I have a serious first world problem. As the snow begins to accumulate and the temperature drops considerably, my mind invariably starts to toil over which sunny destination I should venture to. The way I see it, I have a three options: An all inclusive resort, a small beach apartment where I’m left to my own devices, or the ever cheap and popular hostel arrangements around an island. They all have pros and cons, and this is where my troubles begin. Also, I’d like to mention here that travelling further abroad (Europe, Asia etc) would be the greatest adventure, but because of costs and planning involved, I’m singling out the easier/cheaper choice to satiate my more warmer of intentions; that REAL vacation time will come soon enough.
Regardless of where I go – Cuba, Dominican, Mexico, Costa Rica etc – I know, to some degree, they will be somewhat similar. And with that out of the way, I can narrow the destination down to costs, particular area specifics and whether or not I’ve been there before. Ideally, I’d prefer to try somewhere new, but since Caribbean islands can defer drastically from one coast to the next, I still keep past destinations in mind.
With all inclusive resorts I can guarantee a relaxing experience. Barely any need to expose my wallet while pillaging my insides with unhealthy meals and violent amounts of alcohol is a rewarding feeling. But after a few days of this (it can get monotonous) the desire to explore can become overwhelming. One way to quell this issue is to find a resort close by a city centre or unique environmental habitat. That way, when you begin suffering from restless leg syndrome, a short taxi ride into some indicative culture can reinvigorate your weary self. This option is also quite cheap, with “last minute vacation” deals and the wide variety of resorts it’s usually not difficult to find something within your price range.
Renting an apartment on the beach is a great experience. It might not be as luxurious as a resort or cheap like a hostel, but it’s the closest way to feel at home in a country not your own. This can also be the most expensive option (of course the quality of your abode will define your financials). And between cooking your own meals, buying your own liquor – as well as going out for meals and drinks – the money allotted for a trip like this can disappear quickly. But the money goes to a great place; cooking local foods, experiencing local traditions and people are always more rewarding than finding out you can pee at a swim up bar. And since you’re on your schedule, you’ll always have copious time to relax.
Lastly we have the hostel option. Admittedly, I have yet to try this, but, from what I’ve heard it can be great fun. The money you save on lodgings can be used for the experience and freedom of exploring the island. If you care not for the quality and comfort of where you stay, this can be a perfectly reasonable travel plan. Relaxing can be less obvious as your adventures take you around the area, but if that’s what you’re looking for, why would you stop and lay around?
As you can tell, there’s lots to think about - and this is just the beginning. I can see myself enjoying every one of these options, but when you can only afford one small vacations a year (assuming some money is being saved for a REAL vacation) it’s important to feel confident in your decision. I have some serious first world thinking to do.