It goes without saying that I love to travel and try to do it as much as I can. When I’m not jet-setting to the West Coast for a sun-soaked getaway beside the Pacific, catching a train to NYC for a weekend in the city that never sleeps, or trekking up North for some peace and tranquility in rural New Hampshire or Vermont- I’m aimlessly driving to new locations around New England where I spend hours exploring new places and snapping plenty of photos.
I’m the type of person who is planning my next trip while on a return flight/train home from my last one. I just want to see anywhere and everywhere I can!
But of course, with extensive traveling comes the often daunting task of selecting a safe and comfortable place for lodging. Fairmont Hotels, who have luxurious locations all over the globe (including right here in Boston), recently asked me to describe my packing necessities when I’m going away for an overnight trip- and the top 3 hospitality items I wish hotels would provide their guests to make their stays more enjoyable and convenient.
When it comes to packing, all the life-saving essentials are kept close and within reach inside my purse: my wallet, my fully charged phone, lip balm (it’s a necessity. Trust me)– hand cream and a bottle of ibuprofen for those unexpected jet lag-induced headaches or muscle pains. Everything else- the more easy-to-replace stuff (should the airline lose my luggage at any point) like clothing, shampoo, makeup and shoes- are stored away neatly in my suitcase to make my trip through airport security a little faster and much lighter on my shoulders. I’m a habitual gate-crasher, meaning that I’m the person you see in the airport frantically trying to put their shoes back on post-TSA pat-down while simultaneously darting towards their gate five minutes before the flight is scheduled to take off- so the less weight I have to carry during that desperate run- the better.
Of course, once the initial departure adrenaline fades and after I’ve finally reached my destination and retrieved my bags- I’m ready to check into my room and crash- hard- before I eventually freshen up and head out to paint whatever town/city I’m staying in bright red.
Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in consistently nicer and clean hotels with friendly and accommodating staff (I’ve stayed in some super sketchy dives, too- trust me- but we don’t need to talk about those right now. Or ever. At all.) Some places have exceeded my expectations by adding little and unexpected things/perks to their rooms that have made such a huge difference in my stay- and after careful consideration- I’d like to see more of the following three things in hotel rooms I check into in the future:
UNIVERSAL CHARGING PORTS/PADS: I carry a lot of electronics when I travel. My phone, my digital camera for more professional-looking shots, my tablet to check e-mails and work on posts for any deadlines while I’m away, and my iPod (I’m one of maybe 12 people left in the country who still have a fully-functioning original iPod Nano.) As such, I have to keep track of multiple cords and chargers in my bag- which is a hassle for me when packing and is probably concerning to many a TSA agent who have had to screen my luggage prior to departure. Even more of a hassle? Charging everything at once in my hotel room- where electrical outlets are typically scarce to begin with. I’d love for more hotels to include universal charging ports/pads for multiple electronics in each room- which means I could leave most of the tangled cords at home but not have to worry about running out of juice halfway through my trip.
BETTER TOILETRIES: I’ve never- not once- expected to check into my room, go to take a shower, and be greeted by a full-line of LUSH bath products neatly stacked on the counter top next to the sink (a girl can dream)– but I’m always more inclined to stay at hotels that include decent soaps and shower gels by trusted brands instead of drying and overly-perfumed generic brands with the hotel logo crudely imprinted on them. I’m even MORE inclined to stay at hotels that give me a little something extra to help me relax (looking at you, fancy hotel in NYC that left me a bottle of bubble bath to go with their huge tub, a tube of eye cream, and a really cute eye mask to wear while I slept- and I got to take it home with me!)
AN IN-ROOM DINING MENU THAT DOESN’T BREAK THE BANK OR LEAVE ME STARVING: When I travel, I like to go out and explore- which includes but isn’t limited to checking out local bars and restaurants- but sometimes, JUST SOMETIMES- I want to lay in my hotel room and eat a grilled cheese sandwich at 2 a.m. while watching HBO. This typically happens in California when I’m prone to staying out really and ridiculously late at night. However, I also don’t want to spend $18 for that aforementioned grilled cheese sandwich (which is always half of the size of a regular sandwich for some reason.) It’s like being penalized financially for most dining establishments outside my hotel closing at a reasonable time. Not cool, right? Right. I know room service is expensive- but come on- I just want an ice cream sundae without having to be late with my car insurance payment, you know? Give me something filling and affordable for those late night cravings.
Those, for me- are the “Big 3” in hospitality must-haves, apart from the mandatory cleanliness and spaciousness (and a decent view- if I’m feeling unusually picky.)
Do you have any “Big 3” hotel must-haves for when you travel? Does the room temperature have to be just right? Do you need those special blinds on the windows that block out any and all light from the outside world? Is a mint on the pillow a deal-maker? I’d love to hear ’em!
And thanks for letting me share my list, Fairmont Hotels! Now, about that full-line of LUSH bath products in the rooms….