Here are a few of my favorite luxury and boutique hotels within driving distance from most cities. Not into a hotel? I have a large list of private homes - though many are booking up quickly through the end of the year. Contact us to plan your getaway. Looking for a low-key getaway, close to home? I’ve rounded up the boutique hotels, resorts and lodges across the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast United States that are worth driving to, now and in the coming months, to inspire your summer road trip ideas—or future travel dreaming. A "West and West Coast" post will follow! The properties listed below have recently reopened with an impressive new set of sanitization and social-distancing procedures. Many also offer apartment-style suites or standalone accommodations like cabins and cottages for guests who would prefer a more private experience. While each hotel’s policies are unique, most generally include such strategies as: exhaustive staff training around health and contamination safety, as well as regular staff temperature checks; reduced staffing and guest occupancy rates (to ensure social-distancing protocols); temperature checks for guests upon arrival; stringent new sanitization procedures for guest rooms and public spaces; rearranging public spaces and adapting amenities to maintain social-distancing amongst guests; and distanced, outdoor-only as well as the option of takeout-style dining experiences. I am personally in close contact with all of my hotel and home rental partners to confirm that they are implementing enhanced disinfecting protocols and respecting social-distancing guidelines to create experiences that are as safe as possible. Additionally, when you make a reservation at one of these properties with Nash Travel Management, you may have access to preferable cancellation policies and special amenities. Contact us directly for more information on individual properties’ policies for making your stay safe and seamless—and to start planning your summer road trip! Southeast Blackberry Farm, Tennessee: Charming, Culinary-Focused, Stylish | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Spanning 4,400 acres in rural Appalachia, Blackberry Farm is a traditional farmstead retreat that is world-renowned for its phenomenal culinary program and has guest accommodations as well as private homes. Most of the rooms come with golf carts for guests to get around. The overall atmosphere at Blackberry Farm is of an easy-going country club, and down time is likely spent unwinding on the main building’s beautiful terrace or exploring the softly billowing woodland wilderness traced with miles of hiking trails—or eating! Blackberry Farm offers 62 guest accommodations, including Estate Rooms, Cottage Suites, Hill Cottages and houses, all beautifully appointed and furnished with fine antiques. Personal service and attention to detail are the defining elements of Blackberry Farm's award-winning reputation. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Blackberry Mountain, Tennessee: Rustic-Chic, Wellness-Focused, Secluded | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) In wild, imposing natural surroundings, the owners of Blackberry Farm have opened an establishment that prioritizes overall wellness, outdoor adventure and inner serenity. Rooms take the form of cabins and cottages designed with nature in mind, places to unplug from the world and reconnect with oneself. The hotel’s two restaurants (Firetower and Three Sisters) both have sublime views and serve the creations of Chef Josh Feathers, who uses healthy ingredients and combines local flavors and culinary techniques. The Property also has an incomparable underground spa offering Ayurvedic treatments. Blackberry Mountain offers 44 guest accommodations, including cottages, homes, cabins, and multiple bedroom options. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Montage Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina: Friendly, Serene, Sprawling | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Palmetto Bluff is a picture-perfect piece of the American South. Upon arrival, the winding five-mile drive immediately reveals a sense of vastness, and as you travel deeper under the shady canopy of oak trees, a feeling of calm washes over you. Finally, the water appears in the distance. In the early 1900s, the property was an estate home where Southern belles mingled with New Yorkers on holiday. Now, the 20,000 acres have mostly untouched forest, along with an award-winning golf course and rooms and suites split amongst the Main House and Guest Houses, as well as the original 48 freestanding cottages along the water. The cottages have large bedrooms, luxurious bathrooms and screened-in porches for morning coffee and lazy naps—for here, time slows down, and guests acclimate to the pace by waking up to the birds singing, watching the dolphins play in the river and appreciating the ever-present scent of honeysuckle. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Sea Island, Georgia: Resort-Like, Family-Friendly, Traditional | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) With modern amenities and a charming air of old-school elegance (this is, after all, part of the Golden Isles of Georgia and prominent East Coast families have been coming since 1928), Sea Island is one of the top traditional resorts on the East Coast, offering three renowned golf courses and a wide array of activities ranging from dance classes to fishing. The range of accommodations is equally diverse, with everything from secluded oceanfront villas to family-friendly cottages, ideal for seclusion. Please note: The Cloister, The Lodge and Cottage Rentals are currently open. The Inn at Sea Island will reopen on July 2. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Belmond Charleston Place, South Carolina: Elegant, Romantic, Grand | Open June 25 (Belmond Bellini Club + Virtuoso Partner) It's little surprise Belmond Charleston Place is known as Charleston’s grand ambassador, welcoming friends and guests alike with a gentility that transcends the hotel’s recently renovated guestrooms and suites, award-winning restaurants and world-renowned rooftop spa. This grande dame is located at the very heart of one of America's favorite cities — mere steps from the famous historic market, antebellum homes and James Beard-awarded restaurants. Surrounded by some of Charleston’s most historic buildings, our hotel exudes 17th-century majesty. Nestled in the historic district, this gorgeous retreat feels like home away from home. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Zero George Street Hotel, Charleston, South Carolina: Local Immersion, Secluded, Small | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Zero George’s immaculately restored circa 1804 buildings and private courtyard are the ideal ground zero for exploring Charleston’s allure. Meander shady lanes on our complimentary bikes; indulge in our award-winning cuisine; relax with an innovative cocktail. We aim to delight, spoil and surprise you as we serve up Old World authenticity with contemporary upscale hospitality. With only 16 rooms, you are sure to feel in the mix but away from the crowds. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Watercolor Inn and Homes, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida: Beach, Golf, Locals | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) WaterColor Inn is Northwest Florida’s only AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Four Star beachfront hotel. Situated on the pristine sugar-white beaches of South Walton, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, the Inn provides the perfect combination of warm Southern hospitality, the intimacy of a bed-and-breakfast and the fun of a classic beach house — the ideal coastal setting to gather and inspire. A wide variety of private homes are also available. Enjoy award-winning cuisine at several dining venues; complimentary kayaking, canoeing and other recreational activities; and private St. Joe Club & Resort amenities, including a private beach club, championship golf and more. