Here’s a question that I get asked, “My kids are older - should we take them to Disney?”. Or “I’ve never been to Hawaii, and I’m not sure if my kids are old enough yet to appreciate it if I take them.”. These are normal questions that I get asked, I’m not sure if the price of the vacation is worth the investment. The biggest questions are 1:) Will they remember it? 2:) Are they going to appreciate and enjoy it? 3:) Maybe I’ll wait till later or until they are older?
I wanted to tell you from the experiences that I’ve had and from clients that have returned have told me.
1:) Will they remember it?
Everyone wants to have that memorable family vacation. Disney is the biggest one that everyone thinks of. With our oldest, we took him three times once to Disney World when he was 4 and then to Disney Land when he was 5. And again when he was about 8 and his brothers were 4. Now, do they remember every last detail? No, however, are they the only people in the family? No, my husband and I are. And last I checked we paid for the vacation so we count too. I took tons of pictures and they still look at the pictures. We do talk about it and they enjoyed it. My husband and I cherish the memories and wouldn’t exchange them for anything. Now I have a question for you, do you remember every moment of every vacation that you took as a child? I know that I don’t but my Mom does, and when my father was alive he did as well. Well, at least more than I do. And I’ll be completely honest, when my father passed away, we enjoyed stories of our family vacations during our time of sorrow. What I remembered was completely different than what my sisters and my mom remembered. And that’s what makes them special - everyone has their own memories.
2:) Are they going to appreciate and enjoy it?
Most kids will appreciate it - and enjoy it, if not today in the future. Let’s face it all teenagers and tweens are not the happiest at all times. So, even though you may think that they might not enjoy it they will appreciate it in the end. If it is something that they are very afraid of you may want to change your plans. For example, my oldest was NOT going to go on a cruise, he had no intentions of being on a ship. We tried everything, and since he didn’t want to attend and the rest of the family did, we let him have a pass. I’ll be honest it was weird being a family of four, and I kept looking for him the whole week. However, this next year we are taking an all-inclusive vacation. Now, he’s not too thrilled about spending a week with the family away from his friends, but life will go on and he will be with us. And he will be spending time at the teens club away from us and his brothers but that is okay too. I know that I raised an independent young man, but in the end, we will have dinner as a family and do activities as a family and create family memories.
3:) Maybe I’ll wait till I get older or until they get older.
This is another one that I’ve heard, and I had a client that said this as well. I’m going to hold off on vacation until my daughter is in high school. Then when her daughter entered high school she was in traveling sports and her vacations were all about the sports games. Next came college, and college sports. Then her daughter became engaged and graduated. They finally took a vacation just the two of them, like they did when her daughter was little. Now her daughter is graduated, married, and starting her own family. It’s kinda like the song “Cats in the Cradle”. Sometimes you just have to make the time, the kids grow up before you know it.
Another reason not to hold off is you never know what life holds in store for you. My parents always wanted to take that Alaskan Cruise. My Dad had lung cancer, and unfortunately, he was too sick and couldn’t go. After he passed my Mom ended up going with my sister. Not that she didn’t enjoy going with my sister, but I know how much she and my Dad had made plans to do that vacation.
Vacations can seem like an investment. For me, it’s something that I cherish. You see, I love to travel, that’s a gift that my parents gave me. I’m hoping that I passed that on to my boys. It’s not always just going somewhere to see something, it’s the journey of getting there with the people that you are with.
Jet lag, something that everyone talks about when you switch time zones and your body isn’t catching up as quickly as you are traveling. Sometimes you are just tired, or you can have headaches or nausea. Here are a few tips to help you with Jet lag:
Before your vacation adjust your daily schedule. A few days before the trip if you are traveling east adjust your sleep schedule move your sleep and wake times earlier. If you are traveling west move your sleep schedule later. This won’t completely get rid of it but it will help you get a leg up.
When you get to the airport there are other things that you can do including changing the time to your destination time on your watch. Make sure that you are always hydrated when traveling, this will help stop the symptoms of jet lag. If you are traveling west you may want to consider taking a couple of caffeinated drinks to help you stay up later. If you are going east - you may want to think about it if it will keep you up too late. And watch how many alcoholic drinks you have on the plane as alcohol dehydrates the body.
I am a natural sleeper on the plane, but if you are not, you may want to consider bringing a travel pillow, earplugs, or earbuds and soft music to lull you to sleep.
