All-Inclusive Vacations: What They Don’t Include

All-Inclusive Vacations: Is it “all” really included?

Vacations are a way to re-connect with yourself, relax and get away from the daily routine of life. And though they can be an expensive luxury, that needn’t be the case. Many 5-star accommodations are aware of this and they usually offer all-inclusive deals which can make the experience more accessible.

These all-inclusive vacation packages are some of the most popular travel packages offered by travel agencies and resorts. They are extremely popular from December to April during the high Caribbean season, which should come as no surprise, but would you believe there are even specific resorts which provide only all-inclusive travel?

Looking back at when all-inclusive travel emerged, it was in the 1950s that Club Med resorts introduced an all-inclusive scheme in their resorts. Over the years, different resorts have altered the model depending on the services offered by the particular hotel.

So what are you actually getting?

While most all-inclusive vacation packages cover the same basic staples, some include amenities that may surprise you.

Some of the fairly standard items include the following:

  • three meals a day
  • alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
  • transport services
  • sports facilities and equipment
  • instructors for sports like water aerobics, archery, and swimming

And some resorts even offer the following:

  • spa treatments
  • live shows
  • 24×7 room service
  • laundry
  • airport transfers

We often get swayed by the “All Inclusive” sign on a deal thinking that this might be the best available at the quoted prices, forgetting to focus on the tiny asterisk that could literally cost us a fortune later. It is highly important to list all the things you need and don’t need and then do your homework on the various packages offered in order to select the best one suited for your needs.

And what’s not necessarily included?

The following are some of the things one must remember before booking an all-inclusive vacation:

  • No airfare – Most of the packages do not include airfare and one must be prepared to shell out for their own tickets.
  • Airport transfers – While some vacation resorts do offer free airport transfers for their all-inclusive packages, some — like those in the Dominican Republic — can charge up to $30 per transfer.
  • Limited alcohol – You should be aware that many of the hotels do not offer an all-you-can drink pass, and at some you might have to pay if you want an upgrade from a simple wine to a champagne-based cocktail. Premium brands of alcohol are also often an extra charge.
  • Sports – While most non-motorized sports facilities are included in these packages, several trademark destination-based activities like snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing and zip-lining are not included in the all-inclusive packages.
  • Services like babysitting, dry cleaning, tour excursions,  and beauty treatments are also not included in all-inclusive vacation packages.
  • None of the packages include honeymoon and anniversary specials, nor are birthday parties included.
  • Room service – Although integral to almost all hotels, room services might not be included in your vacation package. In fact, some hotels might even charge you extra for having your meals delivered to your room.
  • Internet – While it is downright preposterous that one has to pay for wireless in the 21st century, unfortunately some resorts do charge you for connecting to their Wi-Fi services. Some resorts might have complimentary internet services in the lobby but most of them charge for every byte your iPhone uses to keep you in touch with the outside world.

The above list is a great way to estimate the financial cost of your vacation, so make sure to do a little bit of research for the trip ahead. Also you can join us for Part 2 of this article where we cover the non-monetary cost of going the all-inclusive route: “All Inclusive Vacations: What They Don’t Include (Part 2).”

About Happy Holidays Guides: Tips, advice, and insights for hopelessly romantic travelers. HappyHolidaysGuides.com

Going Camping? Then Hire a Minibus to Get You There

It doesn’t matter what the weather is like in the UK, there are still many of us that enjoy camping trips.

Are you planning on going camping with some friends? Don’t want to take the car. Then hire a minibus and driver to get you there. If there are quite a few of you going, you will most likely have to go in separate vehicles, if you were driving yourself. With a minibus you can all travel in style and comfort together, even if it’s just for the weekend. Choosing to hire a minibus with its driver is cheaper than having to fuel etc. more than one vehicle to get you there. Start your adventure from leaving home together, before getting to the campsite.

Minibuses are probably a lot safer than years gone by, because they have to pass such vigorous rules and regulations. They are very spacious giving you plenty of leg room, and to pack away all your camping gear. Minibus companies can now fit trailers to the back of their vehicles for extra luggage.

Hiring a minibus means you can chat away with your friends and family along the way. Plus, you can travel in style and comfort. Many of the minibus companies around the country now have their vehicles fitted with seatbelts, air conditioning, CD and DVD players, plasma TVs, tables, reclining seats, docks for iPods, tinted windows and even curtains.