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Ritz Carlton, Reynolds, Greensboro, Georgia: Golf, Wellness, Zen | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner + Ritz Carlton STARS program) Cottages by the lake aren't far from home, but feel far removed. Calming, charming and filled with character, accommodations at this hotel near Greensboro, GA capture the essence of a lakeside retreat. Rooms overlook gardens or Lake Oconee, and lake houses and cottages feature kitchens, outdoor spaces, living rooms and everything else needed for a family getaway. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Sunset Key Cottages, Key West, Florida: Beach, Laid-back, Secluded | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) At Sunset Key Cottages, enjoy an escape on this serene 27-acre island located only 500 yards from the vibrant energy of Key West. There is a complimentary seven-minute ferry service that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, you'll feel drawn to remain in this welcoming oasis, with its white-sand beach, spa, Latitudes restaurant, pool and fitness center. Choose an oceanfront, ocean-view or garden-view two- to four-bedroom Victorian-style cottage. A breakfast basket arrives each day, with freshly baked muffins and other treats, orange juice, and complimentary access to PressReader. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Mid-Atlantic The Inn at Perry Cabin, St Michaels, Maryland: Classic, Locals, Seclusion | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Inn at Perry Cabin is so cozy and home-like, you'll be aching to stay indefinitely. Set in a manor house in the resort town of St. Michaels, this intimate retreat offers just 78 guestrooms, all with sleigh beds or turned-wood New England beds, stacked with pillows and lighted by lamps. Each evening, your turndown service includes freshly baked cookies — a delightful way to end the day. The Spa at Perry Cabin is not to be missed; treatments are based on local botanicals, such as linden blossom, verbena and black birch. Take time to relax in an Adirondack chair on the lawn and watch the boats cruise by. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Primland, Meadows of Dan, Virginia: Seclusion, Charm, Remote | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Look no further for Blue Ridge beauty. Whether you are looking for a mountain home, cottage, tree-house, or a stay in the lodge, Primland meets your needs with grace and and warmth. Southern comfort comes with a shot of refinement at Primland. Here, it is all about the simple pleasures: Spotting whitetail deer on a woodland trail, fishing for trout in a babbling brook, riding horses through fields of wildflowers, climbing trees to get that much closer to nature. A massive, eco-conscious resort in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Primland never forgets its connection to the land, nor its commitment to luxury with 51 rustically elegant suites, cottages and storybook treehouses. There are an 18-hole golf course and an organic spa inspired by Native American rituals. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, Virginia: Seclusion, Charm, Gourmet | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) With only 24 rooms, you won't feel crowded here. Small-town Americana meets the international culinary stage at The Inn at Little Washington. Proprietor Patrick O’Connell abandoned acting for the “living theater” of his renowned farm-to-table restaurant, one of the world’s first. The Inn’s 24 bedrooms and suites, individually appointed by London set designer Joyce Evans, are equally dramatic; many feature balconies and serene garden views. Those looking for the ultimate in seclusion and amenities choose The Claiborne House presidential cottage. Take one of the complimentary bicycles out for a leisurely ride into the surprisingly sophisticated historic town, founded in 1769. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Northeast Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket & Newport Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham, Massachusetts: Family-friendly, Classic, Charming | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) One of New England's most honored and historic getaways, Cape Cod, encompasses 17th-century towns and the spectacular Cape Cod National Seashore. Opened in 1914, Chatham Bars Inn overlooks a private, quarter-mile beach and has a fleet of boats for sportfishing, sailing and day trips to Nantucket Island. An award-winning spa and four dining options, as well as an eight-acre farm that supplies the hotel's fresh produce, make this resort one to which generations of families have returned. Chatham Bars Inn offers a rich variety of guestroom styles and types. Ranging from an historic guestroom in the Main Inn to an ocean view cottage two-bedroom master suite complete with fireplaces, steam shower, dining area and wet bar, there is room to meet any desire. Cottage accommodations vary from one-bedroom suites to 18 individual guestrooms. Many families enjoy selecting an entire cottage to meet their needs or connecting rooms, which provide convenience and privacy. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. The White Elephant, Nantucket: Traditional, Refined, Discreet | Open Now (Virtuoso via Destination Management Partnership) Overlooking Nantucket Harbor but tucked away from the bustle of town, the White Elephant has been the longtime favorite for generations of visitors. The White Elephant’s luminous rooms (including suites, cottages, residences and a downtown loft), most with views of the bobbing boats docked in the harbor, are decorated in an understated nautical design scheme, with open spaces ideal for making a home-away-from-home. Spend days boating and relaxing on the beaches, then enjoy dinner to-go from the on-property restaurant, Brant Point Grill, or local hotspots like Straight Wharf and Cru (which is now open for limited outdoor dining reservations). Contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Ocean House, Watch Hill, Rhode Island: Grand, Historic, Beachfront | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) The luxurious Ocean House, with its iconic yellow façade, wrap-around porch and sweeping views of the ocean, is a blend of old and new, celebrating its storied past while providing modern amenities and service. The now-156,000-square-foot building looms large from its perch on a pristine stretch of private beach overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The suites at Ocean House are all individually appointed and feel like private apartments. The bi-level Morgan suite, which is done in lacquered wood to resemble a sleek yacht, and the Presidential suite, with its sprawling rooftop with 360-degree views, are some of the most exquisite rooms on offer. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. The Chanler at Cliff Walk, Newport, Rhode Island: Sophisticated, Beachy, Secluded | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) You're invited to experience The Chanler, where Gilded Age elegance and gracious hospitality provide a tailored experience that is quintessentially Newport. Spend your days lounging in our private oasis of manicured gardens while you take in breathtaking ocean vistas. Every evening, indulge in a long soak in your tub or enjoy an after-dinner drink at our crackling fire pit under a sky full of stars. This is your moment to take it all in. The Chanler offers unparalleled serenity among Newport, Rhode Island luxury hotels. Step into our storied mansion on Cliff Walk and you'll find yourself in a world of architectural beauty, polished service and relaxed refinement. Housed in a mansion on Newport's famed Cliff Walk, The Chanler offers twenty distinctive Newport hotel rooms elegantly decorated in various period styles. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Upstate New York The Point, Adirondacks, New York: Adults-Only, Old World, Rustic | Open June 25 On a 75-acre peninsula on Upper Saranac Lake, The Point is at once a luxurious 11-room sanctuary and a playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Guests stay in the property’s original log cabins (once owned by the Rockefellers) with rustic-chic décor. Days are spent hiking, playing croquet or boating on the lake, with plenty of time to relax with a picnic or cocktails outdoors. Special amenities granted to Nash Travel Management clients, contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Gurney’s Montauk, New York: Buzzy, Resort-Like, Historic | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Acquired by Gurney’s Resorts in 2018, the venerable Montauk Yacht Club, at the tip of the East End overlooks Montauk Harbor. The overall vibe is stylish yet laid-back; the property feels like a real New England hideaway. The resort occupies 32 acres with direct beach access. The villas are a bit removed from the main building and a great option for families or friends traveling together who desire privacy (each villa has between three and nine suites). Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Lake Kora, Raquette Lake, New York: Private, All-Inclusive, Old-World | Open July 1 (Virtuoso Partner) 12 bedrooms encompassed in strategically placed log structures take advantage of lake views. For those seeking more privacy, the Tree House or Gardener's Cottage are free-standing residences, while boathouses and remaining cottages are comfortably located in adjacent buildings. Many original furnishings, artwork and artifacts remain, though bedding, robes and telecommunication updated to meet demands of today's guests. Wi-Fi is complimentary, a few bedrooms have tv's, all have direct dial phones. Cell service unavailable. The property may only be reserved by exclusive booking during July thru mid- October, thus primary months to enjoy mother nature at this desirable compound. (12 bedrooms/24 guests maximum) It is an inclusive estate, therefore, all food and non-alcoholic beverages are customized and included in the nightly rate. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Troutbeck, Hudson Valley, New York: Family-Friendly, Outdoorsy, Value | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Troutbeck is a bucolic, family-friendly property near the Connecticut border on the eastern side of the Hudson Valley. Its rooms and suites showcase modern, simple décor, with multiple nooks for reading and boardgames. The 45-acre property has a pool and tennis courts along with yoga areas, three trout pools and easy access to hiking and biking trails. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid, New York: Family-Friendly, Classic, Active | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) When those "in-the-know" travel to upstate New York, they head to Lake Placid Lodge, located in the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park. The wood beams, stone fireplaces, comfy featherbeds and deep soaking tubs feature rustic romance and adorn 30 handcrafted rooms and private log cabins, set along the water’s edge with views of Lake Placid and Whiteface Mountain. Year-round activities vary from golfing, hiking and horseback riding in warm weather to winter ice climbing, dog sledding and snowmobiling. Indulge in a gourmet dinner in the touted Artisans restaurant or award-winning wine cellar; the lodge is renowned for its anything-you-please service. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Maine, Vermont Cliff House, Bald Head, Maine: Sophisticated, Oceanfront, Serene | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Cliff House was the vision of the enterprising Elsie Jane Weare, who discovered the location’s potential in 1866. The setting was certainly dramatic: 70 acres of panoramic oceanfront aloft a 72-foot sheet of rock that plunged precariously into the ocean below. After six years of construction, Cliff House debuted in 1872 and its repute as an oceanfront retreat for the refined spread quickly. Throughout the architecture and interior design of Cliff House, a pervasive sense of soothing comfort is confronted by the powerful majesty of nature. Although the striking scenery can certainly calm one into quiet bliss, the resort has an endless menu of activities, including hiking, kayaking and boating, golfing, swimming and lawn games. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Hidden Pond, Kennebunkport, Maine: All-American, Cozy, Family-Friendly | Open July 1 (Virtuoso Partner) The secret to Hidden Pond lies in its oneness with nature. This eco-chic resort invites guests to take guided hikes and leisurely bike rides along wooded trails, plant seeds with the gardener or capture the peaceful surroundings on canvas in a painting class with the artist-in-residence. Join a yoga class at the organic farm, and find renewal amidst the treetops at Tree Spa. Local farms, foragers and fishermen provide the makings for simple yet novel fare at the romantically rustic Earth restaurant. The 36 bungalows and two-bedroom cottages are an easy drive from historic Kennebunkport. Please note: For the summer 2020 season, Hidden Pond will offer a highly privatized experience with modified services to ensure minimal contact between guests and staff, with a required stay of seven nights or more. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. White Barn Inn, Kennebunk, Maine: Beachy, Local, Secluded | Open June 28 (Virtuoso Partner) White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection is an award-winning hotel, restaurant and spa that has been a landmark in Kennebunk, Maine for 150 years. The 26-room inn offers guests supreme levels of quality, luxury and service: rooms, suites, waterfront cottages, a swimming pool, massage and spa treatments, and convenient access to fine shopping and art galleries in the charming coastal town of Kennebunkport. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Twin Farms, Barnard, Vermont: Secluded, All-Inclusive, Charming | Open Now (Virtuoso Partner) Twin Farms, a member of Relais & Châteaux, is for those who have long wished for a private country retreat in New England. This pastoral paradise is set on 300 acres of verdant hills, fields and forest and offers 20 individually designed accommodations. There's the rustic Log Cabin, with its river-rock fireplace; the Treehouse Cottage, with its Adirondack twig accents; and the surprising Meadow Cottage, decorated in vibrant Moroccan style. Outdoor activities range from hiking, biking and fly-fishing to snowshoeing, sledding, and downhill and cross-country skiing. Golf, gallery-hopping and shopping in Woodstock are all nearby. Read more here, see Virtuoso amenities and contact us to inquire about planning your trip. Nash Travel Management is in close contact with all of our hotel and private home management partners to confirm that they are implementing enhanced disinfecting protocols and respecting social distancing guidelines to create experiences that are as safe as possible. Additionally, when making a reservation at one of these properties with us, you may have access to preferable cancellation policies and special amenities. Email our team for more information on individual properties’ policies for making your stay safe and seamless—and to start planning your summer road trip! Olivia loves hotels and is passionate about the transformative power of travel. She started Nash Travel Management because her goal is to make your bucket list come alive! She is one of fewer than 250 agents worldwide who is a certified Virtuoso Wanderlist Advisor and is a charter member of Virtuoso's Sustainability Community. Olivia holds degrees from The Ohio State University, New York University and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Vanderbilt University. She, her husband, and two daughters reside in Nashville. #luxurytravel #seethestates #traveltheUSA #FamilyTravels #getoutside #familytravelgoals #bepartofsomething #transformativetravel
