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6 ways to survive traveling during the holidays

Holiday Beach Travel Deals -

So you've decided to spend part of the holiday season on a Caribbean beach somewhere? Smart choice. Opting for sunshine and blue waters to combat the hustle & bustle that is this season is a great idea. But the journey to paradise can often times be a bit daunting, especially during the holidays. Let's talk about all the ways you can conquer the holiday travel beast, so you're nothing but prepared.

Pack light:

It may seem obvious to offer you a friendly reminder about to not bring everything in your wardrobe, but this is an easy tip if you're looking to cut travel times and arrive beach front ASAP. If you can manage to get everything you need into a carry on bag and bring it with you on the plane, you not only don't have to spend the extra time checking your bag pre-departure and waiting for your bag once you arrive, but you'll often times save money on the fee to check bags. Oh, but be sure to check the carry-on restrictions of the airline you'll be flying with. There are often times size and weight restrictions to be aware of. Plus, if you're heading to the beach the only real requirements should be a few bathing suits and a good pair of flip flops, of course!

Leave early:

The week of Thanksgiving kicks off a month of crowded airports and high-traffic travel, so be prepared. Whether you're a professional jetsetter and you travel all the time, or this is your first time to experience pure and utter beach bliss, always give yourself more time than you need during this season. There will most definitely be lines, delays, and possibly even cancellations. While promises to do everything we can to support you before & during your travel itinerary, it's always a smart idea to give yourself some extra time when arriving at the airport just in case.

Travel on off-peak days:

There's a definite science to how to you plan your vacations and days off during the travel season, and of course sometimes your schedule can be very tight. But a great way to stay on budget and perhaps snag an even better deal than you would normally get, is to travel on off-peak days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. So if you can plan to leave for your vacation on Thanksgiving Day or any other actual holiday, you'll most definitely save a few bucks AND avoid some of the crowds. Sounds like a plan, if you ask us!

Leave early or late in the day:

Another way to avoid crowds and long lines is to travel during off-peak hours. Look for the flight that leaves super early in the AM or is the last flight out for the day. Peak holiday travel times tend to be 10am to 6pm, so if you can manage to snag a flight before or after, you may be in better shape traffic-wise & perhaps budget-wise. Although this isn't a sure guarantee, it's something to consider when making your travel plans.

Use your resources:

A great way to stay ahead and be prepared for it all this holiday travel season is to stay informed. Utilize the resources and technology out there to keep you up-to-date on flight delays, gate changes, transportation options, etc., etc. A great resource is to look for an app from your airline on your smart phone. You can often times set up manual alerts, but you'll also get alerts as they happen. Also, apps such as Gate Guru or Flight Status are great for getting instant updates while you're at the airport.

Since you'll be in another country, apps like Free Wi-Fi Finder are a good option in that they can direct you to the closest hotspot to combat some of the data/roaming charges cellular companies often times like to hit you with when traveling internationally. You'll also want to check the Wi-Fi options at your resorts. Plenty of our preferred partners and resorts will offer free Wi-Fi or internet connectivity, once you arrive.

Relax & have fun:

And although you may not consider this a tip - we do, because, well, it's something to keep in mind. HAVE FUN! Don't let the craziness that is the holiday travel season turn you away from a good time. Know that the journey to get to the beach is just a small part of your ultimate holiday beach vacation. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You WILL make it through that like at airport security and you WILL make it through the three-hour flight. And once you do? It's all smooth sailing from there. Sunny skies, crystal clear waters, and ice cold frozen concoctions are calling your name.

So what are you waiting for? Have you booked your holiday beach vacation yet?

Brittany Innes is the try-anything-once spontaneous type with a knack for exploring new places and embracing her inner food-lover. She's also a big fan of college football and instagramming everything she eats, as she eats it (she's that girl).

The Beach Travel Tips That Promise a Near-Perfect Vacation

Marriott Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Beach ResortNo one plans for a vacation to go wrong. But they happen. And often times, there are the root of a small problem that turns into a mighty big problem and just spirals out of control. Well have no fear, travel buddies. We’re here to help. Here are a few not-so-obvious travel tips you’ll want to remember in efforts to have the most perfect vacation EVER.

If traveling abroad, scan your passport and email it to your smartphone or take a picture of it.

