Booking a trip to the Caribbeans can turn into a desired option for couples that want to sun-lounge and enjoy some quality time together. Sightseeing trips also can strengthen a bond, however these types of trips tend to be more “run and gun” with less relaxation time together.
Caribbean trips feature lots of benefits. However for couples booking a Caribbean vacation for the first time, it is inevitable – mistakes tend to happen. With experience comes a wiser traveler. In this article we provide some unique insight, discussing some of the common mistakes made by travelers when booking a Caribbean vacation. What some couples tend to overlook is the term “all-included” when booking a Caribbean trip. This means no need to pack unnecessary items such as bathroom products or towels – the hotels stack these regularly and they are completely free. We’ll also look at other routines traveling couples typically do. Changing these habits can not only improve a trip quality but it can also lead to lots of cash being saved at the end of it all. We’ll feature numerous dollar-saving examples throughout the article.
Enjoy folks and like always be sure to share this with a fellow traveler or traveling partner. If you've never booked a Caribbean vacation, these tips might make you feel like a veteran once it’s time to book! Without further ado here are 20 things most travelling couples do (but shouldn’t) on Caribbean vacations. Let’s get started!
20 Packing Unnecessary Items
We all make this mistake, especially couples. When headed to a Caribbean destination, it isn’t uncommon for first time traveling couples to over-pack. Items such as large beach towels are not required. They take up lots of room in the suitcase and what travelers might forget is that they’re completely free of charge and given in abundance at the resort. Really, there is no need to pack any type of towel.
The same goes for lots of other amenities. Caribbean resorts come prepared (well most do, at least) with various soaps and other products to choose from (clothing irons are also available). Think twice before packing certain items - it might not be needed.
19 Extended Checkout
An extended checkout might seem like a favorable option for a couple traveling to the Caribbeans. In some cases, hotels ask couples to check out at 12PM, while their car/bus service doesn’t leave till 5PM. This might cause a couple to extend their checkout time.
This is a mistake due to the inflated rates offered by many resorts. A five-star in Riviera Cancun charges an extra $20 per hour, and that’s per person, if you can believe it! Instead an easy alternative is leaving the bags at the front lobby with the staff while using a complimentary room to clean-up. The real kicker is that option B costs absolutely nothing!
18 Not Being Aware Of A Dress Code
Who wants to pack long pants and t-shirts when you could simply pack shorts and tank tops? This tends to be the mind-set for most men. However depending on the Caribbean destination, this can be a major mistake.
Certain resorts don’t allow men access to the buffet or the restaurants when dressed in shirts that don't have sleeves. Some resorts also prohibit men from wearing shorts at the A-La-Carte Restaurants or buffets. It might sound harsh but in certain instances, men were told to wear long pants. This can be a burden given the warm Caribbean climate. Make sure to pack appropriately and be conscious of the dress codes.
17 Bringing Credit Cards
"No need to exchange our money, babe I’ll just bring my credit card!" Although this might seem so easy, it isn’t the smartest route to take. Instead it might be a better idea to convert money beforehand. Caribbean destinations tend to have inflated fees when it comes to taking out money. Certain travelers spend up to $10 in fees just for taking out money at an ATM. For that reason cash is the better alternative.
It is also suggested not to bring every single card the couple owns in the event that they get lost. As a precaution only bring the cards that are needed while storing the others at home safely.
16 Exchanging Money At The Resort
Exchanging money at the resort isn’t a good idea. The airport isn't either. Both offer a decreased currency rate and one that is typically higher compared to a local branch nearby. Couples are advised to exchange their money days prior to the trip.
Get an idea of how much you want to convert and keep track of the rates before visiting a local bank or exchange bureau. You’ll be amazed by the amount of extra money you’ll have at your disposal by taking this option as opposed to the inflated rates at both Caribbean airports and resorts.
15 Not Mentioning That You And Your Significant Other Are Celebrating A Special Occasion
Without a doubt couples appreciate their privacy when it comes to booking a Caribbean vacation. The only priority tends to be spending some well deserved time with a loved one. That’s especially true when visiting a destination in celebration of a certain date, whether it be an anniversary or another important date.
Some couples might not make mention of this to the hotel staff and that can be a mistake. Caribbean destinations usually respond to such occasions by offering free complimentary services or a free bottle of Champagne. There have also been instances of a free upgrade as well. Let it be known that you’re celebrating with a loved one!
14 Pay For Wi-Fi
Paying for Wi-Fi can be a negative for multiple reasons. For one, select resorts offer Wi-Fi completely free of charge while other locations sell packages with drastic price points. The irony is that it tends to be completely free of charge in some areas, like the main lobby, while charging couples an extra price for access in the room.
Another reason Wi-Fi isn’t necessary is due to the fact that it takes away from that true bonding time. A couple glued to their phones really doesn’t add to the 'spending time together' part of a trip. Instead do without the Wi-Fi altogether and spend some quality time with one another. If Wi-Fi is needed for work or other purposes, couples should limit their usage to the very minimum.
13 Not Getting The Proper Upgrade Information
This factor alone can make or break a couple’s trip if not done properly. When thinking about upgrading, it is best to digest the information beforehand. At times upgrades just aren’t worth the extra price. Rooms tend to be secluded and away from the action that the resort has to offer.
However the opposite is also true as upgrades can provide a couple with the best experience in terms of quality and service. It can also cost a lot less than you might have thought. Get informed properly before opting for or against an upgrade.
12 Buying Expensive Souvenirs
Buying souvenirs at a Caribbean resort or an airport can prove to be quite costly. Buying a souvenir from a beach salesman also isn’t the best idea due to lackluster quality (we’ll discuss that in length a little later in the article).
