Travel, planning and stress

We are about two weeks away from our second annual Christmas vacation.  We bought our tickets back in August, and watched the prices and flights dance around and the choices become more and more limited. The prices never dropped below our rate (always stressful) and we are very excited with our choice.

After reading countless reviews and a long discussion with a rep at CheapCaribbean.com We end up booking The Fiesta Americana in Cozumel. We opted for the all inclusive again, after such a positive experience the first time in the Virgin Islands. We also managed to talk some friends into coming this year too.  One friend is, like us, escaping the Christmas madness and the other is coming with her husband and their 2yo. It will be their first big family vacation. We are all banking on some needed R&R.

My work has been so busy I don’t even know what is going on anymore. Kevin has been working extra hours and Adrian had to switch schools this week (totally mad it had to happen in the middle of the year!!). We are all tired and crabby. I could not imagine having to put up the tree, go shopping for all and think about meals and entertaining. If this vacation goes as smoothly as the one last year, this may be the best tradition ever.

As I have written about previously, our travel habits have changed quite a bit since the arrival of our son into our family. We went from budget hotels and long layovers to hotels with pools and flight upgrades. In the past, we would have never opted for all inclusive, not wanting to miss any local flair, but, with a kid in tow, it’s not so easy to eat unidentifiable foods in questionable neighborhoods. We learned last year to truly appreciate the total relax that AI has to offer. We made sure that drinks are included, not so much fun to lie on the beach wanting a drink in your hand and have to decide if it is worth it. We still go for adventures with other travels, but Christmas has truly become something special for our family. A time to bond and remember who we are, not have to decide on where or what to eat, we forget about money and material goods, we have already paid for everything and no one has to worry about anything.

Forgetting about everything does come with a price tag attached. With all inclusive, you do not want to skimp. You do not want to be stuck at a resort eating cafeteria food with frat boys passed out by the pool. One thing we did this year was upgrade our room. It was highly recommended in the reviews on tripadvisor and elsewhere. We hope the extra money will be worth it. It sounded worth it to us, and the other family, but our other friend joining us did not upgrade. I love that. I love that everyone has their own requirements, desires or limits.  A few days ago, I was reading the Frugal Traveler’s blog and the post was all about when and when it’s not worth it to be frugal, which of course is very subjective. It was spot on and I loved reading the comments and advice from other readers as well.

We’ll see if the upgrade was worth it at this resort, and it will be nice to compare it with our travel buddy’s option.  We are happy to be counting down until the beach and sun. As other people are in their basements, going through boxes looking for the wreath, we’re in the basement digging out our snorkel gear. As others are making lists of who to get presents for and collecting ideas, we’re making reminder lists of things not to forget (flip flops, swimming suits- things that slip your mind when it’s snowing outside). Although I  enjoy decorating and getting others presents, the separation from the mass consumerism and the loss of the added holiday stress really feels good.

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