When I interviewed for my current job, they asked me if I minded that “some travel was required.” Mind!? I thought, incredulously, imagining solo visits off to far away cities, exploring off-beat cafes and second hand shops. Why on earth would I mind?!
Of course, as anyone who travels for work will tell you, at the end of the day, it’s just a longer commute. Mostly when I travel for work, I see the airport and the hotel. If I’m lucky, I might get to have dinner somewhere that’s not a chain. It’s not glamorous, and while I do like meeting people in different parts of the country, it’d be a real stretch to say that I’m seeing much of it.
I am, however, seeing a lot of hotels. And as a result, I’m developing some pretty firm opinions about them. Hampton Inns? Love em. They’re clean, they feel luxurious, and the breakfast is decent. Holiday Inns? Depends. If it’s a newly renovated one, go for it. They’re clean, modern, and also feel very luxurious. If it’s a non-renovated one (check TripAdvisor for reviews on the one you’re thinking of), AVOID. They smell old and are completely run down. The elevator ride in one was so slow they should have had a beverage service. (For what it’s worth, I am usually around the $100/night mark for hotels. So sometimes I don’t have a whole lot of choice.)
I also recommend TripAdvisor for scouting out non-chain hotels. Some towns I visit don’t have a big chain place. And while I like collecting points, sometimes it’s fun to stay someplace else. TripAdvisor is also good for looking for a place to eat in whatever town your visiting. While Yelp is great for reviews by locals (“The burritos here are nowhere as good as the ones down the block”), TripAdvisor gives me the reviews by someone who drove into town, ate, and drove out of town (“Easy to find, good service, very good food, try the steak and blue salad”).
And let me tell you, after a long flight and checking into my hotel, a good steak and blue cheese salad is pretty much the best thing in the entire world–besides being home, of course.