*Disclosure: I did receive a discounted rate to Beaches as part of my invitation to attending Social Media on the Sand. This experience and these opinions are 100% my own and were not in anyway influenced by anyone or any discounts that I received.
Last fall I once again attended a blogging conference called Social Media on the Sand in Turks & Caicos. This was my second year attending and I have to say, my family couldn’t wait to get back to the Beaches Resort! In case you missed it, here are my Top 10 Priceless Memories from Beaches. I look at these memories often, as they truly do bring me so much joy. If you are considering this destination for your family, you might also enjoy my earlier article Planning a Priceless Family Vacation.
I was thrilled to have been invited to attend this conference for a second time. The fact that my family was also invited meant the world to me, as it is such a neat reward to be able to experience a journey like this together. I have been blogging for 8 years now, and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes. I am truly thankful for the support of my family, so this conference is a rare opportunity for them to enjoy the rewards of all of the hard work. Since this was our second trip to the resort, we had a bit of an idea about what to expect and I would say that our travels this time were flawless.
Here are some bits of advice from my family to yours if you are considering a trip to Beaches Turks & Caicos:
Honestly, I can’t stress this enough. Island life is so different than most of the travel that I have experienced. We travelled with all carry-on luggage and in my opinion, it just makes for an easier journey overall. Both of my kids have a small carry-on roller bag that they are in charge of. I also tuck in the light collapsible backpacks for them to use on the beach or around the resort when they need to take things with them (sunscreen, googles, etc) and those also come in very handy for the flight back if we have purchased any additional items or even for carrying dirty/wet clothing. *Trust me, it’s very hard to resist a last minute jump in the ocean right before you leave the resort.
Forgot something? No worries…they have two awesome gift shops that have everything under the sun. Including sun screen. Which you will need, so rather than pack it (especially if you are doing all carry-on) buy it when you get there.
Leave the outside world at the entrance.
Upon arriving at the Beaches Resort, life instantly comes a paradise. It is as if you are delivered (in a Beaches provided shuttle, no less!) into a world where greetings are genuine. Smiles are intentional. Everyone is smiling and I’m not exaggerating that. It is a level of hospitality that I had never experienced. These people are professionals at reminding you that YOU are on vacation and they are here to help. Soak it all in. Leave the stress at the airport and take ownership of your vacation. Trust me, you do not want to spend ONE second in paradise stressed because it will truly be wasted time. The folks at Beaches are there to make you happy and if you feel less than happy, ask someone to help you out, I have never seen a more service driven environment. And, the happiness is contagious. You will find yourself practically skipping down the perfectly manicured walk ways. Embrace it!
Enjoy the entire property.
At Beaches Turks & Caicos there are actually 4 different “villages” on the property: Caribbean, Italian, Key West and the French. Each has its own theme and feel. Last year, we stayed in Key West and loved it. This year, we stayed in the Caribbean and it was just as fabulous. I honestly don’t think that you can go wrong, but you will definitely want to check out the different themes and offerings of each village. The nice part about whatever village that you choose is that you can easily walk among them and enjoy all that each village has to offer.
All-inclusive means that you can stop into one of the many restaurants and bars (20 restaurants and 12 bars to be exact) and grab a meal, drink or snack. This is such a luxury, especially when traveling with kids. If you aren’t all hungry for a big meal, then no worries! Dad can grab a full meal while mom orders an appetizer. It was so nice to be able to eat at our own pace, and I especially loved that many of the restaurants feature buffet style meals so that you can adjust your servings to your appetite. This was also great for the kids — they loved the variety of food! And with so many restaurants, one thing you will definitely have: lots of variety! Everything from hamburgers to fancy steak dinners and literally everything in between. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to have so much at your fingertips! Grab an ice cream cone before lunch or sneak off to the coffee shop for warm cookies as an afternoon snack. Live on the edge a little, you know you want to!
I think that what makes this vacation priceless for me is that it’s a rare opportunity for my family to just relax and PLAY. Whether it’s video gaming in the XBOX lounge (oh yea…mama got her dance on in a Just Dance competition!) or snorkeling with the kiddos — there is ALWAYS something to do, and yet, it all feels relaxing. I love the smiles that I get from my kids when I play with them and this vacation was just so full of those moments. Swimming in the pools, walking the beach, playing chess on the giant chess boards, shuffleboard, tennis, water slides … you name it, we did it and we never EVER ran out of things to do.
Step out of your comfort zone.
I mean, you came this far right? Drop the fear of being less than perfect in that swimsuit that took you hours to pick out and run on the beach with your kiddos. Get up and dance with Elmo. Limbo with that rather handsome dance instructor. Jump in the conga line at the beachside family party. Sign up for the reggae class by the pool. I’m telling you, these are all opportunities to release the stresses of your everyday life and let the joy shine through.
What are you waiting for?
If a trip to BEACHES is on your wish list, then start planning your vacation now. Get on their email list, check flights and start that travel savings fund. You will be so very glad that you did!
We all work so hard in our daily lives. We work hard at our jobs, we hard for our families, and we work hard to save money. I think that by making the decision to splurge on a vacation such as this you are choosing to reward yourself (and your family) for all of that hard work. And, to be honest, I think that is what makes such a quality experience even more worthwhile: you earned it. Any additional savings will make you feel even better; so once you make your decision to go, plan ahead by using frequent flier miles and be sure to watch for Beaches Resorts travel specials — make sure to click on the SPECIALS tab on the Beaches website where they quite often have offers which will save you up to 65% off! Getting the best bang for your buck will also make you enjoy your experience even more. When you finally take the step to purchase your vacation, you are investing in an experience that you will remember for years to come –and that kind of quality is priceless.
A huge thank you to Social Media on the Sand and Beaches Resorts for this wonderful opportunity and experience!
Pack for a Purpose
Another awesome part of our trip was learning about Pack for a Purpose. You can read my full post about The Sandals Foundation and Pack for a Purpose; but to give you a quick overview, Pack for a Purpose is a 501C-3 organization that provides travelers with the information they need to make an easy yet meaningful contribution to the local community at their destination. My kids LOVED bringing their backpacks full of supplies and books to share with the children on the islands.