Ready. Set. Go!
I hope you enjoyed the Super Bowl. It is a day where we can justify comfortably sitting around the house eating crap and watching television (ahh, the perfect day). It seems like there is nothing else going on in the world that day, and therefore there is no fear of missing out. For me, it is the perfect time to plan some great trips!
Speaking with a friend recently (I honestly don't remember who, please identify yourself???), we were talking about the idea of treating hotels like restaurants. That means staying at different hotels in the same city. This seems like a novel idea to me (very Louper-like), but most people I discussed this with had an adverse reaction. Many like to revisit the familiar hotel so they know what to expect ... boring! Others are worried about the friction costs (mostly time) including checking in and out, as well as packing and unpacking ... lazy!
But, you must think of all the positives. In big cities, it is nice to check out other parts of town; If I was a visitor in NYC I might want to stay Midtown for a night or two, but I would also like to check out SoHo, Tribeca, and/or maybe even Brooklyn. Also, there are different types of hotels that I enjoy; Whereas I might want to take in the classic elegance of the Plaza Hotel, I also may want to take in the Brooklyn cool of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. I think you get my point ... who wants to eat dinner at the same restaurant every night??? Sure it is comfortable, but it is boring as hell. You may make some mistakes, but think of the potential upside!
In this week's Loupe, I explore what I will call the Freedom of Movement Movement (FOMM) and provide the tools to make it easier to visit multiple hotels in the same city on the same trip!
The first thing you need to do is to not book a hotel until you either know where you want to be (totally fine) or until you arrive (totally awesome!). In fact, there is nothing better than just in time travel and booking a hotel the same day. I know this is a bit aggressive and not for the faint of heart (certainly doesn't work over high season) but is exhilarating and great for the traveler who values adventure and flexibility. Hotel Tonight (HT) specializes in daily inventory and provides incredible deals. They do a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure that the prices are significantly discounted and the hotels meet their internal standards. In fact, HT rates the hotels (Luxe, Hip, Solid, Charming, Basic, etc.), provides a description of what is unique about the hotel, as well as provides user comments so you can make this somewhat important decision on the fly. The app is easy to navigate and you can even choose a hotel by neighborhood so you can be where you want to be. You can use the Promo Code BVERONA and get $25 off your first booking! You may make a mistake, but remember, it is only one night!
The next major hurdle to clear is avoiding the hassle (time) of checking in and checking out. Thankfully, the hotel industry has reached a tipping point and the major chain hotels (Starwood & Hilton) and their various flags have implemented keyless checkin. Specifically, they allow guests to check in, get their room number and unlock their door from their smart phone. Therefore, you must sign up for their loyalty programs and download their apps. There are also independent systems including OpenKey, but they are in their infancy and don't have that many hotels in their network yet. How about getting an alert when your room is ready to be occupied, so you can time exactly right your arrival. Imagine not speaking with anyone when you just want to go to your room. Imagine not having a ton of plastic keys after a trip! This is truly incredible and affords you the ease of use to try multiple hotels in the same city.
The other significant inconvenience of changing hotels is unpacking and packing. Who wants to spend time putting everything from your luggage into drawers, or live out of a suitcase for that matter. Therefore, you need a system that makes this process easy. While I have written about this before, it was awhile ago and is worth re-mentioning. RISE Gear is the only way to pack. Its shelving systems makes packing and unpacking very easy. My favorite thing to do when I arrive at a hotel is hang up my shelf and proudly declare that I am done unpacking while my wife is refolding items as she places them in a drawer (she wants to kill me) ... who knows what has been in that drawer and the last time it was cleaned! This way you reduce packing and unpacking to the minimum required time (meet you in the bar), making moving out and moving in a breeze.
The other inconvenience of hotels is the inconvenience and expense of using their television services. The ROKU Streaming Stick allows you to access any of your television services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, HULU, your cable provider, etc.) from any television that has a HDMI input (basically every TV produced in the last 10 years). The nice part here is you can watch on the television (better than your laptop!) whatever you want. Even if you were in the middle of Game of Thrones Season 4, Episode 6 you can quickly start back up wherever you were, regardless of whether you switched hotels. The device also comes with a handy remote so you don't need to familiarize yourself with the remote provided in the room! You will have to insert in the HDMI slot and get a high capacity internet connection ... worth it if you are staying in the room!
For the health-minded, the other inconvenience of switching hotels is having to acclimate yourself with the fitness room, if they even have one. Unless you spend the time upfront, you won't know if they even have a gym, or if they do which equipment it will have. Further, some gyms may be in the basement, and you may not be motivated to work out at all. If you are motivated, you need a workout that can adapt to almost any location and equipment array. That app is Sworkit. You can choose Strength, Cardio, Yoga, and Stretching workout from the main menu. From there, you can specify based upon the workout you want; for example, under Cardio you can choose from Light Warm Up, Full Intensity, or even Boot Camp! Then, you determine how much time you have to allocate to the workout before you resume your vacation!
I encourage you to join the Freedom of Movement Movement (FOMM) and start to treat hotels the way they should be treated ... like restaurants! Now you too have the tools to make multiple hotel travel a reality and consider Hotel Tonight, OpenKey, RISEGear, ROKU, and Sworkit Found!