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Need help to choose island. Travelling w. 2 y.o.

Old Oct 17th, 2010, 11:07 AM
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Need help to choose island. Travelling w. 2 y.o.

Planning my first trip to Caribbean!
Travelling is me, my ife and our 2,5 y.o. son. We have travelled the world but never the Caribbean so we are quite excited..

We plan to leave in the beginning of feb. 2011 and stay two weeks.
Things we value:
Beaches (want it to be postcard-like...)
Friendly people
Good food
Not the most expensive since our budget is quite narrow
Would love the hotel to have a pool for the kid

Been looking at St Lucia but the beaches....?

Ideas? Pro and cons?

Been looking at previous topics but would like som more info....
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 01:01 PM
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Please give us some idea "dollar wise" of your budget - terms like "budget quite narrow" are meaningless without a point of reference. If you tell us the amounts you want to spend for airfare, accommodations and food it will make it easier to steer you in the right direction. i can tell you that from my experience you can find accommodation to meet almost any reasonable budget (be it high or low) on just about every island. You just have to be flexible in what you are seeking and willing to make some concessions. Don't expect to to find 5-star accommodations for 3-star prices, especially if you are traveling in February which is still High Season in the Caribbean.

Check out Accra Beach Hotel (www.accrabeachhotel.com) on Barbados - it may fit your needs and budget.

Actually, the beaches on St. Lucia are quite picturesque but they do have darker sand. You have to tell us what "postcard like means to you. FYI - Both Barbados and Grenada have attractive beaches with lighter sand. I can't comment on the beaches on Trinidad or Tobago as I've never been to those islands. I can tell you that there are not too many Trinidad & Tobago afficinados on this forum.

With a 2 1/2 YO you might want to confine your search to islands you can reach non-stop from your nearest International Gateway airport simple because they are easier to get to. Again, if you tell us where you are flying from we can offer better suggestions.
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Old Oct 17th, 2010, 01:36 PM
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have you considered aruba?
the boardwalk aruba is a wonderful place for a family to stay.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 12:19 AM
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Thanks for your comments!
We are flying from London with BA (need to use som BA miles soon ending) so I´m kind of stuck with their destinations, Antigua And Barbuda, Barbados Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts And Nevis, Saint Lucia, Trinidad And Tobago, Turks And Caicos Islands.

Budget. Airflight already covered and for accomadation I was hoping to get away with 100-150 a night. I know the price generally are a lot higher than that so it mmight be hard to find. However we are flexible and hopefully won´t spend som much time at th room and for that price I sure don´t expect any 5-star resort. However it would be great if there is a pool. We have travelled Thailand and Asia a lot and the hotel standads there, I would think, are somewhat lower so we are not lloking for highend accomodation.

To give you an idea of one that I´ve looked at (St Lucia): http://www.coco-resorts.com/

"Postcard".. well I guess I mean turqouise water, white coralsand beaches and palms

Since BA doesn´t fly to Aruba I´m afraid that isn´t an option.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 03:37 AM
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Jamaica and Dominican Republic probably are your best chance of finding what you want within your price range, but DR is almost all AI's. You might look on the beach in Negril, Jamaica there seem to be quite a few smaller, casual properties that might fit your budget. I have been to every other island you mentioned (except Trinidad & Tobago) and nothing in that price range comes to mind, but I am more familiar with resorts. Another suggestion -- try skyauction.com. For example Oualie Beach Hotel in Nevis is on there right now and has been going for a bargain rate and that hotel would be a good choice for you (fly to St. Kitts and take the ferry if you can't get direct to Nevis). For our March 2010 vacation to Barbados we got a great resort for 1/3 the rack rate using skyauction. There have been a number of nice properties in Grenada on there as well.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 05:17 AM
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@allisonjames

Thanks for your comment!
I´m curious about skyaucion. Could you pls tell me a little abt how it works?
I tried to figure it out but...
If I look at a hotel and it says "buy this/buy it now" for $39. Does that mean that it will be $39 per person and night? Seems like a very low price considering it goes with all inclusive... Two persons for two weeks just above $1100? I take it thats not how it is so could you pls fill in the blanks for me. If I´d like to buy a stay for two persons for 14 days, do I then buy a quantity of two and then later decide the dates? What if the dates I require are not available.

