Todays blog is all about unique stays. Why you may need them, how to find them, and gems I’ve come across in my travels.
There are several factors that can hinder an adventure while traveling:
- Being too introverted and/or shy to attempt something or going somewhere that seems “scary”. I myself am part of this group. I have gotten better as time goes on and I have increased my ability to deal with un-comfortability with my constant adventuring. However, I would be lying if I said I still do not drive by someplace I wanted to go after seeing a crowded parking lot, if I can’t find where to go, or if it just looks sketchy.
- Time constraints. Sometimes there is an end destination that requires you to rush through. Whether you just need to get from point A to point B for a job, you are heading to a wedding or other family obligation, really any set time table that says you need to be HERE NOW.
- Our current global pandemic. It is hard to pack up and say “I am just going to travel because I want an adventure.” You must be cautious about where you are coming from, where you are going, where you are stopping. Lots of big destinations are closed, lots of states/cities are constantly changing their COVID-19 prevention measures. Depending on who you live with/need to visit/work with you do not want to risk bringing anything home.
I have a solution to all of these, make your destination your adventure! I know, I know, it goes against the age old saying “life is a journey, not a destination”, but hear me out. If you do not have time to stop, if the big stuff is closed, if you do not want to be around a ton of people, what do you still have? Where you sleep. Especially currently, while travel is scary and often frowned upon, pick a place to sleep that is not your bed. It can do wonders for your mental health. You can vet the hotel, air bnb, camp site for their COVID-19 precautions. Read their description, comb through their reviews, and even reach out to the host before you go.
When I look for an adventure accommodation, I consider several factors:
- Price, I am not willing to spend much more than I would at a motel 6 so I limit my searches to around $75. Be cautious that some places (ahem, Airbnb) have a lot of added fees to double check what the all in price is before you fall in love. I’ve had places priced at $40/night end up being over $100 after taxes/cleaning fees etc.
- Style, I try to get away from basic hotels, I will utilize search engines like Airbnb and Hip Camp that can get me more unique stays. A tip for Airbnb is that you can filter by accommodation style (tiny house, camp site, rv, hut, etc.) It is also not a bad idea to look up historical and/or locally owned hotels, they can provide a little more warmth than a generic one.
- Activities, you don’t always need your accommodation to provide an activity but if it iss located on a farm (pet the animals, get fresh eggs), in a forest (hiking trails) or in a community (gardening), they often come with fun things to do on site!
If you need some examples keep reading. In the rest of this blog I am going to break down a few times in this past year I used this great option to keep my adventure quota high while running into the three hindering factors above.
Too introverted. In my case this past spring I took a road trip without an exact plan. I figured I would just drive and stop when things looked cool, something I have done before and enjoy in normal circumstances. Unfortunately, I had been quarantined for so long that my anxiety in new places was on overdrive and I just kept driving. Luckily for me I had also planned on this being a possibility and I had booked an amazing tiny house that made it worth getting there early. As part of my trip I really wanted to get a lot of writing in so I had booked a place with a porch, beautiful sunsets/sunrises, and an adventure feel.
- Not enough time. This year I also took a long road trip to Kentucky to visit with an old friend. I knew between my finances and homesickness my timeframe had to be right around two weeks. This meant after deducting my three day visit in KY, I would need to be driving between 7-10 hours every day to fit my trip into my time frame. Driving that much a day (especially during the first half of my trip where I was solo) meant that I would not be making a lot of meaningful stops. I of course fit in some silly and quick roadside attractions but my main way to balance the driving with adventure was my sleeping arrangements. With my 8 nights sleeping out on the road I utilized 5 campsites, 2 nights in unique accommodations, and 2 nights in a hotel. The two hotel nights and 1 of the camping sites I would compare to a motel 6 style of accommodations. Just used to rest your head and/or grab a shower. The other stays were planned specifically for their adventure feel. I will only highlight a few here (feel free to check out my Instagram where I go into more depth on some of these).:
Golden Valley, Arizona
My first night camping in a tent by myself. Private campsite (Airbnb) out in the middle of nowhere, with a soundtrack of wild burros throughout the night. This location also offered a really cool hike but unfortunately I did not have time to explore it.
Cerrillos, New Mexico
Shanti Community (hipcamp), where I got to sleep in an old VW van. A scary (but worth it) 20-minute drive off the highway and down a dirt road brings you to this village on the edge of a canyon. This place is constructed of a ton of amazing old buses/vehicles that are outfitted for sleeping. This unique stay had a community kitchen where I made a quick cup of coffee in the morning to enjoy the sunrise before packing up and hitting the road.
White Horse Campground in Escalante National Monument. This cheap ($5) BLM established campground gives you a great basecamp for some epic hiking as well as just a breathtaking place to set up your tent. Only two miles off the highway and down a dirt road.
- Pandemic precautions. A bit ago I was feeling extremely closed in with all of the shelter in place and stay at home orders, which is bad for my mental health. I found an off-grid option within a day of travel and planned this epic adventure. This unique place offered a variety of accommodations and I booked two of them to create a weekend of secluded bliss. I enjoyed a beautiful drive up the coast, stocked up on groceries, and with the company of one of the greatest humans ventured into the woods. This place is a blog post by itself, so I will not go into a ton of detail, but Blake and I were able to sleep in both this cute A-Frame and this spectacular Tree House. Check that off the bucket list for me!
Whether you are staying local or getting away, Happy Roaming!
Disclaimer: I also am not sponsored or receiving payment from any of these places, I just found them to be enjoyable and wanted to share the love! Below find the links to all the places I listed above:
White House Campground in Utah, BLM established campground