I love Charleston. It’s one of my favorite cities and I try to go as often as I can, BUT if you’ve ever researched Charleston you may have been scared away by the sticker shock that is as much a part of Charleston as the old mansions & markets.
It’s an old-world city(well as old-world as it comes in the US) full of southern charm, warm hospitality & old money. From the gorgeous hotels like Zero George Street which runs between $500-700 or the Belmond Charleston Place for a mere $365 a night. Don’t get me wrong I love luxury, but for me, it’s a special treat once in a while and not a necessity.
Even if I could afford it, which I definitely can’t, I wouldn’t want to travel that way. I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants traveler. I don’t like to make plans & I hate waste so there is that. Listen, it’s the real world here bills & budgets or time & money determine where, how, & when we travel.
So, how does the everyday couple or family, because I’ve done both afford to go to one of the country’s most expensive cities and make great memories without stressing about how much you’re spending? Easy, don’t stay in Charleston!!!! What? Rena, you said we were going to Charleston!?! & we are.
The best places to stay for the everyday family is in Mt. Pleasant which is just a bridge hop away from beautiful and expensive downtown. Let me tell you why:
- Less crowded and very easy to navigate.
- More room choices (at much lower rates & without the parking fees that are notorious in downtown).
- More family-friendly dining options that don’t require a reservation.
- Approximately 1 mile from a public beach
- Approximately 1 mile from downtown.
- Approximately 1/2 mile from a park that your children will lose their minds over. It’s call Patriots’ Point and your GPS will take you right to it, but a little hint it’s right underneath of the Cooper River Bridge. IN THE SHADE! There is a massive playground, but also a giant fishing pier with places to share a packed lunch or just sit in one of the swings and watch the cruise ships go by.
- Nearby Urgent Care & grocery stores.
When I travel (if I stay in a hotel and that’s a big if because I’d rather be camping) I need only a few necessities in my hotel room. Face it, if you’re like me you want to sleep and shower. I don’t go places to hang out at my hotel, although this last time we spent the whole day swimming at the hotel.
- Cleanliness, Cleanliness Cleanliness…did I say I require cleanliness?
- Comfortable bed.
That’s it. Clean sheets, clean towels, quiet neighbors & no drama. Believe me, I have some wild hotel stories that I may share down the road. When I book a room I read the reviews. When I check into the room there are a few things that are checked before a suitcase enters the room.
- I look at the sheets & mattresses with a flashlight for bed bugs. Whether its the Marriott or Days Inn I do this and believe me I have found them before.
- I check the shower. (no explanation necessary).
- Air/heating unit (look for broken or mold).
- Look at the door to see if there has been any damage and locks correctly.
As long as that passes muster then it’s all good. While we’re at it, don’t ever do these things in your hotel room:
- Don’t take a bath (make it a shower touching as little as possible).
- Don’t use the in-room coffee maker. These are never cleaned thoroughly.
- Don’t use the top-duvet it’s not washed often either.
Extra tips for the OCD in you:
- Take your own pillowcases (I don’t like putting my face in someone else’s hands weird I know). They don’t take up much room in your luggage and you’ll sleep better.
- Bring an old pair of flip-flops to take in the shower. Germs people! Germs!
- Pack facial towelettes to clean your face.
- Bring your slippers to walk around your hotel room or hallway.
Do you travel in luxury or do you just travel to be traveling? I’m a wanderer and that’s exactly what I do. I wander from city to city checking out the best places to go, the tourist traps to avoid, and the nature that surrounds.
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