Ever since our wedding season ended (5 weddings in 3 months..), Andrew and I have been looking forward to our honeymoon. When we got married last June, it felt like March was never going to come. But now, we are mere month away from our tropical vacation in Punta Cana! After the winter we’ve been having, I can’t even put it into words how excited we are. This trip is special not only because its our honeymoon, but it also marks the first vacation we’ve ever taken together….EVER.
It took us awhile to choose where we were going to go. Ideally we would’ve gone somewhere in Europe, but there was no way we would’ve been able to scrape together enough cash for flights, hotels, cars, and food and still be able to pay our mortgage on the house. #firstworldproblems for sure. We then decided to look into Hawaii. However, with the time difference and the long plane ride, we would need at least 2 weeks of vacation time to use up and we just didn’t have that in our schedules. After 3284723987439 conversations , we settled on a beach vacation.
Researching Mexico and the Caribbean was both fun until you read a review that crushed your dreams into smithereens. Tripadvisor can either help or hurt you, depending on how you take the reviews. For every 5 positive ratings of a resort we found, there was one rating that made the place sound like hell on earth. I really had my heart set on Mexico. I was willing to take my chances with the kidnappers and the dysentery because it would be a short flight. We knew a lot of people who had gone before and loved it. Plus, the hotels that we were looking at where inexpensive and had good reviews. Andrew didn’t want any part of it. “its MEXICO.” Oh, ok.
So, it was back to the drawing board. We looked at the usual suspects: British Virgin Islands, the US Virgin Island, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Aruba, Jamaica, the Caymen Islands, and about 7 other islands that I can’t remember. Each place either had scary reviews or seemed horribly overpriced. The Cayman Islands pretty much had the same description as Cape Cod: Beaches and ocean as far as the eye can see…great for older couples! The Cayman Islands immediately ended up on my “Not in a Million Years” list. I’ll be the first one to admit that I am 27 going on 93, but still. I’m just not ready for a retirement community quite yet.
Aruba was a contender, but it was very pricey. The British Virgin Islands was also very pricey and had terrible flights. It would’ve taken us 36 hours to get there and 22 to come back, or something insane like that. No round trip flights to be found. Since Mexico was out, I kept coming across Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. All of the resorts seemed to have great reviews and the flights didn’t seem that bad. I was all ready to book everything online through this borderline sketchy site (because what could happen?), but Andrew convinced me to wait until we met with AAA to see if we could get some deals. I am really glad we did.
The thing is with AAA, they will not book a trip for you unless you have a valid passport. At the time, I had a valid passport, but it was under my maiden name. So, I filled out the necessary paperwork, got my picture taken at CVS, and sent everything off to get a new passport. The next day, the government shutdown. I mean, what are the odds? Honestly. I finally got my new passport back in mid-November & we were able to book our trip.
AAA really knows their stuff. I felt like the travel agent left no stone unturned while she was booking our trip. She found us flights that were infinitely better than what I was looking at online and also MUCH cheaper. She had also stayed at the resort we had chosen (the Excellence!), so she knew the ins and outs of what to book us for.
We are SO excited. In a mere 15 days, we will be on our sweet way to paradise. Pray for clear weather for our departure…it can snow as much as it wants from there on after!