Being in our late fifties, rural Ontario Canadian winters get harder to take each year. For the last two winters we have been blessed to have warmer temperatures with not as much snow. Not good for snowmobilers or skiers but good for the bones of us older folk. That having been said however, after the Christmas holidays are over and the days are shorter with less sunshine on the horizon; we get the urge to head south, for summer weather.
My husband and I prefer last minute travel. It gives us an opportunity to check weather forecasts before we head anywhere, as well as great affordable deals on vacation packages. We are also able to check resort reviews to make sure that there are no current construction renovations happening, or a rampant virus that has hit a particular area. This does happen and can ruin the best laid plans for a relaxing holiday.
My husband also prefers spontaneity, so packing the day before leaving for a trip, suits him just fine. Present day technology has been so progressive in making travel arrangements, even in rural areas. You can now book a trip 24 hours before you plan on leaving, receive your E-tickets, hotel vouchers and airport parking coupons online, and print them out on your home printer. You can also secure your seats on your flight, print out your boarding passes and find out what your particular flight has to offer in the way of food or entertainment, such as what movies will be playing. By securing your seats beforehand, you alleviate the need for being at the airport three hours in advance of your flight. You can do all of this without leaving your home. We always find our trips online and then phone and speak with an agent in order to book our vacation package. Specific questions about a resort or special requirements that we might have can be dealt with personally. This method gives us an extra measure of peace of mind. It can be a bit of a gamble, as sometimes great deals on trips will be offered because a resort has just reopened due to repairs after a hurricane. Or perhaps, the Norwalk virus has just passed through. We had just that kind of experience two years ago, when an amazing trip came up to San Jose, Costa Rica. It was a third of the normal price, the first week of February. The price of this trip dropped drastically five days before departure. Upon checking reviews, we discovered that the Norwalk virus had indeed invaded the resort over the holidays in December and the health authorities had closed it down. People returning after Christmas had posted how ill they had become and it ruined their vacation. There had been one reviewer who had returned the week prior to our departure. He posted that the resort had just reopened and he had a fantastic vacation. The Costa Rican people are very health conscious and very diligent in regards to cleanliness. Based on that sole review and lots of prayers, we booked this vacation. We had an incredible holiday for an unbeatable price.
And so it goes... this year we decided that we wanted a lot of warmth and relaxation. The north coast of Cuba and the Dominican can be quite cold and rainy in January as they are on the Atlantic Ocean. The swimming pools are often unheated so they can be quite cold as well. Nolitours offers only one resort in El Salvador. It is quite lovely and enjoyed by many Canadians. It is a lengthy bus ride after a five hour flight but the views of volcanoes and the City visuals that are afforded on this bus trip make it, an excursion in itself. It is also very, very hot there with black volcanic sand beaches. The tour rep guarantees sunshine every day, and that is exactly what we got when we were there last. We thought this would be a good choice for us, and the prices were quite reasonable. We did our usual checking of weather at home and in El Salvador as well as the resort reviews. I double checked this package online, and it appeared, not to be available, this also happens when you are booking last minute as good deals sell out quickly. Within an hour, this trip was again available as was another resort that had just been posted leaving within two days. The price was incredible, a 5 star resort rating for a well known Hotel Chain that we were familiar with. The price of the package included an upgrade with additional privileges. Since it met all of our criteria, good weather forecasts, good reviews and located on the south side of the Dominican Republic, on the Caribbean Sea, we booked it.
Having just returned, I can attest to another wonderful holiday! There were only eight people who booked this package for this date, from Ontario. As a result, we were taken from the airport to the resort in a small air conditioned van. It was so relaxing. We were blessed with a room wherein we witnessed amazing sunrises and sunsets from our balcony as well as beautiful views of the ocean. Once again, we met such lovely people who worked at this resort. With the right attitude and perspective every trip, whether last minute or planned ahead, can be a great adventure in making new friends, new memories and enjoying new experiences.