Unless you’re heading to Puerto Rico or the USVI, you’ll need a passport. And while the first rule of thumb is to keep up with your passport, you just don’t want to be unprepared. Before you head out, make a copy of your passport (maybe 2). You can either print out the paper or save a picture of it on your smart phone, but its great backup should something happen to your must-have to get home. It’s also a great way to provide identification for things like excursions, hotel check-ins, restaurants, etc., so you don’t have to carry the real thing around with you.

If you’re not traveling out of the country, you can still do this with your driver’s license or ID card.

Call your credit card company BEFORE you leave.

This is one the most common things people forget to do. You’re all excited to jet away to paradise and forget to make this call, you go to swipe your card to buy the most kick-butt souvenir and it’s denied. Not only is this embarrassing, but it’s a hassle. And if you’re like us, it might ensue a level of panic around the fact that your card isn’t working in a foreign country.

Simply call your credit card company or bank a few days before you depart and let them know the dates you’ll be out of the country so they don’t freeze your account because of suspicious activity (AKA trying to use your card in a foreign country).

Always have an extra change of clothes in your carry-on.

Not an “OMG, my vacation’s ruined” tip, but this is a solid idea - for a few reasons. 1) What if (god forbid) something happens to your luggage? It gets delayed and has to get delivered to you, or worse, gets lost. Trying to enjoy your vacation in the same set of clothes just doesn’t sound like fun. 2) You’re headed to the beach! Depending on when you arrive, check-in may not be until a few hours after you arrive, which is okay and happens quite often. But if you’ve got a bathing suit and some sandals in your bag, you don’t have to wait for check-in to officially begin your vacation. Suit up and head out to that big beautiful beach, beach-goer! Throw something small and light into your carry-on and you’ll be set no matter the circumstances.

Extra tip (because we like you): when you’re packing, rolling up vs. folding your clothes can save you SO much space. It’ll give you room for that extra pair of shoes you just HAVE to have.

Bring your own beach towels (if you have the space).

We don’t make this suggestion because you’ll need your own beach towel. Nearly every resort will offer you a surplus of beach towels. But if you’ve got the room in your luggage, throw an extra one of your own in there, preferably bright-colored. Why, you ask? It’s a great way to spot your beach spot from a far distance. When everyone is using the same color towel, it may be hard to find your spot as you’re walking up from an afternoon dip in the ocean. It’ll help you remember where your stuff is AND provide a great way to see it from a far distance should you want to keep an eye on your area while splashing in the waves.

Vacations are meant to be pain-free and relaxing, so making sure you're prepared should definitely be a priority. Oh, and don't forget to make sure you've got the latest and greatest in essential beach travel gadgets. We're curious as to what things you swear by. Tell us your favorite travel tips in the comments below!

Brittany Innes is the try-anything-once spontaneous type with a knack for exploring new places and embracing her inner food-lover. She's also a big fan of college football and instagramming everything she eats, as she eats it (she's that girl).

Travel Tips: What to Expect at the Airport

Cheap Flights to the Caribbean -

Congratulations! You’ve just booked your first trip to the Caribbean. While you’re probably overly excited at the moment, you may also be wondering, “What happens next?”

Air travel can be tricky, especially if it’s your first time on a plane. You probably have a ton of questions about what goes down in an airport, but you may not be sure of where to look for answers. It’s ALWAYS better to be prepared, so we’ve gathered up a step-by-step list of what to expect at an airport.

