perhaps easiest for this in that there’s a lot to do nearby while you work without you being too far away.


 Affordable yet fantastic destinations for families, considering accommodation, dining, and kids' activities?

National Parks are inherently a more affordable trip than many others, though lodging can be a bit pricey and book up around some parks. But still, admission fees are low for the return, and you have built-in activities exploring, and picnics are the best way to eat in the middle of somewhere like Zion, Glacier National Park and Yellowstone, to name a few. 


Short trips often involve quick decision-making. What are some tips for spontaneous family weekend travel planning, and any destination recommendations that are easy to arrange on short notice?

In the warmer months and climates, a trip to the beach / resort is hard to beat in terms of low bar for planning. There’s less to pack, there’s less to plan and you’re all but guaranteed a happy, tired child at the end of the day of playing and splashing.

But in addition, in those early years, just be easy on yourself. Your life isn’t the same as in your kid-free days, and being spontaneous with littles vs. spontaneous before you become parents are just different things. It gets easier to be more spontaneous as they get older – before junior high / high school hits and it gets harder in different ways.


What are the best deals for using points when traveling as a family?

I could write a book here, but almost anything that’s a good deal for adults is good for families. Even comfy lie-flat seats are great for kids (and parents) who want to cross an ocean with some decent shot at sleep.

But, that’s a big goal to start with for a family, so I’d say an easier place to start is by earning enough points to have a great hotel or resort stay. Some of the best value these days is from the World of Hyatt program, where you can stay on points at the amazing Grand Hyatt Kauai, or be a snowball from ski school on the mountain at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek or stay in an oasis in a city like NYC at hotels selling for $1,000+ per night but you’re on points you earned with your Hyatt credit card or even one like the Chase Sapphire Preferred that transfers to Hyatt on a 1:1 ratio.


As we conclude our insightful interview with Summer, it's evident that her blend of practical travel wisdom and family-centered experiences gives parents the encouragement to get out of town for the upcoming long weekend. From the early days of leveraging points for dream getaways to her current role in shaping content for The Points Guy, Summer has provided advice that's both adventure and practicality.
The intersection of Meems' charming apparel and her family's travel tips highlights the importance of comfort and style in each family adventure. We hope this interview inspires your family travels and perhaps nudges you to explore the stylish yet practical outfits at Meems for your little ones. 



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