Monday, January 6, 2014

Newbie Traveler :: Tips & Tricks Needed!!

In just over 3 weeks I will be heading south to a swanky all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana.
I cannot wait.  With the weather being as cold as it's been here lately (-40 with the windchill), it couldn't have come at a better time.

Thing is... I have never traveled south before.  Over 10 years ago I made it as far as Florida, but I stayed with a friend & her mom in a condo they were renting... so it was a lot different than joining a group of 60 headed down the Dominican for a wedding.  A wedding I'll be photographing, by the way.

All I know is that I have to use my camera bag as a carry on.  Ain't no way I'm letting that out of my sight!
Other than that, I'm starting to stress out about what I should be packing and what the etiquette is once I get down there.  It's all inclusive, but I'm assuming I still need to tip?

What are you best tips & tricks for a newbie like me?  What do you do make your trip go as smooth as possible?

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  1. I'd say yes, still tip...but don't stress too much. it's going to be a laid back attitude sort of place, i my best tip would to be to relax and let yourself have fun!!

  2. If you tip you will get the best service ever and you don't have to tip big $$. Pack goodies from the dollar store and leave them in your room each day for housekeeping. Things like pantyhose, bobbypins, anything really. Also, my biggest suggestion to any first timers is....pack face clothes, because when I went they didn't have them. When I first went the suggestion that was given to me was take snacks from home in your checked baggage like crackers and chips....after 7 days these things are a much appreciated a taste of home.
    Have fun and enjoy the sun!!!!

  3. Ooooh!! Sounds like fun! I've never been to a resort of any kind before, should be awesome!

  4. Tipping in the Dominican and Punta Cana is all about little goodies vs cash ( they have so much difficulty getting stuff that it is more valuable to provide trinkets). Hotel size shampoos and conditioners, lots of stuff from the dollar store, kids shoes, kids toys ( dollar store stuff) , baseball caps. We always leave a baseball cap filled with little shampoos etc on the bed for the maid each day and it is well received. Take a thermos mug with you for your drinks, and let the bartender know you will give the mug to him when you leave and he will be your friend forever. If you have a special sweetner that you like take some, I always take a baggie of teabags and sugar twin so I have my stash available. Have a great time, you will have a blast

  5. You`ll love it, Lena! I only went once, to Cuba, but it was fabulous and I dream of going back someday.
    My biggest tip is this: don`t pack allllll the clothes you think you`ll need. 3 or 4 bathing suits, a few pairs of shorts and tanks, a few dresses, beach cover-ups, and a light jacket or sweater for the evenings. I thougth I `packed light`and still ended up with stuff I didn`t wear!
    ENJOY!!! You deserve it :)

  6. Tip stuff not money! And do it throughout the week to guarantee even more excellent service!
    If taking the kids on the plane, "bribe" the flight crew with chocolate as soon as you board. Actually, do this even if you don't have kids.
    Don't over pack. You'll always pack more than you need, so don't take too much stuff.
    If you are going to do the vendor shopping, don't start talking to the vendors unless you are sure you are going to buy from them. They are mean if you talk and then walk away and don't buy anything.
    Have fun!!!!

  7. SOOOOOO jealous! I LOVE the beach! I actually wrote a blog post about tip and tricks last year:

  8. You should be allowed a carry on bag AND a "purse". Your camera bag should be able to double as your purse as long as it can fit at your feet/under your seat.

  9. Punta Cana is really amazing and the weather should be fantastic this time of year. I would highly suggest that you tip because you will get much better service than if you don't. Tipping isn't necessarily a requirement though, like it is here. Get to know the staff, if you get to be buddy-buddy with them they give you some extra's or help you schedule excursions for cheaper, etc. Another thing I would really suggest doing, and it probably sounds a little strange is pack some items (clothing, flip flops, toiletries) you wouldn't mind giving away or leaving there. You will end up buying some things yourself because one of the biggest ways the people there make money is selling to the tourist. Since we did get to be friends with some of the staff we 1) traded some our things (like men's cologne because it costs a TON there for them to buy) for deals on an excursion and 2) you'll really realize that most of the people have nothing, no shoes, shampoo and other basics cost them a lot so it feels good to give back. We gave up shampoo, tennis shoes, some athletic wear that was older and our "maids" were so thankful! Finally, remember none of their water is going to be consumable - none! Don't open your mouth in the shower, make sure they stock your fridge with bottles to brush your teeth, etc. Other than that, just enjoy!!! It's beautiful and a lot of fun :)

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