  1. Pack Carefully - learn everything you need to know about packing for air travel (links to Packing for Air Travel article) before you head out to the airport.
  2. Timing Is Key – you won’t know where anything is, so give yourself plenty of time to make it from the airport parking lot, through long check-in and security lines, and to your gate on time. Nothing feels worse than missing your first flight.
  3. Keep Your Documentation On Hand – you’re going to be asked to present your passport and boarding pass multiple times, so you’ll need to find a way to keep them handy without risking losing them (a neck pouch usually does the trick).
  4. Head to the Check-In Desk – there are signs that guide you from the entry to your airline’s check-in area. But in case you need more detailed instructions of how to get to the check-in desk, feel free to ask attendants for help.
  5. Go Through Security – there’ll be plenty of signs to guide you along the process. Once you get to the screening machines, you’ll need to take your shoes and jacket off and place them in a plastic bin along with the plastic bags in which you’re carrying your 3-ounce liquids. If you have a laptop, you’ll need to place it in a bin by itself, outside of any case or carrying bag. Then you’ll place the bins on a conveyor belt so that they can be screened. An attendant will then ask you to step through the metal detector and once you’re cleared, you can pick your belongings up at the other end of the conveyor belt. There’ll be tables where you can place your bins if you need some time to get your shoes back on and put everything back where it belongs.
  6. Find Your Gate – look for your gate number on your boarding pass. If you can’t find it, just look for the electronic displays and find your flight and gate number there. Once you know your gate number, just follow the signs to get to your gate’s waiting area and then take a seat. Depending on how early you got to the airport, you might have to wait a while.
  7. Keep An Ear Out – important messages, like flight delays, will be announced over the PA system. Make sure you listen to what’s being said while you wait for your flight.
  8. Know Your Seat Number – once your flight is ready to board, a gate attendant will begin to call for boarding. Airlines usually board by row, so you’ll have to wait until your row is called. Once you’re in the plane, find your seat by checking the numbers above the rows.
  9. Know Where Your Carry-Ons Go – carry-on luggage can go in two places; large bags go in the overhead compartment and smaller bags go under the seat in front of you. Don’t close the overhead compartments, a flight attendant will come around and do that for you.
  10. Collect Your Checked Bags – once you land, exit the plane and follow signs leading you to baggage claim. Your flight number and departure city will be listed on electronic displays. Wait at the conveyor belt until you’ve collected your bags. If one is missing, talk to the airport staff.

Is there anything else you'd add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!

Roberto Jaimes is a Texas A&M graduate and a Web Content Editor at Roberto can do a thing or two in Adobe Creative Suite and spends his free time watching/playing soccer and exploring Mexico and the Caribbean. 

Beach Bum 101: How to Ace Your Beach Vacation

So you want to be a beach bum. You want to laze the day away on a comfy lounger, letting your feet graze the soothing sand below while the sun warms your increasingly-more-golden skin. Sure, there are basic things we all know about going to the beach, like packing swimwear and inevitably getting sand everywhere (and we mean everywhere.) But, there are tips and tricks that separate the newb from the pro. It takes a few trips out onto the shore to get the experience and knowledge one needs to refer to him/herself as a beach bum.

Lucky for you, you’ve got a beach lover to show you the ropes. I started out young, a little 8-month-old thing eating sand with a side of juice off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. A dozen or so trips to the Riviera Maya later, throw in some trips to Florida and California and a couple more to Punta Cana, and I’m not eating sand anymore (on purpose) but I do have some beach tips to share.

Tips for Beach Vacations -

For your own sake and mine, I’m skipping the obvious points today and digging in deeper:

Lesson 1: Pack like a pro

  • Don’t under any circumstances forget sunblock and insect repellant. Your resort’s shop will likely sell them to you but you won’t be happy about the price.
  • Sometimes resorts will serve your drinks in small plastic cups. And if you’re someone who needs quick refills, you may be better off taking your own insulated thermos for the beach staff to serve you in.
  • Low-key entertainment to heighten your beach lounging experience. Take a book, a crossword puzzle, your favorite jams, whatever’s enjoyable to you.
  • Pack some empty plastic bags in your suitcase. You can put your swimwear in them if they’re still damp when you check out.

Lesson 2: Prepare for tropical weather

  • On the day that you travel, dress in layers that you can take off as you deplane so you don’t sweat through too much clothing at customs.
  • A lightweight scarf triples as a way to keep you warm in transit, a blanket if you’re cold on the plane, and a cover-up on the beach or by the pool.
  • Keep your sunglasses in your carry-on so you can slide them on as soon as the sun greets your skin at the airport.

Lesson 3: Protect your bronzed bod

  • Recoat your sunblock every few hours, instead of just once in the morning. You’ll still get tan and you’ll protect your skin from burning.
  • Take aloe vera or a cooling lotion to soothe your skin at the end of the day. Just trust me.
  • While we all love to drink cocktails in the Caribbean, make sure to drink just as much water while you’re lounging. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re out in the sun all day and that’s the last thing you want on vacation.

There you have it! Your 10 tips from a seasoned beach goer should make you the Mary Poppins of beach bummin’ on your next trip to the Caribbean. So go show off your skills! And if you have any tips you'd add to this list, be sure to leave them in the comments below. Class is dismissed.

