December Dream Vacations

The holiday season always makes me appreciate all of the wonderful people I have in my life, and I’m very fortunate that so many of them live near me in the San Francisco Bay Area.  However, some of the most important important people, for some reason, prefer living in a not-so-moderate climate.  That’s right, we’re off to Minnesota next week to freeze our butts off spend Christmas with my in-laws!

Don’t get me wrong, my husband’s family is totally great.  I can’t tell you how grateful I am that they’ve always been incredibly welcoming ever since I first met them.  I’m especially looking forward to a Cinderella-themed slumber party with my 2 1/2 year old niece, playing with my sister-in-laws’ awesome pups, catching up with my husband’s adorable grandparents, and spending time with everyone else… but, man will it be cold!

Although I’m going to freeze in Minnesota this year, here’s a list of warmer places that I’d like to visit during future Decembers:

Clockwise from top left: Zanzibar, Milford Sound, Turks and Caicos, Langkawi

Clockwise from top left: Zanzibar, Milford Sound, Turks and Caicos, Langkawi

1) Southern Africa + Mauritius: it would be an absolute dream vacation to go on safari in South Africa or Tanzania, visit Mozambique and Zanzibar, then relax on Mauritius.

2) Australia + New Zealand: although I’ve already spent lots of time in Oz and NZ, I cannot wait to go back with my husband to sail the Whitsundays again, visit Milford Sound, and hoard Tim Tams.  I’m pretty sure that he’ll like it there as much as I do :)

3) Turks and Caicos: my husband hasn’t been to the Caribbean before, and since we’ve heard such fabulous things about Turks and Caicos especially, I think we’d have to go their first.

4) Malaysia: I’d love to relax on Langkawi and explore the other gorgeous islands in Malaysia.  Friends have told us that Turtle Island is a must-see, too.

Wherever you spend your holidays this year, I hope you and your loved ones are warm and happy!

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Real Honeymoon: Turks and Caicos

When Danielle first contacted me about her honeymoon in Turks and Caicos, I was really excited to hear about her trip because I haven’t been there yet and it’s definitely on my travel to-do list.  But by the time I finished reading her draft, I was shocked/totally impressed by how ballsy she and her husband Gary were to plan a Caribbean vacation smack dab in the middle of hurricane season!  If you don’t recall, a recent real honeymoon post featured Sarah and Patrick, who had to cancel their September 2007 honeymoon in Aruba at the last minute due to a hurricane, and ended up going to Hawaii instead.  Fortunately though for Danielle and Gary, their risk paid off and they enjoyed great weather and off-season discounts.  Am I brave enough to plan a similar trip during September?  I doubt it, but I’m so glad that everything worked out in their favor.  Read all about their incredibly relaxing honeymoon below, and check our Danielle’s super cute blog Les Bon Enfants as well!

When and where did you honeymoon?

Turks and Caicos, September 2011.

Turks and Caicos

How long was your trip?

Two weeks.

How did you decide on your honeymoon destination(s)?

We did a lot of thinking about what we wanted our honeymoon to be. We love to travel, and we want to see the world, but the thought of planning a huge wedding, and immediately after embarking out on a major sight-seeing vacation (and all the meticulous planning that goes into such a trip)  sounded more exhausting than relaxing, and we needed to relax! Something tropical, romantic and luxurious was in order. I have been all over the Caribbean many times with my parents, and really wanted to go back to St. Bart’s with my new husband – I knew he would love it – but mom made a comment that made me think twice about my decision: she said our honeymoon should be a place neither of us has ever been before. That way, over time the memories won’t get tangled up in the memories of our family vacations. It will be our own special place. With that in mind, we decided on Turks and Caicos, and it really fit the bill for us.

Turks and Caicos

The best part about our honeymoon was…

Our hotel, The Regent Palms. It looked like an old plantation house! The rooms were huge with a pretty patio and a little kitchenette (which we used to make espresso every morning and stored Caribbean beers in the fridge). The staff was amazing and really went out of our way to make us feel pampered and at home. It was right on Grace Bay Beach, arguably the most beautiful beach in the Caribbean, so we never even felt like we had to leave the hotel grounds.

I was also happy that we booked such a long time (two whole weeks!.) It took the pressure off of having to cram in things we wanted to do and count the days until it was over. We could truly chill out and unwind without even having to worry about what day it was!

The Regent Palms

If I knew then what I know now, I’d change…

Not. A. Thing. A few of my friends thought we were nuts for planning a trip to the Caribbean during hurricane season, but really, I’ve done it before and I’d do it again. The hotels and airlines are so great about re-booking you for a hurricane-related delay (or offering a full refund) since they know days ahead of time that when they are coming that we felt totally comfortable taking a chance. Prices are a fraction of what they are during high season, the beaches are way less crowded, and the weather is perfect.

Turks and Caicos

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