I hadn’t been anywhere even remotely tropical in years, and never an all-inclusive resort, and so I wanted to share some things I learned with those of you who don’t normally head for the beach when you think vacation.
If you even have a hint that you may be going to a tropical destination, go visit your doctor. Nobody told me this. It did not occur to me. I know, it’s a total “duh” moment but I was used to traveling to places that do not require any medical planning aside from having appropriate insurance. There are vaccinations you should check on and that varies by country. If you have health issues or concerns, check that shit out far in advance in case you need to be on different meds or might find out you should not go.
Plan to enjoy your vacation. Are you adventurous? Do you want to be lazy? Is shopping your thang? Do you need to research stuff ahead of time? Be prepared. If you want to do adventures, have some idea of what is possible because the available options can be overwhelming. Ask people you know, ask the interwebz. Alternately, make a reading list of books you want, get the right bathing suit, and/or check out spa options.
If you are traveling with others, discuss your idea of a vacation with them. Seriously. If you’re super adventurer and your friends/family are not, you need to know that. Same goes if you’re planning to read lots of books and have leisurely strolls but your companions are headed on crazy excursions. This will help you prepare yourself and them for the reality that you may do your own things sometimes. DO NOT PRESSURE YOUR COMPANIONS. It’s not cool. You’re on a vacation so let it be a vacation for all.
Bring along Imodium or Pepto Bismol. Or whatever your digestive aid of choice is. Just trust me. While your resort might be super-careful with their food and water, promising that everything is safe to eat, your digestive system may not agree.
Don’t assume you can just buy it there. Again, a “duh” moment. I assumed I’d be able to pick up the odd snack, especially for the plane ride home. Then I saw the price. There was a major hunt for a Gravol alternative when one person realized they’d forgotten theirs back home. Sunscreen was $30+. Bring the stuff you want to have if at all possible.
When you pack, check everything ahead of time. I have bad habits and I know other Homies do, too. Like packing t-shirts that are “mostly” clean. I arrived at our destination to discover that one t-shirt smelled like cookies and had a couple smudges. Oops! Also, check your footwear. Even if you plan to do little-to-no walking or hiking, even a bit can turn flip flops into torture devices. Make sure you have one pair of shoes you could walk in bigtime, regardless of your plans.
Check for dress codes. Our resort had some a la carte restaurants that have dress codes. Ladies generally have more flexibility in terms of their apparel but be prepared to get out of your t-shirt, shorts, and flip flops. Dudes, you’ll need some closed shoes, and possibly some long pants and a dressier polo shirt or button-up shirt at the least. They weren’t super sticklers but I was glad I’d prepared.
Bring more clothes than you expect to need. Normally I try hard to pack minimally. I don’t need a totally different wardrobe every day. Except tropical means you will sweat. You may go swimming and change clothes multiple times a day. Just trust me, take extra including underwear, bras, socks if you plan to wear them, etc. Also take some extra tops and shorts, especially if you sweat easily and profusely. It sucks trying to wash your clothes and get them to dry with high humidity. Some places will offer laundry service, but it isn’t free.
Be ready to be flexible. I was on a family vacation and my plans did not always pan out. And that is okay. It made it easier to fit in with others. This also includes things like reservations at restaurants (we were there during a busy time so we didn’t always get our choice of timing).
Drink lots of bottled water and virgin drinks. I am not a big drinker (like, one alcoholic drink a month, if that). Coming to an all-inclusive resort with available booze where I was expected to drink was a bit outside my lifestyle. So I carried around water. We got lots free in our room and the bars always had a stock as well. Even if you are planning to drink heavily, make sure to hydrate, too. The bar served virgin drinks if asked. Extra good to know for pregnant or nursing travelers.
Do not assume wifi is free. I luckily did know ahead of time not to expect wifi to be like in hotels here where it’s just expected. Actually, I would totally have taken this as a chance to unplug except that my husband was unable to come with us. No way was I going a week without talking to him! I lucked out and was able to get wifi but it cost me as much as a month of internet at home for a week of wifi at the hotel. Check with the people you’re traveling with and you may be able to share the cost. In our case, as long as only one device was using the internet at a time, you could share the username and password.
Have fun. It’s a vacation. Enjoy it.
So what tips might you have after being on a tropical vacation?