Time to Save Money On Travel

Did you resolve to save more money this year?  US News says more people are making financial resolutions than a few years ago.  But vowing to be mindful of expenditures doesn’t mean one can’t resolve to have more fun and travel more – both good goals.  There is a way to be wealthier and happier as well as healthier in 2014.  (Remember:  Vacations are recommended for good health.) 

Here are a six ways to save money on travel in 2014:

  1. Go against the flow – The great rush to the Caribbean is in winter, but the hot deals are in the off-season. You’ll escape the crowds, temperatures are only slightly elevated during summer and chances are there are big discounts on airfare, too. Make it a family vacation because kids stay and eat free at Divi Resorts from April through mid-December.
  2. Best things come in twos – Booking a packaged vacation not only streamlines the reservation process but results in maximum savings. Divi’s new booking platform, Divi Vacations, provides the lowest price on rooms at the resorts, even exceeding published best available rates when booked separately, and assures best pricing on airfare from major airlines.  Depending on the season, customers will save from $150 to $345 per trip.
  3. Let’s be friends – Divi Facebook page includes occasional contests (Wow! Winning would really mean a savings!), and news about special offers, such as diving deals at Divi Flamingo Beach in Bonaire. Followers also receive announcements for limited time airfare discounts to the islands from major hubs.
  4. Suite deal – For family travel, nothing beats a suite. A one-bedroom with a pullout couch easily accommodates a family of four. (See savings tip #1.)  Even better, a family can take meals and snack time in their own kitchen. In St. Maarten at the Divi Little Bay Resort, the on-site grocery will stock the refrigerator and pantry in advance of arrival.
  5. Kid’s play – Look for resorts providing free kids or family activity programs. The new Divi’s Treasures of the Caribbean program at all Divi Resorts engages the entire family in treasure hunts, sandcastle building, movie night, souvenirs, T-shirts and more.
  6. Pack light – Avoid the extra baggage fees.  After all, most time spent on a Caribbean vacation is in a swimsuit.

Got any money-saving travel tips you want to share?  Post your own ideas for travel tips at the Divi Resorts Facebook page.  (Remember Tip #3 — Deals are waiting there.)

St. Maarten Carnival 2014

Pack your feathers and your sequins.  Get your party face on.  Let’s go!  The good times are getting ready to roll in St. Maarten. It’s carnival time!

They’ve done this before.  44 times, in fact.  2014 is the 45th annual St. Maarten Carnival, and by now, according to many observers, they have perfected the party. This one lasts 24 days with all manner of celebration; however, the big pageants, concerts and parades (and food, always food) move into high gear on April 21st. The revelry culminates in a big parade April 30th and again on May 1 in downtown Phillipsburg (just a 15 minute walk from Divi Little Bay Resort). The festivities officially end when King Momo is burned on May 5.

Every Caribbean carnival has a King Momo, the fictional king of carnivals.  Though he takes different forms depending on the island, he is universally flamboyant and powerful. Thank goodness, he comes and goes.  After days and days of revelry, the burning of King Momo rids the island of its sins, leaving St. Maarten fresh and revived.   We’ll say.  You’ve probably noticed that the island’s tempo slows down a bit come May.

This year’s schedule of carnival events also includes some merry-making for another king, a real one – King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands. The Dutch kingdom around the world annually celebrates the royal birthday. This year is special because it’s the first to honor King Willem-Alexander, since his ascension to the throne last year. Pack an orange shirt, blouse, skirt, hat, pants or swimsuit, because donning the official color of the House of Orange is de riguer that day.

As for the other days during carnival – the fashion code is: the more festive the better. One of these years, I want to commission a costume (there are people in St. Maarten who work all year on designing and sewing them) and then reggae on down Front Street in the parade.

Who wants to join me?  Divi’s 800# for Little Bay reservations is 800.367.3484.

Mom of the Year Award

Just about every guest at a Divi Resort has a story to tell.  We heard one last week that we want to share.

Sharing – in the best sense of the word – is how Melanie Paiva got to Divi Carina Bay a few weeks ago. She has shared her life, her home, material goods and blessings with foster kids.

Last May, to celebrate Mother’s Day, the Steve Harvey Show announced a contest to find an exceptional mother for recognition. One of Melanie’s foster kids sent in a nomination, telling some of the reasons why her mother was deserving of the honor — as well as a seven day all inclusive stay at Divi Carina Bay in St. Croix, which Divi Resorts provided for the contest. The audience of the popular daytime talk show, which has nearly two million viewers, overwhelmingly agreed. They voted Melanie Paiva “Mom of the Year.”

Melanie and her husband became foster care parents after being unable to conceive. What started as foster care soon changed to adoption. Even after her husband died a few years ago, Melanie continued to open her arms and adopted two more children. She says it was her lifelong calling. We know of eight children who are very glad she followed the call.

This year, Mother’s Day is May 11.  What are you doing for mom?  A little Caribbean getaway would be nice, don’t you agree?  There’s always a special dinner planned at the restaurants at Divi Resorts to celebrate moms. Watch for postings on Facebook.