Category Archives: Become a Monopoly Traveler

The Game is Complete!

A few weeks ago we made our final Monopoly National Parks adventure to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park to complete a journey which began almost nine years ago. It’s hard to believe we were actually able to complete this goal of visiting 28 parks in that time frame.

Hawaii Volcanoes Entrance Sign

On the road to this entrance sign it was difficult to pay attention to driving as I often caught myself reminiscing over past adventures that all began at Badlands National Park where our two girls first became Junior Rangers and we all began to see the luxury of our National Parks. Once the final signature had been obtained we were congratulated by those around us in the visitor’s center but the fact that this game was now completed didn’t really sink in at first. In fact I think there was probably more sadness than sense of accomplishment because we are now without plans for another family adventure. It’s a weird, empty feeling that I’m not sure how to grasp. There’s always been another place to plan and prepare for.

The final signature on our National Parks Monopoly Board

While our board of adventures was complete there was a small piece to add in order to make our journey full circle. That was to visit Pearl Harbor. More specifically to re-enter the gift shop there 15 years later with our children to the place where this whole thing actually began. It was in this very place that Karen and I first discovered the National Parks Monopoly board and this idea of visiting each place was conceived. Only this time there were four of us to complete this list of incredible adventures.

Gift Shop at Pearl Harbor

The End!

A New Edition

FrontI was browsing for some images for an upcoming post and ran across a new edition of Monopoly National Parks. Apparently this version was released sometime in 2012. You can get a little more information at World of Monopoly. This is a site dedicated to Monopoly. The history and multitude of editions published by Hasbro and other licensed distributors. Way more information than I need in a single sitting but interesting to browse over.


They certainly went further in this edition than previous ones in that the chance and community chest spots have been transformed into historic sites and battlefield parks. These areas had been left original in earlier editions however the cards themselves pertained to the national parks. In addition, the middle spots are now filled with activities available in many of the parks – hiking, bicycling, rock climbing, and river rafting. The four corners have been left as original which I believe in required by Hasbro in order to be a licensed edition.

Looking over many of the parks used on this board, there are several that we’ve been to and several more we will be going to, and a few not on our current list. Those not on our list are parks I would eventually like to get to someday as the photos and information I’ve read are very intriguing. Overall if I was starting out and choosing a Monopoly Board to travel this would definitely be at or near the top of the list. This being written, We’re going stick to the first edition as we are almost half complete with it. The only difficult spot on this entire board is the Campfire violation. I would probably have to break my rule trying to complete each location on the board minus the corners as there is no interest in a campfire violation.


Check it out for yourself. I did see it available on Amazon.

The Car Rental Employee Encounter

What did we enjoy the most continued? (The most humorous portion of this board)

Enjoying the Freedom from the Parking Ramp

Back into the car with seat belts on we begin looking for the exit to the ramp. As we started driving around we ended up in the same circle we took before and there happened to be an employee who had seen us pass for the second time. The route we were on did not exit the ramp so we went around again searching for exit signs without finding one and ended up back by that employee for a third round a very short time later. He motioned for us to stop and we complied. I rolled down my window and he asked if we were lost. I’m not sure what the most obvious clue was but he was more than willing to help. This particular gentleman spoke with a foreign accent which prompted me to answer yes. Only yes came out as “sei” which apparently took him by surprise. It was obvious to me and everybody else in the car that he was not from a Spanish speaking country which may be why he had such a quizzical look on his face. Or maybe it was the fact that I don’t resemble a person who speaks Spanish in anyway. My German/Swedish heritage might be a good reason for that as well as the fact the I maybe know five words in Spanish. After this helpful man took a quick step back, I quickly relinquished with a ‘sorry, I mean yes!’

Trying to Escape the Parking Ramp

He quickly explained to us how to exit the ramp and watched us drive away. As I looked back I noticed everyone in the car had a smile and was trying desperately not to laugh while he could see us. We drove around the parking ramp one more time, taking a turn that this nice employee had suggested and found our way to the exit. FREEDOM! We made it out of the airport grounds and on to our next destination.  Talking or even thinking of this story continues to bring smiles to all of those in the car that day and gives us a memory that will bond us for life once again showing us why being Monopoly Travelers can be so much fun. Maybe you had to be there to really enjoy the humor.

A Vacation Post Mortem

The Only Way to Fly

What exactly do you mean by a traveling post mortem? This is something that is done by almost everyone with ever realizing it. For most people this is done by simply unpacking from a vacation, putting away any souvenirs, and looking over their photos. It’s a great way to remember all of those memories you created and experiences that you have to share for years to come all the while wishing you could be back on vacation. I take my vacation post mortems a little further.

