Why I Will Never Stay at Another Vacation Resort

It was my girlfriend’s birthday, and I wanted to go above and beyond with the gift.  She is Hispanic and loves to travel.  We already had a plan to travel to Mexico the following year, so I decided to go somewhere else.  She had recently expressed desire to visit the Caribbean, so I found a great deal on Groupon.  Or at least I thought it was.  It was an all-inclusive trip for 2 to the Viva Wyndham Resort in the Bahamas.  The cost was $699 per person including air fare, 5 nights in the resort hotel, all you can eat, all you can drink, and many events and activities.  Sounded amazing, so I bit.

Since I had never been, I did not know the biggest differences between staying at a resort and flying solo.  But since I was so inexperienced, I took the lazy man’s route.  But it was more ignorance than laziness. I wanted to do something safe.  And I do not mean safe in terms of crime, but safe in terms of not showing my girlfriend a bad time on her birthday.  I didn’t want to spend my time scratching my head and struggling to find fun activities.  I am a simple accountant for a moving company in the Atlanta area, trying to impress the love of my life.
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My Birthday Travels on a Budget

It was nearing my 21st birthday. I had the choice of celebrating in my apartment-which wasn’t a bad view, with beautiful skies overlooking the bay, bustling townspeople from atop a penthouse, quiet, with a spiral staircase that swiveled right  into the living room…so many choices. I thought I’d rather get out of town and see what the Rest of Rio de Janeiro had to offer-Only one problem, it was the beginning of winter there and while it was no comparison to winters back home in Chicago, it was definitely a rainy one. My roommate and I went to work immediately researching every pousada in town. Finally we came up with a plan to take a bus out of town (2 hours), then another bus (3 ½ hours) to an island only accessible by boat and there I had the greatest 21st birthday that a girl could ask for. Continue reading

Tips for Cheap Travel


Establish your budget, and timeline

I researched pousadas that took US currency or credit cards, and were English speaking about a week in advance.


See if where you are going is walkable

The island was accessible via the ocean but also had a mainland that we could explore. All free activities, like sight seeing, and exploring the island. Continue reading