Pick-up Sticks with chopsticks


Ready to leave on holiday? Suitcase packed. Check. Transportation confirmed. Check. Hotel bookings made. Check. Dining reservations solidified. Check. Now, all that’s left to do is to go on vacation and enjoy. Or is it?

What about planning a vacation inside your vacation to add to your relaxation and enjoyment? Not familiar with this concept? It is all about creating some unique vacation features that speak to you outside of typical vacation life. This Concierge highly recommends taking a vacation WITHIN your vacation! A refreshing way to look through the vacation lens and relish in how the simplest of activities can improve your trip satisfaction and encourage your entourage’s bonding time.

Let’s look at how some fellow travelers created bespoke holiday moments within their planned vacation time. A vacation within a vacation can take on many forms, but what is common is the idea of having discovery in the everyday that is meaningful to you and your family. The following experience sampling also communicates how easy it is to implement this diverse and fun concept for people of all ages.

One couple was determined to find the best spaghetti Bolognese when traversing Italy. They decided that with each meal they would order the dish and keep comparison notes on their mobile. Not to miss out on any other food opportunities, they decided that Bolognese would always be part of their order as an appetizer so they could order their own dishes too. While some waitstaff gave a curious look when this couple ordered enough food for “la famiglia” they knew they were on an important mission and ordered anyway! They tasted over 15 different spaghetti Bolognese dishes and ranked their favorites. To this day, they discuss the fun of their Bolognese adventure. They even decided to revisit the activity on a subsequent trip to the English countryside where they would taste test shepherd’s pie during most mealtimes. Yum!

A family was curious about a luxury hotel’s pillow offering as the hotel offered a pillow concierge. Who knew there could be over a dozen different styles of pillow??? They decided their vacation within the vacation was trying a new pillow with each night. The family could often be found at breakfast heavily debating the different pillow qualities. At the trip’s conclusion, each person picked their favorite pillow style and purchased a couple for at-home use.

Are you a film enthusiast? Take some time to research any motion pictures shot in your travel location and visit all the places you can recognize from the movies. One film fan would watch the movies in the evening (so it was fresh in their mind) and leave at daybreak to scout all the locations, following in the footsteps of both famous and infamous movie stars.

Children are always amused when you initiate a little vacation within the vacation because it is something that can be fun for all without going on exhaustive tours or very easily perk up beach, ski, or hiking trips. The vacation within the vacation celebrates what interests the family so discover what your children might like and hatch a plan. For one family, they knew they wanted to have Asian cuisine often while vacationing. The suggestion of finding the best dumpling had merit, but they decided the trip would be centered on eating all their Asian cuisine meals with chopsticks (which was new for them and an adventure in and of itself at the start). Soon, they were collecting different chopsticks from food establishments and could be found scouring retail outlets for chopstick purchases. They joked “they were playing the game pick-up sticks with chopsticks” after each new find! Once home, they decided that chopsticks would often populate their dinner table. Having a stash already curated from a vacation was convenient and always brought fun vacation memories to mealtimes as well!

Take out those mobiles on vacation? While it might sound counterintuitive as many put technology on holiday while away, the answer is yes! Play a game of I-SPY solo or with your travel buddies. Pick something common or make it more challenging by choosing a random object and see what each traveler takes a quick click of – you’d be amazed what types of birds, teacups, or anything the color orange you can find once prompted! A new twist on the scavenger hunt that you can play for the entirety of the trip and (perhaps) end with an award for the most photos taken. However, everyone is a winner in this game because you celebrated something together to enhance the vacation experience. Happiness.

Sometimes a vacation within a vacation appears without any forethought and leads to very unexpected adventures. This family’s experience in Austria is a perfect example of one such scenario.

“What a fantastic find! Almdudler, which we were soon drinking at most dining establishments, was not only a refreshing drink, but added mealtime anticipation and excitement. First, the drink tastes amazing. A rather indescribable taste, but leaves you wondering how you ever managed without it. Second, the bottles are adorned with different sketches of an Austrian couple. Our mission soon became spotting sketch variations and photo journaling each new design. Restaurant visits soon became “Almdudler Adventures.” The icing on the cake was when a waitress noticed our keen interest and mentioned anniversary or holiday bottle designs. What? Even more special designs? She graciously brought a tray full of the establishment’s bottle collection. . . . Perhaps it was the children’s young ages, but this bottle collection viewing might have been more exciting than seeing the Klimt exhibit earlier that day.” – Hotels to Home, page 179

Some folks love making shopping excursions a vacation within a vacation. Name an item to shop for and compare purchases. “Everyone find the ugliest shirt you can” is one idea. Looking for a more refined suggestion? I know one mother-daughter duo that wanted to purchase a pastoral China pattern with the most animals depicted as possible. They looked everywhere, from their breakfast service to museums and retail outlets - leaving no stone unturned in their quest! They were more exuberant about their latest find than visiting any popular tourist destination and their vacation spirit was apparent throughout the trip’s duration.

Ideas abound when thinking about a vacation within a vacation. In true Hotels to Home lifestyling fashion, anything goes as long as it’s fun and meaningful to you. What’s interesting is that while this blog was written from a travel perspective, one can only imagine the lasting impact on homelife and household bonding the vacation within a vacation presents. Talk about building pervasive travel memories!

Now, where are those chopsticks?

The Concierge