Contest! Win a $100 TownePlace Suites gift card!

If you are reading this blog, chances are travel has affected your life in some way. Whether it’s for fun or for work, travel gives people the opportunity to learn about themselves and the world around them.

To celebrate the transformative powers of travel, TownePlace Suites by Marriott is doing a photo contest called “Travel Turning Point.” Offering more than $10,000 in prizes, TownePlace Suites is asking travelers from across the United States and Canada to submit a photo and caption that describes how a travel experience has been a positive turning point in their lives. Click here to enter!

I will certainly be entering the national Travel Turning Point contest, and hope you will to. We are doing a smaller contest here on Road Warriorette, and the winner will receive a $100 gift certificate from TownePlace Suites! Here’s the deal. To enter into the national contest, you have to upload a photo of a turning point in your travel journey, along with a 100 word caption. Obviously, we don’t have the ability to upload photos in comments here. So to enter the Road Warriorette contest, leave a comment describing a turning point in your travel life, or what will be the 100 word photo caption when you enter the national contest (see my example below). Of course, if you want to link to a photo I won’t tell you no! Contest runs from today until Sunday, June 9 at midnight CDT. As always, only one entry per person.

Here is a picture from a very important trip of my own:

While lying on a golden sandy beach in Maui, with the palm trees swaying above and dolphins playing in the distance, something internal shifted inside of me. I realized it was time to pursue my lifelong dream of being a writer, and start sharing my business travel experiences and lessons learned with others. The next week I started Road Warriorette, and set off on a transformative journey. Four years later I wouldn’t change a thing!

Good luck!!


  1. The turning point in my travel life was when I got off the plane in Denmark to study aboard in college. Landing in a foreign country where I did not understand the language or culture, knowing I was living by myself allowed my imagination to run wild of where I could travel/what I could learn/and the students from all over the world that I could meet

  2. I came to Brazil for two weeks in August 2007 a US news reporter doing stories on ethanol, and left having fallen in love with my local translator. I knew before the trip ended I couldn’t settle back into my old life, and within 10 months had moved to Brazil. That was five years ago, I’m now writing you from a Brazilian beach and the translator is my wife!

  3. In 2007, my girlfriend of 3 years took a work assignment in Paris. I had never been there so I flew over after Christmas and we took a side trip to Rome. That’s where we got engaged. Her love for travel has become a passion of mine as well and we are actually headed back to Paris for our 5th anniversary!

  4. A trip to Haiti led me to my daughter, and my life was never the same. I became a parent, and will always have a connection to that country.

  5. A trip to Ko Olina Hawaii with my wife and 3 girls and while sitting on the beach watching the sunset, I realized that life is going by so fast and we need to slow down and enjoy the little things and as a family.

  6. My travel turning point occurred when I realized how exciting it was to sleep in three hemispheres in one week! (Argentina, US, and France)

  7. The turning point for me was when I made a road trip from rural Nebraska to Los Angeles right after high school graduation. That’s when I knew the was so much to be experienced by making travel a focal point of my life

  8. The turning point for me was when I studied abroad in the Netherlands during college. It was a travel based program so I went to many countries throughout the semester and it solidified my love of travel.

  9. The turning point for me was when I was able to stay in a nice hotel in Hawaii and decided that I needed to get into miles and points to support my new passion.

  10. My turning point was when I stopped using wheeled bags. I am so much more free when everything I bring fits on my back.

  11. My turning point was when we booked our first cruise for our 25th Wedding Anniversary, and I discovered that you can travel for a lot less than I ever dreamed if you know where to look!

  12. The turning point for me was coming to United States for the first time as a 20 year old on a special project. I made my own itinerary and then traveled up and down Northeast by Greyhound bus from big to small cities and met diverse audiences in schools and colleges. The incredible experiences of navigating a foreign country largely by myself gave “the wind behind my wings” and cemented my belief in myself.

  13. My travel life turned for the better after realizing simplicity is all that is needed in life – cliché, I know. I was sitting alone an infinity pool at a nearly deserted resort in the Philippines facing the sea, and the feeling was indescribable. I decided from then on to cut fancy trips to Paris and other expensive cities and donate the savings to charity, instead staying close to home (in Asia) to admire the finer things in life that we often take for granted – again, cliché but I mean it.

  14. A trip to the Maldives (with stunning scenery and aquatic life) had me grasp how out of touch I’ve become with nature. As a city dweller, I now try my best to get to the great outdoors and am a proud supporter of eco-tourism. My next trip, hopefully, will be to South Africa. Wild safari, here I come!

  15. The look on my nieces face when I took her to NY made me vow to take those kids on as many trips as possible. They never get those chances from their parents.

  16. The first time we went to Hawaii and get to visit the islands and experience the culture there!

  17. Turning point of realizing that the world can be really different from where you grow up. While in college, landing at Singapore in February, at midnight, and observing that it’s still over 100 degrees outside.

