As a side-bar to my earlier post on travel styles, I thought I would do one devoted to accommodation styles. While I am pretty flexible and open to many different types of travel experiences (history, the beach, big cities, small cities), I’m a bit more particular when it comes to lodgings during trips.
I grew up in a major city and save for a disastrous camping experience at the age of 13, in which the one night of camping during a week long trip was the only time that a downpour occurred, thus flooding the tent, I’ve never camped since. I like the outdoors a lot. Well, let me rephrase that. I love the stunning beauty the outdoors offers. However, I have no desire to become so deeply ingratiated in the outdoors that I am required to cook all of my meals over an open fire (or eat from a can) or make do with portable toilets or dormitory style bathroom options that are often of an “open air” style. I would much prefer to see nature during the day and return to solidly constructed walls, a comfortable mattress and comprehensive indoor plumbing in the evenings (well, unless there’s a really awesome nature night walk). If I sound like a bit of a snob I don’t mean to, since I truly am a pretty humble person in most facets of life. However, my travel style does not include camping.
When I traveled to Hawaii last year I made sure that I got a really good rate on our hotel and air package since I knew that a vacation there would not be cheap. As much as I would have loved to have stayed at a high end resort like a Hyatt or Marriott, I realized that a week’s stay at one of these expensive hotels would blow my hypothetical budget completely (I don’t have set budgets when I travel, I simply try to find the best deals possible and go with that rather than limiting myself). And so we stayed at a condo style hotel which was almost perfect on numerous levels, the best being our full oceanfront view. (The big resorts in Hawaii often charge extra for views and ours was simply included in the overall price.) It was neither fancy nor luxurious but in Hawaii you really don’t need those things since paradise is found outside of a hotel’s walls. When I go back to Hawaii my plan is to hopefully visit two islands instead of just one. I was really sad about not making it to Oahu as I am an avid history buff and would loved to have visited Pearl Harbor. And so a second trip to the Hawaiian islands would most definitely include Oahu. My thoughts are to stay three nights at the beginning of the trip in a high end resort on Oahu and then take a flight to either Big Island or Kauai and stay in a beachfront condo, which would allow our wallets to recover from the price gouging on Oahu.
I’ve also really grown to enjoy bed and breakfasts even though the total times I’ve stayed at one is a whopping two. While I know some people would be averse to the idea of staying in someone’s home, it allows for a more intimate and personable experience. My first bed and breakfast experience was at a historic property near the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Maryland. The entire home was redone on the inside and the rooms were of a luxury country style. The breakfast was also fantastic. My second bed and breakfast experience was more recent, this time in the Portuguese countryside. As I stayed here three nights compared with just the one at the Maryland b & b I did get to have more interaction with the hosts, who were both just lovely and incredibly helpful when we asked questions.
When it comes to travel lodgings I’m generally open to most selections. The ones I’m not, camping (as outlined above) and hostels (I have enough money now as a fully functioning adult to not have to stay at hostels), it doesn’t seem like too major of a deal. While there are some specific hotels I hope to stay at in the course of my traveling career (Llao Llao in Patagonia and the Hotel Sofitel Santa Clara in Cartagena, Colombia), I usually feel that the destination would be more important (Charleston, South Carolina and Hong Kong for starters).
The Westin Palace in Madrid, Spain and the Omni Bedford Springs in Pennsylvania are two of the most luxurious hotels I have ever stayed at. Hopefully I’ll stay at them both again in the future.