No need to worry about keeping an eye on the other traffic or getting lost. Minibus drivers are very knowledgeable about roads, where road works etc. are, giving you an enjoyable journey to let you relax. You can rest assured that your minibus driver will get you to the campsite without any hitches. Not only will they drive you there, but also take you home at the end of your holiday. Most minibuses seat from 8 to 16 people. They will also pick you up door-to-door or at a location of your choice.

If you are planning a camping trip over in Europe, you must check that the drivers have the necessary documents. There are more rules over there about buses transporting passengers.

Camping can be very enjoyable if you like the outdoors. Cooking your food in the open-air can give it a certain taste that is different to indoor cooking. Many campsites have buildings for showers and toilets these days, as well as running water. They are not as primitive as they once was. Plus, the tents you can buy have separate rooms in them. They are lot more comfortable, making your camping trip a lot more enjoyable.

Many people are taking up camping as some form of holiday, because it’s cheaper than staying in a hotel. You can also tour around, and not stay in one spot for your holiday. The only downside to camping in the UK is probably the weather. We cannot guarantee good weather from one day to the next. So, as long as you don’t mind getting wet, camping is the way to go.

How Much Does It Cost To Charter a Private Jet

Riding a private jet is one of the ultimate fantasies of travelers worldwide. After all, who doesn’t want to take flight on a plane that is exclusively theirs (even for just a day)? Beyond the aesthetics, there are also tangible values for riding on a private jet, ranging from superior convenience to increased speed of travel. However, one of the biggest sticking points for those considering traveling via a private charter jet is the price of getting one. How much does it cost to get private jet charter flights? At the same time, what are the factors that dictate the going price for such services?

One thing about the cost of chartering private jets is that their prices tend to fluctuate depending on market conditions. Naturally, if demand is high, the price is going to be high. If the demand is low, there is a better chance for you to get a charter price that’s lower than usual. However, just to give you an idea of what prices to expect, a charter flight from Miami to Los Angeles costs anywhere from 15 to 25 thousand dollars. This can give you a good estimate on the going rate of local private jet services in America. This price can go higher if the charter flight would carry you overseas.

There are specific factors that dictate the going rate of private jet charter flights. These factors are the biggest factors that would dictate the going rate of these services.

1. Flight time

Each kind of plane has an hourly rate of rental. The potential rate you’ll be charged will be estimated with the help of programs that would dictate flight time on a round-trip basis. For example, if a flight from point A to point B takes 3 hours to complete, that means a round-trip would take 6 hours. If the rate for a specific plane is $2500 dollars, the chartering company would charge $15000. The rent formula is simple: hourly rate multiplied to flight hours.

2. Plane size and amenities

The airplane to be used for the flight is another major factor that dictates overall charter price. Naturally, the larger the cabin size of the commissioned plane, the more expensive it would be. Also, the more amenities and luxuries the plane contains, the higher the price it would demand. Small jets typically cost $2500 while large jets cost $4500.

3. Extra expenses

There are other expenses that the charterer must consider when taking a private jet charter. One of them is plane parking. The price of parking a plane on an airport may vary, but it costs at an average of 500 dollars a day. Permits from immigration, customs, and other agencies are also necessities for international flights. Last but not least, you also got to considerer extra costs such as fuel, food, and accommodations for the flight crew.

Those are just some of the factors that affect the cost of private jet charter flights. Having this sorted out in advance will help you get a hassle-free travel experience.

How to keep your traveling costs down.

Prices are always going up and traveling has become more of a luxury during these past few years.

Sometimes people just need a few helpful tips to tell them exactly how they can save money.

Saving money on cheap calls is the way to go!

If you are out traveling and have family that need to get in touch with you then making sure you have the cheapest international call provider is essential. A great provider for this type of cheap calls is Call2Call. Their main service is offering amazingly low call rates for contacting people in foreign countries.

This could not only save you money, if you have to call companies abroad to book stuff, but if your family has to get in touch with you then it will save them a lot of hassle and more importantly a lot of money.

Last minute deals can be absolute bargains!

A lot of families nowadays use websites, which help them to find out the best last minute package holiday bundle.

The great thing about last minute deals is that you might just save yourself about 50% of the total holiday costs.

You might also find better holidays!

So it’s always worth checking the latest offers available just to make sure you haven’t missed out on anything.

The other option is to book far in advance to make sure that you get the best rates for the place you want to go because sometimes last minute deals will not always be ideal for everyone.

Always Travel by Public Transport.

For some people this is just not a viable option, but if you can put up with it and know, roughly, how to get around the country your visiting then it could just be the biggest money saving decision throughout your entire holiday.

Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail!

Planning and preparing your holiday is arguably the most important part. It helps to make sure that anything, which you want to do, is done and you have plenty of time spare to just relax.

Find free Internet!

To wrap things up I guess talking about securing free Internet could save you potentially hundreds! Because e-mails are so ubiquitous in the world we all need to have some sort of access to the Internet.

Internet cafes in foreign countries know this and that’s why a lot of them charge ridiculous rates for having access to the Internet.

So the best way to get around this is to try and find a hotel, which has free wifi for all staying guests. Although limited at times which you can have access to the Internet it could save you from the dreaded 1 euro or 1 dollar per 5 minutes of internet which is a ridiculous amount to pay!

Things To Do Before You Travel

Going on holiday is something that most of us look forward to all year round. But in looking towards our travels we sometimes forget to plan properly. Well we here have some things for you to think about before you set off on that awesome trip.

Check Your Passport

I cannot stress this one enough. Do not spend hours planning and booking a holiday without checking if your passport is in date. Getting a passport last minute can be a really stressful and expensive experience so make sure this is one of the first things you check.

Check Your Luggage

Check if you have all essential items in your luggage. Make sure you have a skin protection cream if you are going to a sunny spot. This is not only a case of checking that you have all the essential items packed, but you also need to make sure you know what the weight limit of your luggage is. There is no worse way to start you holiday than being stuck in the airport having to deal with an overweight suitcase.

Home Alone

We are not talking about leaving one of your kids at home here, but you certainly want to make sure that your home is properly locked up and secured. So many people leave to go on their holidays without properly securing their homes. Make sure that you let neighbours know that you will be away as well. Lock the doors, hide the valuables and do what you think is necessary to make sure your home and belongings are safe.

We Need To See Your Papers

Make sure that you have all the proper documentation is an easy to reach place (this includes passports) you do not want to be having to fumble through five bags to find a certain document. You need to have everything organised so that your travel experience is as painless as possible. Visas, drivers licenses and everything else you may need should be easily accessible for you.

Plan Ahead

Do not just think you can get up and head off to the airport or wherever whenever you feel like. Make sure that you have everything planed out to the smallest detail. Once you get to your holiday destination you can kick back and relax, but before then you need to make sure you are well organised.

Why You Should Consider Hiring a Travel Agent to Plan Your Holiday

Planning for trips in and out of Australia can be both tedious and time consuming. For this reason, a lot of people look to hire a travel agent to help guide them in planning and booking their travel adventure.

Travel agents will not only be responsible in arranging different modes of transport during your travel (such as flights, trains and busses), but will also help you save money by offering you with early booking discounts, travel advisories, special fares, and hotel deals.

There are several benefits that a travel agent can provide you with. Travel agents, in general, are considered as “travel advocates”. Their priority is to provide you with quality services to help you enjoy your journey. For example, when we booked our last holiday, we planned and then subsequently booked through the Adelaide based travel agency Peregrine Travel Centre who were extremely professional and got us some excellent deals on our trip.

Below are some of the benefits of hiring a travel agent.

Travel Convenience
Travel agents can provide convenience to their clients. Think of this scenario: Christmas is fast approaching and a lot of people are weighin up whether to spend their holidays out of town which could result in a very long and tedious preparation time.

To reduce the stress of this booking process, you can hire a travel agent. Since they are the ones who will arrange and organise your trip, you will be spared the drama of having to take your time to research your itinerary, hotel bookings, and transportation.

Strong Work Dedication
Travel agents are very dedicated in their work and would want to deliver the best service for you. They typically go the extra mile for you and do everything to provide you with your travel needs. They will even get you the lowest possible prices and best deals to suit your preferences.

Most of the time, travel agents have contacts with airline companies and hotels which will help you find excellent deals that will save you enough money for other travel expenses.

They Know Your Travel Needs
Your Adelaide travel agent will also be asking you with questions. The questions that they will be asking should outline your trip. They will ask you the place that you are going to and the reason for this travel.

They will also ask you how you want to travel, how long your stay would be, and how much is your allotted budget for this. Your answers will help them in determining the kind of service that they will be offering you. They will put together some of their sample tours, which will describe the availabilities of accommodations, transportation, and the estimated cost of the package.

A good travel agent will be able to recognize your needs upon answering all the questions that they will have of you. Hiring a travel agent will give you ample time to prepare for the things that you will need during the travel and not the details of the travel itself.

