If the best laid plans make for the most trouble-free and effortlessly fun trips, why not let somebody who knows a desired destination plan it all out for you. That’s one of the beauties of last-minute vacation packages, along with that rush of spontaneity when you come across that perfect all-inclusive package or foolproof family adventure that allows you to make that great escape on short notice.
However, before you grab that amazing deal, Valerie Streif of GetMyBoat (the “Airbnb of Boats,” which allows people to book excursions, boat rentals, tours, water sports and other adventures online or via its mobile app) has a few suggestions that will save more money and aggravation when using services like the one she represents.
“If all your kids need new passports, forget about schlepping down to Mexico or the Dominican Republic, and look somewhere within the U.S. instead,” she suggests. “This eliminates a lot of stress of waiting and wondering if all the documents will arrive on time.
“Next, choose the family’s top three destinations and explore flight prices via Google Flights or look at hotel prices on comparison sites like Hotels.com or lodging and activities on GetMyBoat. This can give you a rough estimate of how much you’ll be spending just to get there. Don’t forget to be careful and check if the flights will have long, laborious layovers or if they fly out at strange times, and double check the actual location of the hotel on Google Maps.”
Even the most luxury-minded people love the savings and convenience of last-minute specials and all-inclusive packages. However, when finalizing your getaway, be sure to factor in extra cash for gratuities, meals off property, souvenirs and compelling adventures beyond the resort the concierge may recommend.
Here are a few ideas that crossed our desk.
Exploring the wonders of nature in Panama
Red Frog Beach Island & Spa is perfectly situated alongside an environmentally protected national marine park and overlooks its namesake beach, touted as one of the world’s best beaches. The property features a beachfront restaurant, canopy zipline, water sport activity center, a deep water marina, fishing, many island tours and excursions including an underground cave tour, visiting a monkey habitat, observing nesting sea turtles and eight miles of rainforest trails. From one-bedroom suites to six-bedroom villas to jungle lodges, the resort is one-stop shopping for families who love adventure.
A Culture Club for Kids in Mexico
From the outset, the Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya is the perfect Mexican family escape, with 214 plush and airy guestrooms and suites overlooking crystal clear lagoons, mangrove and resort gardens or Mexico’s Caribbean coastline. There are also loads of family activities on site. However, when it’s time to have a date day or hit the spa, give your kids a full-on cultural immersion at Kimbo Kid’s Club, offering a wide array of activities from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. including Mexican board games, piñata making, Mayan penachos, pottery painting, Spanish language lessons, Kimbo culinary classes and Huichol Crafts, as well as the outdoor beach games they love.
Be Enchanted in Santa Fe
Families considering non-beach getaways may want look to New Mexico’s state capital, especially as its tourism office recently rolled out its Kids FreeFest Spring Break, March 1–April 15, jam-packed with special deals, free offers and events covering every kind of interest from science and nature to cooking classes, historic adventures and art experiences.
A Bounty of Breaks from Travel Pirates
Professional deal hunter Jessica Bisesto regularly scours the internet for deals that may be a little more challenging to find, but won’t break the bank once they are uncovered. Her hottest deals include glamping packages in Texas starting at $46 per person/per night and a week in Rome starting at $658. “Avoid the hustle and bustle — and increased prices — associated with travel during the summer months by heading to Italy’s capital city this spring,” she suggests, “Mild weather, blossoming flowers and fantastic food await this ever-trendy metropolis.”