How to Choose an Ideal Vacation Resort
In order to have a good vacation by the sea, simply going to a travel agency, paying money, and leaving for a resort is not enough. Only a well-thought-out journey that will match all your needs and requirements will leave you with really good memories.
We at 5-Minute Crafts surveyed experienced travelers and made up a checklist for those who want to choose the ideal place for a vacation but don’t know where to start.
Sometimes it happens that future tourists go to a travel agency and ask to find the best matching option for a certain amount of money. Conscientious workers of the tourism industry try their best and offer the best possible options but no matter how hard they try, still, they choose the option according to their personal choice. That’s when the most unpleasant thing can happen — a mismatch of expectations and reality.
This can manifest in various things and situations. Let’s say an ideal rest for you means quiet and tranquility but the agent selects a hotel for you with a disco that is open until the wee hours of the morning, where the music is blaring all night long. Or you might be dreaming about going to a resort where you’ll start your morning with a piece of lightly salted salmon but the hotel you are going to doesn’t have any salmon on the menu at all. Or you might be a fan of jumping from a pier and diving into the sea, but the beach you arrive at has shallow waters and you’ll have to walk to its deep part 150 feet away — having to give up on the idea of jumping from a pier at all.
These small, and seemingly insignificant, details make up the overall impression. In order not to ruin it, we want you to consider every tiny nuance. The main thing is to remember that you are the only one who knows what the best vacation for you is.
The first thing you need to decide on is what climate will be ideal for your vacation. You should take into account the following details:
- The temperature during the day and at night (of course, during the period of your vacation). For example, in UAE, the weather might be too hot.
- The frequency of rainy days. Check the weather forecast for the period of your trip. Perhaps, the amount of precipitation will make you change your destination point. It’s better to not go to some countries because of heavy rains in certain seasons. For example, some regions of Sri Lanka have a monsoon season from May to September.
- The chance of hurricanes in some geographical regions depends on the season. For example, hurricane season in Cuba officially starts on June 1 and finishes on November 30.
- Constant winds. If you are going to spend your vacation on an island, learn in advance how windy the weather can get there. For example, some Greek islands have a windy season that starts in May and finishes in September.
Type of accommodation
There are several options:
- A tent in nature if you are ready to undertake life in camping conditions. The opportunity to choose a beautiful and ecologically clean place with crystal clear water on the beach is a big advantage of this option. But it’s likely that you’ll be staying far from civilization.
- A house on wheels that you can rent and settle in a specially equipped camping spot. The thing you should take into account is that your camping neighbors can turn on loud music, have fun at night, and even behave in a rude manner.
- Glamping means stylish and comfortably equipped tents, which oftentimes lack a bathroom with a toilet. There are usually common restrooms for everyone who is staying on the territory. Also, tents might have no protection from insects that can crawl inside your shelter. The good thing is that food is very tasty there and you won’t have to carry any hiking equipment with you.
- A guest house is an option for independent tourists. It can either be a room in an old lady’s apartment or a stylish shelter with a good location and modern management.
- A mini-hotel is a small hotel that usually has few rooms. Most often, the cost of staying in these hotels includes breakfasts. Sometimes small hotels even have swimming pools. If you are lucky, you might get both a cozy home and hospitable owners who will be caring about you to the fullest—especially if it’s a family business. In order to get the best of this option, make sure to read all the reviews.
- A city hotel may have stars or may not, and it is suitable both for vacations and business trips. Usually, these hotels have a restaurant, sometimes a spa complex, a swimming pool, additional services like a concierge, a beauty salon, etc.
- A resort hotel is a hotel complex situated on a big territory, which has all the necessary facilities for getting a good rest within a long period of time. The variety and quality of services on the territory will dictate the number of stars it will have. In fact, you don’t even have to leave this kind of hotel at all if you don’t want to. Most often, these places have at least one pool, a restaurant, and, if the hotel is on the first line, then there is access to the beach as well.
No matter what type of accommodation you choose, there are still many nuances that you should take into account.
Transfer from the airport
In order to get to the vacation spot, you’ll need a transfer from the airport or railway station unless you are traveling in your own car.
- To get to the hotel comfortably, you can opt for a taxi. If you are going to a foreign country make sure to check in advance to see which companies provide taxi services that you can trust. You can also download the necessary app. Otherwise, a taxi from the airport might cost you much more than you are expecting. Also, mercantile taxi drivers can switch on the meter and drive around the city, hoping that you don’t know the route.