Business Travel and the Briefcase

If you travel for business, then you understand the decision between traveling light and traveling prepared. However, more importantly, we’ve found that certain considerations should be made for optimal and ease of business travel. Understanding that the briefcase will be used at all times on your trip, this is what we will be looking at.

Top Handle
If you have not put any thought to it, you must think we are crazy to talk about the top handle as an important briefcase function. For longer trips, we find that businessmen usually bring a briefcase with a strap. These briefcases may not have a top handle, and it is our proposition that no top handle when moving about is dreadfully annoying.

When you are getting out of a cab, moving between offices and getting up from your seat quickly, the first thing you grab is the top handle. Briefcases without a top handle will be grabbed by the strap, which is lengthy and will dangle from side to side. The bottom line is that a top handle is required for effective travel.

Running Out of Time

Detachable Strap
Similar to the above, because of the preference of taking the weight off your hand and also freeing your hand for flexibility, a strap is usually needed for business travel. While not required, we greatly prefer the briefcases with a detachable strap. Typically, in business, a strap is unprofessional and sloppy. When dangled unused from the sides of a briefcase, it detracts from the clean professional look that you want to portray.

Suitcase Handle Flap
Some suitcases have a flap at the back of the suitcase that allows you to slip it over a suitcase handle. This is invaluable for travel as it allows you to free up your shoulder and hand so it is more comfortable or if you need to use it hold on to a railing, press an elevator button, sign paperwork, etc. Most suitcases have a rear slot where you can slide paperwork in, the best ones have an additional slot that pokes through the bottom, or a zipper bottom that can allow the rear slot to double as a suitcase handle flap. This feature isn’t advertised often, so definitely do your research before you buy. We typically check PerfectBag to confirm our needs are met before buying.

Overall, preferences aside, we feel that these three features are worth consideration when looking for a briefcase for travel.

The Hidden Cost of Spinner Suitcases

Spinner suitcases are very popular these days. Characterized typically by four 360 degree rotation wheels, this type of suitcase allows effortless movement along smooth surfaces with minimal strength and maximum maneuverability. The ability to take the weight off your arm to move the luggage is a big benefit for those looking to travel with ease. This article is to tell you that before you buy a spinner luggage, that there are some things you have not yet considered.

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Durability
Typically spinner suitcases come in polycarbonate hard cases, occasionally cloth exterior. The hardcases are always marked up due to the hardness of the exterior. They are also prone to cracking. where the cloth is prone to tearing. However, this affects all luggage. The big problem with spinner luggage in particular are the wheels. The 360 rotational wheels you love so much also protrude quite a bit, and are very prone to breaking during baggage handling. You only need one wheel to break or be faulty for the entire suitcase to be useless. Regular luggage of the two wheel plus stand variety has a recessed wheel and are far more durable. The first to break on these types of luggage is actually the handle.

Additionally, over longer walk, because the wheels are designed for 360 rotation flexibility, they do not stand up to the long walks over rough terrain. What ends up happening is that the wheels shear off and become rough. When you tilt the luggage over for two wheel diagonal use, the wear on the back wheels is much quicker than the front, causing imbalance and the usual “turning” of the suitcase when back on all fours.

Maneuverability
We noted previously that this was a strength. However, if you have every used a spinner luggage for longer periods of travel, you would also know that it is a weakness. A smooth surface is required for easy movement. If it is bumpy, rocks, gaps in the road, or if you need to walk a long distance, typically rolling it on all four wheels is not only difficult but dangerous. The alternative is rolling it on two wheels like a typical suitcase. However, the design of the wheel is optimized for upright movement, not diagonal movement, and the wheels are typically smaller and less durable than standard suitcases.

These are two of the main problems we have found with spinner suitcases. However, please don’t discount the value proposition of this type of suitcase, as there is still a big reason to get it. We recommend the LuggagePicks a resource to help you chose the luggage that is best suited for your travel needs.

Seat Selection in an Airplane

Not all economy airplane seats are identical and they are certainly not equal. Savvy travelers bag the best seats on the plane by following these air travel tips.

 Get a head start.

Early birds get the good worms so as soon as you are permitted to, choose your seat. Other travellers know the good seats, the bad and the truly awful so select a good seat as soon as you can. If you are booking on-line, many airlines allow you to choose your seat at the time of booking. If not, phone the airline immediately after booking and ask for a seat allocation. Some airlines hold bulk head and exit row seats til check-in so be sure to check-in on line as soon as that facility opens. Airlines have cottoned on to the advantages of some seats over others and are charging for the privilege. Consider paying on a long haul flight or if you have particular needs. But let’s not encourage them by shelling out for middling seats on short-hops. If you find yourself being allocated a seat in the airport 45 minutes before take-off you might really deserve all you get, however you can still enter into negotiations at the gate. Premium fliers sometimes get bumped to first class. A good travel tip is to ask if anyone has just vacated a really plum airline seat and could you have it.