But Olivia... I like to be spontaneous. If I had a penny for every time I heard this from a client I would have, like, $20. But you must know this one secret in the travel industry, planning a trip one year or more in advance can seriously pay off. I am not only talking about family reunions, or the once-in-a-lifetime safaris, or even the super-in-demand cruises that book up the moment they go on sale, like the Ritz Carlton Yachts. THOSE you absolutely need to start at least 12-months in advance. I am also referring to everything and everywhere. What?! Yes. While social distancing is a part of our norm, hotel rooms will be limited as many need to be empty for 72 hours between guests as part of new health and safety protocols. So occupancy will be significantly less - and they will book up quickly and well in advance of what you might be used to. Additionally, for special destination hotels, availability is often already limited and often times has a "wait-list", like Giraffe Manor in Kenya. Furthermore, some destinations, like the Galapagos and Faroe Islands, restrict access with visitor limits. Start booking too late, and there’s nothing anybody can do to help. Not even me - and that is saying something. I mean, I got a client into the Ferrari Factory within 6 days, not the normal 6-month waitlist (for owners). But, the more you plan ahead, the less we have to work to make magic happen. Other factors, like the size of a group or room and bed configuration can complicate things when planning a trip less than one year in advance. Many places only have a few villas with more than two or three bedrooms. Therefore, big group trips or specific bedding configurations are something you always want to book well in advance. Multi-generational groups or other larger groups traveling together are usually interested in the same seasons, summer and holidays, making it all the more competitive. Example: My favorite last-minute traveling family called me looking for a 3-bedroom house on the beach at a famous resort in the US...for the END OF JUNE. They asked on June 8. Of course, there was nothing. Especially now that people who might have traveled abroad for summer trips are forced to stay in the lower 48. The same is true for sought-after cruise itineraries, maiden voyages and / or specific cabins. Another item to keep in mind, for many cruises, the tours and excursions oftentimes sell out before the cruise itself does. Therefore, better to get your cruise and cabin reserved as soon as you think you want to take a cruise and reserve your first choice of activities. For itineraries that have the possibility of rough water (Antarctic, Galapagos, North Sea, Bering Straights, etc), the best cabins - those in the low midship area which are the most stable - will sell first. Bottom line, all cruises should be booked 12+ months out. Here is your blueprint. 1. Twelve+ Months Out: Like putting in the foundation of your house, you survey the region(s) you want to visit; allocate time in each region like building the foundational perimeter; reserve accommodations, which is like installing the footings. You'll get the best chance at the hotel or villa of your choice with the best possible selection of available room-types. This is very, very low risk when working with a professional travel advisor. They will make sure you have the most flexible cancellation options. You can always change your mind and cancel, but you can't make hotel inventory "appear". It is essential, however, to go over cancellation policies with a fine-toothed comb, now more than ever. Same goes for "packages" like safaris, and cruises. For any kind of travel with a lot of moving parts, the earlier you start, the better. If you are hoping to use all of those points you've been saving up for your flights, grab them 330 days before you want to go. They book fast in any given year, in the coming seasons, they will go faster because the number of flights actually taking off will be dramatically reduced. Keep in mind, point-based tickets are among the most flexible, so you can usually put the miles back into your account for a modest charge. Key takeaway: If there is anything on your must-do list like a rare experience, famous guide, destination restaurant, or other element to your trip that you would be disappointed without, get that locked down now with your professional travel advisor. This is the opportunity to get your non-negotiables in place*, before losing any more time or getting forced into a timeframe that doesn't jibe with your priorities. 2. Six - Eight Months Before Departure: to follow the dream home analogy, now comes the framing. These are the elements that make your trip feel like a trip - the moving parts...guides, event tickets, drivers or rental cars. This is when you'll need to start reserving any entry tickets to special exhibitions, sporting events or shows. If you are buying airline tickets outright, this is also the time to put an alert on Kayak or similar to start watching airfare prices. Key takeaway: The earlier you get a bead on flights, the more options you have. 3. One - Three Months Before Departure: time to decorate your dream home! Now is the time to reserve easier restaurants, general entry tickets, firm up any transportation like transfers and train tickets, shop, order foreign currency if you wish, and review any change cut-offs or cancellation policies for items you've reserved. Key takeaway: The devil is in the details. Too often this is where people realize they have messed up timing and it is too late to make significant changes. If you are working with your professional travel advisor, this is where you kick back, relax and look forward to your adventure. A quick note on travel in the C19 era: * Before making any deposits or payment, make sure you fully understand ALL booking and cancellation policies. Right now, the flexibility is fantastic. If you don't work with a professional travel advisor, book directly with hotel properties, airlines, both international and internal, and on the ground suppliers who are accredited and respected. Be wary of using third-party booking sites - they have many loopholes and clauses that can leave you exposed to financial loss. Have you googled "covid-19 refunds"? I have personally been on both sides of this issue and it was very hectic, frustrating and even scary. The Net Net Oscar Wilde once said, "You can never be overdressed or overeducated". I subscribe to an abridged idea - you can never plan too early. The earlier you plan, the more flexible you can be as your needs evolve. Having a plan helps you and your travel advisor to be proactive instead of reactive, it allows you to be efficient and judicious with your travel budget, and it gives you something to look forward to. As much as you might dislike waiting for an upcoming adventure, research shows this period of anticipation is just as good for our well-being at the actual trip. According to a recent study at Cornell University, humans find more joy in counting down the days to travel and the experiences that come with it than they do buying some kind of new material possession. So plan now. Enjoy later! Olivia loves hotels and is passionate about the transformative power of travel. She started Nash Travel Management because her goal is to make your bucket list come alive! She is one of fewer than 250 agents worldwide who is a certified Virtuoso Wanderlist Advisor and is a charter member of Virtuoso's Sustainability Community. Olivia holds degrees from The Ohio State University, New York University and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Vanderbilt University. She, her husband, and two daughters reside in Nashville.
