Traveling smarter

bandbinnSo if you’ve just read Jenni’s post about contaminated water on airplanes, and you really don’t want to fly, how about a local vacation? This isn’t a staycation (a vile coinage if there ever was one), but a weekend getaway to that adorable lodge or bed & breakfast place. Turns out, everyone is doing it.

Bedandbreakfast.com’s quarterly survey showed that travelers are forgoing expensive airfare+hotel+rental car trips for extended weekends and local stays at bed & breakfast places. The benefits of such vacations is that they are eminently doable. You save on travel, you still get your recommended allowance of pampering, and at the end of the weekend lolling around in a gorgeously refurbished ancient house with atmosphere, antiques, and a private en-suite bath you feel like you’ve been somewhere.

In short, bed & breakfasts may be benefiting from the recession, while the hotel industry as a whole is suffering.

But travelers aren’t just returning to their touristy ways. Interesting to me is that people surveyed said they were cutting back on small luxuries such as lattes, massages, even cigarettes to be able to afford a vacation.  What? Instead of just putting it on the card, we’re actually saving for a trip? Whoa.

According to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International, the bed & breakfast industry is worth about $3.4 billion. That’s pretty good for a lodging market that is still primarily the province of honeymooners and couples wanting a weekend getaway. Room prices tend to be higher for B&Bs (the average is about $150) than they are for motel rooms, but that’s understandable since guests are paying for pampering and atmosphere. So if vacationers are looking for cut-rate, B&Bs are not a good solution. Camping and RVs are a better bet, although now there’s this thing called “glamping,” in which roughing it doesn’t even come into the equation.

Maybe it’s good that people are getting out of their rut and traveling smarter. I think it’s pretty interesting that during a dire economic situation, there are always these bright spots.

Maybe it’s time to make a weekend reservation.

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Picture by Worldislandinfo.com, used under a Creative Commons license.
Patrice Sarath

Patrice Sarath is a writer and editor for First Research, covering the health care, insurance, and construction industries.

Read more articles by Patrice Sarath.

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