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Chris Suitcase

I have a passion for travel. You could say it even runs in the family! My sister worked in the travel industry and loved it and I enjoyed many of her great perks, traveling to popular vacation destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean. So many people started asking me for travel advice that I started my own travel agency and never looked back. I'm so passionate about sharing my adventures and tips with my clients that I figured I should start a blog to share my favorite tips, pictures and more with even more people.

Why You Absolutely Must Consider a Family Vacation to Mexico This Summer

Spring Break is here and so many people are escaping the Wisconsin cold and are off to warm destinations to make family memories.  Many are shocked that my family isn’t doing the same!  Well, every summer we take our kids to Mexico!  You may think that seems strange given the warmer weather here in Wisconsin, but there are so many more great reasons to head to Mexico than just an escape from the cold.

Here are some of the main reasons why it’s great to take your kids on an all-inclusive family vacation in summer:

No School:  Don’t worry about getting that form letter sent home for pulling your kids out of school to save a little money.  Traveling in the summer will not only spare you that letter, but it will also save you some serious cash.  Summer = much better pricing (FYI – Spring Break is almost double to the pricing you can find any other time of the year).  There are still daily non-stop flights from Chicago and you can even go non-stop from Milwaukee Saturdays to Cancun for a 7-night trip!

Resorts Are Not As Busy:  You don’t have to worry about beach/pool chairs and restaurants being full at most resorts because they are not operating at their full capacity as they do over Spring Break.  Many times service is a bit better because the staff have less people to take care of.  And if you’re lucky, sometimes upgrades are available for min. cost (if you want to guarantee a certain room category, be sure to book it because I didn’t say it happens every time at every resort).

Your Kids Demands Are Totally Doable: I feel like I am always saying no, we can’t do this because we have that. No, we aren’t having a piece of candy now, we didn’t have dinner yet. No, we are not doing this today because I have to work. And then there is the normal – Mom, where are my shoes? Mom, I need to get to practice. Mom, what’s for dinner? mom…mom…mom…That week in Mexico with my kids I don’t care where their shoes are. I am not running to 3 practices a day. They can order room service for dinner. We can go out to a fancy place or after a long beach or pool day, we can hit the buffet. I can say yes to the beach. Yes to the pool. Yes to swimming with dolphins or horseback riding. Yes to boogie boarding. Yes to ice cream whenever they want. I can just spend the week saying yes. The mom..mom..mom…might still be there but it is one of excitement and happy and that makes all the difference.

Amazing & Unforgettable Memories:  All of those yes’s turn into some pretty spectacular memories that you and your kids will never forget!  In fact, on a recent school project my daughter listed horseback riding in Mexico as her favorite family memory.  I was surprised by this since that excursion sent me into panic mode. My 2 daughters on horses separated from my husband and myself also on horses. No matter how hard I tried to get my horse to hurry up, it wasn’t moving and so in panic mode I rode 2 hours through the mangroves with my daughter in front of me feeling independent and thinking it was the best thing she ever did. Special memories are made when you least expect it and for opposite reasons my daughter and I will never forget that day.

So, traveling to Mexico (or other tropical destination) may seem odd to us Wisconsinites, but it truly is a magical time.

Life is short, pack your suitcase (and don’t forget to pack for the kids)!

Chris Terry

Great Vacation Expectations…

“Disappointment is only for those who expect too much.”  Now, why would I open a blog post with this quote when I’m in the business of making your vacation dreams come true?  Because expectations can sometimes get the better (not the best) of us.

Everyone dreams of the perfect vacation – no flight delays, great service on board, quick lines in customs, pristine beach, top of the line food and beverages, no rain and the list goes on and on.  The truth of the matter is, there are some things we can control and others we can’t.  If you have your expectations in check, your vacation truly can be amazing!

I have recently been on trips to Cancun & Jamaica and stayed at some amazing resorts and enjoyed some incredible experiences.  One of my trips was delayed in Atlanta for over 6 hours leaving me to scramble to make arrangements for the kids, the dog and get a ride home from the airport at 3:00 a.m.  Definitely not my ideal day of travel, but it can happen.

Cancun All-Inclusive

Personal farewell at the all-inclusive Live Aqua exceeded my expectations.

Here are some of the things that you may not expect on vacation, but should:

  • You get what you pay for.  Whether your budget is $1,000 per person or $3,000 per person, you want a nice vacation.  I understand that and will work to find the right vacation for you. However, those 2 price points give you a very different vacation experience. Air is typically anywhere from $500 -$700 each, leaving the rest towards your hotel stay.  Sometimes, if you want a budget vacation you need to understand that is what you are going to get.
  • If you are locked into dates, you are locked into pricing.  There are often great last-minute deals as well as deals to travel during an off-peak period, but you have to have the flexibility to make it work.
  • Expect a 12 hour day.  Let’s face it… from the moment you leave your house until the minute you step foot on your resort will likely be a 12 hour day.  Plan for it.
  • Customs may have long lines… especially during peak season.
  • WiFi may be available… but it might be limited and it may cost you extra.
  • Red flags happen… there may be dangerous days to swim and on those days, you may also find seaweed on the beautiful white sand beach.
  • Weather happens.

Once you realize those things, your vacation can truly be everything you want it to be and more.  When you book through In Any Event Travel, I invest a lot of time up front asking the questions to help make sure your expectations are met.  Is this a big anniversary trip?  Are you just looking for a quick, budget- friendly getaway?

