Although I’m no expert, Brock and I have had a good share of traveling together. I’m a psycho travel planner. I get it from my mom… she was the crazy lady with all of the BOOKS, yes books (sorry to date you, mom) that planned out every minute of our vacations as a child to maximize our fun. She had us at the Disney parks at 6am when I was 8 years old and tiredly telling my dad, “Dad, I don’t know how much longer I can do this!” lol. Over the years of planning my own trips I’ve come up with a few travel tips that may just help you save a little time, money, and sanity!
Travel tip #1: If you’re using Expedia to book package deals (which I recommend) then CALL to book rather than book online.
Every time we have traveled out of the country I have found a great deal online BUT, there was usually a big catch like you have to leave your tropical vacay at 4am or you have to stay the night in an airport and get there a day later. These little things don’t appeal to me, and they probably don’t appeal to you either. What I have found is that when I have called an Expedia representative they are able to push some things around and get you that same deal (or sometimes a better deal) without the inconveniences in your travel days. This will not only save you money but it will maximize your time in your destination spot rather than in stuffy crowded airports.
Travel tip #2: If you can, stay all-inclusive.
All-inclusive resorts generally include all of your food and alcohol (I’m about that on vacay for sure) in your hotel-stay cost. I’ve stayed at a wide variety of all-inclusive resorts and obviously you typically get what you pay for. The cheapest one I stayed at had the lowest quality of food (not bad, just not the best food ever) and the most expensive one I stayed at had AMAZING food! I’ve found that the alcohol at all of them, no matter the cost, stays pretty dang similar. So, if that’s what you’re goin’ for, go cheap! All-inclusive is also great for kids because we all know that kids are a little particular about their food choices. At all-inclusive resorts, if they don’t like it, just get rid of it! You don’t have to pull your hair out over the $10 mac and cheese that they say is “too creamy” or “not orange” (I used to pull this one when I was little).
Travel tip #3: If you are traveling with your significant other (or a friend) and no kids… stay at an “Adults Only” resort.
Growing up, my family used to take a vacation to Cancun every couple of years so staying at a family-friendly resort is something I’m very familiar with. But, when I booked Brock and I’s first trip to Puerto Vallarta I decided to go all out and book us at an Adults Only resort and let. me. tell. you… SO WORTH IT! Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. I have one of my own and I make my living working with kids but, when I’m on vacation with my hubs (at the time, my boyfriend) I really don’t need pool water splashed into the tropical drink I’m enjoying and I’d prefer not to hear screaming children over the sound of the ocean waves. Ok, so maybe that sounds snobby but you get the point. We thoroughly enjoyed our kid-free vacations with plenty of peace and quiet and extra booze.
Travel Tip #4: Book excursions/activities ahead of time.
This gives you a little chance to do some research on where you’re going. I always look up the best spots or sights to see in each of the places I’m traveling to and then I try to book at least one activity or excursion ahead of time so that I don’t have to worry! This saves you the hassle of spending your precious vacay time sitting at a desk with an agent trying to persuade you into five different things. Your excursion is booked, all you have to do is print and show up! I also recommend this because you can read about your excursion and pack things you may need (water shoes, tennis shoes, chemical free sunscreen, etc.) and then determine what kind of activity level it is and whether or not it is kid friendly! PS- If you’re headed to Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, or Punta Cana anytime soon I’ve got the excursion recommends for you!
Travel Tip #5: Don’t overload yourself.
A little add-on to tip #4… don’t overbook yourself! You are on vacation, you don’t want it to feel like every minute is so packed you can’t even relax. I like to plan one, maybe two, excursions depending on how long I will be somewhere and then leave the rest of the time to relaxation and spontaneity. If you’re the type of vacationer that likes to go, go, go, then skip this tip and book away!
Travel Tip #6: Print all the things!
Is that common sense? OK, maybe it is. Or at least my mom, the travel expert would say it is. But, the second time we went to Puerto Vallarta I booked some things ahead of time and then just brought my card and passport with me on the vacation. I figured they could look up all of my reservations. You know, internet does all of the things! Wrong! Brock and I awkwardly sat in the lobby while I frantically tried to connect to the patchy wifi to pull up my confirmation email to show the nice lady at the desk. It’s just a heck of a lot easier to do it at home and it’ll save you some precious time and panic!
Travel Tip #7: Turn off your phone.
Believe me, I’ve done vacays both ways. I’m not talking power down, lock it away, don’t look at it for the whole time, because, everyone knows most of us don’t have regular old cameras these days. I’m just saying, throw it on airplane mode, only check what’s necessary, and remember… you’re the one on vacation! Facebook and Instagram ain’t got nothin’ on your trip!
Travel Tip #8: Pack a swimsuit and a cover up (or whatever is relevant) in your carry-on (this is another expert trick from my mom).
This may seem like common sense, and sometimes I don’t feel like wasting my precious carry-on space for items that should be checked but, this trick has saved me more than once so I’ll never skip it! Usually if I’m going somewhere beachy, I pack a swimsuit, cover up, sandals, and a hat. That way if your bags get lost, or in my case they take your luggage for you until your room is ready, then you still have the supplies to hit the beach/pool and start enjoying!
Are you headed anywhere soon? What’s your favorite style of vacay?! As always, we love to hear about YOUR travel tips too! Comment below if you have a travel must-do!