Post # 1
Hey everyone! I’m looking at taking an all-inclusive vacation with my husband this winter and I’m beginning to feel very overwhelmed.
Neither of us have ever been before and I feel like there are a million different places to choose from! I don’t know anything about Mexico, Jamaica, the Bahamas, etc. so I feel completely out of my element. I am a planner and I like to research – planning a trip to Europe would be a breeze. But these places where our main purpose for going is to relax on a beach… I just don’t know what I’m doing.
How did you book your vacation?
I am concerned with:
Price – as low as possible
Safety – I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about some places
Location – near the airport is great
I just don’t know how to do the research. Should we talk to a travel agent? Should I just start looking up random resorts?
I feel so intimidated about it that I’m considering asking DH if he wants to go to New York or some place I’m more familiar with!
Post # 2
MrsCallalily: TripAdvisor is an amazing resource. I spent months reading reviews on there before choosing our honeymoon spot. We wanted caribbean, all-inclusive, safe, quiet and relaxing, and good food. Once we found the resort we wanted, we booked directly through the resort. While sometimes you can get deals if you book with a site like cheapcaribbean.com, my experience has been that you receive better treatment and perks from the hotel when you book directly with them.
I personally would steer clear of Jamaica – every person I know who has gone there has had a negative impression. It is an extremely poor nation and so their contempt for (comparatively) wealthy North Americans and Europeans is palpable. I’d try to look for something in the relatively safer and more affluent part of the caribbean (Antigua/Barbuda, Aruba, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, St. Maarten to name a few).
Post # 3
I agree with using TripAdvisor for your research.
After you figure out where you want to go, you can do some comparison shopping for deals that include flights and your choice of hotels.
Post # 4
TripAdvisor is amazing. We went to a surprisingly good all inclusive in Jamaica called the Grand Palladium For vacation this summer. You could definitely look into a travel agent but if you have some extra time on your hands to do some research and find some really great deals. Just make sure you read reviews and look at actual traveller photos.
Post # 5
applecat: I’m sorry but I definitely have to correct you on this one.
Jamaica is one of the most if not the most popular honeymoon destimations in the Caribbean. I, personally, have never ever heard anyone say anything negative about a visit to Jamaica. In addition, that’s my background so I’ve been there more times than I can count on one hand!
I take offense to your statement of comtempt for wealthy North Americans! Most of the countries in the Caribbean are poor. Let’s not fool ourselves so if there was any “contempt” felt in Jamaica it definitely won’t be different in other countries. You are entitled to your opinion of not apprecaiting the country etc for vacations but the second part of your suggestion is BS.
MrsCallalily: I have been to Mexico, DR, Bahamas and Aruba and Jamaica (teehee) …
I would say if you are looking for price go with DR…
Jamaica is by far my favourtie destination for food, sun and fun and the best beaches
Aruba is a close second….
I say poll your friends even on Facebook to get an idea of good experiences they’ve had. If you friends aren’t great travellers… start with the Dominican Republic and Cuba (pricewise) and work from there I would say
Post # 6
MeandMyLouboutins: No need to “correct” me…we’ve obviously just had different experiences. I was telling the OP what my friends and family who have been to Jamaica have told me. That’s nice that you had a different experience. Please don’t act like this was some kind of personal attack. And while, yes, most Caribbean islands are poor by American standards, the average mean income on many of the islands I listed hovers at around $25,000 USD, while in Jamaica the GDP per capita is less than $9,000. That’s a drastic difference. If you’re still not convinced, here are some Caribbean islands and their corresponding crime rates, with Jamaica sitting firmly atop the “most dangerous” list: http://www.ibtimes.com/how-safe-caribbean-island-island-look-386480
Like I said, I’m glad you had a different experience. I’m sure lots of people go and enjoy it, and that’s great. But my stating (a) what I’ve heard from my contemporaries, and (b) objective statistics about the crime there, was neither an attack on your background or your travel experiences. I was simply responding to the OP.