Heading Out to Sea

I like to see how many miles we flew, drove, and walked during our adventure. Trip cost get broken down into categories such as hotels, meals, car rental and gas, airfare and luggage, park entrance fees, souvenirs, and any other miscellaneous expenses related to each trip. If I remember to reset the trip information on my GPS I will also record average speed, max speed, hours moving, and hours stopped. I put all of this information into a document for each adventure we take. What is the purpose of keeping track of all this information?

Relaxing on the Beach

There are a couple of reasons that this information if kept track of. First of all, it’s interesting to see how many miles we travel and how those miles are traveled. Also, it’s always a good idea to make sure costs add up with receipts and whatever method is used to pay for those items. Portions of vacations are paid for at different times which makes keeping track of all those costs a little more challenging. After a few of these adventures I can average out the costs per trip giving me an idea of how much I need to save in order to cover the costs of any upcoming vacations.

Looking Below the Surface

This was an idea giving to me from a family member a number of years ago. I didn’t fully appreciate the benefits of doing this at the time and decided it was more work than I wanted to take on after a trip. Once we started traveling our Monopoly National Parks edition, the decision was made to track costs along with some other travel information. So what where some of the stats from this last adventure:

Miles Traveled:
By air: 2,222 miles
By sea: 1,197 miles
By car: 732 miles
By foot: 11 miles
Total Miles: 4,162

Wow! Now that I look at the numbers to think we did all those miles in only 10 days. Let’s take out the air miles and that leaves us with 1960 miles in 10 days. That is 196 miles per day and I know there were days that we did less than 50 miles such as 2 of those days while we flew to Florida and back from Florida. That leaves us with 232 miles per day taking out 100 miles for the two air travel days and dividing 1860 by 8 days. Either way you look at it, it’s about 200 miles per day either by sea, car, or walking. That leaves a lot of things to see each day.

Playing with the Dolphins

(Please excuse me for a few moments while I go shovel the driveway as we are getting another blizzard.)

Returning to the City

O.K. got the first wave of snow cleared from the driveway. Now, where was I? Ohh ya, our Florida trip post mortem. I was recently going through our pictures. We ended up taking over 700 pictures. It certainly would be nice to be back in those locations on this snowy day. That’s an advantage to the digital age in cameras – if you are unsure about taking a certain photo take it. You can always erase it later but you are not likely to have the opportunity to take the exact picture again. I rarely erase a photo. It really doesn’t cost me anything extra to save the picture on a cd or dvd with all of my other pictures. Who knows, I may want that picture again someday or just enjoy viewing it and remembering the experience associated with it.

Remembering the Sunny Caribbean

A post mortem of an adventure helps to solidify the memories created on that adventure and will become more valuable to you as each year passes and you want to recall a detail or two about the many adventures you’ve been on. This will also help in budgeting for future vacations and give you an idea of where you spend the most or least during a trip. If you really need to reduce costs you can see which categories are the highest and work on ways of reducing that category or categories. A thorough trip analysis can also help determine what you could do differently that would make the next adventure more meaningful, enjoyable, and memorable!


Another Board to Travel

Chocolate Edition Board

Over the holidays we have found another board to add to the list of “Boards Traveling”.  This one should be quite easy as it is the Monopoly Chocolate Edition.  The board itself has all of the same properties as the original game but the rest of the pieces are different.  There is a spinner and the deeds/chance cards.  In this edition, the deeds and chance cards are made of chocolate. 

Board and Pieces

Monopoly Chocolate Edition is probably one of the easiest and fastest editions to play.  The rules are as follows:

1. Place the board and the spinner on the table
2. The host spins first. If the spinner lands on a colored square, the player can take a chocolate of the same (street) color from the box and put in on the board on a street square of the same color.  Then it is the next player’s turn.
3. If the spinner stops on a square with a question mark, a similar chocolate is placed in the bank.
5. If the spinner stops on the Free Parking square, the player may take ALL chocolates from the bank.
6. Once the last chocolate belonging to a color on the board street has been placed, the next player to spin this color may take ALL the chocolates of that color.
7. As soon as all streets and all stations have been distributed, the player who has won the most chocolates wins!  The winner may also eat any chocolates left in the bank.

