I have a friend who works as a public information officer for a community college in North Carolina. He is also a career journalist.
He claims that I am one of the 7 people left in the United States who still reads hard copy newspapers and who actually subscribes to multiple papers (Jennifer and I subscribe to exactly 3 papers – two locals and the Wall Street Journal).
The Wall Street Journal always has some interesting articles on travel. These articles are often aimed at top tier U.S. earners. At least a portion of the Wall Street Journal’s target audience undoubtedly are high-level finance executives who make a great deal of money each year.
While we love to work with clients of any income level, most Southern Girl Travel clients don’t make tens of millions of dollars a year. But, it is nevertheless fun to dream a little.
I settled down this past weekend to read a stack of Wall Street Journals that I had neglected the last few weeks, and came across a piece by Jackie Cooperman called What are the Coziest Hotels in America?
I was intrigued.
I am fascinated by the need to slow down and relax, and how that need intersects with travel, and with the travel industry. The first few paragraphs of the piece did indeed deal with busy folks slowing down and relaxing. I thought this piece would be right down my alley.
While Cooperman doesn’t use the actual word, she really is aiming at leisure (though she does use the word, idleness, which she shouldn’t, because idleness is a very bad thing…leisure and relaxation are very good things. Don’t ever aim for idleness when vacationing).
I skimmed a few more paragraphs and turned to the meat of the article – a paragraph or two on each hotel deemed by Cooperman to be the top ten coziest hotels in America.
Well, all the entries were not hotels, and the most costly has a regular rate of $12,500 per night (I think, the article wasn’t exactly clear, whether that was a per night or a per week charge). On closer examination, that $12,500 rate was for a seven-bedroom lodge in Crested Butte, Colorado – cozy but not exactly a hotel. The rate includes a private chef, a spa, an indoor saltwater lap pool, a game room, a cinema, and being at a 9,000-foot altitude the lodge includes piped-in oxygen. There’s also personal professional photographer who creates a daily slide show, and a take-home coffee table book.
All that would indeed be amazing. You could truly relax and get back in touch with leisure. But, is $12,000 a day worth of luxury necessary to have a relaxing and leisurely vacation?
You can actually take a few steps to ensure a relaxing time away. Because, as Jennifer is fond of saying, it’s not a vacation if you need a vacation when you return home. So, here’s three tips we like to follow for have a relaxing (if not always cozy) vacation. And we’ve thrown in a suggestion or to splurge without breaking the bank.
1. Plan ahead.
That’s something Jennifer harps on at Southern Girl Travel.
Planning ahead takes the stress out of traveling. For folks who live hectic and sometimes unpredictable lives, knowing what comes next is a nice and relaxing change of pace. It is mentally cozy (I know that’s a bit of a stretch, but think about it, no worries is the mental equivalent of comfort food.).
Make reservations ahead of time.
Scope out restaurants and other activities, before you get where you’re going, not after you’re already there and the whole family is looking at you to come up with something good.
Utilize concierge services at hotels.
Take advice from friends.
Ok, how could I resist – work with a travel agent who cares!
Now this is not to say that spontaneity is not great on a vacation it is, but build time in for it. When we travel we often schedule a few activities for mornings and leave afternoons completely free. For the busy parent or the businessperson, planning ahead will be more relaxing.
2. Don’t worry too much about the money.
This is not to say go out and spend $12,000 per day (unless that fits your budget; if that’s the case, spend away!). But, don’t sweat the small stuff. Chances are you’re vacationing in a resort area of some sort. Little things are often more expensive there. We’re all familiar with the $3.00 bottle of water or the $6.00 beer.
Don’t worry; splurge a little.
If you have planned ahead like we suggest in number one, you can save a little extra over time to cover those splurges. In the months leading up to your vacation, saving $10 a week will allow for some little indulgences. That tropical drink or massage will make you feel like a movie star, and in the grand scheme of things the amount you spend will be very little – just forgo a few of those pumpkin spice lattes in the fall.
3. Forget the car.
Keeping up with the car always adds stress.
Whether it’s finding a parking place, getting to or from, or arguing about who’s going to drive this time, dealing with a car is a pain. Stay close and walk or take a cab.
We used to worry about whether to rent a car if we were flying to a faraway destination. No longer do we rent a car unless it is absolutely necessary. If we are driving in to a destination, we like to park and then not visit the car again until it is an absolute necessity.
Plan a little, save up, and take that limo to the airport or to the hotel. If you are traveling in big cities a limo is often not as expensive as you might think. Think of the look on the kids’ faces when a big black stretch limo pulls up just outside the baggage carousel.
Also, don’t hesitate to vacation in pedestrian friendly places.
We love Beaufort, North Carolina. You can drive into Beaufort’s waterfront historic district for a long weekend, park your car, and never have to return to the car until it is time to go home.
Those are just a few suggestions you can put to use traveling anywhere on any budget. But, if you want to splurge on some luxurious time away without completely blowing your budget, think about top-notch accommodations away from typical vacation spots.
Consider the O’Henry Hotel in Greensboro, North Carolina (not far from our home in Burlington, NC). The O’Henry has been awarded AAA’s Four Diamond Award and is widely considered one of the top hotels in North Carolina. Though, the O’Henry’s rates can be very reasonable for the level of experience.
On it’s surface the O’Henry is very traditional, with plenty of what might be described as “Old World Charm.” But, it is has very modern and thoughtful accoutrements. The bathrooms in the guest rooms are amazing. Read the AAA review here, and give us a call to set a date or talk about other options!
Relax…you CAN get there from here.
Southern Girl Travel, LLC is a full-service travel agency that is part of the Travel Quest network. We bring you all the resources of a a multi-billion dollar group of travel professionals while giving you the attention that only a family business can.
Our goal is to help you relax and get back in touch with leisure.
Our site, southerngirltravel.com, is designed to be a resource for those planning that relaxing getaway. So, please read all you can and don’t hesitate to contact us to book that trip or simply to ask a question or two. We look forward to hearing from you.