Taking a Trip with Multiple Me’s

by Lindy on June 27, 2011

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I’m going through an identity crisis.

I don’t know what kind of hotel person I am anymore.

A few years ago, when I was young and nimble, I would’ve told you a hotel is merely a place to lay your head at night.  Vacations are for getting out and seeing things, not being stuck in a hotel room.  So it doesn’t matter if the accommodations don’t have working heaters in the wintertime (Prague), or there’s a hole in the ceiling (Seville), or they smell like puke (Vegas), because we’re not going to be spending any real time there anyways.

The only criteria for a hotel is that it’s cheap.

And sometimes you don’t even need a hotel. Tents, trailers, backseats of cars – these are all viable places to sleep as well (<—-this is college me talking here).

But flash forward to now, and boring adult me is starting to feel a little different about vacation accommodations.  I’ve been perusing the hotel sites this week in preparation for a weekend jaunt to the next state over.

But while searching for hotels I’ve noticed myself doing peculiar things.  Things like:

  • Looking up the hotel’s location on Google maps and seeing the street view to make sure it isn’t located in a dumpy neighborhood.
  • Spending an inordinate amount of time reading reviews on TripAdvisor.
  • Slowly pushing our budget up in $20 per night increments to stay in the hotel with the sweet lobby and the yummy looking continental breakfast.

No longer is the hotel merely a place to hang one’s hat for a few nights, but it’s become an integral part of the entire vacation experience, in my mind.

College me is disappointed at what a sell-out I’ve become.

But my reasons are good.  For one, we don’t get much time to vacation these days. With A-Rob’s full teaching and gig schedule, it’s hard to find a chance to break away. If we’re going to make the time to do it, we may as well do it right. Right?

And also, I know us, and how we get lazy on vacation.  Yes, we do get out and explore the local offerings, but we also like to have slow mornings in, and afternoon down time, because traveling with small kids is exhausting. Okay, maybe that’s only half true, because we really are lazy. Hence, a nice hotel makes that lazy time a little more pleasant.

Plus, we’re getting old.  Things like comfy beds and perfect pillows are important for our 33-year-old bones.

And I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was buying into the middle class dream of staying in a posh hotel.  Who doesn’t want to stay in a place with a glossy white lobby floor, a Mid-Century modern motif, and a rooftop pool with ocean views?

But the inner college adventurist in me still wants to be heard.  A battle is playing out between her and 30-something mommy me:

Go for the cheap one!

No, go for the posh one!

You’ll regret spending the money!

I’ll regret staying in a dump!

Who cares where the hotel is located, you can drive wherever you want!

Walking to the beach is so much cooler than driving!

It’s all quite confusing.

But rest assured, in the end I settled somewhere in the middle.  I found a clean hotel, with good reviews, in a convenient part of town.   We won’t be walking to the beach, we won’t be in hipster part of downtown, we won’t be sitting on Eames chairs.  But also, we won’t be blowing our budget to stay there, which is the most important feature of all.

Who says you can’t compromise with your multiple spending personalities?

And Google street view tells me there’s a Starbucks within walking distance.  So, you know, that makes up for the hotel not giving us a welcome cocktail at check-in.

What kind of hotel person are you?

Do you have multiple spending personalities too?

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  • As we all get older, I think it is normal to want to be more comfortable,especially when traveling. I definitely would pick a place that is a little more upscale that a motel/motor lodge where all the room doors face the parking lot.

    Treat yourself! Life is short and vacation memories should be more about the vacation than the lumpy beds at the economy motel. Enjoy~~

    • Lindy

      Thanks for the vote! I do agree that vacations are for splurging, within reason.

  • i could have written this post last week! i still balance wanting to be frugal and responsible with wanting some comfort and luxury, especially if i’m paying for it! i’ve also realized that now that i’m 34 and have a 4 year old, getting good, quality sleep is way more important as i have substantially less time to recover.

    • Lindy

      Sleeeeep, what is that again? I’m glad you can relate!

  • Gretchen

    You totally hit on what has been nagging at me these past few weeks. Just hubby and I but the question was so similar- do we drive to see Dad in Chicago- or fly? I used to just hop in the car, turn on the tunes and roll on for 11 hours, no big deal. Now the memory of the LONG HOURS and the stiff joints have me plunking down BIG money for tickets to fly- oh well!

