by Jenny Smedra
After nearly a year of travel restrictions and social distancing measures, we all hope for good news. With many of us continuing to stay home and safe, it is difficult to remain optimistic. Every canceled vacation, vacation, and meeting with friends and family chisels away from the belief that we will soon be returning to “normal” life. However, finding the perfect location can be exactly what the doctor ordered.
Reasons to plan a stay during Covid-19
My roommate and I have been fortunate to work from home since the pandemic started. However, I’ve also seen firsthand how the lack of separation between work and personal life affects a person. Even when we’re not on the clock, we are both constantly checking things at work. Not only does this blur the line between your personal and professional life, but it also makes it nearly impossible to break away from your job responsibilities. It is easy to understand how people feel trapped and why it is necessary to break the monotony.
Realizing the impact on her mental wellbeing, my roommate decided it was time to plan a stay. At first I was shocked when she told me that she had amassed over 100 hours of PTO. But it became easier to understand as she told every reason she hadn’t used it. In addition to the inability to travel as freely as possible before the coronavirus, it is difficult to take time off in her department. When working in a small team, she has to align with her staff’s schedules, especially if many of them use PTO over the holidays.
When I heard her litany of excuses, I encouraged her to help her find the perfect destination. After juggling the increased workload and strain on her shoulders, she was long overdue for some R&R.
Possible overnight accommodations
The first step in choosing the perfect destination was setting the budget. Given that she hasn’t gone anywhere in the past year, my roommate was willing to spend a little more. With a list of the amenities required and a median price of $ 150 per night, I started looking for the ideal places to stay, starting with my favorite TripAdvisor site.
Enjoy luxury ($ 250-1000 per night)
In my experience, I prefer the top-down approach to finding accommodation. I start with luxury hotels because many of the resorts and unique hotels are destinations in themselves. While most of them are way outside of the spending limit, sometimes you get lucky and find deep discounts in your price range.
While most of the high-end hotels were still overpriced, I was able to find some interesting options. With fewer people traveling these days, many hotels are lowering their prices to attract guests. I came across themed rooms, private pools and hot tubs, all of which were on budget. Some even included spa treatments in the room rate. However, I kept going to see how far I could stretch their budget and get the most bang for their buck.
Hotel ($ 60- $ 300 per night)
Instead of focusing on the most expensive accommodations, I focused on properties that included more amenities with their room rates. There were a variety of offers that offered additional incentives. Several added a free breakfast at no additional cost. In addition, many hotels had huge discounts on their upgraded rooms. Suites, upgraded views, and in-room hot tubs or whirlpools were only slightly more expensive than standard rooms. Within minutes, I had found a well-known chain suite with all the amenities I needed for just $ 115 a night. Although I was tempted to end my search here, I decided to check out private listings as well before booking.
Airbnb ($ 35- $ 1000 per night)
I have used Airbnb several times and have been to private homes all over the world. While enjoying the hotel experience, you can sometimes find hidden gems worthy of a postcard. Not only do you get more privacy, but there are features to suit every budget. With accommodations ranging from a private room to entire estates, there really is something for everyone. This time around, I was inundated with offers in my price range. It took a little more fine-tuning than usual, but I found some amazing places to stay. At the top of the list was a 4-bedroom private house in the old town that even had its own jacuzzi. All of this came at an affordable price of just $ 112 a night. I now had two extremely affordable options that had everything my roommate was looking for and a few more.
A quiet home retreat (free!)
For those looking for an economical option, you can plan a relaxing stay at home. Not only is it free, but some people, like my roommate, just feel more comfortable in their own space. Plus, you can avoid the hassle of packing or booking accommodations. If you want to turn it into a real vacation, you can choose not to tell anyone to make sure you have some time to yourself. Planning a home stay also means you have time to do all of the things you talk about but never seem to have the time to do. However, you need to be careful not to be tempted and check into the office. Otherwise, the purpose of planning a stay will be completely ruined.
Why should you plan a stay?
The truth is that we could all benefit from taking a break from the pressures of everyday life. Choosing to plan a stay while on vacation in your destination also removes the stress and expense of traveling. You also have more time to enjoy yourself as you spend less time actually traveling to your destination. After being offered these options, my roommate decided to book a couple of nights at the hotel to allow for a greater separation from the demands of work and home.
How you spend your free time is entirely up to you. Whether you use it for pleasure, catch up on your to-do list, or reconnecting with loved ones, taking time for yourself is important.