I have been lucky enough to travel to Europe two springs in a row and four times in total. I have had the pleasure of experiencing so many of the cities I wanted to visit all my life; Prague, Venice, Barcelona, Vienna, Munich, just to name a few. I would surely head back every year if time and funds allowed it.
Europe, with all of its culture, food, architecture and history, sits comfortably as my 'number 2' favorite type of vacation. The 'number 1' spot however has always belonged to the Caribbean All-Inclusive… and here’s why!
Vacations in Europe or North America just can’t get you the same bang for your buck as a Caribbean All-Inclusive (AI) can. To get to Europe (from Toronto) you are looking at anywhere from $700-$1500 depending on itinerary and time of year… and that’s for flights alone, we haven’t even begun to discuss hotel costs, food, bar tabs, sights or additional travel within the continent. As low as $1,000 can net me a round-trip flight, 4+ star accommodations and unlimited food and drink for a week. Even the little things like airport transfers and tips are included in the one-time price.
Europe in the winter can be great, don’t get me wrong. There are Christmas markets, beautiful city streets and even at its coldest it is usually more tolerable than back in Canada. That being said, one of my biggest pull factors when going abroad is the sunshine. Aside from a brief hurricane season in the fall, the weather in the Caribbean is typically awesome year-round. As I mentioned in a previous posting, there is nothing quite like boarding a plane in -25C Toronto weather and disembarking in +30C island heat.
|The Caribbean sun just makes you fee good!|
The beaches in Florida are some of my favorites, and Europe has some good ones as well (I was in Malta last year and absolutely loved it!), but if you have ever been to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic you know there is just no comparison. Stretching as long as the eye can see, powdery white, lined with palms and warm clear waters all year long… a good Caribbean beach is simply in a league of its own.
|Not all beaches are created equal|
Most of us in North America are subject to the go-go-go lifestyle of working 40+ hours a week (not including rush hour commuting) and then spending our precious free time with the chores and errands required to maintain a household. When it finally comes time for a vacation, I just want to relax! In the Caribbean you are not trying to squeeze 10 famous sites into a day’s itinerary. You are not walking past countless restaurants each night wondering which are authentic and which are overpriced tourist traps. You are not rushing to the airport or train station at to connect to your next location. You are chillin’ pool or beach-side, catching rays, sipping on a mojito and deciding which of the five gourmet on-site restaurants you want to head to that night.
|The definition of a "vacation" for me.|
I will end by saying my experiences do not cover the entire globe as I have never been in Asia or Africa. I have been doing a bit of reading this winter and it seems like some of the beach locales in the Far East have the potential to amaze. Thailand? Philippines? Vietnam? Hopefully someday soon!