This list used to be full of fun little gadgets. Now it looks a lot more like what I took with me to India - and I'm only going to Florida. 1. Face masks. This are a must-do when you are in public spaces. I have many washable kids, but for travel it is nice to have disposable ones as well. It must cover your nose and mouth. 2. Hand sanitizer. If you have to touch a surface, immediately use a hand sanitizer that is 60 percent alcohol or 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. The TSA eased the 3-ounce limit and is allowing passengers to now bring up to 12 ounces of liquid hand sanitizer in carry-on bags. 3. Disinfectant wipes. You can remove the virus from surfaces that you must touch by using hydrogen-peroxide based cleaners. These are in travel packs. 4. Alcohol prep pads. These are great for wiping down silverware in restaurants and the rim of glassware. I used these ALL OF THE TIME in India. People thought I was over-the-top, but I was glad that I had them. 5. Travel laundry detergent. You can generally find what you need when you land, but why take that extra step if you don't have to? I like to have both sink-washing detergent - in case something goes wrong and there is no laundry machine available - and travel laundry sheets that dissolve easily and won't leak in your bag. It is also great for soaking your extra cloth mask(s) in a sink full of water and then scrubbing with laundry detergent. Wring out excess water and hang dry. 6. Thermometer. Always good to have on-hand. As we know all too well now, COVID-19 symptoms include shortness of breath, fever, coughing and a sore throat. A travel thermometer will help you keep tabs on your temperature. 7. Digital Pulse Ox (oximeter). If you are in a risk category for coronavirus, you’ll want a digital pulse oximeter, because low oxygen saturation can happen before you even feel shortness of breath. Usually, when your oxygen levels fall below 94 percent, you will be symptomatic. Any saturation below 94 percent is concerning. UNLESS, and this is important, you are at an elevated altitude. In a city like Denver (>5000 feet above sea level), a healthy persons oxygen saturation will be 90, so keep this in mind when traveling. A few final tips, which I am sure you know, but I want to reiterate, these few tricks to help make your travel safer: 👍 Wash and/or sanitize hands after touching any surface. 👍 Don’t touch your mask/face once it is on. 👍 Disinfect your credit or debit card after use. 👍 If driving or flying, plan as few stops as possible. Additionally, TSA recommends placing items from your pockets into your carry-on bag before you go through the security checkpoint so you don’t have to place them in an unsanitized bin. 👍 Sign up with a medical assistance provider with a global reach that can provide you with local intel, health care resources and telehealth access. In closing, COVID-19 doesn't seem to want to leave us soon and it is redefining how we travel. The better we are at following established protocols, and any new ones that may arise as we learn more about how the virus behaves, the better we will be at minimizing exposure to the disease - and getting back to enjoying some "normal"-ish parts of life. Stay safe! Stay healthy! And keep dreaming! This article has affiliate links. Olivia Nash Richardson is a 10-year veteran of the luxury travel industry, always as a member of Virtuoso. Her deep love of travel started at a young age, and was refined while attending high school in France and then her Masters in Paris. Olivia loves hotels and is passionate about the transformative power of travel. She started Nash Travel Management because her goal is to make your bucket list come alive! She is one of fewer than 250 agents worldwide who is a certified Virtuoso Wanderlist Advisor and is a charter member of Virtuoso's Sustainability Community. Olivia holds degrees from The Ohio State University, New York University and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Vanderbilt University. She, her husband, and two daughters reside in Nashville.
