The year was 2005 when my wife and her sister had made big plans. For months they had strategized a family trip to Colorado promising to rival all past trips we had known. Indeed, their enthusiasm created quite a stir within our families generating so much anticipation. It seems the stars were aligning to make for one of the most memorable get-aways our respective families had ever experienced.
Of course, the enthusiasm quickly waned once we arrived at the destination.
After expensive plane tickets, renting cars, taking time off work just to enable the trip to happen…we had finally arrived at a broken down motel that just so happened to have a fancy name and a webmaster who tended to stretch the truth. The upshot was we had invested our entire summer vacation plans into a destination that deeply disappointed all of us.
Long story short — we did not spend a single night at the place and eventually got better accommodations at a suitable property after someone had cancelled out during the last minute.
The point I’m trying to underscore is be careful when planning your next big escape to the outdoors. Here in Minnesota we are blessed with a plethora of resorts, lodges, etc. to accommodate just about everyone’s summer vacation needs. Some prefer it rustic and inexpensive…other folks like at least a few basic amenities while on vacation. Yet, others want luxury accommodations nestled along some secluded northern lake.
It has been my experience the Internet can fool a person as much as it can help out while choosing the right destination property. So many times I have seen fancy pictures splattered all over a website only to learn upon arrival how most of them were taken in the main lodge or office. Then when you go to the cabins you find them somewhat less than what you had envisioned for your 7–day stay.
We are certainly in a time of the year when plans are being made for summer travel. Typically, folks rely on past experiences or friend recommendations for some guidance on where to go…but this is not always possible. Even some of the sportsman shows which display these destinations can be confusing and misleading.
I wish I could tell you a foolproof way to vet these destinations to avoid surprises. In most cases, a little careful checking can go a long way. But the truth is there are times when a person must play the odds and keep fingers crossed. Summer vacations can be a major investment in both time and money. New, previously unexplored adventures can be exciting…but they also can be wrought with many factors faced by the unknown.
Let’s hear some of your tricks and/or tips on how to book destination vacations that might be off the beaten path or outside the radar of Internet rating services, like tripadvisor.com Also, if you have a horror story similar to our adventure to Colorado, let’s hear it. It’s always nice to discover a person isn’t alone when it comes to bad travel experiences.
©2012 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.