Last summer my husband and I didn’t have a vacation, not even a trip to the beach. My husband was just settling into his new career and readjusting to his new life in the states. While I was busy getting therapy sessions in for our daughter. This summer we planned to go on a weekend road trip to Rhode Island. That is, until the last week of August, my husband decided he needed a legit getaway, one that didn’t involve him behind the wheels.
Choosing our trip destination
So it all started while I was home planning our weekend getaway, when my husband called from work, and out of nowhere suggested going to Cancun. What?! Where in the world did he come up with Mexico? I didn’t like the idea of getting on a plane with a 3 year old and Mexico screamed fiesta! If it was just my husband and I the destination would’ve been the perfect summer getaway but since we would be taking our little one, it just seemed so foreign and scary to me. His sudden change of heart was inspired by his co-worker who had just come back from Cancun with his family including his parents, in-laws, wife and baby and loved it.
Hmm.. grandparents and their one year old.. seemed very safe to me. I was slightly persuaded and I started to look into resorts and of course the choices were limitless I didn’t know where to start! I tried looking online for blog reviews but didn’t find anything informative. My husband found some helpful suggestions and from there we were able to pick a couple of places and I looked into those resorts in more depth. There were a few I thought were really nice and I set my mind on going to Secrets the Vine (check it out if you are going to Cancun without kids) but we weren’t even allowed to book it! I quickly learned that the resorts were divided into two groups: adults only or family friendly. That did help narrow down my choices, next I looked for an all inclusive resort but still there were so many options it was a bit overwhelming since I had less than a week to find something. If you find yourself in a similar situation I really hope the tips I provide below help you in some way.
♥Helpful tips on planning your tropical getaway:
1. What type of resort are you looking for? Adults only? Family friendly? All-inclusive? Luxury?
- Tip: If you plan to stay inside the resort for the entire trip then choose a nicer resort and make sure to see what type of activities are offered and what their dining options are like. You don’t want to be stuck eating in 1 restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.. or maybe you do? If you are focused more on sight seeing and exploring outside of the resort choose an accommodation that is affordable and not too fancy and if you are planning to stay out most of the time, you probably don’t need to book an all-inclusive.
♥For myself I was looking for a family friendly, all inclusive resort. We were not interested in any activities outside of the resort so we chose Finest Playa Mujeres a luxury resort. They had many dining options to choose from, activities for kids of all ages and for adults as well. For this particular resort they give you 10 different room options to choose from. We chose the second room option that comes with a private pool, again we chose this because we would be relaxing at the resort for the entire trip and wanted to make it worth while.
2.Once you choose your resort/hotel preference, compare prices on a few online travel agencies. If you are flexible with time see if different dates of travel are cheaper on certain days. Try to avoid flying on a weekend and stick to a weekday if you can. Some online travel sites you can try: book it, orbitz, cheap tickets, expedia, vacation to go, or even check out a travel agent in person to see if they can offer you a better deal. If you want an in-depth comparison on a couple of online travel agencies, check out: 2015 Online Travel Site Comparisons.
♥For my trip, Travelocity had the best rate for my specific destination. Since it was the end of summer, prices fluctuated within minutes so I had to act quickly. I even tried booking airline tickets and hotel separately but it was way more expensive to do so.
- Tip: Book a package option for cheaper prices.
3. Once you pick your online/travel agency they will give you an option to choose your airline and your flight time. There are a couple of options when it comes to flying. You can pay for the cheapest flight, non-stop flights, flights that provide snacks, but make sure to research ahead of time and see which option suits you best for your needs.
- Tip: Make sure to find out your resort/hotel check in and check out times. It’s better to arrive earlier than your check-in time so you can get the most out of your trip (or on time for check in). You can probably lounge around the lobby or explore the grounds as they get your room ready, and if your resort/hotel is nice enough they can keep an eye on your luggage for you.
- Tip: When it’s time to check-out try to book your flight so that you have time to have a meal or two before you leave especially if your flight doesn’t provide meals (or you can always eat at the airport, they have tons of options to choose from). This way you don’t end up rushing, feeling hangry, and again get the most out of your stay (if you booked an all-inclusive that is meals should be included).
- Tip: If you travel with infants or children try to schedule a flight an hour before their nap time. Make sure you have plenty of snacks for them too (not sugary ones). If you are pregnant try to book an aisle seat so you can easily use the bathroom without having to trip over the person next to you.:
♥I yelped a couple of the airlines that Travelocity offered to check their ratings and I opted out on the ones that had really terrible reviews. After checking out 3 main airlines I ended up choosing one that I’ve never taken, Jetblue, but they had some good reviews compared to a lot of the other airlines. Even though they cost a bit more I didn’t want to deal with delays, cancellations, layovers, or stress especially on my first trip with my 3 year old.
4. Once you arrive to Cancun how will you get to your resort/hotel? Walk?
- Tip: Definitely prebook your ride before you get there. After you book your flight and ticket you will get an option to add transportation to your package. This way you know exactly how much you should pay. Options range from taxis, buses, rental cars, mini vans at various costs. You even have the option to purchase tickets for extracurricular activities if you are interested.
- Tip: Prebook your ride. If you are already in Cancun and you need to take a taxi, negotiate on a price before you get in. If you are leaving from your resort to head out you should ask your resort concierge for a rough approximation on how much certain trips should cost from point A to point B.
♥ We pre-booked to take the mini van from Best Day Travels (this was the transportation associated with Travelocity) and paid the roundtrip price of $26 per person. I was having some trouble online and didn’t want to make any mistakes. I wasn’t familiar with the names of the area so I called Travelocity and someone helped me book my transportation, after all was paid over the phone using my credit card the representative at Travelocity told me to call the transportation company directly to reserve my seats.
Tip: Call your online booking agent if you are having trouble they can assist you with your booking. Make sure to printout your voucher, it is very important (you should get an email)! You need to give them the printout when you meet your transportation representative outside the airport. Make sure to find them outside of the airport, you will see them wearing their company logo or holding signs.
Tip: If you are taking the mini-van make sure to call the transportation company directly and reserve your seat 24 hours before your arrival. Have your confirmation number, flight number, date and time of arrival ready. Once you get to your resort and you are settled in make sure to schedule and confirm for your trip back to the airport once your stay is over (if you paid for roundtrip). Make sure to get a transfer voucher if you paid for roundtrip, usually there is a travel agency booth inside your resort and you can ask them for it once you give them your confirmation number from your voucher. You can even talk to them for extra activities outside of the resort as well if you are interested.
There you have it. Those are my few tips for planning and booking your trip to Cancun.
If you are planning a trip to Cancun either to get away from the cold this winter or during your break next summer, it is a wonderful place for everyone! Relax, explore, eat, sleep, or party! I hope you found these tips helpful.
<3 Michelle K. M