Designing Women S4 E9 Extra Sugar – Unique Stays, Travel Tips, and Stories
Updated: Apr 1
Oh lawd, Suzanne and Julia stayed in a capsule hotel and now Salina may never emerge from looking at every unique place to stay on the planet. Why? Because the Internet is a dark hole from which we can never escape, but also because there are just sooooo many fascinating places to go! Tune in for this chat about staying everywhere from a replica of Dorothy’s house in North Carolina to your own library shelf in Tokyo. We’ll wrap up with some travel tips and stories.
Dig in further because there just wasn’t time to cover it all!
Hey, Extra Sugar.
Hey, Extra Sugar host.
It's so good.
Welcome to this week's edition of Extra Sugar.
I totally remember what I was doing because 37 doesn't mean that your brain's rotting.
Today we're gonna talk about unique hotels or more accurately, unique stays here in the South.
A few in the US at large and around the world.
And then we'll also share some travel tips and maybe T IP S and then maybe also throw in a few stories.
Although now that I'm saying it, I may have cut out the ones in the US at large.
It'll be a surprise.
Let's see when we get there.
There's some really cool ones.
I think the bottom line is and you'll probably hear this again because I'll read it later on.
But basically there's so many to look at that.
We're gonna link to some articles so you can look for yourself because otherwise this would be a 3.5 hour extra sugar and I still wouldn't cover them all because the thing is guys, there's a lot of really cool places out there.
We're all this big.
This whole topic of travel is inspired, of course by Suzanne and Julia's misadventure in Tokyo, which found them in several unexpected situations, including sharing a bed with, well, basically a stranger, a very kind stranger.
Um, but still someone they had only met just mere hours before.
The reason that they're in a bed together is because of the type of hotel he's staying in and it's known as a capsule or pop hotel.
These were developed in Japan in 1979 and they feature many small bed size rooms known as capsules.
They provide a cheap basic overnight accommodation for guests who don't require or can't afford a more expensive room at a conventional hotel rate.
If you didn't see the episode or you're not familiar with capsule hotels.
Here's a little bit of a longer description to help so that you can envision it.
So the guest room is a chamber, roughly the length and width of a single bed with sufficient height for a hotel guest to crawl in and sit up on the bed.
The chamber walls may be made of wood or metal or any rigid material, but they're often fiberglass or plastic.
And amenities within the room generally include a small TV, air conditioning and electronic console and power sockets.
The capsules are stacked side by side two units high with steps or ladders providing access to the second level rooms similar to bunk beds.
The open end of the capsule can be closed with a curtain or a solid door for privacy but can be locked from the inside only.
Uh Look at the look on your face.
It sounds like a fire hazard.
I I think I would prefer the curtain method because I'm claustrophobic, but they're also described as being similar to hostels, which feels important to say, particularly when you think about the fact that the bathrooms are often shared amenities and it really is like an affordable way to travel um similar to hostels as well.
Uh I think it's an interesting option.
So I like it, it just sounds like a fire hazard.
I can't get past that.
You're saying that I'm thinking about my claustrophobia.
Um But like I do love that.
It, it makes travel more accessible for people who want to do it.
I think that's really important because I, I do think world travel and that's really also what why I want to talk about travel tips and all of these things because I think travel is so important and I think um for me, it's a passion of mine.
Um not that I get to travel nearly as much as I would like to.
Um but it's become much more important to me as I've gotten older.
I think it's experiencing other parts of the world and other cultures is really important because I think it broadens our experience, our minds and it makes us a little bit more empathetic.
Um So it's worth noting that these pod style hotels there are not only in Japan though it appears this is where they're the most common.
It looks like you can also find them in Belgium, China, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Poland, and Canada.
So let's talk about unique stays and it's all about perspective, right?
Because for us, a capsule style hotel seems really unique.
But if you're in Japan and particularly in major cities in Japan, uh, these are pretty commonplace.
Uh, again, I could do a 40 part series on this topic just because there's so many, if there's something that we didn't catch though, that you just think we really need to know about or something we should have featured, you know, what to do and you know how to reach us, reach out and tell us because I'm, I mean, I'd love to hear about whatever you got.
I'm sure Nicky would also like to hear.
Um, so we're a Southern podcast.
So let's start here in our own backyard.
I'm gonna hold it to five and in no real specific order I am, it is suddenly dawning on me.
I did take out those other ones.
I definitely did because it fell a bridge too far.
Uh, but man, there's some cool places outside of the south too.
That's what I'll say.
Gotta keep it, you know, gotta keep something back.
Well, gotta keep it fresh.
So Jules undersea Lodge.
In Key Largo Florida also, Nikki, I guess, let me know if you've heard of any of these as I go along.
Um This is the only underwater hotel in the US.
You and fellow guests must scuba down 30 ft to get to your room, which is located at the bottom of Emerald Lagoon.
A couple of things here.
