Life has been busy. Too busy. We need a break!
Craig and I have been talking about taking a trip and just getting away. This year will be our 15th Wedding Anniversary which is another great reason to put our feet in the sand and relax.
Picking a date
With 2 full-time jobs, a part-time job, various activities and other commitments, finding the time to go away is not easy.
We sat down with our calendars, figured out when activities would be winding down and when commitments wouldn’t be impacted and chose 2 potential times — a week in June or beginning of January.
Figuring out your budget
Yes, vacation is supposed to be fun and you don’t want to miss anything, but coming home to a mountain of debt is not the best way to end a vacation.
Craig and I have been putting some money away in a vacation fund. Plus we have some gift certificates to Flight Centre that we’re going to take advantage of.
We did a few searches on the internet to get a ballpark idea of what our options might be. Then we headed to Flight Centre, sat with an awesome travel advisor and, asked a ton of questions. Knowing the amenities at the different resorts, what the beaches are like, and activities for the girls is just as important as the cost. During the conversation, we decided to focus on the June dates as the prices for January were just too high (almost double?!?).
After the conversation, we walked away with 4 different resorts in 2 different places that were all within our budget.
Do your research
With the 4 locations in hand, our next step was to read reviews and talk to friends.
TripAdvisor.ca is one of our “go-to” sites for travel information. There are a lot of reviews on all 4 of the places we were looking at. It’s good to read the good and bad reviews to get a broad sense of people’s experiences.
Craig and I started a spreadsheet to keep track of the pros and cons of each place we were considering. We noted things like the cost, the number of stars, the number of pools, activities for the girls, types of restaurants and links to the resort’s website and Trip Advisor. Seeing all of the details in one place makes comparing so much easier!
With the magic of social media, we got lots of opinions from friends when Craig asked on Facebook. A few people had been to one of the resorts that we were looking at and we actually had one friend who had been to both! She gave us some great information as she was able to do a great comparison.
Making the final decision
With all of the options laid out in our spreadsheet, we started making the decision of exactly what we wanted. One resort has a waterslide. Another has more restaurants. And on it goes.
The girls were very excited about the idea of a kids club and teen activities. The waterslide is a must. And, of course, they liked the idea of free wifi.
The girls were all for free wifi, but truly that is not a deciding factor for us. Most resorts have free wifi in the lobby, some have wifi available for purchase in the rooms and a small number have free wifi everywhere. Craig and I have Roam Like Home with Rogers which is available in both countries that we are interested in which means that if we need to get in touch with family, we will be able to. Plus being able to share our memories with friends and family right away on social media is really nice too! They can see all the fun we are having. I like to back up my photos to Google Photos so having access to data is important to me.