As the owners of a Caribbean related travel business this couple spent years helping people have a dreamy vacation. There are some common things that people do or don’t do that either ruin their vacations or make them memorable. Here are some tips…
1. Leave “perfect” at home – The best way to ruin your vacation is to expect it to be perfect. Time and time again we have seen people who have made themselves miserable by expecting their vacation to be perfect. Your attitude will determine how wonderful your vacation is.
2. Expect to have an adventure – Travel is an adventure and the unexpected is often the best part of the trip. We get taken in by glossy brochures and lovely articles about paradise. The reality of travel is otherwise. Naturally we don’t want to have a frightful experience but the unanticipated can be enriching.
3. Keep your sense of humor polished and up front – Some of those annoying and unpleasant things become precious stories when you get home. We have a favorite resort on the edge of a rain forest which is the most romantic place we have ever been. One night we were invaded by large cockroaches which we sprayed and killed. When we tried to flush them down the toilet they simply surfed the waves. We laughed about it and did not let it ruin the beauty and romance of the place.
4. Get away from the capital – In many countries the capital is often the least representative area of the country. Our best experiences generally came in the countryside where the scenery is often dramatic and the people less hurried. Too many capitals feel more like busy parking lots.
5. Give yourself the opportunity to meet the people – The culturally different experiences often lead to the best memories. When you get out and about you generally will find the locals very friendly and they will help you experience the uniqueness of their lives.
6. Eat out – The culinary experience is often most ordinary at the hotel. Take a chance and go out to local places. Even if you paid for an all inclusive. You will probably get a decent meal at the hotel but the independent restaurants have to attract customers. The meals can be truly extraordinary and will prove memorable.
7. Ask questions – Sometimes you get pat answers but sometimes you get amazing information. People love to talk about their lives. Let them share it with you. They are usually proud of their country. Let them share its history with you. When you ask questions, you get more than information, you get enriched.
8. Don’t pick up strangers or let yourself be picked up by strangers- Now we are in the “keep yourself safe” area. You wouldn’t do it at home. Don’t do it here. It is more difficult to assess people outside your home country. So, when in doubt, don’t.
9. Don’t go places you wouldn’t go at home – For example, local bars late on Saturday night are not good places to be. We were always amazed at how many people would go into local bars late at night when the drinking was heavy. If you are buying drinks the reception will be good but trouble is just the next drink away.
10. It comes down to “Don’t leave your brain at home.”- Think about what you are doing and keep yourself safe.
The first and the last tips are the most important ones. The reality of life is that it is not perfect. You are going on vacation. Have fun! But use your head and keep yourself safe.
Roger and Mala Burt built a home in the Caribbean, built a travel business and have now published A Dream Across Time, a romantic mystery about a family with deep roots in the Caribbean.