Post # 7
applecat: Yes because this: “It is an extremely poor nation and so their contempt for (comparatively) wealthy North Americans and Europeans is palpable” is something you can clearly state because your friends have visited? I have no issue with you saying people have negative experiences but you went on to demean my cultural background, and my people, by talking about their so called “contempt” that, my dear, crossed the line. I am well aware of Jamaica’s economic state but you are making rash generalizations that, to me, are innapropriate…
Also, if you read the article you so kindly posted you would have seen this: “. According to the U.S. Department of State, violent crimes on the island rarely occur to visitors, remaining primarily a domestic problem. Crime in the country can be attributed to high levels of poverty, drug use and trafficking, and gang retribution. So no thank you, it being dangeours for travellers is not true and therefore, irrelevant.
Not here to argue on poor Op’s thread but I found your statment about Jamaican’s to be offensive and I’m sure that others would agree. My 2 cents….
Post # 8
MeandMyLouboutins: I went to Jamaica, beautiful but suuper sketchy, i wouldn’t take my family there unless we only stayed on a resort
we booked our all inclusive to playa Mujeres through expedia after plenty of hours on tripadvisor. We’ve also been to Bahamas, grand cayman, DR, and booked online. Just do your research
Post # 9
MrsN14: that is perfectly fine … lol ! I don’t take issue with people not liking Jamaica… I was told not to leave my resort in DR.. it happens in the Caribbean…
My issue was the stating they have contempt for “wealthier” individuals….
Post # 10
MeandMyLouboutins: Actually, the phrase about contempt for Americans is pretty much a direct quote from a friend and co-worker of mine who visited last February. My intention was not to offend or “demean” anyone. I’m sorry that you had that reaction to my post.
Post # 11
I second using TripAdvisor. We’ve used it for every hotel we’ve ever booked and have yet to be disappointed. We are staying at an all-inclusive in Cancun – Excellence at Playa Mujeres. We’re spending roughly $6,000 for a week. We booked our trip and flights through the hotel. The airport is about 20 minutes away but they have a private shuttle. Also, we don’t plan on leaving the resort.
Post # 12
MeandMyLouboutins: Also, yes, that’s true for published crime rates in general. I live in the city of Detroit and we get constant shit for our crime rates. The vast majority of those crimes happen to people involved in drug, weapons, or prostitution related industries of crime. This is almost always the case. Unfortunately, crimes against visitors usually correspond in kind (I.e., a city or nation that has a lower overall crime rate will also have a lower crime rate for travelers), albeit at a much lower rate. So even if only 5% of Jamaica’s crimes are committed against travelers, that number is still going to be a lot higher than the 5% of another nation’s total crimes.
Anyways, I am not here to argue on the OP’s thread. My intent was obviously not to offend or disparage anyone.
Post # 13
MrsCallalily: We actually booked our honeymoon through Groupon, but meanwhile, were cross-checking our particular resort on Trip Advisor. We ended up spending $2700 on a 10 day stay at a four star, all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic (including airfare). It was an amazing deal!
FWIW, we didn’t love the DR, and probably won’t revisit the Carribean. There are so many other beautiful places in the world where we’d like to go, but in reality, we were overwhelmed by the heat, poverty, and GI bug that we had for the second part of the trip!
Post # 14
MrsCallalily: When I first started going on vacations, I booked through a travel agent, but now I book it on my own. It’s really easy to do research on your own, if you have the time. But it might be easier to just go to a travel agent, have them recommend a few places ~ research those places and then book it through them
Post # 15
MrsCallalily: my husband and I are OBSESSED with luxurylink.com! They have absolutely amazing deals on hotels (all inclusive and non all inclusive) and packages that include lots of extras in many cases. They also do auctions where the prices get even lower. The best part is they ONLY feature properties that are 4-5 stars. We have booked several trips through them and the experience has been great. You can also often get a little back via ebates too.
They also have a very responsive and committed customer service infrastructure that has proven to us to be really helpful when we needed assistance before and even during the trip when there were some language barriers between us and the hotel staff, which was a really nice thing to have at the time!
only downside is they don’t have flights included in the packages, but I tend to prefer to have more control over that aspect anyway.
Definitely recommend going to tripadvisor.com to read reviews and view images taken by travelers so you can see what the place truly looks like aside form professionally staged staged and edited pictures.
As for safety, it’s always good to stay aware of your surroundings and practice the same sort of caution you would anywhere, but generally if you stay within the confines of a resort you are pretty safe. It is true that some places are more receptive to tourism than others, but TripAdvisor is actually a great resource for helping you discern that info as well.