While on vacation the first day make sure you plan a full day on the first day and stay up later at least till 10 pm so that you are nice and tired out to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure that you are eating more protein-rich foods to give you energy without the sugar crash.
Did you know that there are apps to help you reduce the jetlag symptoms? Try apps like Timeshifter which tailors its recommendations based on your age, gender, sleep patterns, and your travel itinerary.
If you are someone who has exercise in their daily routine, keep that up while on vacation, that can help you keep the jetlag away.
Once you are home - still stay hydrated, keep up on a morning exercise routine. A morning workout will help get your blood flow going and give you a natural jolt of energy. If you need that nap, take it. It usually does take a couple of days to catch back up. Plus now that you are home, and there isn’t anything new to see, it’s completely natural to feel the side effects of jetlag.
Bermuda has so many fun events during the Christmas season. There are so many things to see and do. Bermudians love to celebrate the holiday season!
The end of November St. George has a Boat Parade where dozens of boats are all decorated with their bright holiday lights and parade around St. George’s Harbour to start off the holiday season.
Then the begining of December the Bermudians welcome Jolly Old St. Nick - with of course another parade. They have majorettes, Christmas themed floats and dancing Gombey troupes that go down the streets of Hamilton to make way before the Jolly Old St Nick makes his appearance. But wait, what are Gombey troupes? They are very much a Bermudian tradition that comes from a blend of the African, Native American, Caribbean and British cultures that date back to the early 1800s. The costumes are very colorful and have mirrors, which is supose to ward off evil spirits.
And what would a holiday be without a tree-lighting ceremony? The Royal Dockyard has an annual tree lighting ceremony at the beginning of December. On the west end of the island at Destination Dockyard, on Sunday’s in December is there a holiday tradition that is called Sundays at the Frog, and is a street fair with all of the fun of the holidays with music, Mistletoe Market, tree light ceremony, and a Christmas Showcase.
If you decide the visit Bermuda during the beginning of December, you need to see the Bermuda National Trust Walkabout. The Town of St. George has their signature holiday event, several homes in the UNESCO World Heritage Site invite the public into their homes. What’s so unique is that you can see their homes completely decorated with all of their bountiful lights and decor. Plus see historical re-enactors roam the candlelit streets while you can hear classic carols in the air.
And in the Dockyard on the west end, you can go to Santa’s Workshop as well, or go hear a wonderful concert of carols with a backdrop of a choreographic dolphin display at Dolphin Quest’s annual Carols with the Dolphins.
On Christmas Eve, you can attend a traditional Christmas Eve candlelit service at St. Peter’s Church in St. George’s on the East end of the island. This church is the oldest Anglican Church in the Western Hemisphere and celebrates its traditional mass at 9 pm with both songs and scripture.
Then on Christmas Day, go to Elbow Beach, in the Paget’s Parish area, to celebrate Christmas Morning with several visitors and locals alike to take in the Christmas Sunrise with champaign, pink sand, and a dip in the ocean.
Then on New Year’s Eve, stay for the party. Now unlike New York, where you wait in the cold for the Ball to drop, in Bermuda you wait in the warm in St. George, for the Onion to drop! Yes, you read that correctly, the Onion to drop! As the onion is very popular in Bermuda since it is an crop for Bermudians to grow, it has become a staple and a symbol for them.
As you can see Bermuda is a wonderful, warm and very British island. They have many similarities to ours as far as customs go and would be a wonderful place to celebrate the holidays as a family.
It is not too late for you to plan your holiday travel. If you are interested in planning holiday travel, just let me know and I would be happy to be of service in helping you.
The beautiful waters and beaches of the Turks & Caicos with the tasteful backdrop of the holidays is a beautiful backdrop for a wonderful holiday getaway.
The main season for Turks & Caicos starts off in mid-December and is definitely not a tacky decorating island. Each resort decorates a large Christmas Tree in its roundabout to keep up an understated elegance.
Some of the largest festivals in Turks & Caicos is the Maskanoo Parade. It is held on December 26th, Boxing Day, in Grace Bay. It’s a large street festival and parade. At the street festival that starts in the afternoon and goes into the evening, you will find food and drink, little light-up toys for the kids, cultural stands and music. The parade will have bright colorful costumes and bright masks. This festival celebrates the rituals brought to the islands by the African slaves back in the 1700 and 1800's. This is a safe and fun event for the whole family.