Much appreciated!
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 05:25 AM
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Turks & Caicos or Grand Cayman. Both islands can be pricey but you can do it on a budget especially if you stay in a condo. Try VRBO.com
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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i agree with others that your budget of $100 to $150/night is on the low side for February travel. While doable, you'll have to make some concessions such as hotel/resort location, size of rooms, etc. Stay flexible and you should find something.

You mentioned a Postcard beach as being "turqouise water, white coralsand beaches and palms" well that's going to limit your choice of island. Scratch St. Kitts & Nevis, most of Puerto Rico and St. lucia off your list. The beaches on those islands are, for the most part, dark sand and the waters, because of their relative depth, lack the bright turquoise you are seeing. Concentrate instead on the coral/limestone based islands like Grand Cayman (warning this island is considered a pricey destination) and the Turks & Caicos as these islands are noted for their white sand beaches. Grenada also has parts that have lighter colored sand as does Barbados.

Regarding the Turks & Caicos - Grace bay on Providenciales (where 95% of the resorts in the island chain are located) has an abundance of "condo resorts" that are perfect for families. The beach stretches for some 11 miles and is pure "sugar white" with the brightest turquoise blue water you could ever imagine. The water is calm making it safe for your toddler. Most of the condos also have pools. For starters check out Ocean Club or Ocean Club West.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 08:28 AM
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I suggest you read everything carefully on skyauction and I do not suggest you use the buy it now feature, the big deals are to be had when you bid. Each auction is a bit different, some prices are per person, some per room and you want to make sure that the auction covers the dates you want. You can set yourself up as a member and track auctions you are interested in. You can put in an auto bid but I wouldn't do that too early -- the best thing to do is wait until close to the end of the auction and then bid. Keep in mind someone else may have put an autobid in -- you want to try to figure out if there is an autobid in before you put your autobid in as otherwise it would immediately run the price up too early. Look at the bid history to see how many people are bidding, you can usually gage the interest that way. I usually make a few earlier bids in very small increments to see if there's an autobid in. Hope this helps I am not an expert but this worked for me. Also, keep in mind a lot of the properties are offered again after the auction closes so you don't have to go crazy bidding the first time. We tracked the property we were interested in a few times to see about where the winning bids were coming in. Also watch the service charges many of the AI's have additional charges per person per night.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 10:52 AM
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@ Kristen.
I´ve heard many good things of T&C. Will have that in mind. Thanks.

@ Roamsaround
Budget is low I am aware of that and of course I realise that I have to make concessions. Will most certainly see what I can find in the islands you recommend. Thanks!

@allisonjames
I will look around and see if I can figure out how it works. Even if the auction covers the dates I´m interested in, the hotel might be full booked once I try to make a reservation. Can you then undo the buy or do you have to try to find another date?
Also I was wondering if it is possilble to see previous auctions winning bids?
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 11:14 AM
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Yes, if you track the action as a member, then when the auction is complete you can click on it and see the winning bid. Also, if you win an auction, what happens is you give your dates to skyauction, as I understand it, if they can't fulfill the dates (as long as they are within the stated timeframe indicated in the auction) then you do not pay.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 12:03 PM
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Thanks for your help!
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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T&C is prefect for kids IMO. Sand is like baby powder, water is usually calm and crystal clear and if it's not calm on Grace Bay just head to Sapodilla where it is shallow and guaranteed to be calm. It's a very easy island to get around, restaurants are good, snorkeling close to shore and the people are very friendly.

BUT the island is in the Northern Caribbean so there is the possibility it may not be super warm in Feb (but it may be just fine!). If there is any way you can wait until low season starts (usually 2nd half of April) accomodations will be much less expensive.
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Old Oct 18th, 2010, 12:26 PM
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April is unfortunately a little bit to late since the best part of this vacation is to get away from the swedish winter...

T&C is on the list of destinations when I check BA´s website but when I try to check reservation it´s not possible to choose T&C. Will have to call them tomorrow I think.
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