Thank you to whoever created the all-inclusive vacation packages. I think it had to have been a parent who had cleaned spilled cereal for the hundredth time in one morning. So an all-inclusive vacation away from that lovely smell would be the greatest reprieve a parent could ever hope for.
Planning an All-Inclusive Vacation Packages
My husband first called the travel agency in Bluffton, South Carolina when I was scrubbing the large red juice stain in our carpet...after telling the child who spilled it to not leave the kitchen with the cup. . From there, things unraveled quickly. He called for me to come into the office; and who was I kidding--the stain was never going to come out and would remain a beautiful hot pink until the carpet gets replaced.
Jamaica? Sure, that sounds great. Cancun? I'm down for Mexico. St.Lucia? Let's pack our bags right now. We went to Jamaica for our honeymoon fifteen years ago, and it was a little slice of heaven. We stayed at Couples Swept Away in Negril. They had everything we could ever want, with multiple pools and a variety of restaurants. I know if we went right back to the same place we had been to before, it would be a luxurious stay. But the travel agent seems to be pushing other all-inclusive vacations for us to try.
Our travel advisor wanted us to look at a few resorts and call her back a few days later to decide. I didn't want to wait. I wanted to decide right then before we changed our mind about saving money for a family vacation. We talked for another fifteen minutes, and we finally decided on Jewel Paradise Cove Beach Resort and Spa. Just like that, we whipped out the credit card, paid for airfare and the resort in one swoop. We sat in the office just looking at each other. We just purchased a week away from our responsibilities and our lives to a tropical all-inclusive vacation package. I was in shock, pretty sure he was too.
A Whole New World
Children will literally change everything. The moment you are away from your children, you'll realize how life altering they are. Grandma and Grandpa arrived the day before we were scheduled to leave. I created a binder of information for them. Honestly, I was terrified about leaving them for a week while I was away in another country...a million miles from them should something happen. But, we deliberately did not pay insurance on the trip; we didn't want to back out. I went over the routines and the times for things again before I kissed and hugged my babies and got into the car. My mom reassured me it would be fine...I still cried a bit. I sat quietly while my husband drove us to the airport. It wasn't until we went through the security checkpoint that I realized how easy this trip was going to be. Have you ever gone through security checkpoints with four children? They each have an activity bag with an electronic, plus toys and food and drinks and lord knows what else. We took our shoes off and walked through the metal detector, put our shoes on and walked to our gate. So simple, no one screaming, no bags overflowing while being searched.
I sat in the window seat for the trip and loved the quiet of the flight. The beauty of the ocean as we prepared to land was tranquil and relaxing. I was in awe of the crystal clear water that you could see from the plane. The white sandy beaches were already calling to us.
Jamaica's airport is small and fairly easy to navigate. You find your hotel's lobby area and wait with your bags. They give you drinks and a helpful young man takes your bags to the van. Our van only had one other couple in it, and the driver told us all about the island's history while we quickly drove to our all-inclusive vacation resort. I held tight to my husband's hand because things were just so different without being needed. He was grinning from ear to ear the moment we landed.
Jamaica's All-Inclusive Vacation Packages
Our resort was nestled in a grove of tropical trees. We drove through the armed gates of our resort and checked in at the front desk. Our bags were taken to our room, and we were given information about the resort. Basically, if you leave the resort, you have to notify the guards. They asked us to visit the concierge to plan off-resort excursions. This trip was all about relaxing, which meant few excursions would be on the agenda.
We started at the lobby bar. It had a pool table near it, along with a ping pong table. We enjoyed a fruity alcoholic beverage and then headed to our room for our swimsuits. Our room smelled of flowers. We had two queen sized beds, a large walk-in shower, and a view of a garden area. The sweet smell of the room was intoxicating, I wish there was a way to replicate that smell in my son's room.
The snow-white beaches with soft sand that felt amazing between my toes were like a reprieve from a hard journey. The pool had a beautiful bar that you could swim up to. It was a slice of heaven for sure. The grill by the pool served delicious jerk chicken sandwiches that I could eat for every meal for the rest of my life. That's the beauty of all-inclusive vacation packages, no cooking and eating whatever you want.
The week flew by in a flash. Our mornings started late and ending at the breakfast buffet. Our afternoons were filled with cat naps by the pool, laying on the beach, and having adult beverages while watching the world go by. Evenings were at different restaurants being served everything from fancy dinners to all you can eat buffets. And every night we walked the beach to look at the stars and listen to the ocean.
Back to Reality
When we left, our skin was sun-kissed and our minds were free from stress. Walking into our home was like walking into a hurricane. Our kids and my parents were excited to see us, or maybe a little relieved to see us. Within a few minutes, things were back to the usual ruckus. I told my husband, two years and we'll need another all-inclusive vacation.
I'm glad we took the time to take care of ourselves. Parenthood is a rewarding tornado of emotions, and parents should remember to not pour from an empty glass... book that all-inclusive vacation, and enjoy adulthood.