Earlier this summer, we decided it was probably time to trade in our 2015 Chevy Colorado for a new vehicle for travel. I have loved having a mid-sized pick up truck. However, besides an occasional trip to the dump with recycling and helping friends move furniture, we really weren’t driving it a ton.

colorado truck

Our other vehicle, a 2012 Lexus RX350 crossover, has about 150,000 miles on it and has been starting to need some repairs. On top of that, it’s a little smaller than what we want for long road trips, especially when it’s more than just Ann and me. It worked out fine for our road trip through North Dakota this summer, but we often found ourselves saying it would nice to have more room.

Vehicle for travel Lexus in ND

You should know that whenever we make a large purchase, we like to move slowly. We do some investigating, budget well in advance, and seek online reviews as well as recommendations from others. As a part of our research, this time we asked readers of our blog for suggestions and laid out our priorities.

What we wanted in a new vehicle for travel

Our new vehicle for travel needed to:

  1. Be able to seat six people comfortably
  2. Have plenty of cargo space for suitcases and a cooler
  3. Get good gas mileage (25+ mpg)
  4. Be easy to get in and out of
  5. Cost less than a small house

Immediately, we received lots of ideas for a new vehicle for travel. Some folks suggested an SUV like a Tahoe, Suburban or Explorer. Others suggested crossovers like the Forester or Equinox. Still others suggested a minivan, swearing that they loved theirs. One person even suggested a MINI Cooper which sounded like a lot of fun but seemed a wrong step on the size scale. In any event, we knew we had to do some digging and answer some questions.

Would an SUV be a good vehicle for travel for us?

One reason we decided to sell the truck is that it was pretty high up off the ground. Ann, (who is 5’4″), has a lot of joint pain and climbing into the truck wasn’t easy for her. We visited our local car dealership and looked at a few SUVs.

Ann next to Tahoe

These things are huge! Turns out, the SUVs were just as high up off the ground as my truck and getting in an out was not easy for Ann. In addition, the gas mileage was terrible. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk only gets 13 mpg and the Tahoe wasn’t much better at 15-22 mpg. In addition, it honestly didn’t have a lot of storage space with the third row of seats up. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the sticker prices were shocking.

sticker shock

The sticker on the Suburban we saw showed a price higher than what Ann paid for her first house! For us, an SUV was out.

Could a crossover work?

Next, we considered crossovers. Being crossover owners already, we felt we knew the category pretty well. We can pack a lot in the back of our Lexus RX but there’s not much space for extra passengers.

lexus rx storage

While a few of the crossovers we considered did offer a third row of seating, it wasn’t necessarily easy to use. And if we did use the third row, there was often no cargo space at all for suitcases. While they were less expensive and got better gas mileage than the SUVs, we really wanted more space. So we crossed off crossovers on our hunt for a good vehicle for travel.

What about a minivan?

Honestly, we have never thought of ourselves as minivan people. Our daughter is all grown up now and we don’t have little ones to take to school or soccer practice. We’re empty nest travel bloggers and way too young and hip (or does using the word hip make us not hip?) to have a minivan. My parents have a mini van for goodness sake. It wasn’t for us. The photo below is from our Nebraska road trip with Steve’s parents in 2017.

Minivan trip with Steve's Parents

But the more we looked for a vehicle for travel, the more we saw that minivans offered everything we wanted. They had tons of cargo space, room for seven people to sit comfortably, and they were super easy to get in and out of. In addition, minivans get about 28 miles per gallon on the highway and the cost was far less than that of a house (or an SUV).

So, which minivan would it be?

We began looking at the different vans available and found two options that rose above the rest. The Chrysler Pacifica and the Honda Odyssey each had great reviews. In addition, they both offered all the bells and whistles we’d ever want for our long road trips. But the Pacifica had one feature the Odyssey doesn’t that we couldn’t live without: Stow ‘n’ Go seating. Here’s a 16-second video to show you how it works.

In the Chrysler Pacifica, you can fold the seats into the floor to make room for cargo, so the seats stay in the van. In the Odyssey, you have to remove the seats to make room for cargo. And considering how we’ll use the van to take cargo from Nebraska to Oklahoma, it only made sense to buy the vehicle that allows us to take our seats, as well.

Our new vehicle for travel

So, we headed to the dealer to take one for a spin. While a larger vehicle, it sat low to the ground and handled like a regular car. The ride was smooth, and the seats comfortable enough for a long road trip.

Vehicle for travel luggage space

We picked the options we wanted finding one that even has TV screens for passengers in the back. And before you laugh, you should know that Ann and Meghan have already watched a movie on one of our trips.

Vehicle for travel TV screen

The van also offers three climate zones, USB ports galore, cup holders, and even a 110v plug in. Yes, it has an honest-to-goodness plug – perfect for charging a computer and blogging while on the road.