You would definitely want to take in a post-Christmas Beach Party! It’s held on December 28th at Grace Bay. Eat some local food, enjoy some kayak racing, music, and stay for a beautiful sunset.
Since most of the island is Catholic, they celebrate Old Year’s Night. They go to church on New Year’s Eve and then church bells ring to bring good luck for the new year. Then they have fireworks at midnight to ring in the New Year. Most people go to the beach to see the fireworks, it’s safe, and quite the event to see. You will be able to see the night sky light up from end to end of the island.
Turks & Caicos is a wonderful place to go for the holiday season to sit back, relax and enjoy. It’s a laid back island that many of the celebrities like to visit. A place you can get a hotel room, an all-inclusive, or even private villas, where you can hire your own private chef so you don’t have to cook that holiday meal.
It’s not too late to plan your holiday getaway. Contact Tina at Shores and More Travel today to help you find your holiday vacation plans.
Christmas in the Bahamas is a beautiful time of the year. Although you don’t have snow you do have those nice white sand beaches. And Christmas time is Carnival time in the Bahamas. Carnival time is often streaked with very secular colors and sounds. The spirit of Christmas can be found all around the islands of the Bahamas.
First of all, the weather in the Bahamas in the month of December averages around 72 degrees Fahrenheit, with a high temperature of 79 and a low of 64. Usually, there are only 9 days of rain so it’s a wonderful warm relief for those of us in the north. There are many parties held on the beach during the day, especially on New Year’s Eve.
But wait, if you want to get that perfect gift, you will want to make sure to stop at the Nassau Straw Market. During the entire year, they have amazing gifts, but especially at holiday time, you can find many gifts.
When it comes to dinner time at the holidays the Bahamas has some amazing choices for dinner. Garlic pork, various conch dishes, pickled onions, and ham, black cake, imported grapes, and apples make up most of the feasts! To wash it down you can have ginger beer, mauby, sorrel, sweet potato fly (a fermented drink) falernum, rum, shandy, and of course, wine.
The celebrations are wonderful for the whole family. It’s carnival time in the Bahamas. The Ministry of Tourism starts off the season with the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree. And throughout the month there are different holiday concerts and celebrations.
For about a week before Christmas Day, you will see carrollers go to public places in the evening to sing their favorite Christmas carols, like “Salute the Happy Morn”, Christians Awake”, and more. And don’t worry, Santa will be coming on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts to all of the good girls and boys in the Bahamas as well.
On the 26th of December, they have a huge celebration called, Junkanoo. You will hear the sounds of bands playing soca, reggae, roots and other genres of Caribbean music in the streets while thousands of locals and tourists alike dress in colorful costumes come out to dance. In Nassau, they have a huge parade to celebrate the festival. They will be dancing their way down Bay Street and Shirley Street ending in Rawson Square. You will want to walk around and see the costumes. You may even want to stop in the Junkanoo World costume store to catch a close up look at a costume. And since the parade doesn’t start until the wee hours, stop at the start of the parade ahead of time. The dance troop leaders would love to show you their moves. You can also see the Junkanoo parade in the Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Mini, and Abac.
What a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday season with a fabulous new tradition for your family that includes centuries-old traditions from others.
It’s not too late to book your holiday travel. Contact Tina today to schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss creating your holiday memories with ease.
St. Lucia is not only a beautiful island and a diverse island with its mountains and it’s beautiful ocean beaches - but it’s people bring some amazing and beautiful traditions that bring the holidays to life.
As the Christmas season nears, the poinsettias bloom all over the island and bring out the beautiful blooms.
Like many in the Caribbean Islands, the St. Lucian’s start getting their homes ready for the holidays early in the month. They do special cleaning, put out beautiful special curtains, and special dishes. Some even put out holiday lights and some Christmas decorations.
One fun, yet interesting thing you can’t miss is the Bamboo Busting. The youth enjoy doing this and it is something that has stuck around for many years. A mature Bamboo Plant is cut down about four nodes. They then knock in the nodes to create openings except for one node. That node is left in place to hold kerosene which is used as fuel for the blast. A small hole is then placed int he bamboo plant along with a small flame and at the end of the stick, it is used to ignite the kerosene causing a small blast that echos throughout the night. Bamboo bursting usually starts to happen in the middle of November to signify the coming of Christmas and Jounen Kweyol or the celebration of Creole Heritage.