Uh You either need to be certified already to Scuba or you got to take a class before you go to your room.
That's also a fee required to do that.
But hey, you'll be Scuba certified.
So that's good news, I think.
And once you're certified you're certified for life.
Are you really?
Well, there you go.
That's great news.
Um, I feel like I'd want a refresher.
Course it, course they offer them.
I would have to do that.
Uh, I think most people would consider it pricey.
Um, just to be really clear.
I think that's important to know single occupants pay, uh, 1125 as in $1,125.
Couples pay 16, 87, 4 guests pay 3150 a night.
It's for one night and it's about 24 hours all in.
Uh, they will deliver you pizza and the room is stocked with snacks and drinks and it sounds like they work with guests to do fancier things.
Like I read something where they will pull in a chef to like cook for you.
Um, like a special meal, if that's something that you want to do for me.
I, I just got to be honest.
I think it sounds really cool, but I'm pretty sure I would feel trapped.
I don't think I would love that.
But if you're like, yeah, I do think for some people with a certain, um, particular traveling spirit or just those who like to do unique things, it might be a good option for you.
I'm looking at pictures right now though and I don't know, this might, this might be going on my list.
This looks really cool.
What I don't love is there's like a porthole and there's like scuba divers outside waving at people that just feels there's curtains.
I think it's, you're monitored 24 hours.
Well, that makes sense, I guess.
Yeah, I think they don't want you to die.
Um, yeah, but it also means that it probably wouldn't be a very romantic.
There's sharks in the picture.
I'm not sure I'm into that.
Meanwhile, Casey is like dying to go in a shark cage.
No, I don't.
Yeah, I don't understand.
I love my life.
Um, is the Bavarian Inn in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
I think this is more my speed.
This is an 11 acre European inspired boutique resort on a bluff overlooking the Potomac River.
Most of the buildings at least, uh, the facades of them are in the Bavarian style.
So, if you're from Georgia or you're familiar with Helen, it's kind of like a little German village or something.
Uh, recently they added an infinity pool and bar.
So, German and then they have a brewery and a brew brew pub lounge in an outdoor beer garden.
I thought this was a nice feature.
Each of the 72 rooms has a fireplace and whirlpool.
So it's not, it, it seems like, um, that's just something that's all the way across the rooms instead of you having to pay more to be in a quote unquote nicer room.
There's also a bunch of stuff nearby a casino, some historic sites and an outdoor rec recreation activity situation.
So that's number two.
Number three is the Chattanooga Chou in Tennessee.
Uh I think if you're from the South, you've likely heard of this before, but it's a historic terminal station turned hotel and it's been that way since 1973.
They do have traditional rooms and suites as well as multiple Victorian era Pullman train cars that were turned into rooms.
They are in the middle of a pretty big renovation right now, but they're expected to wrap up by the middle of this year.
I found a new store saying the revamp will feature 25 of the Pullman train car rooms.
So I can't promise that these are an option right now in this moment, but it sounds like they are planning to keep that feature Nikki.
Is this a place that you've ever been to before?
I haven't been here but I have a friend who grew up around Chattanooga, like, just over the Georgia line from Chattanooga.
And I, I feel like what I was gonna ask is if there's a restaurant here, something because I feel like her parents have mentioned, maybe they eat there, like there's some singing involved or something.
I feel like you can eat on the train cars because that's an option.
Um That might be something I did when I was little and I don't have um the most solid memories of it.
I've definitely been in the hotel before and I've also been in the train cars um like the rooms just to see them.
Um but I've not stayed on them.
Um but uh they are, they're really pretty and it is fun and different and I, I think the last time I even thought about staying in one of the rooms, they were going through another renovation.
You really got to catch them at the right time.
Um It's, it's a cool, it's a cool place though.
How often are they renovating?
Well, all right.
Uh South Carolinian, I need you to keep me honest.
On number four A dis edo edo.
Ok, see I need, I need you.
I knew the answer.
Edo River tree houses in the Ace Basin of South Carolina.
So this is for our outdoor enthusiasts.
You got to work to get there.
You must first paddle 13 miles to get the house.
You must first.
Oh my gosh, they're beautiful.
Um, so you, you got to paddle 13 miles to get there.
They're ran by the Carolina Heritage Outfitters.
I want to be clear though.
They supply you with what you need to get there.
So, uh canoes, paddles, that kind of thing.
You do need to bring your own food.
But for the right kind of traveler, I think the journey is the destination or a big part of it because you're in the middle of the 150 acre Edisto.
River Refuge, which boasts miles of hiking trails, Cyprus and Tupelo swamps and all kinds of beautiful wildlife.
There's good fishing, swimming, napping, all the things that nature can provide.
There's a hammock in this picture.
That's the, that's right.
So the tree houses are stocked with a propane grill, cooking utensils, a screen, sleeping loft and board games.
There are also some benches and a benches, B E N C H E N and a fire pit outside.
I mean, I don't know, maybe that.
