The Rigors of Travel

We don’t travel a lot as a family, but when we do, I like to stay in a suite hotel or in a rented vacation home or condo. The Internet has made vacation rentals a lot easier with sites like Homeaway and VRBO. But these sites don’t allow me to filter the results the way I want to.

If you rent a room in a hotel, the first thing they tell you is what size and how many beds you have. Two queen-sized or one -king sized bed are a couple of examples of what’s available. For a condo or vacation home rental, if the size of the bed is there at all, it’s buried. But most of the condos and homes I’ve seen have one queen-sized bed in the master bedroom. The place we rented in Florida last year didn’t have a king, but it did have two queens which is almost as good.

Every hotel I’ve ever stayed in has heavy drapes or window coverings that allow you to keep the room dark enough to sleep in. I’ve seen lots of rentals that have blinds or shades, but no drapes at all. I guess it’s one less thing to dust, but I’d like to stay asleep for a while when I’m on vacation. We even rented a cabin in Tennessee once where the bedroom was a loft and there was a huge wall of windows bringing in the morning sunlight, right in your eyes.

Most hotels these days have flat-screen televisions too, but not all of the rentals do and a lot don’t make it clear. Or if they are equipped with flat-screen television, they haven’t updated the pictures to reflect that.

If you want to rent me a condo or home for my vacation, I’d like a website that offers more filters. I want to know what size the beds are. If there’s more than one bathroom, is one en suite? How many TV’s are there, what type, what size and where. I want flat screens with one in the living area and one in each bedroom please. I also need to filter the search results based on whether there’s Wi-Fi and whether there’s access to a hot tub or pool. And can I please filter for things I don’t want as well?

No smoking is a must for me. Stale tobacco smoke is the only thing I can always smell. If I’m swimming laps in a public pool, I can even tell if the person I’m swimming behind is a smoker. Is your rental pet friendly? It’s not that I’m not, but I don’t know what the dog or cat did, where it did it, or how well it was cleaned up. I’m not quite as reliable at smelling cat pee as I am at smelling stale smoke, but it’s pretty close. So, please don’t let me bring the dog or cat I don’t have.

And, since I frequently am unfamiliar with the places I visit, I’d like to know roughly where the unit is located. I can get a hotel’s address pretty easily, so knowing where the rental unit is before I book counts a lot too.

Why has this all come up at this particular time? Saint Karen (who has to be a saint to put up with me) and I will be traveling to Lake Tahoe pretty soon. I don’t think it matters much whether we’re in Nevada or California. The lake isn’t that big, so we can go from one state to the other rather quickly. I’ve checked maps and flight schedules so I can tell you that Lake Tahoe isn’t particularly easy to get to from where we live. But, it will be worth the effort.

Why are we doing this? Our son, the lawyer, is getting married. We’ve met the bride to be last year and she seems very nice so we’re quite happy to welcome her to our family. We will signify that by actually showing up for the nuptials. Our adult daughter will be there too.

Our son is older than I was when Saint Karen and I tied the knot, but he does take after me in at least one respect so I hope his bride takes after his mother too. We already like her, no doubt, but we don’t know the bride to be well enough to know this going in. Nevertheless, I hope he’s marrying a saint just like I did. You see, I’m pretty sure she’ll have to be a saint to put up with him too.