When I found out I had week an unexpected week off in April (not the Christmas break I had wanted – such is life in the TV business), my brain initially ran wild with ideas about how to spend it…a cruise! a road trip! somewhere tropical! a swanky week in New York! I eventually settled on sticking close to home, and it wound up being one of the better vacations I’ve ever had.
Why? In a nutshell, technology.
It helped save me money. I booked my hotels in Mystic, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island through the “mystery hotel” feature on Hotwire. Both hotels, the Hyatt Place in Mystic and the Newport Beach Hotel and Suites in Middletown (just over the Newport town line) were great places to recover from my daily adventures. I also used a couple of Groupons – to get delicious lunch at Luna Pizza with a friend my first day off, and to get a magnificent spa treatment on my way from Newport to New Haven, where I took the train to New York for one of the best weekends of my life.
It gave me direction. Do I go to the Mystic Aquarium or the Seaport? Which of the famous Newport Mansions do I visit? How long does it take to finish the Cliff Walk? Thanks to Google, I knew all of this before I left. Thanks to Yelp, I picked out a lot of the restaurants I wanted to eat at. You can see a lot of my favorite things from the trip in the gallery below.
It documented my whole trip. I still can’t get over the quality of the camera on my iPhone. I took pictures of SO MUCH FOOD. Between the Mystic Seaport, Cliff Walk in Newport, and yoga in Hudson River Park, the photos help me remember so many little details about the trip. I checked in at the unique restaurants and locations on Foursquare, and Tweeted about fun things happening.
When I was in fifth grade, we were given these flimsy notebooks to write about where we went on vacations. Safe to say this is easier and a lot more fun.
It made everything more fun. Part of me felt lame for staying in Thursday night to watch the NFL Draft with a newly purchased bottle of wine. But after getting my PJs, opening up the wine and firing up Twitter, I knew I made a good decision. It was like my friends from work were right in the room with me, making fun of the draftees’ suits and awkward hugs. Plus, QB1 talked to me (it’s fine if you don’t understand. Just know that it was one of the highlights of my Twitter existence).
It helped me connect. I met a ton of incredible people during my last weekend in New York, many of whom I had already “met” online, and it was so cool to put faces and personalities together. When I got home, I had a bunch of new Facebook friends and new people to follow on Twitter. The Internet is great, but there’s nothing like meeting a new friend in person.
For me, technology has made traveling and enjoying new experiences so much more exciting. Being able to share so much of my trip with all of you, though it may seem narcissistic, makes the week feel more special.