Category Archives: All-Inclusive

A Vacation Style For Everyone

As most of my readers realize, I am an American. I come from a culture that, for whatever reason, does not seem to value vacations as the rest of the world does. We are stuck in a rut where we feel we cannot leave our jobs for fear of losing them or falling too far behind. Fewer women than men take vacations, but I am not one of those women.

Most people in America are lucky if they force themselves away from their job for a single vacation each year. I on the other hand take at least three vacations, with mini getaways in between. Most years I take four. I go for ten days at a time, sometimes more, sometimes a little less, but I go and I leave my worries behind. If more people took vacations more frequently, perhaps we would have less mid-life crises and fewer nervous breakdowns from being at max mental capacity. It’s just a thought; I’m not here to cure the American worker, just to encourage using what you are entitled to. Everyone deserves a little fun.

To plan your trip you can go about it several ways. You have your all-inclusive packages, and you have your ala carte packages that you build as you go. You can fly, drive, boat, or take a train. Everything comes down to your personal desires. One of my buddies loves to take the train to Oregon, and then fly back home at the end of the week; I think that sounds like a blast, though I have never done it before.

If you are booking an all-inclusive package for March, you probably want to start looking for it in October or November. There is a certain timeline for Mexico especially, in which you can get the best prices and have the most options to choose from before things start filling up. We tend to take an all-inclusive trip every few years and it’s always been a blast. I definitely recommend scoping the hotel prices for a few days to see how they fluctuate. All-inclusive prices can go up and down, as can plan tickets, depending on the day of the week you look. You always run the risk of losing out on “the best price,” if you wait too long, but sometimes waiting is beneficial and can win you an even lower price.

If you are planning a road trip, your best bets for pricing are to look to VRBO.com, Groupon, or a timeshare. Timeshares frequently run specials where you can stay for under $300 for an entire week. If you don’t own a timeshare, you can find people on Craigslist who are looking for others to buy a week from them. You always need to proceed with caution when dealing with Craigslist though; I have seen people get ripped off this way in the past. VRBO.com gives you the option of choosing your location and amenities and being able to negotiate on pricing a little more. This route is, in my opinion, safer than Craigslist. We have acquired accommodations from people on VRBO at least ten different times and we have never had a bad experience. Groupon is a great way to find hotel deals as well, but keep in mind they often come with resort fees on top of the price you are paying for the deal, so they aren’t always the cheapest route.

When booking flights you can score some great deals last minute, if you are open to possibilities. Spirit can get you some pretty low price fares if you are able to travel bare, which means you only bring a small carry-on. Spirit is one of the cheapest airlines we have found so far. Flights often drop in price on certain days of the week, be sure to watch the flight and see ahead of time how the prices change from day to day, before you book.

This September my husband and I are taking a trip to Colorado. We are driving and we are staying via timeshare in Winter Park. We will probably plan a few other stops on either end of our timeshare stay. I like traveling this way because it gives my husband and me the freedom to come and go as we please and to see more than one destination during a trip. No matter how you choose to vacation, you always have plenty of options for saving money and gaining that extra cash to spend on fun things like zip lining and white water rafting.

For information on some of the sites we utilize for our trip planning, please check out the following:

https://www.vrbo.com/

https://www.groupon.com/

https://www.spirit.com/Default.aspx

https://www.expedia.com/

https://www.airbnb.com/

https://www.livingsocial.com/

https://www.rci.com/

 

Ixtapa: My Favorite Place In Mexico

Now that it’s nice out, let’s talk about one of my favorite getaways from the cold weather. My family has long been in love with one specific location in Mexico. While several of us have visited other locations, we keep coming back to Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo.

Ixtapa is located on the Pacific side of Mexico. While you might see a few raindrops on occasion, this sort of weather is very rare in March, which is when we tend to visit. We love this locale because of the weather, the beaches, and the easy walk to the markets and restaurants.

While the water is a little rougher on this side, you can still spend time sunbathing and playing in the waves. Last year, while riding the waves, I had to choose between my new sun hat and my swimsuit bottoms, so obviously, the waves claimed my hat. You definitely need to be a strong swimmer to endure the current. If you get too far out the life guards will make you come in. I imagine somewhere there is a very trendy seagull with a black and white floppy brimmed hat.

If you are into massage, there are several tents setup on the beach where community massages take place. Be sure to bring pesos, because they charge you more if you give them cash, which makes no sense at all since cash is worth more than pesos to begin with. These massages will run you anywhere from twenty to thirty dollars for an hour. I still give a tip, but you can’t really beat the price. A word of caution, if you are a male, the women have been known to get a little up close and personal with their massages. It’s not a traditional happy ending, but you could be someone’s next husband if you aren’t careful.

When we visit Mexico we tend to do an all-inclusive stay so that we don’t have to leave the resort unless we want to. Some of the beach front hotels are definitely nicer than others. I have stayed at the Holiday Inn, which was previously El Presidente, and while they had nice accommodations and a beautiful property, I have been to resorts with better food options. The first resort I ever stayed at in Mexico was the Park Royal, and I very much enjoyed my stay. The food was excellent and they had this cool club where you could have drinks, play pool, or lounge on the lounge beds. I have fond memories of this resort, although one person in our party did have an ant problem in their room. Some of my other family members have also stayed at Kristal, Tesoro, and Barceló. Any one of these resorts would be a nice option.

While in Ixtapa you have many options for activities. I recommend visiting the little activity hut down the street from the hotels, they have given us great deals on many different excursions. Some of the things you can take part in are as follows: horseback riding, kayaking, ATV tours, snorkeling, tours of Zihuatanejo, and fishing. The two snorkeling excursions I went on included pickup at our hotel and drop-off at our snorkeling location, with lunch and one beverage, as well a return to our hotel; it was roughly twenty-five dollars per person. You can’t really beat that price either.

While I am sure that most tourist destinations in Mexico provide a great time, I will continue to visit Ixtapa. There is just something about Ixtapa that makes it feel extra special to me.

 

For more information on Ixtapa, please visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ixtapa

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/mexico/central-pacific-coast/ixtapa