A paradise getaway
When you want to escape your day-to-day life for paradise, the Caribbean should come to mind first.
There are thousands of ways to explore the Caribbean, but don't be intimidated by Caribbean travel. A vacation to those popular beaches is surprisingly easy to plan!
Caribbean cruises will take you to a variety of Caribbean islands. You can choose a cruise that lasts anywhere from 3 to 20 days, but most run for about a week. At each port, you will have the option of staying on the ship or exploring the island. You can book day trips and expeditions on board or wait to see what is available once you get there. Always be sure to book with a trusted tour company, however.
Most islands have beach trips, snorkelling tours, catamaran trips and historical tours of cities or local features, like rum or cigar factories.
There is nothing to say you have to leave the ship, though. Most cruise ships have everything you could need on board: pools, hot tubs, bars, games, entertainment, restaurants, ice skating, rock climbing and much more, depending on the ship.
If you prefer to focus on one Caribbean island for the length of your stay, check out different Caribbean villas and resorts on your island of choice. Staying at a Caribbean hotel is usually quite different from staying at an American hotel. The staff are always friendly and you'll likely be welcomed at the door with a cocktail.
Popular Caribbean islands include Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Barths, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia, not to mention the British Virgin Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Also, although not technically part of the Caribbean, Belize, located just south of Mexico and west of Jamaica, is becoming a popular destination. If you want the sun and surf associated with the Caribbean but are looking for something slightly off the beaten path, a Belize vacation may be the perfect compromise. Check out Pelican Beach Resort, Dangriga, and its sister resort, Pelican's Pouch Southwater Caye, which offer "two worlds only 14 miles apart" -- one of culture and history, and one of beach-bound relaxation.
Luggage requirements: A bathing suit, sunscreen, towel, sandals, sunglasses, floral prints and fun summer clothes are a must. Most Caribbean resorts or your Caribbean cruise line will ask that you wear semi-formal clothes to specified restaurants or dinners over the course of your stay, so it's important to read the dress code ahead of time and bring appropriate clothing.
Caribbean travel is easy once you know where to go. All inclusive vacations are a good choice, so you don't have to worry about spending too much on food, drinks or your flight. To find a good deal, check last-minute sell-off sites and be ready to depart at the drop of a hat - or the sighting of a good deal!