This is part of our series "The Changing Face of Travel"...exploring specific topics and trends affecting travel in 2021 and beyond. To read more articles click here
Rediscovering the Magic Close to Home: The Drive-To Vacation
Walt Whitman, one of America’s most prolific poets, once said “I take to the open road. Healthy, free, the world before me.” While Whitman may have lived before the birth of the automobile, he certainly would have embraced it. By 1920 the idea of the road trip had begun to take shape. As costs of automobiles fell and their reliability increased, people began using the automobile as a “vacation agent” into America’s countryside.
Now, a hundred years later, the automobile has once again become one of the most popular modes of transportation to vacations in light of a global pandemic. Many people are still not comfortable getting on a plane or in crowded areas yet, but your own car is a great way to get to your favorite travel destinations like the White Mountains, Cape Cod, or Coastal Maine.
Driving to your travel destination allows you the ultimate flexibility and control of your schedule. You are not at the mercy of Mother Nature and the airlines to deliver you to your destination on time to meet your cruise ship. Instead, you can leave home when you like and arrive at your destination when you like. If you’re on the spontaneous side, you can book a last-minute weekend away and leave after the clock strikes five.
And, as Whitman insinuates, sometimes the journey is part of the vacation. You can enjoy the ride along the way to your destination. You can stop at that cute little café that you’ve always wanted to try or go antiquing on the way to the mountains. After all, that spot by your front door is missing something colorful from a local artisan.
With your car and total flexibility of your schedule, you can often hit multiple destinations in one vacation. See two completely different destinations by visiting coastal Maine followed by the fall foliage of the White Mountains. You can feast on lobster in Maine and slowly work your way north through the leisurely backroads through the marshland, farms, picturesque New England towns, and the mountains. You won’t get that by waiting in the airport security line!
With great flexibility comes great value...if you are willing to think outside the box a bit. Let’s face it, the average traveler acts like every other traveler, we plan our yearly vacation (and maybe a couple short getaways), jump on a travel site, and book something. But, there are those that think of their vacation time as an “investment” and just like a savvy investor, they spend the time and energy to look for hidden value and maximize the return on their investment. Another option if you are really looking to maximize value is vacation ownership or membership programs. For the savvy traveler, the added benefits in some of these programs alone can be worth the price. And, as we outlined in a previous article in this series, vacation ownership can provide even more value beyond these fringe benefits.
InnSeason Resorts is the largest independent vacation ownership developer and operator in the Northeast and also one of the largest in North America. With award winning resorts in some of the top destinations in New England and a loyal ownership base made up primarily of regional owners, they know a thing or two about regional travel. Steve Furrer, Chief of Resort Operations described some of the hidden value in vacation ownership. “The biggest challenge we have from an owner services standpoint is keeping owners aware of all the benefits they have. Those owners that take advantage of these benefits get an incredible amount of value out of their investment and end up paying only a fraction of what a “traditional” traveler pays. We have an entire academy with videos and insider information, showing owners how to take advantage of all the benefits, along with weekly live webinars and travel consultants available to help you get on vacation. If you really want to travel, there is simply no way to get more value (and in turn more vacation time) than with vacation ownership...if you take advantage of the benefits. It’s just that most people are unaware or don’t take the time to learn what's available, or simply don’t believe that the benefits are real.”
Booking a regional vacation that can be reached by car can add another day or two to your vacation. For example, if you’re traveling from Boston to San Francisco, it could take you all day to get there. Between traveling and arriving at the airport at least two hours early, a six-hour non-stop flight, and another two hours of waiting for your bags, picking up a rental car, and driving to your hotel, you could lose over 10 hours of your vacation only to repeat it again at the end of your vacation. An entire day stuck in crowded airplanes and airports and eating expensive not-so-healthy airport food can really eat into your hard-earned vacation time. No wonder we all think we need another vacation from our vacation when we return home!
Whether you’re booking a weekend or a week away, jumping in your car and heading just a couple of hours or less to the mountains or seacoast can save you lots of time, headaches, and missing luggage. You could be enjoying your vacation on the beach by noon, or get in another half day of skiing on your last day, before arriving back home for dinner. Or, better yet, take the opportunity to explore another destination on the way. Stop and have lunch somewhere you’ve never been. You could even think of it as recon work for a possible future getaway for yourself or your family. The point is - you are in control of your destiny.
If you’re not interested in driving far, you may even find a few places close to home that you really enjoy for quick getaways. If you are familiar with a destination, it makes it easy to settle in fast and get the most out of those spur of the moment trips to just getaway to recharge, relax or surprise your significant other with a romantic weekend.
Overall, the more time you can get away from day to day life with loved ones to reconnect (or even just by yourself to recharge), the more valuable your vacation time can become. While bucket list or once in a lifetime trips are great, as many of us know, trying to cram in an entire year’s worth of “I need to get away” into one expensive, jam-packed vacation can sometimes be a recipe for disaster. As the saying goes, “life is a journey, not a destination.
Enjoy the Journey!
Skip the long days at the airport in favor of regional travel by automobile! Just like baseball, road trips are an American pastime. Hop in your car and you can be at your destination by sea or mountains within a few hours. Stop along the way at your favorite places and discover new ones and enjoy the journey along the way as the world is before you.
Additional Contributing Author: allan Guilbeault
About InnSeason Resorts and our commitment to customer service:
As the northeast’s largest Vacation Ownership developer, InnSeason Resorts has always held our customer’s needs at the forefront of everything we do. We are a family-owned, award-winning, New England company providing a variety of Vacation Ownership products that focuses on the Northeast Experience and what that means for each owner. InnSeason Resorts provides access to the region’s most sought-after destinations or thousands of resorts around the world. One of the most used benefits of ownership encourages owners to use their network of InnSeason Resorts to stay in a vacation state of mind year-round. This Gold Card membership program allows 365 day a year access to some of New England’s most demanded locations and is simply one of the benefits that has established Innseason Resorts as the gold standard in Vacation Ownership with the New Englander specifically in mind.