Well it’s that time of year again when we all want to escape to the sun for a week or two and soak up on vitamin D and rum. All-inclusive Caribbean vacations have long been a go-to for Canadian travelers and with reason. With reasonable prices, meals and drinks included, and sunshine in abundance, it’s an easy fix to the winter blues. Companies like Sunwing and Sell Off Vacations are always inundated with travelers wanting to make a booking. Here are a few things to avoid, ensuring that you have an amazing time on your trip.
Low star ratings: If you’re looking at the star ratings when choosing your vacation resort, keep in mind that what you would consider a 3 stars here could easily be a 4.5 or above rating in poorer countries. Since you’ll be eating, sleeping, swimming and showering in their facilities, make sure to choose a resort with good ratings to assure that, at a minimum, the level of cleanliness is up to par. Bugs and lizards are hard to avoid completely in warm countries, but it’s definitely nice to not have to sleep with them! Selecting a resort with a combination of at least 3 stars and good online reviews should ensure your comfort during your stay.
Staying on the resort the entire time: The resort life is enticing. You wake up and breakfast is ready. You return to your room to find that your bed has been made, your towels are folded into crazy love swans or something like that, and your clothes that you left on the bed might also be folded neatly for you (really!). This will be followed by a day of beach or poolside lounging, with colourful drinks in your hand and plenty of vitamin D. Sounds amazing right? Yes, however, I guaranty that you are missing out by not getting out of the resort and visiting the country. I recommend that you get off the resort two to three times per weekly stay. Spend time on a catamaran off the Dominican Republic shores, visit Havana in Cuba or take a hike to the Mayan ruins in Mexico. Discover new places and take in the beauty in the diversity, you will be amazed!
Resorts with limited restaurants: An all-inclusive vacation will include your meals and drinks for the time of your stay. So when you’re on day five of having eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same buffet table or the same two restaurants you’ll be wishing you had listen to this advice. Ensuring that your resort offers a variety of dishes and food options will make especially picky eaters’ stays much easier. Another option is to venture out and enjoy the local food, but this will cost you a bit extra. If you decide to try some street food, check out where the locals buy first and make sure it is fresh – this will give you a sign of where the good, safe food is.
Rain season: Ok, this is an obvious one, but if you’ve never been out of your hometown and this is your first trip out, it’s exactly like it sounds. During rain season, it rains. A LOT! Unless you’re booking an amazing last minute deal and your trip is so soon that you’ve had a chance to check the upcoming weather forecast to confirm at least a few sunny days, don’t bother. You’re going to an all-inclusive vacation for sun tanning and swimming, not for staying inside. Do yourself a favour and avoid rain season!
Not wearing sunscreen: Now, I know that society favours the tan, sun-kissed look. It looks healthier and gives the impression that the person is active. But seriously, even if we’re avoiding the all too scary fact of potentially developing skin cancer over time if you don’t use sunscreen, the lobster look is not cool. It will make your nights uncomfortable and your showers excruciating. It might limit your ability to participate in activities as you’ll have to cover up in order to avoid further painful exposure, or you could actually get sick and have to waste a day or two in bed recuperating. It’s easy to avoid really, bring sunscreen and apply liberally and often!
Ultimately, it’s pretty easy to plan an amazing all-inclusive vacation since everything has already been thought out for you. Your flight, your hotel and your food and drinks are all included so there is no effort required. Make sure to do research on your resort and follow my tips and the rest will happen on it’s own! See you there!
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The Dime Travelers
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