Bucket list development - the time is NOW. What will we keep? What will we change? Before I dive too deeply into the subject of bucket list building, I want to give a quick shout out to @TravelFoodGuy, Larry Olmstead, who wrote a great article for Forbes.com on May 14 regarding a great American road trip. I admire Larry and his work and am so excited he and I think this special road trip, one I blogged about on May 11, is bucket list worthy. I mean, #Wanderlist worthy! Be sure to download the free itinerary and marry his ideas with mine. If disease didn't exist, where in the world would you want to go? What do you want to see before you die? That's a bucket list. I call it a #wanderlist. How would you know what there is to see? How would you prioritize it? If this complete travel embargo has brought anything into sharp relief it is that life is short. Time to start to carpe every dang diem. Or, at least have a plan. We are all so eager to travel. I know I am! Also, I am sure those of you reading this are feeling the seeds of enthusiasm, too. If you are not, that is ok, too. Dreaming about travel can also be beneficial. Pent-up demand and desire to travel remain high. Six in ten respondents to the most recent U.S. Travel Association Travel Intentions Pulse Survey say they will be eager to travel for leisure once the COVID-19 crisis has passed. That's up from 54% just a few short weeks ago. Data continues to suggest that #roadtrips and travel to destinations closer to home will likely drive much of the immediate recovery as the pandemic fades. Be sure to join our community so you too can get road trip itineraries delivered directly to your inbox. Bottom line: We are ramping up the idea of travel becoming part of our lives again. Bucket list trips will not necessarily be the first trips we take, when the time feels right for us to get back out into the world. But now is the time to plan those bucket list trips, those trips we WANT to do in our lifetime, that take a long time to plan and budget. As you ponder what could be on your personal bucket list, let's flip the script from WHERE to travel, but WHY we travel. You'll find that the why is where travel becomes transformative. I have seen this with so many clients. For example, a couple plans a trip to Paris and they ask why their itinerary doesn't include the Louvre. Well, if the client specifically mentioned they aren't into museums, and the Louvre is an enormous museum, I wouldn't recommend it at all. Visiting a huge museum when museums do not spark your joy, risks wasting a half day or more doing something that isn't enjoyable or transformative. It feels like an obligation in some way because "it is what you do when you are in Paris". I don't subscribe to that thought process. Any journey worth taking, any activity included in that journey, should become part of a traveler's own rich personal story - one that excites their passions. Not one that checks an arbitrary box. That doesn't mean a visit to the Louvre would be drudgery, but it can leave the day feeling flat, or worse, exhausting. Therefore, it is a virtually meaningless where, that doesn't have anything to do with your why. The bulk of luxury travel that puts the ‘where’ above the ‘why’ is so mind-numbingly predictable. It’s a blueprint that, for all intents and purposes, hasn’t changed since the days of the Grand Tour of the 17th and 18th centuries. We visit the Louvre, tour the Vatican and see the London Tower Bridge. We do all these things automatically because they’re what you’re "supposed" to do. Said who? Ok, fine, you say. How do I even start creating a bucket list? 1. Get Clarity: Ask everyone in your family with whom you travel. Create multiple categories: personal passion, family trips, couples’ trips. 2. Find Experiences: Research these destinations to learn about the different experiences that create a positive visceral reaction - that is your passion igniting. 3. Prioritize the Dreams: Take votes, rank them. Next, think about a timetable over multiple years for getting them all in. Are there milestones you want to celebrate? Calendar road blocks that cannot be moved? 4. Budget: this is always tricky - When is a good time to go? Is there a way to maximize our experience while minimizing expenditures? What about currency fluctuation? What about pricing changes over time? Having a plan means having some level of clarity. Clarity reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. A multi-year plan is incredibly useful for this. In terms of planning, the most special trips, from African safaris to small expedition trips (think Galapagos or arctic regions) to several weeks in Australia or New Zealand, often need to be planned a couple of years in advance to get prime lodges or cabins or experiences. Time of the year is also at play in this equation. Marquee sporting events like the Kentucky Derby, the Masters, the Superbowl, Wimbledon, or playing the Old Course at St. Andrews also benefit from booking at least year out - not just for tickets, seats or tee times, but also for accommodations. Same for fashion events like NYFW, Paris Fashion Week or Milan Fashion week - entry and accommodation are dually important and hard to come by. Anything that requires a special permit, from climbing Everest in Nepal to trekking with gorillas in Rwanda, also has a long lead time to plan. If you dream of cage diving with sharks, you'll need your PADI certification and that takes time. Obtaining visas for entry into certain countries - even if you are merely transiting on your way elsewhere - can also take time. These logistics are critical to a successful trip. There are also some destinations or types of wildlife threatened with extinction or adversely affected by climate change that you have to see before they are gone, rather than the other way around. Greenland is one example of this, so is the arctic landscape north of the Hudson Bay where a polar bear safari is pure magic. Besides these complex logistical issues that exist around the WHERE as well as the WHY of your travel dreams, the biggest reason to plan a multi-year bucket list calendar for your life is to make sure you do it in a way you can afford. Did you know that it can take over 20 hours for an individual to plan one simple trip (not even one with multiple stops)? Did you know that most travelers don't budget properly and overspend by 30%? That is a lot of time and money. This is where having a trusted travel advisor is invaluable. Virtuoso - the ultimate invitation only luxury travel consortium - created an interactive and highly personalized travel planning program called Virtuoso Wanderlist. There are around 200 designated, specially trained travel advisors who are certified to share it with their clients. I am one of the 200 advisors certified in this process. It was hard work but it is an amazing platform. Creating an actionable travel portfolio ensures my clients don’t miss out on their travel dreams, while also letting them take advantage of dynamic financial information like seasonal rates and currency fluctuations to maximize the budget. My Mess is My Message Before becoming a travel professional, I planned a number of multi-generational trips for my family. They were nightmares! From no air-conditioning in a Lake Como villa to a Bataan Death March tour of "must-see sights"in London, everyone was a little bit miserable. Have you ever planned a group trip for your family or friends? Yes? Well, you already know how difficult it is to please everyone. It no longer has to be that way! Yay! The Wanderlist process starts when I, or another certified Virtuoso Wanderlist advisor, send a very visual and game-like online questionnaire (it is similar to Netflix interface) to every member of your group (family, friends, colleagues, club, etc.). The platform then asks questions about desired destinations (there are over 160 to choose from) and experiences (well over 1,500). Once everyone completes the survey, the tool syncs and streamlines opinions, producing a roadmap for future travels. It is modeled after a financial planning tool and also takes into consideration economic conditions and major scheduled events. The system is dynamic: you can change your mind, reorganize your thoughts and desires and discover new experiences you didn't even know were possible. There are compelling and interesting destinations and experiences that may really appeal to you that you did not previously know about, but find during your questionnaire. After those steps that can take an hour or days depending on how you want to explore the platform, you will discuss results with me or your Virtuoso Wanderlist advisor to create a strategy that fits your passions, your available time and your budget. The goal is a plan, a blueprint of future dream trips, such as Australia in 2022, genealogy trip to Ireland in 2023, Botswana in 2025, etc. Currently, the Top 10 destinations Wanderlist users have picked are (in order): New Zealand, Greece, Italy, Australia, the Galapagos Islands, South Africa, Japan, Ireland, Iceland and the Maldives. Top experiences fall into these categories: Active Adventure, Local Food & Wine, Safari Nature and Ancient Ruins/History. Does that mean yours will look like that? Heavens, no! Why? Because this process is about your where and your why. Keep dreaming! Keep in touch! And please, please stay happy and healthy! __________________________________________________________ Olivia Nash Richardson is a 10 year veteran of the luxury travel industry as a #Virtuoso member, affiliated with The Travel Society #ttshost. She is based in #Nashville, is from #Ohio and takes care of discerning clients all over the US.
