Who Needs Bahamas Vacation Packages? Create One For Yourself!
So Many Choices
Every travel agent has the ideal package for you, or so they say. As I was considering a vacation there myself I did a bit of research and learned a lot during my studies.
First and foremost, you must know that I'm a traveler just like you, and as such, I like to get the most bang for my buck. To do so, you need to read many reviews and analyze them carefully to sift the reality from the sand. Relax, as I'm willing to do all the work and I will also point you to the things I have found, so you may verify them for yourself.
So, break out the plastic palm tree, grab a tall glass of iced lemonade (capped with an umbrella) and we will look through the offerings together, okay?
Getting There Could Be Half of Your Vacation
To start with, we need to have a plan to get to the Bahamas.
Now, for obvious reasons, cars, buses and trains don't figure into the equation. We'll either need to fly there or take a boat. Each has it's benefits and its drawbacks, which I will explain.
First off, we'll look into the idea of flying. This seems like the obvious choice, as it gets us there and back the quickest, allowing us the most time in the Bahamas. I was looking at a three hour flight, and horrible in-flight food, but the price was right - $14,771 on Expedia.com for a non-stop flight there, with a two week stopover in the Bahamas and a stay at The Reef Atlantis, which for its cost is the best stay you will find in the Bahamas (I will get into this later). *price based on a family of four (2 adults w/ two children aged 14 and 8).
Still, I wanted to look at the other alternative ... going by boat.
I found through Expedia that I could depart from Baltimore and spend seven nights at sea on a cruise ship with my family for $4576. That includes a private cabin with a whirlpool, a television, a mini bar, a balcony - the works! Of course, it also means less time in the Bahamas - two days to be exact. Still, a lot can be said for being pampered for so many days in a row. :)
Alas, if you want to see more of the Bahamas than the sea, you will need to fly out on a plane.
What if We Only Go for a Week?
By flying, me and my family could get a six night stay in the Bahamas for $8755 at The Reef Atlantis. Of course, this doesn't include any expenses other than getting there and having a place to stay, but it does allow us more time.
Which brings us to our next question ... why did I chose to stay at The Reef Atlantis? Well, I promised you I would get back to that, and so I shall.
The Reef Atlantis is a four and a half star hotel with many great reviews that you will find here:
This is closer in price to the Carnival cruise, but it still doesn't include food, which is included in the cruise. Here's the ratings for the cruise I found online at cruisecritic.com:
Which to chose?
If you consider the flight as truly allowing 6 days in the Bahamas (due to the time spent flying) then flying out costs about $1460/day for all four people, whereas the cruise only gets you two days in the Bahamas with a daily cost of $2288 (for time spent in the Bahamas, and not including days spent elsewhere).
Now, as I said earlier, you will need to pay for your own food if you fly out. Still, even accounting for the expense of food, flying out offers more of the Bahamas at a better price. That's why I recommend flying out (unless you fear flying, which then makes a cruise seem like a much better alternative).
What Can You Do While You're There?
Nassau was made for tourism. Here's a few things I highly recommend:
- Go out on on the town and see the many historic buildings that line the streets - no charge
- Swim with the Dolphins on Paradise Island - $20 to observe, $85 to visit the dolphins up close, and $165 to swim in the water with them
- Ride the Exuma powerboats - $190/adult and $120/child under 12 - allow 9 hours for this adventure
- Visit Stuart's Cove - Snorkeling $45-$55/adult and $26/child under 12 - also has diving and a sub excursion available. The sub excursion is $105/person
- Become a beach comber - with so much beachfront property available, you're bound to find a place to stake your umbrella, and there are plenty of waves to surf on
This is by no means a list of everything you can do, but this list is made up of those things I could verify through others (who have already been there) as quality things to do.
So, What are You Waiting For?
Start up that savings (like we have) and you'll find yourself there in no time.
Just remember ... stay away from the really cheap vacations, as there is always something wrong with them. Also, don't get pulled into the really expensive ones.
Whichever method of travel you chose, be certain you ask about *all* expenses involved before agreeing to anything. It's your money, so you have the right to ask as many questions as you'd like.
Also, I highly recommend that you plan your activities ahead, as your time will be limited. Trust me ... the time will go by quickly, and you will find yourself frustrated if you show up without a plan.
And ... there you have it! Enjoy! :)