Help, Travel Virgin!

Aug 21st, 2004, 01:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 12
Help, Travel Virgin!

I've been reading and reading and reading here and all over the web, but I can't seem to find the "perfect" place to vacation. My fiance and I have NEVER been anywhere tropical and are about it just say forget it and book a vacation in Las Vegas...

First it's the water in Mexico, then it's the food in the Caribben (boring conch and jerk chicken)... then it's "bad food" at AI's, I can't decide on anything.

I would really like to be on the west coast of an island with great culture, great food, and things to do, including being pampered.

But I'll sacrifice some things for a more reasonable price. I really liked the idea of Sandals, but have heard nothing but bad things...

So we want to be able to lounge at a great pool and beach, and still be able to LEAVE the resort and do things, which I guess with all the money you pay at Sandals, there is even more money involved if you want to "go see the dolphins" or do a "hike", "tour", champagne sunset cruise" or whatever...

I keep looking into ideas, then I find their tragic flaw... I'm getting a little frustrated, and borderline obsessed. Should I draw from a hat?

What would you recommend for a couple's FIRST vacation? keep in mind we're in the hospitality industry so we're stickler's concerning cuisine...
kbean is offline  
Aug 21st, 2004, 03:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,080
Were you meaning to post on the Caribbean board, or are you looking at Hawaii? Are still open to anything? Why the preference for "west coast" of an island?

Keep in mind that there will be no "perfect" place to vacation. Every place has it's assets and drawbacks, so try to de-stress, enjoy each other, and always keep in mind what you liked/disliked on the previous trip to help you plan your next.

What is price range? That will help people help you more accurately, along with the knowledge of from where you're flying.

And, if you are "sticklers" concerning cuisine, my opinion is to stay away from all-inclusives.

If you are still looking for something tropical, I'd recommend Anguilla (wonderful restaurants!), Barbados, or Bermuda (depending on the time of year). Try posting on the Caribbean suggestions for more specific info.
Dreamer2 is offline  
Aug 21st, 2004, 05:30 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 57
There are a few key things you can do to narrow it all down:

How much time do you want to spend on vacation?
How much money?
What activities are you interested in?

"I would really like to be on the west coast of an island with great culture, great food, and things to do, including being pampered...we want to be able to lounge at a great pool and beach, and still be able to LEAVE.."
This is a very good start.

A short list of places to consider:
USA -- Hawaii, California Epicurean tour of wine country
Caribbean, et al -- Aruba, Turks and Caicos, Potentially a cruise to get the service and food quality with a variety of stops at some great beaches & small towns along the way
Europe -- (depending on the time of year) Greece, southern France, Italian coast (all high potential with service and food in mind, likewise with "leaving the resort")
south east Asia -- If you are into Thai, Indonesian or Asian food in general this would be a great place to go. Check out Bali, Koh Samui, Tanjung Rhu (Malaysia), Bora Bora (Tahiti) & look at the Asia site on fodors. The service is beyond excellent in SE Asia, great weather, beaches, pools and food.

Once you narrow down what you are looking for you can then do more research to ensure you get what you want out of it.

There is not one place on planet earth without something wrong with it. Don't worry over bad reviews. Find what's right for you and make it as near to perfect as you can & enjoy planning a great vacation.

CRAIGdotWHITE is offline  
Aug 21st, 2004, 06:00 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 182
You can also think about a cruise. You can sail out of a US port and visit several islands without having to make a committment to one. Also you have very good food, all your entertainment and lots of activities to sample while you are in port. Cruises have some pretty low prices and most of what you want is included except drinks, tours and gifts. Princess or Celebrity sounds like what you want - great food, spas on board for pampering. The only thing lacking would be the depth of culture. But there are some fantastic things to do such as swim with stingrays or dolphins, horseback ride on the beach, great diving and snorkeling, visit some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and depending on the port of call, some culture. For example, if your ship calls at Cancun, you can take an inland tour to Chitzen Itza, one of the top Mayan ruins in Mexico. Enjoy the sights and have a safe and very good meal back on the ship.

The perfect place to vacation is the one that fits your wants, needs and interests. There is no place that is totally perfect, but I have had some fantastic vacations. Also, I think you have to take the plunge and just GO! Don't expect everything to be perfect - go with a relaxed attitude and you will be suprised at what a good time you have
snorkelcat is offline  
Aug 21st, 2004, 10:02 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 5,760
What time of year is your vacation??? Soon?
tracys2cents is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 05:09 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,080
Did you rule out the Westin St. John?
I think that would be the gorgeous, exotic atmosphere you're looking for, combined with the comfort you seek.
Dreamer2 is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2004, 05:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 22,131
There is no PERFECT place to vacation - if you keep searching for one you will make yourself insane. That is why most of us here have and will vacation in many places over the years.

While everyone wants different things at different times (vacation with kids versus honeymoon versus adventure trip, etc.) even after determining that, no trip in itself is perfect. Something always is not as expected, goes wrong - but if you do some research the totality of each experience will be good.

I think if you start thinking of this as one of many trips you will take, it will take some of the pressure off planning - we always have a mental list of places we want to go and the list expands rather than shrinks each time we take a trip.

I would start by narrowing it down a bit - location (how far do you want to travel); climate; nature of activities (do you want to rock climb or lie on a beach). After you answer those 3 questions, the world gets a lot smaller. Then just go for it. I think you might like Bermuda - but that may be because we just got back from there!
gail is offline  

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