Who are you going with?
Um family trip?
I'm telling you right now, you can always tell when we're on our multiple recording day.
Anyways, the next day you do have to paddle once again.
10 miles downriver.
Oh, come on, man.
Back to where you started.
I like canoeing.
I like canoeing Deliverance.
It's only one day.
So you haven't even had time to let your muscles heal.
I do think it would be nice if it was multiple days.
Maybe you can arrange that.
I'm not sure.
And if it's down river then maybe you could also just float a little bit.
Yeah, you can.
Um, but it sounds like there's a good barbecue joint nearby in a nearby farm where you can pick strawberries depending on the season or get other fresh produce.
So I just, I want to make it a well rounded trip for people.
I was remembering an Ace Ventura the first one where he gets in that boat to go over to where the shark tank is and he pulls out like a little pocket fan and he puts it down in the water to make the boat.
Yeah, I was like really little when I saw that.
So Nicky watched that last week.
Uh number five.
Oh, and please do jump in if there's anything that you want to ask.
Well, yeah, what do you mean with a, I didn't know if you like things that are a little kitschy.
You can stay at a replica of Dorothy's house in Beach Mountain, North Carolina.
I am referring to Dorothy as in the one with the Ruby slippers and the classic man 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz.
The house where you can stay was initially part of a movie themed attraction Park, the Land of Oz that was opened from 1970 to 1980.
I have seen this place on at least 1000 Listicle.
Um So I was already familiar with it, but that what you don't see a lot of times they'll be like places around the United States.
But if you look at it, they've actually restored several parts of the park, including Dorothy's Farm, the yellow brick road, all kinds of gardens and gazebos.
There's even an autumn at Oz party every fall with the Wizard of Oz characters, music, food, and movie memorabilia.
It sells out every year and of course, Beach Mountain is a vacation destination all its own with skiing, golfing, fishing, hiking and all of your typical mountain fair.
So that's the south.
My mom, my mom doesn't listen to our podcast.
So I feel comfortable saying this um the autumn at Oz is during her birthday, like around like adjacent to her birthday.
And my mother is a huge wizard of Oz fan.
Oh, maybe you could tell her if she'll listen to the podcast, we'll uh get her a trip together.
This will be the good introduction.
I'm not telling her.
I think the Ottoman Oz party sounds really cool.
Yeah, I think it's really interesting.
Um I love a little kitschy thing like that and is a movie buff that really speaks to me.
Uh Let's go internationally.
Let's do it again?
Holding it to five in no specific order.
Sorry, I didn't give you any else around the United States.
My bad number one book and bed in Tokyo, Japan.
This is a fun twist on the capsule style hotel, but instead of being sealed into your own pod, your room is behind a curtain tucked into a real library bookshelf with hundreds of reads to choose from, you can read there or go into a cafe.
They also have a bar free wifi and an American style breakfast.
So I guess it's made for us.
I don't know either that or they really love American style breakfast in Tokyo.
I just had like a dystopian vision in my head of like they're tucking you into this bookshelf and then on the other side, it's like a giant and you're his version of a book or something, he's gonna play with you.
It looks really cool.
We'll link to pictures and stuff.
I know it's always a little, um, a little hairy when you guys can't see the pictures of what we're talking about, but we promise we'll link you to things so you can see how neat it is.
Um, but yes, I do definitely, I can see that too, but this is less scary.
Um, uh, it also sounds like it's close to a lot of attractions and pretty darn affordable starting at $55 a night.
I mean, you are sleeping on a shelf.
So I, I think it's so neat though, especially if you're a book lover.
Uh, number two is Ashford Castle in Ireland.
The article we'll link to says it's in Northern Ireland, but I looked a little bit more closely at it and that's not correct.
It's a little, and I'm telling you that because if you go look at the article, it's going to say northern Ireland, but it's actually would be wrong.
It's actually a little shy of an hour northwest of Galway, which is in southern Ireland.
Um It's on Loch Corrib, a huge lake and part of a 350 acre estate.
The castle was founded in 12 28.
It's also, I know it's also the former home of the Guinness family.
I don't know you're staying in a castle.
So like everything is beautiful and perfectly manicured.
It looks like they're really intent on making it an experience and also exposing guests to the Irish heritage and culture, which is really nice.
It sounds and looks like they have a really nice spa awarded Ireland's best hotel spa six years in a row by World Spa Awards.
This is an indulgence.
So just poking around at rooms, I didn't see anything lower than €525 per night and that was a week night, but like it's a castle.
So I don't know what to tell you.
Um Number three.
All right guys, we're getting in outside of my comfort zone on pronunciations.
And y'all hear me pronounce like normal words.
So just bear with me.
This is the Coke Slaton.
No, Coke Slain Resort in Finland, the happiest place in the world.
So it's an igloo.
Uh they, they have igloos there uh in case Finland and igloo didn't give it away.
The first thing that you need to know about this resort is it's gonna be cold.
In fact, it's 100 and 55 miles north of the Arctic Circle.
That's why they're so happy.
So cute though.
They have several different kinds of accommodations and they all look amazing, but they're most well known for their glass and traditional igloos.
The glass ones in particular allow you to see the northern lights from your bed.
I mean, it just doesn't get colder than that temperature.
And otherwise I was gonna say, I think it does personally.
Yeah, just go personally, I would go with their new kilo glass eagle.
I keep saying I, I igloos which are a mash up of their glass igloos and cozy log chalets.
I think kilo is a type of wood there anyways with a private sauna fireplace, kitchenette and a bedroom with a glass roof.
So you get the coziness but you don't lose the view of the northern lights.
Uh And I believe they're in northern light time right now.
There is something that sounds fun and adventurous about traditional snow igloos.
However, they lost me with this line on the website.
Uh oh, even if the mercury dips to minus 40 C outside the temperature inside is a consistent minus three to minus six.
Translated for those of us who follow the Fahrenheit system when it's negative 40 Celsius, it's also negative 40 F because past a certain point it's just cold to stop killing.
They quit and inside it's somewhere between 20 and 30 F.
So, while that's an amazing feat to get from the negative 40 to 20 to 30 degrees, it's still cold for me.
My working theory is they're so happy there because their heart rates are so low, they can upset all the time.
Uh The picture online made me laugh so hard because like the couple is in a um like uh you go camping tent sleeping bag.
Thank you the Lord propane tank.
So fancy, I just don't even know the to sleeping bag.
Um So they're in a sleeping bag.
There's a propane tank.
They're so all you see is their little head sticking out of like a burrito and it looks like they're trying to smile having so much fun.
Yes, but they're also just very cold.
And so it's like that's what I can imagine happening.
I have two thoughts.
1. Um also you didn't mention Santa's home and Santa's home is apparently on property at the thing too is, but you would think so in there uh in the Arctic circle.
100 miles north of the Arctic circle.
Is it never sunny?
Because what I wonder is I'm imagining for long periods of time they don't have heat because like of the environmental impact maybe, is there like a solar harnessing situation that they could, I want to make this more comfortable for me.
So I would be more realistic than this day.
I want to stay in an igloo but I want to be warm in the snow.
How do we make that happen?
You know, I don't know, two sleeping bags.
Oh, I gotta be strong like the fins.
Do I provide my own sleeping bag or does that come with the accommodation?
I'm pretty sure that comes with the accommodation.
That's really nice.
It's like a really good sleeping bag I think.
Uh yeah that I would like to go in one but I don't want to stay in one.
I I'll be and and still be working on that for a while.
You, you look at the pronunciation guides and listen to the right.
That's why I have to say it like that because they're not.
So it's in my head and that's all I can picture anyways.
Sorry, I guess.
Uh number four stay in an underwater room in the Manta resort in Tanzania.
They have other accommodations but the standout is their underwater room which is one of three levels.
The bedroom is submerged and surrounded by three or so picture windows to see all the sea life.
Then there's a covered lounge and bathroom on the second level and a bed on the very un top, very top.
It's uncovered for stargazing or suntanning.
The whole thing is a private floating island.
You can only reach by speed boat.
This gets real pricey guys.
It's 18 40 a night.
So this is a bucket list.
Stay for really lucky people, I guess.
And you can also go on safari while you're there.
So that's pretty darn cool.
I mean, not on the submerged bedroom but there in Tanzania.
And then here's a random fun fact for you because this resort is on Pemba Island which yields 70% of the world's clothes.
70% on the little tiny island that the clothes anyways.
Number five, I googled it real quick, man.
Died free diving while trying to propose to his girlfriend in 2019 here.
Oh, that's depressing.
Probably why I didn't include it.
I didn't see that.
Um That is really terrible though.
Uh Number five, spend the night in a dreamland about an hour outside of Mexico City.
You've probably also seen this on some list particularly for airbnb, but this is the day or quos nest.
Sorry, gosh, it all fell apart, which is 10 apartments inside a 16,500 square foot building shaped like a snake.
It was designed by architect Javier Sino to resemble the feathered serpent.
Serpent Z coat with hallway mimicking a snake's belly and I am not trying to make fun of it.
It is literally the only way I can pronounce it.
It sounds and you don't do what I do, which is just right around it.
So I don't have to say it the cut, I just really go into it, just make myself look like an idiot.
Um So your way is better, but here we are anyway.
So these hallways mimic a snake's belly.
It sounds like it's kind of off the beaten path.
But there's a botanical garden and a mineral cave nearby.
I have um let's see.
Oh, it's also been featured on a number of travel shows in addition to all of these lists I want to say too like snake.
I think some people might be like, oh God, that's scary.
It's not scary though.
It's more whimsical.
Um It's whimsically also about $400 a night.
It kind of looks like some mash up of the Flintstones meets the Jetsons or something.
And I think it's because it's got a little bit of that midcentury, modern thing going on.
So like I said, we'll link to a bunch of articles so you can see all of these things for yourself.
Oh, yeah, I could see that.
There you go.
It's on her Instagram.
Oh, it's cool.
It looks um to me it looks very uh Willy Wonka.
Or like it could be a ride at a theme park or something.
Uh It's just a nice reminder, going and doing this segment that there's a lot of really creative people curating really unique experiences and finding cool ways to reuse things that already existed, which I really like.
Um So I was gonna go and do some travel tips.
I'm like, I'm leaving now here again.
I'm gonna say tips.
T IP F I just think it's really important that you know what we're talking about here.
That's all a successful trip.
As you know, Nikki, it takes planning, you know, this is like if you're leaving the country, not the time to fly by the seat of your pants, you really need to dig in, get organized, create a spreadsheet if you will, some of us in this room create a spreadsheet if you will.
Um And you know, I admire, I admire it.
I thought it might be nice to share some of these considerations for anyone who is considering international travel, anyone who's considering their next big adventure.
If you're already a big traveler, you know what?
It's just a refresher course and who doesn't like a refresher course.
We'll also be teaching you how to scuba, hold your nose and jump on in the lake.
Don't do that.
Don't, I've uh compiled a list of ones that can really make or break a trip.
But Nicky, um as someone who owns a spreadsheet or two, please feel free to jump in.
Uh And, and I am, I do tease you about the spreadsheet, but you are one of the most organized people.
I know and I bet you things go pretty smoothly for you when you are traveling.
So, I mean, except for the fact that you have kids and that's, I don't think that's ever smooth, I'm afraid.
Um But adventurous.
So my very first tip is research.
the travel requirements differ depending on where you're going.
Some places require visas.
A big one during the wake of the pandemic was proof of vaccination.
They can and will deny you entry if you do not come prepared.
I cannot imagine much worse in my like scheme of horrible things in my mind showing up to a country and having them tell you you can't come in because you left paperwork at home.
That terrifies me.
Incidentally, when I go to the DMV, I bring entire like binders of paper because I don't want to have to go back home.
Yeah, I mean, the last thing you want to have to do is undo something that you've just been working towards for a long time.
Um It's also good to make sure you're not missing out on what you want to do once you get there.
So I'm just gonna use museums as an example.
I know not everybody that's not their idea of a good time, but you'll need to know when a place opens hours of operation.
And typical, typically, in the case of a museum, how long it takes to get through and allot yourself, like the proper time to see what you want to see last entry times can also be snicky, snicky or as most people like to call it sneaky.
Um And you really need to watch out for those.
I will say that that has tripped me up on more than one occasion, especially in Ireland with castles.
I'm just saying it's really hard for me to go see a castle.
That's what you need to know about me today.
Uh Familiarize yourself with local culture and customs.
What's polite in one place?
Maybe downright rude in another.
Remember you're visiting their country so it's time for you to fit in and not the other way around.
One quick example that comes to mind is tipping.
You know, we tip for everything in America.
That's not always the case in other countries.
Uh Whatever their custom is, you at least want to know it and at least try and follow suit, check into things that might cost you like phone service and wifi while you can get wifi for free in a lot of public places internationally.
Sometimes you need to make a phone call because it's urgent or if you're talking like screw them or if you're traveling, you may not be able to access like a public cafe or something.
Look into what kind of international travel plans your phone provider has.
So we have a travel pass for instance.
So that means like every 24 hours it's $10 and you can use your phone unlimited.
Uh, what we typically do is on a day.
We are traveling between countries or big places.
That's when we'll usually activate it because we're on the road.
We don't know what's gonna happen.
It's just better to be safe.
Uh, other considerations, currency.
Do you want to get local currency on site?
Get some in advance through your bank?
There's different ways to go about it.
You need to look ahead of time to see what gets you the best deal and while most places do carry or take card, um, I mean, it's 2023, like there's some things you just need cash for.
Will your credit cards work where you're going?
I'll tell you right now guys, it's dicey Visa, mastercard are really usually your safer bets internationally.
There are travel specific cards that can benefit with exchange rates and also consider using whatever card carries the best rewards.
You're spending the money, you might as well make more money for it lately.
We've been using our Delta card a lot just because it's racking up those miles.
Should you consider travel insurance?
I'm not telling you what to do.
It's an open in a question again.
Going back to the research.
It just depends some credit cards actually do ca carry some level of insurance built in that can cover things if things go awry.
But it also depends on the larger environment.
You know, we've played it a lot more safely post pandemic.
So we're, we're checking the box on a lot of extras that we normally wouldn't have done.
But it's, you just don't know anymore.
Always, always read the fine print.
If you get an ungettable deal, it probably means you have little if any protection.
So it's all great.
So long as nothing unforeseen up in your plans, I have read the horror stories about people getting discount plane tickets and then getting kicked off and there are fights ensuing because if you read that fine print and you got a discounted ticket and they always overbook the planes.
Now they will ask you to leave.
So yeah, we had, we got a trip to Mexico one time we found a really good deal on and we were just super skeptical because I I am the type of person that if something feels too good, I'm going to believe it's too good to be true.
So we ended up making like three or four phone calls to the I can't remember who we were getting the deal through.
Maybe like Groupon or something.
We called them.
We called the hotel, we looked at reviews online and we were like, what are we missing here?
Fortunately, we weren't missing anything.
Everybody was like, no, it's just a really good deal.
But I was so skeptical because it felt too good to be true.
And I think that's a great way to go about it too.
Like, just make sure that you're actually covered and not leaving yourself exposed to something you really don't want to face.
In the moment.
I think you'll really identify with this next one.
Nicky, which is learning from other travelers that seems very much so up your alley.
But other people have done the heavy lifting.
So learn from the lonely planets and the travel bloggers of the world.
The truth is you're probably not doing anything that hasn't been done before.
I mean, if you are like, awesome, but probably not and they'll cover everything.
Soup to nuts.
So every time we plan a big trip, I Google like travel itinerary, like we're planning a staycation in Atlanta and I googled staycation travel itinerary because there's being an Atlanta resident, there's stuff I don't know about.
And so I don't want to miss it if I have a chance to do that every time or like even down to packing, which is my next tip.
And that's like, kind of like, you know, this is actually a really, I'm sure you've seen this before, but it's a really big debate roll or cubes and fold.
Like people are like squarely in their camps and then there are people who are just lucky to get packed, so don't leave them out.
Everyone has a seat at the table.
Uh, I'm a roller except bulky items like hoodies myself, but that's just me on what to pack.
This is another thing to look at ahead of time because it depends on where you're going.
What I typically do is some cursory research to know.
Are we talking tank tops?
Are we talking parkas and then start monitoring the weather a few weeks out from the trip?
Don't I sound like a good time.
Some fail safes, bring layers and clothes.
You turn, um, you can turn into more than one outfit.
I think you're also a fan of that.
Don't pack aspirational.
You guys don't usually work out.
The Caribbean isn't going to be the place to start.
You know, Ellen degeneres had the funniest bit on this in her stand up before and I'll never forget that because I am very much that Packer.
I'm like, I'm gonna be on vacation.
I never get to play tennis.
I'm gonna going to play tennis this time and I'm like, you have to walk six miles uphill to get to the tennis courts.
You're not gonna do that.
Yeah, it's tough.
I actually did.
I took, but I mean, I do work out six days a week.
So I thought if, you know, this is not aspirational, this is my daily life, but I think this is kind of the flip side of that if your daily life is that you work out, they get away from that on your vacation.
So I took all these stupid workout clothes and didn't ever have time to use any of them.
It was just so busy gambling.
Uh, I don't want to be like, too weird, but like legit, you can never have enough underwear or under things.
Socks, like, don't like whatever you think.
And then two, 2 or 3 extra is usually what I pack.
There you go.
I like to take a little plastic bag or something with me to like throw dirty clothes in you just like separated between church and state, you know, um consider how to make your luggage go further.
So for colder temp trips, I'll pack all of my under things and my boots and that gives me a little bit more space, check your baggage or carry on.
This is another big question.
It's up to you but be smart about it.
If you got multiple layovers, it's dicey guys.
You may never see your luggage again.
That sounds terrifying.
Um Are there bag fees?
No, the airline policies know what you're getting out of your ticket.
We like to charge for baggage these days.
So I'm gonna be honest with you probably not a lot but if you get a card through one of these airlines, you're more likely to get some baggage for free.
Uh group travel can be the best it can be the worst.
I do think it can be a lot of fun with the group to go travel that way.
The conversation never gets stale.
There's safety in numbers, more people to tackle an issue or problem solve, especially with getting around.
But big personalities can clash and people can bicker or just get and to play old fashion fights.
It's important to set parameters and boundaries ahead of the trip, group time and couple time versus alone time splitting checks at restaurants, staying together versus accommodations nearby one another.
You want to have these conversations on the front end and then my final tip is to know where the local hospitals and emergency services are in case anything urgent happens.
And trust me, anything is possible.
Anything big that I'm missing here that you just absolutely do every time you travel.
No, all those things pack check for kids.
No, Kevin mcallister issues or don't take them safer that way.
But when you go to pack pack once and then pack again and then pack a third time and that way you can weed things out.
I start packing.
You said start monitoring the weather a couple weeks in advance.
That'd be too late for me because I've already packed everything.
So I start packing about a couple of weeks in advance.
I'm doing like a trial run.
I especially did that on our really big Europe trip because we, I only carried on and I didn't want to check a bag because we were just going too many places.
Um, and, and, yeah, I did all kinds of trial runs just like a little, like a little fun, weirdo, you know.
Um, better safe than sorry.
In my opinion, it's so funny because if I go somewhere and stay at a friend's house overnight I pack more because I can, because you can't, especially when we take a car somewhere.
I almost always pack way more than I need because it does, it matter.
I've got like a like a mixer.
I'm like, who knows?
The older I get though I think maybe this might be mom territory because I have to carry so much crap.
Anyway, I want to take way less I want to take.
So I have definitely shown up places and be like, oh no, I forgot a toothbrush.
Does anyone have an extra one?
You brought my purse?
Yes, I have 5000 because there's always someone in the group that has extra.
And if I'm traveling with that person that I know I can rely on them, just use them.
That's also, that's also good.
You can't be responsible travel with someone who is also Nikki might forget her toothbrush, but she will have everything else for you.
I'll have it all.
So I thought we could end with unique stays or experiences that we've had in our own travels.
Um or just uh um yeah.
Uh I was gonna say, or just unique experiences.
But that was just a badly written note before I get there, we did have, have like the whole premise of this is like Julia and Suzanne had a kind of rough time.
So before we, I, I don't want to end on a sour note.
Is there anything that's happened?
Nicky in your travels that like is a standout for you?
That was a little disastrous that you had to navigate.
You know, it's mine.
I was telling my husband this yesterday, like it's usually like minor inconveniences that add up to feeling like a disaster.
You know, like um we were coming back from Mexico and our plane wasn't working.
So they had to fly someone up, down from Atlanta, a specialist from Atlanta to come repair the plane so that we could leave.
So little things like that I get delayed a lot.
Um But we had, when we were in uh Saint Thom on our honeymoon, my friends had been there on a cruise and they were like, oh, the cool thing about Saint Thomas is there's this thing called a dollar bus and it is literally a bus that costs you a dollar you get on and it takes you anywhere on the island you want to go.
And so they were like, you really have to do the dollar bus.
And so what we wanted to do was go to Saint John.
So from our resort, we took a cab to this area called Red Hook where you get on a boat and it takes you to Saint John.
When we came back from Saint John, we were like, let's just do the dollar bus.
Let's save some money from a car.
We don't, we hadn't called ahead for one.
So we got on the dollar bus.
It was going the wrong way.
So we had to go all the way around the island and it went all the way around the island and we got to a place where there was a Kmart and we're like, you know what, let's get off here because we'll just get a car back because it was starting to feel uncomfortable.
And so we got off at the Kmart and that looked comfortable and safe and we wanted to go in and buy a couple of things anyway.
So we went into Kmart, but on the way this man stopped us and was like, excuse me, you guys look like you need a ride somewhere and we're like, you know what?
We do need a ride back to our resort and like, do you know a car company or something?
And he was like, oh, my car is right here.
I give people rides.
He walked us over to it.
It was a windowless white van and Kyle and I were both like, you know what?
We just forgot we needed to run into Kmart right quick.
We totally forgot something, anything, anything.
So we went into Kmart and they had a security guard sitting there, which also is like a police security guard sitting inside Kmart, which is also a little bit foreboding.
And we were like, hey, there's this guy outside.
She goes, you absolutely do not get in the car with that man.
We've had trouble with him.
Don't get in that car.
Um, we will get you a taxi and then, ok, but also they're like, but we just let him hang out there.
It's an island man.
What are you gonna do with him?
Can't excommunicate him whatever you call that exile.
So yeah, we almost got trafficked.
Oh yeah, that's bad.
That's a navigable disaster or one that you definitely want to navigate.
We also, when we stayed in Paris, we did an Air B N B because I thought that would be cool to stay in the community or whatever and what I did not know, speaking of learning local customs or like um it's not, it's not a local custom, but it's like an international technology thing.
I feel like it's something you have to know these things.
They're very um big on washers and dryers that are one unit and it does both washes your clothes and dries them to this day.
I cannot tell you how that's possible because I got through the wash cycle and then I couldn't get the water out of the machine to dry my clothes.
And my whole big plan was to pack like two outfits, wash them in Paris and then wear them the rest of the trip.
And so I had to sit there and manually take the water out with a pot that I found in the kitchen until it was almost out of water.
And then I just hoped it dried out before the next person came.
I can't even believe that it was also like a dryer.
It was the stranger since it didn't because we were there just wash.
They very much were very clear that it was a washer dryer combo.
And because we had wifi, I googled the user manual and it was a washer dryer combo.
I could not figure out how it would work, but really it was just a pot of water and it may be broken.
Well, maybe not.
I hope not.
I really like to hang clothes, you know, I know.
I know, which is what I ended up doing.
I hang my clothes a lot.
It's what I ended up doing and it was great.
It was fine but like little inconveniences that just sort of add up for like, really annoying, I think.
Yeah, I think, um, I will.
Um, I'll just say that I've had many trips filled with a, a lot of little inconveniences.
I'll say the other thing that's just really terribly annoying, but I find that this happens more here is tourist traps just terrible.
Um And even as, as much as we've traveled, we hit some in Fort Lauderdale and I've never been more annoyed, but I'm super attuned to those.
The whole place was a tourist trap.
Like the whole stretch was nothing but tourist traps.
So eventually you got, got to eat something.
Um But like, I almost wish that I had just stayed hungry.
I do also want to say because I don't want to poo poo on Fort Lauderdale that I had the most delicious Peruvian food.
It was amazing.
I'll show you pictures later on.
Maybe I'll wind up dropping some on social media now that I've brought you all into this.
So there's that uh so any unique experiences or stays that you want to share?
I had two that I had a few that came to mind.
But two I'll mention is um not like up in the line of like what you're sharing.
These are more just like, yeah, that was a cool idea.
So like going to Florida instead of staying on property for Disney, we rented an airbnb that had a pool in the backyard so that we could swim in our own personal pool.
Like that sort of stuff is really cool.
When we went to Sonoma California, we rented again an airbnb.
I find those are such cool places to stay because they're usually in like a cool community or neighborhood.
And you get to see like, like you were saying a little flavor of the local community, but we stayed in one that was like a guest house in someone's backyard.
It's almost like a tiny house in their backyard, but they had it set up totally separate.
So like you didn't go through their house or anything to get there but like disaster adjacent.
They had a little dog that was like super aggressive and he like bit a hole through Kyle's pants when we were trying to get back to the little house.
Yeah, it was crazy.
I left it in the review.
Um And the lady responded and was like, I have no idea what you're talking about.
He's such a lovely dog and I was like, well, the hole in the back of my, my husband's pants would disagree.
Um But it was a cool place to stay because, you know, we had a car so we could drive around different places and it was in a cool little community.
We were out by ourselves.
I just liked it.
So I have little stuff like that.
Nothing like a snake hotel in the middle of Mexico City.
I ain't got nothing like that either.
I will say like I that sometimes those little um like on site retreats on property retreats can be really nice.
I stayed at a beautiful one um in uh Asheville actually when we went to the Bmore one time and I loved it there and they were always outside gardening and they were just as kind as they could be but like not involved in your way.
Uh But my favorites were one is an airbnb that we stayed in Costa Rica.
I think about this place sometimes.
Um There was a couple of bedrooms inside but everything else was outside the kitchen, the whole shebang.
Um And then like surrounding all of that living space were the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen because it's all tropical plants too.
So it's a lot of stuff you may not be familiar with.
I mean, if I, they had a place where they would go and they would put fruit purposely.
So, different kinds of birds and stuff would come in for you to see which was really nice.
And then there were all these really cool cut pathways through the gardens and you almost felt like you were on excursion where you were staying.
Um We got to see some of those leaf cutting ants marching around.
That's cool because it's Costa Rica and they have like, it's one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.
So that one was, was really fun, I think and a unique experience that I didn't care for.
But everybody else did was an overnight.
I would say it's because they were drinking and that makes things enjoyable.
Sometimes it was an overnight train, I want to say from Paris to Italy, but like, I don't regret it because it was cool to be on an overnight train and that's not an experience that you can get here very easily.
It's doable, but it's not easy.
Um And then in terms of just views, uh we had an Air B N B overlooking one of the canals in Venice in Rome, we were on a, there was a rooftop above where we stayed and you could just sit there and look at the colosseum that's always wild to me.
It blows my mind and you know, people walk by every day and it doesn't even register anymore.
So the leaf cutter ants was an example.
I'm thinking of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
I studied French for like eight years.
I read these things in these books, but I never actually went and then I went like 10 years later.
And so I had these milestones like you were saying earlier, like I had to hit which is enter the spreadsheet because I didn't want to miss any of that stuff.
But you get there and you're just like this is just, you know, the, the um the statue of Liberty in New York City for some people.
To me, it's just like, yeah, it's New York City, the statue of Liberty is there.
But like the Eiffel Tower, you walk up to it and you're like, this is here.
It's been here for forever and some people just walk by it every day.
They just, this is the only thing they care about the Statue of Liberty is, it's their favorite place to get beets or whatever.
You know what I mean?
And it doesn't feel real.
I know standing there and you're like, but like, amazing.
And that's the kind of moments I really like to drink in.
My very last one was when we were in Lisbon in Portugal and this overlooked, it's called 25 April Bridge. Uh but it's a steel suspension bridge that looks a lot like the Golden Great Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
And so you're sitting there, you're looking at that off the balcony, but then you could also just sit there and pick an orange off a tree while sitting there too.
And that was just like magical.
I can't do that in my backyard only because you don't have an orange tree back there.
I don't, I couldn't even keep a peach tree alive.
So hopefully, you've been inspired to hit the road, get out there and see the world either close or far away from home.
There are a ton of tons of options out there and maybe you learn something or heck send us some advice.
We're always still learning.
Otherwise, you know the deal.
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