A preferred alternative for couples is to visit the downtown markets – merchants are always ready to bargain with tourists when it comes to prices. You’ll be able to get double the quantity by visiting locations off the resort and away from the expensive airport boutiques. A couple can end up with lots more goodies by simply making this wise decision.
This can turn into a problem in more ways than one. It is best that traveling couples do not underestimate the power of the Caribbean sun. It is highly recommended to bring a full bottle of sunscreen. If you forget to pack this, it can lead to terrible sun burns along with having to pay an inflated price at the resort or local market for the protection.
Staying under the sun throughout the day, it is crucial to get proper protection every chance you get (applying an extra layer of sunscreen every 30 minutes would definitely be wise). Not doing so can hurt a traveling couple’s overall experience. The last thing couples need is struggling to put on their clothing due to the severe burns from the Caribbean sun.
10 Taking Cabs
Depending on which Caribbean destination a couple plans on booking, taking a taxi can turn into a pricey way of getting around. In the area, prices are also very inconsistent. It is best to ask the driver how much before the ride starts while perhaps trying to negotiate the wage down.
What might be even better than haggling for a lower price point is taking the bus. In areas such as Cancun, the bus costs a grand total of one dollar. While the same ride with a taxi costs $20! A bus is also very fast in areas such as Cancun due to having their own lane. If a couple plans on doing lots of sightseeing, then perhaps renting a car can also beat out the costs of taking cabs.
Tipping can definitely enhance a couple's experience for the better. However, tipping too often leads to expectations from the staff. According to multiple user reviews on Trip Advisor, this can turn into a burden for travelers as the hotel workers start to expect tip due to the frequency that certain couples give them out.
In order to remedy this it is advised to either leave a generous tip at the start of the trip or at the very end. It’ll hurt the overall experience a great deal needing to carry around dollar bills on a trip that is supposed to be “all-included.”
8 Overspend At Local Hotspots
Couples enjoy going off the resort for various reasons, whether it be sightseeing, buying souvenirs or enjoying some of the finest Caribbean restaurants off the hotel property. However it is important that couples don’t fall into the trap of visiting hotspots such as restaurants located in the popular tourist areas. A couple might end up paying double the price for half the quality.
A better alternative might be to find a restaurant a little further that features great reviews. The same goes for souvenir shops and other types of purchases a couple might want to make.
7 Private Pickup At The Airport
A couple gets off the plane and all they’re both thinking about is getting their luggage and hitting the Caribbean beach ASAP. This leads to booking a private car service in advance, however this too can be a little too pricey. The same goes for taking a cab, which can cost a heck of a lot depending on the distance.
What some traveling couples fail to realize is that shuttle buses are available at the airport, and are completely free of charge. These buses are private as well. You’ll just have to worry about tipping the driver a couple of bucks as opposed to needing to pay top dollar for a cab or a private pickup service.
6 Couples Massage
This can be one of the top activities booked by a couple when heading to a Caribbean destination. Let’s face it, couples that book all-inclusives really just want some heavy relaxation time away from the stresses of their everyday lives. A massage is one of the best ways to get to that place instantly.
Although getting a massage just by the beach might sound luxurious, it can also be far too expensive. Certain Caribbean destinations are known to jack up the prices which can be totally unreasonable at times. Couples should do their homework beforehand and if the rate is far too large, perhaps then consideration should be made for getting the massage elsewhere.
5 Buying Items On The Beach
Especially for first time couples traveling to a Caribbean destination, buying items on the beach from a salesman might be an intriguing option given the unbelievably cheap price points.
However what inexperienced traveling couples don’t realize is the diminished quality. Numerous travelers have complained about counterfeit and flimsy cigars. The same goes for clothing purchases on the beach. These items tend to discolor and shrink quite easily. They’re definitely not of the utmost quality. For that reason it might be best to skip this option, despite the low rates.
4 Paying Extra For Room Service
With all the money certain couples spend on getting pampered in the comfort of their own room, they could have simply opted for a resort that includes free room service altogether without the hassle of having to pay extra.
Several Caribbean resorts have this offer built into the price point. Recently, certain destinations made this option even more desirable with the service just a click away on an iPad provided by the hotel. This means room service at any time, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all THREE). Some resorts also include a Late-Night room service menu, featuring anything from burgers to yummy desserts. Again, it's all completely free!
3 Eating Foods You’re Not Familiar With
It might sound a little harsh to watch what you eat while on vacation. However if a food doesn’t seem familiar, it might be best for couples to at least get information on the food. Caribbean destinations use different ingredients compared to what most of us are used to on a regular basis. If not careful, eating a certain meal can cause massive indigestion.
Be conscious of which foods are edible. If it doesn’t seem fresh, skip it without thinking twice. Bringing a pack of Tums or anything else to help with digestion might not be a bad idea either.
2 Keeping To Themselves
We touched on this earlier in the article. Not letting the staff know about a certain event being celebrated can be a big time mistake. However that’s also true for the overall trip experience. Caribbean resorts feature lots of entertainment to keep the party going throughout the day and night. Creating friendships with the entertainers can also lead to great upgrades.
Being social can also provide a couple the opportunity to create new friendships with other couples. In short, social activity with both the staff and vacationers wouldn’t be the worst thing!
1 Booking Excursions Off The Resort
It might seem so much better to book an excursion off the resort. The price point might be so much more enticing. Off resort salesman might even intrigue a couple with private transportation to the excursion as well.
In lots of cases this has proven to be too good to be true. In some instances this is a source of fraud. Once a couple books the excursion, the same salesman is nowhere to be found the very next day when it is time to be picked up. The same goes for the quality of the excursion when booking off a resort – various travelers tend to be let down. A couple is advised to play it safe and book all excursions on the resort with selected representatives.