We all go through life expecting things, especially when we pay for them.  However, sometimes those expectations need to be adjusted.  Did you just pay $900.00/person for a week at an all-inclusive resort in a different country including your air? Think about that. You can barely go to Chicago for the weekend for $900.00. So your restaurant options may be limited. The rooms may be a bit small. But, you are on vacation! Just a getaway to relax and connect – that should be the expectation.

Regardless of it all, I will do my best to exceed your expectations and am always at your service before, during and after your trip!

Life is short. Pack your suitcase… but keep your expectations in check!

Chris

It All Adds Up…

Recently I have had several families come to me looking for family vacations ovr Spring Break. Traveling over Easter and Christmas are the most expensive times to travel and while people are looking to get away, they are still looking to stay within a family vacation budget (and I know firsthand how expensive traveling with a family of 5 can be)! Most importantly, they are looking for a lot of the same things – laying on a beach, a hotel the kids will enjoy, great pools and activities for everyone to enjoy. All sounds wonderful until I send them over the options and they go into sticker shock. They then reconsider Mexico or the Caribbean and want to head to Florida in hopes of saving some money. This got me thinking….comparing international travel to stateside travel can be difficult.

The appeal of international travel to my clients is often because they want an all-inclusive resort where they have time to relax and don’t have to think about shelling out money for lunches, dinners, snacks and activities. All-inclusive resorts are a perfect option for people who are looking for a relaxing vacation – and also people who know up front just how much they are spending. Stateside vacations are often a great option for people who want to see and do everything on vacation – Disney, skiing, seeing the White House – and also great for people who pay for their air and hotel up front but want to pay for everything else as they go.

So let’s talk about just how much of a difference there is on a 4-night vacation for a family of four traveling over Spring Break for comparison’s sake (7-night vacations to Mexico with non-stop air are already selling out)!

4 nights over Spring Break at an all-inclusive 4 ½ star resort on the beach in Playa del Carmen from $4,200 and includes:

  •  Round-trip, non-stop flights from Milwaukee to Cancun
  • 4 nights in a standard room
  • All meals, beverages, snacks, non-motorized watersports, access to a kids club
  • All of your transportation to and from the airport
  • Peace-of-mind that you do not have to spend 1 more dime, think about a meal or entertainment for 4 days – unless you want to!

4 nights over Spring Break at a 2 ½ star resort on the beach in Naples, Florida – from $3,400 for a family of 4 and includes (a 4 ½ star resort starts at $4,300):

  •  Round-trip flights including a stop at New York’s LaGuardia airport
  •  4 nights in a standard room

So, you’re not saving too much to begin with. The real kicker is that you have a flight with a stop and limited, if any entertainment and very few bars and restaurants on-property. So once you arrive at your property (you have to rent a car which is not included here and ranges from $302-$360 depending on size) you have to think about grocery shopping at least for the staples, get the kids in their suits to go play on the beach it’s close to lunch time so you need to get dressed and either walk or get back in the car to go get lunch if you don’t have an onsite restaurant and then do the same for dinner. You have to take into consideration a food budget/entertainment budget for your family of 4 while on a Florida vacation (for example) and so the money you were trying to save by not going into destination has since disappeared two fold because you need to shop or go out to eat for every meal as well as find something entertaining to do for part of the time should the hotel not offer anything. Inconvenience alone would probably keep me from doing this unless I had a real reason for going to Florida – which would be Disney.

Before you start planning your family vacation, above all things get comfortable with your budget. You can have wonderful experiences with your family whether you travel internationally or stateside. My job is to help you find the family vacation that fits your dreams and your budget. And when all is said and done, you really won’t remember what you paid… it’ll be the memories you take with you that will last a lifetime.

Life is Short… Pack Your Suitcase!

The Early Bird Gets More than a Worm

So fall really snuck up on me quick.  Yes, I was ready for my kids to go back to school, but I wasn’t quite ready for the cold temperatures that accompanied their return.  I also procrastinated and found myself paying more for school supplies than most of my friends.  UGH.. I really need to find more hours in a day and plan a little better to save some money!

So, since my friend Farmer Mike and the Farmer’s Almanac have both predicted “Another Nasty Winter“,  I figured I better start planning ahead and find some things to get ahead of the stir craziness that’s bound to happen.  Here is a list of activities to do indoors with kids on the first snow day.  I’m sure there are many others you would add to this list (and let’s be honest – we’re not past letting the TV babysit for a little bit, are we?).

Family Vacation MexicoHere’s another idea… screw winter (or at least for a few days) and head to the beach!  After shoveling what felt like 100 times and having my kids’ school canceled for what felt like weeks, we finally planned a last-minute trip to Puerto Vallarta thanks to the help of some of my travel friends.  You can bet this year a winter vacation (perhaps one with kids and one without kids) has already crossed my mind multiple times and this year I won’t wait to pull the trigger.

And speaking of pulling the trigger, there are lots of advantages to booking your winter vacation early.  For one, many of the popular times to travel (Christmas, Spring Break and long holiday weekends) are already starting to sell out.  And if you’re like most of my clients and hoping the prices will come down a bit and keep holding out, you may find yourself stuck in Wisconsin going stir crazy again.

If that’s not incentive enough, Funjet Vacations is now offering up to 60% off when you book by September 25.  Plus, they’ve introduced a best price guarantee where just $10 more per person will guarantee you the lowest price on your vacation.  They also offer some pretty rockin’ travel protection that allows you to cancel for any reason and get your money back – and by money, I mean money – not travel credits!

Best part of all, with nothing more than a simple phone call I can do all of the work for you (so you can turn your attention to remaining sane the other 358 days a year).

Life is short. Pack your suitcase!   Chris