St Louis ArchMy oldest son will be going off to college next fall which means a lot of things for me as a mom including another regular destination in my travel rotation. The cost of airline travel is climbing higher than the clouds-pardon the pun- and if my “baby” chooses a school more than four hours away I’ll be forced into baggage fees and toiletry totes for four more years.Like many college age kids, I’m sure my visits won’t entail being with him 24 hours a day. So I’ll have to find a nice hotel, great places to eat, and things to do in the city.  The more I think about it, this choicecould cost me way more than the cost of tuition.

 So what are my choices thus far?  Nashville, St. Louis, Charlottsville, VA, and Princeton, NJ. With the exception of Princeton being a whopping 20 minute drive away I’m at the mercy of the airlines. So my default worry has become the cities themselves.  Nashville, TN?  As an 80s hip hop mom, I can’t see myself having too much in common with Country Music City. And Charlottesville, VA? Where is that exactly?  So, my choice between two rocks and a hard place is St. Louis. 

 I’ve been to St. Louis a number of times for business and conference travel. But like most business trips, you spend all of your time in the hotel. So, in essence, I know little about St. Louis outside of the Cardinals and the arch.  St. Louis is home to a mix of cultures and offers quite a bit of history.  I could travel the footsteps of Lewis and Clark or drive down to old Route 66. They have casinos in St. Louis but with the cost of a year at Wash U. being a whopping $58,000 I don’t think that’s a good idea.

 Yeah, I have a lot to think about over these next few months. Will I stay right downtown at Union Station or default to my usual choice of Marriott property? One thing is for sure. No matter where my son decides to attend college next year, he’ll begin his pursuit of happiness  and I’ll be racking up the miles and points as I continue my journey as a traveling mom.