In Search Of A Unique Travel “Experience”

As the New Year approaches and prognosticators make observations about what to expect in 2020, I’ve observed an interesting and common theme when they talk about expected travel trends.  Many suggest that 2020 will be the year when travelers reject the temptation to simply reserve a “short term rental”…an empty house in an unspecified neighborhood and next door to who knows who…and will, instead, actively seek out unique experiential engagements in the travel destinations they plan to visit.

If true, we can only hope that gone are the days when a traveler simply uses a booking platform like Expedia, AirBnB or to reserve “a place to stay”.  Instead, the trend suggests travelers will actively seek out unexplored, immersive and unexpected experiences that include, among other things, finding unique lodging facilities for the perfect place to lay one’s head at the end of a day’s adventures.

As for finding that perfect place to stay, my suggestion is that you leave the big booking sites behind and, instead, search the internet on your own to find the traditional lodging found at a B&B, a boutique hotel or a roadside inn.  When doing so, click past the first page and maybe even the second page (where all you will find are ads anyway) to find a lodging partner that speaks to your specific needs or interests.  And then, “BOOK DIRECT,” making certain you are actually booking at the property’s legitimate website or by giving a call.

At such places, you will encounter genuine hospitality offered personally by owners and hosts who can also plug you into local culture, the most rewarding shopping, the popular things to do, the best places to eat and experiences that will delivery memories that will last your lifetime.  That interaction with your hosts might just add to your experience as they regale stories about their property and of the interesting folks who visit!

You’ll also enjoy and appreciate the same amenities you’ve grown accustomed to when traveling…personalized and experienced concierge services, free high speed WiFi, smart TV’s offering the choice of cable, satellite and/or streaming programming, luxury bath and bed linens, complimentary beverages and snacks and frequent guest programs and discount offerings.  But it’s also likely that chef-prepared breakfast service will be available with choices that include traditional, continental or “to go” menu options along with personally planned accommodations for special dietary needs.

And, you’ll almost always enjoy a unique setting…a refreshing alternative to a stay in a cookie-cutter hotel or a non-descript short term rental.  Many are historic structures and often tell part of the story of the destination in which you are staying.  Here at Engadine, for example, the Inn and the surrounding grounds are part of the rich history of Buncombe County and of Asheville where, as a winery, it established business and social connections with the local elite, including George Vanderbilt and his Biltmore Estate.

So as you resolve to leave old travel habits behind in the New Year (like using an app to define your journey!),  also resolve to become an active participant in planning your 2020 travel…to become someone who willingly chooses to do the due diligence necessary to seeking out uncommon adventures!

Such an investment of your time will more than pay for itself in the quality of the experience you create for yourself!  And once you’ve had a taste, we’re quite sure you’ll no longer find the need to book just another “place to stay” on AirBnB!