Vehicle for travel Pacifica Cargo Space

And look how much space it has for cargo with the seats stowed in the floor! We spent several days thinking about it, reviewing our budget, and negotiating a fair price. By the end of the week, we bought a minivan. Well, actually, we like to say we bought a Pacifica. And we love it!

Since we didn’t pay the price of a house for the vehicle, we spent an extra $20 to get a vanity license plate. Now we have “GO PLCES” and “C THINGS” on our two vehicles so we can share travel advice as we head down the road.

Vehicle for travel two cars

We’ve had our Pacifica for a couple months now and are still very happy with the choice we made for a new vehicle for travel. We’ve already put more than 4,000 miles on it and have a big road trip across the south planned for this fall. Can’t wait to hit the road and take her for a spin.

Have you been new car shopping recently? What are your must haves in your next car?

  • Late breakfast, early lunch. Time got away from us this morning so we had a bit of a brunch. We have been on an oatmeal kick this year for several reasons. It's inexpensive, filling, tastes great, and is typically readily available at grocery stores and hotels that serve breakfast. ⁣
One cup of oatmeal cooked in water is about 160 calories (and a "green" food on our @noom weight loss app). We like to add a teaspoon of brown sugar, a little cinnamon, and lots of fresh berries. Other options are: bananas, nuts, nutmeg, diced apple, flax seed, or dried fruits. ⁣
What is your go-to breakfast these days?
  • See how we lost a combined 150 pounds in a year while traveling! It was one year ago this week that we began our healthy living journey. We are travel bloggers with a new post (just click on the handy dandy link in our bio) about what we've lost and gained in one year.
See what we've learned about calorie density, exercise and ourselves in the process. We are so thankful for the resources that have helped us, including @noom and the @mayoclinic Healthy Living Program. (This is NOT a paid partnership) We feel like new people and hope our story will encourage someone else who wants to make a healthy lifestyle change. To stay up to date with our weight loss and healthy living journey, be sure to follow @PostcardJar on social media.
  • Our daffodils are in full bloom here in Nebraska and they just make us smile. We brought the  bulbs for these flowers from Ann's first house when we got married and moved here. Ann had dug them up from her grandma Rashleigh's home in Fremont, Nebraska, and her grandma had brought them to the U.S. from a trip that she took to England. ⁣
Ann's grandma passed away several years ago. Each spring, these flowers bloom and remind Ann of her grandma and her beautiful soul.
  • We love to travel but we're staying home to flatten the curve. As travel bloggers, writers, and influencers, we all have canceled trips, postponed adventures, and rescheduled experiences. ⁣
We know this is temporary and soon enough, we'll be traveling again. But for now, we are all staying safe at home and encourage you to do the same. And while you’re home, check out some of these influencers’ feeds for travel inspiration.
  • Last week, we had the pleasure of making handmade pasta (via the internet) with our friends, Deb and Massi, who were in their home kitchen in Italy. ⁣
You can read all about it, and get the recipe, on our blog. Yep, you guessed it, the link is in our bio. ⁣
We met Deb and Massi of @italyunfiltered a few years ago when they created an amazing food and wine itinerary for us. We've remained friends and it was so good to see them, even if they were a world away.
  • We were supposed to be in Rochester, Minnesota, this week for Ann to see a cardiac sarcoidosis specialist about some recent issues with her heart. Of course, we did not travel to Rochester for her scans and doctor visits because of the coronavirus outbreak.⁣
Instead, her cardiologists called her from their homes and her scans and tests will likely be delayed until June or July. We'll keep in close touch with them if anything changes, as well. We are so grateful for all of the healthcare professionals who are continuing to work crazy hours from home as well as in our hospitals around the world.⁣
This is such an unprecedented and stressful time for all of them. Words will never be enough to convey our gratitude for the roles they are playing in the battle against this deadly virus while caring for those with other diseases and illnesses at the same time. ⁣
Every healthcare provider we've talked with in the last two weeks has had the same message for those of us who don't have to go to work at a hospital. ⁣
Just. Stay. Home.
  • Yesterday was Day 16 of social isolation for us. Because of Ann's underlying heart condition and suppressed immune system, we've cooked all our meals at home (no takeout). We've starting to get more and more creative as time has gone by. ⁣
Last night, we made chicken and shrimp vindaloo and learned online how to make homemade naan.⁣
It wan't as good as our favorite Indian restaurant, The Oven, but it did satisfy the craving we've had for Indian food. ⁣
What are you craving these days?
  • We moved our living room furniture around this week and put two swivel chairs near the sliding glass door. Each day, we take time to turn around, rest our minds, enjoy in the view, and just be. #webelieveinhome

Second most popular blog in Pawhuska