10 Tips for Staying at an All-Inclusive Resort

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Here are 10 tips to all-inclusive resorts; some will seem like no-brainers, but others are  learned the hard way.

1. Don’t forget about airport transportation.

2. Keep your valuables safe

3. Tips aren’t always included  

4. Bring a brand new bottle of sunblock

5. Take it easy with the food.

6. Plan some downtime. 

7. Bring your own cup and watch the pour. 

8. Look into Kids’ Camp. 

9. Plan ahead for excursions & other activities.

10. Be prepared to disconnect from WiFi. 

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Here is an example of a trip prepared by one of our travel planner/advisors. This is a very basic plan. A more detailed plan would have reservations to any and all events you would be attending during your stay, including dinners.  If you think we can be of help for any of your travel needs contact one of our travel planner/advisors to help you plan your next adventure. Exampleimg_4284-25

10 of the cheapest countries to travel to. 

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Nicaragua
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but it’s been under the radar for years due to natural disasters and political unrest. Good news, though – it’s now quickly becoming a go-to destination for budget travelers thanks to the awesome surfing, colorful towns and lively culture. Did I mention it was cheap?

Spend around $25 USD and you’ll get a double room with private bathroom in a hostel. Go even cheaper with $6-12 USD for a dorm. You can even rent a hammock in many locations for around $5 USD.

A meal at a street vendor can cost you as low as $2 USD. An typical dish at a Nicaraguan restaurant – gallo pinto (rice and beans), meat (usually chicken) and plantains – costs around $3-5 USD.

And no need to worry when budgeting out your day trips since most activities – hiking, surfing, volcano boarding – will cost you around $10-30 USD.

Turkey

On my bucket list for years now, Turkey is one of a kind – a unique mix of eastern and western culture, and home to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.

Delicious food, fantastic sights and plenty of things to see and do.

Kababs and Donair-Kababs – otherwise known as shawarma – can cost as little as $2 USD. Most hostels around the country will cost you $20-30 USD a night.

If you’re planning on (and absolutely should be) staying for a few weeks to explore the entire country, the buses are cheap and run often. A 12-hour bus ride from Istanbul to Cappadocia will cost you around $30 USD.

Sri Lanka

Sleep on the beach in a cheap cabana and eat your meals in budget cafés for around $20 USD per day.

A bus ticket from one end of the island to the other is around $20 USD, or hire a car and driver for the entire day for around $55-70 USD. A typical meal at a cafe will cost you around $2-4 USD per meal. And to continue on with all that cheap-living, you can find a double room in a guesthouse (most with an awesome view) for again, around $20 USD per night or less.

The only thing to consider is that there is an official difference in pricing for locals and tourists. Entrance fees to popular archelogical sites and national parks can cost a tourist $30 USD, while it’s free for locals.

Cambodia

Cambodia is a country with a rich history, amazing food and a decent nightlife scene – similar to its neighbors Vietnam and Thailand, but it’s one that is a lot less developed and thus visited. So if you’re up for exploring an off the beaten path country in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is definitely one to visit.

Spend around $1–3 USD for a local meal at a restaurant or on the street.

Accommodations won’t cost you much more – get a double room with a fan for $4 USD, and an air conditioned room for $6 to 8. You can choose what you spend, of course – and a decent hotel room will still only be around $15 to $20 USD.

Tuk tuks – carts pulled by motorcycles – are a common form of transportation – and a short ride will cost you around $1 USD. Hire a tuk tuk all day to visit the temples around Angkor for around $13 all day.

Nepal

Trekking in the Himalayas is the most popular activity in Nepal, but there is much more to explore. Wander through the streets of Kathmandu, and enjoy late night Nepalese food in restaurants open late into the night. Journey to monkey-filled temples, prevalent thanks to the huge Buddhist and Hindu influence throughout the land.

If you decide to stay around the city of Kathmandu, a budget hotel room can range anywhere from $5 USD to $25 USD. A sit-down meal will only cost you around $2 to $4 USD.

