5 Important Travel Items you May Not Have Thought About

Vacationing is a time to relax and to be carefree and it can be if you do a little prep work before you head out especially if your travel includes a cruise or foreign travel. Here is a checklist of a few items you might want to consider. For documents, I made copies and put the copies in a travel binder. I organized my binder with tabs like excursions, travel insurance, ID, ect….Also, leave a copy with a trusted friend back home. Hopefully this will help you too!

  1. Passport– Not only bring your passport but also make a copy of the first page. One tip I would suggest is not to keep these 2 items together. For instance, if you leave your ship for the day, keep your original passport in your safe and just take the copy in case anything happens. Having a copy with your photo on it will make it easier to get another one.
Visa

2. Visas-Sometimes you may need a Visa to travel to a foreign country. It’s probably a good idea to check with that country’s embassy to get more information.

3. Medications-Another item you might want to check on is your medications. Some over the counter medications, prescription drugs and narcotics may be illegal in the country you want to travel to. Again, it might be advisable to check with the embassy of the country you want to visit to check about regulations and documentation that you might need.

Perscriptions

4. Consent to travel with minors– Will you be traveling alone with your children? At foreign borders you may have to show custody documents or notarized written consent from the other parent. If this is your situation, you may want to check with that countries embassy to see what might be required.

5. International Driving Permit-Did you know many countries do not recognize the U.S drivers licence? However, they will accept an International Driving Permit. You also might need supplemental auto insurance as well.

Drivers Licence

A very useful traveling website is Travel.State.Gov. This site covers everything from U.S passports, International Travel, Visas, current travel advisories and many other topics.

I feel like traveling in general is going to be kind-of different post COVID-19. It’s probably going to take a while for people to start traveling again, for airlines to start adding flights, etc…. For many people, they will probably postpone any travel until next year. We are still going to try to go to Puerto Vallarta in October but we’ll see. We’ll be staying at our beautiful Vidanta resort. It will be wonderful to see something beyond my front door!

If you want to start making travel plans, begin with a trip to Mexico at the Vidanta resorts. You won’t be sorry!

Vidanta
Room at Vidanta

Cruise Vacationing Defined in Just Two Words

You must be thinking….how can she describe cruising in just two words. As the number of people that cruise you will probably find that many words to describe their experiences. Some might say it’s relaxing, others might say trying new foods is what they enjoy, others might not enjoy the sea days while others look forward to it. These different likes and dislikes can really be put into 2 words: loose vs tight.

First, lets define loose vs tight in the context of cruising.

Hang Loose
Hang loose!

Loose: Not fixed in place, free from anything that binds or restrains.

Tight: fixed, not relaxed, unyielding

There are also loose personalities vs tight personalities. Neither is better than the other but it does help to know what kind of person you are and what kind of person you might be traveling with. Because under certain conditions a loose personality traveling with a tight personality will eventually be negotiating through some difficult moments while cruising.

The cruise industry itself is tight! They must stay on schedule for one thing, safety issues is a huge one, and now of course they are grappling with how to keep people from getting sick when they are on their vacation, which is not new, but is taking a more prominent position in the hierarchy of the things they have to deal with.

On the other hand, us passengers in general “want” to be loose! We want to unwind, not have to follow a lot of rules, do things on our own schedule and in our own way. Which the cruise lines have been listening too because they have made mealtimes more flexible for one thing.

Relaxing on the beach!
Relaxing in the sun

So a loose person might not like some of the structure and “rules” they might be expected to yield too. For instance, if you are absorbed in an excursion or activity off the ship, your not going to like being told that you have to stop and hurry back to your ship because it will leave with out you! Some loose types of people will really put this to the test. One of our favorite things to do before the ship leaves a port is to watch scurrying last minute runners trying to make it to the “front door” before the ship leaves! We’ve actually seen and heard stories about people literally “missing the boat”! I’m sure you have too!

On the other hand a tight person will probably get uncomfortable when something doesn’t happen that is on the schedule! I’m a tight personality most of the time and it bothers me when I want to keep a schedule but those in my traveling party do not! I’ve learned to just go with the flow! I can be tight when I need to be but I’ve also learned to loosen up as the situations warrants. Which I think most of us instinctively do anyway. We don’t even realize it sometimes.

It’s the same way when you are visiting certain countries. Some countries have a very “tight” feel to them and others are quite “loose”. It’s good to brush up on a countries “tourist etiquette” so that you can be courteous and honor the people that you are visiting. Especially when your dealing with time. When you are told to be somewhere at a certain time, is that a loose definition of when to meet someone or is that tight…..like if you are on time, you are considered late!

When visiting Hawaii for example, I feel it is an incredibly loose environment. When we were in Oahu one year, we stayed in an AirB&B but with the host there too. He was included! He made our meals, was our tourist guide, it was wonderful….but he was not on a schedule! We learned really quick that time is loosely defined as “later this afternoon”, “probably tomorrow sometime”, “maybe tonight, I guess…..” he even let us use his van when all of us wanted to go to the same place, but it was on his time not ours!

So here’s a trecky tip: Be loose when you need to be loose, be tight when you need to be tight!

And above all else come visit our wonderful Vidanta resorts in Mexico! Which can be as loose or as tight as you want it to be! We were supposed to go in May, but obviously, that is not going to happen so we asked if we could postpone until October, and they were very helpful in changing our reservation. So if you are ready to start planning a trip start here!

