Snippets from the RoadThings You Should Know


sticker shock

Shout it from the rooftops: Travel is back! This is great news. And it’s hardly a surprise if you’ve been reading about it, know people who are taking or took trips, or gone yourself. I lost track of how many people I know who went to Europe this summer and/or fall. Or might be there or elsewhere now.

So, I have a question. Has anyone noticed how much the cost of hotel rooms has just skyrocketed? I’m not speaking just of the 5-star variety (although those are truly shocking), but in virtually every category. From the November 2022 issue of Travel & Leisure, a smattering (yes, many are luxury brands with prices are included for shock value):

Napa — everyone’s favorite wine country destination: Montage Healdsburg (doubles from $1,100); Four Seasons (doubles from $2,000); Stanly Ranch, an Auberge property ($1,450). But there is the Andaz in downtown Napa (it’s lovely and begins at $340)

Maui – Andaz at Wailea Resort (doubles from $1,179)

Grand Cayman – Ritz-Carlton on magnificent Seven Mile Beach (doubles from $879 — a good $300 increase from when I stayed there).  But there’s also Hampton by Hilton (from $220) on the same stretch of beach

Marrakesh – a very popular destination these days – where the storied La Mamounia seems likes a bargain (from $550) compared to the Mandarin Oriental (from $1,009)

And the granddaddy of them all – the new Aman in New York City, yours beginning at $3,400 per night. Among the primary reasons why I’ve not been to one of their properties.

Next question. Who the hell is paying these prices? And it’s not just the hotels. Anyone flying these days???

I’ve written often about having the benefit of knowing long in advance of my spring travel plans due to the hubby’s work. The annual departure date is right after April 15th. So I can keep watch on airfares and, most importantly, mileage seats. Using miles for “flying over the ocean” in either direction helps significantly lower the overall cost of the trip.

Spring 2023 is mostly done. These days I look for the best flights and then figure the itinerary after.  For our Asia travel, the jumping off point is Tokyo with American’s enhanced relationship with Japan Airlines (a really good one). Business Class seats (one way) are just 60,000 miles. For years it was Cathay (I loved that one), but no more. By comparison, if I were heading east (to Europe and beyond), the starting point is London where the same seat is 166,000 miles.

But it’s not all doom and gloom!  Portugal seems to be on every list, whether it’s best places to retire or a great and affordable travel destination.  Examples:

Near Lisbon, the resort Areias do Seixo starts at $316 or Six Senses Douro Valley, a high-end brand with doubles starting from $460.  That reminds me, it’s time to give Portugal another visit since 1987 was the first one!

And the Spanish island Ibiza has a newly opened Six Senses (starting at $460).

What’s the takeaway?  Well, I wish I had some secret solution. My advice is engage a savvy travel professional (I happen to know someone ..), pay particular attention to loyalty programs, and, finally, decide if seeing this vast world is your priority. I made that happy decision long ago. It always comes through.