It's no secret that I love to travel. Over the past several years I been blessed to visit many, many places thanks to my blogging career. However, the best trips are those that involve no work. Every now and then you just need to get away and truly relax!! There are several spots that I have visited as part of a blogging junket, or as a conference attendee that I would like to go back to for the full vacation experience. There are certain things that I look for when booking a vacation.
I've had the opportunity to visit many places while on vacation. But, I've also been to several places that I just did not get to see enough of. On this list is Los Angeles, CA, San Jose, CA, Austin, TX, New York City, Tampa, FL, and more.
Here are a few of the things that I look for when booking a vacation.
A Luxurious Room
Some would argue that you probably won't spend much time in your hotel room. However, in my opinion it just does not feel like vacation if my room is not up to par. There are many different classes of hotel room. I should not go to a hotel and think “My bedroom and bathroom back at home are nicer than this,” which has happened in the past. Now that I'm old I've decided that my room quality has to at least match the quality that we have at home. I mean, we put in quite a few nice upgrades when building our new house. Because of this I'm teaching myself to look for a luxury retreat when booking travel. Instead of a normal hotel, next time I am checking out luxury vacation rentals. We will have to spend a bit more, but we are worth it!
I actually learned my lesson on the different types of rooms and getting all of the details and being sure they are up to par on a trip a couple of years ago. When we arrived our room was nothing like what we expected for the type of trip that it was. After a discussion with resort management (aka my complaining) we were upgraded to a much better room in a different part of the resort at no additional cost. Do your homework! Ask questions. And read reviews.
Even when booking a luxury retreat there is something for almost every budget. Prices on the site, LuxuryRetreats.com range from only $500 or so a night to as much as $3000 a night. That might sound very daunting, but many of the properties are homes set up for multiple travelers. So, if you are planning a trip for multiple families, you can divide the cost and still have enough room and comfort for all. And you will wind up spending about the same as you would on a normal hotel room for your family.
Flying from Chicago can be quite expensive. I blame the high city taxes. And just like flying from an origin can be more expensive, so can flying to certain destinations. Of course if money is no object you can just book and go! But, if you are on a budget, or you would rather spend on your money a luxury resort, or experiences, and not the plane ticket, you may want to look at destinations where airfare does not put such a huge dent in your pockets. You can save even more money if you are able to be flexible with your dates. Just look at the price difference over the span of a few weeks for flights from Chicago to San Diego. And, book early! Last minute flights always have inflated prices. If you can book a few weeks in advance you will save a ton.
Must Be Near the Beach
I cannot swim a lick, but I love the beach. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than laying on the beach people watching, splashing in the ocean, and putting my toes in the sand. I have been lucky enough to visit beaches in different parts of Florida, Mexico, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and San Diego. All but one of those were as part of much needed vacations with my husband. If my resort is on the beach, or close to the beach, I'm happy.
I do not like to work on vacation! Now, this may change depending on whether not we take the kids along, but for the most part I want to relax. And I want to be pampered. The resort that we choose to book needs to be either all-inclusive, or be close to restaurants, bars, and things to do. However, when traveling with the kids I do love the option of having a kitchen for cooking. It can save a ton of money on buying meals. I have visited an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas that we heaven. We have also taken the kids on vacation to Michigan and cooked our meals. Both worked out well, but of course I prefer to not cook a thing!
A Feeling of Serenity & Relaxation
When I go on vacation, part of my time has to be to relax. I love for the resort that I choose to reflect this. The best resorts will have a private beach, or a separate area for adults to just chill out away from rowdy kids. Some cruises have this as well. On our last cruise we spent a lot of time on the serenity deck among all of the other adults who just wanted to get away and nap! It was great!
The best resorts also have access to pampering! I love massages, and I love relaxing pedicures. If I am going on vacation you can bet I am going to book some type of pampering session. I have been lucky enough to have a pedicure while on a cruise. a massage/detox mud session on a cruise, a full body lavender and salt exfoliation while in Austin, TX, and even a massage on the beach in Mexico. It was all heaven! If pampering is important to you, check your resort details before arriving t be sure that you have access to what you want.
What are the top 5 things that you look for in a vacation?