Or you can go the adventurous route – jungle safaris, biking trips, whitewater rafting, hang gliding – or trekking the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest.

A dinner and breakfast in a trekking lodge costs around $10–12 USD. And for $15-25 USD per day, you can hire a guide for the entire journey.

Thailand

Is Thailand cheap? You’re damn right it is. The north side of the country, however, is definitely cheaper than Bangkok and the islands. (READ: 4 Reasons Why You Could Seriously Consider Moving To Thailand)

Find a cheap room in the city for $7 USD and $4 USD in the countryside. If you’re on the islands, or want an air-conditioned room, you’ll pay at least $17 USD per night. Hotels start at around $40 USD per night, and the bigger resorts on the islands start at $50 USD per night for a bungalow on the beach. Hungry? Street food can cost you as little as $0.65 USD per meal, and around $3-5 USD if you decide to eat at a local restaurant. I know lots of people are wary of eating street food, but it’s actually pretty safe – sometimes even more than restaurants. You’ll often find the best of Thailand’s food on the streets, and it’ll cost you a lot less than if you eat at a restaurant.

Getting around is cheap too. Local buses cost $0.25 USD per trip, the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost around $0.50-1.50 USD per trip, and colorful cab rides range from $1.75-3 USD. A tuk-tuk ride will cost around $3-7 USD.

If you (and you absolutely should) decide to explore different parts of the country, you’ll find it fairly cheap to do so as well. Day trains cost as little as $7 USD. A second-class ticket on a night trains are $17 USD – non-air-conditioned. Book a ticket to take a boat to many of the islands for $7-14 USD.

Peru

Ahh, one of South America’s liveliest countries, and thanks to its popularity, cheap accommodation is plentiful. Visit Peru in April and May or September and October – these times are off-season, and prices are even cheaper. Stay in a hostel dorm room for around $8-15 USD per night, or a double private room with a bathroom for $25-35 USD. Budget hotels (Hospedajes) start at around $30-50 USD per night.

Find the cheapest food at street stalls and outdoor markets – from $1-2 USD per meal. Lunch or dinner at a sit-down spot starts at around $4-6 USD.

The average price for a 10-hour bus ride is around $30-70 USD. A taxi around Lima should cost no more than $8 USD. Or you can take the new, clean intra-city buses for $0.50-1 USD per trip.

Visiting archaeological sites and other popular tourist attractions are probably going to be your biggest expense – a day trip to Machu Picchu costs around $50 USD. You can book a Nasca Lines helicopter tour for 35 minutes for $97 USD. Multi-day trips up the Inca Trail usually cost hundreds of dollars.

Indonesia

 Indonesia – a beautiful chain of islands where you can see Orangutans in the wild, climb volcanoes, visit ancient historical sites, and lay around on the beach all day and night.

If you can’t give up the air conditioning and party at night, the cost of traveling in Indonesia might hover from $25 – $30 per day. If you choose to be super-tight on the budget, you can get by for only $15 per day.

You can spend $2 to $4 for a double room in a hostel or guesthouse. Accommodation prices in Bali or the popular tourist islands of Indonesia are generally more expensive. Rooms with air conditioning cost around $11 – $17 USD per night for two people.

Street food featuring single plate meals or noodles cost anywhere from $0.50-2 USD, and a giant plate of food with assorted side dishes (nasi campur) costs around $1-2 USD. If you want to sit down at a local restaurant, it will cost around $2-6 USD per meal.

Getting around the country can be a bit challenging, since the country is a chain of islands. You can choose to take the ferry, plane or bus. A flight from Medan, Sumatra to Jakarta, Java costs around $51 USD. A 12-hour bus ride from Cemoro Lawang (Mount Bromo) to Probolinggo, Java and across a ferry to Denpasar, Bali costs around $18 USD.

On the island of Java, the train is a great transportation option. An economy overnight train ticket from Jakarta to Yogyakarta costs $12 USD.

