Business versus Pleasure. Panama City Beach: The Guinness Book of World Record for The Largest Bikini Parade
As an executive platinum, frequent flier, road warrior, I was travel proof. Nothing slowed me down. Then I traveled alone during Spring Break for pleasure. My choice of destinations; Panama City Beach, Florida. My Michigan-based sister lives in PCB through March. This was the last weekend to see her before she returned up north. So off I go to PCB alone. Did I mention it was Spring Break?
(Hey, why should the kids have all the fun? While they dive into the rowdy party scene, I’ll be spring breaking like an adult…think; spa, golf, oceanfront chairs, great food, girlfriends)
As an executive biz traveler, I whisked through security priority lanes, never checked bags and often flew first-class. For my pleasure trip, I traded my roller bag for a large checked luggage, flew on the cheapest flight (6 am ) and wore my highest platform heels on the plane to avoid taking up precious luggage space. Big mistake.
I arrived at the airport at 5 am. Who knew so many people were going to Florida destinations this week, this day, this time? Why isn’t everyone stressed out waiting to check their supersized luggage? Pleasure travelers are a zillion times better at handling stress than business travelers are. I remember the days when I traveled with kids, car seats, buggies and portable playpens. Today I was solo. Think I’m nuts?
As a pleasure traveler, I left my traveling game face in my small roller bag at home. Thank goodness, I flew Southwest, the friendliest airline out there. The pilot even held our flight ten minutes, so everyone stuck in the long security lines could make the flight. A young girl sat next to me and her dad said, “Don’t worry she doesn’t get sick that often.”
Once I was settled in my seat, I heard rumors that my destination, PCB was hosting a large bikini parade in order to break the world’s record. Am I insane? I chose PCB for R&R – of course, I’m insane.
On biz trips, my flight ambassadors at 35,000 feet left me alone with my head buried in my laptop. On my pleasure trip, the flight attendants sang their pre-flight safety information in the tune of the Beverly Hillbillies theme song.
On biz trips, the overhead compartments are neatly lined with roller bags, wheels first. On my Florida plane, the overheads were crammed with colorful backpacks, skateboards and floppy hats.
As a biz traveler, there are very few decisions I have to make. I travel to a city to do my job and then leave. Who cares about the hotel views? I leave the hotel in the dark and return in the dark. My window could face a brick wall and I’d never know. As a pleasure traveler, it took ten minutes to decide, skyline? or sea? Close to the pool? Or close to the beach? Complimentary wine? Or spa pass? UGH!
Once in PCB, I managed to relax and roll with it. The bikini clad college spring breakers mostly hung out on the east side of the 23-mile beach. I stayed on the west side. But when groups wandered down to the west beach, they kept us entertained.
I even managed to miss the world’s largest bikini parade by a day. (Oh darn) They did, however break Australia’s record. You go PCB!
All and all, I loved my destination choice (thanks sis) and the weekend amongst the Spring Breakers.
After all, a crowded, rowdy day at the beach is better than a day at the office!