If you are deciding to visit around the holiday time, make sure to visit on the 13th of December or National Day. It’s definitely one celebration not to miss. It’s St. Lucia’s Festival of Lights and Renewal and as many would say it’s the official opening of the Christmas Season. They have fireworks, lights, rum, great cuisine and of course music. This is the day that celebrates the Patron Saint of Light, Saint Lucia, who the island was named after. This is also a day that both the locals and visitors are encouraged to create a creative lantern that can be showcased and entered into their lantern competition which usually coincides with the Christmas tree lighting.
Of course, Santa still visits St. Lucia, although he does have to have a “Santa Key” as the chimneys are very rare in St. Lucia. However, the children do get excited to see the man in the big red suit, even though he’s not as big of a part of the St. Lucian’s celebrations as he is in other parts of the world.
For food and drink at this time of year, you must have a St. Lucian staples. The first one of the favorite holiday drinks isn’t egg nog, but Sorrel. It is made from the blooms of the Sorrel plant and spiced up with some cloves, nutmeg, and sugar. It can be drank with or without alcohol. On the dinner table you will find some lamb, beef or pork and some black pudding - a St. Lucian delicacy.
The night of Christmas Eve, the St. Lucians Jouvert, or celebrate the festive nature of Christmas more than the religious roots. This usually begins at midnight after Catholic worshipers mass until 6 am on Christmas morning. These are street parties that are hosted in the smaller rural communities, and people from all over the island come to celebrate.
What I love about St. Lucia’s celebrations is that they take not only the religious but the spirit of the holidays and mix them together. What a way to share the true meaning of the spirit of Christmas.
Bon Pasco y Bon Aña – Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! That’s the spirit of the One Happy Island of Aruba at Christmas Time. The season starts just after Halloween and goes well into the New Year, this season is called Carnival. But what is there to expect?
Aruba is a blend of the Dutch, Venezuelan and Caribbean traditions. It’s a time of the year that is spent with family and friends and brings a new to everyone. The food is amazing and one tradition that resembles the states is the culinary delight of fruit cake. However, theirs is a bit different in taste it starts with a black cake called bolo pretu and is infused with brandy and fruit liquors and loaded with dried fruit and spices. You may enjoy the pistachio cake instead or how about the pan de jamon, or bread laced with ham? The Christmas Ham is at most tables with a beautiful glaze, but you will find a turkey at some homes. And make sure that you wash it down with ponche crema, a Latin American drink that is a bit sweeter than Egg Nog.
If there is one thing that you must try when in Aruba at holiday time it’s ayaca. It’s the prize dish at any table. The ayaca’s culinary heritage starts in Venezuela - you will have a boiled banana or plantain leaf that is filled with chicken, pork, or ham and a combination of spices, olives, raisins, cashews, prunes, onions and of course the secret family ingredient, that is spread over a cornmeal mixture. When it is time to eat, the reboil the entire stuffed leaf.
The lights of the island will be shining brightly, the streets are lined with lights! Plus the children have many ways of receiving gifts throughout the season. Santa comes to celebrate with the children more than once - you see with the many cultures, he’s celebrated in all of them. In Dutch, he’s called, Sinterklass, and he comes on December 5th to bring the kids sweets and toys. Then on December 25th Santa Claus comes to bring the children gifts under the Christmas Tree. Finally, on January 6th the Three Kings come and deliver gifts at the Nativity Scene. Plus for our Jewish friends, they celebrate the Festival of Light, Hanukkah, with 8 days of gift-giving.
And just like here in the US, you will start hearing holiday music being played on radio stations at the end of October. However, you may not hear White Christmas, instead, you will hear more traditional music of Gaita and Paranda Arubiano. And after the holiday, on December 31st, you will hear traditional caroling called Dande. Usually, it’s groups of 5 -6 people singing together. There is even a Dande Festival.
As the New Year comes around the shift goes from lights to fireworks. And in Oranjestad, you will hear tons of Chinese Firecrackers going off on New Year's Eve to ward off evil spirits. The beaches will have beautiful fireworks displays.
On New Year’s Day, at exactly 12:00 PM hoards of people rush into the ocean wearing orange hats for the New Year’s Plunge at Moomba Beach. It’s a tradition that was started by the Dutch. Now that’s a tradition that I could get into!
Aruba is a fun island that has so much to share with all of its many traditions and different backgrounds that there is truly something for everyone at the holiday time. What a way to spend your holiday season!
