First, updates: I was going to get all creative and have the kitties pick the winner of The Jensen Project giveaway, but I ran out of time, then went away on a work trip, and I figured if I was going to pick a winner before too much time went by I’d have to rely on good ol’ Random Number Generator. So, I did. It picked #4 and the winner has been contacted. Congrats to Carole!
So… I took a short trip to SF for work. I helped out SF office on a project, which was undergoing public review, and attended a City Council meeting in case someone asked a tough question. I flew up in the morning, went to the office, carpooled to the meeting, got dropped off at my hotel, and flew out the next morning. It was a whirlwind trip and reminded me that I hate traveling.
Don’t get me wrong – I love going places, love vacations and seeing new places, and I love doing things. I’m just not a fan of getting there, at least not airplane-wise. You have to guess when you need to be at the airport to get through security, predict which line of people actually know what they’re doing and can get their stuff on the x-ray belt efficiently, decide how far from the gate you’re going to sit (because there are no open seats AT the gate), cram into a tiny seat (and I’m actually lucky because I’m short enough to be able to cross my legs in coach), and then fly with the drone of babies crying and toddlers shrieking. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to sit next to someone who smokes and/or doesn’t use deodorant. In those instances, I lean away and try to point the little air-spigot so it blows air away from me.
I also don’t like packing, unpacking, repacking, unpacking, and then doing laundry.
But, when you have to fly you just have to deal. I discovered two things on this last trip that made everything much better. One, I’m guessing you don’t know about. The other, I’m guessing everyone in the world knew about it and neglected to tell me.
I stayed at the Travelodge Airport South (don’t get confused with the North location). It’s located on El Camino Real in Millbrae, but it’s just minutes away from the SFO airport. Yes, it’s a Travelodge. Yes, it’s by the airport. But, here’s why I think it’s an awesome find:
There’s a free shuttle to and from the airport; you just need to call and let them know you’re waiting. They’re the first drop off after the hotel and from the hotel they go straight to the airport (no riding around to other hotels).
There’s free parking at the hotel, in case you need a rental car for your stay.
It’s within easy walking distance to the Millbrae BART, which takes you into the city (only costs $4.25 to get to Embarcadero but does take about 35 minutes to do so). Easy walking distance means E.A.S.Y. because I’m not really a fan of walking too far for anything.
It’s across the street from Walgreens, CVS, and a grocery store in case you want to grab a bottle of water or candy or ice cream.
It’s within easy walking distance of a Japanese restaurant, Chinese (we actually ate dim sum there on a separate occasion), coffee car, café, and a Vietnamese place (that is open until 10:30pm)
It’s next to Wendy’s and across from Chipotle, in case you like to eat fast food when traveling.
There is free wi-fi and more cable channels that you’ll know what to do with.
The rooms have all been renovated with pillowtop beds, soft pillows, and pretty tile showers.
Their “expanded” continental breakfast has two coffee machines (one Maxwell and one fancy espresso/latte), juice, toast/waffles/cinnamon French toast that you toast in a toaster, yogurt, cold cereal, granola, juice, fruit, scones/bread pudding squares/cinnamon rolls, organic jam, and real maple syrup. Very nice.
It’s quiet. I’ve stayed on the third floor and the ground floor and neither night did I need to put in earplugs because of noise.
When I went up for work, the room rate ended up being $95 after all the taxes and whatever. To me, that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Unless there’s a reason for staying in the city, I can’t imagine staying anywhere else.
I flew Southwest because they go non-stop to SFO. Flying Southwest means no assigned seating. I always get stuck in the middle seat when I travel with Travis because he likes the lean against the window. I actually prefer the aisle, so I don’t have to climb over anyone to get to the bathroom. So, for some reason, when I fly Southwest I’m obsessed with getting the best boarding number I can. Before I leave, I always check in online the minute I’m 24 hours away from departure, but on the way back I usually don’t have access to a computer and/or printer. For some reason, I thought if you check in online it creates hassles to print out a boarding pass at the airport (maybe because United gives me a hassle when I try to do this). So, I just check in when I get to the airport and then deal with my lowly boarding priority and hope for an empty flight. Well, this last time I decided there must be an iPhone app for exactly this type of problem and there is. You can check in online through the app (you can probably do this through the browser, too) and get your nice “A” group priority and when you get to the airport all you need to do is “reprint” your boarding pass. This all assumes you’re not checking luggage. If you’re checking luggage you have to deal with all sorts of other hassles, like immensely huge lines.
Having traveled so much for work at one point, I can totally understand your enthusiasm for the Travelodge. I used to love to go to Milbrae for dim sum on Saturdays when I lived in SJ. Great not having to go into the city when I was in a rush. But then this was before a lot of the big restaurants opened up in South Bay.