1) Don’t budget enough money for your trip.
Talk about a lasting vacation memory! How about a monthly reminder in the form of a credit card bill?
Also, nothing helps you relax on vacation like not bringing enough money with you. Feeling bad about not leaving tips, or not having the resources to really enjoy your trip are both very pleasant.
2) Cut it close leaving for the airport
Wait until the last possible moment to leave for the airport. There isn’t likely to be traffic or long lines, right? Challenging your driving skill to try to avoid missing your plane is a great way to switch gears into vacation mode. It will relax your traveling companions too.
Better yet, go ahead and miss your plane. Paying change fees and hoping you’ll make the next flight…maybe missing the first whole day of your vacation…nothing like it!
3) Leave things at home that you need.
Are you on a daily medication? Leave it at home! Are there other items you need to be comfortable? Chap stick? A certain lotion or other toiletry? Leave it at home. There is no need to be relaxed and healthy on vacation.
4) Don’t use a travel agent.
When you book your trip, do it yourself online. That way, when you have a question or a special request, you can spend hours trying to find answers and help. Also, when you’re on your trip and have a problem, you can be on your own as well.
5) Pack too much.
Nothing adds an air of festivity to your vacation like dragging heavy bags. Not only that, but paying lots of baggage fees is fun!
6) Insist on your own way.
Nothing is more fun than traveling with someone who isn’t able to be flexible. Likewise, traveling in a foreign country and expecting the food, the people, the customs and the laws to be like that in ones own country leads to lots of vacation hijinks.
7) Drink too much and act like a fool.
Don’t let anyone tell you that excessive drinking impairs your judgment. Getting sloppy drunk is a vital part of any successful vacation.
8) Let bumps in the road ruin the whole trip.
Almost no trip goes completely flawlessly. When you do experience an issue (let’s say, your seat assignment isn’t what you expected, or your room isn’t ready when you arrive) be sure to let it put you in a foul mood. In fact, to really hit a home run, let it ruin the whole remainder of your vacation.
I visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya alot. I’ve stayed at most of the resorts in the area. Here are my four favorites.
I love the El Dorado Royale. It is an elegant, adults only resort where the food is fabulous, the rooms are beautiful and the staff is perfect. There is a two person jacuzzi in every suite. I especially love the beds in the suites in the Casita section. It is seriously like sleeping on a cloud. The food is legendary. I think my two favorite restaurants, if I have to choose, are JoJos and the Fondue Restaurant.
The Royal is a beautiful adults only resort located right along Fifth Avenue in lively Playa del Carmen. To start with, the lobby is arranged with a multitude of sofa arrangements so that there is always somewhere to sit and visit. The rooms and beds are luxurious. The food is fantastic. My favorite restaurant is Maria Marie. A great asset to this resort is the location. Many guests in the Riviera Maya take a taxi and spend an evening in Playa del Carmen. When you stay at the Royal you can take a stroll among the shops and nightlife of Playa del Carmen any time you’d like.
Azul Beach Hotel:
The best family vacation we ever had took place at the Azul Beach Hotel. It is a small boutique style resort. At the time we stayed there, my son was 7 years old. Because the resort is so small we were able to give him a great deal of freedom. He was able to run and play freely. My daughter and I were able to go out on a hobie cat with a guide which we love to do.
As far as I’m concerned, this hotel is the crown jewel of resorts. At any moment, if I were presented with the opportunity to be transported to El Dorado Maroma, I would take it. To me, El Dorado Maroma is the perfect place to be. There are only 72 rooms. It is a very quiet resort. The resort is located on world famous Maroma Beach. There is always somewhere to relax. And the food…oh the food! Chef Efrain is magic. The food is truly amazing. The staff is beyond thoughtful. They work hard every single minute to make sure you have what you want and need.
Of course, the perfect resort for me might not be the perfect resort for you. It’s our job to listen to you and help figure that out.
What about you? What’s the favorite resort you’ve visited? Let’s talk in the comments.
“We’d like connecting rooms, please.”
