Book Your Next Vacation Based on a Feeling Instead of a Destination
Booking by emotion instead of location? Nothing could be more millennial than that.
It’s our third day in Costa Rica, and I’m in the middle of the jungle about to make a rash decision. Roland, our guide, hands me a helmet, a rubber inner tube, and what looks like a leather diaper, something Princess Leia would wear during her stint with Jabba The Hutt. For protection, he assures me. The waterslide our group is about to embark upon — the longest waterslide in Costa Rica, no less — is made of painted concrete. The leather contraption makes sure those of us in bikinis don’t scrape ourselves on this rather ancient ride.
First, we hike back up the mountain, then the slide operator determines if we want to go slow, medium or fast, sluices the appropriate amount of water down the chute, and it’s off to the races. During my turn, I manage a quick grin for the first camera; by the second, I’m captured in a state of sheer terror, convinced I’ll flip over. The leather diaper comes off. I scrape my ankle. I’m screaming — but thankfully, I don’t fly off the slide. Splashing in the pool at the end, all the terror melts away to sheer elation. The longest waterslide in Costa Rica? Check that off the bucket list! After a day well spent exploring Buena Vista Del Rincon’s Eco Adventure Park, now, it’s time for a dip in the hot springs.
I didn’t know that a waterslide experience would be my favorite part of a visit to the country’s Guanacaste region, but I did know I wanted a surprising memory like that, a taste of adventure. Lately, all most of us know is that we would love to get out and experience the world again.
Picture this: You’re in the mood for a beach vacation, but have no real location preference in mind. You’d like a good hotel, the shimmering water, sure, and maybe a few other activities baked in, all elements to complete a week off with some friends or family. The vibe is adventure, or rejuvenation, or maybe it’s a romantic getaway for two with the goal of rekindling passion… and that’s as far as you ever get. Because confronting the behemoth that is Expedia or booking.com, or the back and forth that happens with travel agents, and flight prices, and scheduling, requires you to know exactly where you want to go and when. And sometimes, you don’t! That’s where BeachBound is hoping to step in.
As an all-inclusive booking platform, BeachBound is designed specifically for people who want to focus their trip on beaches, and for those who prefer to have their activities folded into the trip at the time of booking. And nothing could be more millennial than booking by feeling instead of location, one of the unique features this platform offers. “I think the pandemic has changed the way a lot of people travel,” BeachBound’s Senior Director of Marketing, Dana Studebaker, told InsideHook. “The experience itself is much more appreciated. Especially after the pandemic, experiences are what people are looking for. We couldn’t really travel for two years, so now people want to make the most of their trip, and having a planned itinerary is one of the keys to that.”
BeachBound’s booking options are built around emotional frameworks, taking the destination out of the equation and letting travelers gauge what they’re really looking for out of their journey. So far, the experience-focused offerings include six options: Togetherness, Discovery, Immersion, Adventure, Rejuvenation, and of course, Passion. Their inclusive model also aims to take the hassle out of booking additional guides and tours after arriving in a foreign country, which can be expensive and confusing. Of course, the site also lets customers book the traditional way, by destination and hotel, or via the special seasonal packages they put together.
But when travelers opt for, say, the Adventure setup, their trip will include built-in activities like our visit to the water slide, along with flights and accommodations. “BeachBound allows people to book trips when they don’t necessarily know where they want to go,” Studebaker added. “You can select a rejuvenation package, or a passion package, in several different destinations. So if you’re not sure, you can look up the style of vacation you want and compare the locations. It gives the consumer a way to shop via emotional attachment without restricting the destination.”
In that sense, BeachBound also offers a great way for younger or more inexperienced travelers to discover new destinations. Obviously some people enjoy the endless prep for visiting a new location; they like the research, they like to book it all themselves. But there’s a whole host of travelers who would prefer things to be set up when they get there — they just want it to be good. BeachBound is obviously for the latter group, a demographic that’s more interested in a curated experience than a controlled one. Since the internet has already disrupted travel in so many ways, the idea of choosing a trip based on mood, or emotion, rather than location itself, feels like another natural evolution.
And though beaches are popular enough to exist as a stand alone category unto themselves, a country like Costa Rica offers more of an off-the-beaten-path option than some of the more obvious coastal vacation spots. “For lots of people, beaches are just their thing,” Studebaker explained. “By providing a platform that has beaches around the world, as opposed to just the Caribbean or Mexico, it gives us the chance to be the only places that’s doing that. It’s more of a curated list of just beach destinations. Costa Rica is not as well traveled or well-known as somewhere like Mexico or places in the Caribbean, and it has lots of opportunities for adventure, as well as relaxing.”
Showing up in Costa Rica with a general sense of the itinerary, but not a lot of actual specifics, was an exercise in trust — but it paid off in spades. At all-inclusive style resorts like Dreams Las Mareas, the food and beverage side of things is pretty easy, and it’s hard to go wrong with the property’s luxurious spa and ample pools, swim up bars, and cabanas. As for the jungle adventures, and another day’s ocean boat ride, those experiences were a little bit outside my comfort zone — and exactly what the trip needed to bring a sense of the unexpected.
Book BeachBound’s “Endless Experiences” Costa Rica trip right here.
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