I – like all women who travel for business, I am sure – am sometimes asked if I mind the time on the road. The subtext, of course, being: Don’t you miss your kids? Isn’t it tough being away from your husband?
“Sometimes it’s tough being away,” I acknowledge. “But I try to go for just a night or two at a time. And,” I admit, thinking specifically of the heavenly bed at the Westin, of having coffee and buttered toast delivered to the door, “having a night to myself in a nice hotel is pretty nice.”
At least it has been.
But, as Sarah Nassauer wrote in last week’s Wall Street Journal, my mini-vacations are in danger of obsolescence. “Hotels are offering room discounts or other rewards to guests to agree to make do with less housekeeping.” The story details the offers: $5 in restaurant credits for every night you opt out of housekeeping at Westin and Sheratons; $20 off your room at the Marmara Manhattan for doing the same. Well, no thank you.
I am, for the record, fully aware of Gretchen Rubin’s finding in her bestselling The Happiness Project, that making your bed makes you a happier person. I do it at home every day and I find that it works. Having a bedroom that looks made up makes for a calmer environment throughout the day. But when I’m in a hotel – then it’s someone else’s job.
According to Expedia’s annual Vacation Deprivation Survey Americans earn just 13 vacation days a year. That’s two less than Japanese (15), six less than Canadians (19), half of what folks in the UK get (26) and don’t even get me started on Italians (31). And, thanks to this environment that has us fearing that even a day out of the office puts us at risk of being the next one on the chopping block, we give an average three of them back.
Of course we need to look at our business travel as a potential time decompress. So I say: Just say no to the offer to save $5 by not making the bed. Save the money elsewhere.
And while you’re at it, can we please have a movement to bring back the smallest of hotel amenities – the disposable shower cap. It, like cloths to shine your shoes and the little package of q-tips and cotton balls, is disappearing and I am not amused. Besides, sure I’m using up more than the five cents it likely costs to make it in energy, every time I dry my hair.