  18. Learning about how UNIMPORTANT lots of luggage is, was our lesson 1997. My girlfriend (now wife) and I had planned 2 weeks in Yucatan area touring around on our own and staying in hostels. We had decent sized backpacks with all our needs in CHECKED luggage which of course both disappeared at plane change in Mexico City. So we arrived in Cancun with nothing but our wallets, went to the nearest store and bought toothbrushes and few essentials and got our rental car and head off. All over Yucatan seeing ruins like Tonina etc., all the way up to the COLD village of San Cristobal de las Casas. Felt like we’d freeze to death in the hostel there but we kept each other warm somehow 🙂

    Finally arrived back to Cancun for our flight out and our luggage was there. We didn’t miss it and ever since we pack super-light.

  19. Trip to Wilmington NC with my then-boyfriend. I realized as we drove down the long stretch of highway that I had fallen in love with him. Sounds corny but I had never felt that way about anyone before. Now we are married!

  20. The turning point for me was my first ever trip abroad with just my sister and no parents. It was a transformative experience seeing many of the wonders of Europe, unique sights and sounds and experiencing the local culture during our 3-week travels there. That really opened up my travel eyes and I’ve since gone back 3 more times and added 3 more trips to Asia as well since then. Exploring the world is an amazing experience and I’m so thankful that my first trip jump-started my proverbial travel ‘engine’!

  21. I spent 6 months in Belize in 1995 and had the amazing opportunity to explore remote site in the rainforest. It introduced to me rich biodiversity and really set the realization that we truly do inhabit a fragile, yet resilient planet.

  22. My first trip to the Hawaiian Islands, which allowed me to experience incredible beaches, snorkeling, lava flows, waterfalls, and luaus.

  23. The first time I drove my then friend up to Austin – We ended up as husband and wife!

  24. We were hot, tired, and nowhere in the desert expanse of Utah. The radiator failed, but a tow truck appeared 60 seconds later, stayed with us through the initial repair to make sure we weren’t taken advantage of, and directed us to a shop in Grand Junction where the repair could be completed. We recognized very quickly we weren’t on our own.

  25. My first trip to Europe with my family when I was in 10th grade. I got hooked and have been wild about travel ever since.

  26. When we took our 2 boys to Greece a couple of years ago and watched them run together on the original race track in Olympia. All the hassles of getting 4 business class seats to and from Europe melted away.

  27. Discovering travel bloggers and resources like Tri Advisor have given me a definite advantage when planning my trips. I no longer accept bad deals at terrible properties! 🙂

  28. I just finished doing the big tourist sites in Pisa, Italy and had some time to burn before dinner. After the leaning tower it’s all downhill, right? So I strolled into the cathedral, for which entry was free, not expecting much other than another Italian church… and then… the organist started playing. I think he was practicing. Imagine being surrounded by beautiful architecture, stunning art, and suddenly having gorgeous music fill the air. This reminded me that the best travel moment are often unplanned, and that serendipity can be joyous.

  29. This past January my daughter and I traveled to alaska to see the northern lights. I was forever impacted the first moment I saw them

  30. This may sound strange but my pivotal trip was one that my friend and classmate took with her family to Paris the summer after 9th grade. She brought me home a lovely little pale blue glass vase that still sits on my dresser 40+ years later. It was the first time I realized that I too could travel to far-away exotic places. Twenty years later I finally visited Paris on my own and sat in a cafe and wrote postcards home that echoed an exercise from those long-ago French classes.

  31. Arriving in Huntington Beach at 17 years old in 1984 after driving from Missouri to see the Pacific for the first time.

  32. Turning point was when my flight in life was an international flight at the age of 22 on LH (Del-Fra) which kick started my love affair with travelling and travelling in style. 🙂

  33. Seeing the pure joy of my 6yr olds eyes at his first trip to Disney world. That is what travel and new experiences are about.

  34. Flying by myself, when I was 10 years old to visit relatives, made me realize how much more there was to see in the world.

  35. My travel award collection pattern changed in year 2910 when I had a chance to see posts in boardingarea and milepoints

  36. Oops! Just left the following comment on your June 8 blog post instead of here, so here it is, since I want to be part of the contest:

    Flying back from abroad with a teen group, I was a non-rev and got seated in First Class. When I told the TWA hostess I wanted to go back to Coach to see my boyfriend, she upgraded him!


  37. Flying to Colombia for the first time was very exciting when I flew as a ‘recommended child’ to see my family!

  38. being upgraded from a points redemption standard room to a wraparound terrace suite at Cosmopolitan for my honeymoon!

  39. My travel turning point was not a vacation or a business trip. In 2006, before any celebrities had shared their stories, my “breast cancer gene” was discovered I decided to have a preventative double mastectomy. I was 36 years old.

    Using frequent flier miles, my husband and I flew to Baltimore, MD and on March 21, 2006 I underwent stage one, a 12 hour surgery. It took 18 months, 2 more trips to Baltimore and 2 more surgeries, but I am alive today. This was not the path I had predicted, but one I am so grateful to have taken.

  40. I got a status challenge on AA about 8 years ago to Plat mostly on a trip to Asia…discovered that I liked the perks 🙂 no looking back since.

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