Within cities, take the local buses, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, or rent your own motorcycle or car. You can rent a motorcycle for around $7 per day including gas. In Bali, rent a small SUV with some friends for around $22 per day.

Romania

You can book a dorm room bed for $8-12 USD per night in a hostel, or book a private double room for $25-40 USD. A single or double room in a cheap hotel starts at around $40 USD.

Most small meals in Romania cost around $5 USD. Restaurants in major tourist cities like Brasov or Sighisoara can be a bit pricier and cost from $15-25 USD. Buy a beer for around $1.50-2.50 at a bar, and for even cheaper at a store or during happy hour.

City buses and trains cost about $1 USD for a single journey ticket. Intercity trains and buses begin at $10 USD but are rarely more than $20 USD for a second class ticket. Entrance to most museums and attractions cost between $5-10 USD, so don’t be afraid to explore the city.

South Africa

Thanks to recent currency fluctuations, South Africa is more affordable than it’s been for many years. Come in South Africa’s shoulder seasons (March to May, September and October) for the best combination of low crowds and comfortable weather.

How does wildlife watching, bargain public and travel-friendly transportation options, and free entry to many of the country’s awesome museums sound to you?

A dorm room bed in a hostel costs around $10 USD. A simple meal at a fast food or casual restaurant costs anywhere from $4-7 USD. A sit-down dinner can cost you anywhere from $6-12 USD. A public bus ride costs around $0.57-0.66 USD.

 

The Best Travel Destinations for Families in 2017

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Article Contributer Sara, David, Brandi, Paul

As a new year begins and vacation planning begins, from exploring our nation’s capital to Canadian dude ranches to relaxing on beaches in French Polynesia. There are plenty of travel destinations for you to choose from.


Nashville Tennessee 

Of course there’s the music, but there’s also great food and a tonne of fun stuff to do with kids. The playground at Nashville Zoo has one of the best playgrounds in America. The Martin ArtQuest at the Frist Center for the visual arts is a fun space to go and create art in all it’s different forms. The Adventure Science Center is fantastic for families who love to learn. And don’t forget about Nashville’s amazing food scene!

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San Juan Islands Washington

Imagine stepping back in time when life moved at and easier pace and enjoying the beauty of the land was one of the highlights of your day. That is what a trip to the San Juan Islands in Washington State can bring to your life. These islands, San Juan Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island, are just a short ferry ride from the thriving city of Seattle, but it feels as if they’re a world apart. 

While you’ll find your fill of culture with the thriving art scene and quaint farm to table eateries, you’ll also be able to relax and enjoy the simple beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The San Juan Islands are mecca for outdoor adventurers, but also feature charming towns that will tempt you to go strolling and window shopping.

 Fill your days hiking along the beautiful trails and parks that dot each of the three main islands, or try your hand at kayaking in the crystal waters of the Salish Sea. Finally, hop aboard a boat as you go search for wildlife in the area including bald eagles, sea lions, and whales such as resident orca pods and migrating humpbacks. 

End your evening with a delicious local meal and a visit to the world-class San Juan Island Museum of Art before planning your journey back into the bustling city of Seattle. A true vacation of contrasts. 

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Washington D.C.

Everyone should visit Washington D.C. at least once. Learn details of the U.S. law-making process as you tour the Capitol building, wander through one of the 17 free Smithsonian museums, or enjoy the view from the top of the Washington Monument. Take a few hours to stroll through the monuments and memorials dedicated to brave men and women who shaped U.S. history. History will come alive for children as they explore all that Washington D.C. has to offer.


Canada


Cranbrook British Columbia

Have you ever visited a dude ranch? I highly recommend Cranbrook, British Columbia, and especially the Three Bars Ranch.  Situated in the Canadian Rockies, Three Bars Ranch is an all-inclusive dude ranch that’s a kid’s paradise and a parent’s dream trip. 

While the ranch is casual and non-stuffy, the service is top-notch and the amenities are ample. Families plan their day with the head of the ranch each morning, with options for horseback riding, hiking, skeet shooting, fishing, ATV-riding, rafting, and more. Kids bond as if it’s summer camp, and parents can share communal meals with new friends.