By Cristy Angulo

How to Live the Good Life at the Beach

Jimmy Buffett isn’t just known for singing a song or two about living life on the beach. He doesn’t just sing about “wastin’ away again in Margaritaville,” he genuinely lives the island life. That’s why, here at, we’re self-proclaimed “parrot heads” and talking you through ways you can live the good life on the beach this week.

Best beaches to relax on -

1. Pack the Perfect Bag.

First things first, to take on the beach the right way you’ve got to make sure you have all the necessary supplies. Packing the best beach bag is an absolute must and something you might want to take on before you hit the beach.

Start by asking around for the best beach reads and make sure to stock your iPod with tons of beach appropriate tunes. Some of our favorite beach songs include “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett (obviously), “Some Beach” by Blake Shelton and “One Love” by Bob Marley, for example. Our entire list of perfect beach songs can be found on our Beach Tunes playlist.

You’ll also want to make sure to include a solid sunscreen, a great pair of shades and flip flops, just to name a few things. A towel is important too, but if you’re staying at a fabulous all-inclusive resort as we suggest you do, these will usually be provided for you. You’ll just want to get with the front desk or concierge to confirm where beach towels can be located. An ice-cold beverage and great beach snacks are also important, but we’ll get to that later.

2. Find the Best Spot.

Now that you’ve got a bag full of all the essentials, the next step is to venture out to your destination’s beach and see what it’s made of! Don’t worry about bringing your own lounger, if you do the beach the right way, then a perfectly placed palapa or chair awaits with your name on it.

But you’ve got to decide what’s most important to you. Do you prefer to be closer to your resort so you can pop between the ocean and the pool? Do you need to be close to the water activities coordinator so you can plan what water sport you’re going to try next? Or are you simply looking for some good old-fashioned R&R and just need a great view and beach bar nearby? As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into the location of where you spend your day at the beach. The good news is – at the right beach, all of these options are available and ready.

3. Sample Some Beach Fare.

And of course, what could be more important than making sure you’ve got easy access to delicious grub and thirst-quenching sips? No matter how you plan on spending your days on the beach, you’ve got to stay hydrated and don’t want to go hungry.

We suggest trying something that’s local to the beach you’re at - mofongo in Puerto Rico or jerk chicken in Jamaica, for example. And when it comes to drinking, we’re big fans of a refreshing Mount Gay Rum mojito or Havana Lights Cocktail, made special at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. Sometimes the best experiences come from asking the locals or your resort staff for their favorites and trying their suggestions.

4. Find the Right Beach.

Perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle is finding the ideal beach to live the good life on. This is where the resort and all its amenities come into play. Here’s a few resorts that are home to some of the best beaches and make living the good life almost a given.

Live Aqua Cancun: Located right on the Cancun beach, this 5-star luxury all-inclusive is the perfect place to live the good life. There are eight infinity pools with beachfront views, plenty of beach loungers and even cabana beds that come with daily foot massages. And don't worry, there’s a full staff of cabana waiters bringing you your choice of food and beverage all day long.

Best Beach Resort - Live Aqua - Cheap Caribbean

Barcelo Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic: This adults-only luxury fortress is located right on Bavaro Beach, one of the Dominican Republic's best beaches. Barcelo Bavaro Beach is the perfect beach if you're looking to indulge and get in some quality rest & relaxation. You can also hang out at the Bahio pool after the beach and when nighttime falls, test out your dancing skills at Disco Bavaro.

Bavaro Beach, Dominican Republic - Barcelo Resort -

Seven Stars Resort, Turks & Caicos: A stay at this resort and an afternoon on Grace Bay Beach is the epitome of living the good life at the beach. This resort rests upon TripAdvisor's Traveler's Choice Award for the top rated beach and promises nothing but luxe. We suggest grabbing a mojito from Sand Dollar bar, taking a dip in the heated saltwater pool and then head to claim your spot on the satin-like sands of Grace Bay Beach.

Grace Bay Beach, Turks & Caicos - Seven Sands Resort -

So there you have it, folks. As you can see adopting a lifestyle of a permanent beach bum or "parrot head" couldn't be easier. Just a few simple steps and you're on your way to being a beach expert. What do you think? Did we leave anything out? Let us know how you'd live the good life at the beach in the comments below.