Chocolae Deeds and Chance Cards


This game is for 2 – 4 players.  That could be a lot of chocolate for 1 person if they are playing a 2 person game as there are 32 pieces.  I think we will wait for a couple of months to travel this board as there are plenty of holiday treats still around. 

There have been other chocolate versions created such as Chocolate – Opoly which is dedicated to chocolate aficionados. Then there was the Neiman Marcus Chocolate Monopoly Edition which was made entirely of chocolate including the board, deeds, and hotels.  This edition was sold in 1978 for $600.00 according to Apparently there were only 25 of the Neiman Marcus editions made.  I would have to have a fairly large gathering in order to eat all of that chocolate.  Finishing a complete game must have been near impossible due to pieces missing (eaten). What a great conversation piece though.

Chocolate Edition Box

This edition of Monopoly may not be quite as chocolaty as the Neiman Marcusedition; it doesn’t come with that kind of price tag either.  I believed that there was a Monopoly edition for everyone before with all that have been made over the past 75 years.  Now I’m convinced with the making of chocolate versions!

The Concept

The concept of being a Monopoly Traveler is to travel to each of the destinations on a particular version of Monopoly. These destinations come from the properties on that Monopoly board.      

The National Parks Board that began our adventures as Monopoly Travelers

First, decide which board(s) you want to travel. Next, choose how you want to get to each location, and finally determine what you want to do once you get to your destination.  It’s that simple!  There are over 1,800 versions of Monopoly with more being created every year.  Many of these boards are full of destinations that allow you to become a Monopoly Traveler.    

 Why become a Monopoly Traveler:     

The purpose of being a Monopoly Traveler is to experience new destinations. Some of these destinations you may be familiar with while others will be places you have never experienced before.  Using a specific Monopoly Board to determine your destinations increases the chance that you will experience a place you never knew existed and would not have planned on exploring if it weren’t for becoming a Monopoly Traveler.      

Each edition of Monopoly has locations that were chosen by somebody else for a specific reason.  Chances are that each location has significance and is worth experiencing.  Determining your travel destinations in this way helps eliminate your biases and become more of a pure explorer, open learning about places which will positively surprise you.  These locations will likely be of interest because they’re are on a board that you have chosen which means there where places of interest to you already on the Monopoly board.      

Surprise yourself and make the commitment!     

The Monopoly Traveler Concept is born:     

My wife (MT Karen) and I were traveling to Hawaii for a beautiful beach wedding.  There were many excursions such as snorkeling, fishing, and a Luau we wanted to experience while in Hawaii since we had never been there. One of these excursions was visiting the USS Arizona Memorial.  During our visit to the USS Arizona Memorial we entered a gift shop to look at souvenirs.  While browsing I came across a Monopoly Board of the National Parks.  I loved playing Monopoly while I was younger so this edition caught my attention.  While looking over the National Parks Monopoly box, I saw several destinations that I had heard about while growing up but never visited and would like to see ‘some day’.  You can imagine how often some day comes around.  As I was putting the box back I mentioned to MT Karen “Wouldn’t it be fun to visit all of the properties on this board?”  She smiled and said “uh huh”.  That was the end of the conversation for many years.     

Since that time our family was growing and our children were getting older.  That were a number of conversations about where we wanted to take the kids and what our wishes were for them to explore while growing up.  We firmly believe the things they learn in school have a larger impact if they get to experience teachings first hand.  A few years ago I looked at MT Karen one morning and told her I thought it was time to travel the National Parks Monopoly board.  We wanted the children to get a taste of many of the different areas of the United States so that they could experience so many new places that were both similar and different to their home.  Well, both MT Karen and I would get to do the same.  The Monopoly board provides more of a random collection of destinations than we would have chosen which accomplishes our goal of exploring different destinations across America.     

The Monopoly Travelers entering Grand Canyon National Park

Being Monopoly Travelers:    

We feel very fortunate to be able to live one of the goals we set out many years ago and have become National Park nerds.  While traveling to the parks that are on the board, we will often visit other parks that are somewhere nearby.  Being a Monopoly Traveler does require commitment in order to complete a board.  There are around 28 destinations on each board.  Some have more and others have less.  There are destinations that you will enjoy more than others but there is guarantee – you will have experiences that last a lifetime.  These experiences will provide bonds with those you choose to participate with and create memories that will bring a smile to your face.  It is these memories and bonds that make being a Monopoly Traveler gratifying.   


Welcome to Monopoly Traveler!    

We will share our experiences and what we learn over the course of our travels and invite you to share yours with us.  Let us know which Monopoly board you would like to travel!