I recently found out something very special about the Dominican Republic, that made me think about one of my favorite holiday specials, “The Grinch”, “there is a feeling of the Christmas Spirit everywhere in the Dominican Republic – even at work. We go out more with our friends and spend more time with our families”. I think of The Who’s in Whosville singing around the tree together.
The bond of community is very strong in the Dominican Republic, and on Christmas, they have Aguinaldos, or informal singing parties on their way to their Christmas party. These parties are not just open to family members but to anybody. And most likely you will even get a cup of ‘jengibre’ or a homemade ginger beverage. Once everyone has come to the house they will sing carols and dance well into midnight.
Since many of the North American traditions are also celebrated in the Dominican Republic, it is very festive and adorned with big Christmas Trees filled with lights and with the beautiful weather tons of poinsettias everywhere. At night if you go to the Puerto Plata square or ‘La Plaza Indpendcia` you will find a large Christmas Tree filled with lights and decorations. The Victorian buildings and shops are filled with decorations and lights, you will even find Santa here. The only thing you won’t find is the snow.
Another fun tradition is the Fuegos artificiales. It’s one of the largest Christmas Celebrations, and it’s the Christmas Fireworks - the Dominican Republic welcomes the Spirit of Christmas with Fireworks. There are stands all over the country who specialize in the Christmas Fireworks.
Another wonderful tradition is The Un Angelito or the little angel. The tradition is that each family member’s name goes into a sack. Then the family member picks a name out of the sack and gives the individual a small gift they selected each week of the Christmas holidays. Then on the last day, each of the gift giver's names is revealed!
And yet another great way to see Christmas in the Dominican Republic is “charamico” since they don’t get snow in the tropics the artisans started creating wooden handcrafted Christmas Trees in white to represent snow-covered trees - or at least that’s the legend. Today they have all kinds of wooden trees, stars, and reindeer.
Their Christmas Dinners consist of wonderful traditional food. Including roasted pork, roasted chicken, rice and peas, Russian Salad, Fresh Green Salad, Biscuits and Cakes (Pastries filled with figs similar to Danish)
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a holiday in the warmth with a lot of similar traditions to what you are use to at home without any of the cleanup or work? Contact me today to plan your stress-free holiday vacation.
Noche Buena or Christmas Eve is celebrated in Cancun by families and friends coming together at houses and celebrating with a dinner that celebrates well into the morning. The children are often seen with sparklers and you can see some fireworks going off here and there. People start exchanging gifts, although Santa didn’t start visiting Mexico until recently. Since Mexico is steep in Catholic Tradition the Tres Reyes Magos, (Three Wise Men) visited on January 6th with their gifts.
Then on Christmas Day, their families and friends gather again and enjoy the traditional recalentado - or what's leftover from the evening before. A typical traditional Christmas dinner may include turkey, pasta dishes, salad and one of my favorites, Lasagna. However, a local traditional favorite is romeritos and bacalao, a salted cod dish.
However, Mexico celebrates the holiday season for about a whole month starting December 12th with celebrations for the Virgin of Guadalupe and ending on January 6th with celebrations for the Tres Reyes Magos (The Three Wise Men).
Did you know that you can even pick up a wonderful Nativity Set made out of clay while in Mexico? The Nativity set tradition stems from Spain, where Nativity Scenes were prevalent. In Mexico, they are made of clay and have the Virgin Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and barn animals. They are decorated in bright colors and each region of Mexico has a different decorating style. There are literally thousands and thousands of figures available and they take all of the space under the tree. In different religions they are thought to show different virtues and sins - some are even decorated to be a bit silly.
What I love about holidays is how it mixes all different cultures. One of Mexico’s traditions that I love, La Pinata, takes its origins from China. La Pinata, the Christmas Pinata has seven spikes (or peaks) that represent the seven deadly sins. Hitting the Pinata represents getting the sins out of our lives and we get a reward of sweet candy and fruits.
Now, although these are all wonderful traditions for going to Cancun and Mexican Rivieria, for Christmas time, what would be my favorite? Just spending time with my family and not having to cook, clean, and doing any of the work around the holidays. I would love just introducing a new culture to my children - enjoying time together at the beach, and perhaps doing a few new activities together. What a wonderful way to celebrate - actually spending quality time together without having any of the stress, and work.
Setup your free consultation today so we can get your toes in the sand this holiday season with your family - and you can enjoy the holiday and the traditions with out any of the work!