I’ve done a few of these now, but the process of self doubt, self challenge and ongoing adjustment remains the same. This New England trip is an interesting afterthought to the excitement of cashing in the air miles for a first class fare. But it’s taken a good three hours to fine tune the route and identify accommodation that is slightly different, sensibly priced and reasonably located.
There are still a few minor things to research too. Not least how to get from Boston airport to the city centre, walk around for a few hours and then pick up our 23kg suitcases from our hotel and load them into a hire car before heading off into the lesser populated north! Let’s just say the river taxi option is currently confusing me. And I’ve not told Chris the first class fare allows 3x32kg suitcases – each!
The trip itself is a mix of one night stays and two night stays. The latter a recent addition to my driving holiday routine as loading and unloading luggage every night is a drag, even if new places can help increase the number of attractions seen.
Night one is the most expensive hotel I’ve ever paid cash for. The only one on site at Boston airport and as it will be close to midnight local time and 5am in our heads by the time we’ve done immigration it’s just got to be done. Fingers crossed the Hilton Gold status will trigger a promised room upgrade as well as free breakfast in return for handing over an amount resembling a mortgage deposit.
The next two nights will be in our final Hilton of the trip, a Doubletree. Same applies on upgrades and breakfasts. This was actually one of the cheaper locations for exploring Salem, witchcraft and other surrounding places. Does anybody else recall David Soul starring in Salem’s Lot?
Then we go rustic as we head up the east coast. My old friends hotels.com, cross-referencing to Tripadvisor, double checking the less rewarding Booking.com and finally googling “Bed and breakfast” in search of less commercialised accommodation led to every booking being done through hotels.com.
I tend to search for free parking, wifi, breakfast and two double beds. One of these days I’m going to make a mistake and end up sharing a double with Chris! Motel breakfasts are usually light affairs. Cereal, pastries, waffles. Adequate. I’m usually confident of finding somewhere else serving breakfast in the USA. Chile I’m nervous as hell about!
Indeed, night four I’ve found a $70 bargain in an area of $200 a night alternatives. Four stars on Tripadvisor too with any negative reviews being nonsense. No breakfast but a lakeside BBQ area. We’ll take the room and forget the morning DIY fry up.
Next up is a two nighter where they allow pets. That reminds me of a mediocre place (found using these same techniques) at Lake Tahoe where the dog next door went ape for hours! Hopefully this experience will be better.
Next up is a less interesting budget chain before moving into a B&B that’s on a field in a farm. If jet lag is still a factor cock-a-doodle bleedin’ do should be ok. This place comes highly recommended from a handful of different online resources, although Tripadvisor reviews are just ok.
A staging point between places of interest next, paid for with a free room from Hotels.com. I’m still confident their incentives are best value most of the time even if their TopCashback commission has plummeted this year.
And on it goes. Newport Rhode Island was a bit pricey, but a Best Western with a swimming pool half an hour drive away was great value. And the final two nights will be on the beachfront in Provincetown staring out at the Atlantic Ocean pondering if the crowds heading out on boats to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are worth the effort!
All in all I’m fairly pleased with what we’ve got. Much as I like my posh aeroplane seats and gave no objection to posh hotels, I still struggle to convince myself to pay £hundreds to sleep somewhere classy when I can get a bed and wifi somewhere nearby for a fraction of the price.
It all reminds m of the first few lines of this magnificent Eagles song: