The hospitality industry has been profoundly impacted by the uncertainty and anxiety currently enveloping the country. Airlines, resorts and hotels are now offering steeply discounted prices in order to rejuvenate their bottom lines, but thus far the public’s appetite for travel seems to be stuck in neutral. However, there are a few possible alternatives to traditional vacations that could ease your concerns about mingling with the masses.
“While summer bookings may be down from 2019, we’ve seen spikes in bookings over the past week, as well as travelers booking beach and mountain retreats for trips in May,” explains TurnKey founder T.J. Clark. “As destinations start to cautiously open, we’ve seen strong guest interest in the Alabama and Texas Gulf Coast, as well as South Atlantic locations like Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Wilmington. We’re also seeing recent growth in mountain retreats like Asheville, N.C., and Gatlinburg, TN. Interestingly, all of these locations are traditionally drive-to destinations as guests now prefer to avoid air travel and stay closer to home. In the current travel environment, guests are looking for drive-to destinations where they can book private accommodations like vacation rentals. And when it comes to their choice in where to stay, cleanliness is also now top of mind.”
Vacation Home Rentals
TurnKey Vacation Rentals is a full-service vacation rental management company, with more than 5,000 beautiful vacation homes in 80 destinations throughout the country. With TurnKey, guests can stay at a clean, private home at a great value, often including its own private amenities, like a pool, game room or extra space. As guests look to maintain social distancing, TurnKey homes come standard with custom keyless locks, removing any need for person-to-person contact or key exchanges. They also recently made enhancements to its patented GuestWorks cleaning system and verification technology, including confirmation and photo-verification of the use of powerful cleaning products. To further elevate cleanliness and safety standards, TurnKey will also develop a certification program in its system, technology and new standards, which all housekeeping vendors will be required to take.
Glamping is where stunning nature meets modern luxury, and where today’s discerning campers can get away from the normally crowded vacation spots. Collective Retreats is an outdoor luxury hospitality company that creates experiential travel designed to connect people and place through intimate retreats in unique locations where traditional hotels cannot be built. Each retreat is located in an iconic destination and features luxury indoor/outdoor accommodations, exceptional culinary experiences, concierge services, wellness activities and genuine hospitality. They maintain little colonies of luxe tents and outlook shelters within 90 minutes of major metropolitan markets around the country – such as Governor’s Island New York and Hill Country Texas – and believe that the distance-by-design features of their sites is beneficial for the future of social distancing travel.
Private camping locations are usually less crowded, well-maintained, filled with amenities and also backed up by great customer service. For both RVs and tent campers, KOA Resorts offer a carefree vacation in the great outdoors. Enjoy robust recreation and staff-led activities, kick back and relax by the resort-style pool, or grab a bite to eat, all while never leaving the campground. Premium tent sites are available at such camping sites as Niantic, Connecticut, with over 20 local attractions most within 30 minutes of the campground and great local events every weekend. Or try Grand Island, Nebraska, featuring a swimming pool, pedal bike rentals, game room, playground, horseshoe pits and basketball court as well as a large, grassy pet walk and free Wi-Fi.
RV Road Trips
Outdoorsy is a peer-to-peer marketplace that connects families, solo travelers and travelers of all kinds with trusted RV owners so they can easily rent an RV to power their road adventures. With more than 40,000 unique vehicles available to rent in 4,800 cities across 14 countries, their selection spans easy-to-navigate campervans to vintage Airstreams to luxury Class As and more so travelers can personalize their trip, customize their itinerary and choose the price point that fits their budget. In addition to RV rentals being a controlled environment where renters can choose how much or how little they are exposed to others, where they travel, and more, Outdoorsy owners are held to high cleanliness standards and are dedicated to providing clean, sanitized and germ-free RVs to amateur and veteran road travelers alike.
With a population of under 400, no hotel and no way of getting there other than by boat, Daufuskie Island in South Carolina is an oceanfront oasis just off the coast of Savannah and Hilton Head. One could spend an entire week in Haig Point, the private community on the island, without seeing more than a dozen individuals. The tiny Southern island is mostly undeveloped conservancy land- meaning visitors will love the nature and wildlife experiences that occur daily. Though the island is quiet, visitors do have the chance to engage in some uniquely Daufuskie experiences, from waterfront horseback riding to golfing. Even at the local art gallery, art is sold on an honor system; if you like a piece, take it and leave your money in the mailbox slot. No human interaction necessary. Visitors can enjoy this secluded beach getaway by renting a private home in Haig Point or by staying in the historic 1873 Lighthouse.
Outdoor Trips for Long Weekends
Greenville’s proximity to the Blue Ridge Mountains means endless ways to explore the outdoors on foot, by bike or by boat. It’s also the perfect three-day getaway and its location just off of I-85 makes it easy to drive to in less than five hours from a number of major cities in the Southeast. Hike through to Caesar’s Head State Park, connected by the Caesars Head Overlook, an outcropping above the Blue Ridge Escarpment that gives views of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. Hop on the 4-mile Raven Cliff Falls trail, which leads to the 420-foot Raven Cliff Falls and to the suspension bridge that crosses the creek above Raven Cliff Falls. Enjoy the 22 mile Swamp Rabbit Trail that’s perfect for a leisurely bike ride, and just seven miles from downtown. Paris Mountain State Park offers more than 15 miles of hiking trails and lakes for fishing and swimming. For that isolated country feel, visitors can stay in their own private cottage at the Red Horse Inn, a quaint bed and breakfast located 30 minutes from downtown.
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