Guest Author - Jim Fortune
Here's a great idea if you're looking for a little romance trip this Valentine's Day and want to stay a little closer to home.
First develop your budget. What can you spend for the weekend romantic holiday for you and that special someone? It might be $500 or it might be $300. It could be even less.
On a lined piece of paper, make a list of all of the bed and breakfast establishments in your area. Next to each name put the phone number and leave some room for notes. Skip a line between entries so you have room for notes as needed. Get an area around your home city of 25 to 50 miles and start searching. If you live in a larger city you might reduce the mileage to 10 to 25 miles. Or if you want to get away from the city area, leave it at 25 to 50. It's your weekend, you can decide what you want.
When you have the list complete, start by calling the first place. Ask for their special rate for the weekend of February 13 & 14. Find out what amenities they offer. Also, while you have them on the phone, ask for their website address. The amenities are what you put in the space on your list of places next to the phone number. Sometimes there might be a Sunday brunch with Champagne, at others, there might be a romantic dinner in your room on Saturday night with room service and wine. You get the idea, I'm sure. Each B&B will have a different weekend theme planned for this romantic time.
Here is an example I found on the web:
"Your partner has dreamed of a Valentines getaway filled with wine, chocolate and fine dining. Bring them to a romantic Valentine's weekend at Red Bud Manor, one of Eureka Springs' AR finest bed-and-breakfast inns.
* Two-night stay in the Jacuzzi room of your choice
* Plush microfiber robes to relax in during your visit
* Healthy sumptuous breakfast each morning
* Dinner for two at Ermilio's, Fine Italian dining
* One dozen roses in a favorite color
* Gourmet Chocolate Lover's Basket
* Wine tasting at Keels Creek Winery
* 10% discount off dinner at the Crystal Dining Room in the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel. $439.00 plus tax
A Couples Massage at a nearby spa may be added for an additional cost of $120."
After you get a few prices for the weekend, look at your list of amenities. There will be some that are pretty close to one another in what they offer. That's because one place will advertise their Valentine's Day special and a competitor will see the ad and try to copy it for a few dollars less. There are a lot of copy cats out there who don't have original thoughts and copy what another B&B competitor offers.
At the bottom of your list, have a spot for larger hotels that are in your area or are close to where you live. By larger, these would be hotels like the DoubleTree, or Hilton, or Marriott. The larger chain hotel generally have a place to eat and might have an all-inclusive offer for the weekend.
After you find out what the price is and what they offer, call each back and say you have already called earlier and by checking around, you found a B&B that has a similar package for less meony. Tell them you have checked out their web site and you really like their B&B and inquire if they are willing to meet or beat the other price you found?
You can try this with the larger chains too. Many will meet or beat the competitor's price. Just be sure that you have found a similar package for less, and you have the name of the place, in case they ask.
Until next time, shoot me an e-mail and let me know what travel articles you would like to see, and how you are doing, O.K.?
Jim Fortune - the Bella Budget Travel Guy