- If you are booking a hotel room, you might ask them for a transfer provided by either the travel agency or the hotel itself, in advance. In this case, you’ll be picked up and brought to the final point which is very convenient. The main drawback of a transfer is when a hotel organizes a big bus that is crowded with tourists. First of all, you’ll have to wait till everyone gathers and then the hotel will be stopping at several hotels on the way to let some of the passengers get off. This type of trip will take more time than an individual transfer, which could include up to 1 or 2 families.
- If you are going to rent a car, you can do it right at the airport. Usually, the companies that provide car rental services accept requests in advance on the internet, which means you can book the car that is most suitable for your needs. In this case, you’ll need to download offline maps beforehand because the internet data might be either too expensive or not very good in the place you’re going to. Make sure to write down the address of the hotel in advance and try to find it on the map before starting your vacation, while you are still at home.
- Also, you have to take into account not only transport but also the distance to the hotel. Many tourists face a huge disappointment when, after a long flight, it turns out that it’s going to take them 2-3 hours to get to their hotel. In order to prevent something like this from ruining your vacation, clarify in advance the precise location of the hotel. If the road is long and you are going to a warm country, make sure that the transport that you’ll be using will have AC.
The temperature of the water
We can’t speak for everyone but we know for sure that many of us go to the sea with the intention to swim there as much as possible. It’s no secret that the temperature of water in the seas and oceans is different in different seasons and in different locations. You can check the temperature of water in the region where you are going in advance.
For example, the water temperature can be from 70°F to 80°F in the Mediterranean Sea in July in different locations.
If the water in the sea is chilly, you can select a hotel with a heated pool. By the way, this is a good alternative for the sea if you go on vacation when it is not high season and the weather can get bad at any moment.
Depending on what type of accommodation you choose, you can count on different types of beaches.
- A wild beach will be deserted and perhaps picturesque, but it will be located far from the tourist area and won’t be equipped with beach chairs, umbrellas, or other small facilities. The biggest advantage of this kind of place is clean water and the absence of noisy neighbors. The disadvantage is that you’ll have to go there on your own wheels. However, perhaps that’s not a disadvantage at all.
- When it comes to a city beach you should probably study it in advance. These beaches can be free or they can charge some entrance fee as well as a payment for renting beach chairs and umbrellas. The payment on some beaches can be overpriced, but at least you’ll have some small facilities here like changing cabins, lifeguards, and toilets. At the same time, it’s not recommended to leave your belongings unattended at these beaches because anyone can get there. City beaches can be overcrowded in high season.
- A private beach that belongs to the hotel. Both first-line, second-line, and further-located hotels can have their own private beaches. In the case of the latter 2, they will likely have a common territory. Also, you will have to walk to the beach or even hire a taxi to get there. Some hotels offer tourists the opportunity to get to the sea by electric cars or other special types of transfers. If you have to walk there on foot, make sure to independently assess the distance to the beach on the map. Many hotels indicate the direct route to the beach but it can actually be double or triple what you anticipate it to be.
There are several more things you need to learn and take into account in advance.
- What kind of sea bottom the beach has: sand, pebble, shell, or rock. It can be rocky at the beginning, but some hotels remove large rocks for the convenience of their visitors. It is the large stones that can greatly ruin your time on vacation because they can make entering the waters a daunting task. In this case, you need to make sure to bring some “coral” slippers or fins that will protect your feet from abrasions and cuts. Or, there should be a pier on this type of beach.
- The cleanness of the beach and the water are also very important factors. You can learn more about them from the reviews of other tourists.
- The presence of steep ascents and descents. Many hotels are located up high, and in order to get to the beach, you will need to go down some very steep stairs. This can be a critical factor for tourists with children and, accordingly, with strollers. Also, take into account the fact that it will be more difficult to go up the stairs in hot weather after swimming in the sea rather than going down to the sea.
- Additional services (the option of having a snack or buying water, renting facilities for water sports, the presence or the absence of loud music, shower cabins, and shady places) — all these things might be important for you.
No matter where you go, to a hotel or camping, it’s important to learn in advance what infrastructure this place has.
- Whether there is a shop nearby (in case you are going to cook for yourself).
- If there is a car rental facility nearby (in case you want to rent a car for a couple of days).
- Whether there are waterslides, a swimming pool with seawater, a kids’ club, hammocks at the beach, massage salons, or bars/cafes where you can have a cup of hot coffee (if you are staying in a hotel). Think in advance about what your ideal vacation looks like.
- Make sure to read the reviews about nearby restaurants if your hotel stay doesn’t include food and you are not planning to cook anything.
The amount of people
Dealing with big crowds of people is difficult for those who hope to enjoy nature and solitude. Still, it’s possible, albeit difficult, to find an isolated place for your vacation (if that matters to you). Moreover, it can be the same price as a popular crowded place.
