Aruba! Sounds like paradise. For so many families traveling to Aruba may sound like an unrealistic dream, it can appear to be an expensive destination. If you are traveling with a large family the airfare, hotel rooms, meals, and excursions can quickly begin to add up. The thought of the seeing that final total cost of your vacation can leave you thinking that this vacation will be well above budget or your just not interested in spending that amount of money on a vacation. It can actually stop you from researching your vacations options. News to your ears, there are options. You just need some time to research!
When planning my trip to Aruba, I knew that I needed a large enough space to hold two adults and three children, my other two daughters were travelling with their friends for the summer so I had a minor break. I wanted to choose a location that included multiple options of entertainment for the different ages of my children and needed to be on the beach. After days of researching I quickly figured out that a hotel was not an option, I would either need to spend thousands on rooms large enough to hold five for us to be together or choose a timeshare. A timeshare would give me enough room to give myself and my husband some privacy while giving the kids their own room and space. Honestly, I had no idea that a choosing a timeshare location would cut my vacation’s cost in half. This allowed me to have extra funds that I can use towards excursions for the family. Purchasing your airline tickets need to be planned ahead of time in order for you to be able to find a deal. When I begin researching our families vacations I always begin by researching the prices for the airline tickets. This can help me determine the dates that I will travel.
The minute you leave your home and head for the airport is when the costs begin to add up. Determining if you are going to park, leave your vehicle at the airport or hire a car service is important. For our Aruba vacation, driving both of our vehicles and leaving them at the airport’s long-term parking would easily add up to a couple hundred dollars for seven days. There were five of us traveling and we had a total eight pieces of luggage. We choose to use Super Shuttle’s non-stop shuttle service, it was convenient to book and manage our reservation, the drivers were both great and on time, and the shuttle was clean. I actually was expecting less of an experience than what I actually received. This was the best option for our family and saved us a couple hundred dollars.
After researching JetBlue offered the best savings for our trip, even though we needed to travel from Long Island to JFK. The only minor issue that we experienced was that at the time of booking our reservations they did not have seats next to each other for us to select, we called the customer service department that assured us that the issue would be corrected after the system released more seats. They guaranteed me that the system would see that we were a family traveling with minor children and would select seats for us. That information was completely false. I called several times after booking but no one corrected the issue. When we arrived at the airport we had no seats assigned to us and were forced to sit in the last row. It was not the way I pictured our family vacation to start but we made the best of it knowing that we were hours away from Aruba. That is a lesson to be learned on my part, I will not book on an airline unless I can actually select seats.
After researching online, I found a timeshare through VRBO, the owner was a trusted rental owner, had great reviews, and immediately answered all of my questions. The resort that we stayed in was the Marriot Aruba Surf Club which is located right on the beach. The resort had many ways to entertain the kids with two pools one with a DJ, a lazy river that kept them entertained for hours, a waterslide, a basketball court, pool tables, game room, and even Iguana feeding. The room was perfect for families, it was designed in mind to make you feel like home. The room had two bedrooms on separate sides giving the kids and adults privacy, a full-size size kitchen to prepare meals, a spacious living room to have movie nights, two balconies to enjoy the ocean view, two bathrooms that helped us avoid the long lines in the morning, and even a full size washer and dryer that allowed me to keep up with the laundry. With some suggestions from some of my friends that had experience traveling and staying at timeshare locations, I prepared for the trip by using two luggage’s to bring dry foods, breakfast foods, juice boxes, snacks, and even a couple bottles of wine. When I arrived at the resort I took a taxi to a supermarket about 10 minutes away called Super Foods and picked up the items I couldn’t bring on the plane like dairy products, meats, and bread. I was on vacation and wanted to enjoy it, but I also knew that my kids were not big eaters. Without spending hours in the kitchen I managed to prepare easy dinners and lunches, quick breakfast meals, and keep snacks for the kids at arms reach. We did enjoy two beautiful dinners at the resort right on the beach with great views of the ocean at Moomba Beach and Hadicurari. The resort features BBQ areas right next to the pools where you can enjoy a picnic with your family, the resort provides safety by having security patrolling and even has employees that walk around filling up your lazy river floats with air.
The resort beaches were beautiful and local vendors were assigned tiki huts directly on the beach that offered many watersports. The kids took the adventurous route, had a blast riding the water tubes. We decided to adventure out of the resort and explore the island and booked several excursions from De Palm Tours. The first excursion we enjoyed was spending an entire day at De Palm Island where we enjoyed the unlimited banana boat rides, snorkeling, zip lining, and unlimited amounts of food and beverages. The second excursion took us on a snorkeling adventure through the beautiful Aruba oceans as we boarded a 70ft catamaran the Palm Explorer that brought us to the Antilla Shipwreck, Arashi Reef, and Boca Catalina. The excursion that left our entire family in love with Aruba was the Natural Pool Land Rover Adventure that took our breath away with gorgeous views of the island, a visit to the Natural Bridge, a trip back in history as we visited the Bushiribana Gold Mill Ruins, California Lighthouse, the first church on the island Alto Vista Chapel and an unforgettable swim at the natural pool.
A Family Destination
Our family fell in love with Aruba. The island had great weather, it was interesting to learn that the island is off the hurricane belt and rarely rains there allowing for easy planning because there is always great weather there. The only thing that you will have to worry about is that it does get windy in the summer but it helps beat that 100-degree weather. The island people are friendly and welcoming. Everyone on the island speaks English and they take American currency everywhere making transactions easy. It is a great place to relax and enjoy the sun. I can absolutely understand why so many people go back each year. Our family can’t wait to go back!