Four Ways Travel Can Help Bring Families Together Post-Pandemic-Crisis
The world we live in *right now* can feel like an uncertain place. "Uncertain" in a completely new way than we have ever experienced. Every bit of normalcy in our day-to-day lives has been turned upside down, and leaves us feeling anxious and uncertain about regular stuff - let alone the thought of travel. While the days of social distancing and masks and caution may not be over yet, there will come a time when things will normalize - our new normal. I *promise*. Don't stay discouraged! There will be many things that we’ll get back in our lives and the ability to move around freely and begin traveling again is certainly one of them. Travel is a great way to reconnect and bring families back together after weeks and months of panic-y feelings and uncertainty. In fact, every other year, my family takes a multi-generational trip abroad and we are so looking forward to planning one right now for 2021. Since there are over ten of us, it takes us a good 18-months to plan a group trip. Here are four ways that travel rejuvenates family dynamics and help them to re-explore the world. I bet you have missed your extended family! I sure have. 1. Travel is a perfect way to celebrate family milestones Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, graduation, wedding, retirement, family reunion, or any number of special celebrations, traveling outside of your norm can help provide meaningful memories that will stick with you forever. 2. Reignites Family Friendships Everyone is always busy. It’s hard for families both near and far to make time to see each other and before you know years have passed. When families travel together their relationships are strengthened and deepened. By disconnecting from routine and indulging in new experiences, the memories made will be carried decades into the future, leaving us with lasting stories when we remember our loved ones after they are gone. 3. Makes Family into Teammates There will come a time during any journey or excursion where you and your family may find yourselves in new and unfamiliar environments and situations. These are the moments where the family dynamic can shift from friends into teammates. Simple scenarios like finding your way around a big city, navigating a new public transport system or figuring out a menu in a foreign language, brings family members together and has them working like teammates. 4. The Importance of Time Unlike at home, where there are both mental and physical distractions to keep us preoccupied, traveling makes it essential to truly live in the moment. This makes it easier for family members to catch up and spend quality time with one another. While vacations might seem to fly by, time really does slow down making those special moments string together into days that won’t be forgotten. There’s truly no better feeling than getting to explore new - or even old favorite - destinations with the ones you love. Whether it’s your biological family or the people you choose to call family, travel brings these relationships closer together. While it most definitely is not the time to travel right now, it is a perfect time to start dreaming and planning your next big vacation. Reach out to us when you are ready for some destination inspiration and unique ideas for your group. Olivia Nash Richardson is a 10-year veteran of the luxury travel industry, always as a member of Virtuoso. Her deep love of travel started at a young age, and was refined while attending high school in France and then her Masters in Paris. Olivia loves hotels and is passionate about the transformative power of travel. She started Nash Travel Management because her goal is to make your bucket list come alive! She is one of fewer than 250 agents worldwide who is a certified Virtuoso Wanderlist Advisor and is a charter member of Virtuoso's Sustainability Community. Olivia holds degrees from The Ohio State University, New York University and an MBA in Marketing and Strategy from Vanderbilt University. She, her husband, and two daughters reside in Nashville.
There is just something about the open road, isn't there? They say road trips aren't for everyone... I'd like to know who "they" are. To quote Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, "'They' talk a lot, don't 'they'?" Life post-COVID-19 crisis (we'll still have COVID to contend with, but my hope is we won't be in crisis mode), will be different. Traveling will be different. Research suggests that most travel will be domestic (for obvious reasons), and for the most part, by car. What do you think? An observational study done by European private jet charter operator Globe Air found that transiting terminals at airports and flying on a commercial plane creates around 270 possible person-to-person interactions where one could be exposed to Coronavirus versus less than 20 on private flights. I can help you with private aviation options. If you would like to learn more, please save your seat for my upcoming webinar here. With that in mind, follow along over the next several weeks as I highlight the Great American Road Trip. When you feel comfortable traveling again, you can use the guides that I publish as a wonderful guide to get out and about. You can drive to the starting point, or consider private aviation. Download your first Great American Road Trip plan - free! You can use it as it is, customize it as you see fit, or contact me to plan truly transformational experiences. But why take a road trip? In the time of COVID, it really gives you an opportunity to control you environment and be away from people, out in nature. Other benefits include: 1. Self-Reflection. There’s nothing quite like a long drive on an open road to clear the mind. 2. Find Inspiration in Nature. The simplicities of nature are profound sources of inspiration. We are blessed with amazing physical natural beauty in the United States. 3. Try Something New. Odds are, you don’t get too many opportunities to try a new activity in your day to day life. Travelling is the perfect opportunity to change that! A new hike, a new food, a new audio-book – who knows?! 4. Great Stories. Road trips always, always leave you with amazing stories. 5. Experience a Deeper Sense of Gratitude. Seeing how people live, or have lived, will change the way you appreciate your own everyday life. 6. Really Get to Know Your Traveling Companions. Kids, spouse, friends - travelling with others also gives you the chance to get to know your companions a little (or a lot) better. It is a great way to learn and grow together. 7. Renergize. We all need time to relax and unwind for the sake of a positive life balance. Taking a trip away gives our minds and our bodies a chance to let go of everyday stressors. 8. Discover the unexpected. Perhaps one of the most unexpected elements of diving head-first into your dream road trip is discovering a new path or purpose.
Great American history and culture are found in the Blue Ridge Mountains. From incredible crafts to delicious food to roots-y folk-inspired music, there is a lot to enjoy in our own back yard. The Blue Ridge Mountains are richly populated with picturesque, salt-of-the-earth small towns that will steal your heart away. North Carolina Small Towns—you’ll love them as much as they love you.
It's less risky to book future travel right now than you might think.
