- Tita, 24, who asked not to use her last name for privacy reasons, left NYC with her partner to travel.
- They signed up for luxury subscription Inspirato and stayed in hotels that cost thousands a night.
- Here’s what it was like to visit Florida, California, and Colorado, as told to Lauryn Haas.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
I work in the IT field. Back in March 2020, we all went remote.
I was living in New York City and dating my current boyfriend — we’d known each other for two months at that time. My lease was up at the end of March and his was up at the end of April.
I’d already been thinking about leaving the city, so I didn’t want to commit to a full-year lease.
I was paying way too much money in rent. At my lowest, when I first moved to New York, I was paying $2,000 a month — and that was to live with three other girls. Before COVID-19, I was living by myself in a one-bedroom and paying $3,200.
I lived in Hell’s Kitchen, right across from the Javits Center.
It was being used as a makeshift hospital as cases were exploding around the city.
What was difficult for us was seeing a side of the pandemic that very few did. It’s a very sobering experience to see dozens of military members traversing back and forth in front of your apartment on your morning dog walks. We saw and talked with National Guard members every morning on their way to work. The service they were providing was obviously incredible and will never be fully appreciated, but it changed the experience of living where we did. It was impossible not to confront what was going on in the city and the world.
We started renting out Airbnbs just in New York City.
We rented an awesome studio apartment for around $5,000 a month in April, and we were there until the end of July.
I have an older brother who was hit by a car when I was just a baby and he has a brain injury and disability because of that. He had moved back in with my parents. So at the end of July, my boyfriend and I moved out of the city and went to stay with my parents in the Poconos to assist in the day-to-day care of my brother. We stayed there until November.
In November, we went to another Airbnb in Rancho Santa Fe, California. We kind of just thought, well, why don’t we continue doing this thing where we choose an area to live in for a month at a time?
I used to get Instagram ads from Inspirato all the time. In November, we signed up.
With Inspirato, for a monthly cost of $2,500, you have access to book unlimited trips within their portfolio of hotels.
There’s a seven-day wait time where after you check out of a hotel, you can book a new room right away, but you can’t check into that hotel for seven days. What we found out is that you can work around that by getting two passes, with the second at a discount. So we paid $4,700 for two passes instead of paying $5,000. With two passes, you can do back-to-back trips without having that wait time.
Inspirato is partnered with an at-home COVID-19 test. The RHS kits cost $149, and Inspirato provides a $20 discount to all Inspirato members. Most times I opted for the drive-up test at CVS Pharmacy, as this was partially covered by insurance.
Monday through Friday, we were in our hotel room. So it wasn’t hard for us to stay quarantined. Then on the weekends, we could at least go on hikes and maybe eat outdoors.
Our first location was the Conrad in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
We stayed in a two-bedroom, ocean-view suite that runs up to $2,000 a night. We were able to stay there for four trips in a row back to back, so four weeks.
We didn’t have the same room every week. Twice we stayed in the same room, and then one day we moved down one floor, and then the next week we went back to our original room.
Inspirato updates their hotels every day at 3:00 a.m., so I would constantly check. They’re always adding new inventory, always changing the trips that are on there, so you won’t see the same thing from day to day.
Then we drove down to the Florida Keys. We stayed a week at the Perry Key West — that’s around $800 a night.
We were there for seven days.
After that, we drove to Miami and stayed at the Faena — that hotel is a piece of art. It was so gorgeous. And it’s a place that the minimum hotel room I would never be able to afford to stay in. Rates can be in the thousands.
The next spot we went to was Colorado.
We quarantined for a week, got tested, and once we were clear, we flew out to Denver, quarantined for another week, got tested again, and then stayed for six weeks.
Colorado was a great experience since we also had
Ikon Passes for skiing. We were able to use Inspirato to visit a handful of mountains without paying for a daily lift ticket.
There were four days where we ended up paying out of pocket for a different hotel in Denver, just so we could have three weeks back-to-back in a hotel in Vail that we specifically wanted to go to. We could have probably picked somewhere else, but then that Vail trip wouldn’t necessarily be available. So it’s a lot of juggling.
From there, we started in Northern California and made our way down the state. Then we decided to drop one of our Inspirato passes. After a few months, it just became a stressor to make sure the next hotel was lined up.
We’ve since found another subscription called Landing.
Landing is an apartment-style subscription where you can agree to a six-month contract and choose an apartment to live in. If you give 30-days notice, you can switch to any other apartment in their network. What we’d like to do is use the Inspirato pass in places that we can drive to from our location in Orange County.
Especially now that we’re on the West Coast, it’s a place that we can kind of just leave all of our stuff that we’re not traveling with.
With Landing, the other thing was if we had to go back to New York, they have apartments there as well.
My job recently announced that we’ll be in the office three times a week starting June 15.
To be honest, I have some reservations about going back to New York because l was in New York for about two years, my boyfriend for about 10. And at the point I was there, I was struggling. So it brings me a bit of anxiety thinking about going back into the office.
As I’ve seen this crazy amount of growth on my TikTok account, it’s starting to become profitable. It’s something that I absolutely love to do. I’ve now partnered with other companies and hotels that have reached out to me.
I really love my job, but I love doing this as well. In one week, I grew from 4,000 followers to 40,000 followers. I can’t even wrap my head around it sometimes. I’m just trying to keep up the pace.
I’m launching my own travel advising business, where I’m taking in a select group of clients. Before I started this, I was an avid traveler. The first time I went out of the country, I was four days old. I’ve been to 26 different countries. So I think it’s a really exciting side opportunity for me to build this clientele and help people go on these amazing adventures to beautiful places.
I think traveling with someone is the best way to get to know them.
The week of the whispers that the virus was coming to New York City but nothing was concrete yet, I had my cousin’s wedding and my boyfriend and I flew out to Miami, and that was actually kind of the start. We then got stuck in Miami and were there for six weeks.
But it was amazing. We’ve grown so close. We bought a dog, we moved in together, and then we started traveling.
Although he gets a little frustrated on travel days — I’m the type of person who likes to be at the airport last minute and he likes to be there two hours beforehand — everything has worked out great. We’ve really learned so much about each other during this time. And I’m really lucky that I was able to experience this with him.