I’ve had the pleasure to be traveling more frequently thanks to my wonderful Aunt and Uncle! They are incredibly generous people and I’m blessed to call them my Godparents and my family!
Two weeks ago I traveled with my sweet boyfriend Sam, to Nassau, Bahamas! We spent seven days at the Melia Nassau Beach All Inclusive. It was my first all inclusive vacation and I was very nervous about the quality of food, rooms, staff etc. I’ll be the first to admit I’m uber-critical, (much like your family around the Thanksgiving table; pro tip: keep shoving those homemade rolls in your mouth and avoid eye contact) and the reviews for the resort were less than ideal. GUYS, I HAD A BLAST. I can honestly say it was one of the best vacations I’ve been on. Sure… the resort could use a maintenance team the size of a small village, and some cooking lessons from Grandma Holtz herself, but it was wonderful! Honestly!
Below I put together 8 tips for those of you interested in an All Inclusive or planning an upcoming trip!
|PHONES DOWN| Sam and I made a conscious effort to leave our phones in the safe all week long and connect with each other again! This was a great way to unplug, relax, and strengthen our bond. We admittingly FaceTimed our family for a few minutes about every other day, (have you met my future Mother-in-Law?!) but other than the occasional photos taken, it was almost exclusively turned off and left in the safe! I highly recommend trying it! This leads me to my next piece of advice…
|CELLULAR DATA OFF| The resort had a Wifi router in every room, throughout the resort and even at the beach! Turning your cellular data off will help you avoid getting those unwanted charges by the slimy phone companies while also allowing you to check in with family and scroll Facebook… eye roll. You can certainly contact your phone carrier and add a travel plan to your account for the month to protect against unexpected charges too, but we didn’t find that we needed it!
|FOREIGN TRANSACTION FEES| Remember to not only alert your credit card companies that you’ll be traveling abroad but also check on foreign transaction fees. I was okay with my small town bank credit cards but my Master Card did charge me $18… MOTHER FATHER. Safe traveling tip: always bring plenty of cash but stash it in several places, i.e. on you, your wallet, shirt pocket of a piece of clothing in your bag etc.
|SUNSCREEN + ALOE| Seven days in the sun can easily lend you to being called “Lobster Mun.” Bring more than you think you’ll need or you’ll end up like Sam and I, and spend $70 on aloe and sunscreen at the hotel gift shop! Any guesses on how much we spend on one bottle of your standard Banana Boat Sunscreen? (Answer: $24).
|AUTOMATIC EMAIL REPLY| This one may not be essential, but since I’m in the process of applying for a new job, I set an out of office reply on my email to let potential employers know that I wasn’t neglecting to respond to them, rather I was just “out of town and unavailable via email.” Shout out to all the Ulta/Linkedin/Athletic Club/Monster Job email blasts that got an automatic reply from me. I didn’t end up missing any important emails but it gives you that piece of mind and allows you to better relax! Sam, however, forgot and scrambled to contact his boss via his MacBook one day. All was okay, but I strongly recommend doing so!
|FOOD| The food wasn’t horrible at the All Inclusive we stayed at, but it certainly wasn’t restaurant quality either. You know that nasty factory farm $0.49 a pound, Tyson bagged slop… I mean, chicken; Woodman’s has on sale? I can only imagine that’s what they serve. Nasty, I know! What do you expect when it’s all-you-can-eat, all day long, every day? Go for the carbohydrates, buffet over sit-down and eat when the restaurant opens. You can’t expect that the food will taste good after sitting out for several hours! Honestly, I’m a bit dramatic, and if you asked sweet Sam how the food was, he’d shrug, and say “okay!”
|EXCURSIONS & BARGANING| Sam and I planned to spend a good amount of money on excursions while abroad! We searched the Internet prior to leaving and figured out what we wanted to do, and how much it should cost! The resorts like to hike up the price, so if you book directly through the company, you can usually get a cheaper rate but make sure to bundle your excursions, barter, and ask for discounts! Be sure to check the reviews online also! Sam and I decided to charter a boat and go deep sea fishing with four other guests staying at the resort. The first day we went, we didn’t catch a thing, so I told Sam we could barter for a reduced rate the next day to try again and we ended up saving $50! We had a blast AND I caught a Skip Jack Tuna!
|SKIP THE CAB| Sam and I used the local “bus” and road to and from town (about 15 minutes in duration) for $1.25 each way. These buses were more like passenger vans equipped with subs blaring obscene Rick Ross lyrics and rearview mirrors replaced with small 10” Samsung TVs from the local retail store. It was interesting, uncomfortable at times, but also fun, exciting, and cheap! They drive on the left-hand side of the road and you pay your bus fare when you exit. The cab rides can run anywhere from $22-$35 dollars each way, so the bus is definitely a better option! Ask your hotel concierge about how often the buses run and what time they stop at the end of the day!
Let me know your vacation tips and favorite places to visit! What was your experience with an All Inclusive? Let me know in the comments below!
Look out for my next blog post including photos from the Bahamas!