The #Covid-19 pandemic has put all but essential travel on hold, and no one can yet answer when we'll be free to go away again. But should we be planning future travel now? The short answer is YES. You can start planning and booking today, depending on your flexibility, risk tolerance and willingness to take an active role in following the latest developments. Airlines, my bespoke travel partners, tour operators, hotels and more are offering flexibility that I've not seen in my 30 years of travel and 12 years in the industry. Cheap flights, low risk The deals are pretty astounding. For what is considered peak travel seasons, summer and festive, flights I'm seeing to Europe and South America for a few hundred dollars round-trip. And people are actually booking them. Why not? The cancellation policies, which are usually very strict are where I think they should be all of the time: in the incredibly flexible zone. Pre-COVID-19 crisis, every time you have to change or cancel a flight, you would normally pay a few hundred dollars to change plus any fare difference.Now, the majority of major US carriers are offering free change fees and cancellations! And it's important to remember that if a flight is canceled and there's no reasonable rebooking option, airlines are required by law to issue you a refund. Please, don't take a voucher or a credit when you're entitled to get your money back. Airlines may entice you to take the credit, by offering bonuses, but the choice is ALWAYS yours. Hotels, too, are loosening up their relatively fair cancellation and rebooking policies. Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International, wrote to customers on April 8, "For guests making new reservations for any future arrival date, including reservations with pre-paid rates, between March 13 and June 30, 2020, we will allow the reservation to be changed or canceled at no charge up to 24 hours before your scheduled arrival date." **This is important because pre-paid rates are usually discounted and nonrefundable.** Planning is good for your soul. Saving money and added flexibility are pretty nice carrots to book now for travel later in the year. But there's another benefit: Planning a trip can make you happy. According to an Applied Research in Quality of Life study, published in 2010, "For most, the enjoyment starts weeks, even months before the holiday actually begins." So, if you decide to make travel plans, you're very likely to experience this "pre-trip happiness." The study goes on to report, "Need theory can explain the pre-trip high if one assumes that we have an innate need for wandering, possibly a leftover of our hunter-gatherer past and that this need can already be partially gratified by anticipation." In fact, I just spoke with one of my favorite on-the-ground teams in Australia and they are booking out into 2021 WITH NO TRIP DEPOSIT! This is zero-risk and what a great trip to look forward to. So who is booking what? Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations at Virtuoso, an international travel agency network with 1,100 agency locations, reports that their clients fall into one of three groups: "About one-third are canceling outright, a third are postponing and a third are in 'wait-and-see' mode." The last two groups are, for the most part, going to travel nine months from now, most people are looking to rebook within a year. "The people who are wait-and-see mode are actually closer in and who aren't canceling or postponing because if the trip is canceled for you, you are entitled to more benefits." I am bracing for an influx of bookings in the next six to eight weeks. And those bookings are likely to be for travel during the winter holiday season, late November to early January. #travel #luxurytravel
SUSTAINABILITY REPORT: 4 TRAVEL COMPANIES MAKING A DIFFERENCE
Travel is an incredible gift. It can open our eyes, our hearts and our minds to the unique cultures and spellbinding beauty of the natural world. But with this gift comes a responsibility – to protect the world as we know it. Traveling sustainably means protecting the environment, connecting with culture in a meaningful way, and supporting the local economy wherever you go. As a charter member of Virtuoso's Sustainability Community, we at Nash Travel Management spotlight the various ways that destinations, hotels, cruise lines, and tour operators are upholding these sustainable travel tenets. Here, have a look at 4 destinations and travel companies making it easier for globetrotters to travel for good on their next getaway. Keep these ideas on your wish list: Dine at one of Slovenia’s Most Sustainable Restaurants “I realized when I expressed the territory, that my thoughts, they can travel. I was creating a philosophy and stating a new Slovenian story.” - Ana Ros Chef Ana Ros and her now-famous Hisa Franko restaurant pinned Slovenia’s remote Soca Valley to the inspo boards of many a meal-seeking traveler. Another reason to visit: The UN World Tourism Organization recently named her an official ambassador for gastronomy tourism. It makes sense: Ros highlights seasonal produce and proteins sourced from the Soca Valley. Check her out on Season 2 on Netflix Chef's Table Visit an Urban Farm in the Heart of Paris Paris is sowing the (literal) seeds of a sustainable future. On the roof of the Porte de Versailles Exhibition Center, urban agriculture firms Agripolis and Cultures en Ville have designed the world’s largest urban rooftop farm, set to break ground in the spring. The nearly three-and-a-half-acre organic farm will supply seasonal produce for local hotels and restaurants, including a new on-site outpost of rooftop-restaurant group Le Perchoir. Earn Towards Your Next Cruise by Giving Back Silversea Cruises’ new Fund for the Galapagos supports the famed archipelago’s inhabitants – wildlife and human – while giving back to travelers. Through a partnership with the Galapagos Conservancy, the fund directs donations to local projects, including youth empowerment and environmental conservation. Travelers on the Silver Galapagos and soon-to-launch 100-passenger Silver Origin who contribute $500 to $1,000 get a voucher to spend on future sailings. Sip a Sustainable Cup of Coffee in Bali Coffee’s cultural stronghold in Bali reaches far beyond the island’s farmland. Through a new partnership with Su-re.co, a Bali-based organization that educates coffee farmers in sustainable practices and works with Montessori School Bali, among other initiatives, the 156-room Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay helps stoke local demand for earth-friendly cultivation (the resort serves Su-re.co coffee and sells its beans) while offering guests insight on the island’s rich agricultural history. Guests who sign up for the resort’s Jala Cooking Academy learn how to prepare coffee Bali-style (no milk and lots of sugar) and get to know the importance of coffee farming in Balinese culture – lessons that inform smart, sustainable coffee buying after the vacation is over. Nash Travel Management travelers receive breakfast daily and a $100 spa credit. #sustainabletravel #travel #luxurytravel #bali #silverseacruise #paris #slovenia