What you should pay attention to:
- The location of the hotel should be far from big settlements (or it should be located in a small village) and far from other hotels. You can search for these places on maps by running a hotel search.
- Private beaches on the big territory. In some cases, a beach can reach up to 1.5 — 2 miles.
- Isolated wild beaches. Perhaps this is the biggest tidbit for those who appreciate silence. Usually, these places are not PR-ed and that’s why finding them on the internet requires some time. Also, don’t forget to bring all the necessary things to get proper rest (like water and an umbrella, first and foremost).
Food quality can be an issue if you are traveling to a resort hotel that offers a half-board or more system. In this case, the food in hotel restaurants is prepaid and tourists have certain expectations for it. At least, it should be safe to eat it, and it’s a bonus if it is diverse and tasty.
When reading hotel descriptions, it’s hard to understand what kind of food is served in their restaurants. That’s why, in order to answer this question, go to the site and find the reviews. It would be perfect if the reviews are accompanied by photographs. To get an objective idea of the restaurant menu, read a couple of dozen detailed reviews — both good and bad, and look at the photos. It will help you get an idea of what type of food you’ll be served there and you’ll also be able to pay attention to the little details. The following details can indicate a higher-level hotel:
- the presence of a chef during breakfasts who will cook omelets according to your personal tastes
- lightly salted fish on the menu
- variety of fish served as hot dishes during lunches and especially dinners
- the presence of grilled dishes
- seafood like mussels, shrimp, and crayfish
- a big variety of fruits and berries like strawberries, cherries, and other berries
- the availability of a kids’ menu, that includes yogurt
The presence of entertainment is a very debatable topic. Some people like resort hotels with loud and active programs, others need quietness and tranquility. Any of these options are available if you read tourists’ reviews.
- Opt for rooms whose windows don’t overlook the swimming pool, discos, or a street with nightclubs (you can mention this request while booking the hotel room). This will help you sleep in a quiet environment.
- Read in advance about what types of entertainment the hotel offers.
- If you don’t want to deal with loud and noisy entertaining programs, opt for the hotels that don’t have them. Or look for reviews that say they’re pretty quiet.
- If you are going to have fun then pay attention to the services of the hotel and think in advance about your routes to nightclubs and discos.
- Pay special attention to entertainment for kids. It can be a club, master classes, role-playing games, waterslides, discos, the presence of a playground, which is located in the shade in warm countries.
Many people experience discomfort from an uncomfortable mattress or pillows. Moreover, if you choose camping, then your sleeping facilities might bring quite a lot of discomfort.
Try to oversee all these difficulties in advance. If you are not able to get good sleep because of an uncomfortable pillow, your costly vacation might be ruined.
- Grab your own pillow if you are traveling by car.
- Opt for hotels that have a “pillow menu” function.
- Don’t feel shy about asking the hotel staff to give you an extra blanket, a harder/softer pillow, or even to replace the mattress. Most often, this can be done for free.
Some places are located in wonderful natural areas where you can admire century-old trees, high mountains, and beaches with fine white sand.
- If it’s important for you to see a picturesque landscape, choose a location by taking into account your preferences.
- Learn which side the sea is located on. If it faces west, you’ll get a chance to watch mesmerizing sunsets.
- Pay attention to whether there are beautiful rivers, unusual lakes, or caves near the hotel. You can walk there on foot.
If you are going to dedicate a part of your time to journeys, make sure to opt for a region located not far from sights of interest.
- A close location, reachable by foot, is a very convenient format. It will allow you to have a nice walk to historical sites at any time of the day. You won’t have to distract yourself from beach rest for a long time but you’ll still get to see something new.
- A trip by transport for no more than one day. Think ahead about what transport means can help you get to your desired spot if you are not going to buy an excursion (taxi, minibus, bus). Make sure to learn in advance how to find this transport, as well as the fare.
- A trip for 2-3 days. That’s a good option if a one-way trip takes several hours. There are excursions with an overnight stay or even with a short flight. These mini journeys require individualized detailed planning.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all excursion offers are done by conscientious entrepreneurs. That’s why you should make sure to compare prices and be mindful of safety measures.
As we have already mentioned, each person has their own idea of their ideal resort. That’s why you should take into account the little details that might seem insignificant at first glance, but that will bring your vacation close to being perfect. What details could that include? Let’s fantasize a bit:
- a palm tree bent over white sand
- swings at an altitude of 3,000 feet above sea level
- hammocks on the beach
- small houses painted white
- cozy home curtains on the windows
- long sea line for promenades
- a beach chair overlooking the sea and palm trees with a cocktail and a cute umbrella
The list goes on — it is not limited by anything apart from your imagination. If you choose the resort, you can be in control of the options that match your personal tastes and that fit into your budget.