The Caribbean Awaits

Now that you've read an overview of what the various islands in the Caribbean have to offer in terms of a memorable vacation experience for you and your family, it's time to do your homework, pack your bags, and get ready for your vacation.

As you've read multiple times throughout this book, the best way to ensure you'll have a wonderful vacation is to invest time and effort in proper planning before you leave. Researching the best deals and planning much of your itinerary will help ensure that your vacation will be fun, memorable, and within your travel budget. One of the most disappointing vacation-related experiences is arriving at a lovely Caribbean resort and beginning to enjoy your vacation only to discover, after speaking with another vacationing family, that you overpaid for your trip by hundreds of dollars because you didn't shop around for the best deals. Be sure to take full advantage of the online travel-related Web sites, as well as the Web sites sponsored by the department of tourism for each of the Caribbean islands as you're deciding where to go and what to experience.

Once you arrive in the Caribbean, be open to new experiences and to trying new things. A wide range of foods, drinks, cultural experiences, activities, and attractions await, the likes of which you've probably never experienced living anywhere in the United States.

TRAVEL TIP

On the other hand, you don't want to exhaust yourself surfing the Internet at 3:00 A.M. to save a few dollars. Find a deal you're comfortable with, and then stop looking.

Finally, to ensure that you and your family enjoy the most stress-free vacation possible, choose accommodations that are best suited to your needs. If you're traveling with multiple kids or teens, or members of your extended family, multiple bedrooms, connecting guestrooms, or separate guestrooms or suites might be most appropriate. It's never a good idea to save money by cramming too many people into a tiny hotel room or cabin aboard a cruise ship.

The experience you're about to have will create memories that'll last a lifetime. Don't forget to pack a camera and plenty of batteries and film. You'll pay a premium to buy film and batteries (or disposable cameras) in the Caribbean. No matter where in the Caribbean you travel, there will be countless photo opportunities! Before leaving the Caribbean, either have your film developed or pack your undeveloped film in your carry-on, and don't allow it to be X-rayed by airport security.

One Web site that offers useful information about virtually all of the Caribbean Islands is Caribbean Online (www.caribbean-on-line.com). On this Web site, you'll find maps, travel tips, details about discounted travel packages, plus additional information about each Caribbean island.

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