Travel is the one thing (Ok, the one thing apart from internet-enabled devices) that I splash out on. But I also love a deal. Holiday Pirates and Travelzoo are a couple of my favourite sites/apps for spotting travel steals, and it was on the latter that I saw an overnight stay for two at a gorgeous local hotel, Rushton Hall, advertised.
Where are you going? everyone asked.
To a hotel an hour’s drive away, we replied, to a chorus of sniggers and knowing looks.
It sounds like a dirty getaway, right? But we’re a childless married couple that shares a bed every night, and we don’t have all that much to get away from. I just thought it would be something a bit different. And 24 hours out of your usual routine really does make all the difference. Here are five reasons to give it a go!
1. Relativity: Time passes more slowly
Einstein once described his theory of relativity thus:
‘Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.’
It’s the same for everything. Doing something that excites you, something out of your ordinary routine, will make time pass more slowly. Your brain is taking more in, thinking about different things, rather than running on auto-pilot, letting habitual processes and sights fade into the background.
2. You overlook beauty on your doorstep
In our minds, local often equals mundane. But beauty doesn’t have to mean exotic. I grew up in the pretty seaside town of Torquay. When I was still living with my family, every time we turned a corner and came face to face with the sea, my Mum would exclaim how lovely it was, and how lucky we were. I used to roll my eyes. But I know understand that she was right to admire this everyday sight, and I try to have the same attitude.
A famous ‘travel’ quote by Mary Anne Radmacher states:
‘I am not the same having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.’
But don’t forget that it looks pretty damn amazing from anywhere.
3. Treats are important
An overnight break is, in some ways, quite extravagant. You might need to organise a childminder or pet sitter, or to take time off work. And by the time you’ve paid out in petrol to travel there and back, it seems almost silly to only stay for one night.
But we squeezed so much in. An amazing meal (gin and tonic smoked salmon, anyone?), a couple of hours in the spa, a beautiful woodland walk, a tipsy game of snooker… And afterwards, we felt like we’d spoiled ourselves.
The round trip was less than 24 hours, but it was enriching. It has become a shared memory; a touchstone for future trips. It was unique.
We have the cash to do it; we are lucky. And I would rather spend my money on experiences rather than material possessions any day of the week.