 Know the good seats

Accepted wisdom states that exit seats are good and anything to the front of the plane is a gain. You can have a look on sites like seatguru.com and seatexpert.com for detailed maps of each plane on each airline. They give ratings to airlines according to comfort level, service and food which you may want to consider before booking. They also have compiled composite advice based on reviews of the best air plane seats. Ultimately it comes down to personal choice and needs. If you want to disembark promptly look for an aisle seat at the front or the back. If you suffer from motion sickness you are best in a wing seat at the window. The wing experiences less turbulence and looking out the window towards the horizon really helps with the conflicting brain messages which cause the nausea. If you have long legs look for a seat with extended leg room like bulk head seats or exit row seats.

Know the bad seats

On an overnight flight an aisle seat is to be avoided. Imagine hopping up and down every moment to allow inside passengers stretch their legs. Bulkhead seats are good for leg room but be warned passengers travelling with infants are often allocated these seats as there is room for a bassinet. Anything in the middle is generally pretty rotten and if there are 5 seats in a row the middle-middle is a real dud. Seats in the middle of the plane are also last to be served food as service usually starts from the front and the back. If seat width is an issue avoid seats which stow the table-top in the arm rest as this reduces the seat width slightly.

 Know the really awful seats

Any seat near the toilet, which has limited recline or does not recline, is squeezed into an after-thought space or has limited leg-room is a total washout. Sites like seat guru help to identify these and travellers should avoid at all costs. If you find yourself in one of these it is time for a charm offensive with the air steward to get reallocated to an empty seat.

By following these travel tips travellers in the know can grab the best airline seats and avoid the most unpleasant.

Mexico Travel Tips and Advice For Women

Planning ahead of time is important for a gratifying and successful vacation.  This involves readying your stuff and getting details on where you will spend your vacation.  It does not need to know everything, but learning the basic things about what to bring matters. Travelling to Mexico is a great experience if you know the guide to follow:

Mexico Travel Guide

1. Packing all the stuff you need is important, but don’t forget to mentally prepared as well.  This will help you understand the different culture of the place you’re headed to.  Don’t be surprised with the practices you are not used to.

2. Mexico has exotic culture and practices, some of which are imitated from the South America. Mostly, cultures and lifestyles in other countries are not easy to do if you are not accustomed to doing it.  When it comes to climate, Mexico has a different weather from Asia, USA and Europe. Therefore it is highly advised that you take time to knowing at once the practices and culture existing in Mexico.

3. Passport is the first and most important thing to carry when driving to Mexico. Known for multiple events of crimes and accidents, bringing big cash amount is discouraged.  A simple waist-pack pocket will do for your needs of money. Also, highways and roads are not totally clean in Mexico.  It helps if you bring extra footwear to use on rough and stony roads.

4. Tips on traveling and kind of clothes to put on are important.  Mexico is a tropical place, so don’t forget your sunscreen. However, mountain areas have cold temperature, that’s why you need to bring thick clothes as well.

5. To overcome loud music during your travel, handy earplugs should be worn on your ears. Many first-class transportations play noisy music late at night. Earplugs help you not to get disturbed.

6. There’s no need to bring with you extra clothes. You will be provided with washing facilities in your place of accommodations. Toiletries, however, can be brought. Don’t forget your own towel because accommodations don’t provide any towels.

Tips for Traveling Women

1. If you’re a woman, one thing you should know when driving to Mexico is that many Mexican men will always look at you.  Those men are easily attracted to women especially to women who are not dressed modestly.

2. Dress up yourself appropriately by not wearing mini-skirts. More importantly, women should always have companions when travelling to Mexico.

3. Don’t dare talk to strangers, especially men who have the intention of flirting with you. In a sense, this tip could be funny, but it is crucial to be cautious because you don’t really know what might happen.

Always bring your Mexican Insurance

And finally, buying your Mexican car insurance before leaving for Mexico is very important. Although you may have car insurance in Canada or US, this insurance is not valid in Mexico.  Therefore, plan ahead to get your car insured immediately before leaving.  Regardless of what driving experience you want to do in Mexico, you will enjoy it if you know you have car insurance with you.