    • Lindy

      When we moved across country, my husband and I, we made from Phoenix to Boston in three days. When we moved back across country with our 11 month old in tow, it took six days. 11 hours in the car used to be nothing.

  • Well… all of our recent vacations have either been staying with family/friends or connected to a conference. The conference hotels are generally posh. So I guess the answer is we don’t take real vacations! I think that makes us cheap.

    When we’re driving instead of flying, we’re generally stuck with whatever chain allows pets at the point we need to stop, generally a Holiday Inn or La Quinta.

    • Lindy

      Tell me about not taking vacations. This is the first time we’ve had to book a hotel in, I don’t know how long, 4 years maybe?

  • Middle of the road is good. It’s nice to dream though. Starbucks is always a good sign.

    We usually stay at a Navy Lodge (or other military branch). Some of those are nicer than others. A couple years ago we stayed at one in Jax Fl it was right on the beach, it was awesome.

    When we drove to WA state from PA (we were moving) We stayed in the scariest motel ever. We were in WY, there was nothing around for miles. Anywho, it looked like the motel from that movie Identity. Creepy!

    We did stay in a really nice hotel in Seattle, The Edgewater Hotel, it was nice but really small. It’s the hotel where that picture of The Beatles was taken where they all have their head sticking out the window and fishing. There is also a pretty nasty rumor about Led Zeppelin and that hotel.

    • Lindy

      Yeah, it’s hard to avoid those creepy motels when you’re driving from one side of the country to the other. I saw that movie Identity, so scary.

  • Haha, I have that fight with my college self too. We crammed 10 people in one hotel room on many occasions and it worked out just fine. These days I also obsessively check Trip Advisor especially on international trips.

    • Lindy

      I’m glad I’m not the only one with a TripAdvisor obsession. It’s a blessing and a curse all in one.
      I looked into staying in a great hotel right by the beach that I had stayed in in college. Surprisingly, it’s not as affordable when you aren’t splitting the cost between eight people.

  • sure can relate to this post!! started out just like you but after a few loser hotels, we now spend more money. I spend WAY too much time reading mostly useless reviews. LOVE your idea to check out Google street view. I’d never thought of that!!

    • Lindy

      Google street view did make me feel a little obsessive, but it really did help to see the surrounding area.

  • Lindy’s Mom

    Hi Lin,
    I’m sorry to say that you come by this spending dilemma naturally. It is in your DNA! I have had a “money contradiction” my entire life and always struggle how to spend money. I just spent $55 on 4 action figures for Baby Rock and Ebee but won’t buy myself new clothes and rely on wearing our company logo shirts for my casual wardrobe! Good advertising tho!!! I know your vacation will be the best, and you will rest and have lots of fun.
    Love, Mom

  • I’m right there with you girl! We have become hotel snobs since we started traveling with kids. We don’t even do hotels anymore… we rent houses now. Jeeze! It’s surprising the deals you can get on a small house. Not that much more than a hotel and you get a full kitchen which saves food costs.

    I also didn’t know you lived in Boston… I grew up in Massachusetts.

  • TSM

    I’ve found myself, that the type of hotels I’d personally stay in could be 2 star dumps… I’m not there for the hotel, I’m there for the neighborhood.

    Buuuut… ever since work started sending me places, I’m starting to realize a 4star hotel is totally worth it. Which means, spending more $ :(

  • I’d have to say that this happens to me as well – sometimes I just want a hotel to fall over in, but other times, I prefer something a bit nicer – but don’t want to bust my budget. Once I get to that point, i decide what I want to do on the trip and how long i’ll be gone.
    Usually those help me decide. While I still want to see plenty of things on my vacation, I cant help but remember what my dad once said:
    “Im not going to kill myself trying to have a good time on vacation”

  • I could have written this post. I have to be totally comfortable because I have such a hard time sleeping even in the best of circumstances.

    I have gotten very picky, especially with all the stories about bedbugs. I know they can be anywhere, but I mentally associate them with lower end hotels.

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