Due to personal circumstances, the Travel Diva will be on a temporary haitus for several weeks. Feel free to enjoy the archives until new items can be posted.
If you’re looking to spend a vacation in the Caribbean or Mexico, you will find that teh all-inclusive resort is a popular option. With 500+ resorts offering this type of pricing structure, many travelers are finding the practice to be favorable. But how do you know if an all-inclusive is right for you? Read on to find out.
- All-inclusive rates are easy
With nearly every expense included, you don’t have to worry about calculating costs for every little thing, adding tips (see #2 below), carrying cash around, etc. You can stay up and party all night, eat all day long, relax at the pool or beach, enjoy entertainment and join in activities without bringing your wallet – just go and do what you want!
- There’s no need to worry about tipping
This is only partially true. Although the price usually includes tips and gratuities, savvy travelers know to reward a worker who gives them great service. Not only are you showing appreciation, but word gets around and soon you will find that you are given the very best treatment from the staff.
- All-inclusive properties are full-service
There are usually a myriad of facilities to choose from at an all-inclusive resort. Typical amenities included in the fee are your nightly room accomodations, airport transfers, buffet breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, alcoholic beverages, watersports, nightly entertainment and dancing clubs, unlimited use of the hotel’s facilities (pools, spas, fitness room) and all taxes and gratuities. Guests usually have to pay an additional fee for premium services such as spa treatments and golf.
- You are content to spend most of your time at the resort
If you are the type of traveler who likes to explore the area and sample the local fare every day, an all-inclusive may not be for you. Because guests at all-inclusive resorts feel they need to get their money’s worth, they typically spend most of their time on the resort grounds. This is actually recommended for some locations, where venturing out into the local area can be an issue of personal safety. But if you’re the type who wants to get a taste of the surrounding area on a daily basis, you might want to reconsider.
- All-inclusive rates can save you money (but sometimes they don’t)
Before booking an all-inclusive vacation, be sure to do your research and do the math. Estimate what you would spend on all meals, drinks, entertainment and activities without going all-inclusive. Then, compare the cost of the all-inclusive with that figure, taking into consideration that you may want to have dinner out a few times, and maybe take an excursion or two which won’t be included. How does it balance out?
As with any major investment, be sure to do your research before reserving an all-inclusive vacation. What exactly does the rate include? What doesn’t it include? How many restaurants are there to choose from (unless you’re content to eat at the same one seven nights in a row)? Knowledge is the key to avoiding suprises and disappointment, and ensuring you have the experience of a lifetime.
by Justin Burch
Just as more tourists are discovering the beautiful island of Aruba, the number of entertainment and sightseeing options has increased each season. This Memorial Day holiday Aruba will host a pair of world-class festivals, each welcoming plenty of locals and tourists. Music lovers can enjoy excellent concerts from award-winning Soul and R&B acts, while those with curious palates will have an opportunity to sample world-class cuisine from local and international chefs. With top-notch entertainment and dining on display this May, visitors will have a chance to see why Aruba is considered one of the most exciting destinations in the Caribbean.
In recent years, the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festivalhas featured scores of both legendary and up-and-coming Soul and R&B artists. Fans of classic acts have been able to enjoy performances from The Gap Band, Chaka Khan and Maze at the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival, while recent Grammy-winner Alicia Keys and platinum-selling artists such as Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Boyz II Men and Sean Paul have entertained music lovers of all generations. With such star-studded lineups, it is easy to see why the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival is considered not only the island’s premier musical event, but also one of the best annual festivals in the Caribbean.
The performances of Friday, May 23 – Comedy Night at the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival – will be headlined by longtime festival favorite Sinbad. The concerts scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25 will feature a number of world-renown Soul and R&B artists, as well as local musicians and performers from throughout the Caribbean. Though plenty of musical acts will be added to the lineups leading up to the festival, visitors can already make plans to enjoy the exotic sounds of Erykah Badu as part of Sunday’s music showcase.
The Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival opens officially on Wednesday, May 21 with a number of parties at hotspots throughout the island. The late-night excitement continues throughout the festival with daily nightclub performances and promotional events. Visitors to the Festival can also take part in daytime beach events from Thursday to Sunday. Featuring live music and plenty of great food, the daytime beach parties at the Festival offer a great way for families to experience the island’s beautiful beaches and impeccable weather.
Tickets for the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival can be purchased during the festival or ordered before traveling. To ensure that preordered tickets don’t get lost in the mail or left behind by travelers, the Festival will hold all purchased tickets at will call until festivities begin. Visitors will also have a chance to purchase day passes for the special events held Friday through Sunday or discounted tickets for all of the festival’s events.
Families visiting Aruba over the Memorial Day Weekend will also have an opportunity to enjoy world-class cuisine at the Aruba Food and Wine Festival. Now in its fourth year, the Aruba Food and Wine Festival brings together all of the island’s best chefs, while also welcoming several international culinary experts. Though the Festival will feature several top chefs and gourmet cuisine, the event is not reserved for the rich and glamorous. With plenty of special tastings, showcases and opportunities to sample unique foods, the Aruba Food and Wine Festival attracts a number of locals and tourists each year. As has become the custom, this year’s event will conclude with a gourmet banquet and concert honoring the work of a famous musical act. Visitors to this special Sunday event will be able to enjoy gourmet cuisine prepared by a variety of world-renown chefs, the world’s finest wines and champagnes and the music of Frank Sinatra. Taking place on Memorial Day Weekend with the Aruba Soul Beach Music Festival, the Aruba Food and Wine Festival will be delighting the palates of locals and tourists from Friday, May 23 to Sunday, May 25.
Though the height of tourism season is still several months away, the month of May has become an exciting time to visit Aruba. With two fabulous festivals sharing a weekend this Memorial Day holiday, it is easy to see why Aruba is not only one of the most exciting islands in the Caribbean, but also a great year-round destination.
Justin Burch writes articles about travel in Aruba for the Marriott Resorts.
The airlines are at it again. You may have noticed that airfares are going up. Gone are the days that I can get a $99 ticket to Buffalo from Phoenix on Southwest – they seem to think $129 each way is a bargain. But not only are airlines raising their fares, they’re coming up with new ways to charge you for extra stuff.
Remember a few years ago when we started paying for meals aboard the plane? And then came the fees for checked luggage weighing more than 50 lbs. Now a fee charged by all major airlines for curbside check-in not only has travelers griping, it’s affecting skycaps who rely on tips from customers. Either the travelers are cutting tips, or bypassing the service altogether. (though some skycaps are seeking restitution)
As you may have heard, a surcharge as much as $25 is being added for a second checked bag on airlines like Continental, Northwest, US Airways and Delta – who’s next?
Yesterday US Airways announced they will soon “begin offering passengers the option of buying an aisle or window seat in the front of the plane for between $5 and $30 per flight.” (Source azcentral.com) Now really, do they think their PR tactics are working on us? “Offering” to sell us a seat we may have otherwise earned through frequent flyer miles is no deal, any way you word it.
So I ask, what’s next on the list? Charging more for all aisle and window seats? Pay lockers replacing the overhead bins? A charge for soda, water and pretzels? A housekeeping fee when they come to pick up your garbage? Maybe pay toilets???
Airlines, please just raise our ticket prices by a couple bucks and give us back the simple illusion (or should I say blissful ignorance?) that we’re getting these ‘perks’ without paying for them. It makes comparing ticket prices so much easier.