St. John’s Newfoundland 

 There’s so much to see and do, whether outside (whale watching! discovering chocolate and local ice cream! counting the rows and rows of Jellybean houses! hiking up Signal Hill!) or inside (amazing museums! rocks millions of years old! sonmany restaurants that welcome kids! a local hands-on aquarium!). The most important thing to bring is your curiosity – St. John’s is different than any other place she has been. Treasures unfold around each corner, so be ready to explore. You’ll be rewarded with sights, colors, sounds, and tastes like no other.

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Quebec’s Petit Train du Nord

Considering a family bike trip? Look no further than Québec’s Petit Train du Nord. Initiare your family to the joys of a multi-day cycling adventure, and Le Petit Train, a 200-kilometer rail trail in Québec’s Laurentian Mountains. Part of Canada’s Route Verte, the Little Northern Train as it translates, once delivered skiers from Montreal into the mountains. The “snow train” stopped running in the late 1980s, and in 1996 the line was transformed into a recreational trail to boost tourism in the region.

What sets the Petit Train apart from most other rail trails is that every 15-miles or so, cyclists discover quaint French Canadian villages offering all variety of services, making it very doable for families. And though it winds its way through the Laurentian mountains, the trail’s flat grade makes it accessible to younger cyclists, and riders pedal easily past pristine lakes perfect for a quick dip and wildflower-filled meadows that beg a picnic.

Europe


Innsbruck Austria

Innsbruck is a gorgeous city located in the western part of Austria. It lies on the Inn River and is bordered by the Alps, with Germany to the north and Italy to the south. The Alps are spectacular, so don’t miss the chance to get outdoors and explore the landscape. While you could hike the trails, families will likely find it easier to use the cable cars to reach the mountain peak at an elevation of 7,401 ft.

Strolling through Innsbruck’s Old Town is a must. Even the children will be in awe of the stunning buildings and of course the Golden Roof, which was constructed with gold-plated copper tiles for Emperor Maximilian I. The Alpine Zoo, playtower at Swarovski Crystal Worlds, and Arsenal Museum are just a few more highlights for kids. Innsbruck is the perfect stop for families when traveling around Europe and shouldn’t be missed in 2017. 

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Bruges Belgium 

 Bruges, Belgium is a city unlike any other. After decades of being one of the most important commercial cities in the world, Bruges is said to have slept for 400 years. The beautiful Gothic architecture seen today is a reminder of the once prosperous city, now frozen in time.

Even kids will enjoy visiting Bruges with it’s many canals, white swans, windmills and open spaces to run around. The city is easily walkable, but little ones might enjoy taking a break and exploring the town by water or horse drawn carriage. Don’t miss the chance to try famed Belgian waffles and chocolate. You simply can’t visit the country without sampling these delectable treats!

While there are many larger cities in Belgium, you will enjoy  a break from bustling city life. Bruges is large enough to have plenty of dining and entertainment options, but small enough to relax and live like a local.


Croatia

There is a broad range of activities to suit kids of all ages and Croatia is known to have a family-friendly relaxed atmosphere. One picture perfect – but often overlooked town to consider is Omiš. Located just 20 minutes from Split on Dalmatia’s Adriatic Coast, in Omiš you and take the family zip-lining, white water rafting or make sandcastles on the beach. If you want less action packed, and more history, head to the ancient city of Zadar. The best kid-friendly attraction is the Greeting to the Sun in Zadar. This installation absorbs sunlight during the day & lights up at night. Let your kids rock out to the cool music show while you enjoy a drink at the cafe.


Iceland

Iceland has so much to offer families that enjoy the outdoors, yet it is also easy to manage and navigate. Flights are inexpensive, English is widely spoken, and, even in high season, it isn’t crowded. Families will be awed and amazed by the varying natural landscape and thundering waterfalls. Those more adventurous can take part in activities like horseback riding, glacier hiking, Super Jeep tours, dog sledding, and more. If you want a place that will enchant even your most jaded teen or impressionable toddler — the land of ice and fire has it all.