It’s a familiar and common request. A large party getting two rooms want to be nearby each other rather than being spread across the resort. Perhaps it is a family with teenagers. They want two rooms so they have more room, and they want two bathrooms, but they want to be able to supervise the kids, make sure they’re tucked in safe and sound.
The fact is, almost no resorts actually guarantee connecting rooms. There are some resorts, like many of the Riu Palaces, where the front doors are paired two by two so it is a higher certainty that you’ll be assigned rooms where the front doors face each other. The pair of front doors are down a short hallway, so it is almost like connecting rooms with private access between the two rooms.
At other resorts the connecting rooms are fewer, so its harder to get them.
There are resorts where they have a pair of connecting rooms as a specific roomtype. Take the Azul Sensatori, for instance. They offer a connecting oceanview suite room type. The room consists of two of their normal oceanview suites that have a connecting door. It bears noting that it is more expensive to get a pair of connecting rooms, in this case, than two separate rooms. The resorts know that when a family needs or wants a connecting room, they are willing to pay for it.
Another option is an all suite resort. Take the Marival Residences in Puerto Vallarta, for instance. The Marival completely consists of 1,2 and 3 bedroom suites. A one or two bedroom suite would be a great alternative to connecting rooms. What doesn’t work, though, is getting a suite instead of connecting rooms at a resort that consists mainly of normal resort type rooms. If the resort only has a handful of suites, they charge a premium for them. We have families or small groups of people all the time wanting us to price the suite versus the two rooms…it will be more expensive than two rooms. (Unless it is an all suite resort.)
Having said all that, when you do request adjoining rooms, the resorts really will do everything possible to assign them to you. It doesn’t serve the resort’s best interest to have your family spread across the resort. They want to make you happy. They really do.
What experience have you had with connecting rooms? Put them in the comments below.
You do know what a Groupon is…right? From their website: “Groupon negotiates huge discounts on popular local goods, services and cultural events. Then we offer the deals to thousands of subscribers in a free daily email. The deals are activated only when a minimum number of people agree to buy. So our subscribers get a great deal and the business gets a ton of new customers. Win-win.”
I just counted 166 cities across the US and Canada where they offer Groupons every single day. Many of those cities might be ones where you might be taking a vacation or weekend getaway. Some cities are popular vacation spots like New York City, Miami or San Francisco. Others might be ones where you’ll plan to visit while visiting friends or relatives.
In any case, when you know you’re going to be visiting a certain city in the coming months, I recommend checking in daily for the Groupon offered in that city. I’ve been keeping my eye on several cities for a while now and I’ve seen all sorts of things.
For instance, restaurants are offered frequently. You’d need to be careful and only buy a Groupon for a restaurant that you would actually go to. For instance, if you’re visiting New York City you wouldn’t want to invest in a Groupon where the restaurant is located way out in Brooklyn. The time it would take to get to the restaurant would cancel out any savings you might have had.
I’ve also seen lots of sightseeing opportunities as well. I’ve seen bike tours, spa days, wine tastings…all sorts of things.
So, next time you’re planning a trip to a city in the US or Canada, check out Groupon!
Have you used a Groupon in a city in which you don’t live? How did it work out?
In early October we closed down our office for two days and took our whole company down to Mexico for our first ever all company trip. We stayed at the fabulous El Dorado Seaside Suites. When we got back, I asked everyone in the office to write down their impressions of the resort. Here is what they said:
Philip: I had a great time at El Dorado Seaside Suites. Our room was large, beautiful, and very comfortable. The grounds are tropical. It feels more like a Caribbean island than Mexico. I tried Mia Casa (Italian) and Klay Talay (Asian) for dinner and both were outstanding. In the evening, I really enjoyed the live music at La Guacamayas Bar. All in all, it was a great trip and a wonderful resort
Briana: El Dorado Seaside Suites is the “just right” sized resort. Not so small that you feel isolated, but not so large you feel lost in a swarm. Every staff member was polite and approachable. The rooms are spacious, comfortable, and immaculate. The soups are to die for. And the bartenders are generous. Its a wonderful property that’s just right for just about everyone.
