It's mid-summer and winter & spring break planning is in full swing. Great idea to get the best availability and prices, particularly when it comes to cruises. As you look through the cruise brochure or website, you'll often notice many of the popular itineraries include a stop at the cruise lines "private" island. The thing I often find surprising is that most new cruisers consider this a no-stop day, or an empty day of their trip. And I suppose, not knowing what to expect can lead you to believe this. However, over and over again I will hear from people after they return that it's was their favorite day. Especially when cruising Disney, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian.
"Private" Island stops are generally land that is owned or leased by the cruise line to offer a perfect beach day on your trip. You'll find scenic beaches where you can relax or play to your hearts content. You'll often find the ultimate mix of beach fun, swaying palm trees, clear blue water and a bounty of watersports. The islands are clean, the food and drinks are brought off the ship, and you don't need anything more than your cruise card for cash.
Don't underestimate the private island experience. There won't be a Diamonds International, there won't be pushy vendors on the beach, there won't be large groups of people waiting for their excursion -- but you will get some great exclusive experiences to make wonderful memories.
My family just returned from a very quick trip to Texas for a family college graduation. Our total "vacation time" from touchdown to take off was less than 48 hours. Turns out, just enough time to have a lot fun.
In addition to our time with extended family, and graduation festivities, we found ourselves digging into Texas and really enjoying our stay. Maybe it was because we had a 7 year old with us and we were looking at everything through kid eyes, but as a family we took full advantage of our time together and made some great lasting memories.
Our quick trip to Texas gave us the sweetest cattle dog mix named Tiger, more y'all's than we could count, the worlds largest rocking chair, a snack in the rain while listening to live music, and a seat on a real live longhorn!
After all, Ferris told us "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. " Point is, whether you are in your home town or away, are on a trip of a lifetime or a quick getaway, give yourself a chance to take it in. Slowdown, don't overthink, sometimes don't plan and just enjoy.
Now, where do you want to go to try this vacationing thing out?
I have a lot of people ask me if I think it's ok to leave the kids for a quick little romantic getaway. And without sounding unhelpful, often YOU and only you, know the answer. Every kid and family is different.
I have one child. Her grandparents are all out of state, and has never spent a night away from our home without my husband or I. A while back we wanted a couples get-away to a warm destination. I stressed, but realized she's very close to her aunt here in town, and a short trip might actually be fun for her. She'll be staying at her home, and her routine. Besides us not being there -- it was as normal as possible.
We opted for a 4 night stay at the FABULOUS adults only Iberostar Grand in Playa Paraiso, Mexico. Funny story that goes along with this place when we first learned our daughter was on her way... but I'll save that one. In any case, it was fabulous - both the hotel and the fact as a couple we ran away together. The kid did fine, I did fine ... and even managed to enjoy myself.
Here's the thing -- going into it I knew my kid, and I knew what we (ok, I) could do. Anything longer would have been a no-go for us and her. Some people are sure ANY type of trip away from the kids would be horrible. Listen to your gut -- if this is the case don't book a 5 day trip out of the country hoping it will be great. IF you want to test the limits... plan 2 nights downtown within driving distance. You -- and the kids will learn lots.
As I always tell my clients ... if you go into a trip worried or convinced you won't like it -- chances are the trip will not be what you hoped for. Do what you can, have fun... and don't feel guilty if you and your special someone sneak away! Do NOT let people tell you want is right or wrong... you are in the drivers seat. And most of ALL -- do NOT google if it's ok to go on vacation without kids --- that's up to YOU!!
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Guided tours with families are a stress-free, action packed yet relaxed way to explore the world. Many companies offer guided tours on both land and at sea or river, but when you are traveling with family of all ages, it's tough to beat Disney. And, it's not the Disney you think of -- princesses, castles and Mickey Mouse. Instead it's the quality of it's product, the service and exclusive VIP experiences that only Disney can provide. Let's be honest - your Adventure by Disney vacation will not be inexpensive, but when you consider the high-quality of all components -- lodging, dining, tours...etc. it's incomparable to other tours. Check them out -- you'll be happy you did.
Adventures by Disney
With more than 30 different vacations, over six different continents and a new river cruise option, Adventures by Disney has the experience you have been dreaming about. Guided adventure tours, with plenty of time for exploring, highlight the magic only Disney can provide. Imagine spending spring break in France, or early summer in Italy on the trip of a lifetime with your family. And, it's not just far away places ... Nashville, New York, Montana, it's all available and perfectly packaged for you.
Jill is a travel and event designer located in Prior Lake, MN. After years in the corporate world planning events and meetings, she decided to take those skills along with her love for travel research & planning and created It's a Snap Travel.