The Dolomites in Northeastern Italy

18 mountain peaks which rise to above 3,000 metres. A paradise for families in search of relaxation, activities, ancient traditions, fun, stunning landscapes and delicious food! No matter if you choose to spend your holidays in South Tyrol, Trentino or Veneto. All these 3 regions offer such a warming hospitality and unique scenic beauty. Such a fantastic holidays for everyone in every season of the year!


Wales

Wales offers something for all families, regardless of interest. The coastline is truly spectacular, with rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, even seaside waterfalls and grottoes. The hiking all over the country is incredibly scenic, and its rural, often isolated regions means families will have no trouble reconnecting during their stay. The history here is legendary, and no trip to Wales is complete without touring a few castles. There are many family-friendly self-catering accommodation options, from 5 star resort-style properties to quaint, basic cottages


Caribbean


Turks & Caicos

The gorgeous turquoise waters of Turks and Caicos make it a gorgeous place to visit, but there are also many things for kids to see and do. From learning about nature to going on a water sports adventure, you can stay busy for most of your trip. Of course, you’ll want to factor in some time to just relax and enjoy the view.

Central and South America


Galapagos

This truly multigenerational travel experience will bring you closer together in ways that hadn’t even occurred to you.  Most Galapagos trips are on smaller ships and yourv family might make up half the passenger list. It’s an active trip, perfect for curious minds and of course for animal lovers. Everything you’ve heard about the sea lions, iguanas and tortoises on the Galapagos islands is true; they lack fear of humans and as long as you are quiet and respectfully will be  able to see wildlife unencumbered by unnatural boundaries. Some favorite animals to watch are the Birds of Galapagos. The cute little Galapagos penguins preened each other, the blue-footed boobies danced comically, and the male Great Frigatebirds did their best to show off for the ladies. It will be a memorable trip, one thatyourvfamily will talk about all the time, and one that you willrecommend to anyone with a curiosity about how the world works.


Guatemala

You will love a visit to see the Mayan temples in Tikal, Guatemala. You will be amazed. The temples are awesome. There are some that are not yet uncovered. You will were able to lay down on a stone bed in one of the palaces. If you want some adventure and ancient 


Asia


Penang Malaysia

There’s culture with Kek Lok Si Buddhist Temple and one of vistors favorite  activities is exploring the street art which is really interactive and kids can join in with. The food is delicious and so reasonably priced – vegetarians will love Ee Beng where the children can help themselves to rice and any number of tasty dishes and it’s a great opportunity to try the local Nonya food or even have a go at cooking it yourself. There are great hotels – stay just out of the main town, at the beaches of Batu Ferrenghi where where there are currently waterparks within the hotel which will go down very well with the kids after a day’s sightseeing! All of Malaysia is incredibly welcoming towards children and Penang is no exception. It’s a wonderful destination and definitely recommended


Sri Lanka

This fascinating island is full of variety and attractions to keep your family entertained and enthralled. From elephant safaris to ancient temples and cities to gorgeous beaches to beautiful highland tea plantations to an interesting culture, there is something for everyone and all ages. The best part is that all of this variety is on a small island meaning distances are never that large and there are many options of how to get around. Kids are also very welcome everywhere.


 French Polynesia


Bora Bora

Bora Bora and the Islands of Tahiti may be quite popular among honeymooners but its also recommend as a wonderful and family-friendly destination to explore. This island paradise with clear, turquoise waters and verdant mountain backdrops is an ideal place for the family to relax. The islands offer a variety of water sports and activities and the unique French Polynesian culture. One of them favorite activities is snorkeling and swimming with sharks and stingrays in warm, crystal clear waters. You can do this activity on two islands and the sharks are harmless. You will love the overwater bungalows the islands are famous for especially being able to swim and snorkel right off the balcony and feed the fish from the living room.

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