Nicki: If you do not wish to ever be more than a few steps from the beach or if you like the convenience of a small property with the amenities of a larger property then the El Dorado Seaside Suites is perfect for you. Built across the beach and nestled south in the Riviera Maya, I love that El Dorado Seaside is small enough that the staff knows your name and preferences helping you to relax more easily. At the same time it is large enough that there is always something to do. It’s the perfect combination of liveliness and quiet which makes for a perfect vacation.
…And besides where else can you find a champagne cart?
Leah: El Dorado Seaside Suites. What can you really say about it? You have to experience it. You have to walk through the property and appreciate all the trees and foliage just as much as you appreciate the beach and the clear waters. You have to step into the room and feel like you’ve come home to your tropical palace.
Once you enter the property you have stepped into a jungle paradise with better food than you can possibly imagine. That kind of food probably doesn’t belong in the jungle, but it makes a world of difference.
You may have been to Mexico before. You may have even been to Paradise before. But, Paradise isn’t complete without El Dorado Seaside Suites.
Marty: El Dorado Seaside Suites still remains a favorite in my heart. Knowing most of the history and watching it grow, has only made my opinion of the hotel, quite strong. Now, having experienced it as a guest for the first time, I was not disappointed. The staff really went the extra distance to make my stay special. Food was amazing, as well as the ambiance of the resort.
Terrah: The El Dorado Seaside Suites is a little piece of paradise. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the renovated suites. They were absolutely beautiful. Guacamayas was also impressive. I now know that El Dorado Seaside Suites can party it up just like the peeps over at the El Dorado Royale. Laura (the general manager) is always truly a pleasure to visit with. She is always so professional and poised. The lady going around with a champagne cart was also impressive. That cart was a wonderful surprise. Lastly, the spa. Rumor has it that they are working on making the spa bigger and more elaborate. I am excited to see that happen because I believe it will be an excellent asset to the resort.
You’re looking for a vacation. You think you know what you want to do. You’ve perhaps spoken to an agent. You’ve looked around online. You believe you’ve found the best deal. You’re ready to lay the money down and take the big step of buying your vacation.
Whew! Glad that’s over!
Or, is it?
The fact is that the purchase of your vacation is only the beginning of the process.
You may not know it now, but questions are going to occur to you that you didn’t think of before you bought your vacation. Not only that, but its very possible that some circumstance in your life will shift causing an adjustment to your vacation plans.
What will you do then?
It really makes a difference where and how you book your trip. It matters where you will call to ask questions or get help when you need it. Not just for big things either. Asking about your airline seat assignment, asking about a bedding request, a question about the tennis courts, a question about restaurants, these things are simple when you book with an agent.
Then what happens after your trip? What if something happens that needs attention during your trip that needs to be addressed afterwards? You need an advocate to whom you matter. Book direct with a hotel or online travel company and getting help after a trip can be a challenge.
It matters where and how you book your trip. Where will you book yours?
At your office I’m sure there are things that are predictable. If you’re a Starbucks barista you’ve probably discovered patterns of what types of people are apt to order what type of drink. In the summer people order more iced tea and in the winter you probably fix more of my favorite, Caramel Apple Cider.
At Legacy Travel we can tell that Old Saint Nick is about to make his annual appearance when we start getting phone calls like this:
“Good Morning, Legacy Travel!”
“Hello, I’m thinking about going on a vacation between Christmas and New Years.”
So we get more details and price the trip.
“Why is it so much? Last summer we went for $X.XX!”
The fact is that the holiday time is a very popular time to travel. Its very popular AND its a relatively short period of time. This means lots of people competing for very few airline seats and very few hotel nights.
Compare the holiday season to summer vacation. Many people travel in the summer too, but that demand is diffused across three whole months. During the holiday season there are at most two good weeks of opportunity.
Its purely a matter of elementary economics. Supply and demand, pure and simple.
If you want to save some big bucks and you don’t have to worry about kids in school, consider going during the first couple of weeks in January. You’ll save a great deal of money. Other than that, your best bet during the hot travel time between Christmas and New Years is to BOOK EARLY!
Have you ever traveled at Christmas? What are the pros and cons?