Elegant entry at Vidanta, Grand Mayan
Entry to Vidanta Grand Mayan

Why it’s absolutely ok NOT to pre-plan everything for your next trip

I must confess, I’m a listaholic. I write a list before I go to the grocery store, I write a list of TO DO’S at the start of each week, and I most certainly write multiple lists when I’m getting ready to go on a trip. Packing lists, excursion lists, daily calendar lists, the lists go on and on!

I’m a fairly new traveler, but we’ve been on a few cruises, taken trips to various places and I can honestly say I’ve learned that everything doesn’t have to be pre-planned. (I see you shaking your head!) I’m serious! Let me give you some examples of a vacation that was completely planned and one that, well…, wasn’t.

Bermuda
Enjoying my first steps into Bermuda waters

We took a Norwegian Breakaway cruise with some friends to Bermuda leaving from New York. This cruise was unique in that we sailed directly to Bermuda, the boat stays for a few days and then sails directly back. It’s called a destination cruise. I did my research, which I really enjoy doing, and made a list of all the places we should go, when we should be there and when we needed to move on! So note to self…..things take longer than you planned, the weather can change, not everyone wants to do everything you’ve planned and people get sick!

I’ll use the first day as an example. You’ll notice that I have listed a helmet dive at 9:30am, (learn more about our Helmet Dive HERE) a ferry ride to St. Georges at 2:00pm, walk a self guided tour, enjoy a beach and all before lunch! (I’m really laughing at myself here!) Well, as it turned out, all of us got a bit sea-sick during the ride out and back to our dive area! So by the time we got back, everyone wanted to go back to the ship and recuperate! What??? We have a schedule to keep people! Suffice it to say we didn’t do much else that first day (sad face here).

Helmet Dive
The small boat is the Helmet dive boat, the huge ship in the background is the Norwegian Breakaway

In contrast to the Bermuda trip, last November we took a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico for the first time. I researched the area and things that I wanted to put on my bucket list, but I didn’t book any excursions ahead of time. (I know, I know…) However, what a wonderful time we had each day! We didn’t have a set schedule. If something sounded fun, we did it! One day we literally spent 6 hours at the Vidanta resort pool! It was amazing! Some days we left the resort and some days we didn’t! Before we would go to bed each night, I felt like I wanted to know what we were doing the next day but I bit my tongue and tried to be relaxed about the schedule and low and behold we did everything on my bucket list!

Los Cabos, Mexico
Such a relaxing trip to Los Cabos, Mexico

So lesson learned: A little planning is ok, but don’t over plan. Keep things relaxed and most especially include some down time!

When trying to decide where to stay in Cabo, please consider staying with us at the Vidanta Grand Mayan. We also have access to the 6 other Vidanta resorts throughout Mexico. Just let us know when you would like your amazing week and where! We will take it from there! This link will take you to all the details!

5 Key Phrases to learn before going to Mexico

You really don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to visit Los Cabos or it’s sister city, San Jose del Cabo. Almost everyone knows some English. However, on our first visit to the area, I noticed how appreciative the locals were when we spoke even the smallest amount of Spanish.

One day we were eating at a local restaurant and our traveling friend ordered his food in Spanish. The rest of us pointed to pictures that were on the menu. And wouldn’t you know it, his food came out first and the server was particularly helpful to him the whole time!

So, I made a mental note to myself…I’m going to learn some Spanish so the next time I’ll get special treatment! I’ve been using Babble and Duolingo to help me!

It’s hard to narrow the phrases down to just 5. This is just a starter list for you!

  1. One of the first phrases I learned right away is “Where is the bathroom?” In Spanish you would say “dónde está el baño“. In our resort, the Vidanta Grand Mayan in San Jose del Cabo, the bano was always very clean, flushing toilets, etc… but boy was I surprised when we headed into town! You can’t always put your toilet paper in the toilet! And going to the bathroom is not always free! Keep a couple of peso’s with you!
  2. Whenever we would come and go from our beautiful resort, our friend would greet each employee with Buenos dias or Buenas noches, which means good morning or good night. In turn they would put their hand over their heart and say Gracias, thank you. What a nice expression of gratitude. I loved it! Wouldn’t the people in your life be surprised if you said “thank you” with your hand over your heart!
  3. Another word in the polite category is “por favor“, please. This word is so appreciated every where! But especially when you are in a situation where you need some help. A cry for help, asked with a “por favor” will open many more doors!
  4. All of my traveling buddies enjoyed seeing the sites on foot. One day we decided to walk to the Mision de San Jose. We weren’t really paying attention where we were going…..and soon we were lost! Our traveling friend was able to carry on this conversation: my friend: “Estoy perdido. Puede auydarme“-I am lost. Can you help me? Nice local: “Adonde va?” -Where are you going? And then our friend proceeded to explain where we wanted to go! Such helpful phrases and a happy ending as we were able to find our way to the mission! (Look at that! I just gave you 2 extra phrases!)
  5. Now for my most favorite phrase! “me das el pastel de choclate?” (can I have the chocolate cake?) Well, it didn’t always have to be chocolate cake, but if there was something chocolate on the menu I wanted it! How sad that I couldn’t ask for it by name!

Are you considering a trip to Mexico? I would highly encourage a stay in any of the Vidanta group resorts. And most important visit our resort in San Jose del Cabo, the Grand Mayan! You can reserve a 1 bedroom studio for a whole week! For all the details click on this link!