William Winston is General Manager at ATL. He used to travel 80% of the time and grew up in a touristy city. Here’s his take on your next bucket list location and a tip for all travelers:
What kind of traveler are you?
Before Minute Suites, I worked at Bluwire [technology stores], where I traveled about 80% of the time. That’s why Minute Suites is such a great fit. I can relate to travelers’ stories. Those who have experience traveling have dealt with delays, cancellations, etc.
With Bluwire, I was frequently going to airports: Scranton, Newark, JFK, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Florida, Denver, San Francisco, Houston, Chicago, Atlanta.
My hometown was Atlantic City, so often, there was no direct flight. I became pretty accustomed to layovers and the hurdles that come with flying. I had to sleep on chairs in Charlotte (this was pre-Minute Suites!). It was stormy—the whole East Coast was getting pounded. Every hotel within 25 miles was booked, and a few hundred of us were stuck in the airport.
That said, I’d still rather fly. I never need directions in an airport because I’m so used to them and I have a very good sense of direction. I’m good at reading signs and look like I know where I’m going… whether I do or not!
Where’s your favorite travel destination?
It’s kind of hard when the city I call home is a tourist destination. When Memorial Day hits, Atlantic City ramps up. The whole dynamic changes: how long it takes you to commute, how busy the streets are—and the boardwalk. I like seeing it evolve and change, watching casinos come and go because of bankruptcy or change of ownership, etc. It’s not my favorite city, but it’s where I’m from.
But my favorite place to be a tourist is Puerto Rico.
My ex-girlfriend was born and raised there, so I’ve experienced the touristy areas and the rural areas. There are beautiful, lush rainforests and places with abandoned cars and stray dogs running around like squirrels.
Why do you love it?
What I love best is the land. When my son was four, we drove up a mountain and it was breathtaking. Not to mention an adrenaline rush!
But the whole culture is unique. The climate is so hot, sometimes agonizingly hot. Iguanas are everywhere—running across streets and outside restaurants. There are sounds people aren’t accustomed to if they aren’t from a tropical climate. Like the Coquí frogs who make a real agitated, annoying call all night. It could drive you nuts!
The beauty makes it worth it, though. It’s touristy, but see the rainforest at El Yunque.
And the food! The Caribbean and Hispanic food isn’t like what you find here. It’s all natural. It’s been plucked off of trees the day you eat it.
It’s probably different now, post-hurricane. I hear tourist areas are back to life, but there’s a big impact on the rural areas.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for travelers to any destination?
Be organized. Plan ahead. That’s what’s helped me. I bring a book bag and a carry-on and pack the same things all the time in a certain way. I even keep some stuff in it so I can grab everything I need: I have travel toothbrush, deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash—all separate in small travel sizes.
Then you can be ready to go anytime! Don’t miss an opportunity.