Which island in Jan/Feb?

Old Apr 17th, 2013, 04:02 AM
  #1  
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Which island in Jan/Feb?

Looking for (10th) anniversary locale. May have children (almost 3 year old and 16-month-old boys) with us. Been to Antigua, hubs has been to Jamaica and not interested in returning for this trip and I went to SJU last winter with BFF. If we have little ones, would like the shortest flight possible (Exuma?). Otherwise, thinking St. Lucia, T&C? Appreciate any feedback, especially tips on traveling with young children.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 06:10 AM
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Exuma is rarely the shortest or cheapest flight possible since the only way to get there is to fly from Fort Lauderdale. Sometimes you have to go on a private charter.

I would recommend you explore your options for nonstop flights from your airport of origin.

Are you coming from Chicago or Dallas? We can't really give you any recommendations if I don't know your point of origin. There are several nonstops to the Caribbean from Chicago, but few from DFW. Providenciales is closer than St. Lucia, which is about 1 or 2 hours more flying. So I'd start with Provo, which is a very family-friendly destination. You can get an apartment for more space.

Anguilla requires a ferry or air transfer (i.e., no nonstops from the U.S.). The Bahamas are considerably closer than the Caribbean, but I think it really depends on the time of year you are planning to go (again, no info to make a decision).

Keep in mind that Mexico ay actually be your best Caribbean option, both in terms of pricing and in terms of air distance, but the airport itself is difficult and crowded, which really does make it hard with younger kids.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 06:11 AM
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The Cancun airport is difficult and crowded is what I meant to say.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 06:11 AM
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With kids, T&C is best bet, shortest flights, very family and kid friendly.

what time of year? Makes difference for a place like Exumas

St. Lucia has a long flight regardless where you are coming from
blamona is offline  
Old Apr 17th, 2013, 06:16 AM
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Jan/Feb it would have to be south of the virgins for us.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 07:02 AM
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<Jan/Feb it would have to be south of the virgins for us.>

Us, too.

Would you consider Aruba? You don't have it on your list and it's pretty far south so a little longer flight but it's also an island with a lot of non-stop flights from many destinations. It's also family friendly with nice beaches and a huge variety of places to eat.

If you were going a little later in the year then definitely Turks & Caicos.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 08:56 AM
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The Bahamas out islands are a great place for a family vacation. There is the issue of travel time, but some of them do have direct flights from Fort Lauderdale. Jan-Feb is my preferred time to visit Andros coz it's cooler and the bugs are not as active (I am allergic to noseeum bites, and last year, I had a really miserable week when I got a bunch of bites on my ankles). The family islands are quieter than Nassau and if you find the right place, you can have every member of the trip having fun.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Agree with Aruba - very family friendly! We took our children several times. They are now adults and still love it.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 02:28 PM
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Turks and Caicos all of the way'
We have gone in January many times--there is no bad month--water is nice...we swim everyday..not too cool for us by any means.
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Old Apr 17th, 2013, 09:15 PM
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Doug - Rushed to post and left out details. Apologies. We are looking at Jan/Feb 2014 coming from DFW. Forgot to mention one of our prior trips was to Mexico and we'd rather head East this time. Will take a look into Provo. Thanks!

Sharona - Had not considered Aruba. Not sure why. Will research the island along with T&C.

Thanks for the feedback thus far everyone!
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Old Apr 20th, 2013, 09:18 PM
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Wanted to update this thread to let y'all know we plan to travel without the kids and hubby thinks either Aruba or St. Lucia would be good considerations. A couple questions:

1) Flights from DFW look about the same for both, $1,200-1,400, for two RT tix. However, as far as all-inclusives and "sight-seeing" or activities are concerned, which would be more expensive overall?

2) We want time to relax, but also want options to be active. Which would provide the best of both?

3) Any hotel suggestions for either? Preferably an all-inclusive for around $300-500 a night...
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 03:48 AM
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Neither is really the AI type island, and your budget is not realistic for AI on those islands.

With that budget and with AI, your options are

Mexico

Dominican Republic

On the higher end of your budget you may find one in jamaica

You're also going the most expensive time of year, so the 2 mentioned above may be your only choices. (Mexico and DR)
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 07:18 AM
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For what it is worth, my experience has been that the overall "costs" associated with tours, activities and sightseeing don't vary significantly from island to island. The real variable is the cost of the different types of excursions/activities YOU engage in while on your trip. For example, typically you'll find Deep Sea Fishing to be a one of the most expensive activities, things like boat rentals, Scuba Diving, Wave Runners, Private tours etc. are pricey while group tours, snorkel trips, sunset cruises are less costly and visits to Botanical Gardens, Old Forts, tend to be among the least expensive activities. So I would not choose an island based on the cost of "activities" since you are the one that can most control those costs by deciding how active you really want to be and how best o prioritize your "activity dollar".

Now, Blamona is right, neither St. Lucia or Aruba are noted for having an abundance of "All Inclusives", although you can find resorts on both islands that offer optional meal plans. I also agree that your accommodation/food budget is on the low side for either of those islands.

Now, let me add one more thing, unless you are very big drinkers going AI is not necessarily going to be less expensive than non-AI. Often times you can find very reasonably priced meals "off resort" - all it takes is asking some of the locals to make a few recommendations.

Lastly, one of our regular contributors, screen name KVR, is the resident expert on All Inclusives. Use the search feature to bring up some of her posts (Type in either "KVR" or "All Inclusives" and you'll find links to hundreds of her posts.
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 12:54 PM
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Aruba really isn't a good destination for all-inclusives. They do not preominate there. And the off-site restaurants are so good that you'd be doing yourself a disfavor by going AI. Nor do you really save much money going that way unless you really drink a lot.

St. Lucia has more AIs and resorts that offer an AI plan, most of which are in the Rodney Bay area. If you are coming from DFW, then I'd look into flying into the airport near Castries rather than Hewanorra in St. Lucia. Much closer to the resorts up there, though it requires an additional transfer in most cases but is well worth it.

Regarding activities, you pay a lot more in St. Lucia because most include transportation. But you have options to hike in the rain forest and do an aerial tram, and you have to see the Pintons if you go to St. Lucia. That's really a don't miss.

In Aruba the variety of activities is probably not as great, but the water is wonderful, and you can snorkel or, if certified, dive. Nightlife is significantly better in Aruba as well, but I guess that's irrelevant if you go the AI route.
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Old Apr 21st, 2013, 02:38 PM
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There are plenty of AI hotels in St Lucia as well as others who offer other types of meal plans both in the north and around the Pitons in the south.
Odin is offline  
Old Apr 22nd, 2013, 08:07 PM
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Thanks y'all for the abundance of information. AI isn't a must. We've never stayed at one. Usually we lodge in vacation rentals, but this time we're interested in having things a little closer at hand (spa, concierge, room service, etc.). We also don't necessarily want to rent a